A Master Mixologist

By Lavanya Ramanathan
Friday, November 7, 2008

Whatever you might have heard, Philly-based DJ and producer extraordinaire Diplo won't even be trying to spin your favorite '80s tracks when he comes to the Black Cat next week.

"I was labeled a mash-up DJ two years ago, which is weird to me," Diplo (a.k.a. Wes Pentz) says kind of incredulously when we caught up with him by phone this week during his tour stop in San Francisco.

But it was easy to draw that conclusion from his last show at the Black Cat, in 2006. It was great for two reasons: Brazilian openers CSS and Bonde de Role (handpicked by Diplo, who is often credited with bringing exposure to the Brazilian "favela" funk-punk sound stateside); and hearing Diplo play the Beatles and Michael Jackson, simultaneously.

Oh, right -- that would make him a mash-up DJ.

To be fair, he is a very good one, on top of being the astute producer behind M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" and a collaborator of music "It girls" Santogold and Kid Sister.

But you get the sense talking with Diplo that that was the old thing and now, well, it's time for the new. This visit, he says, he'll play new music from artists on his Mad Decent label, plus dub step and more-unexpected stuff.

"I've been pretty much to all of the big cities in the world," he says, listing those in South Africa, Brazil, China, Japan, Europe.

So the well-traveled Diplo is leaving behind some of the favela sound, replacing it with new influences from trips to Africa (artists from Angola in particular made an impact on him).

The documentary he produced, "Favela on Blast" (about the Rio sound and the people behind it), has begun screening at film festivals. A new dance-hall reggae-inspired collaboration with fellow M.I.A. producer Switch and several artists, called "Major Lazer," is expected to drop in March.

With so much on his plate, it seems the 29-year-old DJ doesn't actually have to tour at all.

"This is the first [major] tour I've done in two years. . . . It's good to get out to all the cities and play for kids and show them that we're still around."

See Diplo at the Black Cat on Wednesday with the very buzzy No Age (seriously, it might just be the must-see act on the bill); Abe Vigoda and Telepathe (who, Diplo says, are on the tour because they're friends); and label mate Boy 8 Bit.

Tickets are $15. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-7960 or 202-397-7328.

The District


FILM "Adrift in Tokyo" Impress your date tonight with your global tastes: The Freer shows the softer side of Japanese films with its new "Roads to the Interior: Another Side of Japanese Cinema" series, which spotlights films that aren't bloody, anime or pop. Tonight, catch director Satoshi Miki (not to be confused with Takashi Miike, the Japanese slasher-flick king) at this screening of his well-reviewed 2007 film. "Adrift" follows a law student who has racked up nearly a million yen of debt, which a collector offers to forgive. The catch? The student must accompany the collector on a walk through Tokyo. In Japanese with English subtitles. Free. 7 p.m. (Ticketing begins at 6.) Freer Gallery, Meyer Auditorium, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW. 202-633-1000.

THE SCENE A Little Post-Election Champagne Whether you're still celebrating or still trying to cheer yourself up after the election, champagne seems in order. We're big fans of the downstairs champagne bar at Napoleon Bistro and Lounge. On Friday nights it's always packed, with a live DJ. The best part: There's no cover. (21 and older only.) 9 p.m.-close. 1847 Columbia Rd. NW. 202-299-9630.


CONCERT The Cheetah Girls Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan and Kiely Williams expand on the global themes from their latest made-for-cable movie, "One World" (in which they went to India to make a Bollywood musical), on their tour. They land at Verizon Center on Sunday. $35-$45. Note that the show starts early -- 4 p.m. -- so your preteens can be in bed at a reasonable hour. 601 F St. NW. 202-397-7328.


CONCERT Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band Oberst, better known for his band Bright Eyes, has lately been performing with a backing band that includes solo artists Taylor Hollingsworth and Nik Freitas for a project that sounds like, well, Bright Eyes. The band members, who performed on Oberst's recent self-titled solo record, accompany him at the 9:30 club on Monday. $25. 7 p.m. 815 V St. NW. 202-393-0930 or 800-955-5566.



CONCERT Branford Marsalis The Grammy-winning saxophonist brings his New Orleans-steeped jazz to Montgomery College, but with a twist: He is joined by members of the Philarmonia Brasileira for a show that celebrates the music of Brazilian classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. $48; seniors and students, $46. 8 p.m. Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, 51 Mannakee St., Rockville. 240-567-5301 or visit http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/pac.


CONCERT An Evening with Christine Ebersole and James Naughton Why make the trek to Broadway when two of its stars will come to you and bring the best tunes with them? Ebersole is the "Saturday Night Live" player turned TV actress turned Broadway diva whose performance in "Grey Gardens" won a Tony Award; Naughton's big Tony-winning Broadway offerings include "City of Angels" (1990) and his turn as lawyer Billy Flynn in "Chicago" (1997). The pair launch a national tour (for which they'll perform highlights from Broadway) at Strathmore on Sunday. $25-$65. 7 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301-581-5100 or http://www.strathmore.org.

Northern Virginia


CLOSING "Host and Guest" Synetic Theater's revival of the Roland Reed play this fall was something of a surprise, a last-minute response to violence in the Republic of Georgia over the summer. Now the show (performed six years after it was first staged by the company) is set to close. Wrote Post critic Peter Marks: "The work feels sleeker than in incarnations past, the lines delivered with more fluidity, the dances executed with more acrobatic leaps and crisper unisons." $35-$40; seniors, $30-$35; students, $15-$20. Tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 N. Kent St., Arlington. 800-494-8497 or visit http://www.synetictheater.org.

ON STAGE "The Lieutenant of Irishmore" Bloody, macabre and darkly comic: Those are the hallmarks of the much-staged works of Irish contemporary playwright Martin McDonagh ("The Pillowman"). "Lieutenant" is no different. This one is about an Irish Liberation Army tough on a mission to get revenge -- for the death of his cat. Heads will roll. $56-$71. Tonight at 8, tomorrow at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Through Nov. 16. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. 202-397-7328 or http://www.signature-theatre.org.


FOR FAMILIES Swordsmen's Rendezvous Despite the sexist language, the day of reenactments (circa the 1700s) at Gadsby's Tavern is for the whole family. The event, held a few times each year, keeps up the tradition of traveling swordsmen, who in days of yore taught in taverns. Tomorrow, you can learn about weapons, fencing and swordplay in an hour-long tour. $5; younger than 5, free. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Gadsby's Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria. Reservations required; visit http://www.gadsbystavern.org or call 703-838-4242.

Save the Date

THE SCENE "Truth, Lies and Videotape: Media Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign in Review" You know what they say about hindsight? This look back presented by Vanity Fair and the Folger Shakespeare Library might provide just the clearheaded perspective you've been craving. Now that the race has been decided, you can review the media coverage -- its poor calls and misses as well as its insights -- with a panel featuring CBS News's Dan Bartlett, Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall, NBC News's Andrea Mitchell and the New York Times' Frank Rich. Todd S. Purdum of Vanity Fair moderates. Get there early for cocktails and a chance to see the exhibition "Breaking News: Renaissance Journalism and the Birth of the Newspaper." $25. 7 p.m. (cocktails at 6 p.m.), Nov. 18. 201 East Capitol St. SE. 202-544-7077 or visit http://www.folger.edu/woSummary.cfm?woid=493.

CONCERT Three Nights With Thievery Corporation All Over Again Run, dial or click to get tickets -- do whatever you choose, but do it quickly if you're dying to see D.C. legend and international electronica star Thievery Corporation return to the intimate 9:30 club for another three-night stand. The club recently announced three shows in January with Rob Garza and Eric Hilton (and if history counts for anything, probably a ton of friends) to promote the band's latest record, "Radio Retaliation." Tickets (which will definitely sell out) are $40. Jan. 27-29. 9:30 club, 815 V St. NW. 202-393-0930 or 800-955-5566.

CONCERT Oasis, with Ryan Adams For all their references to the Beatles and other '60s acts, the Brit brothers Gallagher (singer Liam and guitarist-songwriter Noel) are often a spectacular pop band, even all these years after "Wonderwall." The band is on the road promoting its latest record, "Dig Out Your Soul," with openers Ryan Adams (who comes with his backing band, the Cardinals) and Matt Costa. $52.50-$72.50. 7 p.m. Dec. 20. George Mason University Patriot Center, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax. 202-397-7328.

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