Welcome to the Hotlist, a monthly preview of the happenings you shouldn't miss in the weeks ahead. Here's what's coming up in May.
The music of David Bowie and Queen isn't typically associated with ballet, but in this performance, two works by Trey McIntyre and Edwaard Liang shatter the boundaries between rock and ballet. The piece set to Queen mixes tap dance and ballet, while the Bowie-influenced work climaxes with the Mick Jagger/Bowie duet "Dancing In the Street." $32.25-$130.
Bloody Mary Festival, May 7.
No two bloody marys are alike: Every bar – heck, every bartender – puts their own spin on the classic brunch drink. The annual Bloody Mary Festival at Blind Whino brings together some of D.C.'s finest bartenders for a head-to-head challenge, with Hank's Oyster Bar, Buffalo and Bergen and Bar Pilar pitting their bloodys against defending champion Range. The $55 ticket covers three hours of unlimited drinks, a bagel bar, cheese samples and music. 1-4 p.m.
Embassy tours, May 7 and 14.
Washington is home to 177 diplomatic missions and embassies, but they're often closed to the general public. Except during the month of May, that is, when the European Union Embassies' Open House (May 14) and the Around the World Embassy Tour (May 7) cause countries from Austria to Venezuela to throw open their doors to visitors for free. Sample rum at the Embassy of the Dominican Republic, learn about coffee cupping at the Ethiopian Embassy, celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday at the British Embassy or sample tapas while viewing works by young artists at the Embassy of Spain. Lines can be long at the more popular embassies, but they're usually worth the wait.
Nostalgic feelings abound as two upcoming concerts bring out some of the most celebrated names in '90s R&B and hip hop. The Ladies Night R&B Super Jam at the Verizon Center features vocal quartets Jodeci and Blackstreet, as well as singer-songwriters Faith Evans and Carl Thomas. Over in Baltimore, catch the I Love the '90s concert at Royal Farms Arena, with performances by Salt-N-Pepa, Spinderella, Coolio, Color Me Badd and other throwback acts. Ladies Night: 7 p.m. $60-$130. I Love the '90s: 8 p.m. $52-$125.
"Happy Hour" at Spooky Action Theater, May 12-June 5
This isn't your typical night at the theater. Working with the German company machina eX, Spooky Action Theater has found a way to blend the video game experience with a stage performance. For "Happy Hour," two teams of 10 theatergoers compete while guiding their human avatars out of another room where they're being held captive, using only tools provided by the bartender -- who also supplies drinks. $20-$40.
Linn Meyers: "Our View From Here" at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, May 12-May 14, 2017.
Occupying more than 400 linear feet on the museum's second level, this site-specific wall drawing is made up of thousands of dizzying black lines, all hand-drawn by D.C.-based artist Linn Meyers. She created the work without a template, instilling it with a free-flowing spontaneity that's also ephemeral: Next year, the piece will be painted over.
The Brig, May 13
It's been a long time coming for the Brig, a German-style beer garden announced in the fall of 2010. But partner Mark Brody says the Barracks Row bar, at the corner of Eighth and L streets SE, should open the weekend of May 13, pending final inspections. Expect a number of German beers on the bar's 40 taps, plus some local options, and long, umbrella-shaded tables on a paved patio.
"Turf and Terrain" in Foggy Bottom, May 14-Oct. 22
Every two years, Foggy Bottom morphs into an open-air public art gallery. Fourteen artists, most of them from the region, will exhibit their work in front yards for Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial, making a stroll through the neighborhood an eye-opening experience. There will be a number of tours and performances throughout the exhibition's run, starting on opening weekend, when a reception at the Watergate Gallery follows the first walking tour, led by curator Danielle O’Steen. Tours start at the yellow house at 842 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Free.
Ireland 100 at the Kennedy Center, May 17-June 5
The Kennedy Center is hosting a two-and-a-half-week Irish cultural festival tied to the worldwide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, the event that led to Ireland's independence. Ireland 100 features art installations, performances by popular contemporary Irish musicians, dance and theater companies, film screenings, literary and culinary events and even a redhead family day. Prices vary, although a number of performances are free.
"A Prairie Home Companion" at Wolf Trap, May 27-28
After a more-than-four-decade run, Garrison Keillor is stepping down as host of his weekly radio variety show, "A Prairie Home Companion," at the end of the summer. So Keillor's last time delivering "The News From Lake Wobegon" from the D.C. area will come at the end of the month, including the live public radio broadcast that Saturday night. Also part of the shows: the musician who'll replace Keillor in October, mandolin player Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. Show is at 8 p.m. on Friday at 5:45 on Saturday. $30-$80.
Spanning Puryear's career from his schooling to today, this exhibition delves into the D.C. native's body of work, offering a look that stretches beyond his well-known wood sculptures. More than 50 prints and drawings -- plus 12 sculptures -- tell the story of the contemporary artist's creative journey, including insight into how his time in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone in the '60s influenced his work.
"An Octoroon" at Woolly Mammoth, May 30-June 26
D.C.-born playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's work tells the story of a struggling plantation owner and his part-black daughter, who is pursued by a lovesick gentleman and a greedy con artist, while the property's slaves try to keep things running smoothly amid the drama. Described as “part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger” by the playhouse, it’s a biting commentary about racism and slavery. 8 p.m. Pay what you can tickets available at the door May 30-31.
Hazel opens, date TBD
Ever since Tallula in Arlington closed in 2014, chef Rob Rubba has been doing pop-ups and work in other Neighborhood Restaurant Group properties while waiting to again headline his own kitchen. This month, he'll get to do just that in Shaw. Expect modern American fare with global flavors (zucchini bread with foie gras mousse), a seven-dish tasting menu and a duck feast -- Peking-style duck breast, crispy duck wings, duck fried rice, duck sausage, etc. 808 V St. NW.
-- Fritz Hahn, Becky Krystal, Lauren McEwen, Macy Freeman, John Taylor and Emily Codik
This post has been updated to reflect that "An Octoroon" playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins was born in D.C., but does not currently reside in the city.