So while I can highly recommend The Sapphires, a highly amusing and charming movie about an Australian Aborigine girl group who sing soul music for the troops in Vietnam, which was recently at Landmark and is now on Netflix, and can also recommend my lovely wife as a ping pong opponent, I did also venture out of the house, despite the untempting weather...
My highlight of the last week was the British Embassy marriage equality party. On the stroke of midnight GMT on Saturday (ie 8pm on Friday), equal marriage became law in England and Wales, and the British Embassy had a fabulous party to celebrate. Three hundred or so of the most lucky DC gays climbed the hill to the Ambassador's Residence and were rewarded by a sparkling reception, complete with rainbow wedding cake, rainbow cupcake canapes, a photo booth where you could get your photo taken in front of a London backdrop, and a serenade by the lovely Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC. (Their next show is May 18th at the Kennedy Centre if you want to see them.) The rain held off and we spilled out into the lovely garden. It was an absolute delight of a night, my lovely wife made a speech, and at the end of the countdown at 8 o'clock, I confess I shed a tear. Here's a Blade article about the event.
I also made it out to a couple of shows. As I alluded to last week, Bring It On The Musical at the Strathmore was not exactly my intention. I had booked tickets for the lovely Lily Tomlin - then realized she was performing on the same night as the equal marriage party. So I swapped the tickets... for the musical version of 1990s high school cheerleading movie Bring It On. This did not earn me street cred points with either my blog readers or my friends who work at Strathmore, one of whom spotted my lovely wife and me as we tried to blend in amongst the teenage girls... but the musical was actually really charming. It's a smart and fond pastiche of the privileged-white-girl-moves-to-scary-inner-city-high-school-and-they-all-bond-through-dance genre. For the grown ups, it was tongue in cheek, funny, sweet, and not too happily-ever-after, with lots of nice messages. The performances were good. The songs were good. The villain was hilarious. But the star here is the moves - particularly the cheerleading moves, which was a bit like watching Cirque de Soleil. Cheerleaders are being flung in the air all over the place in this show and it's a bit stressful for the spectator. I don't understand why it was only in DC for one day. I resolve to keep a better eye on the cool shows happening at The Strathmore, and also note that while I always have a vision of it being hard to get to, that vision is wrong: it's actually just at the Grosvenor-Strathmore stop on the red line.
On the less formal show front, I finally made it to After Class, the Thursday night free comedy show at The Science Club (and the reason the stage was built at the Science Club - thanks guys!). While I was disappointed as I had understood it to be comedy themed around geeky learning stuff, and that turned out not to be the case (is there any of that in DC?), this open mic night was actually one of the better comedy nights I've been to around town - and it's free. Definitely worth checking out. Note the show started at 9pm. I also made it along to one of the rounds of FIST, Washington's annual improv tournament, featuring six rounds of 3-person improv troupes battling to be voted the best. I really like The Source on 14th Street, where Washington Improv Theater performs. The round I watched was halfway through the tournament and of very high quality indeed - funny stuff and absolutely worth checking out if you have an interest in improv. There are rounds every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the next 2 weeks, with the grand final on 12th April. The one I went to was sold out, so I suggest getting advance tickets. (on that note, do you know there's a free long form improv show aka Harold Night there every Tuesday at 9pm?).
I semi-enjoyed the LEGO movie on Sunday, hiding from the snowstorm. The first half is really cool, essentially a Brave New World-style sci fi dystopia with a great song, 'Everything is Awesome'. I loved that they're reclaiming lego for its imaginative properties rather than its instruction-dependent model kits. But it all got a bit schmaltzy at the end. It's okay to let people figure out the metaphors rather than ruining them by explaining them, LEGO filmmakers! Oh well...
On the food front, I was really looking forward to brunch at Sixth Engine, an old fire station. However the food was greasy and unpleasant, and the service was the very slowest I have ever experienced in DC. Alas.
What's cool next week
Tuesday 1st April: I haven't tried the Brixton's new comedy night Tuesdays With Funnie, which happens every Tuesday, but tonight is the night for me. The theme is mockery of WMATA, ie DC public transport. As a public transport nerd, I cannot resist! Comedy and transport combined? I'm there. Doors at 7, starts at 8, free.
Wednesday 2nd April - Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is speaking at Sixth and I on creativity and suchlike. Tickets here. Also, if my mention of Hair at the Keegan Theatre interested you but you haven't got tickets yet, I just spotted on Twitter you can use the promo code SUNSHINE to get $20 tickets for the April 2nd show. Nice.
Thursday 3rd April - It's the monthly Phillips After 5 event. Check out their cool art collection while enjoying Depression era-themed entertainment: board games, classic Disney shorts, talks about 1930s American art, jazz music, magic shows and wine tasting. This sounds brilliant!
Friday 5th April - The first Friday of the month is time to get out and walk around the various galleries of Dupont Circle. Start out at the Hillyer Arts Space where there's a reception 6-9pm. Wow, that's the first time I've been on their calendar page and now find at Hillyer Arts Space also show international films on the third Thursday of the month, occasional performance art - and they have a life drawing class every Tuesday for $12! I'm tempted!
Saturday 5th April: I am really excited about Famelab at the delightful National Geographic. This is the national final of what they are calling 'American Idol... for scientists'. There are still tickets left so act fast. I think this is going to be brilliant 'edutainment'. But also on Saturday is #LiveArt24 - on Friday, 5 playwrights will each be assigned a director, 5 cast members, a prop, a DC celebrity and a DC landmark... then on Saturday they'll perform their resulting 10 minute plays at the Anacostia Arts Center. There will also be bands and a silent auction. This sounds fun! (PS hmmm look at the other cool stuff Anacostia Arts Center also has on...)
Monday 7th April: It's Perfect Liars Club! Don't despair if you don't have tickets. The waitlist will open around 6pm at The Science Club. Put your name on the list, have a drink, and then around 6:45 we'll start selling any spare tickets til the venue is completely full. It's going to be fab.