I'm finding it hard to review Fringe shows for you, because I now know all too well the cruel stab in the heart from receiving even the tiniest criticism of your beloved Fringe show. Plus I actually know quite a few people in some of the shows I have seen so far. So since I entirely lack perspective, I will restrain myself from actual reviews, and just tell you to check out DC Metro Theater Arts for some ratings to help you choose!
Luckily I've also been doing other fun stuff, which I can review with emotional impunity. I found myself at a Washington Improv Theatre show at the Source Theatre on Saturday night. They're having their own festival of sorts, called Binge. And the two groups we saw were truly excellent (King Bee, and Dummy). I haven't laughed so hard at improv since a glorious Austin event that I stumbled into... But as you know, I find improv is often performed for the amusement of the performers and their friends, rather than for the entertainment of an objective audience, and I was impressed that the scenes produced by both these groups were genuinely impressive. Shall perhaps investigate more improv.
I also finally ventured to the delightful National Portrait Gallery to see three art shows I've been planning to see for ages, but never quite managing. I was particularly delighted by Face Value, an exhibition of portraiture in the age of abstraction. It looks at that transition period where traditional portraiture that is intended to look like a photograph is ditched in favor of exciting new abstract methods. There are some really nice pieces and the whole thing feels quite exciting and dynamic. One of the best exhibitions I've seen for ages. In the same building but different museum, I was interested but less enchanted by Ralph Fasanella's post-war, socialist-style detailed paintings; I preferred the Modern American Realism exhibit. All three are worth a visit.
In terms of food, you may recall that I went to Flight Wine Bar on its opening week, and was disappointed by the inattentive service and the fact that every time I decided on some menu item, the waitress told me they didn't have it. I've been reading lots of positive reviews about it, and I really wanted to like it. So I decided I'd been mean, being so judgmental on opening week, and returned on Saturday to give Flight a second chance. It turned out my first impressions stand. Whenever I asked for a particular wine from their menu, they told me they didn't have it. Their bread basket is still an unjustifiable $7. And while the food is good, it doesn't dazzle. But most of all, the service remains inexplicably inattentive. Despite the good reviews I've seen, the customers are speaking with their feet: it was pretty empty on Saturday night.
I did, however, very much enjoy Dangerously Delicious Pies, while waiting to go to a Fringe show at the Atlas (always a bit of a trek, especially on a bicycle!). Simple, not fancy, but some of the most delicious pies I've had! I enjoyed the tofu curry and strawberry and rhubarb pies. And a hefty mimosa. Don't judge me...
And another random shout out for FroZenYo on 7th between G and H. I don't normally get excited about chain frozen yoghurt shops... and if I did, I'd usually be secretly swooning at Pinkberry, but while waiting for Perfect Liars Club, we popped into FroZenYo to grab a yoghurt and found they'd laid out lots of board games, and the tables were full of people playing Jenga and Connect 4. This just seemed such an unlikely neighborhood hangout. I was rather delighted. (And won)
Only one film this week, Begin Again, which is about musicians, and their romantic relationships, in New York. A common theme currently, but quite enjoyable.
What cool things are coming up
Wed 16th July - You could take advantage of the cooler weather today to go see the Austen movie Emma, screened in the pretty environs of Dumbarton House's lawn. Doors at 7:30 for non-members, and it's free. Or if you're feeling 'trashy', go to the Story League storytelling night at Busboys and Poeat - doors at 8:30, show at 9!
Thu 17th July - The Encyclopedia Show is a hard-to-explain fun local variety show where they enact encyclopedia entries - tonight's is 'corruption'. Or if you're feeling arty, head to Brookland, try out Smith Public Trust for their edamame hummus, and go to the Monroe St Arts Walk.
Fri 18 July - Hmmm I'd decided not to go to the Smithsonian's Garden of Wonders, then it sold out, and I had regrets. They do have some tickets on the door though... But I'll probably be over at the Bier Baron's science-themed comedy night, This Scientist Walks Into A Bar, which is free and sounds rather fun!
Sat 19th July - Obviously the event of the evening is Perfect Liars Club at 10pm. Though I'm also hearing talk of a crazy Weird Science fundraising party. If that's your thing.
Sun 20th July - The final Perfect Liars Club is at 7:15pm. Or if you're looking for an excuse to visit the Anacostia Arts Centre, maybe it's Yelp's 10th birthday party...
Mon 21st July - Screen on the Green is back. While it's charming to go to neighborhood outdoor screens, the spectacle of a movie on the National Mall needs to be experienced at least once. It's Karate Kid tonight.