This is the first of the “DC, Diva-style” series wherein I hook you up with the events that I think are going to be fantastic that month. Despite the name, I include northern Virginia and much of Maryland (specifically Baltimore) in my picks, so I can show you the seamy underbelly of the ENTIRE DMV region!
Happy May Day/Beltane/first day of sun in what feels like weeks! You know what the first of May means, right, kids?
(Video is NSFW, you slacker.)
Well, we may not be able to get THAT crazy in the capital, but I think everyone’s about ready to hump everything in sight out of sheer joy that we made it through the seemingly-endless winter. Right about now, going outside without a puffy down coat on kind of feels like running around all nekkers. Moving on!
Being the generous soul I am, and in my ongoing quest to ensure that all the delightful freaks in the area are able to find out about all the quirky, weird, nerdy, kinky, and just plain colorful stuff there is to do around here, I’m sharing with you the events I’m personally excited about this month. Check back here for new additions in the upcoming weeks, and definitely drop a comment or shoot me a note if you hear of something fabulous that I don’t have listed. (Yes, you can shamelessly plug your own event.)
Friday, May 2: Hot Night Productions Summer Kick Off (BURLESQUE/VARIETY)
I know and love several of the performers in this revue and I know it’s going to be a great show full of sparkle and hilarity. Get there a little early for dinner; the Bier Baron has a pretty tasty menu and it’ll let you get great seats right up close. You ALWAYS want to be in the splash zone for burlesque!
Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 4: DC’s 48 Hour Film Project (FILM/DIY)
I’ve done the 48HFP a few times and let me tell you, it is simultaneously one of the best and one of the most grueling experiences you can have as a creative person. You assemble or join a team, register, and create a short film from script through post-production in 48 hours. Most people who are doing it already have their teams and actors in place but hey, check out their Facebook page or post on their “Join a Team” forum to see if anyone needs last-minute gofers or extras. You’ll be glad/sorry you did.
Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3: Come Out and Say It (THEATER)
This is the debut production of The Coil Project, an emerging theater company in DC, and it was written by Erica Smith, my dear friend and co-writer on our Fringe show last year. Listen– I’m only ever going to recommend theater that I’m personally really stoked about, because I hate sitting through crappy theater too. This show rocks my socks. When Erica first wrote it, I emailed her at 6 AM after staying up to read a draft version to tell her I wanted to produce this show, that’s how much I liked it. I still plan to produce it at some point, but in the meantime, go see this version. It’ll be funny and awesome and it’s at CHAW which means you can walk around the block to 8th St. SE and have your pick of great restaurants.
Saturday, May 3: Baltimore’s Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race (INTERACTIVE ART/OUTDOORS)
From the American Visionary Art Museum (in my opinion one of the best museums in existence!) comes the 16th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. I think this is one of the most incredible public art displays you’ll ever see, and it is just tremendous fun. Plus, it’s the kind of event where you can dress up as crazy as you want and you just look like you fit in all that much better. Bring a camera and a picnic! Did I mention it’s FREE?
Saturday, May 3 – Sunday May 4: DC Big Flea Market (SHOPPING)
This is an event I haven’t personally attended yet, but I’m sad that I have to miss it, because people I trust have told me it’s a fantastic place for treasure-hunters. Burly friends have had good luck finding vintage costume pieces and apparently there’s just a ton of great stuff for sale every time.
Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 11: The Carnivalesque Roadshow (BURLESQUE/VARIETY)
Check the page for specifics– this show is playing in several cities in the area and as far as WV and Pittsburgh– but do put this on your calendar! This is a much more lavish production than many burly/variety shows, seeking to capture the feel of a Dust Bowl-era traveling carnival. There’s a cooch tent, real vintage sideshow artwork on display, and even games of skill! Plus it features Armitage Shanks and Russell Bruner, exceptional performers who aren’t often in DC. Read more in this Baltimore Examiner article and buy your tickets!
Monday, May 5: DC Burner Town Hall (BURNER)
If you’re going to Burning Man or one of the local offshoots like Playa del Fuego or Transformus, or you’re just interested in getting to know the local burner community– which by the way is pretty huge and full of some of the most wildly creative, resourceful, and nicest people you’ll ever meet– drop by this Town Hall for some Cinco de Mayo drinks and a good chance to actually introduce yourself without having to just randomly walk up to strangers. Make some connections and find out what’s going on this summer on the event and party schedule.
Thursday, May 8 – Sunday, May 11: The 48 Hour Film Project Screenings at the AFI Silver (FILM)
If you work on a 48 Hour Film, it’ll all be worth it when you go to your screening and see your film (and your name) up on the AFI Silver’s huge screen. If you didn’t work on it, go to the screenings anyway because it will be the most fun you have at the movies all year. Meet local filmmakers, vote for your favorites, and enjoy the fact that you’re getting to see a grab bag of never-before-seen short films that span genres and styles and will definitely range from blow-your-mind good to sublimely awful. Showings always sell out, so buy your tickets early.
Friday, May 9th: Under the Sheets – A Comedy Burlesque and Variety Show (BURLESQUE/VARIETY) NOTE: I AM IN THIS!
Now, since you’re such a big fan of mine, I *know* your ass is coming out to see me in the burlesque show I was born to do– that is, the all-comedy revue. In addition to yours truly, this show features a lineup of some of the funniest and most wonderful performers in the DC area. Not only that, but we’ve got two shows (9:15 and 11:30 PM) so you can go to a whole other show earlier in the evening and still make our late performance. I’ll be doing my tributes to Orange is the New Black and Evil Dead II. Don’t miss it! At the Black Cat, $12 in advance/$15 day of, 21+.
Saturday, May 10th: SS Distrikt of Columbia Sails Again Boat Party (BURNER/DANCE PARTY)
PEX, Distrikt, Fort Knox Five, and Elite Force team up to bring burner-style partying to a Potomac sunset cruise. If you like dressing in your freaktastic best and dancing your face off to amazing DJs, a PEX party is in my opinion the place to be. The costumes make for incredible eye candy as the perfect conversation-starter if, like me, you like going to parties to make new friends. Check the event page also for details about the afterparty!
Sunday, May 11th: DC Kings Present YO’ MOMMA! (DRAG)
If your only knowledge of drag is RuPaul, get your butt down to Phase 1 and expand your horizons with the DC Kings, DC’s only drag king troupe. This month’s theme is in honor of Mother’s Day, and really, if your mom doesn’t appreciate being taken out to DC’s oldest lesbian dive bar to see a bunch of super-hot drag kings burning up the stage, then where the hell did YOU come from? Seriously, the Kings put on a fantastic show every month and Phase 1 is one of the most fun, relaxed places you can go in DC.
Friday, May 23: The DC Gurly Show Presents DCGS Does Your Mom (BURLESQUE/VARIETY)
The DC Gurly Show, DC’s longest-running and only queer burlesque troupe, plays every third Friday at Phase 1 Capitol Hill. This month the Gurlies are drawing out the mom-love with their tribute to Mother’s Day– expect to see some proud mothers of burly girls in the audience! DCGS is where I cut my teeth as a burlesque performer, and its open-door policy and apprenticeship program mean that this is where you’re consistently going to see new talent emerging alongside seasoned performers. With nine years of monthly shows under its belt, the Gurly Show has developed a strong following and even some devoted superfans, which means every show feels like a party with old friends. Stay after the show, and the stage reverts back to a dance floor where the party keeps going until last call!
Friday, May 16: Zou Zou Burlesque Revue Presents Le Funk (BURLESQUE/VARIETY)
This is another 2-show night at the Black Cat, at 9 and 11:30, so even if you have something else going on earlier you can just plan to make it a late night. Trust me, it’ll be worth it! This is a stellar lineup of performers and honestly, who couldn’t stand to put some more funky in their Friday? Get your mojo going– you’ll thank me later.
Saturday, May 17: The Intergalactic Speakeasy 4 – The Whiskey Wormhole (BURNER/DANCE PARTY)
Mischief and the Party Liberation Front’s Speakeasies are on the short list of events that I always mark down as a DO NOT MISS. They also sell out every time, so get tickets right away if you’re thinking of going. This is truly one of the more perfect parties that happens in DC: everyone really gets into the “speakeasy” theme, there are different areas with different things to do, and you almost can’t help but make friends with amazing people. Everyone gets glammed up in a mix of evening wear and sci-fi or glowy stuff, so it’s another eye candy event. You could honestly sit and watch the cabaret all night and have a blast, but if dancing’s your thing, the DJs are always top notch too.
Friday, May 23: The Black Cat Bacchanalia (BURLESQUE/VARIETY)
A rare combination of live music, burlesque, and sideshow, including Jonny Grave and the Tombstones and the missionary zeal of Some Souls Church of Church Night. Never been to the Black Cat? You’re in for a treat, my friends. It’s the perfect kind of dive, and its cafe has the kind of cheap eats you need to soak up all your drinks.
Sunday, May 25: Naked Girls Reading Presents The Classics (THEATER) (LITERATURE)
This event title is literally true. Yes, there are girls (four of them). Yes, they are naked (except for fabulous shoes and jewelry). Yes, they are sitting onstage reading aloud to you– this month, from the classics. If you’re still trying to wrap your mind around that, you should know that this is A Thing. Naked Girls Reading started in NYC as so many naked things do, and now happens in many cities across the country. DC’s Naked Girls are local burlesque stars Cherokee Rose, Cherie Sweetbottom, Gigi Holliday, and Alice Darling, and in the cozy environs of the DC Arts Center, you can’t help feeling like you’re hanging out with nerdy friends at the world’s coolest book club where your delightful hostesses just happen to be, well, naked. Everyone’s sipping wine and beers, the Girls banter and tell stories in between readings, and during intermission they don extravagantly beautiful dressing gowns and come out to chat with the audience. I went for my birthday the first time this show happened, and Cherokee Rose gave me a tarot reading at intermission that turned out to be right on the money! So, you never know exactly what’s going to happen here, but it’ll be lots of fun. And no one at the office will be able to beat your “What did you do this weekend?” story on Monday.
Wednesday, May 28: YouTube OnStage Live from the Kennedy Center (MUSIC)
You guys, I am almost reluctant to post about this event because I want to up my own chances of getting tickets! This FREE performance (read more about it in this WaPo article) features musicians who successfully used YouTube and social media to promote their work, including two artists I adore, Lindsey Stirling and Scott Bradlee/Postmodern Jukebox. The deal is, you line up that day (guessing people will get there pretty early!) and at 6PM, each person can receive up to 2 tickets for the 7:30 show until they fill the hall. But those who don’t get tickets aren’t totally out of luck– they’ll be simulcasting onto screens in the grand foyer, so you can still hang out and catch the show (and not waste the exorbitant parking fee, if you drive there). This is one of the great things about DC– cultural events and institutions are often actually free to the public!
Friday, May 30 – Sunday, June 1: Capturing Fire Queer Spoken Word Summit & Slam (POETRY/PERFORMANCE)
I have to admit I’ve never been to this– in fact I just recently learned about it at all– but it sounds pretty amazing. Three days of panels, workshops, and poetry/spoken word slams for the LGBTQ community, and you can just buy tickets for the slams if that’s more your thing. Get your literary freak on!