* means events that are $15 or less
Tails of Wasps
You could spend an evening watching Scandal and placing bets that one of the First Kids is the result of Millie and Andrew (!) Or, you could indulge in some thee-uh-ta and watch how a politician’s life unravels, strip by icky strip.
Local playwright Stephanie Timm says she was inspired — appalled? — by Elliot Spitzer and his prostitution scandal. It was 2008 and Timm read an article arguing that men have a biological need for sexual variety. “The premise of it made me mad,” she recalls. So, in order to inhabit that point of view, she whipped out a play. And then, after receiving some scathing feedback from a professor, it got buried away.
Fast forward a couple of years. Anthony Weiner’s privates are making headlines; then, both Spitzer and Weiner are trying to make political comebacks. Timm’s husband (actor Paul Morgan Stetler) urges his wife to revisit her play. The work spans 15 years in the life of a politician (played by Stetler), as told by 4 different women. It’s set in a hotel room. “We’ve seen the public side of sex scandals and this explores the private side of what goes on,” Timm says. It’s a world premiere by New Century Theatre Company, directed by Darragh Kennan.
If you go: Tails of Wasps, ACT Theatre, Through April 27. ($15-$30). — F.D.
The Edge of Our Bodies
A teenage girl named Bernadette sucks us into the drama of going to meet her boyfriend and telling him she’s pregnant. She reads from her journal. She introduces us to some lonely men. She convulses and transforms herself into an actress performing snippets from Jean Genet’s The Maids. Written by Adam Rapp, who likes stories set in small spaces (His Red Light Winter was set in a cabin last year at ACT). The treat here is how Samie Spring Detzer as Bernadette manipulates a sliver of a stage in this teensy venue, one of my favorites.
If you go: The Edge of Our Bodies, Washington Ensemble Theater, Through April 14. ($15-$20). — F.D.
* Iskra Johnson’s Excavations
“This is a place filled with industrial strength beauty: loud, dirty, sometimes hazardous, but always provoking,” she writes in her blog. Johnson has combined photography with print making for a series of images that only someone deeply connected to the viaduct could produce. She marvels at the sunlight hitting the graffiti painted on this concrete beast.
At right: Iskra Johnson's "The Pale Cranes: Duo" Archival pigment print, 16 x 24 inches.
If you go: Iskra Johnson’s Excavations, Zeitgeist, Through April 30th, (FREE). — F.D.
The Polish Ambassador
EDM, for all its popularity, is still harried by some negative stereotypes. Perhaps because of its association with young people and drug culture, it’s often thought of as an unsubtle, even brainless genre. But The Polish Ambassador (don’t ask me to explain the name) refutes some of these stereotypes. Yes, this producer’s shows are loud and energetic, but he could never be called unsubtle. His music has a strong funk influence (like his better-known contemporary Pretty Lights) that imbues his dance sets with an imperturbable groove. You dance to The Polish Ambassador like you would to James Brown, not Skrillex.
If you go: The Polish Ambassador, Neumos, April 3 ($22). All ages. — J.S-H.
Dina Martina’s Greatest Videos Ever
I believe that a Dina Martina show is the most thoroughly entertaining way you can spend two hours. It’s drag in a category all its own: she sings off-key covers (sprung from her own kitschy, Twinkie-loving brain); she holds notes for cringe-worthy lengths, all the while sporting misapplied, garish lipstick and dresses with plunging backlines that reveal her hairy posterior. Each show is peppered with off-the-wall cultural references and jokes that would rival those from any famous stand-up comic.
This special 25th anniversary show will feature all of Dina Martina’s best videos, from bizarre commercials to off-color segments plus a new one! I always leave in complete awe, wanting to bring everyone I know to one of her shows. I doubt I’ll feel any differently this time around.
If you go: Dina Martina’s Greatest Videos Ever, Re-Bar, March 28 – April 27, ($20). — N.C.
Artists like Lydia Loveless are the Tractor Tavern’s bread and butter. This is salt-of-the-earth, apple-pie-and-white-picket-fence country music and Loveless sings like she has bills to pay. Put an artist like this in a venue with dim lighting, hardwood paneling and cowboy boots strung from the ceiling, and it’s sure to end well. Loveless hails from Columbus, Ohio, but her best contemporary analog (aside from classic influences like Bonnie Raitt) is a local act called Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs. Star Anna is also excellent and, like Loveless, her excellence has a secret: a dash of hard rock. Both bands are country through and through, but with an edge. Shine up your bolo tie and go cut a rug.
If you go: Lydia Loveless, Tractor Tavern, April 4 ($10). 21+. – J.S.H.
The stars have aligned and they’ve provided two groovy dance shows this week. This band was one of the brightest highlights of my Bumbershoot experience last summer. And no, it wasn’t just because their live shows feature the otherworldly belly dancing of band member Zoe Jakes. Beats Antique, much like psybient progenitors Shpongle, blend dance and world music with hypnotic results.
The band’s global influence — which leans toward Bollywood and Middle Eastern sounds — keeps their shows eclectic, and their electronica backbone keeps you dancing. When I saw them, they reworked Daft Punk’s Get Lucky by slowing it down and playing the melody on a banjo. Like I said, eclectic.
If you go: Beats Antique, Showbox SoDo, April 5 ($22). All ages. — J.S-H.
Pop-up Taco Bar at Sitka and Spruce
Álvaro Candela-Najera is best known as the chef behind the inspired and elevated pop-up taco bar The Suadero that takes place every Monday night at Sitka and Spruce. He’s about to take over as The Saint’s head chef, but before he does, he’ll be hosting one final night of cuisine, inspired by his upbringing and travels throughout Mexico. It’s a final toast (at least at S&S) to the best tacos ever: trout with Mayan cabbage, arrachera steak with bacon and onion and Mayan-style braised pork.
If you go: The Suadero Taco Bar, Sitka and Spruce, April 7th. All ages. — N.C.