A game of thrones, a celebration of David Bowie and an Awesome Con. April is going to be nice and warm.
The following contains 31+ picks to have your best April.
We recently visited the National Gallery of Art to hear from new director Kaywin Feldman. It was a lovely event with a message that made us excited to return from the museum on the Mall that isn’t a Smithsonian. If you’re looking for a reason to visit, the upcoming Oliver Lee Jackson exhibit should do it. If you’re looking for a way to meet your neighbors, consider attending the April 14 opening community celebration and check out the Faces of D.C. Photo Mural. -Brandon Wetherbee
oh no by Alex Norris available April 2
Are you on Instagram? Do you like gently absurd humor? You’re probably already a fan of Alex Norris’ comics. oh no is a collection of Norris’ best work, featuring minimalist looks at the bleak, surrealist nightmare that we’re all just sort of living through without a second thought. -Matt Byrne
Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi available April 9
Top Chef Season 13 contestant Kwame Onwuachi’s new autobiography traces his time spent growing up in NYC, before spending time in Africa and working his way through some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants. Notes from a Young Black Chef should appeal to Top Chef fans and those fully outside of that orbit alike, offering up a compelling, insightful look at what it’s like working through the painfully white world of fine dining. -Matt Byrne
The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live by Heather B Armstrong available April 23
Author Heather B. Armstrong has struggled with depression for a long time, and her new book, The Valedictorian of Being Dead, charts her experiences with an extremely dangerous experimental procedure that may help cure various mental illnesses. Subjects went through ten rounds of medically-induced comas, approximating brain death, which had surprising and potentially groundbreaking results. Super interesting and thought provoking stuff, here! -Matt Byrne
It’s not often in this world that you get to see something that has without a doubt never happened before. The Washington Ballet is giving you a chance to feast your eyes on a performance before any of your friends can see it (unless you go with your friends, which sounds like a truly delightful evening). From April 3-7, they’ll be showing off three works (Woodwork, Shadow Lands and Teeming Waltzes) featuring choreography by Dana Genshaft (San Fransisco Ballet), Ethan Stiefel (American Ballet) and Trey McIntyre. Considering one of the performances involves ball pits while another invokes a collaboration with the Kennedy Center’s very own Mason Bates, it sounds like a delight for all the senses. -Kaylee Dugan
As a child of Russian immigrants, loving (not liking) the ballet is mandatory. Luckily, that’s not hard to do when two of the premier ballet companies are from your part of the world. Founded around 1740 in St. Petersburg, the Mariinsky Ballet is classical ballet at its premier best. The Muscovite in me irks at the thought of acknowledging that, but nothing truly compares to the physical perfection of every adagio, of every assemblé, and of every grande jeté performed by Mariinsky dancers. Whether you know the story of Le Corsaire (I don’t) is irrelevant; what is relevant is how much you’ll enjoy a night with the Mariinsky Ballet. -Ruben Gzirian
When else will you get the opportunity to hang out with Anthony Michael Hall, Cary Elwes, Cole Sprouse, Creed Bratton, Jon Bernthal, Kate Flannery, Matt Smith, Sgt. Slaughter, Tara Strong, Val Kilmer, Wil Wheaton and Tim Curry in one weekend? And those are just the names I recognized! Every year Awesome Con gets bigger and more elaborate and this year the talent list seems as star studded as ever. Whether your like horror movies, CW series, John Hughes projects, comic books, Sci-Fi shows, cosplayers or former WWE wrestlers, Awesome Con has something that will make you lose your mind. -Kaylee Dugan
As a general rule, I hate games. I’m here for the occasional battle of the wits, like Pictionary or Charades, but when the construct is “childhood game… but for adults!” count me the fuck out. I’m too old for scavenger hunts, kickball, and red rover. I felt this way at 18. I sure as hell feel this way in my 30s. Also, Halloween is lame.
All of that being said, I am supremely here for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s inaugural Easter Keg Hunt, namely because the concept is simple (and mostly involves drinking), and the grand prizes are above and beyond dope.
The former is simple enough: Between April 11 and 15, visit ChurchKey, Bluejacket, The Sovereign, and The Partisan, and order the “secret beer” at each location (after solving a clue.) That’s it. That’s the game. I like this game. I’ve been training for this game for years.
Order the secret beer at each location (and get a stamped scorecard to prove it), and you win a “limited-edition commemorative DC Easter Keg Hunt 2019 hooded sweatshirt (retail value $45).” Oh, you heard me correct: retail value $45. Not $4 or $5. $45. I would have settled for $30 retail value. $30 seems like a fair retail value for a DC Easter Keg Hunt 2019 hooded sweatshirt. But $45?!? Are there sequins? Is it Gucci? Can I even put it in the dryer? I must know more about this $45 retail value hooded sweatshirt.
But not only do you win this hooded sweatshirt (retail value $45), you also get automatically entered into a drawing for one of the five grand prizes: a Belgian beer tasting for four at The Sovereign with NRG Beer Director Greg Engert; a private brewery tour and tasting for four people at Bluejacket with Director of Brewery Operations Ro Guenzel; a “Shared Supper” beer and food experience for two at Birch & Barley/ChurchKey; a one-month subscription to Red Apron’s “Biggie” Butcher’s Box; and four VIP tickets to Snallygaster 2019.
Um, those are all great. If you promise to make me on of your four, I’ll do the same for you. And according to the Facebook event page, there are ways you can increase your odds of winning a grand prie, like solving a more difficult clue (cool, cool, cool), dressing up in costume (booooooo), and social media stuff (eh). -Phil Runco
In early 2014, Stillwater Artisanal mastermind Brian Strumke set about making his take on a beer-wine fusion. To start, he brewed a batch of saison at Alameda, California’s Faction Brewing. Then, he filled dozens of white wine barrels with the blonde beer and added: 1) the wild yeast Brettanomyces, and 2) a varietal of pressed white grape. (He did the same thing with red wine barrels, red wine grapes, and a dark saison, too.) And then he waited for the Brett to work its magic. And waited. And waited. What was taking so long? Mostly, the Brett moved very slowly at cool, Bay Area temperatures. Then, after three whole years of secondary fermentation, Strumke and friends blended and bottled five cuvées of the winey farmhouse ales. But just when the end was in sight, he detected the saisons had become infected with some kind of bacteria. So, he had to wait another two years for the Brett to clean the beer up.
Now, over five years later (!), these cuvées are finally seeing the light of day. Released in mid-February, they are collectively known as the Preternatural series. I recently talked with Strumke about the five beers, and you can expect a Freshly Tapped feature on them next week, right here on this very website. Get excited ;7 (In the meantime, you can revisit our 2017 feature Stillwater’s Modern Confusion.)
Also coming to DC next week: The Stillwater Preternatural tour! Because of the magnitude of the series, Strumke has been touring the country, leading tastings in various city’s best beer bars. On April 13, he pulls up to Pizzeria Paradiso’s Georgetown, where Stillwater creative director Mike Van Hall painted a rooster mural. For $30, you get 4oz pours of all five cuvées, plus one full pour from Paradiso’s draft menu, which will include other Stillwater beers, naturally. (The bottles retail for around $28, so this is a pretty cost effective way to try all of them.) If you can’t make it on Saturday, The Sovereign hosts its own Preternatural tasting on Sunday, April 14. -Phil Runco
In the vast and expanding universe of DC-area IPAs, one thing has become abundantly clear over the past year (if it wasn’t already): There is Ocelot and there is everyone else. That’s not to say there aren’t various tiers within the latter group, nor is to suggest that there aren’t a handful of other local breweries making very good to exceptional IPAs. It’s just to say, with as much objectivity as I can muster, in addition to a burgeoning beer belly, that no one within 120 miles can match the Dulles brewery IPA for IPA when it comes to flavor, aroma, and (perhaps most importantly) clarity of vision. Each Ocelot IPA is an individualized treatise on the pairing of hops (with the exception Home* and Mr Kite, the brewery never repeats combinations of varietals), grain, and technique. When it comes IPAs, what founder Adrien Widman and head brewer Jack Snyder (building on the foundation of former head brewer Mike McCarthy) are producing is world class.
Why am I delivering an Ocelot soliloquy? Because the brewery is turning four and I’m already getting a little emotional. Ease off me, OK? The brewery will celebrate this milestone on April 20. (Yes, four tweeeeeeeenty). Festivities will include: a flea market featuring over a dozen local vendors, Mobius Records on the 1s and 2, anniversary swag, and all of the Ocelot beer, including its new birthday double IPA Soul Kitchen. Admission is free. So are the good vibes.
Here’s what we know about Soul Kitchen. The name is a Doors reference. The beer is 8% ABV and hopped with two New Zealand varietals (Nelson Suavin and Motueka) and one from the PNW (Mosaic), all of which are luxury items. And it’s constructed from a base of Pilsen and oats. That last bit probably means the least you, but the brewery’s previous Pilsen + oats DIPAs have been fucking flames: Lucky You and Lean on Me. These are juicy, high-ABV beers that go down like 4.5% session IPAs. I drink it up. The brewery also has some of its greatest hits queued up in the weeks before the party, including fresh batches of Home* and Mi Corazon. -Phil Runco
This might be the third time I feature the Studio Ghibli festival in this column, and for fair reason: over the past three decades, the Tokyo-based animation studio has earned a devoted cult following. With twenty-one films under their belt (and a twenty-second movie on its way), Ghibli’s approach uses beautifully illustrated fantasy worlds to tell adult parables wrapped in children’s stories. Founder and director Hayao Miyazaki came out retirement in 2017 to direct the upcoming How Do You Live? – and while anticipation for it is sky high, there’s still deep love and nostalgia for the movies that helped the studio make its mark. Landmark Theatres is screening dubbed and subtitled versions of three of the more popular movies as weekend matinees this April, and it’s worth buying a ticket to see these gems on the big screen. You won’t regret it. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
Missing Link in theaters April 12
You know your boy loves a bizarre, context-free high concept kids movie that may or may not be made via claymation. Missing Link stars Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Emma Thompson, and a bunch more famous people, brought to you by the same folks who did the outsidery pseudo-dark flicks like Coraline and ParaNorman. This one’s about like, a sasquatch type character that may be the titular “””””missing link””””?? Either way, this’ll be a nice way to spend 90 minutes, I think! -Matt Byrne
Penguins in theaters April 19
Disney’s long-running tradition of releasing lightweight but pleasantly shot nature documentaries continues strong with the release of Penguins, which charts the life and times of an aspiring penguin named Steve. Steve gets into a whole bunch of situations that may or may not be projected upon him by the Disney Documentary Complex. Either way, this will be a fun watch, legit nonfiction or not. -Matt Byrne
Under the Silver Lake in theaters April 19
Lord I do not know why A24 has pushed back the release of Under the Silver Lake so many times but I feel like I’ve been seeing this trailer for a year now. Regardless of the bad vibes implied by the continuous postponement of the release date, this shaggy dog paranoid mystery looks like extremely my shit, assuming it ever actually hits theatre. -Matt Byrne
We recommend and attend this event every year because it’s the easiest way to taste the world. D.C. is one of America’s best food cities and diners can enjoy first class cuisine in restaurants throughout the DMV. But there are only a handful of events every year where diners can enjoy first class cuisine from embassy chefs. If you’ve ever wondered what any country might taste like, this is your chance to try. We’ll be there again this year and hope it returns in 2020. -Brandon Wetherbee
I had no idea who Burna Boy was until one of my friends kindly reminded me that modern Nigerian music extended beyond WizKid. Since that illuminating moment, Burna Boy has peppered my musical rotations with catchy amorphous singles like “Ye” and “On the Low.” Compared to the aforementioned WizKid, Burna Boy’s stamp on Nigerian music’s enduring moment is that of slight experimentation with the past; traces of Fela Kuti are undeniable but not cliché, creating something that has a unique vibe permeating through modern efforts (looking at you, Drake) and historical foundations. -Ruben Gzirian
Dababy is one of those “if you know, you know” hip hop artists. His recent album Baby on Baby is a refreshing breeze of instant gratification meant for speakers you’re not afraid to destroy, but his previous work Baby Talk 5 and Blank Blank are also of note. A lot of what comes to the surface in modern hip hop is either backed by hype, backed by an endless search for the next wave, or backed by some other money-making desire. Dababy’s contribution, and one you shouldn’t ignore, is about taking hip hop back to what makes it enjoyable as the weather goes from freezing cold to pleasantly hot: 808s, sharp lyricism, and seriousness that never becomes overbearing. -Ruben Gzirian
Priests The Seduction of Kansas available April 5
Priests’ debut LP, Nothing Feels Natural was probably my favorite album of 2017, full of provocative, propulsive, politically-charged ragers that also happen to be extremely catchy. I’m very excited for their new album, The Seduction of Kansas, and the two advance singles released have got me even more stoked, offering up a more polished but still fully Priests-y vision of the world. -Matt Byrne
PUP Morbid Stuff available April 5
Toronto pop-punk mainstays PUP hit it out of the stratosphere with 2016’s The Dream is Over and are back with their highly anticipated Morbid Stuff. For any fans scared of a letdown, I will be the first to tell you this album knocks just as hard. Vocalist Stefan Babcock against his doctor’s orders is in full form, though he isn’t screaming quite as hard as he did previously. Much like its predecessors, Morbid Stuff is full of rousing choruses (“Free At Last,” “Kids”), songs about drinking and dying (“Morbid Stuff”) and a few left turns, like the five-minute “Scorpion Hill” and nu-metal influenced “Full Blown Meltdown.” It’s not only another high water mark for the band, but one of the best albums of 2019 thus far. -Rohan Mahadevan
Weyes Blood Titanic Rising available April 5
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there has not been a single time that I’ve heard a Weyes Blood song and absolutely lost my mind about how good she is. That voice! That mood! All of the things! And (even though I didn’t even really need to hear ANYTHING to know it would be good), the tracks I’ve listened to off Titanic Rising so far have been 110% incredible. BEYOND stoked for this one. -Megan Burns
The people who come to see me know what they’re getting a little bit, and that’s what reassures me, in a sense; having a crowd not expecting to see a huge performer. I love the musicians I’m with, too. I trust them. And so yes, my attitude has changed. -Charlotte Gainsbourg
I honestly couldn’t tell you any of the backstory of The Coathangers except that they’ve been around since 2006 and they sound exactly what a low-fi punk band should sound like. And what else do you need? You could probably delve deep into what it means to be an all-female punk band in 2019 but all that does is over-complicate matters. Through songs like “Crimson Telephone” and “F the NRA,” The Coathangers deliver grinding raucousness that would make The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Blondie proud. This is no-thrills punk rock; exactly what punk rock should always be. -Ruben Gzirian
Look, Kodak Black is Kodak Black. You either ride with him or you don’t. You either think he’s a trailblazer or a dude who has had one too many chances to figure it out. You either remember songs like “Vibin in this Bih,” “6th Sense,” or “Skrt” with a fondness reserved for underground artists or you don’t. Whatever you think of Kodak Black is really up to you, but as a hip hop fan, it’s really hard to discount this dude. Sure, he’s had his legal issues and he’s done some deplorable things on social media but his music…his music is just impossible to ignore if you crave something flawed, distinct, and tailored for a part of hip hop discussion made for debate. -Ruben Gzirian
Aldous Harding Designer available April 26
I am incredibly excited for the release of Designer, mostly because I trust anything and everything that Aldous Harding does. This is the follow-up to Party, a record which remains a personal go-to, so I’m buzzing to see what this nine-track collection holds. (If “Barrel” is any indication, we’re in for a mega-treat.) – Megan Burns
SOAK Grim Town available April 26
It is physically impossible not to love everything about SOAK, and I am particularly amped on this new record, which (if the live show I caught a few months ago here in NYC is any indication) has the makings of a REAL STUNNER! So grab a pre-order and proceed to let it knock ya off yer feet, yeah? -Megan Burns
The Cranberries In The End available April 26
It still feels completely surreal to me that Dolores O’Riordan is no longer with us, partially because she always will be with us, not in body, but in music. And this final album will bring The Cranberries’ story to a close, giving us Dolores’ last goodbye. I already lost it listening to the posthumous vocals on “All Over Now,” so I will more than likely be investing in a quality box of tissues before I embark upon the full album listen later this month, but I do think it’ll be an important listen, even if just for the sake of closure. -Megan Burns
While we may have lost Town and Cobalt in less than one year’s time, we are thankful that — after a season long hiatus — Bent returns to us on April 6. Head to 9:30 as Pussy Noir hosts a queer dance party like no other featuring the DMV’s best DJs, including Jacq Jill, Bratwurst, and Tezrah. Buy your tickets now because it’s sure to sell out, and plan to start your night early at Satellite Room with DJ MadScience on the set. -Sabrina Kent
Our next party is at the most popular museum in the world, a tribute to David Bowie, celebrates Yuri’s Night and has an open bar. Early bird tickets sold out but some extremely affordable tickets are still available. Have you ever spent a night drinking while dressed as The Thin White Duke whilst mingling near an actual spaceship? No, you have not. That should be a priceless experience. Lucky for you, we put a reasonable price on it.
Women’s International Soccer Friendlies against Australia (April 4) and Belgium (April 7)
We are getting VERY close to the 2019 Women’s World Cup, so even though these are friendlies, they are actually kind of super important in terms of firming up roster formation. (Because let’s face it – the uncertainty has been pretty brutal.) I am beyond delighted that Ali Krieger gets to shake the dust off her boots and join the team this go-round, and my fingers are majorly crossed that she helps ’em do the damn thing! Slash doin’ the damn thing, at least when it comes to Australia (who I think could very well win the WWC, especially with the help of Sam Kerr, who is, IMO, the best player in the women’s game right now) will be no easy task. (If I said prayers I’d say them now, but alas. Let’s all just send major posi-vibes.) – Megan Burns
It’s spring. It’s time for baseball. The Nats are going to be good this year. Don’t believe us? Read our preview.
The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS All Access April 1
So it’s been like a week or two and we’ve all agreed that Us is a one-of-kind piece of work, a messy, intense, incredibly engaging piece of horror filmmaking. 2019 continues to be Jordan Peele’s year with the release of the new CBS All Access-only remake of The Twilight Zone, which features a blend of reinterpretations of old school Twilight Zone eps and original shorts. Should be good! Gonna have to subscribe to fuckin CBS All Access, I guess! -Matt Byrne
Our Planet available on Netflix April 5
Look, as long as David Attenborough keeps narrating beautifully shot nature documentaries, I’m gonna keep watching them. Netflix’s Our Planet is basically Planet Earth, but like, on Netflix and more focused on how climate change is fucking everything up. So it’s a less inspiring piece of work and a bit more bleak, but so is the future so I guess you can’t be mad about it? -Matt Byrne
Killing Eve season two begins on AMC April 7
I genuinely don’t think anyone has loved a show more than I love Killing Eve, you guys. To anybody who has ever cast judgment on my decision to fork over $35/mo for a YouTube TV subscription, I’d just like to say I’d never (or at least not as quickly) have hopped on this amazing bandwagon without it. (Planet Earth marathons pay off in so many ways. Thank you BBC America!) If you haven’t consumed the Kool-Aid yet, there’s still time to get ultra-hooked. From the performances to the writing to the goddamn CLOTHES ‘N MUSIC, there is NOTHING (NOTHING!!!) that this show does wrong. Cannot recommend more. (And please god let Eve and Villanelle bone immediately. Amen.) -Megan Burns
Game of Thrones final season begins on HBO April 14
Oh sure, pretend you’ll be doing something else.
After eight years, nearly 50 Emmys, and scores upon scores of fire-and-blood character deaths, HBO’s Game of Thrones, the most talked-about show on Earth, is returning for its final season on April 14. Lannisters, Greyjoys, Starks and Targaryens (plus, of course, someone about to find out he’s half each of the last two) — here at the Westerosi 11th hour we find all of them about to face off against the Night King with his army of White Walkers and his ice dragon in what is set to be the largest battle in TV history.
But, of course, the night being dark and full of terrors is only part of the fun. After that, we get to find out who will sit on the Iron Throne when the curtain finally drops on May 19 — probably the most anticipated series finale of all time. Winter isn’t just here, it’s raging. Place your bets. Pop your popcorn. Brace for incest. Just don’t act like you’ll miss it. -Tristan Lejeune
The New Negroes With Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle premieres on Comedy Central April 19
Comedy Central’s new comedy/variety series is a cool blend of music and stand up hosted by the extremely funny and good standup Baron Vaughn and the extremely good and funny rapper Open Mike Eagle. The show will be a blend of standup and music that Comedy Central has shied away from in recent years, and I’m very excited to check it out! -Matt Byrne