At the start of each month the BYT staff compiles a list of things we’re PARTICULARLY looking forward to seeing, reading, eating, touching etc. Our goal is for you to have the best possible month. This may help. -ed.
DC doesn’t actually suck and your August won’t suck either! Here’s all you need to have the best August ever and end your summer on a high note.
Maryland Renaissance Festival – It’s not in DC, but that shouldn’t stop you from going. Renaissance festivals are amazing because where else are you going to walk around gnawing on a giant turkey leg, obnoxiously speaking in an Old English accent and have an all-around Medieval time? The festival starts August 23rd and goes until October. – Emily Holland
Maybe you need another reason to leave D.C. You should read our REASONS TO LEAVE D.C.
Maybe you need a reason to explore D.C. on bike. You should read our BIKE GUIDE.
Maybe you need a reason to explore D.C. on four wheels. You should read our SKATEBOARD GUIDE.
Maybe you need a reason to explore some secret D.C. spots. You should read our Hidden In Plain Sight column.
Maybe you want to get out of the city and ride some kick ass roller coasters. You should read our ROLLER COASTER GUIDE.
- Duane Michals: Empty New York @ DC Moore Gallery – This beautiful series of photos (taken in the 60s) explores, as the name suggests, a different side of NYC—an emptier one. Sometimes calming (and then also sometimes jarring—because NYC empty is weird) these gorgeous black and white prints are worth your attention.
- American Cool @ National Portrait Gallery , now through September 7– from our review of the show/opening: After you see the American Cool exhibit, your cool factor will sky rocket. The portraits of each honorary “cool” person exude coolness, so you’re bound to feel as though some rubbed off on you. What exactly does it take to be historically remembered as cool you ask? The Gallery says, “Cool carries a social charge of rebellious self-expression, charisma, edge and mystery.” Everyone you know who is cool, forgot was cool, and never knew was cool is waiting for you at the National Portrait Gallery.
- Made in the USA: American Masters from The Phillips Collection, 1850 – 1970 now through August 31 — From The Phillips Collection website: …a thematic journey that reveals the breadth of America’s modernist vision, beginning with the great heroes of American art of the late 19th century, whose work set the course for modern art in the United States, and concluding with a grand display of the Abstract Expressionists, whose new visual language turned American art into a global force. More than a list of names tracing a standardized history, the collection presents the rich diversity and multiplicity of voices assembled by Phillips, who relied on his eye for good work, distinctive talent, and great promise. (Image: Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren, 1891. Acquired by The Phillips Collection in 1927.)
- Fermata @ Artisphere now through August 10 — From Artisphere’s website: Fermata is Artisphere’s first exhibition dedicated entirely to sound and the largest of its kind in the region to date. Featuring nearly 30 artists, Fermatatakes an expansive approach and is a celebration of individuals using sound in a variety of disciplines, from composer Ryuichi Sakamoto to NASA Kepler scientist Lucianne Walkowicz. Centered around a wall of speakers designed by sound artist John Henry Blatter that will be used by all participants in the show, Fermata will unfold in three parts, or movements, each featuring a different combination of sound works that will cycle continuously for three or so weeks. (Image courtesy of Artisphere’s website.)
- Pop Art Prints @ American Art Museum now through August 31 — From the AAM’s website: Pop Art Prints presents a selection of thirty-seven prints from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection. The installation includes works from primarily the 1960s by Allan D’Arcangelo, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Mel Ramos, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. The installation is part of a series that highlights objects from the museum’s collection that are rarely on public view. (Image: Roy Lichtenstein, Sweet Dreams, Baby! from the portfolio, 11 Pop Artists, Volume III, 1965.)
- Haruki Murakami – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of Pilgrimage (out August 12th) – it has been OVER A YEAR since the latest Murakami novel was released in the Japan (selling over a million copies in the first week of its release, natch) and now all the US fanboys (and girls) get to bask in the story of a 36 year old man who, all of a sudden, finds himself without any friends and embarks on a journey to reconnect with people he lost along the way. The book has been referred to as more “somber” and “tightly focused” than previous Murakami works and while that may not make it seem like a go-to for the dog days of August, it MAY BE just what your height of summer malaise needs (ie. a little existential chill). – Svetlana
- Henning Mankell – An Event In Autumn – released August 12th – Available for the first time in paperback in the US, Henning Mankell’s classic Wallander mystery is just the kind of Scandinavian page turner your beach bag is ready for. BONUS: the BBC Masterpiece Mystery adaptation of it is available on Instant Netflix and Hulu right now, so prepare for complete immersion (and for sure check out our MURDER MYSTERIES TO BINGE WATCH guide as well) – Svetlana
- Lev Grossman – The Magician’s Land – released August 5th – The final installment in Lev Grossman’s bestselling Magician Trilogy, this volume finds Quentin Coldwater, once a High King, ejected from the magic kingdom of Fillory and slumming it while teaching at his alma mater Breakbills. Old friends, lovers and enemies re-emerge and the scene is set for a must read for all fantasy fans out there. – Svetlana
- National Book Festival (August 30) – This is not your elementary school book festival. The Library of Congress hosts this book bonanza at the end of summer every year, drawing huge crowds and pulling some big players in the literary world. -Ashlyn Frassinelli
- If these three books aren’t doing it for you, the smart folks at Politics & Prose, Kramerbooks and more recommend fiction AND non-fiction in our SUMMER READING GUIDE.
Monty Python Live (Mostly) @ Landmark E Street, August 6 & 9 – For the first time in basically most of our lives the Monty Python performed together live (mostly). Sadly, this didn’t happen in DC but at London’s o2 arena, but through the miracle of technology we get to see John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin do their thing (greatest hits and beyond) on the big screen. Nothing to fart in the general direction of. -Svetlana
Throwing Shade @ Black Cat August 16 – On a recent roadtrip with my girlfriend she finally got me to listen to Throwing Shade, a podcast for and about women and gays in pop culture. Despite being a straight man, I found co-hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi to be hilarious, the sort of best friends who took a shitload of improv classes and know how to riff off each other. Gibson and Safi are coming for a Throwing Shade live taping at the Black Cat on August 16th, which will give us an opportunity to hear hilarious life lessons like this one:
D.C. is a hot-spot for up-and-coming comedians. Check out our OPEN MIC GUIDE for the shows you don’t want to miss.
You know how it’s summer and you want to be outside? That’s why our BIERGARTEN GUIDE exists.
Need some mid-day refreshments? That’s why we have a guide of the Most Refreshing Summer Cocktails out there.
It’s hot, so ice your coffee. Check out our review of Mockingbird Hill, the perfect place for your iced coffee needs.
- Mario Bava Centennial @ AFI Silver Spring, Now through September 17 – Italian Giallo Horrors are probably one of the most visual movie genres ever (remember Argento’s extra red blood in Suspiria? Imagine it ON THE BIG SCREEN NOW) and Mario Bava is one of the most striking stylists of that era. To celebrate his centennial, AFI is bringing a whole bucketload of Bava gore, camp and magic to the big screen near you and the roster is impressive: from Blood & Black Lace 50th anniversary to his adaptation of Diabolik to the rarely seen 5 Dolls for An August Moon, this is a perfectly obscure, bloody-as-all-hell break from the summer blockbuster season. – Svetlana.
- Mood Indigo – out August 1 – Michel Gondry is back with a predictably delightful premise of a wealthy, eccentric bachelor (the always reliably charming Romain Duris of Populaire, L’Auberge Espagnol and Heartbreaker) who sets out to find love at all costs and before you know it, finds himself in a dreamscape with Kate (the always reliably charming Audrey Tautou of all the Audrey Tautou movies) dancing to Duke Ellington (sometimes underwater) and having a generally very Gondry-like enchanted time. BONUS FOR Gondry fans: the weekend of August 1st – you can double-feature pair this with a midnight screening of Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind @ E street and officially deny reality FULLY, if only for one night. – Svetlana
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – out August 8 –I can think of more in a sec but I’m psyched about the TMNT movie. Because I will watch anything TMNT related and I’m pretty fascinated by the whole project as everyone is angry that they’ve changed it so the Turtles are from outer space now, but really, is that any less strange than trying to retcon it so the Lower East Side where they lived is still in the 90s and needs vigilante superheroes? Sort of like how Daredevil is the protector of Hell’s Kitchen, but think about it, street crime in Hell’s Kitchen is like zero compared to the 70’s since everyone got gentrified out (including, likely both Daredevil, who was working on a public defender’s salary, and the Turtles, since they are income-less mutated freaks living in a sewer system). -Legba Carrefour
- What If – out August 8 – Sure, Rom coms are a dime a dozen but we still can’t help but get perk up at the notion of a promisingly non-annoying new one. In this contender, Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan (whose sheer presence pretty much makes any movie transcend beyond merely watchable to at-least-at-moments-enchanting) navigate the time-old “what if you THE ONE is someone who is a. a friend and b. a friend in a relationship with someone else” territory as the pretty great supporting team of Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis and Rafe Spall hang out on the sidelines. No-regrets Pink wine happy hour beforehand? Yes please. -Svetlana
- Life After Beth – out August 15 – It’s part love story, part horror zombie comedy and I’m at least a little excited about that crazy combo. Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza plays Beth, the dead girl-turned zombie. Let’s face it, she’s pretty zombie-like in real life so I’m expecting that quality to come through even more in this film in the best way possible. Plus, with Matthew Gray Gubler, Anna Kendrick, and John C. Reilly among the cast, it should be a fun time. -Emily Holland
- The Trip to Italy – out August 15 – Did you enjoy watching Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan take an eating and bickering tour of the British countryside in Michael Winterbottom’s 2010 joy-of-a-mocumentary The Trip? Then, chances are you will enjoy watching Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan take and eating and bickering tour of Italy in Michael Winterbottom’s 2014 bound-to-be-a-joy-of-a-mocumentary The Trip To Italy. – Svetlana
- The Giver – out August 15 – I read the book so long ago that I don’t remember when I read it. So there is a chance that I completely forgot what the book is about. But, after watching the trailer I was intrigued, and not in a good way. But I want to watch it, partly to see if Taylor Swift became a better actress since Valentine’s Day, and partly to see what the hell they did to the book. -Sarah Guan
- Leprechaun: Origins – Video On Demand August 26 – This ain’t no disco, this ain’t no Warwick Davis Leprechaun either. This particular version is evidently more scary, and maybe a bit taller as professional wrestler Dylan Hornswoggle Postl (who?) takes on the titular title. It’s also allegedly more serious (a serious film about leprechauns?) than its predecessors. What’s more serious than professional wrestling? Nothing. I’m going to watch it because how can I not? -Jenn Tisdale
- Guardians of the Galaxy – out August 1st – 91% on Rotten Tomatoes mother fucker. Space Avengers 4 Ever. Read our review here. -cale
- Want to see a movie on the big screen but want to do it outdoors (and for free)? That’s why we made an Outdoor Movie Guide!
We have the first look at the new Walrus Oyster and Ale House. It looks awesome.
Ice cream is the perfect food for summer. Check out our ICE CREAM GUIDE for all things frozen, dairy and delicious.
Ice Cream Bonus: August 2nd is NATIONAL ICE CREAM SANDWICH DAY. Eat only the best ice cream sandwiches, THIS IS WHERE TO GET THEM.
Like eating hot dogs on a hot summer day? You should check out our hot dog round-up.
If the idea of stuffing your face with hot dogs is more disgusting than delicious, we understand. Maybe you want to enjoy a classy, adult food, like oysters? Consult our OYSTER GUIDE.
This month LEGO made my dreams come true with their new Classic Mini Cooper set. It’s a great build with removable hardtop, a hood that opens revealing the engine, customizeable license plate, a spare tire in the trunk, and the seats even fold down. As a bonus you get a cute little picnic set. Happy motoring. Buy it at the LEGO store (Silver Line it!) or online, and get a double bonus – a Mini Mini Cooper! Adorbs!
- Mad Decent Block Party @ Merriweather Post Pavillion – August 1 – Kick off August by celebrating at Mad Decent Block Party, coming to Merriweather Post Pavilion on the first of the month. Performing artists include Trippy Turtle, Cashmere Cat, Flux Pavilion, and Diplo. -Ashlyn Frassinelli
- Spoon They Want My Soul, out August 5 – Spoon are back on a major label for the first time 16 years. So, feel free to read into that album title as you wish. But while its departure from Merge Records is certainly a chin-stroking wrinkle in the band’s history, the more important fact is that over those 16 years, Spoon has been the most consistently great rock band on the planet. Britt Daniel just doesn’t fuck up. You can hear his methodicalness in every song. Dude is a master mechanic. He makes records that you can never play into the ground. 300,000 miles and they’re still running – all of them. They Want My Soul is streaming now, and after ten listens, there’s nothing to indicate it’s an outlier. There are other interesting details here. It’s the first time Spoon has worked with big shot producers – journeyman Joe Chiccarelli and blown speaker / cavernous drum expert Dave Fridmann, separately. It’s the first record with Divine Fits keyboardist Alex Fischel in the fold. It’s got an Ann Margaret cover, which is probably most notable because Spoon records with covers (Girls Can Tell, Kill the Moonlight, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga) are the best records. tl;dr NEW SPOON.– Phil R
- The Rosebuds Sand + Silence, out August 5. Performing at DC9 on August 6 – The Rosebuds are one of those acts that slipped through the cracks of the mid ‘00s and just never found the audience it deserved. The Rosebuds Makeout (’03), The Rosebuds Unwind (’05), Birds Make Good Neighbors (’05), and Night of the Furies (’07) remains just an awesome run of releases. There are so many incredible pop songs on those records. And while the quality didn’t dip dramatically in the following years, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp did begin making a different shade of music: more pensive, more sultry, more understated, less urgent. That shift has been attributed somewhat voyeuristically to the dissolution of Howard and Crisp’s marriage, but regardless of the cause, their turning down reach a logical conclusion with 2012’s Love Deluxe, a cover of Sade’s 1992 masterpiece of the same name. Sand + Silence marks a return of some of the zip that’s been missing. The record is the first that the duo has recorded with Justin Vernon since Night of the Furies, and coincidentally or not, it’s probably their best since then too. But whereas was the ’07 album was recorded in Howard and Crisp’s then-home in North Carolina, the duo was not able to use Vernon’s slick April Base Studios in Wisconsin. (The Washington Post Express has a nifty anecdote about Howard recording his vocals in the woods.) It’s nice to have these guys back. – Phil R
- Twin Peaks: Wild Onion, out August 5. Performing at DC9 on August 10. I don’t know what makes Chicago kids pine for glam rock more than anyone else, but Twin Peaks’ and Smith Westerns’ flame for Marc Bolan can be seen from outer space. But whereas the later makes dewey-eyed, head in the cloud pop, the upstarts in Twin Peaks play with more of a chip on its shoulder. There’s a lot of attitude and ramshackle energy across Wild Onion‘s 18 (!) tracks. Live that’s even more the case. “I feel like I mess up a shit ton at any given show. We’re a way sloppier band live than we are on record,” frontman Caiden Lake James told me recently. “Maybe that’s part of our appeal – we’ve kind of got that Replacements things going on.” – Phil R
- Spider Bags Frozen Letter out August 5. Performing at DC9 on August 21 – As discussed last month, Merge Records has been filling some of the recently vacated roster spots with talent grown (or settled) in its North Carolina backyard: Reigning Sound, Flesh Wounds, Hiss Golden Messenger, and Spider Bags. Of all these acts, it’s the last that harkens back most to the newly 25-years-old label’s initial decade. There’s a shambolic, frayed, no bullshit quality to its anthemic, slightly twanged rock and roll. It’s music that could have exist in 1989 as it easily as it does today. And even when Dan McGee’s is down in the gutter with you, his songs are ultimately uplifting. The band has worked with Brian Paulson to boot. Frozen Letter is Spider Bags debut for Merge, and its second with its current iteration of McGee, Steve Oliva (bass), and Rock Forbes (drums) congealed. The trio’s first record was 2012’s great Shake My Head. Frozen Letter is better. Catch me blasting it on my deck for the rest of the summer. – Phil R
Modest Mouse and Brand New @ Forest Hills Stadium August 9 – I’ve left messages on my pillow that say “Jesse, stay asleep in bed.” I’ve stopped talking to girls who don’t appreciate Brand New, or me. I have a best friend flying 3,000 miles to see this thrice in a lifetime show at a former tennis stadium. A stadium, it should be noted, that was built for the US Open and booked The Beatles, The Stones, and Bob Dylan in its prime. With renovations completed, Forest Hills is bringing a slew of acts and one offs, nearly 20 years since it’s last show. You know how legendary Modest Mouse is. You know how legendary Brand New is. Now, you know how legendary the stage they will share is. Buy overpriced tickets on Stubhub ASAP. Or don’t, and don’t apologize. I hope you choke and die. -Brandon Weight
- Agnes Obel + Gem Club @ 9:30 Club, August 13 – This show is the cure for a summer of too-big, too-loud, too-every festivals and song-of-the-season-contenders concerts that seem to be everywhere. Sit down (thank God this is seated), relax every single muscle and coil in your aching, tortured body/soul, and let the gorgeousness and amazing musicianship just wash over you. Pre-emptively plan on some kleenex consumption too, just so you’re prepared. (especially during Gem Club). -Svetlana
- Delorean @ Black Cat, August 15 – (Not)Fun Fact: the 2013 Delorean tour was postponed till 2014 after the band suffered a “virtual kidnapping” using “psychological manipulation” in Mexico City (where else?) after last year’s Mutek Festival. You can read all about all of it here. But Fall 2013’s loss is August 2014’s gain since the Spanish dream dance outfit (as much as I hate calling anything “dream” anything) is what summer concert dreams (that word again!) are made of: Apar was a fun-but-sweeping record, brimming with sunny samples and the kind of riffs that make you want to close you eyes, let your bangs fall into your face (with abandon?) and (pretend to?) be dancing on some imaginary, golden beach we all deserve at least one sunset on. – Svetlana
- Blood Orange, Moses Sumney, Sean Nicholas Savage @ Central Park Summerstage August 16 –FREE SHOW. And, it’s at 7PM, so maybe August will be semi-manageable? Not sure. Still, FREE SHOW! Blood Orange! -Carly Loman
- Arcade Fire @ Verizon Center, August 17 – Say what you will about Arcade Fire (And you probably WILL say something) but, somehow in 2014, they have become an arena band. And while “Reflektor” has grown on me in ways that I never expected (the somehow all-of-a-sudden-poignant sequence of “We’re still connected, but are we even friends? We fell in love when I was nineteen; And now we’re staring at a screen” gets me EVERY TIME) the #1 reason to go to this is pure, unadultured curiosity – what DOES Arcade Fire sound at Verizon Center? Well, only one way to find out. – Svetlana
- Robyn/Royskopp @ Wolf Trap, August 21 – Our love for both Robyn and Royskopp has been so well documented on BYT there is no reason to really elaborate on our hopeless devotion to them both. By all accounts THIS should be the concert of the summer. By all accounts also – it is at a VERY WEIRD location for these artists. Would we rather see them in a sweaty club, glistening under a thousand disco balls? Absolutely. But, add a starry night, a BYOB Wolf Trap situation and who knows, maybe this is the greatest open air discotheque situation just waiting to happen? Fingers crossed. – Svetlana
- J.Roddy and The Business @ Flying Dog Brewery, August 23 – ROCK. BEER. PERFECT DAYTRIP. (Very reasonably priced) bus packages are also available since ROCK. BEER. PERFECT DAYTRIP doesn’t also always equal out to RESPONSIBLE DRIVING SITUATIONS. (September Bonus: Real Estate is playing the closing of the Flying Dog Summer Series at the end of that month, so pre-emptively plan to end summer the right way with it). – Svetlana
- Basement Jaxx Junto out August 25 – The world is a better place when Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe are releasing music. Basement Jaxx doesn’t do that with the frequency that it used to – the gaps between releases have grown longer and longer – but when it does, oh lord, there is a degree of pleasure-pleasing that few can touch. Its latest single, the buoyant “Never Say Never”, is a prime example of this. How many hooks do they fit into this thing? How do they make it sound so easy? Will I ever grow tired of listening to it? Basement Jaxx often had a tendency to club you over the head with zaniness and repetition, but what we’ve heard of Junto – and to a lesser degree, much of 2009’s Scars – is a different animal: It’s more streamlined and nuanced house music that blooms over the course of a song’s run time. Plus, the fact that Basement Jaxx has relegated Junto’s first two singles (“What a Difference Your Love Makes”, “Back 2 the Wild”) to bonus track status says a lot. Those were two of 2013’s best dance singles. If Basement Jaxx is leaving them off Junto proper, how good is the rest of the album? – Phil R
- The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers out August 25 – “Get ready for this New Pornographers LP,” comedian Tom Scharpling tweeted the other day. “It’s Heavy Duty. Picture A.C. Newman reenacting the ‘Drive’ soundtrack on an ABBA jag.” Scharpling has heard the record. We have not. But what we have heard – Carl Newman’s “Brill Bruisers” and glorious weirdo Dan Bejar’s “War on the East Coast” – seems to fit this narrative. That’s great news. After a few albums of these Canadians veering into slightly mushy territory (Bejar’s contributions excluded), the actual supergroup is putting the power back in its power pop. These songs are marvelously ‘roided up. And I, for one, can’t wait to hear how Neko Case is going to sound coming out from these blown speakers. – Phil R
- D.C. Blues Festival, August 30 – Blues lovers should flock to DC’s free blues festival event, featuring blues bands and artists from across D.C. and beyond, plus workshops for budding musicians who need help with their own work. -Ashlyn Frassinelli
- Warm Up 2014 Feat. Benji B / Dām-Funk DJ Marfox / Tessela / Dutch E Germ / Avalon Emerson @ MoMA PS1 August 30 –Last time Dam-Funk came to NYC I was out of town. This is a daily regret of mine. MoMA’s PS1 Warm Up series regularly features the best in electronic music. And a day party at an art museum featuring DAM FUNK? Very close to perfection. -Carly Loman
- Perfect Pussy & Joanna Gruesome @ RNR Hotel, August 30 – “Perfect Pussy’s merit is purely of power and craft.” Read this.
If you’re in the mood for some live music but don’t really care what the music sounds like but really like to idea of being outside, that’s why we made an OUTDOOR MUSIC GUIDE.
Look, I’m not a particularly enthusiastic person when it comes to bullshit American sports like BASKETBALL and FOOTBALL and *shudder* BASEBALL, but I can get HELLA DOWN with internationally enjoyed jams. For instance, I was all about that World Cup action. And you BEST BELIEVE I will be ALL ABOUT that US Open action beginning August 25th and lasting until September 8th. Tennis is like…the best sport of all time, and CIVILIZED, at that, so if you know someone with box seats, please holla atcha girl, okay? (I will do a lot of very bad things for tickets, but you didn’t hear it from me.) PS let us never forget the greatest tennis-centric segment of all time via Portlandia:
- Sharktopus VS Pteracuda – world premiere – SyFy – August 2nd – yes, these manifest-SYFY-destiny trainwrecks (this time seeing sharktopus face-off with a lovechild of a pterodactyl and a barracuda) are always so awful they’re ACTUALLY awful, but this one has CONAN O’BRIEN IN IT. Somehow. For really real.
- 7 Deadly Sins – series premiere Showtime August 7th – After his One Direction and Pom feature length detours Morgan Spurlock is back to the medium that, in our humble opinion, suits him best. His new Showtime venture is a (in his own words) “an Alfred Hitchock Presents style” series exploring (wait for it!) each of the seven deadly sins, one hour per sin. Apparently, it will be funny too.
- Garfunkel & Oates – series premiere IF – August 7th – Bentzen Ball alums and BYT dating advice giving interview sweethearts Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci are back with a show all their own. Expect: super cuteness, brutal honesty, Ben Kingsley and everything in between.
- Jonah From Tonga – HBO – August 8th – In which Chris Lilley takes a break from being a snobby, snotty, unintentionally hilarious white girl, and spends some time being a rebellious, ne’er-do-well, unintetionally hilarious Aboriginal boy and you know what, whatever he decides to do with his time-we’re ok with it.
- The Knick – series premiere Cinemax – August 8th – The Knick, a new medical drama set in New York circa 1900, is produced by Steven Soderbergh (whose retirement from the movie business apparently had a “no retirement from the TV business” clause in it) and stars Clive Owen, which is as strong of a must-see-TV pedigree as we’re going to see this month. Add to that the fact that the trailers looks gorgeous and gritty (American Horror Story style) and that apparently everything from emergency caesarians to racial issues are on the table (so to speak) and well, they better not mess this one up.
- Outlander – series premiere – STARZ August 9 – It’s no secret that I’m a fan of time traveling. This led me to a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon called Outlander. It has everything you could ask for in a time traveling adventure except for the Delorean. In a post WWII world British army nurse Claire Randall goes on a second honeymoon with her husband to Inverness, Scotland. She accidentally ends up time traveling to Revolutionary War Era Scotland. What happens next happens in like 8 books, each are roughly Game of Thrones in size. I’m pretty excited to see some of my favorite characters (ahem sex scenes) come to life. I don’t have STARZ however so I guess I’m awkwardly watching this at my mom’s house. -Jenn Tisdale
- Legends – series premiere – TNT August 13th – If you’ve been sitting around since that unfortunate Season 1 episode of Game of Thrones thinking to yourself that Sean Bean should really be in more TV shows, the TNT overlords read your mind and gave Bean a show all his own. Based on spy novels of Robert Littel, Legends follows the chamelonic CIA agent Martin Odum as he transforms himself into a different person with each job. BUT HE STAYS SEAN BEAN AT ALL TIMES (in our hearts). Bonus: Amber Valetta seemingly finally given something to actually do on the small screen vs. just serve as window dressing.
- Doctor Who – season 8 premiere – BBC America August 23rd – It’s a worldwide thing. After 50+ years, we’re finally able to see the Doctor when the U.K. sees the Doctor and, in a shock to no one who pays attention, PEOPLE LOVE DOCTOR WHO! Since I am a person, I love Doctor Who. Since I am a man of a certain age, I prefer my Doctor to be a little darker, a little dishelved, a little angry. David Tennant was, and will forever be, my Doctor. Matt Smith did win me over and I, along with other men and women of a certain age, are waiting with an unhealthy amount of anticipation for adult man/adult swearer Peter Capaldi to make the Doctor a man again. No flirting, no light stories, no tweed. The series will inevitably lose fans. Let them go. This one is for the fans. This may be the most fan-boy thing I’ve ever written. Whatever. I’m going to watch the trailer below and I will breath heavily and speak loudly and get so stupidly excited for a TV show about a 2,000-year-old time traveler that lived in a blue box. -Brandon Wetherbee
- Intruders – series premiere – BBC America August 23rd – The new, decidedly unsettling seeming show (starring Mira Sorvino and John Simm) is all about a secret society chasing immortality by finding homes in the bodies of unsuspecting strangers. As the tag line says: Don’t let them in.
- Poirot – Final Episodes EVER – on Acorn (final episode available August 25th) – David Suchet’s Poirot is one of definitive interpretations of any literary character ever committed to a screen of any size and this month, this masterclass in little gray cell exercising comes to a close with the final three mysteries (which, unlike everything before WILL NOT BE available on PBS): Elephants Can Remember (August 11th), Labours of Hercules (August 18th) and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (August 25th). Mark them in your calendar. (bonus: want to binge watch on some more Poirot/Agatha Christie/Murder & Classy Mayhem – check out our MURDER MYSTERIES TO BINGE WATCH guide)
- WELCOME TO SWEDEN – currently on NBC – Amy Poehler’s brother (who actually looks kind of like Greg Kinnear’s brother) moved to Sweden for love some eight years a go and now he has a really great (Amy Poehler produced) show on NBC about this fish-out-of-water experience. Everyone from Aubrey Plaza to Will Farrell to Amy herself guest stars, the tone is amazingly deadpan, the humor European level of non-PC (in a great way), the subtitles totally manageable and with only 3 episodes in, this is a perfect time to jump right in and get obsessed/make sure this show is a hit. The water is a little chilly, but also TOTALLY FINE.
- Cirque Du Soleil Presents: AMALUNA – now through September 21st – We got a sneak peak and a seperete behind-the-scenes look at this production and it looks amazing and I have no idea what’s going on. It doesn’t matter. Cirque du Soleil productions amaze, always. It’s going to be fantastic and it’s easy to say that. If you’re still on the fence about seeing a sure thing, we’re giving away some tickets. Here’s a video of a short performance and interview with acrobat/contortionist/performers on two-sticks Iuliia Mykhailova. She’s a nice woman. It looks like I’m going to eat her. -Brandon Wetherbee
- Stupid Fucking Bird @ Woolly Mammoth – now through August 17 – People loved it last summer so it’s back for a few weeks. Another sure bet, this one without crazy stretchy, acrobatic things. -Brandon Wetherbee
- One Night with Janis Joplin @ Arena Stage NOW through August 11 – It takes the woman who plays Joplin over a hour to get into character–and she takes her role incredibly seriously. Expect to hear classics like “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” and “Mercedes-Benz” in the style of Joplin’s signature howl. -Morgan Baskin
- Carrie: The Musical @ Studio Theatre NOW through August 3 – Ah, “Carrie.” The movie that caused many a high school student’s heart to shatter and body to whimper in fear and disgust. And now, the gory bloodfest is set to music in a bizarre moment of levity, all for your listening/viewing pleasure. READ OUR FULL REVIEW HERE. -Morgan Baskin
- Sunday in the Park with George @ Signature Theatre August 5 – September 21 – This classic dramedy is musically complex (but then again, what else is new, Sondheim?) and for those who wonder about the importance of art and artistic merit, this one’s for you. Based on Seurat and his famous painting in the park–A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette–this show is all about love, longing, creative fulfillment and alienation. In essence, it’s everything and shouldn’t be missed. -Stephanie Breijo
- Disney’s The Lion King @ The Kennedy Center now through August 17 – Disney’s throwing it back to 1994 for this one, bringing back the 6-time Tony award-winning theater spectacular The Lion King. Emotionally prepare yourself for the Elton John-influenced costume goodness and, obv, “The Circle of Life.” Kleenex suggested. -Morgan Baskin