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By Stephanie Briejo, Megan Burns, Marcus Dowling, Melissa Groth, Svetlana Legetic, Brittany Martin, Farrah Skeilky, Brandon Wetherbee, Cale

At the start of each month the BYT staff will compile 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.

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OK, lets dig in.

Dangerous Women – A Short Story Collection released December 3

Are you going through some serious withdrawal based on the fact that some of your favorite authors are not releasing new novels any time soon? Well, Dangerous Women (available Dec 3rd but pre-order now) to the rescue. A story collection which allows some of the most beloved novelists of today to work in shorter form but still in the continuum of their literary universes, it features “new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and (for some of us most importantly) a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.”


The Best of McSweeny’s  released December 24
Edited by Dave Eggers and Jordan Bass, it’s an anthology meant for those who regularly read McSweeny’s and appreciate enjoying these fiction and non-fiction works (and illustrations) in the medium in which they belong. These are the best of the McSweeny’s magazine, not the Internet Tendency version most are familiar with, so chances are you’ve missed out on a large chunk of its 15 year run. Everyone from Joyce Carol Oates to Jonathan Franzen is in on this, and even the San Francisco Panorama graphic novel issue is well represented in this collection.
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Comic Book

The second collected edition of the new Marvel NOW! Captain America series is out in December 17th. Here’s my review of Book 1, which explains why we’re so excited for Book 2 (pre-order here).
I was digging the title of this one before I even cracked it open, it reminded me of some early 80s Roger Corman B-movie. And well, it sort of is. Except not terrible. The Cap’n get’s thrown shield-first into a sprawling sci-fi adventure with a great vintage vibe to it, but dead serious and brutal at the same time. Like Cormac McCarthy meets Jack Kirby. I don’t want to give away any additional plot details, cause there are a lot of surprises and cliffhangers in this one.  If you’re not a big Captain America fan (I wasn’t) it doesn’t matter, by the end you’ll have blisters from all the salutin’. The art is by John Romita, Jr, who has been around forever, and while it’s not gonna win any awards, he does have a unique style and the coloring is great, so it all works really well. Definitely one of the most enjoyable Marvel NOW! titles to date. -Cale
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Let’s Play Musical Bartenders
Bitters are amazing. The side ingredient, the thing you add to an already great thing, the little extra that makes life a little better, is able to stand on its own. Thanks to the magical bartenders at the Gibson, I now understand the glory that is Angostura Bitters.

The Gibson is a very dark, very nice speakeasy on 14th, right off U St. It doesn’t have a sign or light or anything. It’s intentionally hard to find. Also intentionally hard to find are the ingredients behind the Gibson bar. Thanks to the dark, the bartenders at the Gibson end up using the ‘wrong’ ingredients. These mistakes become the next set of seasonal cocktails and it’s why I’ve been thinking about this drink since I first tasted the bitters.

Here are the ingredients to the aptly titled Let’s Play Musical Bartenders: Angostura Bitters, Creme de Cassis, Lime Juice, Dolin Blanc and Lavender. I would have never, ever, ever made this drink on my own. I will not be making this drink at home. I don’t want to ruin the magic. I do want to taste the magic concoction as soon as possible. The Gibson may have made my favorite winter cocktail of the season. Winter hasn’t even officially begun. -Brandon

Gibson Winter Cocktail Menu

If You Go To A Bar This Month (or Ever) – Make it a Non-Douchey One

In case you missed our 2013 List of Least Douchey Bars a few weeks back, there is no reason not to book mark it now. Between than and the 2012 list, you can drink douche free forever. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY.



Alicia Eggert EVERYTHING YOU ARE LOOKING FOR @ Artisphere, Open now through February 2

It seems it is a great fall/winter for the female artists in DC. On the heels of Alex Prager’s and Mia Feuer’s solo shows at the Corcoran, Eggert shows up with a show about “moments surrounding moments”, a show of light and space we want to get lost in this December.
Public art bonus: In conjunction with the opening Eggert will mount an illuminated sculpture entitled You are (on) an island onto a vehicle that will travel the streets of Arlington and DC during the opening week, Wednesday, December 4 through Sunday, December 8. -Svetlana

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RAW Files | Worn Magazine @ The Gallery at Vivid Solutions, Open now through December 20

In conjunction with the release of their sixth issue, “The RAW Issue,” Worn Magazine is exhibiting behind-the-scenes photos and footage of the printing process, unpublished and stand-out photos from editorials of the past five issues, as well as photos from The RAW Issue.  The exhibit runs through December 20th at the Gallery at Vivid Solutions in Anacostia. On Wednesday, December 4th from 6pm onward the Gallery will host a Worn Creative Panel Discussion that is free and open to the public. Check out the exhibit then learn about/renew your faith in the DC fashion scene first-hand from people who have been helping create it since 2009. -Melissa



Anchorman 2 Everything

The release of Anchorman 2 has been pushed to December 18th which does mean that you have to wait an extra 10 days to be reunited with Ron and the gang, but in the meantime-avoid anticipation anxiety the old-fashioned way-by participating in excessive Anchorman 2 Consumerism. On Offer for the taking: the Wacky Wobbler Talking Ron Burgundy doll ($13.99), Sex Panther Perfume ($33.95 well spent), tickets to see the Anchorman 2 Exhibit at the Newseum, and, of course, these super sweet Anchorman 2 Jockey briefs (available in Sex Panther Red and Beard of Zeus Blue). God Bless America.


Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy)

Make this the one holiday gift you can buy for ANYONE in your life. Because EVERYONE in your life loved Breaking Bad and is in Breaking Bad mourning. The fact that it comes in a foot tall barrel that they can display like some TV watching trophy on a mantle is only a bonus.



Medora, now available on iTunes

Medora is a sweet documentary from the terrific and hilarious writer, magazine publisher, and This American Life Person Davy Rothbart. It is Rothbart’s first film project, and with co-director Andrew Cohn, the film explore the small-town Midwest landscape Rothbart knows and writes about with such humor and love. The documentary takes the time-honored “Friday Night Lights” approach of following a high school sports team through a season – except this basketball team doesn’t have any hope of winning a championship and would settle for winning a single game. There have been scattered screenings, but the film has not found a full theatrical release – but luckily that just means you can watch it on iTunes from your own cozy apartment. -Brittany

Nimphomaniac by Lars Von Trier, released December 25

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyitXvtz9fY

Because nothing says HAPPY HOLIDAYS like a new (and very NSFW) film from Lars Von Trier, right? Opening Christmas Day (naturally), it follows a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac as she recounts her conquests and experiences. Sort of a lady SHAME, and already being readily referred to as “the most sexual movie ever made” it features a cast of already-broken in Von Trier alums (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skargaard and more), seems appropriately brutal and exploitative and should be the perfect slice of cinematic cake for the winter of our (sexual?) discontent. -Svetlana

Holiday Movie Marathon @ Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse – December 15th

Every year, Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse hosts probably one of the finest holiday movie marathons anywhere in the US. This year spend your Sunday with this stellar line-up: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, A Christmas Story, Scrooged, and National Lampoons – Christmas Holiday, all for a low, low price of $8 total. A true holiday movie miracle.



I’ll lead the way I always do with food recommendations: go to Ripple. Their seasonal menus are on point. Two days into the month and they’re already boasting bacon gruyere scones, a New York strip with truffled sunchoke purée, homemade ice cream, and of course a grilled cheese bar. I don’t need to justify this further, do I? But to be honest, my appetite lies far from metro accessible range in Rockville, at the best hole-in-the-wall cheap eats spots around– places even Washingtonian missed. I’m currently smitten with two authentic Chinese spots in strip malls that are right across from each other on Hungerford Drive– Sichuan Jin River, and Mama Wok.-Farrah

Before Iron Gate closed its doors in 2010, it was the longest continuously running restaurant in DC food history. Three years later, Neighborhood Restaurant Group (who with GBD, Bluejacket and now this opening is having their banner busiest year ever) is ready to breathe new life into the DC institution. Located at 1734 N Street, the NEW Iron Gate is not just lovely, it is beyond lovely. Go on your perfect winter date NOW. Click for our whole first look story HERE. -Svetlana



Destroyer “5 Spanish Songs” released November 25

While Dan Bejar released his new EP (containing, you guessed it, five songs in Spanish) at the very end of November (25th, to be precise), I would think that December is really the right time to enjoy it. Built out of the (predictably nihilistic) notion Bejar had that in 2013 “The English language seemed spent, despicable, not easily singable. It felt over for English; good for business transactions, but that’s about it” it is still as warm and lovely of a sonic blanket as you can hope to wrap yourself in, maybe in part because the songs were written by Antonio Luque of the band Sr. Chinarro, and Bejar, for once just dove into the music he always loved, making it come alive for a new audience. Build yourself a fire, hold someone’s hand, and listen to this. -Svetlana

Tourist “Part of the Patterns” EP” released December 2, at Rough Trade (Williamsburg) December 5
This month I’m looking forward to catching Tourist at the brand-new Rough Trade in Williamsburg. The London-based producer’s new EP, “Part of the Patterns,” also comes out this month, on Method Records, the new label helmed by fellow UK dance darlings Disclosure. -Brittany

Britney Spears “Britney Jean” released December 3rd

Ummmmmm I seriously cannot believe that I appear to be the only BYT staff member who’s genuinely very excited about Britney Spears’ upcoming release (read: TOMORROW!!!) of Britney Jean. Does anyone remember “Work Bitch,” aka the most important song of our generation? It teaches the lazy youth of today that in order to HAVE all of the nice things (Bugattis, Maseratis, Lamborginis, etc.), you must first WORK (bitch) for all of the nice things. (I repeat, #IMPORTANT.) If THAT smash hit is any indication of how amazing the rest of the album will be, then I vote we go against Chris Crocker’s advice, aka DO NOT LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE. -Megan


This is an album-book fusion that has been released in the UK as of October 29, and while the tracks have been available digitally for a couple of weeks globally, I’m going to take Kristin Hersh’s word on this one and wait one more impossible day so that I can properly experience this multimedia project. The book is only 64 pages, but the album is 32 tracks long, quite generously proportioned to the decade-long wait. -Farrah

Childish Gambino “Because the Internet” released December 10

If Donald Glover’s announcement to quit Community shook the Internet last July, his series of confessional hand-written notes posted to Instagram in October set it ablaze. Touching on personal fears, label dissonance and existential confusion, Glover’s posts served both as a sounding board for his own troubled thoughts and a glimpse into his struggles which, based on public reaction, his fandom was completely unaware of. His series closed with the thought, “I wanted to make something that says no matter how badly you fuck up, or mistakes you’ve made during the year, your life, your eternity. You’re always allowed to be better. You’re always allowed to grow up. If you want.”

Fast forward to December 10 when the culmination of these efforts, neuroses and insecurities finally hits stores in the form of “Because the Internet,” Glover’s second studio album. If the record’s first single “V. 3005” is any indication, his talk of maturation is more than a social media stunt; his lyrics favor introspection over his trademark pop culture references (though it would be a shame to lose those entirely) and while the production seems aesthetically similar to 2011’s “Camp,” his wording, while a bit bleaker, seems comfortable in its vulnerability.

“Nobody out here’s got it figured out / So therefore I’ve lost all hope of a happy ending / Depending on whether or not it’s worth it / So insecure no one’s perfect.”

In terms of the album’s promotion, Glover announced a viral mansion party, set up a meme generator and even enlisted Pendleton Ward, creator of “Adventure Time,” to design a few limited-run shirts for the album. Let it never be said Childish doesn’t understand the Internet, and let it never fail to push him closer to the success he deserves. Come December 10, we’ll see just how far it can take him. -Stephanie


Queens of the Stone Age at the National RVA December 16
I have been waiting since whenever it is one discovers Kyuss and then QOTSA in high school to see this band live. After watching way too many live streams of their festival sets, I’m relieved to know that I haven’t missed them at their best by any means. Especially since this tour boasts a live Jon Theodore performance. -Farrah


I think the one thing more than anything that I’m looking forward to in 2014 is the resurgence of rhythm and blues in the DC Metropolitan area. Yes, if you’re asupporter of the now globally-established notion of DMV rap, then you’re already thinking about the rise of talents like Ras Nebyu, Kelow, Shy Glizzy and Beyond Modern to the forefront of popular opinion. However, as if lurking in the shadows, two newcomers – Visto and Reesa Renee – join alongside a slew of top crooners in the area including Carolyn Malachi and others. This development allows for a refreshing throwback to the city’s classic era of soul excellence alongside rap’s modern domination to balance the Nation’s Capital’s urban music contributions.

If a fan of Future, Visto isn’t far removed the Atlanta star’s lyrical content. His Before Euphoria mixtape features a blend of thoughtful honesty (the surprising “F***in’ Around”), over the top ratchetness (strip club anthem “How That Pxssy Taste”) and much more delivered with high attention paid to quality production and performance. As for Reesa, her ever filling performance schedule supports her debut album Reelease, and with a truly charismatic and engaging personality, as the city grows in national and global renown in the coming year – her star is certain to rise as well. -Marcus


Flashdance @ Kennedy Center

Opening on Christmas Day, and just in time to make you realize IT HAS BEEN 30 YEARS SINCE Jennifer Beals danced her way into our hearts, Flashdance-The Musical WILL feature water on the stage, “Maniac” cranked up extra loud, off the shoulder sweatshirts and all the other things we wanted it to. It is impossible to not be excited for it. -Svetlana

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There will be a lot of unique shopping experiences popping up this month that will make it easy for you to find a one-of-a-kind gift for the folks on your “nice” list. The Heurich House Christkindlmarkt has the makings to be one such unique experience. Locally made jewelry and clothing will be available for your perusal while you listen to German Christmas carols and enjoy gluhwein (mulled wine) in the private garden. -Melissa


A John Waters Christmas – December 14, 15 in New York City, December 18 in Alexandria, December 19, 20 in Baltimore

Our favorite mustached man brings his annual tradition of holiday and cheer to the stage. Throughout the month of December Waters will be taking the stage, explaining to all the bad girls and boys that filth is more than fine. Waters’ charmed us in May when we spoke to him. Stay tuned for our upcoming interview. He’s still full of charm.

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Neck Party

Sequins and sparkle are go-to December/holiday season trends, and though I’m not necessarily saying they should be done away with entirely, I have seen many a girl get lost in an outfit that overwhelmed and outshone her.  I say avoid the glitter altogether and opt for the chic elegance of statement jewelry.  Keep the outfit simple and add a statement necklace for a look that’ll keep you from being “that girl in the red sequin top.” -Melissa


A Better Kind of Holiday Sweater

An Ugly Holiday Sweater Party is what most of your semi-grown up traditions are made of, but it is time to now invest in a festive piece of wool to both warm you AND look good. Our favorites are from J.Crew (see below). Feel free to throw a statement necklace on top. It works surprisingly well.

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Perfect Holiday Table Settings Inspiration

How do you really impress your friends? Is it the menu? Is it the guest list? How do you create a space that’s both ambitious yet comfortable? When bringing together loved ones at the holidays, one of the most important–and most overlooked–ingredients in a perfect night is the ambiance you create. To help you craft the perfect holiday dinner, we spoke to some of our favorite lifestyle mavens around town and found some incredible and inspiring looks you can try at home this season. Pull up a chair. We’ve been expecting you. Click here for the full story.


Video Game

Super Mario 3D World

Just watch this and try to resist the charm:


As the newly released PS4 and XBox One dominate the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere, the red headed step child that is the Nintendo Wii U creeps up with the release of Super Mario 3D World, making a case for relevance. It’s the perfect amalgamation of old and new, pulling in your favorite retro elements like classic songs, the character selection of Super Mario II, and the complex three dimensional level design of Super Mario Galaxy with gorgeous new HD graphics and a seemingly endless onslaught of fresh ideas and clever challenges. And adorable cat suits. Lot’s of cat suits. The multiplayer aspects are handled about as good as any platformer ever has, the MiiVerse social integration is actually useful and fun, and the difficulty level builds nicely. -Cale


BONUS: Don’t forget to keep our big, splashy fun seasonal guides on hand too.

  • Our FILM GUIDE: the best new releases, the worst new releases, the DC film events you want to see and more
  • Our MUSIC GUIDE: best new albums, music for girls by girls, opening bands worth checking out, HOW TO MAKE IT AS A BAND in DC and more
  • Our ART GUIDE: must see museum shows, awesome gallery openings, fairs, pop-ups and cool art events
  • Our THEATRE GUIDE: shows to laugh, cry AND think about.
  • Our FOOD/DRINK GUIDE: gorgeous photos of delicious food and drinks.
  • Our STYLE GUIDE: know what to wear now that it’s cold.

Feel free to let us know in the comments what YOU are excited about. Till next month everyone!