Each month the BYT staff compiles 30 reasons why this will be the best month ever. December 2014 will be the best month ever. We’re embracing the cold with lots of books. We’re looking forward to watching silly librarians and saying goodbye to truthiness. We’re enjoying the holidays with all homo sapiens. If you’re at all interested in making this month count, just follow our picks and enjoy your best December.
December is a month of many things, but re-gifting shouldn’t be one of them. So, make sure to include THESE books in the presents for people you definitely don’t want disappointed.
We answer most of our Amy Poehler related questions with YES PLEASE. Do we wish Amy Poehler was everywhere? YES PLEASE. Do we wish Amy Poehler was our best friend? YES PLEASE. Do we wish Amy Poehler wrote more than one funny, supportive, classy book this year so that we didn’t have to make any choices but to read only things Amy Poehler wrote for us (JUST US) this year? YES PLEASE. -Svetlana Legetic
Jerry Lee Lewis has had a story to tell for so long that people have often taken advantage of it and told it without his help. Now the man that made rock’n’roll feel truly fun and dangerous tells his tale to Rick Bragg (a storyteller deep fried in Southern lore and (more than?) worthy of JLL) and the result is the “Killer’s life as he lived it,” no holds barred, no rough edges smoothed. Nothing quite compares. -Svetlana Legetic
It is Christmas season which means it is John Waters season on BYT. Our very favorite interview subject released a book of tall travel tales and delightfully good bad taste adventures this year, all stemming from him standing on the side of the road holding a sign that said: “I’m No Psycho.” As funny and irreverent as ever, our only regret is we never drove past him. -Svetlana Legetic
I can’t vouch for this book but I can rave about Costello’s first book, The Enchanters vs. Sprawlberg Springs, a 192 page novel about being in a dumb punk band when you’re in your dumb 20s. I loved it. I read it in bars and in the back of rock clubs and on the train. My copy looks like it survived a natural disaster. Inevitably, my copy of Losing In Gainesville will suffer the same fate. And at 400 pages, I’ll most likely doublely (not a word) enjoy this tome about Florida.
Because Costello is a funny and charming man that understands capitalism, he’s offering a Cyber Monday special. If you buy the book on Monday, December 1, you’ll receive a free ticket to Costello’s fantastic talk show/spinning wheel/music/story telling show Shame That Tune December 12 at The Hideout. If you don’t live in Chicago, he’ll write you a haiku about an 80’s situation comedy of your choosing. I chose Small Wonder. Here’s my personalized Brian Costello haiku:
She was a robot!
Vicki, was a “small wonder”
There is no end to my knowledge of books about vampires and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton is by far one of my faves because they don’t even TRY to hide the sex. In fact it is downright unavoidable. If you want to read this book (and you should) you’ll have to start from the beginning but you will not be sorry. Vampires and humans going to the boneyard long before Twilight was a Twilight in Stephanie Meier’s eyes. -Jenn Tisdale
Bartender/mixologist/whatever fancy title you want to give a person that makes really basic, really good, really thoughtful (Have you seen duck fat used in a drink? Ever? Anywhere?) cocktails Evan Cablayan is the reason we may spend more time in Chevy Chase. The Macon Bistro & Larder is a cute, tiny restaurant at 5520 Connecticut Avenue NW. It’s just far enough from a Metro to feel like a hassle. But now there’s the Duck & Fig Julep on the menu so the commute doesn’t seem so bad. A lovely place to spend a late December evening. -Brandon Wetherbee
I am basically very very VERY excited for the new Reese Witherspoon movie, Wild, which is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir and involves a lot of hiking and feelings. I already know I am going to cry so hard because I already cried so hard when I watched the trailer for the movie. (There was a fox in it and Reese Witherspoon gets very emotional, which seems like a thing that I will likely get very emotional about in the movie theater. Also sometimes Reese Witherspoon reminds me of my sister even though my sister is not even blonde or famous.) If you don’t know what I am talking about right now, you should also watch the trailer and (maybe) get very emotional. -Megan Burns
I realize that on the surface or perhaps in real life Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are insane, but I can’t stop loving her! I blame Hackers. Sadly we don’t get to bathe in the beautify that is Angie as she is behind the camera for her second full-length film about Louis Zamperin, an Olympic runner taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. I’m going for the lesson in never giving up. -Jenn Tisdale
I grew up in a middle class Jewish family outside of New York. We fuck harder with musicals than anyone else. I will probably see this alone or after it’s out of theaters, and if someone asks me what I’m watching I’ll probably say something cool and relevant like “Inherent Vice”. But no. I’ll be watching Into the Woods with Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick singing in a dark musical re-imagining of classic fairytales because there’s literally no way it can’t be really good. -Tam Sackman
Get in the holiday spirit by learning how to make chocolate truffles from scratch. Black’s Bar & Kitchen’s pastry chef Melanie Parker will lead a truffle making class on Saturday, December 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. She’ll demonstrate the art of making truffles while guests enjoy a two course menu from Black’s pre-fixe lunch menu. A glass of champagne and a gift box of six truffles is also included. Ticket price is $50. Once you perfect your truffle making skills, bring us some to sample at the BYT office! -Priya Konings
Marion Barry’s Three Days of Goodbye
Start your month by saying goodbye to the greatest mayor that our mutant little half-diamond will ever see. Yes, we know he did drugs (news flash: so do some of us, and in significant quantity, no less); Yes, we know his time in office saw what one might gently term “financial mismanagement” (news flash: Our current mayor, the most respectable man on the planet is going down for taking illegal campaign contributions from someone nicknamed Uncle Earl, a step below Uncle Buck); Yes, we know the city is “better” (oh fucking boy, bars built out of shipping containers, condos built out of shipping containers, and soon, genetically modified humans built out of shipping containers and about as stick-up-the-ass rigid as one might expect).
But fuck all that noise. He was a certifiable crazy person who ran this city with the zeal of the super-villain you want to root for over the schmuck hero, he was a strong part of what achieved the bit of home rule we have, not one mayor since has shown the same explicit passion for the poor (and not one mayor since can take credit for what some consider to be the revival of the city. Neoliberal capitalism as applied to urban renewal did that independent of action by any politician), and yes, it is worth constantly repeating over and over and over again that he was highly visible during the Civil Rights movement because those were some of the moments when D.C. shined brightest. He had more of what we need: Transplants who arrive with shit-eating grins wider than the rings of Saturn, unflappable and unstoppable self-confidence that infects anyone who stands in the bright rays it casts, and relentless boosterism of what is the Greatest City on This Here Planet Earth (even when it’s not). Never forget that this is the man who once responded to concerns that he went to a cocaine-fueled orgy in 1981 with an off-the-cuff remark that he was a “night owl” and questions about what exactly his snow-removal plans were in 1996 with the snarky crack, “Spring.”
Because fuck prudes, fuck journalists, and fuck yeah Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr.
Thursday, December 4: Lenin’s Tomb Can Suck It
Go see Shepilov (so nicknamed after an equally over-confident and oft-flawed nutter who opposed Nikita Kruschev) lie in state at the Wilson Building for 24 hours.
Friday, December 5: JFK’s Funeral Procession Can Suck It
Join the Mayor for Life’s funeral procession, traveling through all eight wards of the city and ending up at the Temple of Praise (700 Southern Ave. SE). There’s music from 3-6 p.m. and a community memorial service from 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, December 6: Everywhere That’s Not DC Can Suck It
His official funeral will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (Halls C&D, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW). A viewing from 8 to 11 a.m. will happen before the services, which will run until 3 pm. His burial will happen in private, but we recommend making his grave a greater tourist attraction than Jim Morrison’s, a tribute we’re sure he’d love.
Goodbye, sweet prince. You weren’t perfect, but neither are we, and may we one day live up to whatever insane vision you had for this city. Remembering Marion Barry at his best means knowing that we can be the best. -Legba Carrefour
Krampusnacht Und St. Nikolaustag (Night of the Krampus and St. Nicholas Day) December 6
That idiot in the Santa suit you go see in the Mall? Fuck that guy. We Austrians do it better. First, your presents get brought to you by a flying baby Jesus, not some NSA spook who never answers your tear-stained, pleading letters for a pony as he judges whether you are worthy of his love (FUN FACT: I once hid in the closet and popped out when the traditional Heiliger Abend (Christmas Eve. We get our presents about eight hours before you American losers and we get to stay up super late) bell was rung to announce that the Christkind had dropped off our presents, and shot arrows wildly at the window he would always fly out of, nearly mortally wounding my father in his ass.).
No, America. We in Austria save our judgements for the eve before and day of December 6. And ours are far, far darker than you not getting a pony.
A Catholic saint whose feast day falls on the sixth, before St. Nick adorned coke cans, was originally a Greek bishop with a penchant for gift-giving. You put out your shoes the night before, and he would show up to your house on December 6, and if you were a wonderful child, you’d wake up to assloads of really quality Austrian chocolate in your footwear. If you were a not-so-wonderful child, a goat demon thingy holdover from pagan tradition named Krampus would show up and put switches in your shoes, so as to encourage your parents to beat the ever-loving shit out of you for being such a little shit. So evil was this dude, that he’d appear with a satchel on his back, filled with children that he planned on taking back to Hell. Maybe even you!
Austria being the fun-loving country that once expelled Hitler and then welcomed him back with open arms (it’s a very clean and very weird place), we also have Krampusnacht, a December 5 celebration of pagan ritual wherein you dress up as said goat-demon thingy, parade around, and get royally shithoused on Austrian beer and have weird sex in dark alleys or whatever it is that we Austrians do. And you know
what? It’s happening in D.C. this year too.
D.C. Krampusnacht involves a full-scale Krampuslauf (which, yes, sounds like Krampus Loaf, i.e., taking a goat-demon thingy scale dump), the aforementioned traditional, drunk-in-public parade. The costumes should be weird and it boils down to a celebration of the European pagan tradition of dressing up as Wild Men, satyrs and fauns connected to Roman legends that eventually came to represent those who existed outside of the bounds of Christian Europe’s imagination. Let yours run wild and get blitzed.
Meantime, here’s footage of kid’s crying on Fraudulent Coca-Cola Santa’s lap.
My dad once dressed up as Krampus (for a full education, please see the Venture Bros. Christmas special, where he makes an appearance) and scared the crap out of me one morning to the point where I was sitting downstairs, weeping, and eating chocolate, as he breathed like Darth Vader and interrogated me as to my various childhood sins. Sounds awful to you? Suck it. You know what Christmas is about? Fucking with kids. Which is about the only real fun you get to have as a parent.
Merry Christmas. -Legba Carrefour
CHRISTMAS WEEK = THE BEST WEEK FOR BICYCLING IN DC.
The holiday season! In a city full of transients, this means that a lot of D.C. folks are getting out of town. That’s fine for them, but better for those of us who love the city and stay here for the season. With fewer cars on the road, it’s the best time to pop some wheelies, drag race down the 11th street hill, and gang up on the few remaining pedestrians with our bike lights set on disco. -Anastasia Kolobrodova
Badbadnotgood is not your dad’s jazz. So not your dad’s jazz, in fact, that they’re a part of Odd Future. It’s a hardcore jazz jam session that plays out more like a punk show than background bar entertainment. Certain songs go on for ten minutes depending on how much the crowd is digging it, and unless they’re literally a bunch of dads, they’re digging it. I’m not being very kind to dads here, but this is jazz for Millennials. Badbadnotgood supports my hypothesis that everything good in music right now is coming out of Toronto. -Tam Sackman
If super late onto the trap-as-EDM bandwagon, Chicago-based duo Flosstradamus’ headlining set at the 9:30 Club could be the sound’s “last stand” in the hyper-mainstream spotlight. With the more groove-driven house sounds of Disclosure at the ready for 2015, the clickety-clack and bass drops of 808s will be on display. Flosstradamus’ sound and live show are a spectacle beyond compare. Imagine combining the best bits of Tiesto, Slipknot and Waka Flocka Flame, shaking vigorously, and then turning up. With Flosstradamus having an artist album scheduled for Ultra Records next year, for the tandem’s “HDYBYZ” and “HDYGRLZ” (“hoodie boyz” and “hoodie girlz”) fans in tow, this is the next great indie-to-mainstream “Juggalo”-type underground movement to keep an eye on for certain. -Marcus Dowling
On the day after Christmas, 2 Chainz plays Northeast DC mega-event venue Echostage. Basically, for two hours you’re going to stand alongside a bunch of strangers and recite guest verses from collaborative tracks that the man born Tauheed Epps has performed alongside Kanye West, Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Major Lazer, Juicy J, Lil Wayne, Drake, A$AP Rocky, French Montana, Rick Ross, Jeezy, Jason Derulo and Jessie J. Or, there’s…wait. 2 Chainz may be the most entertaining 16-bar party starter of all time (or at least since Biggie). This should be a shitshow. Or a party. Or maybe a little bit of both. No matter what, it will be fun, and certainly memorable. Pull up in your “coupe the color of mayonnaise” for this one for certain. -Marcus Dowling
“For me, there is something inherent in the process of DJ’ing vinyl that makes it a deeply personal and meditative experience,” Juan MacLean told BYT a few years ago, staking out his position in the great Vinyl vs. Digital DJ debate. “We are at a point now where virtually anyone can be a DJ without much effort. However, there will never be a shortcut to mastery – it will always require the discipline of persistent hard work.”
MacLean’s entire catalog on DFA Records can be heard as the long cut to mastery: With three (increasingly great) albums of analog dance music in ten years, it’s clear that MacLean isn’t one to rush the creative process. There’s been plenty to fall outside those records, of course, most notably the dancefloor trilogy of singles that preceded this year’s In a Dream. In fact, you’re more likely to hear those cuts when MacLean and his cohort Nancy Wang visit U Hall at the end of the month. And since the Juan MacLean performing as a band is even more rare than its releasing a full-length, this is probably the closest you’ll get to seeing a live show from the Juan MacLean. -Phil Runco
The holidays are a time for thankfulness, family, and community, which is precisely why an irreverent rock show is necessary right in the middle of it. Local punks Collapser are calling it quits – their singer moved to Chicago – but they promise one last inebriated hurrah as their swansong. Along for the ride are several other DC-area bands, including NPR darlings Two Inch Astronaut. This show is good enough that you may want to change your holiday flight plans accordingly. -Alan Zilberman
God bless Holy Ghost! and its dumb disco ideas. Make a little money? Pour it into a Yamaha CS-80. Make a little more? Keep adding to your live presence. Are these smart financial decisions for an up-and-coming band? Probably not. But there’s something refreshing about Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel’s keep-making-it-til-you-make-it approach. These two continue to invest in Holy Ghost!, which makes it easy as a fan to do the same. So, even though I have no idea why they’re playing 9:30 Club on New Year’s Eve eve, I know that I’ll get my money’s worth. Hopefully some new music is on the way too. Until then, we have this great Katy Perry remix. There’s another dumb disco idea for you. -Phil Runco
You know what your holiday season needed? An occasion to go unabashedly, completely, wildly over the top. In a sea of office parties, office parties of your significant others, and other hum-drummy action, we planted this little gem: Miss Summer Camp is hosting, Drag Race’s Carmen Carrera and DDm are performing live, JD Samson (MEN/Le Tigre) and Shea Van Horn are DJing, Team Peaches is doing their thing and we ordered SO MANY Christmas inflatables for your photo opps that we don’t even know if Howard Theatre will be able to fit them all in. What are you waiting for? TICKETS AND DETAILS HERE.
Gay/Bash @ Black Cat December 27
After a full month of being dragged to church with your relatives, wouldn’t you like to indulge in some casual sin? Gay/Bash, winner of the Blade’s Best Alt Party two years in a row, has got just the thing to help you throw off that pious grin. Come on down to The Black Cat this December 27 to party with the filthiest, sweatiest, alt-iest girls and boys you’ll find in D.C. Hosted by mistress of the underworld, Heidi Glüm, and DJs Josh Vogelsong and Dean Sullivan, this party has everything: blow up pig dolls, the Virgin Mary spanking baby Jesus, fake blood, voluptuous breast plates and a gigantic furry vagina puppet. This month Heidi will be joined by Rumor Millz, Summer Camp, and special guest, Pussy Noir! Cover is $5. Seriously, this is not one to be missed. -Connor Hogan
Can’t wait until next Thursday for your Serial fix? Slate’s Amicus podcast isn’t a mystery series but an insightful look at Supreme Court cases. I recommend beginning with episode 6, Mental Illness and the Death Penalty. Host Dahlia Lithwick gives the listener a good look at the seemingly unjust Texas death penalty. You’ll become enraged and depressed in a good way. -Brandon Wetherbee
If you’re suffering gifter’s block, or if you just want some awesome cute new stuff for your apartment, Grump is your solution. They’ve got clothing, home goods, planters made out of light bulbs, jewelry, baby things, dog and cat things, all sorts of things from 75 different local vendors. Grump’s yeti mascot will be wandering around Artisphere so those of you who’ve always dreamed of having your picture taken with a yeti, have your camera ready. This year the entire ‘sphere is being taken over by the festival. Apart from the huge selection of vendors, there will be craft areas, or “hands-on making areas,” for you to create your own gifts if that’s your pleasure. Snacks will be available, and a “holiday cartoon classic” on loop in the Dome Theatre. Admission to this indoor event is free. -Melissa Groth
Didn’t find what you were looking for at Grump? Or you just want more? 60+ local vendors will set up shop on Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive for this market, so grab yourself a hot chocolate and get to shopping. There will be live music, AND if you need a break from shopping, you can rent a set of ice skates and do some triple axles at the Silver Spring ice skating rink. -Melissa Groth
Noah Wyle is back as not a doctor! Yes this is based on the movies he did and bonus Rebecca Romijn (still dying to write Stamos) is in it. The show seems pretty magical and will probably fill the hole in my heart that is generally left by Once Upon a Time or if I’m honest Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Okay it’s like Indiana Jones + National Treasure with just a HINT of Percy Jackson Lightning Thief. Let’s just watch and see, shall we? -Jenn Tisdale
That #CancelColbert campaign worked. Late night’s most important host will change glasses and become another late night host.
Stephen Colbert is the perfect performer to replace David Letterman. Not too young, not too crotchety, not depressed, not a stand up. He’s a man comfortable performing to presidents and in improv theaters, happy to be alive and on stage and has little ego. He’s not Letterman and will not attempt be Letterman. But he won’t be “Stephen Colbert” either.
We’re losing America’s most important and influential recurring character since Mark Twain. It’ll be bittersweet to see him go but all things must pass. Watch the final three weeks of episodes. You’ll miss them very soon. -Brandon Wetherbee
Synetic Theater- known for their borderline avant-garde, alternative performances- is taking on a beloved classic and making it GOTH. That’s right– if you feel disenfranchised by fairytales (potentially due to a sub-par childhood, we’re not judging) this should be right up your alley. It’s bound to get super dark and maybe borderline depressing but that’s life, particularly goth life. The tagline promises no singing teapots. GOOD. -Tam Sackman