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By Ross Bonaime, Stephanie Breijo, Cale, Emily Catino, Melissa Groth, Esther Hur, Carly Loman,  Svetlana Legetic, Deanna Martino, Phil Runco, Farrah Skeiky, Avalon Swindell Jones, Brandon Wetherbee, Ashley Wright,  Alan Zilberman, Jenn Tisdale

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.

Plus, stay forever in the loop and follow us on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest too.

OK, lets dig in.

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Art

Do you want the cosmetic version, or do you want the real deal? Los Angeles Poverty Department, 1985-2014 @ Queens Museum, January 31 through May 11
All February long you have the chance to head down to the Queens Museum to take a look at the artistic response to the problems facing another major U.S. city—L.A. The performance group behind the exhibition, Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), is made up primarily of homeless or formerly homeless L.A. residents. With multiple installations and performances happening until the exhibit closes in May, you have plenty of chances to check out these artist’s first hand reactions to living in a city riddled (like many other U.S. cities) with economic disparity and extreme poverty. -Carly

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Photo courtesy of the Queens Museum Facebook page

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal @ MoMA, February 1 through June 1
Opening February 1st, this new MoMA exhibit examines Wright’s thinking re: the growing American city in the 20’s and 30’s. Featuring early sketches, films, and large scale models, this is an unprecedented look into Wright’s process and a voyeuristic look at his genius. -Carly

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Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959). Broadacre City. Project, 1934–35. Model: painted wood, 152 x 152” (386.1 x 386.1 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer @ Artisphere, February 6, 7, 8, 9

In a highly imaginative fusion of animation, puppetry, projections, live and recorded music, master storyteller Sam Longley tells the tale of Alvin Sputnik, deep sea explorer, and the search for his lost love in the seemingly endless depths of the ocean. In other words-all your February escapist fantasies in one place. – Svetlana

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Photo courtesy of Artisphere

American Cool @ National Portrait Gallery, February 7 through September 7

American Cool seems like one of those shows you have simply been sitting around WAITING for the Portrait Gallery to have. From the museum site: “Cool is an original American sensibility and remains a global obsession. In the early 1940s, legendary jazz saxophonist Lester Young brought this central African American concept into the modern vernacular. Cool became a password in bohemian life connoting a balanced state of mind, a dynamic mode of performance, and a certain stylish stoicism. A cool person has a situation under control, and with a signature style. Cool has been embodied in jazz musicians such as Miles Davis and Billie Holiday, in actors such as Robert Mitchum, Faye Dunaway, and Johnny Depp, and in singers such as Elvis Presley, Patti Smith, and Jay-Z. “American Cool” is a photography and cultural studies exhibition featuring portraits of such iconic figures, each of whom has contributed an original artistic vision to American culture symbolic of a particular historical moment.” Read more about it HERE. – Svetlana

Steve McQueen (Photo credit: William Claxton, 1962, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; © William Claxton Estate, courtesy Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Steve McQueen (Photo credit: William Claxton, 1962, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; © William Claxton Estate, courtesy Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

HomoCats: Fight The Power @ Transformer, February 8 through March 15

Did you ever think the DC Art World could use MORE CATS? Well, J. Morrison to the rescue. This large-scale installation exploring both the abundance of cat culture on the Internet and the intersection of art & activism. As an added bonus: scoot over to Black Whiskey on opening night for a party/performance in collaboration with Animals & Fire. Party name: Pussy Pop, naturally. -Svetlana

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WPA Presents: Jacolby Satterwhite @ Capitol Skyline Hotel, February 8 through March 28, Reception February 8

What to expect? From WPA: “Satterwhite (b. 1986, Columbia, South Carolina, USA) is a fast rising art-world star and a 2008 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD.  Using video, performance, 3-D animation, drawings, and prints to explore memory, insider/outsider art practices, and meta-narratives, Satterwhite’s dynamic, interactive performances and video installations transform viewers into participants in the virtual worlds of his videos. Curated by arts writer and curator Julie Chae, the Hothouse Video: Jacolby Satterwhite exhibition will present a series of print and video works leading up to Satterwhite’s newest video, Reifying Desire 6, which will make its world premiere at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and will include a special installation of the video Country Ball 1989-2012 with home video footage from his family’s 1989 Mother’s Day picnic in South Carolina. The exhibition will remain on view 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, after the opening.”

Book

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories By B.J. Novak released February 4

After being a successful stand up comedian and writing for The Office for years, B.J. Novak’s first book, a collection of short stories entitled “One More Thing,” is one of the most enjoyable debut books I’ve read in a long time. While each of Novak’s stories are genuinely funny, many have a deeper level to them, sometimes profound or thought-provoking and always interesting. Seemingly unrelated stories often come together in exciting ways and even a well-hidden Office reference pops up in one story, making you never quite sure what the next page will hold in this fascinating debut. -Ross

Pioneer Girl By Bich Minh Nguyen released February 6

Winter is a great time to both not leave your couch AND feel all sorts of nostalgic about all sorts of things. Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl makes a strong play for a perfect novel to throw yourself into in February by feeding into both of those primordial needs. A literary mystery about The Little House on the Prairie, the novel finds “Lee Lien, a jobless PhD grad, returns home to her Chicago suburb from grad school, only to find herself contending with issues she’s evaded since college. But when her brother disappears, he leaves behind an object from their mother’s Vietnam past that stirs up a forgotten childhood dream: a gold-leaf brooch, abandoned by an American reporter in Saigon back in 1965, that might be an heirloom belonging to Laura Ingalls Wilder. ” If we could pour ourselves a hot cup of cocoa and cozy up to it NOW, we would. -Svetlana

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Comic Books

All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch continues February 5

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Marvel’s relaunch of their relaunch continues in February, bringing some big characters into the Marvel NOW! family. This round gives us:

The Punisher #1
Everyone’s favorite brooding skull-emblazoned NYC vigilante heads to sunny Los Angeles. Most likely kills people.

Loki: Agent of Asgard #1
Everyone’s favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe character gets his own series. Head up though, the current Loki in the Marvel comics universe is a different iteration than the films, he’s some sort of reborn cloned teenage Loki (or something, I’m not really sure), and this book will focus on him growing up a little, but still being a brat.

Wolverine #1
Everyone’s favorite mutant gets yet another series and another relaunch. Apparently it’s back to his anti-hero roots in this one, which sounds good, but uh oh, it’s from the same shit writer as the last Wolverine relaunch. Let’s hope the art isn’t as atrocious as that one was. Yeesh.

Ms. Marvel #1
Everyone’s favorite (only) headlining Marvel Muslim is getting mentions everywhere from Al Jazeera to deleted tweets from Conan. This book will kick start the adventures of Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teen girl from Jersey who gains shapeshifting abilities and names herself after her idol Captain Marvel. Cool.

Be on the look out for relaunches of Fantastic Four, New Warriors, She-Hulk, and X-Force with all new creative teams later in the month. Have no clue what we’re talking about? Catch up here and here. -Cale

Dance

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host: Ira Glass, Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass @ Lisner Auditorium February 8

If you attended Bentzen Ball 2013, then you know that the Ira Glass + Monica Bill Barnes + Anna Bass collaboration is one of the more magical moments one can experience. The three met when Ira performed at a “Dancing-with-the-not-quite-stars” competition in LA which Monica judged. His Philip Glass interpretative dance got his 2nd place, but this partnership which basically combines all things good in the performance universe in 2014 will forever be #1 in our hearts. SOMEHOW THIS HAS MANAGED NOT TO BE SOLD OUT YET SO… you’re in luck. -Svetlana

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Fashion

New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week February 6 through 13

From Alexander Wang taking his show to Brooklyn TO that Peter Pilotto for Target launch to that Opening Ceremony/Donna Karan collaboration, it all promises to be a super fun time for everyone involved (or wanting to be involved). BYT will NATURALLY be doing all sorts of coverage of it but as an added bonus to DC residents, W Hotel will be doing live-streams of shows for free throughout the week too. Everyone wins. -Svetlana

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Photo courtesy of Target

DC Fashion Week February 17 through 23

Seven days of events that range from high-end couture to eco-friendly fashion to fashion flash mobs. Yes, there is an enigmatic listing on the schedule of events with details TBD set for Tuesday the 18; what has been determined is that there’s gonna be “fashion in the streets,” y’all, so get ready.

DC Fashion Week kicks off Monday the 17 with a reception and Eco Fashion Show at Washington Harbor. Tuesday will be the aforementioned flash mob. The Corjor International Couture Fashion Show will take place Wednesday at Madame Tussauds (your $30 admission to the show includes a tour of the museum). Last year the Corjor International Fashion Show featured some amazing couture designers from the DC area. There was definitely something to suit everyone’s taste. Especially if you have a taste for dresses made out of teddy bears, because yeah, that happened. This a great event and I highly recommend attending if you’re interested in the DC couture scene (yes, there is one).

Thursday is a massive fashion industry networking party at Dirty Martini, with a jewelry and accessory fashion show to follow. The party is free, and you’re welcome to just drop in. No RSVP required. Bloggers, stylists, models, designers, retailers, and anyone who just loves fashion are all expected to attend.

Friday is the Washington Haute & Modesty Fashion Show, ladies only. On Saturday emerging fashion designers from around the US will showcase their designs at the Washington Post Conference Center. And finally, Sunday will be the 20th International Couture Collections show finale event at the Historical Society of Washington. This is gonna be a ritzy one, folks.  Splurge for VIP admission and get a seat in the front row, a deluxe gift bag, champagne, and entry to the pre-show reception. -Melissa

Film

The Wait  currently playing in NYC, date TBA for DC

February tends to mean A LOT of on-screen romance and for that reason we should welcome The Wait, a movie that looks like some sort of a crazy fever dream of family and loss as a welcome break from it all. Chloe Sevigny and Jena Malone seem like perfect choices to play the two sisters who decide to keep their deceased Mother home while waiting for her promised ressurection. Watch the trailer and tell me that that sense of vague discomfort washing over you as these images pour over the screen is not (also) incredibly inviting. Let’s get weird here and now.  -Svetlana

 

The Lego Movie out February 7

Sure The Lego Movie might seem like just a kids movie on the surface, but considering the film is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the men behind 21 Jump Street, the original Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and the brilliant underrated MTV cartoon Clone High, this film is bound to be so much more. Yeah, there’s a story blah blah blah, but let me just give you a rundown of some of the cast and the Lego characters they will be portraying:

  • Chris Pratt, as main character Emmet Brickowoski (plus 2014 will be The Year of the Pratt)
  • Will Arnett as Batman
  • Channing Tatum as Superman (imagine this Batman vs. Superman)
  • Jonah Hill as Green Lantern
  • Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman
  • Alison Brie as a unicorn/kitten hybrid
  • Will Forte, reprising his Clone High role as Abraham Lincoln
  • Nick Offerman as a character known as Metal Beard (not Metal-stache?)
  • Shaq as Shaq
  • Plus Will Ferrell, Charlie Day, Morgan Freeman, Jake Johnson, Keegan-Michael Key, Liam Neeson

I mean, c’mon, how can you not want to see this? -Ross

The Monuments Men released February 7

While not the best sign that this film was pushed out of this year’s Oscar nominee pool, The Monuments Men does look promising. The Monuments Men tells the true story of steam that tries to save priceless art from being destroyed by the Nazis in World War II. Considering the team is made up of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh “Earl of Grantham” Bonneville, Bob Balaban and Greatest Person in the World Bill Murray, that should alone get people in seats, besides it sort of looking like Inglourious Oceans Bastards 11. -Ross

The Pretty One released February 7

If I was to name two people in 2014 I’d be game to watch in pretty much anything, Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson are close to the top of the list. And now, just in time for Valentine’s Day 2014, these two Ruby Sparks/Exploding Girl/Drinking Buddies/Safety Not Guaranteed/New Girl alums are coming together for a movie about a plain(er) twin who assumes the identity of her dead/more-beautiful-yet-identical sibling and the (inevitably adorable yet heartbreaking) effect she has on her sister’s previous surroundings. Yes, it sounds a little hokey, but it also sounds A LOT magical.  -Svetlana

Screen Valentines @ AFI Silver Spring  February 7 through March 20

Valentine’s Day is the bane of most people’s existences but at least as a result of it every year we get the Screen Valentine’s screenings over at Afi Silver Spring, celebrating great romances AND great film making, all at once. This year’s line-up involves some wonderful anniversary screenings (Intermezzo turns 75! It has been 50 years since My Fair Lady was released! Before Sunset is 10!), some solid guilty pleasure choices (Starman! the immortal feel-good creepiness of While You Were Sleeping!) as well as movies you should always jump at a chance to see on the big screen if you can (Love Affair! The Philadelphia Story!). Way better as a Valentine’s day gift than any box of chocolates you’ll find anywhere, if you ask me. -Svetlana

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Like Father, Like Son @ E Street Cinema the week of February 14

I feel like I never have enough time to see all of the movie I want to see. That was especially true with January (I still haven’t seen American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street or The Great Beauty) and it seems like February is going to be the same. While I’m sure movies will fall by the wayside (they always do) I plan on seeing Like Father, Like Son as soon as possible. Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, the film follows Ryota and Midori Nonomiya, who learn that their 6-year-old son Keita, is not their biological son, but was switched at birth. The trailer is a tearjerker and the cinematography looks absolutely amazing. While the film has had a limited release in January, it will be coming to DC for one week on February 14. -Kaylee

Love Is In The Air released February 14

Hollywood has decided that for Valentine’s Day we’re going to get the reboot of the very uncomfortable Endless Love and some movie about Zac Ephron not wanting to settle down so THANK GOD for the French who chose to instead put (the always perfectly doe-eyed yet sexy) Ludivine Sagnier and (the very rakish and almost preternaturally bee stung lipped) Nicolas Bedos on a plane stuck next to each other and have them go at it in this story of romance lost and finding solutions in captive circumstances.  Fasten your seatbelts, this is definitely going to be a (deliciously) bumpy ride. -Svetlana

Global Glimpses Festival @ National Geographic February 14, 15, 16

Every year, Nat Geo Live hosts a series of screenings of the movies nominated for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE PICTURE on the big screen. This time around the selections include everything from Belgium’s bluegrass tinged melodrama to surrealist Italian meditations to Denmark’s chilling pedophilia witch hunts. Every year they all sell out. Get those tickets now. – Svetlana

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AMC Best Picture Showcase, Day One February 22

For those looking to quickly catch up with the 2013 films they missed before the Academy Awards in March, or those looking for a recap of the nominees, there is no greater deal than the AMC Best Picture Showcase. The event takes place over two days, with day one on February 22nd consisting of PhilomenaDallas Buyers ClubThe Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave. Day two on March 1 will show the other best picture nominees, GravityNebraskaAmerican HustleHer and Captain Phillips. For the brave, there’s also the 24 hour marathon on March 1st, where you can see all nine films in one day. Prepare for sleep depravation and enough popcorn to kill a person. -Ross

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Food + Drink

Drinking Outside During Winter

We know you like imbibing various alcoholic beverages outdoors as much as we do, so we don’t like to think about you missing out on an awesome outdoor drinking experience just because it’s ridiculously cold right now. As a seasonal counterpart to our spring/summer outdoor drinking guide, we give you BYT’s Winter Outdoor Drinking Guide! All the fire pits, heat lamps, and cozy blankets your frosty little heart desires, right at your fingertips. Here’s the low down on all things warm and boozy. SEE OUR PICKS HERE – Ashley

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“The French Onion Soup based grilled cheese comes with a micrometer-thick layer of toasted crust to the brioche (no butter added, since they won’t stick and the bread has enough butter itself) while the insides are perfectly melted. The caramelized onions and gruyère cheese blend are perfectly portioned, and you’ll be begging for more.” So says Brandon Weight, grilled cheese enthusiast, in our review of the test kitchen at GCDC. The restaurant cum wine bar opens at 1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW in mid-February. If our description alone isn’t enough to convince you to check out this earthly incarnation of heavenly cheese and bread, look at this photo. -Ashley
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Heavy Seas Alehouse, opening in Rosslyn at 1501 Wilson Blvd in February, will have a fantastic selection of seasonal craft beers from the eponymous Heavy Seas Brewery. They’ll be sourcing the ingredients for their menu locally for all you environmentally responsible and health-conscious pirates. If you want a preview of what’s to come, plan a day trip to Baltimore using our handy guide and make the original location of the alehouse your first stop in Charm City. -Ashley
Working in the restaurant industry can be a treacherous profession. In the ever-expanding arena of D.C. dining, a restaurant’s fight for survival lends new meaning to the words Hunger Games and, as it often goes for fledgling establishments, so it went that Azur, Frederik de Pue’s short-lived seafood establishment in Penn Quarter, recently closed. What’s sprung from the ashes, however, is nothing short of a foodie oasis; while we know we’ll miss those lobster rolls at Azur, Menu MBK–part bistro, part artisanal market–is exactly where we’ll be dining as early as tomorrow. CHECK OUT OUR FULL FIRST LOOK HERE.

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Whether you’re looking for a new brunch, bar, or dinner spot, Roofers Union will soon satisfy all of your needs. The restaurant is located where The Reef (which closed after some scary things went down) once stood in Adams Morgan. The only thing left of The Reef is a faint aquarium aroma that will soon be masked by the delicious smell of their house-made sausages cooking, headed by Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley. CHECK OUT OUR FULL FIRST LOOK HERE. -Avalon

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TAPAS: Spanish Design For Food exhibit @ Former Ambassador’s Residence, Now through March 23
The concept of tapas was born of necessity, and of course, of wine. Sweet wines and sherries were threatened by hovering fruit flies, so bars began serving small dishes of bread or salted meats (ham or chorizo) sized to cover the tops of glasses. Wine bars continued to expand the variety of glass covers, and we end up with tapas. It’s not the first time functionality has met design, but it’s probably the most crucial example of such in the culinary world. So important, in fact, that this art deserves its own exhibition, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at TAPAS. Spanish Design for Food at the Former Ambassador’s Residence. Read All About it Here – Farrah

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Music

CEO Wonderland released February 4
“Whorehouse” may be its first single, but CEO’s Wonderland is much more of a funhouse.  It’s brightly colored and ostensibly “fun,” but there’s pervasive feeling of the sinister and subversive.  It’s Eric Berglund’s omnivorous consumption of pop culture let loose in a hall of mirrors, where everything is contorted and stretched and perverted. It’s disorienting, but in a way that keeps drawing you further in.

In retrospect, White Magic was the solo debut that the Swedish artist needed to make in 2010: a refined, almost naturalistic response to The Tough Alliance’s neon excess. But Wonderland is the melange of pop – equally hedonistic and cherubic; “a place where hate and innocence can play” –  that that he makes unrivaled. You’ll be hard pressed to find songs that explode with more light than “Whorehouse”, “Wonderland”, and “OMG”. When we finally get an “Avatar 2”, the soundtrack for the euphoric/apocalyptic rave scene is waiting. -Phil

Katy B Little Red released February 10

Katy B doesn’t appear to be heading back to drawing board with her sophomore effort, Little Red. This is a good thing. Her debut, On a Mission, straddled au courant UK dance trends and pop sensibility better than anything this side of Body Talk. And like Robyn, Katy B has pretty much mastered the bittersweet house anthem, and we can never have enough of those in our lives.

Frequent collaborator Geenus handles production on seven of Little Red‘s twelve tracks – just as he did on its predecessor.  He’s joined in the credits by some eyebrow-raising names too: Joker, Sampha, Jacques Greene. But more important than liner note fodder is what we’ve heard so far: “5 AM”“What Love is Made Of”“I Like You”“Aaliyah”. These songs are fir. Even power ballad “Crying for No Reason” works itself from exposed Adele territory into the strobbing lights of the club. “I wanted to put more emphasis on songs this time around, rather than it just being one beat,” she told Pitchfork early last year.  So far it’s sounding like another mission accomplished. -Phil

Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire For No Witness released February 18

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First thing’s first, the obvious: That voice. Soaring. Quivering. Lonesome. Confident. Intimidating. Inviting. Sit back and enjoy the next month of people failing miserably at the comparison game.

But while it’s a wonderful instrument in almost any imaginable context, Burn Your Fire For No Witness is more than the expressiveness of Angel Olsen’s voice.  It’s one of the best records that will come out in 2014 because of her songs, which Olsen and her band (and producer John Congleton) project across a tumbleweed landscape of folk, 90s indie, country, and even honky-tonk. “When I record, it’s like taking a scalpel to something and collaging it together and hoping it works out and is surreal and awesome and that it translates,” Olsen told BYT in 2012.

Burn Your Fire For No Witness is a devastating document.  But it would be a huge mistake to typecast Olsen as distressed and helpless.  As she sings on “High & Wild”: “I’m neither innocent nor wise when you look me in the eyes.” -Phil

Into It. Over It. @ DC9 February 18, The Bowery Ballroom February 21

Look, I don’t want to get into an argument over whether there is an honest-to-God emo revival or whether there’s always been love for this particular type of punk rock. It’s immaterial because the right bands keep coming through town, and the kids clamor for tickets. Chicago’s Into It. Over It. are the latest emo headliners, and they’re joined the by cinematic-sounding The World Is a Beautiful Place & I’m No Longer Afraid to Die (plus an additional two indie bands). There’s going to be flannel, beards, lots of Xs on hands, and cheap beer. This crowd is not your family; it just feels that way. -Alan

Lo Fang Blue Film released February 24

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Lo Fang, aka Matthew Hemerlein, whom you may remember from playing/hosting our magical Family Hemerlein monthly showcases a few years back and being, in general, pretty omnipresent in the DC live music universe at the time, is in LA now,  opening for Lorde, and is surrounded by the kind of buzz that would make your head spin: from being hailed being one of Entertainment Weekly’s faces-to-watch for 2014,  to Esquire fawning all over him to MTV breaking out their thesaurus to find adequate ways to describe him … one cannot help but feel that things are about to get pretty huge over in his universe. Buy BLUE FILM to see why. -Svetlana

Beck Morning Phase released February 25

It’s been six long years since Modern Guilt, Beck’s glossy, packed-punch of an album produced by Danger Mouse. It was brief but fulfilling, though perhaps not six years’ worth of fulfillment; blessedly, on February 25, we’ll be graced with Morning Phase, Beck’s sibling album to 2003’s Sea Change. Listen to “Blue Moon,” below. It’s an acoustic, full, first glimpse of a record that harkens back to Beck’s etherial, haunting wheelhouse, as well as lyrics begging for understanding and companionship. (It should be noted that he’s also teamed up with multiple musicians used on Sea Change to further cinch the deal for early-2000s Beck fans.) While Beck’s also stated he’s working on a companion album to Modern Guilt, we have to admit–we’re glad to see this Beck again. -Stephanie

ScHoolboy Q Oxymoron released February 25
Oxymoron is 2014’s first event record. It’s obviously a minor event in the wake of Random Access Memories and Yeezus and Beyonce, but it is a legitimate event record nonetheless – an album that is going to light up Twittter and chat rooms and actual rooms, which I believe still exist. If you care at all about hip-hop,Oxymoron is a record that you’re going to be asked your opinion about.
What’s most interesting is how we got here. It wasn’t due a head-turning guest spot:  He may have showed up on Long.Live.A$AP and Old, but Q unquestionably keeps his best performances for himself.  It wasn’t the product of marketing muscle, because how do you sell a grizzled scumbag like Q?  No, we got here on the strength  of Oxymoron‘s four singles, all of which have been unfuckwithable: “Yay Yay”“Collard Greens”“Man of the Year”, and “Break the Bank”.
Listening to these these songs – and even outcast “Bangers (MOSHPIT)”– Q’s growth as an MC is undeniable. He’s doing things with his voice – using it percussively; switching flows effortlessly; devouring scenery – that he only hinted at on 2012’s pretty good Habits & Contradictions.  If he indeed the presumptive Man of the Year, he’s earned it. -Phil
The Notwist Close to the Glass released February 25
Much like Jim Guthrie, The Notwist takes its time. The German band released one of the defining albums of the early 2000s – the instant classic Neon Golden, an LP that laid out the blueprint for the decade of electronic-indie rock fusion to come – and then waited six years to follow it up.  When The Notwist did, it released a record, The Devil, You + Me, that was stubbornly understated and gloomy – something that refused to double down on the cathartic, populist elements of Neon Golden. It was an often beautiful and always beautifully recorded album, but expectations are a bitch.
Another six years later, The Notwist have returned with Close to the Glass, and this time around, expectations are slightly more reasonable.  And in the regard, this record probably exceeds them. It’s a playful and varied thing, with some real high-riding rock (“Kong”, “Seven Hour Drive”) and one legitimate banger in its title track. (Check Ryan Hemsworth’s remix of Beyonce’s “Mine” for further proof of that.)  But even in its quieter moments Close to the Glass is an audiophile’s feast. Every element of a song’s composition – each contrast of the pillowy and organic with the cold and metallic – is impeccable. Releasing this kind of record in February is a smart move: It’ll take the entire year to properly explore its terrain. -Phil

Television

New Girl with guest star Prince premieres February 2 on Fox

Forget the Super Bowl. Look, one team is going to win, one team is going to lose, Bruno Mars is going to make us all switch to the Puppy Bowl and next year we’ll do it all over again. However after the Super Bowl is a once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing Prince on one of TV’s best comedies, New Girl. Prince has proclaimed himself the biggest New Girl fan, so working his magic to get him on his favorite show between Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson makes perfect sense. New Girl’s going to get hella weird. -Ross

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The Walking Dead season 4 resumes February 9 on AMC

When we last left The Walking Dead, the prison was overrun, The Governor was dead and the survivors of his attack were fleeing zombies in the woods. After over a season of “comfort” (well as much comfort as you can have during the zombie apocalypse), The Walking Dead is returning to a world of unease and survival. And probably a world of more limbs getting cut off. Those guys love to cut off limbs. -Ross

House of Cards season 2 premieres February 14 on Netflix

This mind-bogglingly juicy Netflix original series starring one of our favorite people ever, Kevin Spacey, returns on Valentine’s Day. Hopefully you weren’t planning anything except grabbing a box of knock-off Godiva and stuffing it mindlessly into your mouth while watching Spacey and the rest of the cast swan around DC looking far more stylish than any of their real-life counterparts. This is the one year where you, your significant other, and all the single people you know will probably be doing the same thing on V-Day. -Ashley

About A Boy premieres February 22 on NBC

About A Boy, the book was one of my favorite books in high school. About A Boy, the movie is one of my favorite movies, period (and apparently, according to an informal survey, the ONLY movie that makes every single person in the BYT office CRY LIKE A SMALL EMOTIONAL CHILD ALL THE TIME) and now, apparently they are making a TV show. Upsides: Minnie Driver being Minnie Driver, John Favreau directing (!!!!), David Walton (aka the very handsome doctor Zooey Deschanel dated on season 2 of New Girl) as the lead (who seriously needs to be a star sometime very soon) and the team behind Parenthood and Friday Night Lights producing (read: “people who know their way around MY HEART AND MY TISSUE BOXES” producing). Downsides: those eternal and pesky questions: “Can someone improve on perfection?” and “Do we really need this?” Here’s hoping. -Svetlana

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hduxDPiEDk

Late Night with Seth Meyers premieres February 24 on NBC

Now that Jay Leno is finally giving up his seat on The Tonight Show (we’ll see…), Jimmy Fallon will take his rightful place on The Tonight Show throne, leaving his show to be hosted by current Weekend Update co-host Seth Meyers. Fallon’s take on late night took a while to find its legs, so it’ll be interesting to see how Meyers show goes, especially since it sounds likeLate Night With Seth Meyers will be more like The Pete Holmes Show than Jimmy Fallon. With the first guest already announced as another former SNLer Amy Poehler, it should be an exciting start. Fingers crossed for appearances from Stefon and Drunk Uncle. -Ross

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAF68wevP6o

The Americans season 2 returns February 26 on FX

The first season of The Americans needs to be watched. Since I don’t want to give away any spoilers, and unlike most shows, spoiler-worthy drama happens in every episode, I will shower the show with praise without giving anything away. It’s actually one of the reasons this show isn’t getting higher ratings. It’s not about vampires or time travel or politics or sex. It has vampires (no, it doesn’t), time travel (in a way), politics (yes) and sex (but not really sexy sex like House of Cards) but it’s not in a simple, easy, Scandal-esque package. It’s a complicated work of art. It’s art. Hopefully art that people are willing to try.

Season 1 evolved into must-watch On Demand television. The return of this period drama will hopefully keep everything the same. Keep the cast, keep the writers, keep the tone, keep the feel. No other show on television feels like The Americans. It’s grey. All grey, all the time. No one is winning and everything is always, slowly slipping away. It may sound like I’m advising staying away from the show. I am not. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there. -Brandon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSbr8shhwCk

Hannibal season 2 returns February 28 on NBC

Can we all just put our hands together for NBC for not canceling Hannibal, when they well could have? The Brian Fuller created show (who was previously in charge of the lovely and never-forgotten Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies, and mind you-a lot of fun, subtle nods to these two are sprinkled throughout, just for us sad superfans) is something that would THRIVE on HBO or as a Netflix exclusive but is just almost too good for network TV. Beautifully shot, stylishly sinister, incredibly mind-fucky, it is what the future of crime TV should be, if only Americans get their acts together AND WATCH IT. As season 2 premieres – DON’T FUCK UP and watch it – Svetlana (BONUS: read about MORE murder mysteries you should not miss RIGHT HERE)

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Theatre

The Importance of Being Earnest @ Shakespeare Theatre Company January 16 through March 2
“A trivial comedy for serious people.” It was a rare case of a required reading in high school being genuinely enjoyable. It goes without saying, The Importance of Being Earnest was one of the best farcical comedies of its time, satirizing the social classes of its time. There’s no doubt this play will be the same amount of tasteful as it was in late Victorian London. -Esther

Peter and the Starcatcher @ The Kennedy Center January 28 through February 16
Travel back to Neverland and watch as 12 actors play more than 100 characters to tell the story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. I do believe in fairies, I do, I do! -Deanna

Joey deBettencourt, left, and Megan Stern in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher.’ (Photo by Jenny Anderson; courtesy Kennedy Center)

Joey deBettencourt, left, and Megan Stern in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher.’ (Photo by Jenny Anderson; courtesy Kennedy Center)

 

Sci-Fi Spectacular! @ Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore February 20

Combine the beauty of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with the technology of space, well movie and TV space. Sit back, relax and let the music of Superman, 2001 Space Odyssey, E.T., Star Wars, Star Trek and more wash over you. How can I NOT attend this event? Plus it’s hosted by George Takei, the greatest man on Facebook. No really, he is the mayor of Facebook. It’s one night only at The Strathmore. I can’t wait to beam myself up or bend space and time to my whim. Either/or.

Seminar @ Round House Theatre (Bethesda) February 5 through March 2
If you thought you were good in school, think again! Theresa Rebeck, Broadway’s most-produced female playwright and Pulitzer Prize nominee, brings you a smart and funny new comedy about four aspiring novelists who attend for lessons with literary hero, Leonard, only to be tested in ways they certainly did not sign up for. Who will blossom and who will stumble in this unorthodox comedy. -Emily

Richard III  @ Folger Theatre, January 28 through March 9
For the first time, Folger Theatre will be reconfigured to allow Richard III to be produced in the round so audience members can get even closer to the drama as Shakespeare’s telling of Richard III’s unstable life unfolds. -Deanna

The Piano Teacher @ Rep Stage, February 5 through February 23
If you’re feeling a little too warm, go see the chilling tale of Mrs. K, a former piano teacher who lives alone since her husband died. One day she feels compelled to call her old piano students and mystery ensues.  -Deanna

Tribes @ Studio Theatre, January 28 through February 23
Billy is a deaf man who was born into a hearing family who never listened to him. When he meets Sylvia, a woman who is going deaf, he decides it’s time to speak out on his own terms, shocking his family into listening. -Deanna

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Video Games

The Last of Us: Left Behind released February 14

If you haven’t played The Last of Us – the video game answer to The Road – go out, buy a Playstation 3 and the game and play it immediately. While I won’t spoil one of the greatest video games of last year, The Last of Us: Left Behind is the only planned narrative downloadable content for this amazing game. Developer Naughty Dog is known for creating some of the most cinematic games of the last console generation, having made the incredible Uncharted trilogy and making the narrative gap between movies and games that much smaller. If you love good storytelling or are already a fan of The Last of Us, you’d be stupid not to pick up this DLC when it drops on Valentine’s Day. -Ross

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze released February 21

Nintendo has a bit of a problem on their hands with the Wii U. The console, unlike it’s wildly successful predecessor, didn’t make much of an impact on launch and has now been overshadowed by the high profile releases from PlayStation and Xbox. Apparently many people think it’s simply a new accessory for the original Wii, and to be honest, the roll out of quality original titles has been frustratingly slow. But for a casual gamer, the $299.99 price tag, integrated Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Instant, party and family friendly vibe, wide catalog of retro virtual console games to download, and of course the familiar franchises like Super Mario and Zelda, still make it an attractive option.

On February 21 there will be yet one more reason to still have faith in Nintendo when they release Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The early previews are in, and they’ve been glowing, with IGN calling it “beautiful, tough, and satisfying” and Nintendo Life saying “early impressions are extremely positive”.

Will Donkey Kong be able to save the console? Probably not. But maybe when Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros join it later in 2014 there will finally be the catalog to justify the hardware. -Cale

Birthday

I turn 34 on the 23rd. I thought 33 was going to be a magical year because it was my Jesus year until I realized Jesus was crucified at 33 so perhaps it wasn’t the best year for him. I wasn’t crucified though so things are already looking up for 34! (Jenn)

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