Your Best February

The shortest month of the year. Make the most of it. Our picks for art exhibits, Valentine’s day survival, books about drunk presidents, potential albums of the year, hot tubs, a Parks & Rec party and more. Categories are in alphabetical order.

ART

PRAVA Fest – February 7 – it is time DC area got a cool, weird WINTER art festival to look forward to. The first addition of the (free-to-attend) PRAVA happens on Saturday, February 7, 6PM – 2AM. Brace yourself for a one-night immersive art experience featuring international, national, and regional artists (Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York, Boston, and the Netherlands are all on the list of origins of participants). What to expect: musical performances and art installations spanning 40,000 square feet over three floors of office space at Pike & Rose. The event is open to guests 18 and older and is free to attend with online registration at www.PRAVAFest.org.

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Image: Jonathan Monaghan, courtesy of Prava Fest

RFP @ EMP Collective -This exhibit is reason enough to take the MARC to Baltimore. A 5,000 square foot art experience/exhibit/drawing/set by Amanda Burnham is the kind of installation that makes you wish this was in every vacant storefront. Brunham has re-created Baltimore and why can’t this exist in D.C.? The space is fantastic for all-ages. Rarely is an art opening made better by children, but last Saturday’s was. People are welcome to answer the following questions on Post-It Notes, “What makes a community strong?” and “What should the future hold for Baltimore?” Some gave serious answers. Some drew illustrations of their friends. One cool 10-year-old wrote Baltimore needs a fart gun. -Brandon Wetherbee

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Photo by Kelsey Snell

A Creative DC –INTERNET STUFF TO KEEP AN EYE ON: A Creative DC is a new project from DC artist + content creator Morgan H. West of Panda Head Blog. Celebrating all aspects of a diverse and creative lifestyle in a city not necessarily known for it, the weekly Panda Head Blog series represents DC’s makers and doers; their side projects and full-time hustles. The A Creative DC project can be accessed by way of Panda Head Blog, or through its own URL: ACreativeDC.com, and it’s also taking place on Instagram at @aCreativeDC. Contribute YOUR creative DC by using the #aCreativeDC hashtag. Your life looks good here.

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MoMA ALL NIGHT – You have probably now heard all about the amazing, gorgeous, record breaking Matisse Cut-Outs show at MoMA. If you haven’t seen it yet and are looking for an excuse to do so (not that you need an excuse) – the first weekend in February is a good one. Starting Friday at 10:30AM and all the way through Sunday at 5:30pm the MUSEUM WILL NOT CLOSE. NY – what are you waiting for? DC – ready for a road-trip this weekend? BONUS: Keep an eye out for a gorgous BYT photo essay of this Night at the Museum event – Svetlana

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954). Memory of Oceania. Nice-Cimiez, Hôtel Régina, summer 1952–early 1953. Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, and charcoal on paper mounted on canvas, 9′ 4″ x 9′ 4 7/8″ (284.4 x 286.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954). Memory of Oceania. Nice-Cimiez, Hôtel Régina, summer 1952–early 1953. Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, and charcoal on paper mounted on canvas, 9′ 4″ x 9′ 4 7/8″ (284.4 x 286.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

BOOKS

The First Bad Man by Miranda July –It should be pretty common knowledge by now that we worship at the Miranda July altar 24/7/365. And end of January brought us a great gift, a gift all of you should enjoy in February (if you haven’t enjoyed it already): her first novel. In it, in perfect July fashion, a middle-aged loner/eccentric’s life is turned upside/down/and around when she accepts her boss’ daughter as a temporary lodger. The book is sad and funny and sexy and SUPER UNSEXY all at once and for those of us who will inevitably want to immerse ourselves into all of it some more – there is also a The First Bad Man store, proceeds of which all go to To The National Partnership for Women and Families. Because of course. A BOOK AND A ONE-STOP-GIFT-SHOP for the most special of special people in your life. Thank you Miranda.  -Svetlana Legetic

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Party Like A President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief from the Oval Office by Brian Abrams, Illustrations by John Mathias to be released February 10 – We receive countless album, show, restaurant, art exhibit and film press releases. It’s impossible to keep up. We do keep up on the books we receive. We will examine all of them. One we just got in piqued our interest for obvious reasons. This new book, part trivia, part recipes, part jokes, is fun. It should be on the bar in every bar in the DMV. It should do quite well in this town. It should do quite well this holiday season. It’s about presidents and booze. Can there be a more D.C. book? No. No there can not. -Brandon Wetherbee

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From Party Like A President, illustration by John Mathias, used with permission

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B.J. Novak @ National Museum of Natural History – February 13 –You probably know B.J. Novak best as temp-turned-douchebag Ryan Howard on The Office or as one of Tarantino’s lovable Nazi hunters in Inglourious Basterds. But as of late, the comedian/actor/producer/Mindy Kaling BFF is all grown up. Proof: he has a book of short stories, One More Thing: Stores and Other Stories, and he’s coming to the Smithsonian to talk about it. I haven’t technically read it, but Wikipedia says it’s full of “Woody Allen-like stories,” so that’s really all I need to know. The best part is that the Smithsonian is billing the event as a “lecture,” which makes it sound really fancy and also means you finally won’t be lying when you tell your family that you do sophisticated Washington D.C., things like attend lectures at the Smithsonian. -Kerri Pinchuk

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Pete Holmes @ DC Improv – February 20, 21, 22-I used to LOVE listening to Pete Holmes’ podcast You Made It Weird. I was pretty excited when he got his own TV show. That was canceled. I’m glad. I enjoyed Pete Holmes far more in podcast form than in TV form. I’ve yet to see his standup live but I hope he chooses to make it weird. -Jenn Tisdale

Kyle Kinane @ U Hall – February 24 – Kyle Kinane has slowly become one of today’s All-Star comics, which means he can book a seated U Street Music Hall on a Tuesday (welcome to the big leagues!).

You might recognize his voice from Comedy Central commercials — “tonight on Brickleberry…” — or from one of the 3,000 comedy podcasts out there that he’s been a guest on, but Kinane’s currently riding the high of a well-received new special, I Liked His Old Stuff Better. On it, Uncle Barbecue is back with tons new dum dum stories, waxing poetic about everything from analog porn to drunken falls in the shower. -Bryce Rudow

DRINK

Passenger Pop-Up: The Passenger in Exile – February 8 – When the Passenger closed there was a palpable empty spot left in the hearts of the DC drinking community. And while the bar looks for a new location in Shaw, the owners are keeping the dream alive with a series of pop-ups the first of which is happening this weekend at Bar 7 just down the block from the original Passenger location. Expect quality cocktails, live band karaoke and more.-Svetlana Legetic

Guerilla Drinks – February 15 – In what has been described as “part cocktail party and part installation piece” this collaboration between Jason Strich and Owen Thomson, aims is to create a complete experience by replicating, in Washington DC, some of their favorite cocktail bars from around the country. For one night only come join them in the basement of Cafe Saint-Ex on Sunday, February 15th from 7pm to 2am, as we recreate the eminently popular 3 Dots & a Dash (Chicago). Ten original cocktails, one night, two mostly sober dudes and a whole lot of theatrics. Follow them on @guerilladrinks for more updates

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FILM

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 in theaters February 20 -After five years of anticipation, the sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine is finally hitting theaters on February 20th. John Cusack bailed on the second installment but in his place we’ve got the wonderful Adam Scott. After watching the trailer I’m not entirely sure what the plot of this movie is supposed to be, but the guys are going into the future. And making dick jokes. Sold. -Melissa Groth

50 Shades of Grey and IGNORING 50 Shades of Grey – The movie is going to be everywhere. There will be no avoiding the movie. I mean, we’re definitely going even if we’re kind of loving to hate the idea that we’re going. WE’RE EVEN GIVING TICKETS AWAY TO IT. However, you could spend some quality time TRYING to avoid the movie by doing these things: watching Jamie Dornan be the ultimate bad guy in The Fall (Season 2 now finally streaming on Netflix), or diving into this handy list of Movies Bound to Be Sexier Than 50 Shades Of Grey, all streaming now, all available for your taking.

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Oscar Nominated Films @ National Archives – February 18-22 -In order to be the most pretentious attendee at an Oscar viewing party, you need to be well versed in the categories the red carpet overlooks — documentary and short film nominees. Every year, DC’s very own National Archives hosts free screenings of Oscar nominated films in the days leading up to the awards ceremony. My favorite of the screenings are the short animated films. Seriously, who doesn’t like watching the equivalent of Saturday morning cartoons with an art school twist? Take note: if you attend the screenings, especially on the weekends, SHOW UP EARLY because getting your cinema-on at the Archives can get crowded. -Matty Greene

DC Independent Film Festival – February 25 – March 1 -Fill your schedule with world premiere film screenings from February 25th to March 1st at the DC Independent Film Festival. Narrative features, documentaries, animated films and shorts from around the world will premiere over the course of five days at multiple venues in DC. The lineup for this festival is always solid, and this year is no different. Check out Blood, Sweat, and Beer, a documentary about the growth of the US craft beer industry; Bear Story, an animated film, if you like bears but find Paddington irritating; Littekins, from the Netherlands, is a dark story about a girl’s search for her biological father, based on true events. Plus TONS more. You can also attend seminars and workshops as part of the festival. -Melissa Groth

FOOD

Copycat Company -It’s rare to see an outstanding cocktail program paired with Chinese drinking food. It’s even less often the two mesh together perfectly. Copycat Co., a new bar on H St., pulls it off. Devin Gong, a former bartender at Jose Andres’ Barmini, has created the perfect spot to imbibe in hand-crafted drinks made by people who actually know what they’re doing behind the stick. February should be especially exciting, as Copycat (whose riffs on classic cocktails rotate weekly) is planning a bitters menu, followed by winter tiki classics, then a menu focused on “equal parts” drinks. When all that delicious booze starts to catch up with you, there’s a menu full of dumplings, bao, and skewers, all of which are the perfect complement to strong drinks. Do yourself a favor and just order everything on the menu – the entire thing is under $25 total. Grab some Sriracha and start February off right. -Logan Hollers

Ramen World @ Mess Hall, February 8 -Let’s be honest: the weather sucks right now. Sure, sunshine is appreciated, we missed the huge blizzard, blah, blah, blah. Pipe down, glass-half-fullers. No matter how you spin it, it’s goddamn freezing outside. That’s precisely why YOUR BEST FEBRUARY has to include the Ramen World event Feb. 8th at DC’s Mess Hall. Kick cold to the curb with unlimited (not a typo) ramen from Erik Bruner-Yang from Toki Underground, Chef Katsuya Fukushima from Daikaya, and Chef Myo Htun from Chaplin’s. Not down with just ramen? Lucky you – other participating restaurants include Thip Khao, Donburi, and Pho Wheels. Oh yeah, there’s also unlimited (also not a typo) cocktails poured by the good folks at the U.S. Bartender’s Guild and unlimited (still not a typo) Kirin Ichiban. Show winter who’s boss. -Logan Hollers

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Chili Cookoff @ Hill Country BBQ – February 21 -This will be the kind of chili cookoff that doesn’t involve a slew of crap bands. Hill Country BBQ’s annual chili cookoff invites amateur cooks to compete for the coveted Chili Pot Trophy. Bonus: It’s for a good cause! All ticket sales are donated to MicroGreens, an organization that is committed to teaching low-income families how to eat healthy. Who will beat last year’s winner, a Chicken Chipotle Pumpkin chili? You’ll have to show up to find out, but keep those tummies empty! You’ll need the space. Just head on down to Hill Country BBQ Saturday February 21st from 1pm to 3pm to make all your chili dreams come true. – Jenn Tisdale

HOLIDAY

Valentine’s Day – Fine, it is happening. There is really, truly nothing you can do about it. Having said that-we’re here to make the planning for it A LITTLE easier (hopefully), so check out our very handy date guides on this occasion:

  • BEST DC PLACES FOR A BLIND DATE (aka “where to go with people you have never met in person but have temporary semi-high hopes for”)
  • BEST DC PLACES FOR A FIRST DATE (aka “where to go with people you HAVE met in person before, after you two mutually decided that some one-on-one time to explore your potential future of nudity and Sunday afternoon marathons of Law & Order SVU is in order”)
  • BEST DC PLACES FOR A SEAL-THE-DEAL/SPECIAL OCCASION DATE (aka “where to go with people you’ve made it through the wilderness of of early “dating” with and are just about ready to make it really count… you lucky bastards yous)

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Chinese New Year – February 19 – Chinese New Year, or to be more politically correct, Lunar New Year sneaks up on you. But it is the best day in February. Actually, the best 15 days. For 15 days you have an excuse to wear red, and most importantly, eat lots and lots of dumplings. Although D.C.’s Chinatown isn’t really Chinatown anymore, you can watch its annual tradition of getting in touch with its heritage with parades, dragon dances, and dining specials. -Sarah Guan

Jenn Tisday’s Birthday- February 23

My mom: What do you want for your birthday this year?

Me: Well I turn 35, should I freeze my eggs?

My mom: Do you want to?

Me: I don’t think so because I’m pretty sure you have to pay some kind of storage fee, like renting storage space and I can barely pay the fee on their current storage facility.

HEY-O!

MUSIC

Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear – February 10 –Love, marriage, religion, the American Dream: I Love You, Honeybear is where Josh Tillman takes all sacred cows to slaughter. It’s the singer-songwriter archetype gone gonzo; the work of an “aimless fake drifter and a horny manchild mama’s boy” that triples down on the eccentricities of the Father John Misty debut, 2012’s Fear Fun. (This is an album where the most accessible song ends with a throwaway line about sexual asphyxiation.) The music, meanwhile, is a lush and impeccably orchestrated trip through a vast swath of the American cannon. Tillman was already a relative rising star in the indie landscape, but with I Love You, Honeybear, he’s primed to go supernova, on his own terms. -Phil Runco

Ms. Lauryn Hill @ Howard Theatre – February 13 -Lauryn Hill is kicking off her acoustic tour in D.C. on Valentine’s Day weekend. Fans can experience L-Boogie in raw form at the Howard Theatre. If you ever wished to be apart of the audience during her unplugged series, here’s your chance. -Mykalee McGowan

Future Brown: Future Brown – February 24 – The self-titled Warp debut of Future Brown is a music nerd’s notebook-scribbled fantasy come to life: the collaboration of artist/composer Fatima Al Qadiri, Lit City Trax’s J-Cush, and Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda of Nguzunguzu, featuring contributions from Kelela, Tink, and Sicko Mobb, among others. That is a gnarly stew of forward-thinking club and hip-hop. And, somewhat amazingly in this day and age, it was made by four people working together in one room, and not over the Internet. Of course, this could have all resulted in some esoteric one-off strictly for curiousos, but what we’ve heard so far – “Room 302”“Talkin Bandz”, and “Wanna Party” – have been weirdly populist bangers. If this is the future, sign me up. -Phil Runco

THEESatisfaction: EarthEE – February 24 – “This song makes me wanna go to a house party and step through the door in slo-mo and just walk around and make friends and eat vegan food that I would normally hate,” my Rec-Room colleague Aaron Miller wrote recently of “Recognition”, the lead single from THEESatisfaction’s forthcoming EarthEE. Fellow Rec-Roomer Clyde McGrady’s take was sightly more staightforward: “PASS ME THE OPIUM OK THANKS.” You get the point: The Seattle duo’s music has a dizzying effect. It’s not of this time or the past or the future or this universe. It’s interstellar R&B. Paired with Shabazz Palaces – who show up on EarthEE – there are strange and wonderful things coming out of the Pacific Northwest (and Sub Pop) right now. -Phil Runco

PARTY

Shiprocked February 2-6 – From February 2nd to 6th Brandon Wetherbee (BYT managing editor) and I (BYT’s ad/promo manager) will be trapped on a cruise ship with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Buckcherry, Filter, Andrew WK and many other bands whose names I’ll never know because they’re usually words that don’t really exist (Chevelle, Sevendust, Grobot, Otherwise, Nonpoint?????). We don’t know what to expect. Personally I am VERY excited about the almost non-stop buffet (there is rumor of a chocolate fountain that I maybe started) and the fitness area which looks over the ocean. Other than that we’re hoping to run into Fred Durst at a casino lounge bar so he can regale us with stories about directing eHarmony commercials. -Jenn Tisdale

Sugar & Champagne @ Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center February 4-It’s safe to say this is the only we’ll be recommending at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in 2015. The annual Sugar & Champagne event is a must for any dog lover. I went last year and almost adopted a dog. I live in an apartment building that does not allow dogs. Jesus Christ, I wanted to adopt a dog. Specifically, I wanted to adopt a dog named Dame Judi Dench, pictured below. I still think about this dog. That’s messed up.

It’s a pricey ticket but all proceeds go towards the Washington Humane Society so you’ll feel good about your fun and please, will someone tell me that Dame Judi Dench is OK? -Brandon Wetherbee

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BODYWORK @ Black Cat – February 14 -What could be more romantic than finding your soulmate while thumping and grinding at a Valentine’s Day queer dance party? BODYWORK has been moved to Black Cat which is good because there wasn’t enough room to properly check out all the cuties at Mad Momos. New year, new venue, new sexy dance times. -Matty Greene

LASER CAT @ The Yards – February 20 – Lets get weird. Laser Cat is a gigantic feline-shaped art installation that projects creative work crowd-sourced from around the world through its laser-beam eyes. Yes, you read that right: cool imagery, giant inflatable cat, laser beams. Founded by Hungry Castle, the Barcelona-based creative duo whose projects blend fashion and public art have made a global impression. Watch the video: feedlasercat.com Sponsored by The Yards and Washington Project for the Arts with the support of The JBG Companies.

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Parks And Recreation Finale Party – February 24 @ Howard Theatre -SOLD OUT There will be trivia. There will be prizes. There will be Parks & Rec on a very big screen. What else do we need to say? -Brandon Wetherbee

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TELEVISION

Everything releasing on Instant Netflix and Amazon Prime this month – In date-by-date order. With our recommendations on top. Because you deserve it (and by IT we mean binge watching Hannibal Season 2 for free, laughing along to Tootsie and all the Jack Nicholson Joker nightmares you can spare). USE THIS ALL MONTH LONG.

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The Americans season 3 on FX now airing – Get ready to bite some nails as FX brings its adrenaline-fueled geopolitical drama back on the airwaves. If you missed the first two seasons, now is your chance to catch up with Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip (Matthew Rhys) Jennings. The two Soviet spies juggle the everyday dilemmas of their cover life in 1980s D.C. with the secret operations demanded of them by their motherland. Without giving too much away, season 3 is sure to thrill as the couple’s Americanized children are getting a little too old to keep falling for their parents’ constant excuses and lies. -Michael Young

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THEATER

GiGI @ Kennedy Center – Through February 12 – The classic Leslie Caron musical is coming to Broadway at the end of this month but before that it is doing a special pre-engagement at Kennedy Center. Vanessa Hudgens plays the gamine lead, and the sets/dresses/wink-wink-nudge-nudge dynamic of the whole production are enough to make you forget the never-quite-not-creepy premise. Thank Heaven, indeed – Svetlana Legetic

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Neil deGrasse Tyson @ DAR – February 26 –Neil deGrasse Tyson is currently science’s best hope for our planet. From his approachable Star Talk podcast, to tag-teaming with Seth MacFarlane on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson is doing what all high school science teachers in America wish they could do — taking subjects as large as the universe and presenting them in a way that anyone can understand. It ain’t easy, but NdGT has that gift. And he’s coming to D.C. in February to spread the good gospel of gravity, black holes, and the beauty that is our universe. -Matty Greene

We put this in theater because it’s not exactly comedy and not a lecture and not a party, it’s kind of all three. -ed.

 

Let us know if we missed something in the comments (We know we did).