Shortest month of the year! Most romantic (if you’re coupled) month of the year! One month closer to the mid-term elections and the end of, well, you know!
The following contains 28+ picks to have your best February.
Your Best Months of 2018 are all presented in partnership with our friends and partners at Hilton
There are many things we expect to see at National Gallery of Art: Vermeers, Calders, Krugers and the like (though, no more Chuck Close). Self-taught, folk, primitive, visionary, naïve, and outsider art is not necessarily on that “expected” list. But in this time of striving for more inclusiveness, a change of dialogue and diversity in all aspects of our lives, it is amazing to see 250 pieces of that powerful, personality driven, and, yes, very special genre stand proudly in the revered halls of our Nation’s art collection. Leave your expectations at the door and dive in. -Svetlana Legetic
Space for artists (and art itself) has always been a fraught conversation in D.C. In lieu of just talking about it, Tim Doud, Caitlin Teal Price and Linn Meyers are taking things into their own hands with Stable Arts. Read our article about the project here, and learn more about the fundraiser kick-off here. -Svetlana Legetic
The culture at large might be in the midst of a 90s resurgence, but the Hirshhorn is kicking it back and sending you straight in to the sweet and innocent commercialization of the 80s with its newest exhibit. The exhibit brings together a variety of works that have seldom been shown before to highlight the merging of artist and brand that took place during the 1980s. Expect an edge of satire, art by some truly big names (Koons, Kruger, the Guerilla Girls) and to inexplicably understand the vaporwave movement by the time you leave. Starting on the 13th, Hirshhorn will also be projecting Krzystof Wodiczko’s large scale projection “Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000” on the side of the museum. While the piece was originally crafted as a reaction to the sociopolitical climate in the 80s, projecting it in 2018 just proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Make sure your Dorsia reservation is locked down and get ready for a wild ride. -Kaylee Dugan
Created by Georgia Saxelby, To Future Women marks the one year anniversary of the Women’s March with a 20 year time capsule of letters to a future generation. Starting at the Phillips Collection, the interactive artwork will make its way through different institutions and cultural spaces around D.C. during the next six months. Participants throughout America and beyond are invited to write a letter to women in 20 years, with the letters being re-exhibited on January 21, 2037, marking the historic moment of one of the largest networked protests in global history. -Anna Stevens
Looking for a different kind of Valentine’s Day event? One that is both unimpeachably cool, supports the arts (the event is a fundraiser for Transformer’s Flat Files Store and also a fundraiser for the arts organization itself), just the right kind of weird (tarot card readings, crystals, body painting by Rose Jaffe) and also features an open bar and a pizza dinner buffet and is totally cool to go to no matter what your romantic status is? Well, then Transformer’s 2nd Annual Heartbreaker’s Ball is for you. We are excited to be media partners for it, so get tickets here. -Svetlana Legetic
“Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna” @ NGA February 25
If you at all care about the crossroads between art and religion, don’t miss NGA’s “Heavenly Earth”. The exhibition is centered around 1612’s Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia, which shows La Verna, the area where Saint Francis got a healthy dose of stigmata, but you can expect tons of different interpretations of Saint Francis’ story. Look, even if you’re not into religious art, old stuff is so damn cool. -Kaylee Dugan
People have been talking about this book about beauty, power, and being a teenager for at least a year. A YEAR. Do you know how hard it is to get anyone to talk about anything for a year these days? Context: A year ago Sean Spicer was new in his job and Harvey Weinstein still had more than eight months before he’d be expelled from his. But Dhonielle Clayton is one of the most trusted voices in literature, the co-author of the acclaimed book Tiny Pretty Things, and the COO of We Need Diverse Books. People will wait patiently for whatever she does next, and early reviews suggest they won’t be disappointed. -Trisha Brown
Adrian Tomine is known for his emotionally gripping and culturally challenging graphic novels and his New Yorker covers which are always conversation starters. His latest novel release, the New York Times best selling Killing and Dying, is available in paperback. Not only does his artwork have beautiful attention to detail but his storytelling really captures the angst of the zeitgeist in a way that’s pretty special for graphic novelists. Seeing him live is also such a cool experience because it’s paired with visuals to compliment the discussion. He’ll be in conversation with NPR’s Linda Holmes. it’s definitely worth waiting around post discussion for him to sign your book. The line may take awhile but that’s because he’s been known not just to sign his name but to do a hand drawn cartoon sketch in every book. -Diana Metzger
If you’re a fan of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train and all those other thriller murder mysteries with or without “girl” in the title and you don’t know Laura Lippman, get educated. Not only is she a local literary celeb (residing in Baltimore) but all her many, many addictive mystery novels take place in and around the DMV. Her upcoming release takes place in and around Delaware and involves a sexy, suspenseful affair between a man and a woman who both are on the move and seemingly away from sordid pasts. Seriously, no matter what the story is, Lippman puts out a new novel every few years and none of them disappoint. They’re the kind of mysteries you break plans for just so you can finish. The only plan not to break is the chance to hear her read and chat about her work. If she’s as snarky and fun as she is on Twitter and as genius as her intricate novels the chance to pick her hilarious and meticulous brain will be a total treat. -Diana Metzger
Might be cool to check out Conspiracy, a book about billionaire blood feaster Peter Thiel’s elaborate plot to kill Gawker. But also the book might be on his side because the dude who wrote it is framing it as a “study of power” and shit so it might be best to wait until a book that’s more open about this being an Objectively Bad Thing comes around? You decide. -Matt Byrne
Bentzen Ball alums Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are making America re-think the idea of a comedy special by launching essentially a mini-series of comedy specials, directed by Bentzen Ball curator and BYT BFF Tig Notaro, and featuring an array of guests that includes: Titus Burgess, John Early, Sarah Jessica Parker, Aparna Nancherla, Baron Vaugh and more. It is basically like a Bentzen Ball reunion spread (plus SJP!) spread over four nights of sass talk of the highest order. Tune in or you’re dead to us. -Svetlana Legetic
I have watched Michelle Wolf’s HBO special Nice Lady many times. It is so good. It is super smart and funny and angry but not too angry, and has just enough fart jokes in it to crowd please just about anyone until they realize that the fart jokes are actually period jokes. In short, she sounds like the kind of lady I’d love to be friends with. Since all the DC Improv shows are sold out, all we can do now, is watch Nice Lady a few more times, and keep our fingers and toes crossed that she agrees to come to our Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival this Fall. Michelle, come to Bentzen Ball! -Svetlana Legetic
Honestly, my feelings about Joe Biden are mixed. I’m a pretty skeptical of him now that he’s making a hobby of Monday-morning-quarterbacking the 2016 elections. But I appreciate that he acknowledges that he owes Anita Hill an apology. But I’d appreciate him more if he actually delivered that apology in person. At any rate, Biden is an interesting guy, and he doesn’t seem to be (fingers-crossed, knock on wood, God help us) pure evil, so he might be worth listening to. Plus, he’s at Anthem, and that place is right near my house, so. -Trisha Brown
The National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian are joining together in a program moderated by Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered. Both museums are credited to re-framing the depiction of American history from an unvaried view to one that is multifaceted. The program, Finding Common Ground, will focus on the complex history of African Americans and Native Americans, and how the intertwined stories have contributed to our American identity as well as how they have often energized each others movements both historically and currently. The event is free with first come first serve seating. -Anna Stevens
Tunnel of Love @ Iron Gate February 1 – 14
The Tunnel of Love pop up is back, but this time it’s taken a dark and fairly emo turn. Iron Gate’s theme this year is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, which means there’s all aspects of love get their fair shake, even the melancholy bits. After you get yourself a seat at the black and red decked out bar, you have the option of ordering from the Full Hearts side of the menu, or the Heartbreakers side. The DC Tinder Negroni deconstructs the classic Italian drink in an unexpected way while the Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus plays with your olfactory senses. Foodwise, the squid ink gnocchetti and the bison tartare are definitely winners. Just make sure you end your trip with an order of the white chocolate mousse. We devoured every bite and easily could have ordered seconds. -Kaylee Dugan
This new bar by David Strauss is cute. And bright. This cute and bright bar is meant for dates. February is a good time to open cute and bright bars. The relatively tiny space is personal in one of the least personal spaces in D.C. It’s located at 1020 7th St. NW. It’s technically part of the Convention Center. Similar to Smoked & Stacked, it has nothing in common with the Convention Center other than the shared walls. Think well made cocktails on a rotating menu and blocks of ice (all ice comes from giant blocks of ice bartenders will obtain using a saw and hammer). It may be across the street from Sbarro, but it has more in common with The Passenger’s original location, which was across the street. -Brandon Wetherbee
OK, hear me out, but what if: gruit.
The broadly defined style of unhopped, spiced beers are experiencing a bit of a resurgence lately, and few if any in D.C. are beating the drum harder than Pizzeria Paradiso beer director Drew McCormick. This is a subject we discussed at length last September in a little (OK, not actually little) article called Freshly Tapped: The Gruit Made Me Do It.
On February 1, McCormick will get to celebrate her favorite fake holiday, International Gruit Day, with a range of gruit offerings across all four Pizzeria Paradiso locations. One of those offerings will be a barrel-aged version of the restaurant group’s collaboration with Denizens Brewing, The Gruit Made Me Do It. Here’s where twist comes in: That’s the gruit I wrote about in September. Whoa. Dubbed “Stop Trying to Make Gruit Happen,” this barrel-aged iteration was steeped on chamomile, rose hips, and vanilla bean.
Here’s your game plan: Read that article, go to Pizzeria Paradiso, drop knowledge on unsuspecting patrons. Additional gruits will vary by location but include a mix of Earth Eagle, Gruit Brewing, and Dogfish Head offerings.
Or if you feel like celebrating this holy day in Silver Spring, head to Denizens, where they’ll be tapping Stop Trying to Make Gruit Happen, as well. -Phil R.
It’s the other most wonderful time of year. Yup, things are getting Future voice colossal.
On Saturday, Port City will throw a party to celebrate its seventh anniversary and the release of Colossal Seven, its seventh anniversary beer (duh).
This year, head brewer Jonathan Reeves and his team have whipped up a traditional Scotch Ale. We’re going to dig into why that’s not such an easy task in an upcoming Freshly Tapped profile on the beer. Come back Friday to read!
Anyway, this sexy beast clocks in at 8% and steams up all the windows with its high-end Scottish malt bill. The brewery promises a beer with “notes of raisin bread and chewy caramels complemented by a subtle roastiness.” And you know what? I believe them.
If you liked Port City’s award-winning Colossal Five (or, in other words, if you have functioning taste buds), you’ll probably love this beer, because this type of Scotch Ale is essentially the Scottish rendition of an old ale. And to the delight of PEATA, no smoked malts were used in the making of this beer.
If you head to the brewery on Saturday, there will be live music, food options, and you’ll be able to score a six-pack of the beer. That’s right, kids: Colossal Seven is coming in sixers. Roll-up to a party with a pack of these and watch the place go crazy. -Phil R.
Remember that gruit event? OK, here is the literal opposite thing.
Next Thursday, Smoke & Barrel will host the second edition of “IPA Insanity”, aka “HOPS for Refugees 2018”, aka “Fresh Beer Celebration”, aka “Damn, This Thing Has a Lot of Names”.
The concept is simple: Beer director Jace Gonnerman has lined up a stellar selection of hoppy beers, and all proceeds from the sales of said hoppy beers will go to refugees via the International Rescue Committee. That’s it. You get drunk. Refugees get money. Win win.
OK, let’s talk about the beer list thus far. It’s flame emoji. There will be Hopslam and our area’s homegrown Hopslam: Ocelot’s Talking Backwards. Aslin is sending its Southern Hemisphere hop showcase Dunley Place. We get a relatively rare Triple Crossing’s drop of the Richmond brewery’s always wonderful IPA Clever Girl. There’s something called “Monroe Hops Small Batch Brau Pils,” which, holy shit, I don’t know what that is but I want it.
The big ticket item might just be Reason Beer’s New SOP. This is the first batch of the Charlottesville brewery’s new double IPA, and as far as I can tell, it’s only keg of New SOP to leave the brewery. If you’re not already familiar with Reason Beer, the new project of former Maine Beer Company head brewer Mark Fulton, I would humbly suggest reading my recent article The Rule of Reason: Inside Charlottesville’s Reason Beer. -Phil R.
Our favorite art house theatre is going all black history all the time in February. Aside from it being a great opportunity to rewatch some essentials (Do the Right Thing, Crooklyn, Malcolm X), and some guilty pleasures (House Party, anyone?) it also allows for DC audiences to go and check out some lesser seen documentaries (Through a Lens Darkly, Let The Fire Burn…) as well as some great snippets from DC history (The Nine Lives of Marion Barry). Get those tix now. -Svetlana Legetic
Winchester in theaters February 2
Based on a true story (let’s pretend the ghost part is also true) Winchester tells a tale as old as time. You know the one. Woman is married to gun magnate. Gun magnate dies. Medium tells widow she has to build a house with enough rooms for all the spirits of those killed by said gun. Widow never stops building. GHOSTS ATTACK WIDOW. Also, two words: Helen Mirren. -Jenn Tisdale
You know why I’m seeing this movie? Because I myself am strange and unusual. There’s only one thing to do before you go…draw a door and knock 3 times. -Jenn Tisdale
Black Panther in theaters February 16
I’m not even sure why anyone would need a write-up on this, tbh. Like, are you…genuinely unfamiliar with Black Panther? Or are you just excited to be excited about this movie with someone else? Because I’ll be excited with you about this movie and its extraordinary cast – Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Anglea Bassett and many, many others – all day long. But then again, so will basically the entire universe. Or at least the people you’d want to talk to. -Trisha Brown
Early Man in theaters February 16
Man honestly I’ll check out anything Aardman studios puts out, but Early Man looks pretty interesting! Their unbeatable stop motion skills are back, featuring a script from Mark Burton, who also worked on past Wallace and Gromit projects, and direction from Aardman lifer Nick Park. It’s about cavemen who play soccer, which, you know, weird, but I’m stoked regardless! -Matt Byrne
Annihilation in theaters February 23
Have you seen the trailer? Have you read the book? Do both of those things (the book will take you no time at all) and you’ll understand how excited we are for this bonkers, spooky, Twilight Zone sci-fi movie.-Kaylee Dugan
Game Night in theaters February 23
Winter months tend to not be the most fruitful time of the year for great films. It tends to be kind of a dumping ground for lackluster comedies. I’m not usually such a sucker for the comedy/thriller date night genre but Game Night got my attention strictly based on it’s cast. Let me walk you through the walk of fame that is this cast: Jesse Plemons, who’s just a gem in everything her does; Jason Bateman, always a reliable straight man in comedies; Rachel McAdams, who I always believe deserves more comedy roles after Mean Girls; Kyle Chandler, I mean it’s coach, enough said; Michael C. Hall, who shone in Dexter but I’ll always think fondly of as David from Six Feet Under no matter what he does; Chelsea Peretti, such a killer stand up and reliably funny in Brooklyn 99; Sharon Horgan, who I’m obsessed with from her show Catastrophe; Lamorne Morris, such a goofy cutie on New Girl; Billy Magnussen, who can do pretty much anything hilariously from killing it as Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods to playing the perfect trustfundarian brother in Ingrid Goes West. No matter how dumb the plot, a group game night gone awry, this ridiculously talented cast could carry a Mac truck of manure and make it seem like gold. Pretty great movie plan B if you can’t get in to see Black Panther for the second weekend. -Diana Metzger
Mute available on Netflix February 23
Duncan Jones’ new direct-to-Netflix feature Mute is being pitched as a “spiritual sequel” to his first and best picture, Moon, which is all you’ve gotta tell me to get me on board. Big Moon head right here. Also the cast features Paul Rudd, Alexander Skarsgard, and the always fantastic Justin Theroux in a real fun wig. Not a ton of info out there just yet, which is fine with me! -Matt Byrne
D.C. and more specifically H street, is currently booming with vegan options and its about to gain one of the strongest players in the game. Fancy Radish, coming from husband and wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby of the nationally acclaimed restaurants Vedge and V Street in Philadelphia, will bring a more refined approach to vegan cuisine where there are plenty of casual spots. Offering dishes like whole roasted carrots with pumpernickel and sauerkraut puree, dan dan noodles with slivered zucchini and oyster mushrooms, and white chocolate custard with poha and preserved kumquat, this will take your stereotypical idea of a vegan restaurant and turn it on its head. My fingers are certainly crossed the goal of a late February opening sticks. -Anna Stevens
While it might take you a second to figure out where you know Rostam’s name from, you definitely know his music. As a former member and integral cog in Vampire Weekend, and one half of electronic duo Discovery, Rostam has been making infectiously catchy, bright, and melodic tunes for over a dozen years.
Now the Washington D.C. native is venturing out on his own, touring in support of his solo debut album Half-Light – a record that finds him at his most introspective and personal. I’m really excited to see him play live, particularly in smaller rooms relative to what he used to play with his previous bands. Expect a very emotional evening if you go. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
If you’re like me then you know 12th century music composition is WHERE IT’S AT. And if it’s a female composer? Great. And if it’s the music of a female composer being performed by current living female composers with a modern twist? Better. Grab your favorite lady (but ask her permission first) and go. -Jenn Tisdale
When Yung Lean, real name Jonatan Leandoer Håstad, dropped his breakthrough single “Ginseng Strip 2002” in 2013, his desolate monotone delivery of pain soaked in codeine garnered as much attention as the fact that the bearer of this angst was a white kid out of Sweden. Since then, his go-to subject matter of despair, internal turmoil, and destructive self-reflection have become cornerstones of mainstream music (looking at you Lil Uzi Vert). And yet, Yung Lean stands out as something more real; songs such as “Agony” and “Yellowman” off his most recent album Stranger deliver compositions that stay with you long after you’ve moved on by channeling real personal pain through highly-stylized cathartic pop. -Ruben Gzirian
Brent Faiyaz probably had one of the best low-key 2017s in music; not only did he sing the hook on Goldlink’s instant classic “Crew,” but he also released a blinder of an album in Sonder Son. It caught me by surprise. Through twelve tracks, the Columbia, Maryland native delivers a story that eschews many of the purposefully enigmatic “I don’t care” narratives his R&B cohorts seem to thrive on. Personal favorites such as “First World Problemz / Nobody Carez” and “L.A.” are sonic escapes for those of us who value emotion, opinion, real imperfection, and vivid snapshots of a life we never lived but know in our own way. -Ruben Gzirian
Two albums in and I’m still not sure what to think of BØRNS. A slew of catchy songs, like “10,000 Emerald Pools,” “Clouds,” and “God Save Our Young Blood,” all point to an identity buried deep in synth-pop with a tinge of funk. BØRNS’ music is inoffensive, fun, and weird at times, but ultimately lacks the type of depth you want from an artist who is clearly fascinated by the very act of making music. But perhaps that’s the allure. In 2018, every other week seems to carry with it some sort of news that makes you question reality. BØRNS music is an escape into another world, one where the price of entry is blissful disbelief. -Ruben Gzirian
STRFKR is one of those bands that knows its lane, its audience, its value, and is completely fine not deviating from any of it. Despite releasing their last new album in 2016, STRFKR remains relevant because their sound resonates so strongly with an audience that still wishes synth pop was indie; sonic revivals of 80’s pop mixed with contemporary electronic music underscore songs like “Never Ever” and “When I’m with You.” Add in the added bonus of live shows that inhibit that part of your brain that make you dance without care or purpose, and you’ve got a show that may not push the boundaries of music but will push the boundaries of your physical endurance. -Ruben Gzirian
Over the course of two albums, DVSN, which consists of Daniel Daley and Paul “Nineteen85” Jefferies, has perfected a form of R&B that transports you to moments of heartbreak and existential doubt only to never really give you a guide as to how to deal with them. Despite being part of Drake’s OVO label, DVSN retains a purposeful anonymity that expresses itself through their masterful use of murky negative space where sparse shadowy beats let your mind roam in memories you’d rather forget. In a world where inner emotions are often afterthoughts, DVSN’s downtempo minimalism in songs like “Hallucinations” or “Nuh Time / Tek Time” force you to look inside and ponder how you actually feel. -Ruben Gzirian
Either one of these guys alone would be worth the price of admission, to be honest.
Vince Staples has developed into one of the smartest and most cutting lyricists in all of rap, with a mouth full of menace and a gift for storytelling. He’s made some interesting sonic choices, partnering with producers such as James Blake, Sophie, Clams Casino, and Flume throughout his career – meaning that each release sounds radically different from the previous one. Also, he pisses off the religious right (what Black artist doesn’t?) and that makes me happy.
With regards to Tyler – it’s hard to even try to be objective when I loved his last two releases so much. Although he first burst onto the scene as the brash and obnoxious de-facto leader of Odd Future, it was apparent from the beginning that Tyler was special – even within a collective that included The Internet, Frank Ocean AND Earl Sweatshirt. He has matured as a producer and rapper, and Flower Boy, his latest album, is Tyler at his most vulnerable and soulful. The record is deeply influenced by late 1970s Stevie Wonder, Musiq Soulchild, Mild High Club, and Everything But the Girl (seriously) and it’s a peek inside the mind of a genius. I’m extremely excited to see how these two pair up on tour. Check out Tyler’s interview with Jerrod Carmichael here. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
The Puppy Bowl/The Kitten Bowl/The Dog Bowl February 4
It’s almost time for The Big Game™, and the cute animal industrial complex has assembled a slew of counterprogramming options spanning the entirety of Super Bowl Weekend. There’s easily 12+ hours of puppy/kitty content to be consumed, between Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl and new rescue dog showcase The Dog Bowl and their respective pre-and-post-game shows, and Hallmark’s charming knockoff Kitten Bowl. Watch some cuties roll around on your TV, huh? -Matt Byrne
Winter Olympics 2018 February 9 through 25
People talk plenty of shit about March, but I think February is probably (for me, anyway) the most depressing month – it’s an intensified comedown of the holidays (especially since my birthday falls on January 9), and there just doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to. If you’re going, “But what about Valentine’s Day, Megan?” I have to ask – do you even hear yourself right now? I repeat – DEPRESSING AF.
And so I feel pretty amped about the PyeongChang, because for about two glorious weeks, we’re going to have something to look forward to EVERY DAY! I know that not everyone is big into sports, and there are certainly some weird ones in the Winter Olympics (what even is skeleton? and don’t get me started on curling…), but I am VERY much here for things like snowboarding and skiing and ice hockey. (And FIGURE SKATING, DUH.)
To further drive home my excitement, I bought a YouTube TV subscription for this month (on top of the one I already have with Sling TV) specifically so I would not miss a single minute of coverage. (And I’ll probably still end up hacking the planet for anything that’s not broadcast.)
It is going to be very good. Take that, February. -Megan Burns
A.P. Bio premieres on NBC February 1
NBC’s new single cam sitcom A.P. Bio looks good! Solid ensemble cast, anchored by Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt, and a suitably entertaining premise: Harvard philosophy professor hits the skids and ends up teaching high school science, using his students to execute an elaborate revenge plot against a rival professor. OK! -Matt Byrne
Coach Snoop available on Netflix February 2
Coach Snoop hits Netflix next month, profiling Snoop Dogg’s football league for at-risk kids, the Snoop Youth Football League. Though this could be the concept for an okay-but-not-great Adult Swim series, it’s actually a sincere, endearing, and inspiring look at the tough-love approach taken by Snoop and his fellow coaches in helping enrich the lives of teens from underprivileged neighborhoods. -Matt Byrne
The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar premieres on Lifetime February 3
Based on Biles’ book Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance this movie is going to take us from a childhood spent in foster care to 19 gold medals. If you’re feeling like an unaccomplished asshole, this will reinforce that! Simone Biles is amazing. Her story is incredible. Figure out a way to watch Lifetime so you can witness a truly remarkable human. Also gymnastics is always hella cool. -Jenn Tisdale
Here and Now premieres on HBO February 11
Alan Ball created two of the more talked-about (if flawed) HBO dramas: Six Feet Under and True Blood. So all eyes will be on the February premier of his latest, Here and Now, starring Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins. The new show follows two Portland, Ore., families: one Muslim and one multi-ethnic with adopted kids from multiple countries. HBO is keeping details of its latest prestige project under wraps, but it reportedly involves some kind of supernatural twist, a la The Leftovers — though no doubt very different. We could hardly repeat the same twist. Ball already has ghosts, vampires, and werewolves in his rear-view mirror, so don’t be surprised if Here and Now is Weird and Crazy. -Tristan Lejeune
2018 American Rescue Dog Show on Hallmark Channel February 19
Hallmark’s got something which is just insanely my shit: the 2018 American Rescue Dog Show, which removes a lot of the problematic elements from typical purebred-focused dog shows, leaving just a celebration of the millions of good as hell dogs out there. -Matt Byrne
Maybe you know Danai Gurira for her literal kick ass acting chops in The Walking Dead and another February must see, Black Panther, but did you also know she’s a legit talented, kick ass playwright too? This will be her forth play to be produced at Woolly (others include the Tony nominated Eclipsed, The Convert, and In the Continuum) and it’s directed by Adam Immerwahr, one of Gurira’s close collaborators. Familiar premiered to raves at Yale Rep. It’s Woolly’s entry into the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival and sure to make a big impression on the D.C. theatre scene.
Inspired by Gurira’s Zimbabwean roots, it’s about a family of Zimbabwe immigrants, living in the Midwest preparing for the eldest daughter’s wedding. The family wrestles in ways warm and biting between family tradition and assimilation surrounding the events of the bride’s big day. Familiar will no doubt feel equal parts relatable for anyone with a family but also revelatory and relevant for the current political discussions surrounding immigration. -Diana Metzger
February 19 marks the 76th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which allowed for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. In other words, in the lifetimes of many of our parents and grandparents, American citizens were incarcerated merely by virtue of their heritage. Hold These Truths tells the true story of one family’s decisions around that order. That the play is so distressingly timely makes it all the more important. -Trisha Brown