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The first normal month of 2019 is the second month of 2019. After a very, very, very long government shutdown, things are getting somewhat back to normal.

The following contains 28+ options to have your best February. From art shows to whatever the hell Mental Samurai is, there’s good stuff to have a romantic or not romantic month, your call on the romance.

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OPEN: An Installation by Robin Bell @ Corcoran February 7

In honor of the cancellation of their Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition thirty years ago, the Corcoran is celebrating all things transparency. They’ve teamed up with D.C.’s very own Robin Bell, who will be debuting brand new works and highlighting the museums proximity to the White House. Everything Bell does (including our BYT parties!) is high quality and thought provoking, so we have no doubt this will be a fascinating exhibition. Plus, the opening reception is completely free. Nothing is better than free. -Kaylee Dugan

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Marisa Rasum’s “Average Moon” @ Hole In the Sky February 16

I didn’t know anything about Rasum’s art before stumbling upon this event, but now I’m obsessed. The creatures that make up her paintings are consumed with character and the emotions behind them jump off the canvas. There seem to be some pop art elements and some sculptural elements, but it’s really her use of color and texture that seals the deal. Every piece holds your stare. “Average Moon” features her work that’s inspired by “wild west, astronauts and blow up dolls.” I just want to look at her art all day. -Kaylee Dugan

The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film by W. K. Stratton available February 12, 2019

Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch is one of the most important and revolutionary Westerns ever made, and W.K. Stratton’s new book gives insight into the film’s production and ongoing legacy. The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film provides context for the film’s background and place in Hollywood, while examining Peckinpah’s various influences, both filmic and historical. Plus, with a cast like this one, there have got to be some wild stories from set! -Matt Byrne

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David Lynch: Someone is in My House available February 19

The new art book Someone is in My House collects the multimedia fine art work of one of our greatest living auteurs, David Lynch. Dramatic depictions of Lynch’s work with photography, sculpture, painting, and more pack out the 300+ pages of this tome, giving fans of his film work a different perspective on his often beguiling take on modern American culture. -Matt Byrne

Magic Is Dead: My Journey into the World’s Most Secretive Society of Magicians by Ian Frisch available February 26

Your boy loves a deep dive on a secret society, which is why I’m very much anticipating picking up a copy of Magic Is Dead, which looks at a secret, underground society of magicians. While I doubt Frisch reveals all, I’m thinking we’ve got enough wild anecdotes and looks at the sleight of hand that captivates magic audiences around the world to do it for me. -Matt Byrne

American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog opens February 8

Y’ALL. The AKC is set to open a museum dedicated to ALL OF THE DOG THINGS on February 8th at 101 Park Ave! Dog art, interactive exhibits and MORE // what’s not to love?! -Megan Burns

An All Star Presidents Day Presidential Salute to Our Fathers @ Slash Run February 9

Sure, you have Valentines Day plans, but do you have Presidents’ Day plans? I spent my last Presidents Day alone and crying: NOT THIS YEAR! Join me down at Slash Run for some drinks and jokes lampooning the 44 distinguished men who’ve served as our nation’s Commanders-in-Chief. Featuring performances by Weems, Electric Grandmother, and QueerPOTUS, this multimedia musical comedy event is a fitting salute to America’s dear leaders. -Johnny Fantastic

Transformer’s 3rd Annual Heartbreaker’s Ball @ The Line Hotel February 14

Our favorite Valentine’s Day party is 100% free this year! Yes, you read that right. Transformer is taking one of the most expensive holidays of the year and giving you an excuse to save some cash while partying it up at one of the coolest hotels in D.C. The Full Service Radio DJs will be pumping some classic romantic (/ breakup) tunes and they’ll be hosting a sweet heart (break) hotline. Plus, A Rake’s Progress and Brothers & Sisters will be slinging cocktails and snacks. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Transformer party if there wasn’t some amazing art involved, so they’ll be bringing their extensive flat file collection. If you’re going to break the bank on Valentine’s Day, art is a much better investment than chocolate. -Kaylee Dugan


Mayor Peter Buttigieg @ Politics and Prose February 17

When then-candidate Barack Obama famously described himself as a “kid with a funny name,” he couldn’t have imagined democratic hopeful Peter Buttigieg. The Indiana mayor and openly gay politician is a long shot for the 2020 democratic nomination, but as billionaire coffee magnates and septuagenarian senators line up to take the field, a dark horse may be just what the nation is looking for. Take advantage of some close contact with one of America’s most interesting politicians before you have to go through Secret Service. -Johnny Fantastic

Arctic in theaters February 1

Arctic is an intense looking survival drama featuring Mads Mikkelsen struggling against the harsh frozen landscape of, you guessed it, the Arctic. With an injured travel companion, played by Maria Thelma Smáradóttir, in tow, our friend Mads struggles to survive a treacherous and somewhat aimless journey towards safety. I wonder if he’ll make it??? -Matt Byrne

Cold Pursuit in theaters February 8

Look, if Liam Neeson is exclusively gonna do action movies now, I hope more of them turn out like Cold Pursuit, a Coens-y looking black comedy with Neeson as a snowplow drive out for revenge against a shadowy drug cartel that may or may not be responsible for the untimely death of his son. Sure the plot seems innocuous enough, but the trailer convinced me that this will be worth your while. -Matt Byrne

The Prodigy in theaters February 8

Returning to the classic “creepy kid” well, The Prodigy is a reality-bending tale of youthful possession and familial trauma, starring Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling as the messed up kid in question. No reviews quite yet, but this looks to be a slightly elevated take on this well-worn territory, and honestly we’ll take what we can get, film-wise in February. -Matt Byrne

Kim Possible airs February 15

Am I a 31-year-old human who is excited for a Disney original movie? Yes, yes I am. Catch me clinging to the vestiges of my adolescence on February 15th, when the live action version of the 2002-2007 animated TV show goes live on Disney. (See also: call me, beep me if you wanna reach me.) -Megan Burns

A Year in Transition | A Trans Film by Trans People Screening @ HRC Equality Center February 22

The DC Area Transmasculine Society (DCATS) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will host a screening of A Year in Transition, an award-winning film about and by trans people. Based in Detroit, the film follows the story of a 20-year-old Arab-American transgender man throughout his first year of transition. Come early to secure your spot as tickets are only left on a first-come, first-served basis, and stick around after the show for a live video conference with the film’s director Lorne Clarkson. -Sabrina Kent

The Oscars airs February 24

It’s ACADEMY AWARDS SEASON, Y’ALL! (Here’s our complete breakdown of the nominees if you’re lookin’ to bone up on your viewing party talk.) If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m STOKED that there’s no host this year. I’m not particularly thrilled about the snubs (especially when it comes to the Academy’s failure to nominate female directors), but fingers crossed for everyone who is deservedly in the running. -Megan Burns

Tunnel of Love @ The Carriageway Bar in Iron Gate February 1 through 14

We recently raved about Iron Gate when they celebrated their fifth anniversary. The ideal date restaurant is participating in their annual ‘Tunnel of Love’ for the first half of the month. Unlike last year’s Edgar Allen Poe theme, they’re going a little lighter, a bit brighter with a MySpace/TigerBeat/teen heartthrob theme. Go for the excellent food and drink, stay for the inevitable Instagram then put your phone away and don’t look at it again until tomorrow because you’re on a nice date at a nice restaurant and a phone can only get in the way. -Brandon Wetherbee

Chinese New Year @ The Source February 5

The Source is a dining institution in D.C. If we’ve learned anything about our institutions, our old faithfuls, it’s that we need to celebrate them while they’re still here. Don’t take anything for granted. On a lighter note, an unlimited assortment dumplings is exactly what we need in this kind of weather. The Source knows how to throw a party, so they’ll have the aforementioned dumplings on hand, as well as some roasted duck and pig. Between bites, you’ll be sipping all the whiskey and Rhone wine you can drink. Did we mention that all this heaven is coming from the hands of Chef Jerome Grant (Sweet Home Cafe), Chef Kevin Tien (Himitsu), Chef Rob Rubba (Oyster Oyster) and so many other chefs if would be annoying to name them here? That’s just the cherry on top. -Kaylee Dugan


Not sure where you should dine on Valentine’s Day? We have some suggestions.

Beirut Gallipoli available February 1

Beloved mid-2000s globally influenced indie folk band Beirut is back with their 5th (!) album, Gallipoli. Advance tracks have hinted at a more lush, orchestra sound then their previous LP, the stripped down No No No, released back in 2015, echoing the full-band vibes of their early recordings. A return to form or rehash of the same old ideas? We’ll find out together! -Matt Byrne


Girlpool What Chaos Is Imaginary available February 1

I am very, very, VERY into the new Girlpool record, you guys. Listening to the title track makes me imagine walking very slowly down a dirt road at dusk. Do I know where I’m going? Not really, just away from all my problems! (“BYE, PROBLEMS!” I’ll probably say, although maybe not out loud.) Anyway, you can listen to the whole shebang here, and then go B-B-B-B-BUY IT! -Megan Burns

Sharon Van Etten @ 9:30 Club February 6, Beacon Theatre February 9, Thalia Hall February 14 and 15

Sharon Van Etten has already released the best song of 2019, and it’s called “Seventeen.” Don’t get mad at me – that’s the rules. You could probably find Stub Hub tickets to her sold out show at The 9:30 Club next week, but be sure to bring your dancing shoes along with an ample supply of Kleenex. -Alan Zilberman

Sharon Van Etten 6.17.14

Cass McCombs Tip of the Sphere available February 8

Perennially underrated singer songwriter Cass McCombs’ deep discography (without a stinker in the bunch) gets one deeper with Tip of the Sphere, his ninth LP. McCombs’ restless, omnivorous spirit distills disparate influences into an instantly recognizable style, comes to a head with a new collection of alternatingly intense and intimate jams produced by fellow cult songwriter Sam Evian. -Matt Byrne

Methyl Ethel Triage available February 15

Methyl Ethel are BACK with a new nine-track record, and I am HERE FOR IT! I feel like Triage would be a good soundtrack for starting trouble in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant c. late seventies, early eighties. (And I mean that in the best possible way. Music to throw milkshakes to FOR SURE.) -Megan Burns

Anderson .Paak @ Riviera Theatre February 16, MGM National Harbor February 20, Hammerstein Ballroom February 21

Whenever an artist possesses the variety of talent that Anderson .Paak has, the concern is always that that talent will be tossed around left and right in some disjointed library more reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock piece than a focused vision. For much of his career, .Paak has been a catch all of sounds and vibes that speak to a resurgence of funk music distinctly born in the sunny confines of California (.Paak is from Oxnard, CA). Every album, from 2014’s Venice to 2018’s Oxnard rambles through a curated hodgepodge of bass-heavy pop-inspired feel-good songs like “Luh You” to more soulful gritty entries like “Brother’s Keeper.” Through it all, .Paak’s identity and talent stay ever present, striking a unique chord of diversity tailor-made for musical consumption moving away from singular narratives. -Ruben Gzirian

MadeinTYO @ U Street Music Hall February 18, Elsewhere February 21

At the end of the day, music is meant to be enjoyed. I mean how else do you explain my unhealthy obsession with Playboi Carti? Hailing from Atlanta, but raised in Tokyo during his teenage years, MadeinTYO (pronounced “Made in Tokyo”) makes hip hop that’s just plain fun. If you want conscious rap look elsewhere or go listen to Common, but if you want songs that follow formulaic patterns of 808s, surface-deep lyrics of grandeur, and vocal tones scratching the surface of creativity, MadeinTYO is your man. Songs like “Ned Flanders,” “Skateboard P,” and “Outstanding” should all be on that playlist you only play on Friday night when you’re ready to see Saturday morning on zero sleep. -Ruben Gzirian

Vince Staples, Buddy @ Hammerstein Ballroom February 21, 9:30 Club February 22 and 23

It is only fitting two outliers of California hip hop would partner up on the same tour. With the release of 2014’s Hell Can Wait, Vince Staples introduced himself as the antithesis of mainstream rap music, one in which people throw around terms like “outlier” to describe an artist who continues to make music for himself first, and you second. Staples’ most recent album, 2018’s FM!, was an end-of-the-year personal top ten for many of the same reasons Big Fish Theory, Prima Donna, and Summertime ‘06 were albums I still frequently return to. Staples is his own man, his own voice, his own vision, and his own endgame in a genre where so many rappers play to an image, to a vibe, to a persona wholly foreign to themselves.

ATG (11 of 22)

While not as in-your-face as Staples, Compton’s Buddy is in many ways the embodiment of West Coast rap in 2019. And that’s a good thing. Buddy’s awareness of himself and his surroundings (listen to “Black” off of 2018’s Harlan & Alondra) is as striking as it is effective as an ethos of creativity. Modern West Coast rap has resuscitated hip hop as a conversive vehicle of the state of black America, and Buddy is one of its most promising voices. -Ruben Gzirian

Julia Jacklin Crushing available February 22

Hooray for Julia Jacklin’s sophomore record! It’s ten tracks of pure greatness. “Head Alone” SLAYS DOT COM, and it makes me want to dance on a gray beach like those kids in Moonrise Kingdom. 10/10 would recommend. -Megan Burns

Jay Electronica @ Howard Theatre February 23

Whenever anyone makes the bold claim of being “your rapper’s favorite rapper” they should ask themselves if that rapper is named Jay Electronica. Since releasing his only album, the widely-acclaimed 2007’s mixtape Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), Jay Electronica has maintained a mysterious aura set upon the foundation of anticipation, rumors, and talent that have elevated the New Orleans artist into rarefied air. Hip hop is littered with ongoing sagas of hype centered around the “next project” (think Dr. Dre’s Detox), but Electronica has promised new music is around the corner. While we all wait for what we hope will be a sonic masterclass of lyricism, Electronica’s return to the stage is one you, or anyone with a faint interest in hip hop, should not miss. -Ruben Gzirian

The A.B.C. Murders on Amazon Prime available February 1

Prime continues their Agatha Christie adaptation series, following last year’s deliciously over-the-top Ordeal By Innocence. The A.B.C. Murders, at least at first sight, promises to be more of the same: gothick-y, messy, a more than a little MORE dark than what we have come to expect from a typical Christie-to-screen journey. John Malkovich stars as an aging Hercule Poirot (a divisive, but interesting choice), which may be enough to check it out. And for those hankering for more quality murder mysteries, we have a guide for that. -Svetlana Legetic

Russian Doll available on Netflix February 1

I’m a sucker for high-concept shows like Russian Doll, which finds a woman caught in a seemingly endless short form time loop that begins at a debauched party and ends in a freak accident that kills her in various ways. Half Groundhog Day, half Final Destination, Natasha Lyonne stars and co-created with Amy Poehler and playwright Leslye Headland, this one looks to be a perfect winter weekend binge. -Matt Byrne

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Lorena on Amazon Prime available February 15

The Bobbitt vs Bobbitt case had it all: love, fear, gender equality conversation starters, the works. It also happened 25 years ago, and nothing quite like it has happened since, a story to capture the highs and lows of the American imagination. It was just waiting for the right person to revisit it. We’ve been anticipating the Jordan Peele produced Lorena Bobbitt biopic since the it was announced. Prep with this amazing Oral History of the case that ran in Washingtonian last year, after all, it is a D.C. area story. P.S. If you love true crime and quality storytelling, we have a treat for you coming this March. -Svetlana Legetic

At Home with Amy Sedaris returns to TruTV February 19

At Home with Amy Sedaris returns to truTV SO SOON! And season two is looking to be a real treat, ft. donut bird feeders, oven explosions, Rose Byrne, Ana Gasteyer, Matthew Broderick and SO MUCH MORE! I, for one, will definitely be tuning in. -Megan Burns

Documentary Now! returns to IFC February 20

The always delightful parody series Documentary Now! is back on IFC with more pitch-perfect odes to various iconic documentaires. Season 3 features a stacked cast of guest actors like Michael C. Hall, John Mulaney, and Cate Blanchett in riffs on such works as Wild Wild Country, Let’s Get Lost, and Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present. Love some damn high brow goofs. -Matt Byrne

Mental Samurai premieres on Fox February 26

Rob Lowe is hosting one of the dumbest looking game show’s I’ve seen in some time and boy is it ever called Mental Samurai. It’s a quiz show that puts contestants in a big weird carnival ride looking contraption that spins them around a big room with monitors all over the place that ask them trivia questions. It’s unclear where the samurai element comes in, but maybe that’ll come later. -Matt Byrne