At the start of each month we compile 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. If you’re looking to making this February the best February of all time, you’ve come to the right place. Consider this your guide to the whole shebang, life, the universe, everything. This baby is sponsored by INWEGO because they rock. Download their app! That’s a fun thing you could do this February.
Soak up some of the richest colors you’ve ever seen at the Phillips Collection. Consisting of 23 of Moira Dryer’s paintings and sculptures, Back in Business is the kind of exhibition that will make you want to buy every piece straight off the wall (if you could). If I could be hypnotized by one of these technicolor beauties every day, I’d never leave the house. -Kaylee Dugan
The exhibition features 100 oil sketches made en plein air (in the open air) across Europe, from the Baltic coast to the Swiss Alps and Roman ruins. Each piece invites you into an intimate and fully-imagined environment. They are fresh, lively, and emotional — evidence of the artists’ visual field notes and eager experimentation as they played the part of observant naturalist and creator. There’s a special sensitivity to color and touch in the fleeting scenes. You can feel the waves in the crashing ocean, the luminous skies above soaring hillsides, and the volcanic ash (Vesuvius!) hurtling into the sea. It’s clear that these works were made while witnessing nature in real time, and true to it. -Sarah Jacobs
Our favorite Valentine’s Day tradition is the tonic that soothes our art loving, overpriced prix fixe dinner hating soul. This Valentine’s Day, skip the reservations and make a beeline to The Line Hotel to party the night away with the folks at Transformer. Heartbreaker’s Ball is the perfect excuse to drop some money you would have spent out at dinner on some art, plus there’s good booze and food and tunes. There will also be karaoke this year, so you really can’t afford to miss it. -Kaylee Dugan
The Renwick is always surprising us. In their continued bid to bring some of the most interesting exhibits we’ve ever seen to D.C., they’re ending February with the milestone exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists. Described as the “first major thematic show” to highlight and explore the art of Native Women, the exhibition includes 81 artworks in a variety of mediums that span the distant past and present. It’s clear this exhibition is not to be missed. -Kaylee Dugan
Whether you know the name Graciela Iturbide or not, by the time the exhibition Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico kicks off at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, you’ll be obsessed with her mesmerizing images. One of the largest scale exhibitions of her work to tour the U.S. in the last few years, Mexico includes everything from her photos of Frida Kahlo’s home, to her coverage of the Seri, Juchitán, and Mixtec societies. Her black and white photography is haunting and evocative, it’s the kind of art that will wedge its way into your brain. -Kaylee Dugan
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A heartbreaking, in-depth look at her younger brother’s struggle with mental illness, Diane Keaton’s new memoir Brother & Sister is sure to be a stunner. Growing up, they had a relatively normal, middle-class life, but as time went on, her brother Randy became reclusive, as he struggled with addiction alone. Keaton looks back at what happened, and how she and the rest of her family coped with it over the years, hoping to illuminate some deeper truths for readers everywhere. – Matt Byrne
Hollywood historian Sam Wasson is going deep on the production of one of the greatest films of all time in The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood by Sam Wasson. Using Chinatown as a framing device to paint a larger picture of the legendary 1970s auteur cinema period of Hollywood, Wasson shows us how movie studios and showbiz at large shifted from the filmmaker-centric attitudes of the past to today’s blockbuster-heavy cinematic landscape. -Matt Byrne
Erik Larson, author of such engrossing non-fiction works as The Devil in The White City and Dead Wake, is back with another 20th Century thriller: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. The book follows Winston Churchill on his very first days as Prime Minister, as Hitler ravaged Western Europe and Britons lived in fear. We zoom way in on Churchill’s day-to-day as he works to craft alliances and comfort his terrified country, meeting a deep cast of characters along the way. It’s only February but you might as well pick this up now and feel really good come Christmastime that you’ve already got at least one gift for your Dad down! -Matt Byrne
Alewives, Brewsters, and Gruits: A History of Women in Beer @ Heurich House – February 5
“The modern stereotype of a craft brewer as a bearded white man wearing a flannel is the opposite of the historic truth,” says the event descriptor for the upcoming Heurich House panel Alewives, Brewsters, and Gruits: A History of Women in Beer. “For over 5,000 years, [brewing] was the provenance of women and people of color.”
To which I say: preach.
On February 5, this preaching will be led by Kimberly Bender, the museum’s Executive Director and moderator for the evening. She’ll be joined by an all-star panel featuring: Drew McCormick, (Executive Beverage Director at Pizza Paradiso); Julie Verratti (Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Denizen Brewing Co.); Therea McCulla (Curator of the Smithsonian’s American Brewing History Initiative); and Bridgette Turner (Lead Brewer at 2 Silos Brewing Co.)
Together, they’ll explore the history of women in beer… and what female beer leadership looks like in 2020. Presumably, this conversation will be complimented by the presence of some Denizens and 2 Silos Beer.
Did you know there’s an International Clash Day? That’s right, an entire 24 hours dedicated to the British punk rock icons and freshmen dorm poster staples. This year, it falls on February 7. Actually, every year it falls on February 7. International Clash Day is February 7.
This non-federal holiday was founded by fabled Seattle rock station KEXP. And as fate would have it, Bluejacket Director of Operations Erik Bergman and his wife are members of KEXP. So, you can probably see where this is going…
International Clash Day beer!!!
Bluejacket debuted that beer, London’s Drowning, last year. And the KEXP collaboration turned out pretty swell, so they’ve brought it back for 2020. A 7% IPA, London’s Drowning showcases African Queen, a South African hop with notes of citrus, tropical fruit, and lemongrass. (After an initial lack of access, there are increasingly more local IPAs boasting South African hops, most notably Bluejacket’s Rain Light and Ocelot’s 10,000 Days, both of which pair Southern Passion with a juicy American hop, and Ocelot’s Southern Tropic joint Misunderstood.)
Bluejacket will unveil this year’s London’s Drowning with an International Clash Day party. Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen’s office will be in the house to present the city council resolution declaring February 7, 2020 as International Clash Day in DC, and proceeds from the brew will be donated to the DC Immigration Legal Services fund.
Nice work, Bluejacket. I will drink your delicious charity beer.
The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore is having a wine tasting, after hours, among the paleontology exhibits. I’m not sure if my frank description conveys how excited I am for this, and my excitement for the top notch wordplay calling it “Wine and Dinosaurs.” I don’t usually have Valentine’s Day plans, other than, “buy Valentine’s day candy the day after Valentine’s Day,” so this is a nice change of pace. Plus, wine. And dinosaurs. -Jeb Gavin
In the fall, Denizens Brewing makes it funky. In the winter, they organize a cask classic. These are Maryland brewery’s properties on the DC-Area Beer Event Monopoly board, and as far as such things go, they’re two of my favorites.
The latter gathering occurs on the month’s final day, February 29. That’s when a slew of DC and Maryland’s best breweries will send naturally carbonated real ale to Silver Spring. Among the participants: Astro Lab Brewing, Bluejacket, DC Brau, Silver Branch, and cask OGs District ChopHouse.
“It wouldn’t be a Winter Classic without some hockey,” Denizens says, “so there will also be a (friendly) shoot-out competition outside.”
Spoiler: It will not be friendly if I am involved. It will be unduly intense and passive aggressive. You’ve been warned. Just let me win, OK? Be cool about this.
Oh, and one small detail: $40 gets attendees unlimited pours and a souvenir glass that you’ll treasure forever and entomb with your mummified body. But seriously: $40 is a steal for this.
Birds of Prey – February 7
I feel like Suicide Squad was a mega-flop, but I’m not actually sure since I never actually watched it. (I’m just going on what I’ve heard, which have been multiple semi-direct quotes of “IT WAS A MEGA-FLOP.”) But I stan any/all girl power and/or queer action, meaning that EVEN IF IT IS THE WORST OF ALL TIME, I will still 100% be watching Birds of Prey when it comes out. (Just remind me I said this if, after watching, I even remotely complain.) – Megan Burns
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – February 14
Though it was technically already released, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is finally hitting more theaters on Valentine’s Day. It’s gotten rave reviews, and since I missed the boat when it was screening here in NYC at Angelika Film Center back in late 2019, I am BEYOND amped that I get a chance at redemption in two weeks. And in the meantime, I will continue to repeat the following in my head for purposes of manifestation: PLEASE BE GOOD IRL, WE NEED BETTER QUEER FILMS. – Megan Burns
Emma – February 21
The top comment on the second trailer released for Emma is “The color palette of this film is “, and I am in wholehearted agreement on that front. It looks INCREDIBLE, so even from solely an aesthetic perspective I think we’re in for a major treat. But there is so much more I’m excited for about it, like Anya Taylor-Joy, for one thing (somehwere Black Phillip is doing a satanic jig), and Bill flippin’ Nighy for another. Basically, to sum it up with another YouTube comment, “Do we need another Emma adaptation? Yes, the answer is always yes to more Jane Austen adaptations.” Case closed. – Megan Burns
If you were lucky enough to catch ill Camille at the REACH’s opening block party, you probably already have tickets to this smaller and more intimate performance, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing her slick rhymes in person, you should fix that ASAP. Press play on her killer album Heirloom, check out her Tiny Desk Concert and scope out her song “Slip Away” which you should have caught while watching season 3 of Insecure. Stop playing catch up, and catch her at Studio K.
LA ROUX IS BACK, BABY! It’s been a minute since La Rou’x second studio record came out (4.5 years, to be semi-exact) and I am VERY AMPED for this triumphant return with full-length numero tres! – Megan Burns
Tove Lo @ The Fillmore February 7, Brooklyn Steel February 12 and 13 // TOUR DETAILS HERE
The one and only Tove Lo is comin’ back to our towns! Huzzah! Is this the year I finally get my face off the couch and see her live? I hope so, ’cause she is beauty, she is grace! – Megan Burns
Emo is back. Pop punk never died. It’s a good time to be alive and actively crying. -Kaylee Dugan
Scrap your restaurant reservation and leave your heart shaped chocolates in the fridge, Bilal is taking care of you this Valentine’s Day. His patented mix of jazz, gospel, blues, soul and hip hop will carry you away to a land where overpriced tasting menus don’t exist and rose deliveries show up on time. Get ready for a night full of hits from First Born Second and In Another Life.
I have been positively straight up VIBING on Tennis the past month or so, meaning I’ve probably listened to “Runner” about sixty five thousand times. (Or equivalent sensical number.) It’s the first track off the band’s forthcoming record, appropriately out on Valentine’s Day if you’re looking for a gift for that special someone! (I am my own special someone, and I know exactly what I’ll be buying myself this year!) – Megan Burns
Anna of the North @ U Hall February 13, Bowery Ballroom February 14 and Elsewhere February 15 // TOUR DETAILS HERE
I was lucky enough to catch Norway’s Anna of the North at a v. small venue back in the fall of 2018, and can I just saw wowowowowow! Incredibly good! If I were you, I wouldn’t sleep on the opportunity to catch homegirl croonin’ tunes live when she rolls through DC and NYC mid-month. You can also take me on a date to the NYC shows because, as I previously mentioned, SINGLE DOT COM CD ROM! – Megan Burns
Bag Raiders @ U Hall February 20 and Music Hall of Williamsburg February 22 // TOUR DETAILS HERE
When I first moved to NYC nine years ago, I had an internship at Bag Raiders’ then label (Modular Records, which has since folded), and I just remember being fucking HYPE when I was gifted a stack of vinyl on my first day, Bag Raiders (the guys’ self-titled debut LP) being among them. And do you know what? Nearly a decade later and I still listen to that thing on my record player CONSTANTLY. It never, ever gets old! Yes, we all love “Shooting Stars”, but “Sunlight”! “Way Back Home”! “Snake Charmer”! PURE GENIUS, ALL OF IT! And so I am very happy to see the boys’ll be back in town oh so soon, so that we may all dance our little hearts out! – Megan Burns
I always (tomorrow?) stan a Best Coast record, this one being no exception, you guys! Have really enjoyed the tracks I’ve heard so far, and am v. pumped for the full shebang to be out! – Megan Burns
I love me some King Krule, you guys. It’s a fact. In terms of what I’ve heard so far off the forthcoming record, I would just like to say that “(Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On” has been very good for starting my mornings (it’s like it was written for drinking coffee in a leisurely, non-panicked, still-waking-up state), and maybe you will also find it good for starting YOUR mornings! (Granted at less than 3 minutes it requires a lot of looping, but I don’t mind!) VERY EXCITED TO HEAR THE REST! – Megan
McMillion$ on HBO – February 3
So you and everyone you knew grew up playing the McDonalds Monopoly contest, right? Turns out the whole thing was rigged and nobody ever had a chance to win any of the biggest prizes. HBO’s new six part docuseries McMillions delves into the scheme that turned a weird little fast food contest into an international shaggy dog tale, full of bizarre characters and haphazard heists. Push your way through the midwinter doldrums with a nice true crime miniseries! – Matt Byrne
LEGO Masters on Fox – February 5
I fucking love LEGOs, you guys. My friend David had a boozy LEGO building birthday party a few years ago and I had the greatest time in the history of the planet. And I predict I will continue to have the greatest time in the history of the planet when LEGO Masters (which is literally a LEGO building competition show) premieres! Obviously I have to dock points for Fox being the host network, but I am very excited to see the insane builds that people come up with during the episodes. HERE. FOR. IT. – Megan Burns
Hot Ones: The Game Show on TruTV – February 18
If you work an office job, chances are you’ve probably thrown on at least one episode of Hot Ones while eating lunch at your desk. The hot sauce fetishists at Hot Ones are making the jump from Youtube to TruTV for Hot Ones: The Game Show, a riff on the interview format of the original show that adds heightened stakes and room for more ridiculous gimmickry! -Matt Byrne
I’m not completely comfortable admitting this publicly: I’ve never seen a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That’s sacrilege among theater nerds of a certain age. I suppose at this point in my life, I could live without. That said, it would be bad form not to acknowledge that a blaxploitation version of Rocky Horror is perhaps the best possible version. If you’re in Baltimore Sunday night, go see this show. Dr. Hibbert would approve. -Jeb Gavin
Any time Bentzen Ball alums come into town, we get excited, and this is no exception. We kicked it with Wild Horses way back in 2014 (and we have the segway pictures to prove it), but this is your chance to bask in their excellent longform improv in the Kennedy Center’s newest theatre. Made up of funny folks like Stephanie Allynne, Mary Holland, Lauren Lapkus and Erin Whitehead, you’re in good comedy hands.
I don’t know who you are and I don’t know what you’re up to, but I know you could use a little poetry in your life. Chart a course for Folger Theatre and spend a night exploring the poetry (all of it! The whole thing!) with George Bilgere (Blood Pages), Tim Seibles (Fast Animal) and Keith S. Wilson (Field Notes on Ordinary Love). The theme for the night is love and happiness, so expect the kind of work that will make your heart balloon (metaphorically) in your chest. -Kaylee Dugan