The shortest month of the year. Make the most of it. Our picks for art exhibits, Valentine’s day survival, really funny things, really scary movies, really good beer and more. Categories are in alphabetical order.
Winter & our general state of cabin-feverdom provides perfect timing to spend some quality time with some of the most beautiful examples of nature depicted in fine art. And while seeing the works by the likes of Brueghel, Monet, Manet, Hockney and O’Keefe should be motivation enough, the provenance of the collection offers an additional, voyeuristic nudge: all 39 pieces come from the private collection of Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Which means this is kind of like being invited to his house. Right? -Svetlana Legetic
trevor young. voltage – currently on show at Addison Ripley Fine Art
Trevor Young has been one of the most exciting painters working in the area for a while now. His work combines a wonderful, old-fashioned attention to craft with a very modern, often-unsettling-in-its-beauty interest in alienation, modern existence and the quiet disquiet. Spend some solo, reflective time with his parking lots, planes, city light grids, off ramps and buildings under construction this month. –Svetlana Legetic
Not Waving But Drowning: An Evening with Celeste Ng and John Wray @ PEN/Faulkner Reading Series, February 23
A “perfect” daughter goes missing in an Ohio town in the 1970s; a schizophrenic teenaged boy escapes from a mental hospital to the New York subway. Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You) and John Wray (Lowboy) explore family secrets and expectations, adolescent yearning and the fascination with danger. If you haven’t read either of these two novels (but ESPECIALLY Ng’s, which is one of our favorite literary heartbreaks of late, maybe even ever?) please use this occasion to do so NOW. – Svetlana Legetic
Joel Grey is an Emmy short of an EGOT, and arguably one of the great entertainers of 20th century, though he is best known for his role as the MC in Cabaret. Regardless, Jennifer Grey’s Dad has some stories to tell from his seven decades spent in the biz: from vaudeville to theatre to movies and television, he has been everywhere, seen everything, and yes, lived to tell the tale. The fact that this month you get to not just read it but also hear it in person is just a crazy bonus. – Svetlana Legetic
BYT’s love of Mel Brooks is (very) well documented, and the very idea of being in the same room with him (even if it is a very BIG room) makes us just giddy. The man, the legend, the joke master will be at The Kennedy Center in “a hilarious conversation with comedy legend Mel Brooks, who will be on stage to share behind-the-scenes stories from his legendary career and life, after a screening of his groundbreaking movie Blazing Saddles.” Not sold out yet. -Svetlana Legetic
I absolutely love Tim Dillon. His social media presence is one of the reasons I get up in the morning. He’s an elitist bastard with just the right amount of mean. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome really.
Here’s a classic:
Hey pigs how bout instead of watching Netflix you do some sit ups and start a business today?
See him at your own RISK! (the game of world domination) -Jenn Tisdale
It’s going to be a comedy House Party in your pants with Adam Devine….the Devine Comedy (copyright-pending). Get there for a little Bumper in your life.-Jenn Tisdale
Birthed on Kroll Show and fresh off a very successful off-broadway run Mulaney and Kroll return “home” (They both went to Georgetown! Go Hoyas!) to dazzle us with their tuna-loving alter egos Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. Get pranked with TOO MUCH TUNA. -Jenn Tisdale
David Cross. You know Mr. Show David Cross. W/ Bob and David David Cross. Married to a sister of the traveling pants David Cross. Ya know, David Cross. -Jenn Tisdale
Devils Backbone Adventure Pack Collaboration Series @ Meridian Pint February 2
Devils Backbone was lowkey our first Tap Takeover profile, so we’ve got nothing but love for the Virginia brewery. It turns out that they have love for other breweries too, and in a savvy cross-promotional move, they’ve teamed with five of them to offer what they’re calling an Adventure Pack Collaboration Series twelve-pack sampler.
Basically, you get a pair of beers from each brewery: two session India-style pale lagers from Charlotte’s NoDa Brewing Company; “double dank cream-style ale” from Indianapolis Sun King Brewery; double brown ale from Minneapolis’ Surly Brewing Company; strong Australian-style ale from Thunder Road Brewing Company in Melbourne (!); imperial stout Asheville’s Wicked Weed; and, finally, Devils Backbone’s own Vienna Lager. And if it isn’t immediately clear, these are not beers otherwise easy to find in this area (with the obvious exception of Vienna Lager).
The twelve-pack will be available in stores, but you can head to Columbia Heights on Tuesday, February 2, to try these bad boys from Meridian Pint’s ever clean tap lines. Plus, since Devils Backbone will be in the house, there will be a handful of rare kegs for you to sip, too. -Phil Runco
Talking Backwards Release February 3
Here are two assertions for you: 1) There is no better place to drink local beer than Meridian Pint (or one of its sister bars), which consistently spotlights the best, weirdest, and hardest-to-find stuff being made by DMV breweries; 2) Off all those aforementioned breweries, no one is producing IPAs on the level of Ocelot. On that latter point, I mean no disrespect to DC Brau, whose On the Wings of Armageddon and Solar Abyss are two of the best beers in the District bar none; Ocelot’s just playing a different game. If you’re unfamiliar with the Dulles brewery’s model, it produces a revolving and evolving rotation of IPAs depending on “inspiration,” hop varieties and availability, and the season. That means that Ocelot can brew a batch of a particular IPA and there’s no expectation it will ever do so again. And that can be a little frustrating, because on the whole, these beers are very, very good. Word to the wise: If you ever see the Mosiac-hop showcase See the Light or the Cascadian dark ale Paper Tiger on tap somewhere, don’t hesitate a second.
Likewise, get over to Meridian Pint, Smoke & Barrel, or Brookland Pint on February 3, when the restaurant unveils Talking Backwards, a Triple IPA brewed in collaboration with Ocelot. Partially inspired by inspired by Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, the 10.8% beer was brewed with copious amounts of Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic. “Adrien and Mike at Ocelot spent considerable time and energy writing a tricky recipe,” beverage director Jace Gonnerman has shared about the beer. “We wanted the beer to be big… and with enormous hop flavor and aroma, but also maintain a sense of crispness and dryness so often lost in hoppy beers at this ABV.”
Yes, please. -Phil Runco
Think AND drink. Humanitini is the name of the drink and the name of the program. These happy hour conversations bring panels of academics, culture curators, musicians, experts, or whomever the occasion might call for into bars and restaurants for lively conversation and intellectual debate. This HumanitiesDC will celebrate the 225th birthday of the Nation’s Capital by carrying out a year-long series of historic and cultural programs, all of which will engage D.C. residents and visitors in learning about the city’s illustrious history. Which makes all the D.C. history nerds in us sit up and pay attention. This month’s theme: National Symbol, City of Neighborhoods. -Svetlana Legetic
Each February, Port City celebrates its anniversary with a colossal beer. “It’s always something big and dark and boozy,” Bill Butcher, the brewery’s founder, told us last year. “It’s a fun and creative project for the brewers.” In years past, these projects have yielded a Belgian imperial stout, a smoked imperial porter, a Heller Bock, and a Belgian-style Quad – Colossals I through IV, respectively. And without reservation, these beers have been fantastic. In fact, while the initial idea was to brew each only once, popular demand has dictated an occasional batch when the space is available.
Now, approaching its fifth anniversary, the question is: What beer will Port City introduce into the Colossal family? The answer, it would appear, is an old ale in the English tradition. As usual, the beer will debut in the tasting room over Super Bowl weekend. Have you been to the tasting room lately? They added a slick new upstairs bar and it’s worth a visit.
And as an extra twist, Port City will be bottling the anniversary beer for the first time. Given the big, boozy characteristics of their Colossal offerings, this make a whole lot of sense – they were made for cellaring. You can expect to find four-packs of Colossal V at select bottle shops towards the end of the month, but you can guarantee snagging a set by visiting the brewery on February 21. -Phil Runco
Mesquite Smoked Brown Ale Release @ Bier Baron
DuClaw Brewing Co. is among the area’s most outside-the-box brewery’s in its flagship offerings. (Look no further than its runaway best seller, the chocolate peanut butter porter, Sweet Baby Jesus.) Since 2012, though, the Baltimore operation has been releasing its most experimental beers under the umbrella of the eXile Series. It’s been frugal with these brew, too, only putting out a few each year – a cantaloupe saison here, a macchiato milk stout there.
This winter, DuClaw rolls out the 11th entry in ten series, the Mesquite Smoked Brown Ale. A collaboration with Virginia’s Copper Fox Distillery, X-11 is reportedly inspired by brewer’s Jim Wagner’s love affair with barbecue. The 6% brown ale will hit stores in 22-ounce bottles eventually, but you can taste the beer first on February 5 at Bier Baron. As you might expect, DuClaw will be in the house and bringing some other hard-to-find kegs with them. -Phil Runco
Think you can’t afford to go to grad school? Think again, babies! This is the best place to find the grad school for you, anywhere in the world! They have $1.7 million worth of scholarships just waiting for you. Go. Better yourself. Get outta here. -Jenn Tisdale
Hail, Caesar! in theaters February 5
Lord I hope Hail, Caesar! is good! I’m going to see it regardless, it’s a Coen Brothers movie so I’m going to see it, but eesh, I’m not super sold on this one! What a good cast though, I hope they had fun making it. And more importantly, I hope we all have fun watching it. -Matt Byrnehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–RXI7SOh44
The Witch in theaters February 19
What if The Village wasn’t a really fucking stupid movie? The Witch looks to find out. A unique combination of period piece and horror film, set in a very spooky loking New England during the 1630s. Moody, ambient chills and creepy animals and (potential) witchcraft? This thing looks seriously intense and brutal. -Matt Byrne
D.C. may not be the first city you think of when it comes to film, but we actually have a wide variety of interesting and niche film festivals, including the WJFF, put on by DCJCC. Every year they bring countless national and international releases as well as films you may not have an opportunity to see anywhere else. This year, they’ll be screening Natalie Portman’s A Tale of Love and Darkness and Israel’s Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award submission, Baba Joon. Even if neither of those sound interesting, there are a slew of other films to choose from playing all over the city. -Kaylee Dugan
Every third Saturday of each month, Zentan’s Chef Matsuzaki and head bartender Matt Allred lead a class designed to grow your culinary and beverage skills. Classes run the gamut, covering food and drinks from sushi to sake. February 20th’s class? Best of the bunch: Japanese whiskey. The class will explore the history and the rise of Japanese whiskey, allowing participants to taste, learn, and create cocktails using some of the most delicious booze around. The class includes a Zentan apron, tons of new food and beverage knowledge, some snacks from Chef Matsuzaki, and lots and lots of Japanese whisky. Tickets are a steal at $40. -Logan Hollers
In case you didn’t know, BYT has a pretty legit guide to Valentine’s Day Restaurant Reservations. Maybe you didn’t see anything you like. Ask yourself this: do you enjoy ballin’ out with bougey-ass champagne paired with cheeses you probably can’t pronounce? If so, have I got an event for you – the We Heart Cheese: Chocolate, Cheese & Baller Bubbly party on Saturday, February 13th at Righteous Cheese. $74 gets you some extra-special, extra-fancy bottles of Champagne, paired with unique, artisanal cheeses & chocolates. Explore the world of cheese pairing by tasting 4 cheeses and 4 unique Champagnes along with a bounty of chocolate accompaniments. Fromager Carolyn Stromberg will delve into the story behind each cheese, as well as give advice about selecting, serving, pairing, and more. One more outstanding option for Valentine’s Day (or a great gift if you’re #foreveralone). -Logan Hollers
February 14 is Valentine’s Day. February 15 is a bad day if you forgot to get dinner reservations and you’re in the kind of relationships that puts a premium on going out on Valentine’s Day. That’s why we have a Less Than One Month Til V-Day: Valentine’s Day Restaurant Reservations feature. Use it.
Jenn Tisdale’s Birthday February 23
I’ll be 36 which is closer to 40 than it is to 30. They say 40 is the new 30 but I think 40 is really the old 40. You know, dead. -Jenn Tisdale
I love Ezra Furman’s gender and genre bending music that ranges from lo-fi to motown to surf punk to electro-pop. He’s part Bob Dylan, part Bowie and part unable to be pinned down. Furman is an interesting character and a natural performer. “Lousy Connection”, off of last year’s Perpetual Motion People, still hasn’t been topped in terms of feel-good music about kind of depressing stuff. -Tam Sackman
Pell is what’s next in hip-hop. Give him a year or two and you won’t be able to catch him at a Black Cat-sized venue again. He’s got the Chance the Rapper style (often verging into singing) type of rap with a NOLA twist. “The Never” is one of those cool, late-night driving down an empty street songs with a sick, funky bassline. He also just dropped a single, “Pretty Things” in December, so hopefully that means a followup to last year’s “LIMBO” in the coming months. -Tam Sackman
As far as free shows and February go, you can’t beat the now-annual Heartbreak Hotel pop showcase at W Hotel. This years line up includes local BYT faves: Walking Sticks, Wylder and Tigers are Bad For Horses. The setting is their spectacular POV lounge, and the price is right (it is free, just RSVP here) and a great opportunity to kick off the Valentine’s day (and anti-Valentine’s day) week activities the right way.
Coming off two not-their-best-but-not-awful albums (Best Coasts’ California Nights and Wavves’ V) this tour actually feels more necessary than ever for these two longstanding indie staples, not just because of the personal nature of it (Bethany Cosentino and Nathan Williams are dating) but because of the nostalgic, eternal summer nature of this music. There’s no show that we need more in mid-February than these two (three, if you add Cherry Glazerr, who rule). They bring us back to a younger, happier, warmer time but are too young themselves to be a nostalgia act, so we’re not that old. -Tam Sackman
Seratones are a recent find, a small in exposure but not in sound group out of Louisiana making some of the sweetest rock music around, despite not having an album out yet. AJ Haynes’s voice is the epitome of soulful, and when it flies over anger-tinged garage rock it soars. “Don’t Need It” is the best out of their few available tracks. -Tam Sackman
I don’t know much about electronic music in general, but I do know that I love this twinkly new-disco situation going on with artists like Madeon and Skylar Spence and I love music that sounds like video games, so this show seems pretty perfect. It’s also another example of people my age finding significant amounts of success in their chosen field, which should make me feel defeated but instead makes me a little bit hopeful. There’s no way me and my unwavering hope won’t be there. -Tam Sackman
Cupid’s Undie Run, is a charity organization raising money for Neurofibromatosis research. The half-naked, fully-fun race (and half-naked fully fun party afterwards) occurs in multiple cities across the country and world. But it started RIGHT HERE in DC, and BYT is Register for the run here. If you can’t make it to a race, don’t worry! Feel free to donate here. We highly suggest doing the run because underwear! And saving kids’ lives!
Mardi Gras is awesome. I found out recently about its religious background, which kind of weirds me out, but I still love the social aspect, the parades, the general debauchery… For those that can’t make it to the main event down in New Orleans, Black Jack on 14th St. is bringing Mardi Gras to DC. From February 6th through the 9th (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday), Black Jack’s getting decked out in purple, gold, and green, with carnival decorations and, of course, Mardi Gras beads (no word yet on what it takes to get them). If that’s not enough to remind you of the French Quarter, the food and drink menu will change entirely, featuring classic New Orleans cocktails and Cajun bar food. That means oyster po’ boys, muffalettas, and gumbo. And Sazeracs. Lots and lots of Sazeracs. Maybe a Hurricane. But mostly Sazeracs. -Logan Hollers
If you’ve never been to a roller derby match you are truly missing out. The matches are super fast paced and high energy, plus it’s nice to mix it up and do something different every once in awhile. Even if you don’t like and / or understand sports, roller derby is a fun time. This month, Scare Force One takes on the DC Demoncats in the first bout then its the Majority Whips vs. the Cherry Blossom Bombshells. If you want to have super extra fun, I recommend bringing a flask because nothing is more fun than booze. -Kaylee Dugan
I haven’t been this excited about squeezing The Juice since that fateful day in June of 1994 when he took the cops on a thrilling (but rather slow) chase through the streets of Los Angeles in that infamous white Ford Bronco. Any time I bring up this miniseries the immediate response is “I remember where I was when the verdict came down.” It’s this pivotal moment in history, the first sensationalized high-profile celebrity trial filled to the brim with characters (Robert Kardashian! Johnnie Cochran! Marcia Clarke!). Were these people interesting because they were actually interesting or did they become interesting because it was O.J. Simpson on trial? Guess we’ll see, but we do know one thing for sure: If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit. -Jenn Tisdalehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2-vm-L_dk4
This should have absolutely BEEn happening by now but I’ll accept the world just wasn’t “ready,” for a smart, talented female host of late night television (zero offense to Chelsea Handler whose new Netflix docuseries Chelsea Does… is amazing.). I was really pulling for her to take over The Daily Show but now I see this was a much better choice. Instead of following in the footsteps of Jon Stewart she’s going to make her own great path and if these promos are any indication of what’s to come said path will be covered in the 3 piece suits of her male colleagues. -Jenn Tisdale
Broad City season 3 premieres February 17
There are many, many things to love about Broad City. And January has been a cold, hard month. So put those two things together and you get season three premiering on February 17th (!!!) – well one of those things is really just a way to remedy the other thing. What will have happened since we last saw Abbi and Ilana? Is Lincoln still a full time dentist or has his blog, the Al Dente Dentist, taken off and sent him on another path? Will we meet Val again? I don’t know but I’m excited to find out. -Eleni Skoutakishttps://youtu.be/rMpBw43d21o
Girls final season begins February 21
It’s worth wondering if the large segment of the population that vocally hates Girls has tried any episodes from the more recent seasons, because, if they did, they’d find it’s been listening to their criticisms. It’s less self-indulgent now, more mature; the characters actually (bombshell in 3…2…1…) try to be better people.
The show’s penultimate season kicks off Feb. 21, toward the end of a winter that saw two of its stars smack dab in the middle of the public spotlight. Lena Dunham has been stumping for Hillary Clinton, while Adam Driver traded hipster jeans for the dark cloak of a Star Wars villain in The Force Awakens.
Awww, Girls. You’re all grown up. -Tristan Lejeune
If you haven’t seen Constellation’s thunderous production of Peter Shaffer’s horse-and-hounding-psychosis drama, there’s no need to start the self-flagellation just yet: the play goes on until Feb. 14, complete with a Source Theatre alumni reunion on the 1st and a “brunch and a show” offering on the 6th.
Michael Kramer is all buttoned up British-style (but eloquently unraveling) as psychiatrist Martin Dysart, and he narrates an evening of theatre you’ll be hearing about again come Helen Hayes time. Ross Destiche, meanwhile, is entirely buttoned down as his patient, Alan Strang, covered in raw emotion like welts. They lead a production so crammed with technical magic and passionate performances, it’s almost more witchcraft than theatre. -Tristan Lejeune
Othello, gets a 21st century, Trump-is-America reboot: Faran Tahir (who you may remember as Raza from Iron Man) steps into the iconic role, in a rare-interpretation of the warrior as a Muslim (vs African American) man. A great, timely way to re-discover the classic. -Svetlana Legetic
Far Cry Primal released on XBox One and PS4 February 23
Ubisoft’s Farcry series, with its on-the-nose themes of political unrest and the perils of totalitarianism, has been transporting its players to far off lands since its inception–each of the games features a different protagonist fighting for survival in a strange country, or a lawless tropical island, (in what seems like a rather lacklustre attempt to avoid offending any specific culture, these settings are fictional). Farcry 4 was set in a dictatorship that was a bit like Pakistan and a bit like North Korea. It was a fun yet flawed game, as were its predecessors. As popular as the franchise is, clunky controls and occasionally moderately racist character designs have prevented it from reaching its true potential–but this could change if early reviews of Farcry Primal, the most recent entry, are to believed. Farcry Primal takes gamers on a journey through time as they help a prehistoric protagonist named Takkar climb his way to the top of the food chain in 10,000 BC. Obviously, there aren’t any guns in this game, just bows and clubs and stuff (like the ability to tame wild animals and have them battle enemies alongside you), which is sure to upset a few of those trigger happy first-person-shooter enthusiasts, but we’ll be too busy training a gang of badgers to kill a sabretooth tiger to care about them. -Norm Quarrinton