By Stephanie Breijo, Megan Burns, Marcus Dowling, Carly Loman, Deanna Martino, Phil Runco, Farrah Skeiky, Jenn Tisdale, Alan Zilberman, Cale & Svetlana
At the start of each month the BYT staff will 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. This may help. -ed.
OK, lets dig in.
What Makes Olga Run? The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives by Bruce Gierson released January 14
I am not one for self-help books or sappy motivationals, but it’s a new year and we all could do with some inspiration to be happier people at any point of the year, not just this month. This nonfiction work follows Olga Kotelko, a 93-year-old track star who is still highly active and holds more than 23 world records, many of which are in her own age group of 90 to 95. Every possible facet of her health and happiness is accounted for in this book. This work lays out what we may be genetically predisposed to do, but how much of that we have the ability to shape ourselves. If you’re going to take after anyone this year on your “journey to be a better me!,” this badass grandma is probably your best bet. -Farrah
Perfect by Rachel Joyce released January 14th
Fans of the NOVEL in its purest, most enjoyable form should rejoice at the release of PERFECT, a story of a young boy and his family and a (terrible, inexplicable…) moment that changes his life forever one morning. Packing both an emotional punch AND an almost thriller like suspense, this is the kind of book you pick up in hardcover, curl up in a reading chair to and don’t let go till it is all over. – Svetlana.
Marvel Comics had great success with their Marvel NOW! relaunch initiative, so they said fuck it, let’s do it again in 2014 and call it All New Marvel NOW!, with a whole slew of relaunches and #1 issues. Long time comic book nerds rolled their eyes, and Marvel VP Tom Brevoort rolled them back:
“…the numbering really isn’t important in and of itself. Its only import is what you place on it. No other serial publications carry a number on them that is of any weight to their readership. The number is there to serve a function, but it has no intrinsic value in and of itself. It’s comfort food and nostalgia at best.”
OK, good point. A big focus of all this is to attract new readers by giving them an easy jumping on point. The original Marvel NOW! didn’t quite live up to this promise with plenty of confusing starts for novices. We’ll see if the All-New titles fare any better…
January gives us:
All-New Marvel NOW! Point One – a one off of short stories to introduce a bunch of new titles.
Avengers World #1 – another Avengers book, this one focusing on global issues… or something?
All New X-Factor #1 – a new X-Factor team including Polaris, Quicksilver, and Gambit. Ok!
Black Widow #1 – the sex pot Avenger tries to sexily atone for her sexy sordid KGB past. Boobs.
All-New Invaders #1 – the original team of Invaders – Captain America, Namor, The Winter Soldier, and the original Human Torch battle the alien race The Kree. Note the original Human Torch is the faceless android that punched Hitler in the 40s, not the wise-cracking Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four. -Cale
If you’ve been walking around the corner of 9th and U (and lets face it, you’re reading this website, so you HAVE BEEN) you maybe noticed the shipping container structure rising at 919 U Street. Well, starting January 10th that will be an awesome Mexican beer and cocktail garden and restaurant with a covered patio and a take-out window brought to you by the Hilton Brothers. Mark the date and keep and eye out for a full first look. – Svetlana.
We love whiskey, and we love Mockingbird Hill and Eat the Rich. What a wondrous world we live in when all of those lovely things have been combined. The team behind two of DCs most loved young bars emerge with Southern Efficiency. The whiskey bar aims to serve not just as a simple watering hole, but a place of education– whiskey tasting classes will be held regularly to help you learn about different whiskeys, and more importantly, teach you about what it is that you like so that you’re not just asking your bartender for what’s popular or “whatever’s your favorite, I guess.” See our full first look HERE. -Farrah
BEER DINNERS X2
I know I mostly write about culture on BYT, but I’m also a big beer guy. I love drinking beer, I love beer events, and I love the people who show up to beer events. The hoppier, the better. So January is going to be my best January because I’m going to the Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ale Dinner over at the Pig. So much food. So much beer. I may have to take off work Tuesday in advance. -Alan
PLUS: Thursday, January 9th, DC Brau hosts a 5 course burger and beer dinner. Plus lots of bacon. Yes is the only option
Mummies of the World Exhibition @ Maryland Science Center Open Now Through January 19
We’re not just talking Egypt, folks. This world-class exhibit showcases mummies from Asia, Europe, and everywhere else. Some of them are 6500 years old, which is both awesome and terrifying. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah, mummies are cool and all, but Maryland? Screw that noise.” Well, now that the MARC now runs on the weekend, you really have no excuse. It’s a short ride to Baltimore, so go get cultured instead of going to brunch for six hours AGAIN. -Alan
Damage Control: Art and Deconstruction Since 1950 @ The Hirshhorn (open now) — From the Hirshhorn Website: Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950 is the first in-depth exploration of the theme of destruction in international contemporary visual culture. In all areas of art production since the mid-twentieth century, the notion of destruction has played an important role, whether as spectacle, as catharsis, as a reaction to world-weariness, as a means of depersonalizing emotional or cultural angst, as a form of rebellion against institutions, or as an essential component of re-creation. This ground-breaking exhibition includes works by a diverse range of international artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation, and performance.
Archer on FX returns January 13
Archer returns to FX this month, promising a season littered with new absolutely not PC jokes you wish you had thought of, a new set of mama’s boy issues experienced by our favorite depraved protagonist, and more weird shit from the whole team at ISIS. You can join in on the debauchery (because we know you’re already planning a season premiere party) with an absurd amount of merch from the online store, including Seamus and Dicky shoulder tattoos, Pam’s conflict-resolution Dolphin hand puppet, and a ton of other ridiculous junk. Start working on those drinking games, people. -Farrah
Catching Up on The “Important” Films
Golden Globes are on the 12th, Oscar Nominations come out on the 16th. That means that January is a perfect time to visit and re-visit the best movies of 2013. If for nothing else than so you can enter the twitter flamewars and invent drinking games during the broadcasts with confidence. Here are some of our suggestions.
Best Animated Shorts @ E Street Cinema January 31
Everyone knows about the big Academy Awards, but my favorite contest is always the one for Best Animated Short. I review the nominees every year, as they’re a great opportunity to see what top animators can do with limitless imagination and limited resources. It’s always a David and Goliath contest between whatever short Disney and/or Pixar put before their big tent pole animation powerhouse, but sometimes there’s a small short from a unknown filmmaker that goes out of its to surprise you. Plus, there will always be part of me that loves cartoons. I miss getting up at 6:30am to watch Bugs Bunny. -Alan
The Past – Opens January 10th
January is traditionally a complete wasteland of quality movies on account of them all desperately trying to be awards eligible and rushing out in December. The Past, the latest gut wrenching masterpiece from the director of A Separation Asghar Farhadi is the exception to the rule. Starring Berenice Bejo (last seen in The Artist) as the French woman whose Iranian husband leaves her and her two children who now wants a divorce in order to move on with her life, it is, by all accounts, as heartbreaking and humane as Farhadi’s previous, “only French”. Which, in my book means it will actually be EVEN MORE HEARTBREAKING AND HUMANE. Also, fwiw, kudos to Farhadi and Bejo for not milking their previous Oscar buzz to make some watered down big studio version of this in English. HOMEWORK BONUS: read our interview with Farhadi here. – Svetlana
ONLY THE BEST
Make yourself a promise to only eat at the places worth eating at. We asked a bunch of DC based food writers to tell us all about their favorite spots – and they created the ultimate pro-tips guide for you. Reference it A LOT.
Located in a 2nd story walk-up at 1537 7th street NW, Ivy and Coney is the new project by the folks behind 11th street’s Kangaroo Boxing Club and has a concept so simple it is probably genius: hot dogs and beer. Because, sometimes, that’s all you need.
Inside, it has all the makings of a strong contender for 2014 edition of BYT’s Least Douchey Bars in DC: a good, affordable selection of beers ( including Strohs, Old Style, Goose Island and Bell’s two Hearted on tap, $4 for microbrews, $3 for domestics), a cash only policy (no sweat, an ATM is by the stairs), a small but essential spirits collection, Chicago and Detroit style hot dogs (3/4 of owners are from the Midwest – and it shows), a jukebox filled with Motown, Blues and Rock, plus (and fingers crossed this gets abused only in a good way) an iPod plug in for customers to share some of their own jams if so inclined. Oh, and CRACKER JACKS. They sell those behind the bar too. CLICK HERE FOR A FULL FIRST LOOK.
Sugar Daddy Bakery
Say goodbye to your New Year’s Resolutions and HELLO to date cakes, streusel bars and banoffee cupcakes. Totally worth it. Check out our full first look at the Middle Eastern spot JUST opened on the corner of 18th and California right here.
Eat more big bowls of soup.
IT IS A SNOW STORM (of sorts out there). This means only one thing: time to turn your bloodstream into nothing but PHO AND RAMEN this month. Lucky for you, we have this handy DC RAMEN GUIDE and DC PHO GUIDE for you to use at all times.
Krispy Kreme Cheesecake Donuts available through January 26
I like donuts and I like cheesecake, so it only makes sense that I would double like Krispy Kreme’s new caramel and chocolate cheesecake donuts! (I also really like breaking New Year’s resolutions / encouraging others to break theirs, and these seem like a pretty solid place to start.) Anyway, although they technically hit the market on December 30th, they’ll ONLY BE AVAILABLE for the month of January, disappearing FOREVER on January 26th. GET IT, GURL. -Megan
First things first: get yourself acquainted with our handy list of BANDS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2014. They’re all good/great and they all need to be on your ipods as we speak.
Everyone’s all “bow down” about Beyonce—and that’s cool and all, but we should all really be bowing down to Neil Young. He is doing a four night stint at Carnegie Hall (already sold out, naturally) but if you’re lucky enough to already have tickets, or have a friend who does, or have TONS OF MONEY to drop on Stub-Hub….you should go. Some people fade with age—their performances lose their spark, their voices go, they can’t play their instruments like they used to, and it can be depressing. This is not the case with Neil Young. He is still (even at just two years shy of 70), quite literally, legendary. -Carly
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Wig Out at Jagbags available January 7
Wig Out at Jagbags is Stephen Malkmus sixth kinda-not-really solo album. Sixth! You are old and will die someday. So will Malkmus, but I can imagine him continuing to churn out records like Wig Out the Jagbags for as long as he’s still breathing. While his albums with the Jicks had vacillated between relatively tidy pop structures (Stpehen Malkmus, Face the Truth) and looser, meandering jams (Pg Lib, Real Emotional Trash), 2011’s Mirror Traffic tried to split the difference, and despite a playfully subversive title that might suggest otherwise, Wig Out at Jagbags basically does the same thing. But it’s a breezier album, one that’s slightly more comfortable in it’s own skin than its predecessor. There are also occasional horns. And proving there was a love connection made in my 5-disc boombox during my senior year of high school, Fran Healy of Travis shows up. -Phil
Sometimes, only sometimes, the stars align and there is a fantastic triple bill where all the bands are on the cusp of getting fucking huge. Radiator Hospital are a great power-pop band that is also capable of heartfelt minimalist confessional songs. Priests are a local no-wave glam punk outfit with snarly vocals and minimal percussion. Potty Mouth is an all female alt punk outfit with songs that bursting with fuzzy hooks. Tickets are only $8, so if you care about punk at all – and you should – you have no excuse. Be there and rock out, nerds. -Alan
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings Give the People What They Want available January 14
Over the course of a partnership that stretches fourteen years, soul evangelists Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have released just four albums. As of January 14th, that total will climb to five. This is an unassuming slice of information, but it’s telling none the less: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings don’t phone these things in. They don’t crank out a covers record every year, even when that kind of move would probably get their music into more households, and even if they’d probably be awesome. (Their rendition of “Goldfinger” for Wolf of Wall Street speaks to both of these points.) No, these two forces of nature take their sweet time, assembling albums built like brick houses, each slab of original music as winning as the next. In the end, few LPs are as solid and sure an investment than one from Jones and her boys.
The story you’re likely to hear in association with Give the People What They Want is one inscribed well after it was made: This record was supposed to come out in August but was shelved when Jones was diagnosed with cancer and a tumor removed from her bile duct. Jones is on the mend now – as was gloriously on display during Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade – so whether or not you choose to bring deep thoughts about mortality to a listening of this album is entirely up to you, but rest assured that it will keep you warm in frigid months to come. -Phil
Bill Callahan Have Fun with God available January 21
In a development of less than zero surprise, Bill Callahan made my favorite record of 2013. It was called Dream River, which seems like a pretty logical thing to call a Bill Callahan record. I imagine him putting a bunch of Bill Callahan-esque words into a hat and drawing these two. That was a joke. Bill Callahan is infallible and if someone were to make the mere suggestion that something he did could be the product of chance, it would physically upsets me. On a related note, the moment in a conversation when someone tells me they can’t get into Bill Callahan is the moment when I literally stop caring about anything that person says or thinks on the subject of recorded music. This has happened before. If I had to grade my ability to hide my contempt in that moment, I would get a C-. Which is pretty good!
Anyway, Bill Callahan is releasing another record, Have Fun with God, on January 21st. Beyond the self-evidently amazing title, the record collects dub versions of the songs found floating down the Dream River. As you may recall, Bill Callahan released a 12″ with two of these reworkings as a teaser to Dream River. Now we get the whole collection. Drag City will be putting it out on vinyl and CD. In these austere times for record labels, this seems like a fucking insane thing to do. Bill Callahan’s live record, Rough Travel for a Rare Thing, only received a vinyl release and that thing was incredible. It was not a collection of dub reworkings. Have I already pre-ordered Have Fun with God? Yes, of course. Drag City might as well have an automatic bill pay for whatever this man releases. But Bill Callahan making a dub record is like the coolest person you know leaning across the table in a crowded bar and quietly telling you, “You know, you should really get into dub.” The only reasonable response is, “I have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about it, but I am absolutely going to try.” -Phil
There are probably things you didn’t get for Christmas. You’ve probably got a list of things you didn’t buy for yourself because it’s not socially acceptable to tell your sister that gifting yourself that new set of headphones was more important than buying your niece a child-size Power Wheels Escalade. Not yet, at least. But fear not, the DC Record Fair returns for its 5th birthday, and you’re the one that gets the presents. Even better, you get to treat yo’ self to drinks and food while treating yo’ self to vinyl you missed out on. -Farrah
FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC reboot on Lifetime premieres January 18th
A literary image from my childhood is still seared into my brain today. I’m at the bookstore and I pass a familiar section, each book with a hole cut out from the cover, always with the face of a girl behind it. That is classic V.C. Andrews and that was my first introduction to the Flowers in the Attic series. It was later made into a movie starring Kristy Swanson but an important yet uncomfortable aspect was missing from it: the incest. Lifetime picked up where they left off with their movie version of this acclaimed book which will star Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn, to name a few. It airs January 18th and I’m already looking forward to it. Based on the trailers I’ve seen they kept to the book. Bonus: this creepy version of Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” plays over the trailer. Mark your calendars. Lifetime keeps getting better and better. -Jennhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meNwZ_GYTIQ
If you are anything like the BYT office you’ve had the start days to these two marked for forever now. Downton kicks off this Sunday (January 5th!) and Sherlock is back on January 19th (after a 2 YEAR HIATUS during which Cumberbatch and Freeman became two of the world’s busiest British big screen actors). Between the accents, the witticisms, the mystery and all those carefully arranged curls, you will be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a few hours every Sunday (though HBO’s GIRLS + TRUE DETECTIVE combo pack may beg to differ) – Svetlana
DVRs are bound to be working OVERTIME this winter, which is a-ok since we don’t want to be missing any of this. First off, can you believe it is already time for SEASON 3 OF GIRLS? Aside from figuring out how they decided to kill Charlie off, we can apparently look forward to Shoshana becoming a sex fiend (or something), Marnie experiencing personal growth (hopefully not of the STD kind) and Lena Dunham wearing the most unflattering outfits this side of GIRLS season 2. So, that should be fun. Second off, can you believe there is a TV show with Matthew McConaughey AND Woody Harrelson debuting? Sure, I know it is not TV, it is HBO but still! And it is a thriller, a murder mystery, a sinister puzzle no less. Already my favorite show on TV. And THIRD OFF, finally HBO gets a BYGays inspired show, which is their Looking debut. The cast looks adorable, the topics include OK CUPID DATING (so current) and well, it should be fun to see people wear shorts that actually fit them, unlike on Girls. But MAINLY I’m jazzed for TRUE DETECTIVE. – Svetlana
Arrow on CW returns January 15
The CW’s hit show Arrow is easily one of the most entertaining things on television. Completely ridiculous and stupid, but so much fun. It follows the adventures Oliver Queen, playboy billionaire by night, arrow shooting vigilante by day. Basically Hawkeye meets Batman meets Robin Hood. If you’re not already watching/can’t get a girlfriend, go catch up on Netflix/Hulu cause this is gonna get SPOILERY.
Season 2 has ramped things up in a big way, folding in more of the great DC comic book universe into the originally grounded street-level story. January 15th kicks off the second half after the cliff hangery mid-season finale which gave Oliver a proper superhero mask (personally I’m gonna miss the grease paint), brought Slade back from the dead (pissier than ever), put Laurel into a coma from getting too much face work done (just kidding), and blah blah blah all of this was upstaged by giving us the origin story of The Flash, one of the most recognizable characters in the DC Universe. It’s unclear if the next Arrow ep will feature the Flash in any major way, or if this was all just a setup for his own new spin off show. Which wouldn’t be the scarlet speedsters first BTW (remember the 90s?). And the bigger question still lingers, are Arrow and The Flash part of the DC cinematic universe? Will they someday meet up with Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck? Justice League Assemble! -Cale
BYT NYC super favorites and UCB alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glanzer are behind some of the best web series action we’ve seen of late. Loud, a little obnoxious, always on point, they are the best friends you wish you had. And Amy Poehler happened to agree, so after 4 years of online genius, they are moving their particular brand of “sneak attack feminism” to a TV screen near you this month. So, please, don’t fuck this one up and watch it so they can be as massive of stars as they deserve to be and maybe co-host major awards shows soon. – Svetlana
Twelfth Night @ Synetic Theatre January 9 through February 16
In the 10th installment of their “silent Shakespeare” series, which has garnered plenty of critical acclaim and awards, Synetic presents “Twelfth Night.” This bard tale centers around a woman who dresses as her fraternal twin brother in order to be near the man she’s fallen in love with. You know, “She’s the Man,” only it’s the Shakespeare version and probably a little more theatrical. -Deanna
50 Shades! The Musical @ Warner Theatre
January 16 – January 18
The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy sold more than 32 million copies, so why wouldn’t it get its own musical parody? Dive into this sexy, funny stage adaptation as a ladies’ book club interprets the pop culture phenomenon with live backing band, dance numbers and, as you could imagine, a pinch of scandal. -Stephanie
Peter and the Starcatcher @ The Kennedy Center January 28 through February 16
Travel back to Neverland and watch as 12 actors play more than 100 characters to tell the story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. I do believe in fairies, I do, I do! -Deanna
Sneaking in at the end of December, Nintendo surprised us with NES Remix, an exclusive $14.99 Wii-ware download. It proves once again how good Nintendo can be at mining their decades old properties.
In NES Remix you’re presented with hundreds of mini games, all taking place within faithful ports of classic 8-bit gems like Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. Each stage is a slice of these originals with timed specific objectives – break three balloons in Balloon Fight, defeat three turtles in Mario Bros, pop a wheelie in Excitebike for three seconds, etc. You can win up to three stars per level, Angry Birds style, which then allow you to unlock increasingly more difficult challenges. There are also the eponymous Remix levels where new elements are added, like an ice stage in Super Mario Bros (there wasn’t one in the original) or defeating Donkey Kong in the dark with just a small light around you character (and just for the hell of it, saving Luigi instead of the princess).
The genius of NES Remix is that while you can download these entire games from the Virtual Console, they’re usually only fun for a little while, as the repetitive tedium of 1984 gameplay wears down the nostalgia. With Remix though, you get just the amount you want, and because of the fast pace and variety, it’s just as fun for audiences who have no familiarity with the original games. -Cale
BONUS: Don’t forget to keep our big, splashy fun seasonal guides on hand too.
- Our FILM GUIDE: the best new releases, the worst new releases, the DC film events you want to see and more
- Our MUSIC GUIDE: best new albums, music for girls by girls, opening bands worth checking out, HOW TO MAKE IT AS A BAND in DC and more
- Our ART GUIDE: must see museum shows, awesome gallery openings, fairs, pop-ups and cool art events
- Our THEATRE GUIDE: shows to laugh, cry AND think about.
- Our FOOD/DRINK GUIDE: gorgeous photos of delicious food and drinks.
- Our STYLE GUIDE: know what to wear now that it’s cold.
Feel free to let us know in the comments what YOU are excited about. Till next month everyone!