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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.

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OK, lets dig in.


Louise Bourgeois: No Exit @ National Gallery of Art, open now

Whether you are a dyed-in-the-wool Bourgeois fan, or a “I will appreciate art MORE in 2015” resolution maker, it is possible that this wonderful show flew under your radar due to the hubbub of holiday season. Well, January is the month to fix this. Teethering on the fine line between surrealism and existentialism, Bourgeois remains one of the most brave, challenging artists of the 20th century, addressing the human struggle of choosing to live meaningfully and authentically in an uncertain, hostile, and indifferent universe. Spend time with it. -Svetlana

Louise Bourgeois, M is for Mother, 1998, pen and ink with colored pencil and graphite, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Dian Woodner, 2008. © The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, NY

Louise Bourgeois, M is for Mother, 1998, pen and ink with colored pencil and graphite, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Dian Woodner, 2008. © The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, NY


Straight James / Gay James by James Franco available January 1

James Franco is releasing a book of poetry and as you can tell from the title and the cover art, it’s going to be so goddamn arty. More arty than anything you’ve ever made in your life. Part of the book apparently involves Straight James Franco interviewing Gay James Franco (whatever that means!), but I somehow doubt it will reach the heights of Ayoade on Ayoade. It’s probably going to be interesting in a car crash kind of way, but I’m still going to read it, and so are you. -Kaylee Dugan

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo available January 5

Marie Kondo took the cleaning world by storm with her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, so it’s safe to say that her follow up is going to be just as wild and crazy (or at least as wild and crazy as being a clean person can get). This is obviously something you should pick up if you’re the kind of person that reads cleaning advice columns for fun, but even if you’re not much of a neat freak, I’ve read plenty of articles about applying her ideology to other things, like fashion. What I’m saying is, this is nowhere near as boring as it sounds. -Kaylee Dugan

Gretchen E. Henderson UGLINESS: A Cultural History @ Kramerbooks January 25

What really lurks behind this most favored insult? In this actually beautiful book, Gretchen E. Henderson casts an unfazed gaze at ugliness, tracing its long-standing grasp on our cultural imagination and highlighting all the peculiar ways it has attracted us to its repulsion. We, for one, are compelled to find out. -Svetlana


The Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara available January 26

Hanya Yanagihara’s novel about a group of college classmates as they find themselves adrift in adulthood and New York city has been shortlisted for pretty much every book award, and named on of best books of 2015 by EVERYONE (including us). And while definitely worthy and sweeping and cathartic, it is not a light read (“relentless suffering” seems to be a description people keep coming back to when they describe the plot) and it is a HEAVY read literally (almost 1000 pages). At least one half of the struggle will be resolved as the book arrives in paperback this month. Good luck otherwise. -Svetlana

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Harry Potter Magical Creatures Coloring Book available January 26

People cannot get enough of adult coloring books. I stepped into a Barnes & Noble for the first time in years last week, and it was filled to the brim with the things. This is an adult coloring book with a children’s book theme, which essentially makes it a slightly more complicated children’s coloring book, I guess? I think at this point I am mostly confused, but if you want nothing more than to color in some dragons, have at it. -Kaylee Dugan


Do you like storytelling shows? (This is a trick question because everyone likes storytelling shows). Well, think of this as the storytelling OLYMPICS. The concept is simple (and competitive): a panel of judges (which this year includes WaPo’s Alexandra Petri, WAMU’s Lauren Landau, The Washington Rogue’s Ryan S. Taylor and GWU’s Martin Zismillich) have selected their favorite stories from a year’s worth of StoryDistrict shows and invited the authors/performers back for a greatest-hits show. The results are bound to be funny and sad and compelling and light and dark and …. well, you get the picture. -Svetlana


Bridget Everett @ 9:30 Club January 16

9:30 is starting off the year with a semi-rare seated comedy show, this time for Bridget Everett’s raunchy musical comedy cabaret show. Her no-holds-barred, sex-infused and often scantily clad monthly stint at Joe’s Pub in New York has left the city for a tour around the country, and she’s most likely bringing with her one of her many collaborators, including DJ Ad-Rock and a host of other celebrity staples in the music and comedy worlds like Amy Schumer and Patti LuPone. Just don’t go if you’re not okay with having your face sat on. -Tam Sackman


Port City Mead Barrel-Aged Tidings Release Party January 9

Is there a better season for DC beer than winter? The quality of area breweries’ offerings borders on indulgent: Atlas Brew Works’ La Saison des Fêtes (and its amazing brett variation); DC Brau’s honey and hop cocktail Alpha Domina Mellis; Three Stars’ winter warming old stock ale Madness; Port City’s gently spiced Tidings, which head brewer Jonathan Reeves told BYT he envisioned as a Grand Cru of their Optimal Wit. That last brew gets an extra special release on January 9, when the Alexandria brewery taps a keg of Tidings that’s been aged in mead barrels from Charm City Meadworks. Already brewed (and fortified) with honey, this sounds like a treat too sweet and smooth to be true. -Phil Runco


RedEye Cocktail Party: Chopsticks & Copitas @ The Source by Wolfgang Puck, January 13

January is a month when we all decide we should drink less, so, in our book, drinking events need to be of EXTRA quality to motivate for. And this roving pop-up of Spanish Sherry and Asian food pairings by the trio of industry veterans and Sherry enthusiasts, Chantal Tseng, Holly Barzyk and Carlie Steiner, at The Source by Wolfgang Puck for a cocktail party featuring executive chef Scott Drewno’s newest offerings (which, if you haven’t stopped by the NEW Source, you NEED TO) certainly fits the quality bill. -Svetlana


The Sovereign Opening Mid-January

At some point this month, Neighborhood Restaurant Group will to open the doors of the Sovereign, a Belgian (beer and food) bistro in Georgetown. The space will be split between an 84-seat dining room (downstairs) and a 47-seat bar (upstairs). This classy watering hole is (of course) the vision of Neighborhood Restaurant Group Beer Director Greg Engert, who spoke at length (of course) with DC Beer about the venture (and a lot more) recently. Set aside some time and give it a read here. -Phil Runco

2nd Annual Can Art Contest @ Pizzeria Paradiso Old Town, January 24

In January 1935, the first can of beer was sold. To commemorate this momentous occasion, Pizzeria Paradiso will host their second annual “Can Art Competition,” whereby entrants create original art made of craft beer cans. The art must be made primarily of craft beer cans, but other material may be used to reinforce, create structure or as an adhesive. This will be very fun to attend but also… Want to enter? Art must have a footprint no larger than 3×3 feet. All pieces must be submitted by January 25th to the Old Town location. The lineup of judges will be forthcoming, and entrants should email [email protected] with name and contact info. -Svetlana



Norm of the North in theaters January 15

It’s sort of exciting that an animated film as terrible looking as Norm of the North could see a full theatrical run in the year 2016. In the spirit of Delgo, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, and Doogal before it, Norm of the North looks to compile everything cheap, awful, and hackneyed about modern kids movies into one single piece of cynically crafted Bad Art. It hits theaters worldwide on January 15 and I can’t wait! -Matt Byrne

The Boy in theaters January 22

I hate dolls. I fuckin’ haaaate dolls. There is no inanimate object more terrifying in this world than a doll. Triple points if it’s porcelain and has those terrifying eyes that close when you lay them down. However, I love being afraid because there is something wrong with me, so I’m goddamn psyched about The Boy. Sure, the director William Brent Bell brought us the absolute garbage fire that was The Devil Inside, but I’m a glutton for punishment. Plus this is (thankfully) not a found footage film, so I feel (read: hope) we’re in the clear. All I’m asking is that it makes me feel even half as scared as the first time I saw the clown doll scenes in Poltergeist, and based on the trailer, I think it’s possible. -Kaylee Dugan

Dirty Grandpa in theaters January 22

I hope Robert DeNiro is okay. Like, does he need money? I’d rather he just start a GoFundMe or something rather than bumming us all out by cashing in on Dirty Grandpa, you know? I don’t know, maybe we should like, all pool our money and send him one of those big novelty checks with “please, no” in the memo field or something? -Matt Byrne


Top Chef Dinner January 5

I follow two shows religiously: Game of Thrones and Top Chef. One has political intrigue, infighting, gamesmanship, and frequently features meat roasted over an open fire; the other is Game of Thrones. Top Chef rules. For those who haven’t been keeping up with this year’s season, two D.C. chefs remain (Barrel’s Garret Fleming just got beat on Last Chance Kitchen, unfortunately) and are straight killing it: Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple and Roofer’s Union, and Kwame Onwuachi of the soon to open Shaw Bijou (Of course it’s in Shaw. SO HOT RIGHT NOW.). Last season, after being eliminated on Day One, George Pagonis of Kapnos battled his way back and almost made it to the finals, which was won by Mei Lin. On Tuesday, January 5, Meek-Bradley, Lin, and Pagonis are teaming up to put on a special Top Chef dinner at G by Mike Isabella. It’s crazy expensive at a little over $200, but should be an amazing event with some dynamite food. I’ll be there, if only to try Meek-Bradley’s rye rigatoni pasta with lamb pastrami and a caraway mustard glaze. -Logan Hollers

Chefs Behind Bars January 17

D.C. is spoiled with great chefs. While I always love watching them slay in the kitchen, sometimes it’s fun to get them out of their comfort zone. No Kid Hungry’s annual Chefs Behind Bars event is exactly that: a chance for chefs to flex their creative muscle behind a bar rather than behind a stove. Starting at 2:00 pm on Sunday, January 17th, seven local chefs will be slanging their own cocktail creations at Prequel, the restaurant incubator and event space in downtown DC. Afterward, an expert judging panel (featuring two of the contributors to BYT’s Year-End Food Round-Up!) will crown the Judges’ Choice champion; the chef / mixologist who gets the most tips from attendees will be the Peoples’ Choice winner. Tickets are $40, and, as always, all proceeds from the event go towards helping No Kid Hungry make sure all kids have the healthy food they need, every day. -Logan Hollers

Opening of Espita Mezcaleria

I just got back from Mazatlan, Mexico. I drank a lot of tequila. But I drank more of its grown-up relative, mezcal. For me, tequila is sharp, intense; mezcal smooth and smoky. Some of what I tried was garbage, most of what I tried was outstanding, and all of what I tried made me realize that DC is due for its own place specializing in Mexican spirits. I mean, we have Jack Rose and Southern Efficiency for whiskey; we have Wisdom and the Gin Joint at New Heights for gin; you can always find a great rum drink at 2 Birds, 1 Stone or Cuba Libre (we miss you, Hogo!)… That void is soon to be filled, with the upcoming opening of Espita Mezcaleria, a Mexican restaurant opening in Shaw (Of course it’s in Shaw. SO HOT RIGHT NOW.) and specializing in mezcal and Oaxacan cuisine. BYT got a sneak preview in November; if the final result is anything like what we saw then, D.C. is in for a treat. Salud! -Logan Hollers

Kinship and Metier

As I wrote in BYT’s Year-End Food Round-Up, Eric Ziebold is the man. He’s from the Midwest; he worked at Spago; he worked at the French Laundry and at Per Se. And he helmed the kitchen of one of D.C.’s best fine dining spots, CityZen, until it closed down in late 2014. Now, he’s ready with a new fine dining concept, set to open right beside the old Passenger location in Mt. Vernon/Shaw (Of course it’s in Shaw. SO HOT RIGHT NOW.). Kinship is the upstairs spot, an a la carte menu “celebrating the rich diversity of influences that have come to shape American cuisine”; Metier, the fine dining seven-course tasting menu influenced by seasons, travel, culture and history. Fast casual is great, but if D.C. wants to ascend to the culinary heights to which it aspires, it needs more luxe fine dining (Komi, Marcel’s, and Rasika are all wonderful, but this will be on another level). A day after I moved to DC, I celebrated by doing the tasting menu at CityZen; if this is anything close (spoiler alert: it will be), I’m 100% on board. -Logan Hollers


Mid Atlantic Leather (MAL) Weekend January 15-18, MLK Weekend

This is the most wonderful time of the year. Straight people in Washington know about Capital Pride and the 17th Street High Heel Race, but MAL weekend is a lesser known, but equally important, date in the DC gay calendar. It’s part serious leather fetishists, part camp, and all fun. ALL of gay DC goes to it, even if they aren’t into leather. It’s a way for people to be socially frisky and explore their kinkier side.

The Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill serves as the focal point of MAL during the day. Here, thousands of gays and lesbians (and a good number of straight people) cruise the leather market as they buy up paddles, poppers, whips, and harnesses. The hotel bars work overtime. It’s as much about being social as it is about buying things. At night, dozens of dance parties take place throughout the city. They great thing about it is that very few people are there to gawk. Many attendees may not be into leather, but they’re happy to explore with an open mind. Think of it as a kinky Savage Love sex advice column come to life in 3D. Everyone is GGG. -BYGays


All Songs Considered’s Sweet 16 Celebration @ 9:30 Club January 13

Sharon Van Etten and Dan Deacon are sharing Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton’s stage for one very special night that I swore was a dream when I first heard about it. In a way, this was my dream show that I didn’t know was my dream show– anyone who hasn’t seen Dan Deacon live has most likely at least heard about his wildly interactive dance-centric energy explosion of a show. Paired with Sharon Van Etten’s emotional, poetic, smoky folk-rock? Forget about it. But don’t actually forget about it, this show’s going to take us from euphoria to despair and everywhere in between in one night, and there’s no way in hell I’ll be missing it. Also, the event description promises “special guests”, which, considering (HA) the hosts of the celebration, is very exciting. -Tam Sackman

Torres and Palehound @ Rock and Roll Hotel January 19

I’ve recently decided to boycott any music publication/individual that hasn’t put Torres’ Sprinter on their end-of-the-year best album roundup list, because I don’t have time for that level of wrongness. Granted, it took me a while to appreciate Mackenzie Scott’s genius, too, but I have since seen the error of my ways. Sprinter is as raw as it gets, and the recorded version of tracks like the title track, “The Exchange” and “Strange Hellos” are soaked in such palpable emotion that I can’t imagine her going any deeper in a live performance. I’m curious to see what her physical presence adds to the meaning of all of these tracks. Also, opener Palehound is a perfect fit, if anything a bit of a lighter transition into Torres’ mostly-dark territory. -Tam Sackman

Jukebox the Ghost @ Black Cat January 19

Growing up I was a bit of a closeted musical theatre fan (I’m not anymore, okay? So don’t say that I am). I discovered that Jukebox the Ghost had a quirky, theatrical, piano-backed sound that was much cooler to talk about than the soundtrack from Next to Normal. So I listened to Jukebox the Ghost in the public sphere, opting for the other in the privacy of my room. Jukebox the Ghost is fun and lively and accessible without compromising intelligent lyricism and an almost goofy musicality that comes from a piano being the centerpiece. Their show is feel-good without being embarrassing and worth a spending a Tuesday night. -Tam Sackman

Eleanor Freidberger New View available January 22 on Frenchkiss Records

The album is called New View, but there’s not much new about Eleanor Friedberger: A dozen years have passed since The Fiery Furnaces released Gallowsbird’s Bark and over four have gone by since Friedberger “went solo” with Last Summer. Given the current press/blog/internet approach to music, where most people strive primary to call “first,” that means the buzz around New View is sadly and predictably murmur soft. To wit: Last week the blog Stereogum posted a list of the “101 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016” and didn’t include New View. Many of the albums on that list won’t come out this year or maybe even ever. In other words, New View is getting dogged for nonexistent, hypothetical albums. OK.

Sorry, this is a negative way to talk up a record. It’s just frustrating to see someone making the best music of her career and not nearly enough people caring. And Eleanor Friedberger isn’t just making the best music of her career; it’s some of the best being made by anyone. Perhaps the change has been too subtle. Last Summer was a fine pop record, but something clicked with 2013’s Personal Record. Ideas and melodies and lyrics came with a heretofore unfamiliar ease. You could hear her relax. The details that peppered her (and her brother’s) lyrics were still there, but the desire to cram a novella into each song continued to dissipate. The music – part Laurel Canyon, Harry Nilsson – was warm and inviting, too, like a fur-lined thrift store jacket that fit her perfectly. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to “My Own World” and marveled over its shrugged-off perfection. And when I listen to “He Didn’t Even Mention His Mother”, the first and thus far only advance track from New View, I only get the sense that she’s further refined that sound. Friedberger is entering rarefied air and I’m here to witness it. You should join me. -Phil Runco

DJDS Stand Up and Speak available January 29 on Loma Vista Records

Producer Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy combined to form DJ Dodger Stadium, and in the summer of 2014, the duo put out debut LP Friend of Mine. It was a record that was easy to like but hard to love. The two displayed a penchant for finding a great lonesome, soulful sample, but they often drove it (and surrounding ideas) into the ground by the two minute mark. I did not expect myself to be overly excited about a second record from the duo – now calling themselves DJDS due to obvious trademark issues – but that’s changed in the lead-up to the forthcoming Stand Up and Speak. These two have figured shit out. Listen to “In the Flames”, the title track, and, to lesser degree, “You Don’t Have to Be Alone”. The instrumentation and vocals are more organic (and it would appear performed live). The arrangements are less cluttered. There are clearer movements within the production. All in all, these are just fantastic songs. This is the kind of leap people were hoping for out of Disclosure. “It feels like we’re directing a big movie together,” Samo Sound Boy told the Fader recently. “We’re this directing team and everything gets really expanded.” You can hear it. -Phil Runco

DC Record Fair @ Penn Social January 31

It’s more of an excuse to dig through crates than to find specific LPs. I’ve attended this fair alone as a determined shopper, as a guest DJ and as a family friendly activity with my mother-in-law. The trip with my mother-in-law was the best. Attending with someone who couldn’t care about rare finds or first pressings or small run 7 inches let me talk to vendors and browsers without worrying what I was missing. Go to this well run event to be surrounded by music lovers. The Vinyl District puts these on only twice a year. You should meet new friends at least twice a year. -Brandon Wetherbee



Todd Margaret returns to IFC January 7

Todd Margaret is the newly shortened title of IFC’s pitch-black David Cross vehicle The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, which puts its titular character through some of the darkest, most absurd situations ever depicted in modern TV comedy. Season 3 reboots the show’s concept following an apocalyptic Season 2 finale, unfolding over two hour and a half blocks over two nights starting January 7. -Matt Byrne

MADtv reunion special airs on The CW January 12

While it’s hardly fashionable to acknowledge these days, Fox sketch show MadTV left an imprint on the comedy psyche of many twentysomething comedy nerds. Much of the cast (including Alex Borstein, Mo Collins, and Michael McDonald) will reunite on The CW to pay tribute to the show in celebration of its 20th birthday. -Matt Byrne

Baskets premieres on FX January 21

It’s hard not to get overly hyped on Baskets, the upcoming comedy series created by the great Zach Galifianakis, who stars as a man who aspires to become a professional clown, but settles for working in a California rodeo. Louis CK is on board as co-creator and producer and Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia, Tim & Eric, Kroll Show) is on the hook to direct much of the show, adding to the hype pyre. I’m VERY excited to see how this show is. I hope good! -Matt Byrne



Picasso at the Lapin Agile @ Keegan Theatre Opens January 16

This long running Off-Broadway absurdist comedy (written by Steve Martin) places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism. And while the show is peppered with surprise guests, it is the FINAL visitor (from the future?) you need to keep an eye out for. -Svetlana

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The City of Conversation @ Arena Stage Opens January 29th

A very D.C. (ie: “smart, literate, funny”, according to the NY Times) play arrives to Washington via Off-Broadway. Georgetown hostess Hester Ferris runs in an elite circle, opening her home for political foes to lay down arms and raise a glass. When her son’s formidable, conservative wife comes on the scene, the parlor pleasantries of D.C.’s past descend into entrenched posturing and an ultimatum that could implode the family. Follow the theatre of politics as the Ferris clan moves from the end of Carter’s presidency through the Reagan era and into Obama’s game-changing inauguration. Perfect kick of to election year in D.C. -Svetlana


The Sisters Rosenweig @ Theatre J opens January 13

A Wendy Wasserstein’s play is always a welcome addition to any theatre season and this tale of sisters are different as can be, and their hilarious and heartfelt reunion is just the right combo of funny and smart and soul-searching for a kick-of-the-year resolutions theatre goer. -Svetlana

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