Best month yet. That’s not an overstatement, at least we hope not. Amazing new art exhibits, varied books and book events, warm weather to make outdoor drinking appropriate, indoor and outdoor shows, blockbuster films, an excuse to dress up as the Doctor and so much more. May will be good.
We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of this exhibit. It’s fantastic. It’s interactive. It’s something to show off to visitors. It’s something you won’t get sick of showing off to visitors. Please, American Art Museum, more exhibits like this. -Brandon Wetherbee
Photographer Ann-Marie VanTassell’s NASCAR Series opens for viewing this weekend at Georgia Avenue’s Pleasant Plains Workshop, but as with any true NASCAR celebration, the “tailgate party” on May 16th is the official, green-flag launch. Featuring “portraits of the everyday people that bring the sport to life,” the imagery available for preview is gorgeous, documentary, and not at all exploitative. Related: this is a really good read.-Morgan West
You know how every year we throw a big party at the National Geographic space and it sells out and people come and dance and hang out and see neat exhibits? One of those parties is coming and this exhibit happens to be opening soon. Hint, hint. -Brandon Wetherbee
Shirin Neshat’s work deals with (sometimes not so beautiful) issues of power and identity in the Islamic world, but she does it in the most beautiful and humane of ways. This retrospective will feature a selection of her definitive works in both film and photography, including her mesmerizing lyrical video installations, which immerse the viewer in imagery and sound; and two monumental series of photographs, The Book of Kings, 2012, and Our House Is on Fire, 2013, created in the wake of the Green Movement and the Arab Spring. Truly a must-see. -Svetlana Legetic
I read a poorly written about David Bowie in high school. High schoolers need good books about David Bowie. If every high school kid read a good book about David Bowie, there would be no more bullying. A book using Bowie’s own words is the closest thing we have to a Bowie autobiography. It’s a step in towards a non-bullying world. -Brandon Wetherbee
Kim Kardashian’s selfie book, which is cleverly titled Selfish, is coming out May 5th. It’s a coffee table book filled with photos of Kim Kardashian and her family. If we’ve learned anything from Kim (and, I guess the rest of the Kardashian clan) it’s that she can monetize literally anything. Anyone could go on her Instagram account and look at pictures of her for free, but instead we’re all going to buy her selfie book (don’t act like you’re not going to, I know you are). She’s a genius. I can’t wait to force my friends to awkwardly look at it with me whenever they come over my house. I can’t wait for their to be a Selfish drinking game (books have drinking games, right?). And I can’t wait to see what else Kim does with her life, because no matter what it is, we will all buy it (don’t act like you wont). -Kaylee Dugan
Books! I love books. I love the way they feel, the way they smell and I love folding down the pages to mark my spot DESPITE GLARES FROM PEOPLE ON THE METRO. It’s definitive proof that I was there. I read that page and the one before it and logic suggests the one after it as well. This is why I cannot and will not resist a book festival (nor will I ever succumb to a Kindle). The Gaithersburg Book Festival boasts an impressive list of authors from graphic novels all the way up to David Axelrod but I’m really looking forward to all the authors of historical nonfiction that will be in attendance. Just when you thought it was safe to dive into America’s past…nah. -Jenn Tisdale
Whether you’re familiar with Philip Glass through Einstein on the Beach, Koyaanisqatsi, The Hours, or a number of other film scores, it’s impossible to not recognize one of his compositions. Minimal. Repetitive. Haunting. The composer’s comping to Politics and Prose to talk about his new memoir and you’re going to want to get there early for this one. -Matty Greene
Awesome Con returns May 29th-31st to the Washington Convention Center. In 2014, DC’s ultimate geek-fest got a huge upgrade in size and scope, and this time around things look even more bonkers, featuring an impressive roster of guests such as:
- Shatner and Takei
- Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (who probably has more money than God)
- TMNT Bonus: the original 80s cartoon voice cast
- TMNT Double Bonus: The OG April O’Neal from the 1990 TMNT movie (which still holds up), not that bullshit replacement from Secret of the Ooze (which does not)
- Gimli the dwarf + Samwise
- Spike from Buffy (hey ladies)
- The mother fuckin’ Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio
- John Connor’s dad
- Jacob from LOST (may or may not be visible)
- Pam from True Blood
- Tons of Doctor Who, Power Rangers, and WWE randos
And plenty of others + comics, cosplay, toys, gaming, workshops, etc.
We made this for month’s like this… Thank God it is outdoor drinking season again. Use this all the time:
DC Has plenty of beer events and wine events and cocktail events, but how about a simply AMAZING DRINKING ALL AROUND event? Neighborhood Restaurant Group, who knows how to fill a need in our hearts before we even know it is there had their three beverage directors: Greg Engert (Beer), Brent Kroll (Wine) and Jeff Faile (cocktails) come up with a new, seasonal libation concept which kicks off on May 16th. From hyper rare tequilas to the finest roses to regional beer debuts they’ll all be there. Plus, of course, Red Apron to the rescue on the food side. Keep your eye out for a full preview on BYT soon but it is probably smart to get the tickets NOW – Svetlana Legetic
Places to eat on 14th street are (more than) plentiful and diverse (enough) these days but one thing they are almost all seriously lacking is space. Sure, your favorites are great for a dinner for two and a few girlfriends tucked at a bar for an early happy hour (you know, before things get competitive), but gather a large group and… all of a sudden, you’re in trouble. Well, Provision No.14, which opens tomorrow at the old Diego location on 14th and V, is here to change all that. The first project by the newly formed Social Restaurant Group definitely thinks BIG. But, most importantly, it offers ample outdoor seating AND cocktials served in french presses. Check out our full first look here.
The bikes, beer and bemusement extravaganza returns to DC. Check out photos from last year here and save the date to get weird.
You guys, Orson Welles movies on the big screen. We repeat: Orson Welles movies on the big screen. So much genius, insanity, success and heartbreaking failure in one place, our filmfan heads may explode.
Mad Max: Fury Road in theaters May 15
I first saw Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) when I was 9-years-old. My dad made me watch it because it’s infinitely superior to children’s television – my obsession at the time – and it indulges the same things (big machines, big costumes, big violence). Mad Max 2 is the reason I love movies. It’s been thirty years since the last Mad Max film, yet there is seemingly no effect on the imagination of writer/director George Miller. With top-notch production values and an abundance of practical effects, I cannot wait to see action and chase scenes at their most pure. -Alan Zilberman
Pitch Perfect 2 in theaters May 15
The sequel to the greatest cinematic artistry to be witnessed by our generation is set to be released May 15. This time, the Barden Bellas are performing in an international competition that no American a capella squad has ever won. If they win, they regain their status and right to perform that they apparently lost by humiliating themselves at a performance for the POTUS. These girls have really faced a lot of adversity, and now they’re competing against Europeans who “don’t speak loser.” Zing! Will the BBs give the performance of a lifetime and win back their status? Will Fat Amy get beaned with another burrito? Will there be even more awful a capella puns!?! Aca-probably. See it anyway. It’ll be funny and you’ll forget you’re depressed for 90 minutes. -Melissa Groth
All we can think about here is that, frankly, this is a perfect month to make the most of our Burger Guide.
As expected, May brings us new Star Wars LEGO, including the Ultimate Collector’s Series TIE Fighter, available May 2nd. I’m a little on the fence though, as the shape doesn’t quite lend itself to LEGO as much as some other Star Wars ships. I like my LEGO to look like LEGO, and this looks more like a toy or model. It’s still unique though and is probably a fun build. 1685 pieces at $199.99.
Also any Star Wars purchase of $75 or more will get you an exclusive Admiral Yularen minifig, thankfully sporting his baller 1977 white threads as opposed to some boring Clone Wars attire.
The store calendar also promises additional Star Wars deals on May 2nd and 3rd, but even better than all the Star Wars jazz is the second wave of Simpsons LEGO. We get the epic Kwik-E-Mart set, featuring crazy interior detail and over 2000 pieces. The minifig dept is a little lackluster with repeats of Homer, Marge, and Bart, plus variations of Apu and Wiggum, with the only exclusive being Snake. Missed opportunity for a Lou figure!
No worries though, you can get your Simpsons minifig fix with the series 2 blind bags, avail May 1st!
The good: Comic Book Guy, Smithers (with Malibu Stacy!), Patti & Selma, Willie, Dr. Hibbert, Martin Price, Hans Moleman, Professor Frink, and Mrs. Krabappel
The medicore: Bartman (God, I’m old), Church Homer, Repeat Maggie and Church Lisa (only cause they come with Santa’s Little Helper and Snowball II)
The bad: Church Marge, Millhouse as Fallout Boy (why?)
Curiously still missing are Moe, Barney, and Otto, but maybe that’s due to their strong association with booze and drugs? And I think we’d all take a Dr. Nick, Lenny, Skinner, or Sideshow Bob over yet another Marge or Millhouse variant, but still, some great stuff here.
As for the rest, be on the look out for the new LEGO Architecture Flatiron Building and a secret VIP early access set on May 13.
This is not a DJ set. This is a Juan MacLean live show with human beings using instruments to create music. This hasn’t happened since 2009. This is something that Nancy Whang didn’t sound confident would happen when we spoke in December. This quite possibly will not happen ever again. This is akin to a Holy Ghost or LCD show. This likely involves members from both of those bands. This is not a weird 7:00 p.m. weekend U Hall show. This is a legit and #rare 10:00 p.m. doors U Hall weekend concert. This is in support last year’s fantastic, impossibly sleek In a Dream. This only costs $10. This is a no-brainer. -Phil Runco
This is a real treat. Mac McCaughan is the frontman for ’90s legends (and still great) Superchunk. His new album, Non-Believers, is very good, and it’s out May 5 on Merge Records, the indie stalwart that he co-founded and runs. You can advance stream it on NPR now. What’s extra cool about this show is that McCaughan will be playing stuff from the new album, plus Superchunk and Portastatic songs, and Flesh Wounds is going to be his backing band for about half the set, which is crazy, because Flesh Wounds are crazy. (I tried to capture how wild Flesh Wounds was at Hopscotch, but if you’re starting from square one, check my interview with singer Monty Morris from last year.) Did I mention that this is backstage at Black Cat? Trust me on this one. -Phil Runco
D.C. is getting in on the festival scene with SWEETLIFE, which has only been getting bigger and bigger since it started in 2010. With big names like Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris, Tove Lo, Charli XCX, Marina & The Diamonds…the list goes on. They’ve even got the token #throwback artist, Billy Idol. Plus, it’s sponsored by sweetgreen, so you KNOW the food’s going to be good. The whole thing screams summer, and while you can’t camp on the grounds overnight, at least you can take a shower the next day if you stay in a nearby hotel. The best part of any music festival though? Discovering new artists that you’ve never heard before as you wander around and stumble in on what might just be the best set you hear in your lifetime. A little dramatic? Sure. Possible? Quite. -Anagha Srikanth
Daytime stuff is happening ALL DAY with the Parade (this year with 100% more street closures) itself 5-7. Nighttime stuff is happening ALL NIGHT. Check out our photos from last year here.
Despite its name, you actually don’t need a passport to tour the embassies at the Passport DC 2015 open house. At the embassy open house for the non-EU embassies (the EU open house is the weekend after silly!) various embassies open their doors to host performances, workshops and other cultural events. Part diplomacy, part arms race to throw the best party, Passport DC is a chance to experience a day in the life of an ambassador. -Matty Greene
Can’t get enough of your favorite queer grrl day drinking party? Ladies Tea Dance at Dodge City, DC’s last Sunday of the month Spring/Summer day party, is holding an extra special Saturday Funk Parade Edition. Trust me, dancing to some funk hits is the best way to get your groove on with your new crush. -Matty Greene
If you’re looking to see a gaggle of men in ill-fitting sundresses then The Wonderland Ballroom’s 11th annual Sundress Fest is the place for you! This year it’s expanded a bit and will be spilling out onto Kenyon Avenue in a beer garden which I hope/assume will up the attendance because as we all know, every girl’s crazy about a sharp sundressed man. -Jenn Tisdale
Lions and tigers and bears and otters. Oh my! The DC Center and Rainbow Families DC are partnering to bring you Gay Day at the National Zoo on International Family Equality Day. The event features performances by local groups such as the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret. And yes, there are panda shirts. -Matty Greene
We’ve all walked past all the embassies on Embassy Row and thought what’s in there? I always pictured a mini version of that country, like for Australia I figured there’s kangaroos running around and a pool filled with crocodiles, even though most likely it’s just boring, bland, offices! Anyways, you can find out for yourself on May 9, when the EU opens its 28 Embassies’ to the public, and it’s one of my favorite D.C. events of the year.
Why is it so amazing? It’s basically like booking a flight to Europe, without all the messy “paying for flights” thing. You get to taste amazing food, mingle with foreigners, watch some cool cultural shenanigans, tour the Ambassador’s residences, and get a ton of free things (they all give out free tote bags, I’m still using last year’s one from United Kingdom and I see other people using theirs ALL THE TIME).
There’s so many Embassies’ to cover there’s no way you can tour them all, although they do have a complimentary bus system to try and help you on your country hopping endeavors. Seriously is there a better way to spend a weekend than casually strolling around Europe? -Marissa Rubenstein
After last year’s inaugural edition of this wine and music extravaganza, it is back for the 2nd time and bigger and featuring 100% more Questlove, which is always a good thing. Details and tickets here.
Why not try something a little different (with a little taste of the familiar)? D.C. Rock&Rollers, Shark Week are slated to play the opening night of Twilight Polo out at Great Meadow on May 9th. There will be wine tastings sponsored by Greenhill Winery and even free grub from Chima Steakhouse. It’s only $30 a carload and tailgating encouraged! You can even pack a picnic (complete with booze) and watch at the horses whiz by. After the matches are over, there will be a DJ and dancing. It certainly won’t be your average night out!-Shauna Alexander
Oh Nationals, how I loved thee last season and how you disappoint me now. April has been a solid slaughter following a lethal spring training where everyone got hurt. Now Rendon and Span are back and May is going to be better, maybe. Either way, baseball games are fun even when there’s no hope (I don’t know how much truth there is to that last statement), especially when they give you stuff at the gates. May’s giveaways include a commemorative bobblehead of Livan Hernandez at the inaugural game, tote bags, posters, and my personal favorite, a baseball “bottle” stopper. WINE-bottle stopper, that is. It’s like the promotional team knew the season was going to be crap and strategically placed a consolation prize for heartbroken fans a week into May. If the team doesn’t perk up in May then I demand an actual bottle of wine to go with my baseball bottle stopper as a June giveaway. -Melissa Groth
Everything releasing on Instant Netflix and Amazon Prime this month – In date-by-date order. USE THIS ALL MONTH LONG.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck on HBO premieres May 4
I did not want to see this documentary. 20 years as an uber fan led me to believe I knew everything I could about the band and the man. I was wrong. It’s a must-see for any Nirvana fan. It’s very, very good viewing for a casual documentary fan. It’s not fun. You know how it ends. Doesn’t matter. Must see. Must. Hopefully it’ll scare a kid away from drugs and self-medication. It doesn’t hurt to hope. -Brandon Wetherbeehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IBWbpJdRMQ
Bummed about Twin Peaks not getting its comeback? (not that you should be)? Well, Wayward Pines to the rescue. This 10 episode event (because that’s what they call mini-series in America these days) featuring a seemingly perfect all-American town, a stranger, and more weird secrets and stars (Matt Dillon! Terrence Howard! Melissa Leo! Juliette Lewis! Shannyn Sossamon makes a comeback!) than you can shake a stick at. M. Night Shaymalan produces which could be either the best or the worst thing about the whole concept, but we’re excited to see where it goes. BONUS: Can’t wait till May 14th to see what happens? Hulu has the 1st episode streaming now – Svetlana
David Duchovny plays Sam Hodiak, a homicide cop on the hunt for a missing teen in 1967 L.A. His search leads him deep into the psychedelic hippy subculture where Charles Manson wields a generous wealth of social capital. The tumultuous atmosphere of the era will be captured in the show’s soundtrack as well as in Hodiak’s attitude towards the rapidly transforming cultural landscape of America, from which he feels increasingly alienated. -Michael Younghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVTdizy0Wds
For just a week and a half in May The Washington Ballet will be performing an on stage adaptation of everyone’s favorite children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Sure to be beautifully designed and visually stunning, any fan of Lewis Carroll’s work will want to secure a seat at this performance. Dubbed ALICE (in wonderland), the performance is choreographed by Septime Webre who has been with the Washington Ballet since 1999 and has choreographed many adaptations of children’s stories such as Cinderella, Where the Wild Things Are, Peter Pan, plus a slew of other classic ballets. The potential of Alice to be adapted stunningly on stage is huge, and certainly The Washington Ballet will not disappoint. Immerse yourself in a colorful fantasy land of imagination, complete with puppets! I’m definitely interested to see how Alice will grow larger and smaller, or how they’ll make the Cheshire Cat disappear piece by piece until only his smile remains. -Melissa Groth
When Jenn Tisdale and I attended the 2014-2015 Woolly Mammoth season preview we knew this would be a hit. Along with first show of the season, Marie Antoinette, Woolly was able to create two plays that are of the moment and completely divorced from the modern era. Marie was set over 100 years ago. This is set 50 years in the future. Both involve government and this one involves zombies. It’s 2015 and nothing is more of the moment than zombies. This thing is going to be a hit. -Brandon Wetherbee