The following contains 31+ picks to have your best May.
POW! WOW! is back and it’s making our city a little more beautiful in the process. Helmed by Kelley Towles, the festival brings artists from all over the world to our city for 10 days of pure creativity (and by creativity we mean making huge, beautiful murals). This year’s festival is the biggest to date and features a bunch of events including a party at Wunder Garten, walking tours of the murals, some “Secret Walls” and more. Whether you go to the parties or hit up the walking tours, POW! WOW! is actively making D.C. a little more beautiful each year and we couldn’t be more into that. -Kaylee Dugan
Throughout the month of May, your favorite P Street gallery is turning into the collaborative experimental radio of your dreams. Curated by Joshua Gamma and featuring work by Uptown Art House, Radio CPR, We Act Radio and many more local artists, Transceiver Radio is pirate radio-style taking back the airwaves and filling your ears with music and voices you probably won’t hear anywhere else. -Kaylee Dugan
The monthly Evenings at the Edge series is a nice reminder that there’s more to the Mall than Smithsonian Institutions and Congress. This edition focuses on the one thing that should unite polarized camps: animals. Inspired by the exhibition The Life of Animals in Japanese Art, explore 16 centuries of art throughout multiple mediums in one classy and cute event. -Brandon Wetherbee
THIS IS NOT A DRILL. The founders of THNK1994 (The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Museum) will be presenting an art exhibit dedicated to America’s favorite feel-good movie, Showgirls! Can’t make it out to Queens? Pick up a “VERSAYCE” hat as a consolation prize via their online gift shop. -Megan Burns
HOLE IN THE SKY is an ever changing venue, shifting to hold whatever it inhabits. One moment it’s a goth’s paradise and another moment it’s a pizza paradise. On May 18 it will transform into Funland, a grown up amusement park where patrons can get paid in exposure and use a BB gun to finish off their inner demons. There will also be a fortune teller… And probably art? Yeah, I think there’s going to be some art. Either way, it’s one night of weirdness you don’t want to miss. -Kaylee Dugan
Then It Fell Apart by Moby available May 2
We’ve heard a lot recently about a certain passage from Then It Fell Apart, Moby’s new memoir, wherein he attempts to rub his penis on Donald Trump without anyone noticing, but there seems to be much more going on than just simple provocation in this follow-up to his first acclaimed collection, Porcelain. Focusing on the banality of massive, unexpected success and its inevitable end, Then It Fell Apart is a recollection of Moby’s time spent peaking after the release of his 1999 breakthrough Play, an era full of parties, debauchery, and lots of weird celebrity encounters. -Matt Byrne
Let Love Have the Last Word by Common available May 7, Common will be at The Kennedy Center May 13
Common’s back with another memoir, following his well-received One Day It’ll All Make Sense, with a series of stories that impress upon the reader the importance of mindfulness and community-building. Jumping from such heavy topics as religion, politics, and relationships both personal and global, Common’s got some wisdom to impart upon the world during these extremely troubling times. -Matt Byrne
Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations by Craig Ferguson available May 7
Craig Ferguson’s new memoir offers up a series of stories, memories, and meaningful anecdotes that find the comedian reflecting on his life up to this point. His third book (and second memoir) finds him in a thoughtful place, looking back on his winding, unusual career path, as well as the massive personal developments that happened along the way. -Matt Byrne
May is the perfect month to visit more than 50 countries without ever leaving the District’s borders. Both the Around the World Embassy Open House and the (more well known) EU Open House are the kind of events that could only happen in D.C. You don’t need a ticket or a press pass to check out the food, music, fashion and art of D.C.’s many embassies, all you need is time and the strength to do a serious amount of walking. I went to the EU Open House last year and even though I hate standing in line more than anyone who has ever stood in a line, I had an amazing time drinking whiskey in England, learning about reindeers in Finland and probably some other things that I don’t remember! It’s also a great excuse to do some vacation planning, these tourism boards really know what they’re doing. -Kaylee Dugan
Anyone interested in American politics should make it a point to see Robert Caro. Anyone interested in what it takes, and, most importantly, what it means to be a journalist should see Robert Caro. In fact, if you care at all about the power of writing, the hardship of writing, the magic it takes to take empirical fact and bend into a narrative transcending subject and time, you should see Robert Caro. Robert Caro is the standard of a bygone era of journalism that few writers can hold claim. Seeing Caro speak about his career, about his methods, about his trial and tribulations as one of the best biographical writer ever is probably similar to how it felt to see Frank Sinatra performing at the Sands. You appreciate it without being able to describe why. -Ruben Gzirian
It feels like just yesterday that Rocket Frog Brewing was a wee tadpole, starting to develop hindlegs, undergoing a metamorphoses that will allow it to transition from living underwater to the drylands of Virginia, but the Sterling brewery will soon celebrate its first birthday.
Over the past 365 days, Rocket Frog has produced over 50 beers (and variants of those beers), snagged a GABF medal for its brown ale Wallops Island, collaborated with DC Beer, produced a very nice hoppy red, moved into canning, and begrudgingly made some quality haze. In other words, it’s been a busy little froglet.
The brewery will toast to these achievements on May 4 with a birthday party and anniversary triple IPA.
On the former front, the “festival-style event” will feature 22 taps of that sweet Rocket Frog nectar, including barrel-aged Wallops Island brown ale, a fruited kettle sour, multiple variants of the Russian Imperial Stout dubbed Roscosmos, barrel-aged Shame and Torment barleywine with coffee, and nitro barrel-aged Shame and Torment. There are two ticket options, one of which involves a four-pack of anniversary triple IPA.
Speaking of which, that beer is called is Slingshot Maneuver. It clocks in at 10.5% and is double dry-hopped with Citra, Eukanot, and Mosaic. Sounds nice to me. -Phil Runco
There are only a handful of U.S. breweries making revelatory Belgian-style ales, and two of them happen to be in Portland, Maine: Allagash and Oxbow.
OK, technically Oxbow makes beer about an hour away, in rural Newcastle, but it operates Oxbow Blending & Bottling – where its aged beer is, um, blend and bottled – in Portland, so I’m going to count it. My blog, my rules.
Anyway, these two breweries are not only geographically close, they’re personally close. They’re buds, pals, amigos, etc. And occasionally they get together to make a beer called Rivulet, a grisette open-fermented in Allagash’s coolship with a blend of Oxbow and Allagash’s house yeast strains. And by “occasionally,” I mean it’s happened twice – once in 2017 and once in 2019, both times for Saison Day.
What is a grisette? Where did it come from? And who is Allagash? These are all super questions. Last Friday, I dropped a cool 6,380 words on these very subjects (plus some other stuff) in Freshly Tapped: Allagash’s Darling Ruby. Block off 45 minutes and give it a read.
Then, on May 10, head to Rustico Ballston for The Oxbow & Allagash Extravaganza! (That’s not my exclamation point, but it’s well earned.) On that night, the NRG spot will showcase five beers from each brewery, including Oxbow’s 2019 take on Rivulet, a rare keg of Allagash’s Coolship Red, the aforementioned grapefruit grisette Darling Ruby, and other rare things.
Rare or not rare, there are no bad choices when Allagash and Oxbow are on the menu. -Phil Runco
On May 11, D.C.’s now-undisputed (if it ever was disputed) best beer bar will celebrate ten years of making anyone typing words onto a screen ask themselves, “Wait, is the K capitalized? Is it Churchkey or ChurchKey? Because the website text is all-caps, so I can’t tell, but when you Google it, Churchkey shows up. Also, why isn’t award winning hyphenated?”
To mark the occasion, Beer Director Greg Engert (aka Slim Necktie, aka Trappe Lord, aka Silkky Mouthfeel, aka DJ Jazzy Hefe, aka OJ da Juicebomb) is flexing so hard you can see his cephalic vein from the International Space Station.
Trillium! Monkish! Other Half! Bissell Brothers! The Veil! Hudson Valley Brewery!
So, just casually a half dozen of the country’s most hype breweries.
Highlights include: Literally Everything (DDH IPA), The Whole List (red wine barrel-aged sour blond ale with papaya), I Can’t Pick a Highlight (double Brut IPA with chardonnay grapes), and Other Half’s Triple Nelson Daydream (triple IPA with Nelson Sauvin hops and lactose).
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the line already forming. -Phil Runco
Tell It to the Bees in theaters May 3
I don’t know a whole lot about this movie (which is based on a 2009 novel of the same name by Fiona Shaw) apart from what the trailer told me (aka that Anna Paquin’s character, a doctor, gets romantically involved with a shakily married woman), but the time period (1950s) does not make me feel like this is going to end happily at all. I mean, I’m gonna watch it anyway, because #QUEERCONTENT, but like, fingers crossed nobody dies. (A happily ever after would be a major bonus, but again, I know not to hold my breath on that.) -Megan Burns
Pokémon Detective Pikachu in theaters May 10
I am a grown-up who is excited about this movie. (I am also a grown-up who went to see Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions at Madison Square Garden four years ago, so at least I’m consistently on brand.) Could plenty of things go wrong in a CGI interspecies buddy comedy? Sure, but I’m gonna buy a ticket anyway! -Megan Burns
See You Yesterday available on Netflix May 17
Who’s up for a new time travel adventure movie produced by Spike Lee? The trailer for See You Yesterday makes this, the directorial debut of Spike Lee protege Stefon Bristol, look like a ton of fun. The film’s actually adapted from a short film of the same name Bristol wrote and directed in 2017, so it’ll be interesting to see how this idea is fleshed out from its original form. You won’t have to wander far to catch this one, either, as it’s premiering via Netflix right the hell in your living room. -Matt Byrne
Booksmart in theaters May 24
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this movie looks INCREDIBLE. I’ve only watched the trailer, but I can already tell I’m gonna identify super hard with the feminist teenage outcast protagonists, one of which is queer! (Shout-out LGBTQ representation!) One of the comments beneath the trailer reads: “Can’t wait for this to be Lady Bird on crack”, and like… I wholeheartedly agree. Very excited for the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, but even more excited to watch this in the theater like sixteen times. -Megan Burns
Brightburn in theaters May 24
Brightburn is the latest in a long line of films offering interesting twists on the superhero genre, this one incorporating the “creepy kid” trope into the Superman origin story. Elizabeth Banks and David Denman star as the parents of a young boy they find and raise as their own, as they struggle with the wild and unexpected superpowers the child begins to develop. It’ll be interesting to see how the filmmakers incorporate more overt horror themes into this fairly well-trodden territory. -Matt Byrne
Godzilla: King of the Monsters in theaters May 31
The 35th entry in the Godzilla series, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is looking fun as hell. A direct sequel to 2014’s simply titled Godzilla, it features an absolutely stacked cast, featuring folks like Kyle Chandler, Ken Watanabe, Millie Bobby Brown, Thomas Middleditch, and many more familiar faces. The film pits Godzilla against a whole slew of beasties from throughout the franchise, as bad guys like Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah arrive on Earth to wreak havoc and stomp all over a bunch of big buildings. This is gonna be a ton of fun! -Matt Byrne
Ma in theaters May 31
I first saw the trailer for the absolutely bonkers Octavia Spencer vehicle Ma before an opening weekend screening of Us and the whole theatre was, understandably, stoked on this thing. Spencer plays a deceptively kindhearted woman who offers up her home to local teens as a place to party and cut loose. Soon enough Ma becomes a bit too interested in the lives and activities of the teens and things start to get out of hand. Another campy, fun as hell horror flick from the extremely good folks at Blumhouse! -Matt Byrne
D.C. might not have our own Mercado Little Spain, but for one glorious Sunday Union Market will become the next best thing. Mercado DC is bringing all the Latin American and Spanish cuisine our city could ever need. The food announced so far includes churraso, empanadas, arepas and paella, so the people who managed to snag the $12 tickets (which also included a beer or soda / water if you don’t want to party) definitely made a smart move. I know, most food festivals are scams, but considering this one is happening at Union Market, I feel like it’s going to pay off. -Kaylee Dugan
We’ve been writing about ZooFari on this website for years, so it’s safe to say that we’re fans of the event. The combination of cute animals, good booze, great food and charity is too good to pass off. It’s not too often that we get to party and make the world a better place, but the Friends of the National Zoo is giving you the perfect excuse to get a little wild and do something good for the planet. Enjoy food and drinks from some of your favorite local spots while you peruse the Zoo at night. No tourists, no kids, just you, a good drink and a giant ape. -Kaylee Dugan
Barrie Happy To Be Here available May 3
Barrie has quickly become one of my favorite bands, so it goes without saying that I’m SUPER PUMPED that their debut record is nearly here! I’m a huge fan of all the tracks I’ve heard so far (and think the video for “Darjeeling” is just the greatest), and there’s very little doubt in my mind that the rest are gonna be equally phenom daydream-y gems. CANNOT WAIT. -Megan Burns
Big Thief U.F.O.F. available May 3
Big Thief are one of the best bands going, to me. Following in the tradition of dense, self-referential indie rock lyricists like Bill Callahan and Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, Big Thief’s songwriter Adrianne Lenker can effortlessly craft surreal, impressionistic character portraits backed by deceptively simple folk rock. Their latest album, UFOF, is informed by their near-constant tour schedule, written and developed on the road, bringing a looser, almost jammy feel to the arrangements. -Matt Byrne
With her recent release of Cuz I Love You, Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson) laid out a body of work that feels distinctly different but undeniably similar. Full of power and pride, Cuz I Love You is rambunctious reflective image of Lizzo’s personality steeped in the infectious spirit of pop music; one in which positivity runs through everything and confidence is the shield against anything. In much the same vein, Tayla Parx offers an opening act worthy of a headliner. Better known for her dominant songwriting ability (just ask Ariana Grande), her recent album We Need to Talk is refined pop art with a foundation of unspoken seriousness. Both acts are excellent compliments to each other’s idea of pop music. -Ruben Gzirian
Unless you’re from Vermont, or spend a lot of time up there, you might not have heard of Waking Windows (I had not). The multi-day, multi-venue, multi-disciplinary festival got its start in 2011 and has gradually built up a devoted audience that return year after year to what is essentially the Green Mountain State’s Hopscotch Festival or proto-SXSW.
Taking place in the town of Winooski – described to me by a Burlington native as “our version of Brooklyn” – Waking Windows programs music, visual arts and comedy in venues throughout the city. Pair it with the region’s reputation for locally-grown quality food and drink, and affordable tickets – really, festival passes are about 75 bucks for the entire weekend – and it promises to be an incredibly accessible and fun time. The line up is heavily on the indie side of things, with headliners Twin Peaks, Tune-Yards, and Sunflower Bean as the most/only recognizable names, but when the festival’s reputation is this solid and the barrier to entry so low, why not check it out? I’ll be heading up there to review the festival for BYT and if my last experience doing this is anything to go by, Waking Windows should be a blast. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
In 2019, hip hop is a crowded genre, which makes Chicago artist Smino worthy of your time and money. Smino’s late-2018 NOIR caught many casual hip hop fans by surprise, mainly because it approached vocals and accompanying production from a different perspective. NOIR showcased vocal tones bouncing around from razor edge pitches nearing falsetto to more drudgy tones that rimmed the outer banks of soul. None of this sounds gimmicky and none of it sounds experimental. Smino’s talent runs through every track, culminating with personal favorite “VERIZON.” -Ruben Gzirian
Carly Rae Jepsen Dedicated available May 17
I genuinely want nothing but good things for Carly Rae Jepsen, because she consistently brings SO MUCH JOY TO PLANET EARTH! (Specifically, me.) Her music is truly magic; I put it on and I can’t stop – I have had “Julien” on major repeat for the last week, and since I’ve been p. obsessed with the three other tracks she’s released so far, I can’t help but think the remaining eleven are gonna SLAY DOT COM. -Megan Burns
On a recent episode of Complex’s YouTube show Sneaker Shopping, Juice WRLD spent $42,032.28 on shoes and clothing. If you need any proof that sadness and pain sells, especially in the current climate of young hip hop artists, then Juice WRLD is exhibit A. His latest album, Death Race for Love, reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 and pulled off a feat few young artists in this niche of music have been able to achieve: blending a diluted mixture of punk rock, emo punk, and Chicago drill music (Juice WRLD is from Chicago) to create something digestible for a larger audience. Through all of it, Juice WRLD retains a sense of authenticity that the music he is channeling demands. -Ruben Gzirian
In mid-August 2018, Disclosure came out of self-imposed exile following the cash-in that was Caracal and released five tracks that felt like resets. The usual things that make Disclosure unique were all on display, with “Moonlight” feeling like a love letter to person in the past. Caracal made Disclosure sound like what people think music on Boiler Room sounds like. Recent returns to form prove Disclosure is beginning to look back to the influences, sounds, and ideas that propelled them into our subconscious with the seminal 2014 Settle. -Ruben Gzirian
Flying Lotus Flamagra available May 24
It’s been five years since the last Flying Lotus LP and boy is everybody ready for another one! He’s always great at bringing in killer collaborators, and his new LP, Flamagra, features a stacked guest list, including features from Solange, Tierra Whack, and frequent collaborator Thundercat. While Flying Lotus’ debut horror film, the visceral, gut-wrenching Kuso, had it’s fans, I’m sure everyone can agree that it’s nice he’s getting back to making albums, you know? -Matt Byrne
If Omar Apollo’s 2018 Stereo sounded like a small room engulfed in misty steam, Apollo’s recent album, Friends, feels like cold refreshing rushing through the front door as it slowly creaks open. Apollo’s cloy voice from Stereo opens up to leap forward on high-spirited tracks with noticeably faster pacing. It’s a departure into new territory, into new levels of confidence that push Apollo (real name Omar Velasco) to the top of a burgeoning class of youthful Hispanic artists growing within the psych-pop genre. -Ruben Gzirian
Sarah Davachi Pale Bloom available May 31
Master of the drone Sarah Davachi has been on a years-long hot streak, releasing a string of acclaimed albums that quietly push the boundaries of experimental music in exciting new directions. Her new one unfolds over four languid tracks that prominently feature the piano, and, perhaps most intriguingly, her vocals. Real excited to hear what she’s got prepped for us here folks. -Matt Byrne
Burn things on the Mall! Dance on the Mall! Chant on the Mall! Look at art on the Mall! Dance on the Mall! Do other Burning Man activities on the Mall! Those are all of the things you do at Burning Man right? I’ve never been and I don’t think it’s my scene, but I am here for lighting things on fire in any capacity. -Kaylee Dugan
This is your excuse to day drink and eat so many carbs and cheer for tiny dogs! There are so many dogs here. Even dogs who aren’t chihuahuas come to The Waterfront in celebration. Last year, I drank so many margaritas and pet so many dogs. It was an A+ day. I would 100% recommend it. It will make your life better. You don’t even need the margarita’s, but those definitely helped. -Kaylee Dugan
Join us for a regal, all-access party-mode National Geographic HQ after hours take over! Madame Gandhi! Queens of Egypt exhibit! Drag queens! Open bar with cocktails by Columbia Room, Buffalo Bergen and Coconut Club!
BYT & Capital Pride presents COUNTDOWN! @ Smithsonian American Art Museum May 31
Capital Pride begins a week earlier this year at our inclusive party. Early bird tickets available now!
THIS IS IT! These are the final send-off friendlies before the USWNT embarks upon the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup journey, and after how well they did against Australia, many of my fears have been quelled! That’s not to say these games against South Africa, New Zealand and Mexico won’t be great watches, but I can (hopefully) bite my nails a little less until June arrives. -Megan Burns
Tuca & Bertie season 1 available on Netflix May 3
Featuring a crew of the creators behind one of Netflix’s early breakout series, Bojack Horseman, but pulling in a major Broad City influence, Tuca & Bertie looks like a fun time. Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish voice two birds in an anthropomorphic world who are best friends both entering their thirties, struggling with all those sort of things that come along with it. This one should be overall more lighthearted in tone than the brutally depressive Bojack, but who can know for sure? Maybe they’ll slip in a plot line or two about intergenerational trauma or something! -Matt Byrne
State Of The Union premiers on Sundance TV May 6
Oh buddy you know I love a high-concept comedy show, and State of the Union, coming to Sundance TV, is exactly that. Each episode lasts just 10 minutes, and features Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd talking over a pint before heading into their appointment with a couples’ counselor. Just two actors, the same scenario each time, with the relationship slowly evolving over the 10 episodes, I am all in! -Matt Byrne
My Dad Wrote a Porno premieres on HBO May 11
HBO’s got a special live episode of the wildly popular comedy podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno, recorded in front of a massive audience in London. Host Jamie Morton reads a special “lost chapter” from one of the adult entertainment novels his father penned under the pseudonym Rocky Flintstone, while co-hosts James Cooper and Alice Levine react with wonder, glee, and revulsion. How well does a podcast where a guy reads out loud from a book translate to the stage? Let’s find out! -Matt Byrne
Fleabag season 2 available on Amazon Prime May 17
When Season 1 of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag showed up, sort of unceremoniously, on Prime Video in 2016, it felt like a breath of fresh air in a sea of increasingly-fake-seeming-freshness – funny, sad, often unpleasant, brutally honest, not afraid of not being liked (which only made us like it more), and more than anything, so smart (just SO SMART). The fact that it has Olivia Colman and Brett Gelman in it definitely helped. A lot has changed since both culturally and politically (in case you missed it – an election happened, and several movements followed) and it will be very interesting to see how the show reflects on 2019. Waller-Bridge has been very busy, among other things by creating and writing Killing Eve, brought the original one-woman play the show was based off of to New York, and we should all be grateful she found time to bring us more adventures in grief, family dynamics, love disaster zones and failure. No matter what’s in store, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, and we’re here for it. All the way. -Svetlana Legetic