May is traditionally a very busy, very magical time in D.C. Here, we endeavor to make the most of it for you and for us, by picking the best of EVERYTHING to do in the next few weeks. For starters, put these big, shiny, awesome BYT events on your calendar:
- May 20th! We just announced our next museum after hours! BYT & NMWA Present: Exclusively Inclusive! Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast! Mellow Diamond! WPOW! Cocktails! Tickets are now on sale.
- May 22nd! The First Annual DC Bike Ride! Questlove, White Ford Bronco and Axel F are performing at the finish festival. You have untill May 18 to register! Register now!
Let’s dive in to the best art, books, films, concerts and more in the month of May…
It’s actually open. You read our behind the scenes preview and now you can go and Instagram to your hearts content.
You have probably seen/admired/Instagrammed Julie Wolfe’s work even if you didn’t know it, because she is the artist behind Hemphill’s wonderfully intriguing storefront Green Room installation on 17th street. She’s back with a show that brings that aesthetic into a more intimate context, through a variety of subjects and mediums: a variety of mediums: a comic take on psychological interpretation of the Lüscher Color Test, the patterns of human behavior, and the mysteries of communications between birds. JULIE WOLFE: Language of the Birds, opens Saturday, May 14, with a public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. We cannot wait. -Svetlana Legetic
Street Art Fans rejoice – POW! WOW!, the global art movement that celebrates culture, music, and art worldwide is taking over the District during the last ten days of May as POW! WOW! DC. Local, national, and international artists will convene to enrich and enliven area neighborhoods with their murals. POW! WOW! DC is lead by local artist Kelly Towles, along with many great partners and volunteers. Of the 17 participating artists, at least four will represent D.C., including No Kings Collective, Decoy, and Matt Corrado. Other artists are flying in from as far as Hong Kong (Caratoes), Honolulu (Pro Gress), London (INSA), and Australia (The Yok). The opening event is May 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the NoMa Junction lot at the intersection of 1st and L Street NE. -Svetlana Legetic
In a few short months Latela Gallery has managed to really/seemingly be EVERYWHERE. The LATELA studio is a fine art gallery + creative working space, that also hosts pop-ups, artist workshops, and select creative/yoga/healing workshops, and in general feels like a place we want to hang out at 24/7. The upcoming event roster includes Collaging 101, Soap Making, Vinyasa Painting and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sign up for one or more.
Port City waited a long time to brew a collaboration beer with another brewery – five years, to be exact. But with its DC Brau collaboration dunkel Zehn von Zehn out of the way, the Alexandria brewery is keeping the ball rolling with a new Schlafly Beer collaboration. Word on the street is that the beer will be a British mild and that members of the Schlafly will be visiting Virginia in early May to help brew it.
On Monday, May 9, the Heurich House will bring both breweries together for a panel discussion of “historical styles of beer, changes in styles over the past 30 years and their effect on the industry, and the role and significance of collaborations.” Port City head brewer Jonathan Reeves will represent one side of the Mississippi, while Schlafly ambassador brewer Stephen Hale will hold down the other. Each brewer possess decades of experience and perspective to the table, so there are worse people to hear wax eloquent on beer.
Of course, since this is a Heuirch House event, attendees will have a chance to explore the remarkably well-preserved, historic home of O.G. brewer Christian Heurich. Also on tap will be two beers from each brewery: Port City staples Optimal Wit and Monumental IPA, and Schlafly’s Pale Ale and Summer Lager. (And, as a complete aside, be sure to track down recently released bottles of Port City’s Maniacal Double IPA and its hoppy Metro Red, because both are delicious.) -Phil R
Depending on the preferences of your palate, an all-IPA festival either sounds like the greatest idea ever or the worst. As Meridian Pint beer director Jace Gonnerman said of the hop-forward style in March, “It’s not something that everyone develops a taste for, but for those who do, they crave it.” (Considering IPAs account for almost 30% of craft beer sales, a lot of people crave it.)
D.C. hopheads will be able to get their fix and more at Hellbender on May 14, when the brewery hosts the second annual HOPFEST. (THAT’S NOT AN ACRONYM. EVERYONE IS JUST REALLY EXCITED ABOUT HOPFEST.)
Coming to the HOPFEST will be 17 DC-area breweries, including Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau, 3 Stars, Right Proper, Blue Jacket, Adroit Theory (!), Port City, Flying Dog, Denizens, Handsome Beer, and Lost Rhino. And they’ll be bringing over 20 “old favorites, rare hard-to-finds, and one-offs.” (BYT will have more on that line-up – especially those one-offs – the week of the festival.)
Your $50 admission will buy you three hours of unmitigated IPA consumption, and when you consider those rarities, that’s a solid deal. Also, proceeds from the event will go to the D.C. Brewers Guild, so it’s for a good cause! If you’re curious about the host (and you should be), checkout our Tap Takeover profile of Hellbender. -Phil R
Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News that Matters to Cats available May 10
I think the reason why we’ve included this in our round up is abundantly clear. -Kaylee Dugan
If you want to spend time with your favorite authors, PEN/Faulkner’s annual gala is the place to be. Can’t afford the ticket? You should still spend the month reading the winning and nominated books. Congratulations to James Hannaham and Delicious Foods for taking the 2016 prize. -Svetlana Legetic
Just in time for grilling season, Ramsey’s much anticipated, dreamt-up-in-D.C. cookbook (featuring Mario Batali salivating with excitement on the cover, and all sorts of burger fever dreams and midnight munchie moments of genius) is finally here and waiting for you. Go and grab it. Bonus “get excited” reading: check out our “What’s In Your Fridge?” story with Mathew. -Svetlana Legetic
Okay for sure it’s easy to goof on our pal Moby, but I gotta be honest: I bet his upcoming memoir, Porcelain, is a pretty interesting read. The guy’s a music lifer, growing up in the New York club scene before finding crossover success with his unavoidably popular 1999 album Play, and having what appears to be a pretty decent 21st century, as well (I haven’t kept up with the dude too much honestly). Let’s put it this way: I would ABSOLUTELY listen to this Audiobook on a plane or long car trip, you know? -Matt Byrne
Twitter lightning rod and outspoken humor writer Lindy West’s first book, Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman, is sure to do a ton of business this year. Beyond her well-documented adventures in pop culture and online media as an outspoken feminist, West is a talented writer whose skills are hard to deny. The book, which comes repped by like minded cultural icons like Lena Dunham, Ira Glass, and Samantha Irby, is collection of essays full of the sort of autobiographical anecdotes and sociopolitical observations that readers have come to expect from this well-regarded writer. -Matt Byrne
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman available May 31
Who doesn’t love Neil Gaiman? He’s a fantastic fiction author and I haven’t really heard anything bad about him on the Internet so he’s probably (but everyone is terrible on the inside, so who knows!) not a garbage human. This book is comprised of a series of short nonfiction stories, so it sounds like the perfect thing to read leisurely throughout the month, whether you’re pool side, lounging on your front porch, or laying in bed with a slew of covers keeping you insulated from the outside world! -Kaylee Dugan
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub out May 31
Previously, Emma Straub brought us The Vacationers, a book about a family (& friends) coping with slow, but certain disintegration set against a backdrop of a gorgeous Spanish getaway. It sold really well and got all sorts of great reviews, even though it definitely fueled a fear in all of us that getting all you seemingly want may turn out to not be enough in the end, not to mention that it may all go away. Modern Lovers further explore this with a story about “Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.” Everyone is very excited about it. And so are we. -Svetlana Legetic
Heynong man! Podcast king Scott Aukerman and his loyal subjects are bringing their hilariously irreverent brand of improv to the Lincoln Theatre for what will no doubt be a wacky night of moderately unplanned shenanigans. Improv is generally an acquired taste that tends to be a bit hit-and-miss, and in all honesty, Comedy Bang Bang, in all its formats, is no exception. The quality of a scene is heavily dependant on the talent involved, and having the right combination of performers is crucial. Thankfully, Aukerman will be joined on this tour by the brilliant Lauren Lapkus, and the dapper Paul F. Tompkins, arguably the two most consistently hilarious regulars on the podcast. -Norm Quarrinton
Billy Connolly is 73 years-old, guys–that’s older than Mick Jagger! The Scottish comedy legend stops off in D.C. for a night during in his mini-tour of the East Coast, which also sees him visit Boston and NYC. Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago, but he’s determined to carry on doing what he was born to do. It’s likely that Connolly will use some of his stage time to address his illness, as well as his recent battle with prostate cancer, but he won’t be doing it for sympathy, he’ll be doing it to make you laugh. Come back soon for our feature interview with the legendary performer. -Norm Quarrinton
Ahhh, the Bloody Mary – helping abate hangovers since…I don’t know, like, the 1920’s or something? (So says Wikipedia, anyway.) You guys do realize that you’re allowed to drink a Bloody Mary both a.) when you’re not hungover, and b.) after noon, right? The organizers behind DC’s Bloody Mary Festival scoured the District for the best Bloody Marys in town; entrants in the competition already include Hank’s Oyster Bar, Bar Pilar, Range, and Buffalo & Bergen (home of the DC-famous “Lox’d and Loaded” Bloody), with many more participating bars and restaurants to come. A ticket to the Saturday, May 7th event at the Blind Whino lets you enjoy 3 hours of the area’s most creative and innovative Bloody Marys, a bagel bar, cheese tables, tastes of local food and drinks, live music, and more. Get hammered, vote for your choice for the People’s Choice award, then wake up hungover and do it all again. -Logan Hollers
Abraham Lincoln seems like he was a pretty chill dude. That’s why he’s my favorite president, anyway. (The whole abolishing slavery and uniting a nation thing was pretty dope, too.) And, being from Kentucky and all, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he was a probably a pretty big fan of both bourbon and bluegrass. Thus, it’s pretty safe to assume he would’ve loved this year’s second annual Bourbon & Bluegrass event. On Sunday, May 15th, a $50 ticket gets you an afternoon of live bluegrass music from local musicians By & By and Ezra Deutsch-Feldman, two drink tickets for (what I’m assuming will be bourbon-based) specialty cocktails, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages (ho hum), and access to a complimentary dessert table. Don’t worry – there will also be drinks available for purchase from sponsors Woodford Reserve and DC Brau, as well as food from Rockland’s Barbecue. Held on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, all proceeds from the event go toward preservation efforts at President Lincoln’s Cottage. And if you find yourself a few cocktails deep and struggling to go on, just remember Lincoln’s immortal words: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” -Logan Hollers
If you’re like me then you’re singing BioBlitz to the tune of Ballroom Blitz and now you’re thinking of Wayne’s World. If you’re not like me that’s TOO BAD. I kid! I kid. BioBlitz is for science nerds and non-nerds, environmentalists, plant lovers, plant appreciators, and anyone who wants to get to know our fair city. A BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. What does that mean to you? Well, you sign up for a certain in DC then get to exploring! -Jenn Tisdale
Dan Savage has been providing a safe, fun space for folks to try their hands, and other body parts, at amateur porn for 11 years (check out our interview with Dan on Thursday!). What started out as kind of a joke snowballed (pun intended) into a tour film festival with all the frolicking and fucking you can handle, and some you might not be able to but you’ll be glad you did. -Jenn Tisdale
High-Rise in theaters May 13
“Dammit!” – Director Ben Wheatley, probably, when Snowpiercer came out in 2014. Now that there’s been subsequent time for us to forget that admittedly awesome film, Wheatley is taking J.G. Ballard’s novel to the top floor with High-Rise, a very, very similar story of dystopian class warfare set within the confines of one location, this time- you guessed it- a high-rise apartment building instead of a global warming train. Tom Hiddleston stars along with Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Elizabeth Moss. -Tam Sackman
The Lobster in theaters May 13
Ah, speaking of dystopian dramadies confined to (mostly) one setting, here’s one about a hotel where single people have to go and find love, or else they turn into animals and are sent to the woods. Colin Farrell is one of those single people in this Yorgos Lanthimos-written/directed festival killer and “quirky British dystopian” is my new favorite film genre. -Tam Sackman
Alice Through The Looking Glass in theaters May 27
Give me Tim Burton anything and I’m a happy camper, but I’m especially excited to find out if I can redeem myself from the time I almost barfed seeing Alice In Wonderland in 3D when I was a senior in college because motion sickness! -Megan Burns
Pot. BBQ. Donuts. Just as a munchies higher power intended. Indulge in this unholy trinity at Blazed & Glazed – the first ever food festival for pot enthusiasts – on Sunday, May 15th at Mess Hall (703 Edgewood St. NE, Washington, D.C., 20017) starting at 11 A.M. Featuring Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, PornBurger, Tarver King, executive chef of the award-winning Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque, The Fry Brothers and Westray’s Finest Ice Cream.
Three words: Taco. Beer. Dinner.
There are a lot of great food and brew pairings organized in this city (including a fancier option on May 19, Red, White + Brew), but there’s something that feels inspired about delicious tacos and delicious beer coming together. That’s what’ll be happen on the third Thursday in May, when Smoke & Barrel hosts Howard County’s Manor Hill Brewing.
The Adams Morgan beer (and bourbon) bar will provide five types of tacos (including a dessert Choco Taco, naturally.) And the Maryland brewery will provide five of its beers, most notably Citra Splendor imperial IPA, the new (and limited edition) Hidden Hopyard Vol. 2, and a barrel-aged imperial stout. It’s a match made in heaven, and soon enough, my stomach.
“My life goal realized,” Manor Hill head brewer Ben Little Tweeted out when the event was announced.
Same, Ben. Same. -Phil R
Original drummer Joe Daniels is back for a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of As Good As Dead, the duo’s fourth best album (1. Pack Up The Cats (1998), 2. Twelve Angry Months (2008) 3. Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? (2004)), the album that you might know. It’s got the copacetic song. That one. The song that has pigeonholed a great American band. But the band doesn’t really care. Newer drummer Ryan Harding is still in the band with singer/guitarist/songwriter Scott Lucas. So this tour is two drummers and one singer/guitarist. Early reviews of the tour have been positive. Expect a loud show. Expect a long show. And you’ll hear that one song you know and 30 more you should. -Brandon Wetherbee
Beverly The Blue Swell available May 6
I HAVE NEVER BELIEVED IN SOMETHING SO STRONGLY AS I DO THE MUSIC OF BEVERLY. If “South Collins” is any indicator of the overall vibe, WE ARE IN FOR A REAL TREAT, Y’ALL. -Megan Burns
Rooney Washed Away available May 6
I have been a Rooney fanatic since age fifteen, so it delights me to no end that the guys are up and running again // the record itself is everything you could hope for and then some! (“and then some” being bonus details like a Soko collab etc.) -Megan Burns
Hop Along is one of the best rock bands in the world right now. Frances Quinlan’s voice dances back and forth across the line between control and lack thereof in a way that is mindblowingly intentional. She is a tiny little person with a giant voice that takes on some pretty serious subject matter at times. And Speedy Ortiz is the other act on the bill. If you like Hop Along you’ll like Speedy Ortiz and the other way around. They’re both crazy powerful female-fronted rock bands. Two Inch Astronaut is opening. -Tam Sackman
Kygo Cloud Nine available May 13
Admitting I like Kygo (really and truly) makes me want to hurl myself into the East River and start a new life as an underwater hermit, but it is what it is. (I am a bro at heart.) -Megan Burns
HIghasakite Camp Echo available May 20
I’m a very big Highasakite fan (seriously, what is in the water in Norway…), and I have been listening to “Golden Ticket” nonstop since it dropped in April // definitely a different record to what we may be used to from the band’s previous material, but POSITIVELY SMASHING. -Megan Burns
Ellen Kempner (not to be confused with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Ellie Kemper) is another goddamn rock star. I saw her band open for Torres at Rock and Roll Hotel a few months ago and was just blown away by her sweet but not weak voice combined with her crazy guitar skills (she plays a blue guitar with what I’m pretty sure are Lisa Frank dolphin stickers on it). The music is honest in a Courtney Barnett fashion. I wonder how many people have described a female-fronted band that doesn’t exclusively write songs about love that way. -Tam Sackman
If you’re not going to Palehound, you should go see Will Toledo and company at the Black Cat. At the rate they’re going, they’ll be at 9:30 next time they’re in town. Car Seat Headrest is all lo-fi distortion and swinging back and forth between lyrical honesty and biting wordplay. Though Will is a lovable front man in all of his music nerd awkwardness, his band pulls a ton of weight, particularly his drummer, Andrew Katz, who does way more vocal work than I’ve ever seen a drummer do. -Tam Sackman
Yumi Zouma Yoncalla available May 27
GURLLLLLLL this one is SUPER vibey, and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll throw it on heavy rotation for the entire summer to get your ocean breeze on. I’m already hugely obsessed with the whole thing. Read our feature with the band. -Megan Burns
Daytime stuff is happening ALL DAY with the Parade from 4 to 5. There are nearly 100 scheduled acts as of this posting. Check out our photos from last year here.
If you’ve always wanted to pretend your life is National Treasure, then you’re going to want to buy tickets to HuntDC ASAP. It’s a huge scavenger hunt / riddle / strategy game that takes place all over D.C., pitting you against all of the other hunters. Plus there’s going to be live music, food trucks, and more. -Kaylee Dugan
Full disclosure here: I’m a Board Member with the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club. Outside that incredibly vested interest, I’d highly recommend the DC’s annual Green Festival, held again this year at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center starting on Friday, May 6th and going through that Sunday. In addition to the Sierra Club’s booth (which you should totally stop by and check out and maybe sign up to become a member at), the world’s most trusted companies (more than 250 exhibitors this year), over 50 innovative speakers, national and local innovative businesses, and conscious consumers (like you, right??) all come together in one place to promote the best in sustainability and green living. There’s always some awesome vegetarian and non-vegetarian food to sample, as well as some of the latest and greatest green technology to see. Listen, you’re reading Brightest Young Things, so odds are you’re socially conscious already; an event like this is probably right up your alley. Also badass: all moms receive free admission to the festival all weekend – Happy Mother’s Day! -Logan Hollers
The Phillips Collection Contemporaries Bash is inspired by Qatar’s vibrant marketplace Souq Waqif. The party will take place May 13 at Dock 5 at Union Market and will feature music, fashion, food, art, and more. DJ Ben Chang will provide tunes throughout the night. Get henna’d, see art, dance and drink at this black tie event. Members tickets discounted. -Melissa Groth
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 14, 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 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
For real, though, the National Zoo knows how to throw a killer party. Their best event of the year? Easily ZooFari. The annual event, held this year on Thursday, May 19, features more than 100 of the top DC restaurants and vintners, all mingled throughout the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. In addition to complimentary tastings of some of the District’s best food, cocktails, and fine wines, there’s always super fun entertainment: live music, exotic animal encounters, after-hours access to some of the animal houses, a silent auction, and more. Best of all, proceeds from the event help support the Zoo’s mission to save species! Go for the great booze, stay for the cute baby animals. Win-win. -Logan Hollers
Chelsea premieres on Netflix May 11
I was never a huge Chelsea Lately fan but I most certainly respected Chelsea Handler. It wasn’t until her 4 part docuseries on Netflix, Chelsea Does, did I come around completely and fall head over heels in love. Her new tal kshow on Netflix, which feels like an extension of the docu-series, will air 3 nights a week on Netflix starting May 11. In Handler’s own words it’s like if Google had a talk show and she was the host. Sold. -Jenn Tisdale
The show of the spring opens this week at The Kennedy Center. Check out our behind the scenes look at the legendary opera. There’s a fire inside…
What to expect? From The Washington Ballet: “A full-throttle evening of entertainment that combines the artistry and beauty of dance with the power of the world’s most innovative popular rock icons who defined an epoch and became fixtures in American pop culture. Bowie is enigmatic. Queen is killer.”
If you missed Robert McNamara’s stage version of Orson Welles’ classic story the first time it was in D.C., get hyped my friends because it’s back for a very limited run before it disappears again (and by disappears, I mean it’s showing in Prague). Sure, everyone knows the story, but I can almost guarantee the last time you actually saw or heard it performed in some fashion was that very whatever Tom Cruise movie in 2005. Instead of frolicking in the sun with your friends, go watch some classic science fiction in a dark theatre. You’ll probably have a better time. -Kaylee Dugan
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on PS4 available May 10
Quips abound as the fourth (and allegedly final) instalment of developer Naughty Dog’s wildly successful, and unanimously adored magnum-opus hits the shelves on May 10th. Playstation owners will once again be reunited with the morally dubious, but hard-to-hate relic hunter, Nathan Drake and his team: on-again/off-again spouse Elena, and Sully–Nate’s cigar chomping mentor. A Thief’s End will see Nate coming out of retirement to join forces with his brother, Sam (a newcomer to the franchise), to presumably track down an ancient, magical artefact of some kind. The graphics look absolutely bonkers, and if the trailers are anything to go by, this game is going to be a lot of fun–I haven’t been this excited about a video game since Uncharted 3. -Norm Quarrinton