Fall is the best season. There’s pumpkin stuff, it’s acceptable to wear sweaters and our annual comedy festival, Bentzen Ball, closes the month. But there’s more to life than lattes, wool and comedy. Here are 31+ events, books, films, shows and more to ensure your October is your best month yet.
You have a whole host of reasons to make your way back to the NGA this month. The first is the reopening of the East Building. If you haven’t taken a peek at our photo essay now, take a couple minutes, that’s all you should need to convince yourself to make your way over there ASAP. Just look at those beautiful Rothkos. And that giant ass blue rooster. The second reason to go is their “Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt” exhibit which is a collection of Dutch still lifes, landscapes and more. No one paints moodier shit than the Dutch, so expect opulently dark and atmospheric work. Just what you need in October. -Kaylee Dugan
In what may be the most perfect cross between seasonal vegetable love and Halloween, contemporary American artist and filmmaker Philip Haas’s fifteen-foot high fiberglass sculptures are inspired by the series, The Seasons, by Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1593). This unusual series represents each season through the depiction of a portrait rendered in botanical materials such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, and branches. Bonus: the art will stay up through March so you can, in fact, see the changing seasons on the faces of the sculptures. -Svetlana Legetic
If you’ve always wanted to compete in a pinewood derby, you’re in luck. Hole in the Sky is holding a car-making party where you can craft and decorate your car as much as you please. Make into the kind of car you’ve always dreamed of having! Make it into a space ship! Or make it into a lizard person. Either way, you’re going to have a good time. -Kaylee Dugan
Kjartansson, who is one of the best performance artists in the world, is bringing a survey of his works to the United States for the very first time. Combining, music, pop culture, and striking visuals, Kjartansson’s work is a goddamn blast. You’ll be able to see some of his more famous works, like God in which he pretends to be a lounge singer and sings “Sorrow conquers happiness,” over and over again and The End – Venezia, where Kjartansson painted over 100 portraits of a fellow artist. Kjartansson will also recreate Woman in E, which involves a woman strumming an e minor chord over and over again, live with various D.C. musicians. It’s going to be weird. BONUS: Keep an eye out for (maybe, hopefully) a very special BYT event related to this exhibition -Kaylee Dugan
Our own managing editor and resident professional wrestling super fan, along with WaPo/Vice writer Chris Kelly (also a WWE aficionado) teamed up to delve deeply into the politics of Donald Trump, the politics of wrestling and how The Donald brought the two together. Come for the wrestling references, stay for the debate (also wrestling references). -Jenn Tisdale
I was deeply disappointed when Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature a couple years ago. Not because I dislike her short stories, but because the Nobel committee isn’t likely to give it to another white, straight Canadian woman anytime soon, and Margaret Atwood might be the best writer alive. After a string of her “speculative fiction” novels (she means sci-fi, but doesn’t like that phrase), Atwood dives into the deeply literary with the Oct. 11 release of Hag-Seed.The story is apparently an adaptation of The Tempest (yes…), about an ousted theatrical director seeking revenge on those who betrayed him (yesssss…) … while also staging a production of The Tempest (YASSS!). It sounds like it could have been a missing fourth season of the Canadian-Shakespeare TV show Slings & Arrows. Hey, Kramerbooks: Shut up and take my money! -Tristan Lejeune
You’ve seen him as Walter White, you’ve seen him as Malcolm’s dad Hal, you’ve seen him as Trumbo, sure. But who is the REAL Bryan Cranston? Find out in his new memoir: A Life In Parts, which charts his journey towards becoming one of America’s most recognizable and beloved character actors. -Matt Byrne
Hot on the heels of last month’s Mike Love memoir, I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir finally hits the shelves, offering up what is sure to be a more grounded, less baseball cap-heavy take on the history of the Beach Boys. Wilson’s a living legend and it’s great that we get a glimpse into his head with this new collection of stories. -Matt Byrne
You all know and love Abbi from “Broad City” of course, because you’re young people of good taste, but a lot of people don’t know that she’s also a graphic artist with a degree from MICA. She’s promoting her newest illustrated work, Carry This Book, at Sixth and I. Carry This Book is an exploration of various personalities by the contents of their bag, some real and some imagined. I’m sure the same color and humor that informs the world of “Broad City” from Abbi’s point of view will be present here, if not more poignant. She was, after all, an artist first. -Tam Sackman
Who better than the horror master himself to pick out six scary stories to get you in the mood for Halloween? Nobody! That’s why he put together the short story anthology Six Scary Stories, featuring ghoulish tales from up-and-coming authors like Elodie Harper, Manuela Saragosa and Michael Button. -Matt Byrne
The Bentzen Ball is back and this time it’s personal. Get ready for a super spooky election year edition featuring our favorite and only curator Tig Notaro (now with more babies!) as well as A VERY FREE AND AMAZING HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA, Picture This!, Bridget Everett, Jon Dore, MY FAVORITE HORROR PODCAST LAST PODCAST ON THE LEFT, John F. O’Donnell, Baron Vaughn, Stuff You Should Know (SORRY SOLD OUT), Story District w/ true tales of horror and OH SHIT LIVE COMMENTARY OF UHF WITH WEIRD AL FEAT. MALCOLM GLADWELL, DAVE HILL AND MOOOOOORE.
Unlike the comics, these shows are selling out so hop to it. -Jenn Tisdale
It’s here. Click on it. Use it:
Brooklyn Brewery MASH is back! “This year, we’re reimaging the basics of celebration: The meal. The beer festival. The bar crawl. The concert.” I look forward to this event every year and not just because they used a picture of me for the rendering of their new brewery (true story). This year I’m most excited for awesomely talented brewery chef, Andrew Gerson’s, “choose your own adventure” dinner at coffee shop/bar fusion The Royal and The Beer Mansion which will have never-released-and-never-will-be-released beers from Brooklyn Brewery‘s vaults, food pairings built directly in the palm of your hand and much, much more. Do yourself a favor and check out the full festival line up (including a free concert with Black Lips). -Chloe Fedyna
Aw yeah, Long Black Veil is back. One of my favorite Port City releases, the Black IPA is brewed with a Belgian yeast strain, is all kinds of delicious, and always hits bars in mid-October.
Why mid-October? That’s when Alexandria’s legendary and mysterious “Female Stranger” passed away in 1816, and the long black veil that she wore is the inspiration for the beer’s name. Read her whole story here.
Port City will celebrate the beer’s release with a party at the brewery on October 13. For the more adventurous, there will be a 200-year anniversary gathering at Gatsby’s Tavern Museum (where she passed away) on October 14. There’s a 6:00 to 8:00 happy hour option, or you can hit the happy hour and keep the night going with a trip to St. Paul’s Cemetery, where the Female Stranger is buried. That’ll run you $75, and includes a few beers, food, and bottomless nightmares. -Phil Runco
Everyone know beer history is the best kind of history. On October 29, the National Museum of American History serves up a pint of that cold, fizzy knowledge as part of the 2016 Smithsonian Food History Weekend. See, Mom, beer is food! Get off my back!
You can expect to hear “tales of brewing, beer, and policy from the Colonial era, 19th century, Prohibition, and the 1970s.” There will also be a brewing history scavenger hunt for the turbo nerds.
In addition to knowledge, the museum will also be serving “historically inspired brews” from Williamsburg’s Alewerks Brewing, Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Beer, and DC’s own New Columbia Distillers. These are all great choices, but I’d strongly recommend that Aleworks. The Virginia brewery never disappoints. -Phil Runco
What better way to kick of the Halloween month and celebrate Gene Wilder than with a big screen showing of Willie Wonka? -Svetlana Legetic
Investigative Film Festival showed up on the D.C. scene last year, and opened with a premiere of a little film called Spotlight. This year, the compact but impactful showcase is back, opening with The Ivory Game, and with its closing date being exactly one month away from 2016 Election, this may turn into THE REAL spooky movie fest this year deserves. -Svetlana Legetic
Mascots on Netflix October 13
As an LSU fan, my football season is already fucking over. But as a Christopher Guest fan, I couldn’t be more excited about his latest mockumentary, this one about a contest for the best sports mascots in the world. The trophy: The Golden Fluffy. The straight-to-Netflix enterprise, which debuts Oct. 13, includes Guest mainstays John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard and Parker Posey, among many others. Go team! -Tristan Lejeunehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swTWozTxQ-E
From Writer/Director Nicholas James Wagner and cinematographer J. Michael Whalen comes Shelter for the Bloodstained Soul, the story of a twisted preacher and his cult devoted to the resurrection of a pagan goddess that feeds on the burn flesh of lovers.
I am that goddess. -Jenn Tisdale
The Handmaiden in theaters October 21
This is Park Chan-wook’s (Oldboy, Stoker) adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, and he’s chosen to swap out Victorian England for 1930’s Korea during Japanese occupation. The trailer looks INSANELY GOOD, so I’m pumped to see his take on the plot. (It seems to be getting solid reviews so far, so my hopes are high.) -Megan Burns
Pig. Beer. Both in unlimited quantities. Need I say any more?
OK, I’ll say a little more. Head to Atlas Brew Works on the second Sunday in October for a pig roast that spotlights the cooking of Queen Vic chef Ryan Gordon. He’ll be shooting whole roasted pigs full of apple and beer, in addition to serving up pork belly lollipops, slow-cooked ribs, and house-made sausage. Hot damn. Wash it all down with bottomless beers from the Ivy City Brewery. All of this for $60. It’s a steal! You won’t have to eat for days!
Catch up on what’s new at the brewery with our recent Freshly Tapped profile of its hoppy wheat ale Dance of Days. -Phil Runco
Another chance for Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen to raise money for a good cause. It’s simple, over 100 restaurants will donate 10% of that day’s profits to World Central Kitchen. Chefs José Andrés, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Carla Hall, Stephanie Izard, Emeril Lagasse, Ludo Lefebvre, Tim Love, Michael Mina, Aarón Sánchez, Ming Tsai, Bryan Voltaggio, Alice Waters, and more are participating. You’re going to eat dinner on October 14, you might as well eat a good dinner that might help some others. -Brandon Wetherbee
The pioneers of the chamber music + dinner experience, Gourmet Symphony take a (totally delightful sounding) twist at Oktoberfest celebrations featuring German-style fair foods by Executive Chef Javier Marquina, a new fest bier from Atlas Brew Works, and festive music performed by members of Barclay Brass. All inclusive, very reasonably priced tickets are $49. BONUS: A portion of this event’s proceeds will support the Taste Your Music community outreach program, which brings culinary concert programs to local food banks and soup kitchens. -Svetlana Legetic
I love horror movies with my entire heart and soul. I watch them year-round. In times of breakups I watch them because I’m almost guaranteed to not stumble across a love story. In fact it’s usually the opposite. Monster Mania is my FAVORITE horror film convention. Weirdly tucked away in Hunt Valley, MD they always manage to book some amazing guests. This year they’ve snagged MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE sweet baby angel Robert Englund aka Freddy Krueger. Saturday is the best day to attend because that’s when all the panels happen and Saturday night you can always find most of the guests hanging out at the hotel bar. I have for sure shared a drink with Heather Langenkamp (Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street). I can’t wait to spend too much money on a photo of me hugging Freddy Krueger…while I cry. -Jenn Tisdale
If you only go to one outdoor haunted attraction this year, then skip Field of Screams and head to Markoff’s Haunted Forest. This years theme is BACKWOODS MAYHEM so I’m beyond excited to see what kind of horrifying scenes they have in store for us. I’m imaging a lot of Deliverance-esque stuff and that can only mean good things, nothing is scarier than hicks (trust me, my family is full of them). Markoff’s is filled with surprisingly scary trails, a haunted hayride that will terrify grown ass adults, and a whole bunch of stuff to do between getting your pants scared off by rambunctious high school students in elaborate costumes. You can zip line, hang around the bonfire, get your face painted to look like a zombie (I did this, it was great), and drink some nice warm cider. All of the money goes towards funding Markoff’s year round outdoor school which teaches kids how to do outdoor stuff (or something like that). It doesn’t matter. You’re getting scared for the kids. That’s all that matters. Oh, and by the way, the actors can most definitely touch you. You have to sign a waiver and everything. -Kaylee Dugan
The Tuesday before Halloween is the most photogenic night of the year on 17th Street. It doesn’t matter how you identify or whether you run, the annual event is worth attending. We can not stress this enough. One year a group ran as the cast of The View. Another, Michael Jackson passed out flowers to children. Go. -Brandon Wetherbee
You know by now if you like Band of Skulls. They’ve been around for a while. I’m sure they’ll be great, as they usually are. But you should go to this show to see Mothers, who are opening for Band of Skulls. This year’s debut album was so emotionally fraught. It’s the kind of music that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Then, when you’ve reached the point where your frail heart can’t handle any more, Band of Skulls will give you that much-needed forget-everything rock buzz. -Tam Sackman
One of the most hard-charging and controversial rock and roll acts of the past decade takes the stage at the Howard Theatre. Part of Brooklyn Brewery’s Mash Tour, and co-sponsored by Timberland, this free event is a great way to kickstart your weekend. The Black Lips are insanely fun and energetic – get ready to dance, jump, and sweat while kicking back some delicious craft beers. RSVP here. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
Disclaimer: I’m the Associate Editor at All Things Go. However, I’ve been to this event the past two years when I wasn’t, and it was also lit.
That being said, for the past two years, the best party in October has been the All Things Go Fall Classic. Now, the demand for a good time has outgrown the past venue (Union Market) and expanded to a giant lot outside of Yards Park. This year features up-and-comers, mostly in the electro-pop field, lining the schedule before the headliners, arguably two of the biggest acts in electro-pop history take the stage for what you know is gonna be an amazing show. Passion Pit cancelled all of his dates except this show, so when else are you going to see him? And Empire of the Sun is that act that you’ve always wanted to see live but never have. But each year in the past, probably the best part of Fall Classic is dancing with strangers to the DJ in between sets. Even more good vibes are anticipated for this year. -Tam Sackman
There are only two ways to react to Beach Slang: either you don’t get it, or the band gets you. The 90s indie rock throwback sings songs about drinking, youth, and punk rock glory. They sound like early Goo Goo Dolls (before they got on MTV), and I mean that in the best way possible.
While the appeal of Beach Slang is a little esoteric, everyone should love Bleached. An all-girl band from California, they play surf pop with a punk rock snarl. Their songs burst with hooks and energy, to the point they might give Beach Slang a run for their money. Which band is better? You’ll have to go to The Cat to find out. -Alan Zilberman
Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox takes your favorite CURRENT songs and re-imagines them as your didn’t realize they were you favorite classic songs. What do I mean? Check out this 1950’s Doo Wop version of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.” Because my soul belongs exclusively in a time before now, I prefer this version. -Jenn Tisdale
A new Benoit Pioulard album is always good news. The record, available via the mighty Kranky Records, was written while he was recovering from a broken wrist, which is interesting! Pre-release single “Layette” is a classic off-kilter, gauzy indie pop nugget that gives me hope for another quiet classic from this dude, whose music I always like a whole lot! -Matt Byrne
Say what you will about 2010 being long over. I was like you, sneering at the thought of genuine indie resurgence. “More of that electro R&B!” I may have said. But god dammit, Local Natives’ new music is really good– maybe even tighter now than it was for 2013’s Hummingbird. And those harmonies, my god. Plus, they’ll be joined by truly relevant up and comer Charlotte Day Wilson, whose soulful voice has made her one of this year’s standout artists. -Tam Sackman
There’s a new American Football record coming out and it’s self-titled just like their first LP and their debut EP before it. Expect more the slow-burn blissfully sad guitar jams and smooth ass horn parts that made their extremely modest discography the stuff of emo legend. -Matt Byrne
NxWorries’ Yes Lawd! Is the first LP from this dream pairing of Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge. Paak’s Malibu is one of the best records of the year and the hyperprolific producer Knxwledge’s output is reliably interesting and forward-looking stuff. -Matt Byrne
There is nothing gimmicky about Madrid’s Hinds. There’s something about their music, something about their presence, that just seems to be a group of chill as hell girls making music about whatever they think is interesting. I guess “garage-rock” is one way to put it. It’s just a bunch of lo-fi good shit that stems partially from the dynamic switch off of vocals between two lead singers. -Tam Sackman
Classical music + Live Electronica = One Massive Amazing Party. Plus spending any time at the Kennedy Center is always a wonderful experience. It’s impossible to have a terrible there. -Jenn Tisdale
The young singer-songwriter creates incredibly complex, almost self-contained worlds in her songs – which run about two and a half minutes each. Supremely talented and settled in her authorial voice, expect a great musical performance, but not a lot of stage banter – Cosmos prefers to let her songs talk on her behalf. Check out our interview with her from a few months back. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
Margaret Glaspy’s Emotions and Math saw her coming out of the gates swinging – and mostly at herself. It’s a portrait of a flawed person, sometimes biting but always honest and often self-deprecating. It’s easy to call a voice ‘soulful’ but this is something else. It’s rich and deep, and her guitar knows that and backs her up like a friend in a fight. -Tam Sackman
SXSL @ The White House October
OK, this isn’t one that many of us will get a chance to go to – praying that someone, somewhere reads this and pities me – but how cool is it that President Obama went to SXSW and was like “yeah, I can do that.”?
With a day’s worth of conversations and panels that aim to foment discussions around solving some of the nation’s biggest problems – climate change, food security, race relations, sustainable urban renewal and growth, among others – it promises to be riveting. Throw in a host of musical acts, and this is the most one-of-a-kind event in White House history. Thanks, Obama. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
A spooky fundraiser for DC Zinefest, and what’s scarier than raising money? Drop by for tons of creepy storytelling with prizes for the most terrifying tale. -Jenn Tisdale
I’ve been lucky enough to judge the Air Sex Championships. It was weird and I recommend attending. You’ll witness drunk people not understand what’s going on, sex positive people fuck the air and most people laugh at the absurdity of sex. -Brandon Wetherbee
The old Uline Arena is becoming an REI flagship and to celebrate REI is putting a cherry on top of their 100 #UnitedOutside events this summer by inviting everyone for 3-day (FREE) Block Party. Friday doors open at 10 a.m. with some big band fanfare (hint, hint) and DJs keep the party going all day. Saturday and Sunday the fun expands to a main stage with live bands, Outdoor School classes, beer gardens, s’mores, screen printing, a climbing wall, and more. Saturday’s music starts with a family band at 10 a.m. and then goes on with live go-go, a Beatles cover band, and plenty of DJ sets (Biz Markie at 3 p.m.!). Sunday is a team-up with Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival for a day of live bluegrass and Americana on the main stage. All 3 days the first 500 people in line receive a custom D.C. CamelBak bottle with a gift card inside. There is free breakfast and coffee for all each morning. Everybody who attends all weekend can help REI decide how to split up $100,000 among 5 regionally focused outdoor non-profits! Sounds pretty great, right?
Divorce premieres on HBO October 9
I’m excited to check out HBO’s new Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle, Divorce, for reasons different than most folks, I think. Tom Scharpling and Hayes Davenport, hosts of two of my favorite podcasts, The Best Show and Hollywood Handbook, respectively, were contributing writers to the series’ first season, which was created by the very funny English writer/actor Sharon Horgan. The pedigree of the folks working behind the scenes make me very interested in checking this thing out! -Matt Byrne
Black Mirror comes to Netflix October 21
If you didn’t watch the first two and a half seasons of Black Mirror (8 episodes total) you are a sheep. Technology is destroying us people! Wake up! Or keep your thumb scrolling and your mind numb. You’re so much better off sitting in the dark in front of your screen watching the recently Netflix-purchased formerly British series about the technological dystopia we are rapidly headed for or– more likely than not– already in. And this season promises more famous people (Rashida Jones wrote an episode!) and hopefully more fucked up projections of a not-so-distant future. Get ready to question everything. -Tam Sackman
American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards on Hallmark Channel October 28
Wanna cry a whole bunch and look at nice hero dogs? Me too! The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards airs on the Hallmark Channel on October 28. Eight very good boys and girls and their owners will be honored, with one especially noble beast being named the American Hero Dog of 2016. Wow! -Matt Byrne
From our review:
Funniest of all is Jenna Berk’s Little Sally, a whip-smart but dirt-poor young girl who sees everything for what it is, and I do mean everything. When the revolution doesn’t go quite as planned and new leadership turns out to be shortsighted and weak, it is she who loudly balks “What kind of musical is this?!” as drought and disease spread across the land.
Well, Little Sally, it’s the kind of musical worth seeing. Even if it does know it. -Tristan Lejeune
The 2015 Tony winner for best play is something that used to be on Broadway all the time: a critically acclaimed adaptation of a critically acclaimed book. Amongst the Disneyfication of English-language theatre, it’s so nice to know that there’s still a place on stage for the story of an aggressively solitary autistic boy and his investigation of a neighbor’s dog murdered by a gardening fork. From the 5th through the 23rd, the Kennedy Center hosts the touring story of Christopher, who loves prime numbers, animals, the color red, and not much else. If it’s as good as Mark Haddon’s novel, it’s well worth seeing. -Tristan Lejeune