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It’s the month with the start of the best season. We’ll say goodbye to summer at our End-of-Summer-Camp party at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. We’ll finally enter the REACH. And to make sure this September is your best September, here are 30+ more recommendations to have the best possible September.

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The Eye of the Sun: Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the National Gallery of Art September 8 through December 1

Instagram has democratized photography at a scale that must have been unimaginable to the original pioneers of the artform. The Eye of the Sun exhibit at the National Gallery of Art explores the development of the medium throughout its first 50 years (1839-1889). The exhibit is a must for anyone (me included) hungry to understand how the work of photographers like Mary Dillwyn, John Moran, and Charles Marville influenced the portraiture, travel, and landscape (to name a few) thematics proliferated by modern photography. -Ruben Gzirian

Helmut Lang @ Von Ammon Co September 14 through November 2

The upstart Georgetown gallery continues to produce unexpected, thrilling shows, and the next one is a true event for anyone who appreciates fashion. Opening in September is a retrospective of works by the legendary fashion designer Helmut Lang, featuring sixty sculptures, with the common material being his shredded couture archive embedded in resin. The experience will be immersive, as much as it will minimal – imagine a forest of thin pillar-like sculptures. We’re there. -Svetlana Legetic

ARTECHOUSE Live September 19-21

You probably know Artechouse as the place where you go to immerse yourself in technology driven art. This month though, marks their foray into music and performance as well. Get ready for: ARTECHOUSE Live on September 19th – 21st, a groundbreaking series of audiovisual performances at the intersection of music and digital arts. Bringing some of the most innovative projects from the U.S. and abroad. The September edition will feature 3 days of live performances from artists Claude (Korea), Maotik (Canada), Subhaze (USA) tackling topics of human memory, climate change and beyond. -Svetlana Legetic

Lee Ufan: Open Dimension @ Hirshhorn September 27, 2019 through September 13, 2020

The Hirshhorn has always had some of the most fascinating outdoor sculptures in D.C., and they’re temporarily expanding their collection (and by that I mean you’ll have almost a full year to check out the sculptures) with the arrival of Lee Ufan’s 10 new pieces. Strikingly minimalistic (and yet specially created with the Hirshhorn’s architecture in mind), Ufan’s work is all about interaction. And you’re going to love interacting with them all over your Instagram. -Kaylee Dugan

Hurricane by Rick Ross available September 3

Rick Ross, in conjunction with Neil Martinez-Belkin, co-author of The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, has a new memoir called Hurricane on it’s way out. Looking back at his history as a drug dealer, corrections officer, and hip hop sensation, Ross takes a deep dive on some of the brutal, intense experiences that helped shape his singular perspective. -Matt Byrne

Rusty Brown by Chris Ware available September 24

Graphic novel auteur Chris Ware’s newest masterwork Rusty Brown reportedly took 16 years to complete and sounds absolutely massive in scope. Advance writeups pitch it as a sort of all-encompassing look at 12 hours on Earth as experienced by three different people, splitting the difference between macro and micro approaches to storytelling. It’s an ambitious, sprawling work in the school of Synecdoche, New York, and I have full faith in Ware’s grip on comic storytelling to deliver on this massive swing. -Matt Byrne

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High School by Tegan and Sara available September 24

Written from both Tegan and Sarah’s points of view, High School is a snapshot of the loves, likes, feelings of the two nascent LGBTQ+ icons, back when they were “just” teenage identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, during the peak of grunge and rave culture in the nineteen-nineties. If there was ever a gift to give your sibling or best friend – this is it. -Svetlana Legetic

Ta-Nehisi Coates The Water Dancer Book Tour @ The Lincoln Theater September 26

Few writers command the gravitas and respect that Ta-Nehisi Coates has attained. Coates commentary on race relations in America and the roots of the issues most of us understand to be fact is masterful; watch his opening statement on reparations at a recent House hearing if you need proof. With his forthcoming debut novel The Water Dancer, Coates transforms his mastery of history and present-day strife into a riveting tale about a character named Hiram Walker gifted with a mysterious magical power after her mother was sold away. The book, much like Coates, is not to be missed. -Ruben Gzirian

 

REACH Opening Festival September 7 through 22

It’s all happening! The Kennedy Center’s physical and cultural expansion, the REACH, is finally here. In honor of the momentous opening, the Kennedy Center is throwing a free 16-day opening festival filled with concerts, films, art, dance, hands-on activities and so much more. As a special bonus on Opening Day, they’ll be activating the entire Kennedy Center campus—which means you’ll be able to explore the brand new REACH buildings while also kicking back in the original Edward Durell Stone building.

For more information, consult our REACH Opening Festival Guide

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Sneaker Con September 7-8

Whether you’re looking to find some new shoes, speak with likeminded collectors or just want to soak up all of the good outfit inspiration, Sneaker Con has your back. The two day festival is taking over the Convention Center for a weekend of excellent shoes. Bring your best stuff for trading or get your credit card ready, because you’re probably not going to leave empty handed. I don’t own a lot of sneakers, but I sure love looking at them. -Kaylee Dugan

End of Summer Camp @ Smithsonian American Art Museum

We say goodbye to the hottest summer in recent memory with another excellent all inclusive party at SAAM. Check out the American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs exhibits, dance with Summer Camp (the DJ/drag queen/all around good American person) and drink some American spirits.

The Fanatic in theaters August 30

This movie looks like an amazing train wreck that I will absolutely watch. It was directed and written by Fred Durst. It was filmed in Birmingham, Alabama aka the shittiest Atlanta suburb. John Travolta plays an obsessive, deranged fan who stalks his favorite action-hero movie star, played by Devon Sawa (who played Stan in the music video for Eminem’s song by the same name!). Travolta chews through scenes and over-acts and wears a heinously bad hairpiece and I am here for all of this. All of it. This movie is a fucking ouroboros of shitty, poorly-thought out social commentary and I am vibrating with excitement.

Give John Travolta whatever he wants – and then launch him into the sun. I wholly admire how hard he’s leaning into the C-movie phase of his career. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

Fantastic Fest September 19 through 26

This September I’m going to Fantastic Fest, a genre-focused film festival in Austin, on behalf of BYT. Some of the more exciting fare is JoJo the Rabbit, the new satire from Taika Watiti, and Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. Many filmmakers will be in attendance, so who knows? Maybe there will be a selfie or two. Either way, in between the movie nerd bacchanalia, expect coverage of all the best sci-fi and horror have to offer. -Alan Zilberman

Between Two Ferns: The Movie on Netflix September 20

There’s not much out there right now about Between Two Ferns: The Movie but as a longtime Zach Galifianakis fan, you know I’m gonna be real hyped on this new mockumentary from Zach and his Between Two Ferns collaborator/director Scott Aukerman. The movie looks to be set in an alternate universe where Zach never made it off of public access TV and accidentally goes viral after a clip gets uploaded to the net. Look, we’re not here for the conceit, we’re here for the damn jokes, baby!!! Let’s do it. -Matt Byrne

Downton Abbey in theaters September 20

Downton Abbey was a near perfect show – it had the heart, the drama, the outfits, the Maggie Smith. While two hours seems barely enough time to be given to spend again with these people and chances are, they haven’t quite figured out how to resurrect Matthew or Sybill, we are counting the days till we are brought back to Downton. Trailer is below and Maggie Smith, fwiw, looks as resplendent as ever. For more details/gossip etc – we recommend this round-up from, where else, Town & Country. -Svetlana Legetic

Judy in theaters September 27

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hugely nervous to see how well Renee Zellweger is able to tackle this massive role, but if she nails it, it’s probably going to be one of my favorite movies of 2019. That said, what insanely large shoes to fill here re: Judy in her later years…godspeed to Zellweger, and god bless the Garland mess. -Megan Burns

Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski and Mindy Fox available September 9

Queer Eye food guy and BYT BFF is coming out with a cookbook that promises to be as charming, accessible and personal as the man himself. The recipes include Bastardized Easy Ramen; Malaysian Chili Shrimp; Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto; or Salty Lemon Squares, and promise to all be “visual stunners and can be carried off with panache, even by beginners”. To celebrate, lets watch this video of Antoni making us brunch at last year’s Bentzen Ball:

Hot Chip @ Brooklyn Steel September 3, 4, 5, 9:30 Club September 7, Riviera Theatre September 13

Hot Chip’s latest album, A Bath Full of Ecstasy, sounds exactly like its name. That’s not to say that you need to be on MDMA to enjoy their music (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt), but this record feels like a night out for adults who are trying to capture that fleeting sensation of release – and actually succeeding. Hot Chip’s music has always had relatively more depth and nuance than their peers in the indie-electronica space – likely a product of the band-members’ ages – and that perspective shines through on tracks such as “Clear Blue Skies” and the titular, sweet “Bath Full of Ecstasy”. The band remains an incredibly entertaining live act and one worth seeing, particularly in a club setting. It’s the responsible choice, like hitting the dance floor wearing comfortable shoes, or washing your face after a night out. You’ll be glad you did it. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

Read our interview with Hot Chip’s Alex Taylor

Bat for Lashes Lost Girls available September 6

This is the fifth studio album for Natasha Khan, and it’s the first one to hit our ears since 2016’s The Bride. Homegirl says this one was inspired tunes ‘n film from the good old 80s, and you can definitely feel those vibes coming through on “Kids In The Dark”, the first single she released from the record’s track list. Excited to see what the full body of work sounds like as a whole, and even more excited for Khan to (hopefully) get back on the road in support of the album. (Always a live favorite.) -Megan Burns

Burna Boy @ House of Blues Chicago September 8, Fillmore Silver Spring September 15 and 16

The best album of the summer, and possibly the year, is Burna Boy’s African Giant. Sensational for a myriad of reasons, but, for me, it marked the moment Burna Boy finally achieved something he had been awfully close to with his 2018 album Outside: he brought his style of afro-pop, steeped in the classical masters of the genre before it was a genre, to an entirely new audience without forgetting the day ones. It’s rare you see an artist reach the heights Burna Boy has in such a short time, but with African Giant, he has become exactly that. -Ruben Gzirian

Mannequin Pussy @ Lincoln Hall September 11, DC9 September 17, Rough Trade NYC September 18

I have been listening to this album for a month straight and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon. Patience, the long awaited third album from the Philadelphia band Mannequin Pussy, is as visceral and in your face as their evocative band name. Straight from the get go, the opening song “Patience” is a fast and fraught jam about a jealous and controlling partner that kicks you in the teeth with its earworm tendencies. The song’s sudden melt into the single to end all singles, “Drunk II,” feels like the best kind of sonic rollercoaster. From her lyrics to her gut punch delivery, frontwoman Marisa Dabice pulls you straight into her brain and lays it all bare. I can’t wait to get sweaty and bruised screaming along with her. -Kaylee Dugan

Alex Cameron Miami Memory available September 13

I just think Alex Cameron is the best time, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the one-of-a-kind world he’s created so far. It should come as no surprise, then, that I am beyond pumped for this new record! Very into the videos for “Far From Born Again”, “Divorce” and title track “Miami Memory”, and shout-out to the lyrics…where else are you gonna hear stuff like “Eatin’ your ass like an oyster, the way you came like a tsunami,” or “And I go weak with constipation, from all the pills and the spam,” crooned so earnestly? Anyway, yes to all of it. -Megan Burns

Alex Cameron + Lola Kirke

Polo & Pan @ Terminal 5 September 13, 9:30 Club September 15, Thalia Hall September 17

Everyone should go to a Polo & Pan concert at least once. Their music, especially the recently released single “Gengis,” is a perfect example of electro-pop perfected in a studio and catered for a live show. The drum patterns that line most Polo & Pan songs act as dance markers while the rest of the song weaves through tribal flutes, French lyrics, blissful synths, and ephemeral melody drops. You go to Polo & Pan concerts to let go a little and lose yourself in some of the best uplifting music out right now. -Ruben Gzirian

Chastity Belt Chastity Belt available September 20

After a mini hiatus in 2018, Chastity Belt are back at it again with a new record – it’s their fourth one, and the first since 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. I’ve liked the stuff I’ve heard so far, aka “Elena” and “Ann’s Jam”, so I feel p. confident we’re in for a solid set of tracks come the 20th! -Megan Burns

M83 DSVII available September 20

Apparently Bat for Lashes wasn’t the only one who felt mega-inspired by the 80s, because M83 have also stated that their newest record (the sequel to 2007’s Digital Shades Vol. 1) was “influenced heavily by early video game soundtracks, ‘80s sci-fi/fantasy films and analog synth pioneers.” Not that that feels like SO much of a stretch from what we’re already used to with M83 tracks, but should be interesting to hear how all that adds up IRL vs. on paper. I have not heard any of it yet and am genuinely chomping at the bit. THREE WEEKS. – Megan Burns

Champions League Football

UEFA Champions League football is back! We had one of the best knockout phases in recent memories last season, with Ajax and Tottenham serving as feel-good stories. Inevitably, they faced off in the semi-finals and Spurs earned the right to get spanked by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the final. Yes – Liverpool are Champions of Europe for the sixth time after stripping my beloved Roma for key components in speedy winger/forward Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker, widely considered the world’s best goalkeeper. No, I’m not bitter.

Lots of narratives have played out across the major European leagues that should make this a fascinating tournament. Juventus – for so long a bridesmaid and never a bride – have doubled down on their Cristiano Ronaldo experiment from last season by adding midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, right-back Danilo, promising Italian defender Luca Pellegrini (ANOTHER Roma talent), and of course the heart of that exciting Ajax team, centre-back Matthijs de Ligt. The 19-year-old Dutch defender is history’s most expensive teenager and still considered a bargain at $97 million dollars. This team is stacked and widely expected to challenge.

Beyond Juve, the other usual suspects will be sniffing around the trophy: Real Madrid and Barcelona are both in rebuild mode after a weird year in 2019, Bayern are a hot mess but so dominant in Germany that they should have plenty left in the tank for Europe, and Manchester City have been knocking on the door for a few seasons. It might be the moment for them to finally break through. But again, don’t forget about the defending champions. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

Lip Sync to the Rescue premieres on CBS September 9

Have you ever wondered, what if there was American Idol but with less talent and more firefighters? Enter Lip Sync to the Rescue. Viewers can tune in and vote on their favorite lip sync performances from some of America’s most charismatic first responders. The world is on fire and our country is embracing some sort of freakish Jimmy Fallon-ass fascism wholeheartedly. You love to see it! -Matt Byrne

Listen to our episode of BYT Radio about indifference television

Country Music premieres on PBS September 15

Friends, Ken Burns is back with a new, nearly day long documentary series for you to immerse yourself in. This time around, the balm will be delivered in the form of a deep dive on the history of country music called Country Music. Leaping across decades of the American-born genre, Burns looks at the way class, race, and power structures shaped the stories of some of the most iconic figures and songs in modern music history. -Matt Byrne

AHS 1984 begins on FX September 18

It’s clear that the lackluster ending of the recent season of American Horror Story could not be its last. Enter AHS 1984 which has all the makings of a good old fashioned slasher film. You’ve got a camp, a killer, and some crappy counselors. What more could you need? Apparently a 10th season is already in the works which makes American Horror Story the Kiss reunion tour of television shows and I’m grateful for it. -Jenn Tisdale

Transparent Musicale Finale premieres on Amazon Prime September 27

Transparent was really backed into a corner after the whole Jeffrey Tambor debacle, but rather than electing to leave the show by the wayside (which is honestly what I expected…it’s kind of tough to keep something going with no lead), Jill Soloway just fucking went for it and decided to tie up the loose ends in the campiest way possible – by turning the finale into a movie musical. (And yes, they just flat out killed off Tambor’s Maura.) Is there the potential for disaster? Of course! But I think this deserves an A for effort, and if they can pull something out that’s halfway decent (or better), then good on ’em! Either way, the show needed some closure, and I’ll take it in whatever form it comes. -Megan Burns

1 Henry IV @ Folger Theatre September 3 through October 13

Iconic D.C. actor Edward Gero returns to the Folger to reprise his iconic portrayal of the iconic Falstaff. This is the must see theater event of the season and that’s why we’re working on a behind the scenes feature with the actor and the theater. Come back to BYT early next month and make sure you don’t miss the potentially iconic production.

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