Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tip from a reader: V-Day

A regular reader of DistrictBeat (we have those!?!) gave me a tip that I wanted to share with you. If you have never seen the Vagina Monologues, you should. It's a powerful play and it supports an important cause.

A Community Staged Reading in DC

Sunday, March 22 at 3 PM and 7 PM
Monday, March 23 at 7:30 PM
1810 16th St NW DC (16 & S)

Recommended donation: $8 for V-Day and My Sister's Place, a local women's shelter Reserve your ticket now! Email Please email if you would like to contribute an item or service for our raffle.

This year marks DC's second annual community staged reading of "The Vagina Monologues" by Eve Ensler. Please join us as we raise awareness to end violence against women.

"The Vagina Monologues" is part of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Further information about V-Day can be found at All proceeds will be divided between two worthy causes: our local beneficiary, My Sister's Place, and this year's V-Day spotlight campaign, the women of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

My Sister's Place (MSP) is an interactive community committed to eradicating domestic violence. MSP provides safe, confidential shelter; programs; education; and advocacy for battered women and their children. MSP's goal is to empower women to take control of their own lives. 90% of our proceeds will go to My Sister's Place.

This year's spotlight campaign is a new global campaign to call attention to the wide-scale atrocities committed against women and girls in Eastern DRC and demand an end to the impunity with which these crimes are committed. 10% of our proceeds will go to this campaign.

This production is affiliated with the Truman Scholars Association.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crap, it’s a long weekend and I don’t know what to do with my honey

The holiday weekend approaches and I know some of you are saying ot yourselves, “self, what fun things should me and my sweetie do this weekend”. Well District beat has some quick tips for you:

  • Les Miserables: If you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time. I wrote before about how good it was, and now GoldStar is offering half price tickets. It’s only playing through the 22 so GO SEE IT.
  • Avenue Q: It’s playing at the Warner Theater through Sunday. They are doing student rush 2 hours before the show with $25 tickets (with a $5 service charge). You can also get $10 off with a student ID if you want to get tickets in advance. The last time I checked I had heard that they were sold out on Saturday, but not Sunday. Lady AWesome went today and loved it (I’d already seen it 2x). It’s a blast if you’ve never seen it.
  • A Delicate Balance: The new play at Arena is Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. It is supposed to be good and there are a ton of ways to see shows there for cheap. There are a limited number of $25 tickets for every show, and there are rush and student tickets, so call the box office and see what they can do for you. Also, Goldstar has $30 tix.
  • Restaurant week: Lunches for restaurant week are a great deal, ($20) but you always need a nap after. That’s why we’re going on president’s day. Make your reservations now on Open Table.

These are just a few thoughts. There’s a ton going on this weekend. And almost every theater in DC has something good playing right now. So, get out of this house this weekend and hit the city. And, if you do anything fun, tell us about it in the comments.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Restaurant Week returns!

Many of you may have heard that restaurant week is coming again next week (2/16-2/22). Well it’s true!

I have blogged Restaurant Week before, and I still feel that it is a great way to try some of the city’s best restaurants for less than it would normally cost. I think this year Lady AWesome and I are going to do a lunch, which is an even better deal than dinner ($20.09 vs. $35.09). I’ll post a review of wherever we end up going, but for now, you should make your reservation through Open Table. If you do try a new place next week, tell us what you thought in the comments of this post. Good hunting!

See The Seafarer

Performance: The Seafarer
Theater: Studio Theatre. 1501 14th St, NW
Metro stops: Dupont Circle – Red line or U Street/Cardozo-Green line)
Genre: Drammedy
Cost: Starting at $36 with the student discount. They also have half price rush tickets 30 min before the show or you can usher (more here)
Dates: Through February 22nd
Rating: 4.5/5 Starving Artists

Another excellent play from the Studio Theatre. This one is worth catching. I’ll keep my review short, since this play is only up for another 1.5 weeks.

Floyd King is stirring as Richard Harkin (from what I hear, King is always stirring), the ailing, blind, drunken Irishman on who drives the story. The rest of the cast are also rousing as his various houseguests on the day of x-mas eve, who come over for a drink and stay for 10. The play is funny in all the right places, but that does not take away from its power. It is ultimately about men confronting their demons and sharing their stories, and doing what men do best… drinking till they are stupid. I highly recommend that you catch this show and I give it 4.5 out of 5 Starving Artists.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Accident. It's good, and that's no accident

Performance: The Accident
Theater: Theater J. 1529 16th Street NW
Metro Stops: Dupont Circle – Red line or U Street/Cardozo-Green line. Directions here.
Genre: Israeli Drama
Cost: $25 tickets for people 25 and under. Hal Price tickets (as low as $10, I think) from Goldstar
Dates: Through March 8
Rating: 3/5 Starving Artists

Earlier this week, Lady AWesome, the AWesome roommate, and two people from LA’s work went to see The Accident, the new Israeli play at Theater J. Overall, I liked it, but there were moments where it felt a little forced.

I think that the thing about a play that begins with an accidental homicide is that you do not need to infuse it with any mock intensity. The drama flows copiously out of such a situation. This was certainly the case for The Accident, so I was having trouble connecting to the material in the moments where it felt like the actors were forcing it. However, the moments where they were really feeling it were excellent. It is important to say that I recognize that we saw the shows in previews and I am certain that the emotion will gel more as the run continues. I felt like the actors (with the notable exception of Jennifer Mendenhall as the matriarch of the story, Niri) were sometimes unable to access the raw intensity of the play and their emotions occasionally felt put on. Those scenes where they felt it, instead of acted it, were by far the most powerful and moving moments of the play. I would love to return in a week or two to see what I know would be an entirely different performance.

It was certainly a fascinating story. The aforementioned accident rips into the lives of two couples and exposes them for what they are. The focus becomes not so much the accident, but the unraveling of the lies of their lives that the accident causes. The unraveling revels them to each other, bare and alone, and they must struggle to reconcile the image of who they thought they were with the discovery of who they now know themselves to be. The set is powerful. The stage is the roadway in which the accident occurred. Furniture is moved in and out to suggest different rooms and locations, but it is all happening on that same strip of road. Thus the action of the show takes place in the road where it begins, as if the characters are unable to escape that moment. Subtle, no?

The script is moving, if not a little obvious. The translator seems to have effectively converted Hillel Mitelpunkt’s Hebrew script, such that the characters are noticeably Israeli, but Americans can easily identify with them. The themes in the script, those of betrayal, love/lust, the plight of migrant workers and aliens, are ones that resonate just as easily with an audience here as with an Israeli one. All this comes together to create an interesting show that is on the verge of fascinating. I am certain that as the run goes on, it will continue to progress into something great. For now, I give it 3 out of 5 starving artists and encourage you to go see it. If you do see it, drop us a line in the comments and let us know how your reactions differed from mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A really quick hit over lunch: Free play tonight!

There is a free, open dress rehersal tonight of the new show at Arena, A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee. Arena is also really good about discounts ($25 “New Deal” tickets, 35% off for students, $10 tickets for people under 30 the week of the show, etc) so if you miss it tonight there will be lots of other opportunities. The show plays through March 15.

Here is what they said on their blog:

Open Dress: A Delicate Balance
Ready. Set. Go.

If you've been following along, you know that there's always an open rehearsal the night before the first preview of any show here at Arena. And you probably know it is free.
Well it is that time again. A Delicate Balance begins its run on Friday night, and before we cross that threshhold we're opening the doors to the public on Thursday for an open dress rehearsal. Lights. Costumes. Set. The full monty. It gives the actors an opportunity to rehearse with 'the last actor cast'-- the audience.

We're at Crystal City for this one. The show begins at 8, and the doors open (with a light reception) at 7

Hell Met Henry and you should too.

Performance: Hell Meets Henry Halfway
Theater: Woolly Mammoth Theater, 641 D St, NW
Metro: Gallery Place-green/red or Archives/Navy Memorial-Green. Directions here.
Genre: An Existential Black Comedy
Cost: from $15 for people under 25. $15 rush seats sold 2 hours before curtain. Half price tickets (from $13) from Goldstar.
Dates: Through March 1
Rating: 3/5 Starving Artists

Last night Lady AWesome, two friends (shout-out to TK and MB) and I went to see the new show at Woolly, Hell Meets Henry Halfway. This show is a collaboration with Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theater Company, a part improv, part clowning, part theater company that started at Swarthmore in the 90’s. They were presenting their adaptation of Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz’s pulp drama Possessed. This English adaptation was devised by the Pig Iron Company, informed by the techniques of “master clown Jacques Lecoq, avant-guard director Joseph Chaikin, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and various contemporary dance companies (so says the program)

What does all this amount to? A 2 hour morsel of existentially goodness. It has some sweet moments, and some amusing performances. It has loads of quick witted dialogue, the point of which is to be pointless. It is chock-full of symbolic visuals, reminding us of the futility of life, the hells we create for ourselves, and the death of innocence. It has some great mime, and some excellent magic (most notably a mystical armoire, the contents of which change significantly each time the doors open.). The set is sparse but imposing. All told, if you like existentialism, you will dig this play.

If you are looking for a good show to see, that isn’t too expensive, then I’d recommend this one. It does not leave you Waiting For it to be Godover (that was a sad attempt at an existentialist theater joke and I am sorry), but nor are you wising it was longer. It’s not the best thing showing in town, but it’s worth catching. I’d give it 3/5 on my scale of Starving Artists.

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