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Saturday, March 7, 2015 5:11 p.m.

Q&A: GW alumni Jukebox the Ghost

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Ariana Mushnick.

Ben Thornewill, Jesse Kristin and Tommy Siegel lived in Amsterdam Hall when it was called New Hall, where a close friendship around music evolved into their band, Jukebox the Ghost.

Jukebox The Ghost

Ben Thornewill in March 2010 at the Black Cat. File Photo by Francis Rivera | Senior Staff Photographer

Just over a decade since their days as GW students, the bandmates have released four studio albums and played hundreds of shows across the country. Vocalist Ben Thornewill talked to The Hatchet about Shania Twain, California and walking by the White House on a snow day. The trio will perform at the 9:30 Club on March 10.

The three of you met while you were students at GW. What were your times like here?

Ben Thornewill: We were all in the same dorm for sophomore through senior year. We played at every frat party, benefit show, casino nights – all of it. We worked out our kinks while we were there, and once we graduated, we started touring and doing it for real.

It was always my goal to make it a career. Tommy was a journalism major, Jesse [studied] biology and I was the one who was studying music. So in my mind, I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do this.’ I had to talk them out of more lucrative careers.

What were your favorite things to do in D.C.?

BT: I loved living by the monuments. One of my favorite moments was on a snow day and I walked in the middle of the night to the White House and saw it right before they they started clearing the paths. I think just living in D.C. and having the chance to see the city in those more private, quiet moments is awesome.

You’re now on your biggest U.S. tour to date, and you recently performed on ‘Conan.’ How does it all feel?

BT: It’s wonderful. We’ve had a bunch of really fantastic sold-out shows in L.A. and Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and hopefully D.C. as well. Conan was an absolute whirlwind. He’s very kind and very tall.

It’s been a really encouraging tour. It feels like there’s an energy throughout it [and] it feels like big things are happening.

Did you ever go to shows at the 9:30 Club and envision yourself playing there?

BT: I went to many shows at the 9:30 Club, [but] I never even envisioned myself playing there because I was just hoping to play the Black Cat. That was our big goal. I thought, ‘Oh, maybe one day.’

You just released your fourth album, and it’s more pop-y than your previous albums. Did you have a vision for the album?

BT: We always want to try to not make the same record twice. We wanted to make a record that was a little more, I guess, on-the-nose pop songs, an album that you could put on at a party and listen to all the way through. We [recorded] 50 odd songs and whittled it down to the 11. I think from start to finish we probably spent nine or 10 months on it.

Do any songs on the album carry a particular meaning for you?

BT: Each song has its place and moment in history. ‘Hollywood’ is the one that’s the most exciting and most engaging [live]. Jesse, the drummer, gets out from behind the drum kit and sings it jazz style. It’s a big showpiece and I love that song.

You’ve been together for over a decade. How has the band evolved?

BT: Almost indescribably. We’re now approaching 30 [years old], and we were 18 [and] 19 when we started it. So we’ve aged, which is doing whatever it does to us. And from the beginning, we were just like idiots living in a dorm and sleeping on the floor to make a record in North Carolina, and now we’re at like 900 shows.

We’ve been touring for eight to nine years, so it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s a constant evolution. I think fundamentally we’re the same people, but it’s nice not sleeping on floors anymore.

Who is your No. 1 music idol?

BT: That’s a good question. Beethoven? Yeah, that can be my answer. Otherwise, I can only think of like smart-ass answers like Shania Twain. She’s touring again.

I’ve heard you play covers during your shows. Is this a tradition, and how do you decide what to cover?

BT: It’s definitely a tradition. It came from our days at GW when we’d play parties and stuff, and people would only want to hear so many original songs. They would want to hear something that they know. So we’d always do something like a nod to the audience.

About a year ago, I very jokingly said what if we did ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ And we were like, ‘Fuck it. Let’s try it.’ And it kills. It’s one of the best covers we’ve done. That’s how it goes. It’s a joke conversation that often ends up being like, alright, let’s try it, and sometimes it works.

What’s the last concert you went to?

BT: Sara Bareilles, who is an such an extraordinary performer. It’s not only the last concert I’ve been to, but like one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen. She’s so personable and has such an extraordinary voice. It really blew me away. I didn’t expect to like [her] as much as I did.

When you’re back in New York, what do you do in your free time?

BT: This is the problem with interviews, because all I want to say is masturbation, which I can’t say, like I’m not allowed to say that.

I read a lot, hang out with friends, probably don’t go to rock clubs because that’s all we do. We’re always writing, we’re always making music, so it’s sort of like a continuation of what we do and who we are on the road, just we don’t have to sleep in Holiday Inn Expresses anymore.

What’s your source of creative inspiration?

BT: Life, music, stuff. Paying attention to the world around you, that’s mostly it. And masturbation.

It looks like you guys had a great time filming the music video for ‘The Great Unknown.’ What was that like?

BT: Truly, it was an awesome time. We started in L.A. in the studio that we recorded the album in, drove up the Pacific Coast Highway, just stopped at beautiful national parks, set up the instruments and just played and filmed it. It ended with a party in San Francisco. All of that was perfect. The best music video experience we’ve had.

Anything you want to say to current GW students?

BT: Masturbation. No. Be weird. Subvert the people. Subvert the man. Screw with everything.

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Maybe there’s something in the air, but it seems like the best up-and-coming artists are flocking to D.C. this weekend.

On Friday, start slow with Wolf Alice or take it up a notch with Sharam. Saturday, see sisters 2:54 or a snarky comedy show, and on the first day of March, check out Suuns or try interactive smartphone poetry.

Friday

Wolf Alice Concert: The “Best Breakthrough Artist” at the U.K. Festival Awards is fronted by Ellie Rowsell, who croons her way through powerful songs while wearing little dresses, bomber jackets and a distinctly focused pout. Wolf Alice defines its sound as “rocky pop,” but sweet songs like the recent release “Heavenly Creatures” are not so easily defined.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $15.

Sharam Concert: This 45-year-old DJ was born in Tehran, Iran and only hit the music scene in a meaningful way in 2009: He collaborated with Kid Cudi on “She Came Along,” which stayed in Bulgaria’s Top 40 for nearly four months. Since then, he’s won a Grammy and played a 10-hour set in Brazil.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 10:30 p.m. $12.

Saturday

2:54 and Honeyblood Concert: Sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow were born in Ireland, raised in Bristol and formed their first band together in 2007. They’ve toured with big names like The Big Pink and The xx, and 2:54 has gained a slow but steady following across the pond. Their latest, “Orion,” is a sweeping song reminiscent of the Irish coast: rocky, rebellious and oddly beautiful.
DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. 8:30 p.m. $10.

Humor Me: The Betches of Comedy: The ladies in charge of the snarkiest blog online organized a stand-up night in the District featuring comedians Liza Treyer, Megan Gailey, Sara Armour and Jared Freid. If the evening is anything like “Betches Love This,” it will be full of topical digs at celebrities, political humor and Spring Break diet tips. The blog declared its love for GW back in 2012, citing betchy alumni like Rachel Zoe and Jackie Kennedy.
Sixth & I Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. 8 p.m. $20.

Sunday

Suuns Concert: The band is signed to a label called Secretly Canadian and they do, in fact, hail from Montreal. Their latest singles, “2020″ and “Edie’s Dream,” are a blend of their rock core, psychedelic sound … and womping. Their simple lyrics and pleasant, if not redundant, beats should melt away your midterm worries.
Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 8 p.m. $14.

“Txt” Poetry Project: The D.C. premiere of experimental artist Brian Feldman’s latest endeavor is an interactive poetry experience that examines technological communication through the lens of prose. Attendees are encouraged to bring fully-charged smartphones.
American Poetry Museum at The Center for Poetic Thought, 716 Monroe St. NE. 6:45 p.m. $20.

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As usual, there’s plenty do in D.C. this week: Four must-see shows, the D.C. Independent Film Festival and stand up with Comedy Central star Kyle Kinane.

As you make your way through midterms, be sure to take a break and get off campus.

Monday

Ariel Pink Concert: In 2003, at an Animal Collective show, lo-fi artist Ariel Rosenberg gave a homemade album to the band. Since then, he’s collaborated under Animal Collective’s umbrella on various projects with a beachy, ’70s sound, from a 16-minute song called “Witchhunt Suite for WWIII” to his latest solo album, “Pom Poms.”
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $20.

Screening of “Deli Man:” Check out this “freshly made documentary” about the 160-year history of Jewish delicatessens in the United States. Director Erik Greenberg has produced two other films about Jewish culture, but this film about delis from New York to Texas truly gets at the heart of Jewish-American life: Passing corned beef, blintzes and garlic Dill pickles around the table.
JCC of Greater Washington, 125 Montrose Road, Rockville, Md. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Tuesday

Kyle Kinane Stand Up: You already know him as the voice behind Comedy Central’s commercials, but Kinane is also a stand-up comedian and a guest on popular podcasts and “Drunk History,” for which he narrated an episode about the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago. In his televised special, “Whiskey Icarus,” Kinane talks a bit about the ramifications of being delivered an unsliced pizza pie. Fingers crossed he does it again.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. Doors at 7 p.m. $15.

Wednesday

OCD: Moosh & Twist Concert: The hip-hop duo from Philadelphia keeps it real with the single, “How We Do,” playfully explaining that while they call themselves brothers, they actually “met in math class.” Their sound is a goofy take on OFWGKTA style with sweeter lyrics. Stick around for a second show – MK with Beckwith and DJ Nav – which begins at 10 p.m.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. Doors at 7 p.m. $15.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Happy Hour: Hit this cash-only bar for a reminder of the songs your mom used to sing on road trips: The Machine and Devolutionary will DJ alternative ’80s dance music until closing time. There’s no cover charge, and Miss Whiskey’s has a plethora of board games for those not looking to dance.
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, 1104 H St. NE. 9 p.m.

Thursday

July Talk Concert: The foursome from Toronto, which has toured with Tegan and Sara and Weezer, slay pop beats like “Paper Girl” and “Guns + Ammunition” with a rough rock n’ roll edge. They’ll will be on tour all summer, but be sure to catch them before they blow up.
DC9 Nightclub, 1940 9th St. NW. Doors at 8:30 p.m. $10.

John Nemeth at Hill Country: See the BMA Male Soul Blues Artist of the Year as you munch on barbecue ribs. Nemeth played more than 1,000 shows between 2007 and 2011, but the hardworking Idaho native shows no signs of slowing down after the release of his 2014 album, “Memphis Grease.”
Hill Country, 410 7th St. NW. 9 p.m. Free.

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If the pre-midterm jitters have you in your room procrastinating, take your nervous energy to the dance floor. From The Kongos to Butch Queen DJs to small DIY groups, as well as must-see plays, this week is all about the stage.

Tuesday

The Kongos at the 9:30 Club: Hailing from Phoenix, Ariz., these brothers with a U2 sound and notoriety in the United Kingdom have been playing together virtually their whole lives. Their 12-song record “Lunatic” is comprised of diverse rock tunes with a hint of Coldplay and a splash of pop. They’re best known for the accordion-clad rock song, “Come With Me Now.”
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $15.




Nick Thune at Sixth & I: Check out the D.C. installment of Nick Thune’s Very Tour! Much Comedy! He played small roles in “Knocked Up” and “Unaccompanied Minors,” and he’s performed on “The Tonight Show” eight times. Comedians Kate Berlant and Ben Kronberg will join Thune on stage.
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. 8 p.m. $15.

Wednesday

Polyon, Chandos, Two Inch Astronaut at Babe City: These DIY bands are just a few of many groups playing lo-fi tunes in District basement quasi-venues. They’ve cut the production down to straightforward sounds to be played for small crowds.
Babe City, Dupont Circle. 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation.




Riot Grrrls’ “The Tempest” at Capitol Hills Art Workshop: Riot grrrl, a feminist hardcore punk movement born in D.C. in the 90′s, is taking on one of William Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, “The Tempest.” The play only has one female lead, which the group seems to view as a challenge rather than a setback.
Taffety Punk Theatre Co. at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE. 7:30 p.m. $15.

Thursday

Phox at the 9:30 Club: These six “best friends” pride themselves on their small hometown, Baraboo, Wisc., where “kids often drink poisoned groundwater and become endowed mutants.” As far as music goes, their sugary blend of psychedelic pop-rock often goes on for six or seven minutes.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $15.




Love Feast at Tropicalia: If you missed Butch Queen DJs at The Black Cat last weekend, here’s your chance to redeem yourself. The evening kicks off with Dance Afire Productions, followed by Pussy Noir and MUNDY, and will culminate at midnight with an eclectic set of vogue house, 90′s mixes and trap.
Tropicalia. 2001 14 St. NW. 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. $10.

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Ease into February by attending a free jazz concert and Sangha meditation session, or take the new month by storm with a Monday evening happy hour and two DJ sets during the week.

And be sure to catch “Pride,” a British film about gay activism in the 1980s, and “Gold,” an Irish film about one man’s enlightening return home.

Monday

Imani-Grace Cooper at The Kennedy Center: This Howard University music major will sing the tunes of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. Cooper has performed at Blue’s Alley and other local joints, but this will be her first show on the Millennium Stage.
The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. 6 p.m. Free.

Late-night brews at Meridian Pint: If you’re not quite ready to let go of the weekend, head to Meridian Pint after dark for half-priced ($3) draft beers. The oddly timed happy hour is a result of Meridian’s meticulous cleaning of the lines that move beer from kegs to cups.
Meridian Pint, 3400 11th St. NW. 11 p.m. to close. 

Tuesday

Sangha Meditation at Sixth & I: Find inner-peace – or at least 30 minutes to yourself – at this meditation session and conversation. Sangha is an ancient Buddhist form of meditation that celebrates “not doing.” Be sure to RSVP online.
Sixth & I Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. 5:45 p.m. Free.

Damien Jurado at Rock & Roll Hotel: With the Jan. 21 release of his 11th studio album, Jurado has been on the scene long enough to have grown stale. Instead, his sound has evolved from lo-fi funk to experimental rock, and he continues to switch up his technique.
Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Doors at 7 p.m. $15

Wednesday

“Pride” at NPR Headquarters: Catch this film about gay activists in Margaret Thatcher’s United Kingdom as they fight for union rights in the summer of 1984. The film won the Best British Independent Film award last year, and was nominated for a Golden Globe.
NPR Headquarters, 1111 North Capitol St. NE. 7 p.m. Free.

DJ Sliink at U Street Music Hall: Sliink has shared the stage with A-Trak, Diplo, Skrillex and the like as his up-tempo style and relentless beats keep crowds coming back for more. The New Jersey native has released EPs with major labels like Fool’s Gold and Mad Decent. The show is bound to be wild.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 10 p.m. $10

Thursday

Viceroy at the 9:30 Club: While lyrics like “I call you Tuesday night/We have a groovy time” read as the antithesis of another mid-week party anthem, the effect is the same: Viceroy gets the crowd moving. He’s opened for well-known DJs like Diplo, remixed Passion Pit and been featured in music mags from Vice to Nylon to discuss his full-bodied, eclectic sound with hints of disco and funk.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 9 p.m. $15

“Gold” at Capital Irish Film Festival: Solas Nu, the only organization in the United States dedicated to modern Irish arts, will present indie comedy “Gold.” The flick revolves around James Nesbitt, who heads back to his hometown where he finds his ex-wife and daughter still living with the harsh reality of his estrangement.
E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. 7:30 p.m. $6

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Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 6:24 p.m.

Your Week: Odds and ends

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Samuel Pfister. 

Take this week to check out the oddities of living in D.C., from diverse art exhibits to a classical symphony at the Kennedy Center to an Orwellian book reading sponsored by the D.C. Public Library. If you desperately need to dance, bookend your busy week with The Last Year at the Black Cat and Dr. Dog at the 9:30 Club.

Tuesday

The Last Year at Black Cat: Niki Barr and Scott Ensign made their debut as a duo in Baltimore last year after the release of the angry, yet sweet, “Sugar.” They have a similar sound to the more well-known Bear Hands, but be sure to catch them before they blow up on the indie circuit.
The Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Doors at 8 p.m. $10.

Dominican Modern Art: This gallery is often host to some of the most diverse collections in D.C., one of which ends at the end of the month. The “Modern and Contemporary Art in the Dominican Republic” exhibition offers pieces from the Customs Office Collection. The 30-piece collection details recent artwork from some of today’s best Dominican artists.
Organization of American States’ Art Museum of the Americas, 201 18th St. NW. Hours vary.

Wednesday

Lunch Talk at NMWA: The National Museum of Women in the Arts offers weekly Wednesday gallery talks, and this short, lunchtime exhibit looks at the life of Mary in relation to her family, explores the ideas of womanhood, and details what social and sacred functions Mary has served throughout history. “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea” is part of a series in which the NMWA showcases humanist elements in loaned exhibits. No reservation is required.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. Noon to 12:30 p.m.

Orwellian America by D.C. Public Library: The Martin Luther King Jr.  Memorial Library is hosting a marathon reading of George Orwell’s “1984.” Special guest readers will be on hand for 11 hours. Don’t feel like traveling? You can live stream the reading on Youtube.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday

Fantasy & Fate at The Kennedy Center: The National Symphony Orchestra is performing “Fantasy & Fate: Tchaikovsky Masterworks,” conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. The pieces performed will include “Sérénade Mélancolique” and “Valse-Scherzo,” led by concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef. Tickets are still available online but won’t be at the door.
The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. Hours vary. $10 to $85.

Dr. Dog at the 9:30 Club: These self-proclaimed oddballs will play two nights at the 9:30 Club. Dr. Dog, with Philadelphia roots and at least a decade of experience on stage, has an electric chemistry fueled by casual confidence and a knack for mixing it up live. The six-man band is touring until May, when it will play Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta alongside The Strokes and Tame Impala.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Doors at 7 p.m. $30.

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Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 5:23 p.m.

Spring concert preview

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Samuel Pfister. 

As the new semester begins, it’s easy to feel stressed by the prospect of another busy season. Instead of your syllabi, check out the best artists hitting the stage this spring, from a jazz legend to a “Trap Lord” to GW alumni, and give yourself a chance to expand your musical horizons.

Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass will take the stage at the 9:30 Club at the end of this month. After releasing their eighth studio album in September, the band announced a huge tour from New York to Texas that includes two stops in the District on Jan. 30 and 31.

A true jam band with strong bluegrass roots, Greensky Bluegrass is known for collaborating with artists like Bill Kreutzman, formerly of the Grateful Dead, country band Railroad Earth and Bela Fleck, who recently played a show at Lisner Auditorium. This show is a chance to delve into an alternative musical genre without breaking the bank.

9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $20

Hip-hop

For those looking for something a little more contemporary, A$AP Ferg is coming to D.C. to perform at The Fillmore on Jan. 18. A$AP Ferg is one of underground hip-hop’s up-and-coming artists after a successful 2013 release of his debut album, “Trap Lord.”

The Fillmore, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md. 8 p.m. $37.50

Jazz

A pioneer of the genre, Roy Ayers stops by the District’s Blues Alley jazz club playing a show each night from Feb. 5 to 8. Ayers was one of the first jazz musicians to bring elements of hip-hop and rap into his music.

Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 8 p.m. $45

Indie-folk

One of the best indie acts visiting D.C. in the spring is singer-songwriter Damien Jurado. Known for his lo-fi folky recordings, Jurado takes the stage at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Feb. 3.

The Seattle native entered the music scene in the late ’90s, and his 2014 album, “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son,” brought him into the modern era with spirited beats like “Metallic Cloud.”

Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Doors at 7 p.m. $15

Rock

Dr. Dog comes to town Jan. 22. Hailing from West Grove, Pa., the psychedelic band always puts on a performance filled with distorting sounds and fantastic light shows. Concert-goers get to experience a modern act drawing on influences like The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $30

Indie-pop

The 9:30 Club is hosting an assortment of indie-pop acts that are must-sees for any music lover. On March 10, GW alumni band Jukebox the Ghost hits the club to promote their self-titled album.

Former students Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin draw on piano influences and strong lyricism in their music, which scored them a contract with Yep Roc Records last year.

9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 7 p.m. $18

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Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 2:03 a.m.

Your Week: Back to the District

After a few days of classes, unwind with Tai Chi at the National Cathedral on Wednesday. Photo by flickr user Francisco Daum used under a CC-BY 2.0 licence.

After a few days of classes, unwind with Tai Chi at the National Cathedral on Wednesday. Photo by flickr user Francisco Daum used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Everly Jazi.

Spend some quality time catching up with your friends in a week jam-packed with free events. Or ease into spring semester with laid-back options like book readings, Tai Chi and rock concerts.

Monday

Brian Quijada’s “Where Did We Sit on the Bus?” Performance: Brian Quijada will perform in the large Theater Lab as part of the Millennium Stage series at the Kennedy Center. Quijada’s performance, including spoken word and music, will be centered on one of his childhood experiences: asking his third grade teacher where Latinos sat on buses at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. Get there early as general admission tickets will be handed out in the Kennedy Center States Gallery at 5:30 p.m.
Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. 6 p.m. Free.

An Evening of Humorous Readings at Kramerbooks: Start your semester with some much-needed laughs. Take your friends to enjoy some beers while watching some of the best in comedy writing. Brian Agler from McSweeney’s and Funny or Die will host the event with writers like Sean Carman of McSweeney’s and Sarah Schmelling of the New York Times.
Kramerbooks & Afterwards Café & Grill, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. 8 p.m. Free.

Tuesday

Nerds in NoMa: This winter speaker series brings the nerds – or rather hipsters – together to discuss topics like street art, beekeeping and local brewing. On Tuesday, meet like-minded connoisseurs and learn about mobile businesses. This week’s speakers include Mike Lenard from TaKorean and Laura Layton from Tin Lizzy Mobile Boutique. Food trucks will be on site selling refreshments. RSVP in advance.
The Lobby Project, 1200 First St. NE. 6 p.m. Free.

John McQuaid “Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat” Discussion: Pulitzer Prize-winning food author and journalist John McQuaid will be at Politics & Prose on Tuesday to talk about taste and the body and how the brain decides what we eat. Learn more about how to control what you eat and culinary events in history like the invention of the potato chip. His book, which comes out Tuesday, will be available for purchase at the bookstore.
Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. 7 p.m. Free.

Wednesday

Tai Chi at the National Cathedral: After a couple days of classes, relax and get started on your fitness and health resolutions. Learn about the ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi from one of the most well-known masters in the District, Nick Gracenin. This beginner’s class will consist of breathing and movement exercises, focusing on the themes of expansiveness, immediacy and insight.
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 7 p.m. Free.

The Vaselines at Rock & Roll Hotel: The Glasgow-based melodic and upbeat rock band will play your favorite H Street venue Wednesday night. The group’s playful songwriting has a punk quality that attracts everyone from fellow Sub Pop band Nirvana to Belle & Sebastian. Their new album, “V for Vaselines,” is more aware of contemporary rock and features catchy tracks that will be great for dancing.
Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 8 p.m. $20.

Thursday

Jazz in Kogod Courtyard: Enjoy the music of famed bebop saxophone player Charlie Parker at the American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard. A band with saxophonist Antonio Parker will play a tribute to Charlie Parker as part of the American Art Museum’s “The Singing and the Silence” exhibit. There will be refreshments and board games at the Courtyard Café along with a printmaking center to make your own print to keep
American Art Museum, 8th and F streets NW. 5 p.m. Free.

Wild Child at 9:30 Club: The members of pop-like indie folk group Wild Child will bring their many unique instruments to the 9:30 Club. A band that has been an NPR favorite and appeared at Firefly and Bonnaroo, Wild Child knows how to impress. The group is touring on its second album, “The Runaround,” produced by Ben Kweller.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, 7 p.m. $15.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Jeanine Marie and Rachel Miklaszewski.

This week is all about de-stressing, from a Hispanic film festival featuring award-winning works to holiday-themed bashes and a concert with a drag queen DJ. Plus, Beyoncé’s choreographer is in town to help you dance away the finals funk.

Thursday

Pleasurekraft at U Street Music Hall: Pleasurekraft is a collaborative group that plays clubs around the country, and they’ve worked with DJs from Deadmau5 to Sasha & Digweed. They are best known for 2012’s “Tarantula” and a series of remixes of the same name. Their latest release, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” is a four-song album that features a light touch of EDM, masterfully blended techno beats and surprising instruments, like maracas.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. Doors at 10 p.m. Free before 11 p.m. for 21+, $15 otherwise.

Promotional poster for "Mapa."

Promotional poster for “Mapa.”

La Nueva Ola: Films from Mexico, Cuba & Spain: This four-day filmfest, presented by GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Spanish and Mexican embassies, begins with a screening of two acclaimed Hispanic films. Director Susan Casares will present her 14-minute short film, “Tryouts,” winner of the Official Selection of the 2014 SPAINred Filmmakers Competition, followed by a screening of “Mapa,” a full-length feature and “Best Documentary” winner at the 2012 Sevilla Film Festival.
GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW, 7:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation.

Friday

“Come in From the Cold” exhibition: Attend the opening reception of the new juried exhibit at the Foundry, a gallery that features paintings and drawings from artists in the D.C. area. This month’s selections relate to the winter months, celebrating both the cold outside and the refuge of the warm inside.
The Foundry Gallery, 1314 18th St. NW. Reception 6 to 8 p.m. Free.

HOMO for the Holidays: JD Samson, a drag queen DJ best known as a member of underground electro-feminist group Le Tigre, and indie-drag queen Pu$$y Noir will kick off the holiday season with groovy music and scandalous dance moves. The event is hosted by Brightest Young Things and will be filled with “Mean Girls” references, candy cane pasties and lots of glitter. Holiday attire is strongly encouraged.
Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Doors at 8 p.m. $20 in advance, $25 night of.

Saturday

Dance Like Beyoncé: James Alsop, dance choreographer for stars like Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Bey herself, will hold three-hour-long dance workouts Saturday afternoon. The workout does not guarantee it will “Upgrade U” to flat abs or a perfectly sculpted booty, but it’s definitely a good way to de-stress and spend time with the notoriously sassy choreographer. Alsop’s recent work is featured in “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé and “Booty” by Jennifer Lopez feat. Iggy Azalea. Be sure to RSVP online because space at the pop-up studio is limited.
Cedric Terrell Studio, 415 Walker Ct. SE. Sessions available noon to 1 p.m., 2 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. Free.

Rockin’ the Holidays with GMCW: Wear your best (worst) holiday sweater to The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s annual holiday concert. GMCW will perform classic tunes like “Little Drummer Boy” and “Hallelujah” with their signature choral twist. The Washington Post called the group “one of the world’s best male choruses,” and with an invitation like “don we now our gay apparel,” how could you not?
The Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $25 to $59.

Sunday

“Thank You” Classes at Ride DC: Skip pricey Soul Cycle and crowded HelWell for a day of cheap(er) indoor cycling at Ride DC. The studio is celebrating its first year of business with 45-minute classes for just $12. Burn calories, save money and give yourself another great excuse to avoid Gelman Library.
2217 14th St. NW. Classes begin at 10 a.m. $12 per class.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue at 9:30 Club: You may not recognize his name, but 28-year-old jazz artist Troy Andrews, a.k.a Trombone Shorty, has been touring the globe since he was 12 years old. The Louisiana native hit the road with Lenny Kravitz as a teenager, played at the White House in 2012 and took the stage at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Shorty blends his smooth jazz roots with strains of funk and hip-hop to make creative, world-renowned beats with his ensemble, Orleans Avenue, which played at Lollapalooza this year.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 8 p.m. $35

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Jeanine Marie and Tatiana Cirisano.

Catch these District events before you head home for Thanksgiving: Ryan Bingham and Bob Dylan both have concerts this week and you may want to stop by a not-your-grandmother’s book club.

Monday

Story League Presents Tournament 10: Competitive storytelling company Story League will host Tournament 10, where eight winners of past contests will compete for the title of Funniest Story and a $300 cash prize. This week’s theme? “Obnoxious.” Hear D.C.’s storytelling all-stars tell personal tales in this side-splitting showdown — as long as they fit into the theme, any story is fair game.
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 7:30 p.m. $15

Ryan Bingham solo acoustic session at The Hamilton: Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham camped out in a trailer in California to write his newest 12-song record, “Fear and Saturday Night,” which is set to be released Jan. 20. For now, the Texan artist is back on the road to play his gritty, well-worn tracks. Listen to hits like “Sunrise” and “The Weary Kind” live, and you may even get a peek at some songs on his upcoming album.
The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. $25 to $30

Tuesday

Twentythirtysomething Book Club: This is not your grandmother’s book club. Come by to meet young literary enthusiasts (or just wine enthusiasts) in the area as the group meets at Slate Wine Bar and Bistro to discuss Megan Abbott’s “The Fever.” This month’s novel follows a small town struck by a mysterious illness that seems to target only women. Don’t have time to finish the book? The meetup group encourages you to stop by anyway for some thoughtful conversation, snacks and drinks.
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, 2404 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 7:30 p.m. Free, RSVP online.

Bob Dylan. Photo posted by Flickr user ky_olsen under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Bob Dylan. Photo posted by Flickr user ky_olsen under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Bob Dylan at DAR Constitution Hall: This one needs no introduction. The 73-year-old folk legend will tour at DAR Constitution Hall this Tuesday evening, where he’ll play iconic ‘60s-era hits like “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Like A Rolling Stone.” Don’t miss this concert, which could be your last chance to see one of history’s most legendary musicians.
DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and C Streets NW. 8 p.m. Tickets start at $73

Wednesday

St. Lucia and The Knocks at 9:30 Club: Jean-Philip Grobler, a.k.a St. Lucia, toured with Two Door Cinema Club in 2013, where Grobler gained fame with the hit “Elevate” off the album “When the Night.” St. Lucia’s eighties-inspired, synth-driven sound has a comforting quality that’s rare to the indie pop genre. The Knocks, a DJ duo from New York City, carved out a name for themselves with 2010’s “Make It Better” and again with “Dancing with the DJ” in 2011. They mix odd genres, like funk and pop, to make head-bopping, psychedelic tunes that are easy to listen to.
9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Doors 8 p.m. $20

B.o.B. and Kevin Gates at The FillmoreB.o.B. may be the headliner, but be sure to arrive early to see smooth gansta rapper Kevin Gates. Gates is well-known for his work on high profile mixtapes with artists like Pusha T, Juicy J and Gucci Mane. He is featured on Major’s most recent single, “Money Dance” whichboosted Gates’ profile. His new album “Stranger Than Fiction” hit no. 37 on the Billboard Top 40.

Stick around and catch the dynamic B.o.B. perform hits like “Headbandz” feat. 2 Chainz and “Airplanes” feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore.
The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD. Doors at 8 p.m. $38.

Thursday

Comanche festival: The Comanche Nation, a Plains tribe from Oklahoma, will host a four-day festival full of dance performances, singing, shawl-making demonstrations and traditional flute playing. Attendees can see films about the Comanche Code Talkers, soldiers who used their obscure language to help securely transmit and encrypt radio and telephone messages during WWII. Meet with Comanche Nation royalty, and purchase traditional jewelry and artwork.
Fourth St. and Independence Avenue SW, Thursday through Sunday. Hours vary. Free

The 13th annual Trot for Hunger will take place Thursday. Photo by Flickr user Phil Roeder under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

The 13th annual Trot for Hunger will take place Thursday. Photo by Flickr user Phil Roeder under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

13th Annual Trot for HungerStart Thanksgiving with a charitable turkey trot and give yourself a little extra room for dessert. Proceeds from the 5K run benefit SOME, So Others Might Eat, which will provide 800 meals to D.C.’s hungry and homeless this Thanksgiving. Trotters can register online for $30.
Freedom Plaza, Corner of 13th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 9 a.m. $30 registration

 

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