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Verizon Center

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Raima Roy.

Most stage performances begin with an announcement prohibiting photos. But comedian Aziz Ansari, who performed Saturday at the Verizon Center, had a different method in mind.

He kicked off the night posing in front of various backdrops from photos of baby giraffes to dachshund puppies so his audience wouldn’t be tempted to snap photos during the show.

Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari. Photo by Flickr user "The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas" under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari performed at the Verizon Center on Saturday. Photo by Flickr user “The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas” under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

This was just the beginning of the “Modern Romance” stand-up show where half the humor came from Ansari’s interactions with the audience.

Photo shoot out of the way, the 31-year-old comic rattled off jokes about modern relationships, picking on everything from cat-calling to flaky friends as the audience exploded in laughter.
But the highlight of Ansari’s interactive performance came when the comedian invited single audience members onstage to evaluate their flirtatious text messages.

One audience member started out a text conversation with the word “So?” before sending another saying “It’s Liam.”

“That’s how you start out a conversation with a girl you like? Shouldn’t you have said, ‘It’s Liam’ first? This conversation is so out of order!” Ansari said, laughing.

Between the laughs, Ansari weaved in moments of truth with pointed critiques of communication in modern society.

While modern technology makes it easier to get in touch with people, it also makes it easier to ignore them, Ansari said.

“It’s much easier to ignore a person than to say, I would love your offer to get free food but without your presence,” he quipped.

Although many of Ansari’s jokes borrowed from the same topics of love and romance as his previous comedy tours, the show ended with an encore based on his current relationship with his girlfriend, professional chef Courtney McBroom.

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Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 2:48 p.m.

Monster truck rally coming to D.C.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Monster trucks are crashing into the District this weekend.

An explosive touring monster truck rally will take over the Verizon Center on Friday and Saturday.

Home to crazy monster trucks including Virginia Giant and Mohawk Warrior, Monster Jam’s mud-filled showcase even has its own television program.

Friday’s event starts at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday offers an early show at 2 p.m. with another at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are as low as $20. Passes for the early pit parties – where you can get autographs from the drivers before the show – cost an extra $10.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:42 a.m.

Taylor Swift tickets hidden around D.C.

Taylor Swift performing on her latest tour. Photo used under Creative Commons License

If you’re looking to see country-singer-turned-pop-star Taylor Swift’s concert this weekend at the Verizon Center, but you’re short the $200 for tickets, Diet Coke may have a solution.

Taking a page from Willy Wonka’s book, the company has hidden across D.C. eight silver tickets to the concert.

Starting Thursday at  8 a.m., the Diet Coke Twitter page (@DietCoke) will release a series of trivia clues about Swift to lead fans to the undisclosed locations. The first eight fans to discover tickets will get see Swift perform on May 11 or 12.

The contest has been organized a part of a larger growing partnership between Swift and Diet Coke. Swift is the brand’s new ambassador and a large media campaign is in the works.

This post was updated May 10, 2013 to reflect the following:

Correction appended

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the giveaway would include backstage passes. It only includes concert tickets.

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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 6:11 p.m.

Weekend Outlook

A slew of high profile entertainers will head to the District this weekend, extending an invitation to all in the nation’s capital: They want you to party with them.

Hip hop star Drake will celebrate his birthday at The Park at Fourteenth Friday night. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons License.

– Celebrating with celebrities has never been so easy. Hip-hop star Drake will host his birthday celebration at The Park at Fourteenth Friday night. The event is part of Howard University Homecoming celebrations, but all are welcome to the $20 all-night birthday bash.

– Not into Drake? Then hop over to Diddy’s party at Ibiza for a measly $30. Friday night, the rapper, mogul and Howard University alumnus hosts the university’s homecoming after party.

– Actor and comedian Kevin Hart performs his stand-up comedy skit at the Verizon Center Saturday night. Tickets start at $60, and the show begins at 8 p.m.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers and indie band Sleigh Bells rocked a sold-out Verizon Center on Thursday. The D.C. tour was one of more than 100 shows across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America promoting the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new album, “I’m With You.”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform Thursday as a part of their 'I'm With You' world tour with opening band Sleigh Bells. The tour marked the band's first time on the road since they went on tour to promote their album 'Stadium Arcadium' in 2006. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

Sleigh Bells vocalist Alexis Krauss performs before the Red Hot Chili Peppers take to the stage. The band recently released their second album, 'Reign of Terror,' a follow up to their 2011 debut, 'Treats.' Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

Guitarist Derek Edward Miller gets ready to perform. Miller and Krauss began performing as Sleigh Bells in 2008. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis recently underwent surgery for several foot injuries, which delayed the tour. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

Rolling Stone Magazine readers voted bassist Michael Peter Balzary, stage name Flea, No. 2 among the 'Top Ten Bassists of All Time' in 2011. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

Drummer Chad Smith is also the drummer for Chickenfoot, a hard rock group comprising former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, in addition to solo-artist Joe Satriani. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

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Monday, April 2, 2012 6:31 p.m.

It’s Monday…

Keep the fun spirit of April Fools’ Day going this week and enjoy these events going on in D.C.

  • The Verizon Center. Photo used under Creative Commons License.

    See the Washington Wizards vs. the Milwaukee Bucks at the Verizon Center at 7 p.m. today. Tickets start at $10.

  • Grammy Award-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird will perform a caberet-opera rendition of “Pierrot Lunaire” tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center. Tickets cost $32.

And here’s something exciting:

CNN reported yesterday that there are rumors Sony will release a PlayStation 4 in 2013.

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Circus tigers

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's circus performed Thursday through Sunday at the Verizon Center. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The circus rolled into the District this weekend, drawing cheers and laughter from the crowds with high-flying performances and plenty of clowns.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spectacle “Fully Charged” was part of a tour marking the circus troop’s 141 years of performances.

Ringmaster Brian Crawford Scott, clad in a sparkling suit and top hat, sang throughout the show, encouraging the audience to “think big” under the big top.

“Fully charged, are you ready for the greatest show on earth?” he asked.

The performance featured trained animals, including 10 horses and six ponies who trotted in unison Sunday around the floor of the Verizon Center.

Exotic animal trainer Tabayara Maluenda paraded six Asian elephants around the arena. Maluenda also snapped his whip as fully-grown tigers pranced on their hind legs.

A huge crossbow shot the “human fuse” Brian Miser across the arena as the ringmaster warned children, “Do not blink, do not look away.”

The show also featured fire jugglers, acrobats, Mongolian strongmen clad in metal kilts, gymnasts and more than a dozen clown acts.

“How many clowns does it take to change a lightbulb?” Scott joked to the audience as a handful of jesters slid up and down ladders, reaching for a huge bulb and stumbling over their oversized shoes.

The 2.5-hour show incorporated musical selections from popular artists including Michael Jackson, Cascada and Owl City.
Protesters stood outside the arena distributing pamphlets against animal cruelty. One flyer, published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, alleged that the circus company’s elephant training methods make it the “cruelest show on earth.”

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s will return to the District next March with a new show, dubbed “Dragons.”

Lauren French contributed to this report.

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The Verizon Center will host Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's circus this month. Photo used under Creative Commons License.

The circus will roll into the District this week.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, which held its first performance in 1871, will present “Fully Charged” at the Verizon Center from March 15-18.

Tickets range from $14 to $35 for each of the nine show times.

The show will feature “breathtaking dare-devilry, superhuman stunts and never-before-seen performances,” according to a release.

Acts including strongmen, four Asian elephants, clown antics, a team of stallions, a human crossbow and 12 tigers.

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Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 2:01 p.m.

Monster Jam rolls into D.C.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Julie Alderman.

Fast cars, robots and high-flying trucks were only the beginning of Friday night’s Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at the Verizon Center.

The event honored the 30th anniversary of Grave Digger, one of the most influential monster trucks of all time.

The night started off with a wheelie competition. Monster Mutt and driver Joe Miller won first place, earning 27 points out of a possible 30 by driving with the truck nearly vertical in the air. Mutt and Miller then went on to win the coveted Double Down trophy after also taking first place in the highly competitive freestyle competition.

Three rounds of racing took place before the championship race between Norm Miller’s Batman and Cam McQueen’s Northern Nightmare, where Miller took the crown.

But monster trucks weren’t the night’s only attraction. The Monster Jam featured quad races on AVs with men versus women. The women took the title in the end after a dangerous race.

Monster Jam will be at the Verizon Center Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 1:54 p.m.

Andrea Bocelli performs at the Verizon Center

Photo courtesy of Verizon Center Communications.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Figatner.

Italian tenor, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrea Bocelli preformed at the Verizon Center Friday night, with guest performances by Grammy award-winning soprano Ana Maria Martinez and Tony award winner Heather Headley.

Bocelli paired his musical stylings with Martinez’s operatic and Headley’s R&B sound.

Blind since adolescence, Bocelli relied on touch to show a connection with the singers, often holding hands with them.

Often regarded as a crossover artist between classical and popular music, Bocelli was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2006. In 2010, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Crowd favorites at Friday’s show included Bocelli’s performance of “Ave Maria,” which he sang with his well-known, steady vibrato. When he was not singing, Bocelli melodized out of a golden flute, which maintained a similar tone and control. Bocelli also performed his best-selling single “Con Te Partirò,” which he first sang in 1995.

The crowd was silent during Bocelli’s “Amazing Grace” solo, with the orchestra sustaining a solitary note. All was still except for Bocelli’s eyebrows, which fluttered up and down with his phrasing.

He may not have been able to see the standing ovation, but must have heard the adoring applause as he finished singing the final words of the song: “I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now, I see.”

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