Hey, D.C. We here at City Paper have two new things for you this week. First up is our flashy and fancy Spring Arts Guide, an encyclopedic look at the music, theater, comedy, art, talks, and film events coming to town from today through May. It is on newsstands now inside our latest issue full of love letters to D.C. Next up is a brand new version of the To Do This Week newsletter you know and love. We’re calling it City Lights—that’s the name for the print section that contains the best things to do, critics’ picks, and D.C. happenings around. You’re going to want a Spring Arts Guide, so go grab one, and if you’re not already signed up for our emails, hit the link below. We can’t wait to illuminate your week. —Emma Sarappo


Fitz and the TantrumsSingle, emo, or in your feelings on Valentine’s Day? Lucky for you, Fitz and the Tantrums make their D.C. return that very same day, with a pit stop at The Anthem to support their fourth studio album, All the Feels. Lead vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick (the eponymous “Fitz” from the band name) has said this project’s aim was to wrap up the whole range of emotions he experienced in the aftermath of the band’s mainstream breakout “HandClap” and to tie that together with the feelings provoked by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, both quotidian and unique. READ MORE >>> Fitz and the Tantrums perform at 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $45–$75. (202) 888-0020. theanthemdc.com. (Christian Paz)

The American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog is bringing a pop-up exhibition about presidential pooches to the Watergate through the weekend. 11 a.m. at The Watergate Hotel’s Elmore Room, 2650 Virginia Ave. NW. Free.

RISE 2020 showcases Collage Dance Collective’s professional dancers and rising stars. 7:30 p.m. at THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. $25–$30.

Author Lidia Yuknavitch discusses her new book of short stories, Verge. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose at Union Market. 


Mean JeansSpinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins once pondered the “fine line between stupid and clever,” but Mean Jeans are happy to obliterate any meaningful distinction between the two. The Portland, Oregon, trio is dedicated to making Ramones-core pop punk that is razor sharp, infectiously catchy, and delightfully dumb. If Andrew W.K. is the unofficial pope of partying, Mean Jeans are his rambunctious altar boy nephews, perennially crashing on the couch underneath a stack of stale pepperoni pizzas and a kicked keg. READ MORE >>> Mean Jeans perform at 8 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $12–$15. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com. (Matt Siblo)

Evan Ziporyn has adapted David Bowie‘s Blackstar, his final album, into a haunting performance for orchestra. 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $29–$69.

Margaret Kimberley talks about her new book Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents in an event co-sponsored by IPS, WPFW, and Black Alliance for Peace. 3 p.m. at Sankofa Video, Books, & Cafe, 2714 Georgia Ave. NW. Free.

E. Ethelbert Miller, Holly Karapetkova, and Teri Ellen Cross Davis, three poets, discuss how their work grapples with race and political engagement. 6:30 p.m. at The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Road NW. Free.


Amanda ShiresSinger-songwriter and fiddle player Amanda Shires’ music is ever-evolving. In 1997, at the age of 15, Shires was adding her twangy stringwork to Bob Wills covers as a member of the Texas Playboys. In 2005, backed by the Playboys, she released her debut album Being Brave, which was largely instrumental. Shires soon began sweetly warbling more of her own tales on her subsequent albums that knit together country and folk. In 2019, she formed The Highwomen, a country music supergroup with Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby. Their self-titled debut album seamlessly blended traditional country rooted songcraft with current pop country tunefulness and forthright lyricism. READ MORE >>> Amanda Shires performs at 7:30 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $29.50–$79.50. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org. (Steve Kiviat)

Guitarist Lyle Brewer‘s influences include folk, jazz, and classical music, plus the ambience of New England. 7:30 p.m. at Pie Shop DC, 1339 H St. NE. $20.

Historic America is running a multi-sensory tour of the treasures in the National Gallery of Art. 1 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. $20.

Get the kids hooked on the punk scene early: take them to Black Cat’s Rumpus Room, a daytime dance party for children who are ready to rock out. 2 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $12.


Jerry MitchellIn June 1964, as the Black Freedom Movement reached its fever pitch, the Mississippi KKK began pursuing a young civil rights worker named Michael Schwerner, who had been instrumental in local organizing efforts. They set in motion a plan to capture the 24-year-old, and by the end of June, he—along with fellow organizers Andrew Goodman and James Earl Chaney—had disappeared. Their blue station wagon was burnt to a crisp. The identities of those involved, including a deputy sheriff, was an open secret for years, but no one was convicted for killing the men, only depriving them of their civil rights. READ MORE >>> Jerry Mitchell speaks at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com. (Kaila Philo)

Washington Improv Theater’s The Cookout celebrates black comedy in the District. 7:30 p.m. at Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW.

Celebrate The Big Buna Bash with a reading and discussion of the new children’s book. 4 p.m. at The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Road NW. Free. 

Architecture lovers hoping to enjoy the city’s diverse styles, especially in the wake of President Trump‘s proposed executive to mandate classical architecture for federal buildings, should join DC Design Tours on a walking tour. 11 a.m. at Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. $25.


Bat for LashesBecause it’s difficult explaining her to the uninitiated, some describe Bat for Lashes by listing Natasha Khan’s influences. But Khan is more than a stack of old Björk and Bowie albums, and her compositions don’t just amount to derivative indie rock. Instead, they conjure shimmering portals to the misty worlds of Khan’s imagination. Fur and Gold, the first album she recorded as Bat for Lashes, is a fractured fairytale influenced by chamber music and folk-rock. Two Suns plays like an epic fantasy, complete with towering crystal cities and unfamiliar constellations. READ MORE >>> Bat for Lashes performs at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I, 600 I St. NW. $25–$29. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org. (Will Lennon)

Join seven African American artists for a discussion of their varied work and the history of African American dollmaking and puppetry in the U.S. 11:30 a.m. at the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 1st St. SE. Free.

Jazz fusion group Special EFX bring Chieli Minucci on stage with them. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $35.

Valentine’s Day will have come and gone, but you can still drop in on a sex magic workshop and ritual to “increase your emotional and erotic intelligence.” 9:15 p.m. at GlowHouse, 3110 13th St. NW. $30.


Kamasi WashingtonFor most lowercase-”p” pop fans, jazz occupies a stodgy place in the consciousness, set apart like classical music. Of course, countless artists labor to change the perception; one who’s made the most dynamic argument is Kamasi Washington. “I’ve always felt there’s a misconception of jazz, that it requires some type of superiority to be appreciated,” Washington told The Guardian in 2018. “The idea of a music that connects you to your inner self—that connection is something that most people would enjoy if they tried.” The 38-year-old saxophonist-composer-producer-bandleader has sought to connect music with inner selves, both through his own music and collaborations that have seen him tangle with heavyweights in jazz (George Duke, Stanley Clarke) and rock (Ryan Adams, St. Vincent). READ MORE >>> Kamasi Washington performs at 8 p.m. at The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. $50–$55. (202) 803-2899. thehowardtheatre.com. (Chris Kelly)

Poet Andrea Gibson takes audiences on a journey through the most unforgettable and unbelievable moments of their love life. 8 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $25–$35.

Atlas Performing Arts Center’s 11th annual Intersections Festival kicks off with an evening with R. Eric Thomas, author of the memoir-in-essays Here for It. 7:30 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $35–$45.

Bambara bring a high-energy performance up from Georgia and down from Brooklyn. 8 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $13–$15.


An Evening of RomanceNot ready for Valentine’s Day, replete with roses, chocolate assortments and heart-shaped balloons, to be over? Or perhaps you’re looking to add a bit of love to your commute nearly a week after the fact? Well, in either situation, you’re in luck. Romance authors Andie J. Christopher (Not the Girl You Marry), Tracey Livesay (Sweet Talkin’ Lover), and Tif Marcelo (The Key to Happily Ever After) are meeting up in D.C. with fellow writer Mia Sosa to discuss Sosa’s new book The Worst Best Man. Her newest release tackles perhaps one of the most painfully ironic narratives of the wedding industry—a wedding planner, Carolina Santos, gets left at the altar. READ MORE >>> The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at East City Bookshop, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #100. Free. (202) 290-1636. eastcitybookshop.com. (Sarah Smith)

The Maryland Poor People’s Campaign is “Jammin’ for Justice” and hoping to use music to connect people with the cause. 7:30 p.m. at Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier. $15. 

The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival kicks off in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Potomac Atrium with screenings of Pire and Restless River. 6 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free.

Kill Move Paradise uses classical echoes to tell the story of three young people in the afterlife’s waiting room after dying too soon the a racist world below. 7 p.m. at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $15.


Music: The go-go community talks about what they’d want from a potential museum honoring the genre.

Theater: The Royale punches above its weight.

Theater: The Toxic Avenger is a quirky, offbeat show that’s still working out some production issues.

Theater: Gun and Powder has some strong leading performances, but the writing needs work.

Books: Rachel Vorona Cote‘s Too Much fails to distinguish itself in 2020.

Film: What She Said is an insightful look into the life and work of film critic Pauline Kael. 

Cartoon: Liz at Large, “Skip”

News: Here’s where to find local Valentine’s gifts for your sweetheart.


Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Laura Marling at Sixth & I on April 5. 7 p.m. at 600 I St. NW. $25–$30.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Jens Lenkman at the Lincoln Theatre on April 22. 8 p.m. at 1115 U St. NW. $35.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Simple Plan and New Found Glory at The Fillmore Silver Spring on June 2. 8:30 p.m. at 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Ticket prices to be announced at time of sale.

Tickets go on sale 9 a.m. Friday for Sam Hunt at Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 25. 7 p.m. at 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $46–$126.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Weyes Blood at 9:30 Club on Aug. 7. 8 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $25.

Tickets go on sale 1 p.m. Friday for Deftones with Gojira and Poppy at The Anthem on Aug. 23. 7 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $59.50–$395.

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