Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter

We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.

Full ListingsOur Picks:

Often, when a band starts celebrating milestones, it’s just an excuse to make a little extra cash from reissued records and new tours. Although Yo La Tengo is in the midst of several anniversaries (the band’s 30th birthday last year, the 20th anniversary of I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One in 2017), 2013’s Fade proved that they’ve still got it. These commemorative tours are more celebratory than nostalgic. In August of this year, Yo La Tengo released Stuff Like That There. Reminiscent of Fakebook, the band’s 1990 album of creatively reconceived covers, Yo La Tengo is covering songs by Hank Williams, the Cure, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and Yo La Tengo (they have a habit of covering their own songs, too). As an added bonus, former guitarist Dave Schramm will join the band on stage for the first time since Fakebook. Sept. 25 at Lincoln Theatre. $35. —Elena Goukassian

This one is a no-brainer: the Landmark Festival is a two-day music festival that mixes local acts with seriously impressive national acts. On Saturday the headliner is Drake, everyone’s favorite Canadian, and there are also sets from locals like Ex Hex, U.S. Royalty, and Wale. On Sunday the headliner are the Strokes, that cool-as-fuck band you really cared about in the early aughts, plus Richmond’s Avers and Baltimore’s Dan Deacon. The entire festival is meant to help the Trust for the National Mall, also known as America’s Front Yard. There are still single-day and weekend passes available, so there’s really no excuse to miss the season’s most impressive concert. Sept. 26–27 at West Potomac Park. $105–$175. —Alan Zilberman

Vieux Farka Touré, the guitar-playing son of the late musical legend Ali Farka Touré, has established a reputation of his own as the Hendrix of the Sahara. The younger Touré has also demonstrated an affinity for collaboration. He’s worked with fellow Malians like singer Khaira Arby as well as with Israeli composer Idan Raichel and Dave Matthews. On the new Touristes, Touré teams up with Brooklyn-based, Georgia-raised pop singer Julia Easterlin. Over programmed beats and Touré’s creative string-bending, Easterlin sings lead (and electronically loops her own vocals) on most songs. While she’s often dominant in the mix, it’s Touré’s desert blues rhythms, and the tunes on which he warbles, that prove most captivating. Sept. 27 at Howard Theatre. $15–$18. —Steve Kiviat

For the 30th anniversary of Psychocandy, the Jesus and Mary Chain will play its first and greatest album live in its entirety. Unlike its original Psychocandy tour in the ’80s, the Scottish band now promises to play a full, sober set, without inciting any audience riots. The worldwide tour has gotten great reviews so far, with far fewer stage antics and brotherly infighting between band members Jim and William Reid, and far more audience appreciation of the post-punk, pre-shoegaze album that still inspires so many bands. Sept. 27 at 9:30 Club. $35. —Elena Goukassian

BBC Radio 1 and iHeartRadio host Pete Tong is arguably modern dance music’s most legendary tastemaker, but you’ll want to see him live on Sept. 27 at Soundcheck because he’s still dynamite on the decks, too. Tong’s tastes have recently veered more in the direction of U.K. garage and tropical house (names like Disclosure and Kygo, respectively, lead the pack), so definitely expect a dancefloor workout that could get sweaty. Alternatively, the crowd might just end up standing around in stunned awe at Tong’s excellence as a veteran selector. Sept. 27 at Soundcheck. $20. —Marcus Dowling

Nobody makes more compelling songs about drinking Budweiser and snorting coke than FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk). Since the Los Angeles-based garage rock foursome debuted its self-titled LP in 2012, FIDLAR has upheld its namesake mantra with irreverent lyrics and unexpected sounds, such as the saloon piano on “No Waves.” With Too, its second album released Sept. 4, FIDLAR veers away from hedonism (although there’s still plenty) and tackle heavier topics like loneliness and artistic relevance. In the video for the single “40oz. On Repeat,” the band dressed like Korn, Jamiroquai, and Britney Spears, among others, and parodied their famous videos, all while singing, “Because everybody’s got more money, they got more money than me.” For now, they’ll tour as themselves and save role play for their videos. Sept. 28 at Black Cat. $17. —Morgan Fecto

Pianist Chick Corea is among the most important and prolific practitioners of jazz fusion—but this particular fusion may not be one that immediately comes to mind. Corea recently helped assemble the double live album Two, his second collaboration with bluegrass banjo player Béla Fleck. The project is one of two jazz-piano duets for Fleck; he’s also worked with the much more traditional player Marcus Roberts, and those two found new ways into the common roots of their individual styles. Corea and Fleck, on the other hand, find new ways out of the roots. They duel over improvised lines, complement and contrast sonorities, try their hands at basic note patterns on each other’s instruments, and—most intriguingly—do it in the context of new, original compositions, as well as staples of their respective repertoires. If fusion’s object is to create something that is more than the sum of its parts, these two are on to something. Sept. 30 at Music Center at Strathmore. $35–$75. —Michael J. West

The last time Bully played D.C. was a June opening stint for Best Coast, the SoCal punks-turned-polished alt-rockers. There, Bully’s straightforward, blistering garage rock was a necessary foil; frontwoman Alicia Bognanno’s raspy yell and squalling guitars gave the evening some needed grit. Now, it’s the scrappy Nashville garage rockers’ turn to headline. Bully is fresh off the release of its frenetically fun debut album, Feels Like. Previews often mention that Alicia Bognanno interned at Steve Albini’s studio in Chicago; for all its ’90s nostalgia, Bully’s blistering energy and cutting lyrical turns stand on their own, trumping the quality of some of Albini’s own grungy productions of late. Oct. 1 at Rock & Roll Hotel. $12–$14. —Maeve McDermott

When Director Christoph Eschenbach announced in February his retirement from the National Symphony Orchestra in 2017, speculation about his replacement started churning immediately. Kind of like Supreme Court justices, orchestra directors tend to stick around for a while, especially at the NSO, though Eschenbach was an outlier at just seven years (Howard Mitchell served for 20). The Kennedy Center is, of course, tight-lipped about the selection process, but it can be reasonably assumed that anyone invited to guest-conduct the NSO over the next couple seasons is a candidate. Perhaps first on the list is Donald Runnicles, a well-regarded conductor with a long C.V. who will lead a Mozart and Strauss program with soprano Olga Peretyatko, and who is coincidentally leaving the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra next year. The NSO would be lucky to snag him: There are about ten other major orchestras currently looking for a new music director as well, so a good conductor could have his pick. Oct. 1–3 at Kennedy Center Concert Hall. $15–$89. —Mike Paarlberg

New York City vocalist José James initially made his mark singing jazzy R&B drawn from the styles of Gil Scott-Heron and Terry Callier, but he also occasionally lilted over quieter sounds or soared suavely over hip-hop and drum and bass beats. On 2014’s While You Were Sleeping, he added atmospheric rock and R&B elements inspired by the likes of Nirvana, Frank Ocean, and James Blake. On this year’s Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday, this multi-faceted performer and unabashed fan celebrates the centennial of Lady Day’s birth with carefully enunciated, luxurious vocals accompanied by a top-notch trio led by pianist Jason Moran. Japanese R&B singer and Apollo Theater Amateur Night runner-up Nao Yoshioka opens. Oct. 1 at Birchmere. $29.50. —Steve Kiviat

Don’t be fooled by the all-caps, nearly vowel-less band names—this fantastic tripleheader will be a hipster-bullshit-free affair. Ought’s academic punk imagines a parallel universe in which David Byrne ditched his white suit and joined Q and Not U, while BRNDA’s snappy, theatrical jangle-pop draws from a playful strain of Talking Heads nostalgia. In between is LVL UP, whose enormous live presence inflates its power-pop hooks to stadium size. Don’t question why you’re able to see these three remarkable live bands in a room as small as Comet; just smile, say thank you, and buy a ticket before it (inevitably) sells out. Oct. 3–4 at Comet Ping Pong. $12. —Maeve McDermott

It’s been a busy year for Wavves: It contributed a song to the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack in April, then two months later released No Life For Me, a collaborative album with Cloud Nothings frontman Dylan Baldi. Now, the band’s new album, V, is set for an October release. Wavves frontman Nathan Williams has publicly complained about Warner Bros. Records’ attempts to exert unnecessary control over V’s promotion and production; based on the initial tastes of the album, it’s clear that Williams knows what he’s doing. Lead single “Way Too Much” is a pop-punk slacker anthem that’s the catchiest song Wavves has released since 2010’s “King of the Beach.” “Flamezesz” is equally fun, and its sinuous chord progression showcases Williams’ growing confidence as a songwriter. Wavves may no longer be a buzz band, but with songs this good, the major label execs need not worry. Oct. 7 at 9:30 Club. $20. —Dan Singer

Lost somewhere in rap’s mainstream pop boom of the early ’90s is more widespread acclaim for the careers and legacies of rap heavyweights Big Daddy Kane and Rakim: These two titans are caught squarely between Run–D.M.C. and Notorious B.I.G. Kane and Rakim are still frequently touring, so you can “Sweat” Rakim’s “Technique” and see first-hand how Big Daddy Kane is very much still a “Smooth Operator.” Whether you’re a new fan wanting to experience the roots of rap or a lover of the classic era and looking to reclaim your youth, this is a must-attend event. Oct. 8 at Howard Theatre. $29.50–35. —Marcus Dowling

With a voice like Tom Petty and hair like Eddie Vedder circa Ten, Kurt Vile is a master at revisiting the familiar. Ever since the founding member of the War on Drugs went solo in 2008, he’s recorded five albums that pastiche psychedelia, anthem rock, and grunge. Perhaps the cheekiest (and gloomiest) song in Vile’s discography is “Pretty Pimpin’,” the single off b’lieve i’m going down…, which comes out Sept. 25. The song renovates the tired trope of waking up and not recognizing oneself in the mirror. It toys with ideas of routine and dissociation with rambling guitar and bass drum, and asks, “Who’s this stupid clown blockin’ the bathroom sink?” In an April interview with Rolling Stone, Vile said, “I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch—not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.” The single that revolves around getting out of bed sounds couch-esque, for sure, especially in contrast to its dreamier forebear “Wakin’ On a Pretty Day” from Vile’s 2013 release. Hopefully a couch will fit on the 9:30 Club’s stage. Oct. 8 at 9:30 Club. $25. —Morgan Fecto

Yes, Jason Moran and Jeremy Denk have certain similarities: Both play piano and are fairly young but at the top of their respective fields. Both are known for their deep knowledge of musical history, but also for their cheeky subversions of it. Still, jazz artist Moran and classical artist Denk aren’t similar enough that you’d expect to see them in a joint piano recital. Yet that’s exactly what they’re attempting at the Kennedy Center this fall. It will comprise a two-piano setup in the Terrace Theater, each artist approaching the instrument from within his own genre—and, according to the word on the street, without any sheet music. You’re intrigued, aren’t you? Oct. 9 at Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. $40. —Michael J. West

Like the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev received considerable acclaim in the late ’90s as a psychedelic rock band that evolved from noisy beginnings and struck gold with a palette of dreamlike, cinematic soundscapes. During that time, Mercury Rev and the Lips were creatively intertwined—Mercury Rev’s founding bassist Dave Fridmann produced both bands’ magnum opuses, which were recorded concurrently at his studio—but while Wayne Coyne and company sent their sonic melancholia into outer space, Mercury Rev was more concerned with earthly inspiration, specifically the vast landscapes of the Catskill Mountains. Talk of highways and quarries were juxtaposed with intricate orchestration, and coupled with Jonathan Donahue’s youthful croon, the results were often stunning. Mercury Rev is preparing to release The Light In You, its first album in seven years, and all signs point to it being another collection of accessible and immersive psychedelia. Oct. 16 at Rock & Roll Hotel. $20. —Dan Singer

D.C. native Amir Mohamed is indie rap’s most unassuming superstar, acclaimed as both a rapper and producer. He’s returning home for what will likely be a “true school” emceeing love-in at U Street Music Hall. Oddisee’s latest album, The Good Fight, is yet another in a string of critically acclaimed releases as well as a conscious ode to his underdog status. However, Oddisee is on Kendrick Lamar’s radar, so this could be your last chance to see him in such an intimate setting. Oct. 16 at U Street Music Hall. $20. —Marcus Dowling

Leon Bridges can be best described as a Bill Withers for the hipster age, while rapper and songstress Kali Uchis fits the bill as a “manic pixie dream chola.” While neither artist is covering Billboard or headlining the main stage at Coachella (yet), this show will draw crowds who want to see if either artist lives up to their incredible hype. Uchis is a Northern Virginia native, so there’s a local appeal to this show, too. Oct. 16 at 9:30 Club. Sold out. —Marcus Dowling

Country singer Kacey Musgraves’ 2013 album Same Trailer, Different Park reached some new audiences—especially those who never listen to the likes of Luke Bryan or Miranda Lambert—thanks to the daring-for-Nashville message on “Follow Your Arrow,” with its “Kiss lots of girls if that’s something you are into” lyric. Working with Nashville songwriters, Musgraves lent her perky pop-folk voice to an album’s worth of observations about small town life that worked especially well thanks to catchy but not formulaic choruses. Musgraves’ latest, Pageant Material, isn’t quite as effective but it’s no failure. It has some generic musical and lyrical efforts, but other numbers work—the sweet acoustic strumming and Musgrave’s pretty scale climbing on the cut “Late to the Party” should prove crowd-pleasing. Oct. 16 at the Lincoln Theatre. Sold out. —Steve Kiviat

In the 1940s, Latino immigrant musicians and largely American-born New York jazz musicians collaborated and created a new sound. For “Afro-Cuban Jazz: Back in Full Swing,” the 17-member Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, conducted by Charlie Young of Howard University, will team up with percussionist (and NPR Alt.Latino co-host) Felix Contreras and the Smithsonian’s new secretary, David Skorton on flute, to touch on those roots and later history to showcase the form’s ongoing vitality. With a program that will highlight pioneers like Mario Bauza, Chano Pozo, Machito, and Tito Puente, the SJMO’s large group of players should powerfully combine the gloriously rat-a-tat timbale clave beat with brassy unison horn harmonies, lush swinging piano chords, and occasional instrumental solos and chanted vocals. Expect this Latin Jazz 101 to be way more exuberant than a lecture but just as informative. Oct. 17 at National Museum of American History. $25–$40. —Steve Kiviat

The spirit of Harry Nilsson lives on in Tobias Jesso Jr., a gangly Vancouverite who uses his big voice to cram his equally big heart into intimate ballads that recall Nilsson’s whimsy and pristine studio arrangements. On Jesso’s debut album, 2015’s Goon, he deftly sells the vague universality of songs like “How Could You Babe” and “Hollywood” with cathartic, purposeful execution and a measured vocal delivery that suggests the 30-year-old is wise beyond his years. Jesso is at his best on “Just A Dream” and “True Love,” minimalistic ballads that are quietly and calmly entrancing. When Jesso brought his piano and guitar to Sixth & I in March, he reveled in these low-key flourishes to great effect. With a full band in tow for his fall tour, Jesso has an opportunity to command bigger stages and give his winsome songs some breathing room. Oct. 17 at 9:30 Club. $20. —Dan Singer

Reclaiming the soulful, art-house vibe of ’90s-era U.K. garage has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the brothers Lawrence, and they’ve excelled under the pressure. Pop superstar Sam Smith has Disclosure’s magnificent 2013 hit “Latch” to thank for much of his breakout success, and the duo’s new album Caracal promises much more of the same. If your ear has lately been fatigued by dubstep, moombahton, and hard electro, Disclosure’s funky, R&B-tinged vibes are a perfect solution. It’s likely both nights at Echostage will sell out but feel extra celebratory for those lucky ticketholders. Oct. 2122 at Echostage. $45. —Marcus Dowling

One of fall’s best lineups features three bands with starkly different interpretations of indie pop: TEEN (with D.C.’s own Carpark Records) makes spare, danceable new wave, while Widowspeak delves into hazy ’70s nostalgia. But Ava Luna is the sleeper draw of the evening: The band’s genre-defying mix of slinky R&B and dissonant post-punk translates into tense, thrilling live sets. Comet is doing away with its three-band lineups this fall, but a word to the wise: Save that second helping of pizza and those craft beer pitchers for another show, because for this one, you’ll need to be able to dance. Oct. 22 at Comet Ping Pong. $12. —Maeve McDermott

A critic once called pianist Evgeny Kissin “the greatest Russian pianist of our day,” which, given the number of Russian pianists, is quite a claim. It also muddles the complexity of who Kissin actually is. A Russian Jew who left for Britain in the midst of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he’s often focused more on the religious side of his identity than that of the country of his birth, whether by performing programs of little-known Jewish composers and reciting poems in Yiddish (as he did in one of his last D.C. performances) or adopting Israeli citizenship in protest of what he sees as the unfair targeting of Israeli musicians by the boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) movement. The onetime child prodigy and Grammy winner would probably be a lightning rod for protest himself if he weren’t so damned good—that, and the classical music world’s tendency to skirt political controversy. It’s a tendency Kissin evidently does not share. Oct. 28 at Kennedy Center Concert Hall. $45–$135. —Mike Paarlberg

The last time the Welsh punk standouts Joanna Gruesome played D.C., it was frontwoman Alanna McArdle leading the band through its sub-three-minute squalls of noisy pop melodies. But earlier this year, on the heels of the band’s excellent second release Peanut Butter, McArdle left for health reasons. For many young bands, this would be the end; instead, Joanna Gruesome added two new vocalists and announced a tour, with forthcoming music from the band’s new lineup on its way. This is your chance to scope out the new songs and the reconfigured old favorites. Nov. 1 at DC9. $12. —Maeve McDermott

Young Thug’s electrifying, lyrically baffling hip-hop operates in its own post-rap universe—one with very loose definitions for concepts like “syntax” and “meaning.” The 23-year-old Atlanta rapper is one of his genre’s most stunningly unique talents. His fall tour bookends a dramatic year of commercial successes and high-profile rap feuding, but how will his trap onomatopoeia translate live? Even if Thugger phones it in, just hearing highlights from his thrilling body of work pumped through the Fillmore’s sound system—from his scene-stealing guest verses on everything from Rae Sremmurd bangers to highbrow Jamie XX productions, to his understated debut album Barter 6—will be better than seeing some less-accomplished rappers at their best. Nov. 1 at Fillmore Silver Spring. $27.50. —Maeve McDermott

When Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn goes solo, things get a little smaller. Finn’s touring on Faith in the Future, his second solo album and one that’s just as reduced in scale from the usual Hold Steady songs as his last effort. Gone are his regular band’s Fargo-by-way-of-Homer bar songs about Twin Cities skinheads and nitrous-wielding preachers. The solo efforts are more sparing, all rotations between forbidding hotel rooms and guys trying to get their girls back. Still, there are two constants in Finn’s entire oeuvre. First: burnouts who are surprisingly conversant in Catholic ontology. Second: the insistence that things can’t stay this bad forever—right? Nov. 2 at Rock & Roll Hotel. $18. —Will Sommer

San Francisco’s Deafheaven is a rare band in the intense, challenging world of metal: a bonafide crossover into the Pitchfork-driven music mainstream. Their 2013 breakout album Sunbather has all the hallmarks of metal—snarled vocals and punishing guitars—yet there are gentler moments, including a solo piano reverie and a sense of catharsis that will please fans of post-rock bands like Explosions in the Sky. Deafheaven’s new album is out this October, and the band shows no signs of going soft. The new single “From the Kettle Onto the Coil” is as ferocious as anything the band has released, as if it wants nothing more than to pull its indie fans into the fold of black metal. Unsurprisingly, the band’s lives shows are a thing to behold, with vocalist George Clarke commanding the stage like a handsome madman. You’ll remember Deafheaven’s Howard Theatre show long after your eardrums stop ringing. Nov. 6 at Howard Theatre. $20–$22. —Alan Zilberman

Considering the recent return to prominence of ’80s-era pop divas Madonna and Janet Jackson, the dance- and R&B-loving populace should certainly be primed for the return of Ms. Jody Watley, who arguably completes that diva trifecta. Of course Jody’s career, unlike Madge’s and La Jackson’s, never flourished past the early ’90s, but she has nevertheless carved out a nice niche amongst house music aficionados, with independent releases including last year’s stellar Paradise. Now the former Soul Train dancer has come full circle by relaunching Shalamar, the ’70s-birthed soul/pop trio that churned out dance-floor classics like “Make That Move” and “The Second Time Around.” Ms. Watley and her now younger fellows, Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy, are earning raves for their high-energy live shows. They bring the “turn up” to Blues Alley. Nov. 68 at Blues Alley. $48. —Jerome Langston

In an end-of-the-world movie, DIIV would be that guy who calmly walks into the ocean as the world implodes. The shoegaze band’s debut album, Oshin, doused the summer of 2012 with echoing guitars and vocal reverb, and elicited acclaim from Pitchfork, Stereogum, and others. “How Long Have You Known,” a call-and-answer ditty between frontman/producer/songwriter Zachary Cole Smith and himself, was a mainstay on indie rock radio for its balance of groovy and doomy sounds. Since then, police have charged Smith and girlfriend Sky Ferreira with drug possession, causing Smith to experience a year-long songwriting paralysis, according to a June interview with NME Magazine. While some musicians would have thrown in the towel, Smith dove in: Smith’s struggles with addiction and his arrest inspired songs from the forthcoming album Is the Is Are. “This is one shot at immortality, if I ever have one. I know it’s by far the most important thing I’ll ever do,” Smith told NME. “Dust,” a track from the new album, is as tense and infectious as anything from Oshin, with uncharacteristically discernible lyrics. “That guitar-based DIIV sound is still there, but we’ve expanded its parameters,” Smith told NME. Nov. 7 at Black Cat. $18–$20. —Morgan Fecto

If life were fair, Natalie Prass would perform every show in a sunny field of wildflowers; the Richmond singer-songwriter’s songbird warble is too ebullient for a dark club. Alas, Rock & Roll Hotel will have to do for Prass’ next D.C. outing—though with any luck, she won’t play a stage as small in this city again. After escaping Virginia Beach with dreams of Nashville stardom, Prass returned home and reconnected with Richmond native Matthew E. White for her eponymous debut record, a patchwork quilt of an album that alternately channels brassy ’70s folk, introspective jazz-pop, and Disney musicals. They’re all united by Prass’ singular voice, fragile and cutting as glass. Nov. 12 at Rock & Roll Hotel. $15. —Maeve McDermott

Ensemble InterContemporain, one of the world’s best chamber groups, pulls its talent from several countries: a Paris-based (and French government-supported) ensemble led by German conductor and composer Matthias Pintscher, who resides in the U.S. That kind of lineup isn’t normally a big draw, but if anyone can bring out a crowd for it, it’s likely this group. It doesn’t hurt that it’s Ensemble InterContemporain’s first show ever in D.C. and, this being the Library of Congress, free. The group’s normally obscure program might even include a couple names familiar to locals, given NSO Director Christoph Eschenbach’s championing of modern European composers like Alban Berg and InterContemporain’s own Pintscher. Other famous-for-modern-classical composers on the bill include “father of electronic music” Edgard Varèse, and Kubrick favorite György Ligeti, whose music was used throughout 2001, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. Nov. 13 at Library of Congress. Free. —Mike Paarlberg

Ty Segall is in so many bands (he most recently announced a new one called Broken Bat, with members of the Melvins and OFF!) and doing so many side projects (he produced the new La Luz record), that it’s often hard to keep track. (How he organizes his own schedule is beyond me.) Known primarily for his talent on guitar, Segall is also unsurprisingly skilled at numerous other instruments. For Fuzz, he sits behind the drum kit, with Charlie Moothart taking over guitar and Chad Ubovich on bass. Whereas Segall’s solo albums have become more melodic over time, Fuzz is still the unique combination of psychedelic rock, punk, and metal that harks back to his earlier days. Fuzz’s second album comes out in October. Nov. 13 at the Black Cat. $15. —Elena Goukassian

Shakey Graves loves to put on a show—that much was obvious when I saw Shakey (real name Alejandro Rose-Garcia) at the Hamilton last fall. I showed up never having heard one of his songs and left in love with him. At one point during the show, Shakey invited a guy from the crowd onstage to play bass with the band. Astoundingly, the guy turned out to be an extremely skilled musician who had great rapport with Shakey. Was this guy really just a fan or part of the band? Shakey never said; he just cracked a sly smile and joked throughout the show. That what’s intoxicating about him: He’s not only an amazing musician, but a guy who you’d want to call your friend. Or if you’re into scruffy, sweaty, farm boy types, your partner. His voice is gritty and rich like a cup of French press coffee, and his muddy electric guitar will you get you jumping up and down in place, nodding your head, and clapping your hands. Go on a date, go with friends, go alone if you gotta. Nov. 15 at 9:30 Club. $25. —Natalie Villacorta

Veteran Senegalese singing great Youssou N’Dour has maintained an international audience thanks to a voice that always impresses and sometimes wows. Frequently it’s the a cappella moments that make his live shows special. But N’Dour is also a great danceband vocalist when his warm alto interlocks with his band Super Etoile de Dakar’s staccato drum beats and polyrhythmic guitar, bass, and keyboard. Periodically, the band will get quieter, and N’Dour will dart up the scales into his falsetto and stretch out and wail notes. One doesn’t have to understand N’Dour’s primary language—Wolof—to be dazzled by those neck-hair raising moments. Nov. 17 at Lisner Auditorium. $35–$75. —Steve Kiviat

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think the Nashville band Diarrhea Planet is beneath them, and those who know that Diarrhea Planet is nothing short of brilliant. The band plays the kind of fist-raising party rock that never goes out of fashion, and its four lead guitarists—yes, you read that right—are all technically skilled. Given the band’s dexterity, Diarrhea Planet could probably play classical music if its members wanted to, but the guys correctly believe that rock ’n’ roll glory is a loftier ambition than a stuffy concert played for folks who are hard of hearing. Diarrhea Planet arrives the Saturday before Thanksgiving, which is excellent opportunity to take stock of all that is righteous in your life before you waste precious brain power arguing about Donald Trump with your racist uncle at the dinner table. Nov. 21 at Black Cat. $15. —Alan Zilberman

Like Lee surrendering his sword to Grant at the courthouse, so too do the four women of a cappella ensemble Anonymous 4 head off to retirement. That may not be the intended analogy for their farewell tour, but the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War does provide thematic inspiration for this show, the group’s last in D.C. Joining the quartet is Appalachian fiddler Bruce Molsky as they present music from the great conflict and its aftermath. A presumably all-English program is an interesting departure for a group renowned for their medieval historical focus and for singing in Latin and Old French. Nov. 22 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. $40. —Mike Paarlberg

Dar Williams released her ninth (official) studio album, Emerald, in 2015, so it’s fair to say the folk singer’s career has reached the point at which that hackneyed tag “national treasure” actually feels apropos. It’s fitting, then, that she should be playing at the Sixth & I Synagogue, a venue that best showcases Williams’ best talent as a sensitive and aware storyteller who has made her fans into believers over the past three decades. Come for the vibe and stay for new tunes like “FM Radio,” which, if you’re a fan of everything that was loved about music before the streaming age, will have you shaking your fist in reverential joy at every word. Dec. 12 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. $35. —Marcus Dowling

The bad news is that you will never, ever love new music the same way you loved music when you were 17. The good news is that when there’s an opportunity to revisit the music you loved when you were 17, it will matter more than, well, everything. That’s kind of how I feel about the Get Up Kids, the seminal Kansas City emo band. Back in the winter of 2001, I saw them at the 9:30 Club with my best friends, and I remember that fantastic show better than entire stretches of my 20s. I’m not the only one who feels this way, either: I guarantee that almost everyone at the 20th anniversary show will belt out every lyric to every song. Even if you’re not a diehard fan of the Get Up Kids, the spectacle of true blue, unironic fans is worth the ticket price. Dec. 13 at Black Cat. $23–$25. —Alan Zilberman

Part of the legacy that Blues Alley is celebrating in this 50th anniversary year is its tradition of jazz-star-studded New Year’s Eve galas. For 30 years, piano legend Ahmad Jamal was in the driver’s seat; for five years after that, it was Jamaican piano great Monty Alexander. This year, the torch passes to yet another great pianist: Cyrus Chestnut. The Nutman’s gospel-drenched, lyrical, carefully structured music has won him international acclaim—enough so that he snagged a professorship at Howard University last year. And Blues Alley has been a big part of that, recognizing his talent early on and cultivating it with two decades of gigs. Chestnut’s takeover of the New Year’s Eve slot represents a culmination for both artist and venue, but it’s the audience who reaps the benefits. Dec. 31 at Blues Alley. $110–$155. —Michael J. West

Full ListingsOur Picks:

2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and the National Portrait Gallery has commemorated this pivotal conflict with a series of seven exhibits. The last exhibition is “Dark Fields of the Republic: Alexander Gardner Photographs, 1859–1872.” Gardner was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite photographer, though he was honest in his portrayal of the wartime president, making plain the strain on his face. After the war, Gardner made photographs of the western landscape as settlers lit out for the frontier, and of Native Americans as they were being shoved aside. The exhibit includes more than 140 photographs, prints and books, including the celebrated “cracked plate” portrait of Lincoln. Sept. 18–March 13 at National Portrait Gallery. Free. —Louis Jacobson

You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do, And it’s breakin’ my heart in two… Yusuf Islam’s song resonates within Renée Stout’s newest solo endeavor, as much an invocation for a spiritual awakening as it is an exhibition. Stout, in collaboration with her alter ego Fatima Mayfield, an herbalist and fortune teller, renders fantastical, multimedia works that promise to harness and transmit spiritual energy. Although she produces results that are more metaphoric than actual magic, Stout imbues her art with a sense of Hoodoo. A kind of folk spirituality born somewhere in the Mississippi Delta from a hybrid of many traditions—West African slave, African American, Catholic—Hoodoo’s emergence is as mysterious as the “rootwork” and “conjuring” at the core of its practice. Sept. 26–Dec. 19 at Hemphill Gallery. Free. —Erin Devine

Over the past half-century, Los Angeles printmaking and fabricating facility Gemini Graphic Editions Limited has made a lot of major artworks for a lot of big-name artists. Originally established by printmaker Ken Tyler, Gemini G.E.L. quickly expanded the scope of its activities to include not just lithography, screenprinting, and etching, but also editioned sculptures—3-D multiples made in porcelain, steel, and vacuum-formed plastic for artists with no experience using those materials. Opening Oct. 4 at the National Gallery of Art, the exhibition celebrates the upcoming 50th anniversary of the busy L.A. workshop. The show will feature more than 120 individual works created in series by—and for—17 different artists, including sculptor Richard Serra, painter Julie Mehretu, and conceptual art troublemaker John Baldessari. “The Serial Impulse” will demonstrate how Gemini G.E.L. has expanded artists’ production capabilities—and helped fuel appetites for industrial fit and finish in contemporary art. Oct. 4–Feb. 7 at the National Gallery of Art. Free. —Jeffry Cudlin

Exhibits at the Textile Museum tend to encompass much more than just textiles, and “Old Patterns, New Order,” opening this fall, is no exception: It will be the first exhibit in the United States to focus on the school of socialist realism in Central Asian art. The show will present work produced during the latter part of the Soviet era by painters from what’s now Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and other countries in Central Asia, showing how they focused on state-sanctioned themes like industrialization and “progress” while also referencing the local cultures of this predominantly Muslim region. This pictorial idealization of typical ways of life included the depiction of traditional textiles, examples of which—antique kaftan-like robes, handwoven carpets, and other household textiles—will be displayed alongside the paintings. Oct. 10–May 29 at the Textile Museum. $8 suggested donation. —Vanessa H. Larson

Brooklyn-based photographer Anna Beeke was born in D.C., and as a child she went on long horse-trail rides through Rock Creek Park. It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that as a grown artist, Beeke gravitated towards photographing forests. Her series “Sylvania,” to be shown at the Cross MacKenzie Gallery, isn’t limited to images of actual forests—it also includes portrayals of the forest as an interior or exterior decoration—but each example is shown in all their green glory. “I tried photographing all sorts of things at first, but invariably I found myself in the woods, with an intense sense of contentment and enchantment that harkened back to a more childish or primitive capacity to indulge the imagination,” Beeke has said. Also on display: work by the French photographer Léa Eouzan. Oct. 14–Nov. 14 at Cross MacKenzie Gallery. Free. —Louis Jacobson

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is billing this exhibit as the photographer’s first retrospective in 20 years. It may not seem like it’s been that long since D.C. has seen a deep dive on Penn—the National Gallery of Art mounted an exhibition of 70 of his platinum prints in 2005—but the SAAM show, with 146 images, does offer a wide-angle view of his oeuvre. Penn (1917–2009) photographed street scenes in the late 1930s and did documentary work in the South in the early 1940s, but he is perhaps best known for his celebrity and fashion work. The latter may be less weighty in subject matter, but Penn’s technical chops are undisputed. Oct. 23–March 20 at Smithsonian American Art Museum. Free. —Louis Jacobson

Surrealism is more than just paintings of melting clocks or pipes that aren’t actually pipes. Artists like Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali also created some very unusual sculptural pieces, such as birdcages filled with sugar cubes (Duchamp), metronomes with eyes (Ray), and a miniature “Venus de Milo” with some strategically placed drawers (Dali, of course). “Marvelous Objects” will be the first major museum exhibition devoted entirely to surrealist sculpture. Bringing together more than 100 works from the 1920s through the ’50s by dozens of European and American artists, the show will also take a look at the movement’s unique transatlantic links. Oct. 29–Feb. 15 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Free. —Elena Goukassian

Art history students often hear that André Breton, the founder of the Surrealist movement, could be a control freak; what’s less discussed is his love of fistfights. It turns out that in 1920s Paris, artists often established their avant-garde cred with melees during which people got arrested. Enter Los Angeles artist Shana Lutker, whose recent sculptural installations commemorate uproarious moments in the history of Surrealism. Her 2015 piece, “Paul, Paul, Paul, and Paul,” for example, is based on a near-riot incited during a banquet in 1925 for the Symbolist poet, Saint-Pol-Roux. “Breton was almost pushed out the open window,” the artist writes. “Plates were thrown, glasses shattered, hair was pulled… Surrealist Michel Leiris screamed ‘Down with France!’ to the 500 people who had gathered on the street below.” This October, the Hirshhorn will present three of Lutker’s pieces documented in her upcoming book, Le ‘NEW’ Monocle. Though they’re based on violent confrontations, the pieces tend to include clean, static representations of Surrealist motifs, floating in dream-like space—perhaps contrasting the messiness of actual events with our tidy art-historical narratives. Oct. 29–Feb. 15 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Free. —Jeffry Cudlin

Does it seem like the National Gallery has put a lot of effort into photography lately? That’s because this year marks the 25th anniversary of the museum’s photography collection. Photography got short shrift as a legitimate art form in the modern period, but its inclusion in contemporary exhibitions has grown exponentially since the 1960s. Twenty-five years of dedicated photo collecting by the NG seems surprisingly recent given that presence as a major art form. But “Celebrating Photography” may give viewers a hint at the depth and breadth of the gallery’s efforts to catch up. The third and final in the celebratory series, this exhibition features new acquisitions donated in recognition of the collection anniversary that stretch from the early inventive years to the present moment. For photo buffs, it will be well worth seeing what else could possibly be added to a collection of already over 11,000 works. Nov. 1–March 27 at National Gallery of Art. Free. —Erin Devine

With a title like “Wonder,” this debut exhibition at the long-awaited reopening of the Renwick Gallery has some lofty aspirations to impress and amaze. Dedicated to decorative arts, the branch of the American Art Museum is taking a progressive turn by featuring nine contemporary artists whose works jump the borders between design, craft, and art. Culling the unusual for the basic materials of their large-scale installations, the participating artists are known for their head-scratching projects. Jennifer Angus transforms room decoration with her wallpaper-like designs of dried insects; Janet Echelman tackles the Renwick’s Grand Salon with her hand-woven nets, measuring hundreds of feet. The emphasis here is not only on the possibilities of materials and methods, but the ways artists can interpret the Renwick’s recent alterations. “Wonder” implies an overwhelming experience of art and architecture to inaugurate the new spcace. With works that tether along the highly unlikely—even for contemporary art—it just might happen. Nov. 13–July 10 at Renwick Gallery. Free. —Erin Devine

You know that metal giant spider in the National Gallery of Arts Sculpture Garden? That’s the work of Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist who often used spiders as allegories of motherhood and her own mother in particular. Although Bourgeois is primarily known as a sculptor, “No Exit” will focus on her drawings and prints, exploring the artist’s conflicting surrealist and existentialist tendencies. Fittingly, the curators decided to name the show for a Jean-Paul Sartre play, No Exit, which includes the famous (and famously misinterpreted) line, “Hell is other people.” It’s supposed to mean that it’s hell seeing oneself through the eyes of others, which is basically inevitable. I’m sure Louise Bourgeois would agree. Nov. 15–May 15 at the National Gallery of Art. Free. —Elena Goukassian

Full ListingsOur Picks:

When you think about it, Mindy Kaling would fit in just fine in D.C.: She loves herself a good brunch, favors preppy prints and pearls, and has enough irreverent dating stories to fill a book. Which she did—two of them, in fact. Mindy is promoting Why Not Me, her second collection of essays about navigating friendships, dating, and Hollywood as an adult teen. (Admittedly, the title isn’t quite as brilliant as her first book’s, 2012’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) Don’t expect her “deeply personal” stories to get too raunchy; she is reading in a synagogue, after all. Unsurprisingly, the reading is sold out—but since forgetting to snag tickets to see your favorite author is such a Mindy move, do as Kaling would do and start bribing your more responsible Facebook friends to be their plus-one. Sept. 17 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. Sold out. —Maeve McDermott

After publishing a memoir and children’s books, Rushdie returns to the sprawling fantasy and sophic comedy of the work for which he is best known. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (or the more digestible number, 1,001 nights) supplants Arabian Nights onto a New York City of the near future. A storm of cataclysmic proportions rends the seam of reason (and science), and gives way to the invasion of unreason (and religious fanaticism). And it is up to the supernatural offspring of a medieval Andalusian philosopher, Ibn Rushd, and a lightning princess, Dunia of the jinn, to steer this world toward darkness or light in war. “Some rope that moored our ancestors to reality snapped,” Rushdie writes of this apocalypse, “and as the elements screamed in their ears it was easy for them to believe that the slits in the world had reopened, the seals had been broken and there were laughing sorcerers in the sky, satanic horsemen riding the galloping clouds.” To listen to him read his grandiose and hyper-stimulated prose promises at least a single night of magic. Sept. 19 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. $35–$45. —Malika Gumpangkum

Lauren Groff calls herself and other writers serial killers. They steal the lives of their loved ones for the sake of a story. In her new novel, Fates and Furies, Groff steals from her husband to write about an exceptional marriage, with the form of the novel mirroring its content. In the first part, Fates, Groff tells the story from the narcissistic playwright husband’s point of view, only to tear his version down in the wife’s tale, Furies. At a time when male voices dominate literary fiction, Groff recalls the powerful female figures of Greek and Roman mythology and shows that their descendants are very much alive today. Groff herself possesses a streak of vengeance; Fate and Furies mocks a misogynistic remark that a man once made to her about female creativity being absent from the page, because it is consumed by childrearing. So watch what you say at the reading; you could end up in her next novel. The conversation with NPR correspondent Lynn Neary is a part of a new Contemporary Fiction Reading Series organized by Politics & Prose and PEN/Faulkner Foundation, with four other readings scheduled for this fall. Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Busboys and Poets 14th & V. Free. —Natalie Villacorta

I barely got out of bed during the two days that I read Just Kids—a memoir by musician, artist, and writer Patti Smith about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. I was ready to give up food for colored pencils, if that’s what it took to be a real artist like Smith and Mapplethorpe. Now Smith is out with a new memoir, M Train, which takes the reader on a ride to the 18 “stations” of Smith’s life—from the Greenwich Village café where she begins her days to Frida Kalo’s Casa Azul in Mexico. The book is very different from her first, zooming out from her early years as an artist in New York and mixing the past and present with Smith’s dreams, but it’s just as beautiful, pensive, and honest. Oct. 9 at Lisner Auditorium. $35. —Natalie Villacorta

Baltimore may be on his birth certificate and Harlem his place of residence, but it’s fair to say that D.C. played a bigger role in crafting Ta-Nehisi Coates’ mind than either city. It was at Howard University that Coates spent his college years. Unfortunately for him, the Howard of the nineties proved to be a far cry from the hotbed of black intellectual life and student activism the institution was known for during most of the century, when the likes of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison roamed the campus. Despite the school’s pitfalls, Coates credits Howard for exposing him to new ways of thinking. And it was at no other than Washington City Paper, under then–Editor David Carr, where Coates penned an account of the school’s decades of administrative squabbles and institutional restructuring. It read like one part love letter, one part searing takedown. Coates had been on the fence about joining the ranks of City Paper, too: the paper was often criticized for being out of touch with black D.C. Somewhere at this potentially inhospitable intersection of predominantly white alt-weekly and black intellectual Mecca past its heyday, Coates found his ground. Between the World and Me, the latest book by Coates, is about the personal and historical struggles of being black in America. Editor-in-chief of The Atlantic James Bennet will conduct a Q&A with Coates, followed by a book signing. Oct. 14 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. Sold out. —Amrita Khalid

On Saturday, hear from local writers Morowa Yejide, author of Time of the Locust, and Ruben Castaneda, author of S Street Rising, and mingle with dozens of other D.C. authors. Books will be for sale by more than 70 publishers and vendors, including Upshur Street Books. On Sunday, attend workshops led by authors on topics such as how to craft a novel and promote your own book. Sign up online at dclibrary.org/DCAuthorFest. Oct. 24-25 at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Free. —Natalie Villacorta

As a former student of writer Susan Cheever, I can attest that she has interesting stories to share, growing up as she did the daughter of writer John Cheever. Her father struggled with alcoholism for much of his life, and Cheever herself is in recovery, fueling her desire to write about the invisible and powerful role that drinking plays in all our lives. In her new book, Drinking in America: Our Secret History, Cheever explains how alcohol has influenced America: from the landing of the Mayflower, which took place on Cape Cod because the pilgrims ran out of beer; to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, whose secret service men were suffering from hangovers from partying the night before. Cheever has a fascinating chapter on the tendency of writers to drink excessively—apparently when we’re not too drunk to write, we like to write about drinking. Nov. 14 at Politics & Prose. Free. —Natalie Villacorta

Full ListingsOur Picks:

Spooky Action Theater puts on some of the most bizarrely creative productions in town—often on the cusp of unconventional theater trends, judging by the recent resurgence of interest in Alfred Jarry, whom the company so deftly portrayed in last season’s Jarry Inside Out. Can’t Complain tells the story of Rita as she plots her escape from a hospital with the help of the elderly Irish woman in the next bed, her granddaughter, and “her cat’s new best friend, the Devil.” The production is part of this fall’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival, with new plays written by women premiering all over the city. Oct. 1–25 at Spooky Action Theater. $25–$35. —Elena Goukassian

UrbanArias, one of D.C.’s smaller opera companies, makes up for its modest budgets with envelope-pushing subject matter. Their latest, As One, may not have the pomp and staging of a Met production, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be the first opera you’ll see on transgender identity. And it’s about time. For an art form widely perceived as stodgy, opera has always had a pretty fluid notion of gender: There’s a whole category of actresses who play male characters called “breeches roles,” and cross-dressing figures into the plot of several famous operas, either for dramatic purposes (Fidelio) or comedic ones (Marriage of Figaro). Yet opera composers traversed gender boundaries to titillate rather than raise serious questions about identity. Taking that next step is composer Laura Kaminsky and librettist Mark Campbell, along with filmmaker Kimberly Reed. Their opera stars two singers, a baritone (Luis Alejandro Orozco) and a mezzo-soprano (Ashley Cutright), as one transgender protagonist as she navigates through life and ends up, somehow, in Norway. Oct. 3–10 at Atlas Performing Arts Center. $25–$29.50. —Mike Paarlberg

The life of Erma Bombeck would seem a natural fit for the theater. Her oft-times humorous struggles as a housewife and mother, coupled with her icon status as one of the most widely read columnists of all time, is rife with opportunities for the stage. Yet Arena Stage’s world premiere play Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, authored by twin sisters and journalists Allison and Margaret Engel, is perhaps the first major production focused on the famous humorist and author, whose syndicated columns were “must reads” for four decades. The one-woman drama, which culls its material in part from interviews with Bombeck’s family and her own work, stars Boyhood’s Barbara Chisholm in the title role, and reunites the Engel sisters with director David Esbjornson—the creative team responsible for 2012’s popular Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. With famous quotes like, “The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again,” Bombeck’s wit should be on full display. Oct. 9–Nov. 8 at Arena Stage. $55–$90. —Jerome Langston

The Dark Lord Cthulhu commands you, thrall, to… see a play? During Molotov Theatre’s Lovecraft: Nightmare Suite, five actors bring legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft’s famous tales of madness and mayhem to the stage. The show, which was originally staged by Los Angeles theater troupe The Visceral Company, features adaptations of six terrifying Lovecraft stories including “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” “The Cats of Ulthar,” and “The Outsider.” Creepy sound and light cues throughout the show will leave audiences squirming in their seat and are lent an extra degree of credibility by the DC Arts Center’s basement-like black box theater. Oct. 15–Nov. 8 at DC Arts Center. $20–$25. —Tim Regan

Juliette Binoche is coming to town to play Antigone in a contemporary take on Sophocles, newly translated by Canadian poet Anne Carson. The classic Greek tragedy starts with Antigone going against her uncle’s wishes and deciding to give her “traitor” brother the proper funeral she knows he deserves. The result is a mess of family drama, politics, and violence. Where and when exactly this version will be set remains a mystery, but Antigone has previously been set in the Middle East, a fictional Latin American country, and 1970s Bangladesh, among many others. It’s amazing (and rather depressing) how this play, written in the 5th century BC, still resonates, its tragic story applicable to so many situations in more recent human history. Oct. 22–25 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. $69–$160. —Elena Goukassian

Amongst the global black diaspora of artistic expression, the historical and contemporary experiences of Black Britons have largely been overlooked. It was a desire to rediscover his own place in the lineage of notable Black Britons that prompted Paterson Joseph, the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company actor, to write what would become a one-man play about the atypical life of Charles Ignatius Sancho. Known as just Sancho, this slave ship-born actor, writer, and refined gentleman emerged as a moral symbol for the abolition of the British slave trade during the 18th century. Part of the Kennedy Center’s “World Stages” series, Paterson’s thoughtful portrayal of Sancho—the first black person to vote in a British election—should make for an affecting night of theater. Oct. 23–24 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. $49. —Jerome Langston

Games can get out of control. It doesn’t happen often, yet nearly everyone has had such an experience: There’s a dinner party or something, then a game somehow unearths the simmering tension among the party-goers. Winners and Losers, the new two-person play at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, is an economical riff on this inevitable consequence. It’s about two good friends who play a drinking game that unintentionally leads to a “dangerous unpacking of privilege, status symbols, and class divisions.” That does not sound fun, exactly, yet the actors are seasoned comic pros. There’s also an improvised component to the show that will give you something to laugh about as you discuss Winners and Losers over drinks with your friends. Oct. 26 to Nov. 22 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. $35–$68. —Alan Zilberman

Before the age of Twitter, Facebook, and information overload, the act of remembering important historical and personal events was a much slower process. Old letters were read. Newspaper clippings were dug up. Families gathered around dinner tables and recounted past elections and national tragedies from memory. It’s this declining tradition that is immortalized in the four plays in Richard Nelson’s Apple Family cycle. Each play focuses on a separate event in recent history, like the 10th anniversary of 9/11, through the lens of the same family. Studio Theatre will stage the latter two plays of the cycle: Sorry, which takes place on the day Obama was reelected, and Regular Singing, which occurs on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Oct. 29–Dec. 13 at Studio Theatre. $20–$81. —Amrita Khalid

Walter Dean Myer’s award-winning novel about a teenage Odd Couple from Harlem, Darius & Twig comes alive in theatrical form at the Kennedy Center. Darius is a talented writer with a struggling single mom and a falcon alter ego. Twig is a star track athlete with an upbeat attitude. The two are unlikely best friends, and rely on each other for support when the mounting pressures of adolescence seem to much to bear. Anxieties about getting into college and threats from school bullies are typical teenage obstacles, but with Harlem as a backdrop, guns, gang violence, and alcoholism are among the two boy’s list of concerns. Eleanor Holdridge directs Caleen Sinnette Jennings’ adaptation. Oct. 30–Nov. 8 at the Kennedy Center Family Theater. $20. —Amrita Khalid

For an opera company ostensibly representing the United States, Washington National Opera hasn’t given much love to America’s arguably most famous living opera composer, Philip Glass. So it’s overdue but also a bit surprising that their first Glass opera is his still-quite-new 2007 Civil War meditation Appomattox. This updated version of the original throws in a completely new act that expands the scope of the opera by about 100 years, from the end of the war to the civil rights movement, and incorporates Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass into the story alongside Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. A promising sign for nontraditional opera fans (and non-fans) is that it’s directed by Tazewell Thompson, a prolific theater director who has increasingly moved into the opera arena, and who will return for Lost in the Stars later this season. Nov. 14–22 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. $25–$300. —Mike Paarlberg

This winter, Signature Theatre will present Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical, taking Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1950s. (Remember, the Upper West Side was still a predominantly working class and immigrant neighborhood back then.) Considering how well Signature handled Cabaret earlier this year, expectations are high for West Side Story. Watch out for cast announcements in the coming months, and get ready to have some quintessential show tunes stuck in your head. Dec. 8–Jan. 24 at Signature Theatre. $40–$92. —Elena Goukassian

Full ListingsOur Picks:

An intense, two-part Indian gangland epic and a pair of movies that deal with personal and family relationships in contemporary Turkey—none of which have previously been shown in D.C. before—comprise the Freer Gallery’s new “Close Up” film series this fall. Turkish screenwriter and director Çağan Irmak has become popular in his own country over the last decade for dramas that are accessible and relatable yet meaningful. His 2013 Are We OK? portrays a friendship between a gay artist and a disabled young man; in the sometimes-melodramatic Whisper If I Forget, two sisters try to reconnect decades after one scandalized her conservative family by running off to pursue a singing career. Writer-director Anurag Kashyap’s five-hour Gangs of Wasseypur, which premiered at Cannes in 2012, depicts a decades-long struggle between rival crime families in northeastern India—it’s more like an Indian Godfather than Bollywood. Both directors will be present for Q&As after their respective film screenings. Sept. 18–20 and Nov. 6–8 at Freer Gallery of Art. Free. —Vanessa H. Larson

Almost everything about Arachnophobia demands a what-if. What if the July 1990 movie about a deadly spider infestation weren’t trapped between decades? Maybe the grunge years would’ve turned it freakier. What if it wasn’t made by a Spielberg buddy (Frank Marshall, in his directorial debut), and instead came with stronger Hitchcock or Kubrick roots? The sense of menace would’ve been thicker or thornier. What if Jeff Daniels had played his city-doctor-moves-to-the-country role less earnestly. What if John Goodman’s goofy exterminator character had more screen time? Maybe Arachnophobia would be closer to another summer-of-’90 creature feature, Gremlins 2, in the cult-classic department. (Note: The spiders sold more tickets that year.) And what if Arachnophobia was actually a better movie? It doesn’t matter, because all those other what-ifs are cool to ponder. Sept. 25 at the Packard Campus Theater, Culpeper. Free. —Joe Warminsky

In 1967, Seijun Suzuki directed a movie about a gangster on the run after a butterfly’s inopportune landing on his gun botches his hit. The film was Branded to Kill, which a studio executive famously called “incomprehensible” before firing Suzuki. Hailed later as his prime work and an ultimate Japanese new wave classic, it is the first film featured in the upcoming Suzuki film retrospective at the Freer Gallery. Working at Nikkatsu, Japan’s oldest major motion picture studio, Suzuki made 40 films in a decade when low-budget B-movies were churned out at a breakneck pace to fill the second halves of double features. Ideally, these films adhered to genre formulas, but Suzuki, improvising on the fly even as the studio raised complaints and shrunk his budgets, imbued his films with his own dark humor, irony, and hints of surrealism. His fragmented noir storylines, striking use of color, and affinity for screwing with the tropes of his genre made him a headache for his bosses, an icon for his later fans, and a stylistic influence for the likes of Quentin Tarantino. The retrospective will highlight more than 20 films from his prolific career, including Tokyo Drifter (1966), Youth of the Beast (1963), The Call of Blood (1967), and Story of a Prostitute (1965). Oct. 9–Dec. 20 at Freer Gallery of Art. Free. —Emily Walz

What the hell has Dave Attell been up to lately? A lot. The former Insomniac star has as of late worked to perfect his porn-and-profanity comedy act by hosting Comedy Central’s raw Comedy Underground, and he appeared as a dingy, dirty-mouthed drifter in Amy Schumer’s contemporary rom-com, Trainwreck. In November, Attell will snatch the mic at DC Improv and tell the same raunchy jokes he’s famous for. Prospective audience members should take note of two things: Dave Attell likes to say bad words; he also likes to offend, but in that harmless comedian-in-a-nightclub way. Pop quiz: Can you handle a joke, as Attell told GQ last April, about naming a baby “anal bleaching?” If so, you can probably tolerate this show. Nov. 6–8 at DC Improv. $35. —Tim Regan

Ballet Folklórico de México has been performing colorful, choreographed versions of local folk dance traditions from regions across Mexico since its inception in 1952. The company carries the name of its founder, Amalia Hernández, a 1950s pioneer in the world of baile folklorico. She created works that were choreographed adaptations of ritual dances “theatricalized” for the stage, along with new and more abstract ballets emulating the style and essence of the older traditions. Hernández placed particular emphasis on the diversity within Mexico, including many pieces drawn from Mesoamerican and pre-Columbian cultures, something the company continues to showcase with its polished world tours. Sept. 29 at Music Center at Strathmore. $38–$58. —Emily Walz

New York-based RIOULT specializes in contemporary dance set to classical symphonic works. The result is an unexpected and almost incongruous pairing of modern dance vocabulary with the strings of Baroque. Firmly in the Martha Graham lineage, it was founded by two of Graham’s former principal dancers, husband-and-wife pair Pascal Rioult and Joyce Herring. Rioult, who serves as choreographer and artistic director, has created more than 40 works, giving the company a large active repertoire. In D.C., RIOULT will perform a touring program of four pieces, all set to Bach scores. One, “Views of the Fleeting World,” layers over the Bach score inspiration from Japanese woodblock artist Hiroshige, embodied in nine vignettes on the ephemeral nature of living things. “City” puts dancers in costumes resembling formal wear, their bodies twisting and bobbing with abrupt modern movements while projections of skyscrapers float past and Bach’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano #6 in G major” plays, using movement to investigate themes of urbanization and individuality. “Celestial Tides” is set to the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat major,” while the newest piece on the program, “Polymorphous,” uses selected preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier. Oct. 9 at George Mason University Center for the Arts, $29-48 —Emily Walz

The Madonna/whore dichotomy dictates that woman must be one or the other, sacred or profane. In defiance of rigid categorization, Rebollar Dance explores the dualities of sacred/profane, subject/object, and human/machine in the female form in its new all-women program. “There’s something about women’s bodies as performative objects and subjects living within the same person that fascinates me,” says Erica Rebollar, the company’s artistic director. The result of collaboration between several D.C.-based feminist choreographers and female-led companies, Sacred Profane brings together more than 28 dancers from several cultural traditions and dance genres, including the South Asian Performing Arts Network and Institute, Somapa Thai Dance Company, and feminist punk rock dance band Tia Nina, dedicated to “deconstructing gender and power.” Rebollar Dance will also perform a short excerpt of “Cyborg Suites: Singular Feminine Possessive” as well as the all-new “Cyborg II,” pieces inspired by Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto.” Oct. 3–4 at Dance Place. $15–$30. —Emily Walz

The elevation of Misty Copeland to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre is again stirring conversation about the general lack of diversity among the world’s ballet troupes. Recognizing the same problem in the late 1960s, Arthur Mitchell began a school to bring dance to the children of Harlem. The Dance Theatre of Harlem debuted in 1971 and was the first black classical ballet company. Faltering financially, the company went on a nine-year hiatus beginning in 2003. Now reassembled, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is in its third year back under the artistic direction of Virginia Johnson, who returns to D.C. with a crew of 14 young dancers, still building on its commitment to diversity and excellence in ballet. Their performance will include the D.C. premiere of a piece the Dance Theatre of Harlem began performing earlier this year: Nacho Duato’s 1991 “Coming Together.” Choreographed originally for the national company of Spain, it blends jazz, modern, and classical dance to music by American composer Frederic Rzewski. The company will reprise Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Vessels,” a piece created for the company which premiered in D.C. last year; Donald Byrd’s “Contested Space”; and George Balanchine’s classic 1960 “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux,” spun from a lost Swan Lake composition left out of the original. Oct. 9–10 at Sidney Harman Hall. $35–$70. —Emily Walz

The Washington Ballet presents “Latin Heat,” a series celebrating Latin art and culture as the launch of its Project Global initiative, part of the company’s larger project to foster more diversity in choreography and dancer development. The festival will feature the world premiere of salsa-based “Bitter Sugar,” choreographed by Mauro de Candia to music from Cuban singer La Lupe. The performance will also include the company premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Sombrerísimo” for six male dancers. Referencing Belgian surrealist René Magritte and his affinity for bowler hats, the piece incorporates flamenco guitar and Spanish rap, with music by Italian brass group Banda Ionica and French guitarist Titi Robin. Delving into a historical piece, the company will perform the wedding pas de deux from Don Quixote, choreographed by Marius Petipa in the late 1800s. The company brings back Edwaard Liang’s “La Llorono,” from his larger 2012 Day of the Dead ballet La Ofrenda (The Offering). With music from Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs, the pas de deux portrays a dead man dancing with his widow one last time. Also back is the company’s staging of the tango-ballet blend from European choreographer Hans van Manen’s 1977 “5 Tangos.” Oct. 14–18 at Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. $30–$102. —Emily Walz

As part of the collaborative “Jason+” series, composer and jazz pianist Jason Moran brings choreographer Ronald K. Brown to D.C. for a multidisciplinary performance. Moran’s Bandwagon jazz trio with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits will accompany Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company, known for melding African and contemporary dance with spoken word. The program includes selections from Brown’s choreography over the past two decades. “Why You Follow (Por Que Sigues),” first choreographed for Cuba’s MalPaso Dance Company, features Afro-Cuban rhythms. “March,” a duet drawn from the 1995 Lessons, weaves in words from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches. “Bellows” is a solo from Brown’s 2007 “One Shot: Rhapsody in Black and White,” commemorating the work of Charles “Tennie” Harris, whose photographs chronicled 40 years of 20th century life in Pittsburgh’s African-American community. Finally, the two ensembles will perform the D.C. debut of “The Subtle One,” a piece for eight dancers choreographed to Moran’s music. The title contains an allusion to Allah, a hint of the spirituality that infuses Brown’s work, inspired by a line from an Alan Harris poem: “So subtle are the wings of angels that you may not realize they’ve come and gone.” Oct. 28–30 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. $29–$59. —Emily Walz

Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company hosts the 12th Annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts, a weekend of performances including several types of classical Indian dancing with accompanying musical ensembles, Alif Laila’s classical sitar music, and poetry. Featured in the lineup are many prominent Indian classical dancers, a number of whom perform Bharata Natyam, a form originating from the southern Indian province of Tamil Nadu with roots in Hindu temple dance. The original dance form is believed to be thousands of years old, but it was revived and adapted for public performance in the early 20th century. Among the Bharata Natyam dancers are Professor C. V. Chandrasekhar, who is joined by his daughter Chitra Chandrasekhar Dasarathy; and Rama Vaidyanathan, joined for a duet on the theme of duality by her daughter Dakshina. Also performing at the festival will be Mallika Sarabhai, a politician, activist, actress, and dancer trained in the Kuchipudi and Bharata Natyam classical Indian dance schools; collaborators Prashant Shah and Arushi Mudgal, who bring together the styles of Kathak (from North India) and Odissi (from East India); and Dakshina’s international cast of company dancers, blending classical Indian and modern dance. Oct. 30–Nov. 1 at Atlas Performing Arts Center. $20–$50. —Emily Walz

The collaboration of three D.C. dance companies has produced “Sita, Gentle Warrior,” a retelling of the story of one of the icons of the ancient Sanskrit epic poem, the Ramayana. Idealized as the model wife and mother throughthe Ramayana, Sita is a tragic figure who, while remaining loyal and chaste, is unfairly maligned and cast out of her household, and left to die in the woods. Devi Dance Theater, known for classical Indian Kuchipudi dance, pairs with Somapa Thai Dance Company and Santi Budaya Indonesian Performing Arts. All three are based in cultural traditions from regions to which the legend of Sita spread over the 2,500 years since the Ramayana was penned. Using a combination of martial arts, theater, and dance set to an original score, the program introduces a feminist perspective to the story and seeks “to articulate the voices of women silenced by tradition.” This will be the world premiere of a piece designed to reclaim Sita, recasting the story of a submissive woman to show her instead as a model of divinity and strength. Nov. 21–22 at Dance Place. $15–$50. —Emily Walz