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Any arts critic who maintains otherwise is bullshitting you: At the end of the day, we’re all fans.

No, you won’t see us at comics conventions dressed up as Thor. And we didn’t find Fanboys—that slight 2008 comedy in which a quintet of Star Wars geeks breaks into George Lucas’ ranch—the slightest bit adorable.

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When we call ourselves fans, it’s because we love this stuff. Reviewing the District’s theater, music, art, dance, and film offerings is how we channel it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t take it so seriously.

For this issue, our inaugural Spring Arts Guide, we decided to tear up the usual script and devote some serious words not to artists but to some of our fellow fans. Inside, you’ll find four looks at individuals who’ve become deeply involved in local arts scenes, even though they’re not in the business of making art: a blogger, a booker, a collector, and a jack-of-all-trades.

Fear not: We’ve also assembled some recommendations for your springtime cultural consumption—via insanely thorough listings, in-depth recommendations, and a handy calendar containing your best bet for each day of spring.

Welcome to the Spring Arts Guide. We hope you’re a fan.