There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Multireedist Ken Vandermark will kick your ass. He’ll pick you up by your ears and lift you to eye level, where you’ll be staring into the sharpened eyes of Chicago’s toughest improviser. He’ll then hang you on a coat rack by your drawers as you try to avoid looking into his flat-top buzz cut, which seems to be barking orders for you to “Drop and give me 20!” He’ll then pull out his tenor sax, stick its bell right into your sobbing puss, and play the sweetest melody you’ll ever hear, with a tone so full-bodied you’ll picture a beautiful woman slowly grooving in front of you as the reedist and his band, the Vandermark 5, play sinuous noirish rhythms. Just as the tears dry and the ghostly form reaches in to plant a big wet one right on your trembling puckered lips, Vandermark’s horn will lift up your nose and let out a blast so big and burly you’ll feel something shift in the seat of your pants. The world will go dark. You’ll later open your aching eyes as Vandermark thrusts a mirror in front of your surely bloodied mug. But there’s a dazed smile dangling on your lips, and it looks as if you’ve gotten a make-over: That’s one handsome face eyeballing you in the mirror. As he takes you off the wall, you’ll thank Vandermark for the whipping and stumble into the night. Get a life-affirming beat-down when the Vandermark 5 play at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17, at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Road NW. $10. (202) 332-2211. (Christopher Porter)