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As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, Cynthia Connolly watched art-deco signs whiz by from the backseat of her mother’s car. Her exhibit at Civilian Art Projects captures the years she later spent tracking down fascinating signs, traveling to places in Arizona, Louisiana, New York, West Virginia, and the D.C. area. Her D.C. signs—Bloomingdale Liquor, Yellow Cab—are probably familiar sights to any conscious resident, but they’re intriguing even without the local references. Her images, ringed with a simple black frame, always point skyward, pairing the aging, archaic, scaffold-supported signs with almost heavenly views of the sky. Connolly’s images aren’t infused with the wittiness of Robert Cottingham’s photorealistic paintings of old neon signs or the pathos that pervades Camilo Jose Vergara’s photographs of decaying Americana, but they do justice to bygone architectural details that are at once derelict and grand. “Letters On Top of Buildings” is on view 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at Civilian Art Projects, 1019 7th St. NW. Free. civilianartprojects.com. (202) 607-3804. (Louis Jacobson)
America Hearts‘ series of shows celebrating its digital single series continues with a lineup of bands displaying varying degrees of fealty to the C86 comp. (Which is to say: It’s all geeky and poppy). The group plays with The Cheniers and Dot Dash at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $8.
Brooklyn noiseniks Black Dice keep finding news ways to make music violently, so they should be an interesting juxtaposition with the consciousness-bending nu-disco of Protect-U. Bonus: Stick around for The Whale, the regular dance night of Future Times Records, which tonight features a performance by Beautiful Swimmers and a Protect-U DJ set. Black Dice’s show begins at 6 p.m. and is $12; The Whale begins at 10 p.m. and is free if you’re 21 or older, $5 for the rest. Both at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U Street NW.
Why is the Phillips showing Manhattan? You’ve got me, but the 1979 film, a love letter to New York and a meditation on romance, is surely one of Woody Allen‘s masterpieces—-and certainly, with its striking black-and-white cityscapes, his best-looking work. At 6:30 p.m. at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Donation.
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