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Electronic music is mainstream in America now. The ascendancy of dubstep, the neo-rave culture surrounding acts such Deadmau5, and the warm embrace of high BPMs by hip-hop has given teens in suburban shopping malls vital access to big beats. But that doesn’t mean electronic creative culture isn’t still cutting-edge, which is what makes D.C.’s Forward Festival special. This five-day event is heavy on music, of course, including Detroit techno legend Jeff Mills (shown) and about 50 other acts your kid brother in the Skrillex shirt has never heard of, including headliners Jeremy Ellis, Daniel Bell, and FreQ Nasty. But Forward is also interested in the ideas behind electronic artistry, which is why the fest is hosting panel discussions and highlighting several art installations at venues around town. The full schedule is at ForwardDC.com, but in case anybody asks: No, Tiesto will not represent. The Forward Festival runs from April 25 to April 29 at various venues. Tonight’s kickoff party, with Aligning Minds, Capsaicin, Machines on Vacation, Nicolas Laget, and an A/V showcase begins at 6 p.m. at 1351 H St. NE. Admission is free. See a complete schedule of events at forwarddc.com. (Christopher Porter)
Hands down the best comedy option of the week, Jon Benjamin is kind of touring to support his canceled show Jon Benjamin Has a Van. The show allowed Benjamin to highlight his brand of “anti-comedy.” I’m not a fan of that term, and I’m sure Benjamin isn’t either, but that’s what it is. It’s performance art for the comedy nerd. It makes most people feel weird and the people in the know don’t necessarily get it any better. Cerebral, anti-authority, risky, and silly, Benjamin is like a one-man Tim and Eric without any need for editing. He’s inspiring the future of D.C. comedy, stand-ups like Brandon Wardell and Adam Friedland, to do exactly what they want, regardless of whether it’s crowd-friendly. 8 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (Brandon Wetherbee)
Paige Hernandez, she of Paige In Full and P. Nokio notoriety, debuts her latest hip-hop-flavored musical-theater creation, Liner Notes, at The Dunes this evening. (The show also played at this year’s Intersections Festival.) Co-written with Akua Allrich and Baye Harrell, and performed to music by the Corner Store Jazz Quintet, Liner Notes is a multidisciplinary tribute to a more tactile period in music’s history, when part of the excitement of purchasing an album was studying the liner notes that came with it. 8 p.m. at The Dunes, 1402 Meridian Place. $20. Runs to April 28.
If you haven’t started riding your bike to work (and you have the means to), your list of excuses is getting shorter and shorter: Tonight, WABA and The Bike Rack are hosting a clinic for the bike commuting-curious. Learn what routes to take, how to ride safely in traffic, and how to prepare for commutes of all distances. As of 11 a.m., there are only 12 tickets left, so hurry and snatch yours for $5. If you’re still unpersuaded, consider that there will be pizza, wine, and cheese at this thing. 7 p.m. at The Bike Rack, 1412 Q St. NW. Register here.
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