Credit: Illustration by Justin Johnson

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There’s a lot to look forward to this spring. The return of warm weather, longer days, sunshine. But also a hopeful reprieve from the pandemic. In the midst of the chaos of COVID, we’ve been asking ourselves who and what matters most. Surely, we’re all excited to see our favorite big name acts back in town, but isn’t the magic happening within our own D.C.-sphere worthy of more love—especially in a time when smaller venues and smaller names are suffering? With that in mind, we bring you our Spring State of the Arts issue with an eye on DMV talent, locally owned and operated spaces, the underdogs, and the underground. After all, we’re your alt-weekly. You have national media for national spotlights. You have us to shine a light on the up-and-coming right here in your hometown. 

By now we know the drill: COVID, it seems, will ebb and flow, canceling shows, rescheduling tours, and bumping IRL events online. It certainly keeps us on our toes—consider this your reminder to double-check all dates before cementing plans—who knows what the future holds? But the silver lining is that we may never take the act of going to a concert with friends, or making small talk with strangers in line for a bathroom, or sitting at a book talk with lovers for granted again. Things that were once regular occurrences now feel like special treats to be cherished.

So we hope that, as you read this, you call or text your favorite people or plan a solo date for yourself and do something that fills you with absolute joy. That’s what spring is supposed to feel like, right? —Sarah Marloff and Ella Feldman

Table of Contents

Music

Books

Comedy

Dance and Performance

Film

Museums and Galleries

Theater