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Woke up with some of those Monday blues? Well, today’s arts-related headlines and news stories have some good news (Represent: Hip-Hop Photography! John Proctor is the Villain extended!), bad news (Woolly Mammoth says goodbye to its managing director), and Baltimore news for you too. Check back weekly for future Monday Arts Roundups.
That Green Light, I Want It: Studio Theatre has extended its run of the world premiere of Kimberly Belflower‘s John Proctor is the Villain. Originally scheduled to run through June 5, the theater has added an additional five performances of the show, which will now run through June 12. City Paper’s review, by yours truly, is forthcoming, but the play that tackles #MeToo and sexual misconduct in a small-town Appalachian Georgia high school, is definitely worth the ticket prices.
All Eyes On Me: On Friday, May 6, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its latest exhibit: Represent: Hip-Hop Photography. Featuring pieces from Bill Adler’s Eyejammie Hip Hop Photography Collection, which NMAAHC acquired in 2015, the show masterfully documents the beginning and rise of hip-hop told through images of DJs, MCs, break dancers, and graffiti, and featuring some of the most iconic figures and major moments in the genre. Adler is a music journalist, historian, and former publicist for Def Jam Records. His collection contains more than 400 photographs from nearly six dozen photographers, such as Harry Allen, Janette Beckman, and Michael Benabib. If this sounds familiar, the exhibit originally opened at NMAAHC in 2018 and closed in 2019. This time around, it’ll be on display through Sept. 25.
Cinephilia Calling: District Cinema, which claims to be the city’s first pop-up cinema dedicated to screening independent and foreign films, will host its premiere event this Sunday, May 15 at Lapis in Adams Morgan. For the inaugural screening, District Cinema shows the award-winning Danish film Flee, about a queer Afghan immigrant in Denmark struggling to come to terms with his past and future. The goal of District Cinema is to shine a light on various cultures through film and food; events will have a fundraising component as well. Tickets for Sunday’s event, $55, include admission, a specialty cocktail, and a selection of Afghan appetizers from Lapis. All proceeds will be donated to the Afghanistan Youth Relief Foundation. Tickets can be purchased online, and stay tuned for a forthcoming City Paper interview with the pop-up’s founder, Patricia Nader.
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: After almost three years as Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s Managing Director, Emika Abe will leave her role and the theater at the end of June. Abe, who previously worked as the associate managing director for Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, helped Woolly successfully tackle the worst of the pandemic. According to the press release sent last Friday afternoon, she was responsible for securing roughly $2.5 million in government funding that allowed the theater to make the switch to virtual productions. She also helped the company bring in greater BIPOC representation, increase access for people of various incomes and abilities, and launched a fellowship program, among other improvements.
“Woolly would not have navigated the pandemic successfully without Emika Abe, no question,” says Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes. A task force designated by the theater’s board of directors will identify an interim managing director while a search is underway to fill the position permanently. “Woolly has a bright future because of Emika, and I am looking forward to building on her work with our next managing director.”
Swampy: D.C. Instagrammers likely recognize the Cherry Swamp for its satirical jokes about the District, its residents, and its quirks. Since it started in 2020, when the pandemic halted live comedy shows and life went virtual, the Cherry Swamp has grown from social media to newsletter to its latest endeavor: a website. A staff of five founding comics from, living in, or connected to D.C. run the site that looks more or less like the Swamp’s Instagram account with bigger headlines, but now you can access their jokes via numerous sources.
B’More Adventurous: Looking for a little road-tripping, summer fun? The Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Baltimore County Arts Guild have announced Arts & Drafts, a three-day beer-music-arts festival from June 24-26. Free to attend and happening at the brewery just outside Baltimore city limits, the festival will feature various bands of all genres from hip-hop to Americana to funk, as well as several specialty beer releases, dance performances, vendors, and hands-on art activities.
Speaking of Maryland: The sixth annual Books in Bloom Festival returns this Sunday, May 15, to Columbia, with a special emphasis on literary activism and banned books. Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter famous for breaking the Watergate story headlines along with Admit This to No One author Leslie Pietrzyk, Baltimore’s Amanda Montell, John Paul Brammer, of the LGBTQ advice column “¡Hola Papi!,” New Yorker staff writer Kathryn Schulz, and more. A panel discussion on banned books, as well as a pop-up bookstore with a dedicated banned books section, will also take place.