A punk fundraiser for Scream’s Kent Stacks at Black Cat
Scream’s Pete and Franz Stahl, Kent Stacks, and Skeeter Thompson play Black Cat on June 2; Credit: Joel Dowling

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An ode to D.C. drummers: Tonight, Scream (the punk band, not the horror franchise) hosts a benefit concert at Black Cat for its longtime drummer, Kent Stacks, who’s receiving treatment for lung cancer. Pete Stahl, the band’s frontman, points out that the venue is co-owned by another legendary local drummer, Dante Fernando, and that the event is also a hat tip of sorts to the many great drummers D.C. has produced, from Bob Berberich to Marvin Gaye, Dave Grohl, T-Bone, and Earl Hudson. As Stahl put it: “You’ll be supporting and celebrating our stickman who comes from a long line of great D.C. drummers.” —Sarah Marloff

Thursday: Punk Fundraiser for Scream’s Kent Stacks at Black Cat

For Pete Stahl, frontman of seminal local punk band Scream, it feels as if the band’s original members have always known each other. “It’s hard to remember where we met Kent,” he tells City Paper. “It just feels like we’ve always been together.” He’s talking about drummer Kent Stacks, who toured and recorded with the group for about five years until 1986, when a pre-Nirvana Dave Grohl picked up the torch so Stacks could do the family thing. Scream, and its members, have come a long way since 1981, when they formed in Bailey’s Crossroads, practicing covers in Stacks’ parents’ garage. Life brought the originals back together in 2010, and last September they reunited again to record at Inner Ear Studios before it closed. The album, DC Special, will be released this year. But that’s not what Scream’s show on June 2 is about. Instead, the band is throwing a mega concert at Black Cat to raise funds for Stacks, who’s been diagnosed with lung cancer. According to Stahl, Stacks isn’t able to work while undergoing treatment and, like too many Americans, doesn’t have health insurance. “Playing a show is our raison d’être,” Stahl says. “We’ve done tons of benefits over the years and it’s especially satisfying to be able to organize an event that benefits our own.” Of course, Scream will grace the stage, but the full lineup includes XK Scenario, The Messthetics, Hammered Hulls, Bed Maker, Nate Bergman, Distortion Inc, and PG Soldiers. If that wasn’t an appealing lineup on its own, Baby Alcatraz and Ian MacKaye will DJ between sets. “We wanted to play with the cool kids,” says Stahl, noting that picking the lineup was easy. (McKaye’s sister, Amanda MacKaye, is in Bed Maker, and his brother, Alec, is a member of Hammered Hulls: “We thought it would be cool to make it a real family affair and ask Ian if he wanted to DJ,” says Stahl.) It’s a stacked lineup for only $25, and the proceeds will help Stacks and his family pay the bills during treatment. As for Stacks, Stahl calls him an “individual,” one who collects drum sets and enjoys surf fishing and trainspotting. “It was always fun to tour with Kent on those long drives, especially out west when you can see a train coming for miles and he would tell us all about the make and model of the train and its engines,” Stahl remembers. So keep it in the family and help the community in the name of punk. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kent, a fundraiser for Kent Stacks, starts at 7 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. blackcatdc.com. $25. —Sarah Marloff

Thursday: Mess Esque at Pie Shop

Mess Esque; courtesy of Pie Shop

In 2021, Mess Esque, an indie duo from Australia, came out with two of the most original, free-sounding records of the pandemic era. Composed of multi-instrumentalist Mick Turner (who made up one third of the Dirty Three) and singer/songwriter Helen Franzmann, the two began working remotely shortly before that became a necessity in 2020. This form of collaboration stuck and you can hear why. There is an instant chemistry between Turner’s off-kilter instrumentation and Franzmann’s voice; its shapeshifting, unpredictable quality recalls the way Mary Margaret O’Hara and Turner’s old collaborator, Chan Marshall, could summon a feeling of intimacy with a whisper or plaintive line reading. Their sound can be both murky and piercing at the same time. The effect calls to mind the great Australian writer Gerald Murnane, who wrote in the beginning of The Plains: “I looked past the regular pattern of streetlights towards the dark country beyond. A breeze came in warm gusts from the north. I leaned into the surges of air that rose up from the nearest miles of grassland.” Mess Esque are making songs beyond that grid of streetlights. You want to follow the pair through their meandering, blurry songs. This startling unstructuredness came out of their creative process. Franzmann bases her lyrics on her dreams and her bits of notes memorializing them. “I’d just come out of sleep at around 2 a.m., stand up, go to the microphones and start,” she said in an interview with Sun 13 in October. “Sometimes it would be a complete improvisation and Mick would receive a lot of rambling, and other times it would be a very clear idea, harmonies and all.” One of her first songs the two created was “Sweetspot.” It’s a band favorite. “Your eyes are always open so wide,” Franzmann sings as if she had just woken up (maybe she had). “You’re just looking for the sweetspot.” Something, maybe a pair of horns or vintage keyboards, shine through the song’s murmur and clang. “And even though the walls are closing in/ everyone wants to talk to you/ You’re just looking for the sweetspot.” You’ll find it when they play the Pie Shop, with Florry opening, on June 2. The show starts at 8 p.m. on June 2 at Pie Shop, 1339 H St. NE. pieshopdc.com. $12–$15.Jason Cherkis

Friday: MusicWorks at the Workhouse Arts Center

Oh He Dead; courtesy of MusicWorks

With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, it’s time to dive into the District’s festival season. MusicWorks gets the party started on June 3 with an outdoor show at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Multi-instrumentalist Cory Wong, Billboard chart-topping mandolinist Sierra Hull, and D.C. indie soul band Oh He Dead headline the first annual music program. For the inaugural MusicWorks event, organizers selected a variety of styles and sounds from American music. With a wealth of experience as a rhythm guitarist and bassist, Wong’s profile grew thanks to a popular YouTube channel, online guitar lessons, and three full-length album releases in the last 15 months. His work on the album Meditations with Jon Batiste earned him a 2021 Grammy nomination. Hull is one of bluegrass’ most accomplished artists in recent memory—topping Billboard charts since she was 16. Like many child prodigies, Hull transitioned from young stardom to singer-songwriter status as her albums Weighted Mind and 25 Trips met with critical acclaim. And then, of course, there’s our very own Oh He Dead. The band made waves in 2019 with an LP and NPR Tiny Desk concert. Regulars on the local music scene, Oh He Dead features bubbly and creative soul music led by vocal talents of Cynthia Johnson and Andrew Valenti. But MusicWorks promises more than just good music. Workhouse Arts Center, a repurposed prison facility, has served as a visual and performing arts center since 2008. Concert attendees can walk the grounds and visit the campus’ many art galleries, exhibits, and open spaces. MusicWorks starts at 4 p.m. on June 3 at Workhouse Arts Center, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton. workhousearts.org. $50. Tristan Jung

Friday–Sunday: Sound Scene 2022 

Portrait of Laurie Anderson; Installation view from Laurie Anderson: The Weather at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 2021. Courtesy of the artist; Photo by Ron Blunt

Since 2007, local audio artist collective DC Listening Lounge has put on Sound Scene, the “largest interactive audio art event” in the region. More than 14,000 visitors attended the all-ages festival in 2019. Returning on June 3, this year’s Sound Scene features more than a dozen audio art installations in the Hirshhorn, including sonic sculptures, interactive soundscapes, and immersive recordings. This year’s theme, Trust, is reflected in different pieces exploring the relationships between ourselves and technology (“Trust Metric” by Zara Karschay), patients and doctors (“Trust Me I’m a Doctor” by Katie Semro), and documentarians and their subjects (“Nicola Talkback” by Jess Shane). Visitors can build trust between each other by creating unique sounds together, as in the interactive “Fruit Salad Collaboration” by Jocelyn Frank that challenges guests to use food as instruments. The weekend-long celebration of sound kicks off with an outdoor performance led by Grammy-winning multimedia artist Laurie Anderson honoring her late husband Lou Reed using a combination of drones, guitars, and amplifiers. Live performances and artist-led audio art workshops throughout the weekend will teach visitors how to play a theremin, experience guided sonic meditation, and produce their own audio artworks. ASL interpretation will be provided during the festival. Sound Scene 2022 runs June 3–5 at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue & 7th Street SW. soundscenefest.org. Free, but tickets are required for some events. Mercedes Hesselroth

Ongoing through June 25: Colby Caldwell at Hemphill Artworks

“otff_(02)” by Colby Caldwell

When photographer Colby Caldwell began using a bulky digital scanner to record nature around his Asheville, North Carolina, home in January 2020, he called his works the forest floor series, since many of the images dwelled on mosses, ferns, fallen leaves, and other woodsy detritus. Now that he’s mounted a formal exhibit at Hemphill Artworks, he’s chosen to call the series over & under, giving equal billing to a related but separate branch of his imagery—works made by looking straight up from the ground, through the treetops, and into the sky. The double focus is a wise decision by Caldwell, a Corcoran School of the Arts and Design alum who spent years working in D.C. On the one hand, Caldwell’s forest floor images live up to their early promise, depicting natural elements within wavy glitches, unreal pink-hued distortions, and adventures in broken vertical hold settings. One work, “otff_(23),” includes a spectrum-like pattern that could be a crypto-homage to the Washington Color School, while another, “otff_(12),” suggests a Robert Motherwell abstract expressionist canvas limned in shades of brown and pink. But Caldwell’s photographs of the forest canopy and the sky more than hold their own. The skyward images are more conventional—essentially free of the digital glitchiness seen in the forest-floor works; as such, they offer a respite from the dizzying brambles below. One square image features the sky in a pleasing shade of robin egg blue; another looks almost monochromatic, suggesting a 19th century sepia-toned salted paper print. Caldwell’s finest work, however, is “ftff_(12),” a rectangular image whose centripetal tree trunks offer a satisfying radial symmetry. Ultimately, Caldwell’s decision to train his electronics towards the heavens lends our digital-obsessed age a welcome sense of calm. Through June 25 at Hemphill Artworks, 434 K St. NW. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays. On June 11 at 10:30 a.m. the artist leads a walk and talk with free coffee. hemphillfinearts.com. Free. Louis Jacobson

Ongoing through October: Once Upon a Roof: Vanished Korean Architecture

​​Roof ridge ornament (Chimi) Korea, Three Kingdoms, Baekje, Sabi period (538–660) Excavated from the Mireuksa temple site, Iksan, North Jeolla province Earthenware H x W x D (greatest): 99 x 94.8 x 58.4 cm Iksan National Museum, mireuk 4949 ⓒ Buyeo National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage

Ornamental tiles, clay bricks, and roof ridges (known as chimi, literally “owl’s tail” in Korean) not only serve as aesthetic elements of traditional Korean architecture, they offer a peek into the past and a method to better understand some symbols of East Asian cultures. That is the premise behind the National Museum of Asian Art’s latest exhibition, Once Upon a Roof: Vanished Korean Architecture, whose whimsical title emphasizes that the objects found here are remnants of the past, many of which have never been seen outside Korea. Led by Curator J. Keith Wilson and Predoctoral Fellow Sunwoo Hwang, Once Upon a Roof is the first exhibition to be featured in the museum’s new gallery, which was renovated during the pandemic. Hwang tells City Paper the new exhibit, part of an agreement with the National Museum of Korea, has been in the works for the past two years—planned since the spring of 2020 as the second of two spotlight exhibitions. “We’re really proud and thankful to the National Museum of Korea to bring these objects together for an American audience,” Hwang says. She believes this may be the museum’s first architecture-focused exhibit. Dating between the 6th and 10th centuries, some of the most prominent objects featured are the three chimi, or wing-like ornaments, that were unearthed from the sites of two Buddhist temples and one palace complex. Round roof tile ends excavated at the same sites were also included in the exhibit. “It’s hard to imagine where they belong in the architecture,” says Hwang, “so we asked a traditional model maker who specializes in making traditional Korean buildings to make a small model for us.” The architectural model replicates the fundamental elements of a traditional timber frame building in Korea from the time period when these objects were excavated. The model and its drawings are reconstructions based on the remains of a large-scale building in Iksan that is believed to have been a main palace hall of the Baekje kings. Once Upon a Roof: Vanished Korean Architecture runs through Oct. 30 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. asia.si.edu. Free. Michelle Goldchain