Fall Arts Guide 2022
The Washington Ballet readies for the 2022-2023 season; Credit: Spencer Bentley for Washington Ballet

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Artistic chaos reigns as we head into the fall of 2022. Sitting in no-man’s-land, somewhere between pandemic and endemic, I’ll be honest: I’m tired of writing about COVID-19 and its fallouts. Instead, I wish this year’s Fall Arts Guide could be like the ones from the Before Times. COVID has changed everything and all of us: the world we live in, the art we consume, and how we consume it, as well as the people who make it, the venues that showcase it, and even the way it’s made. 

Nothing about the world is as it was, so why should this arts guide be? As we reinvent and relearn and reconnect with ourselves, so too should we reinvent and relearn and reconnect with how we do things. In fact, one might say (and Kahina Haynes did actually say it to me when discussing dance in D.C.) rediscovery is the theme of this year’s fall arts guide. 

In our efforts to highlight new shows, under-the-radar artists, and often-silenced voices, I realized that some spaces deserving of the spotlight weren’t new so much as survivors. While scrolling through the many pages of noteworthy events—handpicked and thoughtfully written by our staff and freelancers—you’ll also notice some important names celebrating important milestones. This fall, the city’s beloved storytelling showcase Story District celebrates its 25th birthday. Bossa Bistro, the intimate, eclectic, and global music venue in Adams Morgan, turns 20, and Transformer, the small Logan Circle art gallery, celebrated two decades in June. Rediscovery also looks like a local punk band remembering how they met while gazing toward the future of D.C.’s music scene, an Atlanta rapper remembering her Washington roots, and two musical acts on the path to celebrity and success.

Releasing an arts guide is no small task. This is my third for City Paper and my first without a City Lights editor. I’ve been joking about it being a one-woman show over here, but the reality is this is still a team effort that includes a stellar cast of freelance writers, gush-worthy artists, big dreams, great coworkers, and one devoted music listings intern—thanks for the words, Leo Ford. And so, I invite you to explore, bookmark, and share Washington City Paper’s 2022 Fall Arts Guide. —Sarah Marloff

Table of Contents

Music

Des Demonas On D.C.’s Punk Future

When Des Demonas exploded onto the D.C. scene in 2015, they were a perfect band for the moment: Jagged and confrontational enough to be worthy of the District’s hardcore heritage, yet different enough to feel totally essential. The media has struggled to classify Des Demonas since they emerged. Last October, Suburbs Pod highlighted the tinges…

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The Crystal Casino Band Are Making Music for D.C.’s Fed-Up 20-Somethings

“Twenty-something Socialist,” a single by the Crystal Casino Band that dropped earlier this year, starts with a bright guitar hook. Then the rest of the band comes in, and the song starts to sound like it could fit right into a 2010s Tumblr playlist that also features Two Door Cinema Club and Grouplove. But when…

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Books

Comedy

Dance and Performance

Kahina Haynes Is Helping the District Rediscover Its Dance Communities

In the eyes of Kahina Haynes, the executive director of Dance Institute of Washington, dance in the District is in a state of rediscovery.   “I intentionally put the ‘re’ before ‘discovery’ because I don’t think all of it is innovation and new and never seen before,” Haynes tells City Paper, referring to conversations in…

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Film

Museums and Galleries

Theater