Divino Niño
Divino Niño plays at Comet Ping Pong on Oct. 1; Credit: Matt Allen

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Thursday: AMARU at Pie Shop

Uber talented vocalist and songwriter AMARU will perform at Pie Shop tonight. The event, titled The Warm Up, is a pop-up concert and open mic series featuring the local songwriter and friends. Born and raised in D.C., AMARU attended the SEED Public Charter High School, where he performed in musical theater shows and flexed his poetry writing skills. After graduation he moved to Atlanta, where he earned a degree in music performance from Morehouse College, but his poetry evolved into song: According to 202 Creates, he self-released his debut album, Childish Things, in 2018. Now back in D.C.—when he isn’t traveling the world as a teaching artist—AMARU continues to write, compose, and produce his own music that explores and expands on numerous genres from jazz to musical theater. His success is the result of skills and hard work—not gimmicks. Released this spring, his latest single, “Let You Go,” is a soul-stirring breakup anthem and his much-anticipated upcoming project, #WFR4 (What Friends Are For), is currently in the works. Also performing will be AMARU’s equally gifted “friends.” Chris Allen, a dynamic lyricist, was a member of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 202 Creates Residency Program along with AMARU. KWAY is a charismatic rapper who recently dropped a new single, “Up and Away.” And RVOL (aka Reggie Volume), a sensational DJ and producer, will provide the soundscape. In addition to the great music, The Warm Up will also have vendors, raffle prizes, and special guest performances. AMARU and Friends play at 8 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Pie Shop, 1339 H St. NE. pieshopdc.com. $15–$40. Sidney Thomas

Courtesy of Pie Shop

Saturday: Divino Niño at Comet Ping Pong

Divino Niño frontman Camilo Medina performs with his entire body, thrashing into the microphone as he spits reggaeton-infused strings of indie melodies. And on Oct. 1, Washingtonians can see the bleached, mulleted, Chicago-based Colombian indie rocker and his delightfully over-the-top band in action—the group will co-headline a show at Comet Ping Pong with fellow Latin indie rockers Little Jesus. Divino Niño’s set will heavily feature tracks from their most recent album, Last Spa on Earth, released on Sept. 23. The LP ranges from soft and mournful to silly and explosive, often within individual tracks. The majority of lyrics are in Spanish, an homage to the group’s Latin roots. Unlike Divino Niño’s previous projects, Last Spa on Earth is more conducive to dancing, an intentional shift. “When you’re in front of big audiences, you see what works and what hits people rhythmically,” drummer Pierce Codina told Chromatic PR. “We started pushing the tempo live, having more energy, and getting into a more dancey arena . . . We became a little bit bored with playing mid-tempo indie songs.” The new ethos is sure to translate into Divino Niño’s Comet debut. “It is undeniable that [D.C.] has an energy about it that is lively and intense,” the band tells City Paper. “When we hop onstage at Comet Ping Pong, we’ll be fixing to match that spirit and amplify it.” Divino Niño and Little Jesus play at 10 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. cometpingpong.com. $25. —Dora Segall

Now Open: Legacy: Fifty Years of Dance on the Edge at Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

Maida Withers in MindFluctuations (2018). Virtual World by Tania Fraga; Credit: Shaun Schroth

Over the past 50 years, George Washington University professor Maida Withers has left her mark on dance. The visionary choreographer has won various awards and performed on stages around the world, including in China, Venezuela, Croatia, Germany, and Ukraine. She has taught at GW, Purdue, and Howard universities, and in 1974, she founded the Maida Withers Dance Construction Company. Through this company, Withers has defined her own style within postmodernism, blending her choreography with technology such as loudspeakers, video installations, cyber worlds, and original music to produce roughly 100 projects. Now, her life’s work will be recognized through Legacy: Fifty Years of Dance on the Edge, a visual installation within the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University. Legacy will also feature the work of political projectionist Robin Bell and sound artist Steve Hilmy, creating an “immersive” experience that blends Withers’ dance films with archival recordings. Other participating artists from across the world include Tania Fraga, Anton Ovchinnikov, and musicians John Driscoll and Yoko Sen. This collaboration is testament to Withers’ global body of work and the way she has blended performance to tell stories—and ask big questions—throughout her career. “Since 1974, Professor Maida Withers has redefined modern dance as a vessel for technological experimentation,” Corcoran School Director Lauren Onkey says in the exhibit’s press release. “This show continues her boundary-breaking work by bringing dance into the visual exhibition sphere.” Viewers will get to travel on stage and back in time as Legacy questions just what has happened in the past five decades of dance in D.C., using Withers as a guide. Legacy runs through ​​Dec 10 at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, 500 17th St. NW. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. gwu.edu. Free. —Sarah Smith

Closes Sunday: Recto/Verso at Multiple Exposures Gallery

Credit: Matt Leedham

Matt Leedham, a D.C.-area resident working in the tech sector, is a relative newcomer to photography, picking it up in 2016, and even more of a newcomer to bookbinding, which he started pursuing last year during the pandemic. Quickly, the two interests collided, producing an exhibit, Recto/Verso, A Pandemic in Codex, at Multiple Exposures Gallery that features his photographs printed on books that Leedham has made himself. “A colleague of mine mentioned making a photo book to me, and I assumed he meant he had ordered one from an online manufacturer,” Leedham says. “He explained that he had made one himself, which led me to YouTube a few hours later and started an obsession.” Since then, Leedham has crafted blank journals in styles ranging from German and British to Coptic and Japanese; in one particularly meta example, he made a book about an 1875 cast-iron book press that he had recently purchased on eBay. The works in the Multiple Exposures Gallery exhibit pair twinned images by Leedham, usually travel-related, on the “recto” (or front, and in the exhibit, right) page of a book and the “verso” (back, or left) page of the same book. The books not only range in their materials—artisanal paper from Korea, India, and Nepal—but also in their format, with styles ranging from scrolls to accordion-fold and 3-D “tunnel” books. These are not the only formats Leedham plans to pursue, he says. “I’m definitely not done” exploring the intersection of photography and bookbinding, he says. “There are so many ways to communicate in book form.” Recto/Verso runs through Oct. 2 at Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. multipleexposuresgallery.com. Free.Louis Jacobson

Through Oct. 18: Box! Classic Hip-Hop Portraits at Art Whino

Credit: Andy Katz

Andy Katz, an accomplished artist and music culture aficionado, has unveiled his new exhibition, Box! Classic Hip-Hop Portraits, at Arlington’s Whino art gallery. The solo show of Katz’s portrait boxes—each one dedicated to an iconic hip-hop musician or group—will be on display through late October. “A few years ago, I realized a manifestation of the overlap of music, art, and lyricism,” says Katz. “These compositions are my tribute to the light, the shadows, the photography, the artists, the sounds, the beats, the clever poems.” The exhibition showcases portraits depicting LL Cool J, De La Soul, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Beastie Boys, Notorious B.I.G., and other acclaimed rappers. Katz created the pieces using mixed media techniques and vintage potentiometers. Fine art paintings and prints by Katz are also on display. Most of the pieces are available for purchase. “The portraits boxes are new interpretations of the musical artists, their lyrics, and the classic nature of their place in the genre of hip-hop,” Katz passionately tells City Paper. “I’m extraordinarily happy to share these experiences.” Box! Classic Hip-Hop Portraits is on display through Oct. 18 at Whino, 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. whinova.com. Free.Sidney Thomas 

Oct. 6: The Garden at Howard Theatre

The Garden; courtesy of Union Stage

Looking for a high-energy, intense live show where you can live out your crowd-surfing, stage-diving dreams? Look no further. Twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears make up the Garden, known for their vaudeville-esque jesters-in-leather-jackets aesthetic that revived originality in Orange County, California. While their music is classified as punk in the traditional fast-and-loud sense, the band doesn’t want you to get hung-up on genre pigeonholes. The brothers define punk as being your authentic self, and not giving a shit about what other people think. Despite their ‘don’t care’ attitude, the twins are surprisingly sensitive with their messages of self-acceptance, self-improvement, and positivity. These tender ideas can clash with traditional punk, which is why the band has been given so much credit for redefining the genre. On the surface, they’re just two brothers who play drums and bass to backing tracks, making fun music to blow off steam. Though their deeper lyrics and hidden meanings give the band dimension that keeps them alluring and makes them a curious paradox of vulnerable punk music. Their self-created world of Vada Vada that promotes unconditional authenticity sets them apart from other bands and makes their shows more of an experience rather than a simple concert. Their new record, Horseshit on Route 66, is perfectly self-described in their song “What Else Could I Be But a Jester” with the lyrics, “In a make-out session with aggression.” The album is full of self-aware lines that range from “mental inspection/ always searching for perfection” to lighthearted rhymes like “Jester mindset clear as Jell-O/ born a wild card/ now just a fellow.” Don’t miss the Garden turn the Howard into their own little universe, where you can do whatever the f*ck you want—as long as you’re kind to one another while doing it. The Garden play at 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. thehowardtheatre.com. $25–$50. —Simone Goldstone