The War and Treaty
The War and Treaty play Sixth and I on Nov. 12; Credit: Pam English

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Thursday through Saturday: In the Cut at City-State Brewing and Right Proper Brewing

Jason Bowers wants art to be as accessible as possible, and he wants to promote local businesses. These intertwined missions have fueled a series of pop-up shows through his curation platform, JAB Arts. Now, Bowers is exploring accessibility through a new lens of location. In the Cut will feature a gallery-style display at City-State Brewing and tables for artists to sell prints and other merchandise at Right Proper Brewing. Both businesses are close to the Metropolitan Branch Trail, and City-State is connected to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station through a new walking path. Previously, these locations were what Bowers refers to as “in the cut”—hard to get to and not frequently visited. Now, with easier access, Bowers says, business is booming. Add in work from “cutting-edge” artists like Kelly Towles, Birdsong, and Clarence James, and In the Cut should be a recipe for success. Furthering the idea of accessibility, the joint pop-ups will feature artwork spanning a wide range of mediums and price points, with original work selling for $200–$800 and prints selling for $25–$100. Available for sale will be painted canvases, engraved tiles, collage work, and “hard copies” of artwork that is behind non-fungible tokens. Through vendor-style tables, attendees will also be able to purchase lower-priced merchandise like stickers. Starting on Nov. 10, enjoy the fall weather with a walk to the breweries, grab a beer, and connect with these local artists who won’t be “in the cut” after this weekend. In the Cut opens 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 at City-State Brewing, 705 Edgewood St. NE, and Right Proper Brewing, 920 Girard St. NE, and runs through Nov. 12. instagram.com/jab.arts. Free.Sarah Smith

Saturday: The War and Treaty at Sixth and I

It’s been quite a year for D.C. duo the War and Treaty. Not only did they sign with Universal Music Group Nashville and win the Americana Award for Best Duo/Group, but they’ve also announced a forthcoming movie based on their story. All this while touring extensively, playing more shows than they were before the pandemic, including performances with the Dave Matthews Band over Labor Day weekend. (Matthews took to social media raving about the pair, calling their music “dirty.”) The feeling is mutual for War and Treaty singer Michael Trotter Jr. “That was an experience where we learned so much,” Trotter Jr. tells City Paper. “Dave Matthews is the first artist we’ve seen where we understand who we are even more now because he has no genre. He defies all genres.” The War and Treaty will bring their genre-defying music to Sixth & I with a headlining performance on Nov. 12. The pair released two new songs earlier this year, “That’s How Love Is Made” and “Lover’s Game” for their forthcoming, yet-to-be-titled album that will be released some time next year. For anyone who may have seen the duo perform in the past, don’t expect the same show. “Michael does the set list,” says singer and Trotter Jr.’s wife, Tanya Trotter. “Every venue we go to, he goes into the venue, he’ll feel the place out, the show starts and then if he wants to change the set, there are like 60 songs in our repertoire. So we all think, like, where are we gonna go next? I think that’s the excitement about being on the road is not knowing what each venue is going to say and the energy that the audience is going to give you. Sometimes it makes you turn and totally abandon your set list.” The War and Treaty play at 8 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Sixth and I, 600 I St. NW. sixthandi.org. $26–$29. Christina Smart

Monday: Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin Perform Suspiria at Howard Theatre

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

If you’ve seen any movies by Italian director Dario Argento, known for gory operatic spectacles like Deep Red and Phenomena, you’re familiar with one of his recurring cinematic nightmares. It’s the one where a beautiful woman hails a cab on a dark and stormy night, the car’s windows drenched in a torrent that turns the outside world into a Technicolor blur. A bombastic score heightens the intensity with an electric, heart-pounding heaviness, more often than not provided by Italian prog-rockers Goblin. At press time, nobody’s planning to produce The Immersive Argento Experience (what might that entail?!), but on Nov. 14 at the Howard Theatre, you can experience the next best thing. Goblin keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, who composed music for 11 of Argento’s gory operatic spectacles, leads the current lineup of his band in live accompaniment to the 1977 classic Suspiria. Jessica Harper stars as an American student who finds strange things going on at a German dance academy. The film was remade in 2018 with a script that reportedly tried to explain the more enigmatic aspects of the impressionistic plot. Nevertheless, one learns that, with Argento, it may be best to go along for the visual ride. And what better way to get lost in cinema than to watch Harper get in that cab on that dark and stormy night and hear the music wash over you like a living dream? Suspiria screens with live accompaniment at 8 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. thehowardtheatre.com. $40-125. —Pat Padua 

Monday: Melissa Villaseñor at Miracle Theatre

Melissa Villaseñor; courtesy of Union Stage

Saturday Night Live alumna Melissa Villaseñor, who broke barriers as the first Latina cast member on the long-running late-night sketch show, lands in D.C. on Nov. 14 for a one-night-only live performance. Joining the cast in 2016 for Season 42, Villaseñor quickly developed a cult following among SNL fans and beyond thanks to her trademark offbeat, absurdist approach to comedy. (She’s especially beloved for her celebrity impressions including Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, Sarah Silverman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Owen Wilson—think “wow, wow, wow!”) Since getting her start as a semifinalist on America’s Got Talent, Villaseñor’s resume has popped in recent years: She has been a voice actor on Family Guy, Toy Story 4, and Adventure Time, while her live-action appearances include Barry, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and Pete Holmes’ Crashing. Her upcoming performance at Miracle Theatre—part of her Whoops… Tour—comes shortly after the announcement that Villaseñor is among the numerous cast members, including Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson, who would not return to the show for its 48th season. On Sept. 4, in a cheeky response to a user who asked if she’d been fired, Villaseñor tweeted: “I felt this was my soul telling me it’s time to spread my wings. Lots more for me to dig in and discover. What an honor to experience my kid dream, what an honor. Forever grateful.” For fans, the tour not only offers a much-needed refill of  Villaseñor’s core ethos of effusive, wacky optimism, but also a hard sell for her new activity book, Whoops… I’m Awesome, a “self-help workbook to help you embrace the silliness inside of you, for anyone who appreciates honest and irreverent self-help,” which was released on Oct. 25. Irreverent, joyous honesty is the name of Villaseñor’s game and her characteristically, unabashedly silly, optimism-driven comedic MO will make this a needed night of laughs for D.C. Melissa Villaseñor performs at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St. SE. themiracletheatre.com. $35. —Alexandra Bowman 

Wednesday and Thursday: Alex G at 9:30 Club

Alex G; Credit: Chris Maggio

The music on Alex G’s newest album, God Save the Animals, is raw and beautifully vulnerable. The downbeats and poetic lyrics express thoughts we’re not so ready for with a punch in the gut, such as the folk crescendo into a guttural cry of “Yes, I’ve done a couple bad things” in “Runner.” At our core, we, as humans, are animals and the beautiful symmetry to Alex G’s music, stripped down and honest, allows listeners to reflect on ourselves with a detached camera obscura. The rootsy undertones of the album make for a perfect barrage of scaled-back songs to be our lampposts as the season descends into the darker months. A cozy flood of songs perfect for fireplace-lit living rooms or curled up in throw blankets on your bed, the record is one of his best yet. While rife with biblical images, religion isn’t to be held as a defining factor. The Jewish songwriter Leonard Cohen wove biblical tales into tunes to make melodies that enchant us with otherworldly promises and misgiving; Alex G does the same. Just look at the lyrics in “S.D.O.S.”: “God is my designer/ Jesus is my lawyer/ Curled up in the shower/ High above the tower.” “Jesus is my lawyer”—he, supposedly, died for our sins, which should free someone of sin so long as they ask for forgiveness. “Curled up in the shower”—depression we can relate to, but also, cleansed of sins, baptized. The metaphors go on. The distorted voices only serve to make the song more haunting. Warped with Pro Tools beats and Daft Punk-esque robotic voices make for a collision of modern searching for something meaningful among the technology that removes us from so much peace. But this isn’t a religious album—lyrics mention cocaine and headlights—this is still indie rock. Just like Cohen isn’t worship music. The metaphors are simply another poetic license rightly earned. But in the song “Miracles,” Alex G sings, “We’ve got better pills than ecstasy” followed by “Baby, I pray for the children, and sinners, and animals too/ And I/ I pray for you,” which raises the questions: Perhaps we aren’t animals, perhaps, out of all of those, animals are the only ones worth being saved. They might be the only innocents and the only ones deserving an unconditional paradise. How deep can an indie rock album be? Alex G takes us there. Alex G performs at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16 and 17 at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 930.com. Both shows are sold out, but resale tickets are available. $21–$111. —Simone Goldstone

Through Nov. 19: Themes and Variations at Studio Gallery

“Frail Deeds Dancing” by Steven Marks

Once again, Studio Gallery has pulled off an annual group photography show that is consistently inspired. Langley Spurlock documents architectural tiles from the island of Ischia off Naples; he crops his in situ subjects so closely that the works appear, on first glance, to be not photographs at all, but rather unrefined sketches in primary colors. Jo Levine offers finely detailed close-ups of bark, twigs, and leaves rendered in understated earth tones, while Gary Anthes pairs divergent images of people and cats tied together by one simple theme: They’re all stretching. Steven Marks provides a triptych of three figures in urban settings who are distracted from themselves, and from everyone else. Bob Burgess produces atmospheric landscapes, including one image of pink fog permeating a forest and another of farmland in a yellow haze. Beverly Logan offers a matrix of images that smartly blend the urban documentary work of Camilo José Vergara with the structure of Paul Fusco’s “RFK Funeral Train.” Logan took photographs out the window of a D.C.-to-New York train ride, recording the decaying structures that line the path between the nation’s two power centers. If Logan’s work is the exhibit’s most thematically compelling, the images with the most visual intrigue are the small, square, aerial photographs by Lynda Andrews-Barry. Her images of tract housing and other terrestrial surfaces come in shades of yellow, blue, and pink and are printed on aluminum, producing a shimmering three-dimensionality. Fittingly, Andrews-Barry’s works mirror those shown by Yve Assad in the Studio Gallery photography group show a dozen years ago. Themes and Variations runs through Nov. 19 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. Wednesday through Friday, 1 to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. studiogallerydc.com. Free. — Louis Jacobson