Sean Dorsey Dance
Sean Dorsey Dance: The Lost Art of Dreaming at Dance Place May 13 and 14; Credit: Kegan Marling

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Saturday: Centennial Open Market at Freer Plaza

Building on the immense popularity of REDEYE, the inaugural, one-night-only event that transformed Pennsylvania Avenue NW into an outdoor market reminiscent of East and Southeast Asian cities in November 2021, No Kings Collective has partnered with the National Museum of Asian Art to illuminate the flavors and stories of AAPI-owned and DMV-based businesses as part of the museum’s Centennial Celebration, which runs through May 14. Featured makers and artisans include bakery Chiboo, online fashion retailer Fangyan, and Taeri Ceramics. Food vendors include D.C.’s Moon Rabbit and Arlington’s Lucky Danger. As a proud Filipino, first-generation immigrant, I selfishly want to shout out Purple Patch, Mahal BBQ, and Balangay DC. And as an equally prideful Baltimore transplant, I recommend Ekiben—a local Asian fusion favorite that opened its third storefront in South Baltimore in December 2022. Ekiben’s website reads, “Baltimore loves our artisanal steamed bun sandwiches and rice bowls, and we know you will too!” I can vouch for this sentiment, and know firsthand that the generous portions can easily last you a meal or two. REDEYE x The Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art Centennial Open Market runs from noon to 4:30 p.m. on May 13 at the Arts & Industries Building and Freer Plaza, 900 Jefferson Ave. SW. Free; registration required. —Irene Bantigue

Ekiben’s the Neighborhood Bird (Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles, and fresh herbs); courtesy of Ekiben.

Saturday and Sunday: Sean Dorsey Dance: The Lost Art of Dreaming at Dance Place

Sean Dorsey Dance presents The Lost Art of Dreaming; Credit: Kegan Marling

Last weekend I attended my 4-year-old cousin’s dance recital. About a third of the dances were modern; picture flowy dresses, chaotic energy, and lots of crawling. Each seemed to end with the dancers face down on the stage. Each piece had strange, beautiful moments. But their oddity—especially amid the toddler-tutu dances and sassy jazz numbers—reminded me that modern dance isn’t easy for nonexperts to interpret. (“Another one,” my aunt groaned.) This disconnect is part of Sean Dorsey’s inspiration for The Lost Art of Dreaming, a multi-format dance experience coming to Dance Place this weekend. “I really wanted to carve out and create a space that was brimming with joy and possibility and expansive and pleasure and connection,” Dorsey tells City Paper. The San Francisco-based Dorsey, the founder of Sean Dorsey Dance, is considered the country’s first acclaimed transgender modern dance choreographer. The centerpiece of The Lost Art of Dreaming is an evening-length dance performed onstage by an ensemble of trans, queer, and gender-nonconforming dancers to original scores. (“We dance our butts off,” says Dorsey.) After the show, audiences can pick up one of the specially commissioned postcards “with space for a loving message from the future” (also available online). People who can’t attend one of the dance company’s 10 tour stops can engage with the online accompaniment: dance films, the postcards, an interactive dictionary, a personal pledge to live with hope and joy. “The more points of access that we provide to a dance-based project, the better,” Dorsey explains. “I think often, especially, modern dance is considered by so many people to be cryptic and inaccessible or irrelevant to their actual lived experience.” By creating this experience, the choreographer and Sean Dorsey Dance are helping audiences build that bridge. Sean Dorsey Dance presents The Lost Art of Dreaming at 7 p.m. on May 13 (with ASL interpretation) and 4 p.m. on May 14 at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $10–$25. —Mary Scott Manning

Tuesday: Y La Bamba at Songbyrd

Y La Bamba; Credit: Jimena Zavala Lozada

“When I’m alone, you pace around my mind,” Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos croons in “Walk Along,” the closing track from Lucha, released last month by Ramos’ bilingual indie project Y La Bamba. The dreamy love song, Ramos confesses to Brooklyn Vegan, is the “first song I wrote for a woman.” It’s a fitting end for Lucha—a quiet triumph of an album that finds power in its vulnerability, using it to explore grief, loneliness, heritage, empowerment, and love. The album opens with “Eight,” a tender, harmonic bilingual track written following the death of a friend. Mourning and isolation are recurring themes in Lucha, which features a distorted cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” But so is healing. Traces of it are found in “Collapse,” an upbeat number about self-empowerment, “Nunca,” a warm song about learning gratitude from family, and “Ceniza,” a gentle ode to overcoming trauma. Lucha unfolds like a kaleidoscope, warping traditional rhythms borrowed from corridos and rancheras with a psychedelic sensibility. The result is a sound that’s at once ancestral and entirely new. Y La Bamba plays at 7 p.m. on May 16 at Songbyrd, 540 Penn St. NE. Sold out, but a waiting list is available. —Ella Feldman

Through June 3: Trevor Young at Addison/Ripley Fine Art

Trevor Young, “Whispering Tower,” 2023, oil on canvas

More than two decades ago, when I first encountered Trevor Young’s paintings, I wrote—enthusiastically—that Young “paints banal, unpopulated industrial scenes notable mostly for their anonymity—rail yards, airport tarmacs, and highway overpasses, among other things.” That could pretty well describe the works in his latest exhibit at Addison/Ripley Fine Art. But this is hardly a disappointment; over the years, Young’s spare, lovingly crafted paintings of boring-verging-on-ugly settings have remained compelling. Moreover, the current exhibit, Wastelands, throws a few welcome curveballs. In “Night Court,” Young paints a large tree adjoining a sports complex in near total darkness, crafted with subtle shadings and a highly polished surface. In “Sodium Descending,” Young depicts a metal exterior staircase amid a dazzling mist of bright amber illumination. Three groupings of smaller paintings are arranged together, heightening the thematic resonance among them; of these, the most coherent is a group of nine works that depict gas station overhangs, a frequent Young trope, shining as beacons within the gloomy darkness. Some of Young’s most impressive works benefit from their sharply horizontal or vertical dimensions. The titular horizontal painting “Wastelands,” at 34 by 98 inches, offers a sweeping view of an industrial landscape, dotted with tiny flecks of yellow flame, reminiscent of Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of oil derrick fields in and around Bakersfield, California. The distinctly vertical “Fort Reno,” meanwhile, depicts a soaring radio transmission tower, decorated with small red safety lights, set against a sky that ranges from blue to pink. Trevor Young’s Wastelands runs through June 3 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. —Louis Jacobson

Ongoing: Ellsworth Kelly at 100 at Glenstone

Ellsworth Kelly, “Spectrum IX,” 2014; acrylic on canvas, twelve joined panels; 107 ¾ x 96 inches (274 x 243 cm) © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, Photo: Ron Amstutz; Courtesy: Matthew Marks Gallery

“I think what we all want from art is a sense of fixity,” Ellsworth Kelly remarked in 1996. “A sense of opposing the chaos of daily living.” Said differently, Kelly surmised that we look to art to be a refuge from the uncertainty of life, or at least a salve for it. Of course, this is an “illusion,” as Kelly called it; “What I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture of seeing.” In Glenstone Museum’s landmark new exhibit celebrating the artist’s centennial, nearly 70 works from the museum’s archives, along with 24 works on loan from Kelly’s husband, Jack Shear, decorate the walls (and floors!) of the sweeping, fluid architecture of Glenstone. The survey, one of the most comprehensive looks at the artist this century, traces Kelly’s relationship with color, line, and shape, offering a rare insight into a life lived with the “rapture of seeing.” In photographs taken by the artist, seemingly quotidian silhouettes, like a barn facade or a city-street shadow, become lessons in the beauty of angles and shapes, the ability of the everyday to surprise us, if only we train our eyes to behold. One particularly special work on exhibit is the “Yellow Curve.” At a whopping 600 square feet, this large floor-based painting, to speak simply, is a stunning reflection pond of bright yellow and cannot be experienced through photographs alone. The artist conceived the aptly named installation in 1990, specifically for a show at Portikus in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The conceptual piece was disassembled; Glenstone acquired the remnants in 2012 and through a tedious detective process of analyzing photographs and writings, reassembled it for the first time since. Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone, recalls the opportunity to share the refabrication with the artist. “We had an audience of one,” she says. “He was all smiles that wonderful day. We served yellow cookies.” As you meander through the exhibits, blanketing yourself in the colors and shapes, be sure to head to the opposite side, between rooms 10 and 11, where you can stand across the pond in the museum’s center—perhaps spotting a red-winged blackbird or a festival of baby-bloom lilies—and view the immersive “Colored Panels for a Large Wall II” from this distance. It’s easy to imagine that Kelly, who loved nature and “always chose to be delighted by sights and colors and shapes,” as Rales recalls, would have found particular joy in this view. “He always had a twinkle in his eye,” she adds. “He knew that even at 92 you can always find joy around you.” Ellsworth Kelly at 100 runs through March 2024 at Glenstone (before traveling to Paris and later, Doha). 12100 Glen Rd., Potomac. Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free, but advanced scheduling required. —Emma Francois