Black Violin
Black Violin in Richmond; Credit: Dave Pearson

Tonight: Black Violin at the Birchmere

Despite having performed together for nearly 20 years, Black Violin, consisting of violinist Kev Marcus and violist Wil Baptiste, still have to contend with people who are astounded that they perform classical music. Let’s face it: Classical music has long been associated with a certain class and race. Marcus and Baptiste can claim neither. “I’m not really surprised [at getting this reaction],” Baptiste tells City Paper. “The energy and the idea of it, that this thing [classical music] belongs to this group. In a lot of ways, we’re almost a little speck in a bigger, broader conversation.” Black Violin will bring their musical conversation to the Birchmere on Aug. 31 as they showcase their blend of classical and hip-hop music, a style they’ve been honing since they were high school students in Fort Lauderdale. And while two Black men playing stringed instruments might be considered, to some, a novelty, Black Violin are no novelty act. The pair have toured with WuTang Clan, performed at the Obama White House and collaborated with everyone from rapper Lil Wayne to gospel legends Blind Boys of Alabama (earning them a second Grammy nomination for Best Americana performance). But Baptiste understands why people still have difficulty wrapping their heads around the idea of merging multiple genres with classical. “We put things in boxes, especially when something is new,” Baptiste says. “We don’t know where to put it … You’re taking this art form, you’re taking this violin, and you’re creating your own thing within this box, which is not done a lot.” In 2019, the pair launched the Black Violin Foundation, a nonprofit that provides access to quality music programs to youth, hoping that, going forward, an act like Black Violin won’t be considered a rarity. “We’re just grateful that we can inspire the next generation to explore and break the mold,” says Baptiste. Black Violin will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $90.50–$175.50. —Christina Smart

Ongoing: Sobre una mujer/About a Woman at the Art Museum of the Americas

Credit: Ana Carolina Fernandes

Sobre una mujer/About a Woman, an exhibit of photography at the Art Museum of the Americas, begins aggressively. Its wall-mounted preface notes that the selection of works by 32 artists “does not seek to be a representation of women as a gender, but to barely scratch the surface of its edges.” Granted, encompassing the entirety of womanhood in an exhibit would be no picnic, but the exhibit, curated by Elda Harrington and Silvia Mangialardi, does a reasonable job at covering work, motherhood, aging, friendship, sexuality, suffering, politics, health, and athleticism. Adriana Lestido—who, like more than half of the photographers whose work is included, is from Argentina—documented a women’s prison, including the searing symmetry of two side-by-side figures looking in opposite directions through a small rectangular window in a cell door. Haley Morris-Cafiero of the U.S. and Pablo Ortíz Monasterio of Mexico contribute incisive street images that document the public leering at women. Ana Carolina Fernandes of Brazil captures women’s rights street protests, including a notable image in which protesters connect through a thin red string. Three photographers’ works particularly stand out; all are from Argentina. Claudia Gaudelli offers a diptych featuring women boxers. One side shows a boxer with fists at the ready, and the other shows a woman holding an infant, her face bruised from punches in the ring. Cristian Nicollier photographs women workers at a remote gold mining town, using gritty black-and-white imagery that recalls the work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. And Ana Robles presents a matrix of six images of women employed to carry heavy bags near the Argentina Bolivia border; strikingly, Robles captures them all in precisely the same hunched stance. Sobre una mujer/About a Woman runs through Oct. 8 at the Art Museum of the Americas, 201 18th St. NW. Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. —Louis Jacobson

Tuesday: Evita opens at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company

In order to fully appreciate the new production of Evita now on stage at Sidney Harman Hall, prepare to drop all your preconceived notions about previous stagings of the musical, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and whatever Madonna and Antonio Banderas were doing in the 1996 film adaptation. Instead, give in to its inherent weirdness. Evita chronicles the brief life of former first lady of Argentina, Eva Perón, who died of cancer in 1952, at the age of 33. But it was developed by two proper English gents, Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, in the late ’70s. Accordingly, it’s packed with synthesizers and unconventional rhymes (“​​they need to adore me/ So Christian Dior me” is one brilliant and batty example). In developing this production, director Sammi Cannold hopes to ensure the audience leaves understanding not only who the title character is but also why she was—and remains—simultaneously beloved and reviled. That the show, which spent the first part of the summer at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard before arriving to D.C., remains fun and, at times, moving, is a credit to Lloyd Webber’s mood-perfect music and Cannold’s slight touches that bring the woman known as Santa Evita back to Earth. In just two hours, you’ll get a little tango, a lot of ear worms, and a better understanding of mid-century South America. Evita runs through Oct. 8 at Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. $35–$134. —Caroline Jones

Ends Sept. 10: Eric Johnson’s Key Bridge at Multiple Exposures Gallery

“Smoky Sunset,” by Eric Johnson

The Key Bridge, the span that links D.C.’s Georgetown and Rosslyn, is not as internationally iconic as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge or New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. But by local standards, the structure’s five graceful arches are plenty memorable. Over a seven-year period, photographer Eric Johnson documented the century-old bridge—day and night, graffiti and all—in inky, timeless black-and-white. One photograph dwells on four cartoony-looking directional arrows, while another focuses on “love locks” attached to a railing. While the bridge, crisscrossed by bicyclists and cars, is omnipresent in Johnson’s exhibit at Multiple Exposures Gallery, Johnson’s most notable images focus attention on the surroundings rather than the bridge itself. In one, the George Washington Memorial Parkway is seen from the bridge, gentle S curves stretching into the distance; in another, a dozen cormorants congregate on a small island in the middle of the Potomac River; in a third, Johnson offers a panoramic view in which the misty river and the trees along the shoreline carefully balance the form of the bridge itself. The exhibit closes with a surprisingly pastoral scene: trees and water that could pass for wilderness, under a setting sun that’s a perfect blank disk. Eric Johnson’s Key Bridge runs through Sept. 10 at Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street, Studio 312, Alexandria. Daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. —Louis Jacobson