2023 Fall Arts Guide
Look who's coming to town this fall

Lights. Camera. Action.

Without further ado, welcome to the 2023 Fall Arts Guide. Hollywood may be striking, but in the District there’s no shortage of mesmerizing entertainment.

With the new season comes a slew of new. World premieres, groundbreaking art exhibits (take Kara Walker at Georgetown or NGA’s The Land Carries Our Ancestors), game-changing albums (like Makeup Girl’s Escalator), freshly minted artistic directors (say hello to Arena Stage’s Hana Sharif and Spooky Action’s Elizabeth Dinkova), and never before seen festivals a la Because They’re Funny. But it’s also full of returns: Beau Young Prince is back in D.C.; the long-awaited reopening of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; and Blondshell plays her third show here this year. 

And, as always, we continue to expand. In her latest book, local author Sarah Robinson breathes new life into queer romance. Wolf Trap’s 50th anniversary paves the way for the next 50 years, and, speaking of 50 years, the city’s celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary continues. This is just scratching the surface of what D.C. has to offer this fall, and that’s not even getting into the big names coming through town (several Sopranos stars, Grandmaster Flash, Kerry Washington, Nick Cave, Raquel Willis, José González, Simon Leigh, Spike Lee, etc. etc.). 

Throughout this guide, there’s a venerable smorgasbord of who’s who and a little bit of what’s what. But importantly, we get into who’s making it happen. I vent a lot in these spaces about the city’s (and the country’s) ability to shrug off D.C.’s art scene as small, inconsequential, and nothing to rival New York. But it’s because I know better. The creatives in this city, and the writers who cover them (especially the 30 who contributed to this guide) truly make D.C. extraordinary. We also owe sincere gratitude to devoted listings intern Hannah Dourgarian for her work rounding up fall shows at local music venues. Make sure to visit our events calendar. When I say it takes a village—I mean it.

And a little bit of who’s who in D.C.’s art world

But you, dear reader, is why we all do this. So dive in, dig deep, share widely, and I’ll see you out on the dance floor. —Sarah Marloff

Table of Contents


Makeup Girl Dream of a United Indie Scene

If you’re a fan of the local indie music scene, you’ve most likely already heard of Makeup Girl. Active in the District for about six years, there’s hardly a type of performance they haven’t done; from playing with well-established musicians like Jeff Draco to supporting up-and-comers like Home Remedies, they’ve made the rounds. Despite the…

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Dance and Performance


Museums and Galleries

Travis Chamberlain Is Ready to Lead Washington Project for the Arts

Washington Project for the Arts has been around for 48 years, but this year, it has a brand spanking new executive director, Travis Chamberlain. As the organization is gearing up to celebrate its golden anniversary, Chamberlain arrives with a wealth of experience in many facets and disciplines of the arts, including directing theater, curating, and…

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Spooky Action Theater Restructures and Reimagines With Elizabeth Dinkova

While others may have been discouraged by allegations of a toxic workplace at Spooky Action Theater, Elizabeth Dinkova was drawn toward the opportunity to better nurture the emotional safety of artists and restore the local theater community’s trust.  As of May 1, Dinkova is Spooky Action’s second-ever artistic director in its nearly two-decade history and…

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