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City Lights: Diane Rehm Explores Medical Aid in Dying in When My Time Comes

The film follows Rehm's conversations about medical aid in dying with patients, family members, physicians, clergy, and lawmakers.

No one wants to talk about death—about wills, power of attorney, advanced directives. Peabody-winning journalist Diane Rehm hopes her upcoming documentary When My Time Comes can help change that. She also hopes it can spark conversations about medical aid in dying (MAID), a practice that allows terminally ill patients to receive life-ending medications from their physicians if they meet certain criteria. Rehm’s When My Time Comes follows the 2014 death of her husband John, […]

City Lights: Is D.C. Statehood America’s Future?

On April 10, three literary organizations will offer a virtual panel discussion on the D.C. statehood movement.

A few years ago, the future for D.C. statehood looked grim, even though there are dozens of compelling reasons to make D.C. a state (we compiled 51 back in February). They range from more control over things like the D.C. National Guard and Superior Court filing fees to correcting an exclusion that is “nothing short of racist,” as 51 for 51 Campaign Director Stasha Rhodes told City Paper in January. […]

City Lights: Leave the Door Open at the DC Independent Film Festival

The film tells the story of how two jazz-loving sons of the Turkish ambassador held integrated jam sessions at the embassy in the 1930s and '40s.

Leave the Door Open, a documentary in the 21st DC Independent Film Festival, addresses a fascinating piece of D.C. history that stretched from 1935 to 1944. In those years, Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertegun, two young sons of the Turkish ambassador, who were in love with jazz music, regularly began attending the Howard Theatre for live performances by Duke Ellington and others. At that time, public transportation, housing, and restaurants in most of the city were segregated and discriminated against Black people openly […]

City Lights: Guillermo Bert Explains His Encoded Textiles

Encoded Textiles is a collection of 10 pieces whose codes link viewers to audio and video interviews with the five indigenous communities who contributed to them.

In 2010, Los Angeles-based artist Guillermo Bert traveled to Chile for the first time since leaving the country decades earlier. While there, he worked with weavers from the indigenous Mapuche community to incorporate QR codes into traditional textile designs, an experience which transformed the mixed media artist’s bicultural perspective. The project evolved into Encoded Textiles, a collection of ten pieces whose codes link viewers to audio and video interviews […]

City Lights: Planet Word Offers Us Poems for the Pandemic

The upcoming Poems for the Pandemic event aims to provide an opportunity to connect with language—in this case through poetry.

After the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Planet Word’s Curator of Programming Rebecca Roberts thought no one would be in the mood for the museum’s poetry event scheduled for that night. It turned out to be well attended: “I didn’t realize how deeply people want to turn to poetry for wisdom and solace and comfort in times of trauma,” she says. So when Harvard literature professor Lisa New wrote an article about the role of poetry in processing the pandemic, Roberts realized there was an opportunity […]

City Lights: Debórah Bond Sets Her Compass

When D.C. R&B singer-songwriter Debórah Bond got to work on her latest album compass: I, she was already at a crossroads in her life.

When D.C. R&B singer-songwriter Debórah Bond got to work on her latest album compass: I (that’s “one”), she was already at a crossroads in her life. “I have had some major changes,” admits Bond. “I ended a 14-year relationship. I had my longtime band personnel shift a bit and just going through, to be really frank, a midlife crisis.” The personal turmoil and free time provided by the pandemic allowed Bond to reset her compass, so to speak, […]

City Lights: Colson Whitehead and Kevin Young in Conversation

Colson Whitehead and Kevin Young will discuss pop culture and their close friendship with author Isaac Fitzgerald moderating.

“Pop Life: Literature and Culture” with Colson Whitehead and Kevin Young Weaving together pop culture and literature is a delicate task. However, it’s clear that author Colson Whitehead and poet Kevin Young combine the two better than almost anyone. They will be conversing on April 1 at “Pop Life: Literature and Culture,” a presentation hosted by […]

City Lights: Perkins Harnly’s Victorian Style Was “Fit for a Queen”

Sarah Burns' talk "Fit for a Queen: Perkins Harnly, Victorian Style, and Queer Identity in Midcentury America" covers the significance of Harnly's Victorian interiors.

Born on a Nebraska farm at the turn of the 20th century, by the 1940s, Perkins Harnly was known for his paintings of lavish Victorian interiors (an era that had ended by the time he started his art career). His fascination with the more lavish things in life went beyond his artistic work—Harnly spent the ’30s in Los Angeles, where he acquired a colorful network of acquaintances and even won a few prizes at local drag balls. In a discussion hosted by the National Portrait Gallery […]

City Lights: Drink Away COVID Sorrows With a Cherry Blossom Cocktail Class

Sixth & I's cherry blossom cocktail class with Carlie Steiner is the perfect way to celebrate the cherry blossoms from afar (again).

With access to the Tidal Basin limited, you may be wondering how to celebrate the cherry blossoms this spring. And while nothing compares to crowding around the Jefferson Memorial (and getting your feet wet where the pavement crumbles into the water), Sixth and I’s latest virtual event may just do the trick. […]

City Lights: Sampson McCormick Says to Love the One You’re With

“All of the files we had recorded had completely disappeared,” explains McCormick. “We had to film the entire movie all over again.”

After wrapping principal photography on his latest movie Love the One You’re With at the end of 2020, D.C. comedian Sampson McCormick sat down with his editor. Then he realized that disaster had struck. “All of the files we had recorded had completely disappeared,” explains McCormick. “We had to film the entire movie all over again.” What some might obviously view as a fiasco, McCormick, who also starred in, wrote, and executive produced the film, saw as an opportunity. […]

City Lights: The North Country Get Their “Freaks” On

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, D.C.’s The North Country, like most bands, experienced plannus interruptus.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, D.C.’s The North Country, like most bands, experienced plannus interruptus, having to cancel their promotional efforts for their latest release America and Afterwards. “We were supposed to go to South By Southwest,” explains lead singer Andrew Grossman. […]

City Lights: Watch CapitalBop’s Mini-Docuseries on Iconic Jazz Venues

The Jazz and Freedom Festival reconjures venues lost in 2020.

CapitalBop’s Jazz and Freedom Festival “The venues,” says Shannon Gunn, “they hold the spirit of the music.” Since 2015, Gunn has been helping local jazz advocacy group CapitalBop organize their annual Jazz and Freedom Festival. She first pitched the festival as a way to promote locally focused nonprofits. “It’s cathartic for musicians to be able […]

City Lights: Listen to Ankhlejohn’s As Above So Below

The animated lyricist's consistent output of great music has given him a cult following within the city and beyond.

As Above So Below Southeast D.C.’s Ankhlejohn released his exceptional album As Above So Below in December 2020—his fifth release that year. The animated lyricist’s consistent output of great music has given him a cult following within the city and beyond. The 12-track As Above is produced entirely by Brooklyn’s Navy Blue, who has also […]

City Lights: 93-Year-Old Spencer Taylor Jr. Is a Legend

A General Becomes a Legend In 1956, Mississippi-born, Chicago-based gospel singer Spencer Taylor Jr. joined The Highway QC’s, a gospel quartet that once included Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke. In 1964, Taylor, who had become the leader of the group, moved to D.C., as most of the quartet’s members were living on the East Coast. Decades […]

City Lights: Attend a Teach-In on Traditional Foods from the National Museum of the American Indian

"Traditional Foods Sustain our Bodies and Spirits," a teach-in featuring Sean Sherman, is part of the NMAI's Native Knowledge 360 initiative.

Teach-In: Traditional Foods Sustain our Bodies and Spirits In 2014, Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman founded The Sioux Chef, an indigenous food education business and catering company committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine. On March 20, the National Museum of the American Indian will bring in Sherman and various other Native food and sustainability experts […]

City Lights: Virtually Visit Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin”

“Pumpkin” In 2017, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors shattered records, attracting more than 160,000 visitors to the museum. After the exhibition left D.C., artist Yayoi Kusama’s legacy remains intact here—and not just on countless Instagram feeds or in the Hirshhorn’s upcoming Kusama retrospective, One With Eternity. Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” an […]

City Lights: Wil Merrell’s New Song Is a “Freedom Cry”

“Free” While working on his forthcoming album Bring on the Dark, D.C.-based Americana and soul singer Wil Merrell was having a discussion with his younger brother, The War and Treaty’s Michael Trotter. “I told him some of the messages and some of the things I wanted to deal with in the record,” says Merrell. “He […]

City Lights: The Petal Porch Parade Will Brighten Up Your Neighborhood

The Petal Porch Parade is the National Cherry Blossom Festival's innovative way to celebrate the cherry blossoms (safely).

Petal Porch Parade The National Cherry Blossom Festival has created an innovative way to celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossoms (safely) through its inaugural Petal Porch Parade—an invitation to decorate porches, balconies, windows, front yards, sidewalks, or any area visible from the street with symbols and imagery representing cherry blossoms, the color pink, or […]

City Lights: The Washington Women in Jazz Festival Is Online This Year

Washington Women in Jazz Festival Last year’s in-person Washington Women in Jazz Festival was canceled due to COVID-19. This year, the event is back virtually, with shows throughout the month. Pianist and vocalist Amy K. Bormet started the festival in 2011 after being frustrated by not seeing enough female jazz musicians getting bookings. Bormet, who […]

City Lights: Nkula’s Zion Rock Blends A Host of Influences

Nkula, a D.C.-based band, plays reggae in the tradition of the greats.

Nkula is a D.C.-based band that plays reggae in the tradition of the greats. Their music hits with a Bob Marley-ish bombast (for comparison, think “Get Up, Stand Up”) and grooves with the cool genius of Toots and the Maytals (see: “In The Dark.”) The band’s eclectic sound draws from many influences, including zouk, […]

City Lights: Dear Jack, Dear Louise Comes to Life via Love Letters

Arena Stage has come up with a new way to let audiences experience the play Dear Jack, Dear Louise: via letters.

“My brother and I knew that our parents met by letter because their parents wanted to set them up,” explains playwright Ken Ludwig. Their correspondence began during World War II, while Army Capt. Jacob Ludwig was serving as a doctor on bases in Oregon and Texas before finding himself on the front lines in the European theater, and Louise Rabiner was working as an actor, dancer, and singer in touring companies of popular Broadway shows. It took them three years to finally meet during V-E Day celebrations in Times Square. […]

City Lights: In “Thumbs,” Lucy Dacus Twists Together Pain and Love

Richmond's Lucy Dacus has released the new single "Thumbs," heard in D.C. during her December 2019 show at 9:30 Club.

During Lucy Dacus’ last show at 9:30 Club on Dec. 7, 2019, she started the encore with a new song. She’d played it live at other solo tour stops that year, and it’d been heard at shows for her supergroup boygenius. When she came out from backstage, she asked the crowd to be quiet and not to record, then mentioned that she hadn’t yet released the track, but that she was looking into it. Then she launched into “Thumbs,” […]

City Lights: Rosie Cima & What She Dreamed Take Flight in “Waxwing”

Rosie Cima & What She Dreamed’s latest single is far from the soft-spoken ballad you might initially believe it to be.

“Waxwing” “Waxwing” starts off much like any other indie song—feathery vocals over a gentle guitar line heavy with reverb. But Rosie Cima & What She Dreamed’s latest single is far from the soft-spoken ballad you might initially believe it to be. At the post-chorus, it develops into an angry elegy to a dead friend. The […]

City Lights: Tales of Belair at Bowie Takes Aim at ’60s Maryland Suburbia

Jeff Krulik's new film on the Levitt and Sons-constructed subdivision where he grew up paints a rich portrait of the place's full history.

Filmmaker Jeff Krulik’s new documentary Tales of Belair at Bowie shares many sweet memories from early residents of the 1960s Levitt and Sons-constructed subdivision where he grew up. But it also contrasts those warm stories with a range of other views, depicted via old home movies, a German documentary, and new interviews. Krulik, who is best known for the documentaries Heavy Metal Parking Lot and Led Zeppelin Played Here, interviews some of the first families […]

City Lights: SHAED Will Perform at CORE’s Rock ‘N’ Relief Livestream

On Saturday, March 6, D.C. alternative-pop trio SHAED will perform virtually for the Rock ’N’ Relief live stream concert benefitting CORE.

SHAED performs at Rock ‘N’ Relief On Saturday, March 6, D.C. alternative-pop trio SHAED will perform virtually for the Rock ’N’ Relief livestream concert benefitting CORE, an organization started by actor Sean Penn that is currently providing free COVID-19 tests and vaccinations nationwide. The two-day virtual event, curated by songwriter-producer Linda Perry, will take place […]

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