Free & Easy: John Adams residency and a Daft Punk listening party
The Going Out Gurus recommend free things to do for every day of the week:
Sanskrit text, ASL and innovative communication come together in this theater piece by Aditi Brennan Kapil to create an unlikely love story. Ram, a bookish poet, falls for Vic, who introduces him to her sister, Free. As Free, a deaf signer, begins to read Ram's work, the two develop a hybrid language of their own.
7:30 p.m. The Fridge, 516 1 / 2 Eighth St. SE. www.thefridgedc.com.
The new Daft Punk album, the band's first proper release in eight years, has been hyped to the extreme. To celebrate its release, U Street Music Hall will be spinning "Random Access Memories" on vinyl through what might be the city's best sound system (at least for dance music). Those who arrive early get free posters and other merchandise. If you're younger than 21, you'll have to drop $5 to get in, but the party is all ages.
8 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 202-588-1880. www.ustreetmusichall.com.
As part of American composer John Adams's week-long residency at the Library of Congress, New York's Attacca Quartet is performing works by Adams, Leos Janacek, Timothy Andres and Beethoven. The ensemble made a name for itself in part through acclaimed performances at Manhattan's Le Poisson Rouge, and the group's rapport with Adams is well-established.
8 p.m. Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. 202-707-5502. www.loc.gov.
In this World War II film from 2006, starring Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach, director Clint Eastwood examines the iconic moment when six U.S. soldiers raised the American flag on top of Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi. The film questions the traditional version of the story and follows the soldiers to see how the event affected their lives.
7:30p.m. Library of Congress — Packard Campus, 19053 Mount Pony Rd., Culpeper. 202-707-9994. www.loc.gov.
As part of the series of Friday mid-day recitals at National City Christian Church, Christopher Lynch, a member of the American Guild of Organists from Bloomington, Ind., will be playing the church's five-keyboard M ller pipe organ. Lynch will perform Edward Elgar's "Imperial March," as well as classics by Mendelssohn, Bach and Louis Vierne.
12:15 p.m. National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Cir. NW. 202-797-0103. www.nationalcitycc.org.
Today marks the start of the Corcoran Gallery of Art's summer of Saturdays with free admission. Be sure and catch the soon-to-close exhibition "How Is the World? Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Photography." Works by such well-known photographers as Edward Burtynsky and Hank Willis Thomas are on display, as well as by such lesser-known artists as Kate O'Donovan Cook, who specializes in unusual self-portraits.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. 202-639-1770. www.corcoran.org.
Kick off summer with the U.S. Marine Band and a picnic at Wolf Trap, and stick around for a fireworks display at about 9:45 p.m. Get there early; it's first-come, first-served. The gates open 90 minutes before the show.
8 p.m. Wolf Trap, Filene Center, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. 703-255-1900. www.wolftrap.org.
Mustaches, kayaks, Hawaiian shirts, Tom Selleck and you
The Washington Kayak Club will meet for a friendly paddle Sunday morning at Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax. It's Hawaiian Shirt Day (!) according to the group's Meetup page. But it's more than that: It's the "Second Annual Tom Selleck's Mustache/Hawaiian Shirt Paddle Day." What more could you possibly need to know about an event that combines paddling with the majesty of Hawaiian-print shirts and the grandeur of Selleck's soup-strainer?
(Because this blog's readers might not have been alive or cognizant in the early to mid-'80s, Selleck is more than just the subject of Selleck Waterfall Sandwich; he starred as an Oahu-based private detective on "Magnum P.I." from 1980 to 1988.)
Here's more from the event's organizer, Hector Alers: "I grew up watching Magnum P.I. and found that although I didn't have [Selleck's] dashing good looks, I did possess his silly character. So the rest was easy. Keep a Hawaiian theme and add a thick mustache for good luck."
Alers, whose favorite Selleck movies are "An Innocent Man" and "Runaway," has been a member of the Washington Kayak Club for four years. He expects a Selleckian paddling party of 30 when the group departs at 8:30 a.m. "The most important thing about growing a Selleck Mustache," he said, "is trying not to hide that charming smile." (Tell that to those willing to pay $5,000 for a mustache transplant.)
Paddlers without facial hair need not worry, as Alers is providing a 'stache stash: "This year I made all the mustaches out of black furry fabric and Post-It adhesive poster squares; which, of course, are Tom Selleck approved."
Tom Sietsema's Spring Dining Guide by the numbers
This week, the Post's food critic released a baker's dozen of new star ratings in his annual Spring Dining Guide, which takes a second look at previously reviewed restaurants. The places you'll find included are definitely deep cuts from the archives, names that may not be on the tip of your tongue, but destinations worth knowing about -- or avoiding, as the case may be.
The list includes a bucolic farm setting that's a more budget-friendly way to have an Inn at Little Washington experience (and likely a shorter drive); a museum cafeteria on the Mall where the menu changes seasonally; a 25-seater that bans shorts, shoes, phone calls and excessive cologne or perfume; and a "sprawling zoo" of a restaurant that Sietsema calls a cross between the Cheesecake Factory, Taco Bell and spring break.
Let's go inside the ratings:
Highest: 3 (out of 4 stars) for Makoto
Lowest: 1/2 star for Lauriol Plaza (that aforementioned "zoo")
Biggest jump: Wit & Wisdom, up one star (to 2 ) since it was reviewed in 2012
Biggest drop: Cubano's, down one star (to 1) since it was reviewed in 2003
Loudest: Al Tiramisu (91 decibels)
Quietest: Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (64 decibels)
Before you dive into the guide (which is just as pretty looking on your smartphone or tablet), watch this video about a museum cafeteria like none other. The video includes your best chance to get a glimpse of that man of mystery, Tom Sietsema.
Del Campo's Fernet con Cola is Argentina in a bottle
I don't need an excuse to drink my way through the cocktails at Del Campo: The South American menu by bartender J.P. Caceres is easily one of the best in D.C. at the moment, but on a warm, sunny day, I can't stop thinking about his Fernet con Cola. The combination of minty, herbal Fernet Branca and Coca-Cola is a staple in Argentina. Here in America, you're hard-pressed to find Fernet outside trendy cocktail bars.
Caceres soaks Madagascar vanilla beans in a bottle of Fernet for three or four days, which lends a creamy smoothness to the flavor. He adds Coke syrup, distilled water and a little bit of Madagascar vanilla bean syrup before carbonating and bottling the cocktail, which sells for $12.
It's served over a giant rock of ice, and because the bottles are 6.3 ounces, there's a little left over when the glass is full; that moment when you get to pour a wee bit more into your glass is always a smile-inducer. "I wanted to do something special" with the Buenos Aires specialty, Caceres said. He has certainly succeeded.
As a bonus, here's a funky song about the pleasures of drinking Fernet and Coca-Cola, courtesy of the Argentine rock band Vilma Palma e Vampiros:
Hear Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories' at U Street Music Hall
There is an insane amount of hype surrounding Daft Punk at the moment. "Random Access Memories," which drops May 21, is the first album Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have released in eight years. (No, the "Tron: Legacy" soundtrack doesn't count.)
If internet clips and interviews have you impatient to hear the actual album, head to U Street Music Hall on Tuesday night, where the robot mask-rocking duo's new release will be played, in uniquely 20th-century fashion, on vinyl.
Sure, the full album has been streaming on iTunes this week, and in this age of album leaks and internet streaming, an album release party seems archaic. But a chance to hear the year's most anticipated album on the city's best sound system? That's a no-brainer.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Posters and other merchandise will be given away to early arrivals. Admission is free for everyone 21 and over, and $5 for those under 21. Just for fun, here's the video for the album's first single, "Get Lucky," with Pharrell Williams on vocals.