Laura Tsaggaris opens up the holiday season and more best bets November 23-30 – 71Bait


Friday: El Gran Combo at MGM National Harbor

Sixty years after the founding of Puerto Rico El Gran Combo still draw large crowds eager to dance to the band’s powerful Afro-Caribbean sound. El Gran Combo is nicknamed the University of Salsa due to the many great musicians who have spent time in the ensemble. El Gran Combo can teach classes in creating driving bass, keyboard and percussion rhythms, powerful horn blasts, call-and-response singing and choreographed dance moves. While their longtime leader, 96-year-old pianist Rafael Ithier, only performs occasionally with the group, his methodology ingrained in their well-rehearsed sound. Although they have only occasionally released albums on major American corporate labels, their busy touring schedule and long discography of releases on Puerto Rican and international labels have cemented their legendary status in the Spanish-speaking world. El Gran Combo’s acclaimed live sound is tight and competent but not formulaic, as they feature brief instrumental interludes with a dose of improvisation over hopping beats on timpani and stomping on congas. The group’s trio of singers are adept at entertaining dancers turning slowly or quickly in front of the stage, and occasionally sing romantic, slow-moving ballads, but most of the time they use fast lead and backing melodies. Simultaneously with their singing, the singers politely wave their arms in unison and slide their feet like an old-school Motown combo. In 2021, El Gran Combo released an album of Christmas songs titled De Trulla Con El Combo. It seems likely that they will start the holiday season with some grooves from this effort. El Gran Combo plays November 25 at 9 p.m. at MGM National Harbor, 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill. mgmnationalharbor.mgmresorts.com. $119-199. – Steve Kiviat

El Gran Combo; courtesy of MGM National Harbor

Saturday: Tim Douds prolepsy at HEMPHILL

Tim Douds exhibition at HEMPHILL consists of three works, with the impression of a restrained struggle running through each work. Painted fabrics are placed on canvases, bridging adjacent canvases in a gridwork. Another work is a large cross between several painted fabrics. A third is a collection of painted fabrics arranged in a cubist dynamic. The results are striking bursts of line and color, hundreds of details that individually and collectively transform the works from chaos to balance. The painted fabrics appear random at first glance, creating a sense of disorder, but are actually arranged in harmony, signaling the artist’s preoccupation with justice in conflict. before prolepsy, Doud worked in portraiture and captured costumes in color. Doud found meaning in the textiles that made up the costumes – symbolism due to their structure and source. prolepsy The construction shows the artist’s appreciation for this symbolism, derived from fabric patterns, and centers the familiarity while being impartial where familiarity is found. The exhibition’s press release states: “Each painting acknowledges the potential for a positive outcome. Each is the equivalent of a social garb. No doubt you will recognize a fabric you have worn.” Prolepsy Runs through December 23 at HEMPHILL Artworks, 434 K St. NW. Tuesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m hemphillfinearts.com. Free. – Anupma Sahay

prolepsy at HEMPHILL; Courtesy of HEMPHILL Artworks

Sunday: Bruce Falkinburg at Photoworks

It’s been a melancholy few months at Photoworks, first with October’s posthumous retrospective of work by leading DC photographers and photography educators mark powerand now with a reminder of the photograph of Bruce Falkinburg, a longtime teacher at the Glen Echo-based studio. Falkinburg, who passed away last summer, taught large format photography, lighting and darkroom techniques, and the nearly 30 images on display reflect that focus. Some of Falkinburg’s landscape work is impressive, such as the intricate brambles in a series entitled Trees and Branches. But his depictions of discrete objects are more impressive. One series features lovingly shaded still lifes of objects such as baseball gloves. Another shows sunflowers – not with perfectly symmetrical petals, as the viewer would expect, but rather twisted and crooked, with clear signs of physical deterioration. Similarly, a series of images of fallen leaves lingers on their signs of decay, such as pinholes and pockmarks. Perhaps the most successful of Falkinburg’s traditional black-and-white images is Clouds-1, which somehow manages to transform the airy wisps of cloud into a form reminiscent of licking flames. Perhaps the most notable work in the exhibition is Final Vision and Memories, a 5×5 matrix of mounted black-and-white polaroids ranging from portraits to still lifes to street scenes; the title and the visual style of the work suggest an elegiac mood that suits the commemorative purpose of the exhibition. The retrospective runs through January 8th at Photoworks, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Saturday 1pm to 4pm, Sunday 1pm to 7pm glenechophotoworks.org. Free. Ludwig Jacobson

Credit: Bruce Falkinburg

Sunday: Laura Tsaggaris at the Miracle Theater

Singer-songwriter from Capitol Hill Laura Tsaggaris is a serious artist belting out denominational folk and alternative country ballads both solo and with her band Laura and the mood ring. But when it comes time for the holidays, she switches gears, brightens the spirits and opens up to friends and community because she is all about that holiday spirit and loves to share that joy with others. “The band reflects the friends and community I’ve built here, and it’s just unabashedly fun,” says Tsaggaris city ​​newspaper about her holiday rush with her band (plus a trio of backing singers for the occasion). Together they rock around the Christmas tree and cover classics—elvis‘ “Blue Christmas”, Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want for Christmas is You” – featuring alternative country, funk and rockabilly influences, all found on her album Get in the mood. This year’s concert at the Miracle Theater is the second of what Tsaggaris hopes to become an annual holiday event: “There was a wonderful feeling last year, especially after the pandemic. And it just felt like a big hug from everyone.” She describes the event as a “Thanksgiving palate cleanser.” It’s an opportunity to unwind with friends, blood and select family members and kick off the holiday season with “some good vibes”. She also notes that festive attire is part of the joy. Tsaggaris and company have been working on some new covers this year, as well as a blues original that they will share at the concert, which also doubles as a vinyl release party Get in the mood. After getting in the mood at Miracle, the party continues at As You Are Bar with a free karaoke party. Don your ugliest Christmas sweater and dance off the gravy calories while listening to reinvented Christmas favorites. Get in the Mood With Laura Tsaggaris begins November 27 at 7 p.m. at the Miracle Theater, 535 8th St. SE. unionstage.com. $20-$40. —Colleen Kennedy

Laura Tsaggaris and the Mood Ring; Courtesy of Tsaggaris.

From Wednesday: GALA Filmfest in the spotlight, Santo against the evil brain in the gala theater

Film archivists have long had to deal with the fact that today only about 14 percent of films from the silent era have survived. Do you think the digital age is less vulnerable? think again While it may seem like every title you want to watch is available to stream somewhere, the reality is more complicated, especially when it comes to B-movies, which some would rather make disappear. Hence the work of Viviana Garcia Besne and the Mexican archive Permanencia Voluntaria is so important. Garcia Besne, whose family produced dozens of Mexican sex comedies in the 1960s and ’70s, has worked hard to preserve films that would otherwise be broadcasts that were almost impossible to watch on YouTube. Moviegoers can see the fruits of Garcia Besne’s labors in the 1961 feature film as part of GALA Film Fest: Latin American Innovation, taking place November 30-December 4 at the GALA Hispanic Theater in Columbia Heights Santo against the evil brainthe first of more than 50 features starring the legendary masked wrestler known as “The Saint.” Directed by Joselito Rodriguezthe film was shot shortly before in Cuba in 1958 Fidel Castro came to power. Legend has it that the filmmakers had to smuggle the 35mm reels out of the country to escape the volatile new regime. The plot involves mad scientists kidnapping and brainwashing Santo into obeying their evil bidding. It’s a grim narrative, and the best way to get past it is to imagine a political subtext, but when you watch the repetitive footage of 1950s vintage cars cruising the same grand streets of Havana, wins the film is of fantastic quality. And thanks to the work of film archivists like Viviana Garcia Besne, the film looks better than it has in decades. GALA Film Fest: Latin American Innovation runs through December 4; Santo against the evil brain Screens December 4 at 4:00 p.m. at the GALA Hispanic Theater, 3333 14th St. NW. Galatheater.org. $10 per showing. —Pat Padua

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