Ma petite liste – April 9-15, 2012

It’s the last week of the Francophonie Festival in D.C. so I’m filling this week’s picks with lots of cultural events from France, Belgium and Quebec, with a sprinkling of Thai food and of course, some cherry blossoms related events.  That festival lasts 10 times as long as the actual flowers do…

The Royal Thai Embassy is sponsoring Thai Restaurant Week to coincide with Songkran, the traditional Thai new year (which falls on April 13th this year). Through April 15, enjoy special menus at local participating Thai restaurants like Bangkok One, Bankok Joe’s, Mai Tai Downtown or Mai Tai Old Rown.

The World Languages and Cultures Department & the Department of Radio, TV and Film of of Howard University presents the Tournées Festival – New French Film on Campus in collaboration with the Alliance Française of Washington, D.C. and the Maison Française at the French Embassy.  Tonight’s screening is the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner (and really good movie) “Entre Les Murs/The Class.” Showing that some French teachers are faced with similar issues than their U.S. counterparts, the film follows a real-life instructor (François Bégaudeau who wrote the screenplay and plays himself in the film) as he attempts to teach the French language and culture to a multi-ethnic class of under privileged students in the suburbs of Paris. The screening will take place at 7PM at the Johnson School of Communication – Powell Building: 525 Bryant Street N.W. (Room West, free for students, $5 for general public.)

As I mentioned earlier, Le Festival de la Francophonie is closing out with week and it looks like they saved the best for last. From Tuesday through Saturday, l’Alliance Française is throwing a number of cool events showcasing Belgian creativity with Small is More: Snapshots of Belgian Performing Arts. Five extraordinary companies are putting on five very different experimental performances mixing dance and theater. I’ll be attending the first one on Tuesday (“Society, Strange Fruit & Frites”) but are other performances every day this week. Wednesday’s performance is “Good Mourning” by Florence Minder at Artisphere (8PM, Dome Theater, $15 or $10 Alliance Francaise Members.)

The 2012 edition of Filmfest DC opens with Starbuck, a Quebec film about a 42 year old loser whose main accomplishment in life was to father 533 via anonymous sperm donations. Now 142 of these “children” want to meet daddy, giving Starbuck a reason to grow up and an opportunity to turn his life around. The film will be shown at Regal Cinema Gallery place (7PM, $25) and followed by a party at Bar Louie. Also opening this Thursday is the patio at the Sofitel Hotel Washington DC Lafayette Square. And since it’s Cherry Blossoms time and the Sofitel’s restaurant Ici has a fabulous cherry-themed menu, they’re celebrating with a Cherry Blossom cocktail soiree! House mixologist (and fellow Frenchie) Vincent Gernignon has concocted some great cocktails for the occasion like a cherry mojito. Can’t make it? The Whisk & Quill has the recipe for you….

Back to our Belgian performers… this time, they’re taking over the National Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard which will turn into a vibrant night spot for “Visio-Disco: A Remix of Music and Art.” Among other animations and performances (the Belgian creative dance group will also be joined by French composer-performer Koudloum and local Washington DJ The Pinstriped Rebel) there’s going to be a giant bubble on a bed of water which sounded intriguing enough for me to buy a ticket! (Tickets are $35)


Final mention of the “small is more” snapshots of Belgian performing arts I promise… this time as part of Lumen8Anacostia, a (free) noon to midnight of light, art, music and fun. Lise Duclaux will be “stamping” passers-by between 2-4PM and 6-8PM at the Old Police Warehouse Back Lot. There will be tons of other happenings too and a launch party at noon at the Lightbox. Check out the full schedule here. On a more traditional note, there’s also the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street festival ($5 entry fee) Saturday, the largest Japanese culutral festival in the US, featuring food, arts and culture as well as traditional performances, including martial arts demonstrations. Highlights for me always include the food sold by the 25 some vendors present (here’s a complete list for this year… they’re definitely not all Japanese…) and the Sakura Matsuri’s Sake Tasting Pavilion.

I love the concept of this class… bitter about Tax Day? Well, tax day is actually the 17th this year, but on Sunday, you can learn all about bitters at Last Exit with the brilliant intoxicators behind Scofflaw’s Den. The class starts at 5:30PM and is limited to 10 people so grab your $50 ticket quickly

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