Colourful Holi festival returns tomorrow
Colourful Holi festival returns tomorrow
Colourful Holi festival returns tomorrow Show caption 0 comment HUNDREDS of people will be covered in colourful paint to celebrate the third Holi festival to be held in Swindon.
Last year’s event at Swindon’s Hindu Temple saw more than 1,000 people attend to enjoy music, dancing and a feast of top Indian cuisine, and greeted each other with splatters of dry paint. Organisers are expecting a similarly-huge crowd at this year’s festival, which will add watercolour paints into the mix and boast a Bollywood DJ, food stalls, refreshments, a selfie frame and live music from players of Indian drums called Dhol.
Swindon Hindu Temple’s chairman Pradeep Bhardwaj said: “I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a lot of fun, there’s always lots of excitement and smiles because children love it and adults become childlike and go crazy. There’s a lot of rivalry these days but this is one day where people, communities and opponents come together to make friends, promote tolerance, forget animosity and let go of egos.
“It started as a religious festival and there will be morning worship in the temple and a holy bonfire the night before, but it’s become a social and cultural event of huge significance.”
The festival will be held 10.30am to 1pm tomorrow. Tickets cost £2
Into the city
ISSUE DATE: April 1, 2019 UPDATED: March 20, 2019 17:55 IST Wine and Malt Lounge
Raising a Toast/ Wine and Malt Lounge From being an exclusive residents-only space, the Wine and Malts Lounge at the Taj Mahal Palace has now thrown open its doors to walk-in guests as well, offering Mumbai an extensive collection of wines and whiskeys from the world over.
The wine list has some of the best that you can find with rare Grand Cru Burgundies, classified Bordeaux wines and classic cabernet from the Californian Rutherford vineyards. The menu has an interesting blend of complex classics and wines that are topping popularity lists around the world. For lovers of single malts, they have the legendary Scottish brands sitting alongside brews from lesserknown whiskey regions such as Ireland.
Look out for Chateau Margaux 1990, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1977, Glenlivet 21 years Archive and the 21 year-old Balvenie. At Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Apollo Bunder
Weaving a Tale (April 19 to 21)
Vasutra Celebrate the unsung craftspeople who spend long days weaving beautiful textiles with Vasutra, an exhibition that will showcase works by weavers from all over the country.
Each participant has an interesting story of reviving a languishing design technique This fundraiser will help revive ancient Indian textile design language and support the artisans and weavers. At 159-161, Coomaraswamy Hall, Kala Ghoda
Weekend Retreat /Mansion House
At a 20-minute speed boat ride off the Gateway of India, the Mansion House makes for a quick getaway from the city when you want a dose of clean air, solitude and the sea. The 25-room hotel is designed like a stately mansion and has large lawns with airy cabanas where you can curl up with a book, a coffee lounge and verandah restaurants that serve gladly customise multi-cuisine menus especially if you are in a big group. It overlooks the calm Saswane Lake but if you want to be by the sea, the white sands Varsoli Beach is a short drive away and offers sports like banana boat rides and quad rides. At Saswane, Alibaug themansionhousealibaug.com
Quirky concoctions/ Illuminati
With a picture-perfect decor and a strong emphasis on artisan cocktails and an Asian-European menu, Illuminati is what you should pick on your next night out in Bandra. The part fine-dining restaurant and part lounge, that transforms into a nightclub, has an interesting bar menu with cocktails named Secret Society, Manhattan, The Eye and Mad Dog that are worth a try. In the food, go for the spiced edamame hummus, confit duck leg with Majool date puree, Japanese noodle salad, crispy falafel squares and a decadent Bourbon flambeed hot chocolate. At Inspire BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex. Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Do You Like This Story? Awesome!
Seven Of The Best New London Restaurants
With new restaurants opening in London virtually every month, it’s often difficult to know which ones to try. Here are seven very different restaurants that have opened within the past six months that I’ve visited and am happy to recommend.
Pistachio crusted lamb chops at Tamarind, Mayfair, London
Paul Allen/Andfotography.com 1. Indian restaurant Tamarind opened with a flourish after a major redesign at the end of 2018. Strictly speaking it’s not new as it first opened in 1995 and it was the first Indian restaurant in London to win a Michelin star (in 2001). The cuisine offers a modern twist on Indian, with tandoor as a focus. We were impressed with the health conscious menu created by Chefs Karunesh Khanna and Manav Tuli (formerly of Amaya and Chutney Mary). No ghee is used and butter fats are kept to a minimum, resulting in lighter, highly flavorful dishes like Tandoori Prawn Balchao with spicy and tangy chilli marinade and Pistachio Crusted Grilled Lamb Chops. The brand new interiors were created by Sagrada , who also designed Dover Street private member’s club The Arts Club . The upstairs dining room where we had lunch is light and airy with chic pale grey leather and orange velvet banquet seating and purple velvet bar stools.
Artichoke flan at Adam Handling
Joanne Shurvell 2. The latest venture of Adam Handling (Scottish Chef of the Year, 2015) opened last month at the new Belmond Cadogan Hotel . Adam explains the ethos of his cooking as “modern, British, seasonal and sustainable. I don’t want to be the best restaurant in the world—I want to be the local’s favorite in Chelsea.” Adam’s Modern British menu is anything but traditional with his inventive use of ingredients. A starter called “Mother” is named after the chef’s mother, a recent vegetarian. It’s a fantastic celeriac dish with truffle, egg yolk and apple. Lemon sole is served with white beetroot and seaweed butter while John Dory is accompanied by cuttlefish and caviar with whey butter. Desserts are a complete surprise with a white chocolate and artichoke flan with orange puree topping the list.
Yopo in the Mandrake Hotel, Fitzrovia, London
Paul Allen/Andfotography.com 3. Yopo has just opened at the swish hotel The Mandrake , bringing a blend of modern European and South American cooking to Fitzrovia. The interiors are impressive, largely because of the arresting hand-painted ceiling mural by Peter-John de Villiers . The food is also very good. Charcoal grilled octopus with aji pancha and avocado and the ceviche are both top dishes for seafood lovers and for the vegetarian, a crispy topped smoked eggplant with sea herbs is delicious. If you have room for dessert, try the rhubarb with pear ice cream, meringue and white chocolate or the buckwheat and hazelnut cake with smoked whisky caramel. Before or after dining, essential for any visit to the Mandrake is a drink on the lovely roof terrace where you’ll be surrounded by hanging vines and and the scent of jasmine.
The Belrose, Belsize Park, London
Paul Allen/Andfotography.com 4. Although we had a delicious Sunday roast at The Belrose in leafy Belsize Park, we plan to revisit this cheerful new neighborhood restaurant to try its appealing range of Mediterranean food including wood-fired Romano-style pizzas and pasta. The Sunday roast offering was straightforward, well prepared and presented, with a choice of roast ribeye, chicken or nutroast, each accompanied with roasted potatoes, yorkshire pudding, roast veg and a nice touch, cauliflower cheese. There’s also a lovely garden terrace makes the pub a perfect al fresco dining destination. Beer connoisseurs will be pleased with the on-site microbrewery providing signature Belrose IPA, alongside a selection of British and international craft beers.
Baby octopus in spicy sauce at Mezemiso
Joanne Shurvell 5. Mezemiso feels like an insider secret because it’s on the 14th floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the Albert Embankment, accessed via a sleek glass elevator. And what an excellent insider place it is with a menu offering an intriguing list of Japanese and Lebanese dishes, a first for London. The restaurant opened in January of this year so customers won’t yet have been able to fully appreciate the outdoor terrace with its wonderful views across the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament. The Lebanese menu created by Chef Madlene El Saikali, one of Lebanon’s leading chefs, features tasty dishes like Octopus Mezemiso, baby octopus in a spicy ink sauce and sea bass baked in a crust of salt. The Japanese menu, designed by Head Sushi Chef, Victor Klomu, includes a fine version of one of my favorite dishes, blackened cod along with an excellent range of sashimi and maki.
A chef carves the signature “Peking Duck” tableside at Imperial Treasure, Mayfair
Joanne Shurvell 6. Imperial Treasure , part of the Imperial Treasure Group of 24 restaurants worldwide, opened its first European site in London’s Mayfair St James in December 2018. The group includes Michelin-starred restaurants in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong so we had high expectations of this latest launch. The restaurant is in an impressive Grade II listed building on St James’s Waterloo Place with interiors by French designers, Liaigre , who’ve done a good job of combining a contemporary aesthetic with traditional Chinese culture and architecture. The spacious main dining room features high ceilings with plenty of seating including chic leather banquette seating. I had lunch at Imperial Treasure with a Chinese friend who was able to recommend dishes and let me know how authentic she thought they were. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and a real crowd-pleaser, is Peking duck. My friend claims it’s only possible to have the authentic dish in Beijing. However, she was very satisfied with the dish at Imperial Treasure and I certainly thought it was very good. Each whole duck is expertly carved tableside and is accompanied by homemade pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and duck sauce.
A.O.K. a new restaurant in Marylebone, London
A.O.K. 7. AOK a new neighborhood restaurant in Marylebone offers a healthy Mediterranean menu that is completely free from refined sugar and is also very careful about the use of dairy and gluten. We loved our three starters: sea bream ceviche with fennel and grapefruit, grilled manouri cheese served with baby gem lettuce, zucchini, mint and sesame seeds and a modern take on the old school prawn cocktail used yoghurt in the “Marie Rose” sauce. Our mains were equally delicious. Baked cod with vine ripened tomatoes, olives, capers and pine nuts is a classic dish that when done well is always satisfying. The homemade gnocchi with eggplant, rocket and manchego cheese was a hearty main to finish with. The baked goods on the menu and in the bakery downstairs, all sugar free and many gluten free, are prepared by Sebastian Chiono, head baker at The Arts Club .
Today’s Top 10 for Spring!
03/22/2019 by Kris McGarvey
My top 10 list of things to do this time of year:
10) Clean out my closet. I’m so tired of sweaters. Though I could wear boots year-round, I am looking forward to wearing sandals, or at least no socks! Now is a great time to sort through those clothes and shoes you didn’t wear over the long winter and donate to Salvation Army . Or make a little extra money by using Stuff Etc. Beware though – your consignment items need to be in very, very good condition to be accepted.
9) Trying a new restaurant. I enjoy going to new places any time of year, but there is something about spring that gives me extra bravery to try a different cuisine. I’m still waiting to try good Thai or Indian food. I do have someone who’s willing to go with me, so I just need to set the date.
8) Clean my windows. I actually enjoy cleaning my house windows, inside and out, when the weather is nice, and I can open everything up. Feels like a fresh start.
7) Move the furniture around. Another fresh start. Just don’t do it right before going to bed because you may end up stubbing your toes on the couch in the middle of the night. “Who moved that there?” I have some new furniture than only fits a certain way in my living room, so I’m going to have be extra creative this year.
6) Re-connecting with friends. The winter was treacherous. Lots of ice and snow kept most of us inside unless we absolutely had to go out. But now that that yucky stuff is gone, time to make some coffee dates with friends I haven’t seen since late fall. I may not be drinking caffeine, but most coffee shops offer herbal alternatives. And scones.
5) Fresh music playlist. I’ve listened to the same playlist all winter so time to change it up. Spotify makes it very easy to find whatever I want to listen to and create a playlist that I can access any time. Made a Lenten worship one the other day and loving it.
4) Running. I do not run in the winter. I’m old enough that recovery from a fall on ice or snow would be long and arduous, but come spring time, I’m ready to hit the trails again. I upload my C25K app (again) and start fresh with Day 1. Doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of it. “You don’t need to go fast, you just need to go.”
3) Baseball is back. Cubs fan. That is all.
2) Long walks outside. I walk every day. If the weather is lousy, I walk during my lunch hour within my block-long office building or I hit the downtown sky walk system. If I include a parking deck or two, I can get three miles in over the hour. But once spring weather comes in, I love walking outside. The new playlist in my earbuds, my comfy boots or shoes, an occasionally muddy spot, blue skies, gentle (or blustery) breezes…recharges my battery and lifts my moody. Every time.
1) Easter. I don’t decorate in pastels, and bunnies, and eggs. Well, truthfully, I don’t decorate in much of anything, but for me Easter isn’t about all of that. Easter is THE holiday in my life. I take this time of year to reflect on the magnitude of this great thing – Christ Jesus gave His life on a brutal cross to take my sin so I could have eternity with Him in heaven. Easter isn’t just about the cross – it’s also about the tomb. He died for us, yet He rose again, victorious over sin and darkness. That is why Easter is so important…why it’s number one on my list.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Happy Spring! Happy Easter!
How do you stay healthy? Here are tips from the country’s best
Food & Drink How do you stay healthy? Here are tips from the country’s best Wellness experts and Himalayan Raw & Fine jury members Dr Kiran Lohia, Deanne Pandey and Pooja Makhija weigh in CNT in collaboration with Himalayan Published: Mar 22, 2019 | 18:30:14 IST Dr. Kiran Lohia, Deanne Pandey and Pooja Makhija
At the Condé Nast Traveller and Himalayan Sparkling Top Restaurant Awards, guests toasted to good health and great food with a glass of Himalayan Sparkling. Celebrating a superior dining experience in India, the top 50 list is a guiding light for epicureans looking for new, exciting establishments to dine at across the country.
Some inspiring success stories played out at the Condé Nast Traveller and Himalayan Sparkling Top Restaurant Awards 2018 as the judges voted for the Himalayan Raw & Fine Ranking . The list represents and applauds restaurants who differentiate themselves with their unique, naturally sourced ingredients that pay a central role in providing a superior “raw and fine” experience, very similar to Himalayan water which draws its uniqueness entirely from nature. Each drop actually spends 20 years travelling through the layers of sand and silt, collecting the fine minerals and its unique balance.The Himalayan Raw & Fine Ranking is a list of 10 restaurants from the Top 50 that personify the philosophy of sustainable, ingredient-forward cuisine. An elite jury that has significant exposure and experience in this space selected it. A host of experts including actor Malaika Arora, wellness experts Pooja Makhija, Yasmin Karachiwala and others drew up this list of fine dining establishments. We chatted with Himalayan Raw & Fine jury members Dr Kiran Lohia, Deanne Pandey and Pooja Makhija to give us a tip or two on healthy eating and living the raw and fine life.
Pooja Makhija, nutrition expert & Himalayan Raw & Fine jury member Take us through your daily diet. 1 /9
Photo: Iuliia Sedova / Alamy Stock Photo
7am : Wake up, eat 2-3 almonds
Sparkling water is another way of drinking water that keeps you hydrated for longer. If consuming sparkling water makes you drink more, then good for you.
Photo: Maryna Iaroshenko / Alamy Stock Photo
9.30am: Breakfast of an egg white omelette and a piece of sourdough bread
Photo: Aleksandrs Samuilovs / Alamy Stock Photo
11.30am: 1 cup of coffee with nourishables—they are basically crackers I have made to replace biscuits.
Photo: Frannyanne / Alamy Stock Photo
12.30pm: Two servings of fruit
Photo: Dinodia Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
2.30pm: A bowl of rice, dal and sabzi with some cut cucumber and tomatoes, like a kachumbar
Photo: Jennifer Barrow / Alamy Stock Photo
4.30pm: Two-three almonds or a glass of vegetable juice.
Photo: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
7pm: 10 nourishables with hung curd dip
Photo: liv friis-larsen / Alamy Stock Photo
9pm: Chicken or a fish with salad and a piece of sourdough bread When you keep eating every 2 hours and keep fuelling your tummy with the right food at the right time, you’re not going to eat the wrong food at the wrong time. This is why it’s important to eat often.
A health ritual you practice without fail?
Everything I do, I do it without fail. I drink three litres of water without fail. I eat every two hours without fail. And I drink a glass of vegetable juice without fail. Pooja Makhija
What is the importance of drinking water in your overall health routine?
I recommend you eat every two hours. You must drink ample amount of water in a day or else you might end up eating more food. It’s important to keep two-three litres of water by your table at work so you always remember to keep sipping it throughout the day. Most people over eat because they under drink water. It’s very important to regulate and understand your thirst and hunger patterns and not confuse them. Sparkling water is another way of drinking water that keeps you hydrated for longer. If consuming sparkling water makes you drink more, then good for you.
Dr. Kiran Lohia, skin expert & Himalayan Raw & Fine jury member
Your ninja technique to aid weight management?
Intermittent fasting, running, working out, tennis and living a life that is active and dedicated to each moment!
A health ritual you practice without fail?
I always take my probiotics and supplements and pearl powder daily!
What is your Raw & Fine philosophy?
I prefer restaurants that use organic food, avoid gluten, and avoid dairy!
Deanne Pandey, wellness expert & Himalayan Raw & Fine jury member Deanne Pandey
How do you manage to stay healthy?
I don’t believe in diets and I have never followed a diet, because nutrition is an evolving science. What I do believe in is a 80:20 ratio. 80 per cent of the day I eat healthy and 20 per cent I eat whatever I feel like. Which is why, diets are not for me. This is a lifestyle. It’s a routine that has evolved over time and I have come to understand my body. For the past one year, I have been waking up every morning and drinking half a litre of water. It’s just a habit. About 20 minutes later I have a breakfast, which will be a pineapple, soaked almonds in water and walnuts. I love my Indian chai. But I have it with lactose-free milk. Sometimes I also have idlis because idlis are fermented so it’s good for the gut. After this I work out and finish my yoga session and then I continue with my clients. Everything is by routine. I make sure I eat on time. In the last one year, I have gone 90 per cent vegetarian, out of choice.
What about the days when you binge? How do you counter it?
I don’t really indulge in these things just because it’s a habit. I don’t have a sweet tooth as well, and my friends wonder how. You tend you have high and low sugar levels which leads to cravings. But because of my routine, I don’t feel it. My foods have a low glycemic index. So, I don’t get into cravings or binges. There is a science to everything. That’s why I do the 80:20 ratio. The 20 per cent could even be Maggi. That’s why it’s important to balance it out. And you have to balance it out every day of your life.
The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Mumbai, India (2019)
Travel Tips HOW TO APPLY FOR AN E-VISA TO INDIA
Applying for an e-visa to India was fast and easy. Everything is done online and my e-visa was emailed to me in a little over a day after I submitted the application and made payment. You can check my post on applying for an e-Visa to India for a step-by-step process. MUMBAI AT A GLANCE
Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the coastal capital of Maharashtra state in west-central India. It’s the country’s financial and commercial capital and its principal port on the Arabian Sea. With an estimated population exceeding 12 million, it’s the most populous city in India that’s home to some of the country’s richest neighborhoods and it’s biggest slums.
Aside from being India’s economic hub, it’s also the country’s entertainment capital. It’s home to Bollywood which is the most prolific film industry in the world. Bollywood is known to produce well over a thousand feature films each year, more than double its counterpart in Hollywood. BEST TIME TO VISIT
Mumbai sees fairly dramatic weather conditions. The temperature doesn’t fluctuate as much throughout the year but it experiences dry periods followed by months of intensely heavy rain, much more than what we’re accustomed to in a similarly monsoon-heavy country like the Philippines . For this reason, it’s best to visit Mumbai around mid-October till February when the weather is ideal.
OCT-FEB: Weather-wise, this is the best time to visit Mumbai. There are little to no rainy days and temperatures are at their lowest. If you’re interested in the arts, then February is a great time to go, when the popular Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is held in the first half of the month.
MAR-MAY: This is summer in Mumbai. It’s still the dry season but temperatures climb during these months and reach their peak in May, which is often the hottest time of the year in the city.
JUN-SEPT: This is monsoon season in Mumbai. One of my guides described this stretch as a period of non-stop rain so it’s probably not the best time to go, especially from June till August. I went in mid-September and experienced moments of rain but nothing too bad. Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Mumbai
To help you better understand the weather in Mumbai , I’ve included average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are indicated in orange.
Annual Rainfall TRAVELING TO MUMBAI
Mumbai is located on the western coast of India. I flew in from Kolkata but there are many ways to get there depending on where you are.
BY PLANE: People flying in to Mumbai will arrive at Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport. It’s a beautiful airport that’s the second busiest in India, after Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi. Traveling by air is the fastest way to get around between cities but it’s also the most expensive. I suggest using an airline aggregator like Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights to Mumbai from wherever you are. I used Skyscanner to search for and book all my flights for this trip to India.
At the airport, you’ll find booths where you can book a prepaid taxi to your hotel. That’s what I did. I paid INR 675 for a non-aircon taxi to the Fort area, but air-conditioned taxis were also available for INR 810. If you’d like to book a private transfer in advance, then you can do so through Klook .
BY TRAIN: I was on a tight schedule so I flew from city to city in India, but traveling by train is considered by many to be the best way to experience this vast country. They have an extensive rail network that can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. I rode the train from Delhi to Agra and contrary to the overcrowded trains often portrayed in Hollywood, train travel in India is comfortable and pleasant. It’s considerably cheaper than flights and the scenery is much better too.
The easiest way to book train tickets in India is through 12Go Asia . It’ll save you the trouble of having to use the IRCTC website which can be very frustrating to deal with. For my Delhi to Agra trip, I tried purchasing my tickets from the IRCTC website but I gave up after I had trouble registering and making payment. It’s a convoluted process so I suggest booking through 12Go Asia instead.
BY BUS: I haven’t experienced it but another option is to travel by bus. Based on what I’ve read, the cost between trains and sleeper buses are comparable, though buses can sometimes be more convenient because of the location of the bus stations. However, buses are also considered to be less comfortable in general than trains. You can check out this helpful article from the Hippie in Heels for information on bus travel in India . Bus tickets can be purchased online through redbus.in or makemytrip.com .
OTHER OPTIONS: Depending on where you’re coming from, there may be other ways to get to Mumbai so I suggest checking 12Go Asia to find route options available to you. You can click on the link or use the widget below. Klook also offers private transfers to and from Mumbai from various cities in the region. WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY
The unit of currency in India is the Indian Rupee (INR). I exchanged currency at my hotel. They gave me a pretty good rate though you may be able to get better rates at licensed money changers. You can find several recommendations on Travelvui . They’re scattered throughout the city but if you’re staying in South Mumbai, then the most convenient are UAE Exchange near Indira Dock and Thomas Cook at Dr. D.N. Road .
Alternatively, you can also withdraw INR from an ATM. The rates are competitive. Just be sure to advise your bank you’ll be using your ATM card overseas so you don’t run into any problems. In my experience, my ATM card works in some machines but not in others.
NOTE: When an ATM asks if you want to proceed “with or without conversion”, always choose WITHOUT conversion. Proceeding “with conversion” means that the foreign bank operating the ATM does the conversion (instead of your local bank). In my experience, this has always led to terrible exchange rates. According to this excellent article, the difference between rates offered can be as high as 10% or more . BEST AREA TO STAY
Mumbai is a big city with many interesting neighborhoods, but based on my experience, it seems that South Mumbai is the ideal place to stay for first-time visitors. Surrounded by water, it’s a pleasant area in the historical part of the city that’s home to major landmarks like the Gateway of India , the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) , Bombay High Court, and the Prince of Wales Musem , not to mention many restaurants, cafes, shops, and train stations.
South Mumbai extends all the way to Mahim and Sion in the north, but for the purpose of this guide, we’ll focus only on the southernmost areas of Colaba , Fort , and Marine Drive . I’ve created the color-coded map below to help you visualize where all these recommended areas are: (Please note that marked areas are approximations only)
RED – Fort GREEN – Marine Drive FORT: Hotel Flora Fountain
The Fort area is Mumbai’s business district. It’s home to many of the city’s most important historical buildings like CSMT, Bombay High Court, and the Prince of Wales Museum. It’s also home to the Kala Ghoda art district which is where I stayed. I loved being in this area because not only was I surrounded by beautiful Gothic buildings that made me feel like I was in England, but I was close to many shops, cafes, street food stalls, and restaurants as well. The area was always buzzing with activity so it felt safe no matter what time of day.
I stayed at Hotel Flora Fountain, a clean and conveniently located boutique hotel about a 10-minute walk from CSMT. You can book a room there on Booking.com or Agoda . If you’d like to stay in the Fort area but don’t think this is the right hotel for you, then you can check out alternate listings on AirBnB and Booking.com . If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to USD 43 free travel credit when you sign up via this link .
Approximate Room Rate: USD 55 per night (as of April 2019) COLABA
Located in the southernmost part of the city, Colaba is where you’ll find the most iconic structure in Mumbai – the Gateway of India. It’s home to a wealth of historical buildings and tree-lined streets filled with interesting shops, restaurants, and cafes. Like the Fort area, I had a great time exploring Colaba on foot.
Within earshot of the Gateway of India are the Taj Mahal Palace and Taj Mahal Tower ( Booking.com | Agoda ), two structures that make up the city’s most iconic hotel. The Taj Mahal Palace is the original hotel while the Taj Mahal Tower is a newer wing built seventy years later. Boasting unparalleled views of the Arabian Sea, you can book a room here for a truly memorable stay in Mumbai. For the more budget-conscious (like me), you can search for listings in Colaba on Booking.com or AirBnB . As advised, AirBnB newbies can get up to USD 43 free travel credit by signing up through this link . MARINE DRIVE
If you’re a fan of ocean views and/or Art Deco architecture, then this is where you’ll probably want to be. Also known as the Queen’s Necklace , Marine Drive is a scenic 3.6 km stretch of coastal road fronting the Arabian Sea. Walking along this road, it almost feels like you’re in Miami. As described, Mumbai is known for having the second-most Art Deco buildings in the world, many of which can be found along Marine Drive.
You can find accommodations on or around Marine Drive on Booking.com or AirBnB . Again, new AirBnB users can get up to USD 43 free travel credit when you register using this link . PLACES TO VISIT 1. Gateway of India
As described, this arch monument is the most iconic structure in Mumbai. It was built in 1911 to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary on their visit to India. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York City, it’s the city’s most popular attraction and universally considered to be a symbol of Mumbai.
The Gateway is impressive from land, but I’ve read that it looks even more majestic when viewed from the Arabian Sea. The ferry to Elephanta Island leaves from Colaba jetty, so visiting the Elephanta Caves on a day trip is a great opportunity to see the Gateway from the other side. Facing the Gateway of India are the aforementioned Taj Mahal Palace and Tower , the most famous hotel in Mumbai. Dev, my guide on the Mumbai public transportation tour , told me an interesting story about how this iconic hotel came to be.
According to Dev, the hotel was built by a wealthy Indian industrialist named Jamsetji Tata . He built the Taj Mahal Palace after being denied entry into the city’s grandest hotel at the time – Watson’s Hotel. Purported to be for whites only, he built the Taj out of spite and made it open to anyone regardless of skin color or social status. In Dev’s words, it was his “ultimate revenge”. Suggested Length of Visit: 1 hour / Admission: FREE 2. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, or CSMT for short, is one of the grandest and most striking examples of Gothic architecture in Mumbai. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s Mumbai’s main railway station and the heart of its extensive metro system. If you stay in South Mumbai and plan to get around by train, then chances are you’ll be going through this building at least once or twice a day.
Be sure to visit the CSMT in the morning and evening. The building looks impressive at any time of the day but it looks absolutely magical at night when it’s lit up like this. Suggested Length of Visit: 30 mins – 1 hr / Admission: FREE 3. Dhobi Ghat
Dhobi Ghat is the world’s biggest open-air laundry. An estimated half a million pieces of clothing from homes, hotels, and hospitals throughout the city are brought here to be washed, dried, and ironed every day.
I visited Dhobi Ghat on this public transportation tour but you can easily visit dhobi ghat on your own by taking the train to Mahalaxmi station. We arrived when most of the washing had already been done so it’s best to get here early – around 6-8AM – if you want to see the dhobis in action. You can watch them from the bridge just a few paces from from Mahalxmi station.
NOTE: You can walk down the stairs from the bridge to get closer to the washing area, though I’m not sure how advisable that is. Read my post on Dhobi Ghat and this Mumbai public transportation tour for more pictures and information. Suggested Length of Visit: 30 mins 4. Dharavi Slum
Have you seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire ? Some scenes were filmed here in Dharavi, which is known for being one of the world’s largest and densest slums. From what I understand, many tourists have wanted to visit Dharavi since watching that film, mainly to see the extent of the poverty there. If you’re one of those people, then don’t bother because poverty isn’t a tourist attraction.
But if you’d like to see another side to Dharavi, the side that generates up to 1 billion US dollars in annual revenue, then going on a guided tour with a resident may be of interest to you. I went on this Dharavi slum tour and it was one of the most interesting things I did in India. Check out my post on Dharavi for more pictures and information. Length of Tour: About 3 hours / Cost: INR 460 per person 5. Chor Bazaar
Chor Bazaar was another stop on our public transportation tour . It’s one of the largest flea markets in India and where you’ll find all kinds of new and used goods like antiques, mobile phones, clothing overruns, and automobile parts. Interestingly, Chor Bazaar in Hindi literally means “thieves’ bazaar” and is in reference to a violin that was once allegedly stolen from Queen Victoria. Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hours / Admission: USD 25 6. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (or CSMVS for short) is Mumbai’s preeminent cultural attraction. Located in the Kala Ghoda art district in the Fort area, it’s home to a large collection of paintings, sculptures, religious artifacts, weapons, and archaeological finds. As interesting as the museum’s collection is the building itself, which was designed by the same person who created the Gateway of India . Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hours / Admission: INR 500 7. Chowpatty Beach
Chowpatty beach is a pleasant stretch of beach located on one end of Marine Drive . I went on a food tour in Mumbai and we stopped here to have pav bhaji and enjoy the ocean view from one of its many beachside eateries. If you have some time to kill and want to get away from the chaos of Mumbai, then this is a good place to go.
Chowpatty beach is also the final resting place for an estimated 150,000 Lord Ganesh idols during Ganesh Chaturthi , a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Ganesha. I was lucky to be in Mumbai (and on this beach) for the festival and witnessed many idols being brought to the beach to be immersed in the Arabian Sea. Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hours / Admission: FREE THINGS TO DO 1. Explore the Fort / Colaba Areas
As described, I don’t think there’s a better place to stay for first-time visitors than the Fort and Colaba areas. It’s home to beautiful Gothic buildings the likes of which I haven’t seen anywhere else in Asia. It’s so interesting to see I found myself walking around with my neck craned most of the time. There are plenty of cool shops and cafes to discover here so if you have the time, then I suggest spending a morning or afternoon just aimlessly exploring the area. Estimated Time Needed: About half a day 2. Take a Stroll Along the Queen’s Necklace
I was surprised to learn that Mumbai has the second most Art Deco buildings in the world, many of which can be found along scenic Marine Drive. It’s referred as the Queen’s Necklace because of how it looks at night. From the sky, all the lights from the apartment buildings along crescent-shaped Marine Drive make it look like a woman’s shimmering necklace. If you’re a fan of Art Deco and/or the ocean, then you’re going to enjoy taking a stroll along Marine Drive.
If you’re feeling fit and have the time, then maybe you can walk the entire 3.6 km stretch all the way to Chowpatty Beach . Estimated Time Needed: About half a day 3. See the Dabawwalas in Action
The dabawwalas are lunchtime heroes. They’ve been delivering home-cooked lunches to Mumbai’s office workers for well over a hundred years. Known for their mind-boggling efficiency, it’s estimated that they make just one mistake in every 16 million deliveries.
The dabawwalas congregate outside Churchgate Station in South Mumbai every day during the work week before lunch. Churchgate station was the last stop on my public transportation tour , but you can go there on your own to catch them before they disperse to make their deliveries. Estimated Time Needed: About 30 mins 4. Eat Your Way Through Mumbai on a Food Tour
This was the main reason why I was in Mumbai, to document this food tour from our friends at A Chef’s Tour . A Chef’s Tour gives some of the best food tours and this one is no exception. You can check out my post on the Mumbai Secret Street Eats tour for more pictures and information.
If you don’t have the time to hunt down the best places to eat on your own, then it’s always a great idea to go on a food tour with a knowledgeable local. You can book this tour through A Chef’s Tour or Get Your Guide . Be sure to check both links as one or the other may be offering a discount. Length of Tour: About 4.5 hours / Cost: USD 59 5. Go on a Bollywood Tour
Even if we’ve never seen a Bollywood movie – and Slumdog Millionaire doesn’t count because it’s actually a British film – many of us have at least heard of it. It’s the world’s biggest movie industry in terms of film production and it’s based right here in Mumbai. In fact, “Bollywood” is a portmanteau word for “Bombay” and “Hollywood”.
I don’t know anything about Indian cinema, but even I would have loved to go on a Bollywood tour if I had more time in Mumbai. It’s become such a massive industry that even casual observers like myself would probably find it interesting. Plus, I like all the dancing.
You can book a Bollywood tour on Klook or Get Your Guide . I linked to Get Your Guide’s most highly-rated Bollywood tour but they actually offer a few variations, all of which you can view here . 6. Explore the Elephanta Caves
If you have enough time in Mumbai, then going on a day trip to Elephanta Island may be of interest to you. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Elephanta Caves are a collection of cave temples mostly dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Located about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) east of Mumbai, it takes around an hour to get there by ferry.
You can easily visit Elephanta Island on your own from Colaba jetty. You can purchase tickets from the MTDC office at the Gateway of India for INR 130-150. You can check wikitravel for more details.
If you’d rather go on a guided tour, then you can book one through Klook or Get Your Guide . I linked to Get Your Guide’s most popular tour but you can search through their list of Elephanta Cave tours to find the one that best suits you. Estimated Time Needed: About half a dayPHOTO: Vaikoovery [ CC BY 3.0 ] 7. Take a Cooking Class
Unfortunately, Ren didn’t come with me to India. When she does join me on a trip, we usually take a cooking class. We’ve taken cooking classes in Bali , Hoi An , Phuket , and Chiang Mai . It’s just a fun, hands on way of getting to know the local cuisine.
If you have a passion for Indian food like I do, then you may want to take an Indian cooking class . Cookly is an online booking platform that offers cooking classes in many cities around the world, including Mumbai. They’re basically a tour provider that focuses on cooking classes so in my opinion, there’s no better place to look for cooking classes than on Cookly. Unfortunately, they only have one in Mumbai right now but I do expect them to add more soon. Length and Cost of Cooking Class: VariesPictured borrowed from cookly.me WHERE TO EAT 1. Sanjay Singh Sandwichwala
This interesting veggie sandwich is quintessential Mumbai street food. It’s made with a medley of ingredients like beetroot, boiled potato, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, chaat masala, and mint chutney sandwiched between generously buttered slices of white bread that’s toasted in a metal clamp over coals. The toasted sandwich is drizzled with ketchup and served with a dollop of more chutney before being sliced into finger-friendly pieces. You can find sandwiches like this one all over the city but in the Fort area, one of the most popular is Sanjay Singh Sandwichwala. He’s been selling sandwiches near the corner of Kaikhushru Dubash Marg and Mahatma Gandhi Road in Kala Ghoda for almost 25 years. There’s no clear sign so just look for the sandwich stall with all the people around it. He sells hundreds of sandwiches every day so you’re sure to find a crowd gathered no matter what time of day. Expect to Pay: Expect to Spend: Around INR 25 per Bombay sandwich 2. Ashok Vada Pav
From the Bombay sandwich to the Bombay burger. Like the previous dish, the vada pav is a type of vegetarian sandwich consisting of a bread bun stuffed with an overflowing amount of deep-fried potato fritters, one or more chutneys, and different seasonings. It’s one of the city’s most beloved street food dishes and something I’d be happy to have on any trip to Mumbai. Ashok Vada Pav near Kirti College in Dadar has a reputation for serving some of the best vada pav in Mumbai. Judging from the pushy crowd gathered around its stall, it looks to be true. I had to wait over half an hour to get one vada pav simply because there were so many people competing for the next one. And many customers were getting four, five, six burgers to go! If you want to eat here, then you need to elbow some people in the head and be aggressive.
Ashok Vada Pav is in a pleasant tree-lined neighborhood though it’s not that easy to get to. The closest metro stop is Dadar station which is about a 20-minute walk from the stall. Gomantak Boarding House is near here so if you’re planning on having Bombay duck, then you can visit both places on the same trip. Expect to Spend: Around INR 20 per vada pav 3. Trishna
Mumbai is surrounded by the Arabian Sea so it’s not surprising to find great seafood here. Trishna is the city’s most famous seafood restaurant known for doing one dish exceptionally well – butter garlic crab. If you love crab like I do, then you need to eat here. It was succulent and absolutely delicious, especially when eaten with some freshly baked butter garlic naan. Trishna is located in the artsy Kala Ghoda neighborhood of Fort, South Mumbai. Expect to Spend: Around INR 2,500-3,000 for butter garlic crab 4. Hotel Deluxe
This place is located a few doors down from Hotel Flora Fountain so this was where I enjoyed my first meal in Mumbai. Hotel Deluxe isn’t actually a hotel, but a restaurant known for serving excellent Kerala thalis and sadhyas in Mumbai.
Technically, a thali is the round metal platter used to serve food, but the term is also used to refer to the actual meal served on that platter. Popular throughout India, it consists of a selection of various dishes that can be either vegetarian or meat-based, depending on where you are. What I had was the sadhya which is a meal of traditional vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf.
From what I understand, the main difference between a thali and a sadhya is the vessel on which it’s served – a metal plate vs a banana leaf. A sadhya is also specific to the southwestern state of Kerala and consists exclusively of vegetarian dishes. Hotel Deluxe is located in an alley about a 10-minute walk from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus . Expect to Spend: Around INR 200 for vegetarian thali 5. Gomantak Boarding House
Like Hotel Deluxe , Gomantak Boarding House isn’t actually a place of lodging, but a restaurant known for serving good thali meals. One of the thalis many people come for is the bombil or bombay duck fry thali, which isn’t a duck at all, but a type of lizardfish commonly eaten along the western coast of India. It’s especially popular in the state of Maharashtra so it’s a dish you should definitely try when in Mumbai.
The Bombay duck fry was exactly how I expected it. Crisp on the outside and buttery soft on the inside, it’s like a breaded, deep-fried fish fillet except it’s coated with a rice flour and semolina mixture. The bombil fry thali is served with two types of curry sauces, rice, and couple pieces of flatbread. As described, Gomantak Boarding House is relatively near Ashok Vada Pav in Dadar so you can visit both places on the same trip. You can take the metro to Dadar station and eat your way to both places. Expect to Spend: Around INR 250-300 per thali 6. Nariman Point Khau Galli
This last entry isn’t a single restaurant or stall but a collection of street food vendors. The term khau galli roughly translates to “food alley” and refers to any street with a sizeable cluster of street food stalls. I had this delicious masala dosa thali – which is a type of dosa filled with rice, lentils, potato, methi, and curry leaves – at Nariman Point Khau Galli near the southern end of Marine Drive . If you’re planning on walking the entire length of the Queen’s Necklace, then this khau galli is a good place to fill up your tank. There are plenty of eateries to choose from at Nariman Point Khau Galli, but I went with the dosa stall because it attracted the biggest crowd of people. When in doubt, always go where the locals go. Expect to Spend: Around INR 50-100 POINTS OF INTEREST IN MUMBAI
To make it easier for you to visualize where everything is, I’ve pinned all the places mentioned in this guide on this map. HOW TO GET AROUND
One of the reasons why Mumbai was my favorite city in India was because of its convenient and efficient railway system . It’s cheap, about INR 10-40 per single journey, and can take you pretty much anywhere you need to go in the city. Don’t be frightened by those viral social media videos showing hordes of people fighting to get on trains. They’re true but happen mostly at the busiest stations during peak times of the day like rush hour. I took the train often and found it to be very comfortable.
You shouldn’t need any other form of transport in Mumbai but if you need to take a taxi, then you can try ride-sharing apps like Uber or local competitor Ola first. People say they’re reliable but I tried Uber in Kolkata and had a tough time booking rides. Drivers would take forever to show up so I wound up canceling most rides and giving up on it altogether. It may be more reliable in Mumbai.
I’d take a taxi only as an absolute last resort. Not once did I hop into a taxi, tuk-tuk, or rickshaw anywhere in India without the driver trying to cheat me. It wore on me after a while so it’s not something I can recommend. HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / SAMPLE ITINERARY
Based on my experience, two full days should be enough to cover the major sights in Mumbai. Here’s a sample 2D/3N Mumbai itinerary to help you plan your trip. DAY ONE • Taj Mahal Palace and Tower • Dabawwalas at Churchgate Station
A Comfortable Stay
This is an excellent hotel. The room I had was spacious, with a king sized bed and was kept immaculately clean and well serviced by the housekeeping staff. I often bumped into them in the corridor and had quite a few friendly chats.nnThe hotel facilities were good, with a choice of three restaurants, of which I used mainly the Chutney Bar and restaurant, with mainly Indian cuisine, and Sakurs, serving a wide range of Japanese and Asian food. Both were very good, with friendly and helpful staff.nnOther facilities in the hotel include a spa, a pool, a craft shop and an art gallery.nnThroughout my stay of eight nights I found all members of the staff friendly, helpful and efficient.
Curry, cricket and community – the pillars of a life lost in Christchurch terrorist attack
Curry, cricket and community – the pillars of a life lost in Christchurch terrorist attack Dominic Harris 20:46, Mar 21 2019 Reddit supplied Mohammed Imran Khan – known as Imran Bhai – was a cricket-lover, a curry fanatic and “brave, hard-working and kind”, his friends and family said. Curry, cricket and community – those were the pillars, along with his family, around which Christchurch restaurant owner Mohammed Imran Khan built his life. Originally from the Indian city of Hyderabad, he made it his mission to bring the taste of his home town to New Zealand, in particular his speciality, a biryani. That signature curry dish, brought to the masses through his Edgeware takeaway restaurant Indian Grill, occasionally found its way to the stomachs of friends at the Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave, where he was a devout worshipper, living nearby. But Khan was praying at the Linwood mosque last Friday when he was killed with six others after a gunman opened fire during jumu’ah, the congregational prayer. Another died later at hospital. READ MORE: * Heroic worshippers tried to stop terror attacks at Christchurch mosques The 47-year-old leaves behind a wife and son, aged 15, along with aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings, many of whom have flown from around the world for his funeral in Christchurch. It is a second heartbreak for the family in less than six months, after Khan’s father died in November. DOMINIC HARRIS/STUFF Khaja Mohiuddin, left, and Mohammed Mubashir Khan, right, the friend and cousin of Khan, outside the Indian Grill restaurant he owned. “He was brave, hard-working, kind, he challenges many things,” his cousin Mohammed Mubashir Khan, who arrived from Chicago on Monday, told Stuff . “We have a lot of family over there but he is by himself with his family, his son, and had many plans. I never saw what he has here, but now I know that, that is the word ‘brave’. “I used to think, ‘how can he do this much by himself’, opening his store, managing staff, but when I saw it I thought, ‘oh, he actually did it’. I admired him.” Known to his friends as Imran Bhai, Khan opened the Makkah Mart halal butchery in December, also on Hills Rd, while his wife runs a cafe in St Albans. Khaja Mohiuddin is the head chef at the Indian Grill, where he has worked for the past six years after the pair met by chance in Ashburton, where Khan owned a previous restaurant, the Indian Minar. A fellow native of Hyderabad, the pair bonded over a shared love of good food and cricket. “He was very friendly,” Mohiuddin said. “He didn’t get close to new people, but if he got close you couldn’t say no to him. If you were friends you were really good friends with him.” DAVID WALKER/STUFF Eight people died at the mosque in Linwood Avenue during Friday’s terror attack. Khan worked incredibly hard to establish his businesses, working from 6am until nine at night, six days a week to support his family. “We were friends more than employer and employee. He wanted to sell biryani in Christchurch. Hyderabad cuisine is different from the rest of Indian cuisine, and we are well known for our biryani – if you ask Indian where you get a biryani they will name here.” But while curry drove his work life, cricket was his great love outside of his businesses. “If there was cricket he would leave anything just to watch it,” Mohiuddin said. “He was so mad on cricket. “If he found a cricket player who plays, he starts talking. If you know cricket well, he was your best friend – he would keep talking to you about cricket.” Mohiuddin was with Khan and two other friends at the Linwood mosque when the attack unfolded . It was during the second rak’ah, part of the prayers, that they heard the sound of what they thought were firecrackers. DOMINIC HARRIS/stuff Flowers and tributes laid were laid outside the Indian Grill, where Indians flocked from across Christchurch to taste Khan’s speciality biryani dish. But bullets came flying through the windows and within seconds Khan lay dead, his two other friends injured, each shot in the shoulder. Mohiuddin escaped unscathed after taking cover with others in an alcove off the main room, and mercifully the gunman did not reach them. “He was a good friend to me, I’m going to miss him a lot.” Khan’s family have been deeply touched by the response of people in New Zealand and the leadership shown by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. And the manner of his death – during prayers – has brought them some small measure of comfort ahead of his expected burial on Friday. “It brings a sense of calm a much as possible that when he was taken away he was in the best state that he can be,” his cousin said. “He was praying to his God.” Stuff
How McDonald’s laid the foundation of Cremica’s business, Akshay Bector tells: INTERVIEW
How McDonald’s laid the foundation of Cremica’s business, Akshay Bector tells: INTERVIEW By: Prachi Gupta | Updated: March 21, 2019 12:14 PM Cremica’s Akshay Bector talks to Financial Express Online about the evolution of mayonnaise as poor man’s food, his take on the current government, Cremica’s latest stint with Jubilant Food Works and why Kellogg’s cannot acquire Haldiram’s. McDonald’s has laid the foundation of this business, said Akshay Bector.
Cremica’s Managing Director Akshay Bector is the second generation entrant in the business started by his mother Rajni Bector. Cremica recently launched new products in bar syrup and salad dressings category. Akshay Bector talks to Financial Express Online about the evolution of mayonnaise as poor man’s food, his take on the current government, Cremica’s latest stint with Jubilant Food Works and why Kellogg’s cannot acquire Haldiram’s.
Here are edited excerpts of Akshay Bector’s conversation with Prachi Gupta:
Cremica started as ice cream manufacturers and now has several business operations. What are your views on Cremica’s growth?
Originally the business started as a hobby and it was initially a joint venture with Quaker oats, to be a supplier to McDonald’s. In 20 odd years, the business has grown its wings into the market to become number one producer of mayonnaise and perhaps third largest producer of tomato ketchup in India. The business has consistently grown over 20% for the last maybe 20 years.
You brought up the name of McDonald’s in between. Do you think McDonald’s had a role in your success?
McDonald’s has laid the foundation of this business. The original business was only for McDonald’s. Our work for it was empirical like development of vegetable mayonnaise and Indianization of the menu. We have done a path-breaking work, early on.
We had our first partnership with Quaker oats but then it got sold. All in all, McDonald’s laid the foundation and we are very grateful for that.
Tell us something about the new product launch?
Syrups is the big launch of this year. We have tied up with Maison Routin– oldest manufacturers of fine syrups in France. They have been in the business since 1883. Bonheur, the syrup which we are launching, brings the best of French expertise tailor made for Indian market.
Sugarlite salad dressing is the second new launch. We have developed new flavours like Roasted Sesame, Balsamic, Russian etc. A total of 14 new dressings have been launched.
What about the competition from other salad dressing brands such as Veeba, Dr Oetker, Fun Food etc?
We don’t agree with the product design of the competitors. Our product has done better on the health side. We have ensured Omega balance which is a new thing in town.We are just using good ingredients in the right ratio, nothing extraordinary.
While major foreign food brands have been trying to bring Indian flavours to market, Cremica has introduced salad dressings in international flavours. Why is that?
Salad is not a local habit. There are some of the dressings which do have ethnic orientation. We have Indian Vinaigrette, there is a mint dressing as well. We are just trying to see what will work with the Indian palette.
Take for example, Chinese is the number 2 cuisine in India. Today we are all a product of the world and Indian customers are looking to explore. It is about creating a menu and whatever a housewife needs, she should be able to get.
Do you think salad dressings have actually made way in the Indian household?
There is an upwardly mobile society. So we are positioning the product across the whole spectrum. For example, when we started Mayonnaise product, it was only for the upper section of the society. Today, mayonnaise has become a part of our day to day tiffin.
Are you saying that India is a potential market for salad dressings?
Just like mayonnaise which is now available in B and C class outlets, all these products started as premium segment products. Currently, we are testing this product in the HORECA. If it does well in the HORECA side, then we will be able to know.
Are you launching the product in international market as well?
We at Cremica are pure play domestic market. We have moved from cities to rural areas. There is a lot of work to be done.
How big is the market?
We are expecting mayonnaise market alone to be 10,000 crore in 20 years.
But 20 years are too distant.
I can tell you that the per capita consumption of mayonnaise in Punjab is Rs 5 per head per month.
That doesn’t seem like a big number…
That corresponds to a sale of Rs 600-700 crore per month today, nationally. It is becoming a mass food. It is becoming poor man’s food.
Are you going to tie up with foreign brands such as Subway?
We deal with almost everybody. McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Cafe Coffee Day, Barista, Costa, and Starbucks.
We have also worked with Jubilant Food Works in development of their Chinese sauces for the new launch of Hong’s kitchen.
Where do you see the company heading? What next?
In two years time, we will touch a turnover of about Rs 700 crore.
Our Food Park in Una, HP is going to enable new entry in new products because the infrastructure is ready.
The next thing that will happen will be about Opera chips. We are looking forward to have an aggressive growth in this segment. So, the snack food category will also be growing.
Are you saying that you will be taking this product to every section of society? Just like Lays is everywhere?
We will be everywhere. That’s mass market but we are not going to get into that. Opera is for slightly evolved cafes. They can’t serve Lays as the side chips. That is the positioning that Opera has taken. At places, Opera holds 30% of the category. Even we were surprised by that number. Who eats Opera, eats Opera.
What do you think of the changes that the current government has brought in business?
What this government has done in five years, I am yet to see another govt which can do this. They have worked without batting an eyelid. Occasional hurts are a part of the game. All governments will have to be like them. They don’t have a choice now. I think the country is changing.
Obstacles and challenges you face?
I think the only thing that hurts Indian economy today is the competition regulator. They are not very watchful. Equity needs to be disciplined because companies are gonna come from abroad and place a lot of money in Indian market. Govt is losing revenue, Indian entrepreneurs are losing revenue. The competition commission needs to be like Telecom regulatory. At least TRAI is active, the competition authority of India is inactive, he is never heard of.
There was a recent news that Kellogg’s might be acquiring Haldiram’s. What do you think of that?
I think multinational brands are not that important to Indian market. In rural India, people know about let’s say Kissan, Maggi and Cremica. They don’t know Kellog’s. These are the kind of engagements that make a brand. Someone coming from abroad and bringing a brand is of no use.
Bonheur is a different product line? Why is it so?
We didn’t want our Cremica name in bars. That’s why a different line of product. We are still a little conscious about that. My customer is from the kitchen.
Your family business was divided among you and your siblings. Is there any competition?
We have been on a very good term.
Out On the Town: D.C. arts and entertainment highlights — March 21-27
BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER
Director Jamie Babbit’s satirical take on the “ex-gay” movement was light-years ahead of its time. Not that Cheerleader lacks for silliness and camp. RuPaul stars out of drag as a counselor at “True Directions,” where cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is sent to correct her budding lesbianism. Cathy Moriarty chews the scenery — colored in gender-reinforcing garish pinks and blues — as the camp director. Despite a few heavy-handed moments, Cheerleader ‘s raucous romp proves that one of the best ways to tear apart a movement that aims to “change” us is one of the easiest — simply laughing at them. Screens on Monday, March 25, at 9 p.m. at the cozy Suns Cinema, 3107 Mount Pleasant St. NW. Tickets are $13.41 including service fee. Part of the Screen Queen series. Visit www.sunscinema.com .
Seattle-based filmmaker Will Braden ( Le Chat Noir ) has assembled an all-new, 70-minute program that’s a fancy feast for cat lovers, chock-full of cat videos both popular as well as new and undiscovered. CatVideoFest, a compilation of shorts culled from hours of unique submissions and sourced animations, music videos, and Internet classics, is styled as a communal experience where feline fanatics can bond over cute cat cinema and learn more about cats in need in D.C. and beyond. Friday, March 29, at 7:45 p.m., and Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31, at 11 a.m. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13 general admission. Call 301-495-6720 or visit afi.com/Silver .
DIANA ROSS: HER LIFE, LOVE, AND LEGACY
On the very night the Supreme pop diva turns 75, Fathom Events offers screenings at theaters nationwide of Steve Binder’s live concert documentary Diana Ross: Live in Central Park , recorded in 1983 but not released until 2012. For this anniversary presentation, the director and the diva have added never-before-seen footage, plus messages from the Ross family, including sons Ross and Evan and daughters Rhonda and Chudney, with a passionate introduction by Golden Globe Award-winning Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross. The screenings are part of series of “Diamond Diana Celebration” events. Wednesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at area Regal venues including Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Ballston Common (671 N. Glebe Road). Encore screenings come Friday, March 28, at 7 p.m. at area AMC venues, including Hoffman Center (206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria) and Columbia Mall (10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Maryland). Tickets are $13.25. Visit www.fathomevents.com .
Alan Parker’s 1980 musical captured the rigors of making it in a high school for the performing arts. It’s a stunning film, not least for Irene Cara’s exuberant take on the movie’s title song in a joyous lunchroom dance scene. It returns to the big screen as part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, March 27, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m. 2301 M St. NW. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com .
QUENTIN TARANTINO RETROSPECTIVE
This weekend, Smithsonian Theaters celebrates the brilliant, twisted mind of Tarantino by screening several of his most influential works at the National Museum of American History. Thursday, March 21, features a Pulp Fiction party starting at 6:30 p.m. followed by a screening of the 1994 classic starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman at 8:15 p.m. Jackie Brown screens Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m. Kill Bill Volume 1 and Volume 2 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, and Inglorious Basterds at 9:25 p.m., all screen on Saturday, March 23. Django Unchained at 5 p.m. and The Hateful Eight at 8 p.m. conclude the festival on Sunday, March 24. The Warner Bros. Theater, 1300 Constitution Ave. NW. A Grateful Eight Film Package is $64, or $99 with Pulp Fiction Party; single tickets are $15.50 with fees. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.si.edu/imax .
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Fathom Events presents one of the most beloved films of all time: Horton Foote’s evocative adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, directed by Robert Mulligan. Both screenwriter Foote and actor Gregory Peck won Oscars for the 1962 drama, focused on the iconic character of Atticus Finch, a Depression-era Southern lawyer who courageously defends a black man against a false charge of rape. Part of the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classic series, To Kill A Mockingbird is presented with pre- and post-screening insights by TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz. Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m., and Wednesday, March 27, at 12 and 7 p.m. Area theaters including Regal venues at Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Ballston Common (671 N. Glebe Road). Tickets are $13.25. Visit www.fathomevents.com .
WOMEN DIRECTORS FILM FESTIVAL: VISIONARIES, THEN AND NOW
On Saturday, March 30, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presents a free, all-day film festival highlighting visionary works by female directors. The festival kicks off at noon with an introduction by Saisha Grayson, the museum’s curator of time-based media arts, and the film program Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers , which features a handful of short films from the Kino Lorber collection: Alice Guy Blaché’s Falling Leaves (1912), Lois Weber’s Suspense (1913), Lule Warrenton’s When Little Lindy Sang (1916), and Zora Neale Hurston’s Child’s Play (1929), plus Lita Lawrence’s recently rediscovered Motherhood: Life’s Greatest Miracle (1925), which stands as the earliest surviving feature directed by an African-American woman and also an exceptionally rare example of a silent film addressing the then-taboo topics of birth control and abortion. Cynthia Fuchs of George Mason University and Lynanne Schweighofer from the Library of Congress join Grayson for a post-screening discussion. The festival continues with an afternoon “Envisioning Diaspora” program, pairing Trinh T. Minh-ha’s documentary Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) with Tiffany Chung’s short, split-screen video work The great simplicity thousands of years before and after (2012), followed by a discussion with Grayson and Yu-Min Claire Chen of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. comes the festival’s final program, centered around a screening of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991), a film about Gullah women from South Carolina’s Lowcountry that became the first feature directed by an African-American woman to gain general theatrical release in the U.S. A post-screening discussion with Grayson, Christina Sharpe of York University, and the Virginia mixed-media artist Martha Jackson Jarvis concludes the program and the festival. McEvoy Auditorium, Lower Level, 8th and F Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.americanart.si.edu . Hands on a Hardbody — Photo: Cameron Whitman STAGE
BLOOD AT THE ROOT
A black student disrupts the status quo at her high school merely by venturing into an area typically occupied by white students, unintentionally provoking an uptick in hate speech, violence, and chaos. Playwright Dominique Morisseau was inspired by the Jena Six, the black teenagers who were reflexively condemned and excessively charged after a 2006 altercation with a white student turned brutal in their Louisiana small-town. Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell, Theater Alliance’s production features choreography by Tiffany Quinn and an 11-person cast including Molly Shayna Cohen, Billie Krishawn, Emmanuel Kyei-Baffour, Deimoni Brewington, Paul Roeckell, and Stephanie Wilson. Blood at the Root is touted as a moving, lyrical, and bold examination of the complexities of race and individual freedoms, as well as the link between justice and identity. To March 24. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $40 to $50 and half-off during previews. Call 202-241-2539 or visit www.theateralliance.com .
A rollicking rumination on opulence, inequity, and teeny-tiny desserts, this 45-minute immersive experience from Third Rail Projects includes exclusive access to the magnificent Paster and Sedgwick-Bond Reading Rooms in the Folger Shakespeare Library. On top of that, as the performance winds its way through massive and ornate spaces, theatergoers are invited to savor bite-sized delights designed by local pâtissiers. Presented in conjunction with the Folger’s current exhibition First Chefs (see separate entry under Arts & Exhibits). To March 24. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $40 to $60. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu .
DINNER WITH FRIENDS
A Pulitzer Prize-winning modern dramedy from Donald Margulies challenging everyday presumptions about the people we think we know is brought to life at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre in a 20th-anniversary production helmed by founding artistic director Vincent M. Lancisi. In the deliciously funny, sharply observed Dinner with Friends , two couples find themselves grappling with questions of loyalty, individuality, and commitment over dinner as one wife drops the bomb that her husband wants out of their 12-year marriage. The four-person cast features Megan Anderson, Danny Gavigan, Beth Hylton and M. Scott McLean. Now to April 7. Everyman Theatre, 315 West Fayette St. Baltimore. Tickets are $43 to $65. Call 410-752-2208 or visit www.everymantheatre.org .
HANDS ON A HARDBODY
Keegan Theatre presents the regional premiere of a recent Broadway show featuring music written by Phish’s Trey Anastasio and lyricist Amanda Green ( Bring It On: The Musical ), with a book by Doug Wright. Based on a real-life competition, captured in a 1997 documentary of the same name, Hands on a Hardbody focuses on ten Texans struggling to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck in order to win it. Elena Velasco and Mark A. Rhea direct the Keegan production featuring a large, 19-member ensemble, with Jake Null directing an eight-piece pit orchestra. Now to April 6. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $52 to $62. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com .
A few months after its debut at Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage offers another chance to see the latest work by Paula Vogel, which tells the story of a group of artists who risked their careers to perform Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance on Broadway in 1923. The work was deemed “indecent” for tackling taboo themes of censorship, immigration, and anti-Semitism — but especially for depicting romance blooming between two women. Eric Rosen directs a cast that includes Ben Cherry, Susan Lynskey, John Milosich, and Max Wolkowitz. To March 31. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $74. Call 410-332-0033 or visit www.centerstage.org .
MASTERPIECES OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY Holly Twyford, Felicia Curry, and Yesenia Iglesias star in Heather McDonald’s drama as three women trapped in a ravaged museum during a catastrophic hundred years war. Nadia Tass directs a world premiere at Signature Theatre that comes as part of the Heidi Thomas Writers’ Initiative, a multi-year commitment to presenting works by female playwrights with female directors. The play sees the three women, including an art restorer and her military captor, struggling for common shreds of humanity as they try to save a small symbol of beauty in their broken world. To April 7. The Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org .
NEXT STOP: NORTH KOREA
A one-man show that promises to take theatergoers “as close as possible to North Korea without leaving their seats,” Next Stop: North Korea is based on playwright/performer John Feffer’s visits to and work in the Kim Jong Un-run communist country, exploring the challenges of doing good in a morally ambiguous environment. A foreign policy expert at the Institute for Policy Studies, Feffer has performed his previous one-man shows at Capital Fringe and other festivals, and also garnered a solo performance award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2016. He’s directed in Next Stop: North Korea by established local theater artist Angela Kay Pirko of Nu Sass Productions. Weekends to March 24. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 202-462-7833 or visit www.dcartscenter.org .
Olney Theatre presents the American premiere of a work called “scorchingly ambitious” by The Guardian from one of the U.K.’s fastest-rising playwrights, Ella Hickson. A genre-busting work full of theatricality, big ideas, and deeply personal emotions, Oil follows mothers and daughters over two centuries, from the dawn of the age of oil in 1889 to the demise of the “peak-oil” era sometime in the not-too-distant future. Tracy Brigden directs a work featuring five separate but connected playlets, with a cast including Catherine Eaton, Megan Graves, Sarah Corey, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Chris Genebach, and Tuyet Thi Pham. To March 31. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Tickets are $40 to $84. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org .
Solas Nua, the D.C.-based company focused on presenting and producing contemporary theater and performing arts from Ireland, imports this touching, challenging Olivier Award-winning one-man show from Dublin’s new play company Fishamble. Written and performed by Pat Kinevane, Silent focuses on a homeless man who dives into his splendid past through the romantic world of Rudolph Valentino. “Dare to laugh at despair and gasp at redemption,” goes one tagline to the work, which raises awareness of homelessness in a way that the New York Times critic Ben Brantley reviewed as “passionate [and] carefully wrought,” further praising the way “Kinevane interprets Valentino’s highly theatrical screen presence to stunning effect.” Remaining performances are Thursday, March 21, through Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 24, at 3 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org .
THE DOYLE AND DEBBIE SHOW / PUFFS
The eccentric Landless Theatre Company returns with two shows staged in repertory at the District of Columbia Arts Center. There’s Bruce Arnston’s parody The Doyle and Debbie Show , which simultaneously lampoons and idolizes country music’s tradition of iconic duos and their subsequent battle of the sexes, starring Andrew Lloyd Baughman and Karissa Swanigan-Upchurch and directed by John Sadowsky ( Gutenberg! The Musical! ). And then there’s Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic , Matt Cox’s tale of those who just happened to attend Wizard School at the same time as a certain boy wizard, dedicated to “anyone who has never been destined to save the world.” To March 30. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit www.dcartscenter.org . Jewish Queen Lear — Photo: C. Stanley
THE JEWISH QUEEN LEAR
Mirele Efros is a wealthy widow and clever businesswoman whose children turn against her, causing a fall of Shakespearean proportions. Wildly successful at the turn of the 20th century and considered a masterpiece of Yiddish theater, Theater J presents Jacob Gordin’s play in a new English translation by Nahma Sandrow. Adam Immerwahr directs a large cast including Tonya Beckman, Valerie Leonard, Alana Dodds Sharp, Charlie Trepany, Christopher Warren, and Frank X. To April 7. The Gonda Theatre, Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center, 3700 O St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $70. Call 202-777-3210 or visit www.theaterj.org .
THE JOSHUA SHOW
Billed as “a modern-day Mr. Rogers with hipster appeal” and heralded as one of “20 Theatre Workers You Should Know” by American Theatre magazine, Joshua Holden is a theatrical triple-threat with serious physical comedy and puppetry expertise honed per the national tour of Avenue Q , among other stage ventures. Holden shows off his skills, which extend to tap dancing, in a one-man show featuring an eclectic cast of puppet characters — kept close at hand. Musician Jeb Colwell accompanies Holden on the touring show with appeal for the whole family that has touched down all over the country, including a run at New York’s Lincoln Center. Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m. Alden Theatre at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., Mclean, Va. Tickets are $15. Call 703-790-0123 or visit www.mcleancenter.org .
WSC Avant Bard presents the tragicomedy about two African-American brothers-in-struggle that earned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks a Pulitzer Prize 17 years ago. Jeremy Keith Hunter, a regular at Mosaic Theater, takes on the role of older brother Lincoln, a grifter-gone-straight, while Louis E. Davis, previously seen in Avant Bard’s King Lear , plays the younger brother Booth, seeking to become the greatest con man of all time. DeMone Seraphin directs. To April 14. Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $40. Call 703-418-4804 or visit www.wscavantbard.org . Meow Meow MUSIC
This star sitar player has gone from being the protégée of her legendary father, Ravi Shankar, to the world music adventurer nearly as famous as her half-sister, Norah Jones. Shankar returns to D.C. and the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue for a pair of Washington Performing Arts concerts reprising her packed-house performances in spring of 2017 of a program devoted to North Indian classical music, as well as jazz, pop, flamenco, and more. Saturday, March 23, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org .
CONGRESSIONAL CHORUS: JAZZ HOT!
The local music organization presents its popular annual cabaret featuring 90 singers and dancers celebrating the best in 20th-century jazz, from ragtime to bebop. Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW. Tickets are $19 to $49. Call 202-347-2635 or visit www.congressionalchorus.org .
A master of both the upright and electric bass, Seppa has worked as a sideman for many of the top jazz and R&B acts, including the Impressions, Raul Midón, Warren Wolf, and Sharon Clark. Seppa gets a chance to showcase his own jazz fusion sound, which draws from R&B, hip-hop, gospel, Latin, and African music, in two performances at the Mansion at Strathmore as part of a series featuring the 2019 class of the organization’s esteemed program Artists in Residence. Grammy-nominated Christylez Bacon, The Voice contestant Owen Danoff, and Prince- and Stevie Wonder-collaborator Frédéric Yonnet are just three of the 80-plus young musicians who have been mentored through the program since 2005. Wednesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. The Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $17. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org .
The singer-songwriter, who long ago made Massachusetts her home base, has produced an eclectic, experimental repertoire over the past two decades, but her music is always tuneful, with strong melodies and clever lyrics expressed through a sweet, beguiling voice. McKeown will no doubt touch on her work in musical theater, perhaps giving a sneak peek at the Great American Songbook-styled songs she’s developing for Terrarium Behaviour — a work-in-progress musical in which “power, gender, and ecology do battle in the humble little jar we know as a terrarium.” Certainly she’ll perform from Miss You Like Hell , her musical collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes ( Water by the Spoonful ), whose Off Broadway run last year starred Daphne Rubin-Vega ( Rent ) and garnered five Drama Desk nominations, including best lyrics, music, and orchestration. Perhaps she’ll even perform a song or two from 2013’s Manifestra , her pointed yet playful, politically oriented album — which closed with “Baghdad to the Bayou,” a song co-written with her friend, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Whatever she chooses, expect a wide-ranging show and showcase of her prodigious talents. Sunday, March 31, at 2 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $17 day of show. Call 703-255-3747 or visit www.jamminjava.com .
FOLGER CONSORT: TASTE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
Folger’s celebrated early music ensemble performs Renaissance music from 16th-century Spain and Italy, a concert mixing lyrical Spanish villançicos and Italian frottole with instrumental works such as lively dances and dimunitions from Italy as well as some of the great wind band repertoire from Spain. Soprano Jessica Beebe and wind ensemble Piffaro, The Renaissance Band are featured musicians joining the Consort’s co-founders Robert Eisenstein on viol and Christopher Kendall on lute. The program is presented in conjunction with the current culinary-focused Folger exhibition ( see First Chefs entry under Art & Exhibits ) and the institution-wide project Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures . Performances are Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 30, at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 31, at 2 and 5 p.m. Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $42. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu .
Joshua Vogelsong is well known around town via his drag alter-ego Donna Slash — and as the lead singer of LGBTQ band Homosuperior, both of which — the “punk rock Divine” and the punk rock band — he developed hand in hand. “The band is everywhere on the spectrum of queer,” says Vogelsong, who, depending on “how I feel and how much time we have,” occasionally performs as Joshua. “It’s always been about blurring the lines, and having fun with sexuality and gender…. Sometimes you feel more feminine. Sometimes you feel more butch and just wanna get up there without any makeup on.” The four-piece Homosuperior returns to Comet Ping Pong, where Vogelsong serves as bar and programming manager, to headline a show with two opening acts from Baltimore, HexGirlfriends and Wipeout. Friday, March 29, at 10 p.m. 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-364-0404 or visit www.cometpingpong.com .
In a career spanning over two decades, the lesbian country/folk artist has had her songs covered by everyone from Jimmy Buffett (“Wheel Inside The Wheel”) and Blake Shelton (“I Drink”) to Bettye LaVette (“Worthy”) and Candi Staton (“Mercy Now”). A native of New Orleans now based in Nashville, Gauthier returns to the area for an intimate concert supporting her powerful Grammy-nominated concept album Rifles & Rosary Beads , a collection of 11 deeply personal songs that she co-wrote with U.S. veterans and their families. Jaimee Harris opens. Sunday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. City Winery DC, 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $22. Call 202-250-2531 or visit www.citywinery.com .
MEOW MEOW WITH THOMAS LAUDERDALE
Born Melissa Madden Gray in Australia, the post-post-modern diva with the catty moniker comes to town to perform a cabaret accompanied by Lauderdale, best known as the gay founder and leader of Pink Martini, the quirky, self-styled 12-member “little orchestra” from Portland, Oregon. You could consider this a campy cocktail cabaret of the first order. It also serves as a teaser for a forthcoming new Meow Meow recording. And if past is prologue, expect a surprise cameo if a certain NPR celebrity and frequent Pink Martini guest happens to be in the crowd. Monday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-888-0050 or visit www.thelincolndc.com .
NATIONAL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE: THE VIENNESE CLASSICS
Founding Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky leads a program featuring works by Vienna-based giants of the Classical Era. The concert includes Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major “Gypsy,” Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 32 in B Flat Major , and Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 70 “Ghost” . Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. Theatre 1 in Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $36, including post-performance reception. Call 703-276-6701 or visit www.nationalchamberensemble.org .
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: A TRIBUTE TO LOUIS ARMSTRONG
Byron Stripling’s electrifying and heartfelt tribute to Armstrong, “Sounds of New Orleans,” is billed as one of today’s most popular orchestral pops program. The virtuosic jazz trumpeter next performs from the Satchmo songbook bolstered by Strathmore’s resident orchestra led by Piotr Gajewski. Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $39 to $79. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org . Four Bitchin Babes
THE FOUR BITCHIN’ BABES
Sally Fingerett, comedic singer Deirdre Flint, and former The Hags singer Debi Smith are more than 25 years into their run as a comedic music ensemble, always performing as a quartet, with the fourth performer in regular rotation among Nancy Moran, founding Babe Megon McDonough, or Christine Lavin — who assumes the mantle for 2019. In an interview with Metro Weekly several years ago, Smith summed up the Babes’ songwriting and performing, “We look at life, as it’s happening, usually in a comedic way — [and] through a wacky viewfinder.” A taste of what’s on offer can be found in the title of their most recent show, Hormonal Imbalance v2.5: A Mood Swinging Musical Revue . Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com .
THE IN SERIES: LA PALOMA-AT THE WALL
“La Verbena de la Paloma,” the most famous and beloved Spanish zarzuela , is given new life in a bold reimagining presented by the In Series and set on the Tijuana side of the border between Mexico and the U.S. Nick Olcott directs a work from writer Anna Deeny Morales and composer Ulises Eliseo (based on classic melodies of zarzuela composers, foremost among them Tomás Bretón y Hernández), with Mexican folk dance choreography by Alejandro Gongora, performed by Corazon Folklorico DC, an ensemble inspired by Mexican son jarocho music. Performances begin Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. To March 31. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $45. Call 202-234-7174 or visit www.inseries.org .
WHITE FORD BRONCO
Cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, people just can’t seem to get enough of this local ’90s-era party band. Playing through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music is a five-member ensemble consisting of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. White Ford Bronco seems to turn up at a different local venue practically every other week, though it’s always a bit more exciting and noteworthy when booked at the city’s prestige halls, such as the Hamilton. Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m. 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com .
Raised by blind parents in Pittsburgh who valued playing music as a key way to engage and communicate, William Fitzsimmons’ folk music as a professional singer-songwriter is as expressive and richly orchestrated as you might expect from that sort-of upbringing, akin to Iron & Wine or Sufjan Stevens. But it’s also dramatically colored by years of training and work as a counselor and therapist, with lyrics often exploring complicated issues, such as the personal and psychological effects of divorce and mental health. Case in point, Fitzsimmons’ newest album, Mission Bell , tells the painful — yet healing — story of his decade-long marriage and recent separation from his wife. The set is further embellished by amped-up sounds from synthesizers, electric guitars, and drum loops. Wednesday, March 27. Doors at 6 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $20. Call 877-987-6487 or visit www.unionstage.com . Golden Dragon Acrobats DANCE
DEMO: NOW BY DAMIAN WOETZEL
The former New York City Ballet principal dancer turned director/choreographer/producer as well as president of The Juilliard School curates and hosts a program featuring some of today’s most creative voices in dance and music. Part of the Kennedy Center’s Direct Current series, the one-night-only concert features a world premiere by John Heginbotham (choreographer of Broadway’s forthcoming new production of Oklahoma! ) set on dancers of Dance Heginbotham accompanied by the Juilliard String Quartet. The program also brings together in new collaborations composer Caroline Shaw, dancers Patricia Delgado and Caleb Teicher, Hamilton musical director and pianist Kurt Crowley, poet Sarah Kay, and pianist Joel Wenhardt. Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $39 to $49. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org .
GOLDEN DRAGON ACROBATS
Regarded as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company, the Golden Dragons, led by world-renowned impresario Danny Chang and choreographer Angela Chang, combine award-winning high-flying stunts as well as traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques. The result is a display of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty. Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $22 to $27. Call 301-600-2828 or visit www.weinbergcenter.org .
VINCENT E. THOMAS/VTDANCE: IN THE COMPANY OF…MOVING DIALOGUES
Building on last year’s In The Company of Men , in which an all-male cast performed a wide-ranging program exploring themes of masculinity, life, love, social awareness, and humanness, VTDance next aims to surprise and entice audiences with new works and collaborations featuring guest performers Runqiao Du, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Love the Poet, and Michael Sakamoto. Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 30, at 3 p.m. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 410-752-8558 or visit www.theatreproject.org . Las Culturistas Podcast COMEDY
LAS CULTURISTAS PODCAST: THE I DON’T THINK SO, HONEY! TOUR
Time Out New York has called this popular weekly podcast “addictively bitchy,” while Esquire and Vulture included it among their lists of Best Podcasts of 2019 and Best Comedy Podcasts of 2018, respectively. Gay Millennial hosts Matt Rogers, a regular with New York improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, and Bowen Yang, a writer for Saturday Night Live , bring Las Culturistas to life in a stop in D.C., presented by Union Stage at Capitol Hill’s historic Miracle Theatre, where a parade of comedians and performers will sound off in one-minute rants on any popular culture topics of their choosing. Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 p.m. 535 8th St. SE. Tickets are $20. Call 202-400-3210 or visit www.themiracletheatre.com .
NOVEL COMEDY: THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
Subtitled “The American Art of Laughing about Failed Attempts to be Marie Kondo,” the latest show from this literary-themed, bookstore-centric comedy organization —“just like your book club, but run by comedians”— features professional funny people from the area riffing on the celebrity self-help guru du jour. The goal is to present “a unique comedy show where we relive our favorite Marie Kondo moments, confess if we actually followed the KonMari method, and challenge audience members in clothing folding competitions.” Bonus: The bookstore and especially a bar serving boozy beverages will be open throughout. Saturday, March 23. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Solid State Books, 600 H St. NE. Tickets are $7.08 including fees. Call 897-4201 or visit www.solidstatebooksdc.com .
THE SECOND CITY: IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME
Netflix has nothing on the kind of off-the-cuff, in-your-face, interactive entertainment you can only experience at a live improv show. That’s particularly true when in the hands of this legendary sketch comedy group, which the New York Times has called “The Harvard of Comedy” and which counts among its famous alumni Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Gilda Radner. It’s Not You, It’s Me is the latest improvised show, featuring a cast of expert improvisers including Terrence Carey, Sarah Dell’Amico, Ben Larrison, Asia Martin, Olivia Nielsen, and Griffin Wenzler, with music director Stuart Mott. Remaining performances are Thursday, March 21, through Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, March 23, at 7 and 10 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit www.wolftrap.org .
WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: FIST 2019
WIT’s popular, month-long Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament is an elimination tourney in which audiences vote to decide the teams of improvers deserving to advance to the championship. The 13th Annual FIST features a grand total of 44 matches grouped into six rounds, with two matches every day — and four on Sundays. A sampling of the team names competing in the opening weekend: Glass Ceiling, Presidential Pals, Love Language, Roll Tide, Confess!, Sheathes, Roommate Love, Bombo Buntcakes, and Ramen Hood. Runs to final round on April 1. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets start at $15 to $30. Call 202-204-7760 or visit witdc.org . READINGS
The former president of Planned Parenthood and daughter of late Texas Governor Ann Richards shares her story of a lifetime fighting for social justice and women’s rights in a best-selling memoir. A year after its initial release, Richards returns for another discussion the day after her Make Trouble: Stand Up, Speak Out, and Find the Courage to Lead is issued in paperback with a new Afterword from the author proposing a Women’s Declaration of Independence, as well as a new movement to transform our politics. U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois), the youngest African-American woman to serve in the House, moderates the discussion. Note: There will not be a book signing, though pre-signed books will be for sale. Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $30 including one book, or $45 for two tickets and one book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org .
JENNIFER L. EBERHARDT
A professor of psychology at Stanford University regarded as one of the foremost experts on unconscious racial bias shows in her new book, Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do , which draws on research as well as experience, that you don’t have to be racist to be biased. In fact, no matter how fervently we believe in equality, we’re pretty much all biased to one degree or another. Eberhardt illustrates how bias affects representations and interactions in the media, education, and business. And knowledge and awareness is at least half the battle: Eberhardt argues that the biases holding us back may be hard-wired but they’re not immutable, and can be eradicated by working together. Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit www.politics-prose.com .
ROOTS & BRANCHES: AN EVENING OF QUEER MEMOIR
Jen Deerinwater moderates a reading and discussion at the DC Center for the LGBTQ Community featuring queer memoirists Victoria Stubbs, Tyler Mendelsohn, Anthony Moll, and Joe Braxton. Cheese and wine will even be provided at this free, public event presented by Outwrite, the Center organization that oversees the annual LGBTQ literary festival. Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. 2000 14th St. NW. Free, but RSVP requested. Call 202-682-2245 or visit www.thedccenter.org .
YES SHE CAN: 10 STORIES OF HOPE & CHANGE FROM YOUNG FEMALE STAFFERS OF THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE
Next weekend, the East City Bookshop presents a discussion with three of the 10 female Millennials who contributed first-person essays to the newly published book Yes We Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House . The discussion features Nita Contreras, who was Assistant Staff Secretary during Obama’s last year in office, Kalisha Dessources Figures, a policy advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Taylor Lustig, an advisor to the Domestic Policy Council. Saturday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-290-1636 or visit www.eastcitybookshop.com . REDdress Project — By Katherine Fogden ART & EXHIBITS
EYE TO I: SELF-PORTRAITS FROM 1900 TO TODAY
Despite its title, this is not an exhibition celebrating the everyday selfie but rather notable, high-quality self-portraits from American artists drawn primarily from the National Portrait Gallery’s vast collection — and the concluding exhibition in the Smithsonian museum’s series celebrating its 50th anniversary. Elaine de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Diego Rivera, Roger Shimomura, and Martin Wong are among the artists represented in this display of more than 75 works examining the range of ways artists have chosen to portray themselves. Through Aug. 18. 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu .
FIRST CHEFS: FAME AND FOODWAYS FROM BRITAIN TO THE AMERICAS
The named and unnamed heroes of British and American farms, plantations, kitchens, and markets over the past several centuries are given the spotlight in the latest exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library, focused on eating and drinking in the early modern British world. First Chefs identifies five such pioneers by name: chorister-cum-farmer Thomas Tusser, author of a how-to agriculture guide that circulated for over two centuries; Robert May, who adapted French recipes for English palates as author of the first cookbook for professional cooks; Hannah Woolley, the first woman to earn a living as a food writer but whose name and cooking advice would go on to be appropriated by male publishers; the plants-obsessed pirate William Hughes, who chronicled the fruits and vegetables of the Caribbean and became the first English writer to describe cacao and chocolate to British audiences; and chef Hercules, one of President George Washington’s slaves, famed for his expertise in early American cooking until he stole his way to freedom. By combining the Folger’s unparalleled collection of food-related manuscripts and books with objects and archaeological finds from Mount Vernon and Jamestown, as well as from other museums and the Library of Congress, the exhibition is able to help shine renewed or recovered light on a vast many others who shaped early modern culinary life and culture, both directly and indirectly. To March 31. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu .
ORCHIDS: AMAZING ADAPTATIONS
Right now, the Smithsonian Gardens offers an attractive alternative to Washington’s cherry blossom madness with the 24th annual orchid show. And unlike those fickle, fleeting cherry trees, you don’t have to wait for, or make last-minute arrangements to see, the hundreds of orchids in brilliant bloom as part this joint collaboration with the U.S. Botanic Garden. From now through the end of April you can see the stunning variety of orchids filling eight large marble planters in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, nestled between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in the former Old Patent Office Building complex. For optimal viewing, officials recommend you visit either as soon as the courtyard opens at 11:30 a.m., in hopes of catching the whiff that orchids give off to attract pollinators in the morning, or in the hour or two before it closes at 7 p.m., when there should be fewer people and more chances of catching an orchid bloom popping open. To April 28. 8th and G Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-2220 or visit www.gardens.si.edu .
QUEENS OF EGYPT
A new exhibition at the National Geographic Museum puts a rare spotlight on the queens of ancient Egypt, including Hatshepsut, Nefertari, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra VII. The life and leadership of these legendary figures, whose rule ranged from the New Kingdom (1539-1514 B.C.) to the Ptolemaic dynasty (51-30 B.C.), is told with the help of more than 300 ancient Egyptian artifacts, including monumental statues, sparkling jewelry, and impressive sarcophagi — plus the use of advanced virtual reality technology providing a 3D flythrough tour of one of the most well-preserved tombs in the Valley of the Queens, that of Queen Nefertari. Many of the objects on display come courtesy of the Museo Egizio of Turin, Italy, one of the international cultural partners in the exhibition. And much of the research is based on the work of renowned Egyptologist and National Geographic Explorer Kara Cooney, author of the companion book When Women Ruled The World: Six Queens of Egypt , published by National Geographic Books last fall. To Sept. 2. The museum is located at 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 202-857-7588 or visit www.ngmuseum.org .
SAKURA ORIHON: DIARY OF A CHERRY BLOSSOM JOURNEY
Landscape architect Ron Henderson kept detailed notes of his pilgrimages to visit famous old cherry trees in Japan, including horticultural practices — pruning techniques and root grafting, for example — that are extending the lives of the trees. And he captured it all in folding sketchbooks, or orihon, that celebrate cherry blossom culture in Japan and are now on display at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, part of the U.S. National Arboretum. Now to April 7. The Special Exhibits Wing 3501 New York Ave. NE. Call 202- 245-4523 or visit www.usna.usda.gov .
SPARKPLUG: LIGHT LIMINAL
Karen Joan Topping, a founding member of the Sparkplug Collective, curates an exhibition of 10 artists who literally and symbolically employ light and darkness, as well as explore themes of communication and empathy, in painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. On display at the District of Columbia Arts Center will be works by Tom Greaves, Sarah J. Hull, Shana Kohnstamm, Alanna Reeves, Azadeh Sahraeian, Elizabeth H. Sampson, Alexandra Silverthorne, Sarah Stefana Smith, Madeline A. Stratton, and Steve Wanna. Closes Sunday, March 24. 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit www.dcartscenter.org .
THE REDRESS PROJECT
In commemoration of Women’s History Month, the National Museum of the American Indian presents an outdoor art installation by Canadian/Métis multidisciplinary artist Jaime Black on view in the U.S. for the first time. In The REDress Project , several empty red dresses hang along the Riverwalk, located in the museum’s Native landscape, symbolizing missing or murdered indigenous women, in an effort to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Native women. Collected through community donation, the dresses have been installed at several Canadian galleries and colleges since 2011. To March 31. Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.nmai.si.edu .
TO BE A WOMAN
The Korean Cultural Center displays works by 45 Korean-American artists to commemorate Women’s History Month. To Be A Woman , presented in collaboration with the Han-Mee Artist Association of Greater Washington, D.C., is a diverse exhibition of both traditional and contemporary art and craft that collectively expresses the artists’ experiences as women. Each artist explores personal issues and challenges, particularly as immigrant women in the U.S., through everything from painting to calligraphy to metal craft. On display through March 25. 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Call 202-939-5688 or visit www.koreaculturedc.org/en / for more information or to RSVP for the reception.
TODD G. FRANSON
A few memorable photos that you may remember from covers of this very magazine — Jim Graham as Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, say, or the infamous Leather Kewpie for MAL — will be on display as part of the latest exhibition at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, all from Franson, Metro Weekly ‘s central portrait photographer for most of the past 23 years as well as the magazine’s longest-serving Art Director. Yet the focus is on artworks the professional photographer and graphic designer has created for other projects and pursuits, all of which are available for sale. The exhibition goes as far back as Franson’s days as a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, with four stylized gloves from the series Wear & Tear : Inspired by Irving Penn , newly reborn and printed on aluminum. A more recent passion of Franson’s has been capturing artistic shots of foliage, blooms, and landscapes at the National Arboretum. And then there are the dazzling and quirky photographs that come closest to conveying Franson’s personal sensibility — perhaps none more so than Dancing Bear, a vividly colored image of a bustling amusement park at dusk foregrounded by a giant-sized teddy bear wearing a propeller beanie. Ongoing. The Center Arts Gallery, 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit www.thedccenter.org .
Works challenging the traditional binaries and patriarchal notions of gender in the Western world, created by artists who are also blurring the boundaries of genres, mediums, and visualities, are currently on display at the small contemporary gallery, in a Dupont Circle alleyway, formerly known as Hillyer Art Space and run by the nonprofit International Arts & Artists. Antonius-Tín Bui, who juried Transcendence , hopes the show will not only inspire visitors to reevaluate and change their thinking and behavior around gender but also how they actively and routinely support the LGBTQ community. “The cathartic, utopian visions of gender imagined by the artists are not accessible unless we collectively work towards justice,” Bui writes in the official Juror’s Statement. A total of 18 artists from around the country are represented, with the local contingent including Marion Colomer, Hillary Rochon, and Sarah Stefana Smith from D.C., Ash Cheshire and John Thomas Paradiso from Maryland, and Your Rouge Photography from Virginia. To March 31. IA&A at Hillyer, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Call 202-338-0325 or visit www.athillyer.org .
WHERE WE COME FROM & WHERE WE’RE GOING
The precarious status of immigrants in the U.S. is explored in the latest exhibition at Logan Circle’s small but influential gallery Transformer featuring works by Chicano painter and Oklahoma native Eliseo Casiano, New York-based Indian visual artist Dhanashree Gadiyar, California-based experimental media and filmmaker Gelare Khoshgozaran, Brooklyn visual artist Keisha Scarville, and Pennsylvania-based multidisciplinary artist Karina Aguilera Skvirsky. Kimi Kitada curated the show, which looks at immigration through the mining of family histories and personal narratives, with works that investigate the topics of displacement, isolation, cultural assimilation, and government surveillance, among other pressing issues. The underlying, unifying message of the show is that all individuals are part of collective humanity. Now to April 20. 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit www.transformerdc.org . ABOVE & BEYOND
BIG APPLE CIRCUS
“Circus in general has a really long tradition of powerful women being in positions of creative responsibility,” says Stephanie Monseu, the fourth female ringmaster in the Big Apple Circus’s 41-year history. Indeed, the company’s current show, directed by several New York theater veterans, features an impressive number of female-led acts. “It really is Broadway under the big top,” Monseu says. “The production value is really high, the lighting is beautiful, the set is pristine, the band is phenomenal. And we have the full spectrum of thrilling skills,” from the “very unique horizontal juggling” ace Victor Moiseev, to comedic character clowns Mark Gindick and Adam Kuchler, to animal handler Jenny Vidbel rescue dogs and retired horses. “Vidbel is an incredibly humane and loving trainer who works with the animals to find out what they love to do naturally,” says Monseu, who goes on to note the natural, pivotal role horses have played in the development of this whole genre of entertainment — right down to the name. “The word ‘circus’ [itself] refers to the circle that was measured out based on the smallest circumference that a galloping horse could run…. For the Big Apple Circus, it’s thrilling to be able to keep that tradition alive.” Performances to March 24. National Harbor, 238 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets start at $15, or $25 for VIP access to the Mirror Room with special amenities, a specialty cocktail, popcorn, cotton candy, and welcome gift. Call 212-257-2330 or visit www.big apple circus.com .
DIRECT CURRENT: A CELEBRATION OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The Kennedy Center presents its second annual, two-week, citywide celebration of contemporary art and culture — with a focus on new works, interdisciplinary creations in which artistic worlds collide, and on innovative responses to topical concerns. The result is a lineup with some of the most provocative, original, and pioneering voices in the arts today. Although a concert by Hugar, a genre-defying musical ensemble from Iceland, is first up, on Sunday, March 24, the second Direct Current officially kicks off on Monday, March 25, in the Concert Hall with an evening-length performance featuring new music from Justin Vernon of indie-folk band Bon Iver and new choreography from TU Dance, known for combining modern and classical dance with African- and urban-based movement. Other highlights to come in the first week include: Tashera, a young Baltimore-bred, D.C.-based soul/R&B singer-songwriter, on Tuesday, March 26; two concerts featuring avant-garde guitarist Mary Halvorson, one with saxophonist Maria Grand Wednesday, March 27, at the Phillips Collection, the other with her quintet on Thursday, March 28; singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, performing an evocative new song cycle based on his national road trip in the wake of the 2016 election, Wednesday, March 27; two concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra with music inspired by the natural world, including Philip Glass’s Itaipú Thursday, March 28, and Lera Auerbach’s ARCTICA on Saturday, March 30; and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company performing three separate evening-length works delving into the voice of the marginalized in our society, Thursday, March 28, through Saturday, March 30. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/series/DCT .
LA-TI-DO: THE ASIANS ARE AWESOME SHOW
Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza’s La-Ti-Do variety show features higher-quality singing than most karaoke, often from local musical theater actors performing on their night off, and also includes spoken-word poetry and comedy. Last December, Mendoza and “honorary co-founder” Russwin Francisco hosted an alternative spin on the usual format by featuring performances from other local talented Americans of Asian descent. It was such a hit, it’s now a monthly feature. Monday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Le Mirch, 1736 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-629-3577 or visit latidodc.wix.com/latido .
NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
We’re still two weeks out from the peak of pink-hued blossoms along the Tidal Basin, per the National Park Service’s prediction for the cherry trees (April 3-6). But the annual four-week festival waits for no bloom, kicking off this weekend with the Opening Ceremony concert featuring the cast of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Super Live , a new, unconventional musical derived from a girl-centric comic series written by Naoko Takeuchi; Yusaku Mochizuki, a World Juggling Champion who incorporates tap dance, video art, LED diabolos, and digital poi sticks into his act; Ikuko Kawai, a classical-crossover and film-score composer and violinist; and the 6821 Quintet, a classical ensemble named after the distance in miles separating Tokyo from D.C. Saturday, March 23, starting at 5 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are sold out.
Other activities over the next week: Pink Tie Party , the festival’s “see and be seen fundraiser” featuring a silent auction, bites from local restaurants and cocktails via an open bar, plus music, dancing, and over-the-top decor, on Friday, March 22, starting at 7 p.m., Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center (tickets are $225); Japanese Culture Day in the Young Readers Center of the Library of Congress, a chance for children, their families, and teachers to learn Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals, on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Cherry Blossom Celebration in the Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, featuring taiko drummers and other Japanese musicians and dancers, plus face painting, cherry blossom-themed crafts, a scavenger hunt, and the chance to make individual tatebanko, or Japanese paper dioramas, on Saturday, March 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Through The Lens: Tokyo Transect , a discussion and showcase of work by National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder, offering a journey across the world’s most populous city to reveal its culture, traditions, quirks, and last but not least cherry blossoms, Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m., at the National Geographic Museum (tickets are $25); Indigo Threads: Weaving Japanese Craftmanship and American Heritage , an exhibition exploring the rich history of indigo-dyed fabric and garments, including denim, in Japan, all day Friday, March 29, at JICC: Japan Information & Culture Center; Cherry Blast , a party featuring “an unforgettable secret garden,” Japanese cultural performances, dueling DJs, art, as well as a headline performance plus DJ set from pop/R&B hitmaker and former The Voice judge/coach CeeLo “Crazy/Fuck You” Green, on Saturday, March 30, starting at 7 p.m., The Theater at MGM National Harbor (tickets are $25, or $100 for VIP with open-bar, exclusive suite and dedicated seating, and Japanese buffet); the Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl , a self-guided crawl sampling diverse cuisine at popular restaurants, on Saturday, March 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (tickets are $84); and the 9th Annual Blossom Kite Festival on Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for more information and additional events.
THE PRIDE OF PURIM: GLOE MASQUERADE PARTY
The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC once again presents D.C.’s only queer party for Purim, the Mardi Gras-like Jewish holiday celebrating Queen Esther and general confusion, mayhem, and mischief. The holiday calls for dressing up and drinking a lot — here, via discounted drinks at a private bar at the Dupont locale of Mexican restaurant Mission, which is this year’s host venue. Drag attire and costumes encouraged, Purim treats provided. Saturday, March 23, starting at 7 p.m. 1606 20th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-525-2010 or visit edcjcc.org . Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.