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WIT Launches Campaign of Citywide Free Improv Workshops

From now through January of 2019, Washington Improv Theater is offering a record number of free improv workshops to the public. Twelve “Improv for All” workshops are currently on the books (in seven out of eight wards in DC), with more being added every week.

What’s an Improv for All workshop?

  • It’s a high-fun, low-stress class designed to show you how improvisers create spontaneous, off-the-cuff theater.
  • It’s for everyone: You don’t need theater experience. You don’t need to be a “funny person.” Just come in ready to have a good time.
  • It’s a way to learn about yourself: Whether you’re a nonprofit employee, a corporate lawyer, a software engineer or a teacher, you’ve got something to gain from taking improv. Trying something new that makes you laugh is good for your brain and for your soul.

You can find workshops at places like Anacostia Arts Center (Ward 8), Deanwood Library (Ward 7), Petworth Neighborhood Library (Ward 4), Source Theater (Ward 1) and more! For a full list of locations and times, check out the calendar.

If you like it and can’t wait for more, you can sign up for an eight-week Foundations of Improv class starting in the new year!

Want to catch WIT on stage as well? Use the code TICKETSFORTWO to get two tickets to the winter improv spectacular Seasonal Disorder for just $25.

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Comedy Lineup, Holiday Events Fill Arlington Drafthouse Schedule

Comedians from hit TV shows and movies are coming to Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) over the next month.

Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show is set to perform mid-December. He joins a lineup of comedians featuring Darrell Hammond, one of the longest running cast members on Saturday Night Live, and Bobby Lee from Chelsea Lately. 

The Drafthouse schedule includes:

  • Natasha Leggero of Comedy Central and He’s Just Not That Into You (Nov. 16-17)
  • Alonzo Bodden of Last Comic Standing and Scary Movie 4 (Nov. 23-24)
  • Bobby Lee of Chelsea Lately and The Dictator (Nov. 29-Dec. 1)
  • Darrell Hammond of Saturday Night Live and Law & Order: SVU (Dec. 7-8)
  • Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show and A Series of Unfortunate Events (Dec. 14-15)

In addition to the stellar comedy lineup, the Drafthouse is holding a holiday-themed cartoon viewing event for grown-ups. The “Spoons, Toons & Booze Christmas Special” will offer holiday-themed episodes of popular Saturday morning cartoon series along with boozy beverages and an all-you-can-eat cereal bar.

Audience members are encouraged to dress in their “ugliest holiday sweater or coziest PJs” for photos with Santa Claus. They also can compete in contests to choose what to watch from the selection of more than 100 cartoon series from the 1940s to early 2000s. The event is scheduled for noon Dec. 8-9. Tickets are $15.

For even more Christmas cheer, an all-day movie festival on Dec. 16 will show half of a dozen holiday favorites.

The list of movies features:

  • The Polar Express
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Elf 
  • Bad Santa

Tickets are $10.

Photo via Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse

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‘Saturday Night Live’ Veterans Highlight Drafthouse’s New Lineup

There’s good news for lovers of laughter — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse is rolling out its lineup of comedians for the fall and winter.

The Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) has confirmed performances from a variety of well-known stand-ups over the coming months.

Darrell Hammond, a staple of “Saturday Night Live” with a famous impression of President Donald Trump, will swing by from Dec. 7-8.

The venue will also play host to Natasha Leggero from Nov. 16-17. She’s the creator and star of Comedy Central’s “Another Period,” and recently co-starred in the Showtime series “DICE.”

Earlier that month, SNL veteran and longtime TV actor Jay Mohr will appear at the Drafthouse. He’s slated to perform from Nov. 1-2.

Yvonne Orji, co-star of the HBO comedy “Insecure,” will perform from Oct. 5-7. Alex Moffat, a current SNL cast member, will appear tonight (Aug. 24) and Saturday (Aug. 25).

The Drafthouse has its full lineup of events available on its website.

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Find Your “Summer Escape” with Washington Improv Theater

Indulge in some self-care: Washington Improv Theater’s Summer Escape provides relief from 100% humidity and grueling daily headlines. Make WIT part of your night out on 14th Street with our series of improvised shows running through August 5.

Use the code ARLNOW to get two tickets for just $25. What’s in store?

  • Your audience suggestion could end the world in Apocalypse How?, a new show by WIT’s hit musical improv ensemble iMusical.
  • Inspired by the movie School of Rock, WIT debuts the improvised rock comedy Heavy Rotation where the actors play live instruments.
  • A two-night-only guest! Karaoke Storytellers, currently running at Chicago’s iO theater, is the brainchild of D.C. native Connor Gorman. On July 27 and 28, experience a show that blends improvisation and storytelling with full-throttle karaoke!
  • The razor-sharp all-female cast of WIT company ensemble Hellcat base their shows off of cringe-worthy readings by special guests. From long-lost AIM conversations to teenage journal entries to angst-ridden poetry, come revel in the awkwardness, shame and hilarity.

Summer Escape can save you from your daily summer struggles with pesky tour groups, pit stains and Metro delays. Get out of your world and step into ours.

Want to escape even further into improv? You can always sign up for a free two-hour workshop or one of our life-changing eight-week classes (no experience required).

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Improv Collides with Puppets, Dance and Poetry During Interplay

You’ve never seen improv like this before: Washington Improv Theater’s Interplay series features dynamic artistic mash-ups between WIT’s own improvisers and artists from the worlds of music, dance, poetry, puppetry and more.

Each mash-up will take a different shape and every show will be completely different (it’s improv, after all). Interplay also features the debut of WIT’s original show In Lieu of Flowers.

What are these collaborations?

  • All-female ensemble Hellcat mashes up with artists from Super Art Fight, a group that blends visual arts with the theatrics of professional wrestling.
  • Long-running WIT team Commonwealth improvises off the tales of storytellers from Story District
  • Eccentric ensemble Love Onion gets physical during an improv collaboration with a four-piece dance ensemble

Interplay will also feature collaborators like The Puppet Co., percussionist Tom Teasley, as well as poets like 13 of Nazareth and John MacDonald.

Improvised Funeral In Lieu of Flowers Makes World Premiere

Interplay also includes the debut of In Lieu of Flowers, an improvised funeral based on an audience member interview.

“Until Elon Musk defeats time itself, we’re going to experience the deaths of people we love and ultimately, our own deaths. I think comedy is the perfect way to have this conversation,” said co-director Lura Barber.

Check out our interview with directors Lura Barber and Zach Mason and get tickets for one of the show’s five performances.

Want to give improv a try? Summer classes are registering now! You can also bring improv to your office with a [email protected] organizational training.

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Arlington Agenda: March 19-25

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Monday, March 19

Conversations with Tyler: Martina Navratilova*
George Mason University Arlington (3351 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Listen to record-setting tennis player and communist defector Martina Navratilova for an across the board conversation on her activism, professional accomplishments, and personal life.

Free Home Buyer Seminar: Get $1,500 Towards Your New Home*
Orange Line Living (1600 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Attend the Rosslyn class with wine and cheese and receive a $1,500 credit toward a new home or lease termination. The first three registrants and attendees will receive a Google Chromecast.

WordPress: An Introduction
Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Learn how to create, navigate, post on, and customize your own blog or basic website with WordPress.com (not WordPress.org). Registration required to attend.

Tuesday, March 20

Homebuyer Seminar with Fulcrum Properties Group*
Keller Williams Metro Center Arlington (2101 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Looking to buy your first home, or at least thinking about it? Join this free event to learn how to take the first steps from on-hand experts. Registration required to attend.

Wednesday, March 21

CACI Ballston Toastmasters Club Open House
CACI (1100 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

If you need to improve your public speaking, Toastmasters is the place for you.  Attend the spring open house to meet members and ask questions over refreshments.

Thursday, March 22

Beer & Donuts with Vanish Farmhouse
Sugar Shack (1014 S. Glebe Road)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

Vanish Farmhouse Brewery of Leesburg, Va., brings a selection of craft brews to Sugar Shack. Board games, beer-glazed donut holes, and paninis will also be at the family friendly event.

ARLnow March Madness Watch Party
Latitude Apartments (3601 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

Come watch the Sweet Sixteen on Latitude’s rooftop terrace with ARLnow staff with free drinks, snacks, and swag. You won’t miss any of the action — we’ll have four TVs on.

Friday, March 23

St. Agnes Fish Fry*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

The annual Lenten fish fry is upon us, and don’t miss out on the sides, beer, and other beverages as well. Registration required, and all are welcome to join in the Easter Sunday mass as well.

David Alan Grier Live
Arlington Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 and 10 p.m.

Join comedian and actor David Alan Grier, of In Living Color and Comedy Central fame, for an evening of stand up. Tickets start at $25. Additional performances on March 24.

Saturday, March 24

National Chamber Ensemble – Brahms and Mendelssohn*
Unitarian Universalist Church (4444 Arlington Boulevard)
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Enjoy masterful chamber music from Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, performed by National Chamber Ensemble artists. Reception with the musicians to follow.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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Say Yes to Your Creativity: Four Reasons to Start Doing Improv

Be spontaneous — do something fun for yourself today and jump into a class at Washington Improv Theater. Folks from all over the DMV take WIT’s improv classes for all sorts of reasons.

Washington Improv Theater is DC’s oldest and only nonprofit improv theater. Chances are you know at least one person who has taken (and loved!) our Foundations of Improv class.

Here are four reasons to get off the fence about taking a WIT class:

1. Meet new people (outside the bar scene) — WIT students come from all walks of life — but they all come to improv with open minds, daring to try something new. Abandon your iPhone and share face-to-face laughs with a dozen strangers who will quickly become friends.

One student told us “you make instant friends, and you push yourself in ways that you might not initially believe possible.”

2. Unlock your creative potential — Everyone has untapped creativity — unleash yours with one of our eight-week classes. A testimonial: “You get to exercise your imagination in a way that most adults don’t get to do on a regular basis.”

3. Find yourself – without having to scale Mt. Everest — From the way you communicate in your relationships to learning about the choices you make in life, improv spurs personal breakthroughs. Learn how you can change your life when you eradicate the word “no” from your day-to-day. 

4. Up your game at work — Show your boss you’re taking your skills to the next level. Improv gives you the confidence to speak up, the positivity to collaborate, and clarity to communicate — it’s the best and most versatile professional development ever!. (Side note: You can also bring us to your office for a [email protected] training.)

Get off the fence — spring session starts March 26! A couple hours a week with WIT can change your whole perspective!

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Comedians T.J. Miller, David Alan Grier Coming to Drafthouse

The Arlington Cinema Drafthouse’s marquee may be gone with the wind, at least temporarily, but that likely will not diminish the boldfaced comedy names coming to the theater over the next couple of weeks.

Next week, on Friday and Saturday (March 16-17), T.J. Miller will perform. The Silicon Valley and Deadpool star, who has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons, will bring his brand of “absurdist observational stand-up” to the Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike).

The following Friday and Saturday (March 23-24), actor and comedian David Alan Grier, of In Living Color fame, will perform.

Tickets for each range from $25-35.

The Drafthouse is in the midst of a weekly comedy lineup that includes comedian Josh Blue, slated to perform this weekend, and Carlos Mencia, who will perform March 29-31.

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Arlington Agenda: February 12-18

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

 Tuesday, Feb. 13

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
St. John’s Episcopal Church (415 S. Lexington Street)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Join the Shrove Tuesday celebration with the traditional pancake feasting prior to the Lenten fasting. Adults pay $5 each and $3 each for kids 6-12. Younger children are free.

Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade
Wilson Boulevard from Barton to Irving Streets
Time: 7-11 p.m.

A family-friendly parade with marchers, bands, and the occasional dressed up dog or pony. Expect lots of costumes and beads thrown from parade floats.

Wednesday, Feb. 14

St. Agnes Ash Wednesday Mass
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Worshipers can attend Ash Wednesday Masses throughout the day, from early morning until mid-evening, to celebrate the beginning of Lent and receive their ashes.

 Thursday, Feb. 15

Archives of American Gardens: Capturing Garden History
Little Falls Presbyterian Church (6025 Little Falls Road)
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The Smithsonian Gardens’ horticulture collections manager, Cindy Brown, will discuss American garden history conservation with photographs and documents. An optional lunch is $5.

 Friday, Feb. 16

Creative Coffee: Mark Making
Connection: Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive)
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

A casual weekly creative meet-up for artists to experiment and improve their work in a social setting. Bring your own materials to this adult-friendly gathering.

Sound Check: Music Bingo
Mister Days Sports Rock Cafe (3100 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.

Test your musical trivia knowledge with an aurally-inspired bingo game. You’ll have 30 seconds to figure out a song and match it to your bingo card. Prizes after every round and happy hour pricing.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Long Branch Nature Center (625 S Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with the naturalists at Long Branch Nature Center. There will be live animals, dragon crafts, and a short hike holiday-themed hike.

St. Agnes Soup Supper
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The church will offer meatless soups and a noodle dish, and more every Friday during the Lenten holiday. Guests are invited to stay for confession and the stations of the cross afterwards.

Sarah Colonna Live
Arlington Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 10 p.m.

Comedian, author, and Chelsea Lately roundtable regular Sarah Colonna performs at the Arlington Drafthouse with three performances over two nights,

 Saturday, Feb. 17

USA-Russia Olympic Hockey Watch Party Brunch
Quinn’s On The Corner (1776 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6:45 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Courthouse sports bar is opening very early for an Olympic USA versus Russia hockey watch party, with $1 champagne flutes and brunch until 5 p.m.

Hamiltunes: An American Singalong
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 12 – 4 p.m.

Sing along to the music of “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Revolutionary War-era costumes encouraged and appreciated. A costume contest will be held during intermission.

Studio Xfinity’s Lunar New Year
Studio Xfinity (3601 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 1 – 5 p.m.

A free celebration at Studio Xfinity for the Year of the Dog, with dragon dancers, calligraphy, a fortune cookie bar, and more activities.

Conversation: Poets Jodie Hollander and Robert Mezey
One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street)
Time: 6 – 7 p.m.

Poets Jodie Hollander and Robert Mezey will read from their works. Hollander will share from her collection, My Dark Horses. Poet and critic Mezey will share from his award-winning body of work.

 Sunday, Feb. 18

President’s Day Celebration at Market Common
The Loop at Market Common (2800 Clarendon Boulevard)
Time: 12:30  – 3:30 p.m.

Don’t want to race yourself? Watch the Washington Nationals’ Presidents race around the Loop. Free Nicecream hot cocoa provided, and there will be a photo booth and prize wheel.

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Drafthouse to Show ‘The Princess Bride’ on Valentine’s Day

Next week the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse will be hosting an alternative to the traditional Valentine’s Day sit-down dinner: stand-up comedy and a showing of “The Princess Bride”

There will be two showings of both on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Doors will first open at 6 p.m., with the stand-up starting at 7 p.m. and the movie beginning at 7:30 p.m. For the second showing, doors will open at 9:30 p.m., the stand-up will start at 9:45 p.m. and the screening will begin at 10:15 p.m.

Tickets are value-priced, according to the Drafthouse’s website.

“Only $10 — inconceivable!” the website says.

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Podcast: Actor and Comedian Joel McHale

Joel McHale is coming to Arlington.

The actor and comedian, best known for hosting The Soup on E! and for his starring role on Community, is performing four stand-up comedy shows at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) this coming Friday and Saturday.

McHale, who also recently starred on CBS’s The Great Indoors and Fox’s The X-Files reboot, spoke with ARLnow.com for our 26 Square Miles podcast on Wednesday. He talked about hosting the 2014 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, told us what we can expect at his upcoming stand-up shows, and gave a candid answer about why The Soup was cancelled and whether it is in line for a revival.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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Arlington Drafthouse Packs More Stars Onto Schedule

It’s going to be a star-studded fall and winter on Columbia Pike as the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse is continuing to add boldfaced names to its standup comedy schedule.

As previously reported, Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show will perform this coming Friday and Saturday, trying out new material and showing the audience “how the sausage is made.” He joins a fall lineup that includes Rhys DarbyPauly Shore and Steve-O.

The recently-announced additions to the schedule include:

  • Shawn Wayans of Scary Movie and In Living Color (Nov. 10-11)
  • Joel McHale of The Soup and Community (Nov. 17-18)
  • Darrell Hammond from Saturday Night Live (Jan. 5-6)
  • Brian Posehn of The Five Year Engagement and Netflix specials (Jan. 18-20)
  • Jay Mohr of Saturday Night Live (Jan. 25-27)
  • Steve Rannazzisi of The League (Feb. 9-10)
  • Michael Ian Black of Wet Hot American Summer (March 2-3)
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Aasif Mandvi, Rhys Darby Added to Drafthouse’s Fall Comedy Lineup

With fall just around the corner, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) has added some big names to its live comedy lineup.

On Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23, Aasif Mandvi will perform a “New Material Night,” with each show ending in a question-and-answer session. Mandvi was a correspondent on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and also wrote, produced and starred in “The Brink” on HBO.

And on December 1 and 2, Rhys Darby of the BBC and HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” comedy will perform his own standup show. Darby, who has also produced mockumentaries and appeared on TV shows like “Modern Family,” “How I Met Your Mother” and the Late Show with David Letterman, as well as movies.

Those are in addition to a lineup that already includes the likes of comedy legend Jon Lovitz and former MTV stars Pauly Shore and Steve-O.

The Drafthouse has made a series of changes, including new seating, a new summer focus on first-run films, and opening a new Mexican restaurant in the former “green room” bar space.

Photo via Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse

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W. Kamau Bell Coming to Arlington Friday

Sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell is coming to the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse for the first time this Friday.

The host of the CNN show “United Shades of America” is known for exploring tough subjects. In two seasons of “United Shades, Bell has spent time with members of the Ku Klux Klan and has sat down with Alexandria-based white supremacist Richard Spencer. The show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy award in 2016.

But although he’s been outspoken about his support of social causes, Bell says his comedy act is not about political affiliation.

“I feel the need to make the jokes about the people who I feel need to have jokes made about them, it could be the left, it could be the right, could be somewhere in between,” he said.

The comedian believes that too many of America’s issues have been politicized even though those issues exist no matter where someone is from. By poking fun at both sides, he believes he helps erases some of the social divides.

“We think of the north and the south and the west and the Midwest, but every town, every city, every part of this country, there are different things going on,” Bell said. He thinks that once people stop focusing on what makes us different, “we’d realize that we all want more money from our job, we all want better schools for our kids.”

In an especially polarized political climate, Bell thinks that his show can be a place for people to unwind. He says his visits to places with histories of racism often turn out to be the best shows, because the audience members need the break more than anyone else.

The author of the book “The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6′ 4″, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian,” released early this month, wants people to leave his show willing to engage with those with different perspectives.

“We are not as strong in our communities as we think we are, we need to get to know our neighbors,” Bell said. “We need to get to know the people two streets over, we need to get to know people outside of neighborhoods.”

And although it can be uncomfortable, he believes it’s an important learning experience.

“Awkward can often lead to a better place, a smarter place and a more joyful and more informed place,” Bell said. “That’s what I’m encouraging people to do, lean into the awkward.”

Bell will perform two shows at the Drafthouse on Friday, an early show at 7:30 p.m. that is now sold out and a late show at 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $63 for general admission and a book.

Courtesy photos

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Drafthouse Fall Comedy Lineup: Lovitz, Arnold, Shore and Steve-O

Summer may have just kicked off, but the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is already planning for a big autumn of marquee performances.

It’s expected to start Sept. 7-9 with comedy legend Jon Lovitz. Later that month, Pauly Shore will be performing a “one-nighter” on Sept. 24. Another former MTV personality, “Jackass” star Steve-O, will be in town Oct. 19-22. And comic/actor Tom Arnold will perform his standup act on Nov. 3 and 4.

In addition to the comedy, actor Val Kilmer will be at the Drafthouse on Oct. 6 and 7 for a special screening of his one-man play about Mark Twain, plus a question-and-answer session after the film.

The Drafthouse is in the midst of a series of changes, including new seating, a new summer focus on first-run films, and a new Mexican restaurant in the former “green room” bar space.

This summer’s comedy lineup includes “Super Troopers” star, director and co-writer Jay Chandrasekhar this weekend and W. Kamau Bell next weekend, followed by Chris Gethard, Gary Gulman, Kevin Barnett, Alex Moffat, Jade Catta-Preta, and Piff the Magic Dragon.

Photo via Arlington Cinema Drafthouse

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