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ARLINGTON DRAFTHOUSE CHRISTMAS MOVIE FESTIVAL
Though it's become a lot less focused on cinema recently, this Arlington venue is still one of the best places to see movies, since they screen while servers offer food and alcohol tableside. Next up is the Drafthouse's annual Christmas movie marathon, where you can come and go throughout the day and see up to six classic movies. How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas screen a couple of times during the day, along with Elf at 1 p.m., A Christmas Story at 3 p.m., Scrooged at 5:15 p.m., and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at 7:20 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, starting at noon. Arlington Cinema N' Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets are $8. Call 703-486-2345 or visit arlingtondrafthouse.com.
CHAPLIN'S THE KID
Composer/performer Andrew Earle Simpson performs his new piano score to Charlie Chaplin's first feature-length film as a director, the second offering in the Atlas's new Silent Film Series. Dating to 1921, The Kid is an imaginative and affecting Chaplin comedy, widely considered one of the greatest films of the silent era, and featured as Chaplin's co-star then-child actor Jackie Coogan, best known as Uncle Fester from The Addams Family. Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
Over the next few weeks, the American Film Institute offers 11 Christmas flicks, both classic and curious, from The Muppet Christmas Carol and White Christmas to Die Hard and Gremlins, both of which we consider to be a bit of a stretch. But the Holiday Classic screening this weekend is the 1942 Irving Berlin-composed musical Holiday Inn, directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. One song from the score, "White Christmas," became so successful, it begat a musical to call its own a dozen years later, a loose reimagining of this one, set in snowy Connecticut. Friday, Dec. 2, at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 11 a.m. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $10. Call 301-495-6720 or visit afi.com/Silver.
Shia LaBeouf is a U.S. Marine who struggles with life at home after fighting in Afghanistan. A hit at last year's Toronto and Venice film festivals, Dito Montiel's thriller also stars Kate Mara, Gary Oldman, Jai Courtney and Jose Pablo Cantillo. Opens Friday, Dec. 2. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.
PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME
National Geographic captures on film the giant pandas living in Wolong National Nature Reserve in China. One of the rarest species on the planet, the ever-elusive, gentle creature is also on the brink of extinction due to centuries of human expansion and destruction of their habitat. Nicholas Brown's 40-minute natural history film educates viewers on the life and habits of pandas as well as scientific efforts to increase breeding. In 3D. Now to Dec. 31. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $7. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.
One of those rare and extraordinary cinematic experiences that pulls you deeply into its narrative, Moonlight artfully guides viewers towards an emotional payoff without once feeling manipulative or artificial. It is an extraordinary achievement in this cut-and-paste era of cinema, a time when movies fail to ignite so much as a spark of genuine, earned emotion. The '80s-set story of a young boy who comes to terms with his identity and sexuality in a harsh South Florida neighborhood refuses to lazily cleave to its genre. There isn't an off performance in the film, which employs a solely African-American cast -- come Oscar time, Moonlight could be the one film to give Hollywood a credible reason to break its too-white image without resorting to tokenism. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Randy Shulman)
As part of its monthly Xtra film series, Reel Affirmations presents Tom E. Brown's Pushing Dead, starring Danny Glover and James Roday. It offers a modern-day look at health struggles for those living with HIV. Hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis of the Ask Rayceen Show, the event includes a post-show catered cocktail reception as well as a discussion with the director moderated by Metro Weekly editor Randy Shulman. Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Tickets are $12, or $25 for VIP seating as well as the post-show reception with open bar and light fare. Call 800-777-4723 or visit reelaffirmations.org.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Craig Wallace takes over from Edward Gero as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford's Theatre's 35th anniversary production of Dickens' Yuletide classic. The music-infused adaptation was originally conceived by Michael Baron. To Dec. 31. Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fordstheatre.org.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS
Olney Theatre Center presents another seasonal run of the one-man portrayal of the Dickens classic by Paul Morella, who bases his adaptation on Dickens' original novella and reading tour. To Dec. 31. The Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL MEMORY
Creative Cauldron's Laura Connors Hull conceived of and directs a world premiere of yet another twist on Charles Dickens. A young girl reawakens memories and spurs on renewal of a long-lost tradition in her bah-humbug family -- a tradition of reenacting A Christmas Carol with puppets. Jennifer Clements wrote the book and Margie Jervis designed the sets, costumes and puppets for this show featuring a 12-member cast led by David Schmidt, Kathy Halenda and 5th grader Madeline Aldana portraying little girl Charlotte. Opens Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. Falls Church. Tickets are $30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
Originally staged at London's Young Vic, the Kennedy Center presents Belgian director Ivo van Hove's take on the Arthur Miller classic, which won two Tony Awards for Best Director and Best Revival of a Play. A dark and passionate tale of family, love and duplicity, A View from the Bridge is set in a small Italian-American Brooklyn neighborhood in the '50s. Frederick Weller, Catherine Combs and Thomas Jay Ryan star. To Dec. 3. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $45 to $149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Three unlikely allies try to keep a sandwich shop afloat when its owner mysteriously disappears in Bess Wohl's dark comedy about "life, liberty and the pursuit of sandwiches." Columbia's Rep Stage presents the regional premiere, directed by Suzanne Beal. A post-recession look at class issues in today's economy presents what New York Times calls "a wry, compassionate attitude toward American workers barely clinging to the bottom runs of the economic ladder." To Dec. 3. The Horowitz Center's Studio Theatre at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. Tickets are $35 to $40. Call 443-518-1500 or visit repstage.org.
Theater Alliance offers a production of Langston Hughes's retelling of the Biblical Christmas story from an Afrocentric perspective, incorporating gospel, blues, funk, jazz and dance, with griot-style storytelling from an ensemble cast. Black Nativity was one of the first plays written by an African American to appear on Broadway over 50 years ago. The winner of three Helen Hayes Awards last year, the Theater Alliance production is directed and choreographed by Princess Mhoon with music director e'Marcus Harper-Short. Tony Thomas as Joseph and Danielle Glover as Mary lead a 12-member cast. To Dec. 31. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 202-241-2539 or visit theateralliance.com.
Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan fall in love, but his rebellious ways lead to tragedy in the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, this year's full-scale musical revival at Arena Stage. Betsy Morgan, Nicholas Rodriguez and E. Faye Butler are among the cast of nearly two dozen. Director Molly Smith's usual partner, choreographer Parker Esse, returns to add more movement pizazz to a show whose score includes "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "June Is Bustin' Out All Over." To Dec. 24. Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $51 to $66. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
INTO THE WOODS
Fiasco Theater's streamlined reinvention of one of Stephen Sondheim's most popular musicals, with a cast playing instruments on stage, was a surprise hit last year in New York. Now the fairy tale borne out of five classic Grimms' fairy tales ventures down to our neck of the woods for a month-long run over the holidays. In previews starting Tuesday, Dec. 6. Runs through Jan. 8. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $45 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY
The Washington Stage Guild revives Joe Landry's adaptation of the classic film tale as a radio play after a successful run last year. Joe Brack portrays the lead character, here named Jake Laurents, in this production directed by Laura Giannarelli also featuring Vincent Clark, Jennifer Donovan, Julie-Ann Elliott and Nick Depinto. Steven Carpenter returns as the show's Helen Hayes-nominated sound engineer, operating in full view of the audience. Now to Dec. 6. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 240-582-0050 or visit stageguild.org.
LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES
Two French aristocrats challenge each other to seduce unsuspecting innocents in Christopher Hampton's bracing drama of control and betrayal drawn from the novel by Choderlos de Laclos. Hana S. Sharif directs a production starring Suzzanne Douglas and Brent Harris that offers a sneak peek into Center Stage's Pearlstone Theatre, in the final stages of a year-long renovation. In previews starting Saturday, Nov. 26. Runs to Dec. 23. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $64. Call 410-332-0033 or visit centerstage.org.
The holidays at Olney Theatre this year are brought to you by the musical version of the Disney favorite. Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) wrote the book to the adaptation featuring many of the standards from the movie by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman and incorporating new songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Jason King Jones directs, with choreography by Tara Jeanne Vallee. Patricia Hurley stars. To Jan. 1. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY
Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon's holiday play is set two years after Pride and Prejudice, with the focus (unsurprisingly) on Mary Bennet. Eleanor Holdridge directs favorite characters as they gather at Pemberley, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, played by Danny Gavigan and Erin Weaver. Katie Kleiger is Miss Bennet. Now in previews. Runs to Dec. 18. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $55 to $70. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
Featuring innovative staging fused with bold trapeze and acrobatic work, the Melville classic is revamped in the famed Lookingglass Theatre Company's adaptation by David Catlin. Christopher Donahue is Captain Ahab leading the search for the great white whale at Arena Stage, in a co-production with Alliance Theatre and South Coast Repertory. To Dec. 24. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
Talk about a starry cast: D.C. leading ladies Donna Migliaccio, Nova Y. Payton, Ilona Dulaski, Naomi Jacobson and Sandy Bainum help ensure this new holiday musical becomes a must-see affair, particularly for a certain segment of the theatergoing community. Married musical writing duo and local stage actors Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith developed lyrics set to Conner's score, with a book by fellow D.C. playwright Allyson Currin. Billed as Golden Girls meets Designing Women, Silver Belles, directed by Signature's Eric Schaeffer, focuses on a small town in Tennessee struggling to keep a beloved holiday pageant alive after the sudden death of its longtime director. Through Dec. 31. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org.
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION
John Guare's funny, often unsettling exploration of the way we define ourselves has been called one of the greatest American plays of modern times. Twenty-three years after winning the Olivier Award for Best Play, Keegan Theatre offers a production helmed by Brandon McCoy and featuring a large 16-member cast including Susan Marie Rhea, Ray Ficca, Ryan Swain, Kevin Adams, Ava Knox, Christian Montgomery and Josh Sticklin. To Dec. 3. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visitkeegantheatre.com.
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN
A razor-sharp comedy confronting the complexities of identity and hypocrisies of privilege from adventurous New York playwright Young Jean Lee, focusing on a Christmas gathering between three brothers and their father. To Dec. 18. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
WSC Avant Bard presents Jonelle Walker's LGBT spin on The Taming of the Shrew, told from the point of view of the woman being tamed -- or more specifically, rid of her homosexuality. In the heart of Eisenhower America, a free-spirited young poet leaves Smith College heartbroken over her lover's suicide, returning to her homophobic conservative family and hyper-heteronormative Texas hometown. Angela Kay Pirko directs this tale starring Jill Tighe as Cat, "a rebel with claws." To Dec. 11. Gunston Arts Center, Theater Two, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $30 to $35. Call 703-418-4808 or visit avantbard.org.
Set in a large, contemporary Christian church, Lucas Hnath's The Christians offers an unflinching look at faith and its power to unite or divide. Gregg Henry directs a production featuring Caroline Clay, Annie Grier, Michael Russotto, Justin Weaks and Michael Willis. A different local choir from area churches performs each night of the show's run. To Dec. 11. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $37 to $57. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
THE SECOND CITY'S BLACK SIDE OF THE MOON
An all-African American troupe of sketch and stand-up artists satirize what it means to be black in our soon-to-be post-Obama era. The show's Second City ensemble consists of Angela Alise, Sonia Denis, Dave Helem, Torian Miller, Felonious Munk and Dewayne Perkins. To Jan. 1. At Woolly Mammoth, 641 D St. NW. Tickets range from $20 to $59. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
THE SECOND SHEPHERDS' PLAY
Mary Hall Surface directs a magical retelling of the Nativity story combining the moving tale with beautiful music -- festive medieval English tunes performed by early music ensemble the Folger Consort. The cast features Tonya Beckman, Louis E. Davis, Megan Graves, Emily Noel, Lilian Oben, Malinda Kathleen Reese, Ryan Sellers and Matthew R. Wilson. To Dec. 21. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $25 to $60. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
THE ZERO HOUR
Iron Crow Theatre presents Madeline George's play about the struggles of a lesbian Brooklynite to be be open and honest about her identity and relationship with her butch girlfriend. Rena Marie and Rebecca Tucker star in what is billed as a tour-de-force for two actors taking on eight roles. Performances are Friday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m, Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 and 7 p.m. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $25. Call 410-752-8558 or visit theatreproject.org.
BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Edward Polochick conducts and plays harpsichord in the BSO's annual complete performance of Handel's majestic Messiah. The production also features soloists and concert artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale. Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Also Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $25 to $99. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, STEP AFRIKA!
Jazz composer Paul Murtha has created an entire, two-act Swingin Nutcracker riffing off of Duke Ellington's reimagining of the classic story. Nicholas Hersh conducts a semi-staged production of a world premiere featuring vibrant and percussive choreography by dancers with Washington's Step Afrika! Thursday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $12.50 to $60. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
"Christmas Bells Are Swinging!" is the focus of this holiday concert by the 30-year-old organization, presented as part of the Barns' Chamber Music Series. Sunday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $38. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.
Increasingly known by mononym, young soprano and D.C. native Cecil Bumbray's sound is rooted in a deep appreciation for mid-century soul and jazz, '90s-era R&B and contemporary folk. More specifically, it's rooted in influences from Chocolate City forebears, from Duke Ellington to Gil Scott-Heron to Roberta Flack. "Cecily Salutes DC" is Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7 and 9 p.m. Lab Theatre II at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
The D.C.-based band has been a staple at hip bars around the area, along with more august venues such as the Kennedy Center. After performing with Natalie Cole and Dizzy Gillespie, Chaise Lounge, featuring vocalist Marilyn Older, performs swing standards as well as original tunes -- all on a "Swinging Holiday" theme. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $22.50, plus $10 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.
On the 20th anniversary of its release, Dar Williams performs Return to Mortal City in its entirety, along with other favorites, with a special reading each night: author Beth Macy on Friday, Dec. 1, and Barry Lynn Saturday, Dec. 2. Concert starts at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.
DARK STAR ORCHESTRA
All Good presents the annual return to the 9:30 Club of the Chicago-based tribute band to the Grateful Dead, which obsessively recreates a set list from a particular performance, with the goal of "raising the Dead" for Deadheads. Even original members of the Dead themselves have sung the orchestra's praises -- when not singing their own in Dead & Company. Friday, Dec. 2., and Saturday, Dec. 3. Doors at 7 p.m. Nightclub 9:30, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $29. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
DAVE KOZ CHRISTMAS TOUR 2015
So what if he's Jewish? Saxophonist Dave Koz loves Christmas songs and has had a hit with this annual Christmas show. Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $68 to $98, or $198 for a VIP seat also including a pre-concert Meet & Greet with autographed laminated photo and collectible gift. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org.
DC DIFFERENT DRUMMERS
The Capitol Pride Symphonic Band and other small ensembles from this LGBT music organization will perform concert versions of holiday tunes, from "Sleigh Bells" to "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon, at the free annual holiday concert that also doubles as a food drive for Food and Friends. Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St. NE. Free, with request for food drive donations. Call 202-269-4868 or visit dcdd.org.
DIANA ROSS WITH NSO POPS
One week after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Supreme diva takes to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The National Symphony, led by Emil de Cou, will accompany her through her hit Motown-era and disco songbook. Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.mm., Friday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $59 to $179. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
The hip Canadian indie-dance band takes a spin through its repertoire, focusing on its just-released album, Royal Blues, packed with dance-pop tunes in the giddy and spirited style that has become the band's signature sound. Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee comes to town for a concert billed as "An Intimate Performance Benefiting Bonaparte's Retreat," the dog rescue organization the card-carrying PETA member founded in Nashville. A Washington Post critic has described Harris as the "silken-voiced muse of a summer night," but trust that her eloquent, expressive country-folk is welcome even in the dead of fall, especially when in service to a good cause. Sunday, Dec. 4. Doors at 6 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $90 to $250. Call 202-787-1000 or visit thehamiltondc.com.
Still probably best known as Jeanie Boulet, the HIV-positive nurse on NBC's '90s-era hit show E.R. that helped inspire her to become an activist on the issue, Gloria Reuben has also portrayed Elizabeth Keckley in the film Lincoln and currently has recurring roles on USA Network's Mr. Robot and Bounce TV's Saints & Sinners, among other acting work in Hollywood. Yet Reuben has also long had a side career in music -- including serving as a backup singer and dancer on Tina Turner's 2000 tour. "I've had some nerve-wracking auditions," Reuben put it to Metro Weekly two years ago when recalling getting that particular gig. Reuben returns to Blues Alley on a tour in support of Perchance to Dream, a collection of jazz favorites with a few originals. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $25, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.
Over the past decade, actress Megan Hilty has played Glinda in Wicked, Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5: The Musical and Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but she's most widely known as the ambitious Ivy Lynn on Smash, the NBC television series about the making of a new musical. In recent years Hilty has turned to a recording career, including her debut pop set It Happens All The Time, and especially to performing cabarets. She returns to the Kennedy Center for an intimate Christmas concert, part of Renee Fleming's Voices series. Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 and 9 p.m. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Tickets are $85 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Popular D.C. four-piece, founded by Alex Tebeleff and Eduardo Rivera, makes rhythmically oriented, psychedelic pop with a mournful edge, recalling everything from Joy Division and the Doors to contemporaries Deerhunter and Lower Dens. Georgetown's Gypsy Sally presents a concert in an unlikely but not uncommon venue, the functioning hotel off South Capitol Street in the Navy Yard. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Doors at 7 p.m. Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 day of show. Call 202-488-7500 or visit gypsysallys.com.
TURKUAS & THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS
Referred to as "the musical love child of Sly & the Family Stone and Talking Heads, Turkuas is a nine-piece "funk army" from Brooklyn. Digitonium, the band's latest longplayer -- emphasis on long -- evokes '80s dance music, and will be brought to life on stage through signature colorful costumes and choreographed dance moves. Turkuas will share the stage at a double-bill concert with British four-piece jazz fusion/funk band the New Mastersounds, touring in support of its 10th studio set Made for Pleasure, inspired by and recorded in New Orleans. Friday, Dec. 9. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $22. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
D.C.-based acoustic quartet, led by its namesake French-Canadian vocalist, offers jazz from around the world, from swing to samba to gypsy. Also featuring two guitarists -- Lynn Veronneau's husband Ken Avis and David Rosenblatt -- the group increasingly travels the world performing its accessible spin on global grooves. Next stop, another free Millennium Stage concert. Sunday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
WNO'S DOMINGO-CAFRITZ YOUNG ARTISTS
Singers from the Washington National Opera's training program, accompanied by the WNO Children's Chorus and Orchestra, perform a program of both opera arias as well as general classical standards that have become associated with the end-of-year holiday season. Expect selections by Bizet, Puccini, Britten, Strauss -- and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $25 to $75. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
THE WASHINGTON BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER
Every year for the past 12 years, Washington Ballet's artistic director Septime Webre has offered his own twist on the family favorite, setting it in D.C.'s historic Georgetown neighborhood with George Washington as the titular figure and King George III as the Rat King. After two weekends in the intimate THEARC space in Southeast D.C. as part of the company's efforts to spread and diversify its audience, the production sets up shop for nearly all of December at downtown's Warner Theatre. Opens in a preview Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. Runs to Dec. 27. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $126. Call 202-889-5901 or visit washingtonballet.org.
KEVIN FEDARKO, PETE MCBRIDE
"Between River and Rim: Hiking the Grand Canyon" is a discussion by a writer and photographer/filmmaker team about their audacious and demanding adventure, transecting the length of the canyon on foot. It expands on "Are We Losing the Grand Canyon?" from the September National Geographic. Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. National Geographic Society's Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-857-7700 or visit nglive.org or events.nationalgeographic.com.
THE DOMA DIARIES
The Rainbow Theatre Project offers a staged reading of Kevin Michael West's Capital Fringe hit examining the Defense of Marriage Act and the effects it has had on the lives of three LGBT couples. West helms the reading with a cast including Renae Erichsen-Teal, Joy Gerst, Nell Quinn-Gibney, Garrett Matthews, Christian Rohde and Steven Wolf. Sunday, Dec. 11, and Monday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-204-7760 or visit rainbowtheatreproject.org.
CNN POLITICS CAMPAIGN 2016: LIKE, SHARE, ELECT
The Newseum has partnered with CNN -- as well as Facebook, Instagram, Zignal Labs and Pivit -- to offer an interactive exhibit telling the story of the 2016 presidential campaign in real time, which, let's face it, is even more fantastical than the story of Alice jumping down the rabbit hole. The exhibit explores the ways digital and social media have transformed how candidates campaign, how journalists cover elections and how the public participates in the political process. Through Jan. 22. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $22.95 for general admission. Call 888-NEWSEUM or visit newseum.org.
CONNECTIONS: CONTEMPORARY CRAFT AT THE RENWICK
New acquisitions made during the Renwick Gallery's renovation are now on display along with iconic favorites in the permanent collection. More than 80 objects are featured as part of a dynamic presentation celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. Ongoing. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Fr. Call 202-633-1000 or visit renwick.americanart.si.edu.
FOUR SEASONS BY PHILIP HAAS
Four larger-than-life, three-dimensional portrait busts become the first ever art installations in the Hillwood gardens. Contemporary American artist Philip Haas offers sculptural interpretations of the celebrated botanical paintings by Italian master Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The 15-foot fiberglass works will weather seasonal changes in climate. Through March 31. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $12. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.
Through an initiative commissioning installations and public programs related to its broad Imagining Home exhibit, the Baltimore Museum of Art brought together video and film artist Rahne Alexander and interdisciplinary artist/organizer Jaimes Mayhew with Chase Brexton Health Care's LGBT Health Resource Center. Queer Interiors features a larger-than-life bed and furnishings, personal artifacts and a multimedia wall display known as the Baltimore LGBTQI+ Home Movie Quilt, which pays homage to Baltimore album quilts and the AIDS Memorial Quilt by presenting a growing, crowd-sourced portrait of the city's queer communities. Through Aug. 31, 2017. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Dr. Baltimore. Call 443-573-1700 or visit artbma.org.
YUMMM! THE HISTORY, FANTASY AND FUTURE OF FOOD
One of the quirkiest museums around celebrates its 21st birthday with a playful visual feast featuring works by 34 artists focused on humankind's relationship with food. Food-centric paintings, sculptures, embroideries, installations, and films are part of this exploration of the serious creative vision needed to reinvent how a planet of an estimated 9.6 billion people will eat in the year 2050. Runs to Sept. 3, 2017. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. Baltimore. Tickets are $15.95. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.
DC GURLY SHOW
Having grown out of local drag king organization the DC Kings, the DC Gurly Show isn't your grandfather's burlesque. It's focused more on playing with gender than teasing with sex. Next up is the organization's year-end review, promising to sum up 2016 with tassels, glitter, bumps and grinds and lots of fun. Saturday, Dec. 3, at 9 p.m. The Pinch, 3548 14th St. NW. Tickets are $9 in advance, or $12 at the door. Call 202-722-4440 or visit dcgurlyshow.com.
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. Mendoza and Anya Randall Nebel host the next event, the annual "Duets with Don Mike: Boyz Edition," with guest performers Hasani Allen, Scott Harrison, Troy Hopper, Ben Lurye, Teddy Nagel, Taylor Rieland, Russell Silber and Lo the Pet. Paige Rammelkamp accompanies. Monday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15, or $10 if you eat dinner at the restaurant beforehand. Call 202-328-1640 or visit latidodc.wix.com/latido.
METROCOOKING DC FOOD SHOW
Both a holiday treat and a shopping preserve, "The Ultimate Food Lover's Weekend" is the area's biggest specialty food and culinary event. And the lineup of star chefs who will cook and chat at the 2016 MetroCooking DC is impressive: Tom Colicchio, Jacques Pepin, Carla Hall, Duff Goldman, David Guas, Richard Sandoval, Peter Chang, Scott Drewno, Tim Ma, Erik Bruner-Yang and Victor Albisu. In addition to hundreds of specialty food vendors exhibiting their wares, there's a whole smorgasbord of activities on tap, including a RAMW Grand Tasting Pavilion with samples from local restaurants, a separate area offering beer, wine and spirits samplings, a BBQ Bash culinary classes by chefs from L'Academie de Cuisine, entertaining workshops and book signings. Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4, starting at 10 a.m. each day. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW. Tickets are $21.50 to $200. Call 202-249-3000 or visit metrocookingdc.com.
NATIONAL ZOO'S ZOOLIGHTS
Every year the Smithsonian's National Zoo presents ZooLights, in which more than 500,000 colorful Christmas lights illuminate life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, buildings, and walkways, plus a light show set to music. All that, plus select animal houses will be open and displaying nocturnal creatures, including the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and Reptile Discovery Center. Every night except Dec. 24 and 25 until Jan. 1. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free, courtesy of Pepco. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.
TORPEDO FACTORY'S 2016 HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
Before and after Alexandria's Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac, the Torpedo Factory Art Center offers a magical winter wonderland where shoppers can buy locally made art from more than 150 artists and 80 studios. Handmade jewelry, ceramics, photography, paintings and other original works will be available, and the evening will feature a children's scavenger hunt, live music, snacks and a visit from Santa. Saturday, Dec. 3, from 2 to 9 p.m. Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit torpedofactory.org.