- The Magazine
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Craig Wallace returns as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s Theatre’s 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 MEDLEY
Guillotine Theatre has had hit after hit with Halloween productions in a cemetery in Alexandria. So they thought, why not stage a Christmas in the Crypt show? Actors from the company read a mixture of poems, short stories, and reminiscences including Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, a selection from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and A Visit from St. Nicholas, with works by Langston Hughes, John Julius Norwich, Frank O’Connor, Lillian Smith, Moss Hart, Frederick Douglass, U.A. Fanthorpe, and William Shakespeare also represented. Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. The Receiving Vault of Ivy Hill Cemetery, 2823 King St. Alexandria. Requested donation of $10. Call 703-549-7413 or visit georgetowntheatre.org.
AN IRISH CAROL
For the sixth year in a row, Keegan Theatre offers company member Matthew Keenan’s homage to Dickens, albeit with biting Irish humor and incisive candor. Mark A. Rhea directs a cast featuring himself plus Kevin Adams, Josh Sticklin, Timothy Lynch, Mike Kozemchak, Christian Montgomery, Caroline Dubberly, and Daniel Lyons. Opens Thursday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m. Runs to Dec. 31. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com.
GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON: THE HOLIDAY SHOW
Blending the sexy and playful with the sweet and sentimental, the holiday show is one of the chorus’s most popular. In addition to the standard seasonal and sensational offerings, the concert features performances by the ensembles Potomac Fever and Rock Creek Singers, as well as the LGBT youth choir GenOUT. This year’s offering incorporates stories of holiday memories and growing up gay, as told by several members, part of a season-long push to personalize the 200-strong chorus. “In a time when our social discourse can seem toxic,” artistic director Thea Kano says, “it is vital that we share our stories and remind everyone that there is far more that unites us than divides us.” Saturday, Dec. 16, at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 202-328-6000 or visit gmcw.org.
Now in its fourth year, this light art exhibition presented by the Georgetown Business Improvement District features eight displays by multidisciplinary artists. Billed as a way to “re-imagine the season of light,” the works, curated by Deirdre Ehlen MacWilliams, offer a high-tech modern contrast with the surroundings of D.C.’s oldest neighborhood. The installations, many of them in collaboration with Light Art Collection and the Amsterdam Light Festival, are: Aqueous by Jen Lewin of New York, an interactive, walkable landscape of meandering pathways in Georgetown Waterfront Park; Horizontal Interference by Joachim Sługocki and Katarzyna Malejka from Poland, a colorful cord structure connecting trees and light poles in Washington Harbour; Open Lounge by Géraud Périole, with 20 handcrafted chandeliers made of acrylic, plastic and rope hanging in Cady’s Alley; Bands of Friendship by Vikas Patil & Santosh Gujar of India, nine rings inspired by Indian color schematics positioned outside Dean & Deluca; Light Cloud by Ted Bazydlo & Brandon Newcomer of D.C., a digitally fabricated dynamic sculpture that responds to the surrounding environment and local activity in the Hok Courtyard; My Light Is Your Light by Alaa Minawi of Lebanon, a neon group sculpture for the displaced located outside Grace Church; Glow Structural Remix by Robin Bell of D.C., a 15-minute looped video of historic imagery with holiday colors and shapes harkening the activities of the once bustling Old Georgetown Theater; The Neighbors by OmbréLumen – Arthur Gallice & Herve Orgeas, four figures made of LED bent wires to create a clan of glowing people along Wisconsin Avenue; and LSM Presents, three video works by LSM Architects Quayola, Casey Reas, and Sara Ludy and projected in the company’s atrium. Additionally, Philips Color Kinetics has lit the smokestack at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown and the C&O Canal bridge at Georgetown Park, and MHF Productions has strung white lights on nearly all the buildings radiating out from the main intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW. Now through Jan. 7, every night from 5 to 10 p.m. Visit GeorgetownGlowDC.com for more information, including a free Curator’s Audio Tour set to music.
LA-TI-DO: I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS CABARET
Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza’s La-Ti-Do 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 last of two annual holiday cabarets with guest performers, which also doubles as the 2017 Closing Party. The guests at this mammoth, three-hour long show include the cast of Forever Soulful and performers Michelle Moses-Eisenstein, Larry Grey, Alexandra Levensen, Michael Sandoval, Tara Trinity, Joseph Benitez, Angeleaza Anderson, Rebecca Ballinger, Sarah D. Lawson, Kay Kerimian, Stephen Yednock, Shane Conrad, Rachel Levitin, Meg Nemeth, and Alex Olesker. Taylor Rambo accompanies. Monday, Dec. 18, at 7 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.
MIRACLE ON 8TH STREET: SCREENINGS OF CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
Over the next two weekends, the recently renovated Miracle Theatre in the Barracks Row section of Capitol Hill screens several holiday-themed favorites. The lineup includes: the James Stewart signature It’s A Wonderful Life on Friday, Dec. 15, at 6:45 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m.; Robert Zemeckis’ animated The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks on Saturday Dec. 16 at 11 a.m., and Friday, Dec. 22, at 3:30 p.m.; and an early Christmas classic, White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, on Friday, Dec. 22, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $6 to $8. 535 8th St. SE. Call 202-400-3210 or visit themiracletheatre.com.
SWEET SPOT AERIAL PRODUCTIONS: A CIRCUS CAROL
Sweet Spot, the impressive, local, LGBTQ-inclusive circus arts company, presents its third holiday production. Directed by Chris Griffin, A Circus Carol is a more narrative piece than those in the past, set in the fictitious W.T. Dickens High School during the madness of holiday pageant time. It’s been billed as “Glee except with circus acts instead of singing.” Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 and 6 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit sweetspotdc.org.
THE FOLGER CONSORT: SEASONAL EARLY MUSIC OF GERMANY
The lute/organ/viol consort Arcadia Viols and vocal ensemble Cathedra joins the Consort and its viol/violin-playing co-founder Robert Eisenstein for a holiday program of music from the 15th to 17th centuries, titled Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming. Performances Friday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, at 4 and 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 19, through Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 23, at 4 and 8 p.m. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $50. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
The Washington Ballet’s former artistic director Septime Webre first staged his twist on the family favorite 13 years ago, setting it in D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood with George Washington as the titular figure and King George III as the Rat King. As always, the production sets up shop for nearly all of December at downtown’s Warner Theatre. To Dec. 24. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-889-5901 or visit washingtonballet.org.
WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: SEASONAL DISORDER
Washington Improv Theater’s annual holiday extravaganza features shows based on audience suggestions, showing you the good, the bad and the ugly of the season — all laughs to get you through. Each show is different, but all offer a grab bag of spontaneous comedy and long-form improv. This year’s show also includes Citizens’ Watch, an original production based on the TV series Broadchurch and featuring members from various WIT ensembles as well as new faces to the WIT stage, as well as performances by Chicago duo GIRLish and a special New Year’s Eve spectacular. Weekends to Dec. 31. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, or $30 for reserved, front-row seats. Call 202-204-7770 or visit washingtonimprovtheater.com.
WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA: THE LITTLE PRINCE
Francesca Zambello directs a revival of a holiday opera for the whole family, featuring a tuneful score by Oscar-winner Rachel Portman (Emma) and showcasing the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists and WNO Children’s Chorus. Nicholas Wright adapted the English libretto from the Antoine de Saint-Exupery classic. Thursday, Dec. 14, and Friday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $45 to $65. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Oliver (Armie Hammer) is an academic who comes to stay at a family’s villa in 1980s Italy. There, he strikes up a bond with 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet), one that changes both men’s lives as their desire for one another takes over. Luca Guadagnino directs the coming-of-age tale, based on the book by André Aciman, and critics are falling head-over-heels for its intellectual eroticism. Could it be this year’s Moonlight? Opens Friday, Dec. 15. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
In Jon Favreau’s 2003 comedy, Will Ferrell is an orphan raised at the North Pole, who seeks out his real father (James Caan) and a place where he belongs in this holiday comedy also featuring Zooey Deschanel as a department store elf and Ed Asner as Santa. Part of Landmark’s West End Cinema Capital Classics. Screenings are Wednesday, Dec. 20, 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 landmarktheatres.com.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
No other film has more riding on its shoulders this year. Not only does The Last Jedi have to prove that the Star Wars franchise still has legs and that its plot can carry forward into a third film in 2019, it must also show that the success of this franchise isn’t just based in nostalgia for the original films. In addition, it must serve as the late Carrie Fisher’s final film — and deal with Leia’s presumed death. And on top of all of that, director Rian Johnson has to replicate the massive financial success of 2015’s Force Awakens. Disney has bills to pay, after all. Opens Friday, Dec. 15. Landmark’s Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, 807 V St. NW. Call 202-534-1965 or visit landmarktheatres.com. (RM)
A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES
The Washington Stage Guild presents an evening of warm and nostalgic works adapted by Bill Largess from Dylan Thomas, Charles Dickens, AA Milne, and Louisa May Alcott. Closes Sunday, Dec. 17. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-582-0050 or visit stageguild.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.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
The Kennedy Center presents the four-time Tony-winning musical from 2015 based on the classic film, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and featuring a magical George and Ira Gershwin score and a book by Craig Lucas. Now to Jan. 7. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $59 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow and every day this holiday season at Olney Theatre Center. Forty years after composer Charles Strouse, lyricist Martin Charnin, and book writer Thomas Meehan teamed up for the feel-good musical about a determinedly optimistic little orphan girl, countless other, real-life kids have been inspired by the popular work to become theater performers (or at least theater queens) in their own right. The latest is Noelle Robinson, who heads a cast of 32, including Rachel Zampelli as Miss Hannigan, Kevin McAllister as Daddy Warbucks, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Rooster Hannigan. To Dec. 31. Mainstage, Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
CHRISTMAS AT THE OLD BULL AND BUSH
Catherine Flye’s cheery holiday tale centers on patrons at a pub telling corny jokes and singing British music hall songs and Christmas carols. Originally presented at the turn of the millennium by Arena Stage, some of the original cast members now take to Alexandria’s MetroStage for a toast to the holidays that includes sing-alongs and an abbreviated reenactment of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, plus a few surprises along the way. To Dec. 24. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.
Go down the rabbit hole with the whole family in David Catlin’s contemporary retelling putting a fresh, modern twist on the Lewis Carroll classic tale. Jeremy B. Cohen directs. To Dec. 31. Baltimore Center Stage, 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Call 410-332-0033 or visit centerstage.org.
MY NAME IS ASHER LEV
Virginia’s 1st Stage presents Aaron Posner’s imaginative retelling of Chaim Potok’s beloved novel about a young Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and his need to pursue his artistic voice. Nick Olcott directs a cast featuring Andy Brownstein, Hyla Matthews, and Lucas Beck. Now to Dec. 23. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $33. Call 703-854-1856 or visit 1ststage.org.
THE BOOK OF WILL
What if Shakespeare’s works had been lost forever? Ryan Rilette directs a Round House Theatre production of Lauren Gunderson’s hilarious and heartfelt story inspired by true events surrounding Shakespeare’s First Folio. Mitchell Hebert, Kimberly Gilbert, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Todd Scofield, and Michael Russotto are among the cast. To Dec. 24. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO
Set amid the Atlanta Jewish community in 1939, Theater J presents a beautiful, comedic, enthralling romance by Alfred Uhry, the author of Driving Miss Daisy. A handsome Eastern European bachelor from Brooklyn throws the Freitag family asunder as they confront their own prejudices, desires, and beliefs. Now to Dec. 31. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
THE PAJAMA GAME
In an unusual twist, artistic director Molly Smith turns over directing reins for this season’s Golden Age Musical to Alan Paul, who has proven his mettle with musicals at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Choreographer Parker Esse joins to try to rouse interest in this classic battle-of-the-sexes. To Dec. 24. Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
THE REAL AMERICANS
Actor/journalist Dan Hoyle brings to life the characters he met traveling outside “the liberal bubble,” presented as part of Mosaic Theater’s “Transformational Journeys” and staged in repertory in the month of December with Draw The Circle. Charlie Varon directs. To Dec. 22. Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab Theatre II, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
THE SANTALAND DIARIES
An “unseasonably cynical” offering, The SantaLand Diaries is a solo show adapted by Joe Montello from humorist David Sedaris’ essay about his time working in Macy’s “Santaland.” Cameron Folmar stars as a gay, out-of-work writer who dons the costumes and proceeds to spill the beans about what goes on behind closed doors. Lynn Sharp Spears directs. To Dec. 23. Drafthouse Comedy Theater, 1100 13th Street NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.
Very little has been straight, traditional or predictable in the life of Bettye LaVette, who grew up in Motown-era Detroit and became a recording artist at 16. More than a half-century later, the good-humored singer is in what she refers to as her “fifth career,” having recently signed a new contract with Universal Records, with a new album due out next spring. Sunday, Dec. 17. Doors at 7 p.m. Ram’s Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $39.50. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com.
The 32-year-old pop star returns for another holiday-timed run at the 3,000-seat theater at MGM National Harbor. If you haven’t had a chance to catch the magnetic performer live, this would be an ideal place to start — and could make for a lovely Christmas present for a special someone in your life. Wednesday, Dec. 20, and Thursday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Call 844-346-4664 or visit mgmnationalharbor.com.
Chris Pureka’s fraught-folk style reflects slightly, subtly, on the gender-queer artist’s background in science: She was a research microbiologist at Smith College before she became a fulltime musician a decade ago. As she told Metro Weekly a few years ago, “It’s almost like I come up with a hypothesis for each song and then fill it out…It’s not necessarily causal. It’s a correlation.” Sunday, Dec. 17. Doors at 6 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $18 to $25. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.
Freddy Cole plays his own instruments, just like his late brother Nat King, but his voice is raspier, smokier, jazzier. The New York Times has hailed him as “the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.” He drops by Blues Alley for another weekend run of his seasonal show, “Here for the Holidays.” Thursday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 17, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $36 to $41, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.
Two of the area’s great orchestras take on Handel’s monumental Messiah the third weekend in December. Jeannette Sorrell conducts the National Symphony Orchestra version featuring the University of Maryland Concert Choir and soloists Sophie Daneman, Ann McMahon Quintero, Karim Sulayman, and Christopher Immler. Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org. Meanwhile, Stan Engebretson conducts the National Philharmonic and its Chorale plus soloists Esther Heideman, Yvette Smith, Norman Shankle, and Trevor Scheunemann. Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $28 to $94. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
Founded two decades ago in Rockville, Of A Revolution continues to stir up audiences both at home and around the country. Singer/guitarist Marc Roberge, drummer Chris Culos, guitarist Richard On, bassist Benj Gershman, and saxophonist/guitarist Jerry DePizzo perform alt-rock tunes in its debut at the area’s gleaming new concert venue on the Wharf. Saturday, Dec. 16. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $45.50 to $75.50. Call 202-265-0930 or visit theanthemdc.com.
RAHEEM DEVAUGHN & FRIENDS HOLIDAY CHARITY CONCERT
A home base for holiday soul/R&B music, the Howard Theatre welcomes D.C. native Raheem DeVaughn for his fourth annual concert presented by and benefiting his LoveLife Foundation, which funds efforts to help with HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, mental illness, autism, cancer, education, music and the arts. Thursday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $40, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit thehowardtheatre.com.
Shamir Bailey’s third album carries a remarkably apt title. Revelations picked up from Hope, the surprise sophomore album recorded over a weekend on a four-track that marked an abrupt shift into lo-fi from the polished, disco-throwback pop of his debut Ratchet. His latest release shines up the rougher edges while preserving the DIY rawness. Throughout the album, he jumps frantically from one style to another, and we see many hints of the punk and country he grew up listening to. While Shamir’s tone certainly comes across as more honest and serious in his lyrics, his stream-of-consciousness on these tracks is as irreverent and fun as it is blunt and revealing. Shamir will bring the tracks to life with a concert featuring the Canadian duo Partner as opening act. Friday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $18. Call 202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com. (Sean Maunier)
One-half of Grammy Award-winning and D.C.-area production duo Deep Dish, Sharam returns to U Street’s great subterranean club for an open-to-close set in support of Collecti, a new album of original material drawing from the darker sides of techno. Friday, Dec. 15, starting at 10:30 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com.
THE 9 SONGWRITER SERIES
Folk-rock musician Justin Trawick formed the collaborative 9 Songwriter Series in 2008 as a means to book larger venues for shows featuring Trawick and fellow local musicians, giving them a bigger audience and opportunities to improvise and collaborate, and giving audiences an easier way to discover a songwriter or band to love. Next week performers in the series offer their annual family-friendly holiday extravaganza, presented by Listen Local First DC, with two shows at two very different venues — the first at the new District Wharf’s more intimate concert venue, and featuring Trawick, Brave Like Us, Julia Fanning w/Eli Staples, Blue Plains, Jasmine Gillison, Chris Cassaday, Jarreau Williams, Louisa Hall, and Karla Chisholm. Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. Pearl Street Warehouse, 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-380-9620 or visit pearlstreetwarehouse.com. The second features Trawick, Daryl Davis, Emma Rowley, Alex Vaughn, Adrian+Meredith, Dante Pope, Emma G, Asha Santee, and Davison. Thursday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
THE WASHINGTON CHORUS: A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS
New Artistic Director Christopher Bell directs the annual “A Candlelight Christmas,” featuring the 200-voice chorus singing familiar carols and holiday songs, plus audience sing-alongs and a candlelight processional. The Eleanor Roosevelt High School Chamber Choir and D.C. al Fine will join the chorus. Saturday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 21, and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Also Friday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $18 to $72. Call 202-342-6221 or visit thewashingtonchorus.org.
A decade ago, a group of 10 female singers formed this unaffiliated offshoot of the 100-voice auditioned community chorus the Capitol Hill Chorale. Vox Pulchra sings an eclectic mix of traditional music from around the world and from across centuries, and next performs a Holiday Concert with music from the U.S., England, Germany, Russia, and Canada accompanied by instrumentalists Howard Bass and Tina Chancey. Sunday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. Corner Store Arts, 900 South Carolina Ave. SE. Tickets are $21. Call 202-544-5807 or visit cornerstorearts.org.
COYABA DANCE THEATER: KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Sylvia Soumah directs the annual Kwanzaa Celebration at Dance Place featuring the Dance Place Resident Company, its Coyaba Academy, and special guests. The focus is on the seven principles of the African-American holiday. Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Call 202-269-1600 or visit danceplace.org.
STEP AFRIKA!: MAGICAL MUSICAL HOLIDAY STEP SHOW
The local percussive dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping presents its annual holiday step show. The focus is on getting North Pole animals — polar bears, penguins — to step. And all to music by “Frosty the Snowman,” putting the needle on the record as special guest DJ. Opens Friday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. To Dec. 30. Sprenger Theatre in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $18 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
THE SECOND CITY: NOTHING TO LOSE (BUT OUR CHAINS)
Woolly Mammoth hosts performer Felonious Munk and a cast of Chicago’s sharpest comedians telling a hilarious and harrowing story of how one African-American man went from six years in a state prison to a six-figure job in corporate America to a new life as an activist and satirist. Anthony LeBlanc directs this new show from the creators of last year’s hit Black Side of the Moon… that combines sketch, stand-up, and music. Now to Dec. 31. 641 D St. NW. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
THE SECOND CITY: TWIST YOUR DICKENS
The Kennedy Center offers another run of the comedy troupe’s irreverent and interactive parody twist on A Christmas Carol. The largely improvised tale is based on Dickens but adapted by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort. To Dec. 31. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Over 85 regional and national artists are represented in the third annual 10×10 invitational. Every artwork is different, although the same size, and are intended as original holiday gifts, priced at $50 each. The invitational benefits Hyattsville’s Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, located in the historic Arcade building in the Gateway Arts District and featuring a papermaking studio, print shop, letterpress studio, bindery, a darkroom and a woodshop. Closes Sunday, Dec. 17. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville. Call 301-608-9101 or visit pyramidatlanticartcenter.org.
ARLINGTON ARTS CENTER: FALL SOLOS
Seven regional artists are assigned one of the main gallery spaces in the historic Maury School to exhibit a selection of their works in this semi-annual exhibition. Kate Haw, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, and Mika Yoshitake, assistant curator at the Hirshhorn Museum, were the jurors for the latest round, and they selected an entirely female line-up of artists, many of whom explore themes related to feminism, gender and identity: Mary Baum, Atsuko Chirikjian, Catherine Day, Anna Kell, Jen Noone, Mojdeh Rezaeipour, and Julie Wills. Closes Saturday, Dec. 16. Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd. Call 703-248-6800 or visit arlingtonartscenter.org.
CARL BRETZKE: RECENT WORK
A mix of plein air sketches and more refined studio paintings are on display in Bretzke’s second solo exhibit at Susan Calloway’s contemporary gallery in Georgetown. Based in Minnesota, Bretzke’s work recalls Edward Hopper and the Ashcan school and typically features vehicles or figures from everyday life often set off by an intriguingly lit landscape or cityscape background. Closes Saturday, Dec. 16. Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit callowayart.com.
DRAWING JUSTICE: THE ART OF COURTROOM ILLUSTRATION
A showcase of the Library of Congress’s extensive collection of original drawings by artists, commissioned during the past 50 years by newspapers and television stations to capture the personal dynamics of legal trials where cameras aren’t allowed. Artists in the exhibition include Howard Brodie, Marilyn Church, Pat Lopez, Arnold Mesches, Gary Myrick, Freda Reiter, Bill Robles, Jane Rosenberg, and Elizabeth Williams. Their drawings provided insight into the drama and impact of events in American law and influenced how Americans perceived race and race relations, religion, gender issues, political and corporate corruption, international relations, and the role of celebrities in society. To Dec. 30. South Gallery, Second Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Call 202-707-8000 or visit loc.gov/exhibits.
ILYA AND EMILIA KABAKOV: THE UTOPIAN PROJECTS
The Hirshhorn offers the first historical survey of these acclaimed Russian artists, including more than 20 of the Kabakovs’ maquettes, or whimsical models, for projects realized and unrealized, including monuments, allegorical narratives, architectural structures and commissioned outdoor works. The intricate creations, spanning from 1985 through the present day, offer a view into their surreal world in miniature. The works frequently reference Soviet-era architecture and prisoners, with allusions to escape, whether by ship, angel or mythic tale. On display through March 4, 2018. Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
INTERLUDE: UNFINISHED WORKS
The contemporary exhibition space in the Torpedo Factory Art Center presents artwork left both intentionally and unintentionally unfinished by 21 artists working in various media and from across the globe. Betsy Johnson curated the exhibition, which includes local artists Diane Charnov of McLean, Sarah Hardesty and Bushra Shamma of Falls Church, Barbara Morrison Januszkiewicz of Arlington, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin of Bethesda, and Tommy Bobo and Nicole Fossi of D.C. Public reception is Friday, Dec. 15, from 7 to 9 p.m., with a Juror’s Talk at 7:30 p.m. On display through Jan. 21. Target Gallery, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit torpedofactory.org.
MAGGIE GOURLAY: ADAPTATION/MIGRATION IN THE ANTHROPOCENE
The National Zoo plays host to CulturalDC’s Space4: Mobile Art Gallery and the latest exhibition presented in a former 40-foot shipping container, running in tandem with ZooLights (see separate entry). In creating the immersive multimedia installation, local artist Maggie Gourlay was inspired by the exotic insect species that have migrated to the U.S. via commercial shipping containers and have become conservation threats. Exhibit runs through Jan. 1. Outside the Visitor’s Center, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.
QUIQUE AVILES: EL ACORDEON
A collection of 10 short poems written, folded and bound by the El Salvador-born D.C. poet and actor is the focus of a new exhibition in the District of Columbia Arts Center. Identity, migration, the idea of belonging and the vagaries of everyday life are the subject of these mini-accordion books, featuring interior layout and design by Fidel Salvador Medrano Now through Jan. 21, when the show ends with an artist talk and closing reception. Nano Gallery, 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit dcartscenter.org.
RELIGION IN EARLY AMERICA
Themes of religious diversity, freedom and growth from the colonial era through the 1840s is the focus of this one-year exhibition. Objects come from the Smithsonian’s permanent collection as well as others on loan and represent the diverse range of Christian, Native American and African traditions as well as Mormonism, Islam and Judaism that wove through American life in this era. On display through June 3, 2018. National Museum of American History, 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanhistory.si.edu.
THE ODYSSEY: BRIAN DAILEY’S DIGITAL WORK
The Dupont Underground brings together a cross-section of the artist’s recent work in digital media encapsulating the remarkable odyssey of his life and the many surprising twists and turns he has explored. The Underground After Hours party, featuring customized cocktails by bartender Brendan Ambrose of Firefly, is Friday, Dec. 15, from 7 to 10 p.m., with tickets costing $18 to $20. On exhibit through Jan. 15. Dupont Underground, 1500 19th St. NW. Suggested donation of $5. Visit dupontunderground.org.
WILLIAM WOODWARD: THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS
In his two-decades-long series of drawings and narrative paintings focused on the concept of sin, this Washington native has tried to imagine how Federico Fellini, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton might have depicted their subjects if they were painters. The result are images that are whimsical and elusive, rather than strident and explicit in their interpretations. Closes Sunday, Dec. 17. American University Museum in the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-885-2587 or visit american.edu/cas/museum.
DRINK THE DISTRICT WINE FESTIVAL: HOLIDAY EDITION
More than 100 wines will be available for tasting at a “Mistletoe & Merlot”-themed iteration of this recurring event. Also on tap will be live music, culinary demonstrations, sommeliers answering questions, and a retail store with bottles for sale and gifts made by D.C. crafters and artisans. Sessions are Friday, Dec. 15, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 16, from 12 to 3 p.m., 4 to 7 p.m., and 8 to 11 p.m. 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. In addition, there’s a non-ticketed Wine Bar on Friday, Dec. 15, from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. The Park View, 3400 Georgia Ave. NW. Tickets are $59 to $99 per session. Call 202-618-3663 or visit drinkthedistrict.com.
HANK’S PASTA BAR: SEASONAL SEVEN FISHES DISH
Chef Jamie Leeds puts her own spin on the celebratory Feast of the Seven Fishes, offering a country-style version of bouillabaisse, a bowl of white wine, herbs, thick tomato sauce and overflowing with seven types of seafood in one place: lump crabmeat, catfish, squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, and octopus. The stew is served with housemade linguine and available throughout the entire month of December. Located at 600 Montgomery St., Alexandria. Price is $34. Call 571-312-4117 or visit hankspastabar.com.
THE DUPLEX DINER’S JANKY SWEATER PARTY
These days it seems like everyone — maybe even your family — throws a party in which everyone is encouraged to wear an ugly Christmas sweater. But the best have a reason for the gaudy seasonal display, such as making it a benefit for the Trevor Project, the leading organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. That’s the cause that will benefit from donations at the door and profits from drink sales this Friday, Dec. 15, at the gay diner on the edge of Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle. Drag queen Goldie Grigio hosts the ’80s-themed Breakfast Club party with DJs Khelan Bhatia and Adam Koussari-Amin. Party starts at 9 p.m. an “ends when we take our sweaters off.” The 18th and U Duplex Diner, 2004 18th St. NW. Donation of $10 gets you a champagne cocktail. Call 202-265-9599 or visit duplexdiner.com.
LIGHTS ON THE BAY
More than 70 animated and stationary displays depicting regional and holiday themes factor into the annual holiday show, featuring a two-mile scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. A North Pole Village & Enchanted Fairy Tales is a new edition at this year’s event, a benefit for the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. On display every evening from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis. Admission is $15 per car, or $30 to $50 for larger vans and buses. Visit lightsonthebay.org.
WINTER HOLIDAY SMUT SLAM: TOY JOY!
Chris Griffin’s alter-drag ego Lucrezia Blozia judges a holiday edition of a fun, frisky storytelling event offering prizes for the best story. Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Songbyrd Music House, 2477 18th St. NW. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door. Call 202-450-2917 or visit songbyrddc.com.
WINTERFEST AT WUNDER GARTEN
The beer garden in NoMa has been transformed for the holidays with twinkly lights and tasty food from a pop-up cafe, s’mores and snuggy blankets around a fire pit and hot holiday beverages — in addition to the usual beers on tap — from mulled wine to whiskey hot toddies to hot apple cider spiked with Stella Cidre and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire. Winterfest also includes a tree lot and a Makers Market with local vendors including Grey Moggie Press, Hernan Gigena Art, Jewelry For Hundred Causes, Mint Lola, Off on a Tangent, Potomac Candle, Shrub District, the Cookie Jar DC, and Tin Tin’s Pieces. And starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, is Night of a 1000 Santas Costume and DJ Party, when everyone is encouraged to dress as their best version of Santa. Winterfest closes Sunday, Dec. 17. 1101 1st St. NE. Free. Visit winterfestwg.com.
More than 500,000 colorful Christmas lights illuminate life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, buildings, and walkways, plus a light show set to music, during this annual holiday event at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. 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.
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