AFI HOLIDAY CLASSICS
Between now and Christmas Eve, the American Film Institute screens 14 seasonal films, ranging from classics (It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas) to favorites (A Christmas Story, The Muppet Christmas Carol) to curiosities (Die Hard, Gremlins). Naturally, Friday the 13th (of December) ushers in a week of Christmas curiosities, including Bob Clark’s 1974 Black Christmas, widely credited as the first “slasher” film (a remake of which hits screens this week as well), plus two 35th anniversary screenings: the original Gremlins, Joe Dante’s comic cult classic about a cuddly mogwai gone awry, and then Silent Night, Deadly Night, billed as one of the most controversial slasher films of all time, which has been restored from the original camera negative. Gremlins screens Friday, Dec. 13, at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at 9:15 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 16, through Thursday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m.; Silent Night, Deadly Night is Friday, Dec. 13, at 7:45 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 16, at 9:45 p.m.; and Black Christmas is Friday, Dec. 13, at 9:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 9:45 p.m. To Dec. 22. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $10 to $13 plus $1 service fee. Call 301-495-6720 or visit www.afi.com/Silver.
ARLINGTON DRAFTHOUSE’S CHRISTMAS MOVIE FESTIVAL
Though it’s far more than a cinema palace these days, this Arlington venue is still one of the best places to see movies, which screen while servers bring food and alcohol tableside. And this Sunday, Dec. 15, the Drafthouse presents its annual Christmas movie marathon, where you can come and go throughout the day and see up to four classic movies. Robert Zemeckis’s Tom Hanks-starring CGI adventure The Polar Express is up first at 12:30 p.m., followed by the James Stewart classic It’s A Wonderful Life at 2:45 p.m., National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase at 5:45 p.m., and Elf with Will Ferrell at 7:45 p.m. Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike. Tickets are $10. Call 703-486-2345 or visit www.arlingtondrafthouse.com.
BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019)
The second remake of the 1974 slasher film, focused on sorority girls being stalked and killed as their college quiets down for the holidays. Except these women aren’t going to wait around to get murdered — they’re actively hunting down the killer as they unravel the mysteries and dark underside of Hawthorne College. It’ll likely be terrible (it was not screened in advance for critics), but production company Blumhouse has also given us Get Out, Paranormal Activity, and Insidious, so there’s some hope. Opens Friday, Dec. 13. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
After 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle transpired to be not awful — and earned almost $1 billion — a sequel was inevitable. This time around, the hapless teens who got sucked into a Jumanji video game in the first film return once more to save their friend, and are joined by two grandfathers (Danny DeVito and Donald Glover) who have no idea what’s going on. It looks like harmless blockbuster fun, even if we’re worlds away from the charming, Robin Williams-starring 1995 original. Opens Friday, Dec. 13. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
MIRACLE ON 8TH STREET: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
From now until the last Sunday before Christmas, the Miracle Theatre in the Barracks Row section of Capitol Hill screens several holiday-themed movies. The lineup over the next week includes the new Last Christmas, inspired by and featuring the music of George Michael, screening on Friday, Dec. 13, at 9:15 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 5 p.m.; The Polar Express, as part of a “Pajama Party” on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m., and then a regular screening Friday, Dec. 20, at 4 p.m.; the animated caper Arctic Dogs on Friday, Dec. 13, at 4:30 p.m.; Elf on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m.; and the early classic, White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6 to $8. 535 8th St. SE. Call 202-400-3210 or visit www.themiracletheatre.com.
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
Chevy Chase plays Clark Griswold, the everyman father who goes to hilarious, electrifying extremes in his attempt to give his family the perfect suburban Christmas. Every year there are multiple opportunities to see this John Hughes-penned classic, widely considered to be the best sequel in National Lampoon’s Vacation film series, one also starring Beverly D’Angelo as mama Griswold, Juilette Lewis and Johnny Galecki as their children, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as their snobby neighbor Margo, and of course Randy Quaid as crazy Cousin Eddie. Yet 2019 is extra-special because it marks the comedy’s 30th anniversary. In honor, Landmark’s West End Cinema closes out its Capital Classics series for the year with three screenings. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 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 each. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
For most of the month, the Warner Bros. Theater in the National Museum of American History will screen holiday-themed films, mostly classics but a few oddities, such as the two comedies that will close out the series the weekend after Christmas: 2013’s The Best Man Holiday starring Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, and Terrence Howard, and 1983’s Trading Places featuring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. The series continues over the next week with Die Hard on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 3:15 p.m., National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 3:50 p.m., Love Actually on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., Elf on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 3:50 p.m., and A Christmas Story on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 3:50 p.m. To Dec. 29. 1300 Constitution Ave. NW. Tickets are $10 plus $3.50 in fees. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.si.edu/theaters.
THE CELLULOID CLOSET
Like And the Band Played On just two years before it, 1995’s The Celluloid Closet took a work of written history and translated it to the screen — in this case, very appropriately, given that author Vito Russo’s work chronicled both Hollywood’s portrayals of homosexuals onscreen and the closeted lives of the homosexuals who made the movies both in front of and behind the camera. Of course, the movie poster for Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s documentary says a lot about Hollywood — Harvey Fierstein and Lily Tomlin are billed below such straight (but supportive) luminaries as Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks, and Whoopi Goldberg. Still, The Celluloid Closet ranks as one of the few films that should be required viewing not only for anyone who cares about LGBTQ issues, but for anyone who cares about how our entertainment culture subtly — and sometimes overtly — shapes our opinions of those we consider “others.” Part of the December Screen Queen series at the cozy Suns Cinema in Mount Pleasant. Monday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. 3107 Mount Pleasant St. NW. Tickets are $11.49 including service fee. Visit www.sunscinema.com.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Landmark’s E Street Cinema presents its monthly run of Richard O’Brien’s camp classic, billed as the longest-running midnight movie in history. Landmark’s showings come with a live shadow cast from the Sonic Transducers, meaning it’s even more interactive than usual. Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14, at midnight. 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
Fiddler on the Roof
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Craig Wallace returns for his fourth year as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s Theatre’s cherished annual production of the Dickens Yuletide classic. It really wouldn’t be Christmas in Washington without this music-infused adaptation, conceived by Michael Wilson and directed by Michael Baron. Also featured in the production are Stephen F. Schmidt as Jacob Marley, Rayanne Gonzales as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Justine “Icy” Moral as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Gregory Maheu as Bob Cratchit, and Yesenia Iglesias as Mrs. Cratchit. To Jan. 1. 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit www.fordstheatre.org.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS
Olney presents the 10th anniversary 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. 29. The Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.
Billie Krishawn stars as Nina, who discovers there’s more to air guitar than playing pretend when she enters an air guitar competition. Christina A. Coakley directs the D.C. premiere of Chelsea Marcantel’s comedy also featuring Dani Stoller, Drew Kopas, Harrison Smith, Chris Stezin, Gary L. Perkins III, and Forrest A. Hainline IV. The show is a co-production between Keegan Theatre and Virginia’s 1st Stage, where it runs through Dec. 29. 1524 Spring Hill Rd., Tysons. Tickets are $42. Call 703-854-1856 or visit www.1ststagetysons.org.
Genius and jealousy collide in 18th-century Vienna as the mediocre Antonio Salieri does everything in his power to destroy his musical rival, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Folger Theatre offers a production of Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play directed by Richard Clifford and featuring a 13-person cast led by Ian Merrill Peakes as Salieri and Samuel Adams as Mozart. To Dec. 22. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $27 to $85. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
AN IRISH CAROL
For the ninth 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 Kevin Adams, Josh Adams, Dave Jourdan, Timothy Hayes Lynch, Mike Kozemchak, Jon Townson, Josh Sticklin, Jessie Power, and Mick Tinder. In previews. Opens Sunday, Dec. 15. Runs to Dec. 31. 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $41 to $65. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.
A band of underdogs become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York in this musical featuring a score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein, and based on a 1992 film that initially bombed at the box office. Molly Smith puts her stamp on the show in a production at Arena Stage. To Jan. 12. Fichandler Stage in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.
“How do you find consensus when you can’t agree on the facts? A comedy for our moment,” is how Mosaic Theater Company bills Jonathan Spector’s new play, set in a California private school whose progressive-minded, vaccine-flexible values are put to the test by a mumps outbreak. Serge Seiden directs Regina Aquino, Lise Bruneau, Erica Chamblee, Sam Lunay, and Elan Zafir. To Jan. 5. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Two years ago, director Bartlett Sher and his team wowed Broadway with a new take on this classic, scooping up 10 Tony Awards, including a special statue for becoming the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. The show, by Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick focused on a small, tight-knit Jewish community in Imperial Russia over a century ago. It’s timeless in its exploration of the overarching theme of tradition vs. modernity. And then of course are those American Songbook standards, “Tradition,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” Now to Dec. 15. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $54 to $114. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.thenationaldc.org.
JAMES JOYCE’S THE DEAD
SCENA Theatre presents Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey’s Tony-winning musical adaptation of the classic short story by James Joyce that wrestles with themes of lost love and the search for meaning in life. Robert McNamara directs a production full of “drama, dance, and song,” and featuring a 13-member cast including Danielle Davy, Andrea Hatfield, Buck O’Leary, and Rosemary Reagan. In previews. Opens Saturday, Dec. 14. Runs to Jan. 12. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $50. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
One of the most successful jukebox musicals in history won four Tonys in 2006, including Best Musical, and is a perennial favorite on tour, particularly over the holidays. And D.C.’s National Theatre once again overs a holiday run of a show that is as crowd-pleasing as they come. Although far more style than substance, and stronger in song than in story, Jersey Boys offers a parade of ’60s-era hits popularized by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons — including “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night).” Opens Tuesday, Dec. 17. To Jan. 5. 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $54 to $114, plus fees. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.thenationaldc.org.
SINGING IN THE RAIN
The greatest movie musical of all time comes to life on stage, rain and all, in an Olney Theatre production directed by Marcos Santana and choreographed by Grady McLeod Bowman. To Jan. 5. Mainstage at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
What begins as an investigation into the grisly death of a neighbor’s dog results in a remarkable coming-of-age journey for a 15-year-old. Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzochi direct a Round House Theatre production of this recent Broadway hit. To Dec. 22. 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-644-1100 or visit www.roundhousetheatre.org.
THE INFINITE TALES
The ambitious, adventurous Maryland-based 4615 Theatre Company continues its third season with a world-premiere production weaving together tales of Irish mythology as adapted by Gregory Keng Strasser, a local gay theater artist as well as the company’s new producing director. The Infinite Tales is a thrilling fantasy about four children struggling through a curse that has removed them from their homeland and transformed them into swans. Also an exploration of national identity, this adaptation, which features live music, shadow puppetry, and ensemble movement work, was inspired by Strasser’s upbringing as a Chinese/Irish-American who has lived on both sides of the world. Company members Melissa Carter and Seth Rosenke are featured in a nine-person cast, while the company’s founding artistic director Jordan Friend serves as sound designer and composer. To Dec. 29. The Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St. in Bethesda. Tickets are $16.50 to $20. Call 301-928-2738 or visit www.4615theatre.com.
THE SNOW QUEEN
Virginia’s Synetic Theater offers a whimsical, movement-driven adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fairy tale, directed by Ryan Sellers and adapted by Emily Whitworth. To Dec. 29. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Call 800-494-8497 or visit www.synetictheater.org.
TIMES SQUARE ANGEL
Billed as a “hard-boiled Christmas fantasy,” the LGBTQ-focused Richmond Triangle Players offers a parody of Frank Capra Christmas classics — everything from A Christmas Carol to It’s A Wonderful Life — by the drag parodist playwright extraordinaire, Charles Busch (Die Mommie Die, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife). To Dec. 21. The Robert B. Moss Theatre, 1300 Altamont Ave. Richmond. Call 804-346-8113 or visit www.rtriangle.org.
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
Susan Nanus offers a stage adaptation of the children’s fantasy adventure by Norman Juster about a 10-year-old boy and his faithful watchdog traveling to Lands Beyond. Jon Gardner directs a community production for the Greenbelt Arts Center starring Harper Chadwick as Milo and Findley Holland as Tock the watchdog. Weekends to Dec. 15. 123 Centerway. Greenbelt, Md. Tickets are $22 to $24. Call 301-441-8770 or visit www.greenbeltartscenter.org.
Folger Consort — Photo: Teresa Wood
BILL KIRCHEN & TOO MUCH FUN: A HONKY TONK HOLIDAY SHOW
“Daddy’s Drinkin’ Up Our Christmas,” “Silent Surfin’ Night,” “Truckin’ Trees for Christmas,” and “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” are just a few of the far-from-traditional seasonal songs to be performed at this annual show led by “dieselbilly” guitarist Bill Kirchen, one of the founders of the roots-rock Americana movement and an inductee of the Washington Area Music Association Hall of Fame. Accompanied by bass player Johnny Castle and drummer Jack O’Dell, this year’s holiday show boasts veteran steel guitarist Junior Brown as a special guest. The setlist will not be, to cite the show’s official notice, all “holiday songs of questionable taste; you can count on a truckload of dieselbilly classics to take the edge off the holiday fuss.” Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.
BOHEMIAN CAVERNS JAZZ ORCHESTRA: A BOHEMIAN CHRISTMAS
Its namesake U Street venue may have shuttered several years ago, but the 17-piece big band, led by baritone saxophonist Brad Linde and trumpeter Joe Herrera, lives on — at least for special occasions. The Atlas Performing Arts Center in the H Street Corridor offers the next special, helping the ensemble, founded by Linde almost 10 years ago, revive its popular holiday show. Monday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON: SONGS OF THE SEASON
Scott Tucker leads the local vocal ensemble along with Brandon Straub in its annual run of holiday shows at the Kennedy Center. Soloist Kristina Lewis, mezzo-soprano, will join the Choral Arts Chorus and the Choral Arts Youth Choir to perform holiday carols and seasonal classics. Sunday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m, Monday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m., and Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 2 p.m. Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $72. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
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.” The Portland, Ore.-based singer-songwriter returns for a near-annual stop at Virginia’s Jammin Java, this time a co-headlining show with Massachusetts-based artist Kris Delmhorst. Friday, Dec. 13. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $18 to $25. Call 703-255-3747 or visit www.jamminjava.com.
The first lady of bluegrass/Americana returns to the Hamilton for another “Intimate Performance Benefiting Bonaparte’s Retreat,” the dog rescue organization the singer founded in Nashville. The show, with special guests Jon Randall, Rickie Simpkins, and Jay Starling, is also a tribute to Jay’s father, John Starling, a founding member of the D.C.-rooted bluegrass band The Seldom Scene who died this past May. Sunday, Dec. 15. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $90 to $250. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
FOLGER CONSORT: GLORIA! A BAROQUE ITALIAN CHRISTMAS
A seasonal focus on the early music of Italy continues with a festive Venetian holiday program featuring baroque orchestra, vocal soloists, and women’s choir. Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria in D will be performed along with lesser-known Christmas-themed works by Alessandro Scarlatti and Francesco Geminiani by the renowned early music ensemble led by co-founders Robert Eisenstein and Christopher Kendall. Soprano Emily Noël, trumpet player Joelle Monroe, and oboist Margaret Owens are among the featured performers at a string of concerts presented in association with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Performances are Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 and 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 16, through Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. St. Mark’s, Capitol Hill, 301 A St. SE. Tickets are $52. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
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 a weekend run of his seasonal show, “For the Holidays.” Thursday, Dec. 12, through Sunday, Dec. 15, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $41 to $46, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit www.bluesalley.com.
HOT 99.5 JINGLE BALL: HALSEY, KHALID, CHARLIE PUTH
Halsey returns as the top LGBTQ draw on the local stop of the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, which also sees the return of prior Capital Pride Ally performer Charlie Puth. Khalid, Niall Horan, Lewis Capaldi, and Why Don’t We will also take the Capital One Arena stage courtesy of “D.C.’s #1 Hit Music Station.” Monday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. 601 F St. NW. Call 202-628-3200 or visit www.capitalonearena.com.
LESLIE ODOM, JR. WITH THE NSO: A HOLIDAY POPS
The Choral Arts Society of Washington joins the NSO, led by Steven Reineke, for a concert featuring the Tony-winning star of Hamilton. Odom will perform favorite yuletide songs in a show “complete with Santa” and “even snow!” Friday, Dec. 13, at 8p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 and 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $109. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
Mama’s Black Sheep
MAMA’S BLACK SHEEP
Ashland Miller and Laura Cerulli, who together make up the soulful folk-pop band Mama’s Black Sheep, both felt like the black sheep of their respective families. Why? Because they’re struggling artists, pursuing their artistic dreams. “We’re still [just] pickin’ and a grinnin’ in the beer joint, as my father likes to put it,” Miller once joked to Metro Weekly before a Capital Pride performance. Whatever you call them, just see them live — they’re really good. And they keep good company, too: Mama’s Black Sheep offers another heady lesbian folk double-bill with Philadelphia’s Christine Havrilla, who returns to Jammin Java a mere two months after opening for out country star Chely Wright. The show is a benefit for local music education nonprofit The MusicianShip. Wednesday, Dec. 18. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $20 to 30. Call 703-255-3747 or visit www.jamminjava.com.
NATIONAL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE: HOLIDAY CHEER!
The three finalists for the NCE’s 2019 Outstanding Young Artist Award piano competition — Michael Chen, age 13, Tucker Stone, 16, and Daniel Chen, 14 — join the ensemble in a performance of classical masterpieces by Mozart, Granados, Prokofiev, and Gershwin. A group of young violinists also join to perform some of Shostakovich’s festive film music. It’s all part of the annual holiday program, directed by Leo Sushansky, which also sees the return of tenor and media personality Patrick D. McCoy to sing “Comfort Ye,” the aria “Every Valley” from Handel’s Messiah, and to lead the carols sing-along. Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd. Tickets are $18 to $36. Call 703-892-2565 or visit www.NationalChamberEnsemble.org.
THE 9 SONGWRITER SERIES
Folk-rock musician Justin Trawick formed this collective a decade ago 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 coalesce for the annual family-friendly holiday extravaganza presented by Listen Local First D.C. and featuring traditional and seasonal songs. Thursday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
THE WASHINGTON CHORUS: A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS
Artistic Director Christopher Bell directs the annual “A Candlelight Christmas,” featuring the 130-voice chorus singing familiar carols and holiday songs accompanied by the National Capital Brass ensemble plus organ, plus audience sing-alongs, and a candlelight processional. Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 and 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $19 to $82. Call 202-342-6221 or visit www.thewashingtonchorus.org.
Nutcracker — Photo: xmbphotography , courtesy The Washington Ballet
COYABA DANCE THEATER: KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Sylvia Soumah directs the annual Kwanzaa Celebration at Dance Place featuring the West African dance and music organizations she founded and runs, Coyaba Academy and Coyaba Dance Theater, plus special guests. The focus is on the seven principles of the African-American holiday and includes dancing, singing, drumming, storytelling, and more. Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.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 intended for audiences aged four years and up. 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. In addition to the show featuring friendly, furry characters, this holiday tradition at the Atlas Performing Arts Center includes pre-show instrument-making workshops, photo ops, and a dance party. To Dec. 22. The Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
THE WASHINGTON BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER
The Washington Ballet’s former artistic director Septime Webre first staged his twist on the family favorite 14 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. To Dec. 29. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-889-5901 or visit www.thewashingtonballet.org.
FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL: VOL. 9
Comedy writers Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, whose credits include The Onion and The Colbert Report, return with another collection of found videos drawn from garage sales, thrift stores, warehouses, and dumpsters — including curiously produced industrial training videos and cheesy exercise videos. This “guided tour through the weird and wonderful world of VHS,” includes a mysterious tape labeled “bonion surgery,” home movies taken at a Canadian hose factory, the 1988 Miss Junior America Wisconsin pageant, and a collection of Christmas videos “that will leave you nightmares.” Friday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets are $16. Call 703-486-2345 or visit www.arlingtondrafthouse.com.
A Comic to Watch according to Comedy Central in 2016, the lanky, gay white comedian has more recently been featured on HBO’s hilarious and queer-friendly 2 Dope Queens as well as one of two gay “Citizen Journalists” from Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. Also a long-standing featured member of New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade, Sharp comes down to D.C. for a weekend run of stand-up in the run-up to Christmas. Friday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 21, 7 and 9 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit www.drafthousecomedy.com.
THE SECOND CITY: LOVE, FACTUALLY
The seasonal satire from the cleverly twisted minds of the legendary improv/comedy company returns to the Kennedy Center for another holiday run. The show, as you might surmise from the production’s title, is a parody of a certain nauseating yet popular movie. Expect original comedy, music, improv, and audience participation. To Dec. 29. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.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, including The Heist, “an improvised bank robbery gone wrong” ensemble, the all-womxn Hellcat, the improvising playwrights of iMusical, and holiday horrorists from Die! Die! Die! This year’s run also features a special The Interview session with Gina Schaefer, co-founder and CEO of 11 area Ace Hardware stores, on Saturday, Dec. 21, followed the next day by a grouping of “Hanukkah Shows” with “acts to be announced.” To Dec. 29. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $18. Call 202-204-7770 or visit www.witdc.org.
READINGS & DISCUSSIONS
BREAKING BREAD: STORIES BY CELEBRITY CHEFS AND INDUSTRY INSIDERS
Over the summer, celebrity chef and TV personality Carla Hall appeared on the cover of Metro Weekly in advance of a Story District discussion that was ultimately postponed due to a freak thunderstorm-induced power outage at the Lincoln Theatre. Rescheduled for next week and relocated to the more intimate Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, Breaking Bread features Hall along with fellow Top Chef alum and James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi of D.C.’s Kith and Kin, Washington Post Food Editor Joe Yonan, Pati Jinich of PBS’s Pati’s Mexican Table, plus three other culinary experts, all sharing food-related personal stories. “I’ll be talking about one of my experiences when I was on Top Chef: All Stars and the first time that I made an African dish, pretty much, in public,” Hall told Metro Weekly. “When I get up and talk to people, it’s pretty nerve-racking and scary. Even though people assume, ‘Oh, you do television all the time,’ it’s something very intimate and it makes you feel very vulnerable to be on stage telling a story in a succinct manner.” Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $35. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.
Arty Queers: Affect — Image: Sarah Lim
ART & EXHIBITS
A MONUMENT TO SHAKESPEARE
A temporary exhibition highlighting how Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily Folger set out to create their shrine to the Bard as a gift, in 1932, to the American people — examining the Folger Shakespeare Library’s architecture and looking to its future. To Jan. 5. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
ARTY QUEERS: D.C.’S LGBTQ+ ART MARKET
The DC Center for the LGBT Community offers the chance for local LGBTQ and queer-identified artists to showcase and sell their works on the second Saturday of every month, including Dec. 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prospective art buyers can expect to see original artworks in a range of media, including painting, pottery, photography, jewelry, glasswork, textiles, and clothing. Perfect time to pick up a few extra-special gifts! The DC Center, 2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. Call 202-682-2245 or visit www.thedccenter.org.
THE LAST HOLIDAY STARKILLERS
Three years ago, local painter and mixed-media artist Andrew Wodzianski curated an exhibition of playful works from fellow Star Wars-inspired artists and pegged to the release of The Force Awakens. Now comes a third and final show of paintings, photographs, and mixed-media sculptures by artists including Wodzianski, Metro Weekly contributor Scott G. Brooks, Chris Bishop, Jared Davis, and Steve Strawn. Opening Reception is Saturday, Dec. 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. Now to Jan. 5. 609 H St. NE. Visit http://wodzianski.com/news.html.
LINDSAY MULLEN: ADAPTIVE MEASURES
In her second solo exhibition at Georgetown’s Calloway Fine Art, the British post-impressionist Lindsay Mullen aims to create heightened awareness of the effects of climate change on natural elements, expressed through her paintings’ material surfaces. Taken together, according to publicity from the gallery, the artworks urge the viewer to come closer and to recognize both the current deterioration of our climate as well as the potential hope for future action. On display to Dec. 14. Calloway Fine Art & Consulting, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit www.callowayart.com.
MANIFESTO: ART X AGENCY
More than 100 works of art and ephemera created over the past century are currently on display in this group exhibition at the Hirshhorn. The specific focus is on artist manifestos and their impact, exploring how artists have used these statements of principles or theories to engage with the political and social issues of their time, including the present day. Manifesto: Art X Agency is named after a multichannel film by German artist Julian Rosefeldt that features actress Cate Blanchett performing excerpts from some of the great manifestos of the past century. Dating to 2015, Rosefeldt’s film makes its Hirshhorn debut as part of the exhibition, which is mostly comprised of seminal works from the museum’s permanent collection made by Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, Guerrilla Girls, Adrian Piper, Nam June Paik, and Glenn Ligon. To Jan. 5. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.hirshhorn.si.edu.
MID-CENTURY MASTER: THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF ALFRED EISENSTAEDT
Nearly 50 photographs and ephemera from the Life Magazine artist known for capturing larger-than-life personalities and those among the most notable people of the 20th century — from Marilyn Monroe to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. This special exhibition at Hillwood explores the relationship that evolved over the course of photo sessions between Eisenstaedt and Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post. Concurrently, on the second floor of the mansion, Hillwood features a special display celebrating Adelaide Close Riggs, the eldest of Post’s three daughters, in recognition of her dedication and contributions to the museum as well as the 20th anniversary of her passing. To Jan. 12. 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit www.HillwoodMuseum.org.
RE/SEEN: PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON HOROWITZ
Ballston’s Fred Schnider Gallery of Art presents a “then and now” look, showing how a local artist’s interests in abstraction and representation have continued yet evolved with changes in technology. The world has been deconstructed and re-imagined in Horowitz’s still-life and landscape photographs through the use of two innovative photographic techniques. In particular, his newer works are immersive abstract landscapes developed using the Photo Sphere/Street View app and his smartphone’s camera, thus subverting and manipulating the normal process for creating panoramas. To Dec. 21. 888 N. Quincy St., Ste. 102, Arlington. Call 703-841-9404 or visit www.fredschnidergalleryofart.com.
RISE UP: STONEWALL AND THE LGBTQ RIGHTS MOVEMENT
A groundbreaking exhibition commemorating what happened at New York’s Stonewall Inn 50 years ago, when patrons stood up and pushed back for the first time against the widespread police raids and anti-gay harrassment of the era. As seen through artifacts, images, and historic print publications, the Newseum’s Rise Up spotlights the Stonewall uprising as the key spark helping ignite the modern LGBTQ movement. Yet the exhibit also puts things in proper perspective by examining other pivotal moments of history, including the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials; the creation of the rainbow flag as a powerful symbol to represent the community; the pioneering advocacy of early movement leaders, none more so than hometown hero Frank Kameny; the impact of the AIDS crisis; and the more recent cultural progress in terms of military representation and marriage equality. The role of the news media and popular culture in general is also naturally touched on in an exhibition hosted by the Newseum’s Freedom Forum Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for a free press and the First Amendment. And in particular, freedoms granted by the First Amendment are touted as having emboldened activists fighting discriminatory practices against LGBTQ Americans in housing, employment, and public accommodations. To Dec. 31. 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $22.95 for general admission. Call 292-6100 or visit www.newseum.org.
SEASON’S GREENINGS: AMERICA’S GARDENS
This year’s annual holiday show at the U.S. Botanic Garden showcases iconic scenes from 24 of the nation’s botanic gardens, from Hawaii to Maine. Plant-based recreations bring to life everything from Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s vibrant red Japanese torii gate, to the flamingo topiaries of Franklin Park Conservatory in Ohio, to the NASA space nodes and rockets of the Rocket Garden in Alabama’s Huntsville Botanical Garden. In addition, the Garden Court features the traditional collection of plant-based D.C. landmarks, including a botanical replica of Washington’s Union Station, while the West Gallery features a decorated tree with its own model train. Also on view throughout the conservatory are thousands of blooms, including a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties. All that, plus live holiday music on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, when the conservatory, which normally closes at 5 p.m., will stay open until 8 p.m. Next week’s offerings, kicking off at 6 p.m., is local Irish rock band 40 Thieves on Tuesday, Dec. 17, followed by rousing klezmer and Jewish folk ensemble Lox and Vodka on Thursday, Dec. 19. On display to Jan. 5. 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Call 202-225-8333 or visit www.usbg.gov.
TREATIES BETWEEN THE U.S. AND AMERICAN INDIAN NATIONS
With the lead title Nation to Nations, this long-term exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian tells the story of the treaties signed between U.S. leaders and influential Native diplomats. Most Americans today live on land that was originally promised to Native Nations via (obviously broken) treaties. And while most of the documents date to the early days of the American republic, the exhibit, which has been on display since 2015, has recently been updated to end with an 11.5-foot-tall mile-marker post created by activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota — touted as the largest gathering of Native Americans in protest. In other words, the treaties are hardly something relegated to museums and history books but in fact very much an ongoing, present-day concern. On display through 2021. National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit nmai.si.edu.
Zoolights (2015) — Photo: Nicholas Karlin
ABOVE AND BEYOND
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE
A decade ago Neil Goldberg, creator of Broadway’s Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, launched this holiday extravaganza with over 30 artists pulling stunts, from gingerbread men flipping in mid-air to toy soldiers marching on thin wires to puppets caroling. It’s all performed to an original score plus some holiday favorites, and on a set that includes colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering toy soldiers. Friday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 22, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 23, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Call 844-346-4664 or visit www.mgmnationalharbor.com.
DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MARKET
Over 150 artisans rotate among sixty tents set up on two blocks in the heart of downtown. Now in its 15th year, the holiday market offers a vast, eclectic, and international assortment of gifts and souvenirs, collectibles and wearables — from prints and photographs, to pottery and glassware, to custom jewelry and accessories. Each day also brings free staged concerts by local musicians, and options for food and non-alcoholic drink. Daily from noon to 8 p.m. to Dec. 23. Located on F Street between 7th and 9th Streets NW. Visit www.downtownholidaymarket.com.
ENCHANT CHRISTMAS WASHINGTON, DC
The outfield of Nationals Park will be transformed into a twinkling maze of light displays, the infield will house an ice-skating trail adorned with lit archways, and all around on the concourse will be a Christmas Market stocked with more than 60 local food and artisan vendors. This weekend sees the D.C. debut of a multi-city offering touted as “the biggest and fastest-growing holiday event in North America,” further advertised as “the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market.” Runs from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 or 11:30 p.m. daily to Dec. 29 except closed on Dec. 9. To Dec. 29. 1500 South Capitol St. NE. Tickets, not including fees, are $19.99 to $33.99 for general admission, $78.99 for a multi-day Season Pass, or $89.99 for VIP entrance with free ice skate rentals and access to the PNC Diamond Club box with festive buffet. Visit www.enchantchristmas.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. New at ZooLights this year is “Entre Les Rangs,” an art installation featuring dozens of large, glowing animal lanterns stationed throughout the park. The second weekend in December ushers in the Grump holiday market, a European-style outdoor fair featuring local artisans set up at the Zoo’s entrance. ZooLights runs nightly (except Dec. 24, Dec. 25, and Dec. 31) through Jan. 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.