Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are four we think you can’t miss.
Friday: Maybe you decided to take it easy on New Year’s Eve. While everyone was either raging until dawn or spilling drinks on their formalwear in a crush of people at the bar, you chilled at home with Netflix and pizza. So this week you’re emerging from your partying hiatus and you want to get it in. DJ Lil’E will be filling the 9:30 Club with your kind, as well as those who enjoy their guilty pleasures in public while dancing their faces off. The longtime Washington DJ hosts another of her popular blank-vs.-blank dance parties, this time with the music of Madonna and Lady Gaga pitted against the entire catalog of boy bands, from NKOTB to One Direction.
Saturday: U Street Music Hall regularly welcomes the world’s biggest and best DJs, from Skrillex to Michael Mayer, but the city’s best dance club also regularly highlights the brightest hometown talents. The U Hall Locals Showcase brings Jubilee, the Two McFlys, Raffi and Benoit Benoit to the DJ booth for a night of nonstop house beats. The obvious benefit: If one of the performers really moves you, you’ll be able to check them out on a regular basis.
Sunday: At its best, SpeakeasyDC is a spellbinding night of spoken word: Average people onstage telling true-life stories of love, high school foibles, childhood vacations or restaurant jobs, delivered without notes and without a net. Some provoke knowing laughter; others reduce the room to silence. Your average SpeakeasyDC show is very good, but this week’s Top Shelf performance at the 9:30 Club should be a knockout: A panel of judges has selected favorite stories from a year’s worth of Speakeasys and invited their authors back for a greatest-hits show. Tales of haunting, booze and courtship are all on the docket: Truly something for everyone. The show begins at 7:30 p.m., but doors open at 6. Arrive early for the best seats.
Monday: After weeks of holiday parties, seasonal beers, family feasts and New Year’s Eve festivities, some people may feel the need to cut back on alcohol and begin watching what they eat. If you’ve been contemplating that, here’s something that might persuade you not to: The Pig and the Flying Dog Brewery are teaming up for Oinkupy D.C. , a five-course beer dinner, pairing pork, bacon and locally made brews. Menu highlights include a shrimp and spicy ale pot pie with bacon and chilies meeting the hoppy Wildeman Farmhouse IPA, while a coppa and duck heart half-smoke will be topped with trotter chili, Lusk cheese and pickles and served with Gonzo imperial porter. Yes, it sounds indulgent — and horribly delicious.
After the jump: a Lego-Instagram contest (with beer), hip-hop DJs, “Harry Potter” movies and the pairing of DJ Rekha and Panjabi MC.
Thursday, Jan. 3
In honor of its new exhibit of geographically inspired paintings and sculptures by Danish artist Per Kirkeby , the Phillips Collection has a double-barreled competition at tonight’s Phillips After 5 . Create a Lego sculpture inspired by one of Kirkeby’s works and then take an Instagram photo of it. (Winners receive tickets to the upcoming Nordic Fest at the Kennedy Center and other prizes.) Other highlights of the evening include a New Belgium beer tasting and gallery talks.
The Monument Music and Arts Festival is hosting a DC9 special show with alt-country troubadour Justin Jones to raise money for the Connecticut PTSA, which is working to support the students and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. Also on the evening’s agenda: a “Graceland” tribute with Shark Week frontman Ryan Hunter Mitchell.
The ’90s-focused hip-hop party 95 Live has hosted most of D.C.’s best spinners and a handful of major names, too. But if you’re a true student of the craft of mixing and cutting, this month’s guest is guaranteed to deliver one of the most skillful performances you could imagine. Repping Philadelphia’s Skratch Makaniks crew, DJ Excel is a monster on the decks, which is necessary when your peers include Jay-Ski and Spinbad. You can catch him at Patty Boom Boom keeping the party moving while making the craziest techniques look easy.
Friday, Jan. 4
Founder of New York’s legendary Turntables on the Hudson parties and a stalwart of ESL Music, Nickodemus is a DJ for adults, blending funk, jazz, hip-hop, Latin and Afrobeat into unstoppable and undeniably sexy grooves. While Nickodemus rules the main room at Eighteenth Street Lounge tonight, DJ K2 holds down the Gold Room and DJ Provoke works the patio.
Saturday, Jan. 5
The two most significant names in South Asian dance music will share a stage in D.C. this week when DJ Rekha and Panjabi MC team up at the Black Cat. The creator of New York’s Basement Bhangra, Rekha has consistently made D.C. a stop on her constant globe traveling, from her early days and after she blew up. Panjabi MC gave bhangra its first truly global hit, “Beware of the Boys.” The two have crossed paths before, but it’s quite rare to get these two bhangra ambassadors together at one performance.
Monday, Jan. 7
January is traditionally the slowest month for live music. Some clubs face the challenge by closing on weekdays; others try to fill the calendar creatively. In the category of “so bizarre it might work,” we’ll put the Black Cat’s new Muggle Monday series, which finds all eight “Harry Potter” films shown in order on the club’s backstage on consecutive Monday nights at 8 p.m. (Bartenders serve up “Butterbeer” drink specials; I’m sure they’ll pick out a nice fire whiskey for you if you ask nicely.) You should already know that “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” kicks the series off.