Taco talks, makeovers and more free events this week

Loving the proliferation of tacos happening in the District lately? Hear more about Mexican American food at the National Museum of American History this week. Scott Suchman/TWP

Loving the proliferation of tacos happening in the District lately? Hear more about Mexican American food at the National Museum of American History this week. Scott Suchman/TWP

Free this week: A talk about tacos at the National Museum of American History and the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown. Here's a look at what's on tap:

MONDAY
Bad Influence band
The D.C.-based rock and blues group Bad Influence has been holding down the Washington blues scene since 1988. Check out the
band's show at Millennium Stage.

TUESDAY
Crystal Couture
This fashion showcase offers items from 40 of the area's boutiques, as well as music, free makeovers, drinks and more. Philippa
Hughes of Pinkline Project kicks off the five-day fest.
WEDNESDAY
'Beneath the Blindfold' screening and discussion
Whether or not you've seen "Zero Dark Thirty," the controversy over torture and its portrayal in the media has been a hotly debated topic recently. Filmmakers Kathy Berger and Ines Sommer have focused their documentary "Beneath the Blindfold" on the stories of torture survivors to give viewers a new angle on the issues.

THURSDAY
'The Piano Teacher'
In 2001, this psychosexual drama by Michael Haneke earned top acting awards at the Cannes Film Festival. This year, Haneke is back with "Amour," which has been nominated for several Academy Awards. See the director's earlier work for comparison's sake at the Library of Congress's Packard Campus.

FRIDAY
Bethesda Art Walk
This month's evening art walk in downtown Bethesda features eight galleries, including Gallery B, L'Eclat de Verre and Waverly Street Gallery. Peruse the art and sip free refreshments as you amble from venue to venue.
6 to 9 p.m. Various locations in downtown Bethesda. 301-215-6660. www.bethesda.org.

SATURDAY
Taco talk
If you've been enjoying the uptick in D.C. taquerias lately, learn more about the history of those Mexican flavors Saturday. Historian Jeffrey Pilcher and columnist Gustavo Arellano, who have both written books on the subject of tacos, sit down with Smithsonian curator Rayna Green to chat about how Mexican food became so ubiquitous in the United States. A book signing and a taco-truck rodeo outside the Constitution Avenue entrance follow the talk.

SUNDAY
Chinese new year parade
According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the snake. Welcome the Chinese new year with a parade through Chinatown. Expect dancing, Chinese lanterns, Shaolin monks and more.

Also on Going Out Guide

Are traditional African foods as healthy as they are delicious?