The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art. For even more, check out Nightlife Agenda.
Through Dec. 1: A visit from Chicago's Joffrey Ballet proves "The Nutcracker" is more than just a show for the little ones. With athleticism and powerful choreography, the production at the Kennedy Center is an awe-inspiring spectacle for the chaperones, too.
Thursday-Dec. 4: The rare confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah comes but once every 77,000 (or so) years. DGS Delicatessen marks the once-in-a-lifetime event with a special menu of Thanksgiving-inspired potato latkes — think sweet potato-red onion and golden beet-horseradish — through Dec. 4, including one topped with turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce on Nov. 27. It’ll make you want to give thanks for this strange calendar overlap.
Thursday: It's natural that many bars close on Thanksgiving Day in order to let employees spend the holiday with their loved ones. But not everything shuts down. The Black Squirrel opens at noon for its annual Thank You Thanksgiving, where you can get an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, ham and sides for $5. On tap for the day: last-chance fall beers, including Evolution Jacques Au Lantern, Saucony Creek Captain Pumpkin’s Maple Mistress and Bruery Autumn Maple.
Through Jan. 5: Why brave the line and the bitter winter gusts at the Ellipse when the Season's Greenings holiday tableau promises poinsettias, music and model trains, plus a thermostat set to a balmy 70 degrees? Each year, the U.S. Botanic Garden lights up its giant Douglas fir and decks its halls with ornaments and bronzed replicas of the city’s memorials and monuments. This year, the model train will zip around miniature versions of the Eiffel Tower, Unisphere, Ferris wheel and Seattle’s Space Needle, an exhibit inspired by wonders created for the world’s fairs.
Friday: Black Friday is a shopping nightmare, unless you're a vinyl record collector. Prepare to binge-buy as independent shops -- such as D.C.'s Som Records and Crooked Beat Records -- stage a mini version of spring's Record Store Day and peddle limited releases. This year, there's an unreleased Grateful Dead concert and singles from Tegan and Sara and U2, among others. (Washington Post Express)
Friday: If you missed out on tickets for Animal Collective's sold-out Dec. 1 concert at the 9:30 Club, you can still catch the band DJing at the U Street Music Hall on Friday night. As you might expect for the band's original music, its DJ sets involve sound collages as well as an exquisitely curated selection of electro, dubstep, synth-house and whatever else has caught their collective ears. It's not the same as seeing Animal Collective in concert, but it should be rewarding nonetheless -- and a heck of a party. (Reminder, if you're under 21, you need to get tickets in advance.)
Friday: Alice Smith is one those strong niche artists that fans love to be the first to hip you to. The icing on the cake is the additional tidbit that she's from the D.C. area. This year Smith finally released "She," a much anticipated follow-up to her 2006 debut. Back then, she was most conveniently compared to Norah Jones, but in addition to the delicate-chanteuse sound, she's now mixing in funk-rock and R&B with some forays into country and blues. Hear for yourself at the Howard Theatre.
Friday-Dec. 23: Don't go to the mall on Black Friday. Just don't. Have mercy on yourself and your sanity. If you're truly desperate to bust open your wallet on Day One of the Christmas shopping season, might we suggest a saner option: the Downtown Holiday Market. It's Metro accessible and lined with more than 180 crafters, boutique shops and artisans next to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. Shop daily through Dec. 23 from noon to 8 p.m.
Friday-Jan. 5: Malcolm-Jamal Warner of "The Cosby Show" comes to Washington for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," an adaptation of the movie about a white woman in the 1960s whose parents are having a hard time accepting her plans to marry a black man.
Friday-Jan. 5: As one of the area’s largest holiday light displays, the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens includes nearly one million lights shaped like all manner of flora and fauna. What’s that over there? Oh, just an 11-foot-tall giraffe made from 9,000 lights.
Saturday: Once Thanksgiving has passed, it's perfectly acceptable to begin listening to Christmas music. Kick off the season at Strathmore, where former Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan singer Michael McDonald lends his dulcet baritone to a program of original holiday songs, such as the smooth "Every Time Christmas Comes Around," and soulful takes on the classics. He'll also play a few hits from his back catalog if you ask nicely.
Saturday: As part of the shopping and art event Thread, indie rockers The Walkmen headline a concert with Dischord's Sunwolf and DJ Will Eastman at Union Market. (Washington Post Express)