Nightlife Agenda: Celebrate the end of Hanukkah and the end of Prohibition

December 3, 2013
JD Samson
JD Samson and Men take a smoother electro-pop direction on their new album, "Labor." (Courtesy of BMF Media)

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.

Wednesday, December 4
If our calendar is anything to go by, the last night of Hanukkah is the most festive night of Hanukkah.

At the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, "Chanu-Comedy: A Festival of Laughs" features the hilarious and occasionally bizarre observations of Eugene Mirman, who voices Gene on "Bob's Burgers" and frequently appears on Neil deGrasse Tyson's awesomely geeky StarTalk Radio. Also on the bill are Kurt Braunohler (a "Comic to Watch" according to Comedy Central and Variety), and poet Derrick Brown. Buy tickets in advance for $20, because they're $25 at the door.

The Duplex Diner hosts Oh Gaydel, Gaydel, Gaydel, a "Thanksgivukkah Queer Happy Hour" for LGBT Jews from 7 to 10 p.m. The theme for the night is "Find out how flaming the Festival of Lights can be."

Finally, the Jewish-Irish pub Star and Shamrock will mark the end of Hanukkah at its 8th Crazy Night party. He'Brew is taking over the taps, adding Jewbelation Reborn and other beers; dreidels will spin; the klezmer band Klezentricity performs from 9 to 11 p.m.; and there's a special menu featuring pulled brisket sliders and Manischewitz-glazed wings.

Thursday, December 5
This Thursday, Americans will toast the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution - the one that ended Prohibition. Naturally, this is a wonderful excuse for a party, and there are multiple chances to celebrate Repeal Day this week. On the anniversary itself, Jack Rose Dining Saloon will convert its three floors to a free Roaring Twenties party with burlesque dancers, cigar girls and draft flights of historic whiskey; Bartenders will shake up vintage cocktails and punches in the dimly lit basement "speak-easy." Admission is free, and cocktails and punches cost $7 to $9. Feeling extra festive? You can grab unlimited sparkling wine for $20 all night. Flapper dresses and vintage suits are requested; cocktail attire also will work.

Krampus tends to get left out of the Christmas story, which is too bad. In Germany (and throughout central Europe), Krampus is a strange goat-like creature wrapped in chains. While St. Nicholas offers presents to good boys and girls, Krampus takes care of the bad ones, handing out coal, smacking them with birch branches and occasionally kidnapping them in the basket he carries. The night before the Feast of St. Nicholas is known as Krampusnacht, when people dress in ghoulish outfits, drink schnapps and try to scare kids into behaving. The tradition comes to the H Street corridor this year: At 7 p.m., a parade of Krampuses will march from the 1300 block of H Street down to the 1100 block, where they (and Friends of Krampus) will gather at Little Miss Whiskey's for an afterparty. (If you want to march in the parade, sign up on Facebook. ) And, since the holiday is about children, it's all for a good cause: There's a pre-parade party at Gallery O on H at 6 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 or an unwrapped Christmas gift, which will be donated to Santa's Cause, an organization that provides presents to foster children throughout the D.C. area.

Friday, December 6
Bold, spicy and full of flavor, Christmas beers are the perfect way to warm up on a cold night. The Black Squirrel will have more than a dozen holiday treats to sample this weekend, including presents from Belgium (Delirium Noel, Scaldis Bush de Noel) and Virginia (Blue Mountain Barrel House Blitzen, Hardywood Gingerbread Stout). Everyone can partake of free Christmas cookies, whether you've been naughty or nice. The 12 Beers (or More) of Christmas kicks off at 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 7
There's still more Repeal Day fun to be had on Saturday, as the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild throws its annual Repeal Day Ball at the Hill Center. A legion of the city's bartenders - including Chantal Tseng (Mockingbird Hill), Todd Thrasher (PX/Bar TNT), Adam Bernbach (2 Birds 1 Stone), Frank Jones (The Gibson) and Jamie McBain and Duane Sylvestre (Bourbon Steak) - will be slinging original drinks or Prohibition-era favorites. The Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs will provide a soundtrack of swing and hot jazz, and cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served all night. The party has the feel of a bartenders' prom, and you should dress like it: 1920s and '30s outfits are preferred, but black tie is also acceptable.

Rip-roaringly funny, knowingly offensive and perfectly tuned to pop culture, the Crack variety night never fails to entertain. This time, the low-budget interactive show has a globetrotting theme, with drag queen Summer Camp traveling to see Russia, Canada and Saudi Arabia before she dies, joined by such friends as Heidi Glum (named Best Drag Queen by the Washington Blade), Anne Phetamine (the reigning Miss Crack) and Sunrize Highway. Crack is at Town Danceboutique from 9 to 10:30 p.m.; tickets allow guests to stick around afterwards and dance all night.

Sunday, December 8
If you loved Le Tigre, you're going to love "Labor," the new record by JD Samson and MEN. Polished and dance-floor ready, it's got a sheen and immediate appeal that was sometimes lacking on the former Le Tigre singer's last album. This time, Samson occasionally channels Robyn (on the perky, bubbling single "All the Way Thru") or labelmate Le Roux. The group is renowned for its raucous live shows, which mix gender politics, sexuality and performance art into one giant party. This Comet Ping Pong show, which also features Mary Timony's Ex Hex and funky local group Coup Sauvage and the Snips, should be more of the same.

The KickDrums were plucked from an ocean of industry hopefuls in 2004, when 50 Cent chose their beat over hundreds of others for the soundtrack of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." Since then, their journey has taken them from the street rap scene of their native Cleveland to creating tracks for Kid Cudi and Kanye West, and finally an evolution of their sound into an electronic strain of alt-rock. When founding member Matt Penttila left the duo, Alex Fitts turned the KickDrums into a solo act showcasing big-beat, danceable indie rock, which visits DC9 tonight.

Martial arts cinema and hip-hop have gone together since Kung-Fu Theater captured the minds of a Clan of legendary rappers from Staten Island. DJ 2-Tone Jones of the Shaolin Jazz project knows his way around both disciplines. His new early-evening monthly hang suite at Cause PhilanthroPub features his hip-hop, funk and soundtrack selections mixed to visuals from selected martial arts flicks, beginning at 5 p.m. (Show up between 5 and 7 p.m. and you'll get $2 off draft beers, wines by the glass, rail drinks and appetizers.)

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