Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Tuesday, December 24
Dec. 24 and 25 can be a lonely time if you don't celebrate Christmas, as South Park's Kyle Broflovski once sang. But it doesn't have to be. At the Howard Theatre, the annual Falafel Frenzy attracts hundreds of revelers who dance and socialize while raising money to fight hunger in the District. DJ Bonkerz spins old-school hip-hop and funk, while DJ Liav Dahan covers Top 40. Drink specials are offered all night. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door, and all proceeds go to the Jewish Federation. (Organizers boast that they've raised $35,000 over the past three years.)
Meanwhile, over at Midtown, the Society of Young Jewish Professionals and JDate are sponsoring the annual Matzo Ball, a night "conducive to developing networking opportunities" and "long-lasting friendships" on multiple dance floors and the rooftop deck. Tickets are $30.
Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas" wasn't really that scary. Little Miss Whiskey's Night Before Christmas, on the other hand, features such horror movies as "Black Christmas," about a serial killer murdering sorority sisters on Christmas Eve, and "Jack Frost," in which a serial killer becomes part human, part snowman after a traffic accident involving a tractor trailer full of "genetic material." Throw in some strong holiday brews, such as Ridgeway's appropriately named Criminally Bad Elf barleywine, and you've got yourself the perfect night in while out at a bar. The screenings start at 8 p.m.
Wednesday, December 25
James Brown passed away on Christmas Day 2006. For the past five years, DJ Soul Call Paul has paid tribute to the Godfather of Soul in a festive, funky way: The James Brown Death-Mas Holiday Bash. All night long, you can will dance to James Brown, the JBs, Maceo Parker, Marva Whitney and other related artists spun on vinyl. (Go on, ask for "Living in America" from the "Rocky IV" soundtrack.) For the past few years, the Death-mas party was at the Black Cat, but now that Soul Call Paul owns his own place, Showtime, he's moving the party there. It's free and begins at 9 p.m.
Looking for something to do on Christmas Day? The Star and Shamrock -- the only Irish pub/Jewish deli hybrid we know of -- opens at 11 a.m. for its Xmas Mitzvah, a day of Asian-inspired dishes and Christmas movies on the TV. He'brew beer for everyone!
Thursday, December 26
If you're like many of us, you need to decompress - fast - once Christmas is over. There are two ways to do so on Boxing Day, right around U Street. First, get yourself to Vinoteca's Post-Holiday Happy Hour. The well-known wine bar is extending its fantastic happy hour from 5 p.m. to close on Thursday, so take your pick of 15 wines for $5 by the glass or $5 Peroni drafts, plus a variety of discounted small plates to snack on.
Those who still have enough energy afterwards should make their way down to Jin Lounge for the Grits and Gravy Holiday Flashback Party, with DJ Bill Source spinning classic hip-hop, R&B and funk from the "golden age" of 1983-1988 from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. There's no cover charge, and food and drink specials are offered until 8.
Zeba is a decent neighborhood bar in Columbia Heights but also has a pretty sweet space for dance parties, with a great wood floor and solid sound system. The Bump 'n Grind crew has been setting up shop there for occasional one-offs, doing vinyl-only jams full of deep dance cuts. (Rumor has it that resident DJs Refugee and David are throwing these parties as a preview of their forthcoming venture, a coffee house/vinyl shop combo.) Joining the hosts for their post-Christmas session is Tee Cardaci, who reps Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Friday, December 27
The Fillmore has the grown folks' hip-hop covered this Christmas, thanks to a show from rapper/thespian/author Common. Having gone from 1992's XXXL jeans, malt liquor and tongue-twisting rhymes to the 2013 man boasting Grammy wins, a string of certifiable classics and a SAG card, Common has officially become an elder statesman of hip-hop. He's that rare type of musical elder that won't let a Gap ad campaign stop him from busting an impromptu windmill onstage or abandoning the art of freestyle rhyming.
For almost two decades, Washington's bluegrass, folk and roots musicians has come together during the holiday season to honor Hank Williams. The lineup at the Birchmere changes every year, but it's always full of good times and great tunes. This year's guest star is Claire Lynch, the Alabama singer named female vocalist of the year at the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association awards.
Back in the Day is an appropriate name for this Friday's U Street Music Hall dance party: The local DJs, including Tom B., Ray Casil and Buster, have been fixtures on the house music scene for about a decade. The guest of honor, DJ Ani, has been a member of Deee-Lite since the 1990s. But, hey, good music is timeless, right? If you're 21 or older, arrive between 10 and 11 p.m. for free admission.
Sunday, December 29
Back in the mid-1970s, the Nighthawks used to perform their scorching electric blues live on local radio, broadcasting from a Bethesda nightclub known as the Psyche Delly. While the Psyche Delly is long gone, the Nighthawks continue to rock bars around the region - including this special return to Bethesda, at the decidedly fancier-than-the-Psyche Delly Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club.
Monday, December 30
Trombone Shorty's combination of traditional New Orleans brass with jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul constantly rewrites traditions and electrifies audiences. He's in the midst of a three-night stand at the 9:30 Club, leading up to New Year's Eve. To make it sweeter, a different D.C. band opens each night -- each one experts in their own unique brand of groove. The Funk Ark (Sunday) and Trouble Funk (Tuesday) nights are already sold out, but you can still get a prelude of heavy Afro-funk on the night that Chopteeth opens for Shorty.