8 things to do in the D.C. area on the weekend of Jan. 9-12

January 9

The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art. For even more, check out Nightlife Agenda.


Irina Tsikurishvili in Synetic Theater's silent film-era/Silent Shakespeare version of "Twelfth Night."  (Synetic Theater)

Through Feb. 16: Synetic Theater promises that the 10th installment in its Silent Shakespeare series will be its most comical. "Twelfth Night," The Bard's gender-bending story of ship-wrecked twins will be set in the 1920s, infusing the romantic comedy with a Charlie Chaplin vibe.

Through Jan. 13: The National Symphony Orchestra's NSO in your Neighborhood series returns to Capitol Hill and H Street NE this weekend. Hear chamber music at Homebody, strings at the Argonaut, a musical instrument petting zoo at Union Station and brass bands at Eastern Market through Monday. [Full schedule]

Friday-Saturday: Jim Gaffigan has built a successful career by presenting himself as an approachable Everyman who is perpetually bemused by such commonplace things as fast food (just whisper "Hot Pocket"), fatherhood and being fat and lazy. Gaffigan's "White Bread" tour, which lands at the Warner Theatre on Friday and Saturday for two shows each night, will feature his signature inspection of the ordinary, along with wicked belly laughs. Tickets are $37.75-$47.75.

Friday: Some of us have been waiting years -- years!!! -- to drink a margarita in the island-like confines of El Rey. It's finally set to open at 919 U St. NW, with a spotlight on the taco-making expertise of chef Jorge Pimentel of the nearby Satellite Room. Read: How El Rey, D.C.'s first shipping-container restaurant, was built on U Street.


El Rey, at 919 U St. NW, was built from five shipping containers, reinforced with steel and topped with a retractable roof. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

Friday-Feb. 16: Veteran playwright and actor Daniel Beaty (who performed his own "Emergency" and "Resurrection" at the theater in recent years) returns with "The Tallest Tree in the Forest," for which he transforms into more than 40 characters from gifted singer and activist Paul Robeson's life. This latest bit of musical biography is directed by Moises Kaufman, the Tony- and Emmy-nominated director of "The Laramie Project" and "I Am My Own Wife." Tickets for the show are $40-$90. Read more about the project here.

Friday: Austin's Whiskey Shivers are bluegrass-fueled Americana for a generation that grew up listening to punk rock. This group of 20-somethings plays banjos, fiddles and washboards at breakneck speed while singing high, lonesome harmonies about love and video games. There's even a Mexican-style waltz about (what else?) tacos and hangovers. But you don't have to listen for long to realize they're too talented to be dismissed as a mere novelty act. A free show at Hill Country shouldn't be passed up.

Saturday: As half of menacing Virginia Beach rap duo Clipse, Pusha T earned plenty of goodwill before his solo release, 2013’s “My Name Is My Name.” The utterly listenable album marked his first outing on Kanye West’s record label, G.O.O.D., and introduced hip-hop fans to a slightly more mainstream side of King Push. The buzz is that Clipse will release a new album, its first in years, in the coming months, but first Pusha T is on the road solo. He's at Echostage on Saturday. Tickets are $29; get them here.

Sunday: A weekend of margaritas at El Rey and rap at Echostage, and you're bound to feel like a shell of your normal self by Sunday. Head to Zeke's coffee lab, where you can quell the incessant pounding in your head with the good stuff: The local roaster is showcasing two rare, pricey Geisha coffees in its Flight of Fancy coffee tasting. Sessions are held at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and lucky for you, noon.  $10.

Sold out: Every month, the amateur storytellers of SpeakeasyDC take to area stages to tell autobiographical tales that prove that truth can be more engaging and entertaining than fiction. Depending on the month's theme, you may hear confessionals about social climbing, the heartbreak of first love or uproarious recaps of frat parties gone horribly wrong. One of the best introductions to the city's story scene is Speakeasy's annual best-of show, Top Shelf. Since judges have winnowed the stories down from 125 to just eight, you know you're going to hear some truly memorable accounts.

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Tom Sietsema | January 9