8 things to do in the D.C. area on the weekend of March 7-9

March 6

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


This weekend brings the first D.C. Craft Beer Festival to the Washington Convention Center. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Friday: Bluegrass act the Del McCoury Band picked up a Grammy this year for best bluegrass album, for “Streets of Baltimore,” but its all in a day's work for the veteran act that's also behind the annual DelFest.  Catch them Friday at the Hamilton. Tickets are $40-$45

Friday: The Mansion at Strathmore launches the 2014 edition of its Friday Night Eclectic concert series with a cool and unexpected act: Baltimore rapper Rye Rye. Her rapid-fire rhymes over dancefloor-packing breakbeats and Baltimore club rhythms earned the M.I.A. protege critical raves and tours with Katy Perry and Robyn, so a headlining slot in Rockville is an unexpected treat. The night starts with happy hour at 8 p.m. before Rye Rye takes the stage at 9. Tickets are $15.  Read: Baltimore rapper Rye Rye opens Strathmore’s Friday Night Eclectic series March 7.

Friday: West Coast party rapper ScHoolboy Q, who this week hit a high mark by snagging the No. 1 slot on the Billboard charts with his new record, Oxymoron, is set to hit the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, and though his first show is sold out, tickets are still available for the 11 p.m. show. Tickets are $25; you'd do well to get them now.

Saturday-April 13:  Fans of the dark and whimsical epics of  legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki know that "The Wind Rises" is the final film we'll see from the auteur. But there is one positive side to saying goodbye; the Landmark's E Street Cinema will screen all of Miyazaki's beloved fairy tales in succession over the next month in the Studio Ghibli Collection series, showing kid-friendly matinees each weekend, beginning with his first film, "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" and "My Neighbor Totoro" this weekend to "Ponyo" and "From Up on Poppy Hill" on April 12 and 13. Purists will appreciate that most of the films are in Japanese with subtitles; if you're hoping to take the kids, try "Ponyo," which will be screened in English.  See the full schedule here.

Saturday: The Smudge comics arts expo launches this weekend at Arlington's Artisphere, with talks, family-friendly activities and comics exhibitors, and a screening of "Dear Mr. Watterson" at 7:30 p.m. Filmmaker Joel Allen Schroeder looks back at the success of "Calvin and Hobbes," which tobogganed off into the snowy distance in 1995, and the legendary comic strip's creator, Bill Watterson, has remained virtually silent in nearly two decades since. Smudge runs from noon to 6 p.m. For details, head here.

Saturday: D.C. United's loud, loyal fans suffered through the most uneven season in team history in 2013, during which the team won three of its 34 matches (the worst record in Major League Soccer history) while also capturing the U.S. Open Cup. The offseason arrival of U.S. national team striker Eddie Johnson and the return of defender Bobby Boswell has fans hoping for the best in 2014, starting with Saturday's D.C. United home opener Saturday. The 8 7 p.m. match against the Columbus Crew is at RFK Stadium, so bundle up. Tickets are $25-$55.

Saturday: The first D.C. Craft Beer Festival finds at least 75 breweries each bringing a pair of beers to the Washington Convention Center. The lineup includes almost every Maryland, Virginia and D.C. brewery you've heard of, plus bold-face names like Dogfish Head, Allagash, Lagunitas and Stone. Tickets include informative seminars as well as all-you-can-taste samples for several hours. (Two-and-a-half hour general admission passes cost $49; VIP or "connoisseur" levels that offer an extra hour of drinking time and access to "rare beer tastings" will run $65-$105 depending on the time of admission and level of access.) Our advice: Pass up the boring big names (seriously, who hasn't had Dogfish 90 Minute IPA or New Belgium's Fat Tire?) and head for the smaller outfits like Bar Harbor, Mad River or the Fort Collins Brewing Company. Don't skip Port City, either: The Alexandria brewery will have its harder-to-find Maniacal Double IPA and the Colossal Three anniversary Heller Bock.

Sunday: It's a boom time for photography exhibitions. Compare and contrast "American Cool" at the National Portrait Gallery (catch the 2 p.m. curator's tour Saturday)  with the Corcoran Gallery of Art's exhibition "Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd" this weekend, when the latter closes.

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