EMPIRES COME AND GO, as the history of the Huari people of Peru attests. Between A.D. 700 and 1000, the Huari conquered and colonized from high mountains to coastal desert. Today, the Incas who came afterward are more widely known. But the Huari lasted longer. They built the first cities on grids, made buildings earthquake-resistant and constructed roads. They also insisted that defeated cultures adopt Huari ways. Much of what is known about the Huari culture comes to us in textiles, many woven for ritual use. A dozen examples from the Textile Museum's collection will go on display Friday in the exhibition "Gods and Empire: Huari Ceremonial Textiles." Ferocious-faced deities express the spirit of a combative culture, which fueled fires, beat drums and flapped wings. But the tapestry gods maintain stoical silence on the central mystery: What brought the Huari Empire down?
-- Linda Hales
Through Jan. 15 at the Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m. Free. Call 202-667-0441 or visit www.textilemuseum.org.
ANYONE REMEMBER the last time they heard a really smoking konpa tune on the radio? Yeah, neither can I. You might have to do some digging, but if you do come across this distinct style of Haitian party music, you'll probably feel the urge to cut a rug. Konpa's dance rhythms don't sound dissimilar to salsa or merengue patterns, but an extra splash of sugary synthesizers gives the music a glossier feel. The Haitian group Tabou Combo describes itself as the world's greatest konpa band. Since migrating from its native Haiti to New York in the early '70s, the band has been tempering its once-minimal rhythms with good old American funk music.
-- Chris Richards
At Zanzibar on the Waterfront. 700 Water St. SW. Friday evening. Free before 7 p.m., $15 after 7 p.m. For more information call 202-554-9100 or visit www.zanzibar-otw.com.
OF ALL NON-WESTERN ART forms, Japanese printmaking may be the one that's most familiar to us. The woodblock prints of Japan have been known and influential since the French impressionists. Of course, that familiarity may make us think we understand them better than we do. On Thursday, print expert Kenichiro Hashimoto will be lecturing on the subject at the Phillips Collection, as part of the launch of the gallery's show of woodblock master Utagawa Hiroshige. Hashimoto's talk ought to help us understand the art of Hiroshige in the context of the culture that he made it for.
-- Blake Gopnik
The lecture "Revealing Japan's Lost World: The Art of Hiroshige" at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Free with admission to Artful Evening. Space is limited. Visit www.phillipscollection.org.
FOR THEATERGOERS, THERE'S a second winning ballclub in town. Its nickname is the Empires, and its players take the field every night in Richard Greenberg's adult valentine to baseball, "Take Me Out." The comedy-drama, a hit for Studio Theatre, has been extended until July 24, which gives the town extra innings with such reliable sluggers as Rick Foucheux, M.D. Walton, Jake Suffian and Tug Coker.
-- Peter Marks
At Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. For showtimes or to purchase tickets call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
THE SECOND WASHINGTON Early Music Festival comes to a close this afternoon with a program of music from medieval Spain for harps and voices. The performing ensemble is Trefoil, a trio consisting of two countertenors, Drew Minter and Mark Rimple, and soprano Marcia Young. All three have appeared with leading early music ensembles around the country, and the sounds they make are both hearty and ethereal.
-- Tim Page
At St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Third and A streets SE. Today at 3 p.m. For information call (202) 543-0053 or visit www.earlymusicdc.org.