ALWAYS INCLINED TOWARD the topical, Bill T. Jones made his mark staring AIDS and terminal illness square in the eyes with works that mingled provocativeness with smarts and sensitivity. Now he takes on the politics of patriotism. His multimedia "Blind Date," an evening-length work, looks at fundamentalist faiths, issues of church and state, and what it is to be a loyal citizen in an increasingly divisive era. With spoken text and film projected onstage, the choreographer also incorporates the personal stories of some of his foreign-born dancers. An original score by Daniel Bernard Roumain accompanies the piece. The three-night engagement of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company opens Thursday with Jones performing in "As I Was
Saying . . .," a piece that centers on Jones's mother as well as on the late hipster comedian Lord Buckley. "Blind Date" will be performed Friday and Saturday.
-- Sarah Kaufman
At the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. $14-$38. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
A FEW WEEKS AGO we used this space to talk about a billboard by Jim Hodges that plasters the words "don't be afraid" across the Hirshhorn Museum's south facade in many different languages. Now it's Hodges's turn to talk about the work: On Wednesday, the Hirshhorn's "After Hours" will be keeping the museum open until 10, and Hodges will be featured in the "Meet the Artist" lecture series. Washington is a politicians' town not known for its political art. Hodges isn't known for such art, either. (He's best known for waterfalls of plastic flowers.) But he seems to think it suits this city.
-- Blake Gopnik
At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Independence Avenue SW. Wednesday at 7 p.m. Free. Call 202-357-2700 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
EVER WONDER WHAT a soaring, searching rock anthem might sound like in the hands -- or, rather, the vocal cords -- of an old-school doo-wop quintet? Yeah, neither did we. But darned if the answer doesn't amaze, anyway! On the new album "The Persuasions Sing U2," the titular harmonizers cover 11 songs by the titular Irish rockers, including "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." The Persuasions' churchy, soul-stirring cover is a jaw-dropper, though it's hardly the album's only highlight: "Angel of Harlem" sounds as though it was supposed to be performed a cappella on a street corner, and "When Love Comes to Town" benefits from some fiery blues vocals. The Persuasions' success with rock songs is no surprise: In recent years, the group -- which performs Saturday at the Barns at Wolf Trap -- has interpreted everybody from the Beatles to the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa. Mysterious ways, indeed.
-- J. Freedom du Lac
At the Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Rd., Vienna. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. $22. Call 703-255-1868 or visit www.wolf-trap.org.