Monday, Oct. 22
Oyamel Day of the Dead Kickoff: Oyamel’s annual Dia de los Muertos festival stretches for two weeks, and it begins with a massive fiesta in Penn Quarter. Tickets include access to more than a dozen mezcal, tequila, rum and craft-beer tasting stations, themed Mexican snacks from the kitchen, a mariachi band, face painting and a photo booth. 6 to 9 p.m. $49.
Tuesday, Oct. 23
San Francisco Ballet at the Kennedy Center: The Bay Area ballet company is known as one of the most innovative troupes in the world, and its latest program, “Unbound: A Festival of New Works,” earned rave reviews when it debuted this year. Two programs of three original works will make their East Coast debut at the Kennedy Center. “Program A” will feature pieces that touch on such subjects as remembrance and loss and a principle of psychology created by Carl Jung. “Program B” is highlighted by choreographer Justin Peck’s work “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” above. It takes its name from the popular Grammy-nominated album of the electronic band M83, whose music scores the dance movement. Through Sunday. $29-$129.
Fried Chicken and Dumpling Third Anniversary Party at Momofuku: To celebrate Momofuku’s third anniversary, the revitalized City Center restaurant has invited some of the city’s best-known chefs, including Spike Gjerde of A Rake’s Progress, Tim Ma of Kyirisan and Danny Lee and Scott Drewno of ChiKo, to prepare their own twists on fried chicken and dumplings. And instead of throwing a pricey reservations-only party, Momofuku is opening the doors to everyone, no reservations required. To top it off, a portion of the proceeds will benefit D.C. Central Kitchen. 9:30 p.m. Free; food and drinks priced individually.
Wednesday, Oct. 24
African American Film Festival at the National Museum of African American History and Culture: The first Smithsonian African American Film Fest will take place at three D.C. museums: the National Museum of African American History and Culture, above, the Freer and Sackler galleries, and the National Gallery of Art. Featuring more than 80 works that explore what NMAAHC’s founding director, Lonnie G. Bunch III, called “important moments in the history of America through the African American lens,” the festival will open with a screening of Steve McQueen’s “Widows” and close with Barry Jenkins’s “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In addition to the film lineup, featuring new and old fare, there will be panel discussions, classes and other special events. Through Oct. 27. $10-$300.
‘Good as Gold’ at the National Museum of African Art: There’s a term for getting glam in the West African nation of Senegal: It’s called sañse, meaning looking good and feeling good. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s new exhibition, “Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women,” dives into the country’s street style and why sañse is so culturally significant. Learn about the history of gold in Senegal and the techniques of Senegalese jewelry artists through archival photos and pieces of jewelry. Senegal’s “Queen of Couture” Oumou Sy also created an ensemble just for the show. Through Sept. 29, 2019. Free.
Queen Key at the Howard Theatre: The hip-hop charts are still dominated by dudes, but there’s definitely a groundswell of female rappers in their 20s poised to break through. Near the head of this new class is Chicago’s Queen Key. Despite having only a year under her belt and a handful of tracks to her name, there’s something special about the pugnacious yet playful rapper. Queen Key spits sexplicit bon mots over speaker-rattling beats that give her room to ruminate. And because a rising tide lifts all boats, she shares the mic with fellow Chicagoan upstarts: She featured Tink and Dreezy on her debut EP and opens for G Herbo on this tour. 9 p.m. $25.
Thursday, Oct. 25
Bentzen Ball: Comedian Tig Notaro and Brightest Young Things’ annual Bentzen Ball comedy festival is back for a sixth straight year. This time, the four-day laughfest features a mostly female lineup of performers, including Notaro (who opens and closes the festival), Phoebe Robinson (“2 Dope Queens”), Amanda Seales (“Insecure”), Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher and Melinda Hill. There’s also a musical version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and a live staging of “Off Book,” a podcast in which comedians Jessica McKenna, Zach Reino and special guests make up a musical on the spot. Through Oct. 28. Locations and prices vary.
Jacquees at KYSFest at Echostage: Jacquees didn’t invent the remix, but like P. Diddy and Bad Boy before him, he certainly has taken the art form to a new level. The 24-year-old Decatur, Ga., native has made a name for himself by remaking rap and R&B hits du jour with his self-described “Quemixes,” riffing on songs by the likes of Drake and Ciara, or even putting his own spin on songs by fellow R&B loverboys Usher and Jeremih. That approach continues in his own music as he samples Ginuwine and Cameo classics or turns forgotten R&B faves into hits, as he did with his seductive single “B.E.D.” 7 p.m. $55-$65.
Friday, Oct. 26
Yardfest at Howard University: By now, everyone should know about Yardfest, the free music festival that is as much the centerpiece of Howard University’s Homecoming as the football game or parade. A dizzying array of hip-hop talent has taken the stage over the years: Biggie, Puffy, Jay-Z, Kanye, Common, Pusha T, Lil Uzi Vert and D.C.'s own Wale. But the biggest appearances are frequently a surprise — ask anyone who was there in 2012 what happened when Drake appeared out of nowhere — so it pays to arrive at the main quad early and stay until the very end. Noon. Free.
Hilloween at Eastern Market: There are events for children all over the Washington area as Halloween approaches, and it’s tough to pick a favorite. Hilloween has been a staple of the Eastern Market community for more than two decades, and this year’s celebration includes ponies for petting, a bouncy castle inside the market’s North Hall, face painters, arts and crafts stations and, of course, trick-or-treating. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free.
Elliot in the Morning’s Halloween Bash at Clarendon Ballroom: With $3,000 in cash up for grabs in the over-the-top costume contest, it’s easy to see why this DC-101 sponsored party attracts some of the most creative Halloween outfits in the area. Take the time to put together a funny, creative or scary ensemble — something you threw together from Target’s picked-over costume aisle won’t impress anyone — and head to Clarendon Ballroom to check out what everyone else is wearing. Virginia-based rock band Junk Food provides the tunes, beginning at 8 p.m., while judges roam the venue looking for the best-dressed attendees. (Reminder: No weapons or stilts allowed inside.) 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. $10 before 9 p.m., $15 after.
Halloween Movie Festival at the American History Museum: The Smithsonian gets in the Halloween spirit with three nights of themed films at the American History Museum’s Warner Bros. Theater. Zombies are front and center on Friday with screenings of “28 Days Later” and “Shaun of the Dead.” Saturday’s classic triple-header features Bela Lugosi’s 1931 “Dracula” and Boris Karloff’s star turns in “Frankenstein” (1931) and “The Mummy” (1932). Things get funnier on Sunday, with a lineup of “Young Frankenstein,” “Beetlejuice” and “The Addams Family.” Through Sunday. $10 per film; $50 all-access festival pass.
— Adele Chapin, Rudi Greenberg, Fritz Hahn and Michael O’Sullivan