Friday, Nov. 30
AFI European Union film festival at AFI Silver: The next best thing to a European vacation this season could be trekking to the annual month-long AFI European Union Film Showcase. This is the place to see 49 films representing 25 E.U. member states, including 12 submissions for best foreign-language film at the 2019 Oscars. Two highlights are Spanish-language thriller “Everybody Knows,” starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and Laurel and Hardy biopic “Stan & Ollie,” with Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly. Committed film buffs can buy a $200 “passport” and get access to every single film. Through Dec. 19. Single screening ticket: $15.
Holiday market at Fairfax City’s Old Town Square: Fairfax’s reputation might be part college town and part sleepy suburban enclave, but the city is highlighting its local shops and businesses with events like its second annual holiday market. Old Town Square, renovated in 2015, will host live holiday music, drinks and refreshments, as well as a chance to trim your holiday shopping list with crafts, jewelry and other goods for sale. Every weekend through Dec. 16. Hours vary. Free.
Winterfest at Wunder Garten: The winter celebration, featuring a classic holiday market, plus live music and food from Timber Pizza and CaliBurger, returns to the NoMa beer garden for three weekends this season. Friday’s opening night will feature “Ignite the Lights of Hope,” a performance art piece involving fire from D.C. artist Eva Mystique. Other special events during the nearly month-long run include an ugly sweater party Dec. 8 and “Night of 1,000 Santas” on Dec. 15. Through Dec. 16. Hours vary. Free admission.
Stanley Cowell at An die Musik Live: With so many ideas about breadth and possibility chiseled into our consensus understanding of jazz, why does the work of Stanley Cowell still feel so overwhelmingly vast? The 77-year-old jazz composer is one of those virtuoso pianists whose hands have covered a staggering amount of ground, always moving with certainty and curiosity. Now Cowell is preparing a retrospective concert that will require him to smoosh 60 years of rigorous inquiry into a tidy 120 minutes — but instead of worrying how he’ll stitch the show together, he’s wondering how wide it can stretch. “I think about contrast, variety,” he says, sitting near his piano in his Upper Marlboro living room. “It’s something I learned from the great trombonist J.J. Johnson, who could really program a set so that it had an arc to it.” 8 and 9:30 p.m. $10-$25.
Saturday, Dec. 1
Swedish Holiday Market at House of Sweden: The House of Sweden is already host to some of the most engaging events that embassies have to offer, such as fashion shows, movie nights and fun weekend workshops for children. One of their most well-known annual traditions returns this weekend as it hosts the Swedish Holiday Market. Because of past crowd sizes, this year’s market will be held inside and outside the embassy and offer a bazaar of Scandinavian holiday goods. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $5; free for children ages 10 and under.
Anniversary party at The Gibson: The Gibson’s physical space, staff and menus have all changed over the past decade, but one thing has remained constant at the influential cocktail bar. Customers at the first-floor bar must all be seated. While the rule makes for an intimate and refined experience, it also limits capacity and makes the Gibson impossible for larger groups. As part of its 10-year anniversary celebrations, the Gibson is 86-ing its no-standing policy Saturday night, making it easier for customers to drop in for $7 and $8 cocktail deals, which will be offered at the main bar and on the heated patio. No reservations are required and crowds are expected, so early arrival is strongly recommended. 6 p.m. Free admission; drinks priced individually.
Soccer Mommy at Black Cat: Before decamping to New York for college, Sophie Allison grew up in Nashville as part of the country capital’s steadily growing DIY rock scene. Perhaps that Nashville-New York connection is why she name-drops both Taylor Swift and indie darling Mitski as influences. You can hear a little of both in her music as Soccer Mommy, a project that has taken her from her bedroom to Bandcamp to the Black Cat (and beyond). All over this year’s “Clean,” Allison mixes vivid lyricism and casual cool as she effortlessly slides into the indie rock pocket — her one true home. 8 p.m. $15-$17.
Jessica Pratt at the 9:30 Club: Jessica Pratt debuted in 2012, but her albums could have come out in 1962 or 1972. Across two records of fully formed folk that’s both psychedelic and pastoral, Pratt sings songs that sound as if they’ve been displaced through time and space with her distinct, high-pitched voice. While 2015’s “On Your Own Love Again” had the hum and hiss of a long-lost vinyl, the first taste of her forthcoming album “Quiet Signs” sounds more modern, and press materials promise that piano, flute, organ and strings have been added to the acoustic proceedings this time around. 8 p.m. $31.
Will Eastman’s Birthday Party at the Black Cat: While the Black Cat will always be a live music venue, its cozy backstage room had a key role in nurturing some of the city’s most vibrant dance parties, including Will Eastman’s Bliss and Mark Zimin’s Mousetrap and the Wag. As the Black Cat prepares to close its first floor, including the backstage, Eastman is bringing a slew of veteran DJs, including Zimin, Stereo Faith and Baby Alcatraz, together for one last night of Britpop, soul and surprises. Also making a special appearance: longtime Black Cat bartender Chad America. 9 p.m. Free.
Cakeface at Dance Place: Clips from a public-access TV talent show called “Stairway to Stardom” act as the backdrop for this contemporary dance show headed to Dance Place after premiering last year in New York. Members of choreographer Amanda Szeglowski’s dance troupe are all dressed up in Beyoncé-esque silver sequin leotards for a performance that critiques the idea of “making it.” Another flashy element in the show: psychedelic visuals from electronic duo Prism House. Through Sunday. 8 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday. $15-$30.
Sunday, Dec. 2
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition at Baird Auditorium: Some of the most prodigious pianists in the world will converge on Washington this week to compete for a $25,000 scholarship and a record deal. Fourteen musicians — all age 30 or younger — will take their turn on the keys and try to impress a panel of jazz luminaries, including legendary pianist Herbie Hancock. Three of those artists will advance to perform on the Kennedy Center stage Monday before an all-star jazz concert from the Thelonious Monk Institute, which includes a tribute to Aretha Franklin. Doors at 11 a.m., competition at noon. Free. Tickets are first come, first served. (Tickets for Monday’s show at the Kennedy Center are $35-$125.)
Blagden Holiday Market: Whole neighborhoods aren’t the only ones getting in on holiday markets; now, you can throw one up in an alley. Tiger Fork, La Colombe and Lost & Found, tenants of Blagden Alley in Shaw, are hosting their own seasonal festivities, featuring handmade gifts, live music, and food and drink specials at restaurants along the pathway. Noon to 5 p.m. Free.
Juste Debout at Union Market: Local poetry collective Words Beats & Life is hosting the French hip-hop dance competition Juste Debout (translated from French to “just standing”), which is sending out an open call to the area’s best poppers, lockers, hip-hop and house-inspired dancers to square off for a chance to compete at the March 2019 world finals in Paris. Dancers pair off in two-on-two battles in which they don’t know the songs they will have to jive to beforehand. Noon to 7 p.m. $15-$30 for audience members and $5 for entry into the competition.
— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Fritz Hahn, Chris Kelly and Chris Richards