Friday, Dec. 21
The Longest Night of the Year at Port City Brewing Co.: To celebrate the extended nighttime of the winter solstice, Port City is opening for nearly half the day to drink and be merry. The Alexandria brewers are bringing out three special releases for the night: a bourbon barrel-aged version of their classic porter; Rauch Märzen, a smoked lager, which will be available only on draft, and a black IPA, Long Black Veil, inspired by the local urban legend of the grave of the Female Stranger — an unidentified woman with an eerie tombstone inscription. Three bands will play, starting at 7 p.m., and two food trucks will split the day’s food service, Big Cheese earlier and Borinquen Lunch Box in the evening. Noon to 11 p.m. Free; food and drink prices vary.
‘Love, Actually’ Happy Hour and Holiday Film Festival at the National Museum of American History: At this time of year, “Love, Actually” is a film that inspires very strong feelings — both from fans who claim it’s an romantic holiday tale about finding true love, and naysayers who think it’s a steaming pile of plot holes and misogyny. Forget the haters (at least for one night) at the National Museum of American History, where the Warner Bros. Theater kicks off a weekend of seasonal movies with a “Love, Actually”-themed party. (Think cocktails in a souvenir cup, Instagram-ready photo backdrops and a mass singalong to “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” followed by a screening of the film.) The rest of the weekend includes “Home Alone,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and, for people who like to argue on the Internet, “Die Hard.” Through Monday. “Love, Actually” party begins Friday at 6 p.m. $35 “Love, Actually” party and screening; other films $6-$10.
Eric B. & Rakim at the Howard Theatre: Hip-hop pioneers Eric B. & Rakim released their debut album “Paid in Full” over 30 years ago, but the record sounds as if it could have been made today. Between Eric B.’s production wizardry, which employed an impeccable use of sampling, and Rakim’s poetic rhymes, the duo’s musical matrimony became a blueprint for modern-day rap. There was an unflappable sense of coolness to their delivery that defied the more hard-hitting approach of such fellow New York rappers as LL Cool J and KRS-One. Their current trek across the United States marks one of the group’s first tours since parting ways in 1992. 8 p.m. $42.50-$67.50.
Macy Gray at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club: “Buddha,” the opening track on Macy Gray’s latest album, “Ruby,” offers a window into her current state of mind. Gray isn’t fazed by the critics who dismiss her as a one-hit wonder, but is triumphantly forging her own path. Nearly 20 years since the release of her debut album, the framework of her artistry remains intact, but has also gracefully evolved with the times. The familiar effervescent spirit and sharp wit of her previous albums can be found on “Ruby,” but Gray also makes a concerted effort to redefine her neo-soul sound by incorporating trip-hop, synth-pop, trap music and jazz throughout the record. While “Ruby” hasn’t seen the same level of success as 1999’s “On How Life Is,” it is an admirable effort from a veteran artist who would rather just be herself than concede to current trends. 8 p.m. $67-$87.
Feast of the Seven Fishes at Via Umbria: Go out to eat and celebrate this Italian American tradition, as chefs put their own spin on the Feast of the Seven Fishes. In Georgetown, Via Umbria is hosting a nightly seven-course, $100-per-person dinner through Sunday (Thursday’s opening night is sold out), serving such dishes as Pugliese-style stuffed mussels and black spaghetti with clams, saffron tomato sauce and arugula. 7 to 10 p.m. $100.
Los Lobos at City Winery: This East Los Angeles rock outfit has been polishing its brand of Mexican American rock for more than 40 years, blending classic driving rock-and-roll with funkier splashes of roots, R&B and zydeco. The quintet has slowed its stream of new albums in recent years, but 2015’s “Gates of Gold,” Los Lobos’s 24th album, shows they still have the firepower and ability not only to weave tales that put them on the map but also to keep pushing their sound and legacy further. Through Saturday. 8 p.m. both nights. $55-$70.
Saturday, Dec. 22
Maggie Rose at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club: Rose’s music feels louder, looser, more spontaneous and better suited for her voice, which has always threatened to incinerate the eyebrows of anyone sitting in the front row. Hoping to launch that voice onto the national airwaves, the Potomac-raised songwriter relocated to Nashville more than a decade ago, but her priorities have since changed. “Country radio isn’t my motivation” anymore, Rose says of her new music. “I want to deliver that soul that people who have been following me come out to see.” 8 p.m. Sold out.
Daniel Bachman at Old Town Books: Much of Bachman’s lush tunes are winding, meditative instrumentals of naturalistic observations emoted almost entirely through his acoustic guitar. But lately, he’s reacting to the anxieties of the world less by way of guitar playing and more through discordant drones and custom-made instruments. After spending the past 11 or so years on the road logging about 200 days annually playing coffee shops, churches and other venues across the world, the 29-year-old seems most at ease in his current dichotomy: He has pushed pause on making music his primary career, but he’s never been more inspired to make it. 7 p.m. $10.
Christmas caroling at the Wharf: Instead of knocking on doors to carol from house to house, head to the Wharf and sing by the water — and even onstage at a live music venue. Seasonal singers can gather at the pier starting at 5 p.m. and join in holiday songs on the waterfront before detouring to the nearby Pearl Street Warehouse for a performance. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., joins the festivities at 6 p.m. for some additional holiday cheer. 5 to 7 p.m. Free.
Sunday, Dec. 23
‘Messiah’ Sing-Along at the Kennedy Center: Many people attend a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at this time of year, but the Kennedy Center puts the audience at the center of the action. Join members of the Opera House Orchestra and a 200-member chorus for this rousing and interactive performance, which has been entertaining the community since 1971. No matter how well you can carry a tune, “Messiah” is a lot of fun. Its popularity means seats in the Opera House are limited: Up to two tickets per person will be given out in the Hall of Nations beginning at 4:30 p.m., and would-be singers have been known to line up well in advance. 6 p.m. Free.
Jewish Christmas at Espita Mezcaleria: The Shaw Mexican restaurant is taking its menu on a trip to Asia for a Christmas celebration and bringing some friends along. Guest chefs Scott Drewno and Danny Lee of ChiKo will be in the kitchen serving up a crispy duck taco with orange-chili marmalade, in addition to Espita’s own contribution of kung pao Brussels sprouts. Bartenders Benny Hurwitz and Andy Bixby of Dram and Grain have concocted three specialty cocktails for the night, including one with rye, grapefruit juice and raspberry-infused Campari. All proceeds benefit Carecen, a D.C. nonprofit that lends a hand to new Latino immigrants to the United States. 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free; food and drink prices vary.
Nag Champa and Dreamcast at Wild Days at Eaton D.C.: The downtown boutique hotel is launching a concert series that hopes to serve as your post-brunch hangout spot. The Eaton’s rooftop bar, Wild Days, will play host to artists in the avant-garde jazz, hip-hop and electronic world to perform for guests as day turns to night. Kicking off the inaugural event is D.C. soul collective Nag Champa and the silky voice of Dreamcast. 2 to 8 p.m. Free with RSVP.
— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Fritz Hahn, Chris Richards and Stephanie Williams