Friday, March 15
‘Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past is Prologue’ at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: The Smithsonian American Art Museum is planning two in-depth exhibitions on the Vietnam War this spring. There are nearly 100 works in “Artists Respond," which covers 1965 to 1975, and running alongside that show is “Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue.” The artist put in laborious research to create hand-drawn maps, paintings and video interviews with former Vietnamese refugees in Northern Virginia and other cities. But she also drew on her own experience: Her family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam after the war, and her father flew planes in the South Vietnamese army alongside American forces. Through Sept. 2. Free.
9-Year anniversary week at U Street Music Hall: For the past nine years, U Street Music Hall has been an integral part of the U Street NW neighborhood and the local music community at large. Initially a venue for electronic acts, its schedule has evolved to include a much more robust offering of music, which is exemplified with its anniversary party. The 10-day celebration kicks off with a DJ set from Los Angeles duo Classixx, followed by U Street Music Hall owner Will Eastman’s album release party and alt-country artist Maggie Rose on Saturday. Through March 24. Times and prices vary.
Ella Mai at the Fillmore Silver Spring: How do you even manage to follow the heat of “Boo’d Up”? That’s the question facing this British singer, who rode high last summer on the wave of her burning love ballad that blended her assertive coos with nostalgic ’90s R&B production. The 24-year-old’s breakthrough anthem earned her a Grammy for best R&B song and anchored her 2018 debut album, a self-titled record that felt like a comfortable retreat into the familiar sounds of her idols, including Brandy and Destiny’s Child. But Mai isn’t a mere throwback artist. There are sprinklings of modern hip-hop in her sound, courtesy of executive producer/in-demand beatmaker DJ Mustard, while Mai’s own breezy, bright melodies ooze an untapped level of potential. 8 p.m. Sold out.
Environmental Film Festival at various locations: During the Environmental Film Festival’s 11 days of screenings, see the issues facing the planet on a big screen — or in virtual reality, as is the case for photographer Aaron Huey’s tour of Bears Ears National Monument. National Geographic, one of the festival’s sponsors, will serve as the Main Stage, joining more than 25 venues, including E Street Cinema and Smithsonian museums. Watch such movies as “When Lambs Become Lions,” a documentary about the relationship between game rangers and poachers in Kenya, or “Return to Mount Kennedy,” which retraces Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s Yukon mountain-climbing adventure in 1965. Through March 24. Most screenings $10-$12; several are free; tickets to special events are $35.
Saturday, March 16
St. Patrick’s Day weekend at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery: If you’re a fan of Irish beer, there are few better places to spend the holiday than Open Gate. Just know that you’ll need to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance for Saturday or Sunday. There are two sessions per day — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. — each featuring live music and a special menu, including the debut of the Guinness food truck. The $15 admission includes one beer, a souvenir button and a donation to local charities. Look for four new beers: An amber ale brewed with Irish breakfast tea and a stout made with black currant are going on tap, while the brewery has canned an IPA with Citra and Mosaic hops and a rye stout. “Of the stouts we’ve made, the rye has been our brewers’ favorite,” brewmaster Peter Wiens says. “The spiciness comes through.” Overflow parking is available at the Halethorpe MARC station, with a free shuttle to the brewery. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. $15.
St. Patrick’s Day pregame at the Dubliner: The venerable Capitol Hill pub, which turned 45 last week, is one of the most comfortable barrooms in town. Doors open at noon on Saturday for a day of “pregame” music and pints, and Sunday starts at 9 a.m., with 45-cent Guinness for the first hour, followed by John McGrath, Brian Gaffney and Morris Minor performing traditional Irish music on two stages for the rest of the day. Through Sunday. Free admission.
Nowruz celebration at Freer/Sackler: There are many places in the District to celebrate the Persian new year, or Nowruz, but the festivities at the Freer and Sackler galleries offer activities for all ages, including shadow-puppet and storytelling performances based on Persian stories; calligraphy demonstrations; and live music throughout the galleries. And what better way to ring in a new year than with eating and talking about food? Iranian chef and author Najmieh Batmanglij signs her newest cookbook, “Cooking in Iran,” while local eateries Moby Dick House of Kabob and Le Caprice Bakery sell Persian food. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
St. Patrick’s Day at Ireland’s Four Courts: Because beer apparently tastes better if you earn it, the holiday weekend at the Arlington pub begins with the Four Courts Four Miler — a downhill/uphill circuit through the streets of Court House and Rosslyn, followed by a party with live music, Irish food specials, dancers and a bagpiper in the pub. Festivities continue on Sunday with a heated party tent to make room for even more revelers. Doors open at 8 a.m. both days. Through Sunday. Free admission.
St. Patrick’s Day at the Smashed Potato, a.k.a. Barrel: Barrel isn’t usually an Irish bar, but it will be through Sunday, thanks to general manager Ruairi De Burca, who hails from Cork. Expect a version of Irish coffee made with nitro cold brew, Irish whiskey and spices; discounted Irish whiskey; and $8 pints of Irish beers. Chef Walfer Hernandez is preparing dishes traditional (fish and chips, lamb stew) and not (green mashed potatoes). Through Sunday. Free admission.
Sunday, March 17
Carl Stone at Rhizome: Sampling can be a laborious process, so it’s no surprise that an early pioneer of the art is also an academic. This California-raised composer and professor of sound design at a Japanese university has been performing his brand of experimental soundscapes for more than four decades. His latest release, “Baroo,” is one of his most widely accessible works yet, pulsing with Cuban dance rhythms and other global sounds. The title of the track “Xé May” might offer some insight into Stone’s process: It’s derived from Vietnamese, and in combination the words don’t translate into any specific phrase or idiom. But, taken apart, they succinctly summarize what the 66-year-old artist intends to do: “Xé,” meaning to tear, and “may,” meaning to stitch. And shouldn’t all good experimental music aim to tear away at the stitching of sound? 8 p.m. $15.
‘The Jewish Queen Lear’ at Davis Performing Arts Center: It’s a world-traveled, New York-birthed theatrical classic — a tale of arrogance, family rupture and dramatic reversals. The title role has such bravura scope that actresses once vied to be its preeminent interpreter. Despite those seeming advantages, Jacob Gordin’s 1898 Yiddish-language play “Mirele Efros” — also known as “The Jewish Queen Lear” — has slipped beneath the radar in the United States of late. Now Theater J is staging a production billed as the play’s English-language world premiere, running through April 7 at Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center. 7:30 p.m. Showtimes vary through April 7. $34-$64.
Scythian at Union Stage: Scythian got its start playing Irish jigs and reels on Alexandria street corners, but it wasn’t long before the group’s fusion of traditional dance music, played with classical technique, good humor and rock-star energy, led to headlining gigs at local pubs and, eventually, sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club. Scythian is busy on the festival circuit and doesn’t play D.C. as much anymore, so it’s a fun surprise to see the band taking over Union Stage on St. Patrick’s Day for an all-ages performance. The students of the Maple School of Irish Dance open the show. 6 p.m. $22.
— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Fritz Hahn, Stephanie Williams and Celia Wren