The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The best things to do in the D.C. area the week of Oct. 21-27

A past Día de los Muertos at the Wharf. (The Wharf, Washington, DC)

Thursday, Oct. 21

Hasan Minhaj: 'The King’s Jester’ at the Kennedy Center: The former “Daily Show” correspondent and “Patriot Act” host takes his stand-up skills to the Kennedy Center for the first time. The new one-man show comes four years after the release of his Netflix special, “Homecoming King,” which won a 2018 Peabody Award. The comedian brings his signature biting critique of the current moment’s cultural and political landscape with an earnestness he’s honed since his time on “The Daily Show.” Through Saturday. $45-$75.

Washington Ballet at the National Building Museum: When Washington Ballet artistic director Julie Kent curated a selection of seven works for the company’s season-opening performances this week at the National Building Museum, she contradicted convention and started with reverence. In ballet parlance, the term refers to a bow or curtsy performed at the end of class to acknowledge the teacher and accompanist, or at the conclusion of a performance to recognize the audience. But when spectators take their seats at the Washington Ballet’s first in-person performances since the start of the pandemic, the show will open with that acknowledgment, as conveyed through excerpts of choreographer Jessica Lang’s 2019 piece “Reverence.” Through Friday. $80-$110

Washington Ballet kicks off its return to in-person performance with two shows at the National Building Museum

‘Princess Cursed in Time’ at the Czech Embassy: As part of the Kids Euro Festival, the Czech Embassy presents an outdoor showing of the 2020 movie “Princess Cursed in Time.” A fairy tale with a feminist streak, the film follows a princess who relives the same day again and again to try to save her kingdom from evil. If she doesn’t kill the witch who cursed her or finds true love, the kingdom may be destroyed forever. Dubbed in English with Czech subtitles, the Peter Kubik-directed film will be shown outdoors, so attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather. 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. Free.

Friday, Oct. 22

Howl-o-ween at Gateway Park: This might be the cutest day to visit the dog park at Gateway Park, when the Rosslyn BID and the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group throw a “Howl-o-ween” party for dressed-up pups. The event will include vendors, speakers, raffle tickets and giveaways, and post-party, owners and their dogs are invited to a 7 p.m. showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in the park. 3 to 7 p.m. Free.

Cairo Fred at Blues Alley: Cairo Fred collects descriptions and genre labels the way some people collect passport visa stamps. Its music has been called pop, alt-rock, Americana, adult contemporary and pop-jazz, among others. In the view of the D.C. sextet, which released its album “Freedom Street” earlier this year, all those descriptors are valid. “We are many things. A disparate bunch of things put together,” says Desson Thomson, the band’s lead vocalist and (with guitarist/pianist Bradford Heck) songwriter. “Freedom Street” runs the gamut from “Raincoat,” a jazzy heartbreak ballad that was the first song Thomson and Heck ever wrote together, to “Everything” — which the band thinks might be the world’s first track to combine hip-hop influences with pedal steel. 8 and 10 p.m. $35.

After two decades, Cairo Fred starts to build a songbook

Saturday, Oct. 23

Fall Harvest Festival at Mount Vernon: Fall festivals are taking place around the region, but if you’re looking for something a little different than a pumpkin patch or apple orchard, check out Mount Vernon. George Washington’s estate will be keeping things era-appropriate with food made in an 18th-century oven, along with cooking demos, spinning and horseshoeing techniques of the time. For those adults who want to keep themselves grounded in the 21st century, there will be a beer tasting from 11 local breweries including 3 Stars and Solace. An advance ticket for the tasting will get you six pours and a commemorative tasting glass for $25, while day of purchases will cost $4 per taste. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $26 for grounds admission; additional $4-$25 for beer tasting tickets.

Boo at the Zoo at Roer’s Zoofari: The National Zoo has canceled its beloved Halloween tradition, but Roer’s Zoofari in Fairfax County is bringing back its annual Boo at the Zoo outdoor event after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Get into the spooky season a week ahead of time with camel rides, carnival games, treat stations, animal ambassadors, a pumpkin patch and more. Visitors are encouraged to come in costume, with local vendors passing out candy to those dressed to impress on the walking tour. (Don’t fret if you’re costumeless, though; visitors will receive candy at the entrance and exit of the “self drive safari” experience.) Tickets are sold by timed entry for social distancing purposes. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $20 for kids ages 3 to 11, $30 for ages 12 and older.

Morta Skuld at Atlas Brew Works: For 30 years, Morta Skuld has thrashed and mangled the bounds of death metal. The Milwaukee quartet’s 1993 “Dying Remains’’ still stands as a cult touchpoint for all the gnarly guitar riffs and sensory doom that metalheads crave. The band was dormant for two decades starting in the late 1990s before reemerging in 2017. Their latest, 2020’s “Suffer for Nothing,” is a sharp throwback to what made them an influence for the long-haired outcasts of metal troupes to come. Eric House’s drums are itching to burst from your speakers and frontman David Gregor’s groans still seem ladled from the sludgy cauldron of his soul. But his aim at the darkness of society sounds as clear as ever. 7:30 p.m. $12-$15.

5 concerts to catch in the D.C. area over the next several days

Tosser at Pie Shop: On “Total Restraint,” the debut album by D.C. quartet Tosser, lyrics like “Staring at a wall and I can see my breath / You see my mind’s a mess” and “Heal myself with another excuse / Can’t taste what I smell” seem to speak to the malaise and psychosomaticism of life in the time of coronavirus. “Everything is in a different context now,” singer-guitarist Eric Zidar said. “A lot of the lyrics are about discomfort in your own mental capacity, whether or not that’s something you lay out there.” “Total Restraint” faces that uneasy sense of disconnection and discombobulation head on, as the band’s four members sync their energies to focus on one point of attack, or dissociate to make a broader one. 8 p.m. $15.

Tosser ‘scrubs off some of the polish’ with its debut album

Fourth Annual Shucktoberfest in Arlington: This one’s for the beer and oyster lovers out there. The Shucktoberfest Beer and Oyster Festival in Shirlington will have craft beer tents, oyster tents, food from local vendors and businesses, family-friendly activities, including a kid zone, and more. Entry is free, but beer and oyster tastings require a $40 ticket, which includes 10 tasting tickets. Each tasting ticket is good for one beer sample or two oysters. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free-$40.

Community Day at the Chinese American Museum DC: The Chinese American Museum DC presents a day of celebration and entertainment, with a new exhibition entitled “Golden Threads: Chinese Opera in America.” Attendees can learn about Chinese opera through live theatrical demonstrations, makeup demos and a panel discussion that explores Chinese opera within the United States. Partners include the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, Chinese Opera Society of Washington D.C., Yao Family Wines and Valley Brook Tea. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Sunday, Oct. 24

Día de los Muertos at the Wharf: Celebrate Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a few weeks early at the Wharf. The actual holiday takes place Nov. 1-2 and is traditionally known as a time for people to honor deceased loved ones and help their transition into the spirit world. The celebration in Southwest will have live music, street food, sugar skull decorating, face painting and a beer garden. 2 to 5 p.m. Free.

The National Symphony Orchestra at the Anthem: The NSO will trade their usual Kennedy Center Concert Hall for the stage of the Anthem at the Wharf for an evening performance. The orchestra will perform music from new Kennedy Center composer-in-residence Carlos Simon and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, with conductor Nicholas Hersh at the helm. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. $15-$30.

Vintage and Vinyl (Halloween edition) at Slash Run: If you’re feeling uninspired or completely clueless about Halloween, Slash Run’s vintage and vinyl sale might be the balm. Complete your costume or create one from the ground up from an array of clothes, along with records, houseware pieces and more. DJ Mad Squirrel is present, spinning spooky tunes. 3 to 7 p.m. Free.

Monday, Oct. 25

Fundays at Spacycloud: At this point, it might be easier to list what the Adams Morgan shop Spacycloud doesn’t do within its cozy confines. It’s a skate shop, art gallery, vegan eatery, concert venue, bar and so on. On Mondays, for the foreseeable future, you can add comedy club to the list. Local comedians will gather weekly to workshop and say what’s on their mind. Admission is free but guests need to purchase one (non-water) drink or item from the shop. 7 p.m. Free with one item minimum.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

17th Street High Heel Race: For yet another sign that D.C. nightlife might just be back in full swing, head to 17th Street NW on Tuesday to see lots (and lots) of your neighbors racing and sashaying down the block in high heels. This year marks the 34th annual edition of local drag queens and other glamorous party people gathering together in their finest and glitziest outfits and pumps to liven up Dupont Circle, following last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. between P and S streets NW, while the formal race takes place at 9 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Free.

‘Hadestown’ at the Kennedy Center: The jazzy, folk rock-fueled adaptation of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, was mapped out over six years, with productions off-Broadway in 2016; in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2017; in London in 2018; and on Broadway in 2019. Critical acclaim, box office success and eight Tony Awards followed. This will be the last week to catch the ongoing Broadway production’s national tour at the Kennedy Center. Through Oct. 31. $45-$175.

As ‘Hadestown’ comes to the Kennedy Center, the show’s creators explain the magic behind one great song

Wednesday, Oct. 27

Quicksand at Black Cat: Quicksand was the story of hardcore bands in a nutshell: Burn bright, burn fast. Their early-1990s releases “Slip” and “Manic Compression” were instant revelations that spewed with righteous anger. But as it goes with 20-somethings who struggle to articulate their feelings, Quicksand became too combustible and broke up. It would be 22 years (and one shooed-away bandmate) before the New York group re-emerged with new music. The return albums — 2017’s “Interiors” and August’s “Distant Populations” — aren’t some cash-grab attempts at reclaiming slipped-away fame. The trio can still pummel you with the help of Sergio Vega’s basslines, but they feel more at ease piecing together the rage and fury that once tore them apart. 7:30 p.m. $27-$30.

‘Coco’ from CiNoMatic: The outdoor film series at Alethia Tanner Park continues its theme of “reignite your wanderlust” with a showing of the 2017 Pixar movie “Coco.” The film follows Miguel, a young aspiring musician whose family hates music. By fate, he enters the Land of the Dead to try to find his great-great-grandfather, who was also a musician. The film starts at sunset, with games and food on-site. 6:15 p.m. Free.