The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The best things to do in the D.C. area the week of Dec. 9-15

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery shows holiday movies in its beer garden every Thursday, including “Jingle All the Way” (Dec. 9) and “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (Dec. 16), while pouring exclusive seasonal beers. (Guinness Open Gate Brewery )
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Thursday, Dec. 9

Tasha at Songbyrd: Tasha’s sophomore album shows an artist becoming more comfortable with her pen. On “Tell Me What You Miss the Most,” the Chicago native reminisces on her relationship ending with heartbreaking phrases and a sweet and melancholy vocal delivery. Even the jollier song “Perfect Wife,” with its upbeat drums and lively flutes, feels somber in the broader context of the project. The penultimate track “Year From Now” is full of declarative hopes for the future. Or, maybe it’s Tasha singing from a better place to her past self. Either way, when she softly sings, “Stop wishing for someone to tell you some secret that you’ve always known,” listeners know that heartbreaks aren’t forever. And when she proclaims “Tasha, you’re brighter than you’ve ever been” to end the song, you have no choice but to believe her. 7 p.m. $18-$20.

December movie nights at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery: The attractions at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery right now are liquid pleasures: spiced Gingerbread Stout, malty Winter Warmer, bourbon barrel-aged Chocolate Mint Stout. But if you need another reason to go, holiday movies will be shown on Thursday evenings in December, including “Jingle All the Way” (Thursday) and “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (Dec. 16). Movies screen in a heated tent, and firepit tables are available in the open-air beer garden outside the Halethorpe brewery. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen at Politics & Prose Live: The past year has readjusted our expectations for working from home. Journalists Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen found themselves leaving desk jobs in New York City for a life in Montana. They each started their own Substack newsletters and teamed up for “Out of Office,” a book that details their experience leaving their jobs but also includes reported stories from workers all around the world who are finding new ways to be productive and happy. Gretchen Gavett, a senior editor at Harvard Business Review, joins the couple for a virtual discussion of “Out of Office.” 9 p.m. Free.

Friday, Dec. 10

City Center Ice Maze: Ten sculptors are transforming 150,000 pounds of solid ice into a giant work of crystal-clear art, just so you can get lost in it. City Center debuted its shimmering ice maze in 2019, and representatives say this year’s version uses 40,000 more pounds of ice, “making it the largest ice maze in the U.S.” Multicolored lights will shine on the walls, hopefully making it easier to find a way out after dark. Admission is free, with no reservations needed, but visitors are asked to make a donation to the Children’s National Hospital Foundation. Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Free; donation requested.

Victura Park Holiday Market at the Reach: One of the most spacious holiday markets in 2020, Victura Park’s market features vendors spread out on the grassy lawns of the Kennedy Center’s Reach expansion. Food and beverages are available, including a s’mores station, and the facility is child- and dog-friendly. Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Free.

Holiday Drive-In Movies: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’: The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District sponsored drive-in movies at Buzzard Point over the summer as a way to come together while socially distancing. They’re back this month with a pair of events celebrating the holidays. Up first is “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” the heartwarming classic starring Kermit the Frog, Gonzo and Michael Caine. Look for popcorn, hot chocolate and snacks from Kilwans. Registration is free, but organizers request a $20 donation to DC Central Kitchen. As a heads up: The drive-in film on Dec. 17 is “Love, Actually,” the holiday rom-com everyone loves to hate. 6:30 p.m. Free; $20 donation suggested.

Spring Silver at Lost City Books: K Nkanza named their solo project Spring Silver, a cheeky flip of their hometown of Silver Spring. Describing their sound as post-emo and queer metal, Spring Silver explores their innermost feelings with experimental, danceable and genre-melding methods. On their 2019 album “The Natural World,” Spring Silver expresses their fears for the future, thoughts on heartbreak and love for the world — a holistic, honest snapshot of an artist’s ongoing realizations. Spring Silver performs at the launch party for PaperJam’s third issue at Lost City Books. The D.C. DIY music zine and the Adams Morgan bookstore teamed up for a previous zine launch; this one also features a musical performance from BRNDA. 7 p.m. $10.

Rosslyn Cheer: Shop for gifts from local companies selling everything from matcha milk bath soaks to turmeric-chili cashews or D.C.-themed T-shirts at Rosslyn’s weekend holiday market. Santa will also touch down to pose with pups on Friday evening between 5 and 7 p.m. and with kids on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Other fun Saturday happenings include free hot chocolate and a Synetic Theater performance at 3 p.m. Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Takoma Park Gift(ing) Market: This evening market includes 20 local artists, makers and collectors selling art, candles, plants, skin care and other gifts. Soul & Ink offers up an interactive screen printing setup so you can custom-design items for a loved one (or yourself). Additionally, there are local food trucks, including Big Greek Food Truck and the Green Rooster, and a tent from Soko, a new butcher in the neighborhood. In true “gift(ing)” spirit, visitors are encouraged to support Twynbox, a project devoted to ending period poverty, by donating menstrual products. 5 to 9 p.m. Free.

Left Unfinished: Recent Afghan Cinema at Freer and Sackler: The United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban has endangered filmmaking in the country. This streaming film festival focuses on films made since 2016. Highlights include “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha,” which focuses on the stories of there Afghan women from different backgrounds; “Kabul, City in the Wind,” a film that won the special jury award at the International Documentary Film de Amsterdam; and “The Forbidden Reel,” which explores Afghanistan’s recent history using film that the staff of the national film archive hid from the Taliban more than 20 years ago. Head of Afghan Film and “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha” director Sahraa Karimi discusses recent Afghan cinema in a panel on Dec. 19. Through Dec. 26. Free.

Zoo Lights Walk-Through at the Maryland Zoo: Last year, the Maryland Zoo operated its Zoo Lights displays as a drive-through event, with a limited number of chances for visitors to walk the quarter-mile trail past dozens of colorful, animated animal light displays. This year is a reversal: Walking is the only option Friday through Sunday, with drivers welcome Wednesday and Thursday. The trail ends at Zoo Central, where visitors can ride the train and carousel, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (spiked or not) and, if they’re lucky, spot live penguins. Wednesday through Sunday, through Jan. 2. Walk-through: $28. Children younger than 2 free. Drive-through: $33 per vehicle.

Jacq Jill at DC9: In the early days of the pandemic, it was fun to imagine the nightlife returning with a roar, but the slow-motion rebound we’re experiencing isn’t quite that. The clubs are open, but the mood is cautious, and for a DJ as adaptable as Jacq Jill — who’s been spinning energetic “techno-adjacent” sets in the District for nearly a decade — it’s an opportunity to recalibrate ourselves with the egalitarian nature of the dance floor. “Being from Texas, being queer, I always want to play rooms that people see themselves in,” Jacq says. “Rooms where the music and the respect for everyone around you is the priority — and I do feel like covid has equalized a lot of rooms in that way. Everyone’s a little gentler with each other now.” So how does the room feel during a Jacq Jill set post-quarantine? “I’m not going full-mellow,” Jacq says. “We’re still moving. But my brain is open to go where the crowd is. I always want to meet people where they’re at.” 11 p.m. $10-$15.

Saturday, Dec. 11

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade: Thousands of people crowd the shoreline in downtown Annapolis every December to watch boats covered in colored lights cruise around the harbor and up and down Spa Creek — so many, in fact, that last year’s parade was canceled, for only the second time in its 39-year history, because organizers were worried about social distancing. But dozens of boats are back on the water this year, creating a magical place where a tall sail takes the shape of a Christmas tree or the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story,” and a powerboat can be decorated to look like a station wagon with a tree strapped to the top. Prime places to watch include the City Dock, Acton Cove waterfront park and the sea wall at the Naval Academy. The Eastport Yacht Club website has parking information and other essential details. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.

Procrastinator’s Holiday Market at the National Arboretum: The National Arboretum is the setting for this year’s market, sponsored by Bladensburg Road Main Street. Head to the Arboretum’s New York Avenue parking lot for 20 vendors, live entertainment, a holiday card crafting station, free holiday train rides and, for the first time, a Christmas tree sale run by the Friends of the National Arboretum. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Abbondanza!: A Holiday Natural Wine Party at Sonny’s Pizza: This annual celebration of natural wine and pizza, held in the spacious garden behind Park View gem Sonny’s, is a chance to try pairing a wide variety of organic and natural wines and ciders with New York-style slices, while listening to a DJ. Tickets include pizza and unlimited samples of wine; sales benefit Serve Your City’s programs for at-risk students. 1 to 4 p.m. $65. VIP tickets include entry at noon and access to additional wines, and cost $85.

‘A Klezmer Hanukkah’ at the Alden: Woodwind specialist Seth Kibel plays the saxophone, clarinet and flute, and he’s also the leader of local klezmer band the Alexandria Kleztet. Hear the group’s jazzy take on Eastern-European Jewish folk music at “A Klezmer Hanukkah,” which will keep the holiday festivities going at McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre. 7 p.m. $15-$20.

Aslin Snow Daze Market at Aslin Brewing’s Alexandria taproom: The two dozen vendors setting up at Aslin’s Alexandria brewery include a mix of makers, crafters and food and drink producers, and you can sip fresh beers while browsing. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Lucia Procession at the Embassy of Sweden: The House of Sweden wasn’t able to host its popular Swedish Holiday Market this year, but the embassy is bringing back the celebration of Santa Lucia, which finds women wearing crowns of burning candles singing Christmas carols and holiday songs in Swedish and English on the Georgetown Waterfront. 5 p.m. Free.

Sunday, Dec. 12

The Eric Byrd Trio’s ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ at the Hamilton: Everyone has an opinion about the best holiday pop song, but if you’re looking for the perfect holiday album — the backdrop to decorating the tree or baking cookies with the kids — it’s hard to do better than Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which has enchanted generations of listeners. After the album was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2012, journalist Derrick Bang wrote for the Library that Guaraldi’s soundtrack, by turns upbeat and melancholy, “has become as essential to American holiday traditions as mistletoe, twinkling Christmas lights and carol singalongs.” The Eric Byrd Trio’s work as musical ambassadors for the State Department has taken them all over the world, but they’ve made a holiday tradition of performing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in its entirety at the Hamilton, letting us all bask in its beauty and nostalgia. Proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test is required for admittance to this show. 3 and 6:30 p.m. $14.75-$34.75.

Pinkshift at DC9: Former emo kids rejoice: Pop punk’s not dead. In fact, it’s very much alive, and there are new faces transforming the image of the often male, often White-dominated genre. Pinkshift is one of them. Helmed by lead vocalist Ashrita Kumar, along with guitarist Paul Vallejo, drummer Myron Houngbedji, and bassist Erich Weinroth, the Baltimore-based band formed in college, its sound shaped by each member’s musical influences, from grunge to ska to pop punk. On its breakout song “I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist on You,” the group lays out its ethos perfectly. Kumar’s vocals explode over the increasingly frenetic mix of drums, guitar and bass, with a self-deprecating, eye roll of a question: “Oh my god … why are you sad again?” This year has seen a resurgence for the genre — thanks to artists such as Willow and Olivia Rodrigo — and Pinkshift is right at the forefront of self-aware head banging and reflection. 8 p.m. $15.

F1 viewing party at Across the Pond: D.C. has bars that show the Premier League and bars that open early for rugby. But over the years, one of the hardest sports to find in a sports bar has been Formula 1 racing. Taking up the mantle is Dupont Circle’s Across the Pond, which is showing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — the final race of 2021 — live on its big screens. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are tied on points for the championship, giving this race an extra edge. Doors open at 7:30 a.m., with the race starting at 8. Dining room tables are fully booked, but the bar is first-come, first-seated. Free.

Monday, Dec. 13

Caroling at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel: The Willard Hotel’s lobby is one of the most festive spaces in Washington during the holiday season, thanks to a giant tree covered in lights, pots of poinsettias and the joyful sounds of carols. Each evening in December, the lobby plays host to a different group of singers, including high school ensembles, church choirs and a cappella groups. This week finds some top performers: The Washington Saengerbund, formed in 1851, performs “Stille Nacht” and traditional German carols on Sunday night, and Potomac Fever, the a cappella group of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, offers versions of pop tunes, such as a finger-popping rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You,” on Monday. Drinks are available from the landmark Round Robin Bar and a pop-up lobby bar. Daily from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. through Dec. 23. Free.

Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park: Holiday lights glow brightly at this Prince George’s County park every night — even on Christmas Day — but if you want to avoid heavy traffic, the Department of Parks and Recreation suggests visiting Monday through Wednesday. It’s the right idea: The three-mile route passes more than 200 displays, including animated Santas, rainbow tunnels and characters from “The Wizard of Oz.” (Parents should know that Watkins is home to an Oz-themed playground and mini-golf course.) Note for repeat attendees: There’s a new entrance off Largo Road this year, instead of on Watkins Park Drive. Open nightly from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2. $8 in advance, $10 at the gate.

Tuesday, Dec. 14

Jingle Ball at Capital One Arena: The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour’s yearly appearance at Capital One Arena brings some of the most recognizable names in music to perform in one place. That includes multi-Grammy winner Megan Thee Stallion and awards show darling Doja Cat. Prepare to scream and dance along to hits such as Megan’s “Thot S---” and Doja’s “Woman,” and potentially hear some deeper cuts — including Megan’s latest release of freestyles from “Something for Thee Hotties” and the rest of Doja’s tightly produced album “Planet Her.” Other performers include best new artist nominee Saweetie; the Jonas Brothers on the comeback leg of their career after reuniting in 2019; and Tai Verdes, who performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In the words of Doja Cat herself, get excited and “get into it (yuh).” Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW. capitalonearena.com. $200.

Wednesday, Dec. 15

‘A John Waters Christmas’ at the Birchmere: If you’re looking for a holiday show that’s more subversive than saccharine, “A John Waters Christmas” at the Birchmere will definitely fit the bill. The Baltimore-based filmmaker, writer and legendary “Pope of Trash” is back on the road touring his one-man performance throughout the country after a pandemic hiatus. This is the 25th year of Waters’s Christmas show, and his annual “sleigh ride-of-sleaze” will reflect on season’s greetings in the time of covid. Proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of the event is required. 7:30 p.m. $55.

Hangover-Free Holidays drinks class at the Columbia Room: Learn to make delicious, nonalcoholic versions of traditional holiday drinks from egg nog to yule glogg from Columbia Room owner Derek Brown, who is releasing a book in January called “Mindful Mixology” featuring no- and low-alcohol cocktails. Brown will teach a “Hangover-Free Holidays” class at his Blagden Alley bar, and tickets include three holiday drinks, holiday snacks and a gift, too. 6 p.m. $80.

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