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11 free things to do this November in the D.C. area

Den-Mate (aka Julia Hale) strips down her gritty, electronic sound at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Thursday. (Den-Mate)

Nov. 5: Luce Unplugged: Den-Mate
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW; Thu., 5:30 p.m., free.
Arlington’s answer to Karen O, Den-Mate (aka Julia Hale) will perform acoustic interpretations of her gritty, electronic music at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center. The event begins with a staff lecture about one of Hale’s favorite pieces in the foundation’s collection.

Nov. 6: ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’
AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring; Fri., 7 p.m., free.
Arguably the first horror film ever made, this silent 1920 masterpiece is still plenty spooky. Even scarier, the German expressionist film about a sinister hypnotist who makes a sleepwalker commit unspeakable crimes seems to portend Hitler’s rise. Composer Gabriel Thibaudeau will provide live musical accompaniment on the electric organ.

Nov. 7: Side Yards
Yards Park, 355 Water St. SE; Sat., 6-10 p.m., free.
For the second year in a row, Yards Park is turning into Side Yards, a quirky carnival full of contortionists, sword swallowers and fire breathers. In addition to circus-style amusement, the festival will feature live burlesque, music from local songwriter Justin Jones, a wacky photo booth and a beer garden. And naturally, it’s all happening under a big top.

Nov. 7: Grant Hall open house
Fort McNair, 1598 Second St. SW; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free.
Fort McNair is opening the usually off-limits Grant Hall courtroom where the eight
people who conspired to kill Abraham Lincoln were tried and convicted in 1865. Outside the hall, which was formerly a penitentiary, visitors can see the yard where four of the conspirators were hanged. Note: The historic building has no elevators, so visitors must climb three flights of stairs to access the courtroom. Visitors without military ID should enter the base from the Second Street SW gate.

Nov. 13-14: Renwick Gallery Reopening
Renwick Gallery, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Nov. 13-14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free.
Renwick is reopening after a two-year renovation with a two-day party featuring live music, craft activities and talks by some of the artists who contributed to a new exhibit. “Wonder” features massive, room-sized installations by nine artists, including a tree that seems to levitate, towers of index cards, above, and walls of marbles that reflect the coastline of the Chesapeake Bay.

Nov. 15-21: Free DC Comedy Festival
Various locations and times, Nov. 15-21; free;
The DC Comedy Writers Group, which meets every Monday at Restaurant Judy to share ideas and workshop jokes, is hosting a free comedy festival for the second year in a row. Venues and shows vary, but there will be workshops, a roast of comedian Wayne Manigo and, of course, stand-up showcases.

Nov. 18: Bruce Barcott, ‘Weed the People’
Busboys and Poets, Takoma, 235 Carroll St. NW; Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m., free.
With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District, cannabis is quickly becoming a budding part of society. In his new book, “Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America,” Bruce Barcott looks at the effects of legalization in Colorado and Washington, and what the future of legal weed may look like. He’ll talk Nov. 18 with Alison Holcomb, the architect of Washington state’s legalization campaign.

Nov. 19: Apollo’s Fire
Library of Congress, Coolidge Auditorium, 10 First St. SE;
Nov. 19, 8 p.m., free (sold out, but a limited number of tickets will be available at 6 p.m. at the door).
The baroque ensemble known as Apollo’s Fire will perform a selection of music by Handel and Vivaldi. Under the direction of flame-haired conductor Jeannette Sorrell, the ensemble will play a program of love songs with rising-star soprano Amanda Forsythe, including Sorrell’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s “La Folia.”

Nov. 20: Jesse Eisenberg, ‘Bream Gives Me Hiccups’
Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW; Nov. 20, 7 p.m., free.
Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg will discuss his new work of short fiction, “Bream Gives Me Hiccups,” which features amusing stories about Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone calls, hijacked emails and ancient Pompeii, among other subjects.

Nov. 25: Charm City Junction
Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW; Nov. 25, 6 p.m., free.
Baltimore-based roots group Charm City Junction puts a new spin on old-timey music, carrying the torch of fast-picking bluegrass and toe-tapping Celtic music. Featuring fiddle, clawhammer banjo, the button accordion and upright bass, this quartet isn’t afraid to take roots music to new places — but always with an eye on tradition.

Nov. 27: ‘Ballet’
National Gallery of Art, East Building, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW; Nov. 27, 2 p.m., free.
At nearly three hours, this 1995 documentary about the American Ballet Theater gives viewers a sampling of the grueling hours of practice put in by top ballet dancers. Director Frederick Wiseman edited the movie down from 110 hours of film shot over the course of nine weeks. The result? An unflinching look at what it takes to create great art.

Read about more free things to do:

Tawaraya Sotatsu’s art inspired many — once it was saved from oblivion

The new Hirshhorn surrealist sculpture exhibit is weird and wild