Beefcake the Mighty of GWAR, which plays the 9:30 Club on Thursday. (Shirlaine Forrest/WIREIMAGE)
THU 20

Last Train Home The roots rock band, which began as a part-time band in D.C. in 1997 and later relocated to Nashville, performs. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600. Free.

GWAR Wear something you don’t mind getting stained. This Richmond metal band is known for spraying the crowd and donning in­cred­ibly over-the-top costumes for its theatrical stage shows. A new guitarist, Pustulus Maximus, joins them on their Fate or Chaos tour. With Kepone and Iron Reagan. 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. $25.

Step Afrika! The percussive dance troupe teaches a polar bear and a penguin to step with help from guest DJ Frosty the Snowman in their Magical Musical Holiday Step Show. Thursday-Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., closes Sunday at 4 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. 202-399-7993. $35, seniors and students $20, age 17 and younger $12.

Loni Love This regular on “Chelsea Lately” was ranked one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch by Variety and Comedy Central. Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m. DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $17-$20.

FRI 21

The Nighthawks This D.C.-based roots rock band with a 40-year history plays an End-of-the-World-themed party. 8:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. 202-787-1000. $20.

O’Death and World/Inferno Friendship Society The two Brooklyn bands are currently touring together. O’Death specializes in alternative country; WIFS offers a bit of a circus atmosphere. 9 p.m. Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 202-388-7625. $15.

SAT 22

“A Killing Game” A plague threatens to wipe out the cast (and audience) in Dog and Pony DC’s show. Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Closes Saturday. Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh St. SE. $17.

Wizards The basketball team plays home games against the Detroit Pistons (Saturday at 7 p.m.) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (Wednesday at 7 p.m.). Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. From $10.

“Seasonal Disorder” Washington Improv Theater stages sketches with a holiday theme. Continues Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m. Closes Saturday. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. 202-204-7800. $10 online, $15 at the door.

SUN 23

Downtown Holiday Market For the eighth year, more than 180 vendors have filled the street in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery with jewelry, paintings, clothing, housewares and crafts from around the world. Live music plays while you browse. Thursday-Sunday noon-8 p.m. Downtown Holiday Market, F Street between Seventh and Ninth streets NW. 202-215-6993. Free.

Christmas Music of the Trecento Vocal ensemble Trio Eos and multi-instrumentalist Christa Patton perform songs and dances from 14th-century Florence. Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. 202-544-7077. $50.

“A Commedia Christmas Carol” The Dickens classic gets a Commedia dell’Arte twist in the hands of Faction of Fools Theatre Company. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., closes Sunday at 2 p.m. Elstad Auditorium at Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE. $25, seniors and students $15, age 12 and younger $10.

“The Aliens” Annie Baker’s play has nothing to do with extraterrestrials, but is rather named after a Charles Bukowski poem. In her play two slackers who adore Bukowski take a teenager under their wing in a Vermont coffee shop. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Closes Sunday. Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. 202-332-3300. $39-$72.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Shakespeare’s magical romantic comedy is staged. Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday and Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Through Dec. 30. Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202-547-1122. 877-487-8849. $43-$105.

“You Can’t Get a Decent Margarita at the North Pole.” It’s crunch time at the North Pole and Santa is overworked and stressed out in this comedy presented by Grain of Sand Theatre. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Closes Sunday at 2 p.m. The Shop at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW. 866-811-4111. $15.

“The Santaland Diaries” Joe Brack performs a stage version of David Sedaris’s comedic essay. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Closes Sunday. Redrum at Fort Fringe, 612 L St. NW. 202-213-2474. $20.

MON 24

“Enlightened Beings: Buddhism in Chinese Painting” An exhibit of 27 works focusing on the four main categories of the enlightened being in Buddhism continues through Feb. 24. Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW. 202-633-1000. Free.

Falafel Frenzy The net proceeds of this dance party for Jewish young professionals will support D.C. food programs and breast cancer research. 9 p.m. Howard Theatre,
620 T St. NW. 202-803-2899. $30 at the door, $25 in advance.

WED 26

“Apples From the Desert” In Savyon Liebrecht’s play, a teenager from a religious family falls in love and runs away with a secular teen. It won Israel’s Best Play Award in 2006. Continues Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 and 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Through Jan. 6. Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. 800-494-8497. $25-$60, seniors $25-$55, age 35 and younger $15.

The Everymen The rock-and-roll band from New Jersey performs. With the Sniffs. Doors open at 8 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490. $10.

— Compiled by Carrie Donovan
from staff reports