Here are this weekend's best bets in nightlife, festivals, comedy and music, as well as many other events around the Washington area. And if you're already looking ahead to Thanksgiving, here's a good place to start.
Thursday-Saturday: Brian Posehn brings his stand-up tour to Arlington Cinema ‘n’ Draft House. You know Posehn from . . . everywhere, really. When he’s not doing stand-up, he’s acting — he has worked on a number of programs, and he’s part of the revived-by-Netflix “Mr. Show” — or writing comic books, such as Marvel’s “Deadpool.” And that gives you a window into his comedy: heavy on nerd-influenced pop culture and self-deprecating, lowbrow humor. (He’ll probably make fun of you, too.) Shows start Thursday at 7:45 p.m., Friday at 7:30 and 10 p.m., and Saturday at 7 and 10 p.m., and tickets are $20-$25.
Thursday: The Dave Rawlings Machine rolls into the Lincoln Theatre, featuring singer-songwriter David Rawlings and an impressive cast of roots musicians: former Old Crow Medicine Show wailer Willie Watson, Punch Brothers bassist Paul Kowert, fiddler Brittany Haas and Rawlings’s longtime partner in life and music, Gillian Welch. Expect to hear reimagined favorites, tight harmonies and pieces of the new album, “Nashville Obsolete,” which includes such almost-radio-friendly cuts as “The Weekend” and an epic, 11-minute Dylanesque ballad, “The Trip.” The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $35.
Thursday-Sunday: D.C. Cocktail Week runs through the weekend. For this Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington event, more than 50 restaurants and bars match a special cocktail with a small dish, with the pairing priced as low as $12 at a number of locations. Some work for any course, others head straight for dessert: Consider the Mike & Ike’s Hot Cider at Beuchert’s Saloon, paired with Johnny & Wo!Nuts — a doughnut ice cream served with apple compote, cider caramel and salted pecans — for $17. Go to www.dccocktailweek.com for a complete list of participating restaurants and bars.
Thursday-Sunday: Actor David Arquette is taking a stage turn for "Sherlock Holmes" at the Warner Theatre, starring as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous British detective in a traveling show, “Sherlock Holmes.” The story by Greg Kramer, which revolves around the opium trade, is an original work, with Holmes and Watson matching wits with Moriarty and Col. Moran. Shows start Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m., and tickets are $39.95-$99.95.
Thursday-Sunday: The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History hosts the History film Forum this weekend, part of a new collaboration with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It opens Thursday with a screening of "In the Heart of the Sea," a Ron Howard film about the New England whaling ship Essex, that opens in theaters next month. And it closes Sunday with a forum with the BackStory history podcast discussing "The Birth of a Nation" on its 100th anniversary. Find the schedule at historyfilmforum.si.edu; tickets are free, but many of the sessions are already filled.
Friday: Angel Haze hits the Rock & Roll Hotel. This Detroit-born rapper has made headlines for public feuds and spats: with a recording label, with Azealia Banks, even with The Washington Post. (Haze started writing songs as a Northern Virginia high school student.) Meanwhile, Haze has continued to evolve as a performer while creating compelling music, most recently with producer Tk Kayembe on “Back to the Woods.” The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are $15.
Saturday-Sunday: The Gaylord National Resort goes all in for “Christmas on the Potomac,” best exemplified by the 2 million pounds of colorful sculpted ice filling its glass atrium. The theme for this year’s Ice! display: the stop-animation cartoon “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” which first aired 45 years ago and tells the story of how Kris Kringle became gift-giving Santa Claus. Enjoy the lights, sights and other holiday activities, bundle up — the temperature rests at a snowman-friendly 9 degrees — and hit one of the five ice slides throughout the installation. Ice! opens Saturday at 10 a.m. and runs through Jan. 3, and it's open weekdays at 1 p.m. and weekends at 10 a.m. through Dec. 17; open daily at 10 a.m. starting Dec. 18. Tickets cost $28-$35, ages 3 to 11 $20-$28, age 2 and younger free.
Saturday: Diarrhea Planet lands at the Black Cat. Straight out of Nashville, the home of country music, this six-piece punk band puts four guitars onstage and cranks the volume. But that’s not the only way Diarrhea Planet defies expectations. Fronted by long-haired singer-guitarist Jordan Smith, the band makes music that, while loud, is both catchy and melodic. And even with all those guitars, it still finds room for solos. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15.
Saturday: Actor Jordan Carlos, performing stand-up at the Bier Baron, is more than the guy Stephen Colbert embraced, in a photograph, as his black friend on “The Colbert Report.” Carlos writes for “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” and appears regularly as a panelist on the Comedy Central show (which, perhaps ironically, replaced Colbert’s program when the host departed for CBS), while also hitting clubs as a stand-up comedian. The show starts at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $12 in advance, $18 cash at the door.
Saturday: The Transformer Silent Auction and Benefit Party at American University's Katzen Arts Center is a pricey ticket, but it offers a chance to bid on more than 200 works from contemporary artists from the region and also from around the world. And it will feature food from and cocktails from Room 11, Buck's Fishing & Camping and others. The party starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $175.
Sunday: The Rock & Roll Hotel is hosting "The House That France Built: An Evening of French House," with money from ticket sales, donations and a portion of bar sales going to Paris charities. The DJs — Neal Becton, Sharkey, Mathias, Raptorstein and many others — will be playing primarily French house music throughout the club. The events start at 5 p.m. with DJs spinning on the roof, with indoor fun starting at 7 p.m.; and admission requires a $5 minimum donation.