Monday, March 19
Speed Rack at Union Stage: A bartending competition with a cause, Speed Rack finds D.C.'s top female bartenders racing to create classic cocktails and impress judges while raising money to support breast cancer-related charities. (Organizers say that "100 percent of proceeds” are donated, and that Speed Rack has raised more than $700,000 in the past seven years.) Admission includes a variety of punches to sample. 5 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
Northern Virginia Restaurant Week: Restaurants from Rosslyn to Purcellville are participating in Northern Virginia Restaurant Week, an annual event organized by the Arlington, Reston, Loudoun and Prince William chambers of commerce. Jaleo, Clyde's, Ambar and Magnolia's at the Mill are among the featured destinations. Unlike some restaurant weeks, this promotion doesn't require all restaurants to offer lunch or dinner at the same set price, so take a look at the menus on the restaurant week website before making reservations. Through March 26. Prices vary.
Tuesday, March 20
Pale Fire Beer Dinner and Happy Hour at Little Coco's: Harrisonburg's award-winning Pale Fire Brewing is a fixture in Northern Virginia, but its availability has been spotty in D.C. proper. That should change soon, now that Pale Fire has a new distribution deal for D.C. and Maryland. Little Coco's, which uses the acclaimed Salad Days Saison in its pizza dough, welcomes Pale Fire founder Tim Brady to the restaurant for a beer dinner where each of the four courses will be paired with a different Pale Fire beer. Don't want to make a commitment? Brady will hang out in the bar after the meal, talking about his beers and his love of old-school D.C. punk. 6:30 p.m. dinner, 8:30 p.m. meet and greet. $45 dinner, free admission to the bar.
Daniel Mallory Ortberg at Politics and Prose at the Wharf: Daniel Mallory Ortberg has been the co-creator of the wonderful and wildly influential website the Toast, the all-knowing voice behind Slate's “Dear Prudence” advice column, and the author of the wickedly funny books “Texts from Jane Eyre” and the new “The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror,” which delves into the hidden world of children's fairy tales. For this visit to the Politics and Prose location at the Wharf, Ortberg will be discussing “The Merry Spinster” with Nicole Chung, who served as the Toast's managing editor. Seating is limited. 7 p.m. Free.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Night at Cherry Blossom PUB: Haven't visited the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar to see the animatronic Godzilla or rooms covered with butterflies and paper cranes? Here's your chance: The Shaw nightspot is hosting a fundraiser for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. A $20 donation guarantees admission, allowing customers to skip the inevitable lines. 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. $20.
Wednesday, March 21
Meet the Maker at Shop Made in D.C.: Ever wonder who created those cool notecards or cute earrings you spotted at the Shop Made in D.C. store? The Dupont Circle boutique, which sells gifts, clothing and housewares made by a rotating cast of D.C. artisans, hosts a meet-and-greet evening with demonstrations by makers as well as food and drink specials. The first 20 RSVPs receive a free drink. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.
Thursday, March 22
'Layla and Majnun' at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Morris Dance Group and Silkroad Ensemble perform the tragic love story of a young man who’s perceived as mad as he longs for his childhood love. The modern dance production features traditional Asian musical instruments and live singing. Through Saturday. $29-$99.
Brandy at the Howard Theatre: In a sea of incredible singers past and present, Brandy has earned the title “Vocal Bible.” Her signature rasp combined with otherworldly techniques makes her voice an instrument unto itself, praised by peers and critics alike. Brandy hasn’t released a full album since 2012’s “Two Eleven,” but her influence has reached a wide array of artists, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Solange, Sam Smith and Rihanna. Of late, Brandy has taken her talents to Broadway, playing Roxie in the musical “Chicago,” and was said to have been in the studio as recently as last year. But the singer is a draw even when she isn’t dropping new music. 9 p.m. $49.99-$79.99.
Friday, March 23
La Grande Fête at the Embassy of France: This party has a French accent: D.C.’s annual Francophonie Cultural Festival ends with an evening event at La Maison Française at the Embassy of France. At La Grande Fête, you’ll learn more about the culture of French-speaking countries and regions across the globe, and that includes trying food and drink from more than 30 embassies. The soundtrack is global, too, as DJ Princess Slaya plays music from Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. 7 to 11 p.m. $40.
Dead Meadow at the Black Cat: The description “stoner rock” perfectly encapsulates the genre’s sludgy, psychedelia-meets-Sabbath formula. The early albums from D.C.-born band Dead Meadow certainly fit under this umbrella, with their narcotized tempos and guitars armed with wah-wah, feedback and fuzz effects that smothered rather than attacked eardrums. After more than a decade under the influence of stoner rock, the band stripped away some of the sludge on 2013’s “Warble Womb” in favor of rock-solid melodies. Dead Meadow continued that strange trip on its recently released album “March the Nothing They Need,” which finds the band tighter, more playful and just as heavy as ever. 8 p.m. $16 in advance, $18 day of show.
— Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Chris Kelly, Winyan Soo Hoo and Briana Younger