Walk off that Thanksgiving stuffing by taking a trip to the US Botanic Garden to catch its annual “Holiday Magic” display. Opening on Turkey Day and running through January 10, the free exhibit features one of the country’s longest indoor trains wrapping through decorated Christmas trees and a hand-crafted village cut from fir wood. Hours are from 10 to 5. For more information, visit the Botanic Garden’s Web site.
Nothing says Americana like folk and bluegrass music, so give thanks by heading to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage to hear Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass band for free at 6. In addition to having performed on three continents, the group is the resident band at Madam’s Organ in Adams Morgan on Wednesday nights. To learn more about the group, click here.
Want to get into the Christmas spirit but avoid the Black Friday shopping rush? Take a trip to Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW) to check out its “First Noel” exhibit showcasing crèches from its collection of more than 500 nativity sets. The display, on the cathedral’s lower level through January 6, is open from 10 to 5:30. There’s a $5 suggested donation to visit the cathedral.
According to the Black Cat, “Everyone knows gays have more fun.” So dance your Friday away at the club’s (1811 14th St., NW) Homo/Sonic dance party on Friday starting at 9. Billed as an “alternative dance night for queer folks and their friends,” the event will be held in the Cat’s mainstage ballroom. Tickets ($10) can be purchased here.
If the above listing isn’t for you but you’re still eager to show off your moves, spend Friday night at Glen Echo Park’s contra-dance class from 7:30 to 8:15. Square dances and waltzes will be mixed in as well, and a called dance to live music follows the lesson from 8:30 to 11:30. Admission is $9, and all ages are welcome. For further information, visit the park’s Web site.
If you haven’t checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art’s (1054 31st St., NW) free “Heads or Tails” exhibit, it’s time to get your butt in gear. Now in its fifth year, the collection showcases “tasteful backsides and portraits” in a lighthearted look at the human form. The show runs through December 5 and is open Wednesday through Friday 1 to 6 and Saturday 1 to 5.
Pregame for the annual Scottish Walk by venturing to Alexandria on Saturday for the Scottish Heritage Preview at the Lyceum (201 S. Washington St.) from 11 to 4. Learn about Northern Virginia’s Scottish heritage with free music, performances by Highland dancers, and reenactors dressed in period clothing and armor. For more information, click here.
Wet your palette this weekend with a three-hour painting demonstration from 1 to 4 by Northern Virginia watercolorist Ken Frye at the opening of his new exhibit at the Ayr Hill Gallery. A reception with light food and beverages will accompany the lesson. To reserve your spot, call 703-938-3880 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants are asked to bring their own chair.
This Thanksgiving weekend, learn why so many of our Founding Fathers were eager to leave the Old Country with a free screening of King and Country at 3:30 on Saturday in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. The 1964 film follows a working-class private who deserts the English army in World War I after witnessing terrors from the trenches. Without giving too much of the ending away, if you’re squeamish, this probably isn’t the movie for you.
Learn about the man behind The Lord of the Rings movies before he was the man behind The Lord of the Rings movies at the Black Cat’s free Bad Taste Film Night: The Disgusting Early Work of Peter Jackson, Sunday at 8:30. The film screened is Braindead, a zombie slapstick-horror movie from 1992. To be honest, we don’t quite know what to make of it, but to check out the trailer for yourself, click here.