Thursday, May 14: Zoo animals! Drinks! Delicious food! Top Chef-er Carla Hall! All that and more is what you get tonight at the National Zoo’sZooFari celebration, which raises funds for Asian-elephant conservation. 6:30 to 10 PM. Tickets are $125 for FONZ members, $175 for nonmembers. More info and tickets can be found here.
Organized to honor and celebrate our military, the GI Film Festival runs through May 17 at the Carnegie Institution. Tonight’s film is the Tom Cruise vehicle Valkyrie, which shows at 7 and will be followed by a VIP reception and after-party in the Carnegie rotunda. To attend this screening, an all-access pass ($250) is required. For the complete schedule of films and more information, click here.
TasteDC presents “Mysterious Absinthe Cocktails and Tasting” at Chi Cha Lounge. Brian Robinson of the Wormwood Society will lead tastings of the drink both neat and in cocktails. The event, which goes from 7 to 9, costs $50. Call 202-244-3700 for reservations. Friday, May 15: More than 20 artist studios around DC’s Dupont and Logan circles open their doors today and through the weekend for the Mid City Artists Open Studio Tour. Sculpture, paintings, and multimedia works will be on display. Details and studio addresses (along with a map) are at the organization’s Web site.
The Brazilian Embassy hosts its second annual documentary film festival this weekend. Cosponsored by the Smithsonian Latino Center, it kicks off with a screening of the award-winning Palavra (En)cantada (The Enchanted Word) in the Hirshhorn Museum’s Ring Auditorium at 7 with free Brazilian snacks. American University will screen the rest of the films in its Greenberg Theater, including Pan-Cinema Permanente at 4 and Panair do Brasil at 6 on Saturday and Só Dez Por Cento é Mentira at 4 and Simonal—Ninguém Sabe O Duro que Dei at 6 on Sunday. For more information, visit www.brasilemb.org.
The Culture Shock East Coast Dance Competition is coming to DC on Saturday, but you can catch a free preview this evening outside of the Historic Carnegie Library. Street-dance teams will be showing off their stuff in advance of Saturday’s serious competition. 7 to 10 PM; free. Saturday, May 16: At the DC101 Chili Cook-Off, the chili is reliably delicious, and the music is reliably . . . bands that were hot a decade or so ago (this year’s lineup includes the Offspring, Third Eye Blind, and Papa Roach). Nevertheless, the event is always fun and expands this year with a move to RFK Stadium. Noon to 9; tickets are $35. More info and tickets here.
As part of the Swedish Embassy’s “Living Green” exhibition, the House of Sweden (along with the Brightest Young Things Web site) hosts the Living Green Masquerade party tonight. Green attire (interpret that as you like) or a mask is mandatory, and a prize will go to the most creative getup. Tickets ($20) get you DJs, access to a rooftop lounge, dancing, art installations, a drink ticket, and more. 8 PM. Buy tickets here.
Want to drink for cheap today? Head to Asylum, which offers one of the best drink deals around: During the Natural Light Countdown on Saturdays, drafts of Natural Light are 50 cents starting at 5 and go up 50 cents every hour until 11. Want more happy-hour deals? Find them in our roundup here.
If you know us, you know drinking to support a good cause is one of our favorite things to do. That’s why you’ll likely find us tonight at Laughing Man Tavern for the fourth annual Paint the Town Pink silent-auction fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Throw on your best pink-and-white cocktail attire and enjoy open bars, DJs, and more. Tickets ($60) can be purchased here.
Friday was Bike to Work Day (more info here), so it makes sense that the next day would hold more bike fun—such as the Bike Prom at Black Cat tonight. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association holds this party where, for just $10, you get great DJs, dancing, prom-style photos, and more. Ride your bike to the Cat and party with your fellow biking friends. 9 PM. Sunday, May 17: More than 40 restaurants will participate in this year’s Taste of Arlington, where visitors can sample international cuisines including Italian, Mexican, Caribbean, Irish, and Indian. Admission is free, but booklets of eight tasting tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the event. The street-fair-style festival takes place at the Ballston Common mall and on Wilson Boulevard from noon to 5. Advance ticket sales will be available online from April 15 through May 15. More info and tickets are here.
If you’re up for a night of crazy music and sweaty dancing, head to the Dan Deacon show at the 9:30 Club. Deacon is known for drawing the crowd into his shows—literally. He’ll set up his keyboards and other instruments on the floor, gather the audience around, and urge everybody to participate in a dance circle. 8 PM. Get tickets ($12) here.
Top Chef finalist Carla Hall will join other area chefs at the 14th annual Taste of Wheaton. Hall, the owner of Wheaton-based Alchemy Caterers, will create a dish for the Ethnic Food and Wine Tasting Pavilion. The pavilion will feature tasting tables focused on Asian, European, and Latin American cuisines. Access to the pavilion costs $15 per person and includes wine pairings. Tastings at the rest of the event are $1 to $5 each. There will be live music and kid-friendly entertainment, including face painting, balloon art, and rides. It runs from 11 to 5. For tickets to the Ethnic Food and Wine Tasting Pavilion, click here.