Thursday, December 10: The National Gallery of Art’s skating rink has finally reopened! Hooray! For information on that rink and other places to go ice skating, check out our guide.
If you’re planning on seeing Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, go tonight. The satiric newspaper the Onion is hosting a free happy-hour event at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company to celebrate the show’s return. Complimentary Blue Moon starting at 5 makes this the best post-work deal in town. E-mail to RSVP.
Take the edge off Christmas shopping with a Hoppy Holidays beer dinner at theReef in DC’s Adams Morgan. Four courses are paired with five beers (the first course, a duo of dips, is served with two). The menu includes pairings such as De Koninck’s Winter Koninck with chicken-pâté ravioli, Allagash Odyssey with rice-and sausage-stuffed chili pepper, and a mulled Liefmans Kriek with gingerbread. The meal is followed by a dance party, and the best dancer wins a three-liter bottle of Allagash beer. The dinner, $50 per person, starts at 7. To reserve a space, call 202-518-3800.
A staffer at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centerin Chantilly will lead a discussion called “All You Need Is Love,” about the connection between the Cold War, the ATS 1 Satellite, and the Beatles. It’s part of the museum’s bimonthly Ask an Expert lecture series. The talk starts at 12:30.
Rock out to some great holiday music while helping to raise money for local homeless shelters at tonight’s Santa Jam at the State Theater. Plus, you can enter a special raffle where you could win everything from restaurant gift certificates to a condo rental in Costa Rica. 7 PM; $11 donation. Friday, December 11: Tai Shan, the National Zoo’s young panda, might be heading to China, but cheer up with the zoo’s annual ZooLights event this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6 to 8:30. Marvel at light sculptures, listen to keeper talks and musicians, and watch performances by Blue Sky Puppet Theater. $5 for FONZ members, $8 for nonmembers.
Wine, snow on the banks of the Seine, choirs singing in Notre Dame. . . . Pretend you’re in Paris in the wintertime with the Holiday Party in Paris at the French Embassy tonight. There’ll be live music, tasty treats, and a chance to win a trip to Paris. 7 PM; $60. Click here for tickets.
The band Fanfarlo made ripples in the blogosphere when it released its album online for just $1. The CD was more than worth the investment—the band plays evocative, emotional, and melodic rock that’ll get stuck in your head. Check out the group in an intimate venue when it plays Iota Club & Café tonight. 9 PM; $12. Tickets available at the door only. Saturday, December 12: Think of it as a Christmas-themed Halloween, only crazier. Santarchy, a nationwide event, returns to Washington, bringing holiday enthusiasts together for caroling, bar hopping, and spreading holiday cheer. Guests are required to don holiday garb for festivities (think Santa suits, reindeer antlers, and gingerbread men) that kick off on the Mall at noon. Participants are also asked to bring a healthy dose of holiday spirit and candy or toys to hand out (nice ones for kids, naughty for adults) as the group parades around the city.
If you’re so inclined, you could go straight from Santarchy to the annual Santa Stumble bar crawl in Georgetown. You might be able to guess what goes on from the event’s name: Participants dress up in crazy Santa costumes and, well, stumble from bar to bar. Things kick off at Third Edition at 4 PM, then move to Rhino Bar and later on to the Guards. Free, but donations to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society are suggested.
Got it in you for yet another holiday-themed bar crawl? Try the Miracle on 3rd and 4th Streets. The cleverly named event is a bar crawl on Capitol Hill that’ll offer boozing discounts to those who come dressed in holiday outfits. Register between 1 and 6 at the Hawk ’n’ Dove, then proceed to any of the following nearby bars for drink and food specials until 9: Bullfeathers, the Tune Inn, the 18th Amendment, the Ugly Mug, and Thai Roma. Admission for the crawl is $15, but if you put on a Santa suit (or another holiday costume), it’s $10. Or bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots and get $5 off admission.
Get in the holiday spirit by catching the AFI Silver Theatre’s Holiday Cinema festival, opening today. It includes well-known Christmas classics such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as well as rare gems such as Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. The festival debuts this weekend with Home Alone and It’s A Wonderful Life and runs through December 24. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, $8.50 for AFI members, and $6 for children. For a full schedule of films, click here.
Palin bashers, this one’s for you. This weekend, the DC Theatre Collective is presenting The Palin Project, celebrating the end of Sarah Palin’s book tour. Inspired by William Shatner’s “poetic” recitations of Palin’s tweets and speeches, it’s a theatrical reading of selections from Going Rouge, a recent anthology of anti-Palin essays and articles collected by editors from the Nation. The reading starts at 10 in Busboys and Poets’ Langston Room. Going Rouge will be for sale. The show is free, but—in one last jab to Palin’s politics—a $10 donation is suggested to support Planned Parenthood of DC. Sunday, December 13: What better way to celebrate Hanukkah than with a throwdown of culinary skills? Holy Chef: Battle of the Spuds will be held at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. During the inaugural cook-off, participating chefs must produce a dish using potatoes. Anyone can register, and you’ll be reimbursed for ingredients. Even if you’re shy about your cooking skills, you can still take part in tasting and rating the dishes. A $12 ticket buys 20 tastings and one drink voucher. The event starts at 7. Call 202-408-3100 for tickets and more information, or click here.
The Lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah on the Ellipse on the White House grounds includes musical performances and traditional Jewish food. Advance free tickets are required. 4 PM.
Another Christmas film festival hits Washington today at the Arlington Cinema ’N’ Drafthouse. It’s a marathon of viewing: From 11:45 AM to 10:45 PM, the Drafthouse will show a full day of films such as Elf, Bad Santa, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The $8 entitles you to unlimited movies all day. Click here for details.
If you’re craving some delicious dim sum, head to DC’s Chinatown, where cult favorite Ping Pong Dim Sum is opening a new location (the first one in Washington). The restaurant (900 Seventh St., NW) is tentatively scheduled to open Saturday, but check the Twitter feed for updates.