What to Do This Weekend: September 19 to 22

DC Shorts, the H Street Festival, and Oktoberfest in Chinatown.

By: Jason Koebler

Thursday, September 19

LUNCHTIME MOVIE: Not sure if you can sneak out for a couple of hours at lunch, but if you have that luxury, head to Fort Fringe for a screening of Plastic People of the Universe, a Czech documentary about the anti-communist movement in that country. Pilsner Urquell beers will be on special for $3, which could make the second part of the day interesting. Free. Noon.

FILM FESTIVAL (SHORT): The DC Shorts festival, a local favorite, starts this weekend. If you have a short attention span or just like getting a lot of bang for your buck, it’s the festival for you. Shows are 90 minutes and start at 6:30 and 9 at the US Navy Memorial and 7 and 9:30 at E Street Cinema. $12 online or $15 at the box office. See the website for the full schedule.

FILM FESTIVAL (DOC): The Pulitzer Center is also running a film festival, featuring documentaries by Pulitzer Center journalists. Things get started with the DC premiere of The Abominable Crime, about homophobia in Jamaica and the fight for acceptance. Free. 7 PM.

Friday, September 20

DANCE: The Knocks always put on a good show—the New York City-based deejay troupe knows how to get a party started without going into full-on house or dubstep mode. Check them out at U Street Music Hall and just try not to dance. They’ll also be at Freefest on Saturday. Tickets ($15) are available online. 10 PM.

MUSIC: The Art Whino Southwest Arts Club hosts its Fashion Art Music & Entertainment Rock Creek Social Club—that mouthful is just a fancy way of saying they’re hosting a rap show in an arts space. Tallahassee emcee Elliott McKnight headlines and local rapper Uptown XO opens. Entry includes a cocktail. $10. 7 PM.

MOVIE: Christian Bale’s creepy turn as Manhattan bigwig/sexual deviant/serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho helped launch his adult career and caused plenty of controversy. It’s even creepier if you see it at midnight: E Street Cinema will be screening the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s controversial novel both Friday and Saturday. $9.

Saturday, September 21

STREET FAIR: H Street is still continuing its ridiculous growth, which makes the H Street Festival one of the best ones each year. As usual, the street will be shut down to traffic, bars will open sidewalk spots and offer specials, Sticky Rice will run outdoor karaoke, and the place will be mobbed with thousands of people. Here’s the official stats: More than 50 artists and 80 performers on 10 stages, booths from 150 restaurants, food trucks, bars, and vendors, all along 10 blocks of H Street. Free. All day.

MUSIC (FREE): Freefest has an absurd (in a good way) lineup this year. Tickets are both sold and “free’d” out, but maybe you can snag one in the parking lot. The annual event features Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, Vampire Weekend, Chvrches, MGMT, and, ugh, Robin Thicke. Noon.

MUSIC (ELECTRONICA): If rock music isn’t your thing, maybe electronica is: Afrojack, 12th Planet, and a host of others perform at the Life in Color Festival at RFK Stadium: Wear white and get ready to be doused in all sorts of paint. Things will get crazy. Tickets ($88) are available online. 2 PM.

MUSEUMS: We’re not usually fans of bus tours (at least double-decker ones), but when they’re free and Smithsonian-run, we’re on board (no pun intended). Meet at the Anacostia Community Museum in the morning for a tour of the area’s artist studios. You’ll meet printers, painters, and mixed-media artists. Free. 10 AM.

Sunday, September 22

OKTOBERFEST: Bavaria takes over Chinatown with District Oktoberfest: Head to the usual suspects such as RFD, Penn Social, Rocket Bar, Iron Horse, and Capitol City Brewing Company for special pours of not-so-German Oktoberfest beers from brewers such as Goose Island, Great Lakes, Yuengling, and Sam Adams. Entry gets you a full pour at each of seven bars. Tickets ($45) are available online. Noon (also Sunday).

FESTIVAL: It’s like someone in Congress finally passed a law or something that decreed every cool thing to happen in DC has to happen this weekend. The National Book Festival is back at the Mall. Dozens of authors will be reading their works and signing books, including Giada De Laurentiis (who is an author, I guess), Khaled Hosseini, poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, and Richard Peck. Free. Noon to 5:30 PM (also Saturday).

FESTIVAL: The Washington DC Green Festival is also here this weekend: Vendors from around the country will be at the Convention Center hawking sustainable food, medicine, veggies, repurposed and recycled art, and more. There’ll also be speakers and seminars about green business and sustainability. Tickets ($10) are available online and include $5 in GF Bucks to spend at the festival. 11 to 5 (also Saturday).

Know of something cool going on around town? E-mail Jason Koebler at jasontpkoebler@gmail.com, or find him on Twitter