As part of the ongoing exhibition “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell From the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg,” the Smithsonian American Art Museum is playing classic films depicting the Rockwell era. This week is Frank Capra’s State of the Union, which is about marriage and a presidential campaign. Free; 6:30.
Peter Miller, a senior editor at National Geographic, will discuss and sign his book, The Smart Swarm, at Politics and Prose. The book gives insight into what we can learn from the social behaviors of swarms of insects, schools of fish, and flocks of birds—and what group dynamics we already steal from them. Free; 7 PM.
Catch two shows at the Black Cat at the nightclub’s Anglophilia Double Header. England-enthusiasts can head backstage to watch Help! and Quadrophenia. Free; 8:30.
Soul, ska, and R&B combine at TNT!, an explosive night featuring nothing but 45s at the Velvet Lounge. Free; 9 PM.
Friday, August 13
The I Love the ’90s Film Festival continues at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park with Airheads, the classic story of three rockers who decide to hold a radio station hostage. Free; the film rolls at dusk.
Director Adam Wong ditched special effects for his 2007 film Magic Boy and relied instead on the talents of his star—and real-life magician—Anjo Leung. Watch this tale of sleight-of-hand as part of the Freer Gallery’s Made in Hong Kong Film Festival. Free; Friday at 7, Sunday at 2.
Saturday, August 14
Which presidents had a sweet tooth? Find out when former White House chef Roland Mesnier discusses and signs his book All the Presidents’ Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House at the National Museum of American History. Free; 1 to 3:30.
Mousetrap, the Black Cat’s popular monthly dance night, returns this weekend. A mainstay since 2000, the show blends all manner of Britpop from the Smiths to the Libertines. $10; 9:30 PM.
Remixes abound at DC9, where two DJs will play in tandem to create live mashups at the On & On Dance Party. Expect only the finest in hip-hop, house, disco, and funk. Free; 10 PM.
Sunday, August 15
It’s a good old-fashioned battle of the bands at the 9:30 Club with Battle to Break Out, in which six local finalists perform live to decide who takes home the crown. The winners have the chance to open at HFStival 2010, where they’ll share the stage with Third Eye Blind, Billy Idol, and more. $10; 11 AM.