Cameron Carpenter doesn’t look—or act—like a traditional organist. Though he plays an instrument most associate with liturgy and silk lapels, the 34-year-old wears a loose mohawk and shoes encrusted with Swarovski crystals. To critics, he’s a rebel degrading an ancient tradition. To fans, he’s a genre-shaking musician who’s just as comfortable clanging out “Singin’ in the Rain” as he is the overture to Candide.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30
MARKET: With Hanukkah kicking off on Sunday and Christmas drawing ever-nearer, now is crunch time for those who still have yet to figure out the perfect gifts for friends and family. Luckily, the holiday miracle known as the Downtown Holiday Market opened over Thanksgiving weekend. Swing by after work or on your lunch break to check out local vendors and artisans, and listen to live music or grab a bite to eat while you shop. Free, 12 PM.
READING: Over the last decade Judah Friedlander has made a name for himself as a stand-up comedian and actor, but he’s also been an avid artist since childhood. Friedlander’s latest book, If The Raindrops United, is a collection of his drawing and cartoons, giving you a visual glimpse at his sense of humor that’s quite different from the in-your-face trucker hats Friedlander would don as Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock. Catch him at Politics & Prose. Free, 7 PM.
Listen to Aimee Mann and Ted Leo shred their way through Christmas classics
Aimee Mann has toured on-and-off with a Christmas-themed show for a few years (bringing recent songwriting partner Ted Leo into the fold last winter), but this gig at Birchmere is special because it also features cult favorites Jonathan Coulton and Liz Phair. In the past, Mann’s show has been a nice mix of the sincere and the snarky (check this recent Boston setlist), but with Coulton and Phair on board, expect more Yuletide snark.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23
READING: Kramerbooks offers an evening of fiction featuring writers from Chicago-based indie publishing company Curbside Splendor. On Monday, author Vanessa Blakeslee will read from her novel Juventud and Dave Reidy will read from The Voiceover Artist. Free to attend, 6:30 PM.
MUSIC: Ryn Weaver is truly internet famous. Within a week putting her first single "OctaHate" on Soundcloud, she had (literally) a million listens and the attention of big-name musicians and blogs everywhere. The electro-pop songstress’ first studio full-length, The Fool, keeps that momentum going and then some. She’ll be playing it at the 9:30 Club on Monday. $25, 7 PM.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
MARKET: The holidays can be stressful, especially for those who crack under the pressure of buying the perfect gift. Luckily, the Union Kitchen Holiday Market is the perfect remedy. Sip on some cocktails and eat some light appetizers as you survey potential presents from Union Kitchen members and Room & Board. Free, 6:30 PM.
FILM: Max and the Junkmen comes to the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center. The 70s French crime—never before been released in American theatres—stars famed French actor Michel Piccoli as a hardened, Parisian detective named Max whose plans for justice are foiled when he falls in love. $12, 9:15 PM.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12
CATS: The only thing better than watching a bunch of cat videos online while you’re “working” is watching a bunch of cat videos with like-minded enthusiasts. Minneapolis art museum Walker Art Center’s revered Internet Cat Video Festival comes to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Watch the year’s funniest cat clips, participate in a Q&A with Henri, Le Chat Noir creator Will Braden, and feel good about the fact that your attendance helps support Alley Cat Allies. $12, 7 PM.
DRINK: It’s not too late to get tickets to Washingtonian's On The Rocks Whiskey and Fine Spirits Festival at Long View Gallery. Take your pick of vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, scotch, or other whiskey from a slew of distilleries, including Virginia Distillery Company, Bulleit, and Green Hat. $65, 7 PM.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9
MUSIC: Learn about the history of electronic music at the Kennedy Center on Monday. At Lounge Regime: 100 Years of Ambient Music, Mason Bates, the Kennedy Center’s composer-in-residence, will take you through the history of the genre, which has roots that go back to 1930s Paris. $20, 8 PM.
FOOD: At Dolcezza Factory’s Mole & Mezcal Tasting Dinner, attendees will learn about the delicious, smokey liquor and dine on delicious food pairings from the Oaxaca region. The family-style menu features cooking from Espita Mezcaleria, an Oaxacan restaurant set to debut in Shaw later this year. There are two seatings, one at 6 PM, and another at 8 PM. $75.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5
OPERA: H Street bocce bar Vendetta classes up the joint and hosts Opera On Tap, a non-profit promoting opera and classical music. Sip on some prosecco and indulge in some sophistication as you check out local singers Simon Charette, Emily Crockett, Annie Gill, Becky Henry, Elizabeth Mondragon, Carla Rountree, and Rachel Sitomer, with Dave Chavez on piano. Free, 7 PM.
ART: Phillips After Five’s Swiss Spirit will transport you to Switzerland. Listen to the Brad Collins Trio perform famed musicians Les McCann and Eddie Harris's Swiss Movement album. Taste Swiss wines, espresso, and fondue. Look at the gallery’s latest exhibit, “From Gauguin to Picasso: Masterworks From Switzerland” along with short Swiss films. And get your hands on the Zurich University of the Arts’s "Fluid Morphologies" exhibit, where you’ll learn about “state of the art materials that generate fluid movements, opening up new visions for art, architecture, and design.” $12, 5 PM.
MUSIC: Julia Hale, the dreamy, Trish Kennan-esque voice behind Den-Mate, plays Luce Unplugged. Enjoy the stunning gallery while listening to Hale’s eerie-yet-lively electronic pop. Free, 5:30 PM.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Architecture of the Holocaust lecture at the Holocaust Museum
Paul Jaskot, a professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, studies Nazi Germany's impact on post-war art and architecture. During this lecture, he'll explain why spatial analysis and the built environment are crucial to understanding the Holocaust. 7 PM.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2
BOOK: In her new book, “Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law,” Alison Bass interviews sex workers and weaves in facts and figures about modern prostitution, all while exploring the role of prostitution in today's global economy. She’ll be at Kramerbooks tonight. Free, 6:30 PM.
MUSIC: Craig Finn is perhaps best known as the frontman for the Hold Steady, the modern pioneers of the heartland rock genre that Bruce Springsteen first put on the map. But he’s also a prolific songwriter on his own; he once penned a song about his beloved Minnesota Twins for the Baseball Project. Let him regale you with stories and songs at the Rock and Roll Hotel. 8 PM, $18.