Thursday, January 3
MUSIC: The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage gets trippy with Fuse Ensemble, a classical music and jazz group that uses video and jarring physical displays (think creepy old dolls and everyday objects that make noise) to add effects to their shows. Free. 6 PM.
MOVIES: The 23rd annual Washington Jewish Film Festival opens tonight with two screenings of Sophie Lellouche’s Paris Manhattan, a French movie that follows a young woman who is creepily obsessed with Woody Allen, who makes a short appearance in the film. Come early for a cocktail reception to kick off the festival. Tickets ($25) are available at the door. 8:45 PM.
REGIFTING: Yeah, it’s the thought that counts, but if your beloved friends didn’t put too much thought into your gifts (or you’re so predictable that you ended up with six identical sweaters), it’s cool to dump it for something better. One man’s trash and all that, right? The Mansion on O Street is hosting a regifting extravaganza—just bring five bucks and something to trade. There’s a cash bar in case you find yourself regretting your regifting ways halfway through. $5. 5:30 PM.
SUPER HARDCORE NERD FESTIVAL: DC’s 11th annual MAGfest (music and gaming festival) celebrates everything nerd: The four-day convention runs all weekend at the Gaylord Hotel with console, board, PC, and arcade gaming, LARPing (don’t ask if you don’t know), cosplay, and music from bands who specialize in video game covers. Oh and by the way, once it opens at 1 PM Thursday, it runs straight through 7 PM Sunday. Bring your World of Warcraft-flavored Mountain Dew; things are gonna get wild. $35 for a single-day pass or $60 for a four-day pass, available at the door.
Friday, January 4
ART: With a particularly ugly election behind us and our country barely slamming the brakes before launching off that whole fiscal cliff thing (we were, like, teetering over, right?), Washington knows better than anyone that politics is weird as crap. Celebrate that fact at Touchstone Gallery’s opening reception for “Politics As Un-Usual,” which takes a look at some of the weirder parts of campaigns and governance. Some works reimagine politics if it weren’t, you know, crooked and corrupt. Crazy. Free. 6 to 8:30 PM.
BURLESQUE: Looks like Black Cat is willing to pick up the slack left by Red Palace’s departure: They’ll be hosting Le Bon Ton Burlesque, which features dancers from Richmond for their “sometimes dangerous” act. Sounds feisty. The show is put on by the same people who booked Red Palace, which is good news for fans of burlesque, sword swallowing, and everything weird. Tickets ($12) are available online. 9 PM.
FIGHTING ELVIS: The King would have turned 78 this weekend, which is baffling, because it feels like Elvis has been dead forever but he was totally younger than Yoko Ono, who stays looking young through the broken dreams she caused. Anyway, celebrate his birthday at the H Street Playhouse with Elvis’s Birthday Fight Club, a completely ridiculous staged fight between an overweight Elvis impersonator and a bunch of glitzy hangers-on. Yeah, you might have to just check it out. The show also runs Saturday. Tickets ($16) are available online. 8:30 and 10:30 PM.
DANCE: 9:30 Club and DJ lil’e have been throwing these Lady Gaga vs. Madonna dance parties for a while with tons of success, but they just upped the ante by throwing a third challenger into the ring: boy bands. Go to it if you don’t mind getting sweaty. Tickets ($15) are available online. 8 PM.
Saturday, January 5
DANCE: With Will Eastman, Tittsworth, and others, DC has put its name on the electronic dance music map. Don’t miss your chance to catch some up-and-comers—they could be headlining festivals one day—at U Street Music Hall’s local deejay showcase. Four Washington deejays will show you what they got. Best of all, there’s no cover before midnight ($10 after). 10 PM.
ACTIVITY FOR HOPEFULLY A VERY NARROW SWATH OF WASHINGTON’S POPULATION: Attention, models (of both sexes): The CW will be at Pentagon City trying out people for America’s Next Top Model, which is still a thing, apparently. Not a model, like 99 percent of the rest of the world? It’s still worth your time to head out there if you’re into Sex and the City—the network will be screening a sneak peek of the pilot episode of The Carrie Diaries, the prequel to SATC. Let’s hope it’s better than the movie I didn’t see.
Model tryouts: 11 AM to 4 PM
The Carrie Diaries: 5 PM
FASHION: You ARE going to an inaugural ball, right? If you need a dress, Diva in Alexandria’s got your hookup—it’ll be hosting an all-day sale on ballgowns Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday, January 6
STORIES: For 15 years, comedians, performing artists, and regular Joes have been telling stories about all sorts of stuff with SpeakeasyDC. Now, with storytelling bigger than ever, the group is going to let those of you who missed them the first time around hear the best stories of the past year with its Top Shelf event at 9:30 Club. You’ll hear plenty about love and loss, drinking with family members, and trouble overseas. Tickets ($20) are available online or at 9:30’s box office. 7:30 PM.
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK: Head over to Conjunction Junction (just kidding, the Kennedy Center) for the 40th anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock, the only kids’ show that featured songs I’ve heard just one time yet still pop into my head when I have to write about Congress (they sure made it sound easy to pass legislation on that show). Bob Dorough, who wrote some of those songs and currently fronts the immensely popular DC children’s band Rocknoceros, will be on hand to perform his old songs. Free. 6 PM.
Know of something cool going on around town? E-mail Jason Koebler at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on Twitter @jason_koebler.