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What to Do This Weekend: January 30 to February 2

See Oscar-nominated short films, vote at Hill Country’s chili cookoff, and test your spelling skills at Rock & Roll Hotel.

Head to Hill Country on Saturday for a chili cookoff. Image via Shutterstock.

Thursday, January 30

FILM: Lincoln Theatre hosts Lunafest, a night of short films by, for, about, and starring women. You’ll see films about dating, about being an immigrant activist, about being a female wrestler, about grandmothers playing basketball, and about being impacted by Greece’s economic downfall. Tickets ($25 to $75) are available online. 7 PM.

COMEDY: Emmy Award-winning comedian Sara Schaefer takes the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage for a free night of standup. She won her Emmy for writing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, but she’s a good standup, too—you may have caught her on Nikki & Sara Live, a weekly talk show she hosts on MTV with Nikki Glaser. Free. 6 PM.

Friday, January 31

FILM: E Street Cinema screens all of the Oscar-nominated short films. There will be special screenings for both live-action and animated films from around the world—so when you watch the Oscars and your friends are all like, “What are these movies,” you can say things like, “ Helium was robbed,” and actually know what you’re talking about.

Animated: 7:15, 9:15 PM, and midnight, $11.50

Live-action: 6:30, 9:45, and 11:30 PM, $11.50

COMEDY: Comics from the Big Apple are heading down to Wonderland Ballroom for its Don’t Block the Box New York City Takeover. It’s not a hostile one, though—you’ll be laughing the whole time at Courtney Fearrington, a DC native who has toured all over the country; Subhah Agarwal, who has appeared on PBS’s Modern Comedian; and New York Times contributors Joel Walkowski and Eli Yudin. $3. 7:30 PM.

SPELL: It’s as good a time as any to brush up on your spelling skillzzz at Rock & Roll Hotel’s Spelling Bee Buzzz, lest the apocalypse destroys all modern technology and a gang of geeky outlaws decides whether they will share their clean water based on whether you can spell “dysentery” on the first try. As always, there’ll be prizes for the first-, second-, and third-place finishers and endless jeers for those of you knocked out trying to spell “beer.” Free. Happy hour 6 to 8; spelling bee 8 PM.

BBQ: LivingSocial celebrates DC Meat Week with its BBQ Food Truck Face Off, featuring BBQ Bus, Carnivore BBQ, Curley’s Q Food Truck and Catering, Hardy’s BBQ, and Rocklands. Admission gets you 15 food samples, a PBR tallboy, and various barbecue demos so you can win the competition next year. Tickets ($49) is available online. 6 PM.

Saturday, February 1

CHILI: DC 101’s Chili Cookoff definitely ain’t about the chili anymore (was it ever?), but Hill Country’s certainly will be. Teams from all over the region will square off in the restaurant’s basement. Entry gets you ten tastings and the chance to vote for your favorite. Proceeds go to Cohn’s Kitchen and One City Eats. $10. 1 to 3 PM.

BEER: Bier Baron has teamed up with Smuttynose Brewing Company and presumably that hunter guy from Jumanji for a Big Beer Big Game Beer Dinner, featuring beers paired with crazy meats such as alligator, wild boar, shark, and snake. Tickets ($65) are available online. 4 to 7 PM.

BURLESQUE: Stick around at Bier Baron afterward, because the Cyn Factory is going to do something super-weird and kinda creepy with a night of Batman-villain burlesque. You’ll get Catwoman, but you’ll also see dancers dressed up as the Joker, Riddler, and other Batman baddies in what’s being called “Arkham Undressed.” Tickets ($12) are available online. 8 PM.

DERBY: The DC Rollergirls have another bout this week, their only one of February. If you haven’t checked out Scare Force One, Majority Whips, or Cherry Blossom Bombshells, you will quickly learn they’re great at puns and knocking each other over on roller-skates. Tickets ($15) are available online. 3 PM.

DANCE: Richard Morel has made a career out of remixing a wide range of artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey, New Order, the Killers, and Depeche Mode, and his Hot Sauce deejay nights are every bit as eclectic. You know him from his monthly dance parties at 9:30 Club with Bob Mould, but you can get just as sweaty backstage at Black Cat. Tickets ($8) are available online. 10 PM.

Sunday, February 2

FOOTBALL: You might already have a Super Bowl watch spot lined up, but if you don’t, see our roundup of places hosting watch parties and offering food and drink deals—and check out Best Bites Blog’s Food Lover’s Guide to the Super Bowl.

COMEDY: Don’t care about football? Head to Sixth & I for a performance by Upright Citizens Brigade’s touring company. You’ll get to see some of the country’s best sketch, improv, and standup comics from New York and Los Angeles before they hit it big. You’ll also probably get to see them without many other people there, because who hosts a comedy show in the middle of the Super Bowl? Tickets ($20 to $25) are available online. 6 PM.

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

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