Thursday, October 10
TOP-SHELF SPIRITS: Don’t forget that Washingtonian’s On the Rocks craft spirit festival is tonight at Powerhouse. In case you don’t remember the details: You get unlimited sips of top-shelf bourbons and spirits, top-notch food, and tunes from a live band. Online tickets are sold out, but there will be a few at the door. $65. 7 PM.
FILM: The name of AFI Silver’s Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival is fairly self-explanatory, but here’s what’s on tap for opening night: If you’re furloughed or can get out of work early, you can catch five horror shorts—the promo picture alone is enough for me to plan a few impromptu visits to the “bathroom” during. Then it’s on to the opening feature, Willow Creek, about a couple who try to make a documentary about Bigfoot and soon find themselves in way over their heads. Afterward, there’s a Q&A with director and writer Bobcat Goldthwait (what a name).
Shorts: $12, 5 PM
Willow Creek: $12, 7:15 PM
HAPPY HOUR: DC SAFE, a group that supports domestic violence survivors, has lost much of its funding due to the government shutdown. Its annual fundraiser happy hour also happens to be this week, so members are hoping it can keep them operating ’til lawmakers get their act together. But fundraising doesn’t have to be a drag: $30 at the door gets you an open bar, light food, desserts, and live entertainment at Room & Board. Tickets ($25) are available online. 6:30 PM.
Friday, October 11
BURLESQUE: Crossing The Rocky Horror Picture Show over to the realm of burlesque is one of the more obvious tricks in the book (more obvious than, say, that Joss Whedon burlesque night someone did a couple months ago), but that doesn’t mean it’s not cool. Dancers from two troupes, the Cheesecakes and Palace Productions, will doff costumes from Rocky Horror and another cult classic, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, for your amusement. There’ll be a costume contest for audience members, and drinks are always pretty cheap at Black Cat. Tickets ($12) are available online. 8:45 and 11 PM.
THEATER: Arena Stage debuts a brand new play, Love in Afghanistan, by resident playwright Charles Randolf-Wright. The story follows the stories of a hip-hop artist and an Afghan interpreter as they fall in love amid that whole mess we helped put them in. Tickets ($40 to $105) are available online. 8 PM.
SPY: Costumes, as you may well know, are an essential part of life for most spies. Learn from the best (and get your kids started young) at the Spy Museum’s Spooky Spy Family Night. The whole museum will be open, and there are snacks (candy hopefully!), villain bingo, a scavenger hunt, and other prizes. Tickets ($14) are available online. 6 PM.
MOVIE: If anyone knows how to proclaim something a national day, let me know, because it seems like all you gotta do is mention it to a friend or something. How else do you explain Friday as National Cookbook Launch Day? Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, Union Market is … not launching a cookbook, but it is screening Julie and Julia, which is probably the most acclaimed movie about a chef that wasn’t a cartoon rat. If you’re driving, be sure to show up early. Free. Gates at 6 PM; movie at 8.
Saturday, October 12
DAN SAVAGE: Everyone’s favorite alternative sex columnist, Dan Savage, will be speaking—ironically—at Foundry United Methodist Church as part of the Jewish Literary Festival. You know him from “Savage Love” in City Paper and lots of other alt-weekly outlets, as well as for being the man who single-handedly destroyed Rick Santorum’s Google search results, and an outspoken proponent for reason when it comes to sex and relationships. Tickets ($31.50, or $16.50 for federal employees) are available online. 8 PM.
COMEDY: So the big thing this weekend if you like funny stuff is Brightest Young Things’ Bentzen Ball, a comedy and music weekend with big names performing all over the place. The festival started in 2009, took three years off, and is returning this year like it had three years of hype to grow. If you’re going to check it out, Saturday’s the night: Nick Kroll, who is seemingly everywhere right now, headlines a show at the Lincoln Theatre. Moshe Kasher, of Chelsea Lately and Conan, opens along with five other national comedians. Tickets for the Lincoln Theatre show, beginning at 6 PM, are $20 online; visit BYT’s website for details and tickets for other events (priced individually).
FOUND FOOTAGE/DANCE PARTY: What would a BYT-hosted festival be without an over-the-top fiesta to put an exclamation point on things? It wouldn’t be one, is what. At the Howard Theatre, two found-footage video groups, the Found Footage Fest and Everything Is Terrible, will . . . somehow fight onstage. We’re guessing they’ll be playing lots of videos they were sent or found at yard sales or wherever, and you’ll decide which one was funnier/more emotionally affecting/etc. Immediately after that, there’ll be a big dance party featuring members of They Might Be Giants and Animal Collective on the deejay boards, NPR’s Bob Boilen, and a whole bunch of your new temporary best friends.
Found Footage: $18 (including free entry to after-party), 9 PM
After-Party: $10, immediately afterward
DANCE: Music producer Rich Morel has worked with Mariah Carey, Tina Turner, New Order, and Yoko Ono, but Saturday night he’ll be working for you (sorta), playing some of those remixes at Black Cat’s Hot Sauce, a dance night that’s probably going to feature way more new wave than you’re used to. You might also know Morel as one half of Blowoff, which is pretty much the only deejay night 9:30 Club ever dares to put on. $8. 10 PM.
Sunday, October 13
IF YOU’RE INTO IT: I’ll keep details on this vague, but if you’re into it, it’s DC Fetish Weekend, and it’s closing with a blowout event at Ultra Bar. Tickets are $25 online or $30 at the door. 9 PM.
FOOD: Get this: Pennsylvania Avenue will be shut down, but this time it’s for your benefit. It’s for Taste of DC, which features food from dozens of restaurants (Central, Indique Heights, Etete, lots more), 50-plus beers and wines to sample, live entertainment, chef demonstrations, and the Ben’s Chili Bowl World Chili Eating Championship. Tickets ($10) are available online; food samples are $1 to $3 each. Noon to 7 (also Saturday).
IRA GLASS: Bentzen Ball closes at Lincoln Theatre with This American Life’s Ira Glass, who will be telling jokes or stories or just talking about his life or something. It’s pretty unclear at this point, but it’s Ira Glass, so it’s probably worth checking out. Tickets ($30) are available online. 7 PM.
Know of something cool going on around town? E-mail Jason Koebler at email@example.com, or find him on Twitter.