It’s the opening night of the New African Films Festival, featuring The Athlete, a biopic about Abebe Bikila, the first black African to win an Olympic gold medal. Other highlights of the festival, which offers a look into the various cultures and stories of Africa, include Gugu & Andile, a modern South African retelling of Romeo and Juliet. At AFI Silver Theatre; get tickets ($10) at the AFI Web site.
Gritty, sexy, and old-school, Eli Paperboy Reed and the True Loves will channel Sam Cooke when they perform at the Rock & Roll Hotel. 8 PM; buy tickets ($15) through Ticket Alternative.
Go ahead—eat out and don’t feel guilty about it during Dining Out for Life. At any of the participating restaurants, at least 25 percent of your bill goes to Food and Friends, a nonprofit that delivers meals to those who are homebound with AIDS or other life-challenging illnesses.
Friday, March 11
Sculptor Alexander Calder created mobiles and wire portraits of figures such as dancer Josephine Baker and artist Joan Miró. Check out the exhibit with these intricate pieces entitled “Calder’s Portraits: A New Language,” at the National Portrait Gallery through August 14. Free.
Another exhibit opening is Irvine Contemporary’s “Image/Fame/Memory,” which contains both portraits and candid shots of entertainment luminaries. Artist Shepard Fairey—known for his Barack Obama poster—has worked in collaboration with two of the photographers. The opening reception is tonight from 6 to 8; free. Through April 16.
Hear all your retro favorites when the Legwarmers take the stage at the State Theatre. It’s the biggest ’80s dance party around. 9 PM; get tickets ($18) at the venue’s Web site.
In celebration of Francophone literature, the Alliance Française is creating a salon in the tradition of the 17th century. The group’s educational director, Sarah Pickup-Diligenti, will host an interview and discussion with author Hubert Haddad. 6:30; get tickets ($15) at the Alliance Web site.
Saturday, March 12
Check out the St. Patrick’s parades in Manassas (11 AM; intersection of Quarry Rd. and Prescott Ave.) and Gaithersburg (10 AM; at the Washingtonian Center) for live music and Irish dancing. For a rowdier Saturday, head to Shamrock Fest at RFK Stadium. This Washington tradition features music and DJs on ten stages, including Jersey Shore’s Pauly D and the Dropkick Murphys, plus food, games, and lots of beer. 1 to 9. Buy tickets ($25 to $90) at the event’s site. Prices subject to increase as event approaches.
At the Beauty Trend Show at Nordstrom in Pentagon City (1400 S. Hayes St., Arlington), experts in the beauty industry share their makeup and skin-care tricks plus a preview of trends for the coming season. After the presentation, shop for limited-edition products and samples. The $15 ticket is redeemable for a cosmetics purchase. 8 to 10 AM. Buy a ticket by visiting the cosmetics department or calling 800-7-BEAUTY.
The Ex is much more than your typical punk-rock band. Together since 1979, the Dutch band has collaborated with Ethiopian musicians, new-wave artists, and more. See the group at the Black Cat; 9 PM. Purchase tickets ($15) at Ticket Alternative.
Head to Sova (1359 H St., NE) for a Space Age party featuring DJ Smudge and Chris Nitti. It’s the after-party for Matthew Hemerlain, who’s performing earlier in the evening at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. 9 PM; free.
Sunday, March 13
Starting at noon, catch the procession of floats, Irish dancers, marching bands, and more as DC’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade heads down Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th, Streets, Northwest. Free; grandstand seating ($15) can be reserved at the parade’s Web site.
Utsav Lal is an 18-year-old piano whiz kid. He’s playing both Indian ragas and Western jazz at the Kennedy Center as part of the Maximum India festival. 7:30; buy tickets ($25) at the Kennedy Center’s site.