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Where & When: What to Do This Weekend

A French happy hour, a chocolate festival, an ’80s dance party, a Valentine’s Day craft fair, and tons more in this weekend’s nightlife guide.

See also: Restaurant Week Guide | Valentine’s Day Guide | Nightlife Guides

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Thursday, February 5: War Child, a documentary about Emmanuel Jal’s journey from child soldier to hip-hop star, is at Georgetown University’s Intercultural Center Auditorium. The film’s director, Karim Chrobog, will host a discussion after the 5:45 PM screening. Check out our interview with Jal and Chrobog about the film.

4AD Records and BrightestYoungThings host a listening party at Marvin for the compilation album Dark Was the Night before its official release. The album, whose sales will benefit an international charity dedicated to raising awareness about HIV and AIDS, features exclusive tracks by artists such as Feist, Grizzly Bear, Andrew Bird, Spoon, Arcade Fire, and New Pornographers. 8 PM.

Chocolate, the 2008 film about a martial-arts-trained autistic woman on a quest to settle her family’s debts, screens at the Royal Thai Embassy as part of an ongoing film series that runs through the end of the month. 7 PM. RSVP to sumontw@thaiembdc.org

Alliance Française’s first Soirée Carte Blanche of the year takes place at Grace Church in Georgetown at 6. The event is a Francophile happy hour featuring film, art, and music. Baritone Chris Jones will perform at 8. Tickets are $12 and include appetizers. Reservations only; call 202-234-7911 extension 16 or 31.

Into cars—or know someone who is? Then you should head over to the convention center today for the start of the annual Washington Auto Show. There’ll be more than 700 new types of vehicles to ooh and ahh over—everything from the latest high-tech car gadgets to new green autos. Tickets ($10) can be purchased here.

Friday, February 6: Fourteen of the best films of last year’s DC Shorts Film Festival will be shown at the United States Navy Memorial’s Burke Theater from 7 to 10. Filmmakers and the festival’s organizer, Jon Gann, will be in attendance. Tickets are $10 and available both online and at the door.

If you, like Mickey Rourke’s character in The Wrestler (which, by the way, you should definitely see), believe the ’80s ruled and Kurt Cobain was the pansy who ruined it all, then you’ll love the super ’80s dance party at the Black Cat. Tickets are $10. 9 PM.

Familiar with Dewey Beach’s reputation? The Front Page in Ballston is hosting its annual 100 Days to Dewey Party. DJ Smoky, a staple of the Dewey scene, will be spinning music all night long. Doors open at 5.

Saturday, February 7: Fairfax’s annual Chocolate Lovers Festival features a weekend of tastings, talks, children’s events, bake sales, and competitions. A Q&A with CakeLove owner Warren Brown is at 10 AM on Saturday. That day, the festival runs from 8 to 5; on Sunday it’s from noon to 4. A few events have a fee, but many are free. Click here for more.

Catch a great, cheap, and local lineup at the Black Cat on Saturday, when DC indie bands These United States and Shortstack share a bill. Just $10 will get you in. 9 PM.

It’s all Abe Lincoln all the time in DC this month, with museums and others celebrating the bicentennial of his birth. Need to get your Lincoln fix? Try the Lincoln Family Day today at the National Archives from noon until 3. Expect lectures on Lincoln, hands-on activities, live music—even a chance to “build your own log cabin.” Free.

Catching the Best of DC Shorts tonight? Head to the official after-party at Bar Louie. The $10 film ticket will get you in; 10 PM.

Sunday, February 8: If you’re looking to add to your vinyl collection—or just want to see what all the fuss about vinyl records is about—head to what sounds like this weekend’s coolest event, a record fair at Civilian Arts Projects from noon until 5. Some of our favorite record stores (and favorite record bloggers ) are teaming up for this fair, which will bring together vinyl dealers from all over the East Coast. Plus, there’ll be DJs and refreshments. So get spinning. $2.

Want to pick up something special for your Valentine? (Have you checked out our gift guides, by the way?) There’s a Valentine’s Day craft fair this afternoon at the Josephine Butler Parks Center (2437 15th St., NW), right next to Meridian Hill Park. More than 30 vendors will be selling their wares—plus there’ll be a kissing booth, music, treats to eat—and goody bags to the first 50 visitors. Noon to 6; free. Check the Web site for more details on the vendors and what they’re selling. 

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