Thursday, November 8: As always, there’s great nightlife to be had in Washington this weekend, but let’s not forget it’s also Veterans’ Day on Monday. If you want to commemorate some of those who have served our country, head to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Thursday through Sunday for the Reading of the Names. Throughout the weekend, as part of the memorial’s 25th anniversary, the names of all 58,256 servicemembers honored on the wall will be read out loud. Constitution Ave. and Henry Bacon Dr., NW; 5 AM until midnight.
Want to get an early start on Christmas shopping? You’re a better person than I am—but I do have a suggestion. Hit the Museum Shop Around, starting today and going throughout the weekend. Under one roof, you can find unique wares from more than a dozen area museum shops, from the Corcoran to the Freer Gallery to the Textile Museum. 10 AM till 8 PM (till 6 on Friday and Saturday, till 5 on Sunday); the Mansion at Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda); $8.
Friday, November 9: If you want to start your weekend off with some serious laughs, head to the Arlington Cinema ’n’ Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) for a one-night-only appearance by the Upright Citizens Brigade’s touring company. The improv troupe will perform about 90 minutes of long-form improv. Considering that this group brought us folks like Amy Poehler and Rob Corddry, it’s sure to be a hoot. 7:30 and 9:45; tickets ($18) available here. It’s more than just a martial art—Shaolin kung fu is also a hell of a good time to watch. You can see it in action tonight when the Shaolin Warriors, monks who are experts at fighting in this style, perform at Lisner Auditorium (730 21st St., NW). Using weapons from darts and whips to cudgels and spears, the monks perform their “ballet” of death-defying combat moves. It’s fascinating—and just enough to make you want to get seats a few rows or more back from the stage. 8 PM (2 PM on Saturday); tickets ($25 to $60) available here.
Saturday, November 10: The Corcoran Gallery of Art hosts the annual 1869 Society fall gala tonight. This year, the theme is Natural Glamour in Black and White. I can’t tell you what that theme actually means, but I can say there will be plenty of dancing, open bars, and a chance to explore the Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz exhibitions. $80 for Corcoran members, $95 for nonmembers; 7 PM to midnight. Corcoran Gallery of Art (500 17th St., NW). Tickets and info available here.
Looking for a day trip this weekend? May I suggest Annapolis? Not only because it’s a darling town (see our day-trip guide here, and our shopping guide here) but also because a massive tug of war will take place there this weekend—and how much crazy fun does that sound like? This ten-year tradition has residents of Annapolis and Eastport competing in a tug of war using a 1,700-foot rope. The competition starts at noon; there’s also a party from 11 AM to 5 PM with live music and family activities. At the Annapolis Harbor (1 Dock St., Annapolis).
Sunday, November 11: I have a soft spot for Conor Oberst. Yes, he may be emo-sensitive and a bit pretentious, but the indie singer-songwriter, who performs as Bright Eyes, also writes some great rock and country songs. He’s at DAR Constitution Hall (1776 D St., NW) tonight at 7. Tickets ($30) available here.
The Black Cat (1811 14th St., NW) hosts one of its ridiculous-yet-incredibly-fun-sounding mashup dance parties tonight—this time it’s the Rick James vs. Prince vs. Michael Jackson Dance Party. I’m not even sure what that will sound like, but I can guarantee you’ll want to dance with the crazy crowd (it’s sure to be packed) all night. $12; 9 PM.
A note for anybody planning to attend the Decemberists concerts this weekend at the 9:30 Club: Those shows have been canceled. You can get refunds at the place of purchase through November 26.