Where & When: What To Do This Weekend

Ice skating (with free hot chocolate!), Ani Difranco's poetry, the opening of a glass-ceilinged courtyard in Gallery Place, and much more are in our weekend picks.

Thursday, November 15: It’s Beaujolais time! Welcome the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau wine harvest at the French Embassy (4101 Reservoir Rd., NW) tonight. Samples of seven varieties of 2007 vintage will be served along with food created for the occasion by area chefs. 7 to 10 PM; $69. Tickets are here.

Looking for more Beaujolais events? We've rounded up a bunch here.

If your French tastes run more toward fashion and history, visit the Hillwood Museum (4155 Linnean Ave., NW; 202-686-5807) tonight to hear historian Caroline Weber as she explores how Marie Antoinette’s fashion influenced the politics and events of her time. Before the lecture, join curator Liana Paredes in the mansion to learn about the swivel chair in Hillwood collection: It was the very same chair where Marie Antoinette once sat and had her elaborate hair done. 6 PM; $15. More details here.

Friday, November 16: Ani DiFranco’s show at the 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW) tonight is sold out, but you can catch the righteous folk singer reading from her book of poems, Ani DiFranco: Verses, today at All Souls Unitarian Church (1500 Harvard St., NW; 202-332-5266). Seating for this free event, which starts at 1 PM, is on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early.

My Brightest Diamond, the moniker of singer Shara Worden, plays at Iota (2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-522-8340) this evening. Worden has a voice that will blow you out of the water—it’s ethereal, otherworldy, and just all-around gorgeous. Her orchestral chamber pop is entrancing as well—listen to a few songs at her MySpace page here. $12; 9:30 PM.

Comedian Mike Birbiglia, who got his standup start at Georgetown University, will be back in town at the State Theatre (220 N. Washington St., Falls Church; 202-237-0300) for “Mike Birbiglia’s Secret Public Journal Live,” in which he dishes jokes in a diarylike format. 7 PM; $20.

Saturday, November 17: The National Gallery of Art’s ice-skating rink opens for the season today at 10 AM. Though the rink (700 Constitution Ave., NW) can be crowded, you can’t beat it for a winter-wonderland atmosphere—and skating among the art in the gallery’s sculpture garden isn’t bad, either. To sweeten the deal, the rink will hand out free hot chocolate to anybody who rents skates or buys a ticket to the rink. A two-hour session is $7 for adults and $6 for ages 12 and younger, 50 and older, and students with valid ID. Skate rentals are $3. You can skate the night away as well—the rink doesn’t close until 11.

Georgie James, the local duo who churn out ’70s-tinged pop, will be big before you know it. Catch them in an intimate setting today when they do an in-store show at Adams Morgan’s Crooked Beat Records (2318 18th St., NW) today. Free; 7 PM.

If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit just a tad early, head to Wheaton’s Brookside Gardens, whose amazing annual light display opens today. More than 600,000 lights illuminate the gardens, where you can stroll along the paths and see the festive decorations. The gardens (1800 Glenallen Ave.; 301-962-1400) are open 5:30 PM to 9 PM. $15.

Sunday, November 18: The Kogod Courtyard—the lovely new glass-ceilinged outdoor space at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery—opens today, and the museum is celebrating in style. From noon until 6, there will be family and art activities, jazz, bluegrass, and more. Best of all, it’s free.

There’s an early show and a late show tonight at the 9:30 Club, and both should be great—in their own very different ways. The early show, at 6 ($25), is Kevin Drew, the lead singer of the Canadian indie group Broken Social Scene. His sprawling guitar riffs and dramatic melodies will captivate you. Then, at 10, Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface Killah goes onstage ($35). His new album, The Big Doe Rehab, will be released December 4, so this is your chance to preview the songs.

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