News & Politics

Where & When: What to Do This Weekend

Tap-dance classes, an ’80s prom, great film fests, an urban scavenger hunt, tons of rock concerts, and lots more in this weekend’s jam-packed nightlife guide.

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Thursday, April 16: Filmfest DC kicks off tonight. This annual international film festival celebrates its 23rd birthday with movies from dozens of countries at multiple theaters. Showtimes are usually throughout the day and evening. Details about this year’s festival are available on Filmfest DC’s Web site.

Stereo Total, a Berlin-based French-German duo that pumps out interesting synth-rock, play the Black Cat backstage tonight. One of our favorite locals (if we may be so bold as to count Baltimore as local), Karmella’s Game, is opening; the band plays some of the catchiest pop you’ll have the pleasure of hearing this spring. 9 PM, $12.

Friday, April 17: Her shimmery, folky guitar pop has won over plenty of music critics; now’s your chance to see this home-grown musician (she grew up in Falls Church). Thao and the Get Down Stay Down play the Black Cat tonight. Get tickets early—we wouldn’t be surprised if this one sold out. $13; 9 PM.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month with its three-day mini-festival of jazz performances. Tonight, you can catch Bemcha, a Latin ensemble that’ll have you grooving right away. In the Kogod Courtyard at 5 PM; free.

Thai Restaurant Week continues through Sunday; check out our roundup for the deals and specials that local Thai spots are offering.
Saturday, April 18: Did you always win scavenger hunts when you were a kid? Can’t get enough of The Amazing Race? Then you should hit Urban Dare DC today. Teams of two can register for a grown-up scavenger hunt/trivia test/dare marathon. The fun starts at noon at McFadden’s; sign up here. $100 until April 17, $110 the day of the event.

We love it when event organizers can take two things that probably give all of us nightmares—in this case, the ’80s and high school—and roll them into a fun event. The ’80s Prom II is hosted tonight by Lindy Promotions at the National Press Club. There’ll be a five-hour open bar, prom Polaroids, best-’80s-outfits contests, live music, and more. Tickets are $75; buy them here.

If you’re a fan of Wilco, you’ll love the events going on tonight. A new film about the band is screening at the Avalon Theatre as part of Filmfest DC. Bonus: an after-party at Comet Ping Pong where loads of notable local musicians will be playing Wilco covers. The film starts at 7; $10. Get tickets here.

The Potlikker Film Festival screens a series of films on Southern cuisine, including Hot Chicken, Eat or We Both Starve, and Feeding the Soul at Jones Valley Urban Farm, at Johnny’s Half Shell. Food, provided by Washington chefs, includes potlikker shots by Mark Furstenberg (Remarkable Breads), wood-fired Florida hoe cakes by Terrel Danley (Crème Cafe), Delta-catfish tamales by Ann Cashion (Johnny’s Half Shell), buttermilk-brined fried chicken by Gillian Clark (General Store and Post Office Tavern), heirloom pigs in hand-stitched blankets by Jeff Buben (Vidalia), and jack-and-sweets pie by David Guas (Damgoodsweet). Jazz music will be provided by the Jimmy Burrell Band. The event costs $40 and goes from 6 to 9. Register at

The National Gallery of Art screens “A Mixed Bag,” an assortment of classic avant-garde films, at 3:30 in its East Building auditorium. Included are Straight and Narrow (Beverly and Tony Conrad, 1970), which features sound by John Cale of Velvet Underground fame; The Dream Merchant (Lawrence Jordan, 1965); Notes on the Circus (Jonas Mekas, 1966); Film Number 11: Mirror Animations (Harry Smith, c. 1957); Nine Variations on a Dance Theme (Hilary Harris, 1966); T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (Paul Sharits, 1968); and Fuses (Carolee Schneemann, 1965–67).

Hank’s Oyster Bar in Alexandria hosts its second annual Oyster Fest from 11 to 3 today at both locations. Tickets to the festival cost $65 per person and include all-you-can eat buffets of freshly shucked oysters from New Point, Rappahannock, and Penn Cove. The cooked fare includes fried and barbecue oysters, onion rings, and French fries. Guests can accompany the food with a selection of beers, including Allagash White, Allagash Dubbel, and Victory Prima Pilsner. For reservations, which are required, call 202-462-4265 or 703-739-4265.

Sunday, April 19: In celebration of Earth Day, the third annual Green Apple Festival will take place on the Mall. It’s always a worthy event—there are booths, live music, and volunteer opportunities—but this year it’s even more remarkable because the Flaming Lips will headline a concert there. Let us tell you: You’ll never regret seeing the band live; just trust us on this one. The festival starts at noon; more info and schedules will be posted on the Web site later.

Damien Jurado’s music is lo-fi, folky, and beautifully melancholy. Check him out tonight at Jammin’ Java. $10; 8 PM.

Have you always harbored secret dreams about tapping your way across a Broadway stage? Here’s a start: The DC Tap Festival, which wraps up today (it started on Friday) offers tap-dancing classes and performances by professionals. Get more information and schedules at the Web site.