THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18
FESTIVAL: If you’ve ever wanted to know who wrote the soundtrack to your favorite new PlayStation games, then you should attend the music and gaming festival MAGFest. Now in its 14th year, the event—which starts Thursday and runs until Sunday at the National Harbor’s Gaylord National Hotel—includes discussions with prominent game makers and live performances of video game scores. View the complete itinerary here. 10 AM, $75.
MUSIC: Tonight’s Take 5! Jazz Series at the American Art Museum features catchy, head-bopping tunes from the Howard University-based Kenny Nunn Quartet. The group will perform the entirety of the album Soul Station by Hank Mobley, renowned saxophonist and purveyor of “hard bop” (Jazz music that has a bebop flair to it). Free, 5 PM.
DISCUSSION: Many of us take for granted the fact that we’re able to read Kafka or Dostoyevsky in our native tongue, On Thursday, Upshur Books is hosting a panel of expert book translators (specializing in languages as esoteric as Macedonian) who will be discussing the translation process and everything it entails. Free, 7 PM.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19
ART: You know it’s a dreary election season when even members of the same political party are raging against one another. Lighten up the road to the White House at Art Soiree’s 6th annual Political Cartoon Exhibit, taking place at the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown on Friday and Saturday. The exhibit features work from lauded political cartoonists, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Matt Wuerker of Politico and Tom Toles of The Washington Post. Proceeds from purchased prints will benefit Cartoonists Rights International Network, a nonprofit that “defends the creative freedom and human rights of political cartoonists under threat throughout the world.” $20, 8 PM.
BOOK: Amber Tamblyn is most famous for her roles in House M.D., Django Unchained, and the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but she’s also a skilled writer who just put out her third collection of poetry. On Friday, she’ll stop by Busboys and Poets in Brookland to discuss the book (titled Dark Sparkler), which “draws on her intimate experience with performance to evoke the voices and experiences of twenty-five actresses whose lives ended prematurely.” Free, 6:30 PM.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20
FILM: The Iranian Film Festival will be showing the docu-drama Jafar Panahi’s Taxi at AFI Silver on Saturday night. The movie—which stars writer and director Panahi—is about his plight to continue making films despite a ban by the Iranian government in 2010. $13, 5 PM.
LIGHT YARDS: Enjoy food, music and massive light sculptures rhythmically blinking to a beat at Light Yards, which kicks off on Saturday at the Washington Navy Yard and runs until March 6. The event features artsy, architectural marvels—like a 48 by 24 by 20 foot structure called “Point Cloud”—all pulsating to the music of a live performing DJ. Free to attend, 7 PM.
MUSIC AND DANCE: It’s time to bust out your eyeliner, black tees, and leather jackets for CryFest at the Black Cat mainstage, where DJs Steve EP, Killa K, Krasty McNasty, and DJ Missguided will be spinning records from The Cure and The Smiths all night. $10, 9:30 PM.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21
COMEDY: Sunday is your last opportunity to catch Ms. Pat’s frank, hilarious standup at DC Improv. Ms. Pat made her way from a tumultuous childhood to the stage of Last Comic Standing last year, where she made quite the splash by talking openly about race and her body image. $17, 7:30 PM.