THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
OPENING The MGM National Harbor is celebrating its grand opening this weekend. In addition to the hotel, the resort features a large casino, a spa, the 3,000-seat Theater at MGM National Harbor, and restaurants by celebrity chefs José Andrés (Fish), Marcus Samuelsson (Marcus), and Bryan and Michael Voltaggio (Voltaggio Brothers Steak House). There will also be a retail section including the first standalone SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker boutique. 11 PM.
FOOD & DRINK The Washington City Paper is presenting its fourth annual Bourbon & Bacon Festival tonight at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. The event includes whiskey tastings, bacon dishes from local restaurants, music from bluegrass group Drymill Road, and a demonstration of how to butcher a whole hog. VIP passes include a cigar, rare whiskey tastings, and early entrance to the event. $55 ($110 VIP), 7 PM (6 PM VIP).
BOOKS If you’ve ever wondered what it takes for a film to be considered good by a professional critic, Washington Post chief film critic Ann Hornaday is presenting the first chapter of her upcoming book Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies at the Avalon. Her talk, geared to help the movie fan think more critically about films, will be interspersed with film clips. $18, 7:30 PM.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
MUSIC The large choral ensemble 18th Street Singers, formed in 2004, features young professionals performing contemporary and traditional choral works, such as “Spem In Alium” by Thomas Tallis, a 40-part Renaissance composition. The 18th Street Singers’ Winter Concert, From Shadow into Light, will reflect that titular theme in the evening’s program, which moves from darker music to lighter, more hopeful pieces. Performances happen Friday and Saturday nights at the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes. $15, 7:30 PM.
FESTIVAL Friday is the final day of the five-week-long Artomatic, the unjuried arts festival that hosts over 350 artists at a different unused commercial space every 12-18 months. This year’s festival is hosted at Park Potomac in Potomac, Maryland, although festival organizers have already announced plans to return to the more metro-accessible Crystal City in 2017. Free, 12 PM to 12 AM.
MUSIC Indie rockers OK Go have made a point to incorporate visual art into their music; the quartet has made some remarkable music videos, from the choreographed treadmill dance for “Here It Goes Again” to the zero-gravity flotation of “Upside Down & Inside Out” to the NPR Tiny Desk-moving performance of “All Is Not Lost.” The band will perform acoustically and discuss the art of music videos at the Hirshhorn. Free (with registration), 6:30 PM.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
FESTIVAL The Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens is hosting its Russian Winter Festival this Saturday and Sunday, to celebrate Sviatki, the festive winter season. There will be performances of music (Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble), dance (Kalinka Dance Ensemble), and theater (Flying V Theatre), as well as workshops on how to make a gentleman’s winter hat or lady’s headdress (kokoshnik). $18, 10 AM.
HOLIDAYS If you want to spread holiday cheer, then toss on a Santa suit and join the quirky celebration known as Santarchy. Starting in downtown DC, the group moves around town acting jolly, handing out gifts, and singing songs. It’s a non-political and non-religious celebration of the holiday spirit. Free (but dressing up is required), 3 PM.
SPORTS The new Star Wars movie Rogue One comes out next weekend, but our local sports teams are getting in the spirit this weekend with Jedi- and Sith-themed events. On Saturday, when the Wizards play the Milwaukee Bucks, the Verizon Center’s fourth floor will open at 5 PM for Kids Day activities including Star Wars glitter tattoos and a balloon artist making lightsaber balloons. On Sunday when the Capitals take on the Vancouver Canucks, look for a Jedi fight during intermission. The Wizards Girls, Power Pack Crew, Slapshot, and Red Rockers will all wear Star Wars-themed outfits. Wizards: $18 and up, 5 PM for Kids Day (game starts at 7 PM) / Capitals: $33 and up, 5 PM.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
FILM AFI Silver Theatre is showing holiday films all month, but Sunday’s showing of White Christmas features a book sale and signing by Steve Taravella, whose biography of one of the film’s stars, Mary Wickes: I Know I’ve Seen That Face Before, was published earlier this year. $10 ($5 for children under 12), 11:20 AM.