Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (January 19-22): Musicians and Comedians Host Benefit Shows, a Feminist Conversation on Sexism, and a Nonpartisan Chili Cook-Off

Local comics are teaming up for eight different stand-up shows this weekend as part of the nationwide What A Joke festival to benefit the ACLU. Photographs courtesy What A Joke.


COMEDY What A Joke is a nationwide comedy festival occurring in 33 cities nationwide (plus one in England) over inauguration weekend, with all proceeds to benefit the ACLU. The eight DC shows start on Thursday night and feature dozens of local comics at the Bier Baron, Songbyrd, and Drafthouse Comedy, and more venues continuing through Saturday night. $10, 8 PM (Bier Baron); $10, 8:30 PM (Songbyrd); $15, 9 PM (Drafthouse Comedy).

MUSIC The National Symphony Orchestra celebrates America’s musical landscape with Portraits of America at the Kennedy Center on Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. The program, featuring pianist Jon Kimura Parker and narration by Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, will include Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, Leonard Bernstein’s Fanfare for the Inauguration of JFK, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and music from the movies Lincoln and JFK composed by John Williams. Thursday’s performance will be followed by a free discussion with NSO Music Director Designate Gianandrea Noseda and NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon. $29 to $99, 7 PM.

BOOKS On President Obama’s last night in office, Politics & Prose hosts author Jonathan Chait, who will discuss his new book Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Transformed America. Chait highlights the positive aspects of Obama’s presidency, such as expanded healthcare and a nuclear treaty with Iran. Free, 7 PM.


MUSIC The Black Cat is hosting a long list of politically vocal musicians at an event called “No Thanks: A Night of Anti-Fascist Sounds in the Capital of the USA,” which benefits the bilingual, multicultural LGBT organization Casa Ruby and ONE DC, which seeks to create racial and economic equity in DC. Performers include Ted Leo, Priests, a solo performance by Waxahatchee, and a number of others with a lot to say about the new regime. Meanwhile, across town at the Rock & Roll Hotel, Steve Gunn (formerly of Kurt Vile’s backing band The Violators) and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo are performing at a benefit for Planned Parenthood with Meg Baird and Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley. The venue recently announced that fellow Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore would join the show as well—not a surprising addition, given Moore’s involvement in the Noise Against Fascism concert on the night of George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. $20, 6:30 PM (Black Cat); $17, 8 PM (Rock & Roll Hotel).

FOOD & DRINK Bar Pilar is hosting a “Thanks, Obama” Send-Off Party with food and drink specials inspired by Chicago (a Malort-based cocktail) and Hawaii (Hawaiian pizzas and tiki cocktails). The bar will also be holding a raffle as part of All In Service DC, to benefit ONE DC, N Street Village, and Whitman-Walker Health. Raffle prizes include concert tickets, cocktail tastings, and and restaurant gift certificates. Free, 11 AM.


BOOKS Following the Women’s March on Washington, blogger Jessica Valenti will lead a discussion at Politics & Prose about how women can stand up to sexism in their everyday lives. Valenti will discuss her latest memoir, Sex Object: A Memoir, which looks back at the sexist behavior she’s encountered since childhood. Free, 7 PM

FOOD & DRINK Several local restaurants are competing in a chili cook-off at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn. Dubbed the Chilly Days Chili Fundraiser, the third annual event benefits the Ashburn Volunteer Fire Rescue Department (AVFRD). Old Ox will release its War Wagon Kolsch in commemorative glasses, and the chili will be judged by local celebrities Danny Rouhier (106.7 FM host) and Fred Smoot (former Redskins cornerback). Free (but donations recommended), 12 PM.


FILM French playwright and filmmaker Jean Cocteau’s 1950 film Orpheus will be screened on Sunday afternoon at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium. The plot is a variation on the Orpheus story and follows a poet who becomes obsessed with death. Free, 4 PM.

FOOD & DRINK Proving that you can pair anything with a good brew, KRAVE Jerky will visit Port City Brewing for a beer and jerky tasting on Sunday afternoon. Suggested combinations include the pineapple orange jerky with Port City’s Tidings Ale and the chili lime jerky with the Downright Pilsner. Free, 1 PM.