THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19
COMEDY Stretch your crime-solving muscle at a holiday edition of the Murder Mystery Comedy Show at the DC Improv. In this whodunit, something goes awry at a company’s holiday party and the audience must get to the bottom of this bizarre mystery. $22, 7:30 PM.
BOOKS Switch up the books on your reading stack at BYT’s book swap at the Phillips Collection. Give away tomes you’re done with, and walk away with new-to-you reads; when you’re done, browse the collection’s exhibitions after hours. Any unclaimed books will be donated to Carpe Librum at the end of the night. Free, 5 PM.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20
BASKETBALL Watch NCAA Division I Basketball at the second annual DC Holiday Hoops Fest at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights. Akron, Tulane, Liberty, and Towson will compete in a tournament with games on Friday and Saturday; Sunday will feature additional regional match-ups with William & Mary, St. Francis, Richmond, and Radford. Through December 22. $25-$65.
DANCE The Dance Institute of Washington is reviving its “Spirit of Kwanzaa” production this year; the production was originally created by the organization’s late founder Fabian Barnes. “Spirit of Kwanzaa” draws on African agricultural traditions with dance, music, and spoken word performances. The show runs through 12/21 at THEARC. $25-$30, 7 PM.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21
SHOPPING If you still need to do some last-minute shopping (on the final Saturday before Christmas and Hanukkah), head over to the Black Cat for its annual Rock-n-Shop. Browse through records, handcrafted goods, and flea market fare while listening to DJed music from the Punk Soul Sisters. Free, 4 PM.
MUSIC Handel’s Messiah is one of the more popular pieces of holiday music, with its grandiose “Hallelujah chorus.” The National Philharmonic will perform the piece at Strathmore; arrive early for a pre-concert lecture. Through Sunday. $29-$79 (kids under 17 are free), 12/21: 8 PM (pre-concert lecture at 6:45 PM). 12/22: 3 PM (pre-concert lecture at 1:45 PM).
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22
BIKE The Hains Point 100 started in 2012 as a fundraiser for Washington Area Bicycling Association’s (as-yet-unnamed) Women & Bicycles program; now in its eighth year, the HP100 has announced that this will be the final ride. While the goal is to bike 100 miles around Hains Point (just over 33 of its three-mile loops), riders are free to go any distance they choose, or none at all—just supporting the other riders is a good enough reason to hang out at Hains Point in the cold! Riders typically turn the event into a potluck, so bring a dish to share and/or high-fives to encourage riders to complete their goals. Free (registration/donations are welcomed), 8:45 AM.
FILM British art historian John Richardson wrote extensively about Pablo Picasso, including a four-volume biography of the artist. The documentary John Richardson: The Art of Picasso 1927-1973 follows Richardson as he travels across Europe to research that biography’s final volume; the film also features interviews with Picasso’s muse Françoise Gilot and her son. See the film at the National Gallery of Art’s West Building Lecture Hall. Free, 2 PM & 4:30 PM.