What are you doing this weekend? Niteside offers up some suggestions:
FRIDAY, DEC. 9:
- DJ Petworth -- previously of the Black Cat's Moon/Bounce parties -- settles in at Red Palace (1212 H St. NE) with a night of jams. Catch everything from hip-hop to funk to pop. 10 p.m.; no cover.
- Head to the Kennedy Center (2700 F. St. NW) or Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW) to see the classic holiday ballet "The Nutcracker" and try to figure out, once and for all, while people in the olden days thought kitchen utensils were good gifts for kids. Dec. 1-24 at Warner; $113-$123. Dec. 8-11 at the Kennedy Center; $123-$162.
- A light show, more than a dozen decorated Christmas trees, a nativity scene and live musical performances will be a part of this year's Festival of Lights at the DC Mormon Temple (9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, Md.). Some musical acts include the Bells at Mount Vernon Handbell Choir (Dec. 9), the Mormon Choir of Washington (Dec. 10) and the Free State Saxophone Quartet (Dec. 22). Through Jan. 1; free. Dusk-10 p.m. nightly; nativity open 6-9 p.m.; music 7-8 p.m.
SATURDAY, DEC. 10:
- GRUMP (Give Rad Urban Made Presents) features "crafty awesomeness for the holiday season." Find 20 Crafty Bastards artists, a DJ, bar, fortune telling and cupcakes at American Legion Post No 8 (224 D St. SE). Saturday, Dec. 10; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Cheap Trick (of "I Want You to Want Me" fame) takes the stage at the Fillmore (8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.). After four decades of almost constant touring, you're gotta believe they know what they're doing. 8 p.m.; $45.
- Enjoy free holiday fun at the Winter's Eve and Holiday Art Show at Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Md.). If you're still gift hunting, browse the art show for the chance to purchase unique gifts crafted by resident artists. You can also take a tour of their studios (inside yurts!) to learn more about their arts programs and upcoming classes. You'll also find fresh popcorn, hot cocoa, storybook readings, and singalongs for kids. 6-10 p.m.; free admission.
- The seventh annual Downtown Holiday Market is back at 8th and F streets NW, featuring the work of a rotating group of 175+ regional artists, crafters and small businesses each day (about 60 per day). You'll also find seasonal performances and treats. Dec. 2-23; noon-8 p.m. daily.
- Merriment in Georgetown features shopping discounts, dining specials and seasonal movie screenings -- plus a fruitcake-eating contest (finally your hidden talent of speed fruitcake eating will get you glory). Wear your most barf-worthy holiday sweater for chances to win prizes from local stores. See complete schedule of events here. Market open Friday, Dec. 9 through Tuesday, Dec. 20. Kickoff party Saturday, Dec. 10, 1-4 p.m. in PNC Bank lot at Wisconsin and M streets MW; free pedicab rides from the Foggy Bottom and Dupont Metro stops between noon and 4 p.m. that day.
- During Zoo Lights, the paths of the National Zoo are decked out in lights, and exhibit buildings stay open late for a holiday safari. The Mane Restaurant will be open for dinner and holiday goodies like gingerbread, mulled cider, peppermint schnapps and more. An "iceless" skating rink made of eco-friendly and recyclable faux ice made its debut this year. Kids can get a picture with Panda Claws, take a ride on the Kid's Farm Train, and see the winning entries to the Gin-Grr-bread Farm contest. Free admission; parking $16; eco-skate is $5 for 30 minutes; skate rentals are $2. Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 25-Dec. 11 and nightly Dec. 16-Jan. 1, open through 9 p.m. Closed Dec. 24-25.
- Just how much creativity can you squeeze into a standard petri dish only four inches wide? See how artists handled the challenge of creating miniature artwork, using a variety of experimental art forms, at Petri Dish, an exhibition at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N Union St., Alexandria, Va.). Now through Dec. 31; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, Thursdays until 9 p.m.; free.
SUNDAY, DEC. 11:
- Rock-N-Shop at the Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW) bills itself as "a rock and roll garage sale," featuring DJ Alcatraz. Check out vintage clothing, CDs (those thing you used to use before iTunes) and more. 8 p.m.; free admission.
- Channel 38 -- a group of lawyers with a multimedia-creation habit -- performs and films the pilot episode of "The Channel Guide" in front of a live audience at Riot Act (801 E St. NW), featuring interviews with Marion Barry and legendary adult film actress Nina Hartley, and performances by comedians, a spoken-word artist and more. 6:30 p.m. doors open for happy hour; opener 7:45 p.m.; show 8:05 p.m.; hop-hip performance by Logic 8:45 p.m.; $15.
- Holiday Markets
- Tree Lightings and Displays
- Holiday Shows & Cultural Celebrations
- Christmas Movie Screenings
- Christmas Parades
- Hanukkah Events