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We’re posting this list early for all your holiday planning needs, dear reader.
Frozen 2, Christmas, snow: As we enter January, it’s worth thinking about how Americans associate all of these with Norway (that is, when they’re not thinking about Vikings). There isn’t a traditionally huge Norwegian community in D.C., though we do have the ambassador and his staff. But 19th century immigration brought many Norwegians to the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, and that immigration story is featured in the National Museum of American History, which has a classic Norwegian drinking bowl in its Many Voices, One Nation exhibit. The bowl, carved from a piece of wood, features rosemåling, a distinct Norwegian folk art tradition heavily featuring swirling, painted flower and plant motifs. Rosemåling was one of many folk arts revived and reconstituted during a surge of romantic nationalism in the country in the mid-19th century, when artists and academics sought to establish a vibrant culture for a distinct Norwegian people. That kind of nationalism has always been porous and constructed, but the bowl is a real signifier of a cultural inheritance present in modern Norway—and the modern U.S. —Emma Sarappo
Nature’s WitnessNature’s Witness offers a sampling of the best submissions to the National Wildlife Federation’s annual photography contest, and what a sampling it is. Some of the subjects are tiny—pollen-drenched bees, a translucent dragonfly wing, a neon-hued firefly—but perhaps not surprisingly, the stars are the charismatic megafauna. Those images offer seemingly endless drama: Tommaso Balestrini’s brown bear chasing a flying salmon; Arthur Veitch’s remote-camera image of a quizzical cougar at sunrise. Read more >>> The exhibition runs to Feb. 28 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Gallery, 1200 New York Ave. NW. Free. (202) 326-6400. aaas.org. (Louis Jacobson)
The Comedy Laugh Fest brings together DL Hughley, Eddie Griffin, Tommy Davidson, Nephew Tommy, and Deon Cole. 8 p.m. at EagleBank Arena, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax. $55–$121.
GWAR are ready to howl their way through another D.C. show. 8 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25.
Swamp Strings combines Joey Mitchell of Swampcandy and Jordan Sokel of Pressing Strings. 10:30 p.m. at The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Free.
Proper UtensilsD.C.’s Proper Utensils are a proudly old-school go-go band. They are led by local legend and vocalist James “Jas. Funk” Thomas, also a member of Rare Essence since the 1970s, and feature musicians Lloyd Pinchback and John Buchanan, who played in Chuck Brown’s Soul Searchers. Like groups from go-go’s formative years, Proper Utensils engage in call and response vocal chants over conga and keyboard rhythms and horn section blasts. But don’t write them off as just old-fashioned or retro: This crew can transform recent hits like “Boo’d Up” and “Shape of You” into polyrhythmic dance floor fillers. Read more >>> Proper Utensils perform at 9 p.m. at Prince Hall Masonic Temple, 1000 U St. NW. $20. (202) 748-6565. mwphgldc.com. (Steve Kiviat)
If EagleBank’s lineup doesn’t tickle your funny bone, catch Lavell Crawford, Corey Holcomb, Earthquake, Kountry Wayne, Tony Roberts and Dominique instead. 10:30 p.m. at the DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW. $69–$129.
And if you’re hoping to look backward on the eve of a new year, Almost Queen will satisfy your nostalgic Queen cravings. 8 p.m. at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $25.
Celebrated DJ Seven Lions will keep the night roaring. 9 p.m. at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $30–$40.
Start Making SenseStart Making Sense’s covers of Talking Heads songs are not quite the same as they ever were, but they’re certainly faithful renditions of old favorites. Their devotion is in the details: In October, the tribute band recreated Talking Heads’ groundbreaking concert film Stop Making Sense, their namesake, for the 35th anniversary of its release; on earlier tour stops this month, they also recreated the original band’s iconic 1980 Rome set. Read more >>> Start Making Sense perform at 7:30 p.m. at The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. $18–$25. (202) 769-0122. thehamiltondc.com. (Emma Sarappo)
Forget Madame Tussaud’s—the David Wax Museum is worth the price of admission. 7:30 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $15–$20.
New Englanders Stephen Kellogg and Casey McQuillen team up for a dynamic, emotional show. 7:30 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $25–$38.
Or celebrate the late, great Hank Williams with a star-studded lineup performing a tribute show. 7:30 p.m. at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $29.50.
Gogol BordelloGogol Bordello got their start playing music at Russian weddings, but these days they have a mission: “to provoke audience(s) out of post-modern aesthetic swamp onto a neo-optimistic communal movement towards new sources of authentic energy.” The bar napkin manifesto is pure punk rock, but Gogol Bordello’s live performances are more in the spirit of dark cabaret. Composed primarily of immigrants, the outfit blends musical styles from around the world. Frontman Eugene Hütz writes lyrics that frame the immigrant narrative as one of defiance and hedonism. But Hütz, who was evacuated from his home in Ukraine in the wake of the Chernobyl meltdown, won’t let Gogol Bordello’s music get boiled down to dry politics. Read more >>> Gogol Bordello perform at 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $35. (202) 265-0930. 930.com. (Will Lennon)
The White Panda‘s Neon Jungle New Year’s promises a flashy way to end 2019. 9 p.m. at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $29.50.
The Legendary Ingramettes do gospel like you’ve never seen before. 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free.
‘Twas the night before New Year’s Eve, and all through the Hall, donations to HRA were helping pets big and small. 8:30 at Franklin Hall, 1348 Florida Ave. NW. $10.
That BIG 80s PartyWant to dance? Better yet, do you want to dance with somebody who loves you, and maybe even sneak in a midnight kiss? Then tease your hair high, grab some spandex or some legwarmers, and make sure to put on your neon eyeshadow. DJ Marco—known for his signature 1980s and 1990s musical mashups—welcomes partygoers to Union Stage as part of “That BIG 80s Party.” It just so happens that he’s bringing the party to D.C. on New Year’s Eve, and there’s no better time to celebrate the 1980s than right before you ring in the decade that marks 40 years since their beginning. Read more >>> The show begins at 8 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $30–$35. (877) 987-6487. unionstage.com. (Sarah Smith)
If you’re looking for a different NYE party, Rock & Roll Hotel’s annual bash always sells out. 8 p.m. at Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $85–$100.
The 19th Street Band is playing in the New Year in Maryland. 9 p.m. at The Soundry, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia. $125.
And DC9’s Monopoly-themed New Year’s has a seven hour open bar. 9 p.m. at DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. $60–$90.
Wale and FriendsD.C.-born, Maryland-raised rapper Wale’s annual New Year’s Day gig at the Fillmore could be a straight-up celebration. Wale’s latest album Wow… That’s Crazy cracked the Billboard Top 10, the single “On Chill” (featuring singer Jeremih) has topped the radio, and his success has helped bring attention to the hotbed of talent in the D.C. rap scene. His music combines cultural references (like the Seinfeld excerpts on 2008’s The Mixtape About Nothing) and emotion (like on “Expectations,” from his latest album, where he raps “Black man in therapy, ‘cause white terror don’t sleep”) with varying degrees of success. Read more >>> Wale and friends perform at 9 p.m. at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $35. (301) 960-9999. fillmoresilverspring.com. (Steve Kiviat)
NGHTMRE will keep you up all night. 9 p.m. at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $30–$60.
The sixth annual #FitDC 5k in Anacostia will feature Mayor Muriel Bowser setting the tone for the new year. 10 a.m. at Anacostia Recreation Center, 1800 Anacostia Drive SE. Free.
Consider catching My Fair Lady‘s first 2020 performance. 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $49–$119.
Slingshot DakotaSlingshot Dakota have that starry-eyed indie rock vibe that started to wane around 2012 and had nearly gone extinct by the time anyone started paying attention to its decline. It’s a precious commodity in an acidic world, and it’s heartening to hear music that’s so vulnerable and sincere. Based out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Slingshot Dakota are a married team with husband Tom Patterson on drums and wife Carly Comando on keyboard and vocals. (The married-couple-band thing is slightly corny, but there are a few active bands with this dynamic who are really cool, like D.C.’s Teen Cobra.) Read more >>> Slingshot Dakota perform at 9 p.m. at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. $12. (202) 364-0404. cometpingpong.com. (Will Lennon)
Politics and Prose kicks off its 2020 programming with Lee Drutman, discussing his book Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Moonshine Society came together in Boston, but their music is down-home Southern soul and blues. 7 p.m. at Pearl Street Warehouse, 33 Pearl St. SW. Free.
Local bands Company Calls, Ménage À Garage, and Venray play on H Street. 8 p.m. at Pie Shop DC, 1339 H St. NE. $10.
NEWS AND REVIEWS YOU CAN USE
News: Filmmaker Ayanna Long chronicles go-go and bounce beat music in The Let Out.
Music: There are some great new go-go holiday jams to listen to.
Music: You should be seeking out live D.C. jazz.
Cartoon: Liz at Large, “Great”
Galleries: Something is rotten in the state of Portraits of the World: Denmark.
Books: Here’s six indie presses putting out books that might not otherwise have a home.
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