In “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons,” a short story from Edward P. Jones‘ essential D.C.-based collection Lost in the City, a pigeon coop—and a street—empty out. Myrtle Street NE, where Betsy Ann Morgan and her father, Robert, live, is a vibrant community, full of children jumping double dutch and “of families who had known no other place in their lives.” Betsy Ann’s pigeons begin to consider their coop outside her window their place, too, and their homing instincts mean they always return to roost at night. But gradually, people start leaving. The story doesn’t dwell on the structural reasons for their displacement; instead, the prose is full of a looming sense of dread, and the long shadows of federal and white Washington are mentioned in whispers and in children’s gossip. Eventually, the pigeons meet a tragic end, and just outside the bounds of the story, Myrtle Street does too—it no longer exists where Jones so faithfully described it, just blocks from Union Station, between Gonzaga College High School and the railroad tracks. The story is an artful sketch of the last days of a lost community, and a beautifully lived-in description of late ’50s D.C., one that transports a reader back in time to a city where Peoples Drug Store and Hahn’s Shoes were social anchors. That’s one of the gifts of fiction: It’s a ticket to places we can’t go anymore.
On that note, if you have a transporting story of your own, City Paper is soliciting submissions for its annual Fiction Issue through the weekend. Send in a story that will take us somewhere in our city. —Emma Sarappo
Harry and the PottersCalling all witches and wizards: Hop on your broomsticks and gear up for a punk rock Yule Ball. Wizard rock band Harry and the Potters is the invention of Harry Potter fans Joe and Paul DeGeorge, and their 2019 Yule Ball is an opportunity to showcase the duo’s recently released Lumos and to fundraise for the Harry Potter Alliance, which donates to a slate of progressive causes. Read more >>> Harry and the Potters perform at 6 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW. $20. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com. (Sarah Smith)
Desus & Mero writer and producer Josh Gondelman brings his standup back to D.C. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. $20.
Smooth-voiced Omar Apollo is taking over a significant corner of the R&B space at only 22. 6 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25.
Mexican American rock legends Los Lobos play the second night of their two-show stop in Northeast. 8 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $60–$75.
Purple RainPurple Rain is an expertly crafted piece of vanity kitsch that has gracefully aged into a glitter-bomb of an art film. Though there are notes that don’t quite translate into the key of 2019, they make the movie a surreal and fascinating product of late-20th-century rock music. For better or worse, Purple Rain is an auteur film, but its author isn’t director Albert Magnoli; it’s Prince, whose rise to glory the movie chronicles. It’s hard to imagine much was done to curb his creative vision. Throughout the film, Prince simultaneously embodies a vulnerable kid escaping domestic troubles through music and a frilly-shirted alien God visiting Minneapolis from another planet. Read more >>> The film screens at 11:59 p.m. at Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $9.75–$10. (202) 783-9494. landmarktheatres.com. (Will Lennon)
Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa celebration features Coyaba Dance Theater highlighting the holiday’s seven principles. 7 p.m. at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $15–$30.
You should get tickets for A$AP Ferg as soon as possible. 8 p.m. at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $30–$127.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington‘s holiday revue features tap dancing, reindeer, and drag queens. 2 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. $25–$65.
Reverend Horton HeatFor those who find themselves lonely and left behind this holiday season, Reverend Horton Heat and his friends are coming to town to warm our frozen hearts. Heat, aka Jim Heath, preaches the gospel of psychobilly rock. With the help of an encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll (especially Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and The Cramps), his stand-up bassist Jimbo Wallace (who has his own theme song, by the way), and his signature Gretsch 6120 hollow body electric guitar, Heat delivers his signature rockabilly and country cocktail with the same sweaty ferocity he had when he started touring in the ’80s. Read more >>> Reverend Horton Heat performs at 8 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $30–$35. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com. (Will Lennon)
Andra Johnson will reveal the history of D.C.’s black drinking culture—complete with complimentary cocktails for attendees. 5:30 p.m. at Eaton DC, 1201 K St. NW. $50.
Leslie Odom Jr., who rose to national prominence thanks to his work in Hamilton, is back at the Kennedy Center for a holiday concert. 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. $29–$109.
Pop trio BETTY have been preaching girl power for decades now. 7:30 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $30–$45.
Mount EerieA defining feature of Phil Elverum’s music as Mount Eerie is the naked vulnerability that permeates his generally delicate folk songs brimming with conversational, diary-like detail. That quality reached its apotheosis on a pair of albums, A Crow Looked at Me and Now Only, that found the 41-year-old singer-songwriter grappling with grief after the death of his wife, cartoonist, illustrator, and musician Geneviève Castrée. Intensely personal yet stunningly universal, the albums are heart-wrenching. Universality remained a goal on this year’s Lost Wisdom Pt. 2, which finds him collaborating with Julie Doiron, the bassist and co-vocalist for Eric’s Trip, the band that inspired Elverum to make music when he was a teenager. Read more >>> Mount Eerie performs at 8 p.m. at the Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St. SE. $25. (202) 400-3210. themiracletheatre.com. (Chris Kelly)
The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra ring in the season with A Bohemian Christmas. 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $15–$35.
Hot 99.5’s Jingle Ball lineup includes heavy hitters like Halsey, Khalid, and Niall Horan. 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW. $40–$400.
And if the weather outside is frightful, warm up with custom holiday cocktails at the 12th annual Holiday Cocktail Seminar. 6:30 p.m. at Last Call, 1301A 4th St. NE. $45.
GremlinsWe’ve heard plenty of discourse over whether flicks like Die Hard are the perfect Christmas movies, but consider 1984’s underappreciated horror holiday masterpiece Gremlins as your must-watch entry in the Christmas canon. To refresh your memory: Struggling inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) finagles his way into purchasing a furry, doll-sized gremlin called a mogwai from a Chinese gift shop as a Christmas present for his son Billy. But there are three rules both Billy and Randall must follow to ensure that the mogwai coexists harmoniously in their fictional upstate New York town: No exposure to direct sunlight or bright lights (as the gremlin will die), no exposure to water (as the gremlin will multiply), and no feeding the gremlin after midnight. Read more >>> The film screens at 3 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $5–$10. (301) 495-6700. afi.com/silver. (Christian Paz)
Samantha Fish swims comfortably through the music industry—Kill or Be Kind is her sixth solo album. 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25.
The Capitol Bones All-Brass Band present “A Stan Kenton Christmas,” chock-full of original arrangements. 7:30 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $25–$30.
In between getting arrested with her famous friends, Jane Fonda is speaking at the National Press Club. 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW. $25–$39.
Etienne Charles’ Creole ChristmasWhen interviewed about his 2013 album Creole Soul, Etienne Charles said “‘Creole’ to me means a world within a world … I’m Trinidadian, but being Trinidadian means that I have many different cultural influences as well as many different influences based on my bloodline.” Of course, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and textures in jazz are nothing new. Charles, an accomplished trumpeter and former Guggenheim fellow, told the New York Times that “jazz is Caribbean music” earlier this year. Read more >>> Etienne Charles performs at 8 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $32–$42. (202) 250-2531. citywinery.com. (Michael J. West)
If you’re seeking more comedy, Busboys & Poets is holding its monthly Jynx series in Brookland, headlined by Elizabeth Norman. 8 p.m. at Busboys and Poets Brookland, 625 Monroe St. NE. $10.
Washed Out is hosting a DJ set on U Street. 9 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $10–$15.
Singer and actress Shayna Blass is leading the Millennium Stage’s annual Hanukkah performance. 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Bonnard to Vuillard: The Intimate Poetry of Everyday LifeToward the end of the 19th century, a group of post-Impressionist French painters dubbed the “Nabis” (from “navi,” the Hebrew word for prophet) blurred the boundaries between fine and decorative art, embracing expressive color and stylization as a means of conveying art’s intimate role in everyday life. Thanks to a bequest by collectors Roger and Vicki Sant, the Phillips Collection now holds a prominent trove of Nabi works, including paintings, sculptures, lithographs, stained glass, needlepoint pieces, and ceramics by Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, and Félix Vallotton. Read more >>> The exhibition runs to Jan. 26, 2020 at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. $10–$12. (202) 387-2151. phillipscollection.org. (Meilan Solly)
The Men’s World Squash Team Championships are in D.C., at the gym sports editor Kelyn Soong profiled last year. You can get tickets to the quarterfinals as the teams squash balls with the force of their rackets. (Sorry.) 11 a.m. at Squash on Fire, 2233 M St. NW. $40–$340.
A dollar from tickets for the Julian Lage Trio goes to SisterSong and the Climate Justice Alliance. 8 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $21–$75.
Chicago’s Varsity squad heads from the third coast to the East Coast. 7 p.m. at Songbyrd Music House, 2477 18th St. NW. $13–$16.
NEWS AND REVIEWS YOU CAN USE
Cartoon: Liz at Large, “Perfect”
Theater: What a wonderful feelin’—Singin’ in the Rain is back at Olney Theatre Center.
OFFICE OF FUTURE PLANNING
Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Blood Orange at the Lincoln Theatre on March 18. 8 p.m. at 1215 U St. NW. $35.
Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at The Anthem on May 1. 8 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $35–$55.
Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Tame Impala at Capital One Arena on June 6. 8 p.m. at 601 F St. NW. $48.75–$78.75.
Tickets go on sale 11 a.m. Friday for Alanis Morissette with Garbage and Liz Phair at Merriweather Post Pavilion on July 2. 7 p.m. at 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $46–$126.