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As the government shutdown continues, we’ve got several free event listings and information on theater ticket deals for furloughed workers—plus our usual list of great events. This week you can see a bluegrass legend who has been performing since he was a toddler, catch a performance from a Canadian DJ-producer you probably jammed to at the turn of the decade, and watch a Spike Lee-loved jazz master at work. Scroll to the bottom for tickets going on sale today. —Kayla Randall


Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky ThunderRicky Skaggs has a bluegrass pedigree like no other. At 6, he was playing onstage with Bill Monroe. At 7, he was shredding mandolin solos on the Flatt & Scruggs television show. At 15, he and fellow Kentucky teen Keith Whitley were on the road with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. But what sets Skaggs apart from the herd are his deep roots in mountain music. Read more>>> Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder perform at 7:30 p.m. at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $39.50. (703) 549-7500. birchmere.com. (Eddie Dean)

Union Stage hosts an evening with earthy singer-songwriter Toby Lightman. 7:30 p.m. at 740 Water St. SW. $20–$25.

Actor, stand-up comedian, and former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah brings his stellar impressions to 9:30 Club. 8 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $30.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs composer Messiaen‘s masterwork “Turangalîla-Symphonie” at The Music Center at Strathmore. 8:15 p.m. at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $35–$90.


A-TrakIf you were clubbing back at the turn of the decade, you were sure to hear one song more than most: A-Trak’s remix of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.” What began as a synthpop throwback from the New York rockers became—in the hands of the Canadian DJ-producer—the epitome of “blog house,” a scintillating rollercoaster of kinetic dance floor energy that presaged the coming EDM revolution. Read more>>> A-Trak performs at 9 p.m. at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $15–$30. (202) 503-2330. echostage.com. (Chris Kelly)

The Verve Pipe, the alt rock band famous for their single “The Freshmen,” perform at The Barns at Wolf Trap. 8 p.m. at 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. $22–$27.

Alt country artist Rayland Baxter performs at The Hamilton. 8 p.m. at 600 14th St. NW. $15–$20.

The Howard Theatre hosts Carnival Baby, a stage play about the life of a D.C. woman named Onika Phillips who falls in love with her own Caribbean culture. 7 p.m. at 620 T St. NW. $30.


Terence BlanchardConsidering how Terence Blanchard got his break—in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, where he replaced trumpeter Wynton Marsalis—he might easily have been expected to live out his career on the bebop purist path. He’s done anything but, as evidenced by his current E-Collective ensemble. Read more>>> Terence Blanchard performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $40. (202) 337-4141. bluesalley.com. (Michael J. West)

The Kennedy Center Terrace Theater hosts Taking Up Serpents, a new hour-long opera about 25-year-old Kayla, the daughter of a preacher who is bitten by one of his own snakes. 2 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. $35–$45.

Author and Georgetown Day School teacher Hugh McIntosh speaks at Politics and Prose about his book, Guilty Pleasures, about American ambivalence toward middle-brow reading from roughly 1850 to 1920. 3 p.m. at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.

The classical music Calidore String Quartet performs at The Phillips Collection. 4 p.m. at 1600 21st St. NW. $20–$45.


Nicole ChungAs a child, Nicole Chung was told that her Korean parents couldn’t give her the life they thought she deserved, and gave her up for adoption. Chung, editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Catapult, didn’t question the narrative; the white Catholic couple that raised her were loving parents. Yet, growing up in a southern Oregon town where she was the only Korean her family and friends knew (in fact, the only one she knew), Chung never quite felt like she belonged. Read more>>> Nicole Chung speaks at 7 p.m. at One More Page Books, 2200 N. Westmoreland St., Arlington. Free. (703) 300-9746. onemorepagebooks.com. (Pat Padua)

Suns Cinema hosts a screening of Caravaggio, a fictional portrait of the Italian painter, directed by Derek Jarman. 8 p.m. at 3107 Mount Pleasant St. NW. $10.

Thrash guitarist Alex Skolnick performs with his jazz trio at Blues Alley. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.

The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage presents, in collaboration with the Embassy of Portugal, Cante Alentejano, a genre of traditional two-part singing performed by amateur choral groups in southern Portugal, by Rancho de Cantadores da aldeia de São Bento. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.


CinderellaWhat if Cinderella lost her glass slipper not on the steps of a fairy tale castle, but outside London’s Café de Paris in the middle of The Blitz? That’s the harrowing premise of this new touring production by genius choreographer and director Matthew Bourne. Most famous for creating an all-male Swan Lake, Bourne and his company New Adventures have continued to defy traditions and categorization. Read more>>> The show runs to Jan. 20 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $29–$129. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org. (Rebecca J. Ritzel)

Comedian Ari Shaffir brings his Renamed Storyteller Show, a night of long-form true stories, to Sixth & I. 8 p.m. at 600 I St. NW. $25.

City Winery hosts Paint Nite, a no experience required event in which a painting instructor leads you step-by-step through creating the featured painting. 7 p.m. at 1350 Okie St. NE. $45.

Fanfaire, an acoustic trio who do 3-part harmonies, perform at Songbyrd Music House. 9 p.m. at 2477 18th St. NW. Free.


Toots & The MaytalsAfter being launched into international fame by The Harder They Come, a 1972 Jamaican gangster movie that showcased some of the island’s best reggae musicians, Toots Hibbert embarked on a decades-spanning career, sometimes performing as a solo artist and sometimes with the help of his band, The Maytals. The meteoric rise of Toots & The Maytals coincided with those of the rocksteady and ska genres, but Toots himself has since garnered comparisons to Otis Redding and has been covered by the likes of The Clash and Amy Winehouse. Read more>>> Toots & The Maytals perform at 8 p.m. at The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. $50–$55. (703) 255-1868. wolftrap.org. (Will Lennon)

The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building hosts a lecture focusing on works entering the public domain in 2019 called The Public Domain: Celebrating the Lifecycle of Copyright. 10:30 a.m. at 10 1st St. SE. Free.

National Theatre presents School of Rock, the musical based on the hit Jack Black-starring film about a wannabe rockstar posing as a substitute teacher who turns his class into a rock band. 7:30 p.m. at 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $54–$99.


Judy Garland: A Star Is BornWhy does Judy Garland occupy such an esteemed position in popular culture? Is it because generations of musical lovers were introduced to her mellifluous voice at an early age? Is it because she recorded the definitive version of the best and truest song about Christmas? Is it because she was charismatic and game enough to turn songs about trolleys and hats into American standards? Consider these questions when you attend Signature Theatre’s latest cabaret production, featuring the songs Garland made famous. Read more>>> The cabaret runs to Jan. 26 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $38. (703) 820-9771. sigtheatre.org. (Caroline Jones)

Queens rapper Ja Rule performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring. 8 p.m. at 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $26.

Dynamic world renowned DJ Diplo performs at Echostage. 9 p.m. at 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $40–$50.

John Oates, one half of the bestselling soft rock duo Hall & Oates, performs at The Barns at Wolf Trap. 8 p.m. at 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. $42–$47.


News: Federal employees, be they essential or furloughed, can use their IDs to claim discounted theater tickets.

  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is offering feds 15 percent off seats to its upcoming run of BLKS, opening Feb. 4, with the online code SHUTDOWN.

  • Arena Stage is offering free tickets to furloughed federal employees with valid government ID for select performances of Kleptocracy, Jan. 18–23, and The Heiress, Feb. 8–13. Limit two tickets per household with the offer code ArenaFREE. Offer expires Wednesday, January 23, 2019.
  • Studio Theatre is offering feds 20 percent off tickets to its productions of Kings, running through Jan. 13, and Admissions, opening Jan. 16, with the online code DCisOPEN.

  • Signature Theatre will present a special performance of its upcoming Judy Garland cabaret for government workers (military and civilian) only on Jan. 23.

  • Creative Cauldron in Falls Church is offering up to 30 complimentary tickets for Disco!Grass! on Jan. 13 with the online code GOV, or directly at the box office with a government ID. (Two tickets per household; subject to availability.)

  • Herndon’s NextStop Theatre is offering furloughed workers 50 percent off weeknight tickets to its production of [title of show], running through Jan. 27, with the online code FED19.

  • Although the Kennedy Center receives some federal funding, performances will continue as scheduled. Check out free shows every day at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage.

Film: Destroyer is too gritty for its own good.

Film: Capernaum is an immersive and heartbreaking story about a Syrian refugee child.

Books: In her new book, Elizabeth White tackles myths of unemployment for the 55+ set. 

Music: Remembering Howell E. Begle Jr., the D.C. lawyer who fought for R&B stars swindled by record labels. 

Music: With Mental Health, Dell Fargo showcases his technicality. 

Music: One Song: Madonna‘s “What It Feels Like For A Girl.”


Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. for punk rock band Jawbreaker, performing at The Anthem on March 28, 2019. 8 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $45–$75.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. for legendary stand-up comedian Sinbad, performing at MGM National Harbor on Feb. 23, 2019. 8 p.m. at 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill. Ticket prices to be released at time of sale.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. for up-and-coming New York rapper Jay Critch, performing at MilkBoy ArtHouse on March 5, 2019. 8 p.m. at 7416 Baltimore Ave., College Park. $20–$50.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. for Sacramento rock band Dance Gavin Dance‘s Artificial Selection Tour, performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on April 11, 2019. 6:30 p.m. at 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Ticket prices to be released at time of sale.

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