Christmas time is here with happiness and cheer! This week, you can see screenings of two holidays favorites (one oft-maligned and one beloved), or learn all about the practice of portraiture in Korea. Be sure to scroll to the end of this newsletter to check out the news and reviews you can use, including new holiday music reviews in The Sleigher. Happy holidays, D.C. —Kayla Randall


Love ActuallyI feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. It’s time to watch the oft-maligned ensemble comedy about Christmas in England. Fifteen years after its theatrical release, Love Actually remains an integral part of the holiday movie canon, but with time comes the wisdom that this movie was never all that upbeat in the first place—death, infidelity, and troubled relatives run rampant throughout. Read more>>> The film screens at 6 p.m. at the Warner Bros. Theater, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. $35. (202) 633-1000. (Caroline Jones)

Legendary hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim perform at the Howard Theatre. 8 p.m. at 620 T St. NW. $42.50–$67.50.

Dance music producer NGHTMRE performs at Echostage. 9 p.m. at 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $25–$40.

The Washington Ballet performs its D.C.-themed version of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre. 7 p.m. at 513 13th St. NW. $56–$136. 


Portraits of the World: KoreaOn the second floor of the spacious National Portrait Gallery is the second exhibition in a series highlighting the practice of portraiture around the world. Portraits of the World: Korea, which follows the first exhibition dedicated to Switzerland, displays work from pioneering feminist artist Yun Suknam as its centerpiece—a portrait of a Korean woman, Suknam’s mother, in traditional garb with a solemn look in her eyes as she stares straight ahead. Read more>>> The exhibition is on view to Nov. 17, 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F streets NW. Free. (202) 633-8300. (Malika T. Benton)

Jazz singer Maysa performs at The Birchmere with her Jazz Funk Soul Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $69.50.

Six-piece rock band Big Something performs at 9:30 Club. 7 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $20.

Union Stage hosts a Christmas party featuring hip-hop artist MJx with a large lineup of other acts. 6:30 p.m. at 740 Water St. SW. $12–$15. 


Home AloneKevin! Home Alone has been one of my favorite movies since I first laid eyes on the chaotic McCallister family and witnessed their young son Kevin’s shenanigans with two bumbling criminals. The performances are great: Macaulay Culkin as an 8-year-old house-defending badass, Catherine O’Hara as a mother raising hell at various airports trying to get home to her son, and of course, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the wonderfully incompetent burglars. Read more>>> The film screens at 3:30 p.m. at the Warner Bros. Theater, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. $6–$10. (202) 633-1000. (Kayla Randall)

Symphonic metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra stops by Capital One Arena on its multi-sensory winter tour. 8 p.m. at 601 F St. NW. $45.25–$54.

Ska band The Slackers performs at U Street Music Hall. 7 p.m. at 1115 U St. NW. $20.

The 9:30 Club hosts a Go-Go night featuring Backyard Band and Team Familiar, along with local DJs. 8 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $40.


The Jam Before ChristmasJazz and Christmas are both steeped in traditions, so it’s no surprise that there are so many jazz Christmas traditions floating around. One of our local ones, though, has remained quite fresh and fun: the annual reunion of trumpeter Joe Herrera and guitarist Rodney Richardson. Read more>>> Joe Herrera and Rodney Richardson perform at 7 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $22. (202) 337-4141. (Michael J. West)

Indecent, a production about a controversial Yiddish play in which two women fall in love, nears the end of its run at Arena Stage. 7:30 p.m. at 1101 Sixth St. SW. $41–$72.

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center screens It’s a Wonderful Life, the holiday classic about love, life, death, and an angel getting his wings. 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $5–$13.

The Renwick continues the run of its 2018 invitational, Disrupting Craft, featuring the work of four artists who challenge conventions. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free.


ICE! Featuring A Charlie Brown ChristmasCelebrate Christmas on the Potomac in a Charlie Brown-themed attraction. What could be better? This year, ICE!, Gaylord National’s signature holiday attraction, is back with A Charlie Brown Christmas as its theme. Read more>>> The event runs to Jan. 1, 2019 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor. $27–$38. (301) 965-4000. (Kayla Randall)

The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage hosts an All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam, featuring the likes of vibraphonist Chuck Redd, drummer Lenny Robinson, and vocalist Delores King Williams. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.


Union Station Holiday TrainYear after year, holiday standards proclaim that “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and shout “Joy to the World.” I challenge those who believe such things to open a newspaper and find me some joy. But during this dreary season of false hope, there is at least one thing that brings the slightest amount of fantasy and joyous escapism to the decrepit reality: the Union Station holiday train. Read more>>> The holiday train is on display to Jan. 5, 2019 at Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Free. (202) 289-1908. (Matt Cohen)

The National Museum of American History showcases five innovations in recorded sound that have transformed our lives in its exhibition America’s Listening. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free.

R&B queen Anita Baker performs at MGM National Harbor. 8 p.m. at 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill. $195–$653.

UK comedic magician Piff the Magic Dragon performs at The Birchmere. 7:30 p.m. at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $39.50.


Margo PriceWhen the 2019 Grammy nominees were announced earlier this month, there was a head-scratcher in the Best New Artist category: Amid a slate mostly comprised of 20-something pop and R&B singers was Margo Price. Not that she doesn’t deserve the accolade, but Price isn’t new to this. Read more>>> Margo Price performs at 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 265-0930. (Chris Kelly)

Popular electro house producer Zedd performs at Echostage. 9 p.m. at 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $40–$60.

Neo soul singer-songwriter Bilal performs at City Winery. 8 p.m at 1350 Okie St. NE. $35–$48.

Hip-hop artist JG Riff performs at Songbyrd Music House. 8 p.m. at 2477 18th St. NW. $15.


Film: Aquaman is a typhoon of superhero insanity. 

Film: Robert Zemeckis misses all his marks with Welcome to Marwen.

Museums and Galleries: The U.S. Botanic Garden created models of famous train stations out of bark, and they’re delightful. 

Theater: Mosaic’s Oh, God explores what happens when a deity sees a shrink.

Theater: Studio’s Kings examines how campaign funding can transform novice politicians. 

Music: A new film documents the weird existence and brilliant music of Butch Willis.

Music: ListenSara Curtin, “Santa Fe.”

Music: The latest new holiday music reviews in The Sleigher—here, here, and here.


Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. for electric blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland with the Kelly Bell Band, performing at the Baltimore Soundstage on Feb. 23, 2019. 5 p.m. at 12 Market Place, Baltimore. Prices will be released at time of sale.

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