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Any bill with nine musical acts can be a tough sell. Sitting through interminable all-ages shows just to see a good headliner or two is pure fun only if you have nothing better to do on a weekend afternoon. So the experimental/electronic/noise lineup gathered for the upcoming Black Ops Presents! showcase seems a little gratuitous, unless you get the lowdown from Doug Kallmeyer, one of the organizers. The performers will be playing short sets—about 15 minutes—and each one will segue into the next. The goal, Kallmeyer says, is to provide “a forum for different artists to improvise and collaborate while keeping things moving at an interesting pace.” Hallelujah—no dead air! And no dead stares, either: “This is not only audio but full video projection, as well, all performed, mixed, and improvised live,” says Kallmeyer, who will be performing as part of 302 Acid with Justin Mader. The top-billed artists lean toward the “abstractly funky” side of things: New York’s Machinedrum (pictured) gets props for maintaining solid street influences while toying with sound; Baltimore’s The Last of Us draws comparisons to beat experimenters such as Nobukazu Takemura. At past Black Ops Presents! shows, Kallmeyer says, there have been up to five artists improvising onstage at one time. “There really is only one rule—that once the performance flow begins, there is no pause until the end,” he says. Revel in that continuity when the performances begin at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $14. (202) 667-7960. (Joe Warminsky)

Thursday, Jan. 4

It has to be said: Pash is a terrible band name. It sounds like a word caught between stoner-speak and country-club-wife lingo. Thankfully, the members of Pash spend more time crafting their Dismemberment PlannmeetsnKelly Clarkson brand of pop than they did coming up with their dud of a moniker. (The band’s local influence makes sense when you learn that former D-Plan guitarist Jason Caddell produced the Fredricksburg band’s Exotic Fever debut, Kingwood.) Mer Munoz’s flourish-y vocals alternate between exhilarating and annoying: They’re used to good effect in “Kill the Rich Boys 2” and Kingwood’s “Palindrome,” planting the tunes deeper in pop history and keeping them from simply retreading late-’90s emo howling. Munoz does lose her grip occasionally; lucky for her, she’s got drummer Jon Bibb and bassist Ryan McLaughlin to swaddle her most juvenile and meandering hoo-hoos in thick rubber. Pash performs with Laura Burhenn, Persons, and Tereu Tereu at 9 p.m. at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $8. (202) 388-7625. (Anne Marson)

Friday, Jan. 5

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According to the Web site for the 52nd Washington Antiques Show, “Of the Chesapeake Bay, Captain John Smith wrote, ‘Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation.’ ” One thing’s for sure: The soon-to-be-extinct blue crabs that make the Bay their home sure as hell wouldn’t agree with Smith’s assessment. Then again, blue crabs aren’t usually in the market for the “wide range of period furnishings and decorative arts, vintage jewelry, porcelains, ceramics, silver, and architectural garden accents” that more than 45 dealers will be peddling at this year’s “Treasures of the Chesapeake”–themed show, so who gives a damn what those beady-eyed bottom feeders think? If anything, use this opportunity to select and purchase a vintage cooking pot to boil the beasts alive in, or pick up a pristine 18th-century dining table upon which to crack open their shells with an old-tyme mallet. Perhaps a silver platter onto which you may throw their lifeless, picked-over carcasses? Give Maryland’s State Crustacean the middle claw when the show runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel Regency Ballroom, 2500 Calvert St. NW. $15. (202) 234-0700. (Matthew Borlik)

Meat Market Gallery focuses on contemporary Latin American artists—particularly ones making work that’s a little racy. This makes good sense given the large Latino population in the city and our local art scene’s overall lack of, uh, sexiness. Unfortunately, the gallery’s current installation by Marcela Rodriguez, a Colombian sculptor and video artist, isn’t the best ambassador for that mission. True, there’s plenty of sexy stuff here: The front room features a series of drawings of a woman performing fellatio; low along the opposite wall are a series of nearly life-sized drawings of the artist’s lower body—sometimes wearing panties, sometimes not. Most of the drawings are rapid gestures, smeared with one or two colors of pastel or acrylic paint. Figures are either shown against blank backgrounds or cut out like paper dolls and pinned up with tacks. Text in both Spanish and English—ruminations on male passivity, consumption, and desire—has been scrawled on the walls, floor to ceiling. The images and text come from Rodriguez’s journals, but they probably should’ve stayed there: Her words read like earnest adolescent poetry; her drawings look like sketchy fragments that might one day grow up to become honest-to-goodness pictures. More interesting is the pair of panties that Rodriguez wears in the back room’s video installation; in this piece, she dances around, slipping her hand in and out of a white glove that she’s stitched across the crotch. This and a dress that the artist wore on opening night, made of translucent paper—a photo of which is pinned up in the entryway—are the most interesting objects here. With a little more focus, development, and selectivity, this could’ve been a satisfying show—and not merely a titillating one. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, and Saturday, Jan. 6, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, at Meat Market Gallery, 1636 17th St. NW. Free. (202)328-6328. (Jeffry Cudlin)

Saturday, Jan. 6

In August 1998, Susan Hirsch stopped by the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam on the day a truck bomb exploded outside. She survived; her husband, Jamal, who had been waiting by the entrance, was killed. Despite her grief, Hirsch—an associate professor at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution—writes in the introduction to her book In the Moment of Greatest Calamity that she “had a hard time finding the words to express my opposition to” the missile strikes President Clinton soon ordered on Afghanistan and Sudan, believing that “more violence could not possibly be productive.” Hirsch’s book chronicles the investigation leading up to the capture of those allegedly responsible for the attack and the following federal trial in Manhattan, as well as her analysis of America’s criminal-justice system. The author, who remains opposed to the death penalty, says the book’s goal is to “stimulate new approaches that foreground justice in the project of eliminating terrorism.” Hirsch reads from and signs copies of her work at 1 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Joe Dempsey)

Sunday, Jan. 7

Had Russian physicist Léon Theremin known in 1919 that his government-sponsored research into proximity sensors would eventually land him in a sharashka, he probably would have forgone the extra funding. Following successful tours of Russia and Europe, during which the inventor wowed audiences with his early forays into electronic music, Theremin traveled to the United States and granted production rights for his device to RCA—only to be dragged back to Mother Russia and forced to work in one of the Gulag’s science laboratories. His invention, however, would go on to grow from a musical curiosity to a staple of the avant-garde music scenes. Theremin’s device is honored at Theremania!, which features performances by five D.C.-area theremin-based groups, including Coven of One, Rupert & Art, and Echolalia. Scholars may debate how exactly Theremin came to find himself conducting research from a Soviet prison, but his contribution to minimalist electronic music composition is inarguable. Give the inventor a hand when the performances begin at 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Phillips Hall, 801 22nd St, NW, Room B120. $5. (703) 533-3423. (MB)

Monday, Jan. 8

At Rolling Stone’s foreign-affairs desk, P.J. O’Rourke played gonzo libertarian Punch to publisher Jann Wenner’s Judy, writing cranky dispatches from war zones while Wenner kept busy with tedious endorsements of the Democratic mainstream. O’Rourke’s position was bizarre—who wants to be the George F. Will of rock journalism?—but books such as Give War a Chance offered a welcome counterpoint to the limousine liberalism of the Beatles-worshipping, ex-hippie baby boomers with whom he shared a masthead. On the Wealth of Nations, O’Rourke’s latest, dredges through Adam “Invisible Hand” Smith’s seminal work to show trickle-downers and tax-and-spenders alike what the dismal science’s founding father got right long before Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and Alan Greenspan. Wenner may frown, but O’Rourke’s book makes classical economics sexier than classic rock—and Jimi Hendrix isn’t even on the cover. O’Rourke reads from and discusses copies of his work at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Justin Moyer)

Tuesday, Jan. 9

After Pierre Charles L’Enfant was hired to design the city of Washington, D.C., Thomas Jefferson passed on to the young architect a few points of reference to keep in mind: plans of such Continental cities as Lyons, Orleans, Karlsruhe, Milan, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. Not surprisingly, the Washington that developed out of the 1791 L’Enfant plan is undoubtedly among the most European of American cities—but, argues Michael Bednar, its spaces reflect uniquely American values. In his book L’Enfant’s Legacy: Public Open Spaces in Washington, D.C., the University of Virginia architecture professor argues that not only the National Mall but also Dupont Circle and even the bleak Freedom Plaza are places that host the “highest ideals of freedom, equality, and civil rights.” That design, he maintains, stands as L’Enfant’s finest achievement. Ask Bednar how often he gets stuck in L’Enfant’s traffic circles when he speaks at 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $20. (202) 272-2448. (Mike DeBonis)

Wednesday, Jan. 10

Forget what the hustle-bustle mentality tells you—naps aren’t just for the lazy. In Take a Nap! Change Your Life, Salk Institute researcher Sara Mednick explains, scientifically, why we should be dozing off more often. The book’s cover even features an interactive “Nap Wheel” to help you figure out when to time a nap based on sleep cycles. Discussing a range of ages and lifestyles—including college kids, single parents, and business people—Mednick highlights the physical, psychological, and social reasons to nap. Her book also warns about the everyday effects of a lack of sleep, such as decreased productivity and a lowered sex drive, and cites catastrophes such as the spill of the Exxon Valdez—the man at the helm hadn’t slept in 18 hours. Get some sleep before Mednick reads from and signs copies of her work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 106 S. Union St., Alexandria. Free. (703) 684-0077. (Kim Rinehimer)

Director David Ondricek’s semisweet romantic roundelay Loners does find an excess of loneliness among a young-bohemian set in Prague, the heart of literal Bohemia. Still, the title’s English translation doesn’t seem exactly right; far from being loners, the central characters are tightly interlaced. The problems begin when Robert—drug dealer, would-be filmmaker, and itinerant troublemaker—sets up two friends he says would be an ideal match. The sour joke is that Hanka and Petr have been together for years, and they decide that their willingness to be introduced to potential new mates means they should split. The breakup, announced by Petr on his free-form radio show, has a ripple effect. Amiable stoner Jakub makes an absent-minded play for Hanka, and the dormant obsession of neurosurgeon Ondrej—who once stalked Hanka—is reignited. Meanwhile, Robert romances Vesna, a pretty Macedonian bartender who loves UFOs but is ambivalent about Czechs. And Ondrej’s abandoned travel-agent wife, Lenka, starts booking tours of Hanka’s parents’ home, so Japanese tourists can observe a typical Czech household. That synopsis leaves plenty of plot unmentioned, but it should give some sense of the mix of romantic intrigue, generational musing, and family strife. From the Prague backdrop to the inserts of Robert’s home videos, Ondricek doesn’t add anything novel to the slacker-generation movie—but the film is neatly structured, gently funny, and proof that Vesna isn’t entirely right when she complains that Czechs are “nasty to each other.” The film shows at 8 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW. $9.75. (202) 966-6000. (Mark Jenkins)

Thursday, Jan. 11

Emily Dickinson might have been a hermit, but she didn’t leave behind 63 cats and a collection of toenails or a deteriorating cabin in the woods for wayward hikers to stumble upon when she died. Instead, the introverted poet left a large collection of works portraying paradoxically astute observations on life—and, more often, death. Though much of Dickinson’s life can be gleaned through her letters and interpretations of her work, there are still many mysteries behind the woman who wrote, “Because I could not stop for death/He kindly stopped for me.” Under the direction of Meisha Bosma, BosmaDance fills in some of the holes with Violet in My Winter, a multimedia ode to Emily Dickinson combining music, video, poetry, and dance. The all-woman company prefers to focus on the female experience, and who better to commit a production to than the woman who quietly pioneered American literature from her bedroom. Stop for BosmaDance when the company performs at 8 p.m. at Flashpoint’s Mead Theatre Lab, 916 G St. NW; see City List for a complete schedule. $15–$20. (202) 315-1340. (Kim Gooden)