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Real-estate developers would have us listen for the future of D.C. music along the gentrifying H Street corridor, but an all-ages scene as vibrant as it is poorly documented thrives in the metro region without the benefit of urban planning. A celebration of the young bands working at the periphery of the city’s punk diaspora, the third annual Positive Youth Fest is not modest—in addition to music and free vegan food, the event offers workshops in “Resisting Military Recruitment” and “DIY Bicycle Repair.” But by showcasing oft-overlooked bands such as the prog-punk duo Baby Killer Estelle and post-emo rockers Mass Movement of the Moth, the ambitious event is an invaluable public forum to catch young artists at their best—that is, when they are just getting their shit together. The ever-evolving energy represented here is a welcome antidote to the tired cynicism of the music industry. Catch these upstart youngsters now (especially Moth, which is playing its last show before a rumored hiatus)—should any of the fest’s bands prove successful in the wider world, some idiot manager who equates an honest house show with an upper-GI exam will be sure to spoil the posi-vibe. The performances begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29, and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, at the Warehouse Next Door, 1017 7th St. NW. $3 (proceeds to benefit the Brian McKenzie InfoShop). (202) 783-3933. (Justin Moyer)

Friday, Dec. 29

Be honest: You don’t remember the Slickee Boys. When the majority of people think back on early ’80s D.C. hardcore, they default to scene-defining bands such as Minor Threat and Bad Brains. Similarly, when people remember the Minneapolis-based label Twin/Tone Records, they tend to think of groups with singers who dated Winona Ryder, such as the Replacements or Soul Asylum. Yet there’s no denying that, in both instances, the Slickee Boys were there, pumping out their unique blend of New Wave and psych-rock. Sporting a wardrobe that was equal parts New York Dolls and Revenge of the Nerds, the Slickee Boys sang fast songs about the simple things in life—the beach, an escalator, and a brain that refused to die. Nobody will ever scrawl an “X” on their hand in the name of the Slickee Boys; the band will never have a cameo in Reality Bites. Indeed, for some, whatever foggy recollections of the Slickee Boys that once existed have long since passed away. Yet, just like that stubborn brain, the Slickee Boys will never die. The Slickee Boys perform with Switchblade at 9:30 p.m. at Iota Club & Cafe, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $18. (703) 522-8340. (Aaron Leitko)

Saturday, Dec. 309

Wait—don’t throw away that frosting-smeared Zingers wrapper. Jeanne Garant may have an assemblage just begging for a colorful splash of Yellow No. 5. For her latest exhibition, “Recycled,” the Alexandria-based found artist has put together works composed of litter and debris picked off the very streets of Old Town. That’s right—trash art. The artistic merit of, say, a used condom may be debatable—but the folks at the Art League Gallery see in Garant an artist who “transforms these often dirty, torn, shredded, rusted and seemingly useless objects into aesthetically pleasing compositions, and successfully breathes new life into the discarded.” Garant’s approach begs the question, “What beauty can the D.C. Department of Public Works draw from a bag of chicken bones and dirty diapers?” You could visit the nearest landfill for the answer, but chances are Garant’s efforts will look—and smell—much better. The exhibition is on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, to Tuesday, Jan. 2, at the Art League Gallery’s Solo-Artist Room, 105 North Union St., Alexandria. Free. (703) 683-1780. (Matthew Borlik)

Sunday, Dec. 31

Jamaican dancehaller Cham crossed over to the pop world this year with the remix of his “Ghetto Story,” thanks largely to Alicia Keys’ sweet-sounding verses about surviving a poverty-filled childhood in New York. But if you can get over his macho posturing and less-than-uplifting lyrics, Cham’s deep-voiced patter sounds equally as vibrant. The Kingston-born Cham verbalizes about getting revenge with an AK on “Weh Dem a See Now” and “Don’t Test Me,” and he boasts of his prowess with the ladies on numerous other cuts. His modus operandi is especially clear on “Bad Boys,” in which he drawls to a female vocalist, “But would yuh rather have a man weh cook and wash plate/Or yuh prefer have a man weh know to make yuh gyrate.” Bring your dirty dishes to the club when Cham performs with Honorebel, Tippa Lee, Rasfaith, Andrew Wright, Pluggie, Ichelle Cole & Strykers’ Posse at 8 p.m. at the Lime Club, 1824 Half St. SW. $40. (202) 479-2222. (Steve Kiviat)

Monday, Jan. 1

Big Macs. Vitamin Waters. Prickly-pear-cactus-fruit extracts. Battle the first hangover of the new year any way you like, but have you considered getting your eardrums blasted by a multitude of people in tuxedos and gowns just aching to break into “Edelweiss”? The Kennedy Center’s eighth-annual “Salute to Vienna: World’s Greatest New Year’s Concert” once again mines Austrian culture for everything better than Falco (The Merry Widow and Strauss? In! Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Zawinul? Keineswegs!) Klaus Arp conducts the Strauss Symphony of America in schnitzel-rattling selections from Léhar and Strauss, the National Ballet of Hungary will perform waltzes in fantastic costumes, and there will finally be a significant group of people in a concert hall who think of a mediocre archduke rather than an above-average pop band when they hear the name Franz Ferdinand. If that doesn’t blast away the cobwebs, just imagine the word “Wiener” in front of everything. Pop Mozart Kugel surreptitiously when the performances begin at 3 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. $33–$95. (202) 467-4600. (Andrew Beaujon)

Tuesday, Jan. 2

One must be multimedia in these modern times, but comedian Jim Short is multi-multimedia. In addition to a presence on YouTube and MySpace, he also hosts two personal domains: jimshort.com and jokeslinger.com. “The Jokeslinger travels the lonely highway, delivering laughter from town to town,” says the site. But conflating comics and cowboys is not entirely unsound. Certainly, a bad night at the club can feel as desperate as the confrontation in High Noon. The Australian native now resides in San Francisco and takes as a lesson from Katrina that come a major earthquake, the City by the Bay can expect even less support from the Bush administration than Nawlins received. That, Short says, is because the relationship between D.C. and San Francisco is best summed up as “a mutual fuck-you.” Of course, the Frisco folks’ initial demands will be for “more lattes.” Saddle up the laughter when Short performs at 8:30 p.m. at the D.C. Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $15. (202) 296-7008. (Dave Nuttycombe)

Wednesday, Jan. 3

Two things distinguish director Carol Reed’s best-known film, The Third Man, from its predecessor, Odd Man Out: Orson Welles’ scene-stealing presence and its setting in a recognizable divided city. Made in 1947, two years before Reed ventured to postwar Vienna, Odd Man Out is the tale of Johnny McQueen, wounded leader of an unidentified “illegal organization” on the run through an unnamed “city of Northern Ireland.” The city is, of course, Belfast—whose back streets Reed renders as vividly as he was to depict Vienna’s, and the organization is the Irish Republican Army, as reviled in Britain then as al-Qaeda is in the United States today. But Reed’s movies aren’t concerned with politics except as a source of intrigue. Played by James Mason, better known for plummy-Englishman roles, McQueen is a haunted Everyman, his soul as split as the town in which he attempts to find refuge. The film shows at 2 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)

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 Plan–meets–Kelly 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)