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They say everyone is a critic (especially in the age of Twitter and Facebook), but few make a living at it. And even among the professionals, A.O. Scott stands above the rest. He’s one of two principal film critics for the New York Times, and during his tenure he has come to the realization that thinking about films is a good way to think about, well, pretty much everything else. Scott distills his feelings into his new book, Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. His discussion at Politics & Prose will be an extension of the book: a celebration of thought that mixes the highbrow alongside the lowbrow, and without thumbs pointing in any specific direction. Read more >>> A.O. Scott reads at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com. (Allison Kowalski and Alan Zilberman)


Wolfgang Puck’s Asian-fusion restaurant The Source will celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special themed pre-fixe menu and a traditional lion dance tonight. Before dinner, guest chefs Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground and Maketto and Danny Lee of Mandu will prepare New Year dishes at different “live-action stations.” The meal itself is three courses, including whole jumbo head-on prawn, cumin-soy marinated Wagyu New York strip, and monkey bread sticky cake with tangerine ice cream. The evening costs $85 a person with a $35 optional wine pairing. The Source, 575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (202) 637-6100. www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3941. (Quinn Myers)


Spooky Action Theater begins performances of Collaborators, a John Hodge comedy that imagines a relationship between Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov and dictator Joseph Stalin. 8 p.m. at 1810 16th St. NW. Pay what you can.

Colorado rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters continues to tour nearly three decades after its founding. Tonight, the group takes the stage at 9:30 Club with opening act Mike Doughty. 6:30 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $35.

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, a soul rock act out of Chicago, performs at DC9 with Hamish Anderson and The Fuss. 8:30 p.m. at 1940 9th St. NW. $15.

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