Paper puppets. Actors in silhouette. An overhead projector. A live band. No, this isn’t some reductive new adaptation of The Muppets; it’s Lula del Ray, a theater piece performed by Chicago’s Manual Cinema. The coming-of-age tale follows a lonesome adolescent girl, Lula, who lives with her mother in the middle of a satellite array in the American Southwest. After hearing a haunting country tune on the radio, Lula runs away from home in search of a new life. But during her journey, she finds the road to personal freedom fraught with danger, deception, and disappointment. Read more >>> The performance begins at 8 p.m. at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $20. (703) 875-1100. artisphere.com. (Tim Regan)
CityCenterDC’s RareSweets will be doing a Valentine’s pop-up at West Elm on 14th Street NW this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bake shop will sell items from its “let’s get it on” basket, including six-packs of blondies or brownies, four-packs of cocoa crinkles and chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons, Valentine’s heart cookies, and love song lyric cookies. There’s also hot cocoa jars with marshmallows. RareSweets at West Elm, 1728 14th St. NW. raresweets.com. (Jessica Sidman)
OH AND ALSO
Friday: Japanese visual artist Miwa Yanagi tells the story of a Japanese-American woman who becomes a propaganda broadcaster for the Japanese Imperial Army in her new performance piece, Zero Hour: Tokyo Rose’s Last Tape. It makes its D.C. premiere at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. 7:30 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. $40.
Friday: Carroll Square Gallery opens “Linear Functions,” a new show featuring sleek and minimalist sculptures and paintings by artists Alex Mayer, Nick Primo, and Douglas Witmer. 6 p.m. at 975 F St. NW. Free.
Friday: Tropicalia presents a night of funk music featuring Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band and an all-vinyl set from DJ Crown Vic. 8 p.m. at 2001 14th St. NW. $10.
Saturday: One of the foremost interpreters of traditional Arabic music in the West, Simon Shaheen is a celebrated virtuoso on the oud, the pear-shaped Middle Eastern string instrument from which the lute takes its name. He performs at Sixth & I as part of the season-long “Silk Road” series organized by Washington Performing Arts in conjunction with the 15th-anniversary tour of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Joining Shaheen are three other Arab musicians, including his brother Nijab, a fellow oudist, and Sashank Navaladi, an Indian sarod player. Read more >>> Simon Shaheen performs at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $35. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org. (Vanessa H. Larson)
Saturday: DC Music Download celebrates its 3rd anniversary with an enormous show at 9:30 Club featuring local favorites Paperhaus, Loud Boyz, Baby Bry Bry and the Apologists, and DJ Ayescold. There will also be a pop-up exhibition of local music photography. Read more on Arts Desk. 6:30 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $16.
Saturday: Feminist dance-punk band Tia Nina performs at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center as part of the University of Maryland’s Subfest. 9 p.m. at Stadium Drive and Route 193, College Park. Free.
Sunday: The Lieutenant of Inishmore tells a funny story about a man who loves his cat. But don’t buy tickets for the kids—the man is a depraved torturer willing to bloody others to find out who hurt his feline. Constellation Theatre Company’s version, which mixes verbosity with physicality, features both live and puppet animal actors, as well as plenty of fake blood. Read more >>> The play runs Feb. 5 to March 8 at Source, 1835 14th St. NW. $20–$45. (202) 204-7741. constellationtheatre.org. (Rachel Kurzius)
Sunday: Close out the weekend at Rock & Roll Hotel with punk-tinged country artist Lydia Loveless and Canadian songwriter Justin James. 8 p.m. at 1353 H St. NE. $15.