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Art and politics: two essential forces that are frequently at odds with one another. “The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art,” which opens today at the Art Museum of the Americas, tackles this complicated relationship as it relates to different locations throughout the Western hemisphere, including D.C. Read more >>> On view 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays to Jan. 13 at 201 18th St. NW. Free. museum.oas.org. (202) 458-6016. (Neda Semnani)


Take some time off from deciding whether to dress as sexy Big Bird or Honey Boo Boo for Halloween, and head to the Kimpton’s Helix Lounge this evening for some good old fashioned pumpkin carving. The Logan Circle hotel bar is hosting a pumpkin-carving contest and will provide 30 prescooped pumpkins and carving tools for carving on the outdoor patio. The carving begins at 6 p.m. and pumpkins are first come, first serve. The winner with the “most political pumpkin” (only in Washington) will receive a $50 Helix Lounge gift certificate, and the winner of the “most ghoulish gourd” will receive a one-night weekend stay at Hotel Helix. The winning pumpkins will also be displayed in the lounge through Halloween. If you’re not carving pumpkins, you can at least drink them: Helix is offering a pumpkin martini for $7 and Starr Hill Pumpkin Porter for $6. Happy hour prices will be offered until 9 p.m., including half-off burgers. Helix Lounge, 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. (202) 462-9001. helixhotel.com. (Jessica Sidman)


Elements of Light, the newest album from Berlin electronic musician Pantha du Prince, is not out till next year on Rough Trade. But if you are one of the many people still enamored of his great 2010 album Black Noise, don’t miss his appearance tonight at the U Street Music Hall, where he’ll play tracks from that LP and other recordings. 10 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $10.

Tonight, the always livey Maracuyeah DJ collective presents Brooklyn cumbia/bachata/everything producer and DJ Uproot Andy and Colombian ensemble Explosion Negra at Tropicalia. Maracuyeah kicks things off with a set of their own. 10 p.m. at 2001 14th St. NW. Free. More information on Facebook.