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The 31-year-old American composer Nico Muhly doesn’t do “this stupid conceptual stuff where it’s, like, ‘I was really inspired by, like, Morse Code and the AIDS crisis,’” he told the New Yorker in 2008. His sources are slightly less heady; his 2011 opera Two Boys, for example, is about a teenager who arranges his own murder via online chatrooms. Muhly has an omnivorous appetite for music that fuels a prodigious body of work, covering everything from ballet accompaniment to vibraphone solos. His work “Compare Notes” premieres at 8 p.m. Friday at the Coolidge Auditorium, 10 First St. S.E. Free with ticket. (202) 397-7328. MORE >> (Mike Paarlberg)
Get ready for the mother of all fall beer fests. Saturday, Neighborhood Restaurant Group is hosting a monstrous rare beer event at Yards Park near the site of its forthcoming brewery Bluejacket. Snallygaster, named after a fabled dragon-like creature said to haunt the Blue Ridge Mountains, will swoop down on D.C. with food, entertainment, and a slew of autumnal brews. Festivities include lawn games from DC Bocce League, tunes from One Love Massive artists like Nappy Riddem and DJ John Jazz, and a slathering of unique dishes from five NRG eateries. But the real draw of Snallygaster is the impressive selection of brews that Birch & Barley and ChurchKey beer director Greg Engert has spent the last several months curating.The ever-growing list of more than 150 autumnal brews from around the world includes a variety of cask ales, barrel-aged brews, special beers brewed specifically for the event, and even some über rare rubber-clad gravity kegs from the Franconia region in Germany. Snallygaster goes from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13. A $5 entrance fee benefits Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture. Tickets cost $1 each, and prices for dishes and beers average between 4 and 9 tickets, with options for both small- and large-sized pours. Snallygaster, Yards Park, 300 Water St. SE; snallygasterdc.com. (Tammy Tuck)
OH AND ALSO
Since its founding in 2010, the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza has strived to bring the best of emerging, small-scale cinema to Washington. Artsier and slightly less refined than better known local festivals like SilverDocs and Filmfest DC, RIFE draws from a host of genres to fill out its weeklong schedule of features and shorts. The lineup for its third iteration, which begins Friday, skews toward the austere and downcast: political documentaries about race riots and questionably convicted prisoners, domestic dramas about terminal illness and molestation, and, of course, an art film involving body modification. Oh, and some lighter stuff, too. The Reel Independent Film Extravaganza runs Saturday through October 18 at West End Cinema, 2301 M Street, NW. (202) 419-3456. reelindependentfilm.com. MORE >> (Caroline Jones)
Michael Chabon is Sunday’s big draw for the 2012 Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, though his latest novel, Telegraph Avenue, doesn’t foreground faith the way its predecessor, 2007’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, did. No matter. The strength of the fest is its breadth—its programmers have freely mixed up themes and authors, making it a series that is of Judaism if not always about it. The Jewish Literary Festival runs Oct. 14-24 at the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. See a complete schedule atwashingtondcjcc.org. (202) 518-9400. MORE >> (Mark Athitakis)