John Hodgman is everywhere. Over the past few years, he’s become comedy’s nerd laureate, a go-to for witty, esoteric humor that both mocks and indulges his cerebral tendencies. Via his role as a PC on those Mac commercials, his segment “You’re Welcome” on The Daily Show, and the snooty hyperliterate villain on the canceled HBO series Bored to Death, Hodgman has branched out, big time. Tonight, he comes to the Birchmere to promoteThat is All, the third and final entry in his Complete World Knowledge trilogy, the book series that helped establish him as America’s preeminent smarty-pants. With any luck, he’ll take on some impromptu cases as Judge John Hodgman, his persona on a podcast of the same name, in which he judges listeners’ squabbles. Perhaps this could be the year he makes the leap to TruTV. John Hodgman performs with Paul & Storm at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Birchmere, Alexandria. $25. (Matt Siblo) Update: This show has sold out.
’60s sunshine poppers The Association will wrap your heart in an argyle scarf. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at The Birchmere. $35.
Local EDM up-and-c0mer Alvin Risk opens for Steve Aoki. Saturday at 8 p.m. at Fillmore Silver Spring. $35.
Rasp-voiced indie-folk singer Sharon Van Etten—-who’s new album Tramp is pretty excellent, isn’t it?—-shares a bill with conceptual mopers Shearwater at Black Cat. A bargain at $15. Saturday at 9 p.m. Update: This show has sold out.
Mike West says you should see Afro-Blue‘s Christie Dashiell sing solo. Saturday at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns. $20.
Increasingly polished garage rockers Dum Dum Girls are at Black Cat on Sunday. 8 p.m. $15. Also, Cate Le Bon at DC9 (Sunday, 8 p.m., $10-$12) looks good.
The Midatlantic boasts a rich history of crime novelists, with Wire alumnus and detective fiction master George Pelecanos at its center. But now, there’s a new face in the crowd: retired D.C. detective David Swinson, whose noirish debut novel A Detailed Man hits stores later this month. Swinson may not be a deadly sharp writer yet—he occasionally indulges in too-poetic, maudlin prose—but his characters are surprisingly well-sketched with depth beyond their hard-boiled skins. Swinson’s protagonist is Ezra Simeon, a Bell’s Palsy-afflicted detective who inherits a high-profile murder from a dead buddy’s case file, and comes to suspect a serial killer. Cue a slow-burning trek through the dark and dangerous corners of D.C., replete with thugs, johns, cold cases, and all those details muddled in shows like C.S.I. In this District, crime is anything but polished. David Swinson signs and discusses his book Saturday at 3 p.m. at One More Page Books, Arlington. Free. (Christoper Heller)
Their signature lounge chair sell for more than four grand, so it’s easily forgotten that Charles and Ray Eames didn’t want their work to become sequestered within the pages of Design Within Reach catalogs. The married couple—whom many mistook for brothers, given Ray’s androgynous name—sought to create beautiful things that could belong to anybody. One of their mantras was, “The best for the most for the least.” They were O.G.s of mid-century modern way before they were the darlings of the Dwell set. (Is it any surprise Ice Cube is a fan?) The couple became media favorites whose work grew in scale and ambition, segueing from military splints to furniture to film to the IBM Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. But Eames: The Architect and the Painter, which aired last year as part of PBS’ “American Masters” series, also explores the Eames’ place within prefeminist America. Ray was more softspoken than her husband (“She sat like a delicious dumpling in a doll’s dress,” is the chosen praise of one male television host), but she worked with him equally; in a way, she was a forebear of the gender politics that would sweep the country 20 years later. The film shows at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the National Gallery of Art. Free. (Brooke Hatfield)