Few buildings are more important than that of a government’s treasury. America’s version started out as a two-story brick building located directly southeast of the White House, housing around half of the federal workforce. An arsonist seeking to destroy incriminating pension records burned it down in 1833, and the government hosted a design competition for its replacement. The winner almost didn’t make it to completion: Halfway through construction, Congress decided it hated its Greek revival design, and the Architect of the Capitol advocated for its demolition. A vote to scrap the building failed, 94-91, and Robert Mills’ design finally got built—over the span of three decades. Independent historian Pamela Scott, who also sits on D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board, documents the drama in her new book Fortress of Finance, published by the Treasury Historical Association (yes, the building has its very own fan club). She discusses the book at 7 p.m. tonight at the Takoma Park Library. Free. (Lydia DePillis)


Synth-pop songstress Painted Face is playing a free, live show at Blackbyrd on 14th Street Northwest tonight. U.S. Royalty’s John Thornley will be in the house spinnin’ tunes. 10 p.m.


Of Lamb, the beguiling-looking new book from poet Matthea Harvey and artist Amy Jean Porter, is purported to be “the mercurial story of a lamb who wants desperately to be human and the human who loves that lamb—-told in more than a hundred short poems and paintings.” Aw! Harvey and Porter will discuss and sign copies of the book at 826DC headquarters at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments to follow. Free.


Itching for some Sugarplum Fairy? You got it. There are at least two performances of Nutcracker tonight: Moscow Ballet’s Russian version at George Mason University and Washington Ballet’s production at Warner Theatre. WCP dance writer Amanda Abrams has a list of other performances for you Nutheads out there.