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IS THE MAN WHO IS TALL HAPPY?
Innovative French film director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep) is at it again, this time offering -- get this -- an animated documentary about the life of MIT professor Noam Chomsky. That's right, Gondry inserts his own illustrations interspersed with complex, lively conversations with Chomsky, the controversial philosopher, linguist, antiwar activist and political firebrand -- one of the leading thinkers of modern times. Opens Friday, Dec. 6. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.
OUT OF THE FURNACE
Christian Bale stars as a man caring for his terminally ill father one moment, the next he's putting his own life on the life seeking justice for his brother, played by Casey Affleck, swept up in a ruthless crime ring. Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) directs this family drama that also features Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard among the cast. Opens Friday, Dec. 6. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.
A BROADWAY CHRISTMAS CAROL
Kathy Feininger's A Broadway Christmas Show tells the famous Charles Dickens classic by altering the lyrics to familiar Broadway tunes, 30 or so in all, from The Music Man to Sweeney Todd to Annie. The result is a pretty gay show, especially with gay Helen Hayes Award-winning actor Michael Sharp at the helm. In years past Sharp has played Scrooge, but this year the show's director and choreographer turns over the bah-humbugging to Peter Boyer, while Tracey Stephens plays The Woman Who Isn't Scrooge and Russell Sunday is The Man Who Isn't Scrooge. (Howard Breitbart, who previously played The Man Who Isn't Scrooge, is this year's music director -- aka The Man Behind The Piano.) "I always think of it like the Carol Burnett Show," Sharp told Metro Weekly a season ago. "[Three] people playing a million different characters. Sometimes we crack each other up. You never know what's going to happen." Weekends to Dec. 22. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $35 to $50. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.
A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS
Baltimore's Center Stage presents Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel's holiday show, in a new production by director Rebecca Taichman in collaboration with choreographer Liz Lerman. The show weaves together the stories of more than two dozen characters, spanning race, religion and class, on Christmas Eve 1864, and is infused with traditional holiday carols and period folk songs. (It's subtitled ''An American Musical Celebration.'') The cast includes Jeffry Denman, Oberon K.A. Adjepong, Kati Brazda, Tyrone Davis Jr., Matthew Greer, Tracey Conyer Lee and A.J. Shively. Now to Dec. 22. Center Stage, 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $19 to $59. Call 410-986-4000 or visit centerstage.org.
A FAMILY REUNION
Programmed to coincide with the holidays, the In Series presents the premiere of an American opera-musical by Chris Patton with libretto by Bill Moses. A Family Reunion depicts the coming together of disparate family members around the care of their aged mother, now suffering from dementia. Moses directs the show with a cast headed by Laura Lewis as Alma the grandmother. Runs in repertory with In Series' Pocket Opera program. Closes this Sunday, Dec. 8. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $38. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
The Shakespeare Theatre Company often colors outside the lines with its production during the holidays, and this year is no exception. Stephen Sondheim's uproarious Tony-winning musical riffs on life in Roman times and features a bawdy book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. STC associate director Alan Paul makes his STC main stage directing debut, and the cast includes Bruce Dow, Danny Rutigliano, Tom Story, Steve Vinovich, Lora Lee Gayer, Harry A. Winter and Matthew Bauman. To Jan. 5. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $110. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER
David Esbjornson directs Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show) in a new stage adaptation by Todd Kreidler of this classic American story. The focus is on a white couple, whose progressive sensibilities are put to the test when their daughter brings her African-American fiancé home to meet them. To Jan. 5. Fichandler Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $40 to $105. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
AND ONE HALF The creators of the new musical If/Then have given D.C. theatergoers many reasons to be thankful. The most obvious three: a grand return for Idina Menzel, in a demanding new role that proves she's still got her powerful, pristine pipes and seasoned acting chops last seen in her Tony-winning turn in Wicked a decade ago; an equally celebratory return for LaChanze, who won the lead-actress Tony two years after Menzel for her work in The Color Purple and here gives a strong, standout performance in a truly supporting role; and of course the fact that If/Then is being staged here first, giving Washingtonians the right of first assessment. The assessment? Not very good. After you reflect on and talk up Menzel and LaChanze -- and there's Rent's Anthony Rapp among the cast, too -- you'll get mired in the muck of what is a confusing show, with a convoluted plot and mostly overwrought music to match. It's a struggle just to make sense of writer/lyricist Brian Yorkey's overly ambitious narrative, which zigzags back and forth between several possible paths for Elizabeth. And aside from a few numbers, you won't be singing many praises for Tom Kitt's music. Or, at least, several awkward leaps and disjointed passages throughout will trip you up in your appreciation. It often seems complicated simply for the sake of being complicated. Closes this Sunday, Dec. 8. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $53 to $178. Call 202-628-6161 or visit nationaltheatre.org. (Doug Rule)
MAURICE HINES IS TAPPIN' THRU LIFE
Maurice Hines performs an autobiographical stage show that pays tribute to Hines's late brother, Gregory, who died a decade ago, as well as their late parents. The great all-female Diva Orchestra, and two tap-dancing duos, the Manzari Brothers and the Heimowitz brothers, also perform in this show, regaling the audience with Hines's collaborations with legends including Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald. Jeff Calhoun (Newsies) directs. To Dec. 29. Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $50 to $99. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
MAN IN A CASE
Mikhail Baryshnikov stars in this Shakespeare Theatre Company production featuring two ''anti-love'' stories by Anton Chekhov and mounted by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar's Big Dance Theater. It's a mix of live performance and mixed media. Opens Thursday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. To Dec. 22. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
PRIDE IN THE FALLS OF AUTREY MILL
Michael Kahn directs Christine Lahti in a drama about the toxic qualities of suburbia, a world premiere from Paul Downs Colaizzo, who created quite a sensation with his last show at Signature, 2012's Really Really. Shakespeare Theatre Company's Michael Kahn, who just made a splash directing Studio Theatre's Torch Song Trilogy, hopes for a repeat directing this show at Signature. Closes this Sunday, Dec. 8. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org.
THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS
Serge Seiden directs the first two plays in Richard Nelson's quartet about the Apples family, set at successive meals over a course of four years. That Hopey Changey Thing and Sweet and Sad run in repertory and star Rick Foucheux, Ted van Griethuysen and Sarah Marshall. To Dec. 29. Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
THE KING AND I
Mark Waldrop directs this classic musical about a despotic king, played by Paolo Montalban, who learns the meaning of love through his children's tutor Anna, played by Eileen Ward. And what's not to love about this great Rodgers and Hammerstein musical featuring classics including ''Shall We Dance?'' and ''Getting to Know You''? To Dec. 29. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
The children's theater company Adventure Theatre MTC presents a world-premiere comedy based on the traditional holiday song written by Helen Hayes Awardee Renee Calarco. Michael Dove directs Deidra LaWan Starnes in this show featuring French hens, geese, a partridge in a pear tree -- and five golden rings, which someone has stolen. To Dec. 30. Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Tickets are $19. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.
WIT'S SEASONAL DISORDER
Washington Improv Theater's annual holiday extravaganza features shows based on audience suggestions, showing you the good, the bad and the ugly of the season – all laughs to get you through this crazy month. Each and every show is different, but all offer a grab bag of spontaneous ho-ho-ho-inducing comedy and long-form improv. Opens Thursday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. Weekends to Dec. 28. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 online in advance, or $15 at the door. Call 202-204-7770 or visit washingtonimprovtheater.com.
Theater J reprises last year's tribute to the man alternately billed as ''the people's troubadour'' and ''the original folk hero.'' Woody Guthrie was also the original folksy hero, based on evidence from the show co-devised – with director Nick Corley – and starring David M. Lutken as Guthrie. As Metro Weekly's Doug Rule wrote in a review last year: ''There are groan-inducing cracks and asides tossed off throughout the show, which paints a picture of a liberal hillbilly, one who never forgot the people or the music of his roots in dirt-poor Oklahoma. Lutken is joined by a strong cast of three singing string musicians who take on various roles, and strap on 15 instruments in total to play through 30 Guthrie standards.'' These include ''This Land Is Your Land,'' ''The Ballad of Tom Joad,'' ''Vigilante Man'' and the great ''This Train Is Bound for Glory.'' To Dec. 14. The Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater, Washington, D.C.'s Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $55. Call 202-518-9400 or visit washingtonddjcc.org.
A MATT CONNER CHRISTMAS
Several Signature Theatre regulars will perform in this year's Holiday Follies seasonal revue in a couple weeks, but first the Shirlington venue presents a holiday cabaret by musical composer Matt Conner (Crossing, Nevermore). Conner will sing and play piano, performing some of his favorite Christmas standards as well as a few of his own original holiday songs. Opens Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. To Dec. 15. ARK Theatre at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets are $48.60. Call 703-820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org.
BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Concertmaster Jonathan Carney leads the BSO and plays violin in a performance of the perennial favorite Vivaldi's Four Seasons, cleverly paired with Piazzolla's sensational, tango-infused Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $31 to $94. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
BOHEMIAN CAVERNS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Every Monday night the 17-piece jazz orchestra performs a variety of music from the big band repertoire -- including pieces by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billy Strayhorn and Maria Schneider, plus originals from band members -- at its namesake venue. Founded by baritone saxophonist Brad Linde and club owner Omrao Brown, features some of D.C.'s best jazz musicians, including Linde and trumpeter Joe Herrera, who co-direct. Performances at 8 and 10 p.m. every Monday. Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-299-0800 or visit bohemiancaverns.com.
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL WITH THE NSO POPS
Celebrated Broadway baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell joins Steven Reineke and the National Symphony Orchestra for the annual holiday Pops concert. Mitchell performs from his own repertoire (Kiss Me, Kate, Man of La Mancha, Sweeney Todd) and naturally also sings holiday standards. Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 to $85. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Every year the annual holiday show from the Folger Consort, which focuses on early classical music traditions, is among the most interesting of the many holiday offerings around town. Where else would you even think of hearing a program called ''Christmas in New Spain: Early Music of Mexico and Peru''? The program is touted as featuring exuberant music by 16th- and 17th-century Latin American and Spanish composers, all performed by the consort's vocal ensemble and various string and reed instrumentalists. Opens Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. To Dec. 22. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $50. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
GREAT NOISE ENSEMBLE
Since composer and conductor Armando Bayolo founded it in 2005, the Great Noise Ensemble has become one of the most important and adventurous ensembles in D.C. focused on contemporary classical music, such as that by renowned composers Steve Reich, John Luther Adams and Louis Andriessen. Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $31.50 at the door. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
The ''lez'' in the name may be short for lesbian, but the four women in this New York-based Led Zeppelin tribute band don't publicly disclose their sexual orientations. ''Keeping a little bit of mystery to a group is very old fashioned, but in my opinion, it's much more intriguing,'' Steph Paynes, the band's lead guitarist, told Metro Weekly years ago. The women are as intense and powerful and sexy as you'd expect performing from the Page-Plant Company's hard-rock songbook. If nothing else, the crowd should be publicly lezzie. Sunday, Dec. 15. Doors at 12 p.m. Ram's Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $22.50. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com.
Handel's monumental Messiah gets the annual full-scale treatment with this orchestra and chorale, this year featuring soloists including soprano Rosa Lamoreaux, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor, tenor Roberto Petillo and bass Kevin Deas. Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $28 to $84. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Christoph Eschenbach leads the NSO in a rare concert this time of year: one featuring true classical highlights of the non-holiday variety. Specifically, Brahm's magnificent Symphony No. 1 and two Mozart classics, the Die Zauberflote Overture and the Violin Concerto No. 4 featuring NSO concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef. Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 to $85. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
NPR'S A JAZZ PIANO CHRISTMAS
Top jazz pianists Andy Bey, Stanely Cowell, Sullivan Fortner and Michele Rosewoman perform their favorite holiday songs for this popular annual Kennedy Center program, which National Public Radio tapes for later broadcast. Tickets remain only for the performance Saturday, Dec. 7, at 9:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $5. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
This Friday, Dec. 6, Patina Miller takes a rare night off from Broadway's Pippin, the Tony-winning revival for which she won her first Tony Award in the lead role earlier this year. The reason? A cabaret as part of the Barbara Cook Spotlight series at the Kennedy Center, where last year she appeared in the Kander and Ebb revue First You Dream. ''I'm really excited because it's my first solo concert professionally,'' she told Metro Weekly. Miller plans to sing songs from Pippin as well as Sister Act, for which she earned her first Tony nomination in 2011, and also gospel, which Miller was weaned on, and even pop. ''It'll be a little bit of everything. I'm going to sing songs that people would not expect me to sing.'' Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $60. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Remember that '80s pop hunk Rick Springfield -- the one who wished he had Jessie's Girl? Well, he's still around, now touring for what is billed as a his first solo show ever -- solo as in all alone. ''Stripped Down,'' he's calling it, promising ''an intimate solo performance of music and storytelling.'' Storytelling? Oh, yeah, Springfield is also now an author, and will release his first novel, Magnificent Vibration, next year. Just don't expect this nostalgia trip to come cheap -- especially not for the show in Annapolis. Tickets remain for Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. Ram's Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $125. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com. Also Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $69.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.
THE IN SERIES' POCKET OPERA
The In Series' latest Pocket Opera program features Puccini's first triumph, the opera-ballet Le Villi (The Spirits). That will be paired with Heart of Madrid, hits from the Spanish light-opera tradition of Zarzuela. Abel Lopez directs the production written by Elizabeth Pringle and featuring pianist Carlos Rodriguez and a cast moving to choreography by Dan Joyce. Runs in repertory with the new opera-musical A Family Reunion. Closes this Saturday, Dec. 7. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $42. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
THE WASINGTON CHORUS
Julian Wachner directs the annual tradition ''A Candlelight Christmas,'' featuring the 200-voice chorus singing familiar carols and holiday songs, plus audience sing-alongs and a candlelight processional. Sunday, Dec. 15, at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Also Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $15 to $70. Call 202-342-6221 or visit thewashingtonchorus.org.
''If you hold on for one more day….'' Yes indeed, the '80s hit-making female trio of sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips stop through the region for a show that some just might consider an early Christmas present -- and the ladies are sure to sing songs from their 2010 set Christmas In Harmony. The rest of us are trying to forget all about them, begging ''Release Me.'' Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. Ram's Head Center Stage at Maryland Live! Casino, 7002 Arundel Mills Circle, No. 7777, Hanover, Md. Tickets are $45. Call 800-522-4700 or visit marylandlivecasino.com.
This celebrated New York-based Latin dance troupe, led by former dancer and Cuban-American choreographer Eduardo Vilaro, returns to the Kennedy Center with a mixed-repertory program, including the D.C. premiere of Sortijas by Spanish dynamo Cayetano Soto, as well as new work Sombrerisimo from Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Vilaro's own Danzon with live music by Paquito D'Rivera. Thursday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $22 to $60. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
THE MOSCOW BALLET
Dubbed the ''Great Russian Nutcracker,'' this version of the holiday ballet staple pays tribute to Marius Petipa, who developed the Nutcracker choreography – and for good measure, that of Swan Lake – and is credited as ''The Father of Russian Ballet.'' This great Russian company celebrates 20 years of touring the United States. Monday, Dec. 16, and Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $28 to $88. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
THE WASHINGTON BALLET
Septime Webre's refashioned The Nutcracker for the Washington Ballet is a tribute to the nation's capital, starring George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker and England's King George III as the villainous Rat King, all against a backdrop of cherry blossoms and other D.C. scenes. The company's production includes more than 350 dancers. Opens Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. To Dec. 29. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-397.7328 or visit washingtonballet.org.
A DAY LIKE NO OTHER: THE 1963 MARCH ON WASHINGTON
A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington features 42 black-and-white images plus a video demonstration of 50 additional images commemorating the 250,000 people who participated in one of the largest nonviolent demonstrations for civil rights that America has ever witnessed. Through March 1. Graphic Arts Galleries in the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Call 202-707-8000 or visit loc.gov.
A DEMOCRACY OF IMAGES
A Democracy of Images offers a survey of photography in America, tracing its evolution from a purely documentary medium to a full-fledged artistic genre. The exhibit marks the 30th anniversary of the museum's pioneering photography collection, and its title was inspired by Walt Whitman, who believed that the then-young art form matched the democratic spirit of America. Through Jan. 5. Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1st Floor West, 8th and F Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanart.si.edu.
A NEW AGE OF EXPLORATION: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AT 125
As part of an organization-wide toast to the first 125 years, the National Geographic Museum offers a visual and interactive exhibition celebrating modern exploration by featuring some of the most iconic moments from the institution and its bedrock magazine. Entered through an archway made of hundreds of issues of National Geographic magazine, the exhibition in the complex's 17th Street gallery features the work of National Geographic explorers, photographers, scientists and journalists -- everyone from Jacques Cousteau to James Cameron -- and is sponsored by GEICO, with the North Face a sponsor of giveaways and events throughout its run. Through June. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $11. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.
CREATING THE IDEAL HOME, 1800-1939
Housed in the same building as Constitution Hall, the D.A.R. Museum offers a new exhibit exploring the evolution of household comfort and conveniences, and how American inventors patented all sorts of laborsaving and leisure-providing home devices, from the vacuum and the washing machine to the telephone and television. Through Aug. 30. D.A.R. Museum, 1776 D St. NW. Admission is free. Call 202-879-3241 or visit dar.org/museum.
GENOME: UNLOCKING LIFE'S CODE
Thanks to the work of the decade-long, $3 billion Human Genome Project, human society has gained much greater insight into our bodies and our health. Scientists have identified genes that contribute to disease, stoking hope for ways to treat or eradicate cancer among many other ailments. This new Smithsonian exhibition, which will travel the country later next year, explores the work and growth in sequencing technology that helped spark this medical and scientific revolution. Through September 2014. National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit mnh.si.edu.
GRAND PROCESSION: DOLLS FROM THE DIKER COLLECTION
"Grand Procession: Dolls from the Charles and Valerie Diker Collection" features the work of five female artists from Plains and Plateau tribes. The exhibition includes 23 colorful and meticulously detailed dolls originally created as both toys and teaching tools in their communities. Through Jan. 5. National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue and 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit nmai.si.edu.
HERE IS A PLAY FITTED
The Folger Shakespeare Library's latest exhibition focuses on play texts as performance scripts, highlighting broad shifts in the theatrical production of Shakespeare's plays over the centuries and the sometimes surprising changes made to the texts; Othello, Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night's Dream are examined in Here Is A Play Fitted. Through Jan. 12. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
HUMAN, SOUL & MACHINE: THE COMING SINGULARITY!
Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum opens its 19th original thematic yearlong exhibition this weekend. Human, Soul & Machine is a playful examination of the serious impact of technology on our lives, as seen through the eyes of more than 40 artists, futurists and inventors in a hot-wired blend of art, science, humor and imagination. Through August 2014. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, Baltimore. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.
IAN SKLARSKY: BLIND CONTOUR DRAWINGS
Vastu, 14th Street's high-end home-furnishings store, invites a small number of emerging artists each year to display work on its walls, as curated by local artist Brian Petro. Right now the focus is on New York-based artist Ian Sklarsky, whose work centers on drawing lines with minimal glances at the paper, creating cohesive images using only one line from point A to point B. Closes Sunday, Dec. 8. Vastu, 1829 14th St. NW. Call 202-234-8344 or visit vastudc.com or iansklarsky.com.
JOHN F. SIMON JR.: POINTS, LINES AND COLORS IN SUCCESSION
As part of its Intersections series, the Phillips Collection presents in its house stairwell John F. Simon Jr.'s four-part installation, which incorporates drawing, software and computer-generated fabrication, all inspired by the progression of movement in the natural world. Through Feb. 9. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-387-2151, ext. 247, or visit phillipscollection.org.
LIVING ARTFULLY: AT HOME WITH MARJORIE MERRIWEATHER POST
''Living Artfully'' transports visitors to Marjorie Post's grand estates of the 1950s and 1960s through multimedia presentations, audio tours, jewelry and apparel displays, and decorative art and furniture collections. Through Jan. 12. Hillwood Museum, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.
MAKE SOME NOISE: STUDENTS AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
Pegged to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and just one of several exhibitions at the Newseum marking the occasion, Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement explores the new generation of student leaders that emerged in the 1960s to fight segregation and fight for civil rights. John Lewis, now a U.S. representative from Georgia, and Julian Bond, a former chair of the NAACP, are among the leaders highlighted here. Through 2015. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $21.95 for general admission. Call 888-NEWSEUM or visit newseum.org.
ONE LIFE: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
One Life: Martin Luther King Jr. features historic photographs, prints, paintings and memorabilia, mostly drawn from the National Portrait Gallery's extensive collection, tracing the trajectory of King's career. Through June 1. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
OUR AMERICA: THE LATINO PRESENCE IN AMERICAN ART
Drawn entirely from the museum's pioneering collection of Latino art, most of which was acquired in the past few years, this exhibition features works in all media by 72 leading modern and contemporary artists. Through March 2. Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanart.si.edu.
OVERDRIVE: L.A. CONSTRUCTS THE FUTURE, 1940-1990
Organized by L.A.'s J. Paul Getty Museum, this exhibition traces the city's transformation into an internationally recognized destination with its own design vocabulary, canonized landmarks and coveted way of life. Through March 10. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Tickets are $8. Call 202-272-2448 or visit nbm.org.
PALACES FOR THE PEOPLE
"Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America's Great Public Spaces" pays tribute to Rafael Guastavino Sr., arguably one of the most influential architectural craftsmen working in America a century ago, designing tiles in New York's Grand Central Terminal, the Baird Auditorium of the National Museum of Natural History and the Washington National Cathedral, among other venues. Through Jan. 20. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Call 202-272-2448 or visit nbm.org.
With Portent, Alexandria's Athenaeum presents a series of artworks visually reflecting on or representing the magnitude of natural events, from volcanoes to high tide to wildfires. Curator Twig Murray included paintings by Sukey Bryan, Freya Grand and Amy Marx, silverpoints by Kate Kertz and photography by Ryan McCoy. Closes this Sunday, Dec. 8. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-0035 or visit nvfaa.org.
REVOLUTIONS: SONGS OF SOCIAL CHANGE
Offering a comparative look at two dramatic periods of civil strife -- 1860 through 1865 and 1960 through 1965 -- and the music they inspired, from ''The Battle Hymn of the Republic'' to ''Blowing In The Wind.'' Through Jan. 5. Virginia Historical Society, 428 North Boulevard, Richmond. Call 804-358-4901 or visit vahistorical.org.
VAN GOGH: REPETITIONS
The first exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh in Washington in over 15 years, Repetitions offers a fresh look at the artistic prowess of Vincent Van Gogh through an examination of roughly 30 paintings alongside related drawings and technical photographs. Through Jan. 26. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-387-2151, ext. 247, or visit phillipscollection.org.
WESTEN MUNTAIN: LOVESONG
Color-reduction prints based on a series of photographs taken by the artist Westen Muntain, based in Falls Church. Through Jan. 4. Mezz Gallery at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Call 703-875-1100 or visit artisphere.com.
WINDOW TO WASHINGTON
''Window to Washington: The Kiplinger Collection at HSW'' is an exhibition at Washington's Carnegie Library that traces the development of the nation's capital from a sleepy Southern town to a modern metropolis, as documented through the works of artists. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., exhibition was made possible by a donation from the Kiplinger family. It's also an early step in a reorganization effort by the society, which has struggled to revive ever since its short-lived effort a decade ago to run a City Museum of Washington proved too ambitious. Open Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., at the Carnegie Library, 801 K St. NW. Call 202-393-1420 or visit historydc.org
YOGA: THE ART OF TRANSFORMATION
The Sackler Gallery presents the world's first exhibition about yoga's visual history, featuring sculptures, paintings, photographs, books and films from 25 museums and private collections around the world, all exploring how the discipline's meanings have changed over time. Through Jan. 26. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Call 202-633-4800 or visti asia.si.edu.
''Crack Trip'' is the latest zany offering to come from this gay, self-described low-budget theater group, founded by Chris Farris, Karl Jones (aka Karl Marx) and Shea Van Horn (aka Summer Camp). This time around, the 90-minute cabaret show features over a dozen performers lampooning global destinations -- Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada ''and other seedy crevices of the globe'' -- with a Make A Wish Foundation-styled premise: Summer Camp wants to see the world before she dies. Drag queens Heidi Glum, Pussy Noir, Jezzibell Jaxknife, The Lady Beaver and the reigning Miss Crack Anne Phetamine all perform, as do Capital Fringe Fest stars Eric Tipler and Ryan Patrick. The show includes the usual videos, live music and singing, off-the-wall drag acts, dancing, audience participation and interactive games. Among those performing this time around are local dance/jazz singer Rachel Panay, singer/songwriter Scott Shumaker, The New Gay's Zack Rosen, the return of drag queen Cookie Buffet and others. Saturday, Dec. 7. Doors at 9 p.m. Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Visit crackdc.com or towndc.com.
NOT ALONE: THE POWER OF RESPONSE
Subtitled Letters of Support to the Parents of Matthew Shepard Following His Murder, this special Ford's Theatre exhibit featuring a selection of the nearly 10,000 cards and letters sent to Judy and Dennis Shepard after their gay son was murdered, considering the larger themes of empathy, community response and personal responsibility. Closes Sunday, Dec. 8. Leadership Gallery at Ford's Theatre's Center for Education and Leadership, 514 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fordstheatre.org.
SUGARLOAF CRAFTS FESTIVAL: HOLIDAY EDITION
The annual Sugarloaf Crafts Festival is considered one of the top craft experiences in the country, attracting about 170,000 visitors to Maryland's Montgomery County Fairgrounds every October. This year the festival makes its 2013 holiday season debut at Virginia's Dulles Expo Center, with more than 300 artisans from around the country offering one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts in various media, including functional and decorative pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, leather, wood, metal, furniture, home accessories and photography. Gourmet food samples, live music and interactive children's entertainment will also be on tap. Friday, Dec. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 15. Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center Drive, Chantilly, Va. Admission is $8, or $10 for all three days of the show. Call 703-378-0910 or visit sugarloafcrafts.com.
THE BEST OF BURLESQUE(ER)
'' Down & Dirty Holigay Blues Burlesque'' is hyped as offering ''some of the hottest queers taking it all off for you'' -- local burlesque performers with stage names such as Cherie Nuit, DoctorGinger Snapz and Glam Gamz. The co-hosts go by the names Dutch Oven and Velvet Kensington. Two shows Friday, Dec. 6. Doors at 8:45 and 11 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 day of show. Call 202-667-4490 or visit blackcatdc.com.