- - Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pick of the Pack

Comedy: Tim Lee

Tim Lee isn’t the first stand-up comic to abandon a real job. Ken Jeong, of NBC’s “Community” and the “Hangover” movies, was a doctor of internal medicine before he became a stand-up comic; Sam Kinison, famous for his onstage screaming, was a Pentecostal preacher. Like his antecedents, Mr. Lee’s stand-up bits borrow heavily from his previous life as a scientist. One of his bits involves diagramming nuclear fission using a PowerPoint projector. After explaining to his audience how adjacent atoms irritating their neighbors causes a chain reaction that leads to a nuclear explosion, the former biologist deadpans that Oakland Raiders fans aren’t a whole lot different.

Jan. 6 and 7 at Atlas, 1333 H St. NE

Phone: 202/399-7993

Web: http://atlasarts.org

Festival: Three Kings Day

What the tooth fairy is to American children, the three kings (of biblical fame) are to the children of Puerto Rico. On the eve of the Fiesta de los Reyes Magos, children fill a shoe box with grass - for the Magis’ camels, naturally - and place the box under their beds. When they wake up, the box contains a present. This week, the Gala Hispanic Theatre in Columbia Heights will celebrate Fiesta de los Reyes Magos with a parade featuring a performance by dance group Alma Boliviana, live animals (donkeys, goats and sheep, to be exact), and local community activists Roland Roebuck, Jose Sueiro, and Quique Aviles dressed as Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchior.

Jan. 8 at Gala Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW

Phone: 202/234-7174

Web: www.galatheatre.org

Exhibit: ‘The Beautiful Time’

In the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, the personal is always political. This is the lead lesson in the work of Sammy Baloji, a Congolese videographer who documents the violence that has turned his homeland into a nexus of concentrated wealth and dispersed mindless violence. In “The Beautiful Time,” Mr. Baloji documents the construction and prosperity of the Congo’s copper mines, their nationalization in the 1960s, and their decline under thuggish bureaucrats.

Opens Jan. 7 at the Museum of Natural History, 1400 Constitution Ave. NW

Phone: 202/633-1000

Web: www.mnh.si.edu

Concert: Akron/Family

Instead of borrowing the complaints of ruralists - dogs getting run over by trains, women running off with cousins, mothers going to jail - folk rockers Akron/Family have taken the genre to places it’s never been before: drag bars, raves, and restaurants in Brooklyn where diners text their orders to a waitress who actually is an actress. None of that is actually true. What is true is this: Akron/Family, which started in Brooklyn in 2002, and was, for a little while, incredibly important there, is like no folk group you’ve ever heard before. They use drum machines and sometimes are as reminiscent of Paul Oakenfold as Paul Simon. Some might call them weird.

Jan. 6 at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE

Phone: 202/388-7625

Web: www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Miscellany: Juggling

The history of the Airborne Comedians, as told by Dan Foley and Joel Harris, is both short and long: “It began 20 years ago as a snowball juggling contest in a laundromat, now escalated to riding 6- and 7-foot-high unicycles and flaming lawn-chair juggling.” With that much experience under their belts, it shouldn’t surprise you that Mr. Foley and Mr. Harris can juggle just about anything, including machetes, children and fresh fruit.

Jan. 7 at Alden Theatre, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, Va.

Phone: 703/790-0123

Web: www.mcleancenter.org/alden

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