✔ Pick of the Pack
On New Year's Day, tens of thousands of peaceful protesters throughout Hong Kong called upon Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying — who was appointed in July and is rumored to be a Communist Party sympathizer — to step down to allow for a democratic election and continued separation from China's Communist Party. Meanwhile, smaller protests simultaneously took place in support of the politician and increased integration with the mainland. Nevertheless, "One Country, Two Systems" persists in Hong Kong, which honors its long Chinese heritage while maintaining freedom from communist principles. This weekend, in fact, the Hong Kong Dance Company will celebrate a treasured Chinese painting, "Along the River During the Qingming Festival," a panoramic silk scroll by Zhang Zeduan, the imperial court painter during the Song Dynasty (960-1126). Considered China's "Mona Lisa," the painting depicts life in Central China during the particularly prosperous, progressive Song era and, in particular, the Qingming Festival, which celebrates the end of winter. Joined by the Guangdong Song and Dance Ensemble from South China, the dance company will bring the painting to life in a performance that will surely exemplify the mix of tradition and modernity found in Hong Kong today.
Friday and Saturday at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW. 800/444-1324. Web: www.kennedy-center.org.
Music for the City of Light
France's leaders may want to tax the country's wealthiest people up to 75 percent, but a concert this weekend by the Folger Consort will recall a time when French aristocrats were invited to Louis XIV's court to be entertained by musical masters. The Folger Shakespeare Library's chamber ensemble will perform 18th and 19th century selections by composers such as Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Baptiste Lully, two of the most renowned composers for the Sun King's chapelle royale, the music ensemble that consisted of a choir, organist and other musicians. The Folger Consort, which was voted best classical chamber ensemble at the 2009 and 2010 Washington Area Music Awards, will be led by French violinist Julien Chauvin and accompanied by the Washington National Cathedral's chamber vocal ensemble, Cathedra. Arrive early to Friday's performance for a pre-concert discussion.
Friday and Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202/544-7077. Web: www.folger.edu.
They Came As Sovereign Leaders
When President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office in 1905, his inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue included six American Indian chiefs in their elaborate native attire: Buckskin Charlie (Ute), American Horse (Oglala Sioux), Quanah Parker (Comanche), Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache), Hollow Horn Bear (Brule Sioux), and Little Plume (Piegan Blackfeet). Though the inaugural committee was attempting to add excitement to the parade, the chiefs' presence was particularly poignant in the wake of the wars between the American Indians and the U.S. military in the previous century. Starting Tuesday, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will showcase a small exhibit of photographs from that inauguration over a century ago — just in time for President Obama's second inaugural on Jan. 21. And if you don't have any plans for Martin Luther King Day weekend and the inaugural festivities, the museum will also host a three-day festival of music, dance and storytelling, as well as an inaugural ball.
Through Feb. 25 at the National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street & Independence Ave. SW. 202/633-1000. Web: http://nmai.si.edu.
Everyone knows Zorro, the masked avenger who defends ordinary Spaniards from corrupt government officials and other such bad guys. His name means "fox" in Spanish, and the character is certainly a cunning, modern-day Robin Hood — but in better clothing. His story has been told again and again, from Johnston McCulley's original pulp novellas of the early 20th century, to more than 40 films, perhaps most notably starring both Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas in the leading role. On Thursday, the Constellation Theatre Company, the Helen Hayes Award-winning resident company at Washington's Source Theatre, will open a new stage version of the classic tale. Now, perhaps Zorro can make a slice in the budget and solve the debt crisis while he's in town.
Through Feb. 17 at the Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street NW. 202/204-7741. Web: www.constellationtheatre.org.
The Thievery Corporation, led by Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, might be taking over Washington. The recording artist and DJ duo, along with a number of eclectic supporting musicians, is perhaps one of the most successful musical groups from the area, recording six albums, receiving a Grammy nomination, and consistently selling out their shows. After forming in 1995 at Dupont Circle's Eighteenth Street Lounge, which is co-owned by Mr. Hilton, the duo has revolutionized Washington nightlife not only with their signature dance sound, but also with their special sauce of vintage cocktails and vintage Edison light bulbs beloved by hipsters and Hill staffers alike. (If you haven't heard their music, you've undoubtedly dined at one of their many restaurants and bars along the U Street Corridor, such as Marvin or The Brixton, to name two.) Starting Thursday, they will play three shows at the 9:30 Club through next weekend.
Through Jan. 19 at the 9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW. 877/987-6487. Web: www.930.com.