✔ Pick of the Pack
Museum event: Corcoran Uncorked
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington's largest nonfederal art museum, founded in 1869, made headlines this year because of its dire financial problems. The museum, which houses one of the largest collections of pre-1945 and contemporary American works of art, reported a $7.2 million deficit at the end of the fiscal year in June, and rumors swirled that the museum's leadership was considering abandoning the 17th Street Beaux Arts gallery to focus instead on the relatively more stable art school. The gallery is safe (for now), as leadership announced last month that the historic building would not be sold — and now, has debuted a new lineup of programs that, it is hoped, will attract new supporters. This week, the museum launches Corcoran Uncorked, a new after-hours program featuring tours, lectures and receptions. Throughout the evening, patrons can enjoy tours of the special exhibits as well as the MobileMovie Film Festival, featuring films made on mobile devices by local filmmakers.
Wednesday at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW
Theater: Elvis' Birthday Fight Club
Elvis Presley would have celebrated his 78th birthday on Tuesday — though some think he actually is celebrating it somewhere with Tupac Shakur and Princess Anastasia of Russia. Regardless, music fans and conspiracy theorists alike can celebrate the birth of the King of Rock 'n' Roll with a unique performance at Northeast Washington's H Street Playhouse. Join Elvis as he hosts an all-star "fight club" show, with burlesque dancers and yet-to-be-named famous faces duking it out during what can only be described as an outlandish variety show. Wear your blue suede shoes — in fact, wear an entire Elvis costume if you desire — and get all shook up commemorating one of the most legendary musicians (and pelvises) of all time. If you can't celebrate this weekend, the party will continue Jan. 12 in Baltimore.
Friday and Saturday at the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE
Concert: Schoolhouse Rock! Sing-Along
Reading all news generated by the fiscal cliff negotiations between President Obama and Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, it's easy to forget that they aren't the only ones who have a say in the ultimate legislation. After all, it's a long, long journey to the capital city. Our lawmakers should perhaps review "Schoolhouse Rock!," and get a refresher on the legislative process, as well as grammar, multiplication, electricity and more. The Millennium Stage, which hosts free performances daily in the Kennedy Center's Grand Foyer, will host a sing-along concert in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the television show and its catchy, educational songs. Whether you heard the originals in the 1970s and 1980s, or whether your child learned them more recently in school, it surely will bring back long-forgotten lessons for the entire family.
Sunday at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW
Concert: The 9 Songwriter Series
If pennies are a little tight after the holidays, get your money's worth at the Hamilton in Penn Quarter on Sunday, where you can enjoy nine concerts in one. The 9 Songwriter Series showcases nine local up-and-coming singer/songwriters, giving them the chance to perform at a large venue at which they might not otherwise be able to play on their own. Founded in 2008 by Justin Trawick — a local musician whose music combines rock, folk, bluegrass and hip-hop influences — each show features a new combination of nine artists from the more than 60 on the tour's list. So even if you've already seen this show somewhere along the East Coast, this week's set undoubtedly will be a different experience. The Hamilton, which is part Clyde's Restaurant and part music venue, is worth a visit for its genre-defying music performances — and the cheeseburgers are quite delicious, too.
Sunday at the Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW
Theater: National Theatre Live: 'Timon of Athens'
Though William Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" is one of his lesser-known works, it's a fable that certainly is fitting for our tough economic times. Timon is quite popular among the rich and famous of Athens while he extravagantly spends his money on them. Of course, when the money is gone, his former friends and acquaintances cast him aside. What will happen to Timon, and to the corrupt city? You can find out Monday evening at the Shakespeare Theatre, which will broadcast London's National Theatre's widely acclaimed production of the play in high definition on the big screen. Simon Russell Beale — who has been performing in Shakespearean plays since the age of 14 and has been called "the greatest stage actor of his generation" by The Independent — plays the title character, who perhaps could teach a lesson to our spendthrift politicians.
Monday at the Shakespeare Theatre Sidney Harmon Hall, 610 F St. NW