The 21 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

The 21 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

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This year gets off to a fast start: Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club is an unpredictable, over-the-top mashup of burlesque and comedy, while local bars welcome the return of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” with drink specials, games and drag performances. Reinforce your 2024 goals at an after-hours crafting party at the Phillips Collection, or on a retreat at Brookside Gardens. Welcome Dry January at a comedy night at H Street’s dry bar, or embrace the mix of rum and coconut at Serenata’s Coquito Wars. With activities ranging from award-winning movies for kids to a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr. with one of his biographers, there’s no time for a holiday hangover.

Thursday, Jan. 4

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Phillips After 5 at the Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection’s monthly after-hours party is dedicated to a “New Year, New You” theme for January, with an artsy activity that will reinforce your 2024 goals. A “resolution station” will be set up so you can make a vision board to keep you on track, and in keeping with Dry January, the Mocktail Club will be making nonalcoholic cocktails. (Alcoholic drinks and snacks will be available for sale, too.) Listen to the sounds of D.C.’s “futuristic funk” band Nag Champa and take in the “African Modernism in America, 1947-67” exhibit a few days before it closes on Jan. 7. 5 to 8:30 p.m. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. phillipscollection.org. $20; free for members.

Free bluegrass and $3 beers at Union Stage

The Wharf’s intimate bar and music venue kicks off its year with a two-day bluegrass festival and some seriously discounted brews. Arrive early — entry is first come, first served — to see two local bands each evening, including Virginia-based Americana fusion group Split String Soup on Thursday and the quirkily Appalachian-traditional Plate Scrapers on Friday. 7 p.m. Free.

Dry January Sober Seltzer Comedy at Binge Bar

Participating in Dry January (or Damp January) is no reason to stay home every night. If you’re worried about temptation while venturing out, the easiest way to avoid it is to surround yourself with others who also aren’t drinking. Stand-up comic Jenny Cavallero hosts the fifth edition of Binge Bar’s Sober Seltzer Comedy, where she’s joined by five comedians, headlined by Blaire Postman, at the booze-free H Street NE bar. Snacks and drinks are available for sale, and tickets include a welcome (nonalcoholic) drink. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. $8.

Jammin Java Band Battle Prelims

Jammin Java is the place where local bands’ dreams can come true. The Vienna venue’s 26th Band Battle competition features two dozen acts vying for a prize package that includes time at a recording studio, a photo shoot, $2,000 cash and a headlining concert at Jammin Java. Catch preliminary shows this week — six bands per night — on Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday. The top performers return to Jammin Java for the finals on Feb. 2. 7 p.m. each night. $10-$25.

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