For some, the holidays can be disastrous. Not because the turkey came out overcooked or you couldn't find the one "gotta have it" toy for your kid—but because you live along a fault line or in the shadow of an active volcano. Come hear geologist Patricia Dickerson of the American Geological Institute talk about major sites around the world that are in danger of succumbing to natural disaster. Tickets are required. Prices are $40 for the general public, $30 for members, $27 for senior citizens. To purchase, call 202-633-3030. S. Dillon Ripley Center, 6:45-9:00 PM.
Prefer something a little more cost-effective? A repeat performance of Brando Himself will be held at the National Portrait Gallery at 7:00 PM. This event is free, but seating is first come first served. To make reservations, call 202-633-8520 or e-mail NPGPublicPrograms@si.edu.
Tuesday, December 2 Seasons of Light
For an all-inclusive seasonal celebration, check out Seasons of Light. Performed annually for the past ten years, Seasons of Light is a way for young children to learn about the customs of winter holidays from different cultures, such as Ramadan, Devali, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas and Winter Solstice celebrations. Tickets are required. Prices are $6 for adults, $5 for children, $4 for Resident Members. Performances run Monday through Friday until December 23.* Performance times are: 10:15 and 11:30 AM Monday through Friday. On Wednesdays, there will be an additional performance at 1:00 PM. Discovery Theater.
* There will be a special performance on Saturday, December 13 at 12 noon.
Wednesday, December 3 Conservation Clinic Have the objets d'art in your home seen better days? Well, you don't have to wait for the Antiques Roadshow to come to your city to learn all the dos and don'ts on caring for your collections. Conservators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum are available to answer your questions so that the things that mean most to you can survive a little longer. Conservation clinics are by appointment only. To request an appointment, email WRCLunder@si.edu and specify CLINIC in the subject line. American Art Museum, 9-11:00 AM.
Thursday, December 4 Amazigh Jewelry and Artistry from North Africa
Art historian and author Cynthia Becker is on hand to talk about amazing Amazigh artistry and sign her book, Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity. This presentation is offered in conjunction with the exhibit, Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection. Museum of African Art, 4:00 PM.
Friday, December 5 The Mourning Forest
Part of the Freer's film series, Roads to the Interior: Another Side of Japanese Cinema, The Mourning Forest—winner of the Grand Prix at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival—tells the story of an elderly man who goes on a spiritual journey and takes his young caregiver along for the ride. In Japanese with English subtitles. Free to the public, but tickets will be distributed one hour before show time. There is a maximum of two tickets distributed per person. Seating is first-come, first served. Freer Gallery, 7:00 PM.
Saturday, December 6 Holiday Card Workshop
Nonplussed by the prepackaged seasonal greetings you find in the store? Come on out to the Postal Museum where artist Thalia Doukas will offer you fresh ideas and a little guidance so that you can make unique holiday greetings for your friends and family. Registration is required. Call 202-633-5533 or email email@example.com. National Postal Museum, Noon-1:30 (Session One) and 2:00-3:30 (Session Two).
Sunday, December 7 DC Crochets a Coral Reef
As the weather on the East Cost begins to drop, we're all thinking about digging out knit caps and mittens. But would you ever consider bundling up in a crocheted coral reef? Physicist, journalist and co-founder of the Institute of Figuring, Margaret Wertheim is on deck to generate awareness of the plight of coral reefs by way of the wonderful world of handcrafts. After a discussion on coral reefs and marine conservation, audience members may participate in a crochet workshop. No experience necessary. And since you don't have to wear it, I think it's safe to say that a crocheted coral reef is a step up from beer can gowns and other residents of the Ninth Circle of Knitwear Hell. National Museum of Natural History, 1-2:15 (lecture) and 2:30-5:00 (workshop).