Five things to do this weekend: Feb. 1-2
The Plugged In Teen Band Program is all about improving the world through music, and this all-ages matinee show is a rocking and powerful way to do it. Called “A Song for Ryan,” it is intended to raise money for research and advocacy in the fight against Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood, which is said to cause 1.2 deaths per 100,000 children – like the more common Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but affecting children over 12 months. The “Ryan” in the benefit’s name is Ryan Joseph Mancini, of Newton, who was born April 9, 2008, and died Dec. 13, 2009, of unknown causes. The mission may not sound fun, but make no mistake: This is a rock show at The Middle East produced and performed by teenagers. At the very least it’ll “School of Rock” rock. Event information from the Needham-based organization is here.
Some Like It Hot Chili Cook-Off from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday on Brattle Plaza at 31 Brattle St., Harvard Square. Free.
This open-air winter tradition – part of the Harvard Square Business Association’s monthlong Winter Carnival – includes chili for everyone, including vegans, and an open vote that will send one of the dozen-plus competitors back to their nearby restaurants or offices with what the association calls “our really ugly, but highly-coveted Harvard Square Chili Pot.” Among the competitors are Fire + Ice, First Printer, Grafton Street, Grendel’s Den, the Just Crust, the Russell House Tavern, The Sinclair and Temple Bar. Entertainment is by Bloco Afro Brazil, a percussion ensemble that combines traditional Brazilian grooves such as samba and axé with funk, rock, jazz and hip-hop. After just few beats everyone is clapping and dancing. Event information is here.
Tanglewood Marionettes perform “The Dragon King” at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Aidekman Arts Center, Cohen Auditorium, Tufts University, 40 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Tickets will be available at the door, cash only, for $10.
In this fantasy based on Chinese folklore, a terrible drought has overtaken the land and the world has turned brown and lifeless. A wise grandmother journeys to the bottom of the sea to seek the Dragon King and ask why, creating the setting for a family-friendly story with visual splendor, imagination and excitement. Tanglewood Marionettes calls it “a heart-warming tale that will thrill young and old alike.” Event information is here.
“Love is like a vampire,” according to Geek Comedy Night host Kevin Harrington. “It sucks.” With another bloody Valentines Day coming near, that means it’s time for Geek Comedy Night to look at the horrors and hilarity of dating with a lineup of comics you’ll love – until they leave you, and then you’ll just be left thinking wistfully of them as you (and your partner or spouse) lie tragically alone in bed that night: Kylie Alexander, Sarah Blodgett, Kaitlin Buckley, Maryellen De Vivo, Tom Franck, Wes Hazard, Amy Danse Macabre and Ryan Sawyer. Event information is here.
Beardfest on Sunday at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. Cost: $5 for general entry or registrants.
Contestants vie for prizes in five categories: natural full beard, free-style full beard, free-style mustache, free-style partial beard (including goatees, sideburns and any creative combination of the above) and – to be inclusive to all – best fake beard. There will be whimsical prizes for the winners (because what other prizes could an event this twee warrant?) and a reminder that this event is sort of a local winnowing of the weak for the Boston Beard Bureau’s hosting of the Northeast Regional Beard and Moustache Championships, coming Aug. 2. Competitors who choose to be shaven on site Sunday by the official Beardfest barber will be eligible to compete in the “six-month sprint” category in August.
Competitors, beard fans and family will have food and drink, scratchy music with DJ Pace, a make-your-own beard table and, of course, a room full of artistic facial hair. Event information is here.