The Freedom Party, One Step Beyond, Jackpot, And Love Tempo Headline Your Weekend In Nightlife

Start your Friday off with a little Happy Hour. The Lower East Side's Panda hosts the appropriately named Pregame to ease you into your night out (or, in our case, ease you back home to a backlog of Boardwalk Empire) with a mix of disco, hip-hop, and funk. DJs Project Matt and Jimmy 2 Times hold down the 7-to-10-p.m. soiree and encourage you to come through before "Chad and Becky" show up. Ha!

Staying in Manhattan for the evening? Head to Le Poisson Rouge for the newly crowned Paper Magazine People's Choice winner for Best Party: the Freedom Party, which is to Manhattan as the Rub is to Brooklyn, to give you an idea. Marc Smooth, Cosi, and Herbert Holler play a mix of soul, funk, hip-hop, New Jack Swing, r&b, and all things smooth to a wonderfully diverse crowd of dancers. What used to be a strictly "grown" event has slowly become home to scenesters on their night off from Williamsburg as well. (Or, as the hosts themselves put it, "real music for real people".) Tickets are $10 at the door. Further uptown, The Fader hosts One Step Beyond, a monthly concert and DJ series at the American Museum of Natural History. Tonight's lineup includes performances by Shabazz Palaces, Blockhead, and the Activaire DJs. Tickets are a bit spendy ($25), but include a free return trip to the museum.

If you're in Brooklyn for the night, head over to the Commodore in Williamsburg. Funktastic fete Jackpot has returned after laying low for a while, and we couldn't be happier about it. Resident DJs Still Life and Smallchange have given the party a 777 theme -- as in, they'll be playing seven-inches from the '50s through the '70s. They promise r&b, rare early disco, soul, garage rock, and of course, funk. You'll probably hear something you've never heard before, and Smallchange will more than likely be willing to talk to you about it. The lounge-y affair is free, so there's no reason not to go. Over in South Brooklyn, make your way over to Diety for an edition of I Love Chocolate. Get over the vaguely uncomfortable party name and get down to smooth jams and lots of hip-hop courtesy of tonight's DJs, Pete Rock and D-Nice. Cover is $10, and you'll probably have to look nice (no sneakers) to get in.

On Saturday, we'll recommend you schlep around Williamsburg. If you're looking for breezy disco tunes and a ridiculously happy (the people!) atmosphere to enjoy them in, head over to Rose Live Music for tonight's edition of Love Tempo. Drrtyhaze's resident DJ Drilla plays alongside guests DJ BLT and Daniel Clapp. It's free, too. For a little more soul, make your way to Glasslands for this month's Soul Clap. New York Night Train's Jonathan Toubin hosts the fete and inevitable dance-off it will inspire: Expect a lot of funk, soul, Motown, and even some old-school rock to keep you dancing until the early morning. Yes, there is a Soul Train-esque dance competition, too, though you're not required to participate. Winner gets a bunch of cash from the door, which is worth it, considering you're only paying $5 to get in.

Over at Surreal Estate, promoter and DJ Anton Glamb hosts another grimy dance-party extravaganza. This time, the Radio 1 Party will feature music by Twig the Wonderkid, James David, Dan 2600, and Glamb himself. Somewhere in the mix, Natural Fathers and Friends perform live. The party is $10 to get into, $5 with RSVP. As for other grungy fetes, the Shank finally opens its doors at a reasonable time ("officially", at least) for it's "Grand Opening." The show features the usual favorites, including Cool Hand Luke, the Death Set, Japanther, So So Death, and Weekends. It's been noted that this is the "party before the afterparty," so we're sure there will be much more mayhem to come after the show's 2 a.m. closing. Tickets are $10, and the thing is 18+. A word of advice: ID any girls you drunkenly consider making out with.

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