It’s a week of celebrations: Celebrate Belgium’s independence day with rare and delicious beers, Ernest Hemingway’s birthday with daquiris and local hip-hop MC Phil Ade’s new album at a record release party. We’re also excited about a free performance by Grammy-nominated R&B singer Emily King, watching “Wet Hot American Summer” while lounging poolside, packing into Velvet Lounge for T Model Ford’s gut-bucket blues, sampling $2 beers at Chinatown Coffee Company’s summer happy hour and feasting on crabs at the Waterfront.
Wednesday, July 20
Charismatic local MC Phil Ade created one of the best D.C. hip-hop albums of 2010 with “The Letterman.” He looks to build on that momentum with “A Different World,” his new mixtape that features production from 9th Wonder and guest appearances by Raheem DeVaughn and Mikey Rocks of the Cool Kids. DeVaughn will be one of the special guests at the “A Different World” release party at U Street Music Hall.
Belgian Restaurant Week might as well be called “Belgian Beer and Restaurant Week,” given the number of beer-and-mussel-related events going on this week. Greg Kitsock has a nice little roundup over on the All We Can Eat blog, and one highlight has to be a chance to sample three Duvel drafts -- include Duvel Single and the rare Duvel Triple Hop -- at Belga Cafe. If you’re lucky, you’ll also grab some of Ommegang’s new (and very limited) Belgian Independence Day Summer Saison, which is brewed with the peppery African grains of paradise.
Thursday, July 21
Continuing on the Belgian beer kick, Thursday is Belgium’s Independence Day, and there will be parties at all the Belgian restaurants in the area. From 5 until close, Brasserie Beck is offering all beers for half-price ($3-$6 each), passing around free appetizers and giving away glasses, T-shirts and other swag. The Rusticos in Alexandria and Ballston will be hosting parties with specials on the malty amber Palm Ale and giving away glassware for every beer purchased. And Belga Cafe is the site of the traditional end-of-the-night party with music, dancing to a DJ and lots of beer.
What goes together better than summer movies and a pool? Sixth and I Historic Synagogue’s annual Dive-In Movie pool party returns to the Capitol Skyline this week with a screening of “Wet Hot American Summer.” Since it’s a film about the last day of summer camp in 1981, refreshments include s’mores and alcohol-spiked bug juice and there’s a summer camp costume contest to help you get in the spirit of things. Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Gates open at 7, and you’ll want to get there early to pick out the perfect deck chair. (You can also watch the film while floating in the pool.) The movie begins at sundown.
Durham hip-hop/jazz band the Beast has crafted a tribute to Keith Elam — better known as Guru of hip-hop icons Gang Starr — called “Guru Legacy.” From the menacing monotone and asphalt beats that make up the bulk of the Gang Starr catalog to the more relaxed Jazzmatazz series, Guru’s work provides a lot of angles for a modern jazz group to interpret. Rapper, crooner and beatsmith Kokayi and jazz vocalist Akua Allrich join the Beast for their EP release at Bohemian Caverns.
When Ernest Hemingway lived in Havana, he drank at a famous cocktail bar called El Floridita, along with Gary Cooper, John Dos Passos and other authors and celebrities. It was the birthplace of the frozen daiquiri, and also the Papa Doble, or Hemingway Daquiri: white rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice and lime juice. Strong and refreshing -- sounds perfect for the current heatwave. In honor of Hemingway’s 112th birthday , Cuba Libre is serving up Papa Dobles for $5 at happy hour (4:30 to 6:30). It won’t be the same as lifting a glass at El Floridita, where a lifesize bronze statue of Hemingway props up his favorite corner of the bar, but it will do.
Friday, July 22
Is there a better deal for R&B fans than the Park at 14th’s ongoing “Park Unplugged” series? Angie Stone, Talib Kweli, Glenn Lewis and Joe have all taken the stage at the upscale lounge for intimate - and free - performances in recent months. This week, you can catch Emily King , a New Yorker blessed with a lush, soulful voice. Her 2006 debut, “East Side Story,” garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album and led to tours with Floetry and John Legend. On her new seven-track EP, “Seven,” she broadens her sound with more pop touches among the neo-soul tunes (a la Alicia Keys). The night starts with $5 cocktails from 5 to 8 p.m., and King should take the stage about 10 p.m. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get your name on the guest list for free admission.
If the Velvet Lounge has ever been more packed than it was last February when T-Model Ford played there . . . well, let’s hope they kept it a secret from the safety inspectors. Dozens of people were turned away, and those who got in were packed shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get a glimpse of the 90-year-old bluesman. That’s tough because he performs sitting down — he’s 90, of course he does. But as long as you could hear him churn out his rough-and-tumble Delta blues licks, that was good enough. If you missed him in February, he’s coming back to the U Street club with a drummer in tow. Expect him to turn the place into an old-school juke joint and jam well into the night.
If you work near Gallery Place, you probably think of Chinatown Coffee Co. as the hip little spot to get a fantastic cup of joe on the way to the office. Fair enough. But the place also puts the “bar” in “barista” with a tidy summer beer menu that includes Avery IPA, Bell’s Oberon, Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and Anderson Valley Summer Solstice for $5 or less. Here’s your excuse to check the place out at happy hour: This Friday’s Summer Beer Fest features $2 cans of DC Brau, the local brew that’s taking the city by storm, and 25 percent off every other beer between 5 and 9 p.m. You really can’t afford to miss this, beer lovers.
The city that birthed Marvin Gaye and sent him into the world fetes him with an all-star tribute at the Warner Theatre — or rather the Sugar Shack — for one evening. Simply Marvin features Eric Roberson, Washington’s own Tamara Wellons and Levi Stephens and hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari leading a tour through Gaye’s work with dance interpretation by Capitol Movement, Urban Artistry, DC Casineros and DB’s MVPs.
Saturday, July 23
The French Touch dance music of the mid-to-late 1990s created some major stars, including Daft Punk and Air. But Parisian DJ Etienne de Crecy , whose Super Discount compilations helped the scene garner international attention, sometimes seems to get lost in their wake. He shouldn’t. His new wave-tinged electro-house, full of gritty analogue keyboard riffs, bubbling bass and driving four-on-the-floor drums, is perfectly suited for the dance floor, and his straight forays into techno and electro are equally pleasing. On his first visit to D.C. years, de Crecy is joined by Ursula 1000, the Brooklyn-based DJ and producer whose eclectic combinations of vintage Latin funk, bouncy disco and retro grooves make for some of our favorites Eighteenth Street Lounge Records releases. Admission is free before 11 for everyone 21 and older, and $10 after that. Those under 21 can buy $10 tickets in advance, but not at the door.
Is there a summer day that’s not a good time for a crab feast? Local nonprofit DC Sail, which organizes sailing lessons for underserved youth, is hosting Blue Crabs N Bluegrass at Phillips on the Southwest Waterfront to raise money for scholarships. The $80 crab feast, which runs from 5 to 8, includes all-you-can-eat crabs, sides, beer and wine. Meanwhile, on the deck, Human Country Jukebox will be playing the songs of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., the Oak Ridge Boys, Garth Brooks and other country hitmakers from 6 to 10. Admission to the show is $10, and there will be a cash bar. Get more information and advance tickets from www.dcsail.org.
Monday, July 25
If you want to play the Former Bands Game, then Monday’s Fort Reno bill is tough to top. Q and Not U and Jawbox are two of D.C.’s most beloved groups of the past few decades, but there’s no need to rely on memories -- Title Tracks (ex-Q and Not U) and Office of Future Plans (ex-Jawbox) have plenty of original musical offerings that can proudly stand next to the classic material.
Tuesday, July 26
If you get to Iota on Tuesday and don’t see any instruments onstage, don’t worry - that’s how it’s supposed to be. The three women of Mountain Man simply use their voices to make memorable songs. Save for quiet, gently plucked acoustic guitar, the nectar-sweet harmonies of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath are all you’ll hear, and it’s almost certain to leave you entranced. The songwriting is basic, drawing influences from such old-time American genres as Appalachian folk, gospel and even barbershop, and helps give the songs a timeless quality.
Bake Sale is a band of young girls from Memphis who play delightfully imperfect tunes. Mostly, they are pretty, strummy slices of lo-fi pop. When a few slightly off-key harmonies sneak in there, it only manages to make them all the more charming. Fellow Tennesseans Paperhead and locals Moon Freckles also play at Comet Ping Pong.