We don’t mean to sound alarmist, but summer’s almost over. Take this chance to hit a rooftop barbecue with DJs and unlimited beer on the Kennedy Center’s roof, party with reggae bands, DJs and food trucks at Yards Park, groove poolside on the Donovan House’s roof, learn how to make seasonal cocktails or sip drinks with sand between your toes. You can also dance at events dedicated to the music of Michael Jackson and Count Basie (both of whom would have celebrated birthdays this week), bid on a date for charity in Bethesda or catch Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Trombone Shorty and Matt & Kim at a huge festival in Anne Arundel County.
Thursday, Aug. 25
“Fresh from the garden” is a mantra we hear again and again, whether it’s restaurants boasting about their produce or community organizations teaching all comers how to grow and can vegetables. But did you ever think about putting those herbs and peppers in your martini glass? PS7’s Gina Chersevani is a gardener as well as a top mixologist; her Secret Garden cocktail finds fresh basil, sage and thyme muddled with lemon before being stirred with sweet Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth. It’s floral, herbal and oh-so-summery. In her latest seminar for the Museum of the American Cocktail, called Fruits of the Harvest , Chersevani -- joined by Chef Geoff’s Elli Benchimol -- will show how to use seasonal produce in drinks and how to can and store it for the winter, when you’re dying for something beyond a hot toddy. You’ll be shown how to make four cocktails (and, more important, allowed to sample them), hors d’oeuvres will be passed and there will be a Q&A at the end. Space at Charlie Palmer is limited, so reservations are essential.
Don’t look now, but the unofficial end of summer (Labor Day) and the official end of summer (the autumn equinox) are just weeks away. There’s only so much time left for barbecues and outdoor parties, and they surely won’t get much better than the Dog Days of Summer Roof Terrace BBQ at the Kennedy Center. A $40 ticket gets all-you-can-eat meat from open-pit barbecue grills, local beers from DC Brau, Port City, Old Dominion and Fordham, tunes spun by DJ Raskal — a.k.a. Steve Raskin of funky local electronic groups Fort Knox Five and Thunderball — and stunning views up and down the Potomac River from the Kennedy Center’s roof.
There will be about 50 years of understated, dare we say, brilliance on stage at Iota when Richard Buckner and David Kilgour share a double bill. Buckner has played at Iota more than almost any other out-of-towner, making the Arlington club a home away from home. His new album, “Our Blood,” adds to his catalogue of haunting, deeply meditative folk songs. Onstage, he’s an imposing and entrancing figure — long hair, head down, eyes closed, singing his songs in half growl, half whisper. A much more rare treat is opening act David Kilgour. The singer-guitarist for New Zealand indie-pop icons the Clean is a cult favorite of cult favorites, and his new album, “Left by Soft,” features some of the most elegant guitar playing of his career. Because it costs a whole lot of money to fly a band from New Zealand to the U.S. for a tour, Kilgour will be going it alone, but even with just an acoustic guitar it’ll still be a treat.
The nonprofit group D.C. Blues Society sponsors the annual D.C. Blues Festival in Rock Creek Park, battles of the bands, blues jams and other events. To keep them all running, the group holds periodic fundraisers, which can be as much of a draw as the events they support. Take, for example, this week’s performance by guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks . The son of legendary Chicago blues singer-guitarist Lonnie Brooks, the younger Brooks recorded and toured with his dad for years, sharing the stage with B.B. King and Buddy Guy before striking out on his own. Piercing guitar lines and fat horns must run in the Brooks DNA, but Ronnie adds hints of ‘80s funk, rock and even hip-hop beats to his sound without alienating his father’s fanbase. He performs at Surf Club Live, where the old-school roadhouse feel ought to match the vibe.
Date auctions are great charity fundraisers. Seriously, who doesn’t enjoy bidding on the chance to take a good-looking someone out for the night — and maybe find true love? Mix 107.3’s Jack Diamond Morning Show has organized a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Caddies on Cordell in Bethesda. A $5 donation is good for $2.50 draft beers, $5 rail drinks and half-price appetizers, plus your chance to bid on nights out with eligible singles, including Aly Jacobs and Jimmy Alexander from the Jack Diamond show. (You can see photos and brief bios of all participants here.) Doors open at 6, the auction starts at 7:30 and the deals run until 9.
Friday, Aug. 26
Days after Michael Jackson died in 2009, DJ Dredd hosted “Remember the Time,” a tribute at Liv that featured nothing but Michael Jackson, Jackson 5 and Jacksons music for five hours while remixed videos played on large screens. People danced while singing along (loudly) and smiling broadly, many tearing up and hugging friends. It was cathartic. It was amazing. Dredd is bringing his bag of rare tracks by Michael Jackson, his family and friends to the 9:30 Club for Michael Jackson’s Birthday Celebration . We’re willing to bet the roof will be raised higher here than anywhere else in town, thanks to one of the city’s top DJs, who can turn any venue into an old-school house party, and some of the finest pop music ever recorded.
Saturday, Aug. 27
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the impending hurricane, the Silopanna Music Festival has been canceled and the Fete du Soul has been postponed.
If only new jobs were created at the rate of new music festivals, we’d be smack in the middle of one of the greatest economic booms ever. One of the newest entries in the crowded field of all-day music is the Silopanna Music Festival , which makes its debut at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds on Saturday. Even with three stages and 20 bands, it’s a modest affair -- the majority of the bands are local, including such Maryland stalwarts as Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and All Mighty Senators. The national headliners are well chosen for their ability to command a big stage: New Orleans jazz wild man Trombone Shorty and impossibly effervescent electro-pop duo Matt & Kim had no problem in front of thousands of fans at last year’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest. But the highlight will be the retro-soul of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. The pint-size singer has the voice of a long-lost Stax artist and stage presence that would have made the Godfather of Soul proud, and the Dap-Kings are the tightest backing funk band you could ask for.
Big Band great Count Basie would have turned 107 on Sunday, and one of D.C.’s finest jazz ensembles is wishing him a happy birthday at the Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom. It’s fair to say that few big bands can do Basie as well as the Tom Cunningham Orchestra , whether you’re talking about hard-charging numbers (”One O’Clock Jump”) or jazzy late-period swing (”Shiny Stockings”), and they’ll be covering all eras all night. This will be one birthday party jazz fans won’t want to miss, and it even kicks off with a free dance lesson from 8 to 9. The all-ages dance runs from 9 to midnight.
There are still some D.C. residents who haven’t experienced the outdoor delights of hanging out at Yards Park, and that’s a shame. The gorgeous space near Nats Stadium has hosted live music, dance, DJs, aerial performers, food trucks and art bazaars this summer, as well as folks wanting to simply cool off in the fountains with their kids. Continuing that stream of events, Fete Du Soul will run from noon to 10 p.m. with a reggae band and a full slate of house DJs, including Sam “The Man” Burns. All you have to bring are good vibes, and maybe some shades.
To be honest, our first thought was “This sounds like a fraternity theme party,” but what the heck: The Town Tavern is marking the end of summer with a Flip Flop Farewell bash. Two tons of sand will be trucked in to coat the floor of the Adams Morgan bar, and the all-night specials include $4 beach shooters, $5 Sex on the Beach cocktails and $3 domestic beers. If you RSVP at on the Town Tavern Web site, you even get a free open bar from 8 to 9.
Sunday, Aug. 28
The lightly crisp bite in the air is starting to make the thermal death that was July feel like a distant memory, and we’re entering that cusp period before hoodies and blazers come out. This is one of the most exquisite times to socialize in the open air in Washington. La Especiale on the Donovan House roof was one of the best weekly events earlier this year before paring down to occasional one-offs around town. The jazzy, sexy Latin-flavored electronica spun by Adrian Loving and Tee Alford returns to the roofdeck of the Beacon this evening, beginning at 5 p.m. Admission is free.
It’s pretty rare these days for Dischord to release a full-length album, so when it happens you can be pretty sure of two things: 1) They truly dig it. 2) The band features members that used to be in another Dischord band. The second is certainly true with Office of Future Plans (frontman J Robbins used to be in Jawbox, of course), and even though we haven’t heard the band’s album due out in November, a single released earlier this year and their consistently forceful live shows have us thinking it will be a keeper. Catch the band at DC9.