10 things to do in the D.C. area on Labor Day weekend

August 29, 2013

The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art. For even more, check out Nightlife Agenda.


Worth the trip: The Grand Prix returns to the streets of downtown Baltimore this weekend. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Thursday-Monday: Drum line fans: This weekend brings the Drum Corps Associates World Championships to Annapolis, with tons of all-ages corps from around the country competing. Thursday, get a peek at their skills free when the teams drum up support on Annapolis's City Dock, beginning at 5 p.m.

Friday: This is the time of year when Michael Jackson fans get heavy in the heart. The feeling sets in more intensely as his Aug. 29 birthday approaches, and the only way to get your spirit right is to blame it on the boogie and turn the disco out. You just have to choose wisely though – don’t play yourself by partying with folks who can’t do justice to the King of Pop’s rich and varied catalog. You have to work the hits, but you need the B-sides and album cuts as well. You have to create a narrative that doesn't just rely on nostalgia. Let DJ Dredd be your guide during MJ Day at the 9:30 Club and you’ll be covered.

Friday-Sunday:  Washington has enough trouble with bicycles on Pennsylvania Avenue, so it's hard to imagine open-wheeled IndyCars driving upwards of 180 mph in the downtown core. But Baltimore has no such reservations about hosting a high-speed rally through city streets, which makes the Grand Prix of Baltimore's two-mile, 12-turn course near the Inner Harbor so appealing to onlookers. Races take place all weekend, but the main event, an IZOD IndyCar Series race, starts Sunday afternoon.

Friday-Sunday: Sip and snack your way through some of the best eats and drinks of the area in a splendid setting at the first Epicurience Virginia, a multi-day, multi-venue food and wine festival that brings in top chefs from the District, Virginia and beyond. The big event is Saturday's grand tasting; for $95, you can get the Saturday Grand Tasting experience, a multitude of Virginia wines, demonstrations from such chefs as Al Dente's Roberto Donna, food trucks for snacking and bluegrass music. Other upscale events include a dinner at the new Salamander Resort and a  "Roaring 20s Dinner and Speakeasy" at Oatlands Plantation.

Saturday: The D.C. Blues Society marks the silver anniversary of its DC Blues Festival with a family-friendly day of music at Carter Barron on Saturday, a show that will also close out the season of summer events at the outdoor venue.  Albert Castiglia, a Florida guitarist who draws his sharp boogies from the spirit of Albert Collins, headlines the event, which also features Washington's top blues talent from noon to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday-Monday: The Kennedy Center's 12th annual Page-to-Stage Festival features three days of open rehearsals, play readings and conversations with playwrights and composers from 40 local theater companies. Find out what's in the works from dog & pony dc, Synetic Theater, Theater J, the Washington Improv Theater, Theater Alliance and others Saturday from noon to 10:30 p.m., Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. and Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. And it's completely free.

Saturday: After John Mayer underwent two surgeries in two years to remove growths from his vocal cords, fans wondered if he'd ever perform again. As if. The bluesy rocker is on the road supporting 2012's "Born and Raised," a tour that had to be postponed after his last operation. Mayer also released a new album, "Paradise Valley," earlier this month, and finally returns to Washington on a tour that hits Jiffy Lube Live on Saturday.

Saturday: Washington's West African dance company, KanKouran, celebrates the life of co-founder Abdou Kounta with "Kounta Balamoure," a performance by former KanKouran dancers and drummers who trained under Kounta during the company's early years. The 8 p.m. event at George Washington Lisner Auditorium serves as KanKouran's 30th annual concert.

Sunday-Jan. 5: The National Gallery of Art presents "Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Press," a new show featuring works by influential artists who had ties to the San Francisco printmaking studio between 1972 and 2010, including John Cage, Richard Diebenkorn, Chuck Close and Sol Lewitt. The exhibition's focus is not so much on the finished product but the preliminary working proofs which reveal unintentional, often accidental beginnings to some of the artists' most memorable prints.

Saturday: It's the official kickoff of the pop-up concert series at the Lot at Union Kitchen in Northeast D.C. The Lot is run by the team behind Union Kitchen, which rents commercial kitchen space to food truck operators, caterers and start-up businesses. They turn the Kitchen’s asphalt parking lot into a low-key neighborhood version of Truckeroo Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m., through the fall.

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Alex Baldinger · August 29, 2013