Friday, May 31
Pride kickoff party at Smithsonian American Art Museum: The events most associated with Capital Pride — the parade through Dupont and Logan circles, and the sprawling festival on Pennsylvania Avenue NW — take place the weekend of June 8-9, but Pride festivities actually begin May 31. The first big party takes place at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Aquaria takes over the Kogod Courtyard for a DJ set, and local performers include Mundy, Ruth Allen Ginsburg and KC B. Yonce. Tickets include an open bar with Tito’s cocktails created by D.C. bartenders. 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. $60-$75.
National Symphony Orchestra at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: The National Symphony Orchestra has increasingly performed outside the hallowed halls of the Kennedy Center in recent years, resulting in programs such as the popular NSO in Your Neighborhood series. For the first time in almost two decades, the NSO is visiting the largest Catholic church in America, as conductor and music director Gianandrea Noseda leads the orchestra through a program that includes Wagner and Debussy. 7 p.m. Free.
‘The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl’ at the Japan Information & Culture Center: By now you probably know that the Embassy of Japan is the place to go for screenings of the best anime films in D.C. That continues on Friday with “The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl,” which tells the tale of one girl’s night on the town that turns into a surreal journey through Kyoto. The film is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, best known for his cult 2004 hit, “Mind Game.” Early registration tickets have sold out, but first-come, first-served tickets will be available from 4 to 6 p.m. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Free.
Sixth anniversary party at Showtime: This intimate Bloomingdale bar has become a treasured neighborhood haunt in six short years. Fitting the usual low-frills atmosphere, the anniversary party caters to the bar’s regulars. Look for the usual drink specials throughout the day and a special performance by house band Granny & the Boys from 7 to 10 p.m., followed by DJ trio Punk Soul Sisters, until close. 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. No cover charge.
Weyes Blood at U Street Music Hall: There’s a grand, cinematic scope and sound to “Titanic Rising,” Natalie Mering’s fourth album as Weyes Blood. The singer-songwriter, 30, has said the album’s title is a reference to both James Cameron’s 1997 film and the ship itself (there’s also a song titled, quite simply, “Movies”). Climate change weighs heavily thematically — the cover finds Mering in a bedroom that’s underwater — and many of the album’s lush, orchestral ballads are dark, even apocalyptic. But there’s also levity. The upbeat “Everyday,” for example, includes the seemingly hopeful line “true love is making a comeback,” yet the single’s video, which Mering directed, plays out like a mini-horror movie. Those contradictions help make “Titanic Rising” one of this year’s most captivating releases. 7 p.m. Sold out.
Duff McKagan and Shooter Jennings at City Winery: As the bassist for Guns N’ Roses, Duff McKagan helped welcome countless rockers to the jungle of Los Angeles. One such fan was Shooter Jennings, who met McKagan nearly 20 years ago, when he moved west in an attempt to leave the shadow of his father, country icon Waylon Jennings. In the years since, both McKagan and Jennings have followed their own paths, which have now converged: The two are sharing a studio and the stage, with Jennings producing McKagan’s “Tenderness,” an album that finds the older, wiser rocker tackling the turmoil of the day over Stones-inspired rock. 8 p.m. $40.
Saturday, June 1
Juniotónico: a Gintonic Festival at Estadio: The basic gin and tonic may have been created by British army officers in India, but the quintessential summer cocktail has been revolutionized by the Spanish, who carefully mix-and-match gins, tonics and garnishes to create a drink that’s more than just a highball. Estadio celebrates the “Gintonic” with a month-long festival that includes rotating house-made tonics (think strawberry and coconut or melon and cucumber) paired with just the right gin. At least 60 rare Spanish gins are available for tasting — beverage director Adam Bernbach hosts a Gintonic tasting and seminar on June 15 — and guest bartenders will bring their own flavors every Monday night. Through June 30. Admission free for all events except the seminar, which costs $15.
NE Eats at DC Brau: Northeast Washington has become the focal point of Washington food and drink scene, home to the majority of the city’s breweries and distilleries, as well as food incubators such as Union Kitchen and Tastemakers Kitchen. Get a taste of this delicious quadrant during NE Eats at DC Brau, where producers of barbecue, ice cream, ramen, pies, coffee, beer and whiskey (among other treats) offer unlimited tastes. 4 to 8 p.m. $20-$50.
Bourbon and Bluegrass at Lincoln’s Cottage: There’s more bourbon and more bluegrass at President Lincoln’s Cottage this year, after organizers added an extra hour to the annual weekend festival. Three different acts will play each day, and tickets include two bourbon cocktails and beer samples from local breweries. Beyond music and beverages, activities include beard grooming (Honest Abe would approve), guided tours of the grounds, lawn games and square dancing, while food trucks offer snacks for sale. Through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. $65 adults, $35 ages 7 to 20, free for children 6 and younger.
Dupont Kalorama Museum Walk: When visitors come to town, the Smithsonians and the National Gallery of Art are usually top of the must-visit list. But this city is full of cultural attractions, and this weekend, five institutions near Dupont Circle are opening their doors as part of the Dupont Kalorama Museum Walk. If you haven’t been to the Federal-era Dumbarton House, the Woodrow Wilson House or the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, this is the perfect time to visit — and it’s also a chance to reacquaint yourself with the permanent collection at the better-known, and recently renovated, Phillips Collection. Through Sunday. Hours vary by museum. Free.
Beer in the Burbs at Fairfax Old Town Square: The first craft beer festival in Fairfax City features 14 breweries from around the Old Dominion, including Chaos Mountain, Brothers and Old Ox, as well as Fairfax’s own Ornery and Chubby Squirrel. The event celebrates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, bringing classic rock bands to the family-friendly party in Old Town Square. Noon to 5 p.m. Free admission; sample pours are $3, while full pints are $8.
Takoma Trukgarten at Takoma Park: Explore Maryland’s brewing scene one tasting ticket at a time at Takoma Trukgarten. This annual event in charming Takoma Park brings together local breweries and restaurants for the afternoon. Astro Lab, Denizens and Silver Branch — from downtown Silver Spring — will be there, along with breweries from farther out like Ellicott City’s Manor Hill. Nonstop live music makes this a party, one that also caters to nondrinkers and families (anyone younger than 21 gets in free, and dogs are welcome, too). Noon to 5 p.m. $10-$45.
Mystery Friends at Black Cat: Since forming in 2016, Mystery Friends have been — in their words — making “moderately danceable rock music for a time when people need a reason to dance.” The D.C. five-piece is being self-deprecating about their ability to get punks to dance. The group’s music hits the familiar notes of new wave and synth-pop, made timeless with a solid foundation of pop-rock songwriting and the dramatic vocals of frontwoman Abby Sevcik. And unlike the title of a slow-burning recent single, this isn’t just “Empty Nostalgia”: It’s an invitation to open the pit and reveal the dance floor beneath. 8 p.m. $15.
Sunday, June 2
‘The Life of Animals in Japanese Art’ at the National Gallery of Art: The National Zoo won’t be the only must-see D.C. destination for animal lovers this summer: Find snakes, deer, sparrows, foxes, frogs and more creatures depicted at this exhibition at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. The art on display will span 16 centuries, and many of the approximately 180 works coming from Japan rarely leave that country. The pieces, which include everything from ceramic plates to kimonos, will be divided into such thematic sections as “The Japanese Zodiac” or “The World of the Samurai.” Through Aug. 18. Free.
Thouxanbanfauni at Songbyrd: Earlier this month, Thouxanbanfauni tweeted, “It’s a great feeling seeing SoundCloud artist[s] flourish.” Count the Chattanooga-born, Atlanta-raised rapper among that group, which turned the streaming platform into the home of and shorthand for the most claustrophobic, apocalyptic sound in hip-hop. Thouxanbanfauni started uploading woozy tracks back in 2015, rapping about conspicuous consumption over bass that obliterated and synthesizers that scintillated with a goth energy that mixed high fashion and ultra violence (he once rapped about a “Saint Laurent Full Metal Jacket”). Fauni hasn’t hit the peaks of frequent collaborator Playboi Carti, but he helped paved the way — and he’s flourishing, too. 8 p.m. $18-$22.
D.C. crab cake competition at Ivy City Smokehouse: What happens when you pit eight chefs from Washington restaurants to put an individual spin on a favorite local dish? You get the 14th edition of the D.C. Crab Cake Showdown. Ivy City Smokehouse will host chefs from Coconut Club, Pappe and Hank’s Oyster Bar, among others, to craft their best crab cake — using True Blue Maryland crab meat — and you get to be the judge. If one sea creature isn’t enough for you, there will also be an oyster bar, smoked fish assortment and New England clam chowder station. One ticket gets you all of this as well as beer, wine and liquor. Noon to 3 p.m. $85.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Rudi Greenberg and Chris Kelly