Friday, July 19
‘Apollo 50: Go For the Moon’ on the Mall: The Smithsonian Institution has a wide array of tributes to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, but the most impressive might be this showcase on Friday and Saturday. Tuesday through Thursday, you’ll see a projection of the Saturn V rocket on the facade of the Washington Monument between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. But stake out a spot on the Mall on Friday and Saturday for an immersive 17-minute spectacle that will simulate the launch of Apollo 11. A short film, combining archival footage and newly drawn artwork, will be projected onto the monument and adjacent 40-foot-wide screens that will re-create the Kennedy Space Center’s countdown clock. You have three chances each night to catch this massive production on the Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle (between Ninth and 12th streets NW), which means fewer excuses for missing it. 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Free.
‘Jaws’ at Congressional Cemetery: The sign on the wrought-iron gate of Congressional Cemetery reads: “Beware, all souls who enter here,” but in keeping with the tongue-in-cheeky attitude for which this Capitol Hill landmark is known, the warning doesn’t refer to anything especially ghastly. It’s simply a reminder that neighborhood dogs (with permits) are allowed to roam free inside the fence, and that the 1807 site, while historic, is still an active burial ground. The emphasis is on “active”: In addition to regular tours, the cemetery hosts yoga workouts, a horror-themed book club, live music and, during the summer, a “Cinematery” film series showing scary movies among the tombstones. Friday brings the summer suspense classic “Jaws” to the lawn. 8:30 p.m.; gates open at 7. $10 suggested donation.
‘I Am . . . Contemporary Women Artists of Africa’ at the National Museum of African Art: About five years ago, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art determined that only 11 percent of the artists with works in its collection — those identified by name, as opposed to anonymous traditional artisans — were women. The museum then embarked on an ambitious push to acquire more work by women, doubling its holdings by female artists to 22 percent today. Drawn from its permanent collection, the exhibition “I Am . . . Contemporary Women Artists of Africa” highlights these efforts, featuring modern and contemporary work by 27 artists, including some who are internationally recognized, such as Ghada Amer, Zanele Muholi and Wangechi Mutu, and others whose names will probably be unfamiliar to most visitors. Through July 5, 2020. Free.
Artscape in Baltimore: Baltimore’s annual summer blowout boasts that it is the largest free arts festival in the country, and once you’ve wandered the streets around the Midtown and Station North neighborhoods, you’ll believe it. In addition to numerous stages of live music — this year’s headliners include R&B group S.W.V.; former James Brown bassist Fred Thomas hosting a James Brown dance party; and ska legends the English Beat — there are film and animation screenings, street performances by the Baltimore Rock Opera, markets for artists, a silent disco, a video game showcase, a book fair and fine art exhibits. The street festival runs for three days, and that still might not be enough time to experience it all. Through Sunday. Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free.
’America: The Game Show’ at Gala Hispanic Theatre: The production at Gala Hispanic Theatre may be called “America: The Game Show,” but your knowledge of high school history won’t help you win big. This wacky game show-meets-performance art piece comes from the same team that hosts Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club, so you should be ready for competitions called “Extreme Vetting” and “The 1% Relay” and burlesque performances by our Founding Fathers as part of “Naked Moments in American History.” It’s a celebration of Americana that goes to some weird, wonderful and hilarious places. Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m. $22.
Harriet Brown at Songbyrd: For many of us, window shopping or Amazon trawling can help us reach a happier state when we’re not feeling our best. But no matter how good a salve, such retail therapy can’t cure underlying issues — a truth hinted at by Harriet Brown as he sings, “I’m just one choice away from purchasing away this pain” on his song “Retail Therapy.” The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter explores consumerism-as-coping-mechanism throughout “Mall of Fortune,” an album that helped him deal with all those subterranean emotions that drive the phenomenon. For him, that meant tackling the anxiety, paranoia and decision paralysis his move to L.A. and his experiences in the music industry spurred. 9 p.m. $10 suggested donation.
Saturday, July 20
‘The Eagle Has Landed’ at the National Air and Space Museum: At 10:56 p.m. Eastern time on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon. The exact moment of the golden anniversary will be marked at the Air and Space Museum, which is staying open until 2 a.m. for the occasion. Highlights include space trivia competitions, stargazing, a space suit fashion show, scavenger hunts through the museum, and a performance by Quindar, an electronic music duo that remixes NASA’s audio archive. The museum’s theater will show a variety of films throughout the night, including documentaries and the short comedy “To Plant a Flag,” capped with an after-midnight screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Films require free or purchased tickets.
D.C. Zinefest at Art Enables: Newsflash: Print is not dead. The Internet can be a wonderful place to digest all sorts of information, since anyone is able to share their thoughts and wisdom in a matter of seconds. But even in a connected world, it’s hard to beat the handmade touch of a good zine. Browse through the selection of zine-makers at D.C. Zinefest for a look at some of the area’s most eclectic and fascinating offerings. This is the ninth year for the D.I.Y. festival, which offers a creative refuge for artists and writers. Remember to bring some cash if you plan to buy a handful. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
Fort Dupont Summer Series Kickoff at Fort Dupont Park: For more than four decades, the Fort Dupont Summer Concert Series has brought the funk — and jazz, and soul, and go-go — to an amphitheater in Southeast Washington. This year’s free music series launches with two classic cover bands: A Tribute to the Music of Motown and the Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute Band. Gates open at 6 p.m., and picnicking is encouraged before the concert begins at 7. Future weeks include legendary go-go band Rare Essence (Aug. 3) and “Soulful Summer” with R&B star Raheem DeVaughn. 7 p.m. Free.
Fantastic Female Filmmakers at Warner Bros. Theater: One of the best ways to beat the heat is to find refuge in an air-conditioned movie theater, and the Smithsonian’s American History Museum might have the best programming this weekend, with four films from female filmmakers at the Warner Bros. Theater. Saturday night’s double feature includes Penny Marshall’s baseball classic “A League of Their Own” and Sofia Coppola’s lovely “Lost in Translation.” Sunday brings a pairing of “Monsoon Wedding,” the underrated gem from Indian director Mira Nair, and Ava Duvernay’s bracing civil rights story “Selma.” Through Sunday. Showtimes vary. $9-$10 per film.
‘Queens of Egypt’ Family Day at the National Geographic Museum: The “Queens of Egypt” exhibit at National Geographic offers close-up looks at stunning jewelry and sarcophagi, and a virtual tour of a tomb in the Valley of the Queens. But it gets even more immersive at this Saturday’s Family Day. In addition to free or reduced-price admission, activities include a simulated archaeological dig, talks with Egyptologists and paleontologists, movie screenings (“Mummies 3D”) and Egyptian-style face painting and henna tattoos. Tickets are for entry on the hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. $5 for visitors 5 and older; free admission for children younger than 5.
Shrub Life Festival at Emergence Community Arts Collective: Almost everyone could stand to include a few more veggies in their diet, so head to Columbia Heights for a festival dedicated to all things plants. A number of plant-based restaurants and vendors bring together a sampling of food, cooking demonstrations and seminars, all to teach you how to maintain a more eco-friendly diet. Noon to 6 p.m. $10; children 16 and under admitted free.
Rocket Frog’s Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration: Rocket Frog Brewing takes its name from the famous photo of a frog flying through the air during a rocket launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore, so it’s not surprising that they’re making a big deal of a NASA-related celebration. Watch historic NASA footage on a big screen while sipping $5 pints, such as the Wallops Island Brown Ale or the Minotaur V Blonde Ale, or try a special $10 Apollo 11 flight. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free admission; beer and food priced individually.
Sunday, July 21
‘How Did This Get Made?’ at DAR Constitution Hall: For nearly a decade, comedians and actors Paul Scheer (“Black Monday”), June Diane Raphael (“Grace and Frankie”) and Jason Mantzoukas (“The Good Place”) have been giving people a reason to sit through bad movies. Although they’re not capable of turning “Burlesque,” “The Meg,” or “Super Mario Bros.” into cinematic masterpieces, the trio’s long-running podcast, “How Did This Get Made?,” does make watching those films worthwhile. On each episode, the improv veterans and a celebrity guest hilariously dissect a terrible movie by running through the plot (and any plot holes), quoting memorable lines and questioning odd artistic choices. The group regularly hosts live recordings of the show in Los Angeles and has appeared in the District at the Bentzen Ball. Now they’re taking the podcast on the road with a full tour, with a different movie each night — Washington has lucked out with the 1992 Madonna/Willem Dafoe thriller “Body of Evidence.” 7:30 p.m. $45.
Belgian Independence Day at the Sovereign: It’s been 188 years since Leopold of Saxe-Coburg became the first king of an independent Belgium, and that calls for a celebration. Of the Belgian National Day celebrations in the District, the best (in our humble and non-Belgian opinion) is at the Sovereign, where 21 Belgian and Belgian-style American beers are half-price all day. Go traditional with a bottle of Brussels’ Cantillion Gueze ($12.50), or celebrate American-Belgo friendship with the Veil’s No More Sleep, a dark saison aged in bourbon barrels ($20). Doors open at noon. Free admission; beers priced individually.
Carly Rae Jepsen at the Fillmore Silver Spring: It would have been easy to write off Carly Rae Jepsen as a one-hit wonder after “Call Me Maybe” burrowed into your ears in 2011. But her sparkling 2015 album, “Emotion,” proved that the Canadian singer had hits to spare by blending the infectious maximalism of 1980s synth pop with such flourishes as decadent saxophone solos — which gracefully straddled the line of beautiful exuberance and corniness. Jepsen’s latest album, “Dedicated,” also looks to the past, with the 33-year-old songstress shifting her approach to more sultry disco ballads. While it doesn’t quite soar to the highs of its predecessor (a plea to all pop artists: There are producers other than Jack Antonoff), the album is a determined piece of work that shows Jepsen is here to stay. 8 p.m. Sold out.
Dark Thoughts at Comet Ping Pong: When it comes to rock-and-roll, everything old will eventually be new again. So, if you fed a scrappy 21st-century bar band a steady diet of old Ramones albums, you might get something like the Philadelphia punk trio Dark Thoughts. The band’s latest effort, “At Work,” barrels through 12 tracks in 19 minutes, bursting at the seams with perpetual-motion power chords, incisive melodies and forlorn lyrics about the struggles of trying to get by in this world. 9 p.m. $12.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Rudi Greenberg, Chris Kelly, Vanessa H. Larson and Michael O’Sullivan