Friday, Aug. 2
Asian American Literature Festival at various locations: Does the thought of sitting through a book lecture completely turn you off? Then perhaps the Smithsonian’s Asian American Literature Festival might be for you. The three-day affair, taking place at Eaton Hotel, Library of Congress and Freer/Sackler galleries, boasts a range of out-of-the-box, immersive offerings that go beyond the scope of a typical book festival. For starters, festivalgoers can hear stories centered on queer issues in a spooky indoor retreat, or take in literary readings from performers as they sing verses from their favorite pop songs in “Queer Literaoke.” There’s also the option to get “literary mani-pedis” while learning more about Vietnamese refugee nail salon labor issues. The kicker of this entire event: You don’t need to be up-to-snuff on Asian American literature to enjoy what the festival has to offer. Through Sunday. Free.
D.C. Tiki Trail: There’s something about the steamy dog days of August that makes a frozen piña colada or rum-filled pineapple even more appealing than usual. Thankfully, the D.C. Tiki Trail is back to get you through the slowest, swampiest month of the year. Fifteen bars have put special tiki cocktails on their menus as part of the third-annual scavenger hunt, and each one you order earns a stamp on the Tiki Trail “treasure map.” Eventually, the clues will reveal the location of an invitation-only party. What makes the Tiki Trail special is the quality of the participants: Destinations include the Green Zone, Left Door and Coconut Club in addition to fixtures Archipelago, Copycat and Truxton Inn. Through Aug. 31. Prices vary.
Annapolis Rotary Club Crab Feast at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium: The Annapolis Rotary Club likes to boast that its annual crab feast is the largest in the world — an all-you-can-eat-and-drink feast so gargantuan it can only be held at a football stadium. Menus at previous meals have included 350 bushels of crabs, 3,400 ears of corn and 100 gallons of crab soup, all washed down with unlimited beer and soda. This gathering is about more than gluttony: Last year’s crab feast raised $45,000 for local charities. 5 p.m. $70-$130.
Levels Unlocked Pub: Kirby, atop his Super Star, looks you right in the eye as you pass through the door. Bricks with question marks hang from the ceiling, a replica of Genji’s sword balances atop a bar cabinet and Overwatch cinematics run in loops on TVs. Groups of friends and couples on dates grasp what look like Mos Eisley Cantina cocktails or video-game controllers and point out their favorite Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters lighting up the walls. This mishmash of video game lore and culture is Levels Unlocked Pub, the latest pop-up bar from Drink Company. Through Sept. 29.
Saturday, Aug. 3
Let’s Go to an Arcade at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: Whether you grew up gaming on an Intellivision, Sega Genesis or Xbox, there’s something to love (and play) at the Smithsonian’s annual celebration of video games. For two days, the Penn Quarter museum transforms into the world’s most beautiful arcade, with “The Legend of Zelda,” “Mortal Kombat 2” and “Madden 2019” among the familiar console and cabinet games set up throughout the museum. At the center of it all are 13 games created by independent developers, who this year explore the diversity of gaming. (Some games address issues of race, mental health or disability, while others were created by people of color or those in the LGBTQ community.) Another section of the arcade offers new games designed to be played on old consoles. You never know if you’ll find yourself enjoying a future classic. Through Sunday. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free.
Pizzeria Paradiso in the Park at Waterfront Park: Art installations, concerts and festivals have helped turn Old Town Alexandria’s revamped Waterfront Park into one of the area’s coolest outdoor event spaces. Now, Pizzeria Paradiso, which has a permanent location a few blocks north on King Street, is taking over the park to celebrate Virginia Craft Beer Month. The 30 brewers and cider makers include a mix of familiar names (Hardywood, Port City) and cult favorites (Aslin, Reason, Vasen) from across the state. (Thankfully, all beers will be offered as either 12- or 6-ounce pours.) The day also includes live music, pizzas from Paradiso’s mobile oven and a variety of games, including Splash Golf, which involves smashing biodegradable golf balls into the Potomac River. Might want to try that before sampling Commonwealth Brewing’s stronger IPAs. Noon to 8 p.m. Free; beer tickets: $6; food tickets: $5.
Fort Dupont summer concert series at Fort Dupont Park Amphitheatre: Fort Dupont’s annual summer concert series is usually worth checking out just for the park alone, which is one of the District’s finest. While the series started in July, the programming heats up this month with four shows featuring some of the finest musical staples the city has to offer. Kicking it off Saturday night are go-go legends Rare Essence, who will celebrate their 40th year of infectiously danceable tunes. While there’s not a bad concert on deck, be sure to mark your calendar for Aug. 17, when Raheem DeVaughn will bring his soulful R&B stylings to the park. Saturdays at 6 p.m. through Aug. 24. Free.
Extended hours for “The Life of Animals in Japanese Art” at the National Gallery of Art, East Building: As we enter the dog days of summer, you’ll find a canine or two (along with monkeys, foxes and other assorted critters) on view at the National Gallery of Art’s fauna-themed exhibition. The East Building show, which will stay open until 8 p.m. every night for its last two weeks — as a way to make up for hours that were lost when the partial government shutdown delayed its opening — will also feature pop-up gallery talks, audio tours and access to the gift shop, which features animal-themed merchandise inspired by the works on display. Through Aug. 18. Free.
Deceased at Atlas Brew Works: For King Fowley — the 51-year-old juggernaut frontman of Deceased — death metal isn’t a style of music so much as a metaphysical sensation. “To me, death metal is an eerie vibe, a weird vibe, an aura of dread,” he said. “And that mood is what Deceased goes for. I need to feel that.” Fowley has been chasing the feeling ever since founding Deceased in the suburbs of Northern Virginia at 16, back when the vocalist and his bandmates primarily concerned themselves with “speed-speed-speed, thrash-thrash-thrash.” In the decades that followed, Deceased’s music gained a level of nuance that helped make Fowley into an underground hero. 6 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 day of the show. The concert will be filmed for the forthcoming documentary “King: A Metal Life.”
Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion: Go-go shows are ubiquitous around the District, but if you want to catch some of the top noisemakers in one place, head north. The Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion has slimmed down from a two-day celebration to one this year, but the more compact lineup is still brimming with decorated players in R&B and soul while also putting on the District’s homegrown sound. Touring headliners including Anthony Hamilton, Jhené Aiko and Raphael Saadiq are supported by eminent go-go legends Backyard Band and Sugar Bear, who have carried the torch for the music community over the past several decades. The ladies of go-go will have their moment to shine, too, with the all-female band Be’la Dona and Sirius Company (featuring former Rare Essence vocalist Kim Michelle) taking the stage. 2:30 p.m. $60-$250.
“Legally Blonde” at Keegan Theatre: Of all of Reese Witherspoon’s movies, “Legally Blonde” might just be the one that lends itself most to a musical. (It was already on its way there with that infamous “Bend and Snap” song and dance number.) The fizzy Broadway hit will be staged this summer at the Keegan Theatre, bringing Elle Woods to Dupont Circle. In this show, her Harvard Law School days are set to music with tunes like the opener, “Omigod You Guys.” Through Aug. 25. $52-$62.
Braustomp 3 at DC Brau: It has been four years since DC Brau hosted its last Braustomp ska festival, but as headliners the Pietasters will (probably) sing: “It’s the same old song.” Expect a steady stream of top-notch local bands, including the Pietasters, Eastern Standard Time and the Scotch Bonnets, plus sets from Philadelphia’s Catbite and Minneapolis’s the Prizefighters. Food trucks and DC Brau beers, including the just-released Stand and Deliver imperial IPA, round out an impressive afternoon. 1 to 9 p.m. $30.
Midcity Dog Days Sidewalk Sale and Festival: In 2000, long before 14th Street NW was chock-a-block with restaurants and shops, the owners of housewares shop Home Rule created the Dog Days Sidewalk Sale to drum up business during a slow stretch of summer. The festival has grown from a block party of nine shops to now encompassing all of 14th Street from Thomas Circle to Florida Avenue and along U Street from Seventh to 17th streets. Cool shops, including Miss Pixie’s, Salt and Sundry, Goodwood and the Neighborgoods, offer discounts, while restaurants and bars offer brunch and happy-hour deals to shoppers. The sidewalks can be a little chaotic, but with some planning, there are gems to be found. Through Sunday. Hours vary by location.
Sunday, Aug. 4
“Project Gutenberg” at the Freer Gallery: The programming at the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium is reliably some of the most interesting in the D.C. area. The museum has been hosting the Made in Hong Kong Film Festival for the past month, but the final few weeks is when the series hits its stride. The fun starts Sunday with 2018’s “Project Gutenberg,” which stars legendary action star Chow Yun-Fat returning to his crime story roots. There’s more Chow later this month: “Full Contact,” one of his iconic roles, will be screened in 35mm on Aug. 16, before the festival closes on Aug. 18 with “Police Story,” one of the films that made Jackie Chan a worldwide star. Through Aug. 18. Sunday at 2 p.m. Free.
Quinceañera at Wonderland Ballroom: A Quinceañera is a coming-of-age celebration, and it’s certainly appropriate for this Columbia Heights mainstay, which turns 15 on Sunday. The party starts at 4 p.m. with a free pupusa bar (while supplies last), and a live mariachi band provides the tunes beginning at 7 p.m. For those looking to drop in during the late-night hours, there will be piñatas for smashing along with a few surprises. 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. No cover charge.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Hawken Miller, Michael O’Sullivan, Chris Richards and Stephanie Williams