Monday, Aug. 5
Ocean Vuong at Solid State Books: If you didn’t catch one of the most exciting young voices in literature at the Asian American Literature Festival over the weekend, there’s one more chance at the charming H Street NE bookstore. Ocean Vuong will read and discuss from his brilliant new novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” with poet Jennifer Chang. Vuong’s book is loosely autobiographical — it is written from the perspective of a son writing a letter to his mother, who came to America with the wave of refugees after the Vietnam War. 7 p.m. Free.
Shannon Gunn’s Firebird Trio at Blues Alley: This dynamite local jazz trio, led by trombonist Shannon Gunn, usually performs free every week in Adams Morgan, but they’re moving to the venerable Georgetown jazz club for the group’s record release party. Gunn’s brass bounces off organist and keyboardist Hope Udobi while Kelton Norris drives this funky blend of genres and melodies from behind the drum kit. 8 and 10 p.m. $22.
Tuesday, Aug. 6
‘Dear Evan Hansen’ at the Kennedy Center: Before a wildly successful run on Broadway, “Dear Evan Hansen” premiered at Washington’s Arena Stage — and in August, the musical returns to Washington at the Kennedy Center as part of its national tour. Bound to be relatable for any high school student who struggled to fit in, “Dear Evan Hansen” touches on serious subject matters such as mental health and social media with humor and heart. Tickets are going fast for the show, which racked up multiple Tony Awards, including best musical, and a Grammy Award. Through Sept. 8. $79-$175.
Wednesday, Aug. 7
‘Tiger Style!’ at Olney Theatre: “Tiger Style!” deals with two overachieving yet unhappy Chinese American siblings, hyper-aware of every expectation and stereotype. Mike Lew’s script is fast, smart and sassy, and the area premiere at Olney Theatre is an exuberant romp. The comedy gets a rocket boost from the way Lew draws Albert and Jennifer — thoroughly recognizable as siblings, able to pounce on each flaw and weakness while hurtling restlessly to the next thing, whether it’s therapy for the too-analytical Jennifer or a trip to Shenzhen for a crash course in overtly controlling politics. With all five actors here, you marvel at the consistent wit of the performances. 7:45 p.m. Showtimes vary through Aug. 18. $59-$79.
The Struts at the 9:30 Club: The Struts’ 2014 debut album “Everybody Wants” delivered an unrelenting siege of theatrical, glossy power rock. The record was equally as enthralling as it was campy, and the band’s latest effort, “Young & Dangerous,” advances this heady juxtaposition. The album is saturated with copious doses of spirited “woos” and “turn it ups” set to foot-stomping stadium anthems, including “Primadonna Like Me” and “Who Am I?” Frontman Luke Spiller also makes a point to double down on such cheeky one-liners as “We’re all just ugly, pretty, nasty — it’s cool.” Through the cheesiness, though, the Struts maintain some semblance of self-awareness, which keeps “Young & Dangerous” from straying too far afield. 7 p.m. Sold out.
Thursday, Aug. 8
‘Edward Scissorhands’ at the National Building Museum: “Summer movies on the lawn” evokes packing up a picnic blanket and sitting outside on a balmy night. Trade the summertime humidity for a look at the grand columns of the National Building Museum, where summer film programming has been set up on its “Lawn” installation. Thursday night brings the beloved oddball classic “Edward Scissorhands,” starring Johnny Depp. There’s no need to bring your own blanket, as custom blankets are available for lounging. 7 p.m. $5-$10.
Jon B at the Birchmere: Alongside Babyface, Teddy Riley, Keith Sweat and other crooners who defined ’90s R&B was a scrawny Jewish kid from Rhode Island named Jonathan Buck. Under the collected, enigmatic guise of Jon B, the singer has churned out some of the era’s smoothest hits, including his best-performing song on the Billboard charts, “They Don’t Know”; the sappy Babyface duet, “Someone to Love”; and a slinky number with Tupac, “Are U Still Down.” His first new song in seven years, “Understand,” re-energizes his suave sound with Donell Jones. Although it doesn’t quite re-create the magic of his past songs, Jon B shows he’s still just as cool — maybe even cooler — than his R&B successors. 7:30 p.m. $49.50.
Friday, Aug. 9
African Diaspora International Film Festival at George Washington University’s Marvin Center: For 13 years, the African Diaspora International Film Festival has treated audiences to invaluable new releases and repertory films that capture the vast cultural reach of work by and about people of African descent. This year, ADIFF returns to Washington with a lineup that includes films from Djibouti, Brazil, Barbados, Panama, France, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Morocco and the United States. The festival’s opening-night film, “Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story,” chronicles how the unlikely team of a white businessman, an African American senator and a Jewish mayor helped Muhammad Ali reclaim his career after being marginalized for resisting the Vietnam draft. Fifteen more narrative features and documentaries will play throughout the weekend. Through Sunday. Tickets are $13; $11 for students; $10 for groups of 10 or more. Day passes $40-$50; festival pass $120.
County fair season: Summertime brings almost all the county fair kitsch your heart could desire. Start the season in Prince William County with Virginia’s largest fair (Aug. 9-17), where the sprawling list of activities for all ages includes camel and pony rides, a petting zoo and a circus. Be sure to catch the more destructive standards, such as chain-saw art, monster trucks and a demolition derby. For those same nine days, Montgomery County hosts its own fair, which features a similar slate of vehicles flinging themselves at each other, but ramps up the action to include ATV and truck drag racing. Don’t miss the Chesapeake DockDogs from Aug. 9-11, which showcases pups competing with each other in big air and speed retrieval competitions. If auto mayhem isn’t your speed, set your sights on the Arlington County fair (Aug. 14-18), a more charming affair that draws massive crowds every year. There will be carnival games and fried food galore. While a full schedule of programming will be announced closer to the day, one of this year’s marquee events will be the addition of goat yoga. Through Aug. 18. Prices vary by fair.
‘Mission Impossible: Party Protocol’ at the International Spy Museum: If you haven’t checked out the International Spy Museum’s new state-of-the-art home in L’Enfant Plaza, see it after-hours at a Brightest Young Things party, complete with an open bar featuring cocktails from mixologists at spots such as Columbia Room and Hank’s Cocktail Bar. Besides access to the exhibits, expect plenty of activities, including a pop-up casino, a handwriting analysis station and an immersive scavenger hunt. Real-life spies such as Jonna Mendez, a former chief of disguise at the CIA, will also give TED-style talks. 8:30 p.m. to midnight. $65-$80.
Bowie Ball at U Street Music Hall: David Bowie’s five-decade career was one of simultaneous reinvention and exploration. Over the course of his albums, he attracted wide varieties of fans: the glam “Ziggy Stardust” years, the grit of the Berlin Trilogy, the plastic soul of “Young Americans,” the funky disco of the early ’80s. Each of those eras, and more importantly, Bowie himself, are celebrated at the annual Bowie Ball, where fans who discovered the White Duke through “Let’s Dance” groove under the disco ball alongside would-be Spiders of Mars. It’s an all-night affair that welcomes costumes, glitter, glam and drag. In addition to Bowie and Bowie-adjacent songs all night, there’s a performance by a Bowie impersonator and a costume contest with prizes. David Bowie wouldn’t show up looking like he rolled out of bed, and you shouldn’t either. 9 p.m. $8-$10.
‘Cléo from 5 to 7’ at Suns Cinema: The world lost Agnès Varda, one of the most brilliant visionaries of the vaunted French New Wave cinematic movement, in March 2019. The celebrated director will get a tribute from the Mount Pleasant theater with a screening of one of her defining films, “Cléo from 5 to 7.” The 1961 movie chronicles a pop star who is waiting on the results of a medical test and must confront her own mortality, but digs even deeper into a tale of femininity in French culture. 8 p.m. $10.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Ann Hornaday, Nelson Pressley and Stephanie Williams