Monday, Aug. 12
Summer Restaurant Week: Combat the summer doldrums with a three-course meal out during the summer edition of Restaurant Week, a semiannual tradition during which diners can score deals at restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. This time around, more than 200 restaurants will offer prix fixe menus for lunch, brunch and dinner. If you’re indecisive about which array of small plates to choose from the regular menu at such hot spots as chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s standing-room-only Spoken English at the Line Hotel, let the streamlined Restaurant Week menu make the choice for you. Or try out a very pricey spot like Nobu D.C. without busting your dining budget. Through Sunday. $35 for dinner; $22 for lunch or brunch.
‘Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?’ at Smoke & Barrel: Before heading down to Smoke & Barrel’s cool basement on a Monday night, heed this warning: You might be a little freaked out by what you’ll see. Monday nights are when the Washington Psychotronic Film Society sets up shop to screen some of the most bizarre, obscure and campy indie films ever made. “Something that’s ‘psychotronic’ makes you go ‘wow’ or ‘hmm’ or ‘ah,’ whether good or bad,” group president Carl Cephas says. “It’s like a mental explosion in your head.” 8 p.m. Free (donations welcomed).
Tuesday, Aug. 13
‘Volta’ at Tysons II: Audience members come into every Cirque extravaganza expecting such risky feats. With this production of “Volta,” which follows a blue-haired misfit named Waz on his path of self-discovery, they are delighted by gravity-defying trampolinists, swift bungee gymnasts and even shocked by an aerialist suspended by her hair. Their appetite for spectacle is sated through heart-stopping acrobatics and, for Cirque’s first time ever, extreme street sports. 7:30 p.m. Showtimes vary through Sept. 29. $49-$205.
Dogfish Head Alehouse Anniversary Week: Acclaimed Delaware brewery Dogfish Head has three franchised Dogfish Head Alehouses in the Washington area. Modeled on the original Rehoboth brewpub, they serve a satisfying mix of hoppy IPAs, pizza and seafood. The Fairfax location marks 10 years in business this week, which is a perfect excuse to tap rare beers and host beer dinners. But if you pick one night to go, make it Tuesday, when Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione hosts a meet-and-greet happy hour. Calagione is one of the most recognizable faces in the craft beer world, and he’s a down-to-earth guy who’s happy to chat about your favorite Dogfish release or current trends. He’ll be at the bar from 4 to 6 p.m. Through Sunday. Times and prices vary.
Shawn Mendes at Capital One Arena: “I want to create anthems for people,” Shawn Mendes once told Clash Magazine. True to his word, the Canadian singer-songwriter has a gift for pop-rock anthems that seem to be crafted with both bedroom headphone sessions and arena-size singalongs in mind. Once a 15-year-old who went from Vine covers to the Billboard charts, Mendes recently adopted the time-tested approach of predecessors Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber, amping up the R&B grooves and adult themes on his most recent album. How closely is he following the boys-to-men playbook? Like Timberlake, he recently hit the charts with a song titled “Señorita.” 7:30 p.m. Sold out.
Wednesday, Aug. 14
Arlington County fair: Set your sights on the Arlington County fair, which runs through Sunday, a charming affair that draws massive crowds every year. There will be carnival games and fried food galore. One of this year’s marquee events will be the addition of goat yoga, accompanied by other fair staples including two full days of live music performances on Saturday and Sunday, a beer garden, and a pie eating championship for any and all iron stomachs. Through Sunday. Free.
Mabel at Union Stage: For Mabel, eclecticism is in her DNA — literally. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter is the daughter of singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry and multi-hyphenate Cameron McVey, musicians whose decades-long careers have spanned pop, punk, hip-hop, trip-hop and beyond. Rather than those sounds, Mabel favors a du jour mix of R&B, electropop, tropical house and Afropop. Teaming with such fellow Brit upstarts as Not3s, Stefflon Don, Raye and Kojo Funds, she has spent the last few years releasing eclectic singles and building buzz for “High Expectations,” a debut album that should make her parents proud. 8:30 p.m. $18-$30.
Purple Mountains listening memorial at Black Cat: The music world lost one of its most singular voices last Wednesday when David Berman died. The former Silver Jews frontman was set to play Black Cat this Wednesday with his new project, Purple Mountains. Instead of letting the club go dark for the night, Black Cat will host a listening party of Purple Mountains (and other Berman projects) to celebrate the life of a gifted poet and lyricist. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Vitamin Sea D.C. Debut at ChurchKey: If you’re up on New England’s hottest craft breweries, you’ve probably heard of Vitamin Sea Brewing, thanks to the highly regarded Dank is the New Juicy IPA, and This is My Happy Face Double IPA. It’s just that, unless you have some good beer trading sources, you probably haven’t tasted any of them. The tiny Weymouth, Mass., brewery is open only on Saturday afternoons, and most weeks there are two canned beers to purchase. This week, however, the brewery makes its D.C. debut with a mini-tap takeover at ChurchKey, where 10 beers are going on tap and co-founder Dino Funari is available to chat about beer. 4 p.m. Admission free; Beers priced individually.
Thursday, Aug. 15
Florist at Songbyrd: The lo-fi folk of Florist has always had a fragile quality, as if the band’s DIY compositions were being held together by hopes and prayers. That’s even more true of “Emily Alone,” a true-to-its-title album that finds band leader Emily Sprague performing solo, with even more insular and isolated energy. The outing was partially practical, as Sprague moved to Los Angeles while her bandmates stayed in New York, but also purposeful, as the singer-songwriter grappled with death, loss and transition. “Nothing brings clarity to what makes me me,” she sings, “except knowing that some kind of sadness is freed from the words and the sounds that I sing to myself.” 8 p.m. $12-$15.
‘Big Daddy’ at A Baked Joint: On Thursday nights, when the plush chairs and couches are rearranged to face the projection screen, lights are dimmed and curtains close off the entrance, the intimate second level of Mount Vernon Triangle’s A Baked Joint could pass for a cozy living room. “We really wanted it to feel like you’re coming to your friend’s house to watch a movie, like back in the day when I was popping in a Blockbuster movie,” says Tessa Velazquez, who co-owns the cafe with her brother and parents. If you’re looking for a snack during the screenings, shell out for the crispy, homemade Sicilian-style pizza. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Friday, Aug. 16
‘A Garden Party: From Africa to Asia’ at the National Museum of African Art and the Freer/Sackler: Two Smithsonian museums are teaming up for this August’s #SmithsonianAt8 after-hours event dubbed “A Garden Party: From Africa to Asia.” The lovely formal Enid A. Haupt Garden will be illuminated for the occasion, DJ Alkimist will provide the soundtrack, and Teaism and other local businesses will have food and refreshments available for purchase. Step inside the Sackler Gallery and the National Museum of African Art to explore, with activities including a scavenger hunt and curator talks, and check out such exhibitions as “I Am … Contemporary Women Artists of Africa” at the African Art Museum and “My Iran: Six Women Photographers” at the Sackler. 8 to 11 p.m. General admission, $30-$35. VIP admission, $55-$60.
‘Full Contact’ at the Freer Gallery of Art: 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 its final one-two punch can’t be missed. “Full Contact,” one of legendary action star Chow Yun-Fat’s iconic roles, will be screened in 35mm on Friday night before the festival closes on Sunday with “Police Story,” one of the films that made Jackie Chan a worldwide star. Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday and 2 p.m. Free.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Wolf Trap: You can skip the Amtrak ride to New York City and still see a jazz legend in action when trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis returns to Wolf Trap. The nine-time Grammy-winner leads the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, a 15-musician ensemble. The group just released an album this summer showcasing Marsalis’s solo composition “Swing Symphony,” which blends classical music with jazz traditions. That won’t be their only new recording to draw on: “Jazz and Art,” which will come out in August, features original songs inspired by masterpieces of modern art. 8 p.m. $30-$125.
— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Chris Kelly, Terry Nguyen and Stephanie Williams