Rosslyn BID Act III: Drag at Rosslyn Gateway Park: If you put together a night of live performance featuring drag performers and an orchestra, it would sound something like this evening at Gateway Park. The American Pops Orchestra teams up with Alexis Michelle from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and Lagoona Bloo from “The Voice” for a performance featuring classic ’90s hits and Broadway classics with a signature drag flair. Feel free to bring a blanket for the lawn seating, but chairs are prohibited. A portion of ticket sales benefit the Arlington Public Schools high school choir. 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. $5 to $60.
Kinda Live Comedy at DC9: Contrary to its name, the fully-live comedy night at the Shaw club includes a mix of local comedians, nationally touring comics and comedians you definitely, maybe saw on Comedy Central. Headlined by actor and comedian D. Lo, performers include Nicole Walkow, Matt Deakins and Jack Schwartz. 8 p.m. s$10.
‘Ganja & Hess’ at Suns Cinema: Bill Gunn directed and starred in this blaxploitation-horror mash-up about an anthropologist, played by Duane Jones (known for his roles in “Night of the Living Dead” and Spike Lee’s “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus”), who gets stabbed by an ancient dagger and becomes immortal and, also, a vampire. The 1973 film uses the vampire motif to explore themes of sex, religion and African American identity, and is considered an important film in independent Black cinema. 7 p.m. $10.
Friday, July 30
National Air and Space Museum reopens: In pre-pandemic times, the National Air and Space Museum was one of the most popular attractions in North America, with more than 7 million visits per year in 2016 and 2017. When the museum on the Mall reopens this Friday, however, more than half the building will remain closed because of an ongoing renovation. (The first eight of the “reimagined” galleries are expected to debut in fall 2022.) A number of must-see objects are on display, including the Wright Brothers Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis and a test version of the Apollo Lunar Module, as well as exhibits on the space race and human spaceflight, but check the museum’s website for details about what’s on view. Also reopening this week is the Castle, which serves as the Smithsonian’s visitors center, with highlights from various collections. Air and Space open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Castle open daily. Free.
The Owners at the Black Cat: The Black Cat may have gone dark during the pandemic, but it never went silent. Nearly every week, the Owners — a new band featuring the club’s owners, Dante and Catherine Ferrando, along with longtime Black Cat staffers Laura Harris and Al Budd — rehearsed inside the empty venue, filling the room with a tuneful punk aura that resembled something like normalcy. For the band itself, that flame burned warmly and easily — in part because “we had the best practice space ever,” says Catherine Ferrando, gesturing toward the club’s main stage, the spot where the Owners wrote all their songs, recorded their demo and live-streamed their first performance at the Black Cat’s 27th anniversary celebration in February. And yes, the Owners have deep punk résumés — members have played in Ignition, Ex Hex, the Shirks and more — but does their collective club-work make them better as a band? “It’s a weird question because we’re also both couples who have been together a long time,” says Budd. “And we’ve all worked together forever, too. So yeah, that’s far out.” 8 p.m. $15.
DJ 2-Tone Jones ‘Contraband From India’ listening party at Byrdland Records: You might know DJ 2-Tone Jones from the soundtracks he sculpts to accompany Kung-Fu films at the “Can I Kick It?” movie series, or Shaolin Jazz, which melded jazz classics and Wu-Tang Clan verses. But Jones — real name Lester Wallace — wears other hats, including participating in Next Level, a State Department program that uses hip-hop as a form of international diplomacy, working with educators and young people around the globe. A trip to India also allowed Jones a chance to expand his record collection, and he returned with stacks of jazz and traditional Indian albums, which he shared with DJs, artists and producers, including Kev Brown, Asheru and Uptown XO and yU of Diamond District. The result is “Contraband From India,” a collection of original tracks fueled by samples and remixes of the records Jones found in Kolkata. A free listening party at Byrdland in Union Market features DJ sets and Silencio Mezcal beverages. 7 to 9:30 p.m. Free.
Shelter fully opens: Shelter, the beer bar at the Roost on Capitol Hill, has been open at partial capacity since last fall. This weekend, however, it moves to full operational capacity, with a ChurchKey-esque 50 drafts open and flowing. Shelter’s niche is going to be low- and lesser-alcohol beers, with at least 20 lines dedicated to beers that check in at 5 percent alcohol by volume or lower, which is less than your average Budweiser. Among the treats on tap this weekend: Cantillion’s 2017 Kriek (5 percent), Hudson Valley’s Silhouette: Strawberry sour IPA (5 percent), Maine’s Post Ride Snack session IPA (4.9 percent) and Fantome’s Dark White saison (4.7 percent). Pair those beers with a cornucopia of food, including tacos from Hi-Fi Taco, Detroit pizza squares from Slice Joint, or smashburgers from Red Apron. Prices vary.
Sad & Bougie at Union Stage: This dance party is for every emo kid who had a Fall Out Boy song nestled next to a Drake hit on an angsty playlist during their teenage years. Union Stage presents a “not your average emo night party” that promises 2000s pop-punk tunes alongside smash hits such as Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.” They’ve even made a term that best describes a Sad & Bougie party: “Twerk & Tears,” which seems to guarantee you’ll be dancing while sobbing all night long. If that’s not the best way to spend a summer night in 2021, what is? 7 p.m. doors open, 8 p.m. show start. $10.
Saturday, July 31
Return of Liberation Dance Party at DC9: The Liberation Dance Party is the kind of DJ night where DJ Shadow rubs elbows with Metric and Middle Kids, and HAIM and Lizzo take turns filling the dance floor. It’s this blend of up-and-coming indie, electronic and solid-gold pop that makes climbing those stairs at DC9 so appealing. After a few virtual events over the last year, the Shaw club’s flagship party returns in-person this weekend. 10 p.m. $5 advance; $8 at the door.
D.C. Legendary Musicians at the Kennedy Center: This weekend’s outdoor mini-festival at the Kennedy Center focuses on hometown music and dancing. Learn how to hand dance — a local variation of the jitterbug that emphasizes smooth, elegant steps and twirls — at noon before trying out your new moves to music spun by DJ Bobby Rox of WPFW-FM (5 and 7 p.m.) and a performance by R&B singer Lady Mary (6 and 7:15 p.m.). The day also features an art market, African and liturgical dance classes, and the NSO Youth Fellowship Brass Quintet. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free.
National Ice Cream Month at the Yards: From ice sculptures to cherry blossoms to flower-bedecked garden parties, the Yards wants to provide the backdrop for all your seasonal social media posts. For the end of National Ice Cream Month, there’s a new installation on the “Sun Deck” area along Water Street, with a “human-sized ice cream cone” and a “retro ice cream parlor” to take photos with. Yes, this is a silly promotional event, but at least there’s a payoff: The first 100 people per day on Saturday and Sunday to take a selfie with the display, tag the Yards and show it to a member of Yards staff receive a free scoop from either Ice Cream Jubilee or Jeni’s. Giveaways begin at noon each day.
Sunday, Aug. 1
‘Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary Film’ at the Kennedy Center: Last summer, in the midst of the pandemic and social justice protests, Dave Chappelle began hosting socially distanced comedy shows in a cornfield near his house in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He began bringing in friends to join him, including Chris Rock and Tiffany Haddish. Filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who are neighbors of Chappelle’s, created a documentary called “Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary Film,” which Variety says “strikes a balance between laugh-out-loud and incredibly poignant moments.” Chappelle joins Bognar and Reichert for a screening of the film at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on Sunday. (The Kennedy Center stresses that “this is a documentary screening with remarks by Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar, and Dave Chappelle; not a standup performance,” so don’t expect a rehash of Chappelle’s sold-out Friday night show at the Anthem.) 8 to 10:30 p.m. $55-$99.
1 Day of Peace and Frozens at Electric Cool-Aid: A week with three-digit heat indexes calls for frozen cocktails — and a lot of them. Electric Cool-Aid celebrates its first year in business this weekend with 1 Day of Peace and Frozens, a full afternoon of art, food trucks, music and frozen cocktails at its lot in Shaw. Six local bartenders, including Lukas B. Smith of Cotton and Reed, Michael Pena of the Green Zone and Graeson Cully of Espita, face off to see who can create the most delicious and refreshing frozen drink. Electric Cool-Aid co-owner Angela DelBrocco says the beer garden will be selling flights of all six drinks from 1 to 4 p.m., so guests can try them all, and full-size pours of drinks depending on availability. 1 p.m. Free; drink prices vary.
Monday, Aug. 2
Fort Reno Summer Concert Series: Free summer concerts have been held in Fort Reno Park since 1968, and during the 1990s, the series became famous for annual appearances by some of the area’s biggest rock and punk acts, including Fugazi and the Dismemberment Plan. The park has plenty of space to spread out in the grass in front of the low stage, and children can run and play on the adjacent sloping hills. After a year off, Fort Reno returns with a scaled-back Monday-and-Thursday schedule of six shows over three weeks. Notable appearances include danceable post-punk quartet Clear Channel (Monday); blues guitarist Linwood Taylor paired with lo-fi garage rockers Teen Cobra (Aug. 9); and reunited post-hardcore trio Branch Manager, who released a pair of albums on Dischord Records in the 1990s (Aug. 12). Picnics are encouraged — Wawa, Guapo’s and the Whole Foods salad bar are popular nearby options — but no glass bottles or alcohol are allowed. 7:30 to 9 p.m. Free.
Historically Speaking: Reflecting on the work of James Baldwin and Black Masculinity: Writer James Baldwin’s words on the intersections of race, sexuality, class and gender within the United States still ring true today. Panelists Darnell Moore, Kiese Laymon and Marlon Peterson — all memoirists themselves — discuss the lasting cultural and political impact Baldwin has had on modern conversations about social justice and race, as well as their own writing, during this virtual discussion. National Museum of African American History and Culture Museum curator Aaron Bryant moderates. 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free.
Wednesday, Aug. 4
Films on the Green: ‘Microcosmos’ at the National Arboretum: Most outdoor film series consist of a mix of recent blockbusters, kids’ favorites and retro classics. That’s not the case with Films on the Green, which is sponsored by the Cultural Services at the French Embassy, the National Gallery of Art, and French channel TV5Monde. It obviously leans French — most films are shown with English subtitles — and hops around the city. This Wednesday, the series stops at the National Arboretum for a screening of “Microcosmos,” a documentary about the insect world shot with extreme close-ups and time-lapse sequences to show that the life of a spider, dung beetle or snail can be as fascinating and dramatic as our own. Future weeks bring “I Am Not Your Negro” to Anacostia Park (Sept. 4) and the romantic comedy “Autumn Tale” (Sept. 23) on a screen on the Mall outside the National Gallery of Art. No tickets are required — just bring your own blankets and picnics. 8:30 p.m. Free.