Thursday, May 26
New Orchestra of Washington: ‘The Time is NOW!’ at the Kennedy Center: At New Orchestra of Washington’s first concert in 2012, the small chamber orchestra performed “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland. That classic piece is on the program for the ensemble’s 10th anniversary concert, “The Time is NOW!,” which is themed around climate change. Other works include “Threnody to Toki,” Takashi Yoshimatsu’s ode to an endangered Japanese bird, and “Equinox,” Joseph Turrin’s celebration of the natural world. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for a preconcert panel discussion that includes Turrin and NOW Artistic Director and conductor Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez. 7:30 p.m. $29-$59.
Teen Cobra at Black Cat: Over the past five years, Teen Cobra has frequently popped up to play infectiously short and punchy garage rock at concerts around the area. Husband-and-wife duo Neil Enet and Veronica Magan are the ones behind the lo-fi tunes, but in the great tradition of D.C. bands that burn bright and fast, they’ll be departing the area and moving down to Tampa. You’ll get a chance to toast them goodbye as they set up in Black Cat’s Red Room Bar for a farewell-for-now show. 8 p.m. $15.
Friday, May 27
D.C. Black Pride: After three years, Black Pride returns for a multi-day gathering over Memorial Day weekend. The Renaissance Hotel downtown is the central hub, with workshops on topics such as mental health and body positivity, a forum for writers, and a marketplace of LGBTQ vendors. It’s also home to events including the CommUNITY Opening Reception on Friday night with Big Freedia (5 to 10 p.m., free) and Saturday night’s Mary Bowman Poetry Slam (7 p.m., free). Dozens of events are taking place through Monday, including drag brunches, a U Street bar hop, theater readings and rooftop parties. WNBA players Tamera “Ty” Young and the Mystics’ Myisha Hines-Allen are among the celebrity hosts. Hope for good weather on Memorial Day as Black Pride ends with two outdoor parties: Us Helping Us’s Pride Festival in the Park at Fort Dupont features food vendors, a drag show, games and house music (noon to 7 p.m., free), while Project Briggs’s Pride by the River brings a day of DJs, vendors and fellowship to Anacostia Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring grills and picnics (noon to 7 p.m., free). Through Monday. Some events free, but prices vary.
‘Korea: Cubically Imagined’ at the Korean Cultural Center: South Korean culture has made waves stateside. Look no further than the raucous, sold-out BTS concerts at football stadiums or the best picture Oscar-winning “Parasite.” Those will be some of the cultural exports highlighted by the Korean Cultural Center’s pop-up art exhibition, which incorporates virtual reality technology, allowing visitors to watch live performances from the megastar boy band and put on a headset to explore the sets from Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film. The interactive exhibit is free, but timed reservations are required. Through June 9. Free; reservations required.
LB199X at Songbyrd: Born and raised in Southeast Washington, LB199X owes much to the decade alluded to in his moniker. The rapper embraces hip-hop classicism, preferring a lyrical approach and soulful boom-bap grooves reminiscent of years past. On this year’s “Life Goes On” EP, LB199X details love, loss and the come-up, after previously having laid out his modus operandi on a track, “To Live and Die in Amerikkka,” that nods to ’90s rap icons 2Pac and Ice Cube. “Lookin’ at the man in the mirror / Could you see your soul much clearer / It’s time to manifest the vision / See, I hope my people listen.” 7 p.m. $12-$15.
Saturday, May 28
Flowers of Remembrance Day at Arlington National Cemetery: Last November, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknowns, members of the public were allowed to lay flowers on the plaza in front of the tomb at Arlington National Cemetery. The tradition continues Saturday with a new ceremony called Flowers of Remembrance Day, which invites the public to bring long-stemmed flowers to lay at the graveside between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Flowers will also be available at the cemetery for those who need them. The day features talks with historians about the history of Decoration Day and a walking tour of the cemetery. Unlike in November, no reservations are required. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
Black Birders Week at the Smithsonian: Two years ago, after a White woman called the police on a Black birdwatcher in New York’s Central Park, Black ornithologists, naturalists and scientists joined forces to create Black Birders Week, a celebration of exploring the outdoors while Black and encouraging others to join them in enjoying the pleasures of birding. As part of this year’s Black Birders Week, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and local birders are leading a bird walk and birdwatching activities on Saturday morning, while the Natural History Museum hosts a family STEM day in its Q?rius science education center. Registration is required for all three events. Then, Tuesday through Friday, there are online discussions on topics including “Extraordinary Everyday Birds” and representation in birding. Times vary. Free.
Capital House Music Festival ‘Salute to Sam “The Man” Burns’ at Fort Reno: Sam “The Man” Burns was an institution in the D.C. dance music community. Spinning a style of house music he called “disco’s revenge,” Burns inspired revelers to reach a higher plane of existence at clubs from Red and the Ritz to U Street Music Hall and 18th Street Lounge. Sadly, Burns died at age 63 in 2020, just days before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the country. More than two years later, Capital House Music Festival is kicking off summer with a celebration of Burns’s life and legacy with a free, family-friendly event in Fort Reno Park featuring like-minded performers. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free, but reservation required. Donation suggested.
Champions League final viewing parties: It’s finally time for one of the biggest and most important sporting events of the year: the Champions League final. Earlier this year, ESPN reported that the 2021 final between Chelsea and Manchester City drew 700 million viewers worldwide, compared with 112 million for the Super Bowl. This year’s matchup between 13-time champions Real Madrid and six-time winners Liverpool should be an even larger draw. In D.C., Real Madrid fans — known as the Peña Madridista — gather at the Elephant and Castle pub near Federal Triangle. While only members can make table reservations for the match, there will be space available on a first-come, first-served basis for walk-ins. Liverpool supporters normally go to the Queen Vic on H Street NE or Crystal City Sports Pub. While the Queen Vic has sold all its tickets, there will be overflow viewing at other nearby bars, including Granville Moore’s and Biergarten Haus, which are selling tickets for reserved seats, and H Street Country Club and the Pug, which are first-come, first served. Doors will be open by noon. Other good options for neutrals include Across the Pond and Ireland’s Four Courts, though the latter does lean Liverpool, if the crowd at Sunday’s Premier League finale was anything to go by. Kickoff is at 3 p.m., but wherever you go, you’ll want to arrive early.
ViVa Vienna: Several blocks of Vienna’s historic district are shut down every Memorial Day weekend to make room for a carnival midway with rides for all ages, stages with musicians and children’s entertainers, booths full of vendors and artists, and, this year, a beer garden at the firehouse with its own live music. Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free; rides cost extra.
The Original Kings of Go-Go at Wolf Trap: Wolf Trap’s summer season begins by bringing some D.C. flavor to Vienna, Va. Three of the finest go-go bands in the area will kick off shows at the suburban amphitheater: Big Tony and Trouble Funk, E.U. with Sugar Bear, and Junkyard Band. It’s a rare occasion to see go-go on such a big stage outside the city limits, but beginning last summer, Wolf Trap has made an effort to finally shine a light on one of the best homegrown musical traditions. 7 p.m. $27-$77.
U Street Caribbean Crawl: RegMoPromo has hosted hip-hop bar crawls on U Street NW for years. This weekend, the veteran promoters are bringing back the Caribbean Crawl, which adds a different flavor to the usual formula. DJs will be spinning three-hour sets at seven bars around 14th and U streets, including Pure Lounge, Provision No. 14, and Cloak and Dagger. Each location has its own featured musical style, such as DJ Dutch spinning ’90s dance hall at Victory Lounge or DJ Lightzout dropping Haitian Afro-fusion at Vivid Lounge, and specials on beers, punches and cocktails. Crawl participants can stick around at each bar for as long as they want before moving to a different location, before everyone winds up at Amsterdam Lounge for DJ Trini’s International Fete. 2 to 10 p.m. $20; group discounts available.
Tirzah at Miracle Theatre: For nearly a decade, Tirzah has explored the outer boundaries of pop, embracing her gentle vocals as the tether keeping everything together. A collaborator of trip-hop pioneer Tricky and composer Mica Levi, the English singer-songwriter stripped down R&B to sparse melodies and looping beats on her dreamy 2018 debut, “Devotion,” and on last year’s “Colourgrade,” her music dwelled in dark corners and sounded noisier and more experimental than ever. 8 p.m. $25.
Sunday, May 29
Memorial Day: The National Memorial Day Choral Festival returns to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. While tickets for the 3 p.m. performance can no longer be reserved in advance, remaining tickets will be released at will call at 2:45 p.m. The National Memorial Day Concert will once again be broadcast from the West Front of the Capitol on Sunday evening, with guests including Joe Mantegna, Rhiannon Giddens and Craig Morgan. However, Capitol Police say, “The concert venue is not open to the public as the Capitol complex continues its phased reopening.” The concert will be shown on PBS and online beginning at 8 p.m.
‘Blast Off!’ with the U.S. Marine Band at Wolf Trap: The opening weekend of Wolf Trap’s summer season features an event that combines the best of Memorial Day and Independence Day. The U.S. Marine Band — known as “the President’s Own” — performs a program of concert band hits, including patriotic marches, before fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. 8 p.m. Free; no reservations required.
Anxo Five-Year Anniversary Party: Anxo moved its cider-making operation from Truxton Circle to Brightwood Park in 2017 and expanded the sunny taproom after its original location closed last year, adding the Brightwood Pizza pop-up. The Anxo crew marks five years in its new home this weekend with a neighborhood-focused celebration heavy on happy hour pricing. Among the highlights: a wide range of $5 drafts, including ciders and perries from Anxo, Oliver’s and Snowdrift and beers from Triple Crossing, Wheatland Spring and Oxbowl; $5 bottles of Anxo’s natural cider; $5 smashburgers and rum punches; DJ sets by Anxo’s neighbors HR Records from 3 to 6 p.m.; and live music by Harlan Davis and Friends from 6 to 8. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free.
‘Exposed DC’ grand opening at Lost Origins Outside: Since 2007, the Exposed DC Photography Contest has showcased images of unofficial Washington: street photography, children playing in front yards and landmarks of the Ben’s Chili Bowl variety, all taken by dozens of local amateur and professional artists. This year’s 38 finalists are going on display at Lost Origins Outside, the alley exhibition space adjacent to Elle in Mount Pleasant. While the display runs through July 24, the grand opening celebration features chances to meet the photographers, purchase a program containing all the images or purchase prints. 3 to 6 p.m. Free.
Monday, May 30
National Memorial Day Parade: The National Memorial Day Parade returns to Constitution Avenue NW between Seventh and 17th streets with marching bands, floats, classic cars and live performances by Jimmie Allen and the Eli Young Band. Grand Marshal James Harvey III was a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. 2 p.m. Free.
Library of Congress holiday opening: The Library of Congress’s Main Reading Room is one of the most beautiful indoor spaces in Washington: Light filters through stained glass and the lantern of the 160-foot dome, illuminating circular rows of burnished wooden researchers’ desks, which radiate out from the round information desk. Below the great windows are 16 statues, including of William Shakespeare, Plato and Isaac Newton, as well as allegorical figures representing ideals such as history and philosophy. The stained glass features seals of 48 states. Most visitors see this magnificent room only from a gallery through sheets of plexiglass — unless they visit on a holiday Monday, such as Presidents’ Day or Memorial Day, when the library has special opening hours with access to the Reading Room. Visitors must reserve free timed entry passes, which also cover access to current exhibitions. But the chance to walk through the Reading Room, and ask questions of the docents on duty, is the star of the show. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last entry at 4:30 p.m. Free. Timed entry passes required.
Anika at Pie Shop: As Anika, Berlin-based journalist-turned-musician Annika Henderson has spent years leaving her mark in the world of underground music as a prolific singer-songwriter, collaborator and DJ. In 2021, she returned with her first solo album in more than a decade, “Change.” Inspired by Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Hannah Arendt’s “The Banality of Evil,” the album features Anika’s half-sung, half-spoken vocals over jagged, dub-kissed post-punk. “Change” always serves as a meditation on a fraught global moment. As she writes, “It’s a vomit of emotions, anxieties, empowerment, and of thoughts like — How can this go on? How can we go on?” 8 p.m. $12-$15.
Tuesday, May 31
‘Drumfolk’ at Arena Stage: After making its local premiere at Strathmore in March, Step Afrika! will stage a month-long series of performances of “Drumfolk” at Arena Stage (part of a multi-year partnership between Step Afrika! and Arena Stage). The dance troupe’s show tells the story of the Stono Rebellion slave revolt in South Carolina in 1739, and how the enslaved Africans who were subsequently forbidden from playing musical instruments created their own percussive music that echoes today in the art forms of tap, beatboxing and stepping. Through June 26. $41-$115.
Wednesday, June 1
Wednesday at the Wharf concert series: If you’re looking for a free concert with a nice perch on the water — whether for the scenic view or just good people-watching — head to the Wharf this summer. The Transit Pier, which also houses Cantina Bambina, will again host a series of shows highlighting local bands every Wednesday through the end of August. The festivities kick off next week with Collective Delusion, which covers rock tunes from the ’70s onward, and the calendar is dotted with an eclectic mix of area staples including DuPont Brass (Aug. 17), Latin Celtic rock from La Unica (June 22) and even the U.S. Army Band (July 13). 7 p.m. Through Aug. 31. Free.