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The best things to do in the D.C. area the week of June 16-22

The expanded Portside Festival, which now incorporates the Alexandria Jazz Fest, brings two days of music, activities, food and drink to Waterfront Park in Old Town Alexandria. (Chris Cruz/Visit Alexandria)
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Editor’s note: Some performing arts and concert venues still require masks and proof of vaccination against the coronavirus. Check websites before purchasing tickets or making plans.

Thursday, June 16

Live at the Library: Celebrate Juneteenth at the Library of Congress: The Library of Congress’s after-hours programming turns to Juneteenth this week, with a performance by the outstanding South Carolina band Ranky Tanky, whose Grammy-winning sound draws on funk, jazz and call-and-response gospel, all steeped in the Lowcountry’s Gullah culture. In addition to a preconcert discussion, the evening includes a display of Juneteenth- and emancipation-related items from the library’s collection, access to all exhibits, and drinks and snacks in the Great Hall. While admission to Live at the Library requires a free timed-entry pass, admission to the concert requires an additional ticket, which is also free. 5 to 8 p.m. Free; reservation required.

How to celebrate Juneteenth in the D.C. area

Juneteenth Takeover at Metrobar: Some bars offer a special event for Juneteenth. Metrobar’s Juneteenth takeover encompasses four nights of parties, starting with speed dating, a ’90s R&B singalong and a screening of “Love and Basketball” on Thursday. Friday is the closing night of D.C.’s Caribbean American Restaurant Week, with a fish fry, steel drum band, dominoes and DJs. Saturday gets off to an early start with the Black Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by a day party with a cookout, DJ, spirits tastings and a spades tournament from 2 to 7 p.m. DJ Jahsonic takes it home with hip-hop, funk and R&B from 7 p.m. Sunday’s highlight is a Father’s Day crab boil featuring cigars, a beard grooming station and local craft beers, beginning at 2 p.m., and a dance party to close out the weekend at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Individual event prices vary from free to $20. The crab boil, which includes food, is $50.

‘Amazing Grace’ at the Kennedy Center: The next outdoor film screening at the Reach is one of the most powerful music documentaries in recent memory: “Amazing Grace,” starring Aretha Franklin. Film critic Ann Hornaday called the 2019 film “nothing short of a miracle” in her four-star review. In 1972, Warner Bros. recorded Franklin performing gospel classics live in Los Angeles, but the resulting footage wasn’t released for almost 50 years. Wrote Hornaday: “Secular music fans won’t want to miss ‘Amazing Grace,’ if only for one more chance to appreciate the singular genius of Franklin, who died last year. But [producer Alan] Elliott and his team have retained the enterprise’s initial spiritual purpose, not just sharing an invaluable record of a storied musical performance, but also bearing witness to sacred vocation, commitment to faith and continuity of ancestral memory.” Film begins at dusk. Free.

Sheryl Crow at Wolf Trap: Welcome to the Sheryl Crow revival. The 60-year-old songstress is known for her breezy, radio-friendly country-rock tunes — come on, try not to crack a smile when “All I Wanna Do” or “Every Day Is a Winding Road” is blasting through your stereo as wind sweeps through your hair on a road trip. But her songwriting chops and the sexism she overcame to reign atop the airwaves are finally receiving proper appreciation, including in the recent documentary “Sheryl.” Listen again to one of her most exquisite ballads, “Strong Enough,” and marvel at the way she channels the frustration of a woman who wants to forge a partnership of equals but can’t pin down why she’s feeling so unsure about everything. Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. $49-$127.

Friday, June 17

Portside Festival and Alexandria Jazz Fest: Two Alexandria festivals have merged into one two-day waterfront celebration. The 44-year-old Alexandria Jazz Festival, formerly known as the Memorial Day Jazz Festival, takes place on Friday night. Sets from Cubano Groove, Veronneau and the Eric Byrd Trio are interspersed with poetry from Alexandria poet laureate Zeina Azzam and former poet laureate KaNikki Jakarta. Saturday features a wider array of music, including salsa, folk rock and Ethiopian reggae, plus lawn games; hands-on arts activities, including printmaking; tours of the tall ship Providence; and archaeological displays. Port City Brewing hosts a beer garden, while local restaurants offer food and ice cream. Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. Free.

‘Beyond King Tut’ at National Geographic Museum: The team behind such immersive exhibits as “Beyond Van Gogh” and “Beyond Monet” is dreaming up theatrical, large-scale projections that will tell the story of ancient Egyptian pharaohs and take you to ancient marvels such as the temple at Karnak, the pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and King Tut’s tomb itself. Developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society, “Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience” is timed to the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Through Feb. 6, 2023. $12-$20.

Flasher at Comet Ping Pong: D.C. punk duo Flasher was forced to reimagine its modus operandi after the departure of bassist Daniel Saperstein, giving drummer Emma Baker the opportunity to step up her songwriting efforts. The resulting album is decidedly dancier and more mellow than their frantic, fuzzy debut, “Constant Image,” but still vital with the band’s DIY punk spirit. Across 13 tracks, “Love Is Yours” toys with tempo and structure but stays focused on undeniable pop melodies, gentle vocal harmonies and lush layers of guitar, bass, synth and percussion that reveal themselves on repeat listenings. There’s more room for reflection this time around, which could partially be a result of the album’s long gestation. After it was recorded in June 2020, the album was delayed for two years until it made sense to tour behind it. The extra time gave Baker and guitarist Taylor Mulitz time to experiment, refine the mix and get all the little, often-rushed elements of a record release right. “It’s really nice that it’s finally going to be out in the world and we get to play it live,” Mulitz says. After the malaise and preoccupation of two years under a pandemic, “it finally feels like regaining a sense of self.” 10 p.m. $15.

Interview: Flasher reimagines its approach but keeps its punk spirit

‘The Music Man’ at Olney Theatre Center: Deaf actor James Caverly, coming off a breakout role on Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” will play the lead role of Harold Hill in Olney Theatre Center’s production of “The Music Man,” featuring a company and creative team consisting of half deaf and hard-of-hearing artists and half hearing artists. This version of the Broadway classic is co-directed by deaf performer Sandra Mae Frank (a regular on NBC’s “New Amsterdam”) and Michael Baron. The entire show will be performed in American Sign Language and spoken English and will be open captioned. Through July 24. $37-$85.

Saturday, June 18

Juneteenth at the National Archives: The two most important documents relating to Juneteenth are the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that, as of Jan. 1, 1863, “all persons held as slaves” with the Confederate States of America “are, and henceforward shall be free,” and General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger in Galveston, Tex., on June 19, 1865, which announced, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” The National Archives holds original copies of both and is putting them on display from June 18 to 20, with the museum staying open until 7 p.m. all three days. A special family day on Saturday features arts and crafts and other activities from 1 to 3 p.m., while an online program Friday at 7 p.m. includes a discussion with historians and live music. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free.

How to celebrate Juneteenth in the D.C. area

Columbia Pike Blues Festival: Over the last 25 years, the Columbia Pike Blues Festival has grown from an enjoyable collection of local bands playing in an elementary school’s field to a rockin’ block party that fills a stretch of South Arlington’s Walter Reed Drive. Shemekia Copeland — dubbed “the greatest blues singer of her generation” in these pages last year — headlines the free, day-long concert full of blues and soul, with Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark and Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage #18 among the openers. The festival includes a kids’ zone with games and a bouncy house, a market full of vendors, arts and crafts, a beer garden and food supplied by local restaurants. Festival events last all weekend, including a Friday night concert at William Jeffrey’s Tavern, a Sunday morning Juneteenth Walk guided by the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington and a free Sunday matinee screening of “The Blues Brothers” at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. 1 to 8:30 p.m. Free.

What’s Out There Weekend: The Cultural Landscape Foundation seeks to preserve and educate people about America’s “cultural landscapes” — parks, gardens and sites that tell shared stories about culture and identity. This weekend, the group offers free tours of 25 such sites around the city, led by architects, historians and other experts. There are deeper looks at landscapes as varied as Roosevelt Island, the grounds of Gallaudet University, memorials on the Tidal Basin and Black Lives Matter Plaza. Move quickly: Reservations are required, due to capacity limits, and some tours are already sold out. Saturday and Sunday. Free; Reservations required.

Columbia Heights Day: Long held outdoors at Tubman Elementary and surrounding streets, one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhood festivals is spreading to three separate locations this year, including the Civic Plaza (a.k.a. the fountain at 14th and Park streets) and the park at 14th and Girard streets. Looking for puppet shows, live music for all ages, dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, carnival games, bike repair stations and a vendor marketplace, as well as cooking demonstrations and activities at the weekly farmers market. Local businesses offer specials during the day, including discounted samplers at Sticky Fingers bakery, $2 tacos at La Cabana and a natural wine happy hour at Queen’s English. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.

Annapolis Juneteenth Celebration: In 2021, the inaugural Juneteenth parade through Annapolis involved more than 2,000 participants, including floats, school marching bands and dancers. This year, organizers are planning to go even bigger. The parade sets off from the City Dock, passing the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, and ends at the Bates Athletic Complex on Spa Road. The festival, which begins at 2 p.m., includes two stages of entertainment: One focuses on R&B, headlined by the Chuck Brown Band and Avery Sunshine, and the Gospel Stage includes Pastor Mike Jr. and Beverly Crawford, backed by the Juneteenth Choir. The day ends with fireworks. Parking is available at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with free shuttles to the festival. Noon to 9 p.m. Free.

How Wu-Tang Clan Transcended the Rap Game at the Northeast Neighborhood Library: The RZA, the GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah and the Method Man — this is how most of us were introduced to the members of the Wu-Tang Clan, the Staten Island crew that went on to change the face of hip-hop with a combination of furious rap deliveries and GZA’s skeletal beats overlaid with snatches of vintage soul. Three decades after “Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers,” author S.H. Fernando Jr. examines Wu Tang’s influence and lasting popularity in a new book, “From the Streets of Shaolin: The Wu-Tang Saga.” He visits the Northeast Neighborhood Library on Capitol Hill for a reading and discussion, sponsored by Solid State Books, followed by a book signing. 1 to 2:30 p.m. Cash might rule everything around us, but this event is free.

Jazz in the Parks at the Parks at Walter Reed: New Northwest D.C. development the Parks at Walter Reed is bringing back free Jazz in the Parks performances this summer, and the monthly outdoor concert series kicks off in June with a performance from popular local jazz vocalist Akua Allrich. Bring a blanket and relax on the Great Lawn overlooking the historic original hospital building on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Campus. Every show will kick off with a 5 p.m. performance from Baba Ras D, a must-see musician for D.C.’s toddler set. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.

Sweet Like Chocolate at Flash: Hot on the heels of their appearance on the Do LaB stage at Coachella, LA-based duo Sweet Like Chocolate brings banging, energetic house tunes to Flash’s rooftop. (You may remember DJ Alex Noize from previous Nu Androids events at the Florida Avenue club.) 4 to 9 p.m. $25-$30.

Sounds of Africa at the National Museum of African Art: Update: This concert has been postponed until July 16 due to road closures for the Something in the Water festival. The first in a series of outdoor summer concerts in the Enid A. Haupt Garden, this concert stars Eme & Heteru, featuring Chelsey Green, performing “songs of liberation” to mark Juneteenth. 6:30 to 10 p.m. africa.si.edu. Free.

Six acts you shouldn’t miss at Something in the Water

GetLitDC Literary Cocktails at the Gibson: You’ll want to do a bit of reading before you take a seat at the bar at the Gibson off U Street for Chantal Tseng’s “Literary Cocktails” series. This month’s edition of the boozy book club is inspired by Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” and Tseng will whip up a menu inspired by the acclaimed novel, including three cocktails and light snacks. 6 to 8 p.m. or 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. $55.

Umi at Howard Theatre: Singer Tierra Umi Wilson — who performs as Umi — has already released three EPs’ worth of sensitive and contemplative new wave R&B songs. The Seattle native’s 2022 debut album, “Forest in the City,” is full of her honest lyrics, with vulnerable reflections and big picture realizations that sound like they’re coming from a seasoned pen. On “Sorry,” Umi apologizes for many things and many times to herself, singing such lines as, “I’m sorry I never trust my gut / I’m sorry I’m always runnin’ my mouth too much.” The song has a light-handed percussion, allowing her voice’s serene quality to have its moment. Wilson’s 2020 EP, “Introspection,” was a clear indication of what was to come from this burgeoning singer. On “Where I Wander,” she sings, “Open waters, open waters / where I wonder / clear the chakras, send me higher.” She’s calling for open-mindedness to make it through a fractured relationship. Wilson effortlessly goes from a more brisk cadence to hitting higher, sweeter notes — leading the way through the wreckage with her voice. 8 p.m. $60.

Create by the Creek at Peirce Mill: Ever dreamed of creating art “en plein air”? These workshops at Rock Creek Park’s Peirce Mill, led by local artists from the Washington Studio School, let participants try their hands at creating 3D landscapes from clay, animating a short sequence using a flipbook or drawing a print with powdered graphite. Registration is required, as capacity is limited. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Sunday, June 19

The Foods of Juneteenth at the National Arboretum’s Washington Youth Garden: Learn about crops from the African diaspora — especially ones that grow well in the D.C. area — at this family-friendly, food-focused event organized by the Friends of the National Arboretum. Chef Daoud Harris leads “garden-to-table” cooking demonstrations, and FONA offers self-guided tours of the gardens and their bounty. Noon to 2 p.m. fona.org. Free; donations requested.

Juneteenth Freedom Jam at Busboys and Poets Columbia: Author and NAACP Image Award winner Omar Tyree hosts an evening of poetry, hip-hop and soul at the Busboys and Poets in Columbia. A portion of proceeds benefits the Urban Literacy Project and College Bound Parenting. 6 to 9 p.m. $25.

Freedom Day Music Festival at Union Stage: Black Alley, whose genre-bending sound fuses go-go with rock and soul, performs at the Freedom Day concert alongside up-and-coming “hip-pop” vocalist Nia Dinero, singer Ruepratt and WPGC DJ Akademiks. 7 p.m. $35.

Monday, June 20

Juneteenth Community Day at the National Museum of African American History and Culture: The African American Museum on the Mall is an obvious place to celebrate Juneteenth, but it’s going to be tough to do so in person if you haven’t already made plans. The museum’s free entry tickets are claimed a month in advance, so the only option is to log on at 8:15 a.m. and try to grab a limited number of same-day passes. Those who are successful can see the original copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech from the 1963 March on Washington (on display in the “A Changing America” exhibition) as well as living history experiences explaining Juneteenth and the United States Colored Troops, plus family arts and crafts activities. A performance by New Orleans jazz artists Alphonso Horne and the Gotham Kings will be held in the Oprah Winfrey Theater at 3 p.m. — free, but reservations are required — and will be streamed online through the museum’s website for those who didn’t get tickets. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Ambar Lucid at Songbyrd: Ambar Lucid opens her 2020 “Garden of Lucid” album with enticing, welcoming words that make listeners wonder what they’re getting into: “Welcome to the garden / please don’t be disheartened / once you perceive insincerity.” The 21-year-old New Jersey native, whose real name is Ambar Cruz, lives in the dreamier, moodier side of R&B. Much of her music could be a soundtrack to a movie that takes place in a dark green, mystical forest. “Questioning My Mind,” in which Cruz wonders how a relationship broke down, even features faraway bird chirps. On this song, like many others, Cruz slips seamlessly between English and Spanish. Cruz is not following a pre-drawn path when it comes to mixing languages in her music: She sings in Spanish in between English thoughts, words and sentences. “Fantasmas” starts off with a hearty guitar and Cruz’s dazzling voice pulled back and softer. Then the chorus hits and she puts the power back in her voice to sing the haunting line, “Mil fantasmas gritan en calma,” or “One thousand ghosts scream calmly.” 7 p.m. $18-$20.

Tuesday, June 21

Arlie at DC9: Arlie is an indie pop band from Nashville that makes sunny pop songs that are still grounded in something real. The song “Poppin,” off its debut album “Break the Curse,” is a great example of what this band does best. It features a cheerful guitar and effortless drums that scream “summer jam.” Yet with lyrics like “you could crush me at any moment,” the song does that classic pop music thing of making someone’s misery something fun to dance to. The titular track leans more into the sincere, using slightly echoing vocals in the beginning to give a psychedelic feel. It’s a song about internal battle with such lyrics as, “But there’s only one way out / honest with myself somehow.” By the end of the song, the intense drums feel like the singer’s racing mind with a guitar rushing to catch up. It sounds like the chaos of knowing what your struggle is but still finding yourself stuck. 8 p.m. $15-$18.

Anteloper at Rhizome DC: Trumpeter Jaimie Branch and drummer Jason Nazary make up the jazzy, electroacoustic duo Anteloper. Along with their main instruments, Branch and Nazary bring in synths and sequencers to create their version of this free-flowing jazz. Their first album, “Kudu,” released in 2018, is only five songs, but at 49 minutes long, it offers plenty of time for the musical moments that linger, and Branch and Nazary each have time with their respective instruments to sink into the songs. Its nine-minute opener, “Oryx,” is anything but static as Branch’s trumpet rages in increments, taking small but impactful steps, as the drums play sporadically. All the while, analog-like synth sounds are sprinkled in. By the second half of the song, the drums have become vigorous while the horn takes a smoother ride to the melody. Their 2020 project “Tour Beats Vol. 1” follows the same path as their previous work. It’s much shorter this time, just four songs and 22 minutes long, but the duo still makes bold choices, wrapping EDM sensibilities with an acoustic foundation. Branch’s trumpet is fluttering echoes by the second half of the opener, “Bubble Under.” With the snares hopping, the horn eventually fades slowly out, sounding like a memory you are recalling by the end. 7 p.m. $15-$20.

Wednesday, June 22

Smithsonian Folklife Festival: After two years of virtual events, the Smithsonian’s venerable Folklife Festival returns to its “normal” schedule of activities on the National Mall from Wednesday to June 27 and again from June 30 to July 4. The two topics — the United Arab Emirates and the Smithsonian’s sustainability-focused Earth Optimism project — were both part of the 2020 virtual “Beyond the Mall” festival but now will allow visitors to experience hands-on activities, including blending perfumes and learning to make Maasai-style jewelry, and smell the cooking meats and spices during foodways demonstrations. Learn about conservation efforts from the Chesapeake Bay to the savannas of Kenya, or try weaving a sculpture with date palms. Evenings feature special events: Wednesday’s opening night concert includes music and poetry hosted by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Thursday combines experimental Dubai-based trio Noon with D.C. go-go stars Experience Unlimited. (The concerts will be streamed through the festival’s website.) Through June 27, then June 30 through July 4. Free.

Grag Queen at City Winery: Grag Queen stole the first series of the international drag competition Queen of the Universe thanks to her renditions of “Rise Up” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Now, with an album of original English-language tunes in the works, the 26-year-old Brazilian performer is showing off her dynamic vocal range to live audiences. 8 p.m. $15.

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