The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The best things to do in the D.C. area the week of Aug. 18-24

Chuck Brown, D.C.’s legendary godfather of go-go, will be honored at Saturday’s annual Chuck Brown Day concert, with performances by Rare Essence, Doug E. Fresh and, of course, the Chuck Brown Band. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Thursday, Aug. 18

Washington Mystics playoff viewing party at As You Are Bar: For the eighth time in 10 years, the Washington Mystics are in the WNBA playoffs — a record that’s the envy of most other professional sports teams in D.C. The best-of-three series against the Seattle Storm tips off at 10 p.m. on this coast, and the Mystics’ official viewing party is at As You Are Bar, the welcoming new nightspot at the top of Barracks Row that was named one of the team’s partner bars earlier in the season. Look for food and drink specials as well as giveaways. 10 p.m. Free admission.

Artwalk Dupont: Feel like your midweek could use a bit more cultural appreciation? Dupont Circle’s “Third Thursday” Artwalk is back for monthly happenings at the neighborhood’s galleries. This month’s activities include exhibitions at the Embassy of Argentina, a musical performance by D.C.-based harpist Iliana Garabyare and a live painting by multimedia artist Claire De Pree. Stroll through a concurring FreshFarm farmers market, or check out exhibits at locations including the Heurich House Museum, set in a Gilded Age mansion, and Studio Gallery, the oldest artist-owned gallery in the city. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.

Montgomery County Agricultural Fair: Monster trucks and racing pigs: What else do you need? The final weekend of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair arrives with all the entertainment you’d expect, including barns full of animals, performances by musicians and illusionists, and a midway stuffed with everything from highflying rides to mirrored mazes. Thursday’s featured events include racing piglets, which take to their track four times between noon and 7:30 p.m., and the Renegade Monster Truck Tour, in which eight trucks with names like Crushstation and Virginia Giant show off their tricks for the crowd. Friday and Saturday trade monster truck destruction for the all-important demolition derby. Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight. Admission $12 in advance, $15 at the gate. Children ages 11 and younger admitted free. Rides and some attractions, such as the monster trucks and demolition derby, cost extra. See the fair’s website for details.

D.C. Environmental Film Festival: International Spotlight Shorts: The annual D.C. Environmental Film Festival is held in March, but organizers also schedule virtual screenings and filmmaker discussions throughout the year. This mini-fest contains five short films delving into environmental issues around the world, from centuries-old traditions of Japanese lumberjacks to the impact of climate change on Swedish snowboarders. The films, ranging in length from seven to 31 minutes, are available to stream for three days, along with a Q&A featuring three of the directors. Through Sunday. Free.

Friday, Aug. 19

‘Rear Window’ outdoor screening at Hillwood Estate and Gardens: What would Grace Kelly bring to a picnic? That’s the assignment for a stylish outdoor movie screening at D.C.’s historic Hillwood Estate, in honor of the museum’s special exhibition “Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior.” You’ll get to see the exhibit and take a tour of the mansion and gardens, then settle in on the Lunar Lawn to watch the actress’s classic film “Rear Window.” The winner of the picnic spread competition will score an annual membership to Hillwood, so do your homework: Judges will be looking for fine tablecloths and flameless candelabras, impeccable 1950s fashion, and a theme that connects to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece. 6 to 10 p.m. $5-$20. Free for children ages 5 and younger.

‘Mexican Geniuses’: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience: A company that previously imagined Van Gogh’s starry night as an immersive experience is turning its attention to one of art’s most famous power couples. “Mexican Geniuses: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience” arrives in D.C. after debuting this spring in London. Art from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera will appear larger than life, thanks to 360-degree video-mapping technology. Four galleries re-create Kahlo’s and Rivera’s individual and shared spaces, with more than 300 projections featuring paintings, photos, quotes and animation. Through Oct. 9. $19.90-$64.90.

‘Mixology for the Lovelorn, Then and Now’ at the National Building Museum: The Building Museum’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”-inspired collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library wraps up on Aug. 28, but there are a few more events taking place before Robin Goodfellow restores amends. A love potion plays a key role in the events of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and mixologists Derek Brown (founder of the Columbia Room) and Bridget Albert (author of “Life, Love, Happiness and Cocktails”) team up with culinary historian Marissa Nicosia to discuss the origins of potions, how they were used to treat heartache as well as physical ailments, and their evolution into the modern idea of cocktails. 6 p.m. Free; registration required.

DJ Bri Mafia at the Howard Theatre: Bri Mafia was a self-described “YouTube DJ” in college, spinning the likes of Key!, Retro Sushi, Dom Kennedy and “almost every artist of the hip-hop blog era,” she says. But her career really began in 2015 after she attended South by Southwest, when she left the graphic design program at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina and moved to Prince George’s County to be near family and pursue DJing full time. Her reasons were straightforward: “I only saw two female DJs the entire weekend I was [at South by Southwest], and that is absolutely what convinced me to drop out of school and take my DJ career seriously.” Onstage, she seamlessly blends raunchy trap, dreamy pop and thrashing emo-core into exhilarating live sets. Her knack for finding what’s new in a sound has had her opening for acts including A$ap Ant, Nardo Wick and Larry June before this concert with Curren$y at Howard Theatre. 8 p.m. $10.

Interview: DJ Bri Mafia is more than just a record spinner

Shordie Shordie at the Fillmore Silver Spring: Shordie Shordie hit the Baltimore music scene a few years ago as a member of Peso Da Mafia, a trio that scored a dance-assisted regional hit with “Money Man.” He soon went solo, quickly establishing himself as a gravel-voiced griot. As much a crooner as a rapper, Shordie Shordie squeezes every ounce of emotion out of elongated vowels, and his rapid-fire raps never lose buoyancy or sense of melody. Last year, he linked up with Murda Beatz, a Canadian producer who has helmed hits for the likes of Drake, Migos and Travis Scott, for “Memory Lane.” The project showed how comfortable he is on hard-edge trap beats with complements of gentle guitar and piano melodies, but he’s probably best when in California bounce mood, whether navigating love in this club on “Bitchuary” or on the East Coast-meets-West Coast jam “Both Sides.” 8 p.m. $20-$95.

Punkie Johnson at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse: Punkie Johnson joined “Saturday Night Live” as a featured player in 2020, and while she might not have featured as often as some other cast members, she consistently steals scenes, whether uproariously telling stories about her family’s holiday gatherings on “Weekend Update” or portraying the twerking devil on Selena Gomez’s shoulder. Johnson, the second Black LGBTQ cast member in the show’s history, visits Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse for four shows this weekend. Friday and Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. $20.

Saturday, Aug. 20

Chuck Brown Day at Chuck Brown Memorial Park: Washington’s annual celebration of beloved local musician Chuck Brown, the godfather of go-go, returns to Langdon’s Chuck Brown Memorial Park for an afternoon of funk and community. Headlined by the Chuck Brown Band and hosted by DJ Kool, the day features performances by Doug E. Fresh, Rare Essence and Uncalled 4 Band (UCB), bringing together the sounds of multiple generations. Outside of the beat, which goes and goes, there are food trucks, family activities and a back-to-school giveaway, and the first 1,000 people to RSVP online can claim a free Chuck Brown T-shirt. 2 to 7 p.m. Free.

Bands and Brews in Del Ray: Music and drinks flow in the heart of Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood during the second annual Bands and Brews festival. At least 18 restaurants are hosting live entertainment, including Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Evening Star Cafe, and the Barkhaus dog park and bar. After checking in, participants can wander freely up and down Mount Vernon Avenue in search of music and drink specials, which vary by bar, or avail themselves of a trolley to move between locations. A portion of the day’s proceeds benefits the nonprofit Senior Services of Alexandria. 1 to 6 p.m. $15; $20 at the door.

Asia Collective Night Market at the Howard County Fairgrounds: The Howard County Fairgrounds turns into a food lover’s dream with bites from 40 Asian restaurants, including Baltimore Asian-fusion spot Ekiben, Rockville Philippine staple Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly and the Hong Kong-inspired Columbia Heights bistro Queen’s English. Snacks range from Vietnamese egg rolls to soup dumplings and Chinese barbecue skewers to boba tea. Asia Collective Night Market stays open fittingly late, and organizers say the ticketed format with extended hours and multiple entrances to the fairgrounds will cut back on long lines. 2 to 11 p.m. $10; free for children younger than 10.

R&B in the Fort at Fort Dupont: When the National Park Service announced the 50th anniversary of the Fort Dupont Summer Concert Series, it pledged performances by “artists whose music recalls the early days of the Fort Dupont concerts.” This week’s lineup fulfills that promise, thanks to Pieces of a Dream, the Philadelphia group whose soulful smooth jazz sound earned it numerous headlining slots over the years, beginning in the early 1980s. Also on the bill is the Urban Guerilla Orchestra, a funk ensemble whose members have backed Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Michael Jackson, and whose sets are heavy on ’70s and ’80s party classics. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., concert starts at 7 p.m. Free.

Will Butler at DC9: For nearly 20 years, Will Butler was a member of art rock titans Arcade Fire alongside his brother Win. Along with playing various instruments across the band’s six albums, Butler has released solo albums and scored music for stage and screen; for a few days in 2015, he even wrote a series of songs inspired by stories in the Guardian. These days, he has more time for those ventures and adventures, having left Arcade Fire at the end of 2021. “There was no acute reason beyond that I’ve changed — and the band has changed — over the last almost 20 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “Time for new things.” So far, he’s offered two glimpses of what will come next: the nervy and unnerving “A Stranger’s House,” which unspools a tale of yearning over subtle electronics and twinkling piano, and “Nearer to Thee,” which turns a hymn into something noisy and explosive. 7 p.m. $19-$21.

Arlington County Fair: While the Metro-accessible fair offers rides, games and live performances throughout its five-day run, Saturday features some of the most traditional — and nontraditional — county fair activities. The day kicks off at 9 a.m. with goat yoga, which is exactly what it sounds like: a mellow yoga class surrounded by grazing farm animals. After that relaxing vibe, the rest of Saturday continues a bit less peacefully with ax throwing, escape rooms and a magic show. The ever-classic pie eating championship at noon features pastries and the chance to win a gift certificate from Livin’ the Pie Life. While kids frolic at the “foam party,” adults can enjoy New District Brewing Co.’s beer garden or live evening performances from the Sunshine Gang and Red Sun King. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free admission; event prices vary.

‘Korean Fashion: From Royal Court to Runway’ at the Textile Museum: Long before Seoul street-style blogs and K-pop costumes captured the world’s attention, viewers at the Korean panel in the 1893 Chicago world’s fair marveled over embroidered silk robes made for the royal court. The Textile Museum’s exhibit “Korean Fashion: From Royal Court to Runway” showcases more than 125 years of Korean design, including garments shown in Chicago and high-end clothing that wowed during Paris Fashion Week. Through Dec. 22. Suggested donation of $8.

Sneaker Con at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center: It’s going to be hard to leave Sneaker Con without a fresh pair of shoes. More than 400 vendors set up shop to buy, sell and trade during the two-day sneaker and streetwear convention at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Meanwhile, eBay experts are on hand to authenticate vintage sneakers and run a live auction. Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. $30-$50.

Flashband Summer Rock Showcase: There’s nothing like D.C. weather in late August to make you wish you were at the beach, sipping an ice-blended cocktail and listening to your summer playlist through a portable speaker. This show at Union Stage promises that feeling without ever leaving the District. Flashband, 7DrumCity’s catchall organization that forms bands from hobbyists to perform one-time gigs, is playing a “summer rock showcase” featuring covers from beach and poolside favorites like (you guessed it) the Beach Boys. 7 to 11 p.m. $15.

Beneficial Insect Basics class: Inundated with invasive red lantern flies and wondering which insects may help your garden instead of kill your trees? Nonprofit collective DMV Beneficials hosts a class to teach the basics on bugs and principles on pests. At PLNTR in Adams Morgan, it covers how to use insects in place of pesticides to benefit a garden or indoor collection without chemicals. Guests leave with a small houseplant and a bag of beneficial bugs to try out their new skills. 2 to 4 p.m. $25.

Sunday, Aug. 21

Adams Morgan Pedestrian Zone: On Sunday afternoon, traffic will come to a halt in Adams Morgan. Instead of Uber Eats drivers blocking traffic outside restaurants and buses idling at stoplights, 18th Street NW will be filled with diners enjoying restaurants alfresco and families doing yoga together while an entertainer riding a big-wheeled penny-farthing cycles past. Well, that’s the idea, anyway. Sunday marks the debut of the Adams Morgan Pedestrian Zone, a pilot program that will close 18th Street to vehicular traffic between Columbia and Kalorama roads one Sunday each month, from noon to 10 p.m., through October. The goal, according to the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District, is to draw more people to the neighborhood, then make it easier for them to move around and socialize or participate in activities on the pavement. Beyond hanging out on rooftop bars and at streateries, free scheduled activities include yoga and Zumba classes, instructors from Words, Beats and Life leading a dance academy, face painting and balloon artists for children, and the creation of a chalk mural in the middle of the street. Noon to 10 p.m. Free.

Giant panda birthday parties at the National Zoo: August is a big month for the giant pandas at the National Zoo; Tian Tian and little cub Xiao Qi Ji are both celebrating birthdays, and everyone is invited to their parties. Xiao Qi Ji turns 2 on Aug. 21, and it’s bound to be adorable to watch the youngster chow down on a special birthday ice cake. Then, less than a week later, it’s Dad’s turn to feast on his own cake. The pandas will be presented with treats at 9 a.m., but activities continue all day. Tune in to the live stream on the Giant Panda Cam, or reserve free passes to visit the Asia Trail in person for the festivities. 9 to 10 a.m. Free. Passes required for in-person admission.

STAR Fest at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library: “Singing, Talking and Reading” is the theme of this family event marking the 50th anniversary of the central library. Highlights include a story time with guest reader the Cat in the Hat, music from Latin Grammy winner 123 Andrés and Mr. Prather (of “Move With …” fame), author talks and book signings, a petting zoo, face painting, and bubbles. Because it’s the library, there will be free books to take home. 1 to 5 p.m. Free.

Diary of an R&B Songwriter and Producer: Rich Harrison at Songbyrd: One of the most talented music producers to emerge from D.C. in the 2000s, Rich Harrison was responsible for the beats on Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” and Amerie’s “1 Thing,” and has worked with Usher, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton and Marsha Ambrosius. The members of the R&B Club — “think of it as a musical book club” — perform a deep dive into Harrison’s output and legacy over brunch at Songbyrd. Noon to 2 p.m. $15-$20.

From 2005: Rich Harrison: Quietly making some noise

Wednesday, Aug. 24

Peaches at 9:30 Club: Every generation gets the anniversary tour it deserves. For millennials who spent the beginning of the millennium as club kids, there’s a 20-year celebration of the wide release of Peaches’ “The Teaches of Peaches.” After dabbling in folk, rock and punk, the Canadian musician born Merrill Nisker eventually landed on electroclash, a genre that does exactly what it says on the tin. Over drum machine beats and gurgling synthesizer bass lines, Peaches delivered half-rapped, half-shrugged come-ons in pro-sex, postfeminist anthems. Two decades on, “The Teaches of Peaches” sounds raw and transgressive, with a playful, expansive view of gender identity that is decidedly modern. Plus, the tour is well timed to the revival of “indie sleaze,” the garish, early-aughts hipster aesthetic of which Peaches served as soundtrack. 7 p.m. $40.