Cornel West Theory

Inspired by the work of renowned African American studies scholar Cornel West, the music of local band the Cornel West Theory uses spoken word, electronics, go-go, jazz, rock and hip-hop elements to create a unique sound.

6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600. 800-444-1324.

The Roots' Ahmir ‘’Questlove’’ Thompson will perform at the ‘’Soul Train’’ dance party Thursday on the Mall to kick off the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)


“Manufactured Landscapes”

Outdoor film screenings rule the roost this summer, but for a slightly cooler experience, head to the U.S. Botanic Garden for “Manufactured Landscapes,” a film about artist Edward Burtynsky, who was known for his large-scale photographs of quarries, recycling yards and other “debris.”

6 p.m. U.S. Botanic Garden, Conservatory Classroom, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. 202-225-1116.


Machu Picchu centennial

One hundred years ago, a group of Quechua natives led American historian Hiram Bingham on a hike to an extraordinary mid-15th century Inca city now revered as one of the most complex and sophisticated ruins in the world. Learn about the genius behind the design of Machu Picchu and the history of the Inca empire from experts in anthropology and archaeology in this evening conference.

6 p.m. Library of Congress, Madison Building, Mumford Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE. 202-707-6404. Reservations required.


“Soul Train” dance party

This year, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival spotlights the tradition and culture of R&B in the United States. Lucky for you, that translates to a “Soul Train” kickoff dance party on the Mall featuring Roots drummer and noted producer Questlove as DJ.

6 p.m. The Mall, Motor City Stage, directly in front of the Smithsonian Castle. 202-633-1000.


Fringe Festival preview

Brush shoulders with the media at a preview of more than 30 shows in this year’s Capital Fringe Festival. In addition to seeing these shows a full week before the alternative arts and theater bonanza officially opens, you can quench your thirst with cool beers or Prosecco on tap (food and drinks are available for purchase only).

7 p.m. Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar, Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW. 202-737-7230.


Salute to Independence

One of the most popular Fourth of July events in the area, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra plays a concert in honor of Independence Day on the grounds where the Battle of Antietam took place.

7:30 p.m. Antietam National Battlefield, 5831 Dunker Church Rd., Sharpsburg. 301-432-5124.


“A Capitol Fourth” rehearsal

You could go to the Mall on the Fourth of July along with thousands of others to see Steve Martin, Josh Groban, Jordin Sparks and “Glee’s” Matthew Morrison at the annual “A Capitol Fourth” concert at the U.S. Capitol. Or, you could avoid the massive crowds and head to the rehearsal with almost all of the same performers a day earlier. (Note: There are no fireworks the day of the rehearsal.)

8 p.m. U.S. Capitol West Lawn.

Jess Righthand