Circuses large and small
Performer David Dimitri, a veteran of the Big Apple Circus and Cirque du Soleil, where he was known for his high-wire act, stars in the traveling one-man circus “L’homme Cirque,” now in residenceshow opens Thursday June 27 at North Bethesda’s Strathmore through July 7. In a tent set up on Strathmore’s grounds, Dimitri performs his signature act, of course, as well as a human cannonball trick and other acrobatic surprises. For something a bit more extravagant, look to Cirque du Soleil, which is bringing its “Volta” show — inspired by such street sports as BMX biking and skating — to Tysons II, beginning July 26 and running through Sept. 8. Tickets to “L’homme Cirque” (through July 7) are $20-$30; VIP $75. Tickets to “Volta” (July 26-Sept. 8) are $49 to $285. — Michael O’Sullivan
Independence Day celebrations, July 4
The addition of the “Salute to America” at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4 has thrown a monkey wrench into Washington’s usual Independence Day celebrations. The fireworks are moving to West Potomac Park, so the view from your favorite viewing spot may change. Traffic and security zones are in flux due to a presidential motorcade. It’s enough to make you want to flee D.C. And yet, some things go on as usual: A Capitol Fourth, the PBS concert with Vanessa Carlton, “Sesame Street” muppets and the National Symphony Orchestra, will be on the Mall beginning at 8 p.m. Rooftop bars are hosting parties, ranging from the pricey ($275 at the W) to affordable (free, with drink specials, at Crimson, 12 Stories and others). And if you’d rather stay out of the city altogether, there are small-town options with parades and fireworks all over the area, including Leesburg, Falls Church and Annapolis. — Fritz Hahn
Visionary Pets on Parade at American Visionary Art Museum, July 4
Every summer since its opening, the Visionary Art Museum hosts one of the area’s most idiosyncratic (and silly) Independence Day events: a parade of costumed pets and their human companions. For the 24th annual Visionary Pets on Parade, expect mostly pooches — animals have to be on-leash or carried — and mostly in some variant of red-white-and-blue finery. This being Baltimore, you should also expect the unexpected: Some participants have been known to bring pet goats, iguanas and tortoises, and costumes can include wigs, swim goggles and other forms of public humiliation of Man’s Best Friend. Whether you choose to walk the route, which starts at 9 a.m. at the museum’s Federal Hill home, or just spectate, it’s all in good fun. Prizes will be handed out for best (and “most visionary”) costume, and the free event ends with a talent show. 9 a.m. Free. — M.O.
D.C. Art Book Fair at National Museum of Women in the Arts, July 7
Founded in 2016 by the D.C. Art Book Collective, a group united by the love of the printed page, this curated fair relocated in 2017 from Union Market to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, an institution with a well-established respect for (and well-regarded collection of) artists’ books. The family-friendly event in the museum’s Great Hall spotlights the work of area creatives working in a variety of paper-based mediums: zines, comics, limited-edition (or one-of-a kind) artists’ books and art prints. Noon. Free. — M.O.
Free Shakespeare, July 9-21
Free Shakespeare is one of Washington’s great summer traditions. The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Free for All is an encore of last year’s “Hamlet,” an innovative modern take starring Michael Urie as the Prince of Denmark. As in previous years, tickets can be acquired through an online lottery or by old-fashioned waiting in line: 200 tickets will be released at the box office two hours before each performance. If you prefer your Bard alfresco, head to one of the dozen performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” held across Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, including at Brookside Gardens (July 9) and on the grounds of the Riversdale House Museum (July 16). This year’s family-friendly production features a band performing traditional Italian music. Free for All: July 10-21 at Sidney Harman Hall. Shakespeare in the Parks: July 9-21 at various parks and historic sites. Free. — F.H.
Library of Congress Summer Film Festival , July 11-Aug. 15
There are plenty of outdoor film screenings in the D.C. area, but none can match the setting at the Library of Congress’s annual summer series. On one side of the lawn is the landmark Library. Across the street is the hulking Supreme Court. Just peeping out above the trees and to the right of the screen is the dome of the U.S. Capitol. Most people don’t associate the Library with movies, but it’s home to the National Film Registry, a collection of American motion pictures “deemed culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Every summer, the Library screens a selection of films from the Registry on its north lawn; this year’s calendar includes “Mary Poppins” (July 11), “Jaws” (Aug. 1) and “Jurassic Park” (Aug. 15). Bring a blanket and a picnic, and arrive early to secure a spot and hear live music by the Washington Performing Arts. Thursdays at sunset through Aug. 15. Free. — F.H.
Summer is the season of the fan convention, and if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center over the weekend of July 26-28, you’ll know it’s time for Otakon: the neighboring streets will be aswarm with costumed fans of Asian pop culture, including anime, manga, music, movies, video games and more. (The Japanese word otaku refers to people with obsessive interests.) Earlier in the month, you’ll find a fan convention of a different sort — one that celebrates not a genre, but a fan demographic: the black nerd, or blerd. Over the weekend of July 12-14, the annual Blerdcon gathering will take over Crystal City’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, with special guests including actress Rachel True (“The Craft”); singer and voice actress Estelle (“Steven Universe”); and voice actor Beau Billingslea (“Cowboy Bebop”). Inaugurated in 2017, Blerdcon was created specifically for pop-culture Fans of Color, but touts its diversity and inclusivity: LGBTQ fans, disabled fans, fans from the international community — really, any and all fans — are welcome. Blerdcon passes are $25-$55; VIP passes $200; ages 12 and younger free. Otakon passes are $40-$95; ages 8 and younger free. — M.O.
Punk Black Fest at the Pinch, July 13
The world of rock music is overwhelmingly white and not always inclusive. But for the past four years, Punk Black has made serious headway in shifting the status quo. The concert series, which started in Atlanta, spotlights some of the country’s best rock acts, all featuring people of color. Now, Punk Black is raising the stakes by bringing its traveling festival to more U.S. cities this year — including D.C.’s seminal punk venue, the Pinch. Nine bands from around the country helm the city’s inaugural festival, including such locals as hardcore punks Supreme Commander, hip-hop and metal fusion group Throwdown Syndicate and rockers the Courtland Experiment. 5 p.m. $15. — Stephanie Williams
Over the past five years, Denizens Brewing has helped turn downtown Silver Spring into a beer destination. The spacious beer garden attracts families, pets and cornhole players on summer afternoons. Festivals starring sour beers and Maryland cask ales have spread the gospel of those esoteric styles. Meanwhile, Denizens’ flagship beers can be found on taps around the area. That demand is the reason that Denizens opened a larger brewing facility in Riverdale Park earlier this year, but the focus shifts back to the original spot as Denizens gets set to mark its fifth anniversary. The New Orleans-themed party includes live music from the Naptown Brass Band, a drag show, a special menu of po’ boys and hurricanes, and late-night dancing to a DJ. Don’t miss the debut of PGC Premium Lager in cans, too. 5 p.m. Free. — F.H.
Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, July 13-14
Cherry blossoms aren’t the only natural wonder in town. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is home to another visually stunning sight — lotus and water lilies — and when they’re in full bloom, they could give the city’s hallmark pink trees a run for their money. Kenilworth’s annual festival devoted to these vibrant flowers stretches over two days this year and is chock full of music and dance performances, games and arts and crafts that are all free and enjoyable for the entire family. And, of course, this is the prime time to catch the lotus and lilies at their peak. 10 a.m. Free. — S.W.
Nas with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap, July 14
It’s rare, but sometimes an artist can debut with an album that arrives so fully-formed that it sets an unreasonable bar for the rest of their career. Case in point: “Illmatic.” In 1994, Nas released his landmark album, filled with evocative and nimbly-rhymed stories of his rise out of the projects of New York City. It would be one thing just to tell a good story, but the Queens-raised rapper showed off the whole package in just under 40 minutes, with production that melts you into its world. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Illmatic,” Nas is partnering with the National Symphony Orchestra to add even more layers to his classic album. 6:30 p.m. (gates open). Sold out. — Hau Chu
50th anniversary celebrations of the Apollo moon landing, July 14-20
Neil Armstrong took “one small step for a man” on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, but the moon landing, and the “giant leap for mankind” that it represents, is being celebrated across Washington this month. The most visible event is the Smithsonian’s “Apollo 50 Festival,” which includes the debut of Armstrong’s renovated spacesuit (July 16), a “Discover the Moon” family day (July 19), and a late-night party marking the exact time Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface (July 20). The National Gallery of Art memorializes the Apollo missions with “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (opening July 14), an exhibition that includes 19th-century images of the moon and NASA photographs, and the Kennedy Center offers a pair of performances on July 20: On the Millennium Stage, “NSO Project — Apollo 11 @ 50” pays tribute to space exploration with the National Symphony Orchestra; and “NSO Pops: Apollo 11: A Fiftieth Anniversary” marries music and video, including performances by Pharrell Williams and Natasha Bedingfield, a new work by composer Michael Giacchino, and a never-before-seen 1997 performance of David Bowie singing “Space Oddity.” Most events free; NSO Pops performance, $29-$149. — F.H.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah at City Winery, July 14
Anytime the subject of jazz comes up in the 21st century, music fans seem to gravitate toward the question of: Who will be the genre’s savior? Jazz might not need saving if Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah keeps pushing it into another dimension. Listen to his latest album, “Ancestral Recall,” for his seamless blending of the modern sounds of hip-hop and techno with a swath of diverse rhythms from African diaspora communities. The 36-year-old New Orleans-born artist would probably reject the label of jazz himself in favor of his preferred “stretch music,” when referring to his dynamic alchemy of sounds. This includes near-impossible sounding polyrhythmic drums feverishly bouncing around with flutes and Adjuah’s dizzying trumpet. 6 and 9:30 p.m. $28-$38. — H.C.
‘How Did This Get Made?’ at Constitution Hall, July 21
For nearly a decade, comedians and actors Paul Scheer (“Black Monday”), June Diane Raphael (“Grace and Frankie”) and Jason Mantzoukas (“The Good Place”) have been giving people a reason to sit through bad movies. While they’re not capable of turning “Burlesque,” “The Meg,” or “Super Mario Bros.” into cinematic masterpieces, the trio’s long-running podcast, “How Did This Get Made?,” does make watching those films worthwhile. On each episode, the improv veterans and a celebrity guest hilariously dissect a terrible movie by running through the plot (and any plot holes), quoting memorable lines and questioning odd artistic choices. The group regularly hosts live recordings of the show in Los Angeles and has appeared in D.C. at the Bentzen Ball. Now they’re bringing the podcast on the road with a full tour, for which each date’s movie will be announced in advance. 7:30 p.m. $45. — Rudi Greenberg
Citi Open at Rock Creek Tennis Center, July 27-Aug. 4
One of Washington’s best summer sports traditions was plenty good enough when you got the chance to catch a couple of notable names in tennis as they tuned up for the U.S. Open. But since 2015, the level of play has risen. You might not get the Williams sisters or the Federers and Nadals of the world, but you will see excellent athletes playing their hearts out in the sweltering summer sun. Slated to compete on the men’s side are the sixth-ranked player in the world, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and local phenom Frances Tiafoe. And the women’s draw features two marquee Americans, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. Times vary. $15-$750. — H.C.
Corinne Bailey Rae at Lincoln Theatre, July 30
Corinne Bailey Rae’s minimalist R&B is delicate but by no means sleepy. The British musician channels a cargo-vessel-worth of emotions into her lush songs, giving them a vivid sense of purpose and place. “The Heart Speaks in Whispers,” Rae’s 2016 record, is where she does this best. The album explores a range of moods and sounds, which all seamlessly flow together into a velvety-smooth listen. 6:30 p.m. (doors). $40. — S.W.