The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art. For even more, check out Nightlife Agenda.
Friday: They say money can't buy class, but $20 affords a view of a very classy production of Verdi's "La traviata," with music by the National Symphony Orchestra, vocals by the Wolf Trap Opera Company and Italian lyrics with English supertitles. Since Friday's performance is at the woody Wolf Trap, leave the formalwear at home, but don't forget the opera glasses: Those $20 tickets are on the Filene Center's lawn. (Pavilion tickets run a bit more, at $45-$70.)
Friday: If you missed out on last week's kickoff of the D.C. Drive-In due to the summer storm, there are a few more chances. But only this Friday will have Eddie Murphy's "The Distinguished Gentleman." If you don't have a reservation, line up in your car along Sixth Street NE for a chance to fill the remaining spots at 8 p.m., or bring camping chairs and hang out in the (pavement) picnic area.
Friday-Saturday: If you're a fan of writer-director Joss Whedon's oeuvre, you'll find something to love at this weekend's Can't Stop the Serenity bash. The main event, of course, is a screening of 2005's "Serenity," Whedon's big-screen continuation of the sci-fi TV series "Firefly." The real draw may be the costume contest, which invites you to dress as any character from the Whedonverse. Friday at 10 p.m. and Saturday at noon. $15. (Washington Post Express)
Friday-Sunday: Hop a train or hitch a ride to Baltimore's artsy Mount Royal Avenue this weekend for the return of Artscape. Spreading over three days and more than a dozen city blocks, the self-proclaimed largest free arts festival in the country has a funky-cool family-friendly vibe, with art cars and more. But keep an eye out for the Artscape After Hours events, including a comedy night hosted by the very funny Jason Weems.
Saturday: The final show in Flying Dog's Summer Session concert series, Gonzofest, features the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion performing in a field next to the Frederick brewery. Rare and unusual beers will flow from taps while the fiery 1990s alternative/blues/punk quartet performs its usual sweat-soaked show. Good beer and scuzzy rock music -- essentials for one of summer's best outdoor concerts.
Saturday: Six years and five albums into his solo career, Kurt Vile has risen to indie darling status, all the while winning more than a few comparisons to Tom Petty. On the new "Walkin on a Pretty Daze," the Philly rocker and his grungy band, the Violators, are happy to jam on the psychedelic slacker-pop songs for six, nine or even 10 minutes, but the shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars pull listeners in instead of nudging them to check their watches. Tickets to the 9:30 club show are $20 and, astonishingly, still available.
Sunday: D.C. Scoop, Union Market's celebration of National Ice Cream Day, will certainly be worth the inevitable brain freeze. Many of Washington's fancy new ice cream purveyors, such as CreamCycle, Goodies and Milk Cult, will be handing out free samples, along with more established favorites like Dolcezza and Gifford's. The kid-friendly event features children's musicians, face painting and a pint-size (see what we did there?) ice cream eating contest. The event is set for 1 to 4 p.m. and it's free.
Sunday: With the World Cup approaching in less than a year, now is when soccer fans hope to see the U.S. Men's National Team rounding into its best form. The team has been playing well recently and is all but a lock to qualify for next summer's tournament in Brazil; this weekend, the team turns its attention to the quarterfinals of the 2013 Gold Cup tournament against El Salvador at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. 4 p.m.