Friday, June 22
By the People Festival: An artsy, zeitgeist-capturing event is coming to Washington — and hoping to become as popular as Austin’s South by Southwest and Aspen’s Ideas Festival. The inaugural By the People festival, running through Sunday, sprinkles interactive installations and innovative performances across five hubs in the District. Visitors to the Arts and Industries Building on the Mall can poke their heads into colorful bubbles created by artist Dan Steinhilber or write to the women of 2037 as part of Halcyon Arts Lab fellow Georgia Saxelby’s “To Future Women: A 20-Year Time Capsule of Letters to the Next Generation.” Free shuttles will transport participants to other hub locations, such as the Parks at Walter Reed. Musical groups, including DuPont Brass and Batala Washington, will circulate throughout the sites for pop-up performances, and the Bridgman|Packer Dance troupe will travel in a U-Haul truck, staging performances at the hubs. Through Sunday. Times and locations vary. Events are free, but some may require reservations.
'Rock Rubber 45s' film screening and after-party at the Kennedy Center: Bobbito Garcia is probably best known as a DJ — he co-hosts NPR's “What's Good” podcast and hosted the trailblazing “Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show” on Columbia University's WKCR-FM in the 1990s. But Garcia has turned to film in recent years, directing the documentary “Doin' It in the Park: Pick-up Basketball, New York City” and hosting ESPN's sneaker-centric doc “It's the Shoes.” His new project, “Rock Rubber 45s,” is more autobiographical, examining the intersection of hip-hop, basketball and sneaker culture. Garcia hosts a screening in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, followed by a dance party with DJs and guest performances in the lobby. (Note: You don't have to attend the film to enjoy the free party.) 7:30 p.m. $20. After-party, 9 p.m. to midnight, free.
Tower of Power 50th Anniversary at the Birchmere: It has been 50 years since the acclaimed horn section of Tower of Power roared to the forefront of R&B, designing blasts of melody specifically for fiery live performances. When the Oakland, Calif., outfit was at its most powerful, its funky brass sounds could be heard on stages and on wax alongside the likes of Elton John, Santana and Aerosmith. As the sound of the charts shuffled and reshuffled, and with few constant members sticking with the group — founder Emilio Castillo being the nucleus — Tower of Power has still managed to carve out enough space to challenge the synthetic sounds of the day. Everything may change around them, but this band plays on. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. $55.
POV Live: Ceramic Animal at the W Hotel: Trippy Pennsylvania quartet Ceramic Animal performs retro, keyboard-driven pop tunes from its forthcoming album at a free concert on the W Hotel's rooftop. 8 to 11 p.m. Free with RSVP.
Saturday, June 23
Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle: The smell of barbecue will waft through downtown all weekend, thanks to this Giant-sponsored barbecue competition. Tens of thousands of brisket fans are expected at this family-friendly summer festival, where stands serve barbecue and grilled food samples, and restaurants from across the country set up shop, too. Watch go-go and rock bands, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and barbecue legends compete in cooking contests. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. $12 for adults; children ages 12 and under admitted free.
Solstice Saturday at the Smithsonian: How should you celebrate the longest Saturday of the year? By heading to the Smithsonian, which is keeping its museums open longer than usual for dance parties, tours and family events. Both the National Air and Space Museum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center are focusing on solstice activity with telescopes and stargazing — not something you can do during normal museum hours — as well as planetarium shows. The Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Castle hosts DJs and live music, while both the Hirshhorn and the National Museum of the American Indian will mix outdoor drinks, DJs and indoor galleries open until midnight. The National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum team up for an outdoor block party and beer garden on F Street NW before moving indoors for a concert and late-night fun. Times and locations vary. Free.
Paramore at Merriweather Post Pavilion: Some artists earn success through their commitment to consistency. Others, like Paramore, have reinvented themselves, breathing new life into a long career. When the band, led by vocalist (and only permanent member) Hayley Williams, arrived in 2005, it was a zippy punk outfit. Songs such as “Misery Business” and “Crushcrushcrush,” from the band’s sophomore album, “Riot!," quickly became genre staples at a time when emo-style music was at its commercial peak. Now in its second act, Paramore has traded in aughties punk for ’80s new wave made of cheery synthesizers and warm vocals. Angst still prevails in the lyrics, but the music surrounding it could back a nostalgic montage in a happy teen movie. Then again, if punk is about going left when everyone else shifts right, perhaps little has changed at all. 7 p.m. $45-$86.
Hometown Heroes at Town: Words that D.C.'s gay community has been dreading: There are only two more weekends before Town Danceboutique closes for good. The next-to-last hurrah is a celebration of the local entertainers who've made Town a landmark over the past 11 years. Eight DJs, including Wess, Matt Bailer, Chord Bezerra and Mad Science, will keep the dance floor moving, while the drag show's all-star cast features host Lena Lett with Shi-Queeta Lee, Ba'Naka and Gigi Couture. 10 p.m. $15.
Sunday, June 24
D.C. Crab Cake Competition at Ivy City Smokehouse: We’re well into blue crab season, but not everyone enjoys the work that goes into picking meat from steamed shells. Those who prefer their sweet, delicious meat in cake form will find heaven in Ivy City: Eight top D.C. chefs, including Cathal Armstrong (Kaliwa), Kevin Tien (Himitsu), Alex McCoy (Lucky Buns) and Bart Vandaele (Belga Cafe), offer their takes on crab cakes using certified Maryland crabmeat. Tickets include samples of each chef’s work, an oyster bar, seafood appetizers, and a selection of beer, wine and spirits. Noon to 3 p.m. $85.
Tico SummerFest and Taco Takedown at Tico: Who will be crowned D.C.'s titan of the Taco Takedown? Amy Brandwein of Centrolina, Russell Smith of the Source and Seng Luangrath of Thip Khao are among eight local chefs fighting for the title at Tico's annual SummerFest, a fundraiser for local domestic violence shelter My Sisters Place. Tastes of all tacos, as well as unlimited food and beverages, are included in the ticket price. 4 to 7:30 p.m. $50. Children age 12 and younger admitted free.
Rare Essence and Small Upsetters at U Street Music Hall: D.C. has a long history of concerts pairing punk and go-go, from Trouble Funk and Minor Threat to Fugazi and Junkyard Band to the more recent billing of Trouble Funk and Loud Boyz. For this show, part of U Street Music Hall's Go-Go Returns to U Street series, the legendary Rare Essence — whose Tiny Desk Concert for NPR introduced them to new fans outside D.C. — is being joined by a band called the Small Upsetters. Never heard of them? What if we told you that “Small Upsetters” is a song by Maryland punk veterans Clutch, who have a new album coming out this summer? Just sayin'. 7 p.m. $15.
Harry Styles at Capital One Arena: Countless teenage hearts shattered when One Direction announced its hiatus in 2016, but the solo career of Harry Styles promptly arrived to fill the void. With only a single album to his name, Styles has already proved capable of thriving on his own. His 2017 namesake debut sloughed off his reputation as a boy-band heartthrob for that of a guitar-toting troubadour, furnishing sticky pop in soft-rock clothing. And although few have managed the transition from group to solo act as seamlessly — convincing us of Styles’s maturity without sacrificing quality — the road ahead is much longer than the one he’s left behind. 8 p.m. $39.50-$99.50.
Havana Under the Stars at the Embassy Row Hotel: Wind down the weekend on the rooftop of the Embassy Row Hotel, where a band plays salsa music while bartenders serve mojitos and Cuban cocktails. A half-hour beginning salsa dance lesson is available but not required. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. $20-$25.
— Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Sadie Dingfelder and Briana Younger