Happy Birthday, Chuck!
Thursday marks the 77th birthday of Chuck Brown, the “Godfather of Go-Go,” Washington’s signature subgenre of funk known for call-and-response audience participation and danceable beats. Brown played in the Latin percussion band Los Latinos before developing in the 1970s his own sound, which mixed funk, soul, jazz, blues and African beats. Though Brown passed away last year, his music lives on — especially since go-go has influenced modern rap and hip hop, and rap star Nelly sampled Brown’s biggest hit “Bustin’ Loose” in his song “Hot in Herre.” To celebrate Brown’s birthday, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will host a free dance party featuring Vybe, a local funk and soul band. The event is part of the museum’s Take Five series showcasing music, art and cocktails after hours. While you’re there, check out “A Democracy of Images: Photographs From the Smithsonian American Art Museum,” which includes 113 photos documenting the evolution of photography in the United States. Thursday at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th St. & F St. NW. 202/633-7970. Web: americanart.si.edu.
Much Ado About Nothing
What’s better than seeing one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays onstage? How about seeing it for free? For 27 years, the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All program has offered free performances thanks to generous support from donors. This year, the theater will showcase the classic comedic romance “Much Ado About Nothing” directed by the award-winning Ethan McSweeny. The story follows Beatrice and Benedick, who have sworn to never marry but, as everyone can see, are meant to be together. When their friends Hero and Claudio conspire to help them fall in love, trouble and hilarity follow in typical Shakespearean fashion. Starting Tuesday, obtain free general admission tickets the day of the show either at Sidney Harman Hall or through an online lottery system. If you feel inclined to support the program, join Friends of Free For All and get guaranteed reserved seats. Through Sept. 1 at the Shakespeare Theatre Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202/547-1122. Web: shakespearetheatre.org.
Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival
If you live in Washington, you know there are three quintessential summer activities that you must enjoy before September: go to an outdoor concert, go to a baseball game, and eat steamed blue crabs, which are best experienced outdoors with a cold brew. On Saturday, the National Harbor will celebrate the season of the tasty crustaceans with an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink crab and beer festival, which will serve more than 50,000 blue crabs plus more than 50 varieties of beer, wine and spirits to wash down the Old Bay seasoning. During two seatings, attendees will also enjoy live music, arts and crafts and family-friendly activities like face painting and a moonbounce. If you’d rather not pick apart your food with your bare hands, you can also try hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue and all the sides, including the last of the season’s watermelon. Saturday at the National Harbor, 137 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, Md. 877/628-5427. Web: mdcrabfest.com.
Asia After Dark
If you’re a kung fu fan, you won’t want to miss the upcoming U.S. release of “The Grandmaster,” a Hong Kong film about Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, who trained Hollywood legend Bruce Lee. You’ll also want to head to the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art on Saturday to explore Chinese martial arts in pop culture during the final Asia After Dark event of the summer. To the sound of DJs Hop Fu, who mix classic kung fu film scores with live hip hop beats, enjoy live martial arts demonstrations, craft projects and, of course, Asian-inspired cocktails, cuisine and Chinese tea. The event will also provide a first look at the Smithsonian Innovation Space at the Arts and Industries Building and exploration of the rise of 3D printing technology. While you’re there, be sure to check out the galleries’ Chinese art exhibits, including 23 narrative paintings dramatizing Confucian ideals, as well as ancient Chinese jade, bronze and Buddhist sculptures. Saturday at the Freer Gallery of Art, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. 202/633-1000. Web: asia.si.edu.
In 1967, a group of young musicians from Chicago-area universities formed a band called the Chicago Transit Authority, named for the city’s mass transit operator. The seven-member group quickly found fame as “the rock and roll band with horns,” though when the city’s real transit authority threatened legal action, they shortened the name to Chicago. Although the Grammy Award-winning band’s lineup has changed since its heyday in the 1970s, Chicago’s sound remains familiar, featuring experimental rock and soft rock ballads that everyone can enjoy. On Monday, bring a picnic and blanket to Wolf Trap, where Chicago will undoubtedly perform many of their 21 Top 10 Billboard hit singles, including “If You Leave Me Now,” “Look Away,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “What Kind of Man Would I Be” and more. Monday at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va. 877/WOLFTRAP. Web: wolftrap.org.