The Postal Service & Ra Ra Riot
Fans of The Postal Service had been patiently waiting for 10 years for the American electronic and indie pop group to release a second album. Founded by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and electronic artist Jimmy Tamborello, the group was named for the U.S. Postal Service, which the group members used to send tracks back and forth to one another to create their 2003 album, “Give Up.” USPS sent a cease and desist letter to them — but after their songs like “Such Great Heights,” “We Will Become Silhouettes” and “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” became cult electropop favorites, the parties worked out a deal to allow the group to continue using the name in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of USPS. This year, The Postal Service reissued “Give Up,” satiating fans with two new tracks and a tour, which comes to the Washington area on Tuesday. Ra Ra Riot, an indie rock band from Syracuse, will open the show, which fans of groups like Phoenix, MGMT, or Owl City will enjoy. Tuesday at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. 410/715-5550. Web: merriweathermusic.com.
Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code
For $99, you can send a mail-order genetic testing company a sample of your saliva, and in six to eight weeks, receive a map of your DNA. This map will not only tell you about your ancestral origins, but will also provide insight into your risk level for various heritable diseases and your potential response to medications. Genetic testing for medical and personal knowledge becomes more common every day, but it’s a startlingly recent scientific development. After all, the Human Genome Project was only completed in April 2003, and researchers are still unlocking more details about the genetic information found in every human cell. On Friday, in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will debut an exhibit devoted to the human genome, its role in health and disease, and what it tells us about how humans have evolved. The exhibit will also take a look at the ethics debate surrounding genome sequencing and how we can use this knowledge for future scientific advancements. Through Sept. 14 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. 202/633-1000. Web: mnh.si.edu.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
Whether you call him Dad, Daddy, Padre, or Pop, it’s time to celebrate him this weekend. But, trust us — he doesn’t want another tie or coffee mug. What he really wants is beer, bourbon, or barbecue. This weekend, take Dad (or another important man in your life) to the National Harbor in Maryland for a festival featuring all three. While enjoying live rock, blues and bluegrass music, try unlimited samples of 60 beers and 40 bourbons as well as an ample selection of barbecue and all the necessary sides. If you’re still hungry, see if you can stomach the BBQ beans-eating contest — or in the likely event that you’re full, hear master distillers, brew masters, and pit masters from around the country talk about their work during seminars and demonstrations. Friday & Saturday at the National Harbor, 137 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, Md. 877/628-5427 Web: beerandbourbon.com.
Great Gatsby Ball
There’s no doubt that F. Scott Fitzgerald and his memorable characters Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are having a great summer. Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation is still in theaters if you haven’t gotten your fill of “The Great Gatsby,” or you can head to Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts on Saturday for a decadent evening inspired by Gatsby’s Roaring ‘20s world. The museum’s young professionals’ group, in partnership with the International Club of DC, will host a cocktail party to benefit the museum’s mission of advancing women in the arts. Put on a flapper dress (or black-tie optional attire) and enjoy an open bar, desserts and dancing to live music from the era. Attendees will also have the opportunity to view the museum’s permanent collection featuring women artists from around the world. Saturday at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. 202/783-5000. Web: nmwa.org.
Last month, the Atlantic Council gave Colombian rock musician Juanes a Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership Award for his work to promote peace and social change through music and culture. Such accolades, both for his humanitarian work as well as his music, are nothing new for the singer and guitarist. Juan Esteban Aristizabal Vasquez was raised in Medellin, Colombia, and began playing guitar at 7 and started his first band at 15. He eventually went solo, and went on to sell 16 million copies of his six albums and win numerous awards, including the Grammy for best Latin pop album in 2009 and 2013. After experiencing first-hand the violence during the era of Pablo Escobar, Juanes has also focused on giving back to his country through his charitable organizations, Mi Sangre Foundation and Paz sin Fronteras. Juanes comes to Virginia this week to perform two hours of his vibrant music, influenced by both Metallica and Colombian folk music. Wednesday at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1646 Trap Road, Vienna, Va. 877/965-3872. Web: wolftrap.org.