- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pick of the pack: Montgomery County Agricultural Fair

When the country mouse visited the city, his cousin introduced him to mass transit, the Met and falafel. This weekend, it’s the city mouse’s turn to get his world rocked. This year’s theme at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair is It’s Udderly Terrific. Yes, that means the city mouse will get a chance to milk real live cows. But that’s not all. Fairgoers can watch lawn-mower racing, a draft-horse pull, demolition derby and monster truck rally. Tamer entertainments include a magic poodle show, a cheese-carving contest, 4H displays, stilt-walkers, a bee-keeping exhibit and a talent contest open to any and all comers, with first place fetching $300 and, of course, a ribbon.

Aug. 12-20 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St., Gaithersburg, Md. (accessible by bus from the Shady Grove Metro)

Phone: 301/926-3100

Web: https://mcagfair.com

Concert: My Morning Jacket and Neko Case

Louisville, Ky., rockers My Morning Jacket are headlining this concert, but the real draw is redheaded chanteuse Neko Case. Before “alt country” was an Internet buzzword, Miss Case was a pioneer in the genre, repackaging the finer points of country music for the too-cool-for-FM-radio crowd. Thanks to her, music nerds who grew up on Kurt Cobain and Seattle grunge know what Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn sound like. Like any good artist, Miss Case has evolved over the past decade, moving from pure hillbilly to more mainstream tonalities. But even in this role, she continues to act as a diplomat between genres, doing as much for pop rock and indie rock as she once did for classic country.

Aug. 12 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md.

Phone: 410/715-5550

Web: https://www.merriweathermusic.com/

Music camp showcase: Girls Rock at 9:30 Club

The days when young women were confined to the flutists’ ghetto are long over. Any young dame, if she wants it bad enough, can be Joan Jett or, for more contemporary crowds, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams. Founded in 2007 by a group of D.C. musicians, Girls Rock provides young girls with lessons on musicianship, showmanship and working with other musicians (arguably the hardest of the three). A weeklong summer camp on the art of rocking out culminates in a showcase in which this year’s class plays popular tunes. Great chance for aspiring musicians to see what’s possible.

Aug. 13 at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW.

Phone: 202/265-0930

Web: www.930.com

Lecture: Penn Jillette

As one-half of the magic-and-mentalism duo Penn and Teller, Penn Jillette is as famous for fooling his audiences as for debunking popular myths. In “God, No!” Mr. Jillette explores the 10 Commandments through a nonbeliever’s lens. While the “Penn Commandments” are essentially a debunking of religious doctrine, they reveal that an athiest’s values aren’t always that different from a Christian’s.

Aug. 16 at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW

Phone: 202/994-6800

Web: www.lisner.org

Concert: Albert Lee and John Jorgenson

Masterful musicians whose talents extend far beyond playing creative compositions at lightning speed, the guitar tandem of John Jorgenson and Albert Lee are to country instrumentalism what Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis are to classical. A Brit by birth, Mr. Lee cut his teeth filling in for Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore and went on to play stateside with Eric Clapton, Ricky Skaggs and ageless country dame Emmylou Harris. Wisconsin’s Mr. Jorgenson has an equally impressive resume, having played with nearly every American musician to break the charts in the past 50 years, from Roy Orbison to Hank Williams Jr. Together, they span half a century of American musicianship.

Aug. 17 at Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.

Phone: 703/549-7500

Web: www.birchmere.com

Book signing: Christine O’Donnell

Failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is living proof that there are not just second, but third and possibly fourth acts in American life. After making it big in the ‘90s as an advocate for pure living, Ms. O’Donnell redefined herself as a Tea Party candidate in hopes of capitalizing on the Republican wave that swept Congress in 2010. Despite losing to Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, Ms. O’Donnell is refusing to go away. She’ll be in town this week promoting her book, “Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again.” At least half that title is spot-on.

Aug. 18 at Barnes & Noble downtown, 555 12th St. NW

Phone: 202/347-0176

Web: www.barnesandnoble.com

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