- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pick of the pack: American Idol Live!

The highlight of “American Idol” used to be watching Simon Cowell eviscerate contestants for being less than perfect. With Mr. Cowell gone, however, replaced by a triumvirate of cheerleaders, the best part of “American Idol” now probably is what should have been the highlight all along: watching singers with beautiful voices do what they love. The American Idol Live! concert series, in which the top tier of contestants tour the country as a group, is all of the pleasure and none of the pain. No one gets voted off, even if the concert is uninspiring. Featured are Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, Jacob Lusk, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Naima Adedapo, Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano, Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone and Thia Megia.

Aug. 19 at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW.

Phone: 202/628-3200.

Web: www.verizoncenter.com

Exhibit: ‘IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas’

In 2007, the Cherokee Nation made a stunning proclamation: It would no longer recognize the descendants of Cherokee-owned black slaves as members of the Cherokee Nation. The decision boosted to prominence a part of American history not often found in textbooks. The Cherokees had owned slaves, and when President Andrew Jackson forced the Cherokees westward, they took their black slaves with them, eventually freeing them after the Civil War and granting them Cherokee citizenship as “freedmen.” The battle over Cherokee citizenship is just one instance of the intertwined histories of American blacks and indigenous people. “IndiVisible” explores that dark history and more inspiring instances of cross-pollination and collaboration.

Through Feb. 22 at the National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street and Independence Avenue Southwest.

Phone: 202/633-1000.

Web: www.nmai.si.edu/

Festival: D.C. Homebrewers competition

H Street Northeast hasn’t been the same since the Palace of Wonders cabaret joint was folded into the indie-rock venue next door, but in every cloud is a silver lining. Specifically, combining two performance spaces into one has created a lot more room. That room will be filled with beer nerds Saturday as the members of the DC Homebrewers Association compete for the title of tastiest beer as part of DC Beer Week. For $10, you get to taste the best the District’s microbrewers have to offer as well as take in performances by local brewing legends Greg Engert and Brandon Skall.

Aug. 20 at the Red Palace, 1212 H St. NE.

Phone: 202/399-3201.

Web: https://redpalacedc.com

Concert: Ke$ha

Every generation of music lovers eventually is forced to look back on the artists they supported in their youth and wonder, “What was I thinking?” For children of the ‘70s, it’s Emerson, Lake and Palmer. For children of the ‘80s, it’s pretty much everything. For your kids, it likely will be Ke$ha, the sing-talking empress of pop-trash. Though no adult in his or her right mind would put money down for a Ke$ha album - much less an entire concert - your kids might want to, and this once, you should indulge them. There will be plenty of time to say “I told you so” when they get to college and develop decent taste in music.

Aug. 21 at George Mason University’s Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax.

Phone: 703/993-3000.

Web: www.patriotcenter.com

Festival: UkeFest

If all goes according to plan, a Guinness World Record will be broken in North Bethesda next week. The record in question is in the Largest Ukulele Ensemble category, and the record breakers will be whoever decides to attend UkeFest. Grammy-winning hosts Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer not only will perform a free ukulele concert, but they also will try to get as many attendees as possible - beginners included! - to play the same song at the same time. Godspeed, ladies.

Aug. 24 at the Strathmore Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda.

Phone: 301/581-5100.

Web: www.strathmore.org

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