It’s so hot outside. Maybe that’s why most of our recommendations for Your Best July are indoors. From super big art exhibits to super fun chances to drink with the animals (not every species drinks the same thing), we’re giving you all you need to have Your Best July. Yes, it is possible to have one of the best months of your life in 2017.
July is a big month for art in D.C. Literally big. Big exhibitions, big names and big previews. We got sneak peaks at the very large Hive at the National Building Museum, Parallax Gap at the Renwick and Ai Weiwei’s Trace at the Hirshhorn. All are open through the month of July.
Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger by Curtis Armstrong available July 11
Pick up the very good titled book Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger by Curtis Armstrong, who had a run in the 80s as a go-to sidekick roll in teen films like Revenge of the Nerds, Risky Business, and Better off Dead. This thing has gotten a lot of advance buzz for it’s tell-all style of storytelling which means you can expect a ton of weird and hilarious anecdotes about big time celebs. -Matt Byrne
Do you remember what life was like before Harry Potter? Before people could build entire careers on being Harry Potter experts? Well, now it’s also a religion, sort of. Each episode of the Harry Potter and Sacred Text podcast focuses on one chapter of a Harry Potter book, dissecting it as if it were theological text. In fact, the podcast hosts are Harvard chaplains. I am as skeptical of this as I am sure there is an audience for it. Go forth, gentle nerds, and find your people. -Trisha Brown
For the fourth year running, Port City has organized a pub crawl of Old Town. At this point, this is an institutional DC-area event and your attendance is mandatory. (Just kidding.) (Nope, not kidding.)
Here’s the deal: Participants have from 2:00 to 6:00 to visit nine respected Alxandria establishments (click the link above for the full list), collect a stamp from each, and then head to Union Street Public House or Blackwall Hitch to receive a commemorative glass as your reward. (While supplies last!) (But seriously they ran out last year.)
Along the way, there will be beer and food specials to fuel your day-drinking odyssey. Designated drivers get a pint glass, too, so try to convince Carl from accounting that this is worth his while. (Carl is a good dude.) (Just kidding, no, he’s not.) -Phil Runco
In March, I sat down with the folks at Denizens for a story about their Backyard Boogie (and other stuff, of course). Towards the end of our conversation, I asked if anything else was on the horizon for the Silver Spring brewery. Co-founder Emily Bruno’s answer was immediate: “We’re having, like, an adult carnival on May 13,” she said with a huge smile.
Well, the weather on May 13 turned out to be shit, so the adult carnival was moved to July 15. And now July 15 is upon us! And so is Denizens’ third anniversary! And they’ve combined the two! Excitement!
What can you expect from “Cirque du Denizens Presents: Carnivale” aside from the awesome name? The event includes appearances by jugglers, stilt walkers, and acrobats; “cheeky and inappropriate” carnival games; a charitable dunk tank; DJ sets from Blaqsquerade and Tezrah; and, of course, Denizens beer. Tickets cost $20 and includes your first beer… and a bag of popcorn. -Phil Runco
The Zoo is well known for throwing one hell of a party, and Brew at the Zoo is one of their best efforts, with unlimited beer tastings from more than 70 craft breweries, live music and entertainment, lawn games, and exotic animal demonstrations. Fare from popular food trucks will be on site, and proceeds from the event benefit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in its mission to save species. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even get to hold Bei Bei! (Odds are strongly against you getting to hold Bei Bei.). -Logan Hollers
Beer education: It’s important. Also, it’s fun. Because it usually involves beer drinking. Or so we said back in February, when we first mentioned the Atlas Beer School. And you know what? It’s still true!
On July 27, Atlas hosts its latest beer school, this time on “Beer and the Media.” You know who’s on the panel? *air horn* *Funkmaster Flex bomb* *record scratch* Yours truly! Me! Mama, I made it!
Tickets cost $30, and the class runs from 7:30-9:30 pm, and it includes me, so it practically pays for itself. (Also, it includes beer.)
In other Atlas news, the brewery releases the third entry in its Summer Series at Midlands on July 6. (It’s a rye saison.) (The same from last year.) (Which was good!) Unrelated, read our recent Freshly Tapped on the release of Double Dance of Days (and other stuff). -Phil Runco
A Ghost Story in theaters July 7
Existential drama A Ghost Story blew up the film fest circuit over the last handful of months and I’m really hoping this thing will be cool and brain teasery and not pretentious nonsense because folks it could for sure go either way!!! -Matt Byrne
I’m not going to tell you how to spend your life, but if you have the opportunity to spend a few hours on the riverfront on a Saturday in July with beer, tequila, tacos, live music, and lucha libre wrestling, and you don’t take it, then someone probably should be telling you how to live your life. Might be better to just seize the day and go to the Taco, Beer, & Tequila Fest. -Trisha Brown
As they do every Sunday while the weather is warm enough, Flash is throwing a party on their (objectively pretty cool) rooftop. Although the venue is better known for its shows that go into the wee hours of the morning, their refined taste in music and ear for a good beat extends to their day parties as well. And what’s a better way to combat the Sunday scaries than dancing them away? -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
Come see an incredible artist play an a gorgeously-sounding venue at the height of her powers. Words don’t do Mitski justice, and her first two albums are moving, transcendental snapshots of her life. Just buy a ticket already. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
It’s almost as if someone bet whoever is in charge of concerts at Nats Stadium that he couldn’t get more middle-aged, white people in the ballpark in 2017 than he did in 2016 with the Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen concerts. But James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt are both national treasures, and frankly, the fact that they’re still playing stadium shows is pretty badass. -Trisha Brown
I love Classic Album Sunday, and think Songbyrd is the perfect venue for it. Husband and wife duo Joe and Alicia really make an effort to bring in high quality audiophile equipment and panelists who are super knowledgeable about the album in question. I’ve been to three of these before, and as nerdy as it sounds, it’s really great to have a shared listening experience and maybe learn a couple of new things about albums that have influenced the canon of popular music in one way or another. Trans-Europe Express, and Kraftwerk more generally, changed the way we think about electronic sounds, dance music, and contemporary minimalist composition. Basically, if you liked Daft Punk’s Alive 2007, you owe a debt of gratitude to the German synth-pop band. Come learn something. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
The Legend of Zelda games are about a young hero joining forces with a diverse cast of characters from across his homeland to defeat an evil ogre who has usurped power from an adored, strong female leader (stop me if you’ve heard this one before). Wolf Trap is a gorgeous venue, and the only national park dedicated to the performing arts – which means every part of that sentence is threatened by Ganondolf, er, Trump. On July 22nd, you’ll be transported to Hyrule as the National Symphony Orchestra soothes your soul with several hits by composer Koji Kondo, including “Zelda’s Lullaby”, “Lost Woods”, and the theme from “Breath of the Wild”. Did we mention that cosplay is encouraged? About to get my Goron up in here.
Bring a picnic and some beers and grab a spot under the Great Deku Tree, but make sure you’ve got a designated driver for Epona, because you’re going to have to drive – public transportation to and from Wolf Trap is extremely limited/almost nonexistent. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
Sometimes you’re introduced to a new band, and they exactly what you need to hear at that moment. Algiers, the self-described “dystopian soul” group, was that band for me. They mix everything from industrial, metal, post-punk, and soul to create intense, urgent music. Their new album, The Underside of Power, is one of the year’s best. -Alan Zilberman
These guys make really complex, jangly rock tunes in unusual time measures. They also strike me as really low-key fun to see live, mainly informed by this interview I did with their bassist Gerry a few weeks ago. DC9 rooftop is the best place to decompress on a hot summer night. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez
D.C. is always a fertile ground for diverse backgrounds but every year the folks at the Smithsonian scour THE WORLD to bring you the most interesting cultures. This year they didn’t have to look too far because they are bringing American circus arts to life on the National Mall. THE CIRCUS Y’ALL! I can’t wait. – Jenn Tisdale
I’ll level with you: there’s not a ton I miss about living in South Dakota. The list, in order of importance: friends, no income tax, and county fairs. Where else can you eat all kinds of gross/delicious fried foods, pet a baby calf, participate in a livestock auction, watch a hay bale toss (that’s a real thing), cheer for a demolition derby, and see a Monster Truck race? Nowhere outside a county fair, that’s where. The Loudon County Fair is one of the best in the area. If you need a primer on rodeo in general, feel free to tweet at me. Happy to help. An adult daily pass is a steal at just $12. -Logan Hollers
Newseum Nights is an event series hosted throughout the year where DC’s coolest museum welcomes young professionals in the DMV area to come party at the Newseum after hours.
July 27 marks the next iteration, Newseum Nights: Rock On!, a wildly entertaining after-hours spectacle you don’t want to miss. Guests can enjoy an open beer and wine bar from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m., 80s cover band The Reflex, caricatures from Capital Artworks, an 80s makeover station in the GLAMSQUAD lounge, board games provided by Board Room, a bodacious button-making station, a guided tour of the museum’s “Louder Than Words” exhibit, and fun finger food stations (pigs in a blanket, chicken sliders, boardwalk tots, etc.) from Wolfgang Puck. Also awesome: giveaways from sponsors Jaleo and &pizza.
A lot of museums in D.C. have after-hours parties. The problem: most of them make you pay a cover to get in the door; add to that having to pay for food and drinks, and what should be a fun night at the museum turns into dropping $200. But at Newseum Nights, tickets are all-inclusive – $40 for general admission, $30 for Newseum members, or you can sign up to become a Newseum member for $75, which comes with a slew of its own benefits, and get a free ticket to the party. -Logan Hollers
Wimbledon July 3 through July 16
The Standups now available on Netflix
Netflix has become a go-to source for original hour long standup specials and with The Standups, they’re giving half hour spots to a handful of very solid acts, including Beth Stelling, Deon Cole, Nate Bargatze, Fortune Feimster, Nikki Glaser, and Dan Soder. At least a handful of those will be absolutely killer. -Matt Byrne
Candy Crush premieres July 9 on CBS
CBS is launching a game show version of everyone’s favorite way to kill time on the bus, Candy Crush! Apparently they have contestants hanging from wires and getting jerked around and stuff while trying to match three purples or whatever. TV is weird, man. -Matt Byrne
The Hollywood Puppet Sh!t Show premieres July 11 on Fuse
Speaking of TV being insane, The Hollywood Puppet Sh!t Show is a new show on Fuse hosted by Wilmer Valderama, featuring 3D printed marionette replications of celebrities starring in reenactments of embarrassing anecdotes. It’s like Crank Yankers meets uh, Curb Your Enthusiasm or something I guess??????? -Matt Byrne
Game of Thrones returns July 16 on HBO
Don’t pretend you didn’t know. Don’t pretend you have better plans, don’t pretend you’re indifferent. Don’t pretend, essentially, that July 16 hasn’t spent weeks on your calendar circled in your enemies’ blood. Game of Thrones — the most important fantasy epic since Lord of the Rings, the most talked-about HBO series since The Sopranos — is returning for its penultimate season. And it is done fucking around.
Dany will at last reach the shores of Westeros, and her dragons will show their teeth on the battlefield. Jaime will charge into war, and Arya will leave footprints in the snow. Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand, apparently, might be the lesbian couple no one saw coming. Just 13 episodes remain between this season and next, and the only safe bet is that none of them will be boring. By this time last year, season 6 was already done, so the gnawing impatience you feel is more than justified. Ugh, just put it into my eyes already! -Tristan Lejeune
From our Preview: Make sure you see 8 Bit Circus Sh*t, a choreographed performance piece based on the concept of bringing video games to life. One half of the show feels like a live-action version of the video game Mortal Combat. At the end of their preview, they informed us that the real full-length show uses actual fire on the weapons. It was amazing without the fire, so put this one on your to-do list. -Vesper Arnett
President Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch is already having an impact at the Supreme Court, but the late justice he replaced hasn’t vanished as completely as you might think. From July 7 to 30, Arena Stage is reviving The Originalist, the critically acclaimed drama about Antonin Scalia that debuted there two years ago.
Edward Gero returns to the role of Scalia, a lion of the right whose seat was left open for more than a year, and an exciting series of post-show panelists have been announced, including NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg, playwright John Strand and longtime Scalia friend Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The show premiered while Scalia was still among the living, but his echoes will reverberate around D.C. and beyond for years to come. -Tristan Lejeune
It’s almost impossible to make Shakespeare unpretentious. But if you take away the sets, the rehearsals, the staging, the direction – basically, if you make the whole thing a grand experiment in what happens if you’ve got nothing but the words and the actors, you suddenly have something a hell of a lot more interesting, and maybe a little more humble too. That’s the concept behind Bootleg Shakespeare, in which the actors show up the day of the show having done nothing more than memorize their lines and maybe made their own costumes. Oh, and the tickets to this grand experiment are free. That’s about as low-key as it gets. -Trisha Brown