Where & When: What to Do This Weekend

Every Thursday, we bring you the best things to do during the weekend. This time, we’ve got art after 5, a huge sidewalk shopping sale, county fairs, Aimee Mann, and lots more.

Thursday, July 31: The folks at the Phillips Collection may have noticed how popular the Hirshhorn After Hours (hey, nice name!) series was, because they’re bringing back Phillips After 5. The event is a Thursday-night extended happy hour where you can mingle, check out the great art collection, listen to live music, hear lectures, and sip on drinks. Tonight there’s music by the Duende Quartet and a lecture on Brett Weston’s landscape photographs.

Friday, August 1: The Bon Iver show at the Black Cat has been sold out for a while, much to our chagrin. We don’t normally advise paying scalpers for tickets, but in this case scouring Craigslist might be worth it to catch the powerfully melodic, moody, and folksy tunes Iver plays. 9 PM.

Free dance in a lovely outdoor setting? That sounds like the perfect way to spend a summer evening. Lucky for you, summer students from the Dance Institute of Washington are giving a free performance at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park tonight at 7:30.

Saturday, August 2: Signature Theatre holds its third annual Open House today. It’s a great chance to explore the theater, take some classes, and get a taste of theater performances and music, all for free. Get the full schedule of events here.

The growing list of Midcity boutiques—that’s 7th through 17th streets, Northwest, between P and W—are hosting their annual Dog Days of Summer neighborhood sidewalk sale this weekend. For full details on a good blueprint for a shopping plan, check out our guide to which places to hit. Even better: All this week, the DC government is offering its annual Sales Tax Holiday, when all clothing, accessories, shoes, and back-to-school items under $100 each will be exempt from the usual 5.75-percent sales tax. So get a-shoppin’!

Ditch the city-dweller life for a day and get out and about to one of August’s many local county fairs. A favorite of ours is the Loudoun County Fair, which ends today. On the schedule for Saturday: a kiss-the-pig contest. No, we’re not kidding. Yes, that sounds awesome. There’s also a rodeo, a hay-bale-tossing contest, a hog-calling contest, music, pies, food, and lots more. Just $10 will get you a day’s worth of country fun. Gates open at 8:30 AM, and the rodeo starts at 7.

If her latest and unpronounceable album is any indication, Aimee Mann just keeps getting better with age. “Freeway” is the first single from the CD, but “Little Tornado” is, well, a little gem featuring whistling from author Dave Eggers. Mann plays the 9:30 Club at 8 PM; $35. Purchase tickets here.

Hitchcock fan? Then you may want to head out to Wolf Trap tonight to catch the National Symphony Orchestra playing a live soundtrack to clips of some of the director’s greatest works, including To Catch a Thief, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, and North by Northwest. Tickets are $20 to $48; 8:30 PM.

Sunday, August 3: Thingstododc.com hosts a sunset kayaking trip today at 5:45. You’ll set out from Jack’s Boathouse and, after a quick and dirty intro course on kayaking, you’ll explore the Georgetown waterfront. Afterward, there’s a cash bar at Washington Harbour. Get more details and tickets here. $69.

It’s a blackberrylicious sort of weekend—and not the kind of blackberry you’d normally associate with DC. First up, you’ve got local vineyard Tarara Winery holding its annual Blackberry Days Wine Festival this weekend. On Sunday, it’s open from 11 AM to 5 PM (Saturday 11 to 6). There’ll be activities for everybody—loads of ripe blackberries to pick, wines to sample, live entertainment, wagon rides, and more. There’s also the Blackberry Harvest Festival today at the Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, which is the same sort of deal—lots of blackberry picking, wine sipping, and other activities. So ditch your BlackBerry to pick up some of the real thing.

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