Things to Do

What to Do This Weekend: August 28 to September 1

Celebrate the end of summer at a pool party, meet your favorite authors at the National Book Festival, or take part in a treasure hunt along the Anacostia.

Head to the Convention Center for the National Book Festival on Saturday. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Thursday, August 28

PARTY: It’s the last Thursday of the vacation part of summer (yesterday was the last Wednesday, and so-on-and-so-forth), which means Chinese Disco is throwing a Last Thursday of Summer School party, naturally. There’ll be specials on beer buckets and growlers, and you’re encouraged to wear your most bro-tastic outfit, or whatever the equivalent of that is for women. Free. 8 PM.

MUSIC: Summer is ending but Hill Country’s Backyard Barbecues live on. This week, the local funk-soul revival group Higher Hands will perform, the National Building museum will be open, and there’ll be lots of barbecue and Shiner beers, as usual. Free. Doors open at 4 PM, show starts at 5:30 PM.

Friday, August 29

JAZZ: This weekend, there’s a lot of lasts. Even though it’ll probably be warm for a while longer, this is the last Jazz in the Garden of the summer, meaning it’s the last time you can drink sangria amongst a bunch of beautiful art. The series is closing out the summer with Dixie Power Trio, who combines different types of creole music, including zydeco, Cajun, and Louisiana funk. Free. 5 PM.

COMEDY: Most successful comics are jaded, miserable old people (sorry, but it’s true). Well, at Black Cat’s Comic Youth, you’ll get to see the area’s best under-21 comedians, who, let’s be fair, might be miserable and jaded, but they certainly aren’t old. And you probably haven’t ever heard of them before, so you can switch it up a bit from the standard ol’ open mics, at least. $10. 9 PM.

PODCASTS: The Circus Life is local singer songwriter Justin Trawick’s podcast and variety show. To celebrate its first anniversary, Trawick is hosting a live taping at Gypsy Sally’s, featuring musical performances, discussion, and the general anything-goes atmosphere listeners of his show have come to expect. $10. 7 PM.

COMEDY: Don’t Block the Box is back at Wonderland, featuring four local comedians. The best thing about this whole evening is it doesn’t take itself all that seriously: After the comedy, the whole thing devolves (evolves? depends on your perspective) into an all-night sweaty dance party. $3. 7:30 PM.

DANCE: 9:30 Club is hosting its fifth annual Michael Jackson dance party, which features five deejays spinning, you guessed it, music from the King of Pop. $15. 9 PM.

Saturday, August 30

BOOKS: The Library of Congress’ National Book Festival is sadly moving to the convention center (after being on the National Mall for more than a decade) this year, and it’s only one day long, which is a bummer all around. But the Library of Congress’ signature event will still be worth checking out—there’ll be dozens of authors, many of whom you know and love. There’ll also be a poetry slam and other literary and book—related things. Free. 8 AM to 8 PM.

DANCE: Black Cat hosts Eighties Mayhem, which is a pretty descriptive name, as far as dance parties go. Deejays Steve EP, Killa K, Krasy McNasty, and Missguided spin 80s music (duh) on the main stage. Wear your leg warmers. $10. 9:30 PM.

BLUES: The Carter Barron Amphitheater hosts the 26th annual DC Blues Festival, which features six bands, an “instrument petting shop,” some instrument-specific lessons, and places for the kids to hang out and learn about the genre. Free. 12 PM to 7:30 PM.

BARBECUE: The Smokeout features all-you-can-smoke hookah, all your barbecue favorites, southern hip hop music, and lots of drinks. The specific location is only being given out to people who buy tickets, but its organizer tells me it’s at a venue in Hyattsville. $15. 3 PM.

SCAVENGER HUNT: WABA hosts the Anacostia River Treasure Hunt, a bike scavenger hunt that rewards costumes, silliness, and safe riding, of course. Free. 10 AM.

Sunday, August 30

POOL: As I said, a lot of lasts: It’s the last Adult Swim pool party of the year at Capitol Skyline Hotel. This week, Brody Jenner hosts, so you can pretend you’re a person who hangs out with famous people. Like usual, there’ll be booze, floaties, and burgers. $25. 11 AM to 6 PM.

KARAOKE: Karaoke is usually dominated by 80s ballads, Journey songs, and late 90s alt rock. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but you could stand to switch it up a bit. DC9 is hosting Indie Rock Karaoke, which mixes the bag in three ways: 1) It’s on a roof. 2) Indie and underground songs only. 3) There are prizes, which will be given out completely arbitrarily (of course—how counterculture). Free. 8 PM.

Monday, September 1

WINE: Gateway DC hosts FLOFest, a wine, music, and literary festival featuring live performances, local wines, and an author’s pavilion where you’ll get to meet a dozen chefs and authors (see who they are here). Admission gets you two food samplings and four wine tastings. $45. 12 PM.

DRINK: All weekend long, Town Tavern has been hosting its Staycation, and if you’ve made it this far, you’re doing well. All day, bar bites will be half off, domestic bottles will be $3, and all drafts and house wines are $5. Rails are $4. Goes until 9 PM.

Know of something cool going on around town? E-mail Jason Koebler at, or find him on Twitter.