Brain Food

1. National Museum of Natural History's Centennial Celebration: Since its doors first opened in 1910, the National Museum of Natural History has inspired curiosity and learning about the natural world and our place in it. The museum celebrates its 100th birthday with a special exhibition featuring archival and modern photographs highlighting many facets of this organization -- its people, collections, exhibitions and outreach throughout the years.

Where: National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; through March 2011

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

2. Drawing Toward Home: Nearly 200 years of design inspiration for the home can be gleaned from this engaging survey of domestic architecture. The exhibit features 100 drawings from renowned architectural offices as well as lesser-known architects and illustrates a rich variety of architecture, from urban "three deckers" to quaint, rural cottages to extravagant seaside mansions.

Where: National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW

When: Through Aug. 15

Info: Free; 202-272-2448;

3. William Jelani Cobb: The historian, an associate professor of history at Spelman College in Atlanta, discusses and signs his book "The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress."

Where: Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

4. Showcase Showdown: Hear unforgettable true stories and participate by guessing the end of a story, choosing sides and picking out the truth.

Where: U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Info: $15; 866-811-4111;

5. Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing Baby: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment: The exhibition explores the rich history and cultural significance of Harlem's Apollo Theater. It features photographs and artifacts to trace the story of the theater from its origins in 1913 as a whites-only burlesque hall to its starring role at the center of African-American entertainment.

Where: Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, 14th and Constitution Ave.

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; through Aug. 29 (open until 7:30 p.m. on certain nights; see Web site for details)

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

1. Exploring the Universe: Join the park rangers for this series of planetarium programs examining the sun, moon, stars, planets and other space phenomena. Ages 7 and older.

Where: Nature Center, Rock Creek Park, 5200 Glover Road NW

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 202-895-6070; reservations not necessary; tickets given out beginning at 3:30 p.m.;

2. "How I Became a Pirate": Imagine Jeremy Jacob's surprise when he's accosted on the beach by a motley crew of pirates. They need a digger to bury their treasure, and Jeremy, clutching his little sand spade, is recruited. At first, the pirate life is all fun, but when night falls, Jeremy gets no bedtime story and no tucking in. At last, Jeremy comes up with an idea to allow him to return to his "regular" life. For ages 3 and up.

Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda

When: Through Aug. 8

Info: $10; 301-280-1660;

3. "The Bad News Bears": Part of Films at the Atlas. Saturdays are Double Feature days! The early show will be the Family Film Series featuring kid-friendly movies from the 1970s.

Where: Atlas Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE

When: 5 p.m. Saturday

Info: $6; 202-399-7993;

4. Turtle-riffic Campfire: The whole family is invited to get together for an old-fashioned campfire. There will be animal guests, stories, songs, games and s'mores!

Where: Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 Military Road, Arlington

When: 7 to 8:15 p.m. Friday, 7:30 to 845 p.m. Saturday

Info: $5 per person; $20 maximum per family; registration necessary at 703-228-4747; programs 663550-07 and 663550-08

1. Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change: A century after his death, the groundbreaking photographer and filmmaker Muybridge is best remembered for his sequential studies of creatures in motion. This essential retrospective ends with the weekend, and rewards repeat visits.

Where: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW


Info: $10; $8 students and seniors (ages 62 and older); free for age 12 and under;

2. Karen Yasinsky: Choose Darkness: Appropriating characters from Robert Bresson's 1966 film, "Au Hasard Balthazar," Yasinksky's series of three stop-motion films and a drawing explore the themes of sexual repression and social interaction.

Where: G Fine Art, 1515 14th St. NW

When: Through Aug. 7

Info: Free; 202-462-1601;

3. Bridges, Cars & Pumps (and a few African Rumps): Photographs from the world 'round by Sarah Alexander.

Where: Foundry Gallery, 1314 18th St. NW

When: Through July 2010

Info: Free; 202-463-0203;

4. Megan Coyle: Stories in Paper: What look like paintings are actually collages assembled from minute pieces of repurposed magazine photos. Intricate and brilliant.

Where: The Art League Gallery, The Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria

When: Through Aug. 2

Info: Free; 703-683-1780;

5. LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition: Cool, yes, but is it art? If you have to ask, you obviously haven't seen it yet.

Where: National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW

When: Through Sept. 5, 2011

Info: Free; donations accepted;

1. Asia After Dark: Bhangra Night with D.J. Rekha: Stay cool as you tour the Freer and Sackler galleries, enjoy Asian art, watch music, dance and comedy performances, and sample Asian food from area restaurants.

Where: Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street NW

When: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday

Info: $18 to $20; 202-633-4880;

2. Slapsticon 2010: The seventh annual festival of early silent and sound comedies prides itself on presenting lost comedy treasures from the silent and early-sound eras. This year, history is being made with the screening of a previously unknown 1914 Charlie Chaplin short, "A Thief Catcher," which will be screened during a block of Chaplin rarities at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, 1611 N. Kent St., Arlington

When: Thursday to Sunday; see Web site for times and registration information

Info: $16 (half-day); $30 (full day); 703-228-1850;

3. "Beyond Therapy": Christopher Durang's play takes you back to the early '80s, full of eclectic relationships, psychotic therapists, an existential restaurant, a bisexual dating triangle and a helpful imaginary canine. Part of the Capital Fringe Festival.

Where: D.C. Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW

When: 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Info: $15; 866-811-4111;

4. "Romeo & Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending": Should Romeo pursue Juliet or Rosaline? Will the lovers live happily ever after? It's up to you to decide, as the audience's vote determines how the play unfolds each night.

Where: The Clinic, 1003 Sixth St. NW

When: Through July 24; see Web site for dates and times

Info: $15; 866-811-4111;

5. Twinkle-Twinkle: On public exhibition for the first time in more than 50 years, the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond will join the Hope Diamond in the Museum of Natural History. Both share the same rare blue color. Both originated in India. Did they come from the same mine centuries ago -- perhaps from the same rough stone? Smithsonian scientists and colleagues will analyze the two gems and explore these possibilities while the Wittelsbach-Graff is on loan here this year.

Where: National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; through Aug. 1

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;


Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page

Director: Christopher Nolan

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout

Your mind is the scene of the crime: In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a single idea within one's mind can be the most dangerous weapon or the most valuable asset.

1. B.B. King: The last of the great bluesmen is joined by Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Info: $42 in-house, $25 lawn; 877-965-3872;

2. NSO @ Wolf Trap: Emil de Cou brings romance back in style with an evening of music inspired by the Romeo and Juliet story composed by Bernstein, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, with arias from Gounod's opera sung by members of the Wolf Trap Opera Company.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center

When: 8:15 p.m. Friday

Info: $32 to $52 in-house, $20 lawn; 877-965-3872;

3. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: Here comes Valli of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and his Jersey Boys in all their pop glory for an evening of reminiscing.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Info: $45 in-house, $25 lawn; 877-965-3872;

4. NSO @ Wolf Trap: Oscar-winning composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch presents Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel performing songs from "Wicked," "Rent" and other Broadway hits.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center

When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Info: $32 to $52 in-house, $20 lawn; 877-965-3872;

5. Terence Blanchard: The extraordinary trumpet player blows hot and cool for a long, jazzy weekend.

Where: Blues Alley

When: 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday

Info: $35; 202-337-4141;

1. "Two Gentlemen of Verona": Not Just Shakespeare presents Shakespeare's blithe comedy, set in Verona and Milan, Italy, that deals with friendship, love and mistaken identity. Bring blankets, chairs and picnics.

Where: Morven Park, Leesburg

When: 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and July 24 and 25

Info: $6 to $11; 703-909-4903;

2. Washington Capitals Development Camp Fan Fest: The Washington Capitals development camp culminates with a full scrimmage and its 2010 summer fan fest, which features the team's annual equipment sale, inflatable games and autograph sessions.

Where: Kettler Capitals Iceplex, 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 571-224-0555;

3. Adventures in Sailing: Take the heat off by relaxing on the cool waters of the Potomac with the monuments towering over you on the horizon. Begin with basic instruction, then board a 19-foot Flying Scot sailboat with a captain/instructor for a 2 1/2-hour sail.

Where: Meet at the Gazebo next to the entrance of the Gangplank Marina, 600 Water St. SW

When: 1:15 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $68; (see "Sports and Outdoors")

4. Horses, Vineyard Tour and Western Lunch: Combine the beauty of nature with the elegance of a first-class vineyard tour and wine- tasting. Enjoy the picturesque mountain and ranch setting on a leisurely trail ride, enjoy a hearty cowboy-style lunch and drive to the Philip Carter Winery. Bring change of clothes.

Where: Marriott Ranch, 5305 Marriott Lane, Hume, Va.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Info: $99; (see "Sports and Outdoors")

5. Folger Garden: Cool off in the quiet garden at the Folger Library, inspired by herbal references in Shakespeare's plays and incorporating plants popular in his time, including lavender, creeping thyme and English ivy. Visit the knot garden and Shakespearean statues by American sculptor Greg Wyatt. Folger docents offer insights into plantings, Elizabethan customs and more.

Where: The Folger Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE

When: Garden is open year-round, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Docent-led garden tours are offered at 10 and 11 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month, through October.

Info: Free; 202-544-4600;

1. "Avenue Q": The smash-hit Broadway musical, whose irreverent book and score deal with the lives of people who struggle to survive in New York City, is performed by a cast made up of people and puppets.

Where: The Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; through Aug. 15

Info: $20 to $87; 202-547-1122;

2. "One Man 'Lord of the Rings' ": Charles Ross transforms the 11-hour and 23-minute epic film trilogy into a 65-minute solo thrill ride. Using nothing more than elbow pads and knee pads, Ross conjures up the 42 characters, familiar theme music and sound effects that have enchanted audiences around the globe.

Where: Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D St. NW

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; through Aug. 1

Info: $30; 202-393-3939;

3. The Hub Theatre Summer Nights Cabaret: Donna Migliaccio, Gia Mora and Erin Driscoll treat audiences to an evening of favorites from musical theater, pop and standards.

Where: John Swayze Theatre, New School of Northern Virginia, 9431 Silver King Court, Fairfax

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Info: $25; 703-674-3177;

4. Signature Open House: Daylong events including performances, master classes, demonstrations, exhibits, kids' activities and ticket discounts as well as a search for 10 best new solo singers in the D.C. region.

Where: Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 703-573-7328;

5. Capital Fringe Festival": The fifth annual festival features theater, music, dance, poetry and clowning.

Where: Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave., NW; festival takes place at various venues throughout D.C.

When: Through July 25

Info: $15 (with purchase of $5 button); 866-811-4111;