Brain Food
1. Exhibit Case: Dinosaurs in Our Backyard: From 225 million to 65 million years ago, dinosaurs lived everywhere on Earth -- including around D.C. This case explores how scientists piece together information about dinosaur biology, ecology and evolution from fossil specimens, and the important contributions amateur collectors make to the museum's collections and knowledge. Visitors can see a unique skeleton impression of a baby dinosaur of a species new to science.

Where: First Floor, Fossil Halls, National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; on view indefinitely

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

2. "Three Movements in Architecture -- Brutalism": Derived from the French term beton brut, the Brutalist movement in architecture is characterized by a predominant use of raw concrete and blocky forms. Susan Piedmont-Palladino, National Building Museum curator and architecture professor at Virginia Tech's Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, explores this form of architecture that many love to hate.

Where: National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW

When: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $12 (members/students ), $20 (public); advance registration required; 202-272-2448;

3. "Lyndon B. Johnson: The American Presidents Series": This latest entry in the American Presidents Series is a balanced account of the 36th chief executive. Charles Peters, the founder and former editor of the Washington Monthly, acknowledges the many flaws of Johnson's character, but argues that Johnson's political skills, which produced huge domestic legislative achievements, compensated for his failings.

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

4. "Super Claudio Bros.": From the first moment of "Super Claudio Bros.," any audience member who was alive in the mid-1980s is taken back. The theme music accompanies an animation of the Mario/Claudio Bros. as they save the Princess Tangerine. And thus ensues an endearing and ridiculous examination of the psyches of the most beloved video game characters of all time.

Where: Warehouse Theater, 645 New York Ave. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: 202-783-3933;

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 Street and Constitution Avenue

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. Art in the Park: Join a park ranger for a walk on the Edge of the Woods trail to learn about and draw the park's trees, plants and animals. Ages 4 and older.

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

When: 4 p.m. Thursday

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

2. Shark Weekend: They've roamed the world's oceans for millions of years, yet are still among the least understood animals. Come get up close and personal with several shark species. Learn from leading experts about the history, lives and habits of one of the world's most fascinating ocean dwellers. Participate in a scavenger hunt, touch a shark tooth, and enjoy arts and crafts.

Where: National Aquarium, Commerce Building, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free with ticket to Aquarium ($4 to $9); 202-482-2825;

3. Sunset Serenades: Every summer people flock to the National Zoo's Lion/Tiger Hill for summer concerts. Performances range from jazz and folk to blues and rock 'n' roll. Bring a picnic or purchase food and drinks from zoo vendors. Thursday: GHZ [Gigahertz] Band and Show. Featuring "psychedelic blues" influences like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

Where: The National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday; through Aug. 5

Info: Free; 202-633-4480;

4. Civil War Discovery: Camp Life: Most of a soldier's life in the army was spent in camp rather than in battle. Come learn how to set up camp, and about the items soldiers carried with them and how they occupied their time.

Where: Fort C.F. Smith Park, 2411 N. 24th St., Arlington

When: 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday

Info: $5, registration required: 703-228-4747; program 644420-03

5. "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;

1. Revealing Culture: A Contemporary Art Exhibition on Disability: Local artists Michelle Lisa Herman and William Newman are two of the artists featured in this juried exhibition examining how our culture perceives people with disabilities.

Where: S. Dillon Ripley Center International Gallery, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, between the Smithsonian "castle" and the Freer Gallery

When: Through Aug. 29

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

2. Edvard Munch: Master Prints: The National Gallery's first Munch exhibit since 1990 will feature the iconic "The Scream" as well as more than 50 of the Norwegian printmaker's key works, many of them displayed side by side in various iterations to reveal the work's progression to its final state.

Where: National Gallery of Art, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: Saturday to Oct. 31

Info: Free; 202-737-4215;

3. Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: The evolution of one of the oldest art cultures on the planet is illuminated in this survey from the Northern Song Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty -- a period of more than a thousand years.

Where: Freer Gallery, Jefferson Drive and 12 Street SW

When: Through Nov. 28

Info: Free; 202-633-4880;

4. Though Their Eyes: Haitian Artists' Visions of Home: National Geographic photographer Maggie Steber and about 30 Haitian artists together contribute more than 100 photos and handcrafted artifacts of Haiti half a year after the devastating earthquake.

Where: The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center, 1632 U St. NW

When: Through Aug. 7

Info: Free; 202-483-8600;

5. Norse Soul -- The Legacy of Edvard Munch, Social Democracy, Old Myths, Anarchy, and Death Longings: A fine companion exhibition to the National Gallery of Art's Master Prints show on Munch, this survey follows contemporary Norwegian art from the 1930s through the present via four representative artists: Arne Ekeland, Marianne Heske, Bjarne Melgaard and Marthe Thorshaug.

Where: The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave.

When: Through Oct. 17

Info: Free; 202-885-1300;

1. Contemporary American Theater Festival: This annual festival isn't shy about gritty theater. See contemporary plays by leading playwrights.

Where: Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

When: Through Aug. 1

Info: $25 to $48; 800-999-2283;

2. Vagabond Opera: The sextet brings songs sung in 15 languages, with top hats, Gypsy-tinged burlesque and flair. Belly dance troupe The Ohh La La Bellydancers open the show.

Where: The Palace of Wonders, 1210 H St. NE

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Info: $15; 202-591-3252

3. Art in City Hall: In conjunction with the mayor's initiative to promote the arts citywide in Alexandria, the Art League partners with the city of Alexandria to feature a rotating fine art exhibit in Alexandria's City Hall. This biannual exhibit promotes the talent of local artists and enlivens the environment of one of Alexandria's public buildings.

Where: Alexandria City Hall, 301 King St., Alexandria

When: Through Sept. 30

Info: Free; 703-838-4565;

4. Needleart 2010: Embroidery, ribbon work and other stitchery fill the rooms of the mansion in the 15th annual show sponsored by Stitching Pretty of Laurel. Demonstrations will be given daily.

Where: Montpelier Mansion, 9650 Muirkirk Road, Laurel

When: Through July 30

Info: 301-377-7817;

5. Science exhibit: The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins offers visitors an immersive, interactive journey through 6 million years of scientific evidence of human origins and the stories of survival and extinction in our family tree during times of dramatic climate instability.

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

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (7:30 p.m. on special nights)

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

"Dinner for Schmucks"

Starring Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Lucy Punch, Zach Galifianakis

Director: Jay Roach

Rated PG-13 for sequences of crude and sexual content, some partial nudity and language

Running Time: 110 minutes

An extraordinarily stupid man possesses the ability to ruin the life of anyone who spends more than a few minutes in his company.

1. Aretha Franklin: Rolling Stone calls her "The Greatest Singer of All Time," and fervent fans agree. She delivers her top hits along with a few surprises.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

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

2. "Distant Worlds": Arnie Roth conducts music commemorating the 20th anniversary of the "Final Fantasy" series before his upcoming release, "Distant Worlds II," featuring the work of the Japanese video games.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday

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

3. The Planets in HD: Emil de Cou conducts the NSO in Gustav Holst's "The Planets" illustrated by high-definition images from NASA.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday

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

4. Buddy Guy: Five Grammy Awards, 23 W.C. Handy Blues Awards, the Billboard Magazine Century Award, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and the Presidential National Medal of Arts say it all.

Where: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $69.50; 703-549-7500;

5. An Intimate Evening with Teena Marie: Motown's favorite lady dishes her stylish numbers and folksy gab.

Where: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Info: $75; 703-549-7500;

Also worth noting:

6. Cyrus Chestnut: The virtuoso pianist and his trio move in for four jazzy evenings.

Where: Blues Alley Jazz Supper Club, 1069 Wisconsin Ave. NW

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

Info: $25; 202-337-4141;

7. "Invitation to the Dance": Stephen Blier and Wolf Trap Opera Company singers perform music that inspires folks to dance, from Brahms and Respighi to Bacharach and Gershwin.

Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Info: $38; 877-965-3872;

8. Reggae 2010: For the Love of It: The block party starring Beres Hammond with special guests Inner Circle, Kenyatta Hill of Culture, Lenya Wilks and DJ Inferno.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday

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

1. Cool off in the arboretum's Fern Valley Native Plant Collection: Many of the plants in the collection are native to the D.C., area. In addition, prairie plants you might see on the western edge of our eastern forests, plants of the sandy, flat Coastal Plain in the southeastern United States, and trees, shrubs and woodland flowers of New England are also part of the Native Plant Collection.

Where: The United States National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave. NW

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Info: Free; 202-245-2726;

2. Lunchtime Concerts: Held at the plaza behind U.S. Department of Transportation Building, the third annual summer lunchtime concert series feature a variety of bands from reggae to doo-wop to R&B. Bring your lunch outside or purchase from the USDOT barbecue or Sweetgreen Sweetflow Mobile, which will sell salads and frozen yogurt each week. Aug. 4: Sam'O (Caribbean).

Where: Behind U.S. Department of Transportation, New Jersey Avenue and Tingey Street Plaza

When: Noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday; through Aug. 25

Info: Free;

3. Chancellorsville Hike: Full of Civil War history and wooded trails, this 4-mile round trip hike takes about two hours over a well-maintained trail. Here Robert E. Lee achieved his greatest victory of the Civil War. For nearly a week, Lee's 60,000-man army battled a force more than twice its size across miles of wooded terrain. Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded during the fighting here. This loop trail traverses portions of the May 3 battlefield and the final Union defensive line. Blue blazes on trees and mowed paths in clearings mark the route. Signs and maps at key locations will help you understand what occurred here.

Where: Trailhead: Interstate 95 south to Route 3 West; visitors center eight miles from I-95.

When: Year-round

Info: Park Ranger Service: 540-786-2880;

4. Loudoun County Fair: Summer fun including a demolition derby, extreme cycling, competitive chainsawing, carnival rides and a rodeo.

Where: Loudoun County Fairgrounds, 17564 Dry Mill Road, Leesburg

When: Thursday to Saturday

Info: $5 to $25; 703-777-3835;

5. Columbia Heights: The 1999 opening of the Columbia Heights Metro station has spurred massive redevelopment, and exciting new businesses are drawing activity to the area. Apartment buildings and row houses have filled in some of the empty lots, and a large shopping complex was recently completed. You'll find a lot to explore in Columbia Heights. Check out the GALA Hispanic Theatre production in the renovated historic Tivoli Theatre. Don't forget to stroll down the side streets to see some of D.C.'s most elegant early-20th-century row houses, then grab a bite at one of the nearby small restaurants along 14th Street and Park Road.

Where: See Web site for trail map

When: Any day

Info: Free; 202-661-7581;

1. "Stella Morgan": Keegan Theatre/New Island Project presents the world premiere of Rosemary Jenkinson's play. Set in modern-day Belfast, the play examines the lives of two outsiders through intermingling monologues: an Irish fortuneteller and her drug-dealing son.

Where: Keegan Theatre, Church Street Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW

When: Through Aug. 18

Info: $20 to $25; 703-892-0202;

2. "The Savannah Disputation": In this contemporary comedy, a Pentecostal missionary gets more than she bargains for when she drops in on two Catholic spinsters and sparks a crisis of faith. The sisters enlist the help of their naive parish priest, setting the stage for a theological showdown about what it means to truly believe.

Where: Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday; through Aug. 22

Info: $26 to $49; 301-924-3400;

3. "Los Treinta": A celebration of the 30-year history of Salvadoran presence in D.C., through poetry and performance of Quique Aviles, "Los Treinta" is an oral history, research and performance project that brought together artists, scholars and students to explore the evolution of Salvadorans in the D.C. metropolitan area in the past three decades.

Where: GALA Theatre, 1333 14th St. NW

When: 8 p.m. Friday to Saturday

Info: $3 to $6; 202-234-7174;

4. "Forever Plaid": Before the Jonas Brothers or the Backstreet Boys, there were four guys destined to harmonize their way to greatness: Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie. The "flipside" of the 1950s rock 'n' roll revolution, these boys represented innocence and traditional family values. Experience a flashback to the 1950s.

Where: Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney

When: Through Sunday

Info: $26; 301-924-3400;

5. "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur": Set in the West End of St. Louis in the mid-1930s near Creve Coeur Lake, this play, featuring four of Tennessee Williams' most engaging female characters, explores the need for human connection.

Where: Quotidian Theatre, The Writer's Center, Bethesda

When: Through Aug. 8

Info: $20 to $25; 301-816-1023;