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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 08/29/2008

Nightlife Agenda Update

By Fritz Hahn

Buy 64 ounces of beer at a DuClaw brewpub this weekend to help an adorable puppy. (Craig Herndon for The Washington Post)

With a long weekend getting ready to kick off, there are plenty of nightlife events to choose from. Rhome and David weighed in with their suggestions earlier this week, when I was thousands of miles away, but I wanted to add a few of my own.

Friday, August 29
For lovers of Caribbean music, summer is the best time to be in D.C. The Caribbean Carnival brings bands, dancers and superstar soca singers to the streets around Howard University. Jamaica annually celebrates its independence with a day-long party in the gardens of the Organization of American States, with dance hall and reggae bands performing pretty much nonstop. And every August, Trinidad and Tobago honors its own freedom with a week of events. Capping off this year's affairs is a concert by The Mighty Sparrow (listen), the "King of Calypso" with dozens of hits to his credit and more calypso competition titles than anyone else. Now 73, Sparrow continues to tour, belting out his lively, infectious music and even recording new tracks, including one paying homage to "Barack the Magnificent." (listen) No matter your political persuasion, you'll be dancing at Zanzibar tonight, where Sparrow performs with locals the Image Band and a full steel pan rhythm section.

Maybe it's my own German bias, but when I hear of DJs from Germany, I usually assume it's going to be brash electro, thudding techno, something overly technical or minimal. (Blame Kraftwerk, its legions of imitators, and the influence of Berlin's world-beating DJ scene) I know, I know. I really shouldn't. Every now and then, I'm reminded why I shouldn't. Take Ame (listen), a duo whose explorations try to meld the ambient, repetitive side of synth-filled Detroit techno to the soulful throb of deep house. Not an easy thing to do, but Ame, whose name is French for "soul" and who counts Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock among its influences, does far, far better than most. The warm, funky "Rej" has filled dance floors from Ibiza to Miami and been remixed dozens of times, and I'm pretty sure you'll hear it tonight at Eighteenth Street Lounge when Frank Wiedemann, one half of Ame, takes to the DJ booth. (If you can, request "D.P.O.M.B." for me.)

More picks for Saturday and Sundays nights after the jump.

Saturday, August 30
The D.C. Blues Festival isn't really nightlife, since it runs from noon to 7:30, but as I pointed out in the chat yesterday, it's a great afternoon of local and nationally-renowned bluesmen, guitar and harmonica workshops, kids' activities and more. Dallas' Zan Harmon (listen) and New Orleans Delta bluesman Lil' Dave Thompson (listen) headline the day at Carter Barron. After the family-friendly fun is over, the bands are packing up and heading for the old Chick Hall's Surf Club to keep the party going, with Thompson and plenty of local guests taking the stage. Admission is $15, or $12 in advance from the D.C. Blues Society.

With the horrific discovery of 1,000 dogs at West Virginia puppy mills, now's a great time to mention a weekend-long benefit for four-legged friends. Saturday through Monday, when you stop in to get a growler of beer from DuClaw, the Maryland brewpub chain will donate $2 for every growler sold and $1 for every refill to pay for surgery for Megan, a three-month-old black retriever and shepherd mix. Megan, who is currently up for adoption, came into a Baltimore-area animal rescue center with a broken knee, and still can't walk on it. Great excuse to stop in and try the new golden Belgian ale Mysterium, no? Those who drink with their conscience should note that DuClaw is also donating the proceeds of next weekend's Real Ale Festival in Bel Air, Md., to the Fallston Animal Rescue Movement, which finds homes for abandoned cats and dogs.

In need of a last-minute (and cheap) date idea? Tonight's awesomely classy free pick is Dancing Under the Stars at the Kennedy Center. The Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra is the first of four local dance bands to perform on the Kennedy Center's breezy river terrace; later weeks will include Bio Ritmo, the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band and Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown. Tonight, trombonist Felten and his group mix up swing-era classics by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and Count Basie with brassy Sinatra tunes and some cheek-to-cheek slowdances. Worried about your two left feet? There's an introductory swing dance lesson before the band gets started.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the rebirth of Republic Gardens, which is now just known as The Republic. If you haven't been by yet, tonight's a good chance: Regular DJ Trini is joined by man-about-town DJ Armageddon, and everyone gets free admission and $5 drinks specials until midnight.

Sunday, August 31
Ah, "No work or school Mondays." Where would we be without them?

It's been a few years since "We Fly High" was an inescapable hit and everyone on the dance floor took jump shots whenever Jim Jones yelled "Ballin!" in the chorus. Jones hasn't been truly out of the spotlight since, thanks to publicity-hogging beefs with Jay-Z and Kanye West and on singles by LL Cool J and David Banner, and the Dipset head has a new album called "Back 2 Back" coming out later this year. Get a preview of the new material at Fur tonight. Tickets are $20 in advance.

Over at Eighteenth Street Lounge, former Studio One reggae singer Carlton Livingston (listen) is making an appearance at the holiday-weekend-only Champion Sounds, as the Solomonic Sound System DJ crew lays down heavy old-school reggae grooves on the patio. DJ Eric "Eball" Burton lays down his eclectic sounds in the main room, while Sunday night resident Sam "The Man" Burns takes his deep house records into the Gold Room. There's a $10 cover all night.

It's looking like Friday and Saturday's rain should be washed away by Sunday (fingers crossed), so mark the return of the sun with a drink on the rooftop of the Beacon Hotel. The new Chillout Sunday is back after a brief hiatus, with DJs Adrian Loving and Harry Hotter spinning funky global beats, and free mojitos between 3 and 4. Free. Mojitos. Put this one on your Sunday Funday calendar.

Lizard Lounge's holiday weekend parties have always been notoriously packed, and with $2 vodka drinks from 8 to 10, DJ Kostas' crowd-pleasing house and techno mix and plenty of eye candy, this, one of the first since the night's relocation to Lima, should be no exception. (Gay clubbers looking for an alternative can head for the more indie-minded Taint at DC9.)

Mythology, the Park at 14th's usual Thursday night hip-hop party, is making a special Sunday night appearance at the club with WKYS DJ Quicksilva. Doors open at 9. E-mail mythology@teambbc.com by 4 p.m. Sunday for free VIP admission. (Include the names and e-mail addresses of your party to get everyone on the list.) The party goes until 3:30.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 29, 2008; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Also Saturday - Improvapalooza at the Source on 14th St. from 5-12. Like Lollapalooza, but funny on purpose. Details at washingtonimprovtheater.com

Posted by: Amanda | August 29, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

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