Sink into the August haze with an R & B fest headlined by Lauryn Hill, or watch one of Shakespeare’s most mystical plays under the stars. Colin Powell shares his insight on the politics of war, Brooklyn authors read poetry and fiction, and the first-ever Puppet Fest invites guests to BYOP. And as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in DC.
Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion
Columbia | Saturday, August 2, 3 p.m.
The Summer Spirit Festival always brings forth major names in hip-hop and R & B, but this year's fest stands out for marking the return of Lauryn Hill. The singer has spent the last year in the midst of a massive comeback and is expected to perform several tracks from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and the Fugees' The Score while backed by her reggae band. Joining Ms. Hill is Electric Lady Janelle Monae, rapper Talib Kweli, and neo-soul crooner Raheem DeVaughn. (10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD; $46–$125; buy tickets here)
Bring Your Own Puppet to Imagination Stage Puppet Fest
Bethesda | Sunday, August 3, 1:30 p.m. or 4 p.m.
For the first-ever Puppet Fest at Imagination Station, guests are invited to BYOP, or bring your own puppet, to one of two productions of Roald Dahl's The BFG. More than 20 different puppets tell the story of one friendly giant: a 35-pound, 13-foot-tall puppet who can’t help but love to eat children. If you opt to BYOP to the show, you'll receive a lap pass for your puppet, storage space, and a chance to interact with the professional puppeteers. (4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda, MD; $10; buy tickets here)
Shakespeare's “The Tempest” at Olney Theatre Center
Olney | Through Sunday, August 3
On the outdoor Root Family Stage, the National Players are ending their summer run of Shakespeare's classic tale about a magician who is shipwrecked on a mystical island with his daughter. This is the National Players' 65th consecutive year of touring, and like many of their shows, The Tempest is a labor of love divided between veteran cast and novice players. Theater-goers are invited to bring a picnic blanket and lawn chairs, as well as their own snacks to enjoy under the stars. (2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, MD; $20, free for children; buy tickets here)
Colin Powell: On Life and Leadership at George Washington University
Foggy Bottom | Monday, August 4, 7 p.m.
In support of his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, Colin Powell discusses what he's learned as a ground soldier in Vietnam, four-star general, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War. Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, will interview General Powell during the lecture, which will conclude with a book signing. (730 21st St., NW (21st & H); $45; buy tickets here)
A Reading Is Sexy Experience at Busboys and Poets
U Street Corridor | Thursday, August 7, 6:30 p.m.
Brooklyn's indie publisher Papercut Press hosts a night of music, readings, and a Q&A to promote what it considers the new American author: ''socially responsible, politically invested, and staunchly anti-corporate.'' Participating writers include m. craig––author of queer, dystopian fantasy The Narrows––and Rami Shamir, who is the co-founding editor of Underground Editions. Busboys and Poets will serve up its signature vegan bar snacks throughout the evening. (5th and K St.; free)
Images courtesy of Ms. Lauryn Hill’s official tour site, The National Players’ official Facebook, and General Colin L. Powell’s official Facebook