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The Smithsonian Folklife Festival kicks off today, and Jerrry Williams, aka Swamp Dogg, is the guy to see. The man behind seminal 1970 soul/country/R&B/rock album Total Destruction To Your Mind (and 1971’s Rat On!, infamous for its hilariously bad cover art, above), has kept it real for quite some time now; as Steve Kiviat writes in our paper today, 40 years ago, Williams decided he wanted to write songs about “women, politics, screwing, television, syphilis, and anything else I feel is pertinent”—-and he hasn’t looked back since. If for some reason you’re not at work, catch him today at noon and 2 p.m. on the Soulsville stage; free.
Volta Bureau debuts at the U Street Music Hall tonight alongside Treasure Fingers. The local disco/house ensemble, with members Bernard Farley, Miguel Lacsamana, and Will Eastman, is basically a dance music power trio. Tonight they’re just DJing, but check out their original productions on Soundcloud. 9 p.m.; $10.
A bunch of local indie rock guys (William Alberque, Brandon Moses, Alex Tebeleff, and Patrick Kigongo) are hosting a Factory Records Dance Party at LIV. They’ll probably spin Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, Happy Mondays, OMD, and ESG; if they’re badasses, they’ll also spin Abecedarians and Biting Tongues. Doors at 9 p.m.; $5 after; 18+. Free crappy beer between 9 and 10 p.m.
Dame Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons read Shakespeare alongside Maestro Lorin Maazel and the Castleton Orchestra at the Music Center at Strathmore. Surprisingly, as of this writing, a few cheap ($25) tickets and plenty not-so-cheap ($150) tickets remain. 8 p.m.
Pusha T (of Clipse) and Cyhi da Prynce are playing a G.O.O.D Music concert somewhere in D.C. tonight, but the show’s sponsor, Heineken, hasn’t announced the venue yet. Since a beer company is sponsoring it, the show—-wherever it is—- is 21+. Cyhi da Prynce goes on at 8:30 p.m.; Pusha T at 9:30 p.m.; and it’s hosted by Rob Kardashian’s ex-girlfriend Adrienne Bailon. Weird. UPDATE: The show is at Lux Lounge.
Oh yeah, and after you see Swamp Dogg two times, stop by the Soul Train Dance Party (preceded by a probably interesting conversation) at the Folklife Festival’s Motor City tent. Tyrone Proctor, an OG Soul Train dancer, will be there, and ?uestlove spins. 6 p.m.; free.
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers shows at Hirshhorn; in this 1956 sci-fi flick, “alien” is code for “communist,” and aliens blow up the Washington Monument. 7 p.m.; free, first come, first serve.
Get lost, pal: A trio of 1960s road shows are on the docket at the Library of Congress tonight: “Then Came Bronson,” “Route 66,” and “Run For Your Life.” 7:30 p.m.; free.
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter reads from his well-liked debut novel Bright’s Passage tonight at Politics & Prose. 7 p.m.; free.
TWEE AS FUCK
Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club gets yarn-bombed, and DJ Sharkey provides the soundtrack. 5 p.m.; free.