Get Out: July and August It's going to be one hot summer.

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ARTS ALIVE
Drumroll, please! The theme for this year’s Artscape festival is … Artscape. According to organizers, the huge Station North celebration is returning to its roots and focusing energy not on cultivating or playing to a certain motif, but to — what else? — the arts. As usual, the streets will be flooded with performers, installations and arts-and-crafts vendors of all kinds while national names such as TLC and others take the stage each evening. It’s always one of the summer’s best weekends, so don’t miss it. And with free admission, why would you? July 20-22 in Station North. Free. artscape.org

GO COCONUTS
What could be better than watching “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in a fabulous theater? How about an appearance by John Cleese himself following the film? John Cleese Live on Stage promises all the dry-witted British humor a movie-quoting fan could want, plus there’s an audience Q&A at which only “absurd and/or ridiculous” questions are allowed. If you land one of the few VIP tickets, you’ll even get a photo with the comedian. July 28 at the Lyric. Tickets start at $45. modell- lyric.com

KEEPIN’ IT COUNTRY
Cold beers, cowboy boots, Kenny Chesney … if that doesn’t sound like a country fan’s dream, we’ll eat our hats. See the original “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”singer and leader of #NoShoesNation on his Trip Around the Sun Tour when it hits Merriweather in late summer. (ICYMI: Merriweather will also host a number of other country bigwigs this season including Sugarland, Lady A and Darius Rucker.) Aug. 22 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. $50-$349. merriweathermusic.com

OUT, DAMNED SPOT
Add a little scandal to your summer with Baltimore Shakespeare Company’s production of Macbeth (or shall we say, “The Scottish Play”). Though it’s a bit of an abbreviated run, the production promises all the vim and vengeance the melodrama is known for — and with so few shows, it’s bound to sell out. Hurry! If you miss it, it  cannot be undone.” Select days June 29 – July 22 at St. Mary’s Community Center. $19-$24. baltimoreshakespearefactory.org

MEALS ON WHEELS
The Trifecta Food Truck Festival is rolling into town once again. Rain or shine, get ready for more than 35 food trucks peddling sweet and savory food wares as well as beverage options, fun for the kids and other non- epicurean vendors. Some of this year’s favorites include Pasta La Vista Baby!, Deddles Donuts, The Cow and the Curd, The Green Bowl, Greek on the Street and Dough Boy Fresh Pretzel Co. July 28 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. marylandstatefair.com

PENNY PINCHING
This summer, party like it’s 1669, as the Annapolis Shakespeare Company revives classic Molière comedy The Miser. Presented under the sky in the courtyard of Reynolds Tavern, the open-air performance will be accompanied by food and beverage service. Even better, the play runs for a decidedly un-miserly spring-to-fall span, allowing drama fans plenty of time to catch the show. Tuesdays, May 15 – Sept. 24, Reynolds Tavern. $40+. 410-415-3513, reynoldstavern.org

LIVE FROM BALTIMORE
You may remember “Saturday Night Live” alum Kevin Nealon as host of Weekend Update and one-half of “Pump-You-Up” Austrian fitness fiends Hans and Franz. The comedian has since appeared in countless film and television roles, most notably in “Happy Gilmore,” “The Wedding Singer” and Showtime series “Weeds.” And now, he’ll be appearing in Annapolis for a one-night-only engagement — be ready to be “Whelmed … But Not Overly.” Aug. 12, Rams Head On Stage. $52. ramsheadonstage.com

LET FREEDOM RING
While Frederick Douglass Day is traditionally celebrated in February, this summer brings a special bicentennial event: Frederick Douglass Community Day, inspired by Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech. Enjoy performances, re-enactments, food, family activities and more, all with the aim of paying homage to Douglass and his commitment to “freedom, community, art and history.” July 1 at the Banneker- Douglass Museum. Tickets TBA. 410-216-6180, bdmuseum.maryland.gov

PATRIOTIC PETS
What could be more representative of freedom than forcing your pup (or cat or, heck, even lizard) into a costume on the morning of the Fourth of July? That’s the idea behind Visionary Pets on Parade, one of Baltimore’s weirdest and most wonderful Independence Day traditions. Bring your furry, feathered or otherwise pelted friends to the American Visionary Arts Museum to strut their stuff and compete for prizes like “Most Patriotic,” “Most Visionary,” “Least Likely to Succeed as a Pet” and more. July 4 at the AVAM. Free. 410-244-1900, avam.org

UP TO SOME TRICKS
It’s gearing up to be quite the magical summer at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. In conjunction with its exhibit “Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini” (on view until Jan. 21), the museum will present David Saltman, author of “Houdini Unbound,” and later, Mrs. Houdini: The Woman Behind the Magician, a presentation on the elusive Bess Houdini by historical fiction author Victoria Kelly. A bunch of hocus pocus, indeed. Saltman, July 15, and Kelly, July 29, both at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Free with cost of admission. $10 each. 410-732-6400, jewishmuseummd.org

COOL CULTURE
After causing quite the uproar when it moved from Camden Yards to Druid Hill Park last year, we thought the Baltimore Afram Festival might return to Camden Street in 2018. It won’t, alas, but still promises to bring its annual celebration of African- American life, music and culture to Baltimore. The entertainment had not yet been announced as of press time, but it’s slated to offer “children’s activities, arts, history, education, financial literacy, employment and job training, health and wellness and more.” Aug. 11-12 at Druid Hill Park. Free. afram.baltimorecity.gov

POETS & WRITERS
Now that she no longer lives in Charm City, Laura van den Berg is something of a BWINO – Baltimore writer in name only. She has since left town for Cambridge, Massachusetts, but returns in August in conjunction with her latest release, novel “The Third Hotel.” This time, she’ll be joined at the “Writers Live” series by resident Baltimorean Nate Brown, a celebrated short story writer and professor of writing at Stevenson and George Washington Universities. Don’t miss them at the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped on Park Avenue Aug. 9. Free. calendar.prattlibrary.org

ROCKET’S RED GLARE
It wouldn’t be Fourth of July without the BSO’s Star-Spangled Spectacular, the annual concert-and-fireworks extravaganza at Oregon Ridge. There, the symphony will play the ultra-patriotic “1812 Overture” alongside other favorites from pop culture. If you get hungry from all that America-admiring, there will be food trucks on hand, and the night ends with a fabulous fireworks display. “O, Beautiful” is right. July 3 at Oregon Ridge. $22-$25 adults, $11-$15 children. 410-783-8000, bsomusic.org

ALL TOGETHER NOW
Join School 33 for another of its prolific, visionary exhibitions when Omnibus Filing 2.0 debuts this July. The group exhibit features Daniel Bozhkov, Julie Nagle, Patrick Killoran, James Sham and Brian Korge, together in an artistic amalgam sure to inspire. July 6 – Aug. 25, School 33 Art Center. Free. 443-263-4350, school33.org

ON THE ENVIRONMENT
You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Steven Scott Gallery is embracing this policy, returning for the 30th year with its annual Land and Sea Summer Group Exhibition. The exhibition has survived one big move and countless waves of talent, and this year’s show highlights some of the Gallery’s favorite artists: Robert Andriulli, Ellen Hill, Sheep Jones, Annie Leibovitz, Tom Miller, Kathryn O’Grady, Katja Oxman and Frank Trefny. Stop by and see their takes on the world that surrounds us. July 3 – Sept. 29, Steven Scott
Gallery. Free. 410-902-9300, stevenscottgallery.com

A MUSICAL JOURNEY
In conjunction with its new, excellent exhibition of the sculptural work of Jack Whitten, the Baltimore Museum of Art presents Jack Whitten: Jazz Odyssey. In celebration of the artist’s life and legacy, a three-series concert will be held in the museum’s Sculpture Garden. Though you might have missed the first concert (which was held in June), two remain: the iconic Sun Ra Arkestra, and later, the Baltimore-based Lafayette Gilchrist Quartet. In both cases, attendees will be invited to view the Jack Whitten exhibition during extended evening hours before the concert, and dinner is available at an extra cost. Sun Ra, July 7, and Lafayette Gilchrist, July 28, both at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 443-573-1700, artbma.org

ON FILM
With July comes the return of sultry summer nights and one of Baltimore’s favorite free events: Flicks from the Hill. Bring a picnic and grab a spot on Federal Hill for the free film series, presented by the American Visionary Art Museum (and including free evening admission to the museum). This year’s lineup spans decades, from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Casablanca” to “Clue” and “The Birds,” with contemporary hits like “Sherlock Holmes” and “Hidden Figures” thrown in the mix. Thursday nights, July 12 – Aug. 30, the American Visionary Art Museum. Free. 410-244-1900, avam.org

FUNNY BUSINESS
You might not recognize the name David Cross, but you’d definitely recognize the popular comedian’s face. Best known for his role as Tobias Funke in “Arrested Development,” Cross has appeared in 100-plus movies and television programs from “Kung Fu Panda” to “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” He’s taking his talents on the road for the “Oh Come On” tour, traveling, as he said in the tweet announcing the tour, “from truck stop to truck stop, with the hopes of a broken nation buoying [him].” We’re already laughing. 8 p.m. Aug. 1 at the Lyric. $35. 410-900-1150, modell-lyric.com

WHAT’S NEXT?
They say the first rule of improv is to say yes, no matter what absolutely insane situation your fellow actors throw at you. Fortunately for the audience, improv tends to be at its best the crazier things get. Watch and learn as troupes big and small take on the “yes, and …” challenge at the Baltimore Improv Festival, pushing the limits of ad-hoc humor. For those hoping to give it a try, the festival will also feature workshops with improv-ers from across the country. July 30 – Aug. 5. TBA. baltimoreimprovfestival.org

ETHICAL EATING
If you’ve been dreaming of going vegan but fear the diet’s limits, you need to go Vegan Soulfest. Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, the food-and-culture festival shows just how delectable vegan cuisine can be, with offerings from local food vendors, speakers and demonstrations, musicians, and performing artists and more. Even better? The event provides an opportunity to network with others who share your dietary restrictions – all the better for swapping recipes and prepping potlucks. Aug. 25 at Clifton Park. Free. vegansoulfest.com

SIZZLING SUMMER
“I’ve been doing this for 26 years,” says Hot August Music Festival founder/ organizer Brad Selko. “I know what I’m doing.” And so he does. The Cockeysville end-of-summer bash is back with another great lineup: The Revivalists, Trampled by Turtles, the Cris Jacobs Band and Nikki Hill, to name a few. There’s good news for rock ‘n roll moms and dads, too – the festival is very kid friendly, with a Kids’ Corner featuring crafts, face painting, music lessons, kids’ yoga and more. Aug. 18 at Oregon Ridge Park. $58-$199. hotaugustmusicfestival.com

MUGS AND MUSIC
Have a few drinks while enjoying the harbor at the new Brews & Views concert series from  Waterfront Partnership. Featuring live music, food trucks, craft beers, vendors, games and more, the July edition of the new-this-year event will showcase hipster groovers The Henchmen, along with SGT GUSTO. Can’t make  it? There’s one more event before the weather stops cooperating in September, this time showcasing Kanye Twitty. July 19 and Sept. 20 at Harbor Point. Free. baltimorewaterfront.com

 

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