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Things to See and Do in the Bethesda Area in May and June

Our picks for festivals, music, shows and other entertainment

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A Living Legend: May 6


Photo courtesy of Strathmore

Even at 90 years old, Tony Bennett is still selling out concert halls and thrilling audiences. The legendary crooner first rose to prominence in the 1950s and ’60s with hits “Rags to Riches” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He’s earned 17 Grammys, including one for Cheek to Cheek (his 2014 album with Lady Gaga) and one for MTV Unplugged: Tony Bennett (which won for Album of the Year in 1995 and reignited his career among Gen Xers). Frank Sinatra called him the “best singer in the business.” See why when Bennett headlines Strathmore’s annual spring gala, which also includes a cocktail reception, dinner and post-concert dessert.

9 p.m., $86-$176 for performance only, $1,250 for full gala program, The Music Center at Strathmore, strathmore.org

The Story Behind the Story: May 11

With the 2014 podcast Serial, listeners were captivated by the 12-part story of Adnan Syed, a Baltimore teenager who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his high school girlfriend. The series, which was downloaded more than 175 million times, won a Peabody Award, providing legitimacy to podcasts as a new and modern form of storytelling. It also raised questions about the case that led to a judge overturning the conviction and ordering a new trial. At Backstage with the Creators of Serial: Binge-Worthy Journalism, co-creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder will share stories from behind the scenes of the podcast and explain what went into making it.

8 p.m., $30-$75, The Music Center at Strathmore, strathmore.org

Texts and the City: May 20


Courtesy of City of Gaithersburg

What do Seinfeld, Abraham Lincoln, Jewish cooking and manic-depressive poet Robert Lowell have in common? They’re all subjects of books by authors who will attend the Gaithersburg Book Festival. The annual event celebrates all things literary and includes writing workshops for children and adults, author presentations, live music and poetry performances. Notable authors include mystery writer Laura Lippman, cookbook author Joan Nathan, psychiatry professor Kay Redfield Jamison, biographer Sidney Blumenthal, and novelists Jami Attenberg and Jane Chang. Activities for children include storytime, crafts, performances and book signings.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., free, Gaithersburg City Hall, gaithersburgbookfestival.org

Whooping It Up: May 27 


Photo courtesy of Strathmore

When it comes to entertainment, Whoopi Goldberg has pretty much done it all. She’s one of the few entertainers to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award, plus a Golden Globe for good measure. Known for her stand-up comedy and both dramatic and comedic acting roles, she’s also a prolific producer and writer. With her signature blend of humor and outrageous personality, the pop culture icon will share her unique views and commentary at Strathmore. She’ll also go unscripted, answering audience questions.

8 p.m., $65-$130, The Music Center at Strathmore, strathmore.org

Makers Market: June 2-3

URBNmarket brings its Etsy-flavored shopping experience back to Park Potomac with a curated collection of more than 30 mostly local crafters, artisans and vendors selling handmade and vintage items. Expect one-of-a-kind jewelry, organic bath products, colorful linens and stylish housewares. Music, a beer garden and kids activities lend a festival atmosphere to the two-day event, which takes place outdoors, rain or shine, in the center of the shopping area.

Friday, 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free, Park Potomac, urbnmarket.com

Hometown Tradition: May 27-29


Photo by Thomas Bell Photography

The Rockville Memorial Day parade has been a tradition since 1944, and while much has changed since then, the spirit and patriotism of the event remains. More than 20,000 spectators are expected to attend the parade, which will feature several floats and more than 60 groups, including marching bands, dance troupes and drill teams. The event caps off the weekend Hometown Holidays festival, which includes four stages of live music, the Taste of Rockville and family-friendly activities.

Hometown Holidays, Saturday and Sunday, 2 to 10 p.m.; Memorial Day ceremony and parade, Monday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., free, Rockville Town Center, rockvillemd.gov

Rocking Down The Rabbit Hole: June 21 through Aug. 13


Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage

From Grace Slick to Tom Petty, many rock ’n’ roll greats have been inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Imagination Stage in Bethesda reimagines the story as a rock show for children and families in Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure. The famous trip down the rabbit hole takes a modern, musical turn with this adaptation that casts familiar characters as rock musicians and pits Alice against the Jabberwocky in a battle of the bands. 

$15-$30, Imagination Stage, imaginationstage.org

Fancy Fliers

The annual Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton features hundreds of live butterflies and caterpillars from around the world. The insects fly freely among plants and flowers inside the South Conservatory. Here are four things to know about the exhibit:

The Journey: The butterflies come from the United States, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, Kenya, El Salvador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Before they’ve hatched, they are packed carefully into boxes and delivered to Brookside by UPS or FedEx. 

Special Appearance: North American butterfly pupa are displayed in a specially built cabinet. Visit during morning hours for your best chance to see a butterfly emerge from its pupa and prepare to fly. 

Playing Defense: Butterflies protect themselves from predators in different ways. Look for butterflies with large fake “eye spots” on their wings to make them appear big and fierce. Other butterflies have leaf-like wings to blend in with their surroundings. 

Hidden Colors: The big blue morpho butterflies are only blue on the top side, which is visible when they fly. When they land, they fold their wings above their bodies and show the brown underside. 

Wings of Fancy, daily through Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $8 ages 13 and older, $5 ages 3-12, free for ages 2 and under; 
montgomeryparks.org/brookside/wings_of_fancy.shtm

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