Theater: Essential elements
Since its 1999 debut, Essential Theatre has staged an annual festival showcasing new work, including 26 Georgia writers. This year’s program include the magic realist tale “Built to Float” by Rachel Graf Evans and “Woke” by Georgia Playwriting Award Winner Avery Sharpe.
The 2018 Essential Theatre Play Festival. Through Aug. 26. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. 404-212-0815. essentialtheatre.com
Music: Local hero
In the wake of her breakthrough hit album “Dirty Computer,” multiple Grammy nominee and beloved Atlanta actress Janelle Monáe brings her futuristic hip-hop soundscapes to the Tabernacle.
Janelle Monáe. August 5. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022. tabernacleatl.com
Music: Blues times two
Acclaimed American blues artists Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Beth Hart co-headline an evening at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Hart, a Grammy nominee for her album “Seesaw,” is a powerhouse vocalist and plays multiple instruments, while Shepherd is a virtuoso guitarist who has performed and recorded with rock and blues legends.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Beth Hart. Aug. 8. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. atlantasymphony.org
Festival: Tangy & twangy
Founded by the Decatur Preservation Alliance in 2000, the annual BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival returns to offer a varieties of grilled grub and seven hours of roots music.
Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival. Aug. 11. 630 East Lake Drive and Harmony Park. decaturbbqfestival.com
Festival: Artful spaces
The Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces presents a celebration of creativity in Atlanta’s largest park with the annual Piedmont Park Arts Festival. The event includes more than 200 artisans in paint, jewelry, leather, metal, photography and more, as well as live music, food and an emerging artists pavilion.
Piedmont Park Arts Festival. Aug. 18-19. Piedmont Park, corner of 10th Street and Monroe Drive. piedmontparkartsfestival.com
Music: Strong gusts
American alternate rock trio Guster, known for such acoustic-heavy jams as “Fa Fa” and “Amsterdam,” winds down its 2018 tour with an Atlanta Botanical Garden gig.
Guster. Aug. 24. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. 404-876-5859. atlantabg.org
Workshop: Family tree
Participants can learn how to trace their ancestry at the catchily titled “Life in the Past Lane: Beginning Genealogy” at the Atlanta History Center. Director of Oral History and Genealogy Sue VerHoef leads an introductory program rife with research strategies.
“Life in the Past Lane.” Aug. 25. Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road. 404-814-4042. AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Genealogy
Event: For art’s sake
To support its goal of daily free admission to its galleries, the Atlanta Contemporary holds its Art Party to raise funds. The event features programming on the pavilion, special presentations and open studios to showcase its artists.
Art Party. August 25. The Atlanta Contemporary, 535 Means St. 404-688-1970. atlantacontemporary.org
Festival: Made in the shade
Atlanta’s oldest park hosts the 16th annual Summer Shade Festival, offering live music, food, arts vendors, a 5K Run for the Park and more as a fundraiser for the Grant Park Conservancy.
Summer Shade Festival. August 25-26. Grant Park, corner of Cherokee Avenue and Sydney Street. summershadefestival.org
Theater: Welcome to the dollhouse
It’s hard to imagine a work getting a more unlikely sequel than Henrik Ibsen’s classic 1879 play “A Doll’s House.” Nevertheless, contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath penned a follow-up more than a century later that earned Tony Awards and more laughs than one might expect. Freddie Ashley directs a co-production from Actor’s Express and Aurora Theatre.
“A Doll’s House, Part 2.” Aug. 30-Sept. 30. Actor’s Express, 887 W. Marietta St., Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. actors-express.com
Festival: Sign of the tomes
The largest independent book festival in the country, the Decatur Book Festival hosts author readings, writing workshops, poetry slams, cooking demos, music and more in one of the Atlanta areas’s smartest, most laid-back events.
Decatur Book Festival. Aug. 31-Sep. 2. In and around Decatur Square. decaturbookfestival.com