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Summer’s best festivals and events in Atlanta and beyond

From MondoHomo to Maxwell, the Peachtree Road Race to the Power Plays Festival, we got your good times right here

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MAY

MONDOHOMO, the fourth annual festival of queer entertainment and community empowerment, celebrates queer culture, music, arts and justice. $7-$15. May 27-31. Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.E. 404-522-0655. www.mondohomo.com.

Prepare for a comical scare when Dad's Garage Theatre presents THE CHANGE: ANOTHER TEENAGE WEREWOLF MUSICAL. Teenager Mikey copes with family secrets, puberty and lycanthropy through song. $15-$22. May 28-June 19. 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com.

Make no mistake: With the lowliest level just shy of 100 bucks once those damn fees are added, these tickets are not cheap. Not even close. But NEIL YOUNG's show at the Fox Theatre lures you in with the chance to snuggle up to Neil in what could possibly be his last hurrah in Atlanta. $75-$225. 8 p.m. Sat., May 29. 660 Peachtree St. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

Every Memorial Day weekend you can catch most Atlantans cooking out and drinking. Throw in some good jazz and you've got the ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL. With a return to Piedmont Park, the fest boasts a diverse lineup of groundbreaking and multifaceted bands, ensembles, and composers like Esperanza Spalding and the Steve Charles Band. Free. May 29-30. Piedmont Park, Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street. 404-875-7275. www.atlantafestivals.

JUNE

Beyoncé tried her hand at it, but the original diva is back to show us how it's done. With solo cuts and Supremes favorites, DIANA ROSS returns from retirement with a national disco and pop tour. $25-$69. 8 p.m. Fri., June 4. Chastain Park Amphitheater, 4469 Stella Drive. 800-745-3000. www.classicchastain.com.

PASSION PIT started as lead singer Michael Angelakos' idea for a Valentine's Day gift to his girlfriend, but the band has since developed its own feel-good electro pop sound via a full-length studio album, Manners. Expect the band to put a little spring, and summer, in your step. $25. 8 p.m. Wed., June 9. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

Who wouldn't want to camp out for four days in the middle of Tennessee with 80,000 friends while jamming out to tunes from Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z and more at BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL? $249.50. June 10-13. 1560 New Bushy Branch Road, Manchester, Tenn. 866-353-5167. www.bonnaroo.com.

While Jay-Z ostentatiously claims to be hip-hop royalty, NAS is silent confidence, no titles necessary. He graces Atlanta with his rhymes alongside Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and Nneka. $36. 9 p.m. Sat., June 12. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

Crooning R&B sex symbol MAXWELL and singer-turned-actress JILL SCOTT team up for a true grown-folks music tour. Sweet sounds, easy listening, and a baby to be expected from someone in the lot. $22-$191. 7 p.m. Sat., June 12. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

Hip-hop duo REFLECTION ETERNAL, composed of Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek, is sure to release a new Train of Thought on the crowd with music from its upcoming album, Revolutions Per Minute. University of Penn alum Kidz in the Hall open. $23-$25. 9 p.m. Mon., June 14, The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com.

CONAN O'BRIEN makes his last stop on a 30-city Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, his comedic rampage against NBC, who legally barred the redhead from his usual hosting gig. $54.55-$98.75. 8 p.m. Mon., June 14. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

Georgia's favorite college town celebrates the city's music and arts scene with ATHFEST, an outdoor summertime festival that includes more than 200 bands, such as Perpetual Groove and Bubba Sparxxx. Party it up after the concerts on Friday and Saturday nights at the club crawl. Free-$20. June 23-27. 285 Washington St., Athens. 706-548-1973. www.athfest.com.

JULY

An Atlanta tradition, the PEACHTREE ROAD RACE is the largest 10K in the United States, with thousands of runners in attendance. 7:30 a.m. Sun., July 4. Lenox Mall, 3393 Peachtree Road. 404-231-9064. www.atlantatrackclub.org.

The Essential Theatre POWER PLAYS FESTIVAL returns for its 12th year with three productions, including Essential Theatre's 2010 Playwriting Award winner Gabriel Jason Dean's Qualities of Starlight; Rita Dove's Darker Face of the Earth; and Peter Hardy's Sally and Glen at the Palace. $10-$28. July 8-Aug. 8. Actor's Express, 887 Marietta St., Suite J-107. 800-595-4849. www.essentialtheatre.com.

Though critics initially scoffed at SHE & HIM, the collaboration between cutie-pie Zooey Deschanel and Portland singer/songwriter M. Ward, for its actress-turned-pop-singer shtick, folks came around after they heard the first offering from the pair, Volume One, and subsequently realized Deschanel's bona fide music chops go beyond her alluringly sweet voice: She actually penned the majority of the songs on Volume One as well as on follow-up Volume Two, while Ward handled production duties. $29.50-$32.50. 8 p.m. Fri., July 9. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. 404-249-6400. www.concertsinthegarden.org.

That Southern staple, the SUMMER REDNECK GAMES, is back with pig-feet bobbing and mud-pit belly flopping. Embrace armpit serenading and Dumpster diving, and don't forget to bust out your best rubber buckteeth. $5. Noon. Sat., July 10. Buckeye Park, 518 Buckeye Road, East Dublin. www.summerredneckgames.com.

A year-round commemoration of creativity in the black community gets underway with the NATIONAL BLACK ARTS FESTIVAL. Some highlights this year are To Curtis with Love, which honors the music and legacy of Curtis Mayfield; two Philadanco dance performances, including a new work set to the music of George Clinton; and Brazil Fest, with Afro-Brazilian percussion group Olodum headlining. $25-$65. July 14-18. See website for times and locations. 404-730-7315. www.nbaf.org.

What if RIHANNA was the last girl on Earth? She comes to Atlanta for her Last Girl on Earth Tour, joined by pop sensation Ke$ha. $23.75-$103.75. 7:30 p.m. Wed., July 28. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

With QUEEN, A ROCK AND SYMPHONIC SPECTACULAR, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to the '70s rock icons, who created 18 No. 1 albums and inspired Wayne, Garth and pals to rock out in their car. $20-$79. 8 p.m. Sat., July 31. Chastain Park Amphitheater, 4469 Stella Drive. 800-745-3000. www.classicchastain.com.

AUGUST

Forget the outlet mall. The ROUTE 127 YARD SALE starts right around the corner in Gadsden, Ala. – just a couple hours' drive from Atlanta – and heads 675 miles up to Hudson, Mich. Recently highlighted on HGTV, the world's longest yard sale will have everything from food to clothes to music. Free. Aug. 5-8. Check website for complete route. www.127sale.com.

Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí, best known for his dreamlike paintings of melting clocks, reinvented himself in the late 1930s as he turned toward Catholicism, science and optical illusions. SALVADOR DALÍ: THE LATE WORK includes 40 paintings and a related group of drawings, prints and other objects. Free-$18. Aug. 7-Jan. 9. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4444. www.high.org.

While the mere mention of LILITH – a resurrection from the ashes of the late '90s' Lilith Fair – may inspire a bout of eye-rolling at the implied crunchy factor, the all-female lineup will impress even the most skeptical: Emmylou Harris, Janelle Monáe, Cat Power, Beth Orton, Erykah Badu, Corinne Bailey Rae and Norah Jones fill out the roster. $33-$107. 3 p.m. Sun., Aug. 8. Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Way. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com.

GERMAN BIERFEST features more than 20 of Deutchland's favorite beers, plus it offers an excuse to day-drink and don your lederhosen. $30-$35. 2-7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 28. Woodruff Park, 51 Peachtree St. 678-244-1528. www.germanbierfest.com.

SEPTEMBER

Georgia State University's first-ever football team opens its inaugural season against Shorter College. Hopefully that game will end better than the massacre that's sure to be its season closer, vs. SEC powerhouse Alabama. $35-$150. Thurs., Sept. 2. Georgia Dome, 1 Georgia Dome Drive. 404-223-4636. www.georgiastatesports.com.

The largest independent book festival in the country, the three-day DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL boasts panel discussions, poetry slams, writing workshops, live music, parades, book signings and more. Free. Sept. 3-5. Decatur Square, W. Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-471-5769. www.decaturbookfestival.com.

DRAGON*CON doesn't let the staid "convention" nomenclature get it down. Total and complete nerdvana can be reached through the vast sum of anime, sci-fi, robots, and comic books to be found at one of Atlanta's biggest annual events. And don't forget the city's full-costume parade through downtown, arguably the best part. $25-$100. Sept. 3-6. See website for times and locations. www.dragoncon.org.

For the third consecutive year, Atlanta's own CHICK-FIL-A KICKOFF GAME signals the beginning of the 2010 college football season. The LSU Tigers will take on the UNC Tar Heels at the Georgia Dome. $65-$160. Sat., Sept. 4. 1 Georgia Dome Drive. www.chick-fil-akickoffgame.com.

Starlight Six Drive-In takes its retro cool to a whole new level with DRIVE INVASION. Concerts and food during the day lead into schlocky movies once the sun sets. Stay tuned for the full lineup. $5-$28. Sept. 4-5. 2000 Moreland Ave. 404-627-5786. www.drive-invasion.com.

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