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The grand-opening ceremony falls on the godfather of go-go's 78th birthday. By Tanya Pai
Rendering courtesy of Marshall Moya Design.

Remind yourself to take an early lunch this Friday: From 11 to 2 in Northeast’s Langdon Park, a ribbon-cutting and grand-opening ceremony will be held for the Chuck Brown Memorial Park, honoring the local music legend and “godfather of go-go,” who passed away in 2012 at the age of 75. The ceremony, which falls on what would be Brown’s 78th birthday and will be attended by Mayor Gray and several of Brown’s relatives, is open to the public.

Designed by the local firm Marshall Moya Design, the park includes a memorial wall engraved with Brown’s discography; a timeline of significant points in his life and career; a photo-mosaic tile wall showcasing images of his performances; and musical toys for children, among other features. Michael Marshall, the firm’s design director, grew up in the Langdon Park area, where the memorial is located; he and his team are also behind the redesign of the Howard Theatre, where Brown performed so many times. 

Can’t make the ceremony? This week offers two more ways to celebrate Brown: Beautiful Life, a nine-track album of his music featuring his band as well as guest spots from artists such as Doug E Fresh and Wale (for even more hometown flavor), was released Tuesday on iTunes and Amazon; the Howard Theatre is also hosting a concert in Brown’s honor on Friday at 8 PM (tickets are available online). 

Regardless of how the unveiling ceremony goes, the park’s design will doubtless go over better than the beleaguered Eisenhower Memorial, whose development process has been so complicated it caused one former federal official to quip that “winning World War II was easier.” 

Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.

Posted at 01:14 PM/ET, 08/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
High tea, arts festivals, tours of historic homes, and more. By Vicky Gan, Tanya Pai
Celebrate Mom with high tea, a trip to an arts festival, and other culture-focused events. Image via Shutterstock.

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

Peruse paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and more by local artists at this two-day festival at Bethesda’s Fine Arts Festival. You can also catch live jazz, reggae, and rock from bands throughout the day, and there’ll be a kids’ activity area for youngsters. Free; Saturday 10 to 6 and Sunday 10 to 5. 

History and Fashion

Novelist Nicole Mary Kelby heads to Politics & Prose to read from The Pink Suit, her new novel based on the true story of the Irish immigrant who created the iconic pink suit Jackie O. was wearing on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Free; 5 PM.

High Teas

Tudor Place’s annual Mother’s Day tea is sold out, but you can head to other local spots for some quality pinkies-up time with Mom. The Grille at Morrison House in Alexandria offers a high-tea menu for $44, featuring Champagne cocktails, teas, and snacks such as house-made scones with jam and smoked Scottish salmon. The Greenhouse at the Jefferson offers a tea either with Champagne ($55) or without ($39). The Mandarin Oriental’s Empress Lounge hosts tea Friday through Sunday from 2:30 to 4:30; the Willard InterContinental’s runs the same days from 1 to 4 ($59 with Champagne, $45 without); and the Park Hyatt in DC’s West End offers tea and sweet or savory snacks on weekends from 2:30 to 4 ($40 per person). 

Garden Tours

To celebrate National Public Gardens Day on Friday, May 9, Alexandria’s River Farm has a coupon for $10 off an American Horticultural Society membership and a free children’s potting party from 10 to noon. Tudor Place offers free admission to the gardens and 10 percent off merchandise from the museum’s shop (good through May 11). Hillwood Estate opens its gardens for tours on May 11 from 1 to 5 (reservations can be made online for a suggested donation of $15). Coupons for both are available online. And, of course, the National Aboretum, the US Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian Gardens are always free. 

Capitol Hill Tours

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society offers walking tours of homes and gardens in the neighborhood, showcasing how the architecture and decor has evolved throughout the decades. Tours (covering about a mile and a quarter) are available Saturday, May 10, from 4 to 7 and Sunday the 11th from noon to 5. Tickets ($25 in advance, $30 the weekend of) are available online and are valid for both days. 

Gadsby’s Tavern Tours

Treat your mom to lunch at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, which once hosted such notable dinner guests as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, then take a tour of the tavern’s museum (free for moms, $5 for others) between 1 and 5 on Mother’s Day. 

Brunch at Mount Vernon

Get a taste of history at Mount Vernon, where “Martha Washington” and her granddaughters will reminisce about family memories and share advice with visitors. Mothers can receive a free lavender sachet with their visit; the program is included in the entry fee to Mount Vernon ($17). You can also book a Mother’s Day brunch buffet at the Mount Vernon Inn ($29.84 per person). A sample menu is available online.

Mother’s Day Family Festival

Take the kids to the American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard for the Mother’s Day Family Festival, where you can paint portraits inspired by the exhibit “Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget,” create bouquets of paper flowers, see a puppet show, and other fun activities for all ages. 11:30 to 3. 

Classical Music

For the music-loving mom, the Mendelssohn Piano Trio presents its annual Mother’s Day performance. This year’s includes Beethoven’s Variations Op. 44 in E-flat Major, Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3, and the Archduke Piano Trio Op. 97. The free concert starts at 3 PM in the American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery; tickets will be available in the lobby beginning at 2:30. 

Smithsonian Garden Fest

This annual festival, which began in 2006, this year has the theme Water, Water, Everywhere, and explores the importance of readily available sources of clean water. On the schedule: live music, creation of a “water-themed community art project,” and other nature-focused activities. Free; 10:30 to 3 in the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. 

Posted at 04:31 PM/ET, 05/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Jazz Appreciation Month, baseball, and cherry blossoms galore By Mollie Reilly

Monday, March 28
The Washingtonian editor Garrett Graff (no conflict of interest here!) will read from and sign copies of his new book, The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror at the National Press Club tonight at 6:30. Call 202-662-7523 for reservations; $5 charge for non-members.

Tuesday, March 29
Jose Luis Merlin and Brian Baumbusch, also known as the Cacho Ensemble, are performing a set of classical guitar music and sharing traditional Argentinean folktales at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. 5:30.

Wednesday, March 30
In honor of Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Month, the museum is hosting “A Women in Jazz Tribute to the International Sweethearts of Rhythm” at Artisphere. The program begins with a discussion of jazz and civil rights, led by Radio One’s Cathy Hughes, followed by a preview of the new documentary Girls in the Band. Finally, there’ll be swing dancing with live music by an all-female jazz quartet. 7 to 11.

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Posted at 10:38 AM/ET, 03/28/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cherry blossoms, classical cello, and trips to the Library of Congress By Mollie Reilly

Monday, March 21
Catch four short films at the Carnegie Institution, presented by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Each piece looks at global water and population issues. A reception and panel discussion follow the screening. Register on Eventbrite. 6 PM.

Tuesday, March 22
Strathmore Artist-in-Residence Alicia Ward plays contemporary and classical pieces at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. The young cellist started performing solo at age 12, and has since won numerous awards and competitions. 6 PM; free.

Wednesday, March 23
The National Portrait Gallery’s Pop Quiz: Women’s History Month Challenge is on Wednesday evening. Test your knowledge of women featured in the gallery’s portrait collection. 6:30.

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Posted at 11:05 AM/ET, 03/21/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
From Ireland to India in the arts By Mollie Reilly

Monday, March 14
Jazz keyboardist Will Rast, a Fairfax native who has performed with R&B musician Mya, is playing a free show at Tryst from 8 to 10.

Tuesday, March 15

Michael Farquhar, author of Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain, is speaking and signing books at Politics and Prose. His latest book looks at British royalty going back to the Tudors and chronicles their most fascinating and unexpected moments. 7 PM.

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Posted at 05:07 PM/ET, 03/11/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Italian movies, live talk shows, and Big Band swing By Mollie Reilly

Monday, March 7
The talk show “You, Me, Them, Everybody Live!” returns to Looking Glass Lounge from 8:30 to 10. Hosted by Brandon Wetherbee, the show’s guests include standup comedian Patrick Palafox, musician Ian Walters, and other local luminaries.

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Posted at 10:53 AM/ET, 03/07/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
From Venice’s streets to Shakespearean theaters, here’s the week in Washington’s culture scene By Mollie Reilly

Monday, February 28
The 19th-century Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge comes to life in the latest installment of the National Portrait Gallery’s Culture in Motion series. Hosted in conjunction with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the play Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius looks at the man’s life and explores how he was able to transcend racial divides and become one of his generation’s most acclaimed actors. The play is in the museum’s McEvoy Auditorium. Seating is limited; call 202-633-8520 to reserve a spot. 7 PM.

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Posted at 11:16 AM/ET, 02/28/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Valentines, ocean explorers, and tiger mothers this week in culture By Mollie Reilly

Monday, February 14
It doesn’t matter if you have a Valentine or not at the Black Cat’s free dance party tonight, featuring oldies music from the ’50s and ’60s. In the Red Room bar at 8 PM.

Tuesday, February 15

Explorer, architect, and film producer Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of famed ocean explorer Jacques, speaks at the National Museum of Natural History about his four decades of exploring the planet’s waters. 5:30 PM.

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Posted at 08:10 AM/ET, 02/14/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Keep up your Super Bowl high, or get some inside knowledge on the heart before Valentine’s Day By Mollie Reilly

Monday, February 7
Keep your Super Bowl Sunday sports high going at Busboys and Poets’ 14th and V streets location tonight, where there’s a viewing party for the premiere of Comcast SportsNet Celebrates Black History Month. The TV special looks at the ways sports and African-American history have intersected. Optional donations benefit Teaching for Change. 9 PM.

Tuesday, February 8
The Alexandria Kleztet has played Eastern European-influenced music with a modern twist for more than a decade. The award-winning group takes the stage at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center  at 5:30.

Wednesday, February 9
Since picking up the horn at age ten, local musician Trumpet Grrrl has played at Carnegie Hall and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra. She’s performing a free show at Wonderland Ballroom from 9 to midnight along with North Country and Liz and the Lost Boys.

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Posted at 09:38 AM/ET, 02/07/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Be relevant with an Egyptian romance onscreen and find an antidote to Super Bowl mania By Mollie Reilly

Monday, January 31
Get an insider’s look at the Gray Lady at the National Press Club, where Marvin Kalb is moderating “All the News That’s Fit to Print: Behind the Scenes at the New York Times.” Executive Editor Bill Keller and Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet talk about what goes on at the venerated newspaper. 8 PM.

Tuesday, February 1
Michael Scheuer, the first head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, is discussing and signing copies of his new book, Osama bin Laden, at Politics and Prose. 7 PM.

Wednesday, February 2
Take your lunch break at the Department of the Interior’s (1849 C St., NW) Rachel Carson Room, where there’s a discussion of activist Mary McLeod Bethune’s contributions and leadership. 1 to 2.

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Posted at 08:05 AM/ET, 01/31/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()