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Good fences make good artists, television cameras make winning presidential debates, and Mrs. Robinson lives on By Elliot Kort

It’s a week of free commemorative events: from Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Running Fence” to the ascension of Henry VIII to the first ever televised presidential debate.

Monday, September 20
Get a good dose of fiddle when Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor rolls into the Kennedy Center tonight. Chancellor, a five-time Texas champion fiddler, passes down the lore to a next generation of fiddlers, and he’s one of the National Endowment of Arts’ Heritage fellows. At the free Millennium Stage; 6 PM.

Tuesday, September 21
Thirty-four years after Christo and Jeanne-Claude took over the countryside just north of San Francisco to create “Running Fence,” the Smithsonian is hosting a final tour of its commemorative exhibition—the show closes Sunday. Join deputy chief curator George Gurney as he leads guests through the installation. 6 PM.

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Posted at 08:34 AM/ET, 09/20/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Opera and baseball, Americana and pie, and other odd (but free!) combinations for this week By Elliot Kort

Monday, September 13
It’s been eight months since an earthquake brought Haiti to international headlines in January. Tonight, a panel of Haitian activists is gathering at Busboys and Poets to discuss the state of affairs there and what lies ahead for the Caribbean country. 6 PM.

Tuesday, September 14
Roots and world musicians descend on the Kennedy Center tonight thanks to a partnership between DeVos Institute of Arts Management and the U.S. State Department. The result is a program called “Roots Music Ambassadors,” which consists of diverse musical performances from jazz to folk. 6 PM.

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Posted at 10:09 AM/ET, 09/13/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Child prodigies, outdoor art shows, Argentinian wine, and Indiana Jones onscreen for free this week By Elliot Kort

Tuesday, September 7
Italian jazz drummer Gianluca Pellerito might be only 16, but he’s already attended the Berklee College of Music. Along with the rest of his quartet, Pellerito takes the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage tonight. 6 PM.

Wednesday, September 8
Head to Penn Quarter for Arts on Foot. Watch live performances from local musical acts.  Savor local food from neighborhood restaurants.  The annual festival brings together musicians, entertainers, artists, chefs, and more to create an all-encompassing arts experience. F Street, Northwest, between Sixth and Ninth streets. The festival continues through the end of the week.  11 to 7.

Thursday, September 9
Hit up Busboys and Poets montly Nine on the Ninth peotry open mic.  You can sit back and listen, brave stage fright and read or anything in between.  Poet Derrick Weston Brown will host the event. 9 PM. 

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Posted at 01:25 PM/ET, 09/07/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to interesting—and free!—arts and culture events in Washington this week By Elliot Kort

Monday, August 23
Michael Feinberg usually plays with rock bands and does small-club jazz shows, but tonight, he’ll be performing a blend of world music, jazz, and rock at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage. 6 PM.

Tuesday, August 24
As the summer series Concerts on the Avenue winds down, get patriotic with the US Navy Band. For this concert, the bands teams up with the Sea Chanters—the official chorus of the US Navy—at the Navy Memorial. 8 PM.

Wednesday, August 25
Learn to hula during Ukefest 2010. The festival, dedicated to ukulele music, will take over Strathmore Backyard Theater Stage in North Bethesda. 6 PM.

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Posted at 10:52 AM/ET, 08/23/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Irish office movies, wild things, wedding singers, and Air Force swing By Rodger Nayak

Monday, August 16
Mingo Fishtrap—a funk group that boasts multiple saxes and horns as well as a bass player named Big Rog—rocks the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage starting at 6.

Tuesday, August 17

The DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities shows a free weekly film at the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel in conjunction with a local film organization. This week, the Capital Irish Film Festival shows Strange Days Are These, a mockumentary in the style of The Office and This Is Spinal Tap about a B-movie director. 7 PM; guests must RSVP to

Wednesday, August 18
Which is better—the book or the movie? George Washington University’s Mount Vernon campus sets out to find the answer in its weekly outdoor movie series. Catch the critically acclaimed Where the Wild Things Are, based on the popular children’s book, at 8:30 at the Mount Vernon campus outdoor pool.

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Posted at 08:25 AM/ET, 08/16/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to interesting—and free!—arts and culture events in Washington this week By Rodger Nayak

Monday, August 9
In addition to putting on quirky, entertaining shows, the local rock group the Public Good administers “brain-wrenching” trivia between sets. Check out at the band at Fort Reno Park at 7.

Tuesday, August 10
The National Portrait Gallery examines the history of the American President through the lens of Time magazine, which has put every President, with the exception of Herbert Hoover, on its cover since it was first published in 1923. Open 11:30 to 7; runs through September 26.

Wednesday, August 11
Release some of that hump-day angst at Lululemon’s weekly outdoor yoga session in Logan Circle at 6:30. But be sure to bring a mat for the workout—this evening’s relax session is BYOM.

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Posted at 09:32 AM/ET, 08/09/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Load your tommy guns, learn to tango, and hear about Native Americans and modern farming for free this week By Rodger Nayak

Monday, August 2
The bank robbers of the Great Depression were immortalized on the big screen in Bonnie and Clyde, the 1967 classic about two young lovers who were partners in crime. It’s part of the Screen on the Green festival on the Mall between Fourth and Seventh streets; 9 PM

Tuesday, August 3
Ready to hear the guitar as you’ve never heard it before? Celtic string player Robin Bullock plays that and a host of other instruments—from the cittern to the mandolin—at the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage at 6.

Wednesday, August 4
Smooth, soulful blues-and-jazz duo Barbara Martin and Mac Walter play classics made famous by such artists as Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington in addition to mixing in their own compositions (Martin’s have been featured on TV shows including Swingtown) at the Friendship Heights Village Center at 7.

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Posted at 10:40 AM/ET, 08/02/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Defeat the Borg, rock out to the blues, and enjoy a concert with lions and tigers in this week’s free cultural events By Rodger Nayak

Monday, July 26
Spend a cool summer evening outdoors with Captain Kirk in Crystal City, where films from the Star Trek franchise are playing at 18th and Bell streets (near the Crystal City Metro) for 11 weeks this summer. Up this week: Star Trek: First Contact, which features time travel, questions of loyalty, and some seriously nasty part-robot people. The movie starts at sundown; guests are encouraged to bring picnics and low-backed chairs.

Tuesday, July 27
The Traveling Players Ensemble performs Love’s Labour’s Lost, an early Shakespeare comedy about a king and his three noble companions who deny themselves the company of women for three years. The show starts at 7:30 at the Mary Louise Jackson Amphitheater at Northern Virginia Community College’s Manassas campus.

Wednesday, July 28
The Baltimore-based Cajun fusion group the Crawdaddies, a five-person band complete with accordion and washboard players, performs its blend of Louisiana blues, roots rock, and ska as part of Strathmore’s weekly free summer concert series.

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Posted at 08:28 AM/ET, 07/26/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Romantic rivalries, prize-winning bassists, and Jimmy Buffet fans. By Rodger Nayak

Monday, July 19
The National Theatre is hosting a Cary Grant retrospective this summer, showing some of the actor’s best films from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Playing this week is His Girl Friday, where Grant plays a jealous newspaper editor who’ll do anything to keep his reporter ex-wife from settling down with another man. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis 30 minutes before the show. 6:30.

Tuesday, July 20
As part of a free summer concert series, the Air Force Band’s string ensemble, Strolling Strings, performs a variety of pieces, including the Telemann Viola Concerto and the Dvorak Serenade between on the West Steps of the Capitol at 8.

Wednesday, July 21
Bassist Ben Williams, winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, performs at Strathmore’s weekly outdoor concert series. 7 PM.

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Posted at 09:49 AM/ET, 07/19/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Bond girls in bikinis, beaches in Shakespeare, and down-home blues By Rodger Nayak

Monday, July 12
Starring one of the most sinister and memorable villains to have appeared in the Bond series, Goldfinger has endured since its 1964 release because of its gripping action sequences, array of technological gadgetry, and colorful supporting cast. Also, naked girls covered in gold paint and killer bowler hats. See it on the National Mall at Constitution Avenue, Northwest, between Fourth and Seventh streets. The movie starts at dusk, around 8:30.

Tuesday, July 13

Shakespeare’s work is full of maritime imagery, and not all of it describes tempests and stormy seas. Learn about the role of the ocean in Shakespeare’s plays during a talk at the Folger Shakespeare Library. 7:30.

Wednesday, July 14

Bring your dancing shoes to work, and on the way home, check out Rosslyn’s Party in the Plaza, a weekly music-and-dance event that runs through the end of the month. This week, an instructor demonstrates the ins and outs of swing dancing, and musical group Texas Chainsaw Horns is on hand for two hours afterward to let you test your newfound footwork. The event takes place in front of the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre. 5:30.

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Posted at 12:55 PM/ET, 07/12/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()