- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 9, 2000

The Kennedy Center's 16th annual open house will showcase Latin American culture through song and dance from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow.

"Celebrating the Arts of Latin America" will feature free family entertainment on nine stages in the center and throughout the grounds, at F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW.

Artists include Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro from the Putumayo World Music label and the recording "Fiesta Brasil." Local multimedia artist Edwin Fontanez and his Exit Studio will present the world premiere of "Heart of the Imaginero: Little Wood Carver," a video-lecture for children that was inspired by the Spanish woodcarving tradition that flourished in Puerto Rico during the 16th century.

Mr. Fontanez also will present the World Chalk Festival for the sixth consecutive year. Children may pick a piece of sidewalk and create a masterpiece or watch area artists create colorful works.

Other participating artists are Ricardo Lemvo and his band, Makina Loca, fusing Latin and African music; Mingo Saldivar, a songwriter, accordionist and vocalist, with his South Texas sounds of conjunto polkas, rancheras and cumbias; and the Movement and Sonic Sculpture (MASS) Ensemble, a group of musicians, dancers and visual artists from Chicago who mix world rhythms and music with their "earth harp." The earth harp, which has more than 40 brass strings and which the group describes as the world's largest instrument, will be installed on the Kennedy Center's front lawn. The harp is played by running hands over the strings while wearing special gloves, a technique that creates a different type of vibration than plucking.

The MASS Ensemble also will perform in the Concert Hall on "long bows," 25-foot sculptural instruments; the "drumbrella"; and the "wing body harp." Those instruments were created by the ensemble and co-founder Bill Close.

Other artists performing include Oscar Lopez, who creates dance music on a nylon-stringed guitar; Sol Y Canto, which combines Afro-Latin, Caribbean and flamenco influences; and the National Symphony Orchestra, which will play Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as part of the NSO's annual Beethoven Festival.

Local talent will include QuinTango, playing salsa and tango music; DC Salsero, performing and demonstrating salsa, merengue and rhumba; and the International Capoeira Angola Foundation, exhibiting Afro-Brazilian martial arts, a musical mix of instruments and acrobatics.

The Ron Holloway Quartet, a jazz group, also will perform, as will Joe Martinez and Victoria Patchen of the acoustic duo Angel Fall. American Song will play vintage American rock favorites.

The NSO Instrument Petting Zoo, which this year features Latin percussion instruments, will be available for children to sample. Face painters, storytellers and art demonstrations also will be part of the festival.

For more information, check the center's Web site (www.kennedy-center.org/openhouse) or call 202/467-4600 or 800/444-1324.

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