- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 9, 2004

The best of Fairfax

Summer is here, and the three-day Celebrate Fairfax festival promises to be one of the year’s top events for the family, with more than 300 exhibits and a diverse musical lineup. The nearly 100 performers include Vertical Horizon, the Pat McGee Band and the Charlie Daniels Band. The festival kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Fairfax County Government Center. Tickets are $4 to $10. 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. 703/324-3247.

Madonna back to back

The Material Girl makes her way to the MCI Center on Sunday and Monday for her Re-Invention tour. Madonna has entertained millions with her over-the-top, provocative performances; this show is sure to continue in that mold. Showtime both nights is 8 p.m. Tickets are $48 to $303. Seventh and F streets NW. 202/432-SEAT.

Fast-forward cooking

Anne Arundel Community College is celebrating the recent accreditation of one of its culinary-arts degrees in true kitchen fashion, with a four-way Iron Chef Cookoff. Four of the area’s top chefs will square off in the kitchen for a 60-minute food battle — and only at the opening bell will they be told what the main ingredient is to be. The ranges will be fired at 6 p.m. Monday at the Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute. Admission is free. 7438 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, Md. 410/777-2398.

2,500th concert

It began as simple entertainment and a morale booster for the troops during World War II. But the National Gallery of Art concert series has endured for 62 years — and Sunday, it celebrates its 2,500th concert. For the free special performance, acclaimed conductor Jorge Mester will conduct the National Gallery Orchestra. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m.; the music begins at 7 p.m. in the East Building. Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202/842-6799.

Local star

Dulcie Taylor has achieved musical success locally, but with her recent release, “Mirrors and Windows,” the McLean native is gaining listeners all over the country. Miss Taylor’s intimate lyrics and soft-spoken singing will be front and center at the Birchmere on Wednesday, when she opens for Asleep at the Wheel. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $23.50. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703/549-7500.

Music for the emotions

Mason Jennings’ fourth and newest release, “Use Your Voice,” is a fitting title; the singer-songwriter has spent most of his life doing just that. The CD has Mr. Jennings tackling issues from death and loneliness to the joy of finding love. He plays the Black Cat tomorrow. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. 1811 14th St. NW. 202/667-7960.

Ready, set, go

Think you know your way around the District? Are you a quick thinker with even a quicker set of legs? The Verizon Wireless Urban Challenge on Saturday might be the sporting event for you. Combining a treasure hunt with a road race, the Urban Challenge sends teams of two into the city with a camera phone to search for checkpoints where they must photograph themselves. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Grand Slam Sports Bar. Pre-registration is required. The race fee is $75 per person. 1000 H St NW. For more information or to register, see www.urban challenge .com.

Art with a purpose

Occurring only once every five years, the International VSA Arts Festival (formerly the Very Special Arts Festival) is an extravaganza that offers artists with disabilities a platform for their work. Dance and singing, painting and photography, almost every artistic medium will be featured. The festival takes place through tomorrow at 13 venues throughout the District. For a complete schedule, see www.vsartsfestival.org.

Thomas Walter

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