- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Garden gates open

Beginning Saturday, more than 250 historic homes in Virginia will open their gates and doors for the commonwealth’s annual Historic Garden Week. The weeklong festival will include 36 tours through gardens and homes all over the state. Alexandria tours are scheduled for Saturday. Tours in Winchester and in Fauquier and Loudoun counties will take place on Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $35 for each tour. For more information and a complete list of tours, see www.vagardenweek.org or call 804/644-7776.

Plenty to gain

Mat Kearney’s debut single, “Nothing Left to Lose,” told the story of how he left college in Oregon for Nashville and never looked back, trading school for open mike nights and singer-songwriter showcases. Now, after three years of touring and questioning whether to put away the guitar for good, Mr. Kearney finally has arrived with a major album, national TV appearances and a co-headlining tour with Matt Wertz. He plays Jammin’ Java tonight. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna. 703/255-1566.

Budding playwrights

The Kennedy Center welcomes some of the best and brightest college playwrights this week for the 38th annual American College Theater Festival. Tonight’s performance of “Boy Gets Girl” comes from Rebecca Gilman of the University of Idaho. Other writers from schools in New York, Minnesota, Texas and Illinois round out the six-night showcase. Tonight’s performance starts at 7:30. Other shows vary. Tickets range from free to $15. F Street and New Hampshire Avenue Northwest. 202/467-4600.

In the neighborhoods

Cultural Tourism DC’s WalkingTown DC tours this weekend are not-to-miss events for those who want to see their town on foot. The treks range from a walk down Embassy Row and a behind-the-scenes look at Metro to in-depth walks around Brookland, Chevy Chase and Logan Circle. More than 50 free tours will be offered on Saturday and Sunday. For a complete schedule of tours and meeting places, see www.culturaltourismdc.org.

Rock darlings

The Strokes broke out on alternative radio in 2000 and have been one of the genre’s darling groups ever since. The Strokes’ sound — distorted guitars and blaring drums, all blended with singer Julian Casablancas’ scratchy vocals — is one of the most recognizable in music today. It will ring out from DAR Constitution Hall on Wednesday . Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $29. 18th and D streets Northwest. 202/397-SEAT.

The season begins

Merriweather Post Pavilion kicks off another summer music season on Saturday with pop sensations Black Eyed Peas, the Pussycat Dolls and Flipsyde, acoustic rap newcomers whose song “Someday” was picked up as the official Olympics theme song. Arrive early to check out this quartet. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Flipsyde hits the stage at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $40. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. 202/397-SEAT.

String masters

If popular music were judged by pure musical ability, Nickel Creek would be at the top of the chart. Its live performances are like master lessons in guitar, mandolin and violin. Each member of the trio has won individual performance awards and its folk-bluegrass-meets-indie-rock sound has won the group a Grammy. Nickel Creek plays the 9:30 Club tomorrow with the Ditty Bops. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.50. 815 V St. NW. 202/393-0930.

Thomas Walter

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