- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Focus, focus

The District has always been a haven for professional and amateur photographers looking to capture history on film. Amateurs who want to improve their camera skills can join Washington Photo Safari’s Monuments and Memorials jaunt. It takes budding photographers to the White House, the Capitol, Union Station and the Lincoln, Vietnam and Vietnam Women’s memorials, among other points of interest. Professional photographer David E. Luria goes along to provide photo tips. The cost is $69 and includes transportation and materials. The safari runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday and Wednesday. Meet at the Renwick Gallery, 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Advance reservation required. 877/512-5969.

What’s in a name

Story of the Year, the hard-rocking, five-piece group from St. Louis, changed its name from Big Blue Monkey shortly before its major label deal. The switch has paid off with a gold-certified debut record and a much-anticipated second album, “In the Wake of Determination,” which was released in October. Story plays the 9:30 Club on Sunday with From First to Last and Adair. Tickets are $20. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. 815 V St. NW. 202/393-0930.

Picasso’s playlist

In conjunction with the Baltimore Museum of Art’s exhibit, “Picasso: the Final Years,” the Baltimore Symphony offers a listen tonight to “The Art of Picasso,” music that might have inspired the artist. Stefan Sanderling leads the orchestra through selections from de Falla, Rodrigo, Faure and Stravinsky. Guitarist Manuel Barrueco makes a guest appearance. Tickets are $21 to $78. The music begins at 8 p.m. at the Strathmore Music Center. 10701 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301/581-5100.

Four-wheel fun

SUVs, coupes, vans, trucks — vehicles of all shapes and sizes will fill the floor of the Washington Convention Center for the 2006 Washington Auto Show beginning on Tuesday. More than 800 vehicles from more than 40 domestic and foreign manufacturers will give potential buyers an advance look at next year’s — and next, next year’s — models. Admission is $5 to $10; children under 6 get in free. Showtimes are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 24, and Jan. 26 to 28; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 25; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 29. 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. 202/237-7200.

From opener to headliner

Nellie McKay first tried to make it as a stand-up comedian. After sub-par results, she tried her luck as a singer-songwriter opening for the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. After just one gig, she received a recording contract and went on to release an acclaimed debut, “Get Away From Me.” On Sunday Miss McKay returns to the Birchmere with the band that gave her the opening slot in New York City, but this time around she’s the headliner for the evening. Tickets are $27.50. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703/573-SEAT.

Last chance

This weekend is your last chance to see several large art exhibits. On Saturday, the National Museum of Women in the Arts closes the doors on “Monica Castillo: The Painter and the Body,” which highlights the work of contemporary Mexican artist Monica Castillo. Also on Saturday, the Renwick Gallery offers its last look at “Modernism in American Silver: 20th Century Design.” On Tuesday the Corcoran Gallery of Art ends the popular run of “Sam Gilliam: A Retrospective.” See the Calendar for museum hours, location and admission information.

Thomas Walter

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