- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2008

‘Droids at play

The Kennedy Center’s “Robotopia Rising,” a top feature of the center’s “Japan! Culture + Hyperculture” festival, is a 10-day robot extravaganza with ‘droids in the halls, robot shows and science lectures to make the fun worthwhile. Kokoro’s Actroid DER2 and Mitsubishi’s Wakamaru greet visitors in the halls, while Honda’s Asimo and Toyota’s Partner Robot appear in 15-minute shows from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. every day from Feb. 7 to Feb. 17. Some of Japan’s top robotics experts talk about the history and culture of robots on Feb. 9 and 10. See Robotics listings.

Laptop melodies

When is a musician a software developer? When he’s part of Tokyo’s Laptop Orchestra, a collaborative from the future that inputs traditional Japanese music — played on the mouth organ — and pulls out frequencies that are run through a battery of laptops to emerge as a new, electronic “music.” The Kennedy Center’s “Japan! Culture + Hyperculture” festival takes it further, backing the band with hyped-up graphic representations of the laptops’ output. Catch it at the KenCen’s Theater Lab at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 — after spending a day with the ‘droids. See Pop Music listings.

This one’s for you

Singer, songwriter, arranger and producer since the 1970s, a winner of Grammys, Emmys, Tonys and an Oscar nomination, Barry Manilow is not from the future but manages to pack them into the Las Vegas Hilton, where he’s a fixture these days. He’ll try to do the same at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW, at 8 p.m. Feb. 9. See Pop Music listings.

Parading for the rat

This year’s Chinese New Year parade on Feb. 10 celebrates the Year of the Rat, 4706, with bands, lion and dragon dances, a five-story-high firecracker and giveaways. Head for the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association at 510 I St. NW, where the drama starts at 2 p.m. The parade runs through 5 p.m. For details see Etc.

Films on black history

Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW, opens the Fifth Annual National Black History Month Film and Discussion Series on Feb. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. with screenings of “Brush Strokes,” “The Willie Lynch Letter: The Making of a Slave” and “Revolution ‘67.” It’s the first of four sessions, every Thursday in February. See Lectures/Readings/Films.

Ole!

The Eighth Annual Flamenco Festival returns this year to George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium with what promises to be some of the widest-ranging shows since the series began. Highlights include singers Carmen Linares and Miguel Poveda on opening night, Feb. 9; the Gypsy guitarist Tomatito on Feb. 10; a dance tribute to the women of flamenco on Feb. 12; and the prize-winning dancer Eva Yerbabuena in a dramatic wrap-up on Feb. 14 and 15. See Pop Music and Dance listings.

Surprises in blue

Only one thing is certain in a Blue Man Group performance: the unexpected. From the mute performers’ latex-clad skulls to the stuff thrown from the stage and the instruments of PVC pipe, fiberglass, ball bearing and steel, the trio seems never to run out of surprises. The group’s “How To Be A Megastar Tour 2.1” plays the Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, at 8 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10. See Pop Music listings.

Where’s Nemo?

The little clownfish is on ice right now at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena, where “Disney On Ice Presents Pixar’s Finding Nemo” runs through Feb. 10. You can find him in Washington when the Disney show opens at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW, for a five-day run beginning Feb. 13. See Spectacle.

Romance in the air

Poets E. Ethelbert Miller, Sally Bliumis-Dunn and Benjamin Morris get a two-day jump on Valentine’s Day by reading love poems at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater at noon Feb. 12. That’s in the Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. SE. See Lectures/Readings/Films.

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