- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

COMING UP

Baltimore Festival of Maps

• “You are here, hon.” That’s Charm City’s way of welcoming visitors to the three-month-long Baltimore Festival of Maps, a joint effort of the Baltimore Cultural Development Council and 34 Baltimore area cultural organizations. They want you to know about the many ways we can chart our lives. Centerpiece and admitted inspiration is the Walters Art Museum’s ambitious “Maps: Finding Our Place in the World,” opening March 16 and running through June 8. Other collaborators — among them the Maryland Science Center, the Contemporary Museum and the Maryland Historical Society — offer map-related exhibits and community mapping events through June 8. For the Walters and other museums, see the Museums listings; for the full schedule, see baltimorefestivalofmaps.com.

National Cherry Blossom Festival

• The annual celebration of the Tidal Basin cherry trees presented to the United States by Japan in 1912. First held in 1935, today it offers more than two weeks’ worth (March 29-April 13) of events focused on Japan and the beginning of spring. The gala opens with the 42nd Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival on March 29, goes razzle-dazzle with fireworks on April 5, and climaxes with the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 12. Only the highlights are included here; for a fully detailed, interactive schedule call 877/44BLOOM or see www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

National Cherry Blossom Festival: The 42nd Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival

• “Brush Strokes in the Sky.” A Chinese-themed festival this year with a display on the history of Chinese kites as well as the traditional Hot Trick Competition, the “Field of Colors” ground display of flags and banners by participating kite clubs and the Japanese-style mid-air competition called the Rokkaku Challenge. Washington Monument Grounds, Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW. Metro: Farragut West (blue/orange lines). 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 29. Free. 202/633-3030, www.kitefestival.org

National Cherry Blossom Festival: The Parade

• With Miss America 2008; Sesame Street favorites; 11 marching bands, including the District’s Dunbar and Ballou high schools and Silver Spring’s James Herbert Blake High School; dancers and drummers; Cherry Blossom queens; tap dancers; youth choir; balloons, floats, horses, antique cars, clowns, mascots.

• Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th streets NW. Start at 10 a.m. April 12. Rain or shine; in case of inclement weather check with 877/44BLOOM. Metro: Smithsonian (orange/blue lines), Federal Triangle (orange/blue), Archives/Navy Memorial (yellow/green). Metro alternates: Metro Center (red/blue/orange), Gallery Place/Chinatown (green/yellow/red).

• Reserved grandstand bleacher seating on Constitution Avenue between 15th and 16th streets NW $15 through Ticketmaster.com. First-come-first-served spaces on Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th streets free. Crowds begin to arrive 9 a.m.

National Cherry Blossom Festival: Other highlights

• Family Day. Hands-on exploration of Japanese arts and design. Martial arts demonstrations; traditional Japanese children’s dances and music; origami sculpting; Japanese dress-up; District performers. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Metro: Judiciary Square (red line). 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 29. Free.

• Opening Ceremony. Washington dignitaries and performances by Kenny Endo, the Tateshina High School Jazz Club and Howard University Jazz Ensemble. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Metro: Judiciary Square (red line). 4-5:30 p.m. March 29. Free.

• Cherry Blossom Regatta. An all-class, handicapped regatta. Washington Sailing Marina, 1 Marina Drive, GW Parkway, Alexandria. Best views from the marina and around Hains Point (East Potomac Park). Closest Metro to Hains Point: Smithsonian (blue/orange lines). Noon-5 p.m. April 5. Free.

• Prelude to the Fireworks. A 3½-hour musical entertainment before the fireworks includes performances by the U.S. Army Band and the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters. Sailboat demonstrations, mock pirates, refreshments. Southwest Waterfront Park at 600 Water St. SW. Metro: Waterfront-SEU (green/yellow lines). 5-8:30 p.m. April 5. Free.

• Fireworks Show. Southwest Waterfront, Seventh Street and Maine Avenue SW. Best viewing: East Potomac Park or Southwest Waterfront promenade. Metro: Waterfront-SEU (green/yellow lines). 8:30-9 p.m. April 5. Free.

• Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Thousands take part in the Ten Mile Run, the 5k Run Walk and the 1k Kids Run. Washington Monument Grounds (15th Street and Jefferson Drive NW). Metro: Smithsonian (blue/orange lines); Metro Center (blue/orange/red lines) and L’Enfant Plaza (green/yellow/blue/orange lines). 7:45 a.m.-noon April 6. Spectators free.

• Lantern Lighting Ceremony. The 355-year-old stone lantern is lit. Traditional Japanese performers, Washington dignitaries, Cherry Blossom princesses. Tidal Basin at Independence Avenue and 17th Street SW. Metro: Smithsonian (blue/orange line). 2:30-4 p.m. April 6. Free.

• Twentieth Annual George Washington Invitational Regatta. Some of the nation’s top crews compete in one of the premier regattas on the east coast. Thompson Boat Center, Washington Harbor, Potomac River. Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU (blue/orange line). Noon-5 p.m. April 11; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. April 12. Free to spectators.

• Sakura Matsuri — Japanese Street Festival. The nation’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture follows the parade. Food vendors, beer garden; arts and crafts exhibits; Japanese and Asian products; the new “J-POP Land” highlighting Japan’s popular culture; martial arts demonstrations; live performances of both traditional and popular Japanese culture. Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 10th streets NW, and 12th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution avenues. Metro: Federal Triangle (blue/orange lines). 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 12.

CONTINUING

Arthur Miller Festival

• Arena Stage and Theater J’s tribute to a giant of American dramatic literature is at its peak, with Arena’s “Death of a Salesman” and “A View from the Bridge” opening March 14 (through May 18) and Theater J’s “The Price” on the boards now through April 18. Rounding out the celebration are film screenings, discussions and readings, most of them free or pay-what-you-can, at a range of venues. Through May 19. For the plays, see the Theater listings; for the rest, see Lectures/Readings/Films.

August Wilson’s 20th Century

• When he died in 2005, the Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson left behind a cycle of plays chronicling the black experience in America in each of the 10 decades of the last century. In “August Wilson’s 20th Century,” the Kennedy Center has brought them together for the first time, presenting the plays in order of their decade in a five-week repertory marathon of staged readings in the Terrace Theater. Opening this week: “The Piano Lesson,” “Seven Guitars” and “Fences.” The tribute will wind up with “Radio Golf,” which has its final performance April 6. See Theater listings for the complete cycle and Lectures/Readings/Films for associated discussions.

Environmental Film Festival

• The 16th annual Environmental Film Festival in Washington continues through March 22 at 46 venues around town — movie houses, libraries, embassies, museums and universities. The menu offers 115 documentary, feature, animated, archival, experimental and children’s films from 30 countries that offer new angles on global environmental issues. Of those, 55 films are having their Washington, U.S. or world premieres. See listings under Lectures/Readings/Films. For the complete schedule, see www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.

Kander & Ebb Celebration

• Signature Theatre continues its four-month salute to the Broadway songwriting partners John Kander and Fred Ebb. Karen Akers’s cabaret-style “First You Dream: The Songs of Kander & Ebb” runs through March 16 and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” through April 20. Coming soon: “Kander & Ebb at the Movies,” kicking off with a screening of “New York, New York” on March 31. Following that are “The Happy Time,” “The Visit,” more song, dance, screening and conversation, all of it at the theater in Arlington. See listings for Theater, Stage, Gallery and Lectures/Readings/Films and check back for more events through June.

Mexican Music Festival

• The Mexican Cultural Institute, the Mexican Ministry of Culture, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art and other cultural institutions have teamed up for “Two Faces of Mexican Music: Carlos Chavez (1899-1978) and Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940) Revisited,” a week-long exploration of today’s changing views of two giants of Mexican music. Lectures, films, a symposium and concerts fill the bill through March 16 at venues around town. See Lectures/Readings/Films and Classical Music listings.

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