- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

Pastel life
So J. Lea may not be as instantly recognizable as J. Lo, but local artist J. Lea Lansaw doesn't need a catchy name to get attention. Her works convey details of country life that are often difficult to render in pastel form and seeing the end result makes painting lush landscapes look easy. See her works on display with paintings by Merilyn Dean from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Spectrum Gallery, 1132 29th St. NW. Admission is free. 202/333-0954.

Shock treatment

Calling Michelle Shocked shocking would be a bit extreme, but her mix of musical styles does tend to surprise listeners. She first gained the attention of fans with an album of folk songs recorded on a tape player around a campfire, and has continued to expand her musical horizons with forays into rock, rhythm and blues and gospel. See her when doors open at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $20. 202/393-0930.

Rollin' on the river

Beat the horrid heat of August with a cool trip down the Potomac River and learn a little something on the way. Naturalists from the National Park Service lead nature tours down the famous river, pointing out the beauty of the path and the wildlife that are likely to be encountered along the way (from a family of deer to beavers). Go along from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday as the group leaves from Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls. Tickets are $20. 703/759-9018.

Cave hunters

For 11 years, explorers Roger Brucker and James Borden competed to unearth the mysteries of Mammoth Cave, the Kentucky caverns that reach far into the bowels of the Earth. Now, the two have come together to tell their stories of discovery, danger and what lurks underneath the ground. Hear them discuss their book "Beyond Mammoth Cave" at 1 p.m. Saturday at the National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. It's free. 202/357-2700.

In George's steps

Mount Vernon, the home and burial place of George and Martha Washington, is much larger than the grounds appear on a first visit. The property Washington owned actually stretches far into the forest, paths the founding father often trekked on foot and horseback. Follow in his steps when Mount Vernon sponsors a volksmarch on paths not usually open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $4.50-$11. 703/780-2000.

Fair game

It wouldn't be the final days of summer without a trip to the Maryland State Fair. This year's highlights include hot air balloon trips, amusement park rides, games, plenty of food and performances by Little Feat, Trisha Yearwood, the Charlie Daniels Band and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Take advantage of this great deal from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the intersection of York and Timonium roads, Timonium. Admission is $5. 410/252-0200.

Hangin' with Mr. Curry

Most people know the genial Mark Curry from his role as the lovable basketball coach/teacher Mark Cooper on the TV show "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper." But before he made it to the silver screen, he honed his comedic chops on the club circuit, where he's now launching a comeback. See him when doors open at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday (two shows) at the State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. Tickets are $21-$26. 202/432-SEAT.

Out of the sea

Losing a child is rough on any family, but when a young couple watches one son drown and another struggle with the grief of the accident, it's nearly too much. Just when the despair seems to be ready to dissolve the family, a mysterious stranger appears from the ocean to turn their lives around. See what happens when folklore becomes real in "The Muckle Man" at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15-$20. 202/462-1073.

Wearable art

Function and form go hand in hand in the exhibits at Fiberworks, a gallery devoted to the beautiful yet practical sides of jewelry, textiles, basketry and other crafts. In the gallery's "Summer Show" a wide range of artists contribute works from intricate weavings to surreal collages. Stop by from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Fiberworks, Studio 14 at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. Free admission. 703/836-5807.

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