- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

Float like a butterfly
Of all the depictions of boxing legend Muhammed Ali in print, Neil Leifer's photograph of the victorious champ standing over a defeated Sonny Liston is probably the most powerful. Mr. Leifer's ability to capture the drama and passion of boxing, politics and war, as evidenced by that famous Ali photograph, makes for a fascinating trip through recent American history. See a retrospective of his work from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Saturday at Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW. Admission is free. 202/333-1180.

Musical nativity
When Bach first composed his Christmas Oratorio, he envisioned it as six separate cantatas, or parts, with performances stretching between the first three days of Christmas and the feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6). Taking that direction to heart, the National Chamber Orchestra, joined by the Cantate Chamber Singers, will be performing only the first three parts of the Oratorio, including the popular pastoral symphony in the second cantata this weekend. Hear them at 8 p.m. Saturday at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 603 Edmondston Drive, Rockville. Tickets are $17 to $35. 301/545-5660.

Klezmer twist
So far this month there have been traditional productions of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," a puppet version and even a hip-hop take on the holiday classic. Now comes "The Klezmer Nutcracker," a returning favorite that features the Boston band Shirim performing the familiar tunes in a rollicking, concert setting. Hear it at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $20. 800/494-TIXS.

Everyday inventions
Scientific novices may get headaches trying to understand the science behind Nobel Prize-winning ideas. But many of those ideas have had a surprising impact on everyday life. The pacemaker, transistor and radio all were groundbreaking ideas that rewarded their creators with the prestigious prize. Learn more at the exhibit "The Inventive Side of Nobel," from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily at the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Admission is free. 202/357-1729.

Lost in the woods
While a number of local companies are doing their versions of "The Nutcracker," Capital City Opera is trying to start a tradition of its own. The company is again tackling Humperdinck's operatic spin on the familiar Grimm's fairy tale of "Hansel and Gretel," a family production geared to younger audiences. See it at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria. Tickets are $12 to $38. 202/432-SEAT.

End of the line
For roughly six years, the Ruby Dare has been adding a well-needed dose of high-octane indie rock into the local scene, with clever lyrics, driving guitar riffs and an energetic live show. Alas, the group is disbanding, but fans have the chance to catch them one last time when the band plays its final show at the Black Cat. Hear classic Ruby tunes such as "Heavenly Friend" and "Prince Jammy" at 9:30 Saturday at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $6. 202/667-7960 for information, 202/432-SEAT for tickets.

Kind of blue
Put three downtrodden divas into a hotel room with nothing to keep them going but the blues and magic is sure to happen. At least that's what takes place in Arena Stage's "Blues in the Night," a soulful production from playwright Sheldon Epps that brings to life wistful ballads and bitter tunes from Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Vernon Duke and more. See it at 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Arena Stage, Sixth Street and Maine Avenue SW. Tickets are $32 to $49. 202/488-4377.

Ghosts of Christmas past
During the holiday season it's important to remember what really matters in life. No one knows that better than miserly old Scrooge, who literally is shown the error of his ways by a trio of ghosts who manage to scare the humbug out of him. See a children's version of the Dickens' classic at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Alden Theatre, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. Tickets are $7 to $9. 703/790-9223.

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