- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2001

Fighting chance

Though the band name Five for Fighting sounds like a group ensemble, it's actually one man singer-songwriter John Ondrasik and any collaborators who help him flesh out his sound. With his hit single, "Superman," making the rounds on radio, it's no wonder that Mr. Ondrasik is one of the more popular male singer-songwriters out there today. Hear him open for Train and Barenaked Ladies as part of the Z104 Snow Ball at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the George Mason University Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $37.50. 202/432-SEAT.

Complex squares

Artist Irene Zweig's paintings may look like simple square images, but hours upon hours of work go into assembling the complex final result. In "Squares of Sublimity III," she shows off her ability to take several parts and turn them into one perfectly formed work that is zen-like in its construction. See her works from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Barnes & Noble, 12089 Rockville Pike, Rockville. It's free. 301/299-4223.

O Canada

Thirty years after the Canadian Brass first wed two trumpets, a French horn and a tuba in song, the ensemble is still going strong as one of the premier brass groups in the country. Not only does the band perform frequently around the country, its members are also known for their arranging, transcribing and composing skills. Hear them play some traditional and not-so-traditional holiday favorites at 8 p.m. Saturday at the George Mason University Patriot Center, at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Tickets are $21 to $42. 703/218-6500.

Comic pit bull

With his caustic wit and intense standup delivery, it's no wonder comedian Bobby Slayton is known as the "pit bull of comedy." His most recent role was as a tabloid TV show host in the recent film "Bandits," but he's also been in "Get Shorty," "Loser" and the HBO series "The Mind of the Married Man." Hear his lightning-fast patter at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15-$17. 202/296-7008.

Raised Catholic

Storyteller Ed Stivender probably never realized his Master's degree in theology would prepare him to poke affectionate fun at his Catholic upbringing. But his book "Raised Catholic (Can You Tell?)" has had audiences laughing in the aisles, as he matches a firsthand knowledge of religion with his own humorous tales of childhood. Hear him tell his stories at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Writer's Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda. Tickets are $9 to $12. 301/891-1129.

Trolley tours

Many newcomers to the greater Washington area make a point of sightseeing after first arriving, but after a few years forget how many wonderful attractions are right in their back yard. Old Town Trolley Tours is hoping to remind residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia just how much history exists in the area, with free tours on Sundays through December. Join the tours as they travel by more than 100 points of interest (including the Lincoln Memorial, the National Cathedral, Georgetown and more) from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at any of the 17 locations. The most convenient is Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Admission is free on Sunday to residents (just show proper I.D.) and $12 to $24 other days. 202/832-9800.

Community dance

Carla Perlo, artistic director of Dance Place, doesn't want audiences to be just entertained by her company's works. She also wants to draw them closer into a shared community, where racial divisions are nonexistent. With "Living in Color Instead of Black and White," Carla and Company are making good progress in that direction, with new and old works that celebrate the simple things in life and the bridging of differences. See her troupe perform at 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Tickets are $6 to $16. 202/269-1600.

Sugarplum dreams

Thanks to the wealth of talent in the D.C. artistic community, it's possible to see a different version of the classic "Nutcracker" ballet every weekend in December (and still have shows left over). This weekend, why not give the kids their first taste of real ballet with the Washington Ballet's family-friendly, traditional performance set to Tchaikovsky's familiar score? See it at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $27 to $45. 202/432-SEAT.

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