Thursday, November 22, 2001

Modern variety

With 35 years worth of material to choose from, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Ralls Collection has such a stunning range of works on display in its newest exhibit. In “35 Years of Contemporary Prints,” colorful art from James Rosenquist, David Hockney, Sam Francis and half a dozen other modern artists is represented, featuring mostly color lithographs and prints. See them from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ralls Collection, 1516 31st St. NW. It’s free. 202/342-1754.

Brotherly love
As the Isley Brothers mark 40 years together as a group, they have much to celebrate. With two generations of siblings participating, the band has scored 23 gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, and its latest, “Eternal” is already gaining positive reviews. See them at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday at DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets NW. Tickets are $55. 202/432-SEAT.

Night light
No wonder it’s called the “Miracle of Lights.” This popular Northern Virginia light show routinely attracts more than 100,000 cars each year with more than 2 miles worth of bulbs, animated displays, holiday-themed decorations and more. Even better, part of the proceeds go to charity. Drive through from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. nightly through January at Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville. Tickets are $12 per carload. 703/709-5437.

Popular art
The title may be rather unassuming (“Impressionist Still Life”), but with masterpieces by Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir, van Gogh and more, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the Phillips Collection’s hottest exhibits. In response to the heavy visitor traffic (nearly 30,000 people have come to the Phillips so far), the museum is reducing admission prices so more people can enjoy some of the finest works of impressionist art from the late 19th century. See them from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets are $10. 202/387-2151.

Christmas tradition
As tough as it may be to accept that the year is almost over, the Christmas season is still fast approaching, which is why it’s high time to see “The Nutcracker.” The classic ballet has become a full-fledged holiday tradition for many Washingtonians and the local arts community is responding in turn. Check out the Washington Ballet’s take on this popular work at 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at George Mason University Center for the Arts, Braddock and Chain Bridge roads, Fairfax. Tickets are $20-$38. 703/218-6500 or 703/993-8888.

Lost abstractions
The name might sound scary, but Anne Slaughter’s works are far from frightening. In “Lost Writings,” she explores the disappearing art of written communication through acrylic paintings that help reveal a deeper history behind the indecipherable fragments of letters she displays. See her works on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Troyer Gallery, 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW. Admission is free. 202/328-7189.

To be or not…
It’s an age-old question and one that dates even further back than Shakespeare. The original tale of “Hamlet” has its roots in the 13th century, in a Scandinavian folk tale about a prince whose father is killed by a usurping uncle. While those early storytellers, and even Shakespeare, probably had no idea how popular the tale would become, it now belongs to the ages. See the classic at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Shakespeare Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW. Tickets are $15.50-$64. 202/547-1122.

Pop goes the symphony
The National Symphony Orchestra may be serious most of the year, but even its musicians like to let their hair down now and again. In a tribute to Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler, the NSO will run through Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” tunes from Scott Joplin and even a little ditty by a pair named Lennon and McCartney at its pops concert. Hear them at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Kennedy Center, F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. Tickets are $20-$72. 202/467-4600.

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