- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

In a silent way
Long before Jodie Foster and Sigourney Weaver took over as on-screen heroines, Nell Shipman was directing, writing, starring in and producing her own silent action films. The National Museum of Women in the Arts has unearthed two of these, the nature adventure "Trail of the North Wind" (1923) and "Something New" (1920), which features an automobile race in the Mojave Desert. See these silent works accompanied by a live orchestra at 7 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 1250 New York Ave. NW. Tickets are $5 to $6. 202/783-7373.

Edgy dance
Edgeworks Dance Theater is tackling an unlikely theme in its newest work: the role of men in modern America. The troupe, under the direction of Helanius Wilkins, has not been one to shy away from difficult subject matter in the past, and "Uncommon Common," a night of solo and group works, is no exception. See the company at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Tickets are $6 to $16. 202/269-1600.

Back to the grind
George Washington had a number of visions for the country, but one few people likely know about is his desire to make America the "granary to the world." He wanted to start with his own grist mill, which returns to operation after 200 years, thanks to researchers at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. Visitors can see how flour was made back in Washington's time, from the fields through the mill to the table. Check it out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Mount Vernon, at the south end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Admission is $4.50 to $9 with an additional $1.50 to $2 fee for the mill visit. 703/780-2000.She's been thinking
Singer-songwriter Janis Ian has had a long, storied career, but rarely has she shied away from controversy. After becoming a star in her teens with "Society's Child" ("Baby I've Been Thinking"), a song about interracial romance, she released a slew of albums then announced her retirement at age 20. She returned with her biggest hit, "At Seventeen," in 1975, dropped out of sight in the 1980s and finally returned to topics like homelessness and women's rights in the 1990s. Hear her touch on songs from her 35-year-old career at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $19.50. 202/432-SEAT.

Viva variety
Children today (and possibly their parents, too) are unlikely to know what "vaudeville" is, which is why Lazer Vaudeville is hoping to spruce up the showbiz standby for a new generation. Featuring juggling, black light tricks, acrobatics, comedy and audience participation, the show interchanges traditional acts (such as hoop rollers) with modern special effects to entertain all ages. Check it out at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Alden Theatre, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. Tickets are $6-$25. 703/790-0123.

Overlooked art
Look at a single bead and it doesn't appear to be much. But string it together with other, multicolored, beads and it can bring to life sculptures, jewelry and other pieces of art. In "The Audacious Bead," the Bead Museum hopes to show patrons that the simple object is actually a fantastic tool for artists. See some of the results from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 400 Seventh St. NW. Admission is free. 202/624-4500.

Clash of cultures
Artists are inherently influenced by their environment, which is why it shouldn't be surprising that so many of them are exploring the roots of global tensions through art. In "Cultural Crossing," artists from around the world use paintings, photographs and multi-media works to help illustrate the kind of geographical and cultural boundaries that separate people. See the results from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Numark Gallery, 406 Seventh St. NW. Admission is free. 202/628-3810.

Playful Beethoven
Classical music doesn't have to be boring. Just witness Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 in F Major, a fast-paced work that introduces a metronome-like beat in the woodwinds that continues to pop up throughout the piece, as various themes weave in and out. As the piece winds down, Beethoven throws one trick ending after another at his audience before finally ending the piece in the same burst of sound that began it. Hear the National Gallery Orchestra play this work and others at 7 p.m. Sunday at the National Gallery of Art, West Building, Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Admission is free. 202/842-6941.

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