- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

Swan song

One of the best additions to the summer concert season has been the Coca-Cola D.C. Sessions, a series of free shows that has been gaining an enthusiastic response from area music fans. With a combination of local acts and national names on its bills (and overflowing crowds at some shows), it's a safe bet the series will be back next year. Before that happens, though, be sure to catch the final show of the summer with Blues Traveler, Will Hoge and four other bands. Check it out from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and G streets NW. It's free. 202/471-4200.

Lift a glass

One doesn't need to be a wine drinker to appreciate the 27th Annual Virginia Wine Festival. For parents who can't leave the young ones at home, there are more children's activities scheduled this year, as well as food, vintage cars, seminars and crafts for designated drivers. Of course, for wine fans, there will also be more than 350 varieties to sample while checking out those seminars and workshops. Be there from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. (near the intersection of Routes 17 and 245). Tickets are $13 to $20. 800/551-SEAT.

Outdoor cinema

Consider this a drive-in movie without the hassle of watching the film from inside your car. The 6th Annual Comcast Outdoor Film Festival will screen recent hits ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") as well as older classics ("North By Northwest") outdoors on the grass, in addition to offering snacks and tasty treats (with proceeds going to National Institutes of Health children's charities). Check out "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" at 8:15 Saturday and "Batman" at the same time Sunday on the lawn near Strathmore Hall, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Screenings are free. 301/530-0540.

Bruising battle

As skirmishes go, the Battle of Bladensburg was not a high point in American history. With the British victory there, troops went on to torch Washington in one of the grimmest periods of the War of 1812. Find out what happened at Bladensburg when costumed interpreters, historians and interactive displays help bring that era back to life. Events run from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, Md. Events are free. 301/864-0420.

Biblical song

It seems odd now, but when the unknown team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote their first musical ("Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat") it was anyone's guess as to whether the show would be a hit. Positive early reviews helped give the duo confidence, which led to such blockbusters as "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita." Check out the 30-year-old musical that brought them recognition when the Musical Theater Center puts on a production of it at 7:30 tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Baltimore Road and Edmonston Drive, Rockville. Tickets are $13.50-$15.50. 240/314-8690.

Lofty art

Marcia Weidler may have studied art in Iowa, but it was the Blue Ridge Mountains that helped draw her back to Northern Virginia, where she grew up. She's the owner of the Loft Gallery and continues to practice her art, creating watercolors that evoke the peace and tranquility that only the countryside of Virginia can provide. See her works from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Loft Gallery, 313 Mill St., Occoquan, Va. Admission is free. 703/490-1117.

Invention convention

Like to tinker with gadgets or fidget with knobs? Then the "Mindfest" is a can't-miss opportunity to explore the world of minicomputers, learn from robotic inventors, compose music with a mouse and try out plenty of other hands-on activities, in conjunction with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's "Invention at Play" exhibit. Bring the young ones and stop by from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Museum, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Admission is free. 202/357-2700.

From the street

If every street tells a story, then there must be some streets in New York with volumes to their names. That's the idea behind "Street Scene," the Tony-winning "Broadway Opera," with lyrics by Langston Hughes and music from Kurt Weill and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Elmer Rice. See this tale of life and love in the city when the Wolf Trap Opera Company performs it at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday at the Filene Center, 1624 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $18 to $48. 703/218-6500.

Derek Simmonsen

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