- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2002

Fast fingers
The opening of Robert Schumann's Sonata No. 2 in G minor encourages the pianist to play the piece as fast as possible and later asks the performer to speed up the tempo and then to play even faster. While humorous, this quick pace puts great demands on the pianist, who must express technically the depth of emotion Schumann felt in the years leading up to his marriage. Hear veteran pianist Babette Hierholzer tackle the work at 7 p.m. Sunday at the National Gallery of Art, West Building, Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. It's free. 202/842-6941.

On the home front
On the Learning Channel's popular show "Trading Spaces," designer Laurie Smith helps couples reinvent their living spaces. Now she's ready to help the District at this year's Capital Home and Garden Show. Check out dream gardens, get home-decorating tips and browse the newest designs and products from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Capital Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly. Tickets are $3 to $8. 703/802-0066.

Hypnotic comedy
There's a reason why comic Flip Orley stops in the District several times each year. His blend of hypnosis and comedy, which relies on volunteers from the audience and changes with each performance, has been selling out shows for the past several years. Catch his act before it sells out again at 8 and 10:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the D.C. Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $12 to $15. 202/296-7008.

All around the world
If only real basketball were as exciting as the Harlem Globetrotters make it. Where else could you see someone make a 12-foot-high slam-dunk, stop a game to show off fantastic dribbling skills, entertain children and still win the game? See the famous red, white and blue uniforms in action at 1 p.m. Saturday at the MCI Center, 601 F St. NW. Tickets are $12 to $75. 202/432-SEAT.

Friendly advice
It's usually a good sign when friends encourage a musician to perform, especially when those friends are the Indigo Girls. Solo rocker Michelle Malone met the pair back in college and took their advice, starting down a career path that has led to seven independent releases, her own record label and a devoted fan base. Catch her peppy folk-rock at 8 p.m. Saturday at Jammin' Java, 231 Maple Ave. E, Vienna. Tickets are $8. 703/255-1655.

Haunting tales
Put a bunch of Irish pub regulars together, give them a woman to impress, and watch the magic take hold. That's the basic premise of "The Weir," a night of Irish ghost stories that reveals much about the haunted pasts of its participants. See it at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Round House Theatre, 12210 Bushey Drive, Silver Spring. Tickets are $23 to $31. 240/644-1100.

Familiar landscapes
If Karen Mathis' oil paintings look familiar, don't be surprised. The local artist (who studied at George Washington University) creates works that show off the interplay between land and water, and she draws her inspiration from the Potomac, Georgetown and the Eastern Shore. See her works in "Reflections" from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Spectrum Gallery, 1132 29th St. NW. Admission is free. 202/333-0954.

Before the rings
Fans of the film "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" may want to check out what took place before young Frodo was sent on his quest to destroy the "one ring of power." The prologue to the trilogy, "The Hobbit," tells the story of Bilbo (seen briefly in the film), who joins a pack of dwarves in a quest to take back their treasure from a dragon. See an adaptation of the classic fantasy at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Alden Theatre, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. Tickets are $4.50 to $6.50. 703/790-9223.

Derek Simmonsen

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