- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2002

Quirky femmes

They aren't very violent and certainly aren't female, but the Violent Femmes sure know how to write a quirky pop tune. It's been almost 20 years since the band released its self-titled debut, which kicked off with two of the group's best songs: the ever-popular "Blister in the Sun" and the appropriately titled "Kiss Off." Those tunes will likely make it into the set list when the Violent Femmes play at 9 p.m. Sunday at the 9:30 Club, 815 V. St. NW. Tickets are $25. 202/393-0930.

Good eats

Local gourmands have the choice of two different taste festivals this weekend to whet the appetite one in Georgetown and the other in Bethesda. Taste of Bethesda, the larger of the two, features more than 40 area restaurants with four stages of music and entertainment to keep patrons amused while they munch on snacks. It runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday along Fairmont, Norfolk, St. Elmo, Del Ray and Cordell Avenues in Bethesda. Admission is free, but individual entree costs vary. 301/215-6660. The Taste of Georgetown offers food from the neighborhood's best kitchens from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Admission is free and food items range from $1 to $4. 202/338-8301.

Classical legend

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame often lets its inductees perform at the ceremony, but the Classical Music Hall of Fame didn't induct its first live pianist until two years ago. That man is virtuoso Leon Fleisher, who suffered a serious hand injury in the 1960s that led him to develop left-hand-alone piano literature. In 1995 he regained use of both hands in piano playing and has been continuing to stun classical audiences with his skilled performances. Hear him play with the Mendelssohn String Quartet at 8 p.m. Saturday at the George Mason University Center for the Arts, Braddock Road and Route 123, Fairfax. Tickets are $21 to $42. 703/218-6500.

Short salute

The Jewish Literary Festival in D.C. opens this weekend with a bookish bang. National Public Radio hosts a special edition of "Selected Shorts," a program celebrating the short story that features Broadway actors (including Victoria Tennant, Kathleen Chalfant and Isaiah Sheffer) reading stories from acclaimed British Jewish writers, such as Muriel Spark and Neal Gaiman. It all begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $20. 202/518-9400, ext. 393.

Best of Bali

For hundreds of years, dance has been an integral part of life on the island of Bali. Dancers are trained at a young age for many of the complex routines that figure prominently in the island's Hindu ceremonies. Eight of Bali's best dancers come together this weekend to perform solos, duets and small group works that include folk tales, temple and courtship dances, Balinese opera and more. See it at 8 p.m. Saturday at Stephens Hall Theatre at Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, Md. Tickets are $12 to $15. 410/704-2787.

Washington's wines

Even if you've been to Mount Vernon a hundred times, it's likely there's one thing you haven't seen George Washington's wine cellar. The brick-lined basement room is usually off-limits, but will be open for tours as part of the Wine Festival and Sunset Tour, a weekendlong celebration toasting the best of Virginia wines. Sample the fruits of Virginia while listening to live music on the west lawn from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow through Sunday at Mount Vernon, at the south end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Tickets are $25. 703/780-2000.

Junk art

They say one man's junk is another man's treasure and that's certainly true of artist Ted Kobrin. He takes things like weathered barnwood, rusted hardware and discarded mantelpieces and transforms them into elegant, functional furniture, including mirrors, small tables and perfect pedestals. Check out his wood art in "Textures and Patinas" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Saturday at Creative Partners Gallery, 4600 East West Highway, Bethesda. Admission is free. 301/951-9441.

Christie's secret

Sure, Agatha Christie is best known for penning spine-tingling murder mysteries, but what she really wanted to do was sing. That's the true anecdote that underpins "Agatha Sings," a musical that focuses on her life and how her dream of being an opera singer instead led her to become one of the world's best-known mystery writers. See it at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday at the Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria. Tickets are $20 to $23. 703/836-8643.

Derek Simmonsen

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