- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

Comic relief
Laughs are rare these days, so head to the Warner Theatre for Jackie Mason's "Prune Danish." Mr. Mason, who has headlined six one-man comedy shows on Broadway, provides equal-opportunity jesting of both the right and left. Performances start Wednesday and are at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $40.50 to $60.50. 13th and E streets NW. 202/432-SEAT.

Tango time
Born in Argentinean brothels and legitimized for high society by the Parisians, the tango now enjoys a new wave of popularity. Luis Bravo's "Forever Tango" currently sizzles at the Warner Theatre. Seven couples, an orchestra and a soloist remind you why tango once wasn't fit for polite society. Performances are at 8 p.m. today, 7 p.m. tomorrow, 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20.50 to $50.50. Stop by 13th and E streets NW. 202/432-SEAT.

It's time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Smithsonian's Asian galleries are hosting free, family-friendly events until April 7. At noon Sunday, Mannojo Nomura discusses ancient Japanese musical theaters in the Freer Gallery's Meyer Auditorium. Then, at 1:30 p.m., Japanese performers present the ancient dance and music of dai dengku on the Freer steps. At 3 p.m. festival goodwill ambassadors model contemporary and traditional kimonos in the Meyer Auditorium. It's at Jefferson Drive and 12th St. SW. For a list of other events, call 202/357-2700.

Washington has one more museum to add to the mix, as the National Guard Memorial Museum opened to the public last Monday. The country's only national museum dedicated to the National Guard, the museum uses artifacts and personal stories to explore the history of the guard and its role in recent conflicts. The museum is at 1 Massachusetts Ave. NW, and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It's free. 202/789-0031.

Russian royale
The St. Petersburg birthday bash goes on. Join the fun and hear Russian animal and enchantment tales at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's Ring Auditorium. Actor Kelly Gardener gives dramatic readings of two tales. Afterward, Valentina Brougher and Holly Stephens provide a context for the stories. Stop by Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW for "Russian Folktales: Ancient Stories from a Rich Pagan Past." Tickets are $20 to $25. 202/357-3030.

Ice skating's elite square off as the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships come to the MCI Center. Four-time world champion and reigning silver medalist Michelle Kwan vies to recapture the gold from reigning world champion Irina Slutskaya. Reigning men's champion Alexei Yagudin will not compete, leaving the gold medal up for grabs. Practice sessions open to the general public, for which tickets are $12, start tomorrow. The official competition heats up the ice Monday through March 30, for which tickets are $20 to $125. At 601 F St. NW. $20-$125. 202/432-SEAT.

Macy madness
Macy Gray will release her third album, "When I see You," in May. She brings her distinctive voice and blend of hip-hop, funk, rock and R&B; to the 9:30 Club at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. Check out Miss Gray's new party beat at 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $20. 202/393-0930.

Real romance
Jeffrey Siegel not only plays classical music, he explains it. In "Jeffrey Siegel's Keyboard Conversations: The Romanticism of the Russian Soul," Mr. Siegel presents the preludes of Rachmaninoff, Scriabin's Sonata No. 4 and Nikolai Medtner's "Fairy Tales," and provides commentary. The Russian revelry starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at George Mason University Center for the Arts, Braddock and Chain Bridge roads, Fairfax. Tickets are $32.50 to $37.50, but tickets for children under 12 are half price. 703/218-6500.

Set sail
DC Tall Ships 2003 cruises into town this weekend for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The fun starts at 10 a.m. Saturday with the welcoming parade of sail. The U.S. Navy Band follows with an 11 a.m. performance and the noon welcoming ceremony includes special performances, re-enactors and tours of the fleet. And next weekend the pirates come out to play at the Pirate Festival. Stop by the Gangplank Marina, 600 Water St. SW. www.dctallships.org. 202/547-1250.
Stephanie K. Taylor

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