- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy New Year

From high-profile balls to quaint small gatherings, the options abound for the last night of 2005. Here are a few:

• Jury’s Washington hosts “James Bond: 007 License to Thrill,” an around-the-world gala offering music and libations in themed rooms. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission ranges from $149 to $325. 1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW. 301/509-1218.

• For alcohol-free, family-oriented community gatherings, First Night is the ticket. See page M14 for more information and locations.

• Pop and rock music fans can check out the Downtown Countdown at the Hilton Washington. Hosted by DC101’s Elliot, the night features performances by Cowboy Mouth, the Pat McGee Band and Kenin. Tickets are $139 to $225. 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202/397-7328.

• DJ King Britt spins house while Analyze and Harry handle the hip-hop and R&B; music at Love nightclub. All four levels will feature dancing and drinks. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $30 to $60. 1350 Okie St. NE. 202/636-9030.

• The Kennedy Center welcomes guest conductor Murry Sidlin, who will lead the National Symphony Orchestra through works by Sondheim, Mendelssohn and Copland. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 to $90. F Street and New Hampshire Avenue Northwest. 202/467-4600.

• Professionals in the City hosts its annual New Year’s gathering in France — sort of — at the French Embassy’s La Maison Francaise. French wine tasting and a festival of short French films are just a few of the offerings throughout the night. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $130. 4101 Reservoir Road NW. 202/686-5990.

• The Strathmore Music Center hosts the National Philharmonic for a special New Year’s Eve performance. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $250, with all proceeds going to the Philharmonic’s All Kids, All Free, All the Time outreach program. 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301/493-9283.

Psst… I have a secret

“PostSecret” started when part-time artist Frank Warren made a call for people to send him secrets on a postcard. More than 10,000 postcards later, Mr. Warren has released a book on the project, “PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions From Ordinary Lives,” and now there’s an exhibit of selected postcard confessions. “PostSecret” is on view at 3307 M St. NW (the former Georgetown Staples location). Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. 202/639-1828.

Inducing laughter

Get in some laughs before 2006 by checking out Christian Finnegan at the DC Improv. His observations on daily life, as seen on VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” are simple but effective — meaning he can make people laugh so hard they might cry. He takes over the Improv stage tonight through Saturday. Showtimes vary. Tickets are $15 to $17, and $35 to $65 for the New Year’s show. 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202/296-7008.

Spare change

In 1913 the Liberty Head nickel was worth 5 cents. Today it is one of the most celebrated coins of the 20th century, and it was last sold for $1.485 million in 1996. The coin is just one of the many on display at the Smithsonian Castle as part of the “Legendary Coins and Currency” exhibit. Fifty-six pieces are featured in the exhibit, more than half of which have never been on public display before. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is free. 1000 Jefferson Drive NW. 202/633-1000.

All live

The Roots are nearly one of a kind in hip-hop. Staying away from sampled beats and turntables, the six-member hip-hop crew from Philadelphia has built its reputation on live instrumentation led by percussionist Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson and on spitfire rhyming by lyricist Black Thought. Hear why the critics rave about the Roots tonight at the 9:30 Club. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. 815 V St. NW. 202/393-0930.

— Thomas Walter

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