- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A peek inside

The Music Center at Strathmore opened nearly two weeks ago amid pomp and glitter. Families who missed that gala can sample the excitement at an open house Monday, when the $100 million facility stages a free all-day arts festival. With music and dance workshops, art demonstrations, and a treasure hunt, “Discover Strathmore” has something for children and parents alike. The fun begins at 11 a.m. and continues through 5 p.m. 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 301/581-5200.

Dancing in the Opera House

The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to the Kennedy Center Opera House for its annual stint with new dances from Judith Jamison and Robert Battle. During its stay, the company will perform several of its classics, such as “Revelations.” Performances begin Tuesday and continue through Feb. 27. Showtimes and programs vary each evening. Tickets are $29 to $71. For more information, see www.kennedy-center.org. F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. 202/467-4600.

Smashing comedy

Some comedians tell jokes. Gallagher smashes things. Whether the targets are watermelons or diapers, maybe even a few Big Macs, Gallagher’s comedy comes from the large wooden sledgehammer he swings throughout his routine. Plastic sheeting is provided for everyone sitting within 25 feet of the stage. Gallagher plays the State Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $41. 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. 202/397-SEAT.

Georgian jazz

From her voice, most people would guess that the 20-year-old jazz singer Katie Melua hails from New York City, but sounds can be deceiving. Born in the then-Soviet republic Georgia, she lived in Belfast and London before she was discovered on a British TV singing competition. Her velvety smooth vocals have taken her to the top of the British jazz charts. She’ll performa few ballads Sunday at the Birchmere. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.50. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703/397-SEAT.

Concert for a cause

Denis Leary does more than tell jokes and play a firefighter on TV’s “Rescue Me.” The Denis Leary Firefighter’s Foundation raises money for firehouses in Massachusetts and New York. He does just that tonight at the 9:30 Club. Mr. Leary has recruited several local and national acts, including Second Class Citizens and Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass, for a night of music and fund raising. Tonight’s proceeds benefit the fire department of Owego, N.Y. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. 815 V St., NW. 202/265-0930.

Happy birthday, George

Mount Vernon celebrates George Washington’s 273rd birthday and Presidents Day with a weekend of family events. The festivities begin Saturday, and throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy Washington’s favorite breakfast, “hoecakes swimming in butter and honey,” along with a parade, patriotic music and battle demonstrations. Admission on Saturday and Sunday ranges from $4.50 to $9. On Monday, Presidents Day, admission is free for everyone. South end of George Washington Memorial Parkway. For a complete schedule, see www.mountvernon.org. 703/780-2000.

Presidential parade

Old Town Alexandria gets into the presidential-birthday action Monday with museum open houses and the George Washington birthday parade. Marching bands, antique cars, floats and military units highlight the annual event. Gov. Mark Warner serves as grand marshal. The Lyceum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the Carlyle House are among the museums to offer free admission throughout the day. The parade begins at 1 p.m. and winds through Old Town near City Hall. For a schedule or parade route map, see www.washingtonbirthday.net or call 703/991-4474.

Thomas Walter

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