- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Cherries on parade

What would a Washington event be without a parade? The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes its turn on Saturday with a two-hour family event, featuring floats, giant balloons and marching bands streaming down Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th streets. Step-off is 10 a.m. Grandstand seats are $15 (202/397-SEAT). All other seats along the parade route are free. See nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

Opera at George Mason

George Mason is in the news these days, but — for opera? Yes, the Virginia Opera performs Bellini’s “Norma” at the university’s Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Opera will host a wine and cheese tasting before tomorrow’s performance at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $44 to $84. Braddock and Chain Bridge roads, Fairfax. 202/433-4011.

Just like W

Frank Caliendo has made a living acting like other people. A regular on Fox’s sketch comedy show “MADtv” and other shows, Mr. Caliendo does impersonations of everyone from football analyst John Madden to President Bush. His talent will be on display tonight through Sunday at the DC Improv. Showtimes vary. Tickets are $25 to $26. 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202/296-7008.

Tuned in

Stradivari and Guarneri had their good points, but the Library of Congress wants you to know how Americans adapted European traditions to craft a New World identity for the violin. It’s two-week symposium, “The American Violin: From Jefferson to Jazz,” offers lectures, demonstrations, exhibits and concerts that highlight the history of the instrument and its bow makers on this side of the pond. The Turtle Island String Quartet starts things off tonight with a concert at 8 in the Coolidge Auditorium. Most events are free and open to the public. See theamericanviolin.org for a complete list of events. First Street and Independence Avenue Southeast. 202/707-4604.

Eclectic rock

The four members of Mute Math may be from New Orleans but their music is anything but bayou-based. The alt-rock quartet combines synthesized rock melodies with a steady barrage of bass beats and thought-provoking lyrics. They play songs from their self-titled debut CD at Nation on Monday. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $16.50. 1015 Half St. SE. 202/397-SEAT.

Barn dancing

Clear the floor. Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers play the Barns of Wolf Trap tomorrow night for one more in the Barns’ series of general admission dances. Miss Smith leads an eight-piece band through a range of hits that blend swing, jazz and the blues. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. 1624 Trap Road, Vienna. 703/218-6500.

Talkin’ serious trash

Saturday is the day to help make the Potomac River and the areas around it clean and safe. The 18th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup will take place at more than 250 sites throughout the District, Virginia and Maryland. Volunteers are needed at nearly every site. The cleanup runs from 9 a.m. to noon. See potomac.org to register for a cleanup site.

Thomas Walter

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