- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006

Celebrating independence

The Capitol Fourth celebration is one of the biggest events in the District each Independence Day. This year’s event on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Tuesdayfeatures performances and appearances by Sesame Street Muppet Elmo, Vanessa Williams, Jo Dee Messina and the National Symphony Orchestra. The night concludes with a fireworks display over the Washington Monument. The concert kicks off at 8 p.m.

A second chance

Ashley Parker Angel first hit the pop music scene as one of the lead vocalists for the boy band O-Town. After a breakup that left him broke and without a contract, Mr. Angel got a second chance with a new MTV show and an opening slot on Ashlee Simpson’s summer tour. The tour stops at the Warner Theatre tomorrow. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $42.50. 13th and E streets Northwest. 202/397-SEAT.

No filming required

Jared Leto may make his living acting on the big screen, but it?s all about the music whenever he steps off the set. Mr. Leto fronts the progressive rock act 30 Seconds to Mars and — unlike other movie stars turned musician — actually tours with it. The group plays the 9:30 Club on Sunday. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. 815 V St. NW. 202/393-0930.

Sneak preview

The National Symphony Orchestra offers a free sneak preview of its 2006-07 season tonight in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Emil de Cou leads the orchestra through excerpts of Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture,” Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet,” and Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique.” The concert starts at 6 p.m. No tickets are required. F Street and New Hampshire Avenue Northwest. 202/467-4600.

Grand opening

The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum reopen their doors on Saturday after a multi-year building renovation. The grand opening festivities include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:15 a.m. followed by a day’s worth of art activities, musical performances and ice cream socials. The festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eighth and F streets, Northwest. See www.npg.si.edu or AmericanArt.si.edu for a complete schedule and more information. 202/633-1000.

Up and coming

Works by some of America?s most creative young minds will be on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art starting tomorrow with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ National Student Art Exhibition of 2006. The exhibit features 344 art works by high school seniors all over the country, who work in 14 different genres. The exhibit is on display through Aug. 6. 17th Street and New York Avenue Northwest. 202/639-1700.

Legendary blues

Nine-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt comes to Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on Monday for two nights of rock ‘n’ blues music. Miss Raitt will perform a collection of her older hits and new songs from “Souls Alike,” her 18th album to date. The music starts at 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. Tickets are $25 to $42. 1645 Trap Road, Vienna. 703/218-6500.— Thomas Walter

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