- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2008

COMING UP

Dance Is the Answer

• Dancers are not just sold on their profession’s ability to keep them healthy, fit, tuned in to life and socially engaged; they want to spread the joy. The result is the second year of Dance Is the Answer, an 11-day program of free dance classes, performances and more by 30 metro-area dance companies, studios, presenters and venues. The “answer” runs from April 25 through May 4, in sync with National Dance Week. For selected performances, see listings in Dance. For full details, see www.dancemetrodc.org

Filmfest DC

• The Washington, D.C., International Film Festival comes back to town on April 24 with 75 independent films from around the world showing at eight metro locations, including movie houses, clubs, museums and an embassy (the French, of course). This year’s focus is on New Latin American Cinema (“Basic Sanitation, the Movie,” “The Pope’s Toilet,” “La Zona,” “Calle Santa Fe”) and Politics and Film (“Children of Glory,” “Mon Colonel,” “Beyond the Call,” “The Bread Winner,” “Buddha Collapsed”). The festival runs through May 4. See Lectures / Readings / Films. For complete schedule, see www.filmfestdc.org.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House

• Tradition, if nothing else, has it that William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. Every year the Folger Shakespeare Library takes full advantage of the date to celebrate outdoors — and this year, hundreds are expected to show up at 201 East Capitol St. NE on April 27 for a largely costumed bash that will run from noon to 4 p.m. Highlights include storytelling about 16th-century England; a Shakespeare portrait contest; sonnet recitations; Elizabethan games and fortunetelling; onstage performances; and Renaissance music, song and dance. The single scheduled event takes place at 3:30 p.m.: the cutting of the birthday cake, presided over by a reasonable facsimile of Queen Elizabeth I. It’s all free. For details, see www.folger.edu.

CONTINUING

Arthur Miller Festival

• Arena Stage and Theater J’s tribute to a giant of American dramatic literature continues with Arena’s repertory twins, “Death of a Salesman” and “A View From the Bridge,” running through May 18. Coming up on May 5 is the 2003 PBS documentary “Miller, Kazan and the Black List: None Without Sin,” showing at the AFI Silver Theatre. Rounding out the celebration are film screenings, discussions and readings, most of them free or pay-what-you-can, at a range of venues through May 19. For the plays, see the Theater listings; for the rest, see Lectures/Readings/Films.

Baltimore Festival of Maps

• “You are here, hon.” That’s Charm City’s way of welcoming visitors to the three-month-long Baltimore Festival of Maps, a joint effort of the Baltimore Cultural Development Council and 34 Baltimore area cultural organizations. They want you to know about the many ways we can chart our lives. Centerpiece and admitted inspiration is the Walters Art Museum’s ambitious “Maps: Finding Our Place in the World” exhibit, which opened March 16 and runs through June 8. Other collaborators — among them the Maryland Science Center, the Contemporary Museum and the Maryland Historical Society — offer map-related exhibits and community mapping events through June 8. For the Walters and other museums, see the Museums listings; for the full schedule, see baltimorefestivalofmaps.com.

The Big Band Jam

• Nostalgia, anyone? Now that Washington has wound up the Dave Brubeck Festival and its warm memories of the heyday of American cultural diplomacy, here comes the Big Band Jam, designed to pluck some of those same strings. Through April 27, concerts at Blues Alley, the U.S. State Department, the Voice of America auditorium, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Grace Episcopal Church and the Sylvan Theater on the Mall will explore big-band jazz in its glory. Featured ensembles range from the Children’s School of Music group from Moscow, playing at the State Department in a reminder of how well our jazzy diplomacy worked, to the U.S. Army Blues at Blues Alley. See Pop Music and Clubs: Blues Alley. For full details see www.bigbandjam.org.

“China: An Incomparable Journey”

• The Smithsonian Associates showcase Chinese culture, history, arts, politics and August’s Beijing Olympics through a three-month-long program of 20 presentations, workshops and events that opened March 26 and will run through late June. See Dance, Festivals and Lectures/Readings/Films. For complete information, see www.smithsonianassociates.org.

Kander & Ebb Celebration

• Signature Theatre continues its four-month salute to the Broadway songwriting partners John Kander and Fred Ebb. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” closed April 20, but “The Happy Time” is up and running through June 1, and on track for its East Coast premiere May 13 is “The Visit,” starring Chita Rivera and George Hearn. In the Mead Lobby at Signature, an exhibit called “Colored Lights” spotlights materials and artifacts of the duo’s writing partnership through June 22. Coming up on May 12: Songwriter John Kander sits down for a conversation with Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. Then look for more song, dance and screening, all of it at the theater in Arlington. See listings for Theater, Stage, Galleries and Lectures/Readings/Films and check back for more events through June.

Sweden rediscovered

• The Swedes, homebodies who call their embassy here the House of Sweden and revel in a landscape dotted with rust-red barns and cottages, want you to get to know their country. Their “Discover Sweden” program at the House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW, features exhibits, cultural events, seminars, activities for children, concerts and workshops — all free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through June 8. They also promise weekend programs for families throughout the two months. Among the events: a crash course in Swedish, a photo show on the country’s ubiquitous falu red paint, genealogy workshops and more. See Galleries and Lectures/Readings/Films. For complete information, see www.swedenabroad.com/washington.


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