- - Friday, August 30, 2013


National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert

Monday is Labor Day, the federal holiday honoring workers’ contributions to the economy and society and, for most Americans, the unofficial end of summer. Since you most likely have the holiday off, head to the U.S. Capitol on Sunday to hear the National Symphony Orchestra perform for free. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, the orchestra will kick off the performing arts season with patriotic favorites as well as compositions celebrating American life and history, such as Broadway composer Stephen Flaherty’s “American River Suite” and selections from John Williams’ score for the 2012 film “Lincoln.” The orchestra will be joined by Time for Three, a “classically trained garage band” consisting of two violins and a double bass that performs an eclectic mix of sounds from new music and bluegrass to classical and jazz. The gates open at 3 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert, so if the weather is nice, pack a picnic and arrive early to claim a spot. If the weather is not so nice, the concert will take place at the Kennedy Center. Sunday at the U.S. Capitol West Lawn, 800/444-1324. Web: kennedy-center.org.


D.C. Blues Festival

If you’re feeling a little “blue” about the end of summer, some blues in the Washington area’s largest national park might soothe your sadness. This weekend, Rock Creek Park will host the 25th annual D.C. Blues Festival, a day of blues performances, workshops and family activities sponsored by the D.C. Blues Society, whose mission is to preserve and promote the blues in the nation’s capital. In addition to the society’s own band, performers include Fast Eddie and the Slowpokes, who play classic blues, swing and Motown tunes and represented Washington at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., as well as Albert Castiglia, a guitarist, singer and songwriter who once toured with renowned vocalist and harmonica player Junior Wells. The John Cephas Workshop Stage, named for the Piedmont blues guitarist, will feature music workshops for all levels as well as a children’s musical instrument petting zoo. Saturday at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 16th Street and Colorado Avenue Northwest. 202/895-6000. Web: dcblues.org.


Gavin DeGraw at the Washington Nationals

While the 2013 Washington Nationals have thus far disappointed the high expectations fueled by last year’s division crown, their hopes of winning the second wild card slot should still be alive — barely — as they take on the New York Mets in a three-game series starting Friday. Whether you’re a diehard fan or simply craving a hot dog on this three-day weekend, however, you won’t want to miss Saturday’s game, which will conclude with a free concert for all ticketholders by singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. Mr. DeGraw became a household name in 2003 when his catchy single “I Don’t Want to Be” was chosen as the theme song for the television drama “One Tree Hill,” and he has followed up with numerous hits, including “Chariot,” “Follow Through” and “In Love with a Girl.” Saturday at Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE. 888/632-NATS. Web: nationals.com.


Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press

Crown Point Press, a San Francisco art studio devoted to the use of traditional printmaking techniques in contemporary art, has helped numerous contemporary artists rise to international fame — most notably Richard Diebenkorn, the American abstract expressionist known for his colorful, geometric paintings. The studio, which was founded in 1962 by printmaker Kathan Brown, continues to invite artists from all over the world to produce work, which is then exhibited and sold by the studio’s gallery. On Sunday, the National Gallery of Art will open a new exhibit about Crown Point’s printmaking process from the first working proofs through the final, limited-edition prints. The exhibit will showcase 125 proofs and prints from 25 artists who worked at the studio from 1972 to 2010, including Mr. Diebenkorn, John Cage, Chuck Close and Mamma Andersson — and will feature 13 rarely seen Diebenkorn proofs, including three related to his famous 1985 print, “Green.” Through Jan. 5 at the National Gallery of Art West Building, Constitution Avenue and Sixth Street Northwest. 202/737-4215. Web: nga.gov.


Potted Potter

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was published in the United Kingdom more than 16 years ago now, and few children’s fantasy novels have had the impact on culture that J.K. Rowling’s series has had since then. This week, fans will fight Death Eaters to get tickets to “Potted Potter,” a two-man comedy show that will run through all seven books — including the battles and Quidditch matches — in 70 minutes of live comedy and improv. British comedians Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner began the show as a five-minute street performance for fans waiting for the midnight release of Ms. Rowling’s sixth book in 2005. Over the years, it has expanded into a feature-length performance and was nominated for Laurence Olivier Awards last year. The producers say the tour, which stops at the Shakespeare Theatre on Thursday, is suitable for audiences “ages six to Dumbledore (who is very old indeed).” Through Sept. 15 at the Shakespeare Theatre’s Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202/547-1122. Web: shakespearetheatre.org.

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