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Singer-songwriter uses real life tragedy as inspiration

Craig Cummings PhotoCraig Cummings (left) and bassist Greg Hardin (right) performing at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. COURTESY PHOTO BY MAX HORAN   GAITHERSBURG — Inspired by friends who were forced to redefine themselves after the end of a relationship, D.C. area singer-songwriter Craig Cummings sang about the joys and downfalls of love in the Gaithersburg Arts Barn on Saturday to celebrate the release of his new album “Gone Baby Gone.”

The seven-track, 27-minute-long album, issued on Takoma Park’s Azalea City label, tells the story of a man dealing with a long-term relationship falling apart. The album shows all facets of the relationship, from the man's first attempts to win the unnamed woman’s love to the aftermath of the breakup.

“I was running into people that had been in relationships that were ending, and they were struggling with how to be alone after all that time. They were asking themselves, ‘How do I redefine myself as a person without the context of a relationship?’” said Craig.

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Rockville offers Movies in the Parks

IMG 5128 copy 2 movies in parkCUT: Patrons watched “The Lego Movie” on July 29, 2015 at Montrose Park during the first "Movies in the Parks." The event returns for its third year to Rockville parks, offering free movies in different parks every Wednesday in August. COURTESY PHOTO  The drive-in movie theater may have become part of a bygone era, but you can drive or walk this summer to catch a movie in the park.

For the third year in a row, the City of Rockville is presenting four free outdoor films at four different neighborhood parks every Wednesday in August as part of its Movies in the Park series.

“The films are shown on a big inflatable screen, so everyone gets to see,” said Marylou Berg, Rockville’s director of communication.

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Event will showcase local documentary filmmaker and her work

On August 6, a local non-profit organization will present the first installment of a series designed to allow aspiring documentary filmmakers to receive feedback.

Erica Ginsberg, co-founder and executive director of Docs in Progress, said she became interested in filmmaking while participating in Montgomery County Public Schools Visual Arts Center as a student at Albert Einstein High School.

“While I ended up focusing on international relations in my undergrad studies, I never lost my love for making art and other creative pursuits, and that was part of the impetus for my earning a graduate degree in film and becoming a documentary filmmaker.”

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Chopteeth brings Afro-Funk to Glen Echo stage

As the horn section blared out melodies over dense layers of percussion, the keyboardist for West African big band Chopteeth, Bill Dempsey, found a small place between the noise for an organ solo. The band headlined the Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo Park on Saturday night, and Dempsey was able to fulfill one of his dreams.

“I’ve been listening to this style of music for a long time; I’ve always dreamed of finding others to play it with. In Milwaukee, I thought it would never happen; in DC it did,” said Dempsey. “It’s a tribute to DC that you can find Ghanaian musicians, Nigerian musicians, and American musicians, all coming together.”

Chopteeth was the brain child of singer/guitarist Michael Shereikis and bassist Robert Fox. Inspired by New York based band Antibalas; Fox asked Shereikis if he would be interested in starting an African big band. Shereikis, who was exposed to African music when he lived in the Ivory Coast as a member of the Peace Corps, agreed, and Chopteeth was born.

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Time for 'One Man, Two Guvnors’ and lots of mayhem

“One Man, Two Guvnors” proves that there are no truly original plots.

The work, written by British playwright Richard Bean, is an adaptation of “Servant of Two Masters,” a Commedia Dell’arte style comedy dating to 1743. That, in turn, derives from ancient Greek comedies.

The adaptation, which played on Broadway after the original British run under the direction of Nicholas Hytner, takes place in 1963 Brighton, an English seaside resort.

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Discovering some of MoCo's lesser-known theatrical venues

01 OBLIVION by Unexpected Stage Company PhotoCredit Rachel Ellis copyJonathan Frye and Ruthie Rado star in Unexpected Stage's production of "Oblivion." COURTESY PHOTO BY RACHEL ELLIS  Theater lovers all know the Round House Theatre, the professional theater company that produces performances at its 400-seat location on East-West Highway in Bethesda.

Theater enthusiasts may be less familiar with some of the other theater venues in the area.

One is the Unexpected Stage Company, which is based in Bethesda, at least for now.

The “unexpected” in its title doesn’t refer to the fare offered by the professional regional theater, but rather to the fact that husband-and-wife team Christopher Goodrich and Rachel Stroud-Goodrich, co-artistic directors, came across an abandoned stage while driving around Seneca Creek State Park.

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Local station celebrates a year of local passionate programs

Marika Partridge first became passionate about radio when she stumbled upon a community radio station in Alaska while working as a cartographer. Now 32 years later and after 16 years as the director of NPR’s All Things Considered, Partridge, on the 16th, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of WOWD-LP Takoma Park 94.3FM, the radio station she founded.

“I can walk over to a radio station, open the door and get on the air," Said Partridge. "It’s as if some angel designed my retirement plan for me.”

Partridge, who retired from NPR to take care of her autistic child, first had the idea for local DC radio after hearing about the Prometheus Project, a non-profit organization focused on building low-powered radio stations.

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That rabbit is dynamite! - Nevermind the unladen swallow

If you’re looking for light entertainment, catch the last show (July 23) of “Spamalot,” the current offering of the Rockville Musical Theatre.

The show earned 14 Tony nominations when it came to Broadway in 2005, staged by gifted theater and film director Mike Nichols, who started his career as a comic. “Spamalot” won the Tony for Best Musical of the Year.

The show is based on the 1975 cult classic — “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” -- or, as the theater program for “Spamalot” declares, it was “ripped off from the motion picture.”

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Fringe festival has enough for everyone to find a niche of pure fun

Only five more days remain in the vast, multifaceted, and overwhelming (in a good sense) Capital Fringe Festival 2017.

Though only in its 12th year, the annual event founded by artist and community organizer Julianne Brienza seems to have been around forever.

Its goal according to the web site, is “expanding audiences’ appetites for independent, Fringe theatre, music, art, dance, and unclassifiable forms of live performance and visual art – and serving as a catalyst for cultural and community development.”

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Imagination Stage offers fun for those serious about the arts

Elyon Topolosky has been in the area only about four years, but he’s already performed in four productions at Imagination Stage.

Most recently, he appeared in “Bye, Bye Birdie” in one of the summer camps run by the community arts organization, whose mission is to integrate the arts into the lives of children.

“I love Imagination Stage,” said Topolosky, 13. “It’s not just a month of auditioning, learning your part, and putting on a performance. It’s a whole process – of learning different techniques, like drama, music, makeup, puppetry, dialects, and stage combat.”

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