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There’s some “Dangerous Curves” here

unnamed 1 The band Dangerous Curves performs at Hershey’s Bar and Grill.   PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  GAITHERSBURG — By day John Brian Jameson works as an arborist in Montgomery County. By night Jameson trades his work gloves for leather ones, as he fronts the hard rock band Dangerous Curves. The band celebrated the release of their self-titled debut album, Saturday at Hershey’s Bar and Grill in Gaithersburg.                                                                                  

Ten of the eleven songs on the album are original.

“I’ve written hundreds of songs since I was a kid. I tried to share them, but it never worked until now,” said Jameson. “We have something here that fits together.”

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Re-envisioned “My Fair Lady” mostly delights at Olney

My Fair LadyDanny Bernardy and Brittany Campbell star in the Olney Theatre Center's production of "My Fair Lady." COURTESY PHOTO  Virtually any production of “My Fair Lady”  – one of the best-beloved musicals ever – is always welcome.

Based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” with books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, the 1956 Broadway hit has seen several revivals, inspired a major Hollywood film, and is expected to return to the Great White Way next year.

Who doesn’t know the story of the uneducated British flower girl transformed by the sophisticated phonetics professor, who, unbeknownst to him at first, changes as well? And who doesn’t love such delightful songs as “The Rain in Spain” and “On the Street Where You Live?? Happily, the show can be seen now at Olney Theatre Center. With its fine acting and singing and clever, but mostly minimalist set, this production overall rekindles the affection and admiration many of us feel for this classic musical and will no doubt win over younger generations as well. The production’s “fair lady,” Brittany Campbell, has a “loverly” voice (to quote one of her songs), which soars above the difficult high notes of “I Could Have Danced All Night.” But also packs a vengeful punch in “Just You Wait, Henry Higgins.

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Takoma Park lights it up with Jazz Festival

Takoma Jazz FestivalThe Chuck Redd Quartet performing at the Takoma Park Jazz Festival.   PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  TAKOMA PARK – On Sunday Takoma Park hosted its 22nd annual jazz festival. The two-stage, 12-act event showcased representatives from multiple genres, from traditional dixieland and bossa nova to modern go-go interpretations.

“We are promoting America’s unique music: music that connects people from around the world,” said Bruce Kohner, the president of Takoma Jazz Inc.

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Local music festival features young talent

Strange Adventures Mike Of DoomSilver Spring rappers Mike of Doom and Kasey Jones perform at the Strange Adventures Music Festival. COURTESY PHOTO  On Friday and Saturday, the Twin Moon Arts Collective, a record label and community organization, hosted its third annual Strange Adventures music festival at St. Stephan’s Church in Columbia Heights. The festival was a celebration of the eclectic greater D.C. music scene, with several Montgomery County-based bands performing.

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Heritage Days to celebrate 20 years of bringing history to life

Heritage Days, a project of the non-profit historical organization Heritage Montgomery, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend. Held annually on the last weekend of June, the event is a collaborative effort of organizations throughout the County to provide interactive exhibits showcasing life in different eras.

“Heritage Days is always one of our favorite events,” said Heritage Montgomery executive director Sarah L. Rogers. “It’s grown massively over the years. The first year we only had four participating organizations; this year we have 40.”

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Documentaries shine in AFI DOCS Festival

Programming staff, front-line screeners and members of a screening committee spent the better part of this year winnowing down documentary films to include in the American Film Institute’s 15th annual AFI DOCS Festival, which took place at the AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring, as well as Landmark’s E Street Cinema and the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a very long process,” said Michael Lumpkin, director of the festival. “Over 2000 films were submitted this year, of which we chose 103.”

“The films come from 28 countries. All have not yet been released and not yet been shown in movie theaters, online, or on television,” Lumpkin said.

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Local disc jockey reflects on years in the business and changing music tastes

(Donald) Cerphe Colwell’s 45 years in the D.C. area’s music scene began in 1971, when Colwell, then a “struggling art major” at American University, was invited by Steve Walker, a DJ at Bethesda-based station WHFS, to visit the station.

Colwell was hired to work the 7 p.m.-to-midnight shift on Saturdays.

“I saw the world with fresh eyes,” Colwell said of the experience. He said he’d been fascinated by radio since his childhood in Boston, when he listened to a transistor radio in bed at night. Colwell would go on to work for several years at WHFS – the first station in the area to broadcast in FM stereo.

“There was a real feeling of creativity and community,” Colwell said. “I could go from the Beatles to John Coltrane. I went around and talked to bands who were being ignored by the larger stations and invited them to come on my show. Bands loved to come to our studio because we didn’t put time limits on them. Frank Zappa would come on and talk about all kinds of things. We were one of the first five radio stations in the country to play Bruce Springsteen’s music. Bruce played five or six sets on on my show.”

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Local students appear on public television special

One hundred and fifty members of a Bethesda-based youth arts program appeared on a televised tribute to an acclaimed composer June 1.

Founded in 2011 by brother Rolando and Kristofer Sanz, Young Artists of America at Strathmore provides instruction and mentorship to middle and high school students throughout the D.C. metro area in various aspects of musical theater. The one-hour television special, “Young Artists of America: The Songs of Tim Rice,” is hosted by Rice himself, a frequent collaborator with Andrew Lloyd Webber and others on several acclaimed Broadway musicals. It was recently filmed at Maryland Public Television’s studio in Owings Mills.

The program features performances of songs from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita” and others. It also featured segments where Rice speaks about his career, as well as featuring footage of the performers’ backstage preparations.

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Hometown Holidays carries on in the rain

Hometown Holidays Rolling ThunderA local Rockville family lines up to watch “Rolling Thunder” coming up I-270 for Memorial Day. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHROCKVILLE – Neither rain, nor rain or more rain could keep local residents from enjoying the local party.

Rockville celebrated its 29th annual Hometown Holidays this Memorial Day weekend with live music, a parade and food from a variety of Rockville restaurants.

Weekend rain kept the crowds smaller than previous years, but thousands still showed up to celebrate.

“I thought it was another opportunity that kind of really showed how warm and welcoming we are as a community,” said Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton.

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Never too old to tell a really good story

x90 year old authorRecently published author Frances Chavarria.  COURTESY PHOTO   Frances Chavarria was in her eighties when she sat down to write her first book. Now 90, the Rockville resident is getting ready for book signings and dreams of seeing her novel up on the big screen.

Chavarria’s novel, “Let Us Dream of Turtles,” is a love story that pits greedy developers against environmentalists and takes place in Costa Rica, where she lived for 35 years. Chavarria took two years to complete her 300-page book that includes events such as an earthquake and tsunami.

In 2010, she found an editor, who wanted to publish the book if she agreed to make a few cuts, including many of the food descriptions. Chavarria agreed, but eventually stopped, believing the revisions were hurting her book. She put it on a shelf and moved on.

Four years later, Chavarria moved into senior citizen housing in downtown Rockville and met fellow resident, Edith Billups, who had written and edited magazines.

The two hit it off immediately and soon found themselves reworking the manuscript. Billups said she loved the manuscript instantly, especially “all the suspense and intrigue.” And, Billups laughed, Chavarria “may be 90, but she’s got some great love scenes in here.”

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