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Center Stage: ‘Or’ qualifies as a quality restoration event

OR 5Now playing at Round House Theatre, the role-switching play “Or,” features Erin Weaver, Holly Twyford, and Gregory Linington. COURTESY PHOTO  BETHESDA — “Or,” a suffix of binary implications barely qualifies as a phrase. Yet the new play at the Round House Theatre about playwright and former spy Aphra Behn takes the meaning of this word to its full extent.

“Or,” written by Liz Duffy Adams takes place in Restoration Era England when Behn, played by Holly Twyford, abandons her espionage career to become a writer under the new government of Charles II.

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Day of the Book Festival draws diverse crowd to Kensington

IMG 1535Thousands attended the Day of the Book Festival in Kensington. PHOTO BY PETER ROULEAU KENSINGTON – A break in the rain on Sunday permitted several thousand people to attend the annual Day of the Book Festival on Howard Avenue in Kensington.

The festival began in 2005, thanks to the efforts of Elisenda Sola-Sole, owner of the Kensington Row Bookshop, a popular used book store. Sola-Sole’s family founded the Pauli Bellet Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of Catalan culture. The inspiration for the festival came from the “El Dia del Libre” celebration in Barcelona, which in 1923 was merged with the city’s traditional Rose Festival. In these celebrations, authors and other merchants set up stalls along Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, La Rambla.

This year, the festival was held on the International Day of the Book, which was designated April 23 in 1995 by UNESCO in honor of the birthdate of William Shakespeare. In other years, the festival is held on the Sunday closest to the date.

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Center Stage: Merging Celtic tradition and folk rock

Jennifer Cutting’s uplifting OCEAN brings with it a touch of The Beatles too

ocean-promo-1Jennifer Cutting (far right) with the OCEAN Orchestra. COURTESY PHOTO

NORTH BETHESDA — Celtic tradition and high-spirited folk rock came together when Jennifer Cutting’s OCEAN orchestra performed its new “Waves” album at Strathmore’s AMP on March 31.
OCEAN, described as “Celtic music for ancient moderns,” is grounded in the Celtic tradition while mixing in genres like Beatles-style pop, Southern rock and even Bollywood in the “Waves” album.
Some of the songs in “Waves” come from the start of Cuttings’ music career 23 years ago, which makes it the culmination of “many, many years of work.” The orchestra has created a long and loyal following, many of whom were present at the “Waves” debut.

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Center Stage: Bill Viola’s art slows time to create mindful contemplation

Bill Violas The Fall into ParadisePerformers John Hay and Sarah Steben take part in Bill Viola's video art piece "The Fall into Paradise," part of his exhibit "The Moving Portrait" now featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

WASHINGTON D.C. — Moving pictures meet portraiture. Video, a popular media form used for almost any purpose, is rarely utilized for slow, perceptual contemplation often achieved in paintings or music.

Bill Viola’s work “The Moving Portrait” does exactly that. His work is more akin to portraiture rather than narrative stories often seen in video. His work focuses on facial language and slow-motion to allow a calmer, meditative attention to his footage.

These videos focus on the physical actions of his subjects rather than the promise of a narrative climax or conclusion to maintain interest. Examples include “The Raft”, a high-definition video projection of nineteen people suddenly hit by a high-pressure stream of water.

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It’s a game of musical chairs at Second Story Books

xSecond Story Books-Allan StypeckAllan Stypeck of Second Story Books. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

In their own version of musical chairs, those gathered on the ground floor of Second Story Books in Rockville on the last Saturday of each month continually move to the next chair. They reach their goal when it’s finally their turn to meet with the used bookstore’s president, Allan Stypeck.

Stypeck, who has spent 40 years appraising books and other documents, carefully handles all books, checks their conditions, scans the pages and pulls from his memory a wealth of history and recollections. Often that is enough to say what the book is worth. If not, he knows the right internet sites to determine the book’s value.

On a recent appraisal day, Stypeck examined a first edition of “Cujo” by Stephen King and immediately knew when it was published. He also reviewed a book that had an authentic signature of a few of this country’s founding fathers and another one written in German that was mandatory reading for those joining the Nazi ranks.

There can be as many as 200 people who show up to the monthly event, which has occurred at the Rockville bookstore for the past three years. Stypeck also has a used bookstore in Dupont Circle.

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“All the world is a stage”

And this theater group teaches local youths how to become empowered as players

Theater group 2Traveling Players Ensemble founder & director Jeanne Harrison. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA – Students who joined a theater program with the intention of learning to act said they received more than they expected.

Maereg Gebretekle, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School junior, and Jeremy Wenick, a Walt Whitman sophomore, said they had wanted to acquire theater experience outside what their high schools had to offer.

“It’s given me a lot of theater experience that I never thought I would get,” Gebretekle said after a rehearsal Friday. “I didn’t know theater was run this way because I only did one show and it wasn’t even that big of a deal in middle school,” she said, remembering her school play.

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Juggling and ballet at Strathmore equal harmony

Screen shot 2017-02-08 at 3.16.16 AMGandini Juggling performed both ballet and juggling in their act. COURTESY PHOTO

BETHESDA — At Strathmore, Gandini Juggling, a British juggling group held a performance titled “4x4: Ephemeral Architectures.”

Juggling and ballet, two traditionally separate art forms, were combined to create a performance of both balance and precision as a live orchestral ensemble timed music to each movement.

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Bethesda business hosts ‘A Toast to Art’ showcase

BETHESDA — Two entrepreneurs held an open house art exhibit in their own Bethesda office entitled “A Toast to Art” on Tuesday.

Sean Saidi and Sabine Roy helm Saidi-Roy Associates, or SR/A, a private business that is partly architectural and partly interior design.

SR/A is contracted to design new multifamily homes and renovate old ones in the area. Saidi and Roy’s art exhibit showcases local work from artists they know personally.

“We talk to local artists to help Bethesda because there’s not enough exhibits, and the ones available are very expensive,” said Saidi.

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BlackRock features political and social art of local artists

blackrockOne of the artworks presented at BlackRock. PHOTO BY REECE LINDENMAYER  

GERMANTOWN — The BlackRock Center for the Arts opened their first day of the year with an art exhibit featuring the work of three local artists.

In the Kay Gallery, the work of Linda Colsh and Julia Dzikiewicz is on display. Colsh’s work, entitled “Seeing the Unseen” focuses on elderly subjects, whom she believes are marginalized in society.

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