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Tastee Diner in Laurel: As American as the Fourth of July

LAUREL — The small Tastee Diner chain, opened in 1935, is a venerable staple in the historic districts of Laurel, Bethesda and Silver Spring. Anticipating Independence Day, I took a trip to a couple of these restaurants in the chain to experience a bit of Americana as American as the Fourth of July – or as apple pie, keeping with the diner theme.

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County native rapper Substantial experiments with first instrumental album “The Garden”

Substantial 4NORTH BRENTWOOD – Surrounded by local artifacts and artwork plastered all over the walls of the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC), rapper Substantial said he felt at home. With over 30 guests in attendance for the release of his first full instrumental project, the artist released a huge smile as the crowd sung along on command. 
 
“I just love the idea of every time I do a release, I am basically able to celebrate in the community I grew up in,” Substantial said. “…Just the idea that it is closer to home so it gives my family, friends and the few fans I have in this area [to celebrate].”
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‘The Merchant of Venice’ at Greenbelt Arts Center

MerchantGREENBELT – The Rude Mechanicals troupe makes the bold choice of performing “The Merchant of Venice” at the Greenbelt Arts Center (through June 30). “The Merchant of Venice” is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s problematic plays, though these are among Shakespeare’s most interesting. Using a mostly female cast, this production embraces a spirit of experimentation. While not always entirely successful, the boldness of interpretation is interesting and at times even riveting.  

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Can humor point the way to political reconciliation?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It is no secret that there is currently a great political divide in U.S. society. Under such conditions, how is it possible for dialogue to move forward between differing political factions? Perhaps the enormously talented political satirical performers known as the Capitol Steps can show us two ways: First, by laughing at both sides. Second, by laughing at all.  

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'Ragtime' in a Minor Key at Bowie Playhouse

BOWIE – “Patriotism was a reliable sentiment in the early 1900’s,” writes E.L. Doctorow in his well-regarded 1975 novel “Ragtime.” “Teddy Roosevelt was President. The population customarily gathered in great numbers out of doors for parades, public concerts, fish fries, political picnics, social outings, or indoors in meeting halls, vaudeville theatres, operas, ballrooms. . . . Trains and steamers and trolleys moved them from one place to another. That was the style, that was the way people lived.”

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An aesthetically pleasing 'Patience' entertains all

ROCKVILLE – Theater-goers who attended the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance and Performance’s recent performances of Oscar Wilde's “The Importance of Being Earnest” will have a decided advantage in appreciating Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta “Patience,” playing through June 17 at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville. 
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