Seen and Heard: Happenings Around Town
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Seen and Heard: Happenings Around Town

Welcome to the Seen and Heard blog! Here you will find information for arts and entertainment news and events. Want to know what is happening at local clubs, museums, theaters and cultural centers? Check back here daily and follow WTOP Entertainment on Twitter: @WTOPEnt




    Cherry blossom festival looking for local singers

    WASHINGTON -- Are you a cherry blossom enthusiast? Do you love parades? The National Cherry Blossom Festival wants you. 

    Everyone's favorite white and pink festival is seeking singers for its annual parade, which will take place April 11, 2015.

    Entries are now being accepted for the Sing Into Spring Competition. Up to four soloists or vocal groups will perform at the parade that runs along Constitution Avenue from 10 a.m. to noon. 

    From the festival:

    Hopeful artists will submit a :30 second YouTube video for consideration through Friday, November 14, 2014. The competition is open to all residents of DC, Maryland, and Virginia age 8 and up (those under 18 require parental consent). Submissions will be accepted online only, and only vocalists are eligible, instrumental performances will not be accepted. Hundreds entered the debut 2014 contest in an outstanding showcase of local talent. View the 2014 finalists here.

    selection committee, including celebrity judges, will choose up to 20 finalists to move forward and perform in a live audition in early January 2015. From the finalists, judges will select up to four winners to perform live in the Parade.





    AP Photo 


    Joan Rivers' doctor allegedly takes selfie during biopsy

    WASHINGTON -- The doctor performing a biopsy on Joan Rivers allegedly stopped to take a selfie during the procedure,
    CNN reports.

    The doctor, who has not been publicly identified, was the comedienne's personal physician. 

    Rivers had been put under anesthesia earlier that day for a routine endoscopy to help diagnose her hoarse voice and sore throat. After the procedure, which was completed by a different doctor, her physician began to perform an unscheduled biopsy on her vocal chords, an unnamed source tells CNN. 

    Rivers had not given prior consent to the last minute procedure. 

    Investigators believe that Rivers' vocal chords began to swell during the biopsy and cut off oxygen to her lungs, which led to cardiac arrest Aug. 29. 

    She died Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai hospital, never having regained consciousness after the biopsy.

    Read more here.


    New trailer for season 4 of 'Homeland'

    WASHINGTON -- Rejoice ye fans of espionage and intrigue. There's a new trailer for "Homeland," which returns to TV Oct. 5.

    Notice any familiar faces from shows such as "House of Cards" and "The Strain?"

    Homeland Season 4: Trailer
    by Homeland via YouTube

    Trump's Atlantic City resorts file for bankruptcy 

    WASHINGTON -- Two of the Donald's casinos are fired!

    Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza, both in Atlantic City, have declared bankruptcy, CBS Philly reports. 

    The plaza is scheduled to close this week, and the Taj Mahal will close in November. The shutdown at the latter will put 2,800 people out of work in a city who's economy has been struggling this year. 

    More than 5,000 workers lost their jobs when the Showboat and Revel casinos closed over the weekend. 

    Officials from the New Jersey Department of Labor and the main casino workers' union are helping displaced workers file for jobless benefits and providing them with information on how to sign up for health insurance.

    The number of people out of work is expected to swell to nearly 8,000 before the month is over. 

    When Trump Plaza closes Sept. 16, Atlantic City will have just eight casinos. The city started the year with 12.

    Click here for a look at how gambling revenue and employment have changed since casinos launched in Atlantic City in 1978.

    #trumptajmahal #atlanticcity
    by tuff_luck_lucci via Instagram


    Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett's 'Good Omens' adapted for radio

    WASHINGTON -- Happy Monday and welcome to the latest edition of "
    Neil Gaiman in the News."

    Fan boys and girls will rejoice today as news trickles out that "Good Omens" is being adapted for BBC Radio 4, Nerdist reports

    The story, co-written by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, tells the hilarious tale of an angel and demon teaming up to save the world from the Second Coming. The book is a laugh-out-loud good time, so hopes are high that the radio play will live up to the hype. 

    Mark Heap ("Spaced," "Stardust") will play the angel Azirphale and Peter Serafinowicz ("Guardians of the Galaxy," "Shaun of the Dead") will play the demon Crowley. Both Gaiman and Pratchett will have cameos. ]

    "Good Omens" is being directed by Dirk Maggs, who also directed the radio version of "Neverwhere." It is slated to come out in 30-minute episodes starting in early December. Happy holidays!







    Foodies Unite at Epicurience Virginia with the best local wine and food. 

    Weekend Best Bets:  Foodies Unite at Epicurience, Electric Run, Patsy Cline & DC Blues

    Mary de Pompa WTOP News

    All Weekend: 

    • Maryland State Fair provides fun family entertainment for very little money with food, music, horse racing and more. For info 
    • The 60th Annual Greenbelt Labor Day Festival is a weekend of family fun with rides, entertainment, arts, music and more. For info 
    • 1814 Brookeville Capital for a Day Bicentennial Celebration an historic street festival rich in history, crafts, tours, games for kids, food, drink and more. For info 
    • National Harbor hosts Cirque du Soleil: Amaluna with various times all weekend to experience a mysterious island through aerial tricks and feats. For info 
    • Maryland Renaissance Festival is a family-friendly, 16th century village with food, music, games and entertainment. For info  
    • Electric Run DC at RFK Stadium is fun for all ages, Saturday and Sunday night, don your Glow Sticks and race through magical motifs pumped with music. For info 

    Saturday, Aug. 30:

    • 26th Annual D.C. Blues Festival at Carter Baron is free for the family with electrifying blues, workshops and a musical petting zoo. For info 
    • The National Book Festival at the D.C. Convention Center is where you meet and hear poets, authors with signings, special entertainment and film programs. For info 
    • Celebrate Charles March from Benedict is a war of 1812 commemoration that features great historical sights and sounds with kids activities, amusements, artisans and more. For into 
    • Lake Anne Jazz & Blues Festival in Reston is a free, all day, family-friendly event featuring regional and national artists encompassed by great shopping, dining and more. For info 
    • Patsy Cline Music Festival in Winchester celebrates the hometown legend with music, street festival, tours, souvenirs and food. For info 
    • Epicurience Virginia at Leesburg’s Morven Park is an epic food and wine festival, 200 years in the making, featuring the best in local wines, farm-to-table cuisine prepared by top chefs from around the country. For info  
    • Wolf Trap has Nick Jr.’s rock sensations, The Fresh Beat Band. For Info

    Saturday Night:

    • 9:30 Club presents M.H. & His Orchestra with the Walking Sticks and Black Masala. For info 
    • The Strathmore presents country-rock legends the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. For info 
    • Hill Country Live offers the meat and potatoes rock of Hollis Brown. For info 
    • Blues Alley it's Grammy winning blues guitarist Chris Thomas King all weekend. For info 
    • Gypsy Sally’s presents N’arlins gypsy brass circus, Dirty Bourbon River Show. For info

     Sunday, Aug. 31:

    • Epicurience Picnic at Greenhill Winery continues Loudoun’s epic food and wine festival featuring the best in local wine and produce. For info 
    • Shenandoah Valley Music Festival hosts locally grown, Eddie From Ohio. For info 

    Sunday Night:

    • Wolf Trap hosts guitar great, George Benson. For info
    • Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol features a free performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. For info 
    • Bethesda Blues & Jazz host a world class bassist with The Avon Lucas Project. For info 
    • IOTA Cafe hosts The 9 Songwriter Series. For info 
    • Jammin' Java has a local music review with Tandem North, Save the Arcadian and Alissa Feudo. For info 


    Mini 'Friends' reunion on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

    WASHINGTON -- Fans of NBC's "Friends" don't have to wait for a reunion show -- they got a snippet of one thanks to Jimmy Kimmel  Wednesday.

    Jennifer Aniston appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Wednesday night, but it turned into a mini-reunion for "Friends" co-stars, complete with the famous kitchen set.

    Aniston played her sitcom character, Rachel, while Kimmel played Ross, who was portrayed by David Schwimmer on the show. Aniston was joined by fellow "Friends," Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow.

    Read the full story here.


    Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel in "Friends"
    by Jimmy Kimmel Live via YouTube



    Was Sarah Silverman stoned at the Emmys?

    WASHINGTON -- Seems like the answer is yes, she was high Monday night when she accepted an award for her HBO show, "Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles."

    The comedienne whipped out her portable vaporizer pen and liquid pot during a red carpet interview with E! News, according to the New York Daily News

    "This is my pot," she said on TV. "This is what everything's really supposed to be in."

    Later, she accepted her award barefoot and was heard backstage joking that she would be taking a trip to 7-Eleven for snacks after the awards ceremony.

    In California, medical marijuana is legal with a prescription from a doctor. We can only guess Silverman is the proud owner of a pot card?


    Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett among 'Jungle Book' cast 

    WASHINGTON -- Hollywood is pulling out all the stops when it comes to the remake of childhood classic "The Jungle Book."

    The ensemble cast boasts impressive star power, including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, Peter Mullan and Benedict Cumberbatch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

    The ambitious film is rumored to use a combination of motion capture, CG animation and live action.

    Read the full story here. And then fondly remember the original version:


    Bare Necessities
    by Flexz via YouTube

    Snow day for dogs this weekend in Reston 

    WASHINGTON -- It might only be August, but dogs will get a taste of winter this weekend thanks to a special snow day in Reston, Virginia. 

    Unleashed by Petco is hosting a fun day for canines and their owners complete with snow machines, pet adoptions and free giveaways. 

    The snow day will take place Saturday at the Reston Town Center. Festivities kick off at 9 a.m. Click here for more info.

    Summer Snow Day at Unleashed by Petco
    by Petco via YouTube

    Matthew McConaughey defends the fanny pack

    WASHINGTON -- Many Americans don't understand the fanny pack. It is considered the ultimate sign of a tourist or the telltale sign of a nerd. Either way, fanny packs are generally shunned.

    Matthew McConaughey, on the other hand, insists that he's "not afraid of the fanny pack."

    “You gotta kinda put it on the side to make it look a little not as nerdy, but still, practicality wins out. I got so much gear in here that I don’t want in my pockets," the "True Detective" star tells the New York Post.

    McConaughey was spotted rocking the questionable fashion statement Sunday at Boston's Fenway Park. The accessory was shocking enough that it inspired an entire interview with CSN Houston’s Julia Morales

    Watch it below:


    "Hey there, I’m your friend Mike Doughty. I’m making a new album, called Stellar Motel, produced by DJ Good Goose; I’ve also got an album of 14 Soul Coughing songs, played live (some with a band, some acoustic) called Live at Ken’s House."



    Former Soul Coughing frontman is crowdsourcing new album

    WASHINGTON -- Call it creative fundraising: Some fans of Mike Doughty, the former singer of Soul Coughing, are digging his idea to incorporate them into his new album.

    Doughty is reaching out to fans to help support his new solo record, to be called "Stellar Motel," by offering to make them part of the experience -- for a price.

    "At its best a pledge campaign is people feeling like they really joined a team and making this record with me is a cause," Doughty says on his website.

    To raise money for the new project, he's offering to sell the guitars with which he's recording the album, put on a private concert, list fan names in the credits, even type out the lyrics to one of his songs and sign it.

    The donation options range from $18 to $20,000.

    Weekend Best Bets:  Fairs, Cultural Festivals, Gamers Unite and Music Galore

    Mary de Pompa WTOP News

    All Weekend:

    • 42nd Annual Lucketts Fair offers crafts, food, antiques, kids activities, music and more. For info 
    • Winchester Greek Festival in its 50th year celebrates the culture with great food, drink and music. For info 
    • D.C. Convention Center hosts the Video Gamers United Conference with state-of-the-art games, workshops, displays and arcade for gamers of all ages. For info 
    • VietFest 2014 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton is a family friendly Vietnamese heritage festival with traditional entertainment, music, dance, cuisine and a kids zone. For info 
    • Backyard Science Days at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a two-day science extravaganza with hands-on activities, animal encounters, stomp rockets, vegetable races and so much more. For info 
    • Warner Theatre presents Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions the orchestrated recap of nearly 20 years is not just for Pokémon fans but for music lovers of all ages. Shows Friday and Saturday, For info 
    • National Harbor hosts Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna at various showtimes all weekend inviting the audience to a mysterious island guided by cycles of the moon and governed by Goddesses. For info 

    Saturday August 16:

    • Silopanna Music Festival at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds is a day filled with fun, food and great music. For info 
    • Hot August Music Festival in Cockeysville, Maryland, billed as summer’s hottest music festival with a host of kids activities. For info 
    • Jazz Fest 2014 at Bethlehem Landing in Edgemere, Maryland great day of music, bring your own lawn chair, kids under 12 are free. For info 
    • Summer Wine and Peach Festival in Silver Spring with live music, slam poets, craft beer and a plethora of local peaches and treats, you must be 21 or over. For info 
    • Prince William County Fair in its last day of family fun with rides, games,  animals, entertainment and more. For info 
    • DC Fest 2014 at the Patriot Center area’s leading summer Christian music festival with an all-star lineup. For info
    • DC International Beerfest at Dock 5 @ Union Market, NE offers 120+ craft beers from around the globe, 30+ wines with games, arts, live music, food trucks for 21 and up. For info 

    Saturday Night:

    • Jiffy Lube Live has parrot heads uniting for Jimmy Buffet. For info 
    • The Birchmere hosts country crooner, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. For info 
    • DAR Constitution Hall offers the incomparable Tori Amos. For info 
    • Wolf Trap hosts the world’s most beloved pop group, ABBA. For info 
    • Jammin Java has a night of Americana with the Christian Lopez Band and Chelsea McBee and the Random Assortment. For info 
    • The Howard Theaters its the smooth R&B of Grammy nominated, Eric Roberson. For info 
    • The Hamilton presents N’warlins own, Flow Tribe complete with a dance floor. For info 
    • Rock and Roll Hotel its the experimental punk super group, United Nations. For info 
    • Gypsy Sally’s hosts alt-country rockers, The Walkaways. For info 
    • Nats Park post game concerts has country legend, Martina McBride. For info 

    Sunday August 17:

    • Bull Run Winery in Centreville, Virginia it's Civil War Day, with wine tasting, live music featuring Joseph Keith complete with The Bad to the Bone BBQ Food Truck. For info  
    • Thomas Stone Historic Site in Port Tobacco offers a free family concert featuring the US Navy Brass Quartet. For info 
    • Alexanria’s Restaurant Week begins with 60 restaurants offering special deals, fixed dining options, explore new flavors, see why critics rave about this unique dining scene. For info 

    Sunday Night:

    • Verizon Center presents Arcade Fire’s Reflektor Tour. For info 
    • The State Theatre its guitar blues-rock great, Jonny Lang. For info
    • Jammin Java hosts a singer-songwriter night with the legendary, Dan Navarro and Barnaby Bright. For info 
    • Rams Head on Stage offers rock legends, Foghat. For info 
    • The Birchmere presents R&B rock all-stars, Trigger Hippy featuring Joan Osborne. For info 
    AP Photo  

    Robin Williams was in early stages of Parkinson's disease

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robin Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease and was sober at the time of his suicide, his wife said Thursday.

    In a statement, Susan Schneider said that Williams, 63, was struggling with depression, anxiety and the Parkinson's diagnosis when he was found dead Monday in his Northern California home.

    Schneider did not offer details on when the actor comedian had been diagnosed or his symptoms.

    Williams' death shocked fans and friends alike, despite his candor about decades of struggle with substance abuse and mental health. With Parkinson's, Williams faced shouldering yet another challenge.

    Parkinson's disease is an incurable nervous system disorder that involves a loss of brain cells controlling movement. Tremors, sometimes starting out in just one hand, are among the early symptoms.

    It can also cause rigid, halting walking, slowed speech and sometimes dementia. Symptoms worsen over time and can often be treated with drugs.

    Read more here

    And read the full statement here.


    National Portrait Gallery adds Lauren Bacall photo

    WASHINGTON -- Sultry Hollywood star Lauren Bacall has been added to the National Portrait Gallery's "American Cool' exhibit, which features other famous legends such as James Dean, Madonna and Frank Sinatra

    The photo was taken in 1949 by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine. It will be on display through Sept. 7. 

    Bacall died Tuesday at the age of 89. 

    An image of Robin Williams, who also died this week, has been added to the gallery's permanent collection.
     

    Michael Jackson's new music video released on Twitter

    WASHINGTON -- The King of Pop is ruling Twitter.

    The Twitter account for Michael Jackson, who died more than five years ago, released a “short film” for his posthumous single on the social network. The video was released exclusively on Twitter at 10 p.m.

    The song, “A Place With No Name,” is the most recent single from Jackson’s posthumous album “XSCAPE.”

    Since the link was tweeted at 10 p.m. Wednesday, there have been more than 44,800 retweest and more than 44,200 favorites, as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

    The debut of Jackson’s video on Twitter is one of the first times a major music video has premiered on the social media platform.

    "Music is the No.most-discussed subject on Twitter in the U.S., and 50 percent of all of our users follow at least one musician," Shavone Charles, a Twitter spokeswoman, said to USA TODAY. "Music fans from around the globe flock to Twitter to discover and discuss new music in the moment."​

    The video was posted on YouTube Thursday morning:

    Michael Jackson - A Place With No Name
    by michaeljacksonVEVO via YouTube


    'The Wizard of Oz' anniversary show opens Friday

    WASHINGTON -- ArtInsights Gallery in Reston is teaming with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia for an exhibit and sale of official "The Wizard of Oz" art.  

    The exhibit, "There's No Place Like Home," will be on display through Sept. 15.  An open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday is free and open to the public, along with an event featuring Warner Bros. artist Andrea Alvin from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.  

    Ten percent of profits from the sale of art during the exhibit will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.


     

    Robin Williams movie tributes kick off this week

    WASHINGTON --  No doubt Robin Williams fans will be dusting off old DVD's and replaying the gifted performer's greatest films in the days ahead.  

    For those who want to relive the experience of seeing him on the big screen, head to West End Cinema Friday for a tribute to the late actor.

    Starting Friday, the theater will screen "Good Will Hunting," which earned Williams an Academy Award for best supporting actor, "The Birdcage" and "The Fisher King."

    M Net Movies on DSYTV plans a weekend tribute, airing films including "Hook," "Awakenings," and "Good Morning, Vietnam.

    Netflix is featuring seven of Williams' comedies, including "Jumanji," "The Fisher
    King," and "Popeye."


    Try more gum! from "The Birdcage"
    by Andreas Basler via YouTube


    Weekend Best Bets:  Fairs and Festivals, Toy Trains, KidStock and Seinfeld

    Mary de Pompa WTOP News

    All Weekend:

    • Havre de Grace Seafood Festival honors Chesapeake Bay food traditions with great entertainment, music and it's free. For info 
    • Montgomery County Agricultural Fair begins a week long run with rides, entertainment, animals and a kid zone. For info 
    • Arlington County Fair family fun with rides and music. For info 
    • Prince William County Fair in Manassas offers great family entertainment with rides, games, entertainment and more. For info 
    • Kennedy Center presents the beloved comedic observations of the one and only Jerry Seinfeld at various showtimes both Friday and Saturday. For info 
    • National Harbor has Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna inviting the audience to a mysterious island guided by the cycles of the moon and governed by goddesses. For info 
    • FestAfrica in Silver Spring is a family friendly cultural celebration featuring authentic cuisine, venders, music and lots more. For info 
    • Dulles Expo Center presents Greenberg���s Train and Toy Show,  a family spectacular with over 100 exhibitors from across the country, workshops, activities and more. For info 

    Saturday August 9:

    • 2014 Sophie & Madigan’s KidStock in Frederick, Maryland, is an all-day kids celebration and remembrance honoring two girls who loved music, dance and art. For info 
    • Arts & Jerk Festival at Bowie BaySox Stadium is an all out Caribbean celebration with food, music and more. For info 
    • New Vintage Jazz & Wine Festival at the Fair Grounds on Half Street will feature great contemporary jazz with Art Whino on hand and a variety of food trucks and learn about wine from the experts. For info 
    • American Art Museum hosts Beach Party Family Festival with music, games, crafts and more. For info  
    • Shenandoah State Park Riverfest is a day filled with family fun in and out of the water with canoeing, tubing, music food and lots of hands on activities for kids. For info 
    • The Ballyshaners Irish Festival in Alexandria is a day of authentic cultural entertainment for the family with vendors, crafts, games, music and dance. For info 

    Saturday Night:

    • The Birchmere presents country-rock pioneers Pure Prairie League and Firefall. For info  
    • Fillmore Silver Spring presents the ultimate tribute in Led Zepplin 2. For info 
    • Carter Barron offers a free Reggae Night with former Wailer, Junior Marvin. For info 
    • The Howard Theatre hosts pan jazz legend, Ken “Professor" Philmore backed by Spur of the Moment. For info 
    • Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore rock with the Wilson sisters, Heart. For info 
    • The Hamilton offers the Celtic blending bluegrass, Americana, rock of Carbon Leaf. For info 
    • Jammin Java presents a night of southern blues-rock with The Black Cadillacs and Thomas Wynn & The Believers. For info

    Sunday August 10:

    • Taste of Linganore in Mt. Airy, Maryland, is a food and wine festival offering something for everyone with tastings, pairings, music and more. For info
    • National Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis presents the 50th Anniversary of the Alberg 30 with a parade, race and other festivities. For info 
    • Dog Days Peach Festival at Bluemont, Virginia’s Great Country Farms offers fun for the family and fido with games, rides, demonstrations and more. For info

    Sunday Night:

    • Wolf Trap hosts pop singer-songwriters Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson. For info 
    • Rams Head on Stage presents bluegrass-country-soul of The SteelDrivers. For info 
    • Blues Alley has songwriter, pianist, and four-octave vocalist, Kenny Wesley with two shows. For info 
    • Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore has just a  few seats left for Panic! At the Disco: The Gospel Tour. For info 
    • Bethesda Blues & Jazz offers the legendary, Rita Coolidge. For info

     

    D.C. could soon be home to a new comedy club ... if enough money is raised. 

    The New Washington DC Comedy Club recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to add another venue  to the District, which, according to the project's leader, Ed Blaze, is home to only one such place for local and national comedians. 

    The goal of the campaign is to raise $50,000; currently, it's raised more than $15,000. Read more about the project and what it's trying to create on its Kickstarter page

    Oprah chows down on some Baltimore crabs

    WASHINGTON -- Who doesn't love a good crab feast, especially when you're near the Chesapeake Bay?

    Oprah certainly seems to enjoy chowing down on the crustaceans. She was spotted with longtime partner Stedman Graham in Baltimore earlier this week. 

    Naturally, they documented the feast:

    Crab feast in Baltimore! #CaptainJames
    by oprah via Instagram

    Afghanistan War vet records song for soldiers with PTSD

    WASHINGTON – War veterans returning home can have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life.

    Brad Tyner, lead singer of Breakaway Patriot and Afghanistan War vet, knows what it’s like. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 18, and served two tours in the Middle East. He left the military in 2011 to pursue music, and is now combining his war experience with his creative side.

    Breakaway Patriot’s latest single “The Homecoming,” speaks to the problems vets with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder face when they come home. The video was created with the help of Travis Air Force Base in California and Pathway Home, a sanctuary for vets with PTSD. The holding signs in the video are actual residents of Pathway.

    “By simply watching and sharing the video you can help us raise awareness and funds for vets with PTSD. All proceeds from the video will be donated to the Pathway Home,” Tyner says in an email.

    Watch the video for “The Homecoming” below:

    Get ready for Baltimore Comic-Con

    WASHINGTON -- Calling all cosplayers and comic book nerds! 

    Baltimore Comic-Con is just around the corner, and news is starting to trickle down about what to expect during the convention, which comes to the Baltimore Convention Center Sept. 5 through 7. 

    Kids 10 and under get in free all weekend. Families can enjoy kids-friendly comics, workshops and panels from companies such as Archie, Scholastic, Disney and Marvel. 

    From the organizers:

    "The Baltimore Comic-Con has always been a welcoming, family-friendly show, and every year, we aim to make the Kids Love Comics Pavilion inspiring to young comic fans. Not only do we want kids to read comics, we show them how they can create their own! I wish there was an event like this when I was a kid," said Mark Mariano, creator of the Happyloo graphic novel series, and co-organizer (with John Gallagher) of the kids section. 

    Weekend Best Bets:   Fairs, Foodie Fest, Southern BBQ and Music

    Mary de Pompa WTOP News

    All Weekend:

    • The Howard County Fair in West Friendship, Maryland, begins a week long run of rides, entertainment, contests, music and great family fun. For info
    • Dulles Expo Center hosts BrickFair VA 2014. The whole family can appreciate the amazing displays by imaginative brick masters with hands on activities, vendors and more. For info 
    • National Harbor has Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna inviting the audience to a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. For info
    • Warner Theatre this weekend is presenting the smash Broadway comedy that explores the gender gap, Defending The Caveman. For info

    Saturday August 2:

    • Strathmore in Bethesda hosts The Appetite Festival - the ultimate Summer indoor/outdoor food festival featuring celebrity chefs, food trucks, craft beer, music and more. For info 
    • Southern Maryland Brew & BBQ Festival at the St Mary’s County Fairgrounds offers a variety of events and attractions for all ages including craft beer, food and music. For info
    • The Annapolis Car Show, held annually on the first Saturday in August to benefit the Diabetes Center, is a free event with live music, food and kids activities. For info 
    • Frederick County Fair in Winchester, Virginia, has its last day of great family fun with rides, live music, monster trucks, petting zoo and more. For info
    • Heritage Family Days Series at the Udva-Hazy Center in Chantilly. See a  display of helicopters, meet the pilots who fly them plus enjoy hands-on activities and  indoor astronaut meet-and-greets. For info
    • Merriweather Post Pavilion hosts some of the best in R&B and hip-hop with the 2014 Summer Spirit Festival. For info 

    Saturday Night:

    • Jiffy Lube Live presents Rascal Flatts with Sheryl Crow. For info 
    • The Birchmere hosts the legendary country songwriter, Hal Kethcum. For info 
    • Bethesda Blues & Jazz has the unique jazz keyboard stylings of Marcus Johnson. For info 
    • The Howard Theatre is presenting the royal family of reggae, Morgan Heritage. For info
    • The Hamilton hosts the dirty funk and rock of TAUK with Big Something with a dance floor. For info 

    Sunday August 3:

    • First Sunday Arts Festival in Annapolis is a street festival, art market, craft fair all in one with music and entertainment for everyone. For info 
    • DC’s Annual Africa Festival at Woodrow Wilson Plaza is a family friendly cultural celebration of history, art, food and music. For info 
    • National Museum of the American Indian presents the Kaypi Peru Festival celebrating the indigenous culture of Peru through traditional dance, music, lectures exhibits, food, crafts and hands on activities for kids. For info
    • Udvar-Hazy Center Summer Concert Series is a free family friendly event featuring the United States Air Force Band, Max Impact. For info 
    • George Mason Center for the Arts presents the Bolvian Independence Day - Children’s Festival a fun family event celebrating the culture with dance, music and singing. For info 

    Sunday Night:

    • Jammin Java hosts a rising star in harpist/singer-songwriter, Mikaela Davis. For info 
    • The Howard Theatre presents the reggae stylings of Cultura Profetica. For info 
    • Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis offers TUSK: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute. For info 
    • Wolf Trap presents the ultimate Grateful Dead tribute with Dark Star Orchestra. For info
    • The Birchmere presents Grammy-winning, singer-songwriter Marc Cohn. For info 


    Get a first look at Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'

    WASHINGTON -- Ready for another Christopher Nolan flick?

    The "Dark Knight" director teams up with "True Detective" star Matthew McConaughey in the upcoming sci-fi epic "Interstellar," which hits theaters this November. 

    Paramount Pictures has been releasing information about the movie piecemeal, but momentum has picked up since Comic Con over the weekend. 

    A new trailer has since been released, and you can see it below:

    Interstellar - Official Trailer 2
    by VISO Trailers via YouTube


    Weekend Best Bets:  Brewsic Festival, County Fairs and Piano Men

    Mary de Pompa WTOP News

    All Weekend:

    • Maryland German Festival at the state fairgrounds is an annual cultural event with authentic music, food and kids activities. For info 
    • Capital Fringe Festival is a performance art extravaganza like no other in the DC area, at various locations around town, for the last weekend. For info 
    • Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair is traditional family fun with exhibits, entertainment, music, animal shows and more. For info 
    • Kennedy Center presents the Tony award winning, Disney’s The Lion King with only a few evening tickets still available for this weekend. For info 

    Saturday, July 26:

    • Mid-Atlantic Brewsic Festival in Annapolis offers 60+ Beers, 5 tribute bands and a fire truck show all for charity. For info 
    • 4th Annual Ethiopian Heritage Festival at Georgetown’s Harbin Field is a family friendly cultural celebration of food, music, vendors and more. For info 
    • Loudoun County Fair is great family fun with rides, animals, music, bull riders, food and fun. For info

    Saturday Night:

    • Nationals Park it’s Billy Joel with Gavin DeGraw. For info 
    • Jiffy Lube Live has a few seats left for the Dave Matthews Band. For info 
    • The Lincoln Theatre features a Mid-Summer Classic Concert with Dennis Edwards & His Temptation’s Review. For info
    • The Fillmore Silver Spring hosts reggae legend, Ziggy Marley. For info 
    • Gypsy Sally’s hosts the folk-rock of River Whyless. For info 
    • The Birchmere presents The Dan Band. For info 
    • Jammin Java offers the southern soul of Eric Lindell & Co. For info 
    • Sixth & i presents the acoustic-roots music of Tall Heights and Parsonsfield. For info  
    • Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg hosts the soulful, pop-jazz of Mary Ann Redmond. For info 

    Sunday, July 27:

    • Baltimore Museum of Art presents Free Family Sundays with hands on activities, workshops, tours and more. For info 
    • Mosaic Central Farm Market, in the trendy new Mosaic District of Merrifield, offers not only the best in local produce, but music, chef demos, tastings and more. For info 
    • National Harbor movies on the Potomac presents Annie. For info 

    Sunday Night:

    • Summer Concerts Series at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly is free for the family featuring the Loudoun Jazz Ensemble. For info 
    • Merriweather Post Pavilion host jamband legends, Phish. For info 
    • Jammin Java presents the blues-rock of Erin & The Wildfire. For info 
    • Rams Head Annapolis presents the international Rolling Stones show, Satisfaction. For info                                                                                                                                           
    Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie to wed ... on screen 

    WASHINGTON-- It’s been almost a decade since celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie shared the silver screen in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Sparks flew and the chemistry was sizzling between the two, now one of Hollywood’s highest profile and, unmarried, couples.

    The parents of six will appear on screen together again in “By the Sea” -- a drama picked up by Universal Pictures and directed by Jolie. She and Pitt will play a married couple in the movie, which Jolie also wrote.

    By the Sea” will be the “Maleficent” star’s third directorial effort. Not much is known about the film so far, except that it will be “small and experimental,” Jolie tells Vanity Fair



    Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood to helm HBO's 'Westworld'

    WASHINGTON --  Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins has been tapped to head HBO’s reboot of sci-fi classic “Westworld,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. He will join “True Blood” star Evan Rachel Wood at the helm of the series, which was inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 classic film of the same name.

    Westworld,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, is billed as a “dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”

    In Hopkins’ first regular TV series role, the “Silence of the Lambs” star will play Dr. Robert Ford, the complicated creative director or Westworld, a dark amusement park. Wood will play a sweet, provincial girl.

    The series will be produced by J.J. Abrams, who is also joined by producer Jerry Weintraub and Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk. Westworld” received pilot production commitment last August and is HBO’s first project with Bad Robot. It’s part of the new drama roster for the network as older series leave -- including “True Blood,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Newsroom."




    Rep. John Dingell figures out what a Kardashian is

    WASHINGTON -- What is a Kardashian?

    It's a valid question, and apparently Michigan Rep. John Dingell, who happens to be the longest-serving members of Congress, had no idea until today. 

    The Democrat appeared rather confused when the Environmental Protection Agency misfired a tweet about the "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" gaming app, The Washington Post reports

    "I'm now a C-List celebrity on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Come join me and become famous too by playing on iPhone!," the original tweet said. 

    Dingell saw the tweet and hilariously responded:


    Much to our chagrin, the original EPA tweet has since been deleted. But Dingell did learn a lesson or two from the experience:


    Read the full story here

    Heavy metal tweens land $1.7 million record contract

    WASHINGTON -- Have they unlocked the truth?  Well, this is definitely a start. 

    A trio of eighth-graders just signed a five-album contract with Sony that could be worth $1.78 million if the boys sell 250,000 copies of their first album. 

    Alec Atkins, Malcolm Brickhouse, and Jarad Dawkins of Unlocking the Truth are three young heavy metal-ers from Brooklyn, New York. From performances at Times’ Square to Coachella music festival, Unlocking the Truth has done more than many seasoned professionals as they pave the way for pre-teens following a dream. 

    They were discovered by Steve Jordan, Eric Clapton’s drummer, in Washington Park in 2012.  Since then, the band has skyrocketed. 

     “Welcome Back, Kotter” co-creator Alan Sacks and Brickhouse’s mother Annette Jackson manage the group.  Yet even with a seven figure contract on the horizon, Tabatha Dawkins, Jarad’s mother, says “school work comes first."

    "If their school work is not done, they don’t play," she tells the New York Post.

    So the boys do their school work during the day and play their instruments (Atkins on bass, Brickhouse on guitar, and Dawkins on drums) at night and on weekends.

    Preschool buddies Brickhouse and Dawkins first had the idea of forming the band.  Brickhouse started playing guitar at 6 years old, while Dawkins started on the drums even earlier at the age of 2.  

    They invited Atkins to join and promised to teach him how to play the bass.

    Now, with a Sony contract, the three have futures of limitless possibilities when it comes to playing heavy metal.  

    Check out the band below:


    Totally Biased: 12yo Metal Band Unlocking the Truth Performs
    by Totally Biased with W... via YouTube


    Jackson Browne comes to the Kennedy Center

    WASHINGTON -- Tickets for legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne at the Kennedy Center Sept. 14 go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m.

    Tickets range from $65 to $99. They can be purchased online here. 

    Jackson is touring in support of his 14th album, "Standing in the Breach," which features 10 songs that turn "deeply personal and political, exploring love, hope and defiance in the face of the advancing uncertainties of modern life."

    If you happen to be in the tri-state area this August, don't miss Browne and John Fogerty co-headlining two dates in New Jersey and New York. The duo plays at the PNC Bank Arts Center Aug. 4 and Jones Beach Aug. 5

    Jackson Browne - Walking Slow
    by TrixxyKatt via YouTube



    Upscale French eatery offers kid-friendly menu in honor of 'The Lion King'

    WASHINGTON -- Taking children to the theater can be challenging for some parents seeking a more "adult" experience. 

    Upscale French eatery Marcel's in Northwest D.C. is offering a potential solution to this conundrum through their new kid-friendly menu in celebration of "The Lion King.

    From the restaurant:

    "Children 12 and under can be King for a night while enjoying this $36 pre-theater menu each evening from 5-7PM before the curtains part for the six-time Tony Award-winning smash Broadway hit that has been roaring across the country. You won’t find Pumbaa and Timon’s bug buffet at Marcel’s, but children will enjoy an array of cub-friendly dishes with entrée selections such as House-made Grilled Cheese Sliders with Tomato Dipping Sauce, Crispy Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard Sauce or a lion’s share of Petite Filet Mignon with French Fries. For dessert, these savvy theatergoing guests can enjoy rich Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate “mud” Sauce before raising a glass to “Hakuna Matata” with a “Cubtail” Tropical Fruit Punch."

    Marcel's will offer free transportation to the Kennedy Center before curtain call. 

    The pre-theater menu is available 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. now through Aug. 17:

    Behind the Curtain: Disney's The Lion King
    by The Kennedy Center via YouTube

    Karl Marx book sells for $40,000

    WASHINGTON -- Here's a bit of hilarious news: A first edition copy of Karl Marx's "Das Kapital" has sold for a whopping $40,000 in an online auction. 

    Published in 1867, the book decries capitalism and the bourgeoisie. It is considered to be the founding 

    AbeBooks.com says this edition is the only one to have been published during Marx's life. It is housed in a slipcover with cloth wrapping.

    In 2011, a three-volume edition of "Das Kapital" sold for $51,739, AbeBooks says.

    Giant maze takes over National Building Museum

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Building Museum wants visitors to get lost in a new installation in the museum's Great Hall this summer.

    On Friday, the museum unveiled a large-scale maze with a series of twists and turns for visitors to navigate to find a big reveal at the center. The maze stands 18 feet high and measures 60 feet by 60 feet around.

    Read more here.



    'Sherlock' to return for fourth season in 2015

    WASHINGTON -- Next year can't come soon enough for fans of the mystery series "Sherlock."

    BBC has announced the addictive miniseries will be back for a fourth season featuring all usual suspects and (hopefully!) some favorites from past seasons. 

    "It’s far too early to say what’s coming, but we’re reasonably confident that the very next thing to happen to Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John (Martin Freeman) is the very last thing you’d expect," says co-creator, writer and executive producer Steven Moffat.

    An air date will be announced later this year. 
    'Handsome' felon gets modeling contract

    WASHINGTON -- He might have a history of violence, but California criminal Jeremy Meeks has landed a modeling contract, according to TMZ.

    The convicted felon became an Internet sensation when his mugshot was posted on the Stockton Police Department's Facebook page. 

    Watch the video below for more:

    Jeremy Meeks Gets A Modeling Contract
    by TMZ via YouTube

    Fort Reno cancels outdoor summer series 

    WASHINGTON -- The beloved outdoor summer series is grinding to a halt this year after organizers failed to reach an agreement with the National Park Service over a new requirement that at least one park officer be present at each show. 

    The organizers say they reached out to NPS, but the agency was unresponsive. 

    "With the heaviest of hearts the decision is that the concert series will be dark for 2014 in an effort to resolve this for the future," Fort Reno says in a statement. "I hope it goes without saying that this is not the outcome we expected and certainly don’t want."


    Calls to NPS and Fort Reno have not been returned. We will update this story as more information becomes available. 

    Folklife Festival to remain on National Mall 

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Park Service says it has reached an agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to keep the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.

    The agency announced a new five-year agreement Wednesday that will be signed during the festival's opening ceremony. Some festival supporters have worried new turf regulations on the National Mall would force the festival to relocate elsewhere.

    The agreement calls for the festival to be held on the National Mall between 7th and 14th streets for the next five years whenever possible.

    Next year the festival will be held between 3rd and 7th streets on the mall during the second phase of a turf restoration project. The park service says it will work with the Smithsonian to find a suitable location during the turf overhaul.


    Smithsonian Folklife Festival Introduction
    by SmithsonianFolklife via YouTube

    New 'Hunger Games' teaser released online

    WASHINGTON -- It's hard to believe that another installment of the wildly popular "Hunger Games" franchise is around the corner.
    And yet, here we are. 

    The first trailer for "Mockingjay: Part 1" surfaced earlier this week and features a rather creepy Donald Sutherland as President Snow. 

    Check it out below:

    President Snow's Panem Address - "Together as One" (4K)
    by The Hunger Games via YouTube

    • United States

    Weekend Best Bets: BBQ Battle, BrewFest, Outdoor World Cup Viewing

    Mary de Pompa  WTOP News

    All Weekend:

    • The 22nd Annual Safeway Barbecue Battle along Pennsylvania Avenue is non-stop music, family entertainment, cooking demos, interactive exhibits, food and more. For info 
    • Red Bull Volkswagen Rallycross in D.C. turns RFK Stadium into a motocross mecca with live music, entertainment, interactive games and of course dirt, jumps and racing. For info 
    • The Full Moon Festival at the Full Moon Ranch in Berryville, Virginia, is a weekend long family music festival ranging from acoustic, rock, country to jam bands with a little something for everyone including animal rides, hiking, hayrides and more. For info 
    • 7th Annual Northern Virginia Summer BrewFest held in Morven Park just north of Leesburg is a craft beer festival celebrating microbreweries from around the country with tastings, demonstrations, music and a kids zone. For info 
    • Great Scale Model Train Show is at the Maryland State Fairgrounds all weekend with a magical excursion into miniature world layouts transcending time and place complete with a Thomas-themed play area. For info 
    • Disney’s The Lion King at the Kennedy Center has various shows and times all weekend. For info

    Saturday, June 21:

    • The Alexandria Food & Wine Festival transforms Carlyle Square into a festival venue featuring local food, wine and artisans, a children’s corner and live entertainment. For Info 
    • The 8th Annual Clifton Wine Festival features local wineries, foods, arts and crafts, music and kids activities tucked away in the historic town of Clifton, Virginia. For info 
    • DCTV’s Community Day Festival, at Brooks Mansion in Northeast D.C. features bands, comedians, DJs, kids activities and more. For info 
    • Eastport Rockin’ in Annapolis, Maryland, is a homegrown local music festival with three stages, great eats, free kids zone and fun for everyone. For info 

    Saturday Night:

    • Wolf Trap Filene Center host Sing Along With Grease an interactive movie showing that features goody bags filled with fun props to use throughout the event. For info 
    • O Street Museum in Northwest D.C. presents award winning indie folk rockers from the UK, House of Hats. For info 
    • The Hamilton Live hosts premiere jazz trumpeter, Roy Hargrove. For info 
    • The Howard Theatre offers the Afro-punk, four octave range of Alice Smith. For info 
    • 9:30 Club presents a few local favorites with The 9 Songwriter Series. For info 
    • Rams Head Annapolis hosts the contemporary jazz quartet, Fourplay. For info 
    • Jammin' Java presents Stephen Kellogg’s SK Family BBQ with Jon McLaughlin. For info 

    Sunday June 22:

    • Tall Ship Invasion at the Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland is family-friendly event with ships sailing a convoy along the Patuxent River and anchoring to re-enactment the Battle of St. Leonard Creek. For info 
    • DC United’s World Cup Viewing Party at the Reston Town Center Pavilion celebrates soccer on the big screens outdoors with food and beverages, entertainment and family zone. For into 

    Sunday Night:

    • Jiffy Lube Live host multi-instrumental folk country mix of the Zac Brown Band. For info 
    • Rams Head Annapolis presents the classic R&B, rock and soul sounds of Marc Broussard. For info 
    • The Hamilton Live presents zydeco showman Chubby Carrier Honey Island Swamp Band. For info 
    • The State Theatre hosts the reformation of Thin Lizzy with Black Star Riders. For info 
    • The Howard Theatre hosts legendary blues master in the Taj Mahal Trio. For info 
    • Jammin' Java presents Negotiations & Love Song: A Songwriters Circle Tribute to Paul Simon. For info
    • Rock n Roll Hotel presents Jolie Holland. For info 
    • Bethesda Blues & Jazz hosts two- time Grammy winner in An Evening with Rickie Lee Jones. For info 

    AFI Docs kicks off tonight at the Newseum

    WASHINGTON -- Film buffs rejoice. One of the country's premiere film festivals opens Wednesday night with a screening of "Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey" at the Newseum. 

    HOLBROOK/TWAIN: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY with Dir. Scott Teems
    by TheLipTV via YouTube

    If you don't have tickets to tonight's opening event, check out a full list of screenings at various locations in Maryland and D.C.

    The festival closes Saturday night with a screening of the Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself” followed by a Q&A between WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley and the film’s director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”). We’ll have a preview of that event, and interviews with other at AFI Docs filmmakers Friday morning on
    WTOP.
     


    Life Itself - Trailer #1
    by IGN via YouTube



    (Courtesy National Building Museum) 


    BIG Maze unveiled July 4 at the National Building Museum

    WASHINGTON -- Before the fireworks kick off this July 4, consider getting lost in a maze. 

    The National Building Museum is unveiling its latest exhibit -- an 18-foot high labyrinth fittingly named the BIG Maze. 

    The plywood structure  is being revealed this Independence Day, just in time for the museum's annual Summer Block Party, which features Sunday concerts, food from local vendors and interactive activities for the whole family. 

    The maze will be on display through September. 

    Click here to watch a livestream of the maze being built. And click here for viewing information. 
    Redskins WR Jackson to emcee comedy night in Bethesda Thursday

    WASHINGTON -- Want to meet new Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson? Check out the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club tonight, where Jackson will host a night of comedy.

    The event begins at 7 p.m., with tickets ranging from $25-$45. The lineup for the evening includes Red Grant, Huggy LowDown, Chris Paul, Chris Thomas and Tony Woods.

    Jackson will use the platform to help fight bullying, a campaign he has devoted time and effort to through his foundation.

    For more on how to get tickets for tonight's event, visit http://www.bethesdabluesjazz.com.
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