Can't Miss

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Five reasons

to get off your couch

this week:

1 Cherry Blossom Festival Rugby Tournament

For Washingtonians, the annual flower fest usually means an infusion of all things Japanese. But the Washington Rugby Football Club offers an alternative to kites and kaito drums when it hosts its 40th-annual tournament. The event features both men's and women's teams from the Eastern United States and Canada competing at a variety of skill levels. The premiere match is a showdown between teams from the USA Rugby Super League. First timers beware: We've heard that even standing near a real scrum can result in cauliflower ears.

Saturday-April 9, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The National Mall, JFK Hockey Fields, between the Lincoln and World War II memorials on the south side of the Reflecting Pool. Free. 703-927-2834.

2 Six Points Music Festival

More than 40 bands perform at 13 area venues during the annual festival of local music. Culled by a selection committee from more than 200 applicants, the chosen bands represent a cross section of the local music scene, including up-and-comers (Army of Me) and veterans (Emmet Swimming). Now in its third year, event organizer Melissa DePaulis has big plans for the festival. "We'd like to expand into more venues, as well as add panels that will appeal to those interested in the music business," she says.

Thursday-Saturday. For a complete list of participating bands and locations, see Venues and pricing vary.

3 Julia Alvarez

The author's fifth novel, "Saving the World," tells the story of two women, living centuries apart, who each find themselves on the losing side of efforts to stem virulent diseases. How they both handle their personal defeats propels the narrative. Alvarez visits town to talk about her new work, which includes aspects of the true story of the Spanish Royal Philanthropic Expedition of 1803.

Friday at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. 202-364-1919.

4 Brick

When writer-director Rian Johnson's new film took home the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision, it climbed to the top of our must-see list. The film noir murder mystery, starring the underappreciated Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a tale about contemporary Southern California high school students who act and talk like 1940s-style gangsters. Here's hoping it's the Dashiell Hammett-meets-"The O.C." whodunit we've been waiting for.

Opens Friday at Landmark E Street Cinema.

5 Frank Caliendo

Sports fans' favorite comic is known for his dead-on impression of football luminary John Madden. In fact, the "Mad TV" cast member's version of Madden is so dead-on it has even earned him spots making picks on "Fox NFL Sunday" and "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." This is a good event for the man's-man comedy fan who isn't quite a full-fledged Neanderthal.

Thursday at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m. April 9 at 8 p.m. DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $25-$27. 202-296-7008.

-- Justin Rude

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