Sounds of the Season

By Lavanya Ramanathan
Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hearing voices again? It's not just your imagination. Today, the sounds of the holiday are ringing out across town as three seasonal choral events get underway:

Through tomorrow, the Cathedral Choral Society performs its holiday standard, "The Joy of Christmas," at the Washington National Cathedral. The program includes a performance by the United Voices Scandinavian Youth Choir, carols meant for the audience to sing along ("O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") and a new carol, "My Beloved Son," by Gwyneth Walker. Tickets, $20-$80, are limited. Today and tomorrow at 4 p.m. Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenues NW. 202-537-5527.

If you're in the mood to sing, the Universalist National Memorial Church (the big one at 16th and S streets NW) today hosts a nondenominational evening of Christmas caroling, which begins at the church and travels on 17th Street toward Dupont Circle. Free. 6 p.m. Meet at the church. 202-387-3411. At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, it's time for the annual Community Carol Sing, led by the Congressional Chorus. Of two shows tomorrow, free tickets remain for the 7 p.m. show. Reservations are required, so call ahead. 1333 H St. NE. 202-399-7993.

And on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage today, the Washington Performing Arts Society's Children of the Gospel Choir performs holiday classics. Perhaps it's just practice for when the kids get to perform on the "Today" show on Christmas Day? Cheer them on today at 6 p.m. Free. 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600.

Save the Date

ON STAGE "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" More silliness from the people who brought you "Bat Boy: The Musical." Landless Theatre Company is taking on "Pageant," a newish play (it debuted in New York in 2003, the creation of Kyle Jarrow and Alex Timbers) that's performed just like a children's Christmas pageant, complete with an all-child cast. But these tykes won't be acting out the story of Mary and a manger. No, they'll recount the tale of L. Ron Hubbard and a spaceship -- and Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The quirky play has won accolades for its cheeky handling of the subject matter; no one's really sure if it's a damning sendup of Scientology or, in fact, in awe of its success. $18; DCAC members $15 at the door. Dec. 20 through Jan. 13. Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. D.C. Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Visit

CONCERT B.B. King, With Lucille, of Course The 82-year-old bluesman is still going strong, and after a summer stop in Baltimore with Al Green and Little Richard during his B.B. King Blues Festival, King returns for two dates at Strathmore with Henry Butler. (Lucille, of course, is his guitar.) $57-$87. March 3-4. 7:30 p.m. both nights. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301-581-5100.

CONCERT Ace Frehley The rocker most famous for being Kiss's lead guitarist left that band for good several years ago. But he's still Ace to us. He's about to play two nights of shows late this month at Springfield metal outpost Jaxx. Dec. 27, it's an all-ages show (so parents can bring the kids); Dec. 28, it's 21 and older. $40; $35 in advance through Ticketmaster. 6355 Rolling Rd., West Springfield. 202-397-7328.

The District


FOR FAMILIES "Jungle Books" CityDance Ensemble hosts a weekend of dance performances based on Rudyard Kipling's tales from the Indian jungle. Eight dancers will base their movements on those of animals, accompanied by live music. $30; children $18. Today and tomorrow at 1 and 4:30 p.m. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW. 202-547-1122.


THE SCENE The Word From the Avant-Garde Buck Downs and Doug Rothschild are the featured readers at tomorrow's "In Your Ear" poetry event at the District of Columbia Arts Center. The series offers a forum for alternative and experimental poetry. $3. 3 p.m. DCAC, 2438 18th St. NW. 202-462-7833.


EXHIBIT New in the Black Box: "Rivane Neuenschwander" Neuenschwander (pronounced ri-VAH-nee NOO-un-schvan-der) is the next artist whose films will be shown at the Hirshhorn's mini theater, but films aren't what this Brazilian is known for. She works in all kinds of media, including photography, but a theme that carries through is her exploration of life and impermanence. One of the films, "Quarta-Feira de Cinzas/Epilogue," a collaboration with Cao Guimaraes, shows ants carrying confetti. The show opens Monday. Free. Open daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (closed Christmas Day). Through April 20. Seventh and Independence SW. 202-633-1000.


ON STAGE "Titus X," the Musical How often do you get to see a play at the Black Cat? On Tuesday, that's where Bouncing Ball performs this punk version of Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus," written by Shawn Northrip. And if you think about it, a punk soundtrack makes a lot of sense: "Titus" is among the bloodiest of Shakespeare's plays, what with all its rape, murder and cannibalism. (Songs include "Death Pie.") The play, abbreviated for the club setting, was developed with Catholic University and premiered at the Kennedy Center's Page to Stage Festival in 2002. $8. 9 p.m. Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-397-7328.



CLOSING "Black Panther Rank and File" This traveling exhibition of historical documents, photographs, Panther newspapers, posters and African American art -- assembled to mark the 40th anniversary of the organization's founding in 1966 -- closes tomorrow at Baltimore's Maryland Institute College of Art. Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today, noon-5 p.m. tomorrow. Decker and Meyerhoff galleries, 1303 Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore. 410-225-2300.


ON STAGE Funny Times With Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter Black, the deadpan comic from comedy troupes the State and Stella, and Showalter, his partner in work and crime, perform stand-up tomorrow night at Ottobar. What to expect: Well, one New York Magazine blog, reviewing a show earlier this month, mentioned something about a "cavalcade" of jokes about the male anatomy. Spread out over, like, 2 1/2 hours. So it's not for families. $17. 9 p.m. 2549 N. Howard St., Baltimore. 410-662-0069 or visit for advance tickets.

ON STAGE Dark Heart of Shakespeare The Maryland Shakespeare Festival in Frederick hosts its last reading in this series, which covers the plays deemed some of the darkest that the Bard dreamed up. "The Winter's Tale" is tomorrow at 4 p.m. $10; students and seniors $8. Centennial Memorial Methodist Church, 8 W. Second St., Frederick. 301-668-4090.

Northern Virginia


THE HOLIDAYS " 'Tis the Season" at the Planetarium The Arlington Planetarium's multi-culti annual program looks skyward to find the origins of holidays through the ages, with music and visuals. $3; $2 for ages 12 and younger and seniors. Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 1:30 and 3 p.m. Through Dec. 22. 1426 N. Quincy St., Arlington. 703-228-6070.


THE HOLIDAYS The Colonial Handbell Ringers Decked out in Colonial dress and bearing more than 60 bronze bells, the handbell ringers hit the Lyceum tomorrow for a show that this year takes the theme "Ring Back the Memories," featuring movie music and a slew of seasonal classics. Free. 3 p.m. 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria. Call 703-838-4994 for weather cancellation info.


THE SCENE Open Mike at Iota The club and cafe hosts its weekly folk- and bluegrass-tinged open mike with local artist Justin Trawick playing a 30-minute set as the featured artist. Free. 8 p.m. 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-522-8340.

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