The millennium arrives, with these celebrations in Washington:
* America's Millennium is the big New Year's Eve celebration on the Mall. Actor Will Smith will host a free, three-hour nationally televised show featuring numerous stars of stage and screen, starting Friday at 10 p.m. from the Lincoln Memorial, followed by a Steven Spielberg film, "The Unfinished Journey," and a midnight fireworks show. See Page 27 for more details. Call 888/294-2100 or visit the Web site: www.americasmillennium.gov.
* The Smithsonian Institution will host three days of indoor activities, Friday through Sunday 11:30 to 5, with dozens of discussions and performances about a variety of subjects. See Page 27 for more details. Call 202/357-2700 (TDD: 202/357-1729).
* The District of Columbia will hold a festival Friday from 10 to midnight and Saturday 11 to 6 along Constitution Avenue NW between 10th and 14th streets NW. The festival will feature huge tents with exhibits and activities and five stages of entertainment. See Page 27 for more details. Call 202/727-8449 or visit the Web site: www.2000dc.com.
There are these alcohol-free, family-oriented First Night celebrations on Friday:
* First Night Alexandria, with entertainment by Ruthie & the Wranglers, the Alexandria Choral Society, Foggy Bottom Morris Men, Bonnie Rideout and other groups, from 6 to midnight in numerous venues in and around King and Washington streets in Old Town. There will be midnight fireworks above the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr. Admission buttons are $12 (children under 7 free) and can be bought at the event and in advance at Giant Food stores and St. Elmo's Coffee Pubs in Northern Virginia. Call 703/836-1526 or visit the Web site: www.firstnightalexandria.org.
* First Night Annapolis transforms the historic district of Maryland's capital into an indoor and outdoor stage with more than 300 events, including concerts, dance troupes, dancing parties, dramatic performances and storytelling. A midnight fireworks finale preceded by a "Crab Countdown" welcomes the arrival of the new year. Admission buttons are $15, $10 for ages 4 through 10 (younger free). Call 410/280-0700 or visit the Web site: www.firstnightannapolis.org.
* Baltimore's New Year's Eve Extravaganza features children's entertainment and live music, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Inner Harbor. Entertainers include the Mahoney Brothers, Mama Jama and DJ Dan "the Man" Gladding. Other activities include a parade of gigantic puppets and marching bands; a magic show and hands-on activities for children, and fireworks over the harbor at midnight. Call 800/282-6632 or visit the Web site: www.bop.org.
* First Night Leesburg marks the New Year with more than 100 events, including concerts, historical reenactments, puppet shows, storytellers, hayrides and other activities from 6 to midnight in the historic area around King and Market streets. Admission buttons are $7, $5 for ages 6 to 12 (under 6 free) and will be sold at booths in the historic area. Call 800/752-6118, Ext. 2.
* First Night Montgomery County features more than 100 performers on 16 indoor stages at the Montgomery County Fairground, on Perry Parkway off Route 355 in Gaithersburg. The program starts at 3 with a free children's program that features Dinorock Puppets and other entertainers, plus fireworks at 6. At 7 the entertainment includes Little Feat, the Seldom Scene, DaVinci's Notebook and Native American dancers and drummers. Admission to the evening events is $5, children 10 and younger free. Admission buttons will be sold on site and in advance at Giant Food stores, libraries, recreation centers and government centers. Parking is free and free shuttles will run between the festival and the Shady Grove Metro station. Call 240/777-6821 or visit the Web site: www.co.mo.md.us/rec/fnm.html.
'Fantasia' in IMAX
A new IMAX version of a Disney classic, "Fantasia/2000," opens Saturday at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. Show times are at 10, 11:40, 1:20, 2:50 and 4:30 every day, plus at 6, 7:30 and 9 Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission to only the IMAX film is $12, $11 seniors and $10 children 4 through 12. A combination ticket, giving admission to the IMAX movie, the planetarium show and the science center exhibits and activities, is $15, $13 for seniors and $12 for children. "Fantasia/2000" will run through April 30. The center is at 601 Light St., Baltimore, on the south side of the Inner Harbor. Call 410/685-5225.
Graves in Concert
Opera star Denyce Graves will sing a program of classical, jazz and spiritual works, Friday at 7 at the National City Christian Church, 14th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW. Remaining tickets are $50 to $100. Call 202/232-0323.
A major renovation of the Old Patent Office Building will force the closing of the National Museum of American Art starting Tuesday and the National Portrait Gallery starting Jan. 10. The museums will remain closed for approximately three years. At the National Museum of American Art, current exhibitions include "Edward Hopper: The Watercolors" and the "Sara Robey Foundation Collection." And at the Portrait Gallery, current exhibitions include "Tete a Tete: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson" and "A Durable Memento: Portraits by Augustus Washington, African American Daguerreotypist." The building is bordered by Seventh, Ninth, F and G streets NW; the entrance to the National Museum of American Art is at Eighth and G streets NW, and the entrance to the National Portrait Gallery is at Eighth and F streets NW (Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown). The museums are open from 10 to 5:30 daily. Admission is free. Call 202/357-2700 (TDD: 202/357-1729).
Six decades of painting by Washington artist Jacob Kainen (who turned 90 earlier this month) are celebrated in two small, concurrent exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW (202/639-1700), and the National Museum of American Art, Eighth and G streets NW (202/357-2700).
-- Michael O'Sullivan
Bless those Slickee Boys for not slipping away into the mists of punk rock past. On Saturday, you would do well to consider nursing your champagne hangover with a trip to the 9:30 club (202/393-0930) for the annual reunion of the Slickees, Washington's answer (20 years ago) to bands like the Buzzcocks and the Ramones.
-- Eric Brace
REST OF THE BEST
Time is running out to visit these holiday light shows:
The Miracle of Lights drive-through holiday light show, which benefits the Medical Care for Children Partnership, runs through Jan. 8 in Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Dr., in Centreville. The show is open from 5:30 to 10:30 every night, except New Year's Eve. Admission to the light show is $12 per vehicle with up to 14 passengers. Take I-66 west to Exit 52, go south on Route 29 two miles, turn left on Bull Run Post Office Road and follow signs. Call 703/709-5437.
The Symphony of Lights features more than 70 animated and stationary holiday light creations. The Howard County General Hospital's fund-raiser runs from 6 to 11 through Sunday. Admission is $12 per car, van or RV with up to 11 passengers. Take U.S. 29 north to Exit 18-B (Broken Land Parkway) and follow signs to the Merriweather Post Pavilion/Symphony Woods entrance. Call 410/740-7666.
See a display of more than 500,000 lights forming animals, plants and fountains at Brookside Garden's Garden of Lights, from 5:30 to 9 through Sunday. Last visitors are admitted at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 per car. Brookside Gardens is at 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton. Call 301/962-1453.
Gaithersburg's Winter Lights Festival, a 3.5-mile drive-through exhibit of more than 200 illuminated displays, is open Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 at Seneca Creek State Park, 16950 Clopper Rd., Gaithersburg. Admission is $10 per car. 301/258-6350.
Drive through the Festival of Lights, a display of more than 450,000 lights, featuring a giant tree, lighted train station, Santa and the reindeer and more, from 5 to 9:30 nightly through Sunday at Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro. Admission is free; a donation of canned goods is encouraged. Call 301/699-2456 (TDD: 301/699-2544).
More than 300,000 lights decorate the grounds and landscaping around the Visitors Center in the Festival of Lights at the Washington Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from 5 to 10 nightly through Sunday. The Visitors Center is at 9900 Stoneybrook Dr., Kensington. Call 301/587-0144.
White House Tours
The White House will be open to visitors on New Year's Day from noon to 2 and will hold its final candlelight tours of the holiday season on Tuesday from 5 to 7. No tickets are required for either tour. The line begins at the southeast gate, East Executive Avenue and E Street (Metro: McPherson Square, Metro Center, Farragut North). Call 202/208-1631.