Tysons, VA

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Dec. 8)

Wednesday (Dec. 9)

  • Gingerbread Houses Crafternoon (Online) — 3-3:30 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will go live on its Facebook page to make gingerbread houses. Participants can pick up Grab and Go Kits at the library at 120 N. Virginia Ave. through Dec. 15, while supplies last.
  • Reopening FCPS Schools — 6 p.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St. S) — The Town of Vienna is hosting a town hall meeting with Hunter Mill School Board Representative Melanie Meren to discuss questions and concerns regarding reopening Fairfax County Public Schools.
  • “The Red Balloon” in Community Hall — 7 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — MCC is hosting a free screening of the French short film The Red Balloon. Attendees must wear a face covering and practice social distancing. To register, use this link.
  • Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The Alden‘s professional teen improv company, The Unruly Theatre Project, will present an hour-long improv show. Tickets are free, but registrations must be made at least two hours in advance of the show’s start time. To register, use this link.

Sunday (Dec. 13)

  • McLean Uncorked Part 2 (Online) — 5-6 p.m. — Participants can enjoy four pre-purchased, unique wines during a virtual wine tasting with The Wine Outlet in McLean. Participants can purchase the wines by visiting the store in person (6727 Curran St.) or by shopping online.
  • Holiday Wine Tasting (Online) — 3 p.m. — Participants can enjoy six wines and an Italian snack platter. The cost is $99 for two people. Tasting kits can be picked up from Thompson Italian (124 N Washington St.) between 12-1:30 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 13).

Photo via Thompson Italian/Facebook

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The McLean Citizens Association will hold a virtual public forum with Fairfax County’s head prosecutor in two weeks to discuss criminal justice policy and reform.

According to the event announcement, Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano will be present to speak about several justice issues including:

  • The Fairfax County Police Department’s body-worn camera program
  • The 2020 Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Resources Report
  • His request for additional funding to expand staffing for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and its implications for enforcement of criminal laws in Fairfax County
  • An update on criminal justice reform legislation from the 2020 Virginia General Assembly’s special session and what the policy changes mean for Fairfax County

The virtual forum will take place Wednesday (Dec. 16). at 7 p.m.

Those who wish to attend can watch on MCA’s Facebook page or register on its website.

Photo via McLean Citizens Association/Facebook

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The holiday season is here, but it will look a little different this year as communities try to create a festive environment while following public health guidelines for reducing the possible spread of COVID-19.

Starting this week, The Boro in Tysons (8350 Broad St.) will celebrate the holidays throughout December with a series of public events for all ages:

  • Festive Art Installation (Dec. 1-27) — The Boro Park will feature a variety of art, including gift boxes, festive cutouts, and holiday lights. Guests are encouraged to post their photos on social media and tag @theborotysons to be entered in a weekly raffle for a swag bag with items from local retailers.
  • Elves at The Boro Scavenger Hunt (Dec. 1-28) — Hidden elves will be spread out across The Boro all month long. People who find a hidden elf and post a photo of the elf on social media while tagging @theborotysons will automatically win a $5 Flower Child gift card. They will also be entered into a weekly raffle.
  • Make & Take Holiday Crafting with Paper Source (Dec. 2-16, 5-7 p.m.) — For $10, guests can obtain kits for seasonal crafts kits such as paper wreaths and 2D globes. The kits include all required materials as well as a $10 gift card to Paper Source. Those who wish to participate can sign up through this link.
  • The Boro Howliday Series (Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 11 a.m.) — Guests and their pets can visit The Boro Park’s pop-up dog zone for fun events and treats for both humans and pets. This event is free, but preregistration is required. To register, use this link.

All events will practice social distancing, and guests 5 or older are required to wear a face covering. The Boro says there will also be sanitation measures taken at each event.

For more information about The Boro’s schedule for this holiday season, visit the company’s website.

Photo via The Boro Tysons/Facebook

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Updated on 12/1/2020 — The Church Street Holiday Stroll was moved online this year. The live stream of the event can still be viewed on the Town of Vienna’s Facebook page. Tysons Reporter apologizes for any confusion or inconvenience caused by the outdated information in the Weekly Planner.

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (Nov. 30)

  • Church Street Holiday Stroll — 6-8:30 p.m. at Vienna’s Historic Church St. (131 Church St.) — Enjoy favorite holiday tunes performed by school choruses and others, along with s’mores, children’s activities, and more, the website says.

Tuesday (Dec. 1)

  • Holiday Gingerbread Decorating (Dec. 1-25) — 6:30-8 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — McLean Community Center will provide a pre-built gingerbread house, traditional candy decorations, and frosting. To register, use this link.
  • Children’s Book Writing and Publishing Workshop (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — Learn how to effectively write, publish, and market a children’s book with a masterclass from Global Book Publishing CEO Sush Dutta. To register, use this link.

Thursday (Dec. 3)

  • The Boro Howliday Series — 5:30-7 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — Pets and their owners can enjoy a dog pop-up zone. Toys and treats will be provided for the dogs, and guests can enjoy treats as well with specialty seasonal warm beverages, the website says.

Friday (Dec. 4)

  • Fairfax Virtual Employment Expo (Online) — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — In lieu of its usual employment expo in Fairfax County, the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington is hosting several virtual events. Job seekers of age 50 or more can attend workshops and network with employers. To register, use this link.

Saturday (Dec. 5)

  • McLean Holiday Arts & Crafts Festival (December 5-6) — 9 a.m to 5 p.m. — The McLean Holiday Art & Crafts Festival is a juried arts show. See behind the scenes and watch how these artists create their masterpieces. Support the arts and buy a unique gift for someone special, the website said. Admission is free. To register, use this link.
  • Cookies with Santa — 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (400 Center St. S.) — Share holiday wishes and Mrs. Claus’s delicious holiday cookies with the jolly ol’ elf, the website said. The cost is $5 per person. To register, use this link.

Staff photo by Ashley Hopko

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (Nov. 23)

  • Monday Game Challenge (Online) — 3:30-6:30 p.m. — During this event hosted by the McLean Community Center, participants will play Call of Duty: Warzone. To register, use this link.

Tuesday (Nov. 24)

  • #WhereIsSanta Scavenger Hunt — 12 p.m. in Vienna — The Town of Vienna launches a weekly scavenger hunt today. Clues to Santa’s location will be posted to the Town’s Facebook page at noon every Tuesday until Dec. 22. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card if they take a photo with Santa and share it on social media, tagging @TownofViennaVa and #WhereisSanta.

Wednesday (Nov. 25)

  • Thanksgiving Wine Tasting — 12-4 p.m. at The Wine Outlet of McLean (6727 Curran St.) — Taste Thanksgiving wines while supporting the Rotary Club of Tysons Corner, the website said. The cost is $15 per person. Each 30-minute session is limited to 10 people. To register for one of the 30-minute time slots, use this link.

Friday (Nov. 27)

  • Mary Chapin Carpenter: One Night Lonely (Online) — 8-11 p.m. — Wolf Trap will stream a recording of the singer performing solo with no audience at the Filene Center. You can buy tickets, which start at $20, through Wolf Trap’s website.
  • The Grinch’s Grotto — 12-8 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center — Starting today through Dec. 31, families can reserve private meet-and-greet sessions with the Grinch at Tysons Corner Center. Tickets cost $50 for general admission or $200 for the VIP experience. One ticket covers admission for up to five people, and visitors are asked to arrive 15 minutes ahead of their scheduled time due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Saturday (Nov. 28)

  • Christmas Tree Sales — 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekends, 4-8 p.m. on weekdays at the corner of Maple Avenue and Branch Road — The Optimist Club of Greater Vienna will start selling Christmas trees, wreaths, tree stands, and roping this weekend. Sales fund awards, scholarships, and other honors for local students.

Photo via Wine Outlet/Facebook

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, a number of local restaurants are preparing an array of possible feasts that can be taken home, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces families to rethink the usual communal celebrations.

Vienna’s Clarity (442 Maple Ave. E.) will have ThanksgivingToGo, the website said. For $45, diners can enjoy a turkey, sweet potatoes, french beans, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Clarity chef and owner Jon Krinn says he is happy to be able to provide this carryout service during this holiday season.

“We are thankful that we are in a position to provide for ourselves and our guests, and we want everyone to stay safe so we can all get through this,” Krinn said. “Nothing can take away the relationships and bonds we have built and strengthened this year.”

Other local Vienna restaurants offering Thanksgiving to-go specials include:

In McLean, J. Gilbert’s will serve its guests a three-course turkey dinner and assemble Thanksgiving carryout kits for those who choose to eat at home.

The restaurant’s general manager, Jim Hetrick, says the health and safety of his customers during this holiday season will be the restaurant’s top priority.

“Thanksgiving dinner will be the same great feast that our guests have travelled miles to enjoy in previous years,” Hetrick said. “…This year we have adapted additional measures so our guests can be confident when they dine with us.”

J. Gilbert’s safety measures include socially distancing its tables, performing continuous sanitizing throughout the restaurant, requiring all employees to wear masks, and monitoring the team on a daily basis.

Kazan Restaurant (6813 Redmond Drive) is among the other McLean restaurants that will offer takeout Thanksgiving meals to-go.

Urban Plates in Tysons will serve Thanksgiving Dinner for both dine-in and take out. Chief Marketing Officer Steve Greer says its customers can expect the holiday dinner to be healthy with all offerings made from scratch, including organic produce and cage-free turkeys with no hormones or antibiotics.

“Thanksgiving this year may look different, but at Urban Plates, we’re committed to offering healthy, wholesome meals at affordable prices throughout the holiday season,” Greer said. “…We want to take the stress out of cooking a Thanksgiving meal so that you can enjoy meaningful time with those you’re with, rather than with your kitchen.”

A few other restaurants in Tysons that will provide Thanksgiving to-go includes:

Local restaurants in Merrifield that will serve traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving meals include:

Falls Church also have a few restaurants that will serve customers on Thanksgiving Day:

Photo via Clarity Restaurant 

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (Nov. 16)

  • Light Up McLean Holiday Decorating Contest — (Nov. 16 – Dec. 9) — The Light Up McLean Holiday Decorating Competition is your opportunity to show off your home in all its holiday splendor, the website says. The competition is open to the first 15 registered households. To register, use this link.
  • Monday Game Challenge (Online) — 3:30-6:30 p.m. — During this event hosted by the McLean Community Center, participants will play Call of Duty: Warzone. To register, use this link.

Tuesday (Nov. 17)

  • Affordable Housing Community Conversation (Online) — 7 p.m. — Falls Church residents will have a conversation about affordable housing, featuring a panel of local experts on social equity, the website says. The conversation will take place via Zoom. Email Pete Sullivan, [email protected], to register.

Wednesday (Nov. 18)

  • Turkey in Trouble Crafternoon (Online) — 3-3:3o p.m. — Join the Mary Riley Styles Public Library on Facebook to talk about camouflage and strategies to keep turkey from being eaten. Craft kits are available for pick up at MRSPL (120 N. Virginia Ave.) through Nov. 24. The craft video will remain on the MRSPL Facebook page in the Crafternoon playlist.
  • Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m.– The Alden‘s professional teen improv company, The Unruly Theatre Project, is dedicated to bringing comedic productions to the community, the website says. To register, use this link.

Friday (Nov. 20)

  • Photos with Santa (Nov. 20 – Dec. 24) — 12-8 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — Santa will be in Tysons Corner Center’s Fashion Court at the intersection of the Nordstrom and Bloomingdale wings starting Nov. 20, the website says. A visit with Santa will be free, and photo packages will be available for purchase.
  • Mayor’s Walk — 9:30 a.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St. S.) — Enjoy a chat and stroll through the Town of Vienna with Mayor Linda Colbert, the website says.
  • Virtual Family Fun Night (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — Gather the whole family around the computer or tablet and get ready for some socially distant trivia, according to the McLean Community Center website. The cost is $5 for resident families and $8 for non-resident families. To register, use this link.

Photo via DrZ/Unsplash 

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After a decade of working day jobs in fields like risk management and travel insurance, Vienna filmmaker Giuseppe Lucarelli, 40, is hitting a career milestone with the release of his first film on Blu-ray and DVD today.

Checkmate, originally titled Bystander, is currently available on Amazon and Google Play. Last year, the film screened at the Action on Film Mega Fest in Las Vegas, where it won Best Editing, and the Hollywood Dreams International Film Festival, receiving nine award nominations between the two festivals.

Lucarelli also submitted a short, Malanak, at the two festivals that received a collective seven nominations, winning Best Title and Best Graphics at the Hollywood Dreams International Festival.

Lucarelli says he is excited to see his first film available in stores.

“Getting distribution was our goal,” Lucarelli said. “We were so excited when Indie Rights partnered with us to distribute our film. It’s a true accomplishment, and to do it with my very first film, it feels great.  It’s exciting that it will be available in stores around the country.”

Though he still has a day job as a real estate agent for Weichert Realty in Vienna, Lucarelli has accrued an impressive range of skills and experience as a filmmaker.

In addition to writing, producing, directing, editing, and sometimes acting, he is the founder and owner of Mountain Wind Productions. The company has produced two independent films, including Checkmate and The First Seal, as well as small commercials for local companies.

Lucarelli is an alumnus of West Virginia University where he received a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology in 2002 and Master of Science in industrial relations and rehabilitation counseling in 2006.

Lucarelli took acting classes while attending West Virginia University, but it wasn’t until he was working in risk management with Liberty Mutual in 2007 that he began learning the business side of film during his free time.

“What I was doing was basically getting paid for education,” Lucarelli explained. “I was sitting there watching the crews, the big crews, learning what they were doing right, especially from a structural standpoint, what they were doing doing poorly,  learning the ropes that way.”

In 2009, Lucarelli returned to West Virginia University, where he accepted a teaching position as a visiting instructor and pursued a Master of Business Administration. After obtaining his MBA in 2013, Lucarelli bought an LLC for Mountain Wind Productions.

After college, Lucarelli worked full-time for Travelers Insurance and part-time for Mountain Wind Productions. He left Travelers in 2016 and began working with his production company full-time.

Lucarelli compares being an independent filmmaker to being a soccer coach.

“So much of the coaching is done before the game that once they’re out there, the players have to go,” Lucarelli said. “You can yell and bark, but players have to make the decision. So, 80% of the directing is done in pre-production. I talk with my actors a lot. I’m very engaged, but I feel like if everybody’s having a good time, they’ll put their best foot forward.”

Lucarelli says he enjoys being an independent filmmaker in Northern Virginia because of the large talent base, especially those he’s interacted with through Women in Film & Video of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit that provides support and resources to media professionals. He serves as an at-large member on the organization’s board of directors.

“We have a lot of accomplished documentarians and filmmakers in the area,” Lucarelli said. “…[Women in Film & Video] is just a wonderful organization, and we do a lot of great things for members ranging from students to very, very, very accomplished people. It’s a great network, it’s been nice to be a part of, and [I’ve] found a lot of very good people in there.”

When it comes to advice for aspiring independent filmmakers, Lucarelli suggests taking classes and learning the business side of the movie industry.

“Having an understanding of business is a really important thing,” he said.

Photo courtesy Guiseppe Lucarelli

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Nov. 10)

  • On Deck with Mercury — 5-7 p.m. at Vienna Community Center’s Southside Room (120 Cherry St. E) — This month’s community forum with Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton will focus on sidewalk projects, the Town says.
  • Mayor @ Your Service — 7:30 p.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St. S) — Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert will talk about volunteerism during the COVID-19 pandemic in a presentation and conversation about Town programs and initiatives, Vienna history, or other topics of interest.

Wednesday (Nov. 11)

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walks of Lights — 5:30-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) — Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is open nightly starting Wednesday (Nov. 11) through Sunday (Jan. 3), the website says. The price ranges from $9 to $15.

Thursday (Nov. 12)

  • Cross Stitch Crafternoon (Online) — 3-3:30 p.m. — Join the Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s Facebook page to get started on a cross stitch project, the City of Falls Church website says. Craft kits are available for pick up at MRSPL (120 N. Virginia Ave.) through Thursday (Nov. 19). The craft video will remain on the MRSPL Facebook page in the Crafternoon playlist.

Saturday (Nov. 14)

  • Yoga and Beer — 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Solace Outpost (444 West Broad St.) — Roll out your mat on the spacious patio of Solace Outpost, in the heart of Falls Church, for an hour-long mindful movement experience, the website said. The cost is $25, which includes the yoga class and one beer. Participants should bring their own mat and wear a mask.
  • Sing Books with Emily (Online) — 11-11:45 a.m. — Join the Mary Riley Styles Public Library through its Facebook page for a morning of stories and songs with Ms. Emily, the website said.
  • Snack and Paint — 1-3 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Snack and Paint is an instructor-led painting class for teens that have painted before or not at all, the website said. The cost is $35. Participants will paint a fall-themed picture. To register, use this link.

Photo via Meadowlark Botanical Gardens/Facebook

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The Fairfax County Park Authority has purchased an historic property in McLean that previously belonged to President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The county park authority announced on Monday (Nov. 2) that it had acquired the 5.45-acre land known as Spring Hill for $2.4 million funded through park bonds. Located in the Dranesville District, Spring Hill sits near the intersection of Spring Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive in McLean.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust says he is grateful to the park authority for preserving the Spring Hill property and “many other beautiful properties in our county, for the use of current residents and future generations.”

“I also appreciate the Brzezinski family’s desire to protect the natural beauty and cultural significance of this property, and their willingness to work with the Park Authority to make sure that happened,” Foust said.

As the longtime residence of former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Spring Hill has hosted many foreign leaders, according to Fairfax County’s Public Information Officer Judy Pedersen.

Brzezinski’s wife, the renowned artist Emilie Brzezinski, previously worked on her signature wood sculptures out of a studio built in the house.

Spring Hill’s former residents, size, and attractiveness make the property historic and a remarkable acquisition for the county.

“The attraction on that property is, first and foremost, the beautiful land,” Pedersen said. “A piece that size in the McLean area is an unusual find.”

Pederson says the county acquires land in advance and later makes plans for what to do with it.

“It’s not on this year’s work plan,” Pedersen said. “Future work is going to be aligned to the availability of capital funding, and that’ll be used for planning for the design and construction process.”

Those plans also include inviting the community to voice their ideas on what to do with the property.

“That’s the discussion that we’ll go back and have with the community at some point, about what is the appropriate and most sought-after use for this lovely property,” Pederson said.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority

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