Newsletter
Dolley Madison Library is preparing for Mardi Gras with a mask-making event this week (via Thomas Park/Unsplash)

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, Feb. 14

  • One Fairfax (Online) — 3:15-4 p.m. — The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce talks to Fairfax County Chief Equity Officer Karla Bruce about the One Fairfax policy, which requires local leaders to consider social and racial equity issues when making decisions. The event is free for members.

Tuesday, Feb. 15

  • The Fire of Frederick Douglass (Online) — 6:30-7:30 p.m. — University of Maryland professor Dr. Richard Bell discusses Douglass’s life, career, and legacy, covering his escape from slavery to his work as an abolitionist. Register a day in advance to receive a link to the virtual event.

Wednesday, Feb. 16

  • Code Create Vienna — 6-8 p.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St. S) — Vienna’s planning staff hosts a community conversation on the town’s draft zoning code update. The discussion will focus on proposed changes to uses and standards in residential areas.

Thursday, Feb. 17

  • The Phlebotomist — 7:30-10 p.m. at 1st Stage Theater (1524 Spring Hill Rd.) — 1st Stage returns with the regional premiere of this dystopian sci-fi romance, written by Ella Road. The play will be performed on Thursdays through Sundays until March 6. Masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination are required.

Friday, Feb. 18

  • Kindness Cards — 4-5 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — Extend the Valentine’s Day mood of cherishing loved ones by making a kindness card for someone special. Registration is required.
  • Snack & Paint Night — 7-9 p.m. at the Old Firehouse Center (1440 Chain Bridge Rd.) — Beginners and experts alike can grab some snacks and express themselves through painting with a professional art teacher. The $5 fee covers food and supplies, and registration is recommended but not required.
  • Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo — 7 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Also known as The Trocks, a diverse all-male ballet company based in New York performs. Tickets start at $30 for MCC district residents and $40 for non-residents.

Saturday, Feb. 19

  • Skills for Scouts: Knot Tying — 10 a.m. at Lewinsville Historic House (1659 Chain Bridge Rd.) — This program for people 10 and older will teach everything Boy Scouts need to know about making ropes and tying knots, including squares, half hitches, and a bowline. Enrollment costs $11.
  • Mardi Gras Masks! — 2-4 p.m. at Dolley Madison Library (1244 Oak Ridge Ave.) — Decorate your own mask to prepare for the annual celebration that, for Christians, precedes Lent fasting and, for everyone else, is just an excuse to party. All supplies will be provided, but advance registration is required.
  • Sal Vulcano — 7 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Rd.) — Get some laughs in from Staten Island native Sal Vulcano, the comedian known for the reality TV show “Impractical Jokers” and game show “The Misery Index.” Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are required.

Sunday, Feb. 20

  • The Miró Quartet — 3 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Rd.) — The classical string quartet returns to Wolf Trap National Park to perform work by Franz Joseph Haydn, Maurice Ravel, and contemporary composer Kevin Puts. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative test are required.
  • The Marshall Tucker Band — 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Hall — The southern rock band from South Carolina brings its 50th anniversary tour to Tysons with Traffic guitarist Dave Mason as a special guest. Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative test are required.

Photo via Thomas Park/Unsplash

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The musician Sting will perform at Wolf Trap National Park’s Filene Center in September (courtesy Wolf Trap Foundation)

(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) There may still be a few traces of snow on the ground from recent storms, but summer is already in the air at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts released an initial slate of popular and classical programming today (Tuesday) that will kick off on May 28 with the Original Kings of Go-Go.

After the COVID-19 pandemic led to a delayed, scaled-down 50th anniversary season, the summer 2022 season appears to be comparable to previous years, with more national and international artists as well as the return of film screenings accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra.

Wolf Trap Opera will also perform in The Barns again after being limited to the open-air Filene Center last year.

“After the past couple of years it is going to be especially important to gather as a community, experience nature, and just enjoy great music,” Wolf Trap Foundation president and CEO Arvind Manocha said. “We look forward to welcoming patrons back to the Park in May — and stay tuned as more can’t miss shows are announced this spring.”

While Wolf Trap ended its capacity limits in August, the park continues to require face masks and proof of vaccination against COVID-19 at all performances. Those policies could change in the coming months, depending on federal, state, and National Park Service guidelines.

Tickets for the summer season will open to the general public at 10 a.m. on Feb. 19. Pre-sales for Wolf Trap members started today.

Highlights of the newly announced schedule include:

Music

  • May 28: The Original Kings of Go-Go, headlined by Big Tony and Trouble Funk
  • June 4: Black Violin with the Blind Boys of Alabama
  • June 9: The Head and the Heart
  • June 10-11: Bonnie Raitt with special guest Lucinda Williams
  • June 12: Ana Gabriel with special guest Flor de Toloacher
  • June 16-17: Sheryl Crow with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  • June 19: A Juneteenth Celebration with Thee Phantom and the Illharmonic Orchestra
  • June 25-26: Steely Dan with Aimee Mann
  • July 17: Barenaked Ladies
  • July 28: Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine
  • Aug. 4: Little Big Town
  • Aug. 7: ABBA the Concert
  • Aug. 13: A.R. Rahman
  • Aug. 19: Fantasia
  • Aug. 24: The Decemberists with special guest Brigid Mae Power
  • Aug. 28: The Beach Boys
  • Sept. 2-4: Sting
  • Sept. 8: Yo-Yo Ma and Paquito D’Rivera with the NSO

Wolf Trap Opera

  • June 18, 24 & 26: Weber’s “Der Freischütz” (“The Marksman”), at The Barns at Wolf Trap
  • July 15: Verdi’s “La Traviata” with the NSO, at the Filene Center
  • Aug. 12 & 14: Floyd’s “Susannah,” at The Barnes

Film, Stage, and Comedy

  • June 21-22: “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”
  • June 24: Broadway in the Park
  • July 16: Sing-a-Long “Sound of Music”
  • July 22-23: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in Concert
  • July 29: “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” in Concert
  • July 30: Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story” in Concert
  • Aug. 20-21: Steve Martin and Martin Short
  • Aug. 25-26: Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me

The full calendar can be found on Wolf Trap’s website.

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A conceptual plan for Clemyjontri Park’s third phase of development (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

The Fairfax County Park Authority has officially opened the door for an arts building at Clemyjontri Park in McLean.

The park authority board voted unanimously on Jan. 12 to revise the Clemyjontri master plan to include an arts center or a similar community-serving facility as an option for its next phase of development.

“The revision gives the park authority the flexibility in how Clemy may be further developed,” Timothy Hackman, the board’s Dranesville District representative, said. “If in fact it is, it creates the potential for new and exciting opportunities for the community and the county.”

FCPA initiated the master plan revision process in December 2020 after the nonprofit McLean Project for the Arts unveiled a proposal earlier that year for an arts center at Clemyjontri, which is best known for its colorful, accessibility-focused playground.

Originally adopted in 2002, the park’s master plan breaks its development into three phases. The first phase involved the construction of the playground and main parking lot in 2006, and it was followed by the addition of a secondary parking lot and trails in 2019.

Under the newly revised plan, the county has two options for the third and final phase:

  • A local history museum or a meeting and event space in the former home of Adele Lebowitz, who donated the property to the park authority
  • A new arts center building

If the arts center comes to fruition, the plan calls for the Lebowitz house to be preserved, an overflow parking lot to accommodate larger evening events, and outdoor amenities, such as a gazebo, outdoor classrooms, and a gathering area with gardens.

The building itself will have space for social events, galleries and exhibitions, and classrooms, FCPA senior landscape architect and project manager Doug Tipsword told the Park Authority Board’s planning and development committee prior to the vote.

Tipsword noted that park authority staff heard some concerns at community meetings about the proposed facility’s size, visibility from residential neighborhoods adjacent to the park, and potential noise and traffic impacts.

The master plan dictates that existing trees on the north side of the Lebowitz house be preserved as a buffer and new evergreen shrubs planted on the park’s east and west sides.

In response to questions about the arts center’s size, county staff revised their presented design to emphasize that it’s conceptual, not a literal representation of what the building will look like.

“Specific details on facility design, usage, hours of operation, those kinds of things are reviewed and approved via separate public processes prior to development,” Tipsword said.

Now that the master plan revision has been approved, the park authority has to submit a more concrete proposal to the county’s planning department and go through the special exception and public facilities review processes, which both require public hearings.

While MPA is the most likely candidate to operate the arts center, the park authority will consider other possible partners as well.

“I think the park authority, to give everybody some comfort, will in fact analyze any such proposals thoroughly and will be sensitive to any overall community interests that may be expressed,” Hackman said.

Map via Fairfax County Park Authority

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Cuppett’s, a Vienna dance institution, will celebrate its 60th anniversary in June 2022 (courtesy Cuppett Performing Arts Center)

If you meet a dancer who grew up in Vienna within the past half-century, chances are good that they trained at Cuppett Performing Arts Center.

Commonly known as Cuppett’s, the family-owned dance studio is in the midst of its 60th season, and despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, its leaders hope to celebrate the milestone with the same enthusiasm and sense of community that has made it a beloved town institution.

“You might think this is silly, but several people over the years have told me that Cuppett’s has its own soul,” owner and co-artistic director Amy Cuppett told Tysons Reporter. “…It’s like the studio is a foundation right there, but what happens within those walls, it’s almost magical, and…a lot of our students, they’re friends for life.”

The History

Cuppett’s has come a long way since Amy’s mother, founder Alzine Cuppett, started the studio in the basement of her Vienna home in 1962.

A professional dancer during the 1940s, Alzine trained under multi-hyphenate icon Gene Kelly through the school that his family ran in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She performed at the Roxy Theatre in New York City, in the Broadway musical “Marinka,” and as a Radio City Rockette.

After World War II, she moved to the D.C. area with her new husband and was raising five children when the principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel asked her to teach dance to the Vienna Catholic school’s kindergarten students.

The classes proved so popular that Alzine’s husband built a dance studio into their house, and Cuppett Performing Arts Center was born, eventually outgrowing the basement and moving to its current location at 135 Park Street in 1980.

Born 10 years after her five siblings, Amy Cuppett recalls literally sleeping under a record player while growing up.

“She was a single mom at this point. If I wanted to be with her, I’d go downstairs and kind of curl up and listen to her teach,” she said.

Though she took ballet, jazz, tap, and other dance classes, Amy initially veered away from the arts as an adult, pursuing a college degree in finance and a career in real estate and mortgage banking. The stress of those industries wore her down, though.

She returned to Cuppett’s in 1996 with a child of her own and an unexpected desire to teach, despite her mother’s reservations about the high-reward, low-pay profession.

“Teachers don’t get paid what they should, in my opinion,” Amy said. “But it’s definitely something that you have to love, and at the time, that’s what I was feeling: this huge passion and very ambitious about my ideas that I had.” Read More

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Fortune Feimster (via ICM Partners)

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, Jan. 3

  • 2022 Legislative Session Preview (Online) — 7:30-9 p.m. — Delegates Mark Keam and Ken Plum, who represent the 35th and 36th districts, respectively, discuss critical issues facing the Virginia General Assembly, which will convene for its new session on Jan. 12. Register in advance to get the Zoom link.

Tuesday, Jan. 4

  • Weird, Wonderful History for Kids (Online) — 4:30-5:15 p.m. — Learn strange and bizarre facts about the origins of comic books from the Dolley Madison Library staff. This teaching series for kids ages 6 through 12 relies on art, games, stories, and skill-building exercises. Registration is required.

Wednesday, Jan. 5

  • Bilingual Hindi/English Storytime (Online) — 10:30-11 a.m. — An event geared for kids ages 3 to 5 will feature songs, rhymes and stories in both Hindi and English. Registration required.

Thursday, Jan. 6

  • Wesley Stace — 7:30 p.m at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) — Previously known as John Wesley Harding, this folk-pop singer-songwriter featured on the soundtrack of the movie “High Fidelity” is now performing under his given name. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show also features The Late Style Band.

Friday, Jan. 7

  • ‘Make Me Happy’ — 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Falls Church Arts Gallery (700-B W. Broad St.) — Check out the works of three dozen artists, centered on works that make people smile. Free. Continues through Jan. 30.

Saturday, Jan. 8

  • MCC Winter Block Party — 1-5 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Enjoy some outdoor and indoor activities, including ice skating and arts and crafts. There will be hot dogs, smores, and hot cocoa.

Sunday, Jan. 9

  • Fortune Feimster — 7 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — Comedian Emily Fortune Feimster, who has appeared on shows from “The Mindy Project” to Comedy Central’s “This Is Not Happening,” comes to audiences live, following her 2020 Netflix special. Tickets start at $29.50.
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Morning Notes

Tysons Leads D.C. Suburbs’ Growth — “Tysons…is growing in almost every area, from population to office space to hotel rooms. While the area’s development boom started before the pandemic, the ability to work from home and the desire for more space have only helped areas such as Tysons.” [Axios]

Vienna Church Sponsors Charity Effort for Afghan Refugees — “Vienna Presbyterian is seeking volunteers to sign up and donate items for Welcome Backpacks for Afghan refugees as well as unaccompanied minors at the border. The church is working with Church World Service, one of the largest faith-based organizations assisting with refugee resettlement.” [Patch]

Tysons Defies Office Space Trends — “In the late innings of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for office space in Tysons appears to be bucking some trends, according to local developers and brokers. In a market environment characterized by lease renewals, Tysons saw the only new lease in Northern Virginia over 50,000 square feet during the second quarter of 2021, according to CBRE’s second quarter research.” [Commercial Observer]

School Board Renames McLean HS Dressing Rooms — “The theater dressing rooms at McLean High School were renamed after Janie Strauss, a School Board member for the Dranesville District from 1993 to 2019, an avid former educator, and director of the nationally acclaimed Critics Awards Program for High School Theater, known as the Cappies. Her three children graduated from McLean where they were active in the arts and athletics.” [FCPS]

Local Arts Groups Receive Funding — “Twelve Fairfax County arts organizations will share just over $100,000 in funding through ArtFairfax’s ‘Arts Ignite Recovery’ (AIR) initiative. The organization established the AIR grant program to support arts groups as they emerge from the pandemic and restart their programming.” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Leans Red Again — “In blow to Democrats, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s high-profile election for governor Tuesday, NBC News projects, flipping control of a state that President Joe Biden won handily just a year ago and suggesting trouble for his party in next year’s midterm elections.” [NBC News]

Limited Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Expected — Demand for pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations could outstrip supply, as in the early days of the vaccine’s rollout. The Fairfax County Health Department urges patience as it anticipates about 80,000 of the county’s 97,000 children aged 5-11 to seek out the vaccine in the next few months. [The Washington Post]

Vienna Police Participate in No-Shave November — “Typically, Vienna police officers have to follow a dress code that doesn’t allow male officers to have facial hair. This November, that rule will be suspended so officers can raise awareness about prostate cancer for the Grow-and-Give fundraising campaign.” [Patch]

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Coming to Tysons — “We are delighted to team up with the @vmfamuseum to host their Artmobile outside @capitalonehall’s Box Office November 17th & 18th! Join us for a FREE exhibit of A View from Home: Landscapes of Virginia. Link in bio for more!” [Capital One Center/Instagram]

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Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust speaks at Clemyjontri Master Plan revision community meeting (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Fairfax County Park Authority has opened a 30-day public comment period on its draft plan to allow an arts center at Clemyjontri Park in McLean.

The comment period commenced Thursday night (Oct. 28) with the county’s first public meeting on the proposal since it kicked off the Clemyjontri Park master plan revision process in December.

Possibly the first exclusively in-person public meeting that the park authority has held during the COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering at Franklin Sherman Elementary School was subdued, with county staff appearing to outnumber members of the general public.

The community members in attendance, though, seemed open to the idea of an arts center, albeit with some wariness regarding its potential size and noise and parking impacts.

“As long as there’s screening, the building isn’t too tall, and it stays within the walkway boundary, I’m okay with it,” said a man who lives adjacent to Clemyjontri on the west side. He noted that the park “has been a great neighbor so far.”

Another McLean resident stressed that he’s “not against the arts” but fears the building could end up being too large for the 18.5-acre park, crowding out the families who use its unique playground.

“I just don’t want to see us do something to the park that we’ll regret,” he told Tysons Reporter after the meeting.

The master plan revision focuses on the last of three development phases planned for Clemyjontri Park.

With second phase completed in 2019, the third phase in the current plan calls for the existing house and gardens to host a local history museum or community meeting and event space. It also suggests adding a “small parking area” for event staff and people with disabilities.

The Phase 3 conceptual design in the proposed draft Clemyjontri Park Master Plan (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

Under the revised plan, the house would still be preserved and refurbished, but phase three would instead focus on a new arts center with gallery, studio, and classroom spaces and outdoor amenities, such as a courtyard with gardens for events and a gazebo.

The draft also proposes an overflow parking lot to accommodate increased demand from the arts center as well as tree and shrub plantings to enhance the buffer to adjacent properties and maintain the park’s “natural setting.”

Presented to the Park Authority Board on Oct. 22, the draft plan adheres closely to what was proposed in December, but FCPA staff made a couple changes, including specifying that the plants used for buffering be evergreens in response to public feedback.

“The master plan is for the most part conceptual in detail,” FCPA senior landscape architect and project manager Doug Tipsword said. “However, in this case, clarifying evergreen plants rather than deciduous plants is an important detail for ensuring the intent to mitigate sound and visual impacts has a year-round effect.”

Staff also added a provision for public art, sculpture, and seating along Clemyjontri’s perimeter trails “to further enhance the natural trail experience,” according to the draft. Tipsword says that idea grew more out of refining the conceptual design than as a direct response to public input.

After the public comment period ends around Nov. 27, county staff will revise the draft plan again based on the new feedback before presenting a final plan to the FCPA board for its approval, which could potentially come in January.

If the revisions are approved, the park authority says it will be able to develop a more detailed plan for the development as it goes through the county’s public facilities review and special exception processes.

The county could also start looking for partners to manage the arts center. As the group behind the proposal, the McLean Project for the Arts would be a likely candidate, but it’s not guaranteed, Tipsword says.

“I am thrilled that this proposal has made it to this point,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said. “It is not a done deal…Personally, I hope we’re able to work this out, because I believe it would be a very positive thing.”

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Capital One Hall is ready for its public debut.

The 125,000-square-foot performing arts venue at 7750 Capital One Tower Road in Tysons features a 1,600-seat performance hall, a 225-seat black box theatre, an atrium space for events and weddings with room for 500 people at tables, and an adjoining terrace with a standing capacity of 450.

The building’s façade is wrapped by a glass and Italian Carrera marble while the venue is topped by The Perch — a rooftop green space featuring a stage, Starr Hill Biergarten, and additional event space that opened in August.

“These openings are really a pathway to the future,” Capital One Hall Executive Director Dolly Vogt said at a media preview tour on Tuesday (Sept. 28). “It’s going to bring so much vibrancy and energy to the community…Theaters or arenas, venues like this really do help drive so much. It’s an economic driver in the community; it drives the arts in the community.”

The venue will host its inaugural performance on Friday (Oct. 1) at 8 p.m., courtesy of Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban. The country band Little Big Town will round out the grand opening weekend with its 2021 Nightfall Tour on Saturday and Sunday.

Since announcing its first booking in June, the venue has filled out its first season through May 2022 with a mix of shows, from pop stars and comedians to local orchestras. Next season’s events are in the midst of being finalized.

“You’ve got a world class entertainment venue that also serves the community,” said Bob Papke, vice president of theaters for ASM Global, which operates Capital One Hall.

“You can see ‘Waitress’ on one night, and you can go see the Fairfax Symphony on another night and a local dance troupe a night after that in this environment and this space, and they’re all sharing the stage and we’re all sharing the experience.”

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will be the first local group to perform in the venue on Oct. 9. The scheduled Broadway shows include the musicals “Waitress” from Oct. 29-31, “Fiddler on the Roof” from March 11-13, and “An Officer And A Gentleman” from May 13-15.

“Working with Capital One, it’s a Fortune 100 company, and you have ASM, which is the leader in facility management worldwide, we’re going to be interacting with not only the major promoters, but we’re going to be interacting with those local arts groups,” Papke said.

Community groups that use Capital One Hall are vetted by the nonprofit ArtsFairfax as part of Capital One’s development agreement with Fairfax County, which also includes a subsidized rate for local organizations.

“We’re going to be able to help them not only from the artistic side by giving them this great space to perform in, but also help them on the business side…helping those organizations with their marketing, their finance, with their long-range planning so that they continue to be a viable arts organization and continue to grow,” Papke said.

The venue will require patrons to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before an event. Masks are also required for everyone ages 12 and up.

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Morning Notes

Health Department Tweaks Approach to Quarantined Students — Starting today (Thursday), students who have been exposed to COVID-19 can complete wellness checks and get guidance from the Fairfax County Health Department online instead of having to wait for a phone call. The change is part of an ongoing effort to speed up the contact-tracing and quarantining processes so students can return to school buildings. [FCHD]

Local Arts Groups See Bright Spots Amid Upheaval — “Fairfax County’s art scene is under-funded, under-capacity and still weathering the pandemic, but several upcoming projects will bring it closer to its potential, the president of ArtsFairfax said. The county’s prospects are changing more quickly than at any other point in her 12 years with the organization, Linda Sullivan told the Greater Tysons Citizens Coalition during a Sept. 9 roundtable.” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna Schedules Meeting on Economic Strategy — The Town of Vienna will hold a public meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 for residents to discuss a draft economic development report that looks at how the town could more effectively attract and support businesses. The town hired a consultant in January to conduct a market study and propose an economic development strategy that were released in June. [Patch]

Italian Bakery Sets Tysons Corner Grand Opening — “Handcrafted Italian pastry is coming to Tysons Corner Center! Celebrate the Grand Opening of DreamStart Winner Bisnonna Bakeshop on Saturday, 09/18 with family-friendly activities starting at 10am” [Tysons Corner Center/Twitter]

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