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Morning Notes

FCPS Can Keep Enforcing Mask Mandate — An Arlington County judge ruled yesterday (Tuesday) that Fairfax County Public Schools and the six other districts engaged in a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order can enforce their requirements until the legal challenge is resolved. The ruling came as the state Senate, led by Sen. Chap Petersen, approved a measure to let parents opt out of school mask mandates. [The Washington Post]

I-495 Pedestrian Bridge Under Construction — “Check out the progress on this bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-495 and the connecting shared-use path in Tysons! This link from Tysons One Pl/Fashion Blvd to Old Meadow Rd and Provincial Dr is scheduled for completion this summer.” [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Keam’s Roundabout Funding Bill Dies — A House of Delegates subcommittee voted to table legislation proposed by Del. Mark Keam, who represents Vienna and much of Tysons, that would’ve given more funding to sidewalk and roundabout projects. Virginia currently requires regional transportation funds to be prioritized based on congestion relief. [Sun Gazette]

Valentine’s Day Market Coming to Tysons — “Need a gift for your Valentine? @CelebrateFFX has you covered! Stop by the Loving Shop Local Market, this Saturday, Feb. 12 from 12-5 PM at The PARC for all of your Valentine’s Day essentials!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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After an extended break following the winter holidays, 1st Stage Theatre in Tysons is returning next week with “The Phlebotomist,” its first show of 2022.

Described as a “dark, gripping science-fiction romance,” the play will launch at the theater’s auditorium at 1524 Spring Hill Road on Feb. 17 and run through March 6 at the following times:

  • Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.
  • Fridays: 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sundays: 2 p.m.

This will be 1st Stage’s second indoor, in-person production during the COVID-19 pandemic after the theater reopened for the play “Secret Things” in November.

Prior to that, the group had staged some outdoor performances at The Boro, including for the Logan Festival of Solo Performances that kicked off its 2021-2022 season.

The theater continues to require that patrons wear face masks and present proof of full vaccination, with no option to provide a negative Covid test result as a substitute. All of its staff and volunteers are fully vaccinated.

The stage debut of playwright Ella Road, “The Phlebotomist” premiered with a sold-out run at Hampstead Theatre’s Downstairs studio in London, England, in 2018. 1st Stage’s production will be the play’s first in the D.C. region, according to a press release:

In a sci-fi-inspired world where genomics is the norm, every person gets assigned a “rating” at birth based on their genetic map. Bea, a phlebotomist, finds herself being pulled deeper and deeper into the dark side of the genetic testing underworld even as she falls in love with Aaron, a man she met by accident who has a near-perfect rating that far exceeds her own. The play was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement and had a sold-out run at the UK’s Hampstead Theater. “…a racy dystopian thriller that is part Black Mirror and part Brave New World.” – The Guardian. The Phlebotomist is written by Ella Road, and directed by 1st Stage Artistic Director, Alex Levy.

The cast features Josh Adams (The Cripple of Inishmaan), Anne Bowles (Hero’s Welcome), Sasha Olinick (Fly By Night, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble), and Lynette Rathnam, in her 1st Stage debut.

The show will feature scene design by Kathryn Kawecki, sound design by Sarah O’Halloran, projection design by Patrick Lord, costume design by Moyenda Kulemeka, and lighting design by Helen Garcia-Alton.

General admission tickets cost $50, except on Thursday evenings, when the cost is $35. There are also $15 tickets available for students, educators, and military personnel, and the first 20 tickets sold for each show are just $20.

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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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The McLean Community Center will mark Black History Month in 2022 with a panel on the film “Traveling While Black” (courtesy MCC)

The McLean Community Center has some notable names lined up for an upcoming panel to celebrate Black History Month, which has been recognized every February since 1976.

Announced in a news release yesterday (Thursday), MCC’s panel discussion on Feb. 4 will tie into its “Traveling While Black” virtual reality exhibit that has been available to visitors at the 1234 Ingleside Avenue facility since Dec. 15.

Open until Feb. 12, the film explores how both racism and the past 60 years of civil rights activism have shaped African American communities through a conversation in the D.C. restaurant Ben’s Chili Bowl.

The “Talk Back, Look Forward” panel will feature several key figures from the movie:

  • Director Roger Ross Williams, who became the first Black director to win an Academy Award in 2010 with the short film “Music by Prudence”
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl founder and owner Virginia Ali
  • Civil rights activist Courtland Cox, who helped organize student protests in D.C. during the 1960s
  • Rev. Dr. Sandra Butler-Truesdale, a D.C. music historian and minister
  • Tamir Rice Foundation founder and CEO Samaria Rice, whose son was killed by Cleveland police in 2014

Moderated by interactive media marketer Joshua Henry Jenkins, the discussion will begin at 7:30 p.m. and include boxed meals from Ben’s Chili Bowl that participants can pick up starting at 6:30 p.m.

“Ben’s Chili Bowl has modeled what it means to be a community center by being a leader in creating a safe space for the African American community,” MCC Executive Director Daniel Singh said in a statement. “We are honored to have legendary civil rights leaders such as Mrs. Ali, Mr. Cox, and Ms. Rice join us, with the artistic vision of Mr. Williams connecting all of them.”

MCC says Williams and Rice will be participating remotely.

Admission is free for all, but advance registration is required, and the number of patrons will be limited to encourage social distancing and prevent crowding due to COVID-19.

As a Fairfax County government facility, MCC requires face masks for all visitors and staff. Hand-sanitizing stations have also been set up throughout the building.

MCC spokesperson Sabrina Anwah notes that the organization decided to go with boxed meals for this event so that participants can “carry them to locations throughout the building or take them home.”

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Morning Notes

I-66 Ramp Near Vienna to Close Tonight — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station will close for approximately three weeks start at 11 p.m. today (Friday). The closure is needed for utility work related to the I-66 Express Lanes expansion. Drivers will be detoured via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) South and I-66 East, with the Nutley Street exit as an alternative. [VDOT]

What Happened to Yesterday’s Snow — “After our forecast of a coating to two inches of snow in the region, most places saw no accumulation Thursday morning. Some spots didn’t even see a flake, only raindrops…The flawed predictions can be traced to computer model errors and the inability of human forecasters to adequately account for them.” [Capital Weather Gang]

ABC Stores Change Hours Due to Covid — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Authority will adjust operating hours at all of its stores to noon starting Monday (Jan. 24), citing reduced staffing capacity due to COVID-19 cases among workers. Closing hours remain the same, and curbside pickup and delivery services are still available. [WTOP]

McLean School Awards Student for Service — “The Potomac School has announced its first-ever Potomac School Award for Exemplary Service to recognize individuals who make a difference through service to others. The inaugural award went to Ericc Powell, a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland.” [Patch]

County to Talk Affordable Housing — “Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, in partnership with the George Mason School of Business, is planning the third annual Fairfax County Housing Symposium for Thursday, March 17, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Affordable Housing: A Foundation for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Opportunity.'” [Housing and Community Development]

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Tysons Corner Center is getting an up-close-and-personal look at reproductions of Michelangelo’s famous ceiling paintings from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

An art exhibit that’s made its way through cities across the globe is coming to the mall on Jan. 28 for a month-long showing. Called “The Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” it features high-definition photos and printings that emulate the brushstrokes of the 16th century artwork.

“This exhibition gives visitors a chance to engage with Rome’s most iconic treasures in ways that were never possible,” said Martin Biallas, CEO of the Los Angeles-based event planning company group SEE Global Entertainment, producer of the exhibit.

The show will occur from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., taking place in a 10,000 square-foot space on the mall’s lower level across from H&M.

A timed ticketing system is in place to limit capacity and allow for social distancing, according to a press release.

Visitors have already snatched up all of the dates in January for the first three days of the show.

While visitors to the historic Sistine Chapel can view the artwork from around 66 feet away, that’s reduced to around 13 feet with the show, the company says on its website.

“This exhibition is like a sanctuary; you’re transformed into a completely different world,” said Biallas, who produced the exhibit after seeing the ceiling frescoes in person.

“When I visited the Sistine Chapel in Rome, there were long lines and we were rushed through,” he said. “This exhibit at Tysons Corner Center allows everyone an opportunity to see the amazing art at their pace and up-close, at an affordable price, and enjoy an inspiring and unforgettable experience.”

Tickets generally range from $19 to $23 per adult plus fees, but family bundles and other discounts are available for seniors, students and the military. Visitors can also purchase audio guides.

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Reported Unlawful Filming — The Fairfax County Police Department is looking to identify a person of interest in the unlawful filming of a minor at the Surf N Suds laundromat at 5715 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. A teenage girl reported seeing a phone with a camera coming from the ceiling of the women’s bathroom around 7:50 p.m. on Dec. 12. [FCPD/Facebook]

Tysons Retail Enters New Phase of Development — “The face of the retail market in Tysons is changing. A series of new moves in the market, from longtime store closures to first-time openings to mall redevelopments, highlight how the Northern Virginia edge city is entering a new generation of its retail life cycle.” [Bisnow]

FCPS Criticizes Thomas Jefferson Admissions Bill — Fairfax County Public Schools denounced a bill proposed for the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming session that challenges its new admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. FCPS says the legislation “rests on the fiction that any action taken to increase access for underserved or underprivileged groups is discrimination.” [FCPS]

The PARC to Host “Shop Local Saturday” Markets — “New Year, New Events! Join @CelebrateFFX, this Saturday, Jan. 15, for the 1st Shop Local Saturday Market of the year at The PARC in Tysons! This event is free to attend & will feature 25+ local business and makers who offer a variety of goods!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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A sample of the work in McLean Project for the Arts’ current winter exhibitions (courtesy MPA)

The McLean Project for the Arts will give community members an opportunity later this month to hear from the artists behind its current exhibitions.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 20, the virtual artist talk will include wood sculptors Emilie Benes Brzezinski, Rachel Rotenberg, Foon Sham, and Norma Schwartz, whose work is featured in the exhibit “Give and Take: Building Form” currently on display in the nonprofit’s Emerson Gallery.

Artist Sheila Crider will also participate. Her exhibition, “Intersectional Painting: Works by Sheila Crider,” occupies the Atrium Gallery.

Advance registration is required to receive a Zoom link for the talk.

Here are MPA’s descriptions of its winter exhibitions, which launched on Dec. 2:

Give and Take: Building Form (Emerson Gallery)
Featuring abstract wood sculpture by Emilie Benes Brzezinski, Rachel Rotenberg, Foon Sham and Norma Schwartz

Featuring dynamic abstract sculptural works by four artists who work primarily in wood, this exhibit will explore each artist’s personal vision along with their methodology of making. By employing varying degrees of adding and subtracting material-laminating or carving, sawing and sanding-these artists build form by either giving or taking away. With this mind, process is highlighted, understood and demonstrated with an eye towards clarifying the genesis and emergence of form.

Intersectional Painting: Works by Sheila Crider (Atrium Gallery)
Artist Sheila Crider will exhibit works from an on-going series that combines painting, drawing, braiding, stitching and weaving to create three-dimensional abstract forms. Through these works, which are both beautiful and evocative, Crider has found an inventive and original process that enables her to visually explore multiple intersections between material, place, tradition, race, gender, history, culture, narrative, art, painting, object and picture.

The exhibits will remain available for viewing both in person and online through Feb. 19. The Emerson Gallery is open to visitors from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Both galleries are located in the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue), which requires all visitors to wear face masks. The exhibitions are also limited to six viewers at a time to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to MPA’s website.

MPA is also currently accepting proposals for solo spring exhibitions, and registration is now open for winter and spring art classes.

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Musician and activist Daryl Davis will speak and perform for the McLean Community Center’s 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration (courtesy MCC)

The McLean Community Center is bringing back in-person festivities for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

After limiting last year’s celebration to online activities, MCC will expand it this year across two separate days with a pair of events led by musician and activist Daryl Davis, who is known for befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan and convincing them to leave the hate group.

“Our anchor staff members have been instrumental in celebrating the legacy of Dr. King for over 15 years at our center,” MCC Director Daniel Singh said in a statement. “In many ways, their pioneering work anticipated the trajectory of awareness and need for dialogue around our country’s troubled founding and current systemic disparities around race. Our MLK celebrations also closely align with our board of directors’ commitment to diversity in the McLean community.”

The weekend will start with the Daryl Davis Band performing at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14. Concert tickets will cost $20 for MCC district residents and $30 for other community members.

Davis will then return to MCC’s Alden Theatre at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 to discuss his experiences talking to KKK members as a Black man. Tickets for the speech are $5 for district residents and $10 for the rest of the public.

Here is more on Davis from the community center’s news release:

Davis is a boogie-woogie pianist who has played with the likes of B. B. King, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. On Friday, he and his band will kick off MCC’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with an evening of R&B and blues. This is the music that opened the door for Klansmen to befriend Davis, a Black man, and eventually, hang up their robes.

“Davis’ piano work impresses with his winning combination of technique and abandon, and his vocals are strong and assured – black rock’n’roll lives!” — Living Blues Magazine

On Sunday, Davis will share his captivating journey to untangle racism, one civil conversation at a time. He was playing in a country band when he met and became friends with a Ku Klux Klan member. Over the last 30 years, he has continued to befriend Klansmen and collect their robes after they leave the organization. He is the author of “Klan-Destine Relationships,” a book that details his encounters.

Like other Fairfax County government facilities, MCC still requires face masks for everyone inside its building at 1234 Ingleside Avenue.

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Capital One Hall features a 1,600-seat auditorium, along with a smaller black box theater (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It will no longer be a worldwide debut, but Omnium Circus is still planning to put on a show for Tysons.

After abruptly canceling a months-long run at Tysons III last year, the emerging circus that caters to performers and audiences with disabilities has now booked a one-day show at Capital One Hall on Feb. 26.

The performance venue told Tysons Reporter that tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) on its website.

“We want more than anything to bring joy, wonder and representation to all audiences with first-rate family entertainment,” Ominum founder and executive director Lisa Lewis said in a statement. “Audiences can expect an incredible production of death-defying, awe-inspiring, madcap-circus adventures performed by the multi-talented, multi-abled company of Omnium Circus!”

The show will run in English and American Sign Language, featuring audio description and other capabilities to make the environment welcoming for diverse audiences.

Lewis launched the circus with a December 2020 livestream and a nonprofit called CircuSense. The circus planned to run in Tysons from Nov. 18 to Jan. 9, but it canceled plans even as a tent was being set up, citing COVID-19, ticket sales, and other concerns.

In response, Gallaudet University in D.C. welcomed the circus to its theater, allowing the circus to rehearse, provide a free show in November, and film performers for a virtual production that will be available to schools later this month.

“The process opened our eyes to the potential of working in a performing arts venue,” Lewis said.

Capital One Hall opened to the public at 7750 Capital One Tower Road on Oct. 1 and has since hosted a variety of music, comedy, and entertainment acts.

People who bought tickets for Omnium’s original show can get refunds or transfer their tickets to the new event.

With luck, the rescheduled show could miss the current COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant. A peak in daily cases in Fairfax County has more than doubled this winter from a previous peak seen in January 2021. Nationwide, a record in daily cases skyrocketed over three times as high as it was around a year ago.

Capital One Hall requires attendees over the age of 12 to provide proof of full vaccination, and regardless of age or vaccination status, all patrons must wear masks inside the venue, except when actively eating or drinking.

The capacity of the 1,600-seat auditorium is close to what Omnium Circus could have had with Big Top tent.

“Knowing that all of the logistics involved in a long tented run were just still too risky, this is a wonderful opportunity,” Lewis said, describing the upcoming event as “the beginning of a wonderful new adventure!”

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