Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Alchemy of Earth by David Campbell and Pauline Frechette

By Ron Powers Alchemy of Earth begins with Pauline Frechette’s “Spring Awakening”. I was taken away by this song’s delicate progressions. It unfolds like the blooming of a flower and expresses a deep and meaningful feeling. This song is a good example of music communicating something words cannot. The light and airy feeling of “Spring Awakening” seamlessly melts into the album’s second song (“Summer Skies”). As you might expect from the title, this song has more warmth to it. As I was listening an image of sunset came to mind. It expresses all the beauty of a sky full of expansive clouds painted with glowing pink, orange, and purple light as a summer’s day comes to an end. For the album’s third track Frechette continues with her seasonal theme, delivering “Liquid Moon”. This song is one of my favorites by Frechette. It makes you feel like you’re stepping out into nature when you listen to it. “Liquid Moon” also appears on an EP by Pauline called A Winter’s Tale. For Frechette’s fourth and final installment of seasonal gems, we’re treated to the exquisite and vigorous “Ice Storm”. This song has a dark and enchanting power pulsating through it. From its mysterious and meandering melody lines to its thundering brass section. “Ice Storm” is a piece of music that keeps your attention from beginning to end. Legendary composer David Campbell keeps things moving with the album’s fifth track, “19th Century Entanglements”. The bustling energy of this song pulls you in and gets your blood pumping without warning. I was particularly struck by the depth of prowess that this song exudes. Every note rings with the weight and authority of a man who has mastered his craft. Campbell continues his entangled journey with the beautifully eerie “20th Century Entanglements”. The emotion of…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Out of the Studio and Into the Universe

By F. Lennox Campello Some artists create artwork as a very personal exercise to which they become very attached; others create artwork simply as a commodity and to sell it and make money – most good artists create artwork as a combination of both. If you are an artist, chances are that you’d be interested in expanding the circle of places where your art is owned and displayed.  One of my maxims has always been that the worse place for a piece of artwork is in the artist’s studio or home. It is created so that as many people a possible can enjoy it, see it, etc.  That’s usually in some other folks’ walls! Some artists love to work in a solitary setting, while many others look to congregate and become part of a group such as an artists’ group, league, cooperative, etc.  There are many such groups and organizations in our area, such as the Art League in Alexandria, the League of Reston Artists, the Fairfax Art League and others… and cooperatives such as Multiple Exposures Gallery, Touchstone Gallery, etc. One such group in our DMV area is the Montgomery Art Association (MAA) in Montgomery County, Maryland. The MAA is not active as an artists’ organization but also seeks innovative ways to expose their members’ artwork. One such novel way was started about five years ago, in which MAA partners with the city of Kensington to stay a city-wide plein air painting event which stages dozens of artists throughout the picturesque DMV suburban town as well as a juried art show for its members staged at the city’s former Armory building. The three-day event, held during Labor Day weekend is called the “Paint the Town Labor Day Show & Sale.” I was recently honored to be the juror for…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Calacas, Calaveras and Cempasuchil…Oh My!

By Lani Gering I didn’t know much about Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead until I moved to Old Town in 1992 and met my good pal Catherine Jean. She has always been huge fan of Halloween and has hosted some of the best pumpkin carving parties I have ever been to. However, one year she was talking about hosting a “Day of the Dead” party instead and I looked at her like she had gone over the edge. What?? Little did I know what a cool celebration this is and looking into what it would entail was an education. Unfortunately, the plan for the party didn’t come to fruition at that time but I have faith we will pull it off in the future. I am sure there are many of you who have admired the gorgeous costumes and makeup that people don for Halloween that feature skeletons with beautiful flower rings on their heads and the colorful designs painted on their faces. These are a result of the traditions of Dia de los Muertos. I am hoping to find someone who can paint my face this year. I want to share what I found out about this Mexican holiday that we celebrate in the USA almost as much as we do Cinco de Mayo! Who doesn’t need another good excuse to eat tacos and drink some tequila. Check it out: “The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the holiday is celebrated each year from October 31-November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, November 2 is All Souls Day…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Ink Black Heart

By Miriam R. Kramer Published November 2020 With an Addendum about J.K. Rowling’s New Novel, The Ink Black Heart J.K. Rowling, ranked in the top ten bestselling authors of all time, has moved far away from her Harry Potter days. Her renown from penning her beloved children’s fantasy series of seven books, plus other books related to the series, have made Harry Potter and his world of witches, wizards, and fantastic beasts a global pop culture touchstone. The Casual Vacancy, her first murder mystery, was a stand-alone novel with a nasty tone about nasty people. After this freshman effort, which had a mixed reception, Rowling decided to create the Cormoran Strike series, a succession of blunt, psychological murder mysteries based around two private detectives, Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. Deciding to write under the pen name Robert Galbraith, Rowling wanted the series to sink or swim on its own merits, while signaling that these thrillers were set in a different universe than her blockbuster children’s novels. She was outed as the author, however, and the first novel subsequently shot up the bestseller list after its middling initial sales. The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, Career of Evil, Lethal White, and very recently, Troubled Blood, have profiled a provocative, evolving partnership between Cormoran and Robin, along with their private lives and hunts for the criminals who lurk among their diverse victims. Cormoran Strike, a former military policeman who wears a prosthesis after his leg was blown off in Afghanistan, starts a struggling detective agency. A secretarial temp assigned randomly to the office, Robin Ellacott, shows up there for a week’s work, only to be confronted with Strike’s ex-fiancée running out the door and Strike himself, who nearly knocks her down the stairs by accident. A sympathetic, personable, and organized colleague, she complements…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Fall Events Feature Art Festivals, Spooky Happenings and More

Autumn brings favorite art events, outdoor festivals, Halloween haunts and bright-hued foliage to Alexandria, Virginia, located minutes from Washington D.C., on the Potomac River. Voted a Travel + Leisure Best City in the U.S. 2022, Alexandria boasts beautifully preserved historic architecture to enjoy on the 80th Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour or during a goosebumps-inducing Ghost & Graveyard Tour. Explore events celebrating Ethiopian culture, browse al fresco art festivals including Carlyle’s 20th Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival and Del Ray’s 27th Annual Art on the Avenue, attend ever-popular autumn events at George Washington’s Mount Vernon like the Fall Harvest Festival, plus many more seasonal happenings. Nightly in October Alexandria Colonial Tours’ Ghost & Graveyard Tour 7:30 pm M-Th 8:30 & 9 pm Fri & Sat Admission: $$ Alexandria Visitor Center 221 King Street alexcolonialtours.com Walk your way through the charming streets of historic Old Town Alexandria. Follow a colonial-costumed guide by lantern light for an engaging history tour on Alexandria’s original Ghost & Graveyard Tour. During this entertaining tour, you’ll hear ghost stories, legends, folklore, unsolved mysteries, tales of romance and angry ghosts looking for revenge. 1st 27th Annual Art on the Avenue 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: Free Mount Vernon Ave. between Hume Ave. and Bellefonte Avenue artontheavenue.org The 27th annual arts festival held in the Del Ray features more than 350 juried artists, from quilters to card-makers to cartographers, displaying their one-of-a-kind wares. Arrive with an appetite and grab a bite from 20+ food vendors and set to the soundtrack of live music along the avenue. 5th Waterfront Wednesday Music Series 5 to 7 p.m. Admission: Free Robinson Landing Promenade and Pier 7 Pioneer Mill Way oldtownbusiness.org Head to Robinson Landing for the Waterfront Wednesday Music Series presented by Yellow Door Music Concert Series featuring a range of music genres by local musicians. Bring a chair or simply stop by to enjoy some…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Connected Spaces

Exhibit through October 2nd Artist Talk, Sunday, September 11th at 2 pm The Athenaeum 201 Prince Street Connections are integral to the human experience. We are connected beings – driven to seek attachment and belonging, community and engagement. During the normal course of a day, our joys and challenges are sustained by connections near and far, physically present and internalized. Elizabeth Casqueiro, A Sudden Change in Direction (detail), Acrylic and ink on canvas, 40” x 30” In this exhibition, Elizabeth Casqueiro and Jean Sausele-Knodt explore in different ways the meaning of connection as it pertains to space and sense of being. Casqueiro’s paintings bring together architecture, nature, and culture in a deconstructed, collage-like approach that echoes the universal yearning for connection to the fragmented places we are defined by. Sausele-Knodt addresses the realities of abundance and fragmentation in our world by studying spaces, creating various parts and pieces, and building newly personalized and animated gatherings in her wall relief sculptures.  Jean Sausele-Knodt, Wishful Thinking, oil on walnut, birch plywood, 19” x 21” x 12” Both artists strive to create connected spaces as areas of balance and harmony, joy and possibility. Their work presents these common characteristics through a spirited palette, overlapping elements, constructed compositions, and painstaking craftsmanship. “Orb with Moon,” 41″ x  30″, rust print on archival paper Chemical Reactions, Rust Create Beautiful Prints in Brian Kirk’s “Natural Reaction“ Exhibit dates: September 6–October 7, 2018 Opening reception: Thursday, September 13, 6:30–8:00 pm The Art League – Studio 21 Torpedo Factory 105 North Union Street Sculptor and printmaker Brian Kirk courts chemical reactions to create ephemeral, phantom-like prints from rusting metal. A marriage of art and science, Kirk’s rust prints bloom in hues of lush amber, ochre, and apricot. Born of rigid metal, from saw blades to steel wool, the prints that emerge are organic, almost cellular. “Rust…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

ABMB 2022: Got Art?

By F. Lennox Campello At the risk of repeating myself: If you are a visual artist or art dealer/gallerist in today’s ever changing visual art world, and you’re not aware or know about the Miami art fairs that take place each year-end and are clustered around Miami and Miami Beach, then you have a problem that needs urgent attention. Almost two decades ago, the founders and organizers of a European art fair called Art Basel (which of course, takes place in Basel, Switzerland), decided to try an American version of their successful European model and started an art fair in the Miami Beach Convention Center and they called it Art Basel Miami Beach or ABMB for short. This was nothing new in the American art fair scene, as even in Miami art fairs such as Art Miami had been going on for years. But whatever right timing and combination of European flavoring added to Miami’s Cubanized international art scene did was spectacular and ABMB took off like Meat Loaf’s second album’s title. In the halcyon days of the healthy economy of those days, the art fair proved to be a spectacular success, with millions of dollars of artwork by the blue chip names of the art world exchanging hands at ABMB as collectors from all over the world congregated in Miami’s balmy December to be seen at the sharp point of the spear of the contemporary art world. ABMB’s success soon spawned other art fairs, which are called “satellite fairs”, since they all revolve around ABMB’s dates and presence on America’s coolest and most international beach city. The evolution of these satellite fairs was fed by the fact that ABMB focused almost exclusively on European galleries and a handful of the top tier American New York galleries. In those days,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Fall Events Feature Outdoor Festivals, Historical Happenings and More

Featured Fall Events   17th 20th Annual Alexandria Art Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Free 300 John Carlyle Street artfestival.com/festivals Rated one of the top 100 art shows in Sunshine Artist Magazine, the annual art festival features a variety of works exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country. 17th & 18th Colonial Market & Fair at Mount Vernon September 17 and 18, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Included with general admission ($28 per adult; $15 per youth; free for children 5 and under); free for members George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121 703-780-2000 mountvernon.org Take in the sights and sounds of the marketplace on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field. Chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares, hear live music from the colonial era and watch as expert artisans demonstrate period crafting techniques. Plus, see General Washington in the General’s Tent. 24th 80th Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission: $40 in advance; $45 day of tour Various locations throughout Old Town thetwig.org/homes-tour The TWIG’s 80th Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour will showcase seven addresses including a home recently featured in Southern Living magazine, a home shaded by a 75-year-old fig tree and a home with a guest room featuring an “Alexandria-centric,” hand-painted mural. Docents will share interesting information and details about each property. Proceeds from the tour support Inova Alexandria Hospital which is celebrating 150 years of serving the health and wellness of the community. Oct 1st 27th Annual Art on the Avenue 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: Free Mount Vernon Ave. between Hume and Bellefonte Avenues artontheavenue.org The 27th annual arts festival held in the Del Ray features more than 350 juried artists, from quilters to card-makers to cartographers, displaying their one-of-a-kind wares. Arrive with an appetite…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Revisiting the King of ‘Bump, Eek, and Ook’ of the Night

By Miriam R. Kramer From the Vault: I have read a number of Stephen King’s compulsively readable books since this column: Firestarter, The Dead Zone, The Shining, Rose Madder, The Eyes of the Dragon, Joyland, and The Outsider. They all touch on the wide-ranging variety of interests and subject matter I detailed below in my original column. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is the most recent. The tale of Trisha, a young girl who gets lost in the woods off the Appalachian Trail, is an older publication but a compelling page turner. She keeps herself going by listening to Red Sox baseball games starring her favorite player, Tom Gordon, on her Walkman. In the process she forages for food and seeks shelter while sensing a lurking presence watching and following her. I look forward to King’s next publication, Fairy Tale, which comes out in early September. Since officially beginning his career with a short story sold in 1967, the extraordinarily prolific author Stephen King has written more than 60 novels, not to mention multiple screenplays, five non-fiction books, and approximately 200 short stories. His first published book, Carrie, was released in 1973 when he was in his twenties, giving him enough money to write full-time. Since then, he’s left a legacy inextricably intertwined with pop culture in books and movies. His writing comprises horror, science fiction, fantasy, and straight fiction genres, with those genres often overlapping. He has referred to himself as the writer’s equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries, which does not tell even part of the story of his enduring popularity, despite showing that he understands his common-man touch. Even as an omnivorous reader, I put King aside for a long time. What I did read I found to be propulsive and very engaging, but I…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

“Move It” by Chuck Berry

By Ron Powers For this month’s Flashback article I’d like to shine a light on an unrecognized gem by the inventor of rock and roll himself. In 1979 Chuck Berry released “Move It”, the first track off his nineteenth studio album (Rockit). In spite of no chart success, and little critical recognition, “Move It” has all the appeal of hits like “Maybellene” and “Johnny B. Good”. The song has a ruthlessly catchy melody and a backbeat that gets your head bobbing straight away. Yes, “Move It” holds up with the best of them and remains one of my favorites by the legendary rock and roll pioneer. The song begins with one of Berry’s signature guitar licks and then blasts off into the verse with a full band arrangement. We hear a scat rhythm from the guitar while the bass bops along with the drums and the piano sprinkles boogie woogie magic all over the mix. The lyrics of the first verse describe a fifty-five Ford broken down on the side of a highway with traffic piled up and a police officer upset about it. Like many of Berry’s songs, the lyrics used employ classic rock and roll imagery that combines with the music to create a flavor as classic as McDonald’s hamburgers. Rather than a fixed melody and lyrics for the chorus, Chuck relies on the groove to hold the listener’s attention. This is probably why we hardly notice that the chorus does not obey the songwriting convention of repeating melody patterns. Instead, Chuck delivers a different melody variation during each of the three chorus sections of “Move It”. Although the words “move it” are repeated, the melody and lead guitar parts change each time. You would expect this to cause attention to wane, but for this particular song, it’s…

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