Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

A Visit to the Torpedo Factory

By F. Lennox Campello If you keep up or are aware, then you know that there have been many disturbances in the Force where it pertains to Alexandria’s magnificent jewel of an art center known as the Torpedo Factory.  While the dust from all the changes, decisions and re-decisions have yet not settled, the artists move on, and the art gets created, hung, displayed, and hopefully sold. While talking about the capital area on the Voice of America many years ago, I once referred to the Torpedo Factory as the “crown jewel of the Greater Washington area art scene.” And while in dawn of the post Covidian Age some of the Factory’s best-known artists have moved on, some remain, and among those who remain, perhaps the most iconic and best-known, and immensely talented is Rosemary Feit Covey in Studio 224 on the second floor.  Covey is an artist who has mastered her medium (printmaking) and that mastery gives her license to explore a multitude of powerful subjects, themes and approaches far beyond printmaking. “My current focus on environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of my artist practice. In the past three decades I have moved beyond my work as an established wood engraver, and expanded my medium to include large scale installations, experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, my works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude, evoking a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations. While maintaining my long-standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, this diversification of mediums highlights my continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative,” she notes. Another superbly talented artist who…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The One About Matthew Perry

By Miriam Kramer “Could you be any more brutally honest?” Matthew Perry got his big break in 1994 when he and his four costars became television superstars with the advent of Friends, one of the most beloved sitcoms in TV history. With the publication of his recent memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing; Perry bares his soul and life-long trauma. This extraordinarily raw memoir recounts not only the story of his life as a Generation X emblem and beloved actor, but also his terrible battle with addiction and the ways in which he has come to terms with it. Matthew Perry grew up in Canada with his mother until age fifteen, a nationally ranked tennis player who felt a huge hole inside that was partially a result of his parents’ early divorce. His father, John, an American musician, separated from his mother, Suzanne, a beauty queen. His father became an actor who lived in California. His mother, a respected journalist, served as press secretary for Pierre Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada. Perry marked his childhood and adolescence with a longing for the stability and security that he had never experienced. Known for his tennis prowess, he never found it a means to establishing a sense of identity and self-worth. With his mother’s high profile job traveling with the Canadian prime minister, he often felt abandoned and always on edge. He moved to live with his father in Los Angeles when he was fifteen. In hindsight, as an adult, he views his parents with love and respect for doing the best they could as very young people raising him, and for sticking by him during his stints in rehab and in the hospital. To get attention and please his mother on the occasions she was at home, Perry…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

A Christmas Gift from Phil Spector

By Ron Powers Now that the holiday season is in full swing, I thought I’d write a little about one of my favorite albums played this time of year. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector was released in 1963 and peaked at No. 13 on Billboard magazine’s special, year-end, weekly Christmas Albums sales chart. The album features 13 tracks, 9 of which have become classics played on heavy rotation each year on holiday radio and in just about every shopping center. Composed of songs performed by artists like The Ronettes, The Crystals, and Darlene Love, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector is easily one of the best holiday albums ever created. Year after year it continues to stand the test of time and is enjoyed by millions of people young and old. I’ll be discussing a few of my favorite songs from the album here. The eleventh track on Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector is called “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and it’s my favorite off the album. I love this song’s anticipatory intro music with its violin trills, rich bells chiming, horns blazing, and bass guitar notes dancing around. The intro rises in energy until Darlene Love and her backup singers burst into an expansive verse singing the lines, “(Christmas) The snow’s coming down / (Christmas) I’m watching it fall / (Christmas) Lots of people around / (Christmas) Baby please come home”. There is such a depth of feeling in Darlene Love’s vocal performance and that feeling blends with the music to create a song that isn’t merely a nice holiday tune. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” stands among some of the greatest music created in the 1960s. For “Sleigh Ride”, the fifth track on the album, The Ronettes and Phil Spector begin…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Alexandria Events – December 2022

2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 18th Mount Vernon by Candlelight 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission: Members: $26 for adults; $18 for youth; Non-members: $36 for adults; $28 for youth George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway 703-780-2000 mountvernon.org/candlelight Enjoy a candlelit guided tour and learn about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia and the build-up to the American Revolution as Alexandria celebrates the 250th anniversary of the year 1772. 2nd-4th, 9th-11th, 16th-18th Del Ray Artisans’ Fine Art and Fine Craft Holiday Market 6 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays Admission: Free Del Ray Artisans 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue 703-838-4827 delrayartisans.org The 27th Annual Holiday Market is open for the first 3 weekends in December, featuring different artists each weekend. The market offers unique handmade fine arts and fine crafts from local artists presenting a variety of mediums. The gallery is free, open to the public and accessible. 4th, 11th & 18th Holiday Markets at Old Town North 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission: Free Montgomery Park 901 N Royal Street oldtownnorth.org Shop for local gifts while celebrating the Christmas season with dozens of vendors offering an array of baked goods and produce, specialty food items, seasonal decorations and fresh greenery and gifts. 4th & 16th Specialty Tour: A Magical Apothecary 4th from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; 16th 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Admission: $15 per person, $12 for Office of Historic Alexandria members Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum 105-107 S Fairfax Street 703-746-3852 shop.alexandriava.gov Learn about the muggle botanical science that inspired the potions and herbology of Harry Potter’s wizarding world on a tour of this 19th-century apothecary, plus, make your own magical potion. This event is recommended for children ages 8 and up. 7th Family Holiday Magic Show 7 to 8 p.m. Admission: Free; reservations encouraged The Lyceum 201 S Washington Street…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Support your local Artists’ Sunday!

By F. Lennox Campello Here’s your assignment for November: Support your local Artists’ Sunday! “But Lenster,” you ask, “what is this Artists’ Sunday?” Artists Sunday is an annual event that showcases the work of artists and artisans local to you! This year it takes place November 27, 2022. ✓ Artists Sunday is a day to support local artists in your community. ✓ Artists Sunday was created in 2020 to encourage people to shop with artists and buy art as gifts during the holidays. ✓ There’s perhaps nothing more personal than a gift of the arts. ✓ Give something special, unique, and handcrafted this holiday season and support local artists and the local economy. ✓ More than 500 communities across the United States have come together for the second year to champion local artists and promote the giving of the arts this holiday season. ✓ Communities from coast-to-coast, large and small, are celebrating Artists Sunday on Nov 27, 2022 by highlighting local artists, creators and makers and promoting the giving of artistic items and experiences for the holidays. ✓ Positioned during the year’s busiest holiday shopping weekend, Artist Sunday, falls between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. ✓ Artists Sunday unites artists and communities across the country, all promoting shopping with local artists. ✓ Artists Sunday, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov 27 this year), is the world’s largest art event, dedicated to supporting artists and recognizing the impact they have in enriching our lives, communities, and the economy. By supporting the work of these artists and artisans and creators we not only support and stimulate your local economy, which as most of us know is in dire need of stimulations, but as I’ve discovered over the years, it also offer all of us the opportunity to gift and/or collect…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

We Salute Our Veterans – Past & Present!

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors,…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Fresh by Devo

By Ron Powers In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to start this month’s article by saying I’m very thankful for my family. This year has had its share of ups and downs but my family has been there through it all. I’m also thankful for musicians and the music they make. Speaking of music, this month’s Flashback article features a song that pop culture missed out on. Akron, Ohio new wave band Devo released “Fresh” in April of 2010 as the lead single for their ninth studio album, Something For Everybody. “Fresh” is easily on par with the band’s more widely recognized music. In fact, it’s arguably superior to much of the band’s earlier work. “Fresh” has a tight locked-in feel complete with balanced guitars, snappy drums, and plucked synth bass. The production has a blend of zipping fuzz, smoothness, and polish. The first three measures of “Fresh” feature the band striking their instruments in unison. The notes convey an ominous and powerful feeling culminating with the sound of a thunderstorm as the third note rings out. The crash symbols mix well with the sound of the rain and thunder as a gentle synth riser leads into the head-bobbing intro music. Every instrument contributes to the appeal of this song, from the bouncing bass line and charging drums to the cool and catchy guitar lead line. For the first verse, the instrumentation is reduced to mostly drums and bass with sparse lead guitar. We hear the lyrics, “Something in the air / Is telling me to go there / So I’ll follow my nose / Go wherever it goes”. Singer Mark Mothersbaugh adds plenty of space between each line of the verse creating a dip in energy and contrast for the coming pre-chorus. The words are delivered with an…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Bridgerton

By Miriam R. Kramer “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” In her eight Regency historical romances, focusing on the family Bridgerton from 1813-1827, Julia Quinn might take this introductory sentence to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and slightly re-write it: “It is a truth acknowledged in the Bridgerton family, that any Bridgerton heir has enough money to marry well and for love, and should do so post-haste.” If you have binged the two costume-drama seasons on Netflix, with Shonda Rhimes as the showrunner, you will mostly know what to expect. The highly popular novels do take a slightly more serious tone at times. Their titles are as follows: The Duke and I (Daphne), The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony), An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict), Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin), To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise), When He Was Wicked (Francesca), It’s in His Kiss (Hyacinth), and On the Way to the Wedding (Gregory). The Bridgerton family, heir to the deceased Viscount Edmund and vibrant Viscountess Violet, comprises eight stair-step children named in alphabetical order according to age. Anthony, the Viscount-to-be, is pressured by the responsibility that will fall on his shoulders of looking out for his siblings. Next come Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. With a loving, wise mother ready to push her children into society to find spouses, Quinn puts a happier, lighter spin on the Austen society satire and adds in the boisterous nature of an exceptionally large family whose members all adore and support one another. The first novels start with comments from a light-hearted, acerbic, and anonymous society maven named Lady Whistledown, who knows everything about the glittering society in which the Bridgertons move. In a…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Alexandria Film Festival Celebrates It’s Sweet Sixteen

By Dana Sanders This year’s Alexandria Film Festival – our 16th! — has a line-up of more than 50 films including 14 with premiere status. The premieres – East Coast, DC Metro Area, Virginia – are programmed across 13 showcases consisting of two or more films per showcase. Films will be screened in person at AMC Hoffman Center 22 on November 11th and 12th. On November 13th, the festival offers a day of family friendly, free cinema at The Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria. Below are just two of the festival’s multi-film showcases scheduled for Friday, November 11th; the links provide more information about the films and tickets: SHOWCASE: “THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE” Friday, November 11th – 12:00 PM EST at AMC Hoffman 22 For more information, trailers, and tickets go to: alexfilmfest.eventive.org/schedule/633a6241e0aa1000bc7bea08 THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE showcase films include: What’s The Mark? – Through the lens of an actress unintentionally involved in a controversial commercial, What’s The Mark? explores the power of media and advertisements in influencing public opinion and the perpetuation of stereotypes and its effects. One Pint at a Time – Craft beer generates tens of billions of dollars annually for the US economy. Despite beer’s Egyptian and African heritage, these traditions have been mostly forgotten and are rarely found in American brewing culture. Today, Black-owned breweries make up less than 1% of the nearly 9,000 breweries in operation. Eager to shift the historical perception of who makes and drinks beer, Black brewers, brand owners and influencers across the country are reshaping the craft beer industry and the future of America’s favorite adult beverage. The Sun Rises in the East – The Sun Rises in The East chronicles the birth, rise and legacy of The East, a pan-African cultural organization founded in 1969 by teens and young adults in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. SHOWCASE: “LOVE & DESIRE”…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Alexandria Events – November 2022

12th 27th Annual Art on the Avenue 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: Free Mount Vernon Avenue between Hume & 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 and grab a bite from 20+ food vendors and set to the soundtrack of live music along the avenue. 12th & 13th Art Fest at Torpedo Factory Art Center 12 to 4 p.m. 105 N Union Street 703-746-4570 torpedofactory.org Shop for affordable art deals on all three floors of the Art Center while enjoying drinks from local craft brewers and wineries. Choose from a selection of tiered tickets for drinks plus a discount on selected affordable art (varies on each day). Plus, live music and performances. 19th City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony 6 to 7 pm Market Square 301 King Street 703-746-5592 Alexandriava.gov/calendar Ring in the city’s official start to the holiday season with the lighting of the 40-foot tree adorned with nearly 40,000 twinkling lights, plus enjoy appearances from Alexandria’s Town Crier and Santa himself. 24th Del Ray’s 47th Annual Alexandria Turkey Trot 9 a.m. Registration: Standard $20, Children 13-20 $15, Children Under 13 $5 Start: South Crosswalk, Mt Vernon and East Spring alexandriaturkeytrot.com Alexandria’s favorite Thanksgiving morning tradition, the Alexandria Turkey Trot, returns to the streets of Del Ray on Th., Nov. 24 at 9 a.m.  In the spirit of the season, participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for ALIVE. 24th & 25th  – Dec.  2nd,3rd, 9th, 10th Mount Vernon by Candlelight 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission: Members: $26 adult, $18 youth; Non-members: $36 adult, $28 youth George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Mount Vernon 703-780-2000 mountvernon.org Enjoy a candlelit guided…

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