The List for Jan. 31


Best Music

1. Shen Yun: Reviving 5,000 years of civilization with the premier classical Chinese dance and music company in a lavish new multimedia show.

Where: Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Info: $50 to $250; 202-467-4600, 800-444-1324;

2. Paco Pena: The celebrated flamenco guitarist presents the history of the flamenco accompanied by his troupe of musicians and dancers.

Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Info: $23 to $46; 888-945-2468;

3. The Persuasions: The art of a cappella continues to flourish thanks to these masters discovered by Frank Zappa in 1968.

Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Info: $25; 877-965-3872;

4. Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour: Five top musicians from the Festival, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Benny Green, Lewis Nash and Ambrose Akinmusire, will perform numbers to delight the audience.

Where: Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $38; 202-467-4600;

Best Brainfood

1. "Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito": Mozart's last opera seria, his rarely performed "The Mercy of Titus," set to glorious music a story of obsessive love, betrayal and political intrigue. True leadership and enlightened mercy prevail, as Charlotte Stoudt's English adaptation reveals the all-too-contemporary parallels of the palace intrigues.

Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: 202-399-7993;

2. "Italian American Reconciliation": Shots are fired and promises broken in this exhilarating romantic comedy from the author of "Moonstruck" and "Doubt." After his divorce from a shrewish wife, Huey Bonfigliano takes to the arts, but bad poetry and worse clothing can't replace what he's lost, no matter how terrifying his wife may have been.

Where: 1st Stage Theatre, 1524 Spring Hill Road, McLean

When: Friday through Feb. 24

Info: $15 to $25; 703-854-1856;

3. Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland: Focusing mainly on the Irish upper-class, their cultural exchange with England, and their struggle for power during a time of great change, this exhibit underscores why Irish cultural identity is challenging to define: the early-modern Irish were a profoundly international people, with roots in England, Scotland, Wales and cities across the European continent.

Where: The Folger Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE

When: Through May 19

Info: Free; 202-544-7077;

4. "The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century)": Immerse yourself in the astonishing world of acclaimed theater troupe Double Edge Theatre. Inspired by the life and works of visionary artist Marc Chagall, "The Grand Parade" is an original world premiere event that will fill the theater with physically daring spectacle that is at once as emotionally nuanced as it is visually thrilling.

Where: Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW

When: Feb. 6 to 10

Info: Tickets start at $40; 202-488-3300;

Best Family

1. "Anime Momotaro": An old couple in ancient Japan longs for a child. They have their wish granted when a huge peach floats down the river and breaks open to reveal a baby boy. They name him Momotaro, and he grows up to be the strongest young man in all of Japan. When Momotaro's village is bullied by giant ogres, Momotaro decides to make a stand against them.

Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda

When: Through March 10

Info: $12; 301-280-1660;

2. Survival Skills: Smoke Signals: These hands-on classes teach traditional survival skills. You'll build off of fire-starting skills, learn how to bellow smoke and take home your own fire-starter kit. For kids 7 to 12. For info, call 703-228-6535.

Where: Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington

When: 4 to 5 p.m. Friday

Info: $10; Registration necessary: 703-228-4747; Program No. 622923-G

3. Celebrate Groundhog Day: Falling midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Groundhog Day is celebrated when celebrity groundhog Punxsutawney Phil looks for his shadow to see how much longer the cold will last. Participants will learn the story behind Groundhog Day and some interesting facts about this hibernating animal. A visit to the home of the Walney garden groundhog will be followed by groundhog games. Participants must be at least 3 years old.

Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $5; 703-631-0013;

4. Civil War Discovery: Winter Soldiering: Winter was a tough time for Civil War soldiers. During this program you'll do some winter marching, make hardtack and set up camp. For ages 7 to 11. Register children only. For info, call 703-243-4342.

Where: Fort C. F. Smith Park, 2411 N. 24th St., Arlington

When: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday

Info: $5; Registration required: 703-228-4747; Program No. 622723-B

5. See, Hear, Sketch: Turtles in the Pond: Where do Arlington's turtles stay when the weather gets cool? You'll take a short hike around the pond to view the wintertime options of box turtles and sliders, and then learn how to draw their shells and winter habitats. Art supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your own sketchbook and pencil. For kids 5 to 9. For info, call 703-228-6535.

Where: Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington

When: 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday

Info: $5; Registration necessary: 703-228-4747; Program No. 622923-K

Best Gatherings

1. Dave Barry: "Insane City": The first novel in nearly 10 years from one of America's funniest columnists finds Seth Weinstein about to marry Tina, a woman he never thought he could win. But just as things are about to go right, trouble erupts in the form of gangsters, desperate refugees and a Burmese python.

Where: Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

2. K Street After Dark Nightclub Tour: Four stops are included in this nightlife excursion of some of the classic and hottest spots in thriving downtown K Street. No individual cover charges or long lines.

Where: Meet at Barcode, 1101 17th St. NW

When: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday

Info: $20;

3. Introduction to Indoor Rock-Climbing: If you've never climbed before, this introductory class is perfect for you. Enjoy a brief lesson on safety, followed by at least 90 minutes of supervised climbing by expert instructors.

Where: SportRock, 5308 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria

When: 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday

Info: $40;

4. 2013 National Presidents Day Choral Festival: Fifty years after the untimely end of the Kennedy administration, the festival pays tribute to the life and service of the 35th president of the United States.

Where: Kennedy Center, Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

Info: Free; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

5. "Kafka on the Shore": The greatest strength of the story is that none of the riddles are ever solved. Adapted by Frank Galati, the play acts as a kind of kaleidoscope of images and characters who morph, combine and fall into patterns of perfect dream logic.

Where: Spooky Action Theater, 1810 16th St. NW

When: Thursday through Feb. 24

Info: $20, $15 for seniors, $10 for students and actors; 202-248-0301;

Best Outdoors

1. Horseback Trip and Bonfire: Winter is a beautiful time to enjoy the natural beauty of nature. After a one-hour journey, relax and enjoy a warming bonfire with coffee, hot chocolate and s'mores. Alcohol will not be served, but feel free to bring your own.

Where: Misty Manor Riding Stables, 7621 Ridge Road, Marriottsville

When: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $55;

2. Cunningham Falls: This 1.25-mile round trip is marked by rocky outcrops and 78-foot waterfalls. Approaching the trailhead, you are confronted with two choices: the strenuous hike over the mountain via the Cliff Trail or the easy walk along the Lower Trail. Either way, once you reach the falls, you will be greeted by a peaceful boardwalk and viewing/seating area where you can relax and enjoy the natural splendor of the falls.

Where: Thurmont (see website for directions)

When: Any day

Info: Free;

3. Creature Feature: Bundle up the kids and get outdoors. Every Friday you can get acquainted with the Rock Creek Park Nature Center's live animals and assist in their feeding. Learn about park wildlife.

Where: Rock Creek Park Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW

When: 4 p.m. Fridays until March 29

Info: Free; 202-895-6070;

4. Birding Trip to Bombay Hook: Adults, make an excursion to the Eastern Shore to look for ducks, swans and snow geese in the marshes of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. You'll also look for winter songbirds such as horned larks and sparrows. Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars, a bag lunch and a drink, and snacks for the day. For more information: 703-228-3403.

Where: Meet at Lubber Run Recreation Center, 300 N. Park Drive, Arlington

When: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday

Info: $40; registration required: 703-228-4747; program No. 622843-C

5. Adult Bird Walk: Join members of the Northern Virginia Bird Club for an informal walk through Long Branch and Glencarlyn parks in search of resident and migratory birds. Experienced and beginning birders welcome. Bring binoculars and field guides. For info, call 703-228-6535.

Where: Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington

When: 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday

Info: Free; registration required: 703-228-4747; program No. 622943-F

Best Theater

1. "Cabaret": Step into the Kit Kat Klub, a place teeming with seedy nightlife on the eve of Hitler's rise to power in Weimar Germany. This eight-time Tony Award-winning musical depicts the interlocking stories of a cabaret singer, a writer from America and the denizens of Berlin, all caught up in the swirling maelstrom of a changing society.

Where: Keegan Theatre, Church Street Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW

When: Through Feb. 23

Info: $35 to $40; 703-892-0202;

2. "FELA!": "FELA!" tells the true story of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation. Inspired by his mother, a civil rights champion, he defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity.

Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW

When: Through Feb. 10

Info: $43 to $100; 202-547-1122;

3."The Motherf----er with the Hat": An unfamiliar hat in Jackie's living room threatens his relationship, his parole and his fledgling sobriety in this intoxicating and cheerfully vulgar look at the complicated recovery from love and other addictions.

Where: Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW

When: Through March 10

Info: $39 to $72; 202-332-3300;

4. "Hughie": One of Eugene O'Neill's later works, "Hughie" is a commanding study of Erie Smith, a man whose illusions of a grand lifestyle are wavering after the death of the stranger who quietly validated his larger-than-life confidence. Richard Schiff plays the lead role.

Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW

When: Through March 17

Info: $43 to $100; 202-547-1122;

5. "Good People": South Boston's Lower End is a black hole where hard work and sacrifice don't always add up to the American Dream. But mouthy "Southie" native Margie, a single mother facing eviction, has got a plan to solve all her financial problems.

Where: Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW

When: Friday through March 10

Info: Tickets start at $40 to $100; 202-488-3300;

Best Galleries

1. Al Weiwei: According to What?: China's dominant contemporary artist gets his first North American survey of his work -- an expansion of the 2009 showcase the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.

Where: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Independence Avenue SW

When: Through Feb. 24

Info: Free; 202-633-4674;

2. Grisha Bruskin: H-Hour: The enveloping sculptural installation from the Russian artist considers competing visions of enmity: Death, Time, The State, The Other. Provocative and haunting.

Where: The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave.

When: Through March 17

Info: Free; 202-885-1300;

3. Susan Yanero: Yanero's lush, enigmatic paintings ripple with mystery. This solo exhibit of paintings and drawings made between 1985 and 2005 accompanies a concurrent exhibit of her work at the Katzen Arts Center at American University, where Yanero previously taught.

Where: Washington Studio School, 2129 S St. NW

When: Through March 2

Info: Free; 202-234-3030;

4. Michael Curry Mosaics: Curry's hand-cut, one-of-a-kind glass mosaics create a dramatic interplay of refracted light.

Where: Gallery Plan B, 1530 14th St. NW

When: Through Feb. 17

Info: Free; 202-234-2711;

5. Ted Milligan: A professional cartographer before he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, Milligan refers to his vibrant, stream-of-consciousness paintings as "mental maps."

Where: Gallery Plan B, 1530 14th St. NW

When: Through Feb. 17

Info: Free; 202-234-2711;

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