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ShowPlace Icon Theatre at The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The 96th Academy Awards are just under a month away, which means there’s still time to catch up on this year’s nominees.

To help out, ShowPlace Icon Theatre in Tysons will host upcoming, “special” screenings of “Barbie” and “The Holdovers,” two of the films seeking to upset “Oppenheimer” on its steady march toward winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

Greta Gerwig’s record-breaking comedy will screen on Thursday, Feb. 29, while Alexander Payne’s Christmas-set throwback to the 1970s will screen on March 7, just days before the Oscars ceremony on March 10. Both screenings will start at 7 p.m.

With both movies available to watch at home, either on physical discs or online, The Boro theater is banking on a discount to attract audiences. With a $15 ticket, patrons can get a small popcorn and their choice of a soda, beer or wine.

Per its website, the theater typically charges $18.75 for evening showings, and drinks range from $6.50 for a beer bottle or can to $15 for some of the wines.

Tickets for the special screenings can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Located at 1667 Silver Hill Drive, ShowPlace Icon originally opened in February 2020 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Fairfax County. After a one-month attempt at reopening, it officially reintroduced itself to the community in April 2021.

Tysons is also home to an AMC at Tysons Corner Center and CMX CinéBistro in Tysons Galleria.

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Leslie Holt’s work “Perfect Night” will be on display at Tephra’s satellite gallery in Reston through June (courtesy Tephra ICA)

The Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art is launching an art exhibition featuring D.C.-based artists this week in its satellite gallery.

Restorative Gestures” will bring new work by artists Leslie Holt and Rose Jaffe to the Signature apartments in Reston Town Center from Friday, Feb. 16 through June 23.

According to Tephra ICA, Holt is an artist and educator with teaching experience at the college level for more than 15 years. She is also co-director of Red Dirt Studio, a warehouse studio for independent creative professionals in Mt. Rainier, Maryland.

Her previous work includes “Neuro Blooms,” a project that attempts to use mixed-media art to shed light on mental health conditions. The project has visited organizations and schools in Maryland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

A visual artist, Jaffe’s preferred media include mural painting, printmaking and digital illustration. She previously taught middle and high school art — a career path she dropped after pursuing art full-time.

She has painted more than 30 murals nationally and internationally, including 20 in the District. Her work often explores themes related to “political activism, natural healing, and spiritual grounding” to push for social change, Tephra ICA said in a press release.

Here’s more from Tephra on the work:

Holt’s Brain Stains, draped in the language of clinical technology, use emotionally resonant color palettes, PET scan imagery, and hand stitched text, to create expansive views of mental health conditions. A number of Holt’s works in the exhibition also draw from her personal involvement as a caregiver to her ailing parents at the end of their lives.

In a series of recent monoprints, Rose Jaffe explores her own journey of healing and thriving with stylized figures that fill the page with comfort and ease. The sensuous curves of the bodies along with growing plants and her vibrant use of color–including deep purples, bright greens, and radiant oranges–give these works a sense of jubilance and peace.

Together, the work from the two artists forms a restorative gesture that challenges common narratives of illness and recovery. This exhibition aims to inspire viewers to cultivate compassion for their own interior lives and the varied experiences of others.

The satellite gallery is open from Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s located inside the Signature apartments at 11850 Freedom Drive, where Tephra will host an opening reception and artist talk for “Restorative Gestures” on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

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The gaming convention GAMEmason is set to return to George Mason University’s Fairfax campus (photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services)

(Updated at 2:35 p.m. on 2/14/2024) A two-day gaming convention will take over George Mason University’s Fairfax campus this month.

Organized by GMU’s student involvement office, game design program and GMU Esports, GAMEmason 2014 will take place on Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Center for the Arts (4373 Mason Pond Drive).

The event will feature guest speakers from Bethesda Game Studios, Monument Sports Entertainment, and faculty and staff. Other attractions include free arcade games, tabletop and console gaming, augmented reality and virtual reality demonstrations, an artist alley featuring the work of artists and students, and gaming industry vendors.

Here’s more from GMU, breaking down the program:

On Friday, February 23, the day-long events will lead up to keynote speaker, voice actress and Guinness World Records holder for “Most Prolific Video Game Voice Actor (female)” Jennifer Hale. The morning begins with educational sessions including “Game without Pain and Work without Strain” featuring co-founder of One Health Point (1HP) Dr. Caitlin McGee, followed by voice actor Wes Johnson in “The Many Worlds of Voice Acting.” Next, Mason Associate Professor in Computer Game Design Greg Grimsby leads a discussion entitled “Developing Board Games” and after, Vice President of Esports at Monumental Sports & Entertainment Andrew McNeill leads “Journey through Esports, Hosting Large Events and the Esports Professional Scene.” The evening begins with “Getting a Job in the Game Industry,” led by Associate Producer at Bethesda Game Studios Nathan Hahn.

On Saturday, February 24, varsity level collegiate Esports teams from across the region will compete in tournaments. Games featured in the tournament will include Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch 2, Valorant, and Super Smash Brothers crew battles. GAMEmason attendees will be able to watch the teams as they compete live on the Center for the Arts stage. In addition to George Mason University, participating schools include James Madison University, Ohio University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, Saint Louis University, Shenandoah University, Syracuse University, [Northern Virginia Community College], Virginia Tech, Virginia Wesleyan University, Wake Forest University, and William and Mary University.

(Correction: GMU included a “University of Northern Virginia” among the schools participating in the esports tournament. Once based in Annandale, that university has been defunct since 2013. A GMU spokesperson confirmed Northern Virginia Community College was the intended reference.) 

The convention is $20 for Friday passes and $15 for Saturday. Attendees must be at least 16 years old, and those aged 16 or 17 must be accompanied by an adult. The event is free for GMU students, faculty and staff.

The event kicked off in 2009.

“Unique events such as these connect Mason students and the public with professionals in the field, and offer innovative opportunities for students to learn, grow, and create community during their time at Mason,” a university spokesperson told FFXnow.

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Look Dine-in Cinemas at Reston Town Center (file photo)

A popular tradition for local cinema-loving seniors is returning to Reston Town Center this month.

In conjunction with Reston Association, Look Dine-in Cinemas will host “Senior Movie Day” for the first time since it opened at 11940 Market Street late last fall. The event offers free screenings of popular films for adults aged 55 and older on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

The event’s revival will kick off on Feb. 28 with a showing of “Downton Abbey: A New Era.”

In a statement, RA Director of Recreation Laura Kowalski said the association is excited to bring back the event in partnership with Look Cinemas and Reston Town Center.

“Not only has Senior Movie Day been one of RA’s most long-standing events, it’s also one of the most anticipated and popular all year,” Kowalski said.

No registration is required, and the event is free. Doors open at 9:15 a.m. for refreshments and socialization, followed by the beginning of the movie at 10 a.m.

The next scheduled screening will be “Top Gun: Maverick” on March 27.

Senior Movie Days were put on hold after Bow Tie Cinemas, the space’s previous occupant, closed in May 2022. Started in 1994, the program had attracted more than 100,000 patrons over the years, RA previously told FFXnow.

Look Cinemas opened up its dine-in movie theater on Nov. 1. The 11-screen venue is the company’s first and, so far, only location in Virginia.

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Omnium Circus is coming to Capital One Hall in Tysons, with a diverse cast including aerial silk artists Jen Bricker-Bauer and Dominik Bauer (courtesy Omnium)

A circus that accommodates both performers and audience members with disabilities will swing back into Tysons later this February for a new, one-day-only show.

Omnium Circus will launch its 2024 tour of the production “I’m Possible” at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) on Feb. 24. It will be the third visit to the Tysons performing arts venue for the nonprofit-run circus, which first stopped by in February 2022.

“Capital One Hall has always been a special venue for us and we are excited to bring our show and our new cast to such a welcoming audience,” Omnium Circus founder and executive director Lisa Lewis said. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of creating wonderful circus experiences for the whole family with all of the D.C. metro area!”

A former clown trained by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Lewis unveiled Omnium Circus to the world with a live-streamed show in December 2020. The circus planned to premiere in-person at Lerner Town Square at Tysons II in fall 2021, but the multi-week stay got canceled.

Instead, the circus performed live for the first time at Gallaudet University in D.C. that November before putting on a one-day show at Capital One Hall on Feb. 26, 2022.

The organization has since traveled around the country, and just last month, it collaborated with Alamo Drafthouse for interactive screenings of the musical movie “The Greatest Showman” in Arlington.

Led by Ringmaster Danette Sheppard Vaughn, the upcoming show at Capital One Hall will feature some new cast members, including D.C. resident Ermiyas Muluken as the main character, Johnny, and Deaf dancer Malik Paris in his circus debut. Patrons can also expect contortionists, acrobatics, comedy and “gravity-defying aerial acts.”

Omnium Circus presents all of its performances in English and American Sign Language. Other accommodations include ADA seating, live audio description, tactile experiences, and relaxed seating rules and a calming area for neurodiverse and sensory-sensitive audience members, according to a press release.

Tickets for the Capital One Hall show are currently on sale, starting at $39. The circus will perform in the venue’s main theater, with doors opening at 1 p.m.

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Bicyclists on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail stopped at a crosswalk in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The now-annual Mayors’ Fitness Challenge between the Town of Vienna and cities of Fairfax and Falls Church is still more than a month away, but the competitors are already getting warmed up.

Registration is now open for the contest to determine which community is the most fit, a title that has gone to Vienna for two straight years.

The competition began in 2021 as a way of encouraging residents to get active after many people stayed at home during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Falls Church won that initial bout, but it’s still hunting for a second title, and Fairfax City is seeking its first.

The fourth annual Mayors’ Fitness Challenge will take place over eight weeks from March 16 to May 11. People who live or work in each of the localities can participate by tracking the time they spend walking, cycling and otherwise engaging in physical exercise. The locality that tallies the most collective minutes wins.

Falls Church started registrations on Feb. 1, per its website, while Vienna launched its portal yesterday (Monday). Fairfax City’s registration page is also now available.

Though registration for the challenge is free, Vienna and Falls Church are selling T-shirts for $16 and $5, respectively, and Fairfax City has hats for $5. The deadline for ordering a T-shirt is April 11 for Vienna and April 13 for Falls Church.

Last year, Vienna emerged victorious with 195 participants recording 466,142 minutes of exercise, almost doubling its winning total from 2022. Fairfax came in second with 409,539 minutes in 2023, and Falls Church finished third with 400,878 minutes.

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“Desegregation in Northern Virginia Libraries” is the focus of a February event in Reston (courtesy Reston Museum)

The battle to integrate Fairfax County Public Library and other library systems in the region will be the focus of a Reston-based event for Black History Month.

Authors Chris Barbuschak and Suzanne LaPierre will offer a look at the overlooked history of segregated library services in Northern Virginia at the Feb. 21 event organized by Reston Museum. It’s slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Reston Community Center’s Lake Anne facility (1609-A Washington Plaza North).

The program focuses on the librarians’ book, “Desegregation in Northern Virginia Libraries.”

“We are thrilled to have Mr. Barbuschak and Ms. Lapierre speak at our February program about their book,” Reston Museum Executive Director Alexandra Campbell said. “Those interested in reading the book in advance can purchase the book at the museum or the day of the program. It is an insightful book and I encourage everyone to read it.”

The book highlights how libraries were inaccessible to Black residents — even after the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that found segregation to be unconstitutional. Ultimately, civil rights activists used protests and lawsuits to gain equitable library services.

The 208-page book, which was published last January, is available online. Registration for the upcoming author talk is available through Reston Museum’s website.

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Capital One Park in Tysons will kick off its second season of baseball on Feb. 17, 2024 (courtesy Capital One Center)

Capital One Park is winding up for another year of baseball.

Capital One Center unveiled a schedule yesterday (Thursday) for the ballpark’s second season since it opened at 1820 Dolley Madison Drive in Tysons on March 31, 2023.

The season will kick off earlier this year, with Marymount University squaring off against Hampden-Sydney College on Feb. 17. The Arlington-based Catholic university’s baseball team will join the Georgetown Hoyas in making Capital One Park its “home” stadium for 2024.

Georgetown University’s team will make its local debut on March 1 with the first of three games against Fairleigh Dickinson University, which is visiting from New Jersey. The Hoyas are also scheduled to play Cornell, Maryland University, George Mason University, George Washington University and other Division 1 teams at Capital One Park.

Designed for collegiate and high school games, the stadium will also again host the entire season of the nonprofit Potomac Summer League. The college-level, eight-team D.C. area league is set to start practices during the first week of June.

Other highlights of Capital One Park’s upcoming season include two college tournaments in May, with the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament taking over on May 9-11 and the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament following on May 19-25.

This season will also bring some new amenities, including more bleacher seating, a merchandise kiosk, locker rooms and a rentable “party deck,” according to Capital One Center, the mixed-use development emerging at Capital One’s headquarters in Tysons.

Planned for 6 million square feet, the 35-acre campus already consists of 3 million square feet of commercial development, including a performing arts venue in Capital One Hall, The Watermark Hotel and The Perch skypark. The Tex-Mex restaurant Ometeo opened in December and is slated to be joined by Sisters Thai, Stellina Pizzeria, Ox & Rye and Starr Hill Brewpub this year.

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Author Neil Gaiman will speak at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts on July 20 (courtesy of MasterClass)

This summer, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will see the returns of John Legend and the Out & About Festival, along with some brand-new faces.

The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the nonprofit that supports and programs the park, announced an initial lineup for the Filene Center’s summer season yesterday (Tuesday) that features both pop and classical shows.

Tickets for all the confirmed shows will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16, though Wolf Trap members who donate $80 or more to the foundation can access presales right now.

In addition to a variety of concerts, Wolf Trap will introduce an expanded concessions building this summer with improved accessibility, including an elevator that will provide a stairs-free connection between the park’s upper and lower levels for the first time. The Meadow Commons project has been under construction since September and is expected to be finished this spring.

“[The Meadow Commons is] the embodiment of our community’s commitment and support to enhance the visitor experience through elevated concessions, improved accessibility, and more,” Wolf Trap Foundation President and CEO Arvind Manocha said. “With this upgrade, we’re dedicated to ensuring that all visitors can savor the magic of a performance at Wolf Trap.”

The Filene Center, the park’s 7,000-seat amphitheater, typically kicks off summer in late May around Memorial Day, but this year, the first performance on the schedule so far is the opera “Seven Deadly Sins” on Saturday, June 1. Kurt Weill’s “sung ballet” will be performed by up-and-coming orchestral musicians and opera singers in a collaboration between the National Orchestral Institute + Festival and Wolf Trap Opera.

The popular music slate starts on June 2 with The Beach Boys, led by original band member Mike Love. They will be followed on June 4-6 by John Legend, who visited last year and will sing songs like “All of Me” and Oscar winner “Glory” with the Wolf Trap Orchestra this year.

Other pop highlights will include:

  • June 8: soul singers Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight
  • June 9: rock/blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr.
  • June 18-19: Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and country singer Alison Krauss, whose June 18 show is a makeup for one that got postponed last year
  • June 20: alt-rock band Wilco
  • June 22: Out & About Festival, a showcase of LGBTQ artists that launched with Brandi Carlile in 2023. This year’s edition is headlined by Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard.
  • June 29: Broadway in the Park with Arlington’s Signature Theatre
  • July 20: author Neil Gaiman will take the audience “on a literary journey”
  • Aug. 1: Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me
  • Aug. 10: Kidz Bop Live
  • Aug. 17-18: Boyz II Men
  • Aug. 25: rockers Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge
  • Sept. 11: country singer Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  • Sept. 12, 14 and 15: James Taylor & His All Star Band
  • Sept. 13: actors Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, singing Broadway hits

On the classical side, Wolf Trap Opera will stage productions of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” (June 21, 23, 29 and 27), Puccini’s “La bohème” (July 19) and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning “Silent Night” by Kevin Puts (Aug. 9, 11, 15 and 17). The Mozart opera will be in The Barns at Wolf Trap, while the others will be at the Filene Center.

The National Symphony Orchestra is also set to perform live scores for screenings of the original “Star Wars” (July 13) and “Ghostbusters” (July 26).

The orchestra will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” on July 12 by conductor Ruth Reinhardt and Wolf Trap Opera artists. The program will include Samuel Taylor-Coleridge’s “Violin Concerto” performed by violinist Njioma Grevious.

Wolf Trap’s 2024 Kay Shouse Great Performance, which is designated annually to honor the park’s founder, will be an evening with the Washington Ballet on Sept. 5.

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

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The McLean Community Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 4:35 p.m. on 1/30/2024) The McLean Community Center will cap this year’s Black History Month with an appearance by one of the students who helped integrate public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas — a landmark moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

The youngest member of the “Little Rock Nine,” Carlotta Walls LaNier will visit the Alden Theatre at 1234 Ingleside Avenue on Sunday, Feb. 25 for a free author talk and book signing, preceded by a V.I.P. meet-and-greet.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Fairfax Library Foundation, the meet-and-greet will start at 12:15 p.m. and include refreshments. Currently on sale for $75 through Eventbrite, tickets are available for only 50 people, who will also get reserved seating for the subsequent author talk.

LaNier will then speak from 2-3 p.m. in a Fairfax County Public Library event open to the general public before signing copies of her 2009 memoir “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.”

Now 81 years old, LaNier was just 14 when she and eight other teens became the first Black students to attend Little Rock Central High School in 1957, three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

Initially turned away on Sept. 3, 1957 by the Arkansas National Guard, which had been called in by governor Orval Faubus, the students weren’t able to actually enter the previously all-white school until Sept. 23, 1957. They were escorted by Little Rock police officers through a mob that began rioting, forcing the students to be quickly evacuated.

It took federal intervention, with President Dwight Eisenhower ordering an escort of Army troops, for the Little Rock Nine to make it into Little Rock Central High School for their first full day of classes on Sept. 25.

Becoming the school’s first Black, female graduate in 1960, LaNier is now 81 years old and has lived in Colorado since 1962, according to the Colorado Sun. In recent years, she has raised concerns about the country regressing when it comes to civil rights and the inclusiveness of education, particularly on history.

“I am concerned that they [young people] are not getting all that I got, even in a segregated school. Parents are paying taxes for good schools, and they’re not getting them,” LaNier told the Denver Urban Spectrum in 2022. “It’s disheartening to know that these kids are not receiving the type of education that even I received in a segregated and integrated environment.”

Correction: This story has been updated with the accurate location of Carlotta LaNier’s events. Fairfax Library Foundation initially announced that they would be held at Dolley Madison Library.

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