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Blue Oyster Cult tour announcement (image via Blue Oyster Cult/Facebook)

Blue Oyster Cult, a rock band best known for Don’t Fear the Reaper and possibly an SNL parody, is making a return to The Birchmere (3701 Mt Vernon Avenue) next month.

The other major star in September is Modern English, a post-punk band formed in the 1980s.

And then in September:

The full calendar is available at The Birchmere’s website.

Image via Blue Oyster Cult/Facebook

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Alexandria’s Office of the Arts has announced new funding aimed at helping to revitalize community programs in the West End, Arlandria and Old Town.

The Creative Neighborhood Grant Program (CNGP), funded by the City of Alexandria and a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, launched in April with $60,000 to distribute.

Ultimately, the release said the program is granting $61,143 to 13 organizations, which in turn will hire and engage over 200 artists with 38 different programs.

“The Office of the Arts is truly pleased that the Creative Neighborhood Grant Program awardees will be able to help energize three neighborhoods in Alexandria including the West End, Arlandria, and Old Town by hosting unique and engaging community programs,” the city said in a release.”All Alexandria city residents are cordially invited to participate in the upcoming Creative Neighborhood programs and to take part in this historic initiative which will help create vibrant creative communities in our city.”

In Arlandria, two of the programs receiving funding are a “MakersFEST” — a free art-making day with local artists in October — and a concert/”instrument petting zoo” hosted by the Alexandria Citizens Band.

In the West End, the grant funding will go to benefit an Ethiopian Film and Art Festival later this month, a Tango Concert series in September, and more.

Another Ethiopian arts event is planned for Old Town at the Durant Art Center (1605 Cameron Street) in October. The “Made in Ethiopia DMV Trade Fair” event spotlights traditional music and dance.

The link to the press release was broken at time of writing, so the full release is posted below the jump: Read More

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With fireworks, cupcakes and music, Alexandria celebrated its 273rd birthday on Sunday, July 10.

Thousands were in attendance for the free party, which also celebrates America’s birthday and was supposed to be held on Saturday (July 9), but was held off due to rain. What resulted was a less crowded event than years past — with performances by Town Crier Ben Fiore-Walker, Poet Laureate Zeina Azzam, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO).

During the fireworks show over the Potomac River, the symphony played the “Superman theme” by John Williams instead of the traditional “1812 Overture” by Tchaikovsky. ASO Conductor Jim Ross said that it would not be fitting to play music by a Russian composer commemorating Alexandria’s and the country’s birthdays.

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Music, local food and beer is on tap this weekend for the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival at Waterfront Park.

This year, the event is merging with the 44th Annual Alexandria Jazz Fest, and the free events will be held on Friday (June 17) from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m.

The Portside Festival is organized by Visit Alexandria and the City’s Office of the Arts.

“New this year, the event merges with the  on Friday evening to showcase jazz performances and readings by Alexandria poets,” Visit Alexandria said on its website. “Saturday the festival continues with an eclectic musical lineup, local food, hands-on art and history activities and more.”

Food will be provided by Borinquen Lunch Box, Chalkboard Wings & BBQ, Dolci Gelati and The Italian Place.

Additionally, Port City Brewing Company will provide these beers:

  • Optimal Wit (Belgian-style white ale, 4.9%)
  • Beach Drive (Golden ale, 4%)
  • Downright Pilsner (Bohemian style pilsner)
  • 4.8%; Monumental (IPA, India pale ale, 6.7%)

Friday schedule

  • 6 to 6:15 p.m. — Opening remarks
  • 6:15 to 7 p.m. — Cubano Groove
  • 7:15 to 8 p.m. — VERONNEAU
  • 8:15 to 9 p.m. — Eric Byrd Trio

There will be poetry read between sets by:

  • Zeina Azzam, Alexandria’s Poet Laureate
  • KaNikki Jakarta, Alexandria’s former Poet Laureate
  • An up-and-coming Alexandria youth poet

Saturday Schedule

  • 1 to 1:15 p.m. — Opening remarks
  • 1:15 to 2 p.m. — Eli Lev (folk rock)
  • 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. — La Unica (Irish Latin rock)
  • 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. — ilyAIMY (folk rock)
  • 5 to 5:45 p.m. — Rob Curto’s Forró for All (Brazilian forró)
  • 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. — Ras Band (Ethiopian reggae, jazz and funk)
  • 7:45 to 9:00 p.m. — Pablo Antonio y La Firma (salsa, merengue and bachata)

Via Facebook

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Steve Earle and The Dukes, photo via Steve Earle/Facebook

Summer highlights at The Birchmere include rock band America, R&B singer Lalah Hathaway and a suite of country-folk music legends.

July has a certain blues/country flair, with singer-songwriter John Hiatt performing two shows, folk musician A.J. Croce covering the music of his parents — folk musician Jim Croce and his wife and songwriting partner Ingrid Croce, and a show by country-rock musician Steve Earle.

Shows coming up in June include:

Then in July:

The full list of upcoming events at The Birchmere is available online.

Photo via Steve Earle/Facebook

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Jack Kilby is nearly out of fliers. There’s been a stack of them sitting on a barstool in front of his home recording studio in Del Ray for the last couple weeks promoting an upcoming outdoor concert in his back yard this Saturday night.

On Saturday, June 4, Crab Shack Live at 211 E Oxford Avenue is offering dinner, drinks and live music from 6 to 10 p.m. There will be three 45 minute sets featuring Sam C. Jones and the Sinners, Eliza Harrison Smith and Micah Robinson. There’s a $20 cover for music lovers ages 21 and over, and it’s $15 for everyone else.

This will be Kilby’s third backyard concert since moving into De Ray in 2017.

“I just feel so lucky to live in this neighborhood to have like a house with a deck where I can feature these folks,” Kilby told ALXnow. “So often during the pandemic musicians have been reduced to trying to promote things through social media, whether it’s doing live streams, or just promoting the music that they already have. It can feel like shouting into a void sometimes.”

Kilby, an award-winning bandleader, arranger and musician (he plays plays piano, drums and trumpet) has spent the last two years teaching privately at Rock of Ages Music and producing new acts at home. He’s also put his six-piece jazz band, Jack Kilby and the Front Line, on hold. He’s a lifelong Alexandrian and grad of T.C. Williams High School, and says that he will release a new record with Casey Shannon of Peyote Pilgrim this fall.

As for the noise, Kilby got a noise permit and alerted his neighbors that the music will be family friendly and will stop before 10 p.m.

“Luckily my next door neighbors to the right of me are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met,” Kilby said. “My neighbors to the left are cool, and they seem to enjoy the music, too. Really, I just told the folks who live behind me — since my speakers will be facing the back of their house — I was just like, ‘Hey, we’re going to be done before 10, and if it’s a problem, here’s my cell number before you call the police.'”

Below is a sampling of the music that will be played Saturday night.

Photo via Jack Kilby/Facebook

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Spring gets into full swing in Alexandria this month, and there are dozens of events around the city to get you out of the house.

Visit Alexandria has compiled a list of events this month around town, including Easter egg hunts, book signings, a film screening and musical performances.

April events in Alexandria:

  • Outdoor cello concert: Listen to cellist Amit Peled at The Rectory in Old Town on April 7 (Thursday), from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Book signing at Alexandria Visitor Center: Meet John Adam Wasowicz, the Author of the Old Town Mysteries, Daingerfield Island, Jones Point, Slaters Land and Roaches Run. Two book signings will be held on April9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Easter Egg Hunt with the Old Town Business Association: On April 9 (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Historic event at Carlyle House: On April 9 (Saturday), learn from costumed interpreters about how Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, landed in Alexandria in 1775. Tickets are free, and the event is from 12 to 4 p.m.
  • Cherry Blossom Jubilee: On Sunday (April 10), enjoy live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the waterfront side of the Art Center, followed by an Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries
  • Outdoor vocal recital: On Thursday (April 14), Mexican soprano Judy Yannini makes her Secret Garden debut in a program of selections from vibrant zarzuelas to beloved operas, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Easter Egg Hunt at Lee-Fendall House: On April 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday), there will be Easter egg hunts at the historic property, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for children ages 2 to 12, $5 for accompanying adults
  • Outdoor bluegrass concert: On April 21 (Thursday), listen to father-son team Ken & Brad Kolodner, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Advance screening of ‘TRASHY: a zero waste film’: The feature documentary follows its director as she tries not to throw anything away over the course of a year. The free screening at the Torpedo Factory Art Center starts at 6 p.m.
  • 89th Annual Old Town Alexandria Homes & Garden Tour: The long cherished event will be held on April 23 (Saturday), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $55 apiece if bought online and $65 at the Alexandria Visitor Center to tour the Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, River Farm, Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon and Green Spring Gardens
  • Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performance: The ASO will perform the music of Barber and Brahms at its April 23 (Saturday) concert. The event is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $20-$85 for adults, $5 for children and $15 for students
  • Rocklands BBQ meat and greet party: The April 23 (Saturday) event features School of Rock performances and local vendors
  • Soul Food Saturday: On April 23 (Saturday), explore the contributions of African American innovation and tradition to American cuisine with a unique walking tour around Old Town. The event is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets cost $95 apiece
  • Earth Day tree planting: Join the Alexandria City Council on April 23 (Saturday) for a tree planting on Earth Day in Old Town, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
  • History discussion on African American housing crisis in Alexandria: On April 28 (Thursday), Dr. Krystyn Moon will examine how segregationist practices impaired Alexandria’s African American residents. The event is virtual
  • Old Town Alexandria Fine Art And Design Festival: On Saturday (April 30), more than 100 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses in John Carlyle Square
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Performance at Classical Movement, image via Classical Movements

Fresh off an approval to expand their music venue, the concert series at Classical Movements (711 Princess Street) is planning to highlight the music of two countries in crisis.

One of the two concerts will feature music from Afghanistan, featuring a performance from a recently arrived refugee. The other will feature musicians from the National Symphony and the Washington National Opera/Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders’ work in Ukraine, according to a release from Classical Movements.

On March 10, “Flamenco Guitar Meets Tabla” will have Afghan tabla-player Hamid Raouf Habib Zada — who escaped Afghanistan with his family in August 2021 — performing alongside flamenco guitarist and vocalist Wadih Ettabbakh.

There are two programs scheduled, one at 7 and one at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available online.

“In the United States, he has been able to pursue his career as a performer on the tabla, the hand drums popular in India and throughout South Asia,” the release said. “Habib Zada’s own Hindustani classical musical tradition will intersect with Wadih Ettabbakh’s own fusion of flamenco and Moroccan styles, a musical journey from Spain to Afghanistan, from Morocco to India – complemented by a glass of Spanish wine.”

The second program is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, and will be a “Concert for Ukraine.”

“In response to the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, Classical Movements dedicates its 100th concert, the Spring Season Opening Concert on Tuesday, March 22, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, featuring musicians from the National Symphony and the Washington National Opera/Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra,” the release said.

The program will feature Ukrainian musicians performing classical songs from Ukrainian composers.

“A portion of proceeds from ticket sales and the entirety of additional donations will be donated to ‘Doctors Without Borders’ in support of their relief efforts in Ukraine,” the release said.

There are two showings scheduled, one for 5 p.m. and one for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available online.

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Image via The Bacon Brothers/Facebook

ALXnow has good news and bad news.

The good news — not to step on The Zebra’s beat — is Gordon Lightfoot is coming to The Birchmere (3701 Mt Vernon Avenue). The more on-brand bad news: the show is already sold out.

But there are lots of other shows coming to the Arlandria music venue over the next few months, including a return of Three Dog Night and 80s alt-rock icons 10,000 Maniacs and Aimee Mann.

This spring will also see local karaoke performers Kevin and Michael Bacon return to The Birchmere.

Shows coming up in March include:

Then in April:

The full list of upcoming events at The Birchmere is available online.

Photo via Image via The Bacon Brothers/Facebook

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Morning Notes

George Washington birthday parade returning on Monday — “Celebrate Presidents’ Day and the first president’s 290th birthday at the George Washington Birthday Parade on Monday.” [Alexandria Times]

Study: coastal flooding to increase as seas rise 1 foot by 2050 — “Several areas in and around Alexandria are vulnerable, according to an updated interactive tool.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Alexandria Symphony to perform Bach and Vivaldi March 19 — “The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) presents a special chamber orchestra concert Brandenburg, Vivaldi & Tango on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria.” [Zebra]

ACPS receives award for renaming process — “The National School Boards Association awarded Alexandria City Public Schools a Silver Prize in its Magna Awards program for the campaign to rename two schools in the 2020-21 school year.” [Alexandria Times]

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