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David Keltz as Edgar Allen Poe (image via City of Alexandria)

One of Alexandria’s more unique Halloween traditions, a reenactment of Edgar Allen Poe’s 19th-century speaking engagements, is set to return for two nights later this month.

Every year, The Lyceum (201 South Washington Street) hosts actor David Keltz to read a collection of Poe stories in character as the dour author.

“This year’s performance will include two popular short stories, poems, literary criticism, and a comic essay never before performed at The Lyceum,” the Office of Historic Alexandria wrote in the weekly newsletter This Week in Historic Alexandria.

Keltz has been performing as Poe since Halloween night in 1991 at Poe’s grave in Baltimore.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the performance is scheduled to run from 8-9:15 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30 and Monday, Oct. 31. Tickets are $20 and available online.

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Alexandria has been a hangout for revolutionaries going back hundreds of years.

On Saturday, September 24, the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) and Emerging Revolutionary War will host a Revolutionary War symposium  discussing how the outcome of the war (fought between 1775 and 1783) transformed governments around the world.

The theme for the event is “The World Turned Upside: The American Revolution’s Impact on a Global Scale.”

“The American Revolution created waves across the world with its lasting impacts felt even today,” the OHA said in a release. “As we approach the upcoming 250th anniversary of our nation, examining our American Experiment is key.”

The event will be held at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street). Tickets are $60 per person, $50 for OHA members and students, and $30 to attend virtually.

The Alexandria Lyceum (Staff photo by Airey)

As George Washington put it: “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

The schedule for the event is below.

  • 8:30 a.m. — Coffee & Light Breakfast at the Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum
  • 9 a.m. — Speakers
  • 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. — Lunch on your own in Old Town Alexandria
  • 1:30 p.m. — Speakers
  • 5 – 7 p.m. — Happy Hour at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (134 N. Royal Street)

Speakers

  • Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky: “Peace and Inviolable Faith with All Nations: John Adams, Independence, and the Quest for Neutrality”
  • Norman Desmarais: “Reevaluating Our French Allies: A New Look at Popular Assumptions of the French Army through the Diary of Count de Lauberdiere”
  • Kate Gruber: “A Retrospective Revolution: England’s Long 17th Century and the Coming of Revolution in Virginia”
  • Scott Stroh: “George Mason’s Declaration of Rights and Their Global Impact”
  • Eric Sterner: “Britain, Russia, and the American War”
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Alexandria’s history with slavery makes Juneteenth a particularly important holiday.

June 19 recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the date is expected to soon be a federal holiday, even though Alexandria has recognized it since 2019.

But because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the City is also recognizing Friday, June 18, as a holiday.

“We should all be looking at ways that we can help our community, especially in the context of a pandemic which has particularly ravaged communities of color,” said Audrey David, executive director of the Alexandria City Black History Museum, in a recent blog post, “Start by exploring the Black History Museum’s Preserving Their Names online only exhibition, released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection.”

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also presenting a virtual performance on Saturday with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices.

The holiday means most, but not all, City employees will have Friday off. Parking restrictions will also be lifted at legal parking spaces throughout the city, however Alexandria City Public Schools will be open.

What’s open

City-run facilities and services that will be open include:

Closures

The following City services are closed Friday:

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After months of being closed during the holidays, a number of museums in Alexandria will be open to the public starting this Thursday, March 25.

The Alexandria Archaeology MuseumAlexandria History Museum at the LyceumFriendship Firehouse Museum and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum will open with modified hours, capacities, and advance ticket requirements, according to the city.

This follows a closure over the holidays during a surge, which ended up closing a number of museums.

“For the safety of museum staff, volunteers and guests, visitors are expected to follow the requirements of Executive Order 72 and the City mask ordinance,” the city advised. “Everyone ages 5 and older is required to wear masks that fit snugly over their nose and mouth at all times; to keep 6 feet of physical distance between households; and to wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol frequently.”

The following museums are still closed:

  • Alexandria Black History Museum (closed for renovation)
  • Archives and Records Center
  • Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site (closed for renovation)
  • Freedom House Museum (closed for renovation)
  • Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

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Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts are more are planned for a Hanukkah ceremony in Alexandria tonight (Tuesday) scheduled to culminate with lighting candles on six-foot-tall menorah outside the Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street).

“Experience the festival of lights,” said host Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington on Facebook. “Come and share in the spirit and Joy of Chanukah at The Grand Chanukah Menorah Lighting in Old Town Alexandria at The Lyceum.”

The program is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

The program will include live music and a free light stick for every child. Pre-packaged potato latkes will be offered, along with hot cocoa, donuts, chocolate gelt and dreidels.

Capacity for the ceremony is limited so earlier registration is required. Masks and social distancing will also be required.

“We have a maximum amount of spaces available for this event,” Chabad Lubavitch said. “We will close reservations once we are full. All attendees must maintain mandatory 6 foot distancing between family units and wear appropriate face masks (when not eating). Do not attend if you have been exhibiting or exposed to someone with any COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test.”

Photo via Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Mayor: Council to Accelerate Sewer Capacity Projects — “Our ’16 Storm Sewer Capacity Analysis identified 90 areas where the system does not meet our CURRENT design standard of a 10-year storm. Our Stormwater Utility Fee was implemented in ’18 to fund capacity and environmental compliance. Council will now discuss how to accelerate.” [Facebook]

Beyer Attacks Trump’s Environmental Stance — “Trump’s climate change strategy is the same as his pandemic strategy: play it down and pretend it isn’t happening. There are a record number of named storms in the Atlantic and the west coast is on fire.” [Twitter]

Anonymous Donation Helps Expand SNAP Double Dollars Program — “A $10,000 anonymous donation to help fight food insecurity during the pandemic will help the City expand SNAP Double Dollars program, which allows SNAP customers who visit participating Alexandria farmers’ markets to receive up to $20 in double dollars to purchase eligible food products at the markets.” [Facebook]

Environmental Council of Alexandria Decries Taylor Run Restoration Plan — “We’ve got our work cut out for us to make sure that the City doesn’t continue to promote so-called “eco” policies that actually come at the expense of the environment and efforts to reverse global warming.” [Facebook]

Tall Ship Providence Sails Away for Inspections — “And, they’re off… Bright and early this morning, Providence headed out on a voyage to Georgetown, MD for a scheduled haul out and Coast Guard inspection. They’ll inspect the hull, complete any necessary maintenance, and she’ll get a new coat of bottom paint. Please join us in wishing our Captain and crew “Fair winds and following seas.” Providence will return home by the end of September. We look forward to welcoming you back aboard for tours and cruises!” [Facebook]

Classic Car Show in Old Town September 19 — “This Saturday you can head to the parking lot of the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum for a classic car show featuring a variety of Packards and other ‘orphan’ vehicles.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 73F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, clear. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Spanish Language Teacher — “You must have previous tutoring/teaching experience, and minimum Bachelor’s degree.” [Indeed]

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If quarantine has you pining for the days of attending history lectures in Old Town, or if the new filmed version of Hamilton has put you in a revolutionary war mood, the recently reopened Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street) has a digital alternative planned tomorrow.

From  7-8:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday), the Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum is planning to history lecture with local author John Maass about the Battle of Guilford Court House. The lecture will be hosted on Zoom. Tickets are $6 with a code to the chat sent on purchase.

The battle was a Pyrrhic victory for British Lieutenant-General Charles Cornwallis, who suffered significant losses and was forced to abandon his campaign to maintain British control of the Carolinas.

“Please join us on Zoom as Dr. Maass recounts the bloody Battle of Guilford Courthouse and the grueling campaign in the South that led up to it,” The Lyceum said in the event listing, “a crucial event on the road to American independence.”

For those wishing to visit The Lyceum in person, the museum is currently requiring visitors to purchase advance $3 tickets for a time slot. Visitors are required to wash their hands on entering and wear a face mask. Tickets are valid for groups of no larger than 10 people.

Photo via The Lyceum/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer Doubles Down on Trump Stance on School Reopenings — “Trump has again overruled the nation’s leading public health officials for political reasons, this time on guidance for reopening schools. He is intentionally endangering American children because he believes it will help him get reelected.” [Twitter]

Planning Commission to Evaluate Increasing School Density — The Planning Commission’s September 2 docket has been posted to the city’s website, and it includes a discussion to allow for an increase in density for public school sites. Since last fall, the city and administrators have been coordinating on a plan to co-locate affordable housing on school grounds. [City of Alexandria]

ACPS Reopening Survey Available Until July 12 — “Today, I am encouraging you to take part in what is surely one of the most important surveys ACPS has ever conducted. Your answers will guide us as we decide how and when to open school buildings, how and when virtual learning becomes necessary and preferable, and how we strike an acceptable balance between the two. As you know, there are no easy answers to the situation we find ourselves in and with the ever-changing landscape we must remain flexible to last-minute pivots. Please complete this survey by July 12 to allow us the time we need to properly prepare our path forward.” [ACPS]

ALIVE! Food Distributions on Saturday — “This Saturday, July 11, ALIVE! will be offering a “Truck-to-Trunk” distribution of food for residents who continue to be impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelf-stable groceries will be handed out at the John Adams Elementary School and Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lots, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., or until supplies run out.” [City of Alexandria]

Lyceum Reopening on Friday — “The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum will reopen to the public this Friday, July 10, at 11 a.m., with modified hours and new safety protocols. Exhibit galleries will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. To promote physical distancing of at least 6 feet between parties of no more than 10 people per party, visitors will be required to obtain timed-entry tickets through the Historic Alexandria online store.” [City of Alexandria]

New Job: Temporary Unarmed Security Officer — “We specialize in commercial, private, and government security, offering both armed and unarmed contract services. Please take the time to read this advertisement carefully as this posting is for TEMPORARY Unarmed Security Officers in Alexandria, Virginia.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Potomac Yard Metro to Create Jobs — “Those behind the new Potomac Yard Metro station say the area is about to be transformed in more ways than one…. Amazon has promised 25,000 new HQ2 jobs in ten years. But Alexandria City says a finished Potomac Yard Metro will… bring 26,000 jobs on top of that. [WUSA 9]

Local Nonprofit Raises Thousands on ‘Giving Tuesday’ — “Together We Bake, the nonprofit that provides workforce and personal development for women in need in Alexandria, raised $22,821 on Giving Tuesday.” [Zebra]

Irish Holiday Music at The Lyceum Next Week — “Join us in Old Town Alexandria each second Friday of the month for a concert sponsored by The Folklore Society of Greater Washington (FSGW) and The Office of Historic Alexandria… [On Friday, December 13] at The Lyceum, come celebrate the holidays with the tuneful playing and melodious singing of Quercus.” [Press Release]

Holiday Soiree in Del Ray Tonight — “The 2019 Holiday Soirée… is a festive way to kick off the holidays. It’s an annual party attended by Alexandria-area women, who mix and mingle and enjoy a signature cocktail — The Bourbon Frosty– wine, appetizers and sweets.” [Eventbrite]

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The Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street) will host a screening next Saturday, Nov. 16 of Peter Jackson’s acclaimed World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.

The film stabilizes and colorizes footage from World War I and plays audio from interviews with servicemen who fought in the war.

The event is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Popcorn at the screening is free, with soft drinks, beer and wine for sale.

The event will also feature an introduction from Jimmie McClellan, who teaches history at Northern Virginia Community College.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

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