28 Jan 2010

INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival

Sigh. Oh winter, you hold such promise of sleigh rides and frosty noses. In DC’s  oppressive summer heat we dream of sweaters, snuggling and fireside cocoa. In reality most folks are about done with winter by the end of January…Valentine’s Day at the latest. However the pleasures of Spring still elude us. It will be weeks before the first crocus pops up and months before the flip flops hit the streets.

Oh how shall we pass the time? I suppose there are the obvious choices of either drinking heavily or couch-surfing (or for new parents, both) but I think we’re all ready to move on from that a bit. It’s a new decade! Sort of.

Well put down the remote and put the cork back in the bottle. You now have reason to venture out from your hibernation! For three weekends, from February 19th through March 7th, the Atlas Performing Arts Center will be hosting INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival. The festival aims to explore and celebrate those places where people from different ages, races, cultures and even artistic disciplines meet. It captures the energy and art that results from these connections.

This event is a first for the Atlas (full disclosure, my employer.) The center has until now been primarily a venue for arts organizations, some of which are full time residents and some are occasional renters. With INTERSECTIONS the Atlas has begun to change that dynamic somewhat.

With a grant from the FIRE Fund of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, the Atlas chose award-winning playwright and director Mary Hall Surface to be Artistic Director of the festival. She led a programming committee which reviewed applications from many arts groups and have selected a wide variety of performers to appear on the different stages of the Atlas.

Northeast Senior Singers

Well known local groups like Arena Stage and the Folger Shakespeare Library appear on the same bill as the Northeast Senior Singers and the young dancers of the Body Moves Contemporary Dance Company. There is a dizzying number of performances lined up. How will you fit it all in?

Personally I’m excited to see a rarely performed Scott Joplin opera called Treemonisha. Atlas resident The Washington Savoyards is producing the show which will run every day of the festival. But then there is Grammy and WAMMY nominee Christylz Bacon, an amazing hip hop performer who is staging a new theater piece for grown ups as well as performing for the kiddos. And then I want to see local actress Kathleen Gonzalez’ one-woman, sixteen character show, The Bridge of Bodies , about being Haitian-American. Hmm, that’s a pretty theater-heavy list…

Folksinger Tom Chapin

Of course there is the legendary folk singer Tom Chapin performing with a gospel choir. And DCypher Dance always puts on a good show as anyone who went to Thriller on H can confirm.

For the kids? A ton! Family Day is Saturday,  February 20th and there will be workshops with artists from both Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and the Capital Childrens Museum; Christylz will do hits from his album for children; there will be several dance performances and a concert by the a cappella group Reverb.

Joe Morton will be reading for Symphony Space's Selected Shorts

There will be several literary events including a reading sponsored by Politics & Prose featuring Steve Roberts who will be reading from his new book From Every End of This Earth. NPR fans who miss Symphony Space’s  Selected Shorts program can get a chance to see and hear a live show with stories read by actor Joe Morton.

For those hanging out in the lobby there will be a series of Cafe Concerts with Lulu Fall, musicians from the In Series and Levine School of Music. Each weekend audiences and artists can mingle and get a groove on at the Late Night Dance parties.

All that art can make you hungry so patrons can take their INTERSECTIONS performance ticket to several Atlas District restaurants, including Granville Moore’s and H Street Country Club, for 10% off of their check.

To get a complete understanding of the festival check out the schedule here.

The staff and volunteers at the Atlas are excited for the opportunity to showcase the beautiful building and state of the art performance spaces filled with talented artists.  Festival Director Mary Hall Surface said, “A big goal of INTERSECTIONS is to offer an event so rich in programming for every age and interest that all residents of the Hill will want to come to Atlas — even if they’ve never been before — and discover the treasure that’s right next door.”

INTERSECTIONS runs each weekend February 19 – March 7. Tickets are available at www.intersectionsdc.org or by calling the Atlas Box Office 202.399.7993, ext 2.

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  • rick

    Is the Atlas showing a film as part of this festival? I seem to remember that.

    I’m dying for you to become the new E Street.

    Maybe just to pay the bills? The neighborhood is begging you.

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