Arts & Entertainment

Falls Church Breaks Out the Mistletoe: A Holiday Entertainment Guide

Don’t let holiday “to-do” lists snowball into a stress fest. Take a break between the tangle of tinsel and decompress at several holiday events around Falls Church.

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Gabriel Arevelo looks shocked as he meets Santa for the first time. Although Arvelo wished for nothing in particular, the Tysons Santa Clause understood his simple wanting of a happy life. See the spotlights below to discover where else Santa will be visiting before his big night. (Photo: News-Press)

A few sips of cocoa and a couple of merry laughs with the big man in red will surely boost weary spirits.


Fuel Up With Santa

Anytime an individual plans for the holidays, whether it be traveling the world or selflessly helping others, a healthy meal is in order.

Stocked with a sack of surprises, St. Nick will join fellow seniors fueling up during a holiday celebration brunch on Monday, Dec. 21 at Langston-Brown Senior Center (2121 N. Culpeper St., Arlington).

There will be eggs, sausage, pancakes waffles, all sorts of breakfast stuffs for a well-rounded meal, said program coordinator Wanda Richardson. Afterwards, Santa will dole out sweet treats.

Breakfast, ’tis the reason to mingle, exchange jolly jokes, entertain with stories and lead into rounds of Christmas caroling. Festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. and costs $5. For registration, call 703-228-5210.

But who would Santa be without endearing the hearts of children? The McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean) will be giving youngsters the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap before sitting down to a meal.

“The ‘Frosty Frollies’ tiny-tot dance program will then perform a tap and jazz movement to ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Rudolph,'” said community center staff member Ann Macafee.

This communal breakfast will be held Saturday, Dec. 19 from 9:30 – 11 a.m. Preregistration is required. For more information, call 703-790-0123.

For families who would rather stick close to Falls Church, a brunch banquet at James Lee Community Center (2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church) will fit the bill.

From 9:30 a.m. – noon on Saturday, Dec. 19, Kriss Kringle will bring his famous sack stuffed with edible goodies for good boys and girls.

The community center will deliver a healthy breakfast of eggs, turkey bacon, pancakes, orange juice and more

“We do this every year. We usually have tons of kids who come out from the community,” said Cassie Lebrown, assistant director of the senior center.

Admission is free. For more information, call 703-534-3387.

The Teen Angle

Ensure this year will be a nostalgic one by participating in a few juvenile jive events.

Individuals learn information in two main ways, by seeing and by doing. The award-winning group Yosi and the Superdads will be performing a “Rockin’ Hanukkah Concert” for youngsters, encouraging all to “do” a sing-along.

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Yosi and the Superdads. (Photo: Courtesy McLean Community Center)

It will be a Hanukkah infused show, “interactive and humorous, filled with clever rock, ska and jazz music,” said Cathy Herr, director of youth programs at the McLean Community Center.

“They play really professional, good music, even though it’s for kids.”

The McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean) will be hosting this lively celebration of the Jewish festival on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14. For more information, call 703-790-0123 or visit www.aldentheatre.org.

Falls Church adolescents who want to make the most of their winter break from school can travel a little farther from home during an exciting trio of field trips.

The staff of James Lee Teen Center have arranged for children ages 13 – 17 to bus to Reston Town Center Ice Rink and shred its icy surface on Monday, Dec. 28 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for $10.

Next, participants will plop down slopes while snow-tubing at Whitetail Resort in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Dec. 29 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. for $24.

Finally, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, teens will join in mid-day arcade fun at Dave & Busters in Bethesda, Md for $25 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Each outing requires a signed parental permission slip, registration and, with the Whitetail trip, a wavier form. Transportation is provided from the James Lee Teen Center (2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church).

Field-trippers should be on the premises at least 15 minutes prior to departure.

“We’re planning on having loads of fun,” said one member of the teen center staff.

Call the center at 703-534-3387 to pre-register.

A Gay Ole Time

Home to a variety of interests and lifestyle, the Falls Church area reflects a diversity of entertainment.

For those ready to party with a gay twist, strut to a holiday ho-down at Tabu Tuesdays with the famous couple Mrs. Clause and Mrs. Clause. Sit on Santa’s lap, grab candy from the male and female go-go dancers, carry on with live music or taste a hot toddy.

The party will commence at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and end at 2 a.m. at Majestic Dance Club (2922 Annandale Rd., Falls Church). For more information, visit www.mymajesticclub.com.

Or waltz over and see how drag queen bingo, epic karaoke renditions, margaritas stronger than Schwarzenegger, fried pickle spears (not chips!) and pink flamingos all add up to a winter bash at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant (555 S. 23rd St., Arlington).

“The owners create an annual dinner plate special on Christmas night at 6 p.m.” said Operations Manager Ray Martin.

Freddie’s also throws a New Year’s Eve Bash that, once past the door with a cover charge, includes a complimentary hor d’ourves buffet and midnight champagne toast, DJ, karaoke and cameo performances.

“We stay open an hour or two after last-call and serve a breakfast buffet for a little noshing before you drive home,” Martin said.

For more information, call 703-685-0555.

Arts Impart

Winter landscapes are often the inspiration for wonderland soundscapes and this year is no exception.

The McLean Symphony Festival Singers is organizing two choral concerts for the music lover. Because last year was so popular, there will be two shows this year, said a symphony volunteer.

The first show closes the year with their rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker ‘Sweets'” The singers will be accompanied by Carlos Ibay’s piano improvisations.

The second performance showcases Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 played by pianist Elena Ulyanova.

Both performances will include a repertoire of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah” by the Festival Singers.

In addition, an audience sing-along will help enliven the theatre hall.

The first auditory journey will commence on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. and the second at 7:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean). Seating is $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, $15 for students and free for children under 12. For more information, call 703-991-7197.

Slightly less formal, but equally as stimulating is Creative Arts Ministry’s “Gloria! Ring the Bells Christmas Program.”

The show will explore the jubilant delights of Christmas through music, dance and drama.

The chorale event will be held Dec. 17 – 18 at 8 p.m. at the McLean Bible Church’s Tysons location (8925 Leesburg Pike, McLean). The required tickets are free and can be found online at www.mbctysons.org. For more information, call 703-770-2981.


Afternoon Delights

Slow down during one of the most hectic times of year for some afternoon felicity.

Simple Pleasure for the Solstice is a relaxed event for families. Themed “Simple Pleasures are Life’s Treasures,” the afternoon in the great outdoors will feature games, stories, crafts, refreshments, entertainment by “The Jazzy Juggler” and a performance by instrumentalist and naturalist Rich Bailey.

Park sponsors will also present “5 Simple Ways to Identify Animals and Plants in Northern Virginia.”

The lazy day event will be held Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 Marcey Rd., Arlington). Advanced registration is required. For more information, call 703-528-5406.

For something more “indoorsy,” treat the palate to a soothing mug of holiday tea in the decorated Cherry Hill Farmhouse & Barn. Enjoy sandwiches, sweets, warm scones and a variety of bottomless teas. The afternoon will be “hosted by a costumed docent telling of Christmas practices in mid-19th century Virginia,” said Diane Morse of Friends of Cherry Hill, the group which organizes tours and events at the historic farm.

“Then there will be and a full tea with a tour of the house.”

The cost is $25 per person and includes tax and gratuity. All proceeds benefit the historic property. The soirée is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at Cherry Hill (312 Park Ave., Falls Church). For more information, call 703-248-5171.

The Countdown

New Year’s Eve signals the close of one year and hope for the next. Check out a few events around town that will usher in the future.

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Volunteers prepare for Falls Church’s “Watch Night.” (Photo: Courtesy Barbara Cram)

Falls Church will celebrate its 12th Annual Watch Night this year. This is a community event that includes free magic acts, caricaturists, a Velcro wall, numerous live music acts, karaoke, face painting, a scavenger hunt, dance lessons, inflatable obstacle courses, food and more.

For more details on the big night, see elsewhere in this News-Press edition.

What’s a better way to greet the New Year than finding a new relationship? Search for that partner at the Singles’ New Year’s Eve Party hosted by the Singles’ Ministry of McLean Bible Church.

The evening will celebrate the future with people who shares like values, interests and goals.

“This is on a grander scale than in the past. The Single’s groups who raised funds, Focus, Fuel and Soul Purpose, are really excited about it,” said Terri Marone, the administrative assistant for Single’s night.

The bash takes place Thursday, Dec. 31 from 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. at Marriott Fairview Park (3111 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church). For inquiries, call 703-770-8677 or visit www.mbctysons.org.

Join sword swallower Dan Meyer as he brings new meaning to “sending steel down the hatch” at Rock Student Ministries’ New Year’s Aid 2010 lock-in.

Attendees can win prizes, engage in silly ice-breakers, play games, run relays, share resolutions, watch a guy eat a weapon or nosh on munchies all night long. Attendees must have $35 and be inside McLean Bible Church (8925 Leesburg Pike, McLean) on Thursday, Dec. 31 by 10 p.m.

“Proceeds from the event will go to aid orphans in Uganda, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines,” said organizer Annie Seifert. Doors will reopen Friday, Jan. 1 at 7 a.m. For more information, call 703-770-3851 or visit www.newyearsaid.org.

Older locals ready to make noise for the emerging New Year should meet at the Langston-Brown New Year’s celebration.

Party-goers will dance to live entertainment by one-man band Carl Pink in a setting adorned in decoration.

“There will be lunch, music and dancing. It’ll be a combination of all sorts of things,” said center coordinator Wanda Richardson.

The party will be held Monday, Dec. 28 from 10:30 a.m. – noon. The cost is $6. The event takes place at Langston-Brown Senior Center (2121 N. Culpeper St., Arlington). To register, call 703-228-5210.

Finally, families wishing for a quieter celebration should close the decade with a New Year’s Eve Stroll & Campfire. Soak in nature’s beauty, far removed from Time Square, while exploring Gulf Branch’s 37-acre park. Finish a short hike by rustling up the forest with edible noisemakers and casting resolutions into a “wishing” bonfire.

“This is the third year we’re doing it. It’s a nice way for families to do a New Years activity with their kids,” said park naturalist Marty Pross.

Warm clothing and flashlights are recommended.

The event runs from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31 at the Gulf Branch Nature Center (3608 Military Rd., Arlington). A $5 registration is required and all children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 703-228-3403.