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Posted at 9:00 PM ET, 11/22/2009

Free and easy events

By Fritz Hahn

Watch Motown documentaries, celebrate the foods of the Americas, hear soundtracks composed for silent films and celebrate a bar's 62nd anniversary with live country music.

"Motown in the Fall at the Nation's Library"
The Library of Congress's new Monday night film series focuses on the Sound of Young America, and two documentaries are on the program. "The Supremes: Reflections" includes clips of the trio performing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Hullabaloo" as well as unseen footage. "The Four Tops - Reach Out" features Abdul "Duke" Fakir, the only surviving member of the Four Tops, sharing stories about the group. Tickets can be reserved by calling 202-707-5677 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Any seats not claimed 10 minutes before the 7 p.m. screening will be given away on a first-come basis.

Snark Ensemble at the Kennedy Center
In the days of silent films, movie theaters would have pianists who provided dramatic soundtracks for the images on the big screen. They probably didn't have anything like D.C.'s four-man Snark Ensemble, which composes new scores for silent films. At this Millennium Stage appearance, the ensemble plays for screenings of "Liberty," starring Laurel and Hardy, and "Publicity Pays," with comedian Charlie Chase.

Creche Exhibition at the Washington National Cathedral
Nativity scenes from around the world are featured at the Washington National Cathedral's annual exhibition, which is open daily through Jan. 6.

Business as usual at the Smithsonian
On a day when many of us gather with friends and family for a holiday meal, the assumption might be that popular D.C. attractions will be closed. Here's a timely reminder that the Smithsonian's museums will be open on their regular hours - in most cases 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - as they are every day but Christmas.

Maize of the Americas at the National Museum of the American Indian
To mark Native American Heritage Day, the National Museum of the American Indian kicks off a three-day festival highlighting native foods of North America - think chocolate and chilis. There'll be cooking demonstrations and hands-on activities, plus films, live music and traditional dances.

Santmyer Family Band at JV's Restaurant
"Ageless charm without yuppie bastardization" is the motto at JV's, a cozy honky-tonk bar and restaurant that's served Falls Church since 1947. JV's marks its 62nd year by doing what it does best: serving up cold beers and presenting some of the finest country music in town. Brothers Richard and Vernon Santmyer have been performing at the club for more than 30 years, and Vernon still hosts the Wednesday night open-mike session. The Santmyers - with Pauline Dross on drums - are joined by guitarists Mike Woods and Diana Quinn of the excellent local group Honky Tonk Confidential. (Woods and Quinn are relative newcomers to JV's - their band has been playing there only a dozen years.) Try to arrive early for the 4 -8 p.m. show; the bar holds only 50 people.

American Music Festival at the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art's annual American Music Festival is a great way to immerse yourself in works by the nation's composers. This is the third of four concerts this year, and it features Waves by Fred Lerdahl, the U.S. premiere of "Lines in Motion," a violin concerto by James Aikman and John Corigliano's Symphony No. 2, which won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2001. A conversation with the three composers precedes the music.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | November 22, 2009; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Free and Cheap  
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