Memories from Tinner Hill Blues Festival 2014

Special to the Falls Church Times
June 30, 2014

Cherry Hill Park was dancing and singing to the Blues during a wonderful day at the 20th anniversary Tinner Hill Blues Festival on June 14. Thanks to the generosity of Raymond Henderson and the Henderson Photo Group we have a set of photos to help you remember the day.  (All photos copyright Henderson Photo Group 2014). Read more

Falls Church Has Got the Blues!


Special to the Falls Church Times
June 13, 2014

Who would have thought that Falls Church, Virginia is the home of the Blues? The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, working with the State Theatre, and other local supporters is working to make the Little City the blues capital of Northern Virginia.  For five days we will have the best talent in the county in Falls Church in the spectacular Tinner Hill Blues Festival!

The State Theatre started things off earlier this week with two big shows — Buddy Guy on Tuesday and Leon Russell on Thursday.  Tonight they host Shemekia Copeland.

Saturday, June 14 will be the highlight.  Branded “Blues, BBQ and Brew” it will be a full day of BBQ, locally brewed Beer from Mad Fox Brewing and live Blues. National and regional acts including Teeny Tucker, Mississippi Heat, Baatin, Tom Principato, Cathy Ponton King, David Cole, Michael Roach, Ursula Ricks will perform in beautiful tree-shaded Cherry Hill Park. There will be vendors, contests, demonstrations, Big Daddy’s BBQ, Fisherman’s Cafe Soul Food, Casey’s Cake Pop’s, soft ice cream.

But wait there’s more. Live blues music all over town, all weekend, a library with kids blues book, readings, restaurants, Shop till You’re Blue at the Flea Market frenzy, farmers market with early bird blues, and a rare music film fest — all to celebrate the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, a non-profit that honors civil rights history in Falls Church, as well as Piedmont Blues icon John Jackson.

The festival is put on with support from local businesses and the city. Volunteers include students, city workers, elected officials, city council people, and seniors.

Saturday’s entertainment at Cherry Hill Park starts at noon and runs until 8pm.  General seating tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.  While VIP seats are $25 or $30 at the gate.  Children under 12 are free.

Falls Church Arts – All Member Show – 2 nite opening – Visual & Performing Arts (Dance-Music-Film)

January 28, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Click 1x or 2x to enlarge and read details of event and performances, videos, film premiers

Click 1x or 2x to enlarge and read details of event
and performances, videos, film premiers

Featuring Visual Artists on Friday & 
Performance Artists on Saturday
For the first time Falls Church Arts will be featuring its film, video, and performing artist members as part of the 11th Annual All Members Show that is celebrating its opening with a special two night celebration spanning Friday and Saturday nights (Jan. 31, Feb 1).  Friday night will be the art show opening featuring sculpture, ceramics; oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings; printmaking, mixed media, drawings, photographs, and ceramics.
Friday evening guests are asked to vote for their favorite artwork!  The awards for winners will be counted over the length of the All Members Show and those artworks with the highest total votes will be announced on February 27th at 7:30 pm at ArtSpace Falls Church.  The People’s Choice Party celebrates all of the artists and the winners of the awards.
Friday’s event and refreshments are  free and open to the public. The Gallery doors will open at 7 pm.
Upon arriving at ArtSpace this Saturday visitors will be greeted Falls Church Arts members including performers Andrew Acosta and Rosser Clark’s live music.  After a trip to the special “FCA Snack Bar” ( free hot popcorn, packaged snacks and cash bar featuring soft drinks,  IPA craft beers and wine) guests can  be seated in the theatre and view on wide screen, the premiere of Andrew’s new music video “Sights and Sounds” directed, filmed and edited by Michael Hamilton.
The next Falls Church Artist, Margaret Allen, will be doing a  live dance performance accompanied  by Larry Allen.  Following Margaret’s multi-media performance and dance will be a premiere of her short video – marge travels.  Margaret is a graduate of GMHS and VCU, and has just returned from study abroad, receiving her Circus Artist Certificate in Italy.

conrad_brooksFollowing the short video premieres and performance will be the film Taste of Desperation which is making its State of Virginia debut Saturday evening. This black & white feature length art noir caper produced by independent film company Absurd Productions Pictures (APP) features such film noir staples as the femme fatale, gloomy jazz score, alluring mistress, snickering psychotic villains, and actual 1950’s B-movie actor Conrad Brooks (pictured here).

Taste of Desperation won 1st place in the Crime Drama Feature category at the 2010 Indie Gathering Film Festival and has aired repeatedly at Film Festivals and art galleries in NY, DC, and OH since 2008. Mark Byrne, Writer/Director of Taste of Desperation, said the film not airing in VA up to this point was not by design.

“The film was set and shot in DC,” Byrne said. “So it just sort of made sense for that to be the screening place in the DMV area. Most of the cast lived in DC. But then along came this exciting opportunity to finally air the film in my home state of Virginia and adopted home town of Falls Church.”A black and white film, particularly one filled with 40’s era dialog and costumes, would seem to be a hard sell in an independent market focusing almost exclusively on horror and romantic comedy/dramas.

“I’d always wished a modern film would harken back to Film Noir era look, storyline, ambient sound, snappy dialect, like Chinatown and the 70’s noir remakes did – but in black and white,” Byrne said. “It was fun to have to follow some rules, not only in dialog but in little things like the muted violence and a lack of the cursing that is such a staple of today’s crime film. Living by bygone restrictions was a challenge, but not doing so would be an injustice to the genre. Besides the best part of noir, outside of the dialog, is framing scenes in total darkness or shooting characters in shadows offset by a bright window streaming light behind them. And since film noir officially ended in 1958, I decided to start my own genre- art noir.”

This wouldn’t be the only time Mark’s production company, APP created a genre. The company’s most recent film from 2013, Small Fish Small Pond, tied in to other alcohol-induced stories dating back to 1945 Academy Award winner The Lost Weekend as drinking dramas. With an on-going effort to not tie to one idea or genre, APP short films have also visited mystery, horror, and dark comedy genres. But if one genre deserves a re-visit, it would be noir.

“I’ve thought about it, another film noir,” Byrne said. “There’s a cult following to noir, just like horror and sci fi, but less mainstream. I think that’s why there’s still an interest in this film through the years. And being artfully shot and conceived, noir always plays well to the art crowd. Taste of Desperation has been more successful screening at art galleries than film festivals, I think, because that crowd is more intuitive to noir’s artistic elements. They appreciate and accept the genre’s pacing and structure.”

So embrace the art noir atmosphere and “taste the desperation” at Artspace as the lure of the buck and the desire to stay alive walk a tightrope wire.

When: Saturday, Feb 1, 2014,  7 PM

Where: ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church, VA 22046

See the Trailer:

See article from Viva Tysons:

Open House @ Creative Cauldron

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

January 13, 2014


On Saturday, January 18th and Sunday, January 19th Creative Cauldron will host an Open House at ArtSpace Falls Church (410 S. Maple Avenue) with family-friendly workshops, demonstrations and free performances. Veteran members of Creative Cauldron’s artistic circle will lead the free workshops along with ethnic performers who are participating in the 2014 Passport to the World Festival. The Open House is presented through funding from the Little City Catch Foundation and the Economic Development Authority of the City of Falls Church.

Creative Cauldron Open House Schedule


9 am  Creative Drama Workshop with Producing Director Laura Hull  Parents and children ages 3-6 will jump into the world of imagination as they create characters, environments, and original stories through dramatic play.

10 am – Noon   Learning Theater Workshop Observation   Creative Cauldron teaching artists will begin the process of creating an original production of Alice in Wonderland working with over 30 children who are enrolled in the Learning Theater program.

12 Noon   Meet the Composer Workshop with Matt Conner  Matt is a critically acclaimed musical theater composer whose work has been presented at Signature Theatre and other professional venues, in addition to Creative Cauldron.  Matt will share his process for creating original music and speak about cultural influences that have shaped his work.

1 pm Drumming Circle with Kofi Dennis  Kofi is a Master Teaching Artist with Wolf Trap’s Early Learning Through the Arts, who brings the West African cultural traditions of his native Ghana to life through performances that include “call and response”, songs, games and drum rhythms on authentic instruments.  All ages will be invited to join Kofi’s drumming circle and then play the drums for the 2pm performance of “Tales from West Africa.”

2 pm   FREE PERFORMANCE “Tales from West Africa”  Creative Cauldron’s actors/puppeteers will join Kofi Denis for a fun and interactive afternoon of stories about the mischievous spider Anansi, one of the most famous trickster characters of all time.  This is a show the whole family will enjoy.  FREE tickets MUST BE RESERVED in advance at

3 pm   Puppet-Making Demonstration with Scenic Artist Margie Jervis   Learn how Margie makes the amazing large-scale puppets used in “Tales from West Africa.”

4 pm   Make a Mural Workshop with Scenic Artist Margie Jervis.  Participants will create a mural backdrop that will be on display for the run of the Passport Festival.

7:30 pm   Performance with Latin Jazz Group “Veronneau”  This is a paid ticketed event, but patrons who attend open house workshops will receive a special discount to attend the show.  Tickets for the Veronneau performance are $20 adults and $18 students/seniors and can be purchased online at or by calling 703-436-9948. 


12 Noon   Polynesian Dance Demonstration and Workshop with Vivian Takafuji   Vivian is a Polynesian dancer and instructor, specializing in the native dances of Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand, and the founder of her own Tahitian dance troupe, Ta’ata Roiroi.  Participants will learn classic hula steps and movements performed to Hawaiian music.

1 pm   Andean Music & Scissors Dance Demonstration  Juan Cayrampoma, from the Andean/Latin fusion group Raymi, introduces our audiences to The Scissors Dance, an ancient dance ritual from the highlands of Peru.  This acrobatic and athletic traditional dance will look a lot like “break-dancing” to modern audiences.

2 pm   FREE PERFORMANCE “Tales from Peru”   Creative Cauldron performing artists will join forces with Juan Cayrampoma from Raymi  for an afternoon of storytelling, bringing to life ancient folktales from the Andes with large scale puppets, choreography and music.  FREE tickets MUST BE RESERVED in advance at

3 pm & 4 pm    African American Heritage Tour of Falls Church   The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation will conduct the award-winning African American Heritage Tour of Falls Church.  Meet real people from Falls Church’s past, played by costumed interpreters from before the Civil War to the birth of the early Civil Rights struggle.

3:30 pm   Meet the Photographer with Falls Church Arts   Falls Church Arts curates the Gallery at ArtSpace and during the open house their “Focus” photography exhibit will be on display.  Meet amazing local photographers who will share their insights and techniques. 


Final Year for “Christmas Cabin of Carnaween”

December 2, 2013 by · 1 Comment 


December 2, 2013

Creative Cauldron will present its holiday classic:  The Christmas Cabin of Carnaween weekends from December 6 through 22 at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Avenue.

“We are presenting our finest production ever in this final year,” offered Director Laura Connors Hull. “Audiences that have been making it part of their holiday tradition will find some fresh new scenes added and new cast members joining the ensemble.  And for those that are making their first visit, we are sure that this beautiful story will tug at your heart strings and work its fairy magic once again.”

Since it first premiered in 2009, this original adaptation of an Irish folktale has played annually to critical acclaim and full houses.  “Poignant and bracing…. a reminder of the season’s rich ideals,” Washington Post 2009. “This uplifting, engaging and poetic tale celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and reminds of the ‘Christmas within,” Maryland Theatre Guide 2011. “The spirit of selflessness and giving is at the heart of this production, and is shown in a loving way that enchants the entire family!”  DC Metro Theater Arts  2012.  The 2013 production will be the final year for the production that was first conceived and adapted by Hull. 


Christmas Cabin of Carnaween is set in the time of the great potato famine in Ireland and follows the journey of Oona Hegarty, the abandoned daughter of a family of tinkers.  Oona is taken in by the Donegal village folk who inhabit Carnaween.  She makes her way caring for the young and the sick and the elderly, but as a tinker’s child she is never quite fully accepted.  The years pass and her yearning to have a cabin of her own would go unfulfilled were in not for the intervention of some wee folk on a snowy Christmas eve.

Katie Culligan will play the role of Oona for the fourth time.  Culligan has been seen in Creative Cauldron’s 2010 Helen Hayes Awards Recommended® production of Nevermore and this past summer’s sold out cabaret performances “Voices of Vantage.” Katie will be joined by an ensemble of storytellers and village folk that includes Judy Butler, E. Augustus Knapp, James Lynch, and Laura Quackenbush Steele.  The ensemble also includes members of Creative Cauldron’s young Learning Theater program:  Anna Brotman-Krass, Libby Brooke, Olivia Laurine, Grace Rollins, Sarah Tarpgaard, and  Alex Weinstein. The production is underscored by the live Irish music trio Magh Meall featuring Rosemary Gano on flute and whistle, Mary Wilkerson on fiddle and Katie Boyle on Guitar.

Performances are Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 7:30pm and Sundays at 2 pm and 7 pm.  The closing performance will be on Sunday, December 22 at 2 pm.  Tickets for Christmas Cabin of Carnaween are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, and can be purchased online at or by calling 703-436-9948. 

Creative Cauldron is a non-profit arts organization whose innovative programs in the performing and visual arts embody collaboration, experimentation and community engagement.  Creative Cauldron was founded by Producing Director Laura Connors Hull in 2002.  In June of 2009, Creative Cauldron acquired a permanent home in ArtSpace Falls Church, a 3,000 square foot flexible arts space that provides a venue for year-round classes, live performances of theater, music and dance and visual art exhibits.   Programs are presented in part through grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the City of Falls Church and the Little City CATCH Foundation.

“Tales from the Brothers Grimm” Opens at Creative Cauldron

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


October 28, 2013


On Friday, November 1, Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater will premiere Tales from the Brothers Grimm an original adaptation of both classic and lesser-known Grimm folktales. Conceived and developed by Laura Connors Hull and Matt Conner, the production features professional actors Dani Stoller and Helen Hayes Award winning actor Stephen Gregory Smith along with student performers enrolled in the Learning Theater Program.  The production runs from November 1 through 24 at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Avenue. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets for Tales from the Brothers Grimm can be purchased on-line at or by calling 703-436-9948. 


Tales from the Brothers Grimm focuses on seven Brothers Grimm tales:  “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Wolf and the Seven Kids,” “The Fisherman and His Wife,” “Snowdrop,” “Brementown Musicians,” “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and “Dummling and the Golden Goose.” In Creative Cauldron’s production, the audience will find itself in a forest dreamscape where a multitude of characters dwell, just waiting for their chance to find their stories. The tales are threaded together with an original musical score written by Matt Conner. Conner is an accomplished musical composer whose works have been regularly featured at Signature Theater including the critically acclaimed Nevermore, The Hollow and Crossing, which opens this week. He has been a Creative Cauldron teaching artist for twelve years, and has created four original musicals for the organization including last season’s Oliver Twist and Peter Pan and Wendy which he co-directed with Hull.  Scenic Designer Margie Jervis has created a stylized forest and emblematic costumes and John Sami enhances the storybook world through imaginative lighting and sound design elements. 

Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater program provides a unique opportunity for young performers who participate in a 7-week workshop process in which an original production is shaped around their talents and abilities.  The production is then anchored by professional actors who serve as their mentors throughout the 16 performances in the run. 

Tales from the Brothers Grimm features Dani Stoller who has appeared in past Creative Cauldron performances including the Helen Hayes Awards Recommended© Marry Me a Little and Nevermore, Peter Pan and Wendy, Unforgettable: a Cabaret, Voices of Vantage and her one-woman show That Girl

Helen Hayes Award winning actor Stephen Gregory Smith has been a Washington, DC area theater artist and performer for the past 14 years, and a teaching artist with Creative Cauldron for the past six years.  His directing credits include last season’s Helen Hayes Awards Recommended© productions of Cole Porter: You’re the Top! and Thunder Knocking on the Door.  His recent acting credits include:  Miss Saigon, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Brother Russia, Hairspray, The Boy Detective Fails, Sunset  Boulevard (Signature Theatre), First You Dream (Kennedy Center), and Adding Machine: a Musical (Studio Theatre). 

FRIDAY 11/8 – FRIDAY 12/13: Ballroom Dancing for MEH

October 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Victorian Society at Falls Church is accepting registrations for its 2013 Promenade class, offering contemporary ballroom dancing and etiquette lessons for 7th and 8th grade students from the Falls Church area.

All 7th and 8th grade students are cordially invited to register though class space is limited.  Students should plan to attend the entire session which will take place at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School on November 8, 15, and 22, as well as December 6 and 13, from 7:00-8:20pm for 7th graders and 8:30-9:50pm for 8th graders.  Promenade tuition costs $100 and a few scholarships are available.  Parents of Promenade participants will be asked to volunteer as chaperones.  

A separate session for 6th graders set for Friday evenings in January-February will be announced at a later date.  

Registration deadline for 7th and 8th graders is October 30th. For more information, or to obtain registration materials please contact Becki Creed at [email protected] or at 703 538-1080.


SATURDAY, 10/19 – SUNDAY, 10/27: Library Food for Fines

October 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

From Saturday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 27, Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be offering its annual Food for Fines program. This initiative provides patrons the opportunity to help those in need by donating non-perishable groceries as payment for fines on overdue items.

Food for Fines operates as a one-for-one exchange: a single grocery item (can of fruit, cake mix, etc.) will cover the fine for a single overdue item, including books, videos, DVDs, audio cassettes, or CDs. There is no limit on the number or amount of fines that can be cleared or the quantity of overdue materials that can be returned.  Bills for lost or damaged library materials cannot be paid by this program.

Glass jars, opened containers, bulging or damaged cans, items past their expiration date, sample or trial sized-items, or any items needing refrigeration or freezing cannot be accepted for donation due to safety reasons. All donations go to aid local community organizations that work with the City’s Housing and Human Services Division to provide assistance to area families.

For more information, please contact the Mary Riley Styles Public Library at 703-248-5030

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