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:

THURSDAY, 7/4: Concert and Fireworks

June 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration on Thursday, July 4, at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7 p.m. with a live performance by The Apple Core, co-sponsored by the Village Preservation and Improvement Society as a part of this summer’s Concerts in the Park Series. The Falls Church City Concert Band will perform during the concert’s intermission. Fireworks will follow at 9:20 p.m.

Spectator seating will be available at George Mason High School’s Moore Cadillac Stadium and the Northern Virginia Graduate Center parking lot. Most of the spectator seating at the high school will be on the synthetic turf football field. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets for the field. Chairs will only be permitted on paved surfaces.

Parking is limited at the high school and visitors are reminded to not park in nearby shopping center parking lots, which are reserved for store customers. Illegally parked vehicles may be towed. Drivers near the high school are reminded to watch for a large number of pedestrians crossing Route 7, especially after the fireworks.

No alcohol, smoking, fireworks, or pets are permitted on site. Food, drinks, and ice cream will be available for sale.

In the event of rain, the event will be held on Friday, July 5 at the same time and location. Spectator seating on the rain date will be available at the high school, but not the Graduate Center parking lot.

To help defray costs of future fireworks programs, donations will be accepted at the event. For more information, call Recreation and Parks at 703-248-5178 (TTY 711).

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 6/7-9: Tinner Hill Blues Festival

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and the City of Falls Church will present the 20th Annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival, June 7-9, 2013 in Falls Church, Virginia. The festival has grown from a small community embraced street festival to a 3-day event featuring outstanding national and regional talent. The Tinner Hill festival began in 1994 and is a tribute to the late John Jackson, Piedmont Blues icon and Smithsonian National Heritage Fellow.

2013 performers include:


  • John Hammond, Blues guitarist and singer
  • Phil Wiggins (formerly of Cephas and Wiggins)


  • Big Bill Morganfield, son of the legendary Muddy Waters
  • Sista Monica, “Lioness of the Blues”
  • Roy Book Binder, master guitarist
  • Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, real classic smokin’ blues
  • Daryl Davis and Band, boogie woogie pianist
  • Mary Ann Redmond, soulful rhythm and blues
  • Sheryl Warner and the Southside Homewreckers
  • The Acoustic Blues Women: Eleanor Ellis, Pearl Bailes, Gina DeSimone, Pat Quinn

Other activities include Foxes Music Instrument Petting Zoo, mini guitar lessons, BBQ demonstrations, raffles, vendors, and more!

Free activities include FIRSTfriday of Falls Church; Emily Sings Books at Mary Riley Styles Library; Virginia’s Blues Voice, a intergenerational panel discussion with blues legends, music lovers and next generation musicians; blues genre film screenings at the Falls Church Community Center; Traveling Exhibit, Virginia Songsters; Call it the Blues Art Show at Art and Frame of Falls Church. Free live music all over town including Clare & Don’s Beach Shack; Dogwood Tavern; Stifel & Capra; Art & Frame of Falls Church; Famous Dave’s BBQ and more

Full schedule and ticket information:

Tickets may be purchased online.

Friday: The State Theatre

Advance: $30–Door: $35

Saturday: Cherry Hill Park

Advance: General: $15 VIP: $25; Gate General: $20 VIP: $35

THURSDAYS, 6/20-8/1: Concerts in the Park

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Enjoy the best of summer at the annual City of Falls Church Concerts in the Park series on Thursdays at 7 p.m. from June 20 through August 1, with a special performance as part of the City’s Fourth of July festivities. Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy free performances by local musicians. Each concert also features local artists and their artwork. Concerts are held atCherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.), with the exception of the July 4th installment, which will be held at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike); all are free to the public. In the event of rain, concerts will be held in the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.). For more information, call 703-248-5077 (TTY 711).

The concerts are sponsored by the City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks and the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS). The full schedule is available at

2013 Lineup:

June 20             Falls Church Concert Band (concert music)

June 27             Mike Thornton & Project Natale (jazz)

July 4               The Apple Core at 4th of July Celebration (Beatles cover band)

July 11              Lu and the Blues Crew (blues and more from GMHS graduates)

July 18              Andrew Acosta and the New Old Time String Band (American roots)

July 25              Mama Tried with Randy Barrett and Dede Wyland (bluegrass)

August 1           Tom Nichols and Dan Chadburn (singer-songwriters)

For more information, visit

Creative Cauldron Closing its Season with Thunder

Special to the Falls Church Times

Creative Cauldron’s founder, Laura Connors Hull, says their final production of the season is “fixing to blow the roof off the cauldron!” Directed by Helen Hayes Award winning actor, Stephen Gregory Smith, Thunder Knocking on the Door is “a musical fable that is filled with humor and heart, and just the right touch of supernatural high jinx” according to Hull.

When writer Keith Glover first penned Thunder in 1999, he knew he had a hit on his hands. Steeped in the devil-at-the crossroads blues mythology of the Mississippi Delta and featuring music and lyrics by three-time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’ and his collaborator Anderson Edwards, this show has played to critical raves and sold out houses in theaters around the country.  Stephen Gregory Smith fell in love with the show when it premiered at Arena Stage in 1999.

Smith is guiding a powerhouse cast of singers including Shayla Simmons, featured in last year’s Creative Cauldron hit original production of “Women of the Blues.” Shayla most recently appeared as Deena Jones in Signature Theatre’s Helen Hayes Award winning production of Dreamgirls.  She is joined by Iyona Blake, RaMond Thomas, Malcolm Lee and Michael Mainwaring, each a vocal dynamo in their own right.

Performances are at 8 pm, Thursday through Sunday, through May 26. Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for seniors/students.  Ticket specials include the “Juke Joint” — up close seating for 4 people and a bottle of wine for $100 and the “Sunday Night Bargain Blues” — buy one adult ticket and get the second one for half price for any Sunday performance.  Online purchase only and limited to 20 per show.

Purchase tickets in advance at Creative Cauldron is located at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Avenue in the Pearson Square building.

SATURDAY 5/4: Attic Treasures Sale

9am to 1pm – Falls Church Community Center – 223 Little Falls Street

Find your treasure at the oldest and largest annual fundraising sale in the Little City.  All proceeds will support the VPIS community programs like Concerts in the Park and other programs you love.  It is quite fun to discover unbelievable bargains and unique treasures while tapping your toes to the live music of Andrew Acosta.

Donations Drop – Friday May 3, 10am to 7pm  – Fall Church Community Center- 223 Little Falls Street

The following are accepted:  household items including kitchen items, musical instruments & recordings, plants (5 gallon max size), gardening items, household goods, kitchenware, special treasures (antiques, collectibles), toys, jewelry, hardware, books.  Sorry – no clothing, bicycles, computer equipment, or junk please.  We need volunteers – please contact Michael or Marybeth Connelly at 703‐237‐0604 or email [email protected].

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