Movie theaters may be closed for a little longer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the perfect movie night. Instead of saying at home again, hop in the car and take a trip to a Virginia drive-in theater. Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback during the age of COVID-19 with limited contact and extra social distancing measures put in place. Here are four Virginia drive-in theaters to visit this summer.
Family Drive-In Movies shown Wednesdays through Sundays, 8:45 p.m. Travel up to Stephens City for the classic drive-in experience. With two drive-up screens available, viewers can choose to watch the kid-friendly flick or film for adults. Tickets must be purchased online. // 5890 Valley Pike, Stephens City; $3-$9 per person
Lovingston Cafe Movies shown Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. If you’re into classic Hollywood films, take a drive down to Lovingston for some throwback films. The Lovingston Cafe opens its parking lot and patio for Saturday movie nights. Enjoy delicious cafe grub as you start the night off with 30 minutes of classic cartoons before the old-time flick begins. // 165 Front St., Lovingston; free
Goochland Drive-In Movie dates vary each week, 8:30 p.m. Enjoy new and classic movies at the Goochland Drive-In. From the newest flicks like, Onward and The Call of the Wild to favorites like Batman and Grease, there is sure to be a show for everyone. Single and double features available throughout the week. // 4344 Old Fredericksburg Road, Hadensville; $18-$20 per car
Hull’s Drive-in Theatre Movies shown Thursdays through Sundays, 8:45 p.m. This community-owned drive-in has been in the business for 70 years. With single and double features available throughout the weekend, just hop in the car for a fun night out of the house. // 2367 N. Lee Highway, Lexington; $10-$20 per car
The internet has always been a haven for entertaining cat videos. Cats sliding down the stairs, getting stuck in small places or even just being absolutely adorable are all click-worthy. Now, with cat owners from around the world stuck at home with their four-legged friends, the enjoyable videos are getting a celebration of their own.
The Quarantine Cat Film Festival, set to be held virtually from Friday, June 19 through Thursday, July 2, will feature a compilation reel of cat videos from over 1,200 submissions from amateur filmmakers around the world. Tickets are $12 and go on sale on June 10.
To support a local theater and enjoy the cat entertainment, simply choose the theater you would like to support when you purchase your tickets. You’ll receive access to the virtual event once it goes live online, and enjoy the fun, creative and quarantine-inspired videos of cute cats around the world.
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While nights out at the theater may be on hold for a while, 1st Stage Theatre is giving local residents and arts enthusiasts alike the chance to get their fix of entertainment through its newly launched series, Community Conversations, kicking off Saturday, May 9.
The virtual series will consist of conversations with 1st Stage staff, including directors, actors and performers, giving theatergoers the chance to hear what it’s really like behind the scenes.
The very first conversation titled Meet the Staff will introduce all viewers to the artistic and managerial team members, discussing exactly what they do and how they ended up involved in Northern Virginia’s theater scene. Plus, in the coming weeks, other online conversations include Artistic Directors in Conversation on Saturday, May 16 and The Life of a Solo Artist on Saturday, June 6. For an entire schedule of the weekly conversations, taking place at 2 p.m. every Saturday, click here.
In addition to the weekly series, 1st Stage has been releasing short performances, including at-home monologues and script readings, via its social media platforms, until the global pandemic comes to an end and the stage can reopen. // 1524 Spring Hill Road, Tysons
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Whether you are looking for a fun project for an at-home lesson with the kids or just need something to kick your boredom, these kits will keep everyone entertained for hours. Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com
As a content creator of nearly 10 years, Rebecca Gallop is used to setting goals, trying new ideas and challenging her way of thinking, all of which she shares on A Daily Something, her lifestyle blog that generates nearly 1 million viewers a month. While the blog initially served as a creative outlet for Gallop, it has since organically grown into a creative business platform that has been featured in national publications like BuzzFeed and Martha Stewart Living.
Despite the national attention, A Daily Something is all about the simple things that make life beautiful, many of which derive from Gallop’s lifestyle in Purcellville, where she lives with her husband and four kids.
Recently, when it became apparent that the coronavirus’s impact would be huge in the U.S., Gallop decided to launch the #LiveSlowChallenge—a project she had been working on for months—earlier than expected. The four-week program is meant to inspire others to live with more intention, simplicity and beauty through a series of challenges sent to your inbox on Sunday evenings.
And, as nearly 600 individuals recently signed up for the project, Gallop too has been instilling these values in her own mindset, as well as those of her kiddos, during the global pandemic. From out-of-the-box activities with the family to finding peace of mind, here’s an inside look at Rebecca Gallop’s life at home.
On spreading positivity:
When this first started, I realized how easy it would be to sit in my home, read Facebook articles (and comments) and to be overcome with fear. After a week of staying home, I decided—thanks to my husband’s insight and wisdom—that I wasn’t going to let fear govern my actions. Yes, I was going to stay home as instructed by executive orders, but I was going to love our neighbors, and live with intention. I wasn’t going to sit and do nothing or be fearful.
I decided I was going to use this time as a way to help my community. To share uplifting content. To inspire them to live with intention, to look for beauty in their day-to-day living, to share some good news. It’s been an incredible opportunity to connect around inspiration and action instead of fear.
While most of the world is attempting to do public school at home, we very intentionally chose to home school our children a few years ago and have loved every second of it. So, on that front, life remains the same … Morning school lasts for about one to two hours, where we usually do reading, handwriting, writing and copy work during this time. Then we have more hours of schoolwork in the afternoon, usually math and history and/or science. Our home school includes lots of reading of quality, living books, and all the kids are part of read-aloud time. We allow some educational screen time in the afternoons … The Cincinnati Zoo has had a daily Facebook Live “Home Safari” at 3 p.m., introducing the kids to their animals and providing some fun animal-themed crafting prompts.
However, they haven’t really left the house in eight weeks, except to take a few rides in the car to a local farm to pick up our vegetable order. No library. No ballet. No soccer. No Grandma’s house. No babysitter. No church. No playgrounds. No friends. No extended family. It’s been rough, but they’ve been resilient. We’ve had lots of FaceTime calls. I’m so thankful for our backyard; they’ve been playing out there every spare minute. I’ve seen their imaginations come alive recently, and I think it’s out of the necessity of our situation. I’m really thankful for this time to strengthen our family and our appreciation for being home.
On the power of living slow:
I started my #LiveSlowChallenge to help you realize that slow living doesn’t have to be a “some day” goal, but rather, it can be a gentle lifestyle change that you can start right now. Over the course of one month, you receive a “live slow” challenge email in your inbox each Sunday evening. You apply the challenge each day that week, with the goal of forming new rhythms and routines that you will continue for weeks, months and years. It’s an ongoing challenge, and anyone can join at any time!
New-to-us art projects (my friend, Merilee, has the most incredible printables); walks every day; gardening together as a family; watercolor painting; audio books; Disneynature—it has beautiful nature documentaries; making mealtime extra special with cloth napkins, lighting candles and eating on the living room floor; no-reason surprise parties; snack dinners. Audio books especially have been our best friend—they bring the family together and help to ignite the kids’ imaginations!
The kids have had more screen time than normal, and that’s OK. Right now, they’re watching a fascinating documentary on flamingos (and I’m having a hard time not being distracted by their pink beauty)! As soon as I finish what I’m working on, we’ll transition to our morning school schedule. It’s a dreary, rainy day today, and we’ll likely watch something else later this afternoon since playing outside isn’t an option. And that’s OK! We’re taking this one day—sometimes one hour, a few minutes—at a time, and starting fresh when we need to.
On her latest read:
Huckle & Goose Cookbook; it’s a cookbook and book hybrid, full of “recipes and habits to cook more, stress less and bring the outside in.” A highly recommended read at this point.
On what gives her solace:
My morning routine has been wonderful: slow-pour-over coffee, quiet time to read alone, catch up on writing. Streaming church on Sundays together as a family in our living room has also been a necessary part of our week. And, just trying to be present for the kids, and taking time to make our mealtimes more meaningful.
On words of wisdom:
Don’t strive for perfection. This is a crazy, unprecedented time, and our lives have been turned upside down. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of this—the working from home, the unknown impact this will have on our economy, the fear for those who are most at risk from the virus, etc.
Rather than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed, try to focus on something positive each day and make one small change. For one week, try making a gentle adjustment to your morning routine to help bring calm and order to your day. Then for one week, try to make one meal per day a little more special. Or, save your sanity and serve a snack meal every single day instead of making something from scratch. Apples and peanut butter. Popcorn and carrots. A fridge clean-out cheeseboard, etc.
Remind yourself that you’re not alone. Reach out to your neighbors (and ask for help if you need it yourself!). And remember, this will come to an end.
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Filmfest DC isn’t taking place in person this year, but would-be film critics in the DMV don’t have to wait until later this year to check out the festival’s selected films.
The international film festival is now presenting a virtual series of films, called Filmfest DC at Home, to let patrons watch movies from previous Filmfest DC festivals. The program is being held from Thursday, April 23 to Thursday, May 21.
Viewing is free of charge and includes recent audience favorites, as well as a few surprise titles, including feature-length films as well as shorts. Each film will be available for one week, starting and ending on the dates listed on the website. The opening film will be George Pelecanos’ DC Noir. For a full list of movies, and when they will be available for viewing, go to filmfestdc.org.
In the entertainment industry, the month of May typically serves as the starting point for studios to begin releasing big-budget films in hopes of breaking records, which usually continues through August. But this year, as COVID-19 became a pitfall for Hollywood in March, shutting down production sites and movie theaters across the country, studios have had to find an alternative way to make a profit, and also entertain stuck-at-home Americans.
Major studios like Disney, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal and more pushed back release dates of several films, including Disney’s highly anticipated Mulan, now set to premier Friday, July 24.
Plus, for the first time in industry history, many studios have started to skip theater releases entirely and premiere movies through a variety of on-demand providers, with NBCUniversal being the first to do so with Trolls World Tour. From cartoon comedies to book adaptations, these seven family-friendly movies are now available at home, and are sure to entertain the entire family through Virginia’s stay-at-home order.
Recognized as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, Frozen 2 was a huge hit across the globe. And now, parents can delight in the fact that the music-filled tale is available at home as a result of the coronavirus. The movie was released three months earlier than expected to subscribers of Disney+ to stream for free, and other viewers can purchase it from providers like Prime Video, Google Play, iTunes and more. // $19.99
While initially released in theaters in January, this adaptation of a classic adventure tale featuring Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t scheduled to hit TV screens until summer. Now, however, kiddos and parents alike can watch the eccentric doctor go on a journey with his animal friends from the comfort of your couch. The film is available on several digital platforms, including Prime Video, Vudu, iTunes and more. // $19.99
Though not yet available on streaming services, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog made its online debut on March 31 to platforms like Google Play, iTunes and Prime Video. The story follows Sonic, a powerful hedgehog who is now living on Earth, attempting to defeat the evil genius Dr. Robotnik. // $19.99
Based on the 1903 adventure novel by Jack London, this story of a big-hearted dog originally hit theaters in late February starring Harrison Ford. Now, families can be taken on a scenic journey through the exotic wilderness of the Alaskan Yukon from the comfort of their homes, as the Disney film is available for purchase through various platforms. // $14.99
This animated tale of two teenage elf brothers was released to movie theaters across the U.S. on March 6, and just two weeks later, as the threat of the coronavirus continued to grow, Onward became available for purchase through online platforms like Prime Video, Apple TV and other digital stores. Disney+ subscribers now have the opportunity to bring the exciting tale (along with deleted scenes) to their TV screens for free as well. // $19.99
Instead of making a theatrical debut on April 10, Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour was released directly to streaming and digital services like Apple TV, Prime Video, YouTube and more. The sequel features Anna Kendrick as Poppy and Justin Timberlake as Branch, as they discover a whole new world of Troll tribes. In addition to the release, NBCUniversal created Zoom backgrounds of star characters and interactive games to keep kiddos entertained when the movie ends. // $19.99
Based on the bestselling book by Irish author Eroin Colfer, Artemis Fowl is the tale of a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who journeys to save his father. The Disney film was originally scheduled to hit theaters on May 29, but is now skipping the theatrical debut all together. While there is no date set for when the movie will be available for rent, Disney+ subscribers can follow the magical adventure starting Friday, June 12. // free for Disney+ subscribers
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This month, whichever decade you came of age, there’s a concert for you. These cover bands (plus, one real-life early aughts pop star) will have you remembering the good ol’ days.
We all know that black-and-white footage of the first time The Beatles stepped onto American soil. Girls screamed, women wept … and the Fab Four ushered in a generation of British (and British-inspired) acts that had fans swooning into the ’60s and beyond. The British Invasion Years celebrates it all, with covers from The Beatles’ iconic catalog, plus hits from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Herman’s Hermits and more. The Beach Boys, The Monkees and others who took inspiration from across the pond also add to the evening’s hit list. // March 7, 9 p.m.; The State Theatre: 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church; $30-$35
Pink Floyd came on the scene in the ’60s, but they really hit their psychedelic stride in the 1970s. The Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973 and the rest, as they say, is history. Several Species: The Pink Floyd Experience brings the band to life with a performance this month at Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg. The Washington Post said of the tribute band: “The 11-piece ensemble will give any Floyd fan the same genuine chills and thrills as the real thing … they truly are as close as you’re going to get.” // March 14, 7 p.m.; Tally Ho Theatre: 19 W. Market St., Leesburg; $30-$75
The decade of New Coke and yuppies turned out some memorable music. The Reagan Years, a tribute band to the MTV generation, plays it all from ’80s pop, rock, new wave and heavy metal. They take the stage at Tally Ho Theater this month for all the ’80s kids who want to remember what life was like before they had a mortgage and kids of their own. Alex P. Keaton would be so proud. // March 7, 7 p.m.; Tally Ho Theatre: 19 W. Market St., Leesburg; $17-$25
It was the ’90s and suburban kids were rockin’ their Doc Martens while they worshiped Kurt Cobain. Tribute band Lithium takes it back this month at Jammin Java with their homage to Nirvana, while Brain Stew plays hits from ’90s-era rockers Green Day. You may be a grown-up with crushing student loan debt today, but, for one night, take a Gen X journey back to the glory days of the last decade of the 20th century with the “Back to the ’90s Classic Albums” concert. // March 6, 10 p.m.; Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; $15-$25
Admit it, you loved Mandy Moore’s “Candy” when it came onto the scene during the bubble gum pop craze of the early 2000s. While the former pop star—now an award-winning actress and singer with a decidedly less teeny bop image—hasn’t risen to the level of dedicated tribute band quite yet (as far as we know), you can catch the real thing at Warner Theatre. Mandy Moore takes the stage to perform her decade of hits from four albums. You’ll have to go to see if she performs “Candy” in its original form—or as a stripped-down acoustic version. // March 26, 8 p.m.; Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW; $40.50-$188
This post originally appeared in our March 2020 print issue. For more fun events, subscribe to our Things to Do newsletter, hitting your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
From entertaining musicals at NextStop Theatre Company to comedic debuts on the Wolf Trap stage, there’s no question that performing arts are a staple of the Northern Virginia Region. And while many of the individuals who step out in front of hundreds of people to showcase their talent are seasoned professionals, NoVA is also home to those practicing and perfecting their craft on a regular basis.
“What we generally do is bring in some of the best choreographers we can find internationally and they stage the work for our performers,” says Susan Shields, director of GMU’s School of Dance and an accomplished choreographer with decades of experience. “The fact that we are able to even dance these works is such a big coup and it’s really what put GMU on the map.”
This year, students will be performing work from esteemed individuals of the dance field, including American choreographer Kyle Abraham and Tony-nominated dancer (and professor at GMU) Christopher d’Amboise. In addition to student showcases, the evening celebration also serves as a fundraiser for the school, raising money for student scholarships of the future, where community members can meet the dancers and School of Dance staff while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, dessert and wine.
Before the talented dancers of GMU take the stage next month, we chatted with Shields to get the inside scoop on what to expect, what it takes to be selected for the showcase and why it matters to the NoVA community. Find highlights from our conversation below.
Give me some details into what we can expect from this year’s showcase.
George Mason and School of Dance don’t always sound the sexiest together, but really we have one of the strongest dance schools in the country. This is our biggie, we call it the gala.
This year, students will be performing work from 25-year-old Micaela Taylor, who kind of bridges the gap between commercial dance and concert dance, which is a viable career option for these students. She navigates both worlds, and the kids are so excited to dance her work. She created a piece for the students and is going to flush it out for her own company. It’s this mesmerizing, six-minute thing. Plus, for the first time, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will be performing with a few of the dances. It’s all going to be stunning.
You help select the choreographers of the Mason Dance Company Gala Concerts. What is that process like?
One, as the director, part of my job is to get my own community to fall in love with dance. Some people here are scared of dance and really don’t know much about it. Over and over again, any time someone lets me bring them in they are hooked, but it takes someone to make that initial move and tell them it’s great. I think , ‘OK, Fairfax County audience, I want to challenge them, but make them feel welcome and help them understand.’
I also do look at the dancers before me and because we are still an educational institution, if the men need more partnering or the women need something edgier, we pick that for the concert and it partners with the curriculum. I look at networking, how it would benefit my students. But that being said, the artist comes in and chooses the dancers—it’s not on me, they are treated like the real world. Not everybody gets a trophy. They know the game.
What impact does this event have on the students?
Honestly I don’t like calling them students, I truly call them pre-professionals. This event is why they come to Mason, they get to meet the choreographers and get firsthand experience unlike any other. One of the gentlemen who is going to be in Kyle Abraham’s piece, for example, is on scholarship here and has been on Kyle’s radar for years. Now Kyle is going to watch this student perform his own work … talk about an audition of a lifetime.
For the students to get this exposure and networking is great in and of itself, but also just dancing in master works—you can do as much student work as you want, but these works that we choose are so relevant to what’s going on in the current dance climate, and to dance a 25-minute piece, it’s just the best way to learn and improve as a dancer. This is their chance to be a poet athlete.
What is your favorite part of the Dance Fete?
With the party, we get to explain everything to the attendees, and I love that the community gets excited about dance. The community trusts us to know that they are going to see a great show. But the most important thing is, I tend to be astonished by what our students can do. To see them perform this work on the stage, I am a proud mama.
If you want to check out the annual affair for yourself, or are interested in sponsoring, click here.
In today’s media-driven society, where companies like Netflix can produce Oscar-winning films and streaming television from an iPhone is the new norm, it’s no surprise that the movie-going experience is changing. Theaters are becoming larger, seats are getting more comfortable and the overall event of going to the movies is enhanced.
In just a few days, local movie lovers can take it all in for themselves with the opening of ShowPlace ICON Theatre in Tysons, a 72,000-square-foot premium theater that will be the seventh of its kind, from 110-year-old company Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatres.
Located directly across from Whole Foods’ recently opened Mid-Atlantic flagship, the space includes 14 auditoriums that range in size from 45 to 226 seats, heated reclining chairs, reservation-only seating, a lobby lounge for those over the age of 21 and a bistro offering American-style cuisine.
The new addition to the neighborhood is the second theater in the McLean area, located just over a mile away from AMC Tysons Corner 16.
For those who want to check out the new space for themselves, there will be a soft opening happening from Friday, Feb. 28 through Wednesday, March 4, which includes free movies to the public, as well as free concessions to Extra Club Members. The official grand opening of the theater is set for Friday, March 6. // 1667 Silver Hill Drive, McLean