The first running of the Potomac Hunt Races took place in 1952, and the event has been an annual tradition in Montgomery County ever since. The event celebrates steeplechase racing—a form of competition that originated in 18th-century Ireland, when riders would dash across uneven terrain and use towering church steeples as their beacons. Today, regular two- to four-mile tracks have become the battlegrounds for steeplechase events, and horses equipped with on-board GPS systems have made church steeples obsolete. Potomac Hunt Races carries on the tradition of this modern-day version of steeplechase racing, while implementing a tradition of its own: donating a portion of the proceeds from each year's event to charity.
The graceful ease with which a good bartender mixes drinks masks the difficulty of the job, one that requires knowledge and dexterity—not to mention charisma. The seasoned barkeeps at Bartender of America, a TIPS-certified school, know what it takes to be a good bartender and lead their students through deliberate exercises inside a fully simulated tavern environment. Amid ambient sounds and music, novice bartenders dole out maraschino cherries and shake martinis while refining their conversational skills and learning how to identify underage kids by their mustaches. Fully committed students can opt for the entire Bar 101 curriculum, attaining a bartending license and valuable tricks for managing their resume and acing job interviews, while abbreviated classes offer insight into the fundamentals of the trade.
Brothers in arms, strings, and reality, Sérgio and Odair Assad hail from Brazil, where they were steeped in the Brazilian musical tradition like two man-sized sachets of tea. Over the years, they studied with some of the best guitarists in South America, honing their skills and musical partnership. More recently, the duo began further exploring the music of their ancestral homeland, Lebanon. Following the success of Sérgio's Lebanese-influenced composition Tahhiya II Oussilina, the Assads arranged a show that explores modern and ancient Lebanese work, the rhythmic motifs that Brazilian and Middle Eastern music never realized they had in common, and new, original compositions. The result was De Volta As Raizes, Portuguese for "back to our roots." Joining them on tour are the thoroughly embodied vocals of Lebanese-American singer Christiane Karam, the intricate dum-tek-kas of percussionist Jamey Haddad, and the double-handed support of pianist and singer Clarice Assad.
The enthusiastic instructors at That's Dancing Ballroom & Dancesport Center guide students of all levels through an eclectic schedule of group and private classes. Fledgling hoofers shimmy to hip-shaking rhythms during the beginner rumba class, and the intro and advanced waltz classes beckon both novice and veteran dancers to glide across the ballroom floors while holding tightly to partners or imaginary friends. Build skills in the intermediate fox trot class or undulate midsections during belly-dancing sessions. Teachers dole out one-on-one instruction during half-hour private lessons, helping dancers to conquer difficult steps or instilling the ability to simultaneously dance the charleston while preparing a five-course meal at home.
Now in its 21st year, the AFI Latin American Film Festival celebrates hitting the drinking age by hosting an array of cinematic achievements by Latin American filmmakers, with this year’s slate of films extending to motion pictures from Spain and Portugal. The 2010 lineup includes Revolution, a collection of short films from 10 Mexican moviemakers, including actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, that explores the themes of the Mexican Revolution on its 100th anniversary. Those with an off-kilter sense of humor or an unhealthy love for con-artistry can check out Uruguay’s Bad Day to Go Fishing, which follows a wrestler and his manager as they navigate through South America, putting on fake exhibitions of strength. Venezuela’s Story of a Day enthralls its viewers by poetically chronicling the numerous parties, feasts, and chores in a Venezuelan village, and Honduras’s Love and Beans comically details marital mysteries and draws attention to the plight of beans everywhere. Check the full lineup to see how the festival's schedule of silver-screen offerings matches up to your own sci-fi screenplay about the 1993 Buffalo Bills.
At Montgomery Royal Theater, six screens beam larger-than-life stars into the eyes of moviegoers during showings of recently released flicks and Hollywood blockbusters. Viewers can sink into the theater's plush, cushioned seats to absorb action-packed reels that showcase the twists of budding romance or the dire consequences of resurrecting an extinct flower’s DNA. The theater’s concession stand outfits viewers with buckets of popcorn and cups brimming with soda, providing the appropriate rations to accompany treks into the fantastical worlds of first-run films.