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January 2014

Rain threatens to bring down the house at Compass Rose

The set was built, the costumes pressed, the actors over their opening jitters. All that remained was to enjoy the show. Then came the rain. Ticket-holders to Compass Rose’s second performance of Look Homeward Angel were met at the door the rainy night of Saturday, January 11 by apologetic administrators and cast members toting buckets and mops. Founding artistic director Lucinda Merry-Browne spent the dinner hour calling patrons to reschedule reservations. Fortunately, Merry-Browne married well.

Meter rates down to $1

Once you’d paid the meter, you might as well have gone to D.C. as to Annapolis. Both capitals charge $2 per hour for meter parking. That’s 25 cents for seven and a half minutes, or 16 quarters to fill a meter. No wonder we who park in both cities carry rolls of quarters.     For Annapolis, the burden is lifted. Until March 31, rates fall to a mere $1 per hour at the city’s 384 meters.     So come to town, park and spend. Economic stimulus is the reason for the bargain rates.

Like fast trains and beagles, you’ve got to move to catch the news

A new year runs like Acela Express. After the brief slowdown as it pulls into the station on January 1, it doesn’t take long to get up to speed. Soon the days are zooming by at 70mph — with occasional rushes double that rate.     So we, too, had better be on the ball, or we’ll be behind it.

When you can’t fish, shop

Winter will probably continue to sweep its foulness down on us, at least for the next two months. That means we probably won’t be getting out for much leg stretching. One good thing about this time of year is that there are fishing tackle bargains, and many of them are on the Internet.     I’ve found a number of sites with good deals on quality tackle. But be warned: Shopping on a foul-weather day can become addictive.

Propagate a jungle of African violets using my foolproof method

Beyond their good looks and winter bloom, African violets have another charm. They’re so easy to propagate in the home that they raise your self-esteem. Here’s my foolproof method:

The return of Venus and Mercury brings us a chance to see all five naked-eye planets

A day past full, Thursday’s moon rises as the sun sets. The bright light to its upper right is Procyon, of the constellation Canis Minor. Higher still is golden Jupiter, the brightest object in the evening sky aside from the sun and moon. A couple nights later on the 18th, the waning gibbous moon rises a few hours after sunset in the company of Regulus, the heart of Leo the lion.

This series is a ghost of its former self

For his high school graduation, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs in his screen debut) gets a cool camera and a bite mark on his arm. This bite bestows some interesting powers on Jesse. He can leap great heights, float in midair and throw people across rooms. Jesse thinks he’s becoming a superhero, like Spiderman, and puts his camera to work filming his stunts, then posting them on YouTube.

Don’t miss this gem of the American stage

Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again.” A decade before coining that phrase, he showed us why in his 1929 debut novel Look Homeward Angel. This thinly veiled memoir of a tumultuous youth in his mother’s Dixieland Boardinghouse made him a pariah in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and a literary star to the rest of the nation. The 1958 stage adaptation by Ketti Frings won every major prize for American drama that year, and it still rings true and relevant.

Come to feel, think and applaud

Many theater companies are neither willing nor able to move from a bubbly musical directly into a disturbing death-row drama based on real life. Colonial Players is the exception, following November’s Annie with Coyote on a Fence.     Coyote on a Fence is what Colonial calls an “arc” show, more challenging than usual and typically appealing to a smaller arc of patrons. Opening night proved that this production is deserving of larger, not smaller, audiences.

Teachers draw the lines

Lineage, the new year’s first show at the ArtWorks@7th Gallery in North Beach, is telling secrets out of school.     Its painters, photographers and potters are the Southern High School art teachers, joining forces in their first faculty-only show.     On opening day, Southern High School students and alumni swelled attendance. To see their teachers’ other lives, National Art Honor Society vice president Mary Watts joined alumni Cat Allen and Tyler Mills, both past Best of Show ArtQuest winners.