The Culture Flyer — Half Price Show Tickets in Baltimore

Culture Fly: Half Price Events in Baltimore
Culture Fly: Half Price Events in Baltimore

New York has TKTS.  Washington has TicketPlace. And Baltimore has Culture Fly.

Every Thursday, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance sends out the Culture Flyer — a guide to free and half price performances and events for the coming week.

You won’t find tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra or to traveling Broadway shows here.

But there are plenty of offers for free and half-price theater and dance events, art openings, concerts, and other fun stuff.

If you are interested in the offbeat and the avant-guard, Baltimore definitely beats straight-laced Washington, DC!

Culture Fly: Half Price Events in Baltimore
Culture Flyer: Weekly Newsletter

For example, this week the Culture Flyer features:

  • Rocky Horror Show at Spotlighters Theatre
  • Cabaret Macabre by Happenstance Theater
  • Bay Street Brassworks Concert
  • 3-D Printing Lab for Teens

and dozens of other discounted offerings.

You can find the Culture Fly calendar online, or you can sign up to receive weekly emails of the Culture Flyer newsletter.


Chef Jose Andres’ All You Can Eat Paella for $20

Unlimited Paella at Jaleo Bethesda and Crystal City
Unlimited Paella at Jaleo Bethesda and Crystal City

Chef Jose Andres is Washington DC’s best known celebrity chef.  He has several restaurants in the area that serve genuine Spanish food, as well as two top restaurants in Las Vegas.

Last Sunday, we enjoyed tapas at the Bethesda branch of Jaleo.  It’s a fun place with indoor/outdoor seating and tables made of foos ball games.

The food was outstanding, though pricey!

We wanted to order the paella, but a minimum of six diners were required to do so.

At the end of the evening, they handed us a card advertising their Paella and Sangria Mondays — with unlimited paella, an individual salad and flan for $25 per person.  The Bethesda restaurant also offers unlimited Sangria for $15 per person.

Unlimited Paella $20 Per Person on Sundays

It turns out there is an even better offer available at the Pentagon City location of Jaleo on Sundays.

For $20 per person, you get gazpacho, unlimited paella, salad, and flan!

At this price I wouldn’t expect a seafood paella, but rather a vegetarian option or perhaps chicken and mushrooms.

Quite the deal!

Anime and Claymation Camps at Smithsonian

Anime Young Artists Residency Program
Anime Young Artists Residency Program

If your kids have too much time on their hands this summer, maybe you can interest them in these bargain-priced summer workshops at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.

There are two programs to choose from:  the Anime Young Artists Residency, and the Claymation Young Artists Residency.  Both are part of the Imaginasia series of family programs the Sackler and Freer galleries.

Anime: Young Artists Residency:  Monday, July 28 through Friday, August 1, 2014

ImaginAsia’s five-day workshop is for eight to sixteen-year-old art students interested in anime drawing.

Trace the origins of manga drawing and anime films through the Freer and Sackler collections of Asian art.

This five-day program  runs from 10 am to 3:00 pm each day. Bring notebooks of your drawings to the workshop and your own brown bag lunch. Art supplies provided.

The cost is $100.  Application available online.

Act quickly because today, July 15, 2014, is the application deadline for this program.

Claymation: Young Artists Residency: Monday, August 4 through Friday, August 8, 2014

Claymation Young Artists Residency Program
Claymation Young Artists Residency Program

Learn storyboarding, scene design, and claymation techniques from Erik Swanson, an instructor at the Corcoran School of Art + Design.  Students create their own claymation videos featuring a heroic figure they discover in the galleries.

Participants receive a DVD featuring all of the videos made in the class.  iPads will be used to create the claymations.  For ages 9–18.

This five-day program runs from 10 am – 3:30 pm each day.  The registration fee is $100.

The application deadline is July 20, 2014.  Apply online.

Meet a Spy: Tony and Jonna Mendez at the Spy Museum

Meet a Spy
Meet a Spy — Tony and Jonna Mendez

Did you see the Argo?  Now you can meet the spy that inspired the movie at one of three free events sponsored by the International Spy Museum!

International Spy Museum Briefing

Meet the Tony and Jonna Mendez.  Both are former CIA Chiefs of Disguise, responsible for changing the identity and appearance of thousands of clandestine operatives around the world.

Tony is most famous for his rescue of American diplomats from Tehran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis as depicted in the award-winning film Argo.

Rendezvous Info

The rendezvous takes place in the book store at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.  Admission is free, and no pre-registration is required.

There are three dates scheduled:

  • Friday, June 27, 2014; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Friday, July 25, 2014; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Friday, August 22, 2014; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm


Welcoming Air China to Washington, DC in Style

Welcoming Air China!
Welcoming Air China!

I was on hand yesterday for the arrival of Air China’s inaugural flight from Beijing into Dulles International Airport (IAD).

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) invited some local people to participate in the gala welcoming ceremony as part of their “Discover Dulles” program.

The airport authority sure knows how to throw a party.

The 25 Discover Dulles participants, along with about 50 journalists, were transported to the airfield via IAD’s infamous mobile lounges for a close up view of landing.

It was an exciting moment when the plane touched down.

We were rushed back onto the mobile lounge and whisked closer to the terminal so we could view the aircraft run the gauntlet through the ceremonial water arch.

Air China Lands at IAD
Air China Lands at IAD

Two fire trucks were dispatched to pump a stream of water over the airplane to celebrate the arrival of the inaugural flight.  This is aviation’s equivalent of christening a new ship.

After the plane landed, the Ambassador of China and Virginia Governor McAuliffe were feted by Chinese lion dancers.

Several traditional Chinese musicians played at the reception.

Water Cannon Salute
Water Cannon Salute


The speeches heralded the 7,000 mile avionic bridge that had been established between Washington and Beijing, and the cultural, diplomatic, and economic exchanges that would ensue.

Oh, and the swag!  Each participant received a goodie bag with a propellor paperweight, a model of the airplane, and other “stuff.”

Traditional Chinese Musicians
Traditional Chinese Musicians

This was a fun event:   I got to meet some Chinese journalists, airport personnel, and aviation geeks.

Keep  your eyes peeled for other opportunities like this on the Discover Dulles webpage.

Earn More, Burn Less  

In honor of the new service, Air China’s frequent flyer program, Phoenix Miles, is running a promotion on travel between Beijing and Washington, DC.  

You can earn fifty percent more than the regular miles on flights, and award travel will be discounted.  

Continue reading —>

Dulles Flyer: What is the #icelanDChase?

Icelandair Ticket Giveaway Washington DC to Europe
Icelandair Reps Will be Giving Away Freebies on the Streets of Washington, DC

Icelandair is celebrating its new year-round service from Washington D.C. by giving away round-trip tickets for two to any of Icelandair’s more than 20 destinations in Europe!

Icelandair representatives will be hitting the streets of the nation’s capital to give away one pair of tickets each day from Thursday, June 12, 2014 through Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Additional prizes include thirty $100 gift certificates for travel, tee shirts, Icelandic music CDs, and cool merchandise.

How can Washingtonians join the #icelanDChase?

You can search for the location of each day’s tickets, by finding clues and a password on Icelandair’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • Follow #icelanDChase on Twitter for clues
  • Clues will be given at various times of the day until the tickets are found
  • The first person to arrive at the location and reveal the password to the Icelandair representatives will win tickets for two to any one of more than 20 destinations in Europe
  • For further information, see the Terms and Conditions

    Where can you Fly on Icelandair?
    Where can you Fly on Icelandair?

You can find Icelandair on Facebook ( or Twitter (@Icelandair).

Note the blackout dates, which exclude travel during the summer, or over the Christmas holiday:  May 21, 2014 through September 5, 2014; and December 15, 2014 through January 6, 2015.  

If You Don’t Live in Washington, Here are Two  Other Contests to Iceland

1.  Icelandic Fourmula is giving away a trip for two to Iceland!  This online giveaway includes:

  • Roundtrip coach class airfare for two
  • room accommodations for three nights/ four days at a luxury hotel in Reykjavik
  • City of Reykjavik Welcome Card
  • VIP room for 2 at the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa.
Icelandair Launches Year Round Service from IAD
Icelandair Launches Year Round Service from IAD

Fill out the entry form online to enter for a chance to win this Iceland getaway!  Enter by December 31, 2014.

Click here for sweepstakes rules and conditions.

2.  X-Men X-Treme Adventure

This contest is for a trip to Iceland, or weekly packs of Flipz, X-Men memorabilia, Schick razors and cash.  Enter before October 31, 2014.  

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a trip for two to Iceland and $2,274 in cash for personal expenses.  The trip must be taken between October 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015, but cannot be taken over Christmas, New Years or public holidays in the U.S. or Iceland.  The official rules are here.  

Win a Staycation: Ride the Capital Wheel

The Capital Wheel at National Harbor
The Capital Wheel at National Harbor

Here’s a contest that caught my eye, mostly because of the chance to ride the brand new Capital Wheel.

The Maryland Office of Tourism is running a sweepstakes for a staycation at National Harbor, right on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County.

National Harbor is a multi-use riverfront development with outlet shopping, dining, entertainment and lodging.

I call this a staycation sweepstakes, because it includes hotel, meals, and entertainment, but not plane fare to Washington, DC.

Enter the National Harbor Summer Getaway sweepstakes by June 25, 2014, for a chance to win this prize package:

In addition, the grand prize includes four offers from the Potomac Riverboat Company:

  • Two VIP boarding passes (each pass admits two):  Alexandria – National Harbor Water Taxi;
  • Four VIP vouchers: National Mall Water Taxi;
  • Four VIP boarding passes:  George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens Cruise;
  • Four VIP vouchers:  Washington Monuments Cruise.

I entered this contest.  I think it would be a blast to stay on the other side of the Beltway and get around via water taxi for a couple of days.  Does it tempt you?


Portraits Alive! Smithsonian Teen Program

Portraits Alive!
Portraits Alive!

Summer vacation is almost upon us, but it’s not too late to think about fun activities for that awkward age:  teenagers 14 to 16 years old.  They are too old to go to summer camp, and too young to get a job.  Or something like that.

Here’s a novel idea for a practically free three-week summer program offered by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Portraits Alive! is a museum theater program based on people in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.

Students create a collaborative museum-theater piece after choosing a portrait from the museum’s collection.  Each program participant writes and performs an original vignette to accompany the portrait.

Okay, so my kid wouldn’t be interested in this program in a million years, but maybe you know someone who would!  Some of the students are actors, others are writers or have an interest in history.  Check out this short video of last year’s performers on You Tube.

The fee for the three-week program is just $100, which defrays the costs for costuming, dry-cleaning, workshops, and supplies.  Teens can earn community service hours for their participation.  

There are two sessions this year:

  • Session 1: June 30 through July 18, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Session 2: July 22 through August 8, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The National Portrait Gallery has just extended the application deadline for the program until June 6, 2014.  E-mail to request an application.  Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by Monday, June 9 2014.

The National Portrait Gallery is not the stuffy museum you might imagine.

Continue reading —>

Free Summer Saturdays at the Corcoran Gallery

Salon Dore
Salon Dore at the Corcoran Gallery

This summer may be your last opportunity to visit the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as it is slated to close in the fall.

The art museum offers free admission every Saturday from now until Labor Day weekend, as part of their free Summer Saturdays program, including gallery tours, workshops, demonstrations, and performances.

Admission is on other days is $10 per adult, $8 per student, and free for children under 12.

Below are a few highlights of the family programs:

Saturday, May 31:  Botanical Collages Workshop
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Inspired by Aaron Douglas’ painting Into Bondage, from the Corcoran’s collection, create your own tropical landscape.

Saturday, June 28:  Haiku Mistress

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Working with Haiku Mistress Caley Vickerman create haikus inspired by the works in the collection. Share your literary works of art in a collaborative sidewalk chalk display!

Saturday, July 19:  The Ultimate Urban Safari 

10 a.m.-12 noon
Join us for a wild summer day dedicated to the animal kingdom! Spurred on by the American Metal: The Art of Albert Paley exhibition, discover how creatures big and small can inspire through workshop activities, book readings, and a live performance.

Saturday, August 2:  Family Workshop: Animal Maquettes
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Inspired by Albert Paley’s maquettes, families work together to create their own animal displays.

You can find the complete schedule of tours, performances, and activities here:


Free Preview to Marvel’s X-Men: Days of Future Past

Free Screening of X-Men
Free Screening of X-Men

United Mileage Plus Visa Signature cardholders in select cities may be invited to a free advance screening of X-Men: Days of Future Past, in 3-D.  It’s one of several discounts offered by Visa Signature in conjunction with Fandango.

The offer is for up to two tickets per cardholder, and two concession coupons for popcorn and soda. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, to those who receive an email invitation.

Synopsis of X-Men: Days of Future Past

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past — to save our future.

The cities where free screenings will be offered are:

  • Washington, D.CFree Screening of X-Men
  • Houston
  • Denver
  • McLean
  • Jacksonville
  • Virginia Beach
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Seattle
  • Fairbanks  

I received my invitation to the Washington, DC screening this morning.  Here’s the link to register for free tickets, in case you want to jump on this offer.

Did you get an email yet?

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