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Arlington Notes, 1/31/24 roundup

News of community interest around Arlington

NEW YEAR BRINGS REDUCED DONATIONS TO ‘AFAC’: It happens at the start of every new year – contributions to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) drop off compared to the end of the preceding year.

“Food donations after the [2023] holiday season dropped by 43.74 percent,” the organization said in a recent note to supporters.

That’s a challenge for the social-safety-net agency, as 40 percent of the 80,000 pounds of food that is distributed to those in need each week is donated from food drives and grocery-store donations.

As a result, the call has gone out for support.

“Items like low-sodium soups, vegetables and proteins (tuna, salmon, chicken, beans) will keep our families eating warm and heart-healthy meals throughout the winter months,” AFAC officials said.

For information on ways to support the organization, see the Website at

‘ARLINGTON READS’ EFFORT TO FOCUS ON JAMES BALDWIN: The Arlington library system’s “Arlington Reads” author-talk series will focus on poet, author and activist James Baldwin for 2024, the centennial of his birth.

Baldwin (1924-87) “was not afraid to write about or say aloud what he experienced,” county library director Diane Kresh said. “If your reading journey has missed Baldwin, you are in for a treat.”

The series will include a number of author talks, as well as library programs for all ages, from book clubs to crafts to film screenings, that “will draw inspiration from Baldwin’s words, life and legacy to carry his spirit forward,” library officials said.

For more details, see the Website at

COMMITTEE OF 100 PROGRAM TO FOCUS ON WOMEN’S HEALTH: The Arlington Committee of 100 will discuss “Unequal Treatment: How Arlington is Addressing Disparities in Women’s Health” during a program on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Hazel Conference Center at VHC Health (Virginia Hospital Center), with an online option also available.

The program “will explore different aspects of women’s health, featuring perspectives from Arlington County and the medical community,” organizers said. Guest speakers will be Denise Bruner, M.D., and Arlington’s public-health director, Reuben Varghese, M.D.

For information, registration and a link to previous programs, see the Website at

‘STATE OF THE PIKE’ EVENT IS ON THE HORIZON: The Columbia Pike Partnership’s annual “State of the Pike” presentation, held in conjunction with the Arlington County government and Pike Presidents’ Group, will be held on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. online.

Community leaders and representatives from various departments of the county government will discuss current and future plans for the South Arlington corridor, which runs from the Pentagon to the Fairfax County line.

The program is free, but registration is required. For information, see the Website at, which also includes recordings of previous State of the Pike events.

SISTER CITY GROUP TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY EARLY: The Reims Committee of the Arlington Sister City Association will host “Cheers to l’Amour,” an evening of French-inspired sparkling-wine and champagne tasting, on Monday, Feb. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lyon Hall, 3100 Washington Blvd.

“Guests will enjoy three different sparkling wines and light hors d’oeuvres – come learn about the Arlington Sister City Association and Reims, France, as we begin celebrating St. Valentine’s Day early,” leaders of the organization said.

Tickets are $55 per person. To R.S.V.P. by Feb. 11, go to app.aplos/aws/events/champagne_lamour.

Located about 90 miles east of Paris, Reims sits in the heart of France’s champagne-producing region. It is one of five Arlington Sister City relationships, along with Coyoacan (Mexico), San Miguel (El Salvador), Aachen (Germany) and Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine). For information, see the Website at

ARLINGTON PLAYERS PREP BACKSTAGE COMEDY: The Arlington Players open a new year with the backstage comedy “Anton in Show Business” by Jane Martin, with performances Feb. 3-18 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre in Arlington.

The production looks at the “joys, pains and absurdities of putting on a play at the turn of the century,” and features an all-female cast of characters.

Performances are Fridays (except the first weekend) and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and military and $20 for students. For information, see the Website at

SYNETIC TO PRESENT ‘ROMEO & JULIET’: Synetic Theater is going with a classic from the Bard as it wraps up performances in the Crystal City space that has been its home for more than a decade.

The troupe will present a wordless, stylized production of “Romeo & Juliet” from Feb. 9 to March 24 at the space.

“Join us for our final production in our Crystal City home, and have your heart melt and mind blown through our stunning style of physical theater,” the troupe said.

Tickets are $35-$65. For information, see the Website at

The performing-arts organization is on the hunt for a future home.

NATIONAL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE TO SALUTE THE TANGO: The National Chamber Ensemble will present “The Passion of the Tango” on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Gunston Arts Center Theatre I, 2700 South Lang St. in Arlington.

“This is our valentine to you, our audience,” said artistic director Leo Sushansky. “The perfect night to share with your love, or to indulge in your love for exciting, soulful and passionate music.”

As part of the performance by violinist Sushansky, cellist Stephen Honigberg and pianist Carlos Cesar Rodriguez, the evening will include tango-inspired choreography from Lucy Bowen, set to the music of Astor Piazzolla.

“I chose two local dancers with whom I have never worked – Kevin White and Michaela Conroy,” Bowen said. “I think they are so right for what I’ve created, set to the beautiful, sizzling music. With the National Chamber Ensemble playing the music live on stage with the dancers, the audience will experience a feast for the eyes and ears.”

Tickets are $40 general admission, $20 for students, and come with a link allowing unlimited streaming of the concert starting one week following the performance.

For information and tickets, see the Website at