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Shutdown Fallout

The District of Columbia is going to be hit worse than most places if the federal government does indeed shut down tonight. Although the city government has actually managed to agree on the year's budget, it cannot even spend its own money in most cases without the paternal oversight of the U.S. government -- don't even get our congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, started. This means that not only will all federal government buildings be shut down, including the National Zoo, the Smithsonian museums, and the National Gallery of Art, but many District buildings and services will, too. (Unfortunately for those of you on for jury duty next week, that apparently does not include D.C. Superior Court.) Parking enforcement will be suspended, although police officers on duty will be able to issue tickets and call for towing. There will be no garbage collection, but police officers, firefighters, the Metro system, and the District public schools will all be open for business. Forget going to your local library or renewing your driver's license.

Most importantly, of course, your concert schedule and other cultural activities may be canceled. As we did during last winter's Snowmageddon, we will try to keep our concert calendar updated with cancellations, as things become clear. A preliminary round of inquiries has yielded the following information. Officials at the Kennedy Center, which does receive federal funding, say that all concerts and programs there will go ahead as planned, shutdown or no. Venues that will be shuttered if the government is shut down include the Library of Congress (since the shutdown would start at midnight, this evening's concert by the London Conchord Ensemble should go ahead as planned; not so lucky for the concerts planned for April 9 and 11); the Smithsonian American Art Museum (too bad for the free Left Bank Concert Society concert on April 10 and the 21st Century Consort on April 16); and, saddest of all, the National Gallery of Art (so much for the free Venice Baroque Orchestra concert on April 10; if there is a shutdown, the free April 9 "Stravinsky and Film" series, planned at the museum by the Post-Classical Ensemble, will be moved to Georgetown University's Davis Performing Arts Center). It may be possible for more of these threatened concerts to find alternate venues: we will update you as this situation develops.

Wolf Trap, let us not forget, is a National Park, meaning that its staff will be sent home and it will be closed if the government is shut down. Official word from the Wolf Trap Foundation is that performances at the Barns, the smaller venue that is not on the grounds of Wolf Trap National Park, would not be canceled. Performances at the Filene Center would be, but there are not any scheduled there until summer. In any case, tonight's recital by mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, which we warmly recommend and will be reviewing, will not be affected by the shutdown.

The Library of Congress has notified me that, if the government shuts down tonight, it will mean that the concerts on April 9 and 11 will be canceled due to the closing of the library's buildings. If there is a shutdown, La Maison Française will host the April 11 concert by Martial Solal, but it will not honor tickets obtained for the Library of Congress concert.

Crisis averted at the eleventh hour: a budget deal before midnight means that the government will not shut down. The Venice Baroque Orchestra will play on Sunday night!

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