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Capitol Christmas Tree to Be Illuminated Wednesday Evening

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The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be illuminated Wednesday night during a lighting ceremony on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

The star of the evening is a 60-foot blue spruce, which traveled to D.C. from New Mexico’s Carson National Forest and will be decked out with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of New Mexico.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will light the tree during Wednesday night’s ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The tree will then be lit each night through New Year’s Day.

It won’t be the week’s only high-profile lighting ceremony. The Christmas tree outside the White House will be illuminated during an event Thursday night, but only those who previously obtained tickets during a free lottery will be able to attend. However, D.C. residents and visitors will be able to view a lighting display nightly on the White House Ellipse from Dec. 9 to New Year’s Day. Called the Pathway of Peace, the walkway surrounding the tree will feature 56 state and territory trees decorated with unique handmade ornaments. 

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National Christmas Tree Lighting: How to Watch, Road Closures to Know

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A D.C. holiday tradition is set for Thursday night. The National Christmas Tree outside the White House will be illuminated during a ceremony with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

Here’s everything you need to know, from the broadcast schedule to road closures to how (and when) to see the tree in person.

PHOTOS: White House Christmas Decorations UnveiledPHOTOS: White House Christmas Decorations Unveiled

If You Have Tickets

Tickets have already been distributed via a free lottery. If you were able to snap some up, be prepared for road closures and the usual rush hour traffic, so consider taking Metrorail (or a bus). The closest Metro stations are Farragut West and McPherson Square on the Blue, Orange or Silver lines.

You should also be prepared to go through security checkpoints, so make sure you allocate enough time to get through. Plan to be in your seat by 4:30 p.m., a National Parks spokesperson said. The show will begin at 5 p.m.

The tree lighting will be held on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. The Ellipse is also bordered by Constitution Avenue NW to the south, and 17th and 15th streets NW to the west and east.

Singer-songwriter Jessie James Decker is set to host.

How to Watch Without Tickets

If you haven’t already scored tickets, you’re out of luck. However, you’ll still be able to view the lighting ceremony on TV — you’ll just have to wait a few days. The ceremony will air twice Monday night, on REELZ at 8 p.m. and on Ovation at 9 p.m.

What to Know About Road Closures

As usual with major events in D.C., there will be road closures for the lighting ceremony. The following streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from about 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday:

  • 17th Street between Pennsylvania and Independence avenues SW
  • C Street between 17th and 18th streets NW
  • D Street between 17th and 18th streets NW
  • E Street between 17th and 18th streets NW
  • F Street between 17th and 18th streets NW
  • G Street between 17th and 18th streets NW
  • New York Avenue between 17th and 18th streets NW
  • Constitution Avenue between 18th and 14th streets NW
  • 15th Street between H Street and Madison Drive NW (traffic will be allowed to flow south on 15th Street from Madison Drive)
  • Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th streets NW
  • E Street between 14th and 15th streets NW
  • F Street between 14th and 15th streets NW
  • G Street between 14th and 15th streets NW
  • New York Avenue between 14th and 15th streets NW


Several roads will be closed on Dec. 5, 2019, for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

Photo credit: News4

All street closures and listed times are subject to change, police warn.

In addition, the following streets will be posted as “Emergency No Parking” from about 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday:

  • 17th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution avenues NW
  • Constitution Avenue between 18th and 14th streets NW
  • 15th Street between H Street and Constitution Avenue NW

Any vehicles parked in violation of the “no parking” signs will be ticketed and towed, D.C. police warn.

Drivers could encounter delays in the area and may want to consider alternative routes, police said. Drivers should also be careful due to increased pedestrian traffic in the area.

How to Visit the Pathway of Peace

Outdoor holiday displays will light up the White House Ellipse throughout the month.

The Pathway of Peace, the walkway surrounding the National Christmas Tree, will feature 56 trees, representing each state and territory, plus the District of Columbia — all decorated with unique handmade ornaments. It will be free and open to the public starting Monday and continuing through New Year’s Day.

In addition, you’ll be able to catch free 30-minute music and dance performances on the Ellipse stage from Dec. 11 to 22, excluding Dec. 16.

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Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Turns 25 With Broadway Musical, Tour

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Alanis Morissette’s breakthrough album “Jagged Little Pill” is celebrating its 25th birthday on Broadway.

The rock musical, set to open Thursday night at Broadhurst Theatre, features the Canadian singer’s most iconic hits, including “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know” and “Hand in My Pocket,” plus two new songs she wrote for the show. Morissette’s powerful lyrics highlight a suburban family’s struggle with addiction, gender and sex as they harbor secrets while trying to maintain a perfect image. 

The show was written by Diablo Cody and directed by Diane Paulus. It stars actors Elizabeth Stanley, Derek Klena, Lauren Patten, Sean Allan Krill, Celia Gooding and Kathryn Gallagher.

Morissette is also hitting the road in 2020 with singer Liz Phair and rock band Garbage to commemorate the album’s anniversary.

See This Year’s White House Christmas Decorations

[NATL] See This Year's White House Christmas Decorations

“Going on tour next summer with special guests @garbage and @PhizLair to celebrate 25 years of jagged little pill and the last 25 years of music,” she said Wednesday on Twitter.

The 31-stop tour starts in June on the west coast, stopping at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, before heading south, up the east coast and back around to the Midwest. It ends in Nashville on July 25. Tickets go on sale on Dec. 13. 

“Jagged Little Pill” was released in 1995 to worldwide acclaim. It topped the charts in 13 countries and won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Rock Song for “You Oughta Know.”

Morissette’s next album, “Such Pretty Forks in the Road,” is set to be released in May.

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Rapper Rich Brian Gets Vulnerable About His Asian Identity, Immigration Story

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Rapper Rich Brian is a child of the internet.

The Indonesian-born rapper taught himself English through YouTube, mastered dry web humor on Twitter, and discovered the alluring art of hip-hop while in front of his computer screen, NBC News reported. But perhaps most significantly, the internet prompted his fascination with American culture — a world, he says, he felt drawn to and virtually connected with as he spent a large chunk of his teen years immersed in all things American.

Roughly two years after moving stateside, the artist just concluded “The Sailor” tour Monday to promote his sophomore album of the same name. The new music is steeped in the weighty themes of Asian identity and the immigrant experience and is, in part, his assessment of his own journey to America. It’s also an ode to those who came before him.

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