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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seagull Flies In, Nordic Jazz Continues to Soar, Galleries Heat Up

Just back from the rooftop of the House of Sweden for yesterday evening's second night of the Nordic Jazz Festival! (Sunday's opening at the ultra-swank Finnish Embassy was a smash.) I highly recommend the Jonas Kullhammar Quartet, who played a bunch of originals last night and will play again tonight at the House of Sweden and Friday at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Tickets are available at the door tonight ($30) though it looks like it will have to be inside because of our Irish weather.

Tomorrow I hope to report on Theatre J's last play of the season, The Seagull on 16th Street. There are Pay What You Can performances Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoon. Anton Chekhov wrote four classic plays: The Cherry Orchard, The Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya and The Seagull. There have been numerous star-studded productions, film adaptations and translations over the years. Growing up, I recall sitting behind James Earl Jones during a black production of Cherry Orchard, and seeing Julie Christie in the pivotal role of Yelena in Uncle Vanya on Broadway. She was incredible - for her best work from those days, rent McCabe and Mrs. Miller, the great Altman film with Warren Beatty. Julianne Moore played Yelena in Vanya on 42nd Street, Louis Malle's wonderful film of a company doing the play (translation by David Mamet!). As for The Seagull, rent Henry Jaglom's Summer in the Hamptons, a loose adaptation with a great cast. Theatre J has been excellent this year.

Also on Thursday night is an art opening from 6-8pm at the Goethe Institut on 7th Street titled Young German Photographers. Their openings usually draw a nice crowd and feature interesting work - I'm told there's a big meetup group going.

Also on Thursday are openings at Gallery Plan B on 14th Street, Long View Gallery on 9th Street, and McLean Project for the Arts. It's a shame that the 14th Street galleries don't coordinate their openings much anymore. Though it looks like Irvine Contemporary on 14th Street will have a block party Saturday evening following an opening at Hounshel down the block.

Friday night, I always like the openings at Galleries 1054 off of 31st Street in Georgetown, next to the Sea Catch Restaurant - especially on a nice evening. Cross MacKenzie has been doing very interesting openings and Friday's Milgrom on Morandi looks so again.

Next door, Parish Gallery remains perhaps my favorite for its combination of quality art and photos, diverse atmosphere and incredibly friendly hosts. Friday, look for the new work of Robert Paige.

It looks like Arling
ton Arts Center has an opening that night as well - also a favorite. I will head to Silver Spring after that to catch an outdoor SilverDocs film, For All Mankind, about the 24 men who traveled to the moon.

Saturday evening is incredibly full with events. I may have to head over to the French Embassy for their Fete de la Musique where Friend of Ronndezvous (FOR) Brian Gross is playing at 8pm (among the 50-plus musical acts scheduled). With the nice weather expected, it's fun to stroll the grounds of the French Embassy listening to music and celebrating the midsummer night. (Our Swedish friends from last night say that this is one of the biggest holidays in their country.) $8 online, $10 at the door. More on the other stuff later.

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