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Sunday, June 21, 2009

So-So Seagull and HI-LIGHTS of the Week

We saw a preview of The Seagull on 16th Street at the DC Jewish Community Center on Thursday. Their work has been excellent this season with good productions of The Accident and The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall. Artistic Director Ari Roth has adapted the classic Chekhov play for their last outing of the season. It's worth seeing, but I wish they would have just gone for a more straightforward production because it is such a great play and it has some of the best actors in Washington (Brian Hemmingsen, Naomi Jacobson, Tessa Klein, J. Fred Shiffman and Jerry Whiddon). Roth has inserted some Jewish references about lighting candles and honoring the Sabbath, the thought being that every play Theater J does needs to be integrated with Jewish components. I think it makes the play a bit confusing and takes away from some of the elements that make Chekhov so wonderful. Chekhov's characters are always striving to be somewhere else, to love someone who doesn't love them. The three sisters always talk about going to Moscow. Uncle Vanya and others love the unattainable Yelena. The characters in The Cherry Orchard hold on to a past that is quickly being axed away. But Chekhov gives his characters an incredible warmth, humor and humanity that makes us care - otherwise we'd go home and start throwing dishes or the cat around. We saw ourselves in them and thus - through the dialogue that makes us laugh a little - we feel their pain so distinctly. By tinkering with The Seagull, Roth doesn't give the story and characters enough time to develop and make sense. So you see scenes of brilliance, but not a whole.

I also saw the film The Brothers Bloom. Writer/director Rian Johnson had success with Brick three years ago, a typical high school story made atypical by an original "hip" language used by the characters. (recommended to rent) I just expected more from this one. It was entertaining but just got a little tiresome.


TURN LEFT AT THE END OF THE ROAD -Free film, panel and reception co-sponsored by the Middle EastInstitute and Embassy of Israel
Reservations required click below
Moroccan immigrants (who think of themselves as French) aren'ttoo happy about the arrival of Indian immigrants (who think of themselves as British) in their dusty Israeli desert town, makingfor a captivating mix of old enemies, cultural mine fields,the very British game of cricket, teenage girls and the sexualrevolution of the Sixties.

HI-LIGHTS! of the Week.

SUNDAY, June 21
Fox Searchlight and
Gifford's Ice Cream and Candy Co. will be offering a free sundae on the first day of summer, in celebration of the film, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER. It starts at noon and locations are Downtown DC by E Street Cinema, Bethesda by Bethesda Row Cinema, Chevy Chase, Maryland & University Town Center- Hyattsville, MD.

Monday, June 22
Joseph O’Neill appears at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose on Connecticut Ave., to discuss his much-heralded book Netherland. Hans van den Broek, who came from the Netherlands, is adrift in post-9/11 New York after his wife returns to England with their son. Siri Hustvedt, in her review last year, said, “Netherland tells the fragmented story of a man in exile—from home, family and, most poignantly, from himself."

Cinema and Drafthouse in Arlington will be showing Adventureland Monday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm. The funny and overlooked movie highlights a summer working at a theme park.

Tuesday, June 23
The Embassy of Sweden on the Georgetown Waterfront presents the 2009 Jenny Lind Concert at 7pm. Suggested donation: $10. rsvp to A reception courtesy of SWEA DC will follow.

Wednesday, June 24
French Embassy (for those fully recovered from last night's Fete)
"Welcome" is one of the most outstanding French films of the year. From director Philippe Lioret (Don't Worry, I'm Fine) comes a deeply moving political film about illegal immigration, which met with popular and critical acclaim in France.
(preceded by the short film Taxi Wala)In French with English subtitles -
La Maison Fran├žaise, Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Rd., N.W.ADMISSION: General $8, Seniors/Students with ID $5 Reservations
required / ( - Please provide your surname, first name and number of guests that will attend.

Thursday, June 25
We're back to the House of Sweden (not a bad place to go back to) for the Sustainable Network of Washington's Open House Reception, from 4-8 pm. Complimentary Valet parking at the House of Sweden and a complimentary shuttle service from the Foggy Bottom Metro (Blue/Orange lines). Just look for the House of Sweden staff. No RSVP required. Please bring anyone and everyone; the more the merrier.

Friday, June 26
The Watergate Gallery on Virginia Ave. has an opening of Summer Sculpture from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Saturday, June 27
One of my favorites, The
Katzen Arts Center on the campus of American University, has an opening to celebrate the The Haitian Sailing Project, Margaret Boozer, and the famous political cartoonist/author Jules Feiffer. Also on display there will be the Washington Print Club 20th Biennial.


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