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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Treasured 'Jules', Knox on Wood, A 'Wilder' Evening, A Capitol Good Time

Highly recommend the current exhibit at American University's Katzen Center. Attended the opening last night and saw the famous Pulitzer-Prize winning political cartoonist/author/playwright Jules Feiffer sitting there amongst his cartoons and drawings. (Richard Nixon telling us that we miss him [for the comic possibilities] and a "liberal" Senator telling us how bad war is [until a Senate vote comes up] are just two examples.) Asked if he thinks of the cartoons or the words first, Feiffer said "always the text."

Also on display is Gary Knox Bennett's Call Me Chairmaker. Wow, talk about many different ways to sit down! Bennett gives us 52 examples of chairs from zig zag to thrones to ladder-inspired. The only problem is that they won't allow you to sit on them. The Washington Print Club Biennial also has a show up, featuring some amazing works from the collections of their members. I was particularly intrigued by a James Ensor print - a retrospective of the Belgian avant-garde painter of the early 20th century. The Museum Modern Art just opened a major retrospective of Ensor that I highly recommend. Other prints that stood out for me were from Chagall, Renee Stout, George Bellows and Kiyoshi Kobayakawa. Colorful drawings from Haiti also adorn the first floor. Most of the exhibits are up through Aug. 16.

Also while up in New York last week, I saw a beautiful production of Our Town at the Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village. This American classic by Thornton Wilder is being given a breathtaking and intimate production that makes you see why it won the playwright a Pulitzer Prize in 1938. David Cromer, the imaginative director, also plays the stage manager who transitions flawlessly from the turn-off-your-cellphones pitch to the description of the "Town" and its inhabitants. Another production of Our Town will take place July 15-18 at Georgetown University as a joint production between their well-regarded theater program and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. I just saw the new play there called Brianpeople, by Jose Rivera, who wrote the screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries. Though quite lyrical, it's hard to recommend. The performances are interesting but the dreamlike and sinister qualities of the play just don't add up to a satisfying whole.


A double WOW for this year's A Capitol Fourth lineup. In a scheduling change, there will be TWO rehearsals for cool folks like us to attend, on Thursday and Friday at 8pm. (The actual show is Saturday, of course.) Performers include Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, the cast of the Jersey Boys, Michael Feinstein and Natasha Bedingfield. My guess is that Thursday's rehearsal will be the least attended by far, so if the weather is good, may be the one to attend. See you there!

Going to A Capitol Fourth on Thursday would also free us up to go to Dupont's First Friday on Friday. I've seen interesting notices for Hillyer Art Space (Selections by the aforementioned Renee Stout) and Printmakers "Meet Your Printmaker" Show so far. Will look out for more.

The Embassy of Canada is hosting a Canada Day celebration on Wednesday afternoon.
The Fringe Festival starts July 9 - recommendations to come.
A staged reading of What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton comes to McLean on July 6. It is one of the best farces ever written.

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