UPCOMING: I've loved the plays of Anton Chekhov all my life - probably since seeing a star-studded Uncle Vanya on Broadway as a youngster in the mid-1970s (George C. Scott, Julie Christie, Barnard Hughes and others). I also love the ongoing theme in Three Sisters where the women keep saying that everything will be better once they get to Moscow and, of course, they never get there. How many of us have our own "Moscows"? Filmmakers seem to love these plays as well because there have been numerous adaptations over the years, the best being Vanya on 42nd Street and Last Summer in the Hamptons (The Seagull). Another one opens in about a week, and the buzz is good. Cold Souls stars Paul Giamatti as a version of himself, acting in Uncle Vanya and deciding that his soul is getting in the way of a great performance. So he has it removed. (The great David Straithairn plays the soul-storage director.) I caught Sophie Barthes, the young French writer/director, and Giamatti on Charlie Rose the other night. For everyone who has an idea, be heartened, because she came up to Giamatti at an event a few years ago and showed him her idea. He liked it and it got made.
There will be a free screening Monday at the E Street Landmark Theatre. To try for tickets, send an e-mail to WashingtonDCContest@landmarktheatres.com with "COLD" in the subject line. 100 winners will be selected at random from entries received by noon on Friday, August 14th. To receive ongoing invites, go to http://www.landmarktheatres.com/ and hit Join Film Club. You can also join the DC Film Society; they will have 50 passes or the screening, and many more screenings throughout the year.
REVIEW: Funny People (nnnn out of 5) was better than I expected. It's a strange confluence of crude jokes, serious comedians and relationship problems, but writer/director Judd Apatow keeps his story moving and his characters interesting. I was laughing with my 40-something friends last night that we certainly don't talk like Apatow's characters do. Yet, they go against stereotyping and perhaps talk like we wish people might talk - not hiding anything, stating their desires and voicing their criticisms. I certainly recommend it.
UPCOMING: Hillyer Art Space will have a discussion tonight with some of the artists for their current show: Six in the Mix. I'll also have more information soon about a film they will be showing on Aug. 26. As the saying goes, I will follow these folks anywhere.
On Thursday, you have your choice of an International Club rooftop Happy Hour, the Phillips Museum's Thursday evening festivities, the Torpedo Factory's Second Thursday wine and music, and a Washington Post rooftop event at Clarendon Ballroom. Yikes!
In the theater world, here are some upcoming pay-what-you-can performances:
Eclipsed at Woolly Mammoth August 31 and Sept. 1
Zero Hour at Theater J August 30 and Sept. 1 (with a season-opening discussion on Aug. 31)
Dublin Hour at H Street Playhouse August 22 and 23 (I hope this is a better production than one at Writers Center last year)
Wittenberg at Rep Stage every Wednesday
The Musical of Musicals at MetroStage on Aug. 27
It is AMAZING all of the opportunities we have here to see shows at bargain prices, and that's not even including all the ushering possibilities there are.