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Friday, September 11, 2009

Turning Japanese (for Films); Eclipsed Something to View; 'Shorts' Are Long This Week

Friday, 9/11 - STUFF going on in 3 areas:
Bethesda's Second Friday (I'll be leading a Gallery Walk there Nov. 13, so stay tuned.) Fraser Gallery has the Trawick winners tonight
7th Street area: Touchstone, Civilian Arts Project, The Gallery at Flashpoint, Carroll Square Gallery, Pepco's Edison Gallery on 8th St., and Reyes + Davis
Arlington: ARlington Arts Center - Fall Solos Opening
Saturday, 9/12 - Afternoon: Kennedy Center Open House, Rosslyn Jazzfest (see Fred Yonnet!), Arts on Foot. In the evening, head to American University's Katzen Center for a big opening (6-9pm), and then to Silver Spring for Allen Toussaint at the Silver Spring Jazz Festival.
Sunday, 9/13 - Takoma Park Folkfest

When I attended the Santa Barbara Film Festival in January, I was blown away by a Japanese film called Nobody To Watch Over Me.  If you can ever find it to rent, do so.  It's about a policeman assigned to protect the sister of a young killer.  (Apparently, in Japan, the family of a killer is subjected to awful media scrutiny.)  This week, I went to see Still Walking (5 RED DOTS!), the latest Japanese film to open here, and it's even better.  I didn't even realize just how good it was until I emailed with a friend earlier this week who has a tragedy in her family.  At first, Still Walking makes you sad and we all have enough sadness in our lives that we don't need to see it. But then, something changes. There's love in the family, small moments of happiness and laughter, and all of a sudden, we're not alone - and that's a great relief.  At one point, the mother of the family asks the daughter-in-law about when a new grandchild might be coming. But she does it in a backwards way. When the daughter-in-law says why not just ask me in a normal way, she says, very matter-of-factly, We're not a normal family. From then on, we're with them.

Theater-wise, there's a good buzz to see  Eclipsed at Woolly Mammoth, Wittenberg at Rep Stage of Columbia and Zero Hour at Theater J (DCJCC - special PWYC Tuesday 9/15).  I did get to Woolly this week for a documentary about Liberia called Pray the Devil Back to Hell (which got good notice in Santa Barbara). It was very powerful, so I can't wait to see Eclipsed. The playwright, Danai Gurira, who co-wrote and acted in the wonderful In the Continuum a couple years back at Woolly, also starred in The Visitor last year.  Talk about intimidating talent.  Eclipsed has a meet-the-artists day after Sunday's matinee and a special panel, Women in Conflict Zones, next Thursday, 9/17.

I attended the DC Shorts opening last night - a little subdued and quality of shorts was so-so.  Pigeon Impossible was definitely the standout.  They changed up the schedule and made last night's party for VIPs and tonight's for us regular folks. I think that was a mistake, although I'm sure party tonight will be fun. (Just buy a ticket for a 7pm show tonight and party is included: a very good deal.)  It just seemed to make more sense to start things off with a bang and get the word going out.

The Center for American Progress has a cool event next Wednesday - a Washington showing of No Impact Man. Sign up quickly; it will surely fill up.

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