- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

Big but not so easy

Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, the founders of Pearsonwidrig Dancetheater, held workshops with New Orleans evacuees to put together the textual portions of “Katrina, Katrina: Love Letters to New Orleans,” at Dance Place March 15 and 16. The full-evening work is a documentary of sorts, combining the workshop texts with dance, music and video to express a long-standing sense of loss. See Dance.

This way to the maps

Baltimore’s Festival of Maps gets under way this week, its admitted inspiration the Walters Art Museum’s “Maps: Finding Our Place in the World.” The ambitious exhibit of cartography, opening March 16, shows off maps on cuneiform tablets, medieval maps, manuscript maps of explorers, globes, maps of utopias and maps of imaginary places. But there’s even more: Highlights are three maps by Leonardo da Vinci, J.R.R. Tolkien’s map of Minas Tirith, and Jefferson’s map of the proposed contours of the states of the Union. The show runs through June 8 at 600 North Charles St., Baltimore. See Museums. For a detailed schedule see baltimorefestivalofmaps.com

The view from behind the lens

The Baltimore Museum of Art is one of the 34 cultural institutions involved in the Charm City map festival, but the standout show that opens at the BMA this week involves a different kind of seeing. “Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900-1960” offers some 150 iconic images by European and American artists — Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks — from the period when photography became fully recognized as an art form. March 16-June 8 at 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore. See Museums.

Heart of soul

They’ve been the heart of soul for more than 40 years, and now the husband-and-wife team of composer and arranger Nickolas Ashford and lyricist Valerie Simpson come to the Birchmere on March 16 for an evening of musical sophistication. See Clubs.

At sea

Richard Wagner once compared his life to that of the legendary Flying Dutchman, the sea captain fated to sail the seas until redeemed by a woman’s love. So look for autobiographical angst in the Washington National Opera’s spring season opener, “The Flying Dutchman,” at the Kennedy Center Opera House from March 15 to April 10. Heinz Fricke conducts; bass-baritone Alan Held plays the title role for the first time. See Classical Music.

Happy anniversary, New Deal!

A rare opportunity awaits visitors to the National Archives’ “For a Better America: the New Deal on Film” screenings on March 15: the chance to see 13 government propaganda films designed to stem the despair of the Great Depression, made by top artists who needed the money — among them filmmakers Pare Lorentz and Robert Flaherty, composers Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland and troubadour Woody Guthrie. They’re part of a two-day celebration of the New Deal’s 75th anniversary at the Archives and the Library of Congress, with panels that will look at both the cultural and the political sides of the Roosevelt campaign to save the economy. March 13-15. See Lectures/Readings/Films.

Johnson at the Kreeger

The Kreeger Museum, designed by architect Philip Johnson and opened in 1994, is among Washington’s newer showcases. Now, with “Philip Johnson: Architecture as Art,” starting March 15, the museum offers visitors a rare chance to explore the later work of its designer, who died in 2005. On show are models, drawings, sculpture, photographs and art from Mr. Johnson’s own collection, including works by Andy Warhol and Frank Stella. The show runs through July 31. See Museums.

Solemnities

With Good Friday and Easter approaching, death and resurrection loom large — and a trove of promising performances has been crammed into a brief few days. For starters, the Cantate Chamber Singers perform MacMillan’s “Seven Last Words From the Cross” and Schutz’s “Auferstehungshistorie” (“Resurrection”) at St. John’s Church in Chevy Chase on March 15. On the same day the National Philharmonic offers Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at the Music Center at Strathmore. March 16 sees the Choral Arts Society in Dvorak’s “Stabat Mater” at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall and the Washington National Cathedral Choir in Bach’s “St. John Passion” at the cathedral. More to come next week. See Classical Music listings.

The wearing of the green, finally

After weeks of Irish-themed events, the real St. Patrick’s Day arrives on March 17, bringing with it some rich fare. First off, writers Alice McDermott and Frank McCourt get together at the Folger Shakespeare Library on March 14 for “An Irish American Evening” of readings. On March 15 the quick-stepping fiddle whizzes called Leahy, eight Irish/Scottish brothers and sisters from Canada, arrive at George Mason University Center for the Arts. On the grand day itself, conductor Frank McNamara of “Irish Tenors” fame brings a concert evening called “If You’re Irish” to DAR Constitution Hall, while the local O’Neill-James Irish Dancers do step dances at the National Theatre and Grada, an eclectic group based in Dublin and Galway, mixes Irish “trad” with Breton, Eastern European, and other regional music styles at National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium. For wonks, on March 13 the White House Visitor Center opens an eight-month-long exhibit on James Hoban, the Dublin-born architect who designed and built the White House, even as the Catholic University School of Architecture convenes a symposium on Hoban at Decatur House. A grand day, indeed. See Pop Music, Tours and Lectures/Readings/Films.

Portraits of meditation

Y.Z. Kami is an artist born in Tehran who draws on both Eastern and Western traditions as he creates monumental portraits of people in meditation that give outward expression to an inner spiritual journey. His show, “Perspectives: Y.Z. Kami,” opens at the Freer Gallery of Art March 15 and runs through Oct. 26. See Museums.

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