- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pick of the Pack

Gallery exhibit: ‘An Expanding Subterra’

The honor for world’s tallest building belongs to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. There is a chance you knew this without knowing how or why you know it. “World’s tallest building” is one of those facts that humans, obsessed as we are with building Babel towers, seem to pick up via osmosis. But what humans have managed to build underground is, in some cases, equally magnificent and, in most cases, many times more fascinating. A building’s aboveground mass is obvious, but the amount of space it could take up beneath the earth is a mystery. Photographer Wayne Barrar’s “An Expanding Subterra” hints at the sense of infinity to which underground structures lend themselves. The twin tunnels in New Zealand’s Manapouri Underground Power Station, for instance, could not go on forever. Yet there is a point in space where the tunnels’ finiteness is lost to us. Mr. Barrar’s photographs are not claustrophobic, however. The titular expansiveness is on display in nearly every shot, including of an underground NASA office and a Pennsylvania parking garage.

Through Wednesday at American University’s Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

Phone: 202/885-1000

Web: www.american.edu

Comedy: Tom Arnold

If Charlie Sheen wants a model for rehabilitating his career, he need look no further than Tom Arnold. Like Mr. Sheen, Mr. Arnold comes from a famous family (his sister Lori Arnold-Woten single-handedly started and commanded America’s Midwestern meth market), had his career derailed by drugs and drinking, suffered more than his fair share of messy, public divorces (Roseanne Barr, anyone?), and probably thought to himself at least once that he would never get his mojo back. Yet Mr. Arnold, who got his start in the 1980s doing stand-up, survived his nearly two-decade-long public unraveling and is back at work in the field that made America love him in the first place. Mr. Arnold’s stand-up routine is peppered with classic hell-and-back anecdotes, including his frustration with trying to have children later in life and the unique difficulties of having more ex-wives than fingers on which to count them.

Friday and Saturday at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Va.

Phone: 703/486-2345

Web: www.arlingtondrafthouse.com

Concert: The Jet Age

This weekend, D.C. indie rockers the Jet Age will hold a kickoff party for “Domestic Disturbances,” the band’s 12-track opus about a collapsing marriage. As is so often the case, the couple in “Domestic Disturbances” is facing assault from within and without, their malaise augmented by the emergence of an old flame. Although infidelity and rock music go together like Nikki Six and a blood test, the Jet Age bandleader Eric Tischler is north of 40 and married with children. As a result, “Domestic Disturbances” is not a celebratory or carefree album, but it is a really good, jangly (not jingly) indie rock record. If hearing the band play it live doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, you most likely are still getting over your divorce.

Friday at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Phone: 202/364-0404

Web: www.cometpingpong.com

Exhibit: ‘Part and Parcel’

The story of the District’s art scene — and every other city’s art scene, for that matter — is one of constant openings and closings. Not just show openings and closings, which are part of the business, but gallery openings and closings, which are part of the larger business cycle. The strong survive and the weak bemoan the lack of funding for the arts. As a meditation on the cost of doing business, “Part and Parcel” at the Fridge falls somewhere between the two frames of mind. “The expression ‘part and parcel’ is used to reference something that must be done or accepted as a part of something else,” writes the curator. “Without the venue to sell works on a small scale, many artists wouldn’t have the means to create some of their more substantial works.” Each display in the exhibit features two pieces of art. One of them is a large piece, the other is a smaller piece wrapped like a parcel. Patrons can buy either one. If you opt for the mystery art, be warned: It stays where it is until the exhibit ends.

Through Saturday at the Fridge, 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE.

Web: www.thefridgedc.com

Concert: Cheap Trick

Since its grand opening this year, the Filmore Silver Spring has established itself as the go-to spot for nostalgia tours. Mary J. Blige and Yngwie Malmsteen already have graced the venue’s stage. This weekend, Cheap Trick, the anthemic ‘80s rockers and godfathers of romantic co-dependency (“I need you to need me”), do the same.

Saturday at the Filmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.

Phone: 301/960-9999

Web: www.fillmoresilverspring.com

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