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Get Out (D.C. pocket picks): ‘Lewis Baltz - Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit’

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2011

✓ Pick of the pack 'Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit'

Where the urban planner saw a platted paper marked "commercial," California photographer Lewis Baltz saw an architectural phenomenon worth documenting. During the '60s and '70s, Mr. Baltz photographed the spread of office parks, warehouses and other forms of anonymous industrial architecture. While those buildings may be all but invisible to tired commuters (and ugly when they can't help but notice them), the buildings are as ominous and huge as giants in Mr. Baltz's photographs. Through July 31 at the National Gallery of Art, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. Phone: 202/737-4215. Web: www.nga.gov

Festival Hipster camp

Summer camp isn't just for kids, as the party masterminds at Brightest Young Things are fond of demonstrating. This weekend's pool party, a hipster-themed get-together with DJs StereoFaith and William Alberque, is their second such gathering of the summer. The dress code is hipster, which is shorthand for tacky - tacky hats, tacky tees, anything frayed, anything plaid. To prepare yourself, BYT suggests "arguing on the Internet whether this party is post-post-ironic or not." Whatever that means. July 30 at the Capitol Skyline Hotel pool, 10 I St. SW. Phone: 202/488-7500. Web: http://brightestyoungthings.com

Book reading Iraq, Afghanistan war memoirs

It is a sad truth that America's most gruesome wars have produced some of the best works of literature in the English language. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are no exception. Lt. Brandon Friedman's memoir, "The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War," closely mirrors Anthony Swofford's Desert Storm memoir, "Jarhead," in its dissection of the psychological waiting game experienced by troops who are sent to theaters of battle only to do little or no fighting. Much of Lt. Friedman's time in Afghanistan and Iraq is spent waiting to feel necessary. Then, after seven months of hanging out at bases, Lt. Friedman gets a violent initiation into conflict when two of his friends are killed at the start of the Iraqi insurgency in 2003.

Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie's book of poetry deals with the aftermath of war. As a military therapist, Col. Ritchie helps soldiers pick up the pieces, which she explores in "Tearing Through the Moon: Poems and Prose of an Army Psychiatrist." Both authors will read from and discuss their books. July 31 at the Writer's Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda, MD. Phone: 301/654-8664. Web: http://writer.org

Film 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

After several years of wondering where it would find funding, Screen on the Green is once again on sure footing. The film series is shown on the Mall, meaning you can watch movies from the comfort of a lawn chair or a towel and forgo the pocket-gouging snack prices at brick-and-mortar theaters. This week's offering isn't as light as its surroundings, however. Milos Forman's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is a darkly comedic foray into a mental asylum run by the tyrannical Nurse Ratched. Jack Nicholson plays R.P. McMurphy, a cunning con who tries to mitigate his prison sentence by pretending to be insane. But being the only sane person in a crazy world ultimately poses a graver threat to McMurphy's well-being than prison ever could. Aug. 1 on the Mall, between Eighth and 14th streets Northwest. Phone: 877/262-5866.

Theater 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

Oscar Wilde's best-known play is itself a play on words. "The Importance of Being Earnest," subtitled "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People," could have been ripped straight out of today's political press, had it not been written almost two centuries ago. It follows the foibles of one Ernest Worthing, whose lack of earnestness is revealed when his city friends discover he leads a double life in the country. Had Rep. Anthony Weiner not already fled town, he could learn a thing or two from Wilde. Through Aug. 14 at the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE. Phone: 202/544-0703. Web: http://hstreetplayhouse.cog

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