- - Thursday, September 15, 2011

Film ‘The Room: Live’

Every year, Hollywood produces scores of bad movies that are successful despite their hackneyed plots and poor acting. Very few of these movies are successful because they are bad. “The Room” is an exception. The camera work is shaky. The dialogue is atrocious. The love-triangle plot is trite. And the lead is none other than Tommy Wiseau, a strangely accented hair-metal look-alike who is also the film’s director, producer and executive producer. Entertainment Weekly estimated that the film, which was heavily promoted with TV and billboard ads that compared it to the work of playwright Tennessee Williams, grossed a grand total of $1,900 during its opening weekend in 2003. Nine years later, “The Room” screens to theaters packed with rambunctious fans who love how bad it is. Mr. Wiseau himself will make an appearance at this weekend’s screenings. Friday and Saturday at AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Phone: 301/495-6720. Web: www.afi.com/silver.

Exhibit ‘Tactile Dinner Car’

Filippo Marinetti’s “The Futurist Cookbook,” published in 1932, sought to make cooking more artsy. Or, in modern parlance, weird. “Excited Pig” calls for a skinned salami to be cooked in espresso, and then sauced with cologne. “Diabolical Roses,” an appetizer, consists of deep-fried rose petals. The recipe for ball-bearing-stuffed “Chicken Fiat” concludes, “When the flesh has fully absorbed the flavor of the mild steel balls, the chicken is served with a garnish of whipped cream.” Only a handful of establishments have tried to implement Marinetti’s menu. The first was Marinetti’s own La Taverna del Santopalato. Another venue is the D.C. gallery Flashpoint, whose current show is called “Tactile Dinner Car.” The experience is more a homage to Marinetti’s vision than a reproduction, but you’ll still be able to eat pizza in a capsule off a sleek sports car that doubles as a food-prep station. Through Sept. 24 at Flashpoint Gallery, 916 G St. NW. Phone: 202/315-1305. Web: www.flashpointdc.org.

Festival DC Shorts

If it’s true that the Internet has obliterated our attention spans, what hope is there for full-length films that aren’t shoot-‘em-ups, rom-coms, or comedies larded with pratfalls and poop jokes? Perhaps none. But ready to fill the void is the DC Shorts Film Festival, which screens movies of every brow level in a weeklong competition. My first time at the festival, I saw more duds than winners, but that’s also part of the appeal: Even if a movie is terrible, it’s just a few minutes long. The best time to check out the festival will be Saturday and Sunday. That is when DC Shorts screens the cream of the crop, including “Undercover,” a film about an American-Muslim cop who has to solve a pig-napping case, and “Sudden Death,” a musical “where everyone dies.” Through Sunday at various venues. See www.dcshorts.com for more information.

Festival Annual Greek Festival

With the ancestral home of Western-style democracy facing financial collapse, Greece needs our support now more than ever. To that end, the regally named Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church is holding its annual fall festival. It will feature the usual cultural experiences, including music, dancing and food, but also “religious items” and a gyro-souvlaki “drive-thru.” All that’s missing is a bailout booth. Friday and Saturday atSts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 4115 16th St. NW. Phone: 202/829-2910. Web: www.schgoc.org/

Exhibit ‘Washington: Symbol and City’

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray likely celebrated the one-year anniversary of his office with a sigh and a sip of something flat. It’s been a rough year, what with allegations of bribery, cronyism and nepotism, not to mention several small skirmishes with the Republican-led House. Mr. Gray’s tenure thus far would fit neatly into a multivolume set about the dichotomous nature of the District, “a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm,” according to John F. Kennedy. An exhibit at the National Building Museum will suffice for laypeople. “Washington: Symbol and City” analyzes the city from its swampy roots to the present: migratory patterns into and out of the District that corresponded with wars and boom and bust cycles; the “alternative downtown” that evolved into the Shaw neighborhood after the Civil War but before the civil rights movement; the development of urban-planning strategies needed to organize, protect and house a constantly growing federal government; and the chronically near-simmering tensions between Washington (where national politics happen) and the District (where local people live). Ongoing at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Phone: 202/272-2448. Web: www.nbm.org