- - Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pick of the Pack

Miscellany: Pet Adoption Party

Cats are better than dogs in a number of categories. They practice portion control. They don’t require your assistance to use the bathroom. They know when it’s time to play, and when it’s time to let you work. You can leave them unattended for days at a time. They can leave you unattended for days at a time. A cat will not wake you in the middle of the night by barking insanely when the air conditioner turns on (or off). And this weekend at the Washington Animal Rescue League, cats will best dogs in still another way: They will cost $2. Yes, that’s right. This weekend only you can buy a whole cat, spayed or neutered, loaded to the gills with the necessary vaccinations, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Granted, you soon will spend a king’s ransom on cat food and kitty litter and feathered toys, but by then, you’ll be in love with your estranged roommate.

Feb. 12 at the Washington Animal Rescue League, 71 Oglethorpe St. NW

Phone: 202/726-2556

Exhibit opening: New work by Ben Claassen
Exhibit opening: New work by Ben Claassen more >

Web: www.warl.org

Exhibit opening: New work by Ben Claassen III

Ben Claassen III is a saint. When alternative weeklies across the country started dropping their comic strips one by one, Mr. Claassen did something unbelievably nice: He allowed papers that wanted to run his strip, but couldn’t spare the peanuts, to run “Dirtfarm” free of charge. For this, surely beatification (and perhaps destitution) awaits him. That’s not to say Mr. Claassen doesn’t sell his work, because he totally does. Next week he’ll unveil a slate of original pieces at the Galaxy Hut’s Last Minute Valentine party. To really set the thing off, local acts Torches and Third Channel will play, and Baltimore comics (Mr. Claassen lives in Charm City) Mickey Free and Ellie Beziat will perform. If you look closely at Mr. Claassen’s pieces, you may notice these little things called price tags. That means he’s not giving it away.

Feb. 13 at Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.

Phone: 703/525-8646

Web: www.galaxyhut.com

Exhibit: ‘30 Americans’

One of the more haunting pieces in the Corcoran’s “30 Americans” exhibit, a retrospective containing works from the best black artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, is “Basketball and Chain” by Hank Willis Thomas. The digitally altered photo features two black legs in basketball shorts and sneakers straining toward the heavens, but held back by a thick, rusty chain that’s moored to a basketball. At 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide, the photo is large enough to contain an incredible action shot, the kind that runs in Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine every week. But Mr. Thomas’ photo isn’t about the glory of the game. It’s about basketball as a paradoxical mode for economic mobility: It can make young black men wealthy and famous in exchange for nightly performances in the coliseum. And when their time in the spotlight is over, oftentimes they’re left with bad knees and mercurial employment prospects.

Through Feb. 12 at the Corcoran, 500 17th St. NW

Phone: 202/639-1700

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