✔ Pick of the pack
Every election season inspires at least one book that captures the entire Beltway’s attention and grips it like a six-car pileup. For 2008, it was “Game Change,” Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s semi-sordid expose of drama in the John McCain campaign and the Democratic presidential primaries. An HBO adaptation of the book has given Mr. Heilemann and Mr. Halperin cause to rehash their gossip reporting four years later at the National Press Club. Meanwhile, the race for the political thriller of 2012 is heating up with Noam Scheiber’s “The Escape Artists,” a tick-tock narrative about the Obama administration’s attempts to balance stimulating the economy with reducing the deficit (neither of which it did all that well, as the first approach doesn’t work, and the second is contingent on the first having not happened).
• “Game Change” Friday at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
• “The Escape Artists,” Friday at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
Film series: ‘The Plasticity of the Moment’
“The Plasticity of the Moment” features a spate of short films that anticipate our current picture-obsessed moment. Two in particular closely resemble contemporary photography memes. In 1976’s “Transformation by Holding Time,” a photographer snaps Polaroids of a nude model and lines them in a window sill until the screen is nothing but Polaroids. Once an ungainly and inconvenient means of capturing the moment, snap-and-shake nostalgia nevertheless has inspired editing programs that can make digital images look like, well, funky old Polaroids. In “200,000 Phantoms,” released in 2007, roughly 600 photos of Hiroshima - pre- and postnuclear bomb, as well as contemporary day - are juxtaposed to show the depths of the city’s devastation and the miracle of its rehabilitation. In an eerie twist, journalists constructed similar before-and-after slide shows after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Monday at Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St. NW
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