- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Succulent, light-filled landscapes by J. Lea Lansaw fill the walls of Georgetown’s Spectrum Gallery in the show titled J. Lea Lansaw, New Works. An instructor at the Corcoran School of Art and Design, she writes in the exhibit’s brochure, “I am painting on a lake in Northern Minnesota and trees keep inviting themselves into my works. So do cabins. Come in.” Miss Lansaw’s acrylics in fact make visitors want to enter these tiny, colorful interpretations of nature. At the Spectrum Gallery, 1132 29th St. NW. Noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Free. 202/333-0954.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

Vanity Fair was filmed three times between 1923 and 1935, but the new adaptation that unites Mira Nair as director and Reese Witherspoon as leading lady seems long overdue: the first theatrical remake in almost 70 years. In some respects it’s worth the wait: Miss Witherspoon inserts herself boldly and enjoyably into the Victorian library. Perhaps her public is content with a “Legally Blonde” franchise, but she herself seems to need additional stimulation. She makes a fetching, persuasively devious, yet susceptible embodiment of Becky Sharp, a prototype for best-selling schemers and opportunists since 1848. William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel is too formidable and multifaceted for adequate distillation in one sitting, and Miss Nair begins to falter during the Waterloo episodes. However, she brings a freshly sensuous revisionism to other aspects, notably Becky’s campaigns of seduction. She hasn’t forgotten that Thackeray was born in India, and contrives an expedition during the finale, revisiting one of the locales of her earlier costume extravaganza, “Kama Sutra.”

— Gary Arnold


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