- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Amalia Amaki is an unusual black American woman artist. In her Amalia: Boxes, Buttons and the Blues at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, she pictures the lives of blacks in America through optimistic, often tongue-in-cheek, visual puns. The artist depicts her life and that of other black Americans through heart-shaped boxes filled with mouth-watering “chocolates” — except that they’re cleverly arranged brown buttons. Miss Amaki creates what look like expensive “jewelry boxes,” but they’re covered with fake, not real, gems. She’s probably most famous for her printed “blues women quilts” featuring performers like Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. 1250 New York Ave. NW. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 25. $8 adults, $6 students and visitors 60 and over. Free for young people 18 and under and for members. 202/783-5000 or www.nmwa.org.

Joanna Shaw-Eagle

March of the Penguins offers an extended, awesome proximity to the emperor penguins of Antarctica, a species seen briefly in “Deep Blue.” Compiled by a French team of filmmaking naturalists supervised by Luc Jacquet, “March” observes a full year’s cycle of treks from feeding grounds to breeding grounds. These round trips are undertaken separately by the females and males, who exchange nesting and chick-nurturing roles during the gestation and infancy of their offspring. Mr. Jacquet’s immersion in migratory and reproductive behavior proves exceptionally fascinating and humbling.

George Lucas, the latest recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, is also the timely subject of a two-week retrospective salute at the AFI Silver Theatre. This weekend’s attractions are the first five movies in the “Star Wars” series, which will be available in both fictional and cinematic order. Tomorrow is devoted to showings of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, the predecessors to the current ‘Revenge of the Sith.” They will be repeated Monday, after the original trilogy — Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi appear on Saturday and Sunday. Mr. Lucas’ first feature, the dystopian fable THX-1138, is scheduled for Tuesday and next Thursday. Tickets are $9.25 for the general public and $7.50 for AFI members, students and seniors 65 and over. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. 301/495-6720.

Gary Arnold

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