- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2006

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has pulled out all the stops with its spectacular Listening to Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life Along the North Pacific Coast. Chosen by 11 coastal communities in Alaska, Washington state and British Columbia, the exhibit stuns the viewer with more than 400 brilliantly crafted masks, woven blankets and clothes, 19th-century Tlingit armor of walrus hide and Chinese coins, a boldly carved Nuxalk raven mask of wood, and wooden hats decorated with huge disks. Independence Avenue at Fourth Street Southwest. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Jan. 2, 2007. Free. 202/633-1000.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

The personal and literary excesses of the poet Edgar Allan Poe — drinking, gambling, philandering, drug-taking, a marriage to a 13-year-old first cousin, a mysterious death after being found semiconscious in a Baltimore gutter — are the stuff of grand opera. So it seems fitting that Poe would become the inspiration for a musical, this time in a delirious new work by Matt Conner at Signature Theatre that uses Poe’s poetry as the lyrics for a nonlinear song-cycle. Eric Schaeffer directs with equal parts Grand Guignol and Hammer studios horror movie. With a “Corpse Bride” of a set, sexy costumes, a lead (Daniel Cooney) who embodies the magnetism and self-destructiveness of Poe’s mad genius, and music that is a purplish stew of opera, heavy-metal anthems and pop torch songs, Nevermore is definitely over the top. For the shivers it produces, even Poe himself might approve. 3806 S. Four Mile Run, Arlington. Through Feb. 26. $31 to $55. 800/955-5566.

— Jayne Blanchard

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