Inside D.C. entertainment

TBD ArtsBook: Looking closer at Artisphere, destroying Remy's new video, RIP Frank Kameny

October 12, 2011 - 08:00 AM
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Artisphere dome

• As Artisphere turns 1, there's been some scrutiny of its financial presumptions, starting with Mark Jenkins' article about the center's disappointing first-year numbers. ArlNow yesterday recorded a couple of branching arguments: David Boaz quotes some of the arguments against public financing of stadiums to show that these things rarely work out. Meanwhile, Alex Baca takes a different tack, arguing that Artisphere "deserves to succeed." Fine, fine, these are both valid points of view. What I'm wondering is why these things never seem to reflect badly on the arts consultants who write these fanciful business plans, telling municipalities what they want to hear (e.g. "Project X will be a roaring financial success and revitalize your neighborhood").

>> Webb Management Services Inc., which did the 2006 Needs Assessment for Arlington County Cultural Facilities, said an Arlington facility would be comparable to several other arts centers. But a little (admittedly post-housing crash) digging on Guidestar about the venues cited shows why the report didn't get into, you know, specifics: Yerba Buena Arts Center (2009 revenue less expenses: $-870,444), Walker Art Center in Minneapolis ($-5,571,685), Arvada Center for the Arts in Arvada, Colo. ($ 303,970), Contemporary Art Center of Virginia in Virginia Beach, Va. ($-93,484).

>> How that kind of research was good enough for Arlington and why it continues to be good enough for other municipalities is the story here.

• The Portrait Gallery's David C. Ward, a historian, is also a poet. Beth Py-Lieberman talks with him about that art.

• RIP Frank Kameny, who died last night.

• A film about deciding whether to apply to college by Yorktown High School students was nominated for an award at a film festival in Frederick last weekend; it didn't win.

Remy, the most famous person in Arlington, has a new video. It's about Occupy Wall Street. Jon Fischer listens to it, raises his bazooka, and...kaboom.

• A fascinating bit of transparency from Mark Athitakis, who quoted part of a Jonathan Franzen quote in a tweet, then had a back-and-forth with the critic Allison Lynne about whether he'd taken it too far out of context. RELATED BUT NOT LOCAL: Did David Foster Wallace make up quotes in his journalism pieces?

• Mall events this week. Valerie Paschall's pop-music picks. W Jacarl Mellon's hip-hop picks.

• ArtsBook is, as a rule, opposed to Q&A's (quick, without cheating, name three that have stayed with you), but this one, with Branford Marsalis, is pretty good. Giovanni Russonello talks with Marsalis, who is playing Mason this weekend, about why jazz isn't more popular. Marsalis' answers are well-honed, but they're still good reading: "I think that there’s a small percentage of the American record-buying, concert-going audience that has the intellectual capacity to embrace instrumental music. For most people, music for lyrics is going to be what it is, and I don’t believe we can sway them."

• ShowBizRadio is expanding to St. Louis. Oh that's great, wait: St. Louis? It has to do with the Cappies, Mike Clark told ArtsBook. Via the high school theater competition, with which SBR has partnered for the past few years, the site found that the Gateway City would be amenable to an incursion by a Mid-Atlantic theater site. Bad news for local theaters, though: Mike and Laura Clark are cutting down on their theater-reviewing schedule, now seeing only two shows per weekend.

• The Federation of Dance Competitions has ranked Ashburn's Studio Bleu as the third-best studio in the country. ArtsBook is not enough of a dance maven to understand the implications of this and is dutifully aggregating the news as a public service.

REVIEWS: Louis Jacobson on Hank Willis Thomas at the Corc. Jenkins on Sonny Rollins at KenCen. Elliot Lanes on the same show. Bob Ashby on "Nine" by the Arlington Players at Kenmore. Doug Poms on the same show. Frankie Lewis on "Driving Miss Daisey" at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn (does it also present moosic?). Alexia (just...Alexia) on the Lemonheads at Black Cat. Susan Galbraith on "Nevermore" at ArtSpace.

THINGS TO DO, COMPILED BY KIM CHI HA

Pop: Yuck w/ Porcelain Raft at Black Cat. The Parlotones at DC9. An Evening w/ the Duhks at Jammin’ Java. RJD2 & Icebird at 9:30. Boyz II Men at Birchmere!!! Sam Bush at Wolf Trap. Wilde Fruit w/ Sleeping in the Aviary at Velvet Lounge. Lisa Hannigan at Rams Head. Cavalera Conspiracy at Rock & Roll Hotel. The Whale ft. DJ Harvey & Awesome Tapes From Africa at U Hall.

Classical, jazz: Mathias Hausmann, baritone & Craig Rutenberg, piano at KenCen. Paulien at Blues Alley.

Theater: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet opens at KenCen. “Peaches and Freon: A Musical” at GU.

What-have-you: Music on... Photography: Pattie Boyd at NatGeo (ARTSBOOK NOTE: In addition to her work as a photographer, Boyd once had a knack for getting classic-rock staples written about her, like George Harrison's "Something," Eric Clapton's "Layla," and a bunch of other songs). Five Minutes to Funny Graduation Showcase at DC Improv. “Havel’s Leaving” at Avalon. Get Rich Cheating w/ Jeff Kreisler and Dylan Ratigan at Riot Act Comedy Theater. Cosmo Couture at Artisphere. Dana Priest on Top Secret America at International Spy Museum.

Cheap tix! TICKETPLACE has Pattie Boyd at NatGeo, more. Goldstar’s got “The Story of Mother Jones” at Atlas, “Get Rich Cheating” at Riot Act Comedy Theater, more.

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