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TBD ArtsBook: Even more on Ford's Theatre's dual personality

November 15, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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Ford's Theatre Lincoln door
John Wilkes Booth made the hole in this door to Lincoln's booth, on display at the Ford's Theatre museum.

SURELY THIS IS THE END OF THE FORD'S THEATRE MEME: Ford's Theatre: Do not confuse it with Ford's Theatre! Seriously, that's something you have to watch out for, because the museum downstairs is run by the National Park Service and the actual theater part is run by the Ford's Theatre Society. Here's where it gets trickier: Both have gift shops. The NPS one downstairs is the one that is not selling Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Lincoln" because of historical inaccuracies. It is, in fact, on sale in the shop in the lobby above the museum, within the Ford's building.

Jon Fischer says the FTS' decision to "let our visitors judge the book for themselves" is a "cop-out": "Either it should explain the process by which it decided to sell Killing Lincoln, or remove it," he writes. He notes that Ford's hosted (and FTS director Paul R. Tetreault introduced) the premiere of "The Conspirator," a film whose plot shares one of O'Reilly's contentious points -- that Mary Surrat was pursued by an overreaching federal government. "The society should just cop to the fact that it's comfortable selling a pop version of the Civil War," Fischer writes. "Maybe the Ford's Society is worried that the political optics of the Park Service's decision will rub off. It should be more concerned with the flimsy version of the Civil War it sometimes peddles."

RELATED: From @tanehisi: "Politico refers to #OReillyLincolnErrors as 'alleged mistakes.' Because there's no real way of knowing when the Oval Office was built."

Jenny Rogers goes to Andy Holtin's show at Flashpoint and comes away with a miniprofile of the AU prof/tech-wrangling artist. Here's how he built one of his pieces on display: "Holtin built a plastic plexiglass mounting system that would allow the screens to move on the wall. He then developed a motor system; wrote a code so that the small computer overseeing the system could tell the screens when to move; and etched his own circuit boards."

>>“I’ve been called a perfectly good waste of an engineer,” Holtin tells her.

• Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser wrote a silly column for the Huffington Post yesterday, complaining about nonprofessional reviewers; nowadays, he wrote, "it is difficult to distinguish the professional critic from the amateur as one reads on-line reviews and critiques." If you read my roundup of reviews every morning, you probably have some idea where I stand on this "issue"; I also surveyed people from productions that employ non-professional critics about whether they have a hard time getting their critics into KenCen productions. Joel Markowitz and Lorraine Treanor reported no problems getting folks in; Mike Clark said he'd given up years ago. The KenCen's Stephanie O'Neill told me there was "no blanket policy" about who got credentialed. Something I wish I'd mentioned: A lot of the Washington Post reviews of KenCen shows that I read are by freelancers who do criticism on the side, too.)

>>Benjamin R. Freed got more exercised, noting that Kaiser wrote this piece for Huffington Post, "where anyone—or at least any Friend of Arianna—can wax halfwittedly about the issues of the day." He goes on to defend unpaid or low-paid part-time critics ("One hopes people get paid to do good work, but a lack of payment should not be grounds for automatic dismissal of the criticism"), DC Theatre Scene, and the New York Times Sunday arts section. But he saves his Thor's hammer for the last point: "Kaiser ends his column by warning that with the rise of the Internet critic, 'great art must not be measured by a popularity contest. Otherwise the art that appeals to the lowest common denominator will always be deemed the best.'" Freed then links to his oral history of "Shear Madness."

Mall events this week: David Ben Shlomo, Washington printmakers Linn Meyers, Michael Platt, Lou Stovall, and Andrea Way talk about their work, and it is National Geography Awareness Week, which you can learn about at some building somewhere.

Francis Chung's pop-music picks for this week: Los Campesinos! at Black Cat, the Sadies at Iota, more.

• The Washington Post has the highest number of Twitter feeds of any media organization surveyed by Pew Research Center says the half-out-the-door Aaron Morrissey: "Given these numbers and the financial burden of actually producing a print product, who knows -- maybe soon, the Post will simply just tweet out its daily edition."

• RIP Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee. An utterly fascinating obituary for Ben Bradlee's second wife: She was Jack Kennedy's "ideal woman," her sister, who may have actually had an affair with Jack Kennedy, was murdered on the C&O towpath, and she set her sister's diary on fire after James Jesus Angleton lied about destroying it. There are at least two screenplay ideas in this piece.

REVIEWS: Louis Jacobson on “Photography Between the Wars” at Addison/Ripley. Aaron Leitko on Foo Fighters at Verizon Center. David Malitz on Dean & Britta at the National Gallery. (Incidentally, I am NOT DIGGING this Click Track thing where you have to click through to read the whole review. Get your pageviews the honest way, with goofy photo galleries!) Valerie Paschall (with James Calder photos) on Ted Leo at Sacred Heart. Mark Athitakis reviews his review of Peter Orner's "Love and Shame and Love" (I give this blog post 3.5 stars!). Enigmatic rock critic AJP on the Sea and Cake at Black Cat. Slightly less enigmatic rock critic Alexia on Girl in a Coma at DC9. Roy Maurer on "Shining City" at Quotidian. Andrew Lapin on "Being Elmo" at E Street. Gwendolyn Purdom on "Jersey Boys" at the National Theatre. Charles T. Downey on "Lucia di Lammermoor." Cecilia Porter on the Choral Arts Society's Sunday concert. Jane Horwitz on "Beertown." 

PER MOLTS ANYS: Aram Garriga candles today.

THINGS TO DO, COMPILED BY KIM CHI HA

Pop: Tandoori Knights and Bloodshot Bill at Black Cat. Ray Davies at Fillmore. Julian Velard w/ Sharon Little at Iota. Tinariwen & Architecture in Helsinki at 9:30 Club. Meshell Ndegeocello at Birchmere (ArtsBook predicts a Sarah Godfrey review). Roger Creager at Hill Country. Kill Lincoln w/ Braceface at Velvet Lounge. Ganglians at Red Palace.

Classical, jazz: Firecracker Jazz Band at Millennium Stage. Eme & Heteru at Blues Alley.

Theater: “A Second Chances” open at Signature. “T-O-T-A-L-L-Y” at Fort Fringe.

What-have-you: The best film shorts from the OCCUPY movement at Busboys and Poets/5th&K. Richard Holbrooke at Politics and Prose. David Javerbaum at Sixth & I. Robert Hoffman: Handcrafted Harmonica Cases + Words and Music Songwriter Series at Artisphere. BloomScreen: “Macience: Beyond the Dream” at BoomBars. DCEW: Various Events Around Town. The Vietnam War from the Rear Echelon: An Intelligence Officer’s Memoir at the Spy Museum. Put a Corc in It at Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel. NY Festival of Song: Songs of Gay Life at UMD/Gildenhorn. Accoutre Launch Party at Lost Society.

Cheap tix! TICKETPLACE has “What’s in Your Genes?” at DCJCC and “The Golden Dragon” at Studio. GOLDSTAR’s got “A Second Chance” at Signature, “Angel: A Nightmare in Two Acts” at the Lab and more.

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