Sunday, July 22, 2007
WHO IS MINGERING MIKE? To this day, only a few people know. What did he do? Make some of the most compelling "outsider art" you'll ever see. For eight years in the 1960s and '70s, Mike, a down-and-outer in D.C., reimagined himself as some kind of Motown star, and then used art to make his imaginings come true. There's one week left in Hemphill gallery's show of the result: wallfuls of record covers, sleeves and labels, as well as the vinyl albums themselves, all "faked" with paint and markers on cardboard. They construct the myth of Mingering Mike, Step-Godson of Soul. This kind of work is collected by curators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: Let's hope they find a way to add Mike's Greatest Hits to their holdings, so his art can stay near home.
-- Blake Gopnik
Through July 28 at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St. NW. Free. Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. . Call 202-234-5601 or visithttp://www.hemphillfinearts.com.
HERE'S ONE OF THE FEW opportunities to hear one of our great area orchestras indoors during July. The Baltimore Symphony, which presents concerts both at the Music Center at Strathmore and in downtown Baltimore's Meyerhoff Hall, will play Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 under the direction of Carlos Kalmar and with the participation of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. The Strathmore event takes place on Thursday with a repeat the next night at Meyerhoff. If you really love this piece -- and who doesn't? -- you might want to compare similar performances in the two very different acoustical venues.
-- Tim Page
The Music Center at Strathmore is at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda and the Meyerhoff is at 1212 Cathedral St. in Baltimore. Remaining tickets for the Strathmore event are $30 while the more generally available tickets at the Meyerhoff range from $25 to $35 in all sections. Call 410-783-8000 or visithttp://www.bsoatstrathmore.org.
THE LITTLE UKULELE has inspired a suite of dances from one of the modern dance world's leading lights, choreographer Doug Varone. "Beyond the Break (Seven Ukulele Dances)," in its world premiere performances, features recordings by Hawaiian virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, including "Orange World" and his delicate version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Also on the Doug Varone & Dancers program are "The Bottomland," performed here in 2002 as part of Wolf Trap's "Face of America" tribute to Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park, and "Lux," to music by Philip Glass.
-- Sarah Kaufman
At Wolf Trap's Filene Center, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. $34 in-house, $8 lawn. Call 877-965-3872 or visithttp://www.wolftrap.org.
WE URGED YOU, RECENTLY, to check out the American Film Institute's "50 Years of Janus Films, Part I" series. Now, in this season of summer sequels, we're recommending "50 Years of Janus Films, Part II." Why? Because this is a chance to experience the intellectually and culturally stimulating excitement European cinema used to provide, courtesy of Janus -- the New York-based distributor of foreign language films. You'll see Mediterranean heartthrob Marcello Mastroianni as a 19th-century labor leader in "The Organizer," which starts the second series today at 1:15. You'll have a chance to watch "Jules and Jim," Francois Truffaut's primer (or cautionary tale) for anyone contemplating a romantic triangle. And you'll learn (or be reminded) why cineastes eagerly awaited the works of masters such as Luis Bunuel, Roman Polanski, Agnes Varda and Masaki Kobayashi -- all on display here.
-- Desson Thomson
Through Sept. 5 at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre. For more information and ticket prices, visitwww.afi.com/silveror call 301-495-6720.