Sunday, July 29, 2007


WHAT MAKES "LAWRENCE OF ARABIA" great? Here's one thought: It resonates with romantic discovery, then subtly undoes its own heady feeling. It's epic and anti-epic, all in one. David Lean's 1962 movie takes full moral measure of its subject -- British officer T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) and his military campaign to unite warring Arab tribes and defeat the Ottoman Empire. At first, the movie's a love affair with O'Toole's celestial eyes, the wavery horizon of the Mideast desert, and the possibility that one man's moral vision can change things. But as Lawrence sinks deeper into his mission, his personal flaws and the hubris of trying to lead other nations become the disconcerting focus. This dark epiphany rings with eerie timeliness. Then again, we could also answer the question this way: It just is great.

-- Desson Thomson

Sunday nights at 7:15, through Sept. 2, at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre. For more information and ticket prices, call 301-495-6720 or visit


DANCING WAS LITTLE SEEN at the Capital Fringe Festival this year -- perhaps because some of the venues were not well suited to much moving around -- but this afternoon audiences can still take in one of the few dance works: "Indigo, A Blues Opera." This "choreo-drama" by Karma Mayet Johnson tells the story of forbidden love between two female slaves in the antebellum South, with movement, spoken word and song.

-- Sarah Kaufman

At the Warehouse Arts-Mainstage, 1021 Seventh Street NW. Today at 4 p.m. $15. 866-811-4111 or visit


EMANUEL CHABRIER IS BEST KNOWN for his marvelously colorful and melodic "EspaƱa," one of the best classical pops pieces ever written. But he also wrote a good amount of other music, including "L'Etoile," which will be presented by the Wolf Trap Opera Company tonight, with repeat performances Aug. 3 and 5. This represents a rare opportunity to hear an entire evening of music by somebody too often derogated as a "one-piece composer."

-- Tim Page

At the Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Rd. $58. Call 703-255-1900 or visit


SOME ADVICE FOR VISITING the Wolfgang Tillmans retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: Check your control-freak tendencies at the door. The German artist taped many of his photographs to the walls in clusters, some so high that they're hard to see. Visitors will have to play mix and match with the exhibition's brochure to determine a work's year and title. The casual ethos jells with Tillmans's spontaneous subject matter: his sweaty friends at concerts, jeans flung on a stair post, the morning after a raging party. Though Tillmans is known mostly for his photographs, don't miss his mesmerizing video "Lights (Body)," in which he records lighting equipment "dancing" to a throbbing techno beat. It's Eurotastic.

-- Rachel Beckman

"Wolfgang Tillmans" is at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden through Aug. 12. Independence Avenue at Seventh Street SW. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit

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