A Film Fest That Minds Its Seas 'n' Bees

By Style On The Go
Sunday, March 8, 2009; 12:00 AM

By Lavanya Ramanathan

Like a boon in these dark financial times, the Environmental Film Festival arrives this week for its 17th year with 100-odd screenings at several major venues -- most of which are free. This year the theme is "oceans and sealife," which means stunning underwater scenes on the big screen. Some picks from the free offerings:

-- Tuesday's pre-festival warm-up is "Sharkwater," filmmaker Rob Stewart's exploration of the giant fish and the vicious poaching market that has sprung up around them. Downside: it's being shown on a weekday morning, and you'll be sharing a theater with lots of schoolchildren. 10 a.m. Tuesday. Warner Theatre, 13th and E streets NW. For reservations, e-mail chris@envirofilmfest.org or call 202-342-2564.

-- If you're so beyond "green" that you've been living off the grid, perhaps you aren't aware that honeybees are vanishing -- straight up abandoning their hives and their babies and disappearing. "Return of the Honeybee," is a fascinating work-in-progress that looks at the mysterious occurrence called colony collapse disorder. The grabber is the dejected beekeepers, whose families have worked with bees for generations and who blame themselves for their losses. Häagen-Dazs hosts a pre-movie reception at 7 with ice cream. No reservations required. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Carnegie Institution for Science, Elihu Root Auditorium, 1530 P St. NW.

-- You could very well camp out at the National Museum of Natural History for five hours next Sunday for the screenings that include kid-friendly, engrossing "Cuttlefish: The Brainy Bunch" at noon and the lovely-to-look-at-but-dry "Secrets of the Reef" at 2:15. No reservations required for either film. Screenings run noon-5 p.m. March 15. Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

Jayme Mclellan

We can't be everywhere. So we're enlisting artists, galleristas, DJs, VJs and like minds to tell us what they've got on their calendars.

Jayme McLellan is the founder and director of Civilian Art Projects, a two-year-old Penn Quarter art gallery that also is home to an eclectic set of events that have included a record fair, discussion about Darfur, concerts, even a puppet show.

So what does this former English major have on her radar? As you'd expect, the picks are, well, eclectic.

-- For downtime, McLellan likes Mondays at the U Street bar Local 16. The roots-reggae event, with DJ Kalani Tifford, is for service-industry folks who don't get out much on Friday and Saturday nights. "This night was invented by Local 16 manager Brigitte Anders-Kraus, a great friend and huge supporter of the arts in D.C.," says McLellan. Free. 21 and older only. 1602 U St. NW. 202-265-2828.

-- McLellan is eager to catch sociologist Sarah Thornton talk Tuesday about her critically acclaimed set of essays, "Seven Days in the Art World," a witty take on the "scene" built around the arts. "I think it's interesting that she's a sociologist and that she studies the social interactions of the contemporary art world." $20; members, $18. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. 202-639-1770 or get tickets at http://www.corcoran.org.

-- Marnie Stern at DC9 on Wednesday. "She basically sings really fast and complicated lyrics over incessant guitar soloing -- almost like 'Master of Puppets'-era Metallica, backed by either an iPod or a real band. . . . I last saw her play a festival in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and the kids went crazy," says McLellan. "She's one to watch." $12. Show at 8 p.m. Wednesday. DC9 1940 Ninth St. NW 202-483-5000 or http://www.dcnine.com.

The District

Concert Bettye Lavette

This "forgotten" Detroit soul singer first came on the scene in the 1960s, with contemporaries such as Aretha Franklin. But she was mired by record-label problems that held her back as others won fame. LaVette kept on trucking, and she hit a career high this January when she performed at the concert for President Obama with the likes of Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen. Now you can see her legendary live show in a more intimate venue; she plays at the 9:30 club tomorrow. $25. Doors at 7 p.m. 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930, 800-955-5566 or http://www.tickets.com.

Maryland

Concert Channeling Ella

With The Bso

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is joined by singer Patti Austin at Strathmore on Thursday for a program paying homage to scat-bebop queen Ella Fitzgerald. $25-$80. 8 p.m. Thursday. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For tickets and details for each of the shows, 877-276-1444 or http://www.bsomusic.org.


© 2009 True