NOW LET US praise famous showoffs. Now let us praise the brazen, the narcissistic, the self-indulgent, so much the better if touched with genius. To that end, I recommend not a film -- the film isn't that good, folks -- but five minutes of a film. Those five minutes will run about 8:40 p.m. Friday and about 2:40 p.m. and 10:40 p.m. on July 5 at the AFI Silver. It is part of a two-week, 13-film Orson Welles film festival, but who cares about that? What I care about is the crazy, dazzling, fruity, flamboyant, endless gunfight in a fun house hall of mirrors that concludes "The Lady From Shanghai" (1948), which AFI has nabbed in a new 35mm print. Let's see: Forget the plot, and just focus on Orson, his then-wife, Rita Hayworth, and family friend Everett Sloane in a messy noir scream of nonsense and passion, blasting away at each other or at each other's images in a twisted, shattered glass universe. This is truly the bad candy of the movie experience!

-- Stephen Hunter

At the AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. Friday at 6:45 p.m. and July 5 at 1 p.m. and 8:55 p.m. For ticket information, call 301-495-6720 or visit


MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT, least touted job of a curator is to help build a museum's collection from what it is to what it needs to be. For years now, curator Franklin Kelly has been steadily boosting the National Gallery's holdings in American art. If we all crowd in to ogle his latest acquisition, it will be that much easier for him to justify still others yet to come. It's not a painful assignment: "Second Beach, Newport," painted about 1880 by an artist named Thomas Worthington Whittredge, is a delicious confection of sky and sand and kids at play -- and lovely Victorian ladies showing ankle and petticoat as they wade into the surf.

-- Blake Gopnik

On view in Gallery 67 on the main floor of the West Building at the National Gallery of Art, on the Mall between Third and Seventh streets at Constitution Avenue NW. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Free. Call 202-737-4215 or visit


THE YOUNG VIOLINIST Joan Kwuon has received a great deal of critical and public acclaim since her debut at Tanglewood under the direction of Andre Previn, and her follow-up recital at New York's Lincoln Center. Tonight, she will make her local debut at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University, playing works by Tchaikovsky, Enesco, Brahms, Stravinsky and Previn himself. The program had been scheduled for last fall but had to be postponed because of a scheduling conflict. Her pianist will be Jonathan Feldman, who has accompanied violinists ranging from Nathan Milstein to Itzhak Perlman.

-- Tim Page

At the GMU Center for the Arts Concert Hall, Braddock Road and Route 123, Fairfax. Today at 7 p.m. $17.50-$35. Call 703-993-ARTS or visit