FOR THE REST of this month, the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre and Cultural Center will be honoring the misanthropic genius of W.C. Fields. Today, the Fields series will feature "It's the Old Army Game" (1926), a rarely seen silent film in which Fields portrays a druggist who's kept awake nights by his small town's antics. The film will be accompanied by organist Ray Brubacher. On July 30, the Fields series will feature a spanking new 35mm print of "Million Dollar Legs" (1932), in which Fields stars as the president of Klopstockia. All rise!
-- Ann Hornaday
At AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Rd. "It's the Old Army Game" will be shown today at 1 p.m., "Million Dollar Legs" on July 30 at 1 p.m. and Aug. 2 at 6:45 p.m. Admission is $9.25 ($7.50 for seniors, children and AFI members). Call 301-495-6700 or visit www.afi.com/silver.
GOOD NEWS FOR Washington's lovers of contemporary art: There's a new venue in town, and it's set to raise the bar on what gets shown. The architecture of the museum at American University's new Katzen Arts Center is so impressive and aggressive, only the most successful, self-assured art will manage to stand up to it. The gallery's official grand opening happens in October, when its curvaceous, 30,000-square-foot space will feature five shows. For now it's hosting an eclectic -- almost haphazard -- group exhibition appropriately called "Soft Openings." Except maybe for a colorful installation by Sam Gilliam and some tough sculpture by Baltimore's John Ruppert, the art in it is mostly pretty tame and gets overpowered by the building. But it's worth a visit to this preliminary exhibition to see how contemporary architecture can force contemporary art to come up to speed. The Katzen should inspire its curators, and our local artists, to come up with work that can compete with its concrete.
-- Blake Gopnik
At the Katzen Arts Center at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, through Sept. 17. Free. Tuesday-Thursday noon-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon-7 p.m. Call 202-885-1000 or visit www.american.edu/katzen.
LIKE ALL GOOD THINGS, Washington's stylish encounter with Oscar Wilde must come to an end. So you have only another week to catch Shakespeare Theatre's delectable "Lady Windermere's Fan," with spot-on performances from Nancy Robinette, David Sabin and Dixie Carter, the last as a worldly woman who knows all too well how to scandalize and tantalize London society.
-- Peter Marks
At the Shakespeare Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW, through July 31. $23-$68. For ticket and showtime information, call 202-547-1122 or visit www.shakespearedc.org.