AH, MOVIE STARS. Need a good table at a restaurant? Take Brad Pitt. Don't want to wait in the airline ticket line? Take Julia Roberts. Harrison Ford will get you waited on in an ice cream parlor, like, really fast. Other than that, no, they're not good for much, not even in movies anymore. But it wasn't always that way. Once, stars counted. A good way to verify this claim is to stay in your air-conditioned home and give your life to Turner Classic Movies this week, because for seven straight days the cable channel will present a mini-festival of stars who were stars, even if some of them you don't remember. Today, for example, the great Judy. Judy Garland ruled from about 1938 through 1954, and today TCM runs 13 consecutive Judys, some high, some low, all Judy. Then Monday, Shelley Winters. No, not the fat boozer on Carson blowzing away the hours in the '80s, but hot, magical, funny, talented, sad Shelley Winters, 13 times. On Tuesday, see 11 Ray Millands, including his great Oscar spin in Billy Wilder's "The Lost Weekend." Wednesday comes Lena Horne, including a batch of Broadway cavalcade films where she appears as herself. Damn, this gal should have had a much bigger career. Then Thursday it's all Kirk Douglas, all the time, including his cameo in "Is Paris Burning?" as Patton. Friday is Jane Wyman, the magnificent diva whose run at the top began in the early '30s and lasted through "Falcon Crest" on the tube in 1981. And Saturday, Judy, Judy, Judy, as Cary used to say (although that's a myth; he never actually said it on-screen): Enjoy Cary Grant 12 times plus a documentary.
-- Stephen Hunter
For specific movie times, go to www.turnerclassicmovies.com or see listings in today's TV Week.
HAS THERE EVER BEEN a more anonymous recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Grammy than the Funk Brothers? A group of musicians plucked from blues and jazz clubs around Detroit, the Funk Brothers gave the famous Motown Sound its musical spine. But while the Brothers were the house band at Motown's legendary Studio A in the 1960s and '70s -- when some of pop music's most enduring hits were recorded -- they grooved in complete obscurity, absent from the album credits and rarely mentioned by Motown's marquee personalities. It wasn't until the 2002 release of a documentary, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," that the nearly three dozen session musicians began to get some time in the spotlight. The documentary's soundtrack resulted in two Grammys, and last year the groove collective received the recording academy's highest honor, a Lifetime Achievement Award. Alas, many of the Funk Brothers were long gone by then -- most notably James Jamerson, one of the greatest bass guitarists of any genre. But still: The recent developments have gone a long way to addressing the question of O Brothers, Who Art Thou? See for yourself, as most of the surviving Brothers (bassist Bob Babbitt, drummer Uriel Jones, guitarist Eddie Willis, keyboardist Joe Hunter) are now on tour.
-- J. Freedom du Lac
At the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tonight at 7:30. $45. Call 202-397-SEAT or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
SOMETIMES THERE'S as much pleasure in grazing through an exhibition and seeing what sinks in as in giving it a thorough going-over. Critics usually head for the deep think, but on a recent weekend I put on my layman's hat and visited the exhibition called "Textiles for This World and Beyond" at the Textile Museum. The exhibition and its wall texts give substantial insight into how fabric functions in the traditional societies of Southeast Asia -- but for once, I allowed myself to ignore all that. Instead, I hung out in the exhibition's two rear rooms devoted to heart-stopping batiks from Indonesia. Forget the sloppy rainbow patterns that the post-hippie West has come to think of as batik. Batiks from Indonesia are some of the most complex, absorbing decorative surfaces you'll ever see. Their absurd intricacies make you both gasp and smile.
-- Blake Gopnik
At the Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW, through Sept. 18. Suggested donation $5. Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. Call 202-667-0441 or visit www.textilemuseum.org.