TALK CINEMA, the Sunday morning film-and-discussion group, was started in Washington by Harlan Jacobson in 1992 and has since fanned out to 10 locations around the country. The concept: Talk Cinema doesn't reveal the title of its movie until the day of the screening, giving the audience a chance to see the film with as little preconception as possible.

Today's screening of "Red Mercury" -- a timely 2005 British drama (starring Pete Postlethwaite, Juliet Stevenson and Stockard Channing) about Muslim bombmakers in London who take a restaurant's patrons hostage -- kicks off the series. Co-star Ron Silver, producer Meenu Bachan, screenwriter Farrukh Dhondy and National Public Radio Ombudsman Jeff Dworkin will be part of the discussion. The group has moved from its previous venue of AMC's Mazza Gallerie to AFI Silver Theatre.

-- Desson Thomson

At AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, at 10 a.m. today. The series continues with more films Oct. 9 and 23, Nov. 6 and 20 and Dec. 4 and 18. For more information, visit or call 800-551-9221. Tickets are $120 for the series or $20 per show.


THE MARYLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY owns an astonishing 2,000 pieces of American silver, from tableware used by founding families to a gift box made for Richard Nixon.

A sampling of the designs, which include 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century work, has been installed in a permanent exhibition, "Served in Style," which opened Sept. 16 in the society's expansive new quarters.

The exhibit nods to Baltimore's role as a once-bustling center of silver workshops and factories. The oldest dated work is a 1757 feeding bowl used by Sarah Ellicott, the infant sister of Andrew Ellicott, one of the original surveyors of the District. The bowl would have been filled with pap, a gruel of bread, sugar and water or milk.

No tastings are planned.

-- Linda Hales

At the Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., Baltimore. Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $8. Call 410-685-3750 or visit


IT IS NOW 80 years since the Library of Congress opened its splendidly resonant 500-seat Coolidge Auditorium. More than 2,000 concerts have been presented there, some of them historic (a recital by composer and pianist Bela Bartok and violinist Joseph Szigeti, released on disc, is rightly heralded as one of the great recordings of the past century). Coolidge Auditorium is an especially fine place to hear chamber music, and this year the library will be presenting concerts by the Juilliard String Quartet, Borodin Quartet and a younger ensemble that will play there Friday night -- the Daedelus Quartet. The program includes music by Haydn, Mozart and Prokofiev, whose String Quartet No. 1 was commissioned by the library.

-- Tim Page

At the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium, Independence Avenue and First Street SE. Friday night at 8. Admission is free, but tickets are required and there is heightened security screening, so an early arrival -- preferably by 6:30 or so -- is advised. Call 202-707-5502 or visit


ARENA IS THE STAGE TODAY for some frank talk about God and government. Employing as a reference point its absorbing current offering, "Passion Play, a Cycle," the company is hosting a discussion -- "In Polite Company: D.C. Clergy Talk Religion and Politics" -- with several Washington religious leaders. Among the scheduled participants are the Rev. Dean J. Snyder, senior pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church, and Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism.

-- Peter Marks

At Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Today at 5 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Call 202-488-3300 or visit