November 2013

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Cover Story

Restoring Order in Mali:
The West vs. Radical Islam

a5.cover.mali.keita.homeThe Islamists have been driven out, the country reunited, and democracy restored, but has Mali really recovered from its breakdown last year — and can peace return to this battleground of the West versus radical Islam? Read More  • Also See: Risk-Taking Photographer Documents Timbuktu's Endangered Islamic Culture

People of World Influence

Institute President Navigates
Shifting Terrain of Middle East

a1.powi.chamberlin.homeWendy Chamberlin has kept the Middle East Institute at the forefront of the changes sweeping the Arab world, while reminding Americans that there's more to the region than turmoil and terrorism. Read More


Democracy Promotion

Obama: Defender of Democracy
Or Ambivalent Bystander?

a2.mideast.democracy.cairo.homePresident Obama has eschewed the expansive vision of democracy promotion pushed by his predecessor, but the Arab Spring is testing Obama's resolve to avoid imposing our values on other nations. Read More


The Rotunda: Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill

Minority Rule: Democratic Safeguard
Or Source of Political Dysfunction?

a3.rotunda.shutdown.capitol.homeThe U.S. government shutdown was a pathetic display of partisanship, but it also showed that the checks and balances America's founding fathers put in place more than 200 years ago are alive and well. Read More


EU Newbie

Post-EU Croatia Experiences
Growing Pains, and Compromise

a4.croatia.accession.eu.homeThey went to sleep Croats and woke up Europeans, but the transition of becoming the 28th member of the European Union hasn't been completely smooth for Croatia, revealing the bloc's ongoing growing pains. Read More


Source of Frustration

U.S. Journalists Don't Always
Go Straight to the (Foreign) Source

a6.foreign.sources.obama.homeWhen American journalists need expert analysis on countries from Albania to Zimbabwe, they don't always look beyond their borders — or the Beltway — for help. Read More


JFK's Path

What JFK Could Teach
Senators Eyeing Presidency

a7.kennedy.speech.homeJohn F. Kennedy might not recognize the modern U.S. Senate, but he'd surely recognize the political aspirations of a number of senators eyeing the presidency. Read More


   

Institute President Navigates Shifting Terrain of Middle East

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By Michael Coleman

Even the most dedicated followers of news and trends in the Middle East would be hard pressed to keep up with all of the rapidly changing political and social developments sweeping across the complicated region.

Fortunately, the Middle East Institute (MEI) and its president, Wendy Chamberlin, want to help us make sense of it all. The 67-year-old Washington think tank’s nonpartisan analysis and commentary on the region have become an invaluable resource for cutting through the clutter.

a1.powi.chamberlin.story
Photo: Middle East Institute
Wendy Chamberlin

Chamberlin, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and a 29-year career U.S. Foreign Service officer, took the helm of the respected think tank in 2007 with the goal of breathing new life into an institution that some had come to view as too fusty to thrive in the age of social media and the internet. Over the past half-decade, Chamberlin has expanded the institute’s roster of scholars, dramatically improved its website, and worked to beef up its academic institute, which offers classes in multiple Middle Eastern languages.

As MEI prepared to host its 67th annual banquet and conference on Nov. 14 and 15, Chamberlin sat down with The Diplomat at MEI’s offices near Dupont Circle to discuss recent developments in the Middle East, as well changes at MEI and the upcoming conference at the Capitol Hilton. The event is billed as “Managing Transition, Containing Conflict: The Middle East in 2014.”

“So often it’s the negative story — terrorism, oil shortages, etc. — that gets the attention, but there are so many positive things that are also coming out of the Middle East,” Chamberlin explained. “That’s what we’re trying to highlight at our banquet.”

Susan Rice, national security advisor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will keynote this year’s conference. MEI is also honoring two trailblazers. Zaha Hadid will receive the Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence for her contributions in the fields of architecture and design. Born in Baghdad, Hadid is the only woman and only Arab to win the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor. Abdlatif Al-Hamad will be honored with the MEI Visionary Award for his efforts to bring clean water, power and transportation to millions in Africa and the Middle East. Regarded as the dean of development efforts in the Arab world, Al-Hamad has served as director-general of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in Kuwait for the past 30 years.

Chamberlin — who was U.N. deputy high commissioner for refugees from 2004 to 2007 and before that oversaw USAID civilian reconstruction programs in Iraq and Afghanistan and development assistance throughout the Middle East and East Asia — said intellectual back-and-forth is a key mission of MEI. A recent panel discussion on Egypt proved the point. The event brought together a range of Egyptian and American voices to examine recent political, social and economic developments. One panel in particular, “Working Toward a National Reconciliation,” featured liberal and Islamist participants who discussed ways opposing sides can reconcile and work together to forge a more pluralistic government and society.

“We brought in a slew of people — flew them in from Cairo,” Chamberlin said. “They weren’t set pieces — they were Egyptians talking to Egyptians. We had representatives from every major faction and the leading voices so they had an opportunity to talk to each other freely, face to face. It was huge … and of course, the Twitter-sphere went crazy.”

Speaking about Egypt is something Chamberlin and other experts have been doing a lot of recently. In addition to the September conference, the MEI website is full of penetrating insight into the turmoil-torn country.

After voters elected him president last year, Mohamed Morsi was accused of trying to monopolize power for his Muslim Brotherhood party, which came out of the political wilderness following Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011. When millions protested against Morsi’s rule earlier this summer, the military kicked the Brotherhood out of office and is now accused of trying to crush what’s left of the movement, killing hundreds of its members in violent clashes, jailing thousands of its leaders, and seizing the group’s assets.

A defiant Morsi appeared in court Nov. 4 along with more than a dozen other defendants over the killings of protesters outside his presidential palace in December 2012. The trial quickly devolved into chaos, with Morsi shouting that he was the legitimate president, and was postponed until Jan. 8. Meanwhile, a committee is also working to rewrite the country’s constitution by the end of November and put it to a national referendum shortly thereafter.

Asked who Americans should root for in the ongoing battle between Islamists who backed the Muslim Brotherhood or the military that overthrew a democratically elected president, Chamberlin demurs.

“We should be rooting for the principles of inclusion, so that one group doesn’t dominate over another group,” Chamberlin asserted. “Those days have passed in Egypt. The 2011 Tahrir Square events have moved Egypt into a new historical period, which includes women, Copts, Christians, various views within Islam, modernists, Salafists — they’ve all got to find a way to talk to each other.”

And it won’t be easy, the former diplomat predicted.

“It’s going to be painful; it’s going to be a rough process,” she said. “But I began to see it happening in our conference and some of the private meetings we held afterward. We want to continue to encourage inclusiveness.”

Having said that, Chamberlin added that the military has a role to play in a potentially volcanic society. She spoke to The Diplomat about a week before the United States announced it would put “large-scale military systems” and some cash aid to Egypt on hold pending democratic reforms by the military-backed interim government.

“In order to create this inclusive society you have to have stability first,” she said. “I’m all for stability, but [the military is] going to have to know how to move from a stabilization mode into an inclusive mode — not just get stuck there.”

Asked if, as some Middle Eastern pundits have speculated, Egypt might simply be ungovernable, Chamberlin took a shot at the U.S. Congress instead.

“I think that might be true of the House of Representatives,” she said with a laugh.

She also said that President Obama has been maligned for not having a policy in the Middle East and Egypt, in particular. She prefaced her remarks on Obama by saying: “It’s really easy for ex-ambassadors to sit back and give advice.”

“I think the U.S. becomes the whipping boy unfairly when there is … great insecurities and turmoil in these societies,” she said. “I think the Obama administration has been unfairly criticized for not having a policy. They have a policy and it’s a policy of not bullying — not imposing — because frankly, what’s important is that this is really for the Egyptians to decide to resolve. There is no external power that comes in and imposes stability. Stability has to come from the Egyptian people.”

She was more eager to critique Morsi’s short-lived presidency.

“I think that the Muslim Brotherhood made bad decisions at every point and their bad decisions came from a fundamental misunderstanding of Egypt today,” she argued. “Morsi was still representing the equities of the Muslim Brotherhood and he didn’t understand that he had to represent the equities of all of Egypt. All of Egypt rejected him for that.”

Chamberlin had no shortage of opinions on Pakistan, either. She served as ambassador to the complex and dangerous nation from 2001 to 2002, when she played a key role in securing Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S.-led campaign against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“It’s probably in a better place than it’s been in a decade,” Chamberlin said, before noting that the always-fraught U.S.-Pakistani relationship was in a low place until recently.

The top-secret raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in 2011 strained the relationship, as did the subsequent revealing by WikiLeaks of U.S. cables that showed how the U.S. government intentionally concealed the operation from the Pakistani government.

“I would not pass the info to the GOP [government of Pakistan], because we can’t trust them,” one government official wrote prior to the raid.

Since then, the U.S. military’s constant drone attacks against suspected terrorists along the Afghan border in northwest Pakistan have also exacerbated tensions. The Pakistani government officially condemns the killings but many reports have revealed that the Pakistani military tacitly condones them. However, civilian casualties continue to pile up, putting the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a precarious position as it tries to tackles the scourge of terrorism within its own borders (more terrorist attacks struck Pakistan last year than any other country in the world; also see “Pakistani Government Takes Aim at Terrorism” in the October 2013 issue of The Washington Diplomat).

Sharif, who served as prime minister in the late 1990s, is a known entity in the West and has been tentatively welcomed by Washington. Of course, America’s relentless pursuit of terrorists remains a sticking point — a point on which Chamberlin actually credits Pakistan, which has lost tens of thousands of its citizens to terrorist violence since 9/11. On the flip side, the military and intelligence services have also been accused of coddling certain terrorist networks that serve their own ends, whether in Afghanistan or India.

“They have done more to help apprehend al-Qaeda than any other country in the world and continue to and always have,” she said. “Where the problems arrive is with their own citizens. Their own sort of Pakistani Taliban, or Afghan Taliban, who have been safe havened in Pakistan through marriages — it’s tribal. If they crack down too hard, they’ll provoke a backlash, which has and is happening. They now have Pakistani Taliban with the mission of overthrowing the government and attacking the state.

“The sectarian violence, the ethnic violence has gotten worse. The Taliban is a threat to the state and they have to deal with this,” she added. “They have a new president with the right agenda for the country, but he’s also going to have some serious domestic insecurity.”

Chamberlin credited the September swearing-in of Pakistan’s new president, Mamnoon Hussain, and the country’s recent election milestone for helping to improve U.S. relations. Despite a rough road where his political demise constantly looked imminent, former President Asif Ali Zardari became the first democratically elected president in Pakistan’s history to finish a full term in office (also see “Pakistani Elections: Possible Bright Spot In Country Overshadowed by Problems” in the May 2013 issue of The Washington Diplomat).

“A successful, free and fair election from one civilian president to another one occurred without any army influence,” Chamberlin said. “So Pakistanis have really earned their stripes as a democracy. I think the military can be credited for not staging a coup for five years when [former] President Zardari had been so unhappy.

“This new president — whatever misgivings some had had about him — he has shared our agenda,” Chamberlin added of Hussain. “It’s the right thing for Pakistan.”

She said the roots of U.S.-Pakistani discord can actually be traced to Pakistan’s decades-long nuclear agenda.

“It’s one of those things where we say we can’t trust them, and they say it’s in their national interest to lie about our nuclear weapons program, which is where this all began,” she said.

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, first developed in the 1970s as a counterweight to archrival India, is a done deal, though Washington continues to worry that nukes could get loose in the unstable Muslim nation of 180 million. But when it comes to nuclear bombs, Iran is Washington’s biggest headache at the moment — though relief may be in sight.

Chamberlin said a diplomatic thaw might be in the works under Iran’s new reform-minded president, Hassan Rouhani, although she credits Washington, not Tehran, for the possible breakthrough.

“I think it’s the success of the Obama administration’s sanctions policies,” she said. “They won’t say that because that would be gloating and it could spoil it, but I think very definitely that the Iranian officials see that the financial sanctions are unsustainable and unsupportable.

“They can’t conduct transactions because they don’t have access to Swift accounts for exchanging money,” Chamberlin continued. “How can they function in a modern society like that? They can’t. They have got to get out from under these sanctions, and I think the door is wide open and Obama is absolutely right when he says we’ve got to test it.”

Finally, the outspoken Middle East expert said the situation in Syria, while heartbreaking, has been handled well by Obama — a point many critics would disagree with. While some have accused Obama of dithering and then fumbling the U.S. response, Chamberlin disagreed.

“I reject those who say Obama did not have a strategy in Syria — he did,” she said. “It was to keep the U.S. out of a war and he did.”

Chamberlin also took another jab at Capitol Hill, which wavered in its support for Obama’s call for limited strikes on Syria following its alleged use of chemical weapons on its own people this summer.

“It was a real test of an international convention and norms,” she said. “Even beyond the hideous immorality of what happened, I just didn’t think moral people and people who signed conventions and believed in international law could do nothing. I was frankly stunned at the reaction on the Hill — of both fanatical wings.”

Chamberlin said she’s not too optimistic about Russia’s offer to help dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal — and made it crystal clear how she feels about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t trust Putin,” she told us. “I think it’s pretty evident who he is. I do think any international coalition to deal with Syria must include Russia and it must include Iran. I think there is a potential opening — there is a deal to be made there. I think it would be negligent to not pursue it.”

Despite the Herculean challenges facing the Middle East, Chamberlin said there is plenty to be excited about, as well.

“People at all strata are exercising their citizenship. They are not passive partners in their own destinies anymore — they’re playing roles,” she said. “The citizen rejection of the way the Muslim Brotherhood was not governing for all of Egypt is perhaps your best example. It was an exercise in citizenship that is very encouraging. Egypt is in a place it has never been before in its thousands of years of history, and it will not go back. Any government in Egypt must govern with its people because it won’t permit anything else.”


About the Author

Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

   

Obama: Defender of Democracy Or Ambivalent Bystander?

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By Dave Seminara

Read more: Obama: Defender of Democracy Or Ambivalent Bystander?
   

Minority Rule: Democratic Safeguard Or Source of Political Dysfunction?

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By Luke Jerod Kummer

Read more: Minority Rule: Democratic Safeguard Or Source of Political Dysfunction?
   

Post-EU Croatia Experiences Growing Pains, and Compromise

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By Molly McCluskey

Read more: Post-EU Croatia Experiences Growing Pains, and Compromise
   

Restoring Order in Mali: The West vs. Radical Islam

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By Larry Luxner

Read more: Restoring Order in Mali: The West vs. Radical Islam
   

Risk-Taking Photographer Documents Timbuktu’s Endangered Islamic Culture

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By Larry Luxner

Read more: Risk-Taking Photographer Documents Timbuktu’s Endangered Islamic Culture
   

U.S. Journalists Don’t Always Go Straight to the (Foreign) Source

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By Dave Seminara

Read more: U.S. Journalists Don’t Always Go Straight to the (Foreign) Source
   

What JFK Could Teach Senators Eyeing Presidency

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By John T. Shaw

Read more: What JFK Could Teach Senators Eyeing Presidency
   

Universities Prep New Generation To Secure World’s Cyberspace

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By Audrey Hoffer

Read more: Universities Prep New Generation To Secure World’s Cyberspace
   

Project Zero Teaches Students To Think About Thinking

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By Gail Sullivan

Read more: Project Zero Teaches Students To Think About Thinking
   

Veteran Educator Directs Iraq’s First American-Style University

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By Larry Luxner

Read more: Veteran Educator Directs Iraq’s First American-Style University
   

International Patient Programs Offer More Than Medicine

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By Gina Shaw

Read more: International Patient Programs Offer More Than Medicine
   

Breast Implants and Cancer: Women Must Assess Risks

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By Carolyn Cosmos

Read more: Breast Implants and Cancer: Women Must Assess Risks
   

International Dancers Find Expressive Home at Washington Ballet

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By Lisa Troshinsky

Read more: International Dancers Find Expressive Home at Washington Ballet
   

Japanese Interpreter’s Charm Not Lost in Translation

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By Gail Scott

Read more: Japanese Interpreter’s Charm Not Lost in Translation
   

Embassy Series Marks Its 20th Anniversary Season

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By Gary Tischler

Read more: Embassy Series Marks Its 20th Anniversary Season
   

‘Voices’ Yearn to Be Heard as Human Beings, Not Headlines

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By Michael Coleman

Read more: ‘Voices’ Yearn to Be Heard as Human Beings, Not Headlines
   

D.C.-Based Latin American Artwork Travels to Oklahoma

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By Kat Lucero

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Tanaka’s Refined Food Pays Tribute to Shaw’s Relaxed Roots

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By Rachel G. Hunt

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Lesbian Love Story Captures Hearts, Accolades

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By Ky N. Nguyen

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Films - November 2013

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By Cari

Languages

Arabic

Farsi

Italian


Bahasa Indonesian

Flemish

Mandarin


Danish

French

Polish

 

English

German

Yiddish

Arabic

Asfouri

Directed by Fouad Alaywan
(Lebanon, 2012, 98 min.)

Spanning two decades, “Asfouri” traces the stories of the religiously diverse inhabitants of a building in the Sanayeh district of Beirut, which has survived Lebanon's Civil War, guerilla groups, militias, displaced civilians and invaders (Arabic, Armenian and French).

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Fri., Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m.,
Sat., Nov. 2, 1 p.m.

Chaos, Disorder
(Harag W’Marag)

Directed by Nadine Khan
(Egypt, 2012, 77 min.)

In a dusty, poor but lively village, Manal, a local shopkeeper’s beautiful daughter, is in a tense relationship with Zaki, but rebel Mounir schemes to win Manal's affections from Zaki and cunningly pursues her, further fracturing the couple's already delicate relationship.

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Fri., Nov. 1, 9 p.m.,
Sat., Nov. 2, 3:45 p.m.

A Common Enemy

Directed by Jaime Otero Romani
(Tunisia/Spain, 2013, 78 min.)

This thrilling political documentary is based on the first-ever free elections in Tunisia after the Arab Spring, as told through the eyes of the protagonists of the Jasmine Revolution (Arabic and French).

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Sat., Nov. 2, 9 p.m.

Jews of Egypt

Directed by Amir Ramses
(Egypt, 2012, 96 min.)

This documentary brilliantly blends interviews and archival footage to recall times of tolerance and inclusiveness when the identity of Egyptian Jews was unquestioned by their Arab compatriots and they were viewed as partners in nation building (Arabic and French).

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Sun., Nov. 3, 12 p.m.

Tanjaoui

Directed by Moumen Smihi
(Morocco, 2013, 99 min.)

In the 1960s during the early years of Moroccan independence, the son of a Muslim theologian family in cosmopolitan Tangiers debates God's existence with his devout father, literature with a beautiful teacher from Paris, and national politics with his friends (Arabic and French).

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Sat., Nov. 2, 6:15 p.m.,
Sun., Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.

Zabana!

Directed by Said Ould-Khelifa
(Algeria, 2012, 107 min.)

This biopic on Ahmad Zabana sheds insight into the life of an Algerian activist and icon while also examining the French justice system in the 1950s (Arabic, Amazigh and French).

AMC Mazza Gallerie
Sun., Nov. 3, 7:15 p.m.


Bahasa Indonesian

 

Opera Jawa

Directed by Garin Nugroho
(Indonesia/Austria, 2006, 120 min.)

Commissioned by Peter Sellars for the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, this sweeping tale updates the “Ramayana” epic, as two former dancers live in modern Java scraping out a living in pottery while fending off the street gangs who fill in for the traditional evil king Rahwana. 

Freer Gallery of Art
Sat., Nov. 2, 2 p.m.

Danish


Freddy Frogface
(Orla Frøsnapper)

Directed by Peter Dodd
(Denmark, 2011, 81 min.)

Victor and his best friend Jacob can’t wait to hang out with Sausage the dog and Jacob’s cool cousin Clara over the summer, but being small doesn’t make life easy for 10-year-old Victor and his friends, who not only have to face a world full of stern grown-ups, but also the town bully Freddy Frogface.

La Maison Française
Sun., Nov. 10, 12 p.m.


English

 

12 Years a Slave

Directed by Steve McQueen
(U.S./U.K., 2013, 133 min.)

Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom in pre-Civil War United States, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Angelika Mosaic
Landmark’s E Street Cinema

— And Now the Screaming Starts

Directed by Roy Ward Baker
(U.K., 1973, 91 min.)

Charles brings new bride Catherine home to his ancestral family mansion, once the site of an unspeakable debauchery, where, on her wedding night, she is raped by a spectral presence and left in a state of hysteria.

AFI Silver Theatre
Nov. 23 to 25

The Asphyx

Directed by Peter Newbrook
(U.K., 1973, 83 min.)

A Victorian scientist and amateur photographer Shas a morbid fascination with death, taking photos of the deceased at the exact moment they pass on.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 16, 11 a.m.,
Wed., Nov. 20, 9:15 p.m.

Berberian Sound Studio

Directed by Peter Strickland
(U.K., 2012, 92 min.)

Peter Strickland’s inspired homage to 1970s-era Italian horror filmmaking finds a shy, retiring English soundman taking a job at the gloomy Berberian Sound Studio in Italy to work on the sound editing a depraved giallo about Satanic doings at a girls' school.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 23, 9:45 p.m.,
Tue., Nov. 26, 9:20 p.m.

The Book Thief

Directed by Brian Percival
(U.S./Germany, 2013, 135 min.)

While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, a young girl finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others.

Angelika Mosaic
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Opens Fri., Nov. 15

The Counselor

Directed by Ridley Scott
(U.S./U.K., 2013, 117 min.)

A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

Angelika Mosaic

The Creeping Flesh

Directed by Freddie Francis
(U.K., 1973, 94 min.)

A scientist’s discovery of an ancient skeleton may just be the incarnation of evil that can provide an antidote to man's worst instincts, but the warden of the local madhouse has other ideas.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sun., Nov. 17, 11 a.m.,
Thu., Nov. 21, 9:30 p.m.

Dallas Buyers Club

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
(U.S., 2013, 117 min.)

A Texas cowboy, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV+ and given 30 days to live, is shunned by many of his old friends and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, so he decides to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means legal and illegal.

Angelika Mosaic
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Opens Fri., Nov. 8

Diana

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel
(U.K./France/Sweden/Belgium, 2013, 113 min.)

“Diana” takes audiences into the private realm of one of the world's most iconic and inescapably public women — the Princess of Wales, Diana (Naomi Watts) — in the last two years of her meteoric life, as she embarks on a secret love affair with a Pakistani heart surgeon.

Angelika Mosaic
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Opens Fri., Nov. 1

The Fifth Estate

Directed by Bill Condon
(U.S./Belgium, 2013, 128 min.)

This dramatic thriller based on WikiLeaks reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Flesh for Frankenstein

Directed by Paul Morrissey
(Italy/France, 1973, 95 min.)

The one and only Udo Kier plays the role of Baron Frankenstein — now married (to his sister!) with children (little creeps) — who spends way too much time in his lab.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 2, 11:30 p.m.,
Sun., Nov. 3, 9:20 p.m.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Directed by Francis Lawrence
(U.S., 2013, 146 min.)

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Angelika Mosaic
Opens Fri., Nov. 22

How I Live Now

Directed by Kevin Macdonald
(U.K., 2013, 101 min.)

An American girl on holiday in the English countryside with her family finds herself in hiding and fighting for her survival as the third world war breaks out.

Angelika Mosaic
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Opens Fri., Nov. 8 

Mother of George

Directed by Andrew Dosumnu
(U.S., 2013, 106 min.) 

Adenike and Ayodele, a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, are having trouble conceiving a child — a problem that defies cultural expectations and leads Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save or destroy her family (English and Yoruba).

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Philomena

Directed by Stephen Frears
(U.K./U.S./France, 2013, 98 min.)

A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Angelika Mosaic
Opens Wed., Nov. 27

Snowflake, the White Gorilla
(Floquet de Neu)

Directed by Andrés G. Schaer
(Spain, 2011, 86 min.)

Snowflake, the only white gorilla in the world, arrives at the Barcelona Zoo but is shunned by the other gorillas. So he goes off in search of the famous Witch of the North, hopeful that she can give him a potion to turn him into an ordinary black gorilla.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 9, 11 a.m. 

Theatre of Blood

Directed by Douglas Hickox
(U.K., 1973, 104 min.)

Savaged by theater critics throughout his career, a Shakespearean ham actor fakes his suicide to return as a vengeful ghost, doing in his critics one by one with murder methods quoted from the Bard’s plays.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 16, 9:15 p.m.,
Wed., Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m. (Montgomery College show) 

The Vault of Horror

Directed by Roy Ward Baker
(U.K./U.S., 1973, 83 min.)

In a London office building, five men hop on an elevator, only to be let out in the basement and trapped in a mysterious room., where each man shares his horrifying recurring nightmares. 

AFI Silver Theatre
Sun., Nov. 3, 5 p.m.,
Thu., Nov. 7, 7:15 p.m.

The Wicker Man

Directed by Robin Hardy
(U.K., 1973, 88 min.)

A remote Scottish isle inhabited by neo-pagans practicing fertility rites and sexual magic provides the setting for one of the coolest, creepiest cult classics from the 1970s. 

AFI Silver Theatre
Nov. 22 to 24


Farsi

 

Five: Dedicated to Ozu

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
(Iran, 2003, 74 min.)

Abandoning the traditional narrative forms of Abbas Kiarostami’s previous films, “Five” presents five seemingly static landscape shots, each a subtle mini-narrative (preceded by “Roads of Kiarostami”).

Freer Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 10, 2:45 p.m. 

Roads of Kiarostami

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
(Iran, 2006, 32 min.)

“Roads of Kiarostami” combines Abbas Kiarostami’s own landscape photographs, a journey through the winter countryside, and a narration that considers the role of nature in Persian poetry, Japanese haiku and Kiarostami’s work (followed by “Five: Dedicated to Ozu”).

Freer Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 10, 2 p.m.


Flemish

 

The Broken Circle Breakdown

Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
(Belgium/Netherlands, 2012, 110 min.)

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance — but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested (Flemish and English).

Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Opens Fri., Nov. 15


French

 

The Day of the Crows
(Le jour des corneilles)

Directed by Jean-Christophe Dessaint
(Belgium/France, 2012, 90 min.)

In a cabin deep in the forest, a child and his father lead a wild and hard life in total isolation. The ghosts haunting the forest are the boy’s only companions, until he meets a young girl from a neighboring village and discovers that love exists.

National Geographic
Sat., Nov. 9, 10 a.m.

Ernest & Celestine
(Ernest et Célestine)

Directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
(Luxembourg/France, 2012, 80 min.)

Célestine is a tiny orphan mouse living beneath the streets of France. Big Ernest the bear, looking for something to eat, finds Célestine and almost swallows her — but she convinces him they could make a good team.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sun., Nov. 3, 11 a.m.

Tales of the Night
(Les contes de la nuit)

Directed by Michel Ocelot
(France, 2011, 84 min.)

“Tales of the Night” uses a shadow puppet style, with black silhouetted characters set off against exquisitely detailed backgrounds, to weave together six exotic fables unfolding in Tibet, medieval Europe, an Aztec kingdom, the African plains and even the Land of the Dead.

National Gallery of Art
Sat., Nov. 2, 10:30 a.m.,
Sun., Nov. 3, 11:30 p.m.


German

 

A Horse on the Balcony
(Das Pferd auf dem Balkon)

Directed by Hüseyin Tabak
(Austria, 2012, 90 min.)

When 10-year-old Mika discovers a horse on his neighbor's balcony, he’s suddenly embroiled in an adventure involving an Indian princess, a hapless gambler, and — of course — a horse.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sun., Nov. 10, 11 a.m.,
Wed., Nov. 13, 10 a.m.

Windstorm
(Ostwind - Zusammen sind wir frei)

Directed by Katja von Garnier
(Germany, 2013, 105 min.)

The fierce stallion Windstorm is too wild to be anyone’s friend. But Mika, a lonely and unhappy girl, may just discover her true passion and talent: She’s a horse whisperer.

AFI Silver Theatre
Fri., Nov. 8, 5:15 p.m.
Goethe-Institut
Sat., Nov. 9, 2 p.m.
 


Italian

 

Accattone

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy, 1961, 120 min.)

A pimp with no other means to provide for himself finds his life spiraling out of control when his prostitute is sent to prison.

National Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 10, 4:30 p.m.

Arabian Nights
(Il fiore delle mille e una notte)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France, 1974, 130 min.)

In his version of the Middle and Near Eastern tales called “The Arabian Nights,” Pier Paolo Pasolini revels in the joy of storytelling, elaborately intertwining a series of meandering episodes that lend the film a rich narrative complexity.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sun., Nov. 17, 7 p.m.,
Mon., Nov. 18, 7 p.m.

The Canterbury Tales
(I racconti di Canterbury)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France, 1972, 140 min.)

This film recounts a series of amorous misadventures with a sharp emphasis placed more on sex than on love, lust or desire — climaxing with a wildly scatological vision of hell (Italian and English).

AFI Silver Theatre
Sun., Nov. 10, 7 p.m.,
Mon., Nov. 11, 7 p.m.

Comizi d’amore

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy, 1964, 90 min.)

In the mid-1960s, Pier Paolo Pasolini conducted a survey of Italian attitudes toward sexual mores and mating rituals. As this film progresses, interesting variations emerge from region to region, and class to class, on such subjects as prostitution, virginity, marriage, homosexuality, gender equality and divorce.

National Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 24, 4;30 p.m.

The Decameron

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France/W. Germany, 1970, 111 min.)

For the first film in his “Trilogy of Life,” a series of classic literary adaptations, Pasolini chose eleven tales from Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th-century work, loosely weaving them together using the thread of his own vision.

National Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 17, 4:30 p.m.

The Gospel According to Matthew

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France, 1964, 137 min.)

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s naturalistic account of Christ’s life was both an artistic tour de force and a predictable choice for the left-leaning filmmaker — his Jesus seems more social revolutionary than religious leader.

National Gallery of Art
Fri., Nov. 29, 2 p.m.

The Hawks and the Sparrows
(Uccellacci e uccellini)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy, 1966, 91 min.)

Alternately caustic and gently comic, this melancholy film offers a parable of Italy’s massive economic post-war boom, tracing the odyssey of a father and son through a landscape of degradation and exploitation as they follow a talking crow that delivers a Marxist critique of the situation.

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 16, 11 a.m.,
Sun., Nov. 17, 11 a.m.

Mamma Roma

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy, 1962, 110 min.)

Mamma Roma, a hooker on the fringes of Rome who tries to rise above her tormented past into lower middle class respectability for the sake of her son, is played by the larger-than-life actress Anna Magnani at her operatic best.

National Gallery of Art
Sat., Nov. 30, 4 p.m.

Medea

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France/W. Germany, 1969, 110 min.)

“Medea,” shot in Turkey, is based on Euripides’s text and features Maria Callas in the title role.

National Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.

Pigsty
(Porcile)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France, 1969, 99 min.)

In two parallel plots, the son of a wealthy businessman’s lack of interest in his fiancée betrays an unorthodox sexual predilection, while in an unspecified prehistoric past, a brutish barbarian scrounges for food in an archaic landscape ravaged by primitive warfare.

AFI Silver Theatre
Mon., Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.,
Wed., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
(Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma)

Directed by Paolo Pasolini
(Italy/France, 1975, 116 min.)

Set in northern Italy during the last days of Mussolini’s reign, the film liberally adapts de Sade's “120 Days of Sodom,” using the tale of amoral libertines who kidnap young victims for a sacrificial orgy to launch a ruthless attack on modernity as a whole (Italian, French and German; recommended for mature audiences).

AFI Silver Theatre
Mon., Nov. 25, 7 p.m.,
Tue., Nov. 26, 7 p.m.

Torso
(I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale)

Directed by Sergio Martino
(Italy, 1973, 92 min.)

After the murder of three undergrads rocks their campus, best friends Jane and Danni leave for the countryside and a visit to the villa of Jane's art history professor. But the ski-masked killer, realizing that Jane was a witness to his crime, follows the girls there.

AFI Silver Theatre
Nov. 1 to 6


Mandarin

 

The Terrorizers
(Kong bu fen zi)

Directed by Edward Yang
(Taiwan, 1986, 109 min.)

This intellectual thriller about the chaos of urban life and the vagaries of fate intertwines three seemingly disparate storylines that involve six central characters, as a random prank phone call from a bored juvenile delinquent known as the “White Chick” sets the chain-reaction plot in motion.

Freer Gallery of Art
Fri., Nov. 15, 7 p.m.

GF*BF

Directed by Yang Ya-Che
(Taiwan, 2012, 105 min.)

A woman is caught up in a love triangle that mirrors Taiwan’s political changes over the last three decades.

Freer Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 24, 2 p.m.

No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
(Cannot Live Without You)

Directed by Leon Dai
(Taiwan, 2009, 85 min.)

Prolific actor Leon Dai’s second film as a director begins with the shocking image of a man threatening to jump from a highway overpass with his daughter in his arms. Inspired by actual events, the film moves back in time to show the increasingly desperate attempts of the man — a poor, migrant dockworker — to establish guardianship of his own child in the face of an uncaring bureaucracy (Mandarin and Hakka).

Freer Gallery of Art
Fri., Nov. 22, 7 p.m.

Vive L’Amour

Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
(Taiwan, 1994, 118 min.)

Unbeknownst to one another, a harried real estate broker, her street-vendor lover  and an eccentric loner all use a vacant luxury apartment for their own secret purposes — until chance brings them together.

Freer Gallery of Art
Sun., Nov. 17, 2 p.m.


Polish

 

At Full Gallop
(Cwal)

Directed by Krzysztof Zanussi
(Poland, 1996, 104 min.)

In 1950s Communist Poland, Hubert and his mother endure harassment by the state because Hubert’s father defected to Britain, so Hubert's mother sends him to Warsaw, where he lives with his strong-willed, eccentric aunt (Polish, English, Russian and Italian).

AFI Silver Theatre
Sat., Nov. 2, 2 p.m.
 


Yiddish

 

The Pin

Directed by Naomi Jaye
(Canada, 2014, 83 min.)

Two young people experience love and loss while in hiding during World War II.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Opens Fri., Nov. 1

   

Events - November 2013

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EVENT CATEGORIES

Art

Dance

Discussions

Festivals

Music

Theater


ART

Nov. 1 to 24

Vaiven. Six Visual Journeys Back and Forth Between Spain and the U.S.

This exhibition showcases six photographers from Spain and the United States who interpret the realities of both countries from multiple perspectives, creating a visual round trip, as part of FotoWeekDC 2013; for information, visit www.spainculture.us.

Former Spanish Residence

Nov. 5 to 8

Moods – Young Austrian Photography @ FotoDC

The works of the Austrian artists selected for this exhibition examine the perception and manipulation of our daily surroundings, providing a cross section of young, enterprising artists shaping the country’s contemporary photography scene with innovative technique, striking composition and stirring imagery.

Embassy of Austria

Nov. 6 to Jan. 31

Portraits of Power: Works by Alejandro Almaraz of Argentina

Since 2006, the Organization of American States’s Art Museum of the Americas has aimed to promote OAS values of social progress and cultural exchange through the visual arts. Continuing along this path, Alejandro Almaraz’s examinations of popular authority figures encourages conversation on vital OAS interests such as democracy and good governance.

Art Museum of the Americas

Through Nov. 8

Jorge Caligiuri: The Other Lands

Inspired by interior design and decorative objects, Argentine-born Jorge Caligiuri’s latest body of work is a series of frescos where the primary intention is to create a simple visual experience working with ordinary elements: dots, squares, strips, texture and light playing off elements of repetition, geometry and color.

Embassy of Argentina

Through Nov. 10

American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s

Faith Ringgold is well known for originating the African American story quilt revival in the late 1970s. In the previous decade, she created bold, provocative paintings in direct response to the civil rights and feminist movements. Ringgold’s unprecedented exploration of race and gender in America is examined in this comprehensive survey of 49 rarely exhibited paintings.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Through Nov. 10

Awake in a Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger

The first major museum exhibition of visual artist and author of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” reveals a mysterious, strange and whimsical world, both real and imagined, through 239 paintings, drawings, prints and book art. 

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Through Nov. 10

Las Calles Hablan (Mapping Barcelona Public Art)

“Las Calles Hablan” shows the evolution of street art in Barcelona, where opinions on graffiti and street art span the spectrum from love to indifference to hate. 

Embassy of Spain

Nov. 12 to 29

The Vienna Model – Housing for the 21st Century

This exhibition presents 36 case studies of public housing in Vienna, where about 60 percent of the population lives in municipally built, owned or managed buildings, which is in stark contrast to America’s mostly privately run housing market. The predominance of public housing in Vienna has a visible impact on the city’s life, atmosphere and communities, as evidenced by surveys that regularly rank Vienna as the world's most livable cities. 

Embassy of Austria

Nov. 23 to March 9

Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd

Los Angeles artist Alex Prager’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States debuts her latest series — elaborately staged crowd scenes, both poignant and revelatory — alongside earlier photographs and video works.

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Through Dec. 8

Different Distances: Fashion Photography Goes Art

Five artists — whose images are a game of balance between art and fashion photography, rooted in cultural history as well as personal experiences — overcome the difference between the intimate and the distant to create atmospheres that bewitch us. 

House of Sweden

Through Dec. 8

The Third Room

Children enter a playroom that serves as a set on which they will be the leading characters in a theater piece of their own interpretation. Through headphones, they are instructed to find things in the room, to quiet a talking suitcase, and to fly through space. Exactly how they do this is completely up to them. 

House of Sweden

Through Dec. 8

United Stockholms of America

Using figures and facts, design and photography by Charlie Bennet, “United Stockholms of America” tells the story of the migration of 1.3 million Swedes who left their home for a better future in the Promised Land.

House of Sweden

Through Dec. 20

Camus in a Digital Age

Scannable QR codes create a virtual bridge between physical media and digital content, connecting gallery displays with online videos, photographs, newspaper and audio archives that explore the life of Albert Camus, a French Nobel Prize-winning author, journalist and philosopher. The exhibit is part of “Celebrating 100 Years of Albert Camus,” a series of events that includes author talks, a panel discussion and mixed-media performance; for information, visit www.francedc.org.

Alliance Française of Washington, D.C.

Through Dec. 31

S.O.S. Spanish Office Showroom

As part of the SPAIN arts & culture program (www.spainculture.us), “S.O.S. Spanish Office Showroom” presents the most avant-garde pieces of Spanish design conceived for modern working environments, highlighting how the creativity of contemporary Spanish designers adapts to any office space and how Spanish design companies are successfully competing in international markets, such as the United States.

Former Spanish Residence

Through Jan. 5

Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris

The first retrospective exhibition in the United States, and the only scholarly catalogue on the renowned 19th-century French photographer Charles Marville (1813-79), presents recent groundbreaking discoveries informing his art and biography, including the versatility of his photographic talents and his true identity, background and family life.

National Gallery of Art

Through Jan. 5

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

More than 100 photographs selected from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the museum’s photography collection, examine photography’s evolution in the United States from a documentary medium to a full-fledged artistic genre, and showcase the numerous ways in which it has captured the American experience.

American Art Museum

Through Jan. 5

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa

Some 100 exceptional works of art from the late 18th to 21st centuries come together for the first major exhibition and scholarly endeavor to comprehensively examine the rich relationship between African artists and the land upon which they live, work and frame their days.  

National Museum of African Art

Through Jan. 5

Northern Mannerist Prints from the Kainen Collection

Some 50 works embody the sophisticated imagery, extraordinary stylization and virtuoso technique of the printmaking industry that flourished in the northern Netherlands and at the imperial court of Prague in the late 16th century.

National Gallery of Art

Through Jan. 5

Wanderer: Travel Prints by Ellen Day Hale

A selection of prints, drawings and original printing plates demonstrates Ellen Day Hale ‘s passion for travel and her mastery of printmaking.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Through Jan. 5

Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press

Featuring 125 working proofs and edition prints produced between 1972 and 2010 at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, one of the most influential printmaking studios of the last half century, “Yes, No, Maybe” goes beyond celebrating the flash of inspiration to examine the artistic process as a sequence of decisions.

National Gallery of Art

Through Jan. 12

Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post

From the glamour of Palm Beach, to the rustic whimsy of the Adirondacks, to the distinguished social scene of Washington, D.C., heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post brought to her multiple residences a flawless style of living and entertaining that was made possible only through the gracious management of loyal staff. 

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Through Jan. 12

Pakistani Voices: A Conversation with The Migration Series

In April 2013, the Phillips partnered with the State Department to conduct a series of workshops in Pakistan focusing on art and social change. This exhibition features 29 works by emerging Pakistani artists and 20 works by students and orphans who worked together to create visual narratives about identity, personal struggle and Pakistani history.

The Phillips Collection

Through Jan. 25

A Night at the Opera

The grandeur of opera — its unforgettable music, stellar performers, and lavish scenery and costumes — has transfixed audiences for more than 400 years. This 50-item display will feature manuscripts, printed scores, librettos, photographs, correspondence and set designs dating from the late 18th century through the beginning of the 20th century.

Library of Congress James Madison Building

Through Jan. 26

Van Gogh Repetitions

In the first Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) exhibition in D.C. in 15 years, the Phillips Collection takes a fresh look at the van Gogh’s artistic process, venturing beneath the surface of some of his best-known paintings to examine how and why he repeated certain compositions during his 10-year career.

The Phillips Collection

Through Jan. 26

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Through masterpieces of Indian sculpture and painting, “Yoga” — the first exhibit to present this leitmotif of Indian visual culture — explores yoga’s goals; its Hindu as well as Buddhist, Jain and Sufi manifestations; its means of transforming body and consciousness; and its profound philosophical foundations.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Through Jan. 31

Icons of the Desert

This exhibition of early indigenous Australian paintings from Papunya, from the private collection of John and Barbara Wilkerson, took more than 10 years of development in close consultation with the aboriginal community and descendants of the artists.

Embassy of Australia Art Gallery

Through Feb. 9

Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen

This exhibit considers the 40-year-plus career of Roger Ballen, one of the more recognized photographic artists working today, through a new approach: an examination of line and drawing in his photographs.

National Museum of African Art

Through March 2

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections

In the first exhibition devoted to Byzantine art at the National Gallery, some 170 rare and important works, drawn exclusively from Greek collections, offer a fascinating glimpse of the soul and splendor of the mysterious Byzantine Empire.

National Gallery of Art

Through March 2

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art

Nearly 100 works in all media by 72 leading modern and contemporary artists present the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Through May 26

Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950

The first in-depth exploration of the theme of destruction in international contemporary visual culture, this ground-breaking exhibition includes works by a diverse range of international artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation and performance.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Through June 8, 2014

Perspectives: Rina Banerjee

Born in India and based in New York City, artist Rina Banerjee draws on her background as a scientist and her experience as an immigrant in her richly textured works that complicate the role of objects as representations of cultures and invite viewers to share her fascination in materials. 

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery


DANCE

 

Through Nov. 3

Giselle

Love, betrayal and forgiveness reign as the Washington Ballet takes on one of the world’s most beautiful and technically difficult ballets. Tickets are $25 to $125.

Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre

Thu., Nov. 7, 8 p.m.

Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango

Tracing the brilliantly hued history of tango through music, dance and dramatic vignettes, this sizzling, Tony-nominated show features an all-Argentine cast of 14 dancers and an 11-piece orchestra. Tickets are $36 to $78.

Music Center at Strathmore

Nov. 8 to 17

Fuego Flamenco IX

GALA Hispanic Theatre’s acclaimed flamenco festival is back for its ninth year, exploring traditional flamenco and its diversity through contemporary expressions, as well as its impact in the United States. This year’s attractions include the world premiere of “Uno Más Uno” created by Edwin Aparicio and Aleksey Kulikov for D.C.’s Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company, and the U.S. premiere of “Templanza,” performed by the sensual duo José Jurado and Isabel Rodríguez from Madrid. Tickets are $35.

GALA Hispanic Theatre

Nov. 12 to 17

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty — New Adventures

Renowned British choreographer Matthew Bourne returns with his latest re-imagining of a ballet classic — as the tale of a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years becomes a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder. Tickets are $30 to $120.

Kennedy Center Opera House

Sat., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.

Shanghai Ballet: The Butterfly Lovers

This extraordinary classical ballet company from China performs one of its signature ballets, “The Butterfly Lovers,” based on an ancient legend often considered the Chinese equivalent of “Romeo and Juliet.” Tickets are $28 to $56.

George Mason University Center for the Arts

Sun., Nov. 24, 4 p.m.

Shanghai Ballet: La Sylphide

Bringing its gifted dancers from the Far East to Northern Virginia, this dazzling ensemble will spellbind audiences with its production of “La Sylphide,” a gripping ballet that tells the tale of a young man who loses his heart on his wedding day to a beautiful and mysterious spirit. Tickets are $28 to $56.

George Mason University Center for the Arts


DISCUSSIONS

 

Sat., Nov. 2, 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Inca and Machu Picchu

This daylong seminar explores the Inca and Machu Picchu through the lenses of geography, history, and culture to uncover new truths about a people and a place that fascinate us still. Tickets are $130; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

S. Dillon Ripley Center

Wed., Nov. 6, 6:30 p.m.

Redeeming The Prince: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece

Professor Maurizio Viroli, one of the world’s leading Machiavelli scholars, discusses his book “Redeeming The Prince,” in which he puts forth a startling new interpretation of arguably the most influential but widely misunderstood book in the Western political tradition.

Inter-American Development Bank

Wed., Nov. 6, 7 p.m.

Sur La Route: Jack Kerouac’s Francophone Roots

On the Road,” Jack Kerouac’s immortal contribution to Beat literature, became a cultural touchstone for generations of American readers. But few people realize that Kerouac began writing his masterpiece in French, a language in which he was fluent. Tickets are $25; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

S. Dillon Ripley Center

Thu., Nov. 7, 11:30 a.m.

Translational Medicine: Advancing from Bench to Bedside

The Library of Congress will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA structure with a panel discussion that includes Nobel Laureate James D. Watson, the world-renowned molecular biologist, who — in collaboration with several other scientists — discovered the structure of DNA.

Library of Congress James Madison Building

Tue., Nov. 12, 10 a.m.

The Golden Age of Finnish Art and Architecture

By popular demand, Finnish Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde again welcomes guests to her elegant residence to enjoy an art-themed morning featuring a lecture and special viewing of paintings by renowned Finnish artists. Tickets are $70; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

Finnish Ambassador’s Residence

Tue., Nov. 19, 6:45 p.m.

How the Monuments Men Rescued Italy’s Art from the Nazis

In August 1943, on the eve of the Allied invasion of Italy, bombs threatened Michelangelo’s “David” and nearly destroyed da Vinci's “Last Supper,” and the race to save Italy’s masterpieces was on. Tickets are $25; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

National Museum of Natural History

Sat., Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Britain’s Crown Jewels: Splendor, Symbols, and Power

David Thomas, royal crown jeweler from 1991 to 2007, gives a talk on British crown jewels, which symbolize a monarch’s power and a nation’s royal heritage — and whose ceremonial role in the life of the democracy is so important that the collection, known as the regalia, commands its own carriage in the annual procession to the state opening of Parliament. Tickets are $135; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

National Museum of Natural History 


FESTIVALS

 

Sat., Nov. 2, 12 to 4 p.m.

Day of the Dead Altar

This well-known community event features an intricate altar dedicated to Juan García de Oteyza, former director of the Mexican Cultural Institute who passed away earlier this year. In addition, 2013 marks the centennial of the passing of José Guadalupe Posada, one of Mexico’s most famous artists, partially responsible for popularizing the calavera, or skull, through his engravings and images, which have become iconic representations of the Day of the Dead and Mexican culture as a whole. The opening event will feature Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muertos, a traditional sweet bread served on the holiday, and the altar will remain open to visitors and school groups until Nov. 8.

Mexican Cultural Institute

Fri., Nov. 8, 3 to 6 p.m.,
Sat., Nov. 9, 1 to 6 p.m.

events.czech.christmas.story
Photo: Embassy of the Czech Republic
The Czech Christmas Market on Nov. 8 and 9 will feature hand-blown Czech ornaments from the European Trading Company. 

Czech Christmas Market

The Czech Christmas Market will feature beautiful hand-blown Czech ornaments from the European Trading Company; special performances of Czech and Slovak Christmas carols performed by children from Sokol Washington, D.C.; a music workshop called “Rhythm and Body”; Czech nativity scenes on display; the opportunity to decorate traditional gingerbread cookies; Christmas cookies from Bistro Bohem; and delicious mulled wine (svařák). Admission is free and reservations are not required.

Embassy of the Czech Republic

Through Nov. 13

Kids Euro Festival 2013

The largest children’s performing arts festival in the United States returns to the Washington area for its sixth edition, with more 200 free, family-friendly, European-themed events including performances, concerts, workshops, movies, storytelling, puppetry, dance, magic and cinema — all brought to you by the 28 European Union member states. For information, visit kidseurofestival.org.

Various locations


MUSIC

 

Sat., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.

Sir James Galway with the Irish Chamber Orchestra

This world-class ensemble, renowned for its driving energy and explosive power, shares the stage with Ireland’s great flutist, Sir James Galway. Tickets are $37.50 to $75.

George Mason University Center for the Arts

Thu., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.

The Operetta Spirit – The Merry Widow

Music from “The Merry Widow,” the 1923 Hollywood film version directed by Ernst Lubitsch, is accompanied by a discussion with the artists ( a concert by PostClassical Ensemble on Nov. 16. Admission is free but RSVP is required and can be made at http://theoperettaspirit.eventbrite.com.

Embassy of Austria

Fri., Nov. 8., 7:30 p.m.

Drumartica

The Slovenian percussion duo Drumartica is one of the most active percussion ensembles in Europe today, performing at prestigious competitions in Luxembourg and Bulgaria, as well as shows in the United States, Russia and around Europe in venues such as the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg and Carnegie Hall in New York. Tickets are $15; to purchase, visit http://eunic-drumartica.eventbrite.com.

Embassy of Austria

Fri., Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Raffi Besalyan, Piano

Hailed as “a true heir of the mainstream of Russian pianism, like Horowitz” by Chopin Magazine, Armenian-born pianist Raffi Besalyan has toured North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia as a recitalist and orchestral soloist. Tickets are $100, including buffet dinner; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.

Embassy of Armenia

Fri., Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.

‘Song of the Monarch’ Album Presentation

Award-winning Mexican pianist Ana Cervantes, a Yamaha Concert Artist and Fulbright Senior Scholar, presents her album “Song of the Monarch: Women in Mexico!” — featuring composers from Mexico, the United States, Britain, Brazil and Colombia. RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Mexican Cultural Institute

Sat., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.

Lost Childhood

The National Philharmonic present the first complete concert performance of the opera “Lost Childhood,” based on the memoir by Holocaust survivor Yehuda Nir and premiering on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”), when a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms throughout Germany marked the unofficial start to the Holocaust. Tickets start at $28.

Music Center at Strathmore

Thu., Nov. 14, 7 p.m.

Itamar Zorman, Violin

Born in Tel Aviv in 1985 to a family of musicians, Itamar Zorman graduated from the Israeli Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv in 2003, received his bachelor’s of music from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, was the first violinist in the Israel Defense Force’s String Quartet, and received his master’s of music from the Juilliard School in 2009. Tickets are $65, including reception; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.

Venue TBA

Sat., Nov. 16, 7 p.m.

Fallin’ for Jazz

The Swedish Jazz ensemble consists of saxophonist Anders Lundegård, a native Swede, and guitarist and singer Al Baumann, married to a Swede, both of whom have careers in finance and banking. Together, they form a unique blend of jazz standards, popular songs and folk music. Tickets are $17 or $20 at the door; for information, visit www.theswedishjazz.com.

Lyceum

Sat., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.

Tales from the Vienna Woods

PostClassical Ensemble presents Johann Strauss’s most beloved waltzes in a variety of scintillating transformations — including a chamber-orchestra version of “Emperor Waltz” as lovingly transcribed by Arnold Schoenberg, Adolf Schulz-Evler’s spectacular solo piano paraphrase of “The Blue Danube” performed by Benjamin Pasternack, soprano Jennifer Casey Cabot singing “Vilja” from Franz Lehár’sThe Merry Widow,” and other operetta favorites. Tickets are $30 to $35; for information, visit www.dumbartonconcerts.org.

Historic Dumbarton Church


THEATER

 

Through Nov. 3

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Synetic Theater reinvents Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in a unique fusion of visual and verbal poetry that explores Wilde’s only novel, which many consider his most personal work — a timelessly supernatural story of man’s endless conflict with the nature of mortality. Tickets start at $35.

Synetic Theater

Through Nov. 3

This

Jane is a poet-without-a-muse, a single mother trying to reignite her life after she suddenly loses her husband. Her supportive friends try to help but only make things more complicated while a sexy, French Doctor-Without-Borders incites temptation — and perspective. Tickets are $10 to $45.

Round House Theatre

Nov. 8 to 16

Molière Impromptu: Translated and Adapted by Rinne Groff

Based on three short plays by Molière, this wickedly funny look at the magic of theatre is set in 1665 Versailles, where the play presents a director’s nightmare as the members of Molière’s Illustre Theatre gather to rehearse a new play commissioned by the king for a performance that very night. Tickets are $25.

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Nov. 9 to 24

Mies Julie

This unflinching South African adaptation of August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” ingeniously transposes the 1888 parable of class and gender to a remote, South African estate 18 years after apartheid, tackling the deeper complexities of South African society head on. Tickets are $60.

Shakespeare Theatre Company Lansburgh Theatre

Through Nov. 10

Sister Act

In this crowd-pleasing musical based on the hit film, a wannabe diva witnesses a crime and hides out in a convent, where, under Mother Superior's watchful eye, she helps her fellow sisters find their voices, not to mention her own. Tickets are $39 to $120.

Kennedy Center Opera House 

Through Nov. 17

Love in Afghanistan

An emerging hip-hop artist and a high-level Afghan interpreter both fight to navigate the pitfalls of romance, religious differences and political unrest in war-torn Afghanistan. Tickets are $40 to $90.

Arena Stage

Nov. 19 to Dec. 15

Protest

In this play written in 1978 by famed Czech human rights activist Vaclav Havel, we meet a dissident on his way home from prison and a person involved in a campaign to protest the government. One character is the protesting artist who suffered for his beliefs, the other a compromising and compromised playwright. But in this unique interpretation by Ambassador Theater, the two male characters have counter female egos, emphasizing their universality (for mature audiences). Tickets are $20 to $40; for information, visit www.aticc.org.

Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint

Nov. 21 to Jan. 5

A Christmas Carol

Ford’s Theatre has delighted Washington audiences with “A Christmas Carol” for more than 30 years. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Please call for ticket information.

Ford’s Theatre

Nov. 21 to Jan. 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

This fun musical farce based on the classic plays of ancient Roman playwright Plautus tells the bawdy story of Pseudolus, a slave in ancient Rome, who goes to great lengths to gain his freedom by securing a courtesan for his young master, Hero. Tickets are $20 to $110.

Shakespeare Theatre Sidney Harman Hall 

Through Nov. 24 

16th International Festival of Hispanic Theater

Teatro de la Luna presents the 16th International Festival of Hispanic Theater with troupes from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Puerto Rica, Uruguay and the United States. Tickets are $35. For information, visit www.teatrodelaluna.org.

Gunston Arts Center

Nov. 29 to Jan. 5

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Broadway and Arena Stage favorite Kenny Leon returns to direct Malcolm-Jamal Warner (in his Arena Stage debut) in a new adaptation of the beloved film “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.” Please call for ticket information.

Arena Stage

Through Dec. 1

Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s timeless story of young, passionate love set against a sea of hate is retold by three-time Helen Hayes Award-winning director Aaron Posner. Tickets are $40 to $72.

Folger Shakespeare Library

Through Dec. 8

Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill

The Falls of Autrey Mill is the most desired zipcode in town. From the outside, the flawless neighborhood glitters with elegant roman column porches and exquisitely manicured lawns. However, demons lurk behind the designer window treatments when one seemingly perfect family disintegrates from the inside out. Please call for ticket information.

Signature Theatre

   

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