February 2015


Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Cover Story

Elections Come at Critical Time
For Beleaguered Nigeria

a6.nigeria.lagos.homeNigerians head to the polls as an Islamist insurgency and sectarian tensions threaten to divide Africa's most populous nation and its biggest economy. Read More 

People of World Influence

Former U.S. Mideast Envoy Sees
Libya Spiraling Out of Control

a1.powi.mack.homeThe Middle East Institute's David Mack, who worked in Benghazi in the 1970s, says the under-the-radar unraveling of Libya is likely to re-emerge as a global priority in 2015. Read More

France Mourns

New French Ambassador Thrust
Into Spotlight After Paris Attacks

a2.france.attacks.march.homeFrench Ambassador Gérard Araud has become an outlet for the grief and outrage many in the U.S. felt after the Paris terrorist attacks that left 17 dead and stunned the world. Read More

The Kim Enigma

World Tries to Decipher Enigma
Of North Korea's Latest 'Leader'

a3.north.korea.sung.il.homeEccentric, enigmatic, buffoonish and dangerous: North Korea's Kim Jong-un is a mass of contradictions — and a mystery to much of the world. Read More

Cold War Redux

Putin's Russia and Castro's Cuba
Shape Obama's Post-Cold War Legacy

a4.cuba.interests.russia.homeBarack Obama may well be remembered by history as the president who was forced to confront one Cold War adversary, Russia, while re-establishing full diplomatic relations with another, Cuba. Read More

The New Congress

Obama and New GOP Congress:
Conflict or Cooperation Ahead?

a5.congress.obama.hands.homeAs Republicans take over Congress and Obama looks to the last two years of his presidency, will U.S. politics be marked by cooperation or conflict? Read More

Toll of Terrorism

As Global Terrorist Attacks Surge,
Governments Struggle for Answers

a7.terrorism.chibok.nigeria.homeThe recent carnage in Pakistan and Nigeria is a reminder that terrorism is on the uptick — and countries least equipped to handle it are bearing the brunt of it. Read More

'Tyranny of Silence'

Author Slams 'Tyranny of Silence'
Surrounding Islamic Cartoon Crisis

a8.tyranny.silence.homeThe terrorist attacks in Paris brought back painful memories for Flemming Rose, who's been marked for death ever since he printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad nine years ago. Read More

Bangladeshi Justice

Bangladesh Presses United States
To Return Alleged War Criminal

a9.bangladesh.stairs.homeBangladesh has launched an aggressive campaign to convince the U.S. to extradite a suspected war criminal accused of slaughtering the family of the country's prime minister. Read More


Former U.S. Mideast Envoy Sees Libya Spiraling Out of Control

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Michael Coleman

Read more: Former U.S. Mideast Envoy Sees Libya Spiraling Out of Control

New French Ambassador Thrust Into Spotlight After Paris Attacks

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Larry Luxner

Read more: New French Ambassador Thrust Into Spotlight After Paris Attacks

World Tries to Decipher Enigma Of North Korea’s Latest ‘Leader’

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Dave Seminara

Read more: World Tries to Decipher Enigma Of North Korea’s Latest ‘Leader’

Putin’s Russia and Castro’s Cuba Shape Obama’s Post-Cold War Legacy

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Larry Luxner

Read more: Putin’s Russia and Castro’s Cuba Shape Obama’s Post-Cold War Legacy

Obama and New GOP Congress: Conflict or Cooperation Ahead?

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Larry Luxner

Read more: Obama and New GOP Congress: Conflict or Cooperation Ahead?

Elections Come at Critical Time For Beleaguered Nigeria

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Larry Luxner

UPDATE: On Feb. 8, the Nigerian government announced that it was postponing the Feb. 14 elections to March 28 to give security forces more time to fight Boko Haram. This story has been updated to reflect those changes.

Tumbling oil prices. Bloodthirsty terrorists on the loose. Rising tensions between Christians and Muslims. Allegations of human rights abuses by soldiers — and of callous indifference by government officials. The potential for post-election violence.

Just one of these scenarios would scare any multiethnic, peace-loving, petroleum-exporting nation. But Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy, faces all of them — and with national elections beginning just two weeks from now, its future as a stable democracy is no longer a given.

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri of ruggeriphoto.com
Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye

Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, insists the balloting will take place in an atmosphere of calm.

“Our defense forces are doing everything in their power to make sure the elections are conducted in a free, fair and credible manner,” Adefuye told us in a recent interview at his Washington office. “They’re dealing very well with the insurgency. We’re up to the task.”

Yet the task is enormous — and it's not exactly going well so far. The elections have been rescheduled from Feb. 14 to March 28 to give the military six more weeks to take on an Islamist insurgency driven by the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has ravaged the northeastern portion of the country. The fighting has revealed the government’s weaknesses and exacerbated tensions between the mostly Muslim north and the wealthier, Christian-dominated south. Those tensions could still boil over when Nigerians head to the polls at the end of March, especially if Boko Haram steps up its attacks and, as some experts fear, prevents sections of the north from voting (already those who have been internally displaced cannot cast a ballot outside their jurisdictions).

If that happens and the north’s Muslim candidate loses, chaos could erupt, ressurecting memories of the country’s last elections. Three days of communal rioting following the April 2011 presidential vote left more than 800 people dead, after Muslim supporters of the main opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, protested the re-election of incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south.

Four years later, the same rivals are facing off again: President Jonathan, who heads the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Buhari, a former military man representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), a coalition of several ethnically and regionally based smaller parties. This time, however, the potential for violence may be worse — a prospect Boko Haram is no doubt relishing.

Already, the government has admitted it could not guarantee voters' safety, saying it needed more time to launch a major offensive against Boko Haram before balloting could begin. Security has been a major theme in the campaign, with Buhari capitalizing on the frustration many Nigerians feel toward Jonathan's lackluster response to Boko Haram. The United States and others have criticized Jonathan for postponing the elections, and experts speculate the delay may be a bid to help Jonathan shore up voter support. It could backfire: Over the last five years, the military has failed to destroy Boko Haram; what it can do in six weeks is neglible. The group may also use the added time to launch more spectacular attacks against a nervous nation. But the ambassador, speaking to us before the elections were postponed, said Nigerians understand what's at stake

“Nigerians know that political integrity is very important. We cannot compromise,” the ambassador said. “Everybody knows we have to stick together, and live together as one country. Second, Nigerians are very aware that the only way to progress is to govern democratically. Third, we have a very efficient electoral commission established by Goodluck Jonathan when he took over in 2010.”

Even so, two Washington-based nonprofits — the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) — are each sending 18-member observer missions to Nigeria.

“Certainly for Nigeria at this particularly important moment in history, it’s very important to have an international observer mission here,” said Gretchen Birkle, chief of IRI’s Africa division.

Birkle, speaking to us from Abuja, the capital, said “it’s premature to start judging the level of violence” that might occur. But she said she was encouraged by a Jan. 14 meeting in Abuja hosted by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and attended by Jonathan and Buhari.

“They came together quite symbolically to talk about the need for peaceful, nonviolent elections,” she said. “This sent a very important message, because violence and insecurity are very important concerns, though it’s hard to say what it’s going to be like on Election Day.”

Working in Jonathan’s favor is a relatively strong economy, now ranked the largest in Africa. Last year, Nigeria’s GDP grew to $521 billion, surpassing that of South Africa’s, according to the World Bank. But its annual per-capita income is still only $3,000 and life expectancy hovers in the low 50s. Moreover, Nigeria’s unemployment rate has doubled from 12 percent in 2006 to around 25 percent today, and general insecurity has grown dramatically in the wake of increasingly bloody attacks by Boko Haram terrorists.

In early January, the Islamist extremist group went on a rampage, massacring an unknown number of villagers in the northeastern state of Borno. Reported death tolls vary from 150 people (according to Nigeria’s director of defense information) to as many as 2,000. Satellite imagery released by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch seems to confirm widespread damage in the towns of Baga and Doro Gowon; Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack “a crime against humanity.”

It’s probably not the only one. The Islamist group, whose name translates to “Western education is forbidden,” sparked international outrage last year with the kidnapping of over 270 schoolgirls — some of whom may have been married off or even forced to blow themselves up in suicide attacks. A few dozen escaped but not one of them has been rescued.

The kidnapping in Chibok became a cause célèbrearound the world, inspiring the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign, but it’s far from the only atrocity the group has commited (it also regularly slaughters schoolboys). The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that Boko Haram killed over 10,000 people last year alone. It now controls vast stretches of the northeast (roughly the size of Belgium), has threatened to destabilize neighbors such as Cameroon and has instilled fear among thousands, if not millions, that the military is no match for the group’s brutal tactics.

But Adefuye tried to minimize both the geographic extent of the Islamist group and the uproar over the failure to find the kidnapped girls.

“When we first heard the reports that the girls were abducted, the international community protested. The government is doing whatever it can to bring back the girls, since the very first day. The problem is that to bring back those girls you have to use covert means. You cannot tell the world, ‘We’ve captured them.’ You only say that after you’re successful.”

He added: “To say we have not made any efforts to recover the girls is not true. We know where the girls are, but we want them alive.”

But Jonathan’s lackluster efforts in prioritizing — or even commenting on — the Boko Haram crisis has drawn widespread condemnation, particularly after he waited three weeks to speak about the Chibok kidnappings.

Adefuye, long a critic of U.S. media, pins the blame squarely on journalists for distorting the picture. He accused the New York Times of “reporting whatever the insurgents feed them” and said that “nobody knows anything” about the many terrorist attacks planned by Boko Haram fanatics that were foiled by Nigeria’s defense forces.

“Boko Haram is present in only three out of Nigeria’s 36 states” — Borno, Yobe and Adamawa — and in those states, he claims “the government still controls the place” except for districts that border Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

“If there’s a problem in Arizona, that doesn’t mean you can’t do business in New York,” he quipped. “Since Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the schoolgirls, there has been increased investment by Americans. It has not abated despite all these negative impressions.”

Adefuye acknowledged that despite Jonathan’s popularity among Christians, “some people don’t like him for ethnic reasons,” he said. “But the ethnic and religious factor is a recent phenomenon. Nigeria is equally divided between Muslims and Christians. My father was a priest, and I have cousins who are Muslims.”

Nigeria, about twice the size of California, suffers from deep ethnic divisions; as a result, its parties abide by power-rotation arrangements so that neither the more prosperous Christian south nor the poorer, largely Muslim north feels powerless or neglected.

a6.nigeria.chart.storyBut Jonathan’s critics accuse him of reneging on this unspoken gentleman’s agreement by running again for re-election. Jideofor Adibe, a senior lecturer at Nigeria’s Nasarawa State University, noted in a recent paper for the Brookings Institution that under the PDP’s arrangements, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba from the south, served for two terms of four years each before power was “returned” to the north. The north’s “turn,” however, was interrupted after Obasanjo’s successor, Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim, died in office in 2010 and was succeeded by then Vice President Jonathan.

“This result shortened the north’s turn in power and extended the south’s — frustrating many northerners,” Adibe wrote. “In 2011, influential people in the north argued that Jonathan should serve out only Yaradua’s remaining first term in office and not contest those presidential elections.”

But Jonathan did run and won, triggering the post-election violence that ensued.

“Jonathan’s supporters have a contrary argument,” Adibe said. “For them, in the 39 years between the time the country gained independence in 1960 and the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999, the north ruled the country for about 35 of them and should therefore be patient for that ‘historical injustice’ to be redressed first.”

At any rate, this election marks the first time since the switch to civilian rule in 1999 that the opposition has a realistic chance of wresting power from Jonathan’s PDP. That’s because in the past, opposition parties were mostly fragmented along regional and ethnic lines, making it impossible for them to mount a credible challenge to the ruling party.

“Given the centrality of political power in Nigeria, the election — just like almost all elections in Nigeria — will be highly contentious and the losing side is likely to blame its fate on rigging,” Adibe wrote. “Post-election violence is therefore likely in the north if the APC loses, while renewed militancy in the restive Niger Delta is likely if Jonathan does.”

The ambassador insists that it’s in the best interests of Nigerian voters to keep their president in power at least until 2019.

“What Nigeria needs for the next couple of years is continuity of the transformational agenda, which Goodluck Jonathan started since he got into power in 2010,” Adefuye told us. “We’ve become Africa’s largest economy, and all aspects of our infrastructure are being improved. Development is a process and you don’t want to interrupt it.

“Our president set up the task of rebuilding Nigeria, but restructuring the whole economy is something that can’t be done in four years. These weaknesses are deep-seated. He needs more time,” the ambassador insisted.

On March 29, Adefuye will mark his fifth anniversary as Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States. The 64-year-old veteran diplomat was educated in both Nigeria and England. In fact, his thesis was on British rule in northern Uganda, and he taught at the University of Lagos for 14 years; his business card still carries the title of professor.

As a Fulbright scholar, he also did stints at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and the University of Florida in Gainesville, as well as at New York’s Columbia University. In 1987, Adefuye was appointed Nigeria’s high commissioner to Jamaica — with concurrent accreditation to Haiti and Belize — then moved to London as deputy high commissioner for Nigeria. Following a 13-year assignment with the Commonwealth, he moved back to Nigeria and became an adviser to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), headquartered in Lagos.

“It’s a challenging time to be a Nigerian diplomat,” he conceded, adding, however, that his country’s successful eradication of Ebola, for now, “shows the resilient nature of Nigerian society. We are 170 million people, or one out of every five Africans. Lagos state is bigger than many African countries; it’s a whole country in itself.”

Noting that U.S.-Nigeria trade now exceeds $40 billion, Adefuye says bilateral ties are excellent, despite an earlier brush-up between the two nations’ militaries that he claims was blown way out of proportion by the Western media.

A Dec. 2 Foreign Policy article, for instance, titled “Nigeria to Washington: Take Your Military and Shove It,” said the ambassador “blasted the U.S. military for not offering enough assistance to weaken Boko Haram.”

Photo: Peeter Viisimaa / iStock
People and yellow danfo taxis compete for space in bustling morning traffic in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the biggest cities in Africa.

Adefuye did, in fact, sharply criticize the “scope, nature and content” of American military support in the fight against Boko Haram. Lecturing at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York last November, he accused the Pentagon of not providing his country the weapons it needs to crush the insurgents and said “there is no use giving us the type of support that enables us to deliver light jabs to the terrorists when what we need to give them is the killer punch.”

Nigeriann soldiers are notoriously underequipped, but they are equally notorious for corruption and human rights abuses that range from extrajudicial killings to torture. The Associated Press reported that the military could be responsible for the deaths of thousands of detainees as part of its heavyhanded response to Boko Haram, a crackdown that has fueled the very resentment on which the group thrives.

The human rights abuses prevent Washington from legally supplying arms to Nigeria’s military. Seemingly in retaliation, Nigeria cancelled the last stage of an effort by the U.S. Africa Command to train a newly established Nigerian Army battalion. Johnnie Carson, the State Department’s former top diplomat for Africa, told the New York Times that “tensions in the U.S.-Nigeria relationship are probably at their highest level in the past decade.”

Since last year’s spat, however, Adefuye insists everything has been resolved.

“Some misunderstandings arose in the implementation between our military and the U.S. military. I’m not going to give you details,” he said when asked how the two sides kissed and made up. “All these measures have been dealt with at the highest level. It was only in the details of implementation that we had a disagreement. Now relations are at an all-time high.”

That’s a stretch, says J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

“I am not so sure I would go so far as to say that the relationship is ‘back to normal’ after recent contretemps, but getting it to that state ought to be a priority both for whatever Nigerian government emerges from the upcoming elections and for the United States,” he told The Diplomat. “There are too many shared interests, especially on the security and stability issues, for it to be otherwise.”

a6.nigeria.refer.storyPham said that with Boko Haram’s increasingly vicious attacks, “we cannot afford for the Nigerians to fail any more than they can afford to be at odds with us. Cooler heads on both sides ought to recognize this reality.”

Without naming names, the scholar says there’s plenty of blame on both sides for last year’s “spat” — and that it’s ironic that it took a virtual cessation in U.S. purchases of Nigerian petroleum (Nigeria was until recently the fourth-largest source of imported oil) for Washington to realize that the country’s importance goes beyond hydrocarbons.

“Some Nigerian officials do not help their cause by denying the obvious or making statements that defy credibility, as has been the case on a number of occasions in recent months when things weren’t going well,” he said. “On the other hand, some on the U.S. side seem to use corruption or human rights concerns as easy ‘outs’ from having to deal with a situation that calls for more, not less, engagement.”

Corruption is a touchy issue. Last month, Transparency International ranked Nigeria 136th out of 174 countries surveyed in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index. “It’s still bad, but it’s better than last year,” Adefuye said. “I don’t agree with TI’s assessment. Our government has been making efforts to combat corruption. This takes time.”

A more pressing problem for Nigeria is the 60 percent drop in world oil prices since last June. With oil at one point dipping below $46 a barrel and no sign of an immediate recovery, the country has had to revise its budget downward several times. The government is now working on the assumption of $65 per barrel, even though it’s clear prices will stay well below that in 2015.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, acknowledged that her country faces “tough challenges” in a Dec. 19 appearance at the Atlantic Council.

“We will weather the storm,” Okonjo-Iweala assured her audience. “The rebasing of our GDP showed us that the economy is much more diversified than most Nigerians believe. Oil stands at 14 percent of GDP, even though it accounts for 70 percent of our fiscal revenue. A lot of our economy is also informal, but we are looking for ways and means to try to bridge that. So what we’ve decided to do is tap this non-oil diversified economy to raise our revenues. And it’s the non-oil sector that has been pushing the growth of this economy for almost the past decade, growing at 7 to 8 percent.”

The ambassador is also confident that Nigeria can tough it out.

“Because of Nigeria’s size, everything that happens is blown out of proportion. I’m not saying we don’t have problems, but we have a tremendous ability to survive. Measures have been put in place to assure that this doesn’t affect the smooth running of our economy,” Adefuye said. “We are trying to minimize the effect [of dramatically lower oil prices]. It would not be realistic to say it won’t have an impact, but the government is embarking on some austerity measures and honoring our obligations to the people.”

In fact, for the past three years, GDP growth in Nigeria has exceeded 5 percent, notes the Economist in a Jan. 10 article titled “The twilight of the resource curse?”

“You might think its growth is being powered by oil experts. Nigeria has Africa’s second-largest reserves, it is the fifth-largest exporter and, according to the IMF, oil accounts for 95 percent of all exports,” says the magazine. “But in recent years the Nigerian oil industry has stagnated. Growth has instead come from things like mobile phones, construction and banks. Services now represent 60 percent of GDP.”

With that in mind, Adefuye has met with numerous senators, congressmen, think-tank representatives and average people. And he tells everyone that, despite the obstacles, Nigeria is still a great place to invest, especially in telecommunications and the power sector.

“When we privatized the telecom industry, the Americans exaggerated the notion of insecurity in Nigeria, and you guys left the field open for Europeans and South Africans,” he said. “MTA, a South African company, was almost tempted to move its headquarters to Nigeria because they made so much profit there. You only need to go there once and see for yourself that these reports have been grossly exaggerated.”

So, apparently, are suggestions that Nigeria’s very existence as a nation is threatened.

“Despite several more outlandish theories that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015, chances are that the elections will come and go and the country remain with its political problems largely unresolved,” wrote Adibe in his Brookings paper. “The country is a master at teetering on the precipice: It has survived major crises, including a civil war (1967-70). Hanging on a cliff without falling over may indeed be the country’s comfort zone.”

Adefuye agrees that Nigeria will be fine.

“It’s impossible that Nigeria would splinter. Nigeria will survive as an entity,” the ambassador reassured us. “There have been several times when our stability was threatened, and we insisted on a democratic solution. We’ve gone through this before.”

About the Author

Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.


As Global Terrorist Attacks Surge, Governments Struggle for Answers

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Sean Lyngaas

Read more: As Global Terrorist Attacks Surge, Governments Struggle for Answers

Author Slams ‘Tyranny of Silence’ Surrounding Islamic Cartoon Crisis

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Larry Luxner

Read more: Author Slams ‘Tyranny of Silence’ Surrounding Islamic Cartoon Crisis

Bangladesh Presses United States To Return Alleged War Criminal

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Dave Seminara

Read more: Bangladesh Presses United States To Return Alleged War Criminal

Landmark Exhibit Pictures Virgin Mary as Woman, Mother, Idea

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Michael Coleman

Read more: Landmark Exhibit Pictures Virgin Mary as Woman, Mother, Idea

World of 3-D Printing Brings Medical Breakthroughs to Life

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Carolyn Cosmos

Read more: World of 3-D Printing Brings Medical Breakthroughs to Life

Local Arts Venues Home to International Performances

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Molly McCluskey

Read more: Local Arts Venues Home to International Performances

‘Choir Boy’ Belts Out Different Coming-of-Age Tune

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Lisa Troshinsky

Read more: ‘Choir Boy’ Belts Out Different Coming-of-Age Tune

Gardner’s Mighty Pint Matures into Second State

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Rachel G. Hunt

Read more: Gardner’s Mighty Pint Matures into Second State

Russian Heavyweight ‘Leviathan’ Goes for Gold at the Oscars

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Ky N. Nguyen

Read more: Russian Heavyweight ‘Leviathan’ Goes for Gold at the Oscars

French-Canadian Filmmaking Prodigy Dolan Muses on ‘Mommy’

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Ky N. Nguyen

Read more: French-Canadian Filmmaking Prodigy Dolan Muses on ‘Mommy’

Films - February 2015

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

By Cari

















Highlighted Festival

Jewish Lens

On its 25th anniversary, the popular annual Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) expects to draw over 12,000 attendees to more than 100 events spanning the Washington area. From Feb. 19 to March 1, an eclectic lineup of films — accompanied by cultural and educational events — showcases the best of international cinema through a distinctly Jewish lens, with many East Coast premieres and in-person appearances.

"For 25 years, this festival has celebrated international cinema in building the single largest Jewish cultural event in Washington," Ilya Tovbis, WJFF director, said in a press release. "With our most ambitious festival to date, the 25th WJFF will honor a quarter century of exhibiting the full diversity of the Jewish experience."

The opening-night film, "Magic Men," chronicles the journey of a 78-year-old Greek-born atheist and his estranged Hasidic rapper son as they travel from Israel to Greece in search of the magician who saved the father's life during World War II.

The closing night features Uruguay's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, "Mr. Kaplin." In the heartwarming comedy, 76-year-old Jacob Kaplan, fed up with his community and his family's lack of interest in its own heritage, becomes convinced that his German neighbor is a runaway Nazi and secretly takes on the role of a spy, although he is no match for the forces of age.

Other highlights include:

• The WJFF Centerpiece Evening, which takes place at the AFI Silver Theatre on Feb. 21, will offer an extended Q&A session with Theodore Bikel, whose career spans more than 150 screen roles. In "Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem," portraits of two beloved icons — Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel — are woven together in an enchanting new documentary.

• Israeli-Palestinian singer Mira Awad and songwriter Steve Earle join legendary singer-songwriter David Broza for a 45-minute musical set and Q&A following a screening of "East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem" on Feb. 26 at Sidney Harman Hall.

• The 5th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel is an all-day, in-depth exploration of the daily lives and challenges of Israel's Arab population. It includes: a panel discussion among Middle East experts and the D.C. premiere of the film, "Dancing Arabs," with its filmmaker Eran Riklis (Feb. 22); a state of the cinema address on Israeli documentary film (Feb. 24); and the third iteration of "Two Jews Walk into a Bar," a cinematic bar event (Feb. 8.)

• Additional films of note include "Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem" (Feb. 25), about a woman's seemingly unending battle with the rules of Orthodox marriage in Israel; "The Farewell Party" (March 1), a dark comedy about a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who build a machine for self-euthanasia; and "Next to Her" (Feb. 23-28), about a woman who is forced to put her mentally disabled sister in a day-care center, only to then meet a man who leads to a relationship triangle between the three.

• The festival will also present two silent films with live original music: "Breaking Home Ties" (Feb. 23) and the 1920 German silent horror-fantasy-expressionist film "The Golem" (Feb. 26), the tale of a 16th-century rabbi who made a man out of clay to save the Jewish community of Prague from annihilation.

For a complete list of films, visit www.wjff.org.



 In the Mood for Love

Directed by Wong Kar-Wai

(Hong Kong/France, 2000, 98 min.)

In 1962 Hong Kong, neighbors Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai discover that their spouses are having an affair. Their shared grief leads to close friendship, and then temptation (Cantonese and Shanghainese).

AFI Silver Theatre

Fri., Feb. 13, 9:45 p.m.,

Sun., Feb. 15, 6 p.m.



 Black Sea

Directed by Kevin Macdonald

(U.K./U.S./Russia, 2014, 114 min.)

In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.

Theater TBA

Dalai Lama Awakening

Directed by Khashyar Darvich

(U.S., 2014, 120 min.)

Narrated by Harrison Ford, "Dalai Lama Awakening" presents the profound and life-changing journey of innovative Western thinkers who travel to India to meet with the Dalai Lama (English, Hindi and Tibetan).

Angelika Mosaic

Thu., Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

(U.K., 2014, 129 min.)

A super-secret spy organization recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Theater TBA

Opens Fri., Feb. 13

One Hour With You

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

(U.S., 1932, 84 min.)

Parisian couple Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald's happy union becomes threatened by mutual infidelities.

AFI Silver Theatre

Sat., Feb. 7, 2 p.m.,

Thu., Feb. 12, 7:15 p.m.

Red Army

Directed by Gabe Polsky

(U.S./Russia, 2014, 85 min.)

This entertaining documentary shows the waning days of the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history, the Red Army ice hockey team — potent patriotic symbols who were forced to train in a restricted camp for 11 months of the year, missing their families.

Landmark's E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 6

The Search for General Tso

Directed by Ian Cheney

(U.S./Taiwan/China, 71 min.)

Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken? This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.

West End Cinema

She's Beautiful When She's Angry

Directed by Mary Dore

(U.S., 2014, 92 min.)

This documentary resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women's movement from 1966 to 1971.

Landmark's E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 13

Still Alice

Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westermoreland

(U.S./France, 2014, 99 min.)

Alice Howland, happily married, renowned linguistics professor with three grown children, starts to forget words and must grapple with a devastating diagnosis, early-onset Alzheimer's.

Landmark's E Street Cinema

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

(New Zealand, 2014, 96 min.)

In this hilarious comedy, an endearingly unhip quartet of flatmates — and vampires — squabble over household chores, struggle to keep up with the latest trends, antagonize the local werewolves and deal with the rigors of living on a very, very strict diet.

Landmark's E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 20



Bending the Rules

Directed by Behnam Behzadi

(Iran, 2013, 94 min.)

An amateur theater troupe that has been invited to perform outside Iran. Most of its young members have lied to their families about where they are going, but when the lead actress tells her father the truth, he forbids her to leave. On the eve of their departure, she and her cohorts struggle with whether to confront or secretly defy him.

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 1, 2 p.m.

Fifi Howls from Happiness

Directed by Manohla Dargis

(Iran, 2013, 96 min.)

Once known as the "Persian Picasso," Bahman Mohassess was a famous artist in pre-revolution Iran until he was forced into a 30-year exile in Italy by the new regime. Filmmaker Mitra Farahani found the artist there and documented the verbal sparring matches that constitute this lively, lyrical portrait.

Freer Gallery of Art

Fri., Feb. 6, 7 p.m.,

Sun., Feb. 8, 2 p.m.




Directed by Xavier Dolan

(Canada, 2014, 139 min.)

A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household (French and English).

Landmark's Bethesda Row Cinema

Two Days, One Night

(Deux jours, une nuit)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

(Belgium/France/Italy, 2014, 95 min.)

A young Belgian mother discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal, and she has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.

Landmark's Bethesda Row Cinema


The Day Is Longer than the Night

(Dges game utenebia)

Directed by Lana Gogoberidze

(Georgia/U.S.S.R., 1984, 105 min.)

Known for beautiful location shooting, portrayals of traditions and appealing performances, this film follows the life of Eva from the turn of the century through many important milestones, personal and historic, with each one linked to the next by a troop of actors and musicians who offer their own counterpoint.

AFI Silver Theatre

Sat., Feb. 7, 4 p.m.

Once Upon a Time There Was a Singing Blackbird

(Iko shashvi mgalobeli)

Directed by Otar Iosseliani

(U.S.S.R., 1971, 83 min.)

In this wry comedy, an amiable musician who refuses to conform — forever late for his concerts, neglectful of appointments and continually finding ways to avoid work — wrestles with his destiny until every resolve goes astray (screens with "Akvareli (1958, 10 min.) and "Sapovnela (1959, 18 min.)).

Embassy of France

Wed., Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

Paradise Lost

Directed by Davit Rondeli

(U.S.S.R., 1938, 85 min.)

Director Davit Rondeli's most lasting contribution to Georgian cinema is this hilarious satire loosely adapted from Davit Kldiashvili's classical stories about the parasitic lifestyle of impoverished nobility.

Freer Gallery of Art

Fri., Feb. 20, 7 p.m.


Directed by Otar Iosseliani

(Georgia/U.S.S.R., 1975, 95 min.)

In a rural Georgian village, four young musicians, seeking the solace of a rural village for their summer rehearsals, become unavoidably entangled in local life (screens with "Tudzhi (Cast Iron)" (1964, 17 min.)).

Embassy of France

Fri., Feb. 6, 7 p.m.


Directed by Giorgi Shengelaia

(U.S.S.R., 1969, 85 min.)

This film on the life of the great Georgian primitive painter Nikoloz Pirosmanishvili avoids the usual clichés of films about artists' lives, instead experimenting with color techniques based on the painter's style and constructing a series of impressionistic tableaux from incidents in Pirosmani's life (Georgian, Russian and French).


Mon., Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.


Directed by Tengiz Abuladze

(U.S.S.R., 1984, 153 min.)

One of the most important censored films to come off the shelf with the cultural liberalization of the late 1980s, it was the first to deal with the terrors of the Stalin era.

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 22, 2 p.m.

Some Interviews on Personal Matters

(Ramdenime interviu pirad sakitkhebze)

Directed by Lana Gogoberidze

(Georgia/U.S.S.R., 1979, 95 min.)

A young newspaper staffer is passionately involved in her work — interviewing people who have sent letters of complaint to the editor. One of the women she interviews is her mother, and the pair's onscreen relationship evokes the tragic early life of the filmmaker and her own mother.

AFI Silver Theatre

Sun., Feb. 8, 3 p.m.


Beloved Sisters

(Die geliebten Schwestern)

Directed by Dominik Graf

(Germany/Austria/Switzerland, 2014, 170 min.)

"Beloved Sisters" depicts the unconventional romance between two aristocratic sisters and a rebellious poet who took the European literary world by storm in the late 18th century (German and French).

Landmark's E Street Cinema

For Eyes Only

(Streng geheim)

Directed by János Veiczi

(East Germany, 1963, 103 min.)

A double agent tries to steal secret military plans from the headquarters of the American Military Intelligence Division in West Germany while his boss desperately tries to find the mole in his agency.


Mon., Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m.



Haber's Photo Shop

(Fotó Háber)

Directed by Zoltán Várkonyi

(Hungary, 1963, 108 min.)

A secret service man infiltrates a gang to uncover their operation. Behind the front of a photo shop, the group retrieves top-secret information on atomic weapons for a foreign client. As he gets closer to exposing the ring, the undercover agent finds much more than he had expected.


Tue., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.


Human Capital

(Il capitale umano)

Directed by Paolo Virzi

(Italy/France, 2013, 110 min.)

The most acclaimed Italian film this year is told in three intersecting chapters from different character's viewpoints, each revealing more layers of plot, character and a gripping tale of the ultra-rich and their would-be imitators, locked in a tricky social dance of status, money and ambition (Italian and English).

Landmark's E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 27


The Last: Naruto the Movie

Directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi

(Japan, 2014, 112 min.)

Hyuuga Hinata is kidnapped by the alien Ootsutsuki Toneri, and a disheartened Uzumaki Naruto must put himself together to save his new found love, and their budding romance.

Angelika Mosaic and Angelika Pop-Up

Sat., Feb. 21, 12 p.m.,

Mon., Feb. 23, 7 p.m.


Ilo Ilo

Directed by Anthony Chen

(Singapore, 2013, 99 min.)

Set in Singapore, "Ilo Ilo" chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa, who has come like many Filipino women in search of a better life. The entire family needs to adapt to the presence of this stranger, which further threatens their already strained relationship (Mandarin, Tagalog and Hokkien).

Landmark's Bethesda Row Cinema

Sun., Feb. 8, 10 a.m.



Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

(Russia, 2014, 141 min.)

The latest drama from Andrey Zvyagintsev, "Leviathan" is a modern day retelling of the Biblical story of Job set in contemporary Russia.

The Avalon Theatre



Directed by Nikoloz Shengelaia

(U.S.S.R., 1928, 89 min.)

This historical epic evokes the tragic fate of Georgia, a nation pacified in 1864 by the tsarist Russian Empire, as authorities begin to appropriate arable lands and the peasants are forced to evacuate under terrible conditions.

Freer Gallery of Art

Fri., Feb. 13, 7 p.m.

Nail in the Boot

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov

(U.S.S.R., 1932, 54 min.)

The poor quality of a nail in a soldier's boot leads to the defeat of a military unit. Ostensibly an allegory on Soviet industry, this film was banned, its symbolism lost on literal-minded authorities who felt it reflected poorly on the Red Army (screens with "Salt for Svanetia").

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 15, 3:30 p.m.

Salt for Svanetia

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov

(U.S.S.R., 1932, 66 min.)

The film is a haunting portrait of difficult life in a village in the Caucasus cut off by snows from the outside world for most of the year, as patriarchal rituals favor men and death over women (screens with "Nail in the Boot").

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 15, 2 p.m.


Wild Tales

(Relatos Salvajes)

Directed by Damián Szifrón

(Argentina/Spain 2014, 122 min.)

Love, deception, tragedy, violence and everyday detail push people into the undeniable pleasure of losing control.

Landmark's E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 27


The Guitar Mongoloid


Directed by Ruben Östlund

(Sweden, 2004, 89 min.)

Ruben Östlund's feature debut is set in Jöteborg, a fictional Swedish city resembling the director's own hometown of Göteborg. His focus is on outsiders and nonconformists, in particular the titular musician, a young man facing dire obstacles in life (screens with "Incident by a Bank" (2009, 12 min.) and "Autobiographical Scene Number 6882"(2005, 9 min.)).

AFI Silver Theatre

Tue., Feb. 17, 9:30 p.m.


(De ofrivilliga)

Directed by Ruben Östlund

(Sweden, 2009, 98 min.)

Described by Ruben Östlund as "a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy," the director's second feature examines group dynamics and the dark side of human nature in five tales of social discord.

AFI Silver Theatre

Thu., Feb. 12, 9 p.m.


Directed by Ruben Östlund

(Sweden/France, 2011, 118 min.)

This controversial record, inspired by actual court cases, of five black teenagers harassing white and Asian youths through scams and role-playing attracted controversy for its implication that political correctness debilitates society, as "good people" stand by and do nothing for fear of being thought racist.

AFI Silver Theatre

Mon., Feb. 9, 7 p.m.

Smiles of a Summer Night

(Sommarnattens leende)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

(Sweden, 1955, 108 min.)

In frothy, fin-de-siècle Sweden, stage actress Eva Dahlbeck arranges a weekend at her mother's country estate. Guests include her former and current lovers, as well as the two men's ill-matched spouses and a moonstruck maid.

AFI Silver Theatre

Fri., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.,

Sat., Feb. 14, 11 a.m.


Winter Sleep

(Kis uykusu)

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

(Turkey/France/Germany, 2014, 196 min.)

A former actor runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife, with whom he has a stormy relationship, and his sister, who is suffering from her recent divorce.

Angelika Mosaic

Angelika Pop-Up


Events - February 2015

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail








Through Feb. 1

From Neoclassicism to Futurism: Italian Prints and Drawings, 1800–1925

The visual arts in Italy between the first stirrings of nationalistic sentiment and its corruption into Fascism — the long development of the modern Italian state — remained extraordinarily diverse and vital. The National Gallery of Art has in recent years begun to develop a collection of Italian prints and drawings of this period that is surpassed only by the holdings of Italy's principal museums.

National Gallery of Art

Through Feb. 1

Modern American Prints and Drawings from the Kainen Collection

The final in a series of three exhibitions celebrating the generous bequest of Ruth Cole Kainen, this show explores the first seven decades of 20th-century American art.

National Gallery of Art

Through Feb. 1

Modern and Contemporary Art in the Dominican Republic: Works from the Customs Office Collection

This scenic view and historic sketch of 30 artworks showcases the consistency, quality and diversity of the Collection of the Directorate General of Customs, which stands as one of the more important creative spaces in the region.

Art Museum of the Americas

Feb. 1 to May 3

Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence

The first major retrospective exhibition of paintings by the imaginative Italian Renaissance master Piero di Cosimo features 44 of the artist's most compelling paintings, including fanciful mythologies, powerful religious works (one on loan for the first time from the church in Italy for which it was created 500 years ago), and sensitive portraits.

National Gallery of Art

Feb. 1 to Aug. 2

From the Library: Florentine Publishing in the Renaissance

This exhibition presents a variety of books from the late 15th through the early 17th century and explores the development of publishing related to the artistic and scholarly community in Florence.

National Gallery of Art

Feb. 5 to March 29

Cutting-Edge Spanish Crafts

Curated by Tachy Mora, and based in her book "Cutting-Edge Spanish Crafts," this exhibition invites you to discover the contemporary crafts from Spain through a selection of objects by individual crafters and designers, industrial innovators and large firms, including Loewe, Lladró, Cerabella, Apparatu and Peseta.

Spanish Cultural Center

Through Feb. 6

War from the Victims' Perspective: Photographs by Jean Mohr

In partnership with the Swiss Embassy, Geneva-born photographer Jean Mohr presents images of war, from young refugees to destroyed buildings, to mark the 150th anniversaries of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the 1864 Geneva Convention.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Feb. 7 to May 10

Man Ray—Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare

Highlighting the multimedia work of the legendary Surrealist artist, "Man Ray—Human Equations" explores the intersection of art and science that defined a significant component of modern art on both sides of the Atlantic at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Phillips Collection

Through Feb. 13

Martin Karplus: Photographs 1953-2009

Martin Karplus is a chemist, professor emeritus at Harvard University and Nobel laureate who has spent the past 50 years consumed by a passion for documenting humanity in thousands of photographs. Taken in Europe, Asia and the Americas, his photographs capture societies at pivotal moments in their cultural and economic development in rich Kodachrome color.

Embassy of Austria

Through Feb. 15

Candela's Shells: The Reinforced Concrete Shells of Spanish-Mexican Architect Félix Candela

Félix Candela rocked the world of architecture with his renowned concrete shells built in the 1950s and 1960s. This traveling exhibit commemorates the architect's 100th birthday.

Art Museum of the Americas

Through Feb. 16

El Greco in the National Gallery of Art and Washington-Area Collections: A 400th Anniversary Celebration

On the 400th anniversary of El Greco's death, the National Gallery of Art — with one of the largest number of the artist's works in the United States — presents a commemorative exhibition of El Greco's paintings.

National Gallery of Art

Through Feb. 19

New Art Resolutions

Following the photography exhibition "Divinités noires" presented at the Embassy of France last fall during FotoWeek DC, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy is pleased to announce that part of this series by photographers Dany Leriche and Jean Michel Fickinger will be featured in a group exhibition that also includes Félix Ángel, Gaudí Esté, Ana Schmidt and many others.

All We Art

Feb. 19 to July 7

Libertad de Expresión: The Art Museum of the Americas and Cold War Politics

Following the creation of the Organization of American States in 1948, its Visual Arts Section, under the direction of Cuban José Gómez Sicre, began an ambitious exhibition program that would further awareness of the art of the Caribbean and Central and South America in the United States. Sicre's support for international modernism also allied him with U.S. Cold War Warriors, who used freedom of expression as a tool in the cultural and intellectual struggle against the Soviets.

Art Museum of the Americas

Through Feb. 20

Multi-lane H.O.V

This display of diverse visual, mixed media and sculpture art by four young artists from New York-based H.O.V Art plays on themes of individuality, emotion and the always changing, infinitely possible self.

Korean Cultural Center

Through Feb. 26

Decoding the Renaissance

During the Renaissance, the art and science of cryptography came into its own. The advent of printing, development of diplomacy and creation of postal systems created an obsession with encryption that produced some of the period's most brilliant inventions, most beautiful books and most enduring legacies. This exhibition features the best collection ever assembled of early works on codes and ciphers.

Folger Shakespeare Library

Through Feb. 27

Light and Dar: Photographs from Germany by Barbara Klemm

Spanning forty years, Barbara Klemm's works bear witness to Germany's recent history, and to a country that was divided for decades. Many of her pictures have become "icons of contemporary," shaping the cultural memory of several generations.


Through March 6

Primal Connections: Paintings by Deanna Schwartzberg

Deanna Schwartzberg's passionate concern for the environment and keen awareness of the destructive forces that threaten our ability to live in harmony with nature has been the impetus of her work for many years. In her paintings, we enter a world of color and light that inspires us to contemplate the shared presence of humanity and the natural world.

Art Museum of the Americas

Through March 15


"Identidad" showcases the work of Argentinean glassmaker Silvia Levenson, featuring 116 intricate pieces of cast glass baby clothing, an homage to the social movement of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The grandmothers led a campaign to reunite missing grandchildren with their families following the Dirty War, a dark chapter in the country's history.

American University Museum

Katzen Arts Center

Through March 22

Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy

More than 20 works ranging in date from 1400 to 1600 form the first exhibition of its kind to focus on nasta‛liq, a calligraphic script that developed in the 14th century in Iran and remains one of the most expressive forms of aesthetic refinement in Persian culture to this day.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Through April 12

Days of Endless Time

This exhibit presents 14 installations that offer prismatic vantage points into the suspension and attenuation of time or that create a sense of timelessness, with themes such as escape, solitude, enchantment and the thrall of nature.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Through April 12

Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea

For millennia, Mary has been one of the most popular subjects in the history of Western art. This landmark exhibition of more than 60 beautiful depictions of the Virgin Mary explores the concept of womanhood represented by Mary and the power her image has exerted through time.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Through May 15

Hands-On Urbanism. The Right to Green

The research-based exhibition is dedicated to the history of the idea of appropriating land in urban space. Since the shockwave of modernization that accompanied industrialization, towns and cities worldwide have had to face some very significant challenges. City-dwellers, who have always found a number of solutions in crisis situations, are involved in bottom-up urban development, as fruit and vegetable gardens led to other forms of collective cohesion, neighborliness and fair distribution.

Embassy of Austria

Through May 31

Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Yuan Legacy

Landscape painting is one of the most outstanding achievements of Chinese culture. Key styles in this genre emerged during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) and are still followed today.

Freer Gallery of Art

Through May 31

The Traveler's Eye: Scenes of Asia

Featuring more than 100 works created over the past five centuries, "The Traveler's Eye: Scenes of Asia" provides glimpses of travels across the Asian continent, from pilgrimages and research trips to expeditions for trade and tourism.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Through June 7

Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota

Performance and installation artist Chiharu Shiota, Japan's representative at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, will recreate a monumental yet intimate work in the Sackler pavilion that amasses personal memories through an accumulation of nearly 400 individual shoes, each with a note from the donor describing lost individuals and past moments.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Through June 7

Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips

Wendell Phillips, a young paleontologist and geologist, headed one of the largest archaeological expeditions to remote South Arabia (present-day Yemen) from 1949 to 1951. Through a selection of unearthed objects as well as film and photography shot by the expedition team, the exhibition highlights Phillips's key finds, recreates his adventures (and misadventures), and conveys the thrill of discovery on this important great archaeological frontier.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Through June 14

Zen, Tea, and Chinese Art in Medieval Japan

Zen Buddhism, tea and ink painting — well-known expressions of Japanese culture — have their roots in Chinese arts and ideas brought to medieval Japan from the late 12th to the 16th century. Chinese and Japanese paintings, lacquer ware and ceramics illuminate this remarkable period of cultural contact and synthesis.

Freer Gallery of Art

Through Aug. 9

Jacob Lawrence: Struggle ... From the History of the American People

Produced between 1954 and 1956, Jacob Lawrence's "Struggle ... From the History of the American People" portrays scenes from American history, chronicling events from the Revolutionary War through the great westward expansion of 1817.

The Phillips Collection

Through Sept. 13

Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria

This retrospective showcases the work of noted Nigerian photographer Chief S.O. Alonge, the first indigenous photographer of the Royal Court of Benin, in conjunction with royal arts from the Benin kingdom. The collection of historic photographs was captured on Kodak glass-plate negatives and documents more than 50 years of the ritual, pageantry and regalia of the obas (kings), their wives and retainers.

National Museum of African Art



Feb. 18 to 22

The Washington Ballet: Sleepy Hollow

An atmospheric thriller, Washington Irving's classic tale is now being told through the expressive and lush language of ballet. Tickets are $45 to $145.

Kennedy Center



Sat., Feb. 21, 5:30 p.m.

Sizzling Sounds of Cuba

Classical Movements is pleased to announce the next concert of its "Serenade! International Choral Series," featuring one of Cuba's leading a cappella choral ensembles, Camerata Vocale Sine Nomine, a rarity in the rich choral movement in Cuba, with only male singers employing countertenor voices (soprano and alto), tenor and bass. Tickets are $10 to $30 and can be purchased at http://cameratavocalesinenomine.eventbrite.com.

Church of the Epiphany – G Street

Thu., Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.

Hermès Quartet – Embassy of France

The French Embassy opens its doors to celebrate the luminous talent of the Hermès Quartet, whose members the Washington Post praises for their "world-class quartet playing" and says "will likely take their place among the top quartets of our time." Tickets are $75; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.

Embassy of France



Mon., Feb. 16, 3:30 p.m.

Traditional Viennese Concert Café

Join Ambassador Hans Peter Manz, the Austrian Cultural Forum and the American-Austrian Cultural Society for a traditional wiener kaffeehausjause (Viennese café) prepared by Austrian master chef Wilhelm Jonach, with Viennese coffee, tea or a glass of delicious Austrian wine, traditional Belegte Brötchen (open sandwiches), as well as Apfelstrudel mit Schlagobers (apple strudel with whipped cream) and exquisite petit fours. This year's program features musical entertainment by noted pianist and conductor Stan Engebretson of George Mason University and rising young soprano star Aundi Marie Moore. Tickets are $45.

Embassy of Austria

Fri., Feb. 20, 7 p.m.

11th Annual Viennese Ball at the Austrian Embassy

Experience a magical evening at the Austrian Embassy for an unforgettable Viennese celebration of music, food, wine and dancing. The Salon Orchestra of Washington will perform favorite Strauss waltzes, ballroom music from around the world and the famous Radetsky Grand March. This is also a great opportunity for a private viewing of the embassy's artwork while enjoying the elegant atmosphere of a European Ball and meeting international professionals and members of the diplomatic community. Tickets start at $75; to purchase visit www.internationalclubdc.com.

Embassy of Austria


Sat., Feb. 21, 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Chance for Life

This one-of-a-kind charity event will raise awareness for Pediatric Spinal Cord Cancer Research at the Sphinx Club. Celebrating its 10th anniversary with over $1 million raised to date, Chance for Life will host special guests such as former Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs, former NFL player Brian Mitchell, NBC 4 anchor Jim Vance and Brian Jarosinski of "The Bachelorette"; along with a poker tournament (including a $10,000 grand prize entry to the World Series of Poker); wine tasting; gourmet hors d'oeuvres; live music; and an after party. Kennedy Snyder, a 14-year-old who has had spinal cord cancer for the past 12 years, is the driving force behind this event. For information and tickets, visit www.chanceforlife.net.

The Sphinx Club

Thu., Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m.

Bella Notte: An Evening to Benefit Pediatric Brain Tumor Research

The third annual Bella Notte Benefit, held under the patronage of Ambassador of Italy Claudio Bisogniero and his wife, supports the launch of a national multi-center trial for children with mutated high-grade glimoas, a previously untreatable brain tumor. Together with the National Brain Tumor Society and Children's National, this year's committee has designed an Italian soirée featuring cocktails, live performances, exclusive silent auction items and a stage for the voice of our patients and families who have been touched by these difficult diagnoses. Tickets are $150; for information visit https://nbtsevents.braintumor.org/washington/events/2015-bella-notte/e38862

Embassy of Italy



Feb. 4 to 21


In his majestic sequel to Shakespeare's "Macbeth," presented by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Shakespeare Company, playwright David Greig has taken Scotland's real history and dramatically mixed it with the setting of Shakespeare's play, one of the most famous landscapes in literature, even though Shakespeare himself never set foot on Scottish soil. Tickets are $20 to $110.

Shakespeare Theatre Company

Sidney Harman Hall

Feb. 5 to March 1

Los Empeños de una Casa

(House of Desires)

Don Pedro loves Doña Leonor who loves Don Carlos, who is desired by Doña Ana in this romantic Spanish Golden Age comedy of intrigue that mixes lyrical poetry, puns, songs, cross-dressing, and mistaken identities. Please call for ticket information.

GALA Hispanic Theatre

Feb. 6 to March 8

King Hedley II

With an angry scar down the length of his face and seven years of prison haunting him, King has a chance to lock away his past and achieve an entrepreneurial dream, but Pittsburgh's Hill District is an unforgiving place. Tickets are $45 to $90.

Arena Stage

Feb. 11 to March 22

Much Ado About Nothing

Confirmed bachelor Benedick and the equally spirited and unwed Beatrice will spar, court and conspire in Synetic's 11th "Wordless Shakespeare" adaptation — a flirtatious and fiercely funny show set in 1950s Las Vegas. Tickets start at $35.

Synetic Theater

Through Feb. 12


Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Eric Schaeffer directs a world premiere production of Lerner and Loewe's musical comedy, where true love between a free-spirited young woman and a wealthy young playboy must overcome the conventions of turn-of-the-century Paris. Tickets are $45 to $145.

Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

Feb. 12 to March 8

No Hay Que Llorar

(No Need to Cry)

Teatro de la Luna's hilarious comedy, in Argentina's Grotesque genre, unfolds as a family comes together at a reunion to celebrate their matriarch's birthday. The mother's greed and the non-conformance, selfishness and deceit at the gathering reveal the true and gritty feel of this middle-class family, with alarming hints at decay. Tickets are $20 to $35.

Gunston Arts Center

Feb. 21 to March 10

Dialogues of the Carmelites

Faith is put to the ultimate test in Poulenc's powerful opera about an order of Carmelite nuns who refuse to renounce their beliefs during the French Revolution. Washington National Opera Artistic Director Francesca Zambello directs this company premiere, sung in English. Tickets are $25 to $300.

Kennedy Center

Through Feb. 22

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

Five actors deftly portray more than 40 characters in this fast-paced, comedic retelling of Sherlock Holmes's most notorious case, "The Hound of the Baskervilles," by the award-winning mastermind of mayhem, Ken Ludwig. Tickets are $45 to $90.

Arena Stage

Through Feb. 22

Choir Boy

For 50 years, the elite boarding school Charles R. Drew Prep has stood by its traditions and prepared young black men to lead. But times and finances have changed, and the pressure on Drew's legendary gospel choir is high. So when an ambitious and talented student is told to ignore a gay slur to take his place as the choir's leader, he has to decide who he is and what he's willing to fight for. Tickets are $44 to $88.

Studio Theatre

Through March 8

Mary Stuart

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, has been imprisoned under charges of attempted regicide. Her captor and cousin Queen Elizabeth I cannot bring herself to sign the death decree. In a society where women are considered inferior, these two queens charged with ruling as kings battle sexism, greed, lust and each other in Peter Oswald's bold new translation of Friedrich Schiller's "Mary Stuart." Tickets are $40 to $75.

Folger Shakespeare Library


Classifieds - February 2015

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail




Real Estate Classifieds - February 2015

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail




Follow The Diplomat: icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-linkedin icon-rss instagram