Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Michelle Rhee at Sundance Edition

Good morning! Sundance continues! Yesterday saw the premiere of The Runaways, the eponymous biopic of the all-girl hard rock band that spawned the careers of Lita Ford and Joan Jett.

But the buzziest film of the weekend, Waiting for Superman, is on a slightly dryer subject. No, it has nothing to do with the Flaming Lips. It's the latest documentary from An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim, and its subject is a touchy one in D.C.: Education reform. Paramount Vantage bought the worldwide rights to the film last week—before it even screened to the public.

The movie features a number of education leaders from across the country, including D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. From the description from the Sundance Web site:

Embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools, and ultimately questioning the role of unions in maintaining the status quo, Guggenheim offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have—in reshaping the culture—refused to leave their students behind.

Methinks not everyone in town will be lining up to see Waiting for Superman at E Street Cinema a few months from now.

(Roger Ebert liked it.)

- Gawky cartoon birds and syrupy, middle-of-the-road folk-pop rarely net so much ink, but I'm glad that an animation studio may be opening in Northern Virginia. Here's the piece from yesterday's Washington Post Magazine. And here's a clip from the first short from Charlotte Rinderknecht's new outfit:

- Conan O'Brien's final Tonight Show. "Free Bird"—led by Will Ferrell—starts around the 36-minute mark.

- A woman tripped and put a hole in a Picasso at the Met on Friday. Not nearly as funny as when casino magnate Steve Wynn poked a hole in Picasso's "Le Rêve" after selling it for $139 million.

- Avatar is now the second highest-grossing film of all time—after that other film James Cameron made.

- The Film Neu festival runs through Thursday. Here's what Matt Sibo has to say:

Organized annually by the Goethe-Institut, the Embassy of Switzerland, and the Austrian Cultural Forum, the minifestival once again invades E Street Cinema for seven nights of programming both anticipated and obscure. Two of last year’s selections, Jerichow and Revanche, went on to mild stateside acclaim, the latter garnering an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film. Though this year’s lineup won’t offer its attendees Oscar-party bragging rights (“Hey, I saw that one!”), most of the screenings are East Coast or U.S. premieres.

Showing tonight at 7 and 9:15 p.m.: Tandoori Love.

- Tonight in City Lights: Ping pong at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Mike Riggs is into it:

Most bar games really shouldn’t be played in bars. Darts, for instance, requires its players to throw sharp objects a distance of many feet while drunk people wander between them and their target. Pool demands other patrons give you an obnoxiously wide berth while you bend over an obnoxiously large table and jab an obnoxiously long stick out behind you. Card playing, well, that just leads to fightin’. But seeing as it’s the least appropriate games that make it into the bar, H Street party people will no doubt welcome Rock & Roll Ping-Pong to the Rock & Roll Hotel with open arms and due belligerence.


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