Don’t Be Bored: Russian Barons and Italian Punx
A Russian billionaire! Money laundering! Oil squandering! A nation hung up on Soviet-era political power games! Khodorkovsky is German director Cyril Tuschi’s largely flattering account of Mikhail Khodorkovsky—once the richest oligarch in Russia, but now just a guy who’s done time in Siberian and Finnish work camps. Khodorkovsky’s crimes? Fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and oil theft—well, maybe. Tuschi’s film obviously favors the fallen billionaire, who was arrested in 2003—on a plane by a gang of hooded goons, no less—and sent back to the labor camps in a 2010 retrial. The 48-year-old baron claims he got locked up because he crossed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, first by re-entering politics to support a rival candidate after promising to quit, and later by blowing the whistle on corruption in Putin’s Kremlin. If you’re bored by political dick-measuring contests, never fear: The film also features some rather engrossing black-and-white animated segments, including one in which Khodorkovsky takes a Scrooge McDuckesque swim in a pile of gold coins. The film opens tonight and shows all week at E Street Cinema. $11. (Alex Baca)
Civilian Art Projects is behind this cool-looking late-night show at Warehouse Theater: Man Forever (ex-Oneida), Heavy Breathing (ex-The Apes), and Plasma Expander (from Italy) play the space at 10:30 p.m. Plus DJs. $10.
The Iranian Film Festival continues tonight and Sunday with two showings of Here Without Me, an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. 7 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Freer Gallery. Free.
All weekend, National Geographic is showing this year's Oscar-nominated foreign films; it starts this evening with a sold-out showing of A Separation, and continues Saturday and Sunday with Bullhead, Footnote, In Darkness, and Monsieur Lazhar. Visit Nat Geo's site for details.
The guys in Dead Milkmen didn’t come across as the bookworms of the so-called college rock scene. For most of the 1980s, singers Rodney Anonymous and Joe Jack Talcum were content to dish out material like “Bitchin’ Camaro” and “The Puking Song” to fans who were at the same level of sophistication. Then, in 1991, Hollywood Records came calling. It ranks as one of the more famous head-scratchers in the history of punxploitation, up there with The Circle Jerks’ 1994 major-label deal. Suddenly, The Dead Milkmen went legit. They dropped the gross-out humor. They took songwriting seriously. Not surprisingly, they totally flopped (as did The Circle Jerks). Turns out people like the dumb stuff. The Milkmen never got to be the next Blink-182 or LMFAO, but on this reunion tour—or maybe just in my dreams—they’re gunning for a second chance. Having followed cohorts Camper Van Beethoven and Mission of Burma out of retirement, the Milkmen are still acting like grown-ups—their 2011 album The King in Yellowreferences critical theory journal The Baffler—but if you ask nicely tonight, they just might play “Takin’ Retards to the Zoo.” 7 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. $18. (Mike Paarlberg)
Saturday and Sunday, Daniel Burkholder and Sharon Mansur perform "Sightlines," an evening-length piece that comes recommended from City Paper dance writer Amanda Abrams: "Longtime collaborators and improvisers extraordinaire, Burkholder and Mansur are silky dancers who fill a space with movement that’s alternately athletic and subtle, but always contains an element of watchfulness," wrote Abrams in last week's Spring Arts Guide. The duo performs Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. at Dance Place. $22.
Also on Saturday: A free show of vibey guitar tones at Red Onion Books and Records, courtesy local dude Insect Factory and New York's Luciernaga. 6 p.m.
You don’t need to be Iranian to appreciate the classical music of Homayoun Shajarian and Hesar Ensemble. The 36-year-old Shajarian started young, singing alongside his famous vocalist father Mohammad Reza Shajarian at age 10, and went on to study the fiddle-like kamancheh at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. After years performing behind his father, Shajarian finally stepped to the front of the stage on the 2001 Masters of Persian Music tour. Non-Farsi speakers should cast aside any fears of a language barrier: His dramatic, operatic delivery, combined with his ensemble’s urgent percussion and strings, bears cross-cultural appeal. That’s not to say he plays pop—his is modal music that does not use chords in the Western sense. But it is not atonal. In fact, Shajarian’s mournful vocal style has a lot in common with that of Jewish cantors. Although some might differ in their interpretations of Shajarian’s genre, most would agree that he’s one of its leading lights. 8 p.m. at the Lisner Auditorium. $45–$65. (Steve Kiviat)