Andiamo, everybody. The Senator Theatre, in conjunction with the Little Italy Restaurant Association and the community of Little Italy, will kick off an open-air Italian film festival tonight in the parking lot at High and Stiles streets.
The program of the festival, which will unspool over consecutive Friday nights this summer, has yet to be determined, but tonight's show will be a screening of "Heart and Soul," a rarely-seen film from the late 1940s by Vittorio DeSica ("Shoeshine," "The Bicycle Thief"). The feature will be preceded by a short film of Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC orchestra in a program of music by Giuseppe Verdi. The show starts at 9 p.m., rain or moon. Admission is free. Some chairs will be provided, but film-goers are recommended to bring a lawn chair for their viewing comfort. The festival starts in earnest July 2.
Drag yourself to `Freeda'
"Freeda Slave: Mask of a Diva," a one-man show starring Dale Guy Madison and written by Darryl LeMont Wharton ("Detention"), will be performed tonight and Saturday at 14-Karat Cabaret, Baltimore's premiere showcase for underground, alternative and otherwise mind-expanding performance art and film.
Performances begin at 9 p.m. Admission is $8 ("drag queens admitted free"). The 14-Karat Cabaret is located in the basement of Maryland Art Place, 208 W. Saratoga St. Call 410-752-7191.
Get out that Jabba costume
The "Star Wars"/"Phantom Menace" Web site has declared Saturday "`Star Wars' Fan Day." Jason Freiert, coordinator of the site at www.swfans.net, created the day "for fans who wish to relive all the magic and wonder of `The Phantom Menace's' opening day." Freiert encourages fans to "bring their family and friends, throw Fan Day parties, and dress up as their favorite `Star Wars' character." For Maryland-specific information about how to celebrate Fan Day, visit www.prequelnet.com. And we thought every day was "Star Wars" Fan Day
Diaz movie to be made here
Director Larry Holden will bring actors Cameron Diaz, Josh Charles and Howard Kiehl to Baltimore in August, when they will begin filming Holden's feature debut "My Father's House." The drama, to be shot in Harford County and Bel Air, is about a young man whose life undergoes a transformation in the six days before he buries his father.
Holden, who met Charles when both lived in Baltimore in the 1980s, said he will cast a number of roles in Maryland, including one for a white woman in her mid-thirties who can adopt an Austrian/German accent, a 6-year-old girl with dark brown hair and hazel eyes, a 4-year-old girl, a 60- to 70-year-old white man, a black woman in her 40s or 50s, an 18-year-old black man, a black woman in her 60s to 70s, a black woman in her mid-30s, and a 4-year-old black girl. Send pictures and resumes to The Dougal Brothers, c/o Holden Automotive & Culver Street Films, PMB #259, 9350 Snowden River Parkway, Suite F, Columbia, Md. 21045.
`Blair Witch' screening
On June 30, the Maryland Film Festival will present a preview screening of "The Blair Witch Project," one of the most talked-about films to come out of Sundance this year. Filmmakers Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick will introduce the film, which they shot in rural Maryland, and answer questions afterward.
"The Blair Witch Project" is the firsthand account of three student filmmakers who venture into the Maryland countryside to discover the truth behind the local legend of the Blair Witch. It opens in theaters July 16.
Maryland Film Festival founder Jed Dietz said he hopes to sponsor similar events throughout the year leading up to the second edition of the festival. "Hopefully they'll help us define our quirkly little personality and entertain people," he said. He added that although Artisan Pictures, the distributor of "The Blair Witch Project," has been uneasy about over-exposing the movie, "the filmmakers were interested in coming here because they got a lot of cooperation from the community in making the film."
Tickets to the June 30 screening of "The Blair Witch Project" at the Charles Theatre are $20. There will be a reception after the movie in the Charles lobby, with snacks provided by California Pizza Kitchen. Call 410-752-8083.
Waters to be honored
Congratulations to John Waters, who will receive a Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the Provincetown (Mass.) International Film Festival on Saturday night. "Divine Trash," Steve Yeager's documentary about Waters' early career, will also be shown at P-town this weekend, then will travel to the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival next weekend.