Best Of This Week

December 16, 2007

ART

SOLEDAD SALAME / / 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon-5 p.m. Saturday by appointment. Goya Contemporary, 3000 Chestnut Ave., Suite 214. Free. 410-366-2001 or goyacontemporary .com.

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Salame's art is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of the natural environment and humanity's collective responsibility for its stewardship. At Goya Contemporary, her recent mixed-media paintings reflect her continuing fascination with the world's watery places and the flora and fauna that inhabit them. The show includes a stunning, large-scale, dye-cut sublimation print on aluminum titled Continents of Water that marries Salame's talent for elegant minimalist design with the latest digital-imaging technology.

FOR THE RECORD - Today's scheduled screening of The Third Man at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, as reported in today's Arts and Life calendar, has been canceled. Screenings on Tuesday and Saturday will take place as scheduled.
The Sun regrets the error.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

CLASSICAL

HANDEL'S MESSIAH / / 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Dec. 23. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. $15-$30. 202-470-2608 or missiontix.com.

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The American Opera Theater, founded in 2002 by Peabody alumnus Timothy Nelson, has spiced up recent seasons with such novelties as a circus-themed version of Handel's Acis and Galatea, complete with a soprano singing an aria while slowly spinning upside down.

So it ought to be very interesting to see what this group does in what is billed as a "fully staged production" of Handel's oratorio Messiah. Nelson promises "an ecumenical portrait of human struggle and redemption in an abstract dramatic style that is at once ritual and theater."

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[TIM SMITH]

FILM

THE THIRD MAN / / 9:30 p.m. today; 7 p.m. Tuesday; 5:30 p.m. Saturday. AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. 301-495-6700 or afi.com / silver.

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The Museum of Modern Art tribute to the courageous, resourceful and altogether invaluable Rialto Pictures kicks off this weekend with The Third Man, one of the many works of unsung filmmakers such as Alberto Lattuada, Jules Dassin and Jean-Pierre Melville that Rialto's founder, Bruce Goldstein, and his partner, Adrienne Halpern, have lovingly restored for U.S. distribution. The Third Man is a great kickoff film for this festival; it features Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton and the writing-directing team of Graham Greene and Carol Reed at its peak. Consider these ingredients: A divided city with a multinational peacekeeping force; a slippery villain who has no pangs of conscience about peddling diluted penicillin; an American who believes in a cowboy code of honor. Add camerawork that views everything at a quizzical angle and a tingling melancholy score for a single instrument -- the zither -- and you've got a movie that is amazingly up-to-the-minute five decades after its premiere.

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

HOLIDAY FILMS

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE / / Carol at 1:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. today; Life at 11 a.m., 3:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. today. The Senator, 5904 York Road. $6 worth of nonperishable food items or $6 at the box office, benefiting the Maryland Food Bank. 410-435-8338 or senator.com.

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Remaking Dickens' A Christmas Carol has become a minor industry. Although every Scrooge, from George C. Scott to Mr. Magoo, has legions of fans, you can find the hands-down best in the 1951 British version: Alastair Sim's stylish caricature of a man who gets passionate satisfaction from tightness and meanness.

The love-it-or-hate-it essential American Christmas movie remains Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. At its best, it's a beguiling ode to a small-town American life that no longer exists, and possibly never did. James Stewart is superb as the village good guy who never rises in the world because he's too busy giving a shoulder-up to every friend and member of his family. What George Orwell rightly said was Dickens' theme is also Capra's: "If men would behave decently, the world would be decent."

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

HOME AND GARDEN

HOLIDAY TREES DISPLAY / / 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, through Dec. 24. River Farm (American Horticultural Society headquarters), 7931 E. Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, Va. Free. 703-768-5700, Ext. 114, or ahs.org.

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Visitors are invited to see festively decorated holiday trees at the River Farm house, headquarters of the American Horticultural Society in Alexandria, Va. Local floral designers are participating in this extravaganza through Dec. 24.

The farm is also a collection site for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off in the front foyer of the house tomorrow. The estate is closed Dec. 25 through Jan. 1.

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[KARLAYNE PARKER]

POP MUSIC

ONEREPUBLIC / / 7:30 p.m. Wednesday 9:30 Club, 815 V St. N.W., Washington. $15. 800-955-5566 or 930.com.

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