Best Of This Week

May 04, 2008

ART

THE GREAT MIGRATION / / 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. N.W., Washington. $8-$10. 202-387-2151 or phillipscollection.org.

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All 60 panels of Jacob Lawrence's groundbreaking visual epic of the largest internal migration in U.S. history, the movement of rural Southern blacks to the urban North, are reunited in this spectacular exhibition, created when the artist was still in his 20s. This is the work that put African-American art on the map when it was first exhibited in the 1940s.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

POP MUSIC

ERYKAH BADU AND THE ROOTS / / 7 p.m. Saturday. Pier Six Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave. $53-$93. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com.

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Two of the most ambitious acts in R&B and hip-hop team up for what is sure to be one of the hottest urban shows of the summer. Erykah Badu's latest album, New Amerykah Part 1 (The 4th World War), is a challenging, turgid set of elliptical songs with a sharp political slant. It's one of the best CDs released so far this year. And the Roots continues its artful expansion of hip-hop boundaries on its new album, Rising Down. The show is sure to stretch the soul and mind.

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

ANNAPOLIS

FIRST SUNDAY ARTS FESTIVAL / / Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Inner West Street, Annapolis. Free. 410-741-3267 or goweststreet.com.

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This outdoor festival highlights local performing and visual artists from May through October. Today's program includes the Jordan Tice Duo and the Rob Levit Group.

Towson University student and accomplished bluegrass musician Jordan Tice has performed at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival and the Athy Bluegrass Festival in Ireland. The Rob Levit Group has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center and the Ottowa International Jazz Festival.

The event also includes a wide variety of vendors, including Sunya Designs, Rags to Stitches, Beadquest, C. Farrel Johnson Fine Arts and many others.

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[JENNIFER CHOI]

TELEVISION

THIS AMERICAN LIFE / / 10 p.m. tonight. Showtime.

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The TV version of this public radio treasure returns for its second season tonight. Host Ira Glass says he and his radio troupe are starting to have some fun making television, and it shows in tonight's season premiere. Tonight's theme is escape, Glass says in an opening segment. Featured are inner-city teens in Philadelphia who find a sense of dignity on horseback and the coming of age of a young man in Florida who battles disabilities. A special treat: Listen for the way in which actor Johnny Depp helps him find his voice. The visual imagery is often as poetic as the words this season.

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

THEATER

JULIUS CAESAR AND ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA / / Showtimes vary. Through July 6. Shakespeare Theatre, 610 F St. N.W., Washington. $23.50-$79.75. 202-547-1122 or shakespearedc.org.

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The Bard's dynamic duo, when performed in repertoire, should yield intriguing insights into the nature of political ambition. Julius Caesar is a profound meditation on power and on the malleable nature of public opinion. Antony and Cleopatra contains many of the same characters, older but not necessarily wiser. Marc Antony and his Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, were the original power couple -- not unlike, perhaps, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

"We thought it would be interesting to put the two together and see which characters function similarly in both plays," Michael Kahn, the Shakespeare Theatre's artistic director, says in a news release. "The melding of the two stories should provide a very interesting narrative, and I think we'll find these stories to be especially timely in a politically charged year."

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[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

CLASSICAL

CHAMBER MUSIC BY CANDLELIGHT / / 7:30 tonight at Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St. Free. 410-744-4034, communitycon certsatsecond.org.

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The Chamber Music by Candlelight series presented by Community Concerts at Second is one of the best bargains in the area -- free performances featuring members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. But it also boasts some of the most consistently imaginative programming around. Tonight's season finale includes the Quartet for the End of Time by the almost mystical French composer Olivier Messiaen, who wrote it while interned in a prisoner of war camp during World War II. Music doesn't get more original, riveting or profound than this. The concert also includes Grieg's romantic Violin Sonata No. 3 and Ravel's shimmering String Quartet. On tonight's roster are cellists Ilya Finkelshteyn and Seth Low, violist Peter Minkler, violinist Greg Mulligan and clarinetist Steven Barta, among others.

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[TIM SMITH]

DVD

I'M NOT THERE / / Available Tuesday. Weinstein Co. Two-disc collector's edition DVD: $29.99.

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One of last year's boldest films -- not just one portrait of Bob Dylan, but six, featuring half a dozen actors taking on aspects of the music icon -- proved largely an exercise for hardcore fans. While the movie was too esoteric for general audiences, it features captivating performances, including the Academy Award-nominated turn by Cate Blanchett in a spot-on rendition of the Dylan-goes-electric era of the mid-1960s. In one of his last roles, Heath Ledger also does Dylan, along with Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin and Ben Whishaw. The DVD has commentary and a conversation with director Todd Haynes, nine deleted scenes, a music video and a making-of segment. Also included are audition reels by Whishaw and Franklin.

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[ASSOCIATED PRESS]

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