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Monday, May 16, 2011

Fire and Ice in Reston Is Worth a Visit

I don't think that I have previously told you to head to the Greater Reston Arts Center - or GRACE as it is known - in this space, but I am now. The Reston Art Show is this coming weekend - May 21 and 22 - so that's a perfect time to see what might be the best thing there.  An art installation by Heidi Neff that is really spectacular in its scope, vision and beauty. She calls it Fire and Ice, inspired by the Robert Frost poem that goes like this:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

The piece is about 8 feet high, 17 feet long and six feet wide. It contains 8 huge panels that divide into 98 separate drawings of conservatives (in ice) and liberals (in fire) and ceilings that remind one of the great ceilings of Italy. Why not 100 panels, someone asked Neff. Who's counting, she said. This seemed right and indeed it does. It will show until June 10.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Bang Bang Club Gives Good Take on War Photographers

In another lesson of, "don't listen to reviews," our Art House Meetup group went to see The Bang Bang Club on Saturday night at the West End Cinema where it continues this week. It's an extraordinary film, mostly because it's based on the true story of a group of photographers in South Africa in the last years before Mandela was elected president. These four guys do everything with style, flair, crazy courage and talent. Two of them win Pulitzer Prizes, and inevitably bad things happen from the risks they take. I think some of the criticism of the film has come from the parts where they go out drinking and show another side, but it seemed pretty reasonable considering the violence they preactically run into on a daily basis. Also I read that the timing was bad considering the death of photographer/director Tim Hetherington in Libya last week. I think that timing makes it a bit body-tingling; the stuff these photographers do in war scenes is real - and crazy.
It's beautifully filmed with some too-real-to-believe riot scenes. As some fact-based films have done lately, it shows us real photos at the end of the people and some events, and it sure looks like a lot did happen close to the way it's shown. Ryan Philippe does well in the lead role, able to portray enough vulnerability and humanity to go along with the craziness. Josh told us that the co-author of the book, Greg Marinovich, was in Washingtopn last week to visit the other co-author, Joao Silva, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan and is now at Walter Reed Hospital. Without notice, Marinovich visited the West End Cinema. It's a shame he couldn't have done a talk. Also a shame that the DC Film Festival could not have landed this film for opening night - with writer/director Steven Silver, Phillippe and Marinovich - instead of the awful Potiche - with nobody. That would have been amazing and I'm sure the Canadian Embassy would have gotten involved. (Many Canadian groups are thanked in the credits.)
Try to see this film if you can.