WEDNESDAY

If you haven’t seen Todd Haynes’ 1987 effort, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, it’s because, well, you’re not supposed to. Haynes’ use of Barbie dolls in place of live actors underlined the ubiquitous connection cultural critics draw between female body image and the popular Mattel icon, but his effort was for naught: When the film gained notoriety on the festival circuit, Haynes was promptly hit with a lawsuit by Karen’s brother, Richard. Given that Haynes hadn’t secured the rights to any of the songs used in the film, its banishment was a foregone conclusion. Later attempts to obtain Richard Carpenter’s blessing included an offer by Haynes to screen the film only at health clinics and courses for the benefit of an anorexia research center in Karen’s name and a 1991 open letter to Richard from Entertainment Weekly film critic Owen Gleiberman. Both overtures, predictably, were rebuffed. Though the musician’s motivation was ostensibly financial, it’s tempting to believe that Richard’s unflattering portrayal in the film—by, uh, “Ken”—is also behind his litigiousness. But what is it about banning art that all but assures it will be sought out by more people than it would have otherwise? As anybody who’s been to a library or an idealistic high-school English teacher’s classroom knows, an easy way to celebrate freedom is to read a banned book, and today illegal file sharing has advanced the widespread availability of not only terrible pop songs and freakish porn subgenres, but also martyred films such as Superstar. For the less computer-savvy, screenings still occur occasionally, as one will at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, at Provisions Library, 1611 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free ($5 suggested donation). (202) 299-0460. (Chris Hagan)

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