There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Jersey gets no respect. One of a handful of locales frequently designated “America’s armpit” (along with Worcester, Mass., and Cleveland, Ohio), the Garden State conjures images of toll booths, obscurely named rest stops, and the grease-stained, sweat-pants-wearing degenerates one encounters therein. But the Most Shat Upon State has made important cultural contributions as well. Let us not forget the Boss (Champion of the Shat-Upon) or Thomas Edison, whose West Orange, N.J., studio is the Black Maria Film Festival’s namesake. A diverse range of film and video submissions—mostly shorts and heavy on the art—are selected and annually sent on tour, landing this week at the Hirshhorn. The cornerstone of the program is Hugo Perez’s 2003 “The Old Man and Hemingway,” a brief documentary about Giorgio Fuentes, the famed novelist’s boat captain for more than 20 years. Other winning selections include Emily and Sara Kunstler’s “Getting Through to the President,” an eight-minute short in which random people are given coins and asked to dial up the president’s comment line; “The Guilt Trip, or the Vatican Takes a Holiday,” Lisa Barcy’s stop-motion short in which Catholic icons run amok in a broken-down church while Jesus and Mary—Magdalene, that is—take a road trip; and “Amongst the Persuaded,” a short by Silver Spring filmmaker Fred Worden, which the festival’s Web site unhelpfully describes thus: “Another tree falls in the forest; another filmmaker switches to digital video.” The program screens at 8 p.m. (see Showtimes for other dates) in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th Street and Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Chris Hagan)