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24

MONDAY

I’m sure you’ve often wondered why they changed the milieu from bank to museum in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. Why, because an art thief has much more je ne sais quoi, of course! A millionaire playboy who risks his neck for a little more coin—even if played by the pipin’-hot Steve McQueen—has nothing on the cultured rascal who drools after priceless artworks (and whose raging libido commands him to knock boots on an uncomfortable-looking marble staircase, but I digress). Alas, art thefts rarely make it into the news unless the loss is considerable, as it was in the 1990 caper at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Because the wily devils of the stolen-art underground don’t skulk around wearing black turtlenecks and headlamps, the case remains unsolved, with paintings by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, and Vermeer still unaccounted for. Don’t expect to see Rene Russo’s breasts when art historian Karen Alexis discusses major thefts of the last two decades in “Art Thefts, Stolen Heritage” at 6:30 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. $35. (202) 357-3030. (Anne Marson)