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28

FRIDAY

To kick off its series on “unsung musicals,” the Library of Congress taps 1980’s Xanadu, a low-rent Moulin Rouge in which muse Kira (Olivia Newton-John) inspires frustrated painter Sonny (Michael Beck) and Glenn Miller-era clarinetist-turned-construction-magnate Danny (Gene Kelly) to open a rock ‘n’ roller swing club. Ironic fun? Maybe: Uber-fromage FX abound, and a sequence in which ’40s swingers and ’80s rockers duel for the soul of the titular club giddily camps out. Gene Kelly fills his roller skates with just enough grace for the sight to be enjoyed for what it is, but even the vintage costumes get tired after a while. Worse are the scrawny narrative and shallow art-vs.-commerce talk, which would go down more easily if the genre-hopping dance-sequence climax were a little crisper and, well, more climatic. The library, for its part, maintains that Xanadu stems from an age of a “dangerously, daringly tenuous hold on the harmonic, terpsichorean, and celluloid aesthetic.” Decide for yourself at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Joe Dempsey)