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SATURDAY & SUNDAY
U Street’s Lincoln Theatre was once the premier venue for African-American entertainment in the District: a place where Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughan (among others) played to packed houses in the heart of “Black Broadway.” In addition to live entertainment, the Lincoln exhibited first-run movies that weren’t accessible to black audiences in the segregated movie houses of downtown D.C. Since its 1994 reopening, however, the Lincoln has screened few films. The number rises with this weekend’s “African American Film Feast.” For Real (at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23), directed by and starring Tim Reid, tells the story of a music mogul forced to care for a troubled girl (Tamara Curry) by one of those irony-loving on-screen judges. Flying sparks? Certainly. Also screening is Imitation of Life (at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22), which first played to Lincoln Theatre audiences nearly 70 years ago. The 1934 tearjerker stars Claudette Colbert as a single mother who takes in a destitute black maid (Louise Beavers) and her daughter and stealser, marketsthe maid’s recipe for Aunt Jemima’ser, Aunt Delilah’spancake mix. The film, which earned a Best Picture nomination, examines racial identity as the maid’s daughter, ashamed of her mother’s pancake salesmanship, tries to pass for white. The 1959 Douglas Sirk remake found its way into last year’s 8 Mile, a canny reference to co-star Brittany Murphy’s search for her own racial identity. The films screen Saturday, Feb. 22, and Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Lincoln Theater, 1215 U St. NW. (202) 432-7328; see Showtimes for details. (Josh Levin)