There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Captaining a riverboat was clearly not a career for any character played by Buster Keaton, whose deadpan demeanor was usually set off hilariously by catastrophe. In 1928’s Steamboat Bill, Jr., Keaton plays a wimpy college grad who returns to his small Southern hometown, where he reluctantly helps his virile father battle a business rival as a series of physical gags escalates to a climactic cyclone. The movie is an exemplary showcase for Keaton’s distinctive style, which was rooted in live vaudeville—where the comedian began working at age 3—but flowered on celluloid. This screening is also the Washington premiere of an eclectic, allusive score written for the classic comedy by Maryland composer Anne Watts, commissioned by Baltimore’s Walters Art Gallery and first performed in 1998. Watts and her six-piece band, Boister, will perform the score live, adding an element of spontaneity to Keaton’s impeccably timed slapstick. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Natural History Museum’s Baird Auditorium, 10th and Constitution Avenue NW. $20. (202) 357-3030. (Mark Jenkins)