We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
The first time Slamdance—now, with the addition of Cologne as a venue, an international event—ventured outside of Utah, it came to the Hirshhorn, which began an annual program of the anti-Sundance upstart’s highlights back in 1996. Every spring since, the festival of work by first-time filmmakers has sent a selection of its entries to Washington. The 2002 fest drew a record 2,468 submissions, which the organizers winnowed to 12 features and 12 shorts. At the Hirshhorn, these 24 have been reduced to four, of which two screen tonight. Only the short, Lisa Yu’s Vessel Wrestling (pictured), was previewable. It’s claymation with an interesting array of textures—including jello, hair, and various unidentified fluids—and a “blood-sugar-sex-magic” kick, as cinematic protoplasm takes the form of a woman and a man, and then reaches erotic meltdown. Yu has a way with nearly liquid clay that Gumby might find lascivious. Perhaps all you need to know about tonight’s feature, Easy Listening, is that it features music by the 101 Strings. Pamela Corkey’s film is the tale of a sad, divorced, middle-aged trumpet player who hates his gig with a lite-jazz group. But he re-examines his ambitions for tortured self-expression when he meets an attractive young flutist who prefers fluffy pop-jazz to earthier styles of music. The program will be introduced by two Slamdance veterans, 2002 juror Gabe Wardell and animator Rachel Max, a prize winner in 2001. The show begins at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)