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4

TUESDAY

Before “news” streamed at us 24 hours a day from every angle and millions of sources, the Information Superhighway was more of a one-way street. On issues large and small, we the people were “educated” by government agencies and large corporations through short films on such topics as What to Do on a Date, Two-Ford Freedom, and The Relaxed Wife. An industry rivaling Hollywood existed to create works that were more propaganda than entertainment. Today, these movies seem so naive as to be laughable, often hysterically so. But Rick Prelinger isn’t just laughing. The archivist has collected thousands of such public-domain productions, made from the ’30s to the ’70s, and he sees beyond the bad acting and goofy narration. In his lecture “On the Road in Motion Pictures,” Prelinger discusses how the hidden agendas of stuff like Your Esso Reporter went a long way to creating our car-happy, suburban, Beltway-backup-plagued modern world. At 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $14. For reservations call (202) 272-2448. (Dave Nuttycombe)