We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



In the 1974 documentary On the Road With Duke Ellington, filmmaker Robert Drew captures D.C.’s most talented musical son as he slogs through a grueling tour schedule, attends the funeral of his most important collaborator and friend, Billy Strayhorn, and receives an honorary doctorate from Yale University. Originally made for The Bell Television Hour, this cinéma vérité portrait of the 68-year-old composer allows him to tell his own story—with words and, more important, music. It also illustrates the predicament Ellington faced in the late ’60s and, indeed, throughout his entire career: While he continued to write important works such as The Sacred Concerts, the majority of his audiences just wanted to hear “Take the “A’ Train.” At 12:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 737-4215. (Chip Porter)