Get our free newsletter
The success of the temporary Ward 8 art festival LUMEN8 is owed in part to the support it received from L’Alliance Française, the D.C.-based French cultural center. The Francofication of Anacostia continues with “Le Temps Devant,” a show of portraits by Paris-based photographer Frédéric Nauczyciel. Another L’Alliance jam, the exhibition of vanitas portrait photographs attempts to reveal, through Nauczyciel’s treatment of his subjects, something of the rural landscape in France. His romantic approach to subject and setting makes it abundantly clear that such an idealized landscape is not long for this world. And that’s a problem. Nauczyciel’s photos scold the viewer: If the past, the anachronistic, the rural, represent a sort of utopian ideal, then what the hell are you doing here in the present, the contemporary, the urban, but imperiling it? The works are manipulative, even—not mere romantic depictions of the French, alone, lost in their thoughts and in their vineyards, but staged portraits that reveal both truth and fiction. It’s a totalistic campaign akin to the concerted push toward locavorism and a more simplistic, Quaker lifestyle that shuns the future. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: Portrait artists from Caravaggio to Gregory Crewdson have indulged in illusory effects to frame fantasy as a better version of reality. The exhibit is on view noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays–Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays May 4–June 29 at Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Road SE. Free. (202) 365-8392. (Kriston Capps)
Draw a Venn diagram of a typical Spiritualized jam and it would have three equal-sized, evenly intersected circles. The words “drone,” “blues,” and “awesome bass line” would appear in the bigger part of the circles, and “Jesus,” “suffering,” and “drugs” would pop up in the smaller overlapping sections. That’s it—that’s a Spiritualized song. But frontman Jason Pierce’s ability to present new variations on old themes is sui generis, spanning a career that began in 1982 when he co-formed Spacemen 3. Few people understand the mechanics of rock ‘n’ roll better than Pierce, so when he creates a face-melting jam such as 1995’s “Medication,” the power comes from the bottom up. But what he layers atop songs is equally artful, showing an arranger’s touch that’s deeply influenced by Memphis soul music. Pierce reworks all his old formulas on the new LP Sweet Heart Sweet Light, and the diagram still works. Spiritualized performs with Nikki Lane at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 265-0930. (Chris Porter)
Sick of “Song 1?” In a week, you’ll never have to hear about it again. Tomorrow’s the indie-rock main event; tonight a group of performers are staging “Dance 1,” a work of improvised movement inspired by the “liquid architecture” of Doug Aitken‘s 360-degree installation. The work is “directed” by Simone Jacobson and Holly Bass, but anyone can show up and participate—-the only requirement being that you remain silent and in constant contact with at least one other dancer at all times. 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. at the Hirshhorn, 7th Street and Independence Avenue NW. Free.
City Paper theater critic Chris Klimek is really keen on you seeing The Taming of the Shrew at Folger Theatre, in which director Aaron Posner puts a Wild West spin on Shakespeare’s problematic battle of the sexes: “Featuring a clutch of dusty, tender songs written and beautifully performed by Cliff Eberhardt (who reminds me of Steve Earle in the best way) and a magnificent cast led by real-life spouses Kate Eastwood Norris and Cody Nickell as the combative couple,” writes Klimek in a sentence sure to be blurbed on a promotional poster, “this Shrew is a high-spirited hoot that goes down like a belt of bourbon.” Yee-ha. To June 10 at Folger Theatre, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. $30-$65. (202) 544-7077.
Want ToDo ToDay sent to your inbox five days a week? Sign up here.