The Environmental Film Festival isn’t exclusively about hugging trees and saving sea turtles. For its 20th anniversary, the fest has broadened its umbrella quite a bit, adding films about health and social issues to its usual repertoire. Two of today’s offerings are most unusual for the festival, particularly 5X Favela: Now By Ourselves, a collection of five vignettes about life in Rio de Janeiro’s slums. More compelling, however, is The Greater Good (pictured), a devastating if somewhat lopsided look at vaccines and whether they harm more than they help our children. Particularly under fire in Kendall Nelson and Chris Pilaro’s documentary is Gardasil, a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV) that was fast-tracked to approval by the FDA and has been heavily advertised as a must-have shot for young girls to help protect them against cervical cancer. The face of the controversy is Gabi, a 15-year-old who saw the commercials and insisted that she get it. She did, and afterward the honor-roll cheerleader started having strokes and seizures, had to go on 40-some meds, and is often so tired she must use a wheelchair to get around her school. Gabi’s story is heartbreaking, and unfortunately hers is not the only—nor the worst—one. The film shows at 6:30 p.m. at Family Health International, 1927 Florida Ave. NW. Free. The Environmental Film Festival runs March 13–25 at various venues. (Tricia Olszewski)
Mike Paarlberg says you should see The National Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven’s opera Fidelio:
Yes, Beethoven wrote an opera—just one, and it doesn’t get performed a lot. But NSO director Christoph Eschenbach is bringing it back as part of his “Music of Budapest, Prague, and Vienna” series. It’s sandwiched between two other noteworthy concerts in the series, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle (March 8–10) and Dvorák’s Stabat Mater(March 22–24). See Fidelio in conjunction with WNO’s Cosi Fan Tutte, though, to get a sense of how Beethoven learned to use sonata form to heighten melodrama back while he was still riding Mozart’s jock.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. $20-85. (202) 467 46000.
Anti-folker-turned-sunshine-folker Jenny Owens Young performs with locals Beach Week and (WCP contributor) Marian McLaughlin at Red Palace, 1212 H St. NE. $12. (202) 399-3901.
Megafaun is composed of some guys who used to be in a band with Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon. Megafaun is not bitter. Megafaun makes slightly blissed bongwater folk. Nevertheless, Megafaun is worthwhile. William Tyler opens. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960
Author Louis Bayard (a former WCP contributor) reads from his new novel The School of the Night, which connects 17th century England to contemporary D.C. At 7 p.m. at One More Page Books, 2200 N. Westmoreland St. #101, Arlington. Free. (703) 300-9746.