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Of the AFI Silver Theatre’s many repertory series, its Latin American Film Festival is probably the meatiest. In its 22nd year, the event once again features the usual mix of smart documentaries, regional blockbusters, and highbrow Cannes and Oscar submissions from the 20 countries represented. The Mexican Suitcase, the documentary that opened the festival Thursday night (and also shows on Saturday), delves into a stash of photographs taken during the Spanish Civil War but not discovered in a Mexico City closet until 2007. Other films getting a major push from AFI include Medianeras (tonight and Saturday), an Argentinian love story with a Manhattan-like tour of Buenos Aires, andElite Squad 2: The Enemy Within (Sept. 30 and Oct. 1), a cop flick with the texture and name of a Call of Duty installment. (The film also has the distinction of being the top-grossing film in Brazilian history.) But the most intriguing entry in the 42-film schedule might be Blackthorn (Oct. 8 and 11), a sequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Sam Shepard as the famed outlaw Cassidy eking out a living in 1920s Bolivia. (Benjamin R. Freed) The festival runs to Oct. 12 at AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. $12 per film; passes available. (301) 495-6700.
Prince George’s County has the blues—and not only due to its ongoing struggles with violence and club shutdowns. Saturday brings the free and cleverly programmed Bluebird Blues Festival, now in its 19th year. This time around, the New York-based, Virginia-raised Holmes Brothers occupy the headlining slot. They stray from archetypal Mississippi or Chicago blues, opting instead for gospel-inflected, juke-joint originals and adeptly arranged covers of Cheap Trick, Nick Lowe, and Tom Waits tunes. Local harmonica blower Phil Wiggins, performing with West Virginian blues player Nat Reese, is another highlight; so, too, are longtime girl group the Jewels and neo-soul vocalists Avery Sunshine and Carolyn Malachi. (Steve Kiviat) The Bluebird Blues Festival runs from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Prince George’s Community College, 301 Largo Rd., Largo. Free. (301) 336-6000.
Local act Paperhaus plays an EP release show at, yes, Paperhaus tomorrow night. Mother, Ugly Purple Sweater, and Danish band Dad Rock’s are also on the bill. Check the public Facebook invite for the address. 6 p.m.
Edie Sedgwick and Marriage play Comet Ping Pong tomorrow night. We hear Edie has lost the drag act. What gives? Joe Warminsky calls Edie’s latest release the band’s best to date. 10:30 p.m. $10.
This weekend also brings the fifth annual Phasefest at Phase One in Capitol Hill. Tonight’s lineup features some of the same bands that played the gig last year, including MEN and Tayisha Busay, but it sounds pretty wild ‘n’ crazy anyway.
National Book Festival—-duh! The fest starts tomorrow and goes through Sunday on the National Mall. City Paper contributor and literature aficionado Mark Athitakis recommends checking out poet Terrance Hayes, who reads at 1:55 p.m. on Sunday.
As for tonight: Tomas Moniz and Positive Force host a Rad Dad book release event (the very one Arts Desk blogged about yesterday). Anarcho dads unite! 6 p.m. at St. Stephen Church.