The years have not been kind to the early Hollywood films of the silent era, but if a congressionally mandated report has any sway, the public might get to see more of these cultural treasures.
From 1912 to 1929, American studios produced nearly 11,000 silent feature films, but only 14 percent of those movies have survived in their original 35mm format. About 11 percent of those films survive in complete form as either foreign versions or in lower-quality formats, such as 28mm or 16mm. Another 5 percent are incomplete, either surviving in an abridged form or with portions missing. And of the 3,311 films that survived in any form or format, 886 of those were found in foreign countries.
Those findings are part of a report released Wednesday by the Library of Congress and commissioned by the National Film Preservation Board, “The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929.” The report’s author, David Pierce, exhaustively details how the surviving silent-era films survived neglect and mismanagement, sometimes through painstaking efforts and sometimes through pure dumb luck. One short feature, Mary Pickford’s 1911 short “Their First Misunderstanding,” was found in a barn, for instance.
Washingtonians and Polandphiles will get not one but at least two chances to see the new film “Walesa, Man of Hope,” the story of how Lech Walesa went from working-class hero to chairman of the National Committee of Solidarity to Nobel laureate to president of a democratic Poland.
The Embassy of Poland is hosting a screening of the film on Wednesday in the Capitol Visitor Center, featuring Walesa, the film’s director Andrzej Wajda and Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho. Then the film will get top billing at the American Film Institute’s European Union Film Showcase at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., on Thursday. That screening and reception will feature Robert Wieckiewicz, who plays Walesa in the film. The Silver will show the film again on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The movie is Poland’s official selection for the 2013 Academy Awards foreign film competition.
So long, Thanksgiving. Hello, holiday party season! This week the Senate may be away, but the festivities are in play, starting with the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the West Front and the Capitol Hill Chanukah Celebration at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Capitol’s Mansfield Room.
And even if you’re not into indulging your inner Scrooge, there’s still plenty to do around Capitol Hill this week, including taking a look at some of the capital city’s dark secrets through the eyes of its most storied detective, and a concert at the Library of Congress by country royalty Rosanne Cash, daughter of the Man in Black.
Bill Press sits down on Tuesday at Hill Center with Terry Lenzner, arguably the District’s most seasoned private investigator. Lenzner has a memoir out, “The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth,” which the two will discuss. Lenzner’s seen it all in a long career, including the murders of civil rights workers in the South, Watergate, the Unabomber and any number of high and low crimes. Lenzner will sign copies afterward. At the Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 7-9 p.m. Free, but register at Hill Center’s website.
LOC to Cash In
Roseanne Cash will be at the Library of Congress for a three-day residency that starts Thursday and goes through Sunday, a project that will reveal to the public her new album, “The River and the Thread,” and include a “round robin” with other singer-songwriters and talk with a fellow Southerner, Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. The eldest child of the late Johnny Cash has a more-than-three-decades-long career and is a country legend in her own right. The fact that she’s kicking off her tour in D.C. at the library speaks to her enduring cultural imprint. On Thursday, Cash will premiere her new album in a concert at the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Coolidge Auditorium at 101 Independence Ave. SE. The tunes start at 8 p.m. The concert is free, sort of: You have to get tickets through Ticketmaster, which will charge a processing fee. The LOC says advance tickets are sold out, but there should be a decent number of “rush” tickets at the door. Friday’s round robin with Cash, John Leventhal, Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell and Amy Helm is at the Coolidge at 8 p.m. Her Saturday conversation with Trethewey at the Jefferson Building’s Whittall Pavilion is free.
Eat, Drink, Vote, Read
The Roll Call Book Club wraps up its 2013 series with Marion Nestle, who’ll drop by CQ Roll Call HQ at 77 K St. NE on Thursday night to discuss her new book, “Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics.” Co-hosted by our pals at Hooks Books, drop by at 6 p.m. for a little wine, some cheese and a discussion on what’s on everyone’s mind: What’s to eat?
Come fall, cult bourbon enthusiasts across America give thanks to the handful of establishments fortuitous enough to slide a few bottles of Pappy Van Winkle onto their shelves by proceeding to gleefully drink those places dry.
(Courtesy Redman Communications)
Having scored his annual allotment of old Rip Van Winkle Distillery’s prized product line, Bob Materazzi, owner of Shelly’s Back Room (1331 F St. NW), is not only looking forward to the bourbon purge, he finally gets what all the fuss is about. Full story
Boundary Road is going to put an egg on Black Friday.
If you’re looking for a watering hole on Thanksgiving night or a place to re-engage your taste buds the day after Turkey Day, the H Street bistro is opening up the bar at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving and open for its Black Friday FRANKENLunch.
Along with booze, wine and beers on Thursday, some sort of sandwich-like endeavors will be available for purchase, just in case you didn’t get enough turkey, dressing, yams, cranberries, green beans, etc., in the hours before. It won’t be the regular late-night bar menu, staff says, but something of the moment.
Then on Friday, the full lunch menu is available, with the option of putting an egg on everything for one dollar. Make sense? Lunch, plus an egg, mixed up … maybe. It does, though, remind us of the timeless Portlandia skit, “Put a Bird On It.”
“Appearing Nightly BLAZE STAR ‘The Queen of Burlesque’” reads the ad on page 2 of the Nov. 20, 1963, Roll Call.
From the Nov. 20, 1963 Roll Call. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
It’s a reminder that not all of the advertising that has appeared in Capitol Hill newspapers such as our own came from the Nerve Gas Association of America or some such trade group looking to further a legislative agenda or burnish its credentials. The small partial ad was a fixture in our pages, appearing week after week to tout Star’s performance at The Playgirl Lounge at the corner of 13th and F streets NW. There’s a Starbucks there now.
Of note: This is not the famous exotic dancer who had a long-time affair with Louisiana Gov. Earl Long in the 1950s, which was itself the subject of the 1989 Paul Newman-Lolita Davidovich movie “Blaze” by Ron Shelton. That would be Blaze Starr, with two “r”s.
Anyone looking for a cheaper ride back and forth to Baltimore on the weekends cheered earlier this year, when Maryland announced it was extending MARC service on Saturdays and Sundays come December. And to sweeten the pot even further, Kimpton Hotels is offering up a deal that scores weekend MARC riders a discount at one of the their hotels at either end of the terminus, as well as some free vino.
The “MARC a Night of It” deal involves 15 percent off the room rate at the Hotel George in D.C. and the Hotel Monaco in Baltimore. It also comes with a free bottle of wine. All you have to do is wait for Dec. 7, book for Thursdays through Sundays and show your Penn Line MARC ticket when you check in. You can book online (rate code “MARC”) or call 1-800-Kimpton.
For some reason, it brings to mind the Destination DC “Get a Room” ad campaign from earlier this year.
Good news, Southernphiles: The date for the 2014 Taste of the South has been set, and it comes with a bigger venue.
The next good-time go-round will be March 29, and it will be moving from the classy but slightly snug DAR Constitution Hall to the more spacious Washington Hilton, home to, among others, the White House Correspondents Dinner.
(Courtesy Taste of the South)
It seems like a long time ago the event was held at the D.C. Armory. But the 2010 event, which took place during a sweltering June weekend there, featured a decided lack of air conditioning. Although everyone knows it gets hot in the South, this was a bit of verisimilitude even die-hard Southerners did not need. DAR Hall was the next stop, and now the charity and nosh-festival looks like it’s got itself a new home.
The movie awards season is upon us. And while it’s not exactly the Academy Awards, there will certainly be a red carpet at the National Archives this week when Steven Spielberg is honored for his contribution to American culture. And that’s not all for a week that has every aspect of cinema represented.
From Private Ryan to Abe Lincoln
The Foundation for the National Archives is giving Spielberg its Records of Achievement Award on Tuesday for the film icon’s cinematic legacy. Leading up to the Tuesday award reception, the Archives has been showing some of Spielberg’s classic work, starting with “Saving Private Ryan” last week and culminating with a screening Monday of 2012′s “Lincoln,” a movie that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., arranged for senators to see on the Capitol grounds earlier this year. “Lincoln,” which scored Daniel Day-Lewis another best actor Oscar for his titular role, starts at 7 p.m. Free (first come, first served) at the William G. McGowan Theater at 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
For something completely different, the folks over at Atlantic Exchange are showing the new documentary “Narco Cultura” at the West End Cinema at 2301 M St. NW on Tuesday. This film, about the musical subculture of the drug trade in North America’s borderlands, looks kind of harrowing. Director Shaul Schwarz will be there to discuss the film with Atlantic Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the show starting at 7 p.m. Discussion to follow. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Printed Word Strikes Back
If you find the need to break from the moving image, Politics and Prose and the National Press Club are sponsoring the 36th annual Book Fair and Author Night at the Press Club (529 14th St. NW) on Tuesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. More than 90 scribes will be on hand to hobnob and talk about their books, including Alice McDermott, David Wiesner, Mark Leibovich, Joe Yonan and even a public official or two — Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, we’re looking at you. All books need to be purchased at the fair. The event helps support the NPC’s journalism institute. Tickets are $10 for the public, $5 for members of Politics and Prose or the Press Club.
A Virtuous End to the Week
To round out the week, how about stopping by Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE on Friday for the latest in its Pre-Code Film Screenings series. For this week’s journey into the land of giddily wicked flicks, Hill Center will show “Virtue,” a gritty 1932 urban thriller starring Carole Lombard as a street-smart gal in New York City who befriends a cabbie and gets involved in a murder.
Swing by Kelly’s Irish Times on Saturday anytime from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a fundraiser for Metro D.C. Police Officer Scott Williams, who was injured in the line of duty on Sept. 16 at the Navy Yard shooting.
Williams was shot in both legs after he entered Building 197 and, while he’s making progress, he’s still got a ways to go, according to a release from the IT. A $20 donation is requested. Go for the cause. Stay for the beer and music. 14 F St. NW.
Kelly’s Irish Times — Roll Call approved. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
That chill in the air this month is even more reason to stock up on stuff to do around Capitol Hill. Dwindling light doesn’t mean dwindling cool things to do.
Hill Center’s Pre-Code Cinema Series
Hill Center debuts its series looking at the racier side of early Hollywood on Friday night with the 1933 Barbara Stanwyck flick “Baby Face.” Critic Nell Minnow and writer Margaret Talbot will lead discussions of the movies, which represent a tone and time in cinema when the Hays Code guidelines for themes and behavior the movies could portray was for the most part disregarded. Free, but register online at hillcenterdc.org. 7 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The Hillys Are Here
The 2013 Hillys Award Gala, which honors the Capitol Hill area’s favorite businesses, including restaurants, health and beauty services, home and garden services, retailers, nonprofits and art venues, among many categories, are Saturday night at Nationals Park’s Stars and Stripes Club, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A production of CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce, tickets start at $125 for members. For information about attending or to buy tickets, go to champ.memberclicks.net.
Days of D.C. Dining Past
Sure things are hopping in Washington’s restaurant scene right now, a remarkable turn of events for a city that felt somewhat culinarily stagnant in the recent past. But the current boom taking hold in places like 14th Street and Barracks Row is not the first one to take hold in D.C. John DeFerrari is talking about his latest book, “Historic Restaurants of Washington D.C.” at 2 p.m. Sunday at Hill Center. In addition to a fascinating sociological look at Washington’s development, dating back to the 19th century, DeFerrari’s book is a nicely put together document that should be of interest to any dining buff or local historian. Free.
It’s hard to believe but at one point, the movie theater in Union Station, which has been closed since 2009, represented a refined experience.
The movie theater at Union Station, closed since 2009, opened to great fanfare. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Twenty-five years ago, Washington braced for the Nov. 18 grand opening of the AMC Union Station 9, at the time a state-of-the-art facility with TXH Dolby stereo, “large curved screens” and “exclusive cupholder armrests,” according to an advertisement in the Nov. 13, 1988, edition of Roll Call.
A special preview weekend featured screenings on Nov. 11 of “Shanghai Express” and “Twentieth Century” with a “dessert and cognac reception” to follow the Marlene Dietrich and Carole Lombard vehicles from the 1930s. To sync the theater with its railroad and Metro roots, the Nov. 12 and 13 special screenings included ”train classics” such as “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Silver Streak,” and “Strangers on a Train.”
Ah, how times have changed. As anyone familiar with the Union Station theater knows now, the real entertainment would eventually be provided by the audiences. People liked to talk back to the screen, sort of the way baseball fans cheer on Jayson Werth or boo Justin Upton. One Christmas season a few years back, during a screening of “Syriana,” a fellow patron spread out his gifts and proceeded to wrap them during the show. It was all good fun, unless, of course, you were there to see a movie.
The Newseum became a little bit more of a big deal on Wednesday as “Anchorman: The Exhibit” was unveiled.
TV crews roll tape during the media walk-through of the “Anchorman: The Exhibit” at the Newseum on Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
The exhibit — created in partnership with Paramount Pictures, which is releasing “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” on Dec. 20 — brings together some of the more iconic artifacts from the 2004 Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman,” including the Channel 4 news desk, Sex Panther Cologne and Ron Burgundy’s burgundy suit.
“Maybe our ruby slippers are Ron Burgundy’s signature suit,” Carrie Christoffersen, the Newseum’s director of collections, said at Wednesday’s press walk-through. Full story
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick