Rare Opportunity: Classic Silent Films at AFI Silver Theatre

Promotional photo from Harold Lloyd's film Safety Last!, via Wikimedia Commons.

Promotional photo from Harold Lloyd’s film Safety Last!, via Wikimedia Commons.

This weekend the DC area’s finest movie palace, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, begins a Silent Cinema Showcase. Many of the films and shorts will feature live accompaniment. While you’ve probably seen the image above, you may not know anything about the film Safety Last! itself. Even Roger Ebert hadn’t seen it before he reviewed it in 2005!  He wrote:

It is by general agreement the most famous shot in silent comedy: a man in a straw hat and round horn-rim glasses, hanging from the minute hand of a clock 12 stories above the city street. Strange, that this shot occurs in a film few people have ever seen.

Your chance to be one of the few comes this weekend. A new 35mm print of Safety Last! will be presented Sunday at 7:30, with live musical accompaniment. Other films in the series include two feature films starring screen legend Mary Pickford, a collection of experimental shorts called Wild and Weird, and shorts by Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton (you get two chances for Keaton: one short is grouped with Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, and then three Keaton shorts will be presented together).

The series starts this weekend and runs through May 4.

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Lax Bros/Gurls Are Taking Over

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘teamstickergiant’

This past weekend Maryland hosted both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA lacrosse semifinals and championships. The women’s Division I championship game at Towson University, saw Maryland take home the national title against Northwestern and, according to the Baltimore Sun, the match drew 9,782 people — the most ever to see a women’s lacrosse game in the US.

The mens’ games started on Saturday at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, continued through Sunday and culminated with the DI Championship game between Notre Dame and Duke on a scorching Memorial Day. Although attendance for the final game was low, a mere 37,126, the entire weekend’s turnout was 116,289, up from last year’s 102,601 turnout at Foxborough, MA. The games stay in Baltimore for 2011, go to Foxborough for 2012, and 2013 and 2014 are up for grabs.

While the increases in attendance are good reasons to keep both championships in the MD area, in recent years lacrosse has begun to grow beyond its traditional East Coast/Prep School roots. The game’s popularity on the West Coast, Colorado and the South has  been growing like gangbusters, with many footballers taking up sport in the off-season for fitness maintenance. The same is true for female athletes who need to stay in shape for fall season sports like soccer and field hockey.

The sport is also seeing a growth in popularity among the non-prep schoolers, as demonstrated in “City Lax” playing Thursday at Silver Spring’s AFI Silver. This documentary follows a sixth grade, inner-city Colorado lax team as they learn how to play the Native American team sport and take on the prep school crowd.