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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

About Performing Arts Programs

Lecture/Seminar

Hopper and Hitchcock: Spectatorship and Voyeurism in Art and Film

Sunday, August 14, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

Alfred Hitchcock and American painter Edward Hopper, an unlikely artistic pair, shared a rich and complex vision deeply affected by the traditions of film noir. Using film stills and paintings, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, explores the formal and thematic links between these artists. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Jazz: Modern Soundscapes in Film

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Some of the world’s greatest movie scores were composed by some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians. With film clips, commentary, and live piano demonstrations, concert musician and movie fanatic Rachel Franklin delves into the hidden magic of some of the finest jazz-inspired music from films including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Sweet Smell of Success, Alfie, and Birdman.

Lecture/Seminar

DC’s Black Broadway: Remembering U Street’s Brightest Lights

Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Long before today’s restaurants, boutiques, and luxury high-rises, Washington’s U Street was known as the city’s vibrant Black Broadway. Author Briana A. Thomas brings to life the historic U Street neighborhood’s heritage of arts, entertainment, and commerce from the early triumphs of emancipation to the recent struggles of gentrification.

Lecture/Seminar

Rockin' TV: From Elvis to the Monkees

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Though rock music found a surprising home on mainstream TV in the mid-1950s, the 1964 appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” would change the face of pop culture, leading to an explosion of televised rock. Media expert Brian Rose offers a lively survey of the fascinating history of how rock and television grew up together.

Lecture/Seminar

Miles Davis: Prince of Style

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Miles Davis was a restless innovator, controversial celebrity, and the dominant jazz figure of the second half of the 20th century. In a program highlighted by clips and musical recordings, John Edward Hasse, longtime curator of American music at the National Museum of American History, recounts Davis’s struggles against racism, convention, and his own demons.

Lecture/Seminar

Orson Welles: A Turbulent and Brilliant Life

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Hailed at 25 for his monumental Citizen Kane, the prolific Orson Welles was cursed with being ahead of his time. From his highbrow choices of subject matter to the rule-shattering filmmaking techniques he employed, he was an outsider from the outset—and Hollywood never forgave him for it. Film historian Max Alvarez surveys a career that saw Welles fall from boy genius to industry exile, despite his undervalued and often extraordinary post-Kane cinematic achievements.

Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades we’ve danced, romanced, and dreamed to songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Night and Day,” and other enduring gems. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something brand new, yet still the same. This session spotlights the following songs: "Night and Day" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."

Tour

Shakespeare in Staunton

Saturday, October 8, 2022 - 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET

Experience one of the Bard’s plays in a way that Londoners of 400 years ago might have found when you spend a day at the American Shakespeare Center in beautiful Staunton, Virginia. Explore theatrical history in a fascinating director-led workshop, enjoy lunch in local restaurant, and then settle into the Elizabethan-style theater for a performance of The Tempest. Afterward, there’s time to explore historic Staunton on an optional guided tour.

Course

Supernatural Classics: Musical Magic, Ghouls, and Ghosts

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

From “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” to Don Giovanni to the “Mephisto Waltz,” classical composers have long delighted in taking audiences on deliciously spooky excursions into the musical realms of the supernatural. In the perfect overture to Halloween, lecturer and concert pianist Rachel Franklin leads a hair-raising tour of some of the best-loved classical music haunts, spotlighting works that offer encounters with spectral creatures, ghost ships, demonic valets, trolls, devils, and necromancers.

Program

Smithsonian Boomers Chorus: Legends of Song

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

If you love the music of the ’60s through the ’80s and want to sing some of the greatest hits from the top artists of that era, you're ready to join the Boomers Chorus under the direction of Ernest Johnson. It’s a program geared for people ages 55 and above who love to sing—and there’s no experience required.

Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades we’ve danced, romanced, and dreamed to songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Night and Day,” and other enduring gems. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something brand new, yet still the same. This session spotlights the following songs: "As Time Goes By" and "These Foolish Things."

Lecture/Seminar

The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In a career spanning 5 decades, film director Alfred Hitchcock made 54 films, including such classics as The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Notorious, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Psycho. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at Hitchcock’s achievements as the Master of Suspense and through dozens of film clips, examines his extraordinary creativity as one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers.

Course

Dances of the World With PBS’s Mickela Mallozzi

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a globe-trotting series, Mickela Mallozzi, the executive producer and host of the popular PBS series “Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi,” explores the history and evolution of dances from three distinctive regions and their role in linking communities and generations. This session showcases dances from Ireland.

Lecture/Seminar

Lerner and Loewe: Musical Champagne

Thursday, October 27, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

We’ve grown accustomed to their music. In temperament and background, lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe were wildly dissimilar, but their often-tempestuous relationship produced brilliantly crafted musicals rich with enduring songs. Pianist and American music specialist Robert Wyatt offers a sparkling toast to the team behind Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady, Gigi, and Camelot.

Program

Supernatural Classics Concert: Tales for Halloween

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: Just in time for Halloween, enjoy a thrills- and chills-packed lecture-recital from the chamber music ensemble SONOS, featuring pianist Rachel Franklin, violinist Christian Tremblay and bass player Jonathan Miles Brown. Players explore what constitutes “scary” music, trace the haunting influence of literary and historic sources on the Gothic, and take a playful look at the eternal fascination musicians have for the supernatural.

Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades we’ve danced, romanced, and dreamed to songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Night and Day,” and other enduring gems. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something brand new, yet still the same. This session spotlights the following songs: "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Mack the Knife."

Course

Giacomo Puccini: Master of Operatic Lyricism

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Rarely absent from the opera stages of the world, La bohème, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot are treasured for their powerfully expressive music and poignant depictions of human emotions. Musicologist Daniel E. Freeman surveys Puccini’s four most popular operas with an emphasis on the ways in which they reflect the composer’s approach to musical setting and character development.

Course

Dances of the World With PBS’s Mickela Mallozzi

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a globe-trotting series, Mickela Mallozzi, the executive producer and host of the popular PBS series “Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi,” explores the history and evolution of dances from three distinctive regions and their role in linking communities and generations. This session showcases dances from the Caribbean.

Lecture/Seminar

From Streaming TV to the Oscars: How Netflix Disrupted the Entertainment Industry

Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From its start as a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix has systematically changed the rules of the media business. Media expert Brian Rose explores how Netflix is primed to become the dominant source of leisure time entertainment throughout the world.

Course

Night and the Cities: Film Noir’s Suspense-Driven World

Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

A police detective down on his luck. A beautiful woman with a shady past. Dead bodies in dark corridors and dim light seeping through Venetian blinds. This is film noir: a world of chain-smoking deceivers, drifters, loners, con artists and killers—all double-dealing their way toward an uncertain and possibly fatal future. Film historian and author Max Alvarez examines the origins and achievements of the brilliant actors, directors, writers, and craftspeople behind this remarkably enduring genre.

Tour

The Road to Nashville

November 6 - 10, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET

Nashville is a 21st-century boom town, a cultural melting pot that attracts residents from across the nation and around the world. If the Ken Burns documentary Country Music sparked your appetite to learn more about the form’s roots and influences, this 5-day  tour offers the perfect way to do it.

Course

Dances of the World With PBS’s Mickela Mallozzi

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a globe-trotting series, Mickela Mallozzi, the executive producer and host of the popular PBS series “Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi,” explores the history and evolution of dances from three distinctive regions and their role in linking communities and generations. This session showcases dances from the Silk Road.

Tour

Radio City Music Hall: Front and Center for the Christmas Spectacular

Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 6:45 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET

There’s no more iconic holiday performance in New York than Radio City Music Hall’s famed Christmas Spectacular. And there’s no better way to see the precision dancing of the Rockettes than from prime orchestra seats in the fabulous art deco theater where the show has been a tradition since 1933. A behind-the-scenes tour of the Music Hall adds to the experience.