Arts Agenda: Music, photography highlight cultural calendar

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lvis Presley and the Beatles are keeping company with the world's finest musicians in the coming months as festivals and museums feature rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues.

Chicago -- Paris was the mecca for many U.S. artists in the years between the two world wars. "A Transatlantic Avant-Garde: American Artists in Paris 1918-1939" at the Terra Museum of Art from April 17 to June 27 focuses on 30 of these artists and also includes works by such European painters as Fernand Leger and Marcel Duchamp.

Dayton, Ohio -- "Edward Weston: A Photographer's Love of Life" at the Dayton Art Institute through July 18 not only shows works by one of America's most noted photographers but also offers rare glimpses into his family life.

Dowagiac, Mich. -- The location is off the beaten path, but for the baseball aficionado it might be worth a visit. The traveling exhibit, "The National Pastime in Black and White" at the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College from April 6 to Aug. 11, tells the story of America's black baseball players through photographs and artifacts.

Los Angeles -- Exhibitions of the works of photographer Diane Arbus have been among this year's most featured art experiences. Through May 31, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art features 200 Arbus photographs in the traveling exhibition, "Diane Arbus Revelations."

Arbus also is featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art's Geffen Contemporary, where "Street Credibility" through June 7 looks at her works and those by artists who were inspired by her vision.

Memphis -- The city is celebrating the 50th anniversary of what many consider the first rock 'n' roll recording, Elvis Presley's "That's All Right, Mama." To commemorate the event, outdoor celebrations are being held on six main stages downtown every weekend in May.

If soul music's your thing, visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. The museum features a replica of the original Stax recording studio and Isaac Hayes' blue Cadillac. A new exhibition, "My Africa, My Soul, My Song," runs through May 25.

Nashville -- There's more music in Tennessee at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where a new, 5,000-square-foot multimedia exhibit looks at a key era in this city's music history. "Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970" will be on display through December 2005.

New York -- Dance has a key place on Lincoln Center's cultural menu. The spring season of the New York City Ballet celebrates the Balanchine Centennial from April 27 to June 27 at the New York State Theater.

The American Ballet Theatre hosts its own spring season from May 10 to July 3 across the plaza at the Metropolitan Opera House.

For film buffs, Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival, from May 1 to 9, is a must.

For visual arts enthusiasts, meanwhile, the Biennial of the Whitney Museum of American Art runs through May 30.

"It Was 40 Years Ago Today ... the Beatles in America" holds forth at the Museum of Television and Radio through May 2, although classic radio interviews with the band can be heard through June 20.

Interesting but unusual new exhibits include "Sex Among the Lotus: 2,500 Years of Chinese Erotic Obsession," which runs through January at the Museum of Sex, and "The Subway at 100: General William Barclay Parsons and the Birth of the NYC Subway," through Dec. 31 at the New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library.

North Adams, Mass. -- The giant, first-floor Tall Gallery at MASS MoCA -- a factory turned museum -- overflows with the first major museum exhibition of a noted multimedia artist. "Matthew Ritchie: Proposition Player" remains on display through spring 2005.

Philadelphia -- "Will We Ever Forget: Baseball in Philadelphia, 1876-2004," running through Oct. 4 at the Atwater Kent Museum, includes vintage photos, memorabilia and trading cards as well as several talks on baseball Saturdays in April and May.

Virginia Beach, Va. -- It's Historic Garden Week in Virginia from April 17 to 25, with stately homes and residences throughout the state open to visits. A good place to go is Virginia Beach, which hosts a day of the weeklong tour on April 20.

West Palm Beach, Fla. -- Sunfest, Florida's largest music, art and waterfront festival, runs this year from April 28 to May 2. The event will feature such performers as Cyndi Lauper, Peter Frampton and Hootie and the Blowfish.

A poster for Frank Loesser's Washington -- The Smithsonian National Museum of American History takes note of the Beatles' first tour of the U.S. in its exhibition through June 16, "The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes."

Meanwhile, Frank Loesser, one of Broadway's greatest composers -- "Guys and Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" are among his creations -- may be long gone, but the Arena Stage is bringing him back to life with a world premiere. Shortly before his death, Loesser wrote a complete draft of the music, lyrics and book for "Senor Discretion Himself," which now, in a polished version, will be presented April 9 to May 23.

Another theater luminary receives homage in "Tennessee Williams Explored" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. From May 8 to Aug. 8, full productions of his most celebrated plays with all-star casts will be performed.

The National Gallery of Art has "The Cubist Paintings of Diego Rivera, Memory, Politics, Place" on view through July 25. Also at the gallery will be "Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya," the first U.S. exhibition devoted to the subject.

Long-time arts and tourism writer Alvin H. Reiss is editor of the Travel Arts Partnership Newsletter (TAP), which is published by Museums Magazine, the Arts & Business Council and the Art Knowledge Corp. For more details visit www.travelartspartnership.com.

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