The Allaert Auditorium at the Galvin Fine Arts Center was almost filled to capacity last Friday evening when admirers of Edward Albee, author of such legendary American works as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Seascape, and The Zoo Story, flocked from near and far to see their favorite avant-garde playwright give a public lecture about "The State of the Theatre & the Arts in America."

Edward Albee, author of the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, will be visiting the Quad Cities April 8 and 9 for a Quad City Arts Cary Grant Residency. Albee will be presenting two public lectures and a pair of seminars.

Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and Jude Law in CloserCLOSER

In Mike Nichols' adaptation of Patrick Marber's play Closer, we are first introduced to Dan (Jude Law) and Alice (Natalie Portman). He's an obit writer; she's a former stripper.

Black Hawk DownBLACK HAWK DOWN

It has been widely reported that Ridley Scott's war drama Black Hawk Down, originally due later this year, had its release bumped up to qualify for year-end awards consideration and, in theory, serve as a balm for a country forever damaged by the tragic events of September 11. There's no reason to refute this, and there might even be a kind of self-serving nobility in Columbia Studios' decision, yet the film in question is a technically impressive atrocity, one that's perhaps even more heinous in light of last fall's terrorist attacks. Although based on true events and Mark Bowden's well-regarded book, Black Hawk Down is jingoistic, dramatically inert, and sometimes shockingly racist; expect nominations and awards to follow.

Seascape, the final production of the University of Iowa's Summer Rep season (called "Making Waves: An Edward Albee Festival"), is an interesting variation on a well-worn theme of the playwright: introspection.