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Photographs framed by fiction

February 08, 2007|Margaret Wappler

Think of the latest installment of Getty's Selected Shorts as a twist on the cliche that every picture tells a story.

The theme for the 16th season of the storytelling series is "Where We Live: Fictions of America," and it focuses on works that spring from any number of this country's multitudinous landscapes. The geographic bent of the selections is intended to complement the theme of Getty's current exhibition, "Where We Live: Photographs of America," postwar color photography from 24 contemporary artists.

"The challenge was to set a story program to a wonderful photography exhibition without building a one-to-one relation," said Isaiah Sheffer, the director of the series, which is produced by New York's Symphony Space. "We chose stories that are very evocative of where they take place, whether that's a High Plains Indian reservation or the Pacific Northwest."

It's the first time the series has integrated with a museum exhibition, a "creative and natural direction," Sheffer said. "We thought people might be interested in seeing the same theme executed in another art."

As always with the Selected Shorts series, a commanding crew of actors, including John Lithgow, Neil Patrick Harris and Rachel Griffiths, is lending their sonorous voices to some of short fiction's outstanding creations.

Stockard Channing will be reading Eudora Welty's Southern standard, "Why I Live at the P.O." For Channing, reading short stories is connecting with theater's most raw elements.

"It's very simple and extremely theatrical," Channing said. "It's pure storytelling, but without the spectacle."

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Margaret Wappler

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"Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story," Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. $15 to $20. (310) 440-7300.

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