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Artsmash Critic Tim Smith covers classical music, theater and visual arts in Baltimore and beyond
Informative and engaging 'X's and O's' at Center Stage warns as it celebrates football

With football injuries of one kind or another happening around the clock and around the country, Center Stage offers a well-timed conversation-sparker in the form of "X's and O's."

This brisk theatrical rush about football confronts the physical risks of playing what one character calls "the best game there is," while simultaneously celebrating the magnetic hold that game has on so many people.

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BSO makes colorful music with Hilary Hahn, Hannu Lintu

The Baltimore Symphony's latest program offered two halves of equal strength and appeal. That the featured items weren't off-the-rack repertoire -- and that two gifted guests, conductor Hannu Lintu and violinist Hilary Hahn, had a hand in the concert -- made things all the more satisfying. 

Dvorak's Violin Concerto has something in common with Rodney Dangerfield.

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Two new books reflect Baltimore's musical history

Two of Baltimore's longest-lasting cultural institutions are chronicled in new books that make for engaging reads (and might find a spot on your holiday gift — or wish — list).

They're both inside jobs, so to speak. A musician in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has written that ensemble's centennial history; a former Handel Choir of Baltimore board member has covered that group's story.

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Checking out new classical recordings with Baltimore roots

Classical recordings with strong Baltimore connections have turned up recently. Here are some that are well worth a listen. And, although conventional wisdom has it that no one buys CDs anymore, these could easily wrapped for the music lover on that holiday shopping list you are bound to get around to compiling before long.

Bernstein Symphony No.

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Next stop for musical version of 'Diner' is Wilmington

The musical version of Barry Levinson's 1989 film classic "Diner" is inching closer to New York. Last year, the show, with songs by Sheryl Crow, premiered at Signature Theatre in Arlington. Next stop is the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington, where it will run Dec. 2 to 27.

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Kamenetz, arts groups urge Balto. Co. residents to frequent city

Baltimore County residents are being urged to check out all the cultural attractions "just down the road" in Baltimore City, where attendance dropped after the April riots and has been slow to rebound.

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