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'American Horror Story: Freak Show' finale recap, 'Curtain Call'

Much like “Coven” before it, the season finale of "American Horror Story: Freak Show" arrives with an overarching sense that the entire season can’t be browbeaten into cohesion in the space of one episode. Of course it can’t, but it’s pretty fun to watch Ryan Murphy and company try.

“Freak Show” has been, for the most part, a fun season – featuring more gasps, shocks and truly OMG-WTF moments than ever before – and the fact that it spends so much time drawing connections between itself and the seasons that came before it is worth the price of admission alone.

But is it a good season? That, much like the much-debated meaning of “freak” is probably best left to the eye of the beholder.

It’s Dandy’s world now. It’s a new day at Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Dandy is in charge now. He’s made the freaks put up new banners proclaiming himself the star of the show, but shockingly enough, audiences aren’t exactly lining up to see Dandy belt out Cole Porter tunes.

The remaining...

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8 area cocktails to keep you warm this winter

Keep the long johns, space heaters and any other way to stay warm in the winter.

For our money, a finely made cocktail is the most effective — or at least the most fun way to thaw our minds and bodies. Whether it is a steaming hot cider, a smoke-filled bourbon mixture or a hot buttered rye concoction, we've compiled eight outside-of-the-box cocktails that will hit the spot in ways nothing else will.

Smokey & The Bandit, Twisted Pizza Kitchen & Pub
8712 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson; twistedpizzakitchen.com. $8-$15.

A Days Inn might not be the most obvious location to find an eye-catching winter cocktail, but the craft-centric Twisted Pizza Kitchen & Pub — the hotel's connected restaurant and bar — aims to change that.

The Smokey & the Bandit, one of Twisted's most popular drinks, according to director of operations Scott Hetrick, is also its signature cocktail. Patrons begin by choosing a type of whiskey for the base. For the cocktail, Twisted offers 22 brands of bourbon, eights brands of...

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'Top Chef' recap, 'The Final Battle of Bean Town'

Ever wondered why Boston is called “Bean Town”? Me neither. But since this is the last challenge in Boston, Padma will give us one last local history lesson.

Apparently back in the day, the locals used to bake beans in molasses, and it was so prevalent that sailors could tell they were coming into Boston Harbor by the scent of baked beans. However, nobody can explain to me why these sailors didn’t just turn around and go home. Because molasses baked beans are not delicious.

The fact is, no locals nowadays use the term “Bean Town” and no one in Boston cares about baked beans. But we’ll do this challenge under the guise of “putting this dish back on the map.” Good luck with that.

The chefs will have one hour to come up with a dish that highlights beans. The winner gets a trip to Napa, because you really need to have some incentive to be excited about cooking beans.  Yes, we’re all so thrilled about this beans challenge.

This week’s guest judge, Wylie Dufresne, is one of the most...

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Parquet Courts, always in motion

Maybe it was the collective bedhead or the skittishly straightforward songs with titles like “Stoned and Starving” and “No Ideas,” but when Parquet Courts first caught the ears of discerning rock fans a couple years ago, the garage-rock quartet was labeled as slackers.

This was never the case, though, and the Brooklyn, N.Y., band's 2014 — their most prolific and successful year to date — proved it. They released their celebrated third album “Sunbathing Animal” in June, and followed it six months later with the more experimental effort, “Content Nausea.” In between, they found time to tour the world. Last month, when SPIN magazine named Parquet Courts “Band of the Year,” it felt earned.

The act finally took a month off over the winter. For guitarist and singer Austin Brown, the break meant working on a screenplay and scoring a short film for a friend, but not actually slowing down.

“As much as we do work and as exhausting as it can feel, the gaps between not creating and not performing...

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Clementine's care extends to its bar

In November, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” — celebrity chef Guy Fieri's self-explanatory hit show on the Food Network — highlighted three Baltimore restaurants, including Hamilton's Clementine, even though it does not naturally fit the TV show's title. Fieri fawned over co-owner and chef Winston Blick's farm-to-table plates like bacon-wrapped meatloaf and Asian-braised pork cheeks.

Like most “Diners” segments, the episode bypassed Clementine's bar program, which left me wondering, “Are the drinks as appetizing and thoughtful as the food?”

The answer, as I found out on a recent Saturday evening trip, is a solid yes. Sitting at the bar, I watched the two dining rooms fill up over a few hours as servers informed hopefuls on the phone that the night's reservation list was booked.

Opened in 2008, Clementine has built a trusted reputation in the city, and a single visit illustrates why: The charm feels built into the inviting building, while thoughtfulness and care seem to permeate...

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Lil Wayne releases incendiary new mixtape, 'Sorry 4 the Wait 2'

Every day's a new adventure for Lil Wayne fans. If we're not obsessed with the street date for Wayne's apparently forthcoming album "The Carter V," we're chasing guest verses, wondering about his health or discovering some weird line from an old track that we'd never heard before. 

On Tuesday night, Wayne issued an apology in the form of a new mixtape. Called "Sorry 4 the Wait 2," it's a sequel to his first apology tape, both of which Wayne issued due to delays on "Tha Carter V." That record is to come out through his longtime home, Cash Money.

The problem? Wayne and his longtime friend Brian "Birdman" Williams, the label's co-owner, are beefing. Less than a week before "Tha Carter V" was to be released in early December, Wayne issued a statement via Twitter:

"To all my fans, I want u to know that my album won't and hasn't been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it," he wrote.

Hence the delay, and the first biting lines of the first track, "Coco." Rhyming over the...

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