A Memorial Day-weekend tradition for more than half-a-century, Balticon offers area sci-fi fans the chance to geek out to their hearts’ content — dozens of vendors offering genre goodies, more than 300 hours of fan-centric programming (featuring authors, publishers, editors, artists, scientists, musicians — everybody short of actual E.T.s), an artist alley, a costume contest, a short film festival and a raft of special guests, including multiple Hugo Award-winner Elizabeth Bear (“Shoggoths in Bloom”). Registration opens at 1 p.m. May 24, with something going on near-continuously through May 27, at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, 202 E. Pratt St. $39-$77 for weekend passes, free for kids under 6; one-day passes will be available at the door. balticon.org.
The best in extreme metal, with performances from literally scores of bands, from Abyssal to Zemial. Not for the faint of heart, but you knew that already. Two venues: Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live, and Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place. Doors open beginning at 4:30 p.m. May 23, 1:30 p.m. May 24, 12:30 p.m. May 25 and 1 p.m. May 26. $33-$54 daily, $93-$249 for multi-day passes. deathfests.com.
‘Is It Time for Psychedelics in Mainstream Medicine?'
For this latest in the Great Talk series, physician and former Maryland delegate Dan Morhaim moderates a discussion with Roland Griffiths, psilocybin and psychedelics research pioneer; Mary Cosimano, coordinator of the psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins, and Elizabeth Tracey, broadcast and online journalist, board certified clinical chaplain and trial participant. 7 p.m. May 22 at the Bloomberg Center at Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St. $15. greattalk.org.
Greta Van Fleet
The Grammy-winning rockers, who count among their fans no less than Robert Plant (“They are Led Zeppelin I,” he told Australia's Network Ten), perform at MECU Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave. 8 p.m. May 21. Sold out, but resale tickets at ticketmaster.com begin at $63. livenation.com.
‘A Special Evening with Billy Colucci’
The master pianist and composer (and longtime resident of Fells Point) is accompanied by David Foster on bass for an evening of fine jazz. 6 p.m. May 24 at the Cabaret at Germano’s, 300 S. High St. in Little Italy. $10. germanospiattini.com.
Bruce Norris’ 2010 drama imagines what happened before and after the events of Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking “A Raisin in the Sun.” 8 p.m. May 23-25, 4 p.m. May 26 at Arena Players, 801 McCulloh St. $15-$20. arenaplayersinc.com.
Brew at the Zoo
Hang out with the animals, have yourself a few beers (but please, don’t share with the critters), enjoy live music (from Matt Hutchison, Kelly Bell Band, Amish Outlaws, Emma G, Nelly’s Echo and Ballyhoo), sample wares from a bunch of vendors. And all in the name of raising funds for the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. 1 p.m.-7 p.m. May 25-26 at the zoo, 1 Safari Place in Druid Hill Park. $24.99-$75.99. marylandzoo.org.
‘I Am Cuba’
A gorgeous piece of propaganda, an ode to the people and spirit of the Cuban Revolution (partially financed by the U.S.S.R.), director Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 film follows four story lines showing the strength and resilience of the island’s people. Say what you will about its politics, but this is simply among the most visually stunning films ever made, with cinematography that has rarely been matched (especially for the duration of an entire film). 11 a.m. May 25, 7 p.m. May 27 and 9 p.m. May 30 at The Charles, 1711 N. Charles St. $8.50-$11. thecharles.com.
‘Actors and Acting in Shakespeare’s Time’
The Baltimore Shakespeare Society’s Bard to the Bones series looks at how actors did what they did during the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. Things were a lot different back then. 7 p.m.-9 p.m. May 23 at the Great Hall at St. Mary’s, 3900 Roland Ave. in Hampden. Free. baltimoreshakespearefactory.org/bard-to-the-bone.
A series of free health and fitness classes, sponsored by Medifast and Waterfront Partnership, begins May 25 and runs Saturdays-Tuesdays through Oct. 1 at West Shore Park, 401 Light St. Classes are hourly 7 a.m.-9 a.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Sundays, then 6 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays. Registration required. baltimorewaterfront.com/waterfront-wellness.