Tattoo Arts Convention Some amazing art and lots of wildly colorful skin will be on display throughout the weekend at the Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention. Scores of tattoo artists will be joined by more than a dozen vendors (with names like Evil Brand Clothes, Teddy Scares and Sourpuss Clothing), meaning that if you like tattoos, want a tattoo or are just curious about what is involved in getting a tattoo, this is the place to be. There are also workshops and discussions scheduled throughout the weekend, along with a steady stream of sideshow entertainment. And don't miss Saturday night's afterparty, with guest Brandon Novak (from "Jackass") and DJs Mohawk Todd and Driller. Runs 2 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, 101 W. Fayette St. Tickets are $20 daily, $40 for the weekend. Information: 800-541-8239 or villainarts.com.
BSO gala Baltimore's social season gets its unofficial kick-off Saturday with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's annual Gala Celebration and Concert, this year taking on a distinct Latin flavor in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Marin Alsop will conduct the BSO in Piazzolla's "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires," with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. In addition, featured local artists include soprano Jennifer Edwards, guitarists Petrit Ceku, Marco San Nicolas, Jeremy Lyons and Gonzalo Arias Contreras, and D.C.-based flamenco dancers Anna Menendez and Edwin Aparicio. The concert will end with all the performers joining together for de Falla's Spanish Dance No. 1 from "La Vida Breve." Concert tickets are $25-$75; tickets for the celebration, including a catered dinner, are $500. The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m., the concert at 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Information: 410-783-8000 or bsomusic.org
'Resident Evil: Afterlife" Milla Jovovich is back as Alice, a lethal weapon doing her level best to protect the world's post-apocalyptic survivors from turning into just more undead. Ali Larter is again among those along for the ride. Expect some serious, and bloody, action. Opens Friday.
Star-Spangled Weekend On this weekend 196 years ago, a group of Baltimoreans massed at North Point to fend off the invading British, and the resulting battle — commemorated throughout Maryland on what has become known as Defender's Day — is a key reason why we don't speak with British accents or acknowledge Elizabeth II as our sovereign. This year's celebration begins Friday with a 5:30 p.m. parade beginning at the Star-Spangled Banner Museum, 844 E. Pratt St., then continuing through Little Italy to the Inner Harbor. There, the Fort McHenry Honor Guard will board boats and sail to Locust Point, where they'll disembark and continue the parade along Fort Avenue to Fort McHenry, where the Defender's Day celebration will continue through the weekend with living history demonstrations, family activities, tours of the fort and a 30-minute fireworks display at dusk Saturday. Fort McHenry hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the fort is $7. Information: 410-962-4290 or nps.gov/fomc
Vampire Weekend Bloodsuckers have never been more in, but these indie rockers from New York City aren't dependent on a bunch of vampire wannabes for their success — they can rock with the best of them, as their latest CD, January's "Contra," proves. Songs like "A-Punk," which "Rolling Stone" ranked as the fourth best song of 2008, and "Holiday," which the band performed during a memorable June appearance on "The Colbert Report," have earned Vampire Weekend a loyal fan base and some serious cred on the indie rock circuit. They'll be appearing at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia Saturday, with opening acts Beach House and Dum Dum Girls. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets and information: 877-435-9849 or merriweathermusic.com
Festive trio So many festivals in Baltimore this weekend, so little time to enjoy them all. The 34th annual Ukrainian Festival will bring plenty of Eastern European food and entertainment to Patterson Park Saturday (noon-9 p.m.) and Sunday (noon-7 p.m.), including the Kalena Ukrainian Dancers and the always-popular Ukrainian Beer Garden. Be sure to chow down on a pierogi while you're there (410-967-0501 or ukrainianfestival.net). In Hampden, the 10th annual Hampdenfest is set for 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday along 36th Street, complete with three stages of music and art performances, a film festival and a kids' activities area, along with the requisite food and street vendors (hampdenfest.blogspot.com). Also Saturday, the annual racing of the pigs highlights the ninth Pigtown Festival, set for 11 a.m.-7 p.m. in the 700-900 block of Washington Boulevard. Besides our bovine friends, look for live music, food, a puppet theater, even a car show (pigtownfestival.com).
Maryland Seafood Festival Fish, shrimp, oysters, clams and, of course, lots and lots of crab. Hmm, must be time for the 43rd annual Maryland Seafood Festival, running Friday-Sunday at Sandy Point State Park, off U.S. Route 50 just west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Sure, there's live music and other entertainment, including sand castle displays by the inimitable Randy Hofman (you've probably seen his incredible work in Ocean City). But the real draw here is the food, especially the crabs. There's a crabcake-eating contest, a crab soup cook-off, a crab picking contest, even a $1,000 crab recipe contest. Runs 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $8 for kids to $100 for a couple's VIP package. Information: mdseafoodfestival.com
Art to Dine For Every year, the Creative Alliance puts together a series of dinners, in homes and venues scattered throughout the Baltimore area, that bring together some of the area's most interesting people in some of the area's most fascinating places, to eat some of the area's most appetizing foods. The three-month-long schedule of feasts kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday with "Locally Grown," a farm-to-dinner soiree featuring produce and grass-fed beef raised on the Howard County farm where artifacts from Ellicott City's venerable Enchanted Forest amusement park have been stored and restored. Tickets are $85. Thirty-two more soirees are scheduled through Dec. 14. Tickets and information: 410-276-1651 or creativealliance.org