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BEST OF THIS WEEK

THE BALTIMORE SUN

TELEVISION

SWINGTOWN / / 10 p.m. Thursday. WJZ (Channel 13)

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One of the summer's more promising new dramas, Swingtown looks at life in a Midwestern suburb as the sexual revolution of the 1960s starts to permeate everyday, mainstream, middle-class American life in the '70s.

Ultimately, the quality of the series will rise or fall on how committed the producers are to exploring the sociology -- as well as the sexuality -- of the times.

So far, it looks like lots of sex -- not so much social anthropology. But, here's hoping ...

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

POP MUSIC

BLONDIE / / 8 p.m. Thursday. Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place. $35-$39.50. ramsheadlive.com or 410-244-1131.

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With pulsing beats and inventive synthesizer textures folded into its hip New Wave approach, Blondie reached its commercial and artistic peak with the release of 1978's Parallel Lines. The classic album spawned the No. 1 hit "Heart of Glass" and the insistent rocker "One Way or Another."

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that landmark album, the '70s band is on a national tour, whose first date is at Rams Head Live. The set will focus on Parallel Lines, but surely fans will want to hear other Blondie classics, including "The Tide is High" and "Rapture."

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

ART

LOUISA CHASE / / 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturdays by appointment. Goya Contemporary, 3000 Chestnut Ave, Studio 214. Free. 410-366-2001 or goyacontem porary.com.

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New Yorker Louisa Chase is renowned for her delightfully inventive abstract prints, which combine traditional lithography and etching with watercolor, collage and unusual printing papers. This show at the Goya offers a selection of her recent works on paper as well as paintings.

In the rear gallery, a companion show presents one-of-a-kind works by Baltimore-based artist Christine Neill from her Paintings From the Urban Forest Project.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

CLASSICAL BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / / 8 p.m. Thursday at Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda; 11 a.m. Saturday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. $15-$84. 410-783-8000 or bsomusic.org.

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The BSO will perform without a traditional conductor this week, and will explore a genre it doesn't get to spend a lot of time with -- baroque music. The orchestra's concertmaster, Jonathan Carney, will fulfill the dual role of violin soloist and leader of the ensemble in three of Bach's celebrated Brandenburg Concertos and his noble Concerto for Two Violins (with assistant concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich) on Thursday night.

On Sunday morning, associate concertmaster Madeline Adkins steps into the same soloist / leader role, this time for a colorful sampling of concertos by Vivaldi, as well as works by Handel and Biber. Judging by the invigorating results on the few occasions in previous seasons when the BSO offered such baroque ventures, these concerts should be well worth catching.

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[TIM SMITH]

DVD

HOME FRONT / / Available Tuesday. Cinevolve Studios. $24.95.

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Among the slew of Iraq War documentaries that have hit theaters and TV screens over the past three years, Pikesville native Richard Hankin's Home Front (2006) stands out for its empathy -- the depth and complexity of its sadness and its humor. After producing and editing the mesmerizing Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Hankin set out to examine a subject that mainstream media had largely ignored: the psychological and physical readjustment of thousands of men and women who had lost the use of limbs or senses during military duty in Iraq.

He ended up chronicling the odyssey of Jeremy Feldbusch, a veteran who settled back into his family's house in Blairsville, in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, without any sight and with a brain injury. Hankin doesn't blink at rifts on the psychological home front. Jeremy wants independence but keeps his mother on close call. And Jeremy's brain injury hampers his self-control.

Hankin's directorial virtues include patience, pace and structure, and an eye for external details that reveal inner strength. But paramount is his ability to see beyond his preconceptions -- and thus shake audiences out of theirs.

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

LEISURE

AMC ANNUAL PRIVATE GARDEN TOUR / / 11 a.m.-5 p.m. today. Various locations. $25. 410-836-2061.

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This self-paced tour allows visitors to view and walk through any of six private gardens in various Harford County locations, including Bel Air, Forest Hill, Havre de Grace and Street. The gardens are both small and large, shaded and unshaded. The Garden Mart, at the tour destination in Street, sells garden-related products, annuals and perennial plants such as roses, hostas and pachysandras.

The event takes place rain or shine. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Kroh's Nursery, Country Garden Center, Brad's Produce or Lovely Manors Garden Center. All proceeds benefit the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology Center, the American Medical Center and the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

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[JENNIFER CHOI]

THEATER

IN THE HEART OF AMERICA / / 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays at Rep Stage on the campus of Howard County Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $17-$25. 410-772-4900 or www.repstage.org.

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MacArthur Award winner Naomi Wallace has written a poetic account of wartime love that crisscrosses three decades and two very different conflicts: the Gulf and Vietnam wars.

In the more recent story, which is set in the Kuwaiti desert, a soldier from a self-described "white trash" upbringing falls in love with a Palestinian-American comrade who has his own issues of identity. The men are haunted by the ghost of a young girl who was killed in 1969, and her search for vengeance beyond the grave.

Fans of Wallace's image-drenched prose may remember that a different work, Things of Dry Hours, was mounted at Center Stage last season.

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[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

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