10 things not to miss from A&E; editor Tim Swift

The Baltimore Sun


"Soul Progressin'":

by Lafayette Gilchrist:

Taking inspiration from hip-hop, funk and soul, the Baltimore-based jazz pianist has been steadily earning a name for himself nationally. Entertainment Weekly called him "the heir to Thelonious Monk," and many others regard him as one of jazz music's rising young stars. He continues to live up to the hype with his new high-energy album Soul Progressin'. Out Tuesday, the CD will be followed by a series of live shows including one Saturday at the Creative Alliance.

For more: creativealliance.org


"Burn After Reading":

It's probably worth watching just to see Brad Pitt's worst haircut since his Fabio locks of Legends of the Fall. But the screwball spy caper has more going for it than just bad hair. After getting serious (and a few Oscars, too), directors Ethan and Joel Coen return to their wacked-out comedy roots with some serious star power. Opens Friday.


Michael Phelps everywhere:

Olympic superstar and soon-to-be Fells Point resident, Michael Phelps returns to TV in a big way this week, giving him a chance to shine outside the pool. Tonight at 8, he'll be a presenter on MTV's Video Music Awards. Tomorrow, he'll be sitting down for interviews with Oprah (4 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) and the Tonight Show's Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., WBAL Channel 11). Then Saturday, he faces what could be more nerve-racking than winning eight gold medals - hosting Saturday Night Live (11:29 p.m., WBAL Channel 11).


"Portraits of Power" :

by Richard Avedon :

Richard Avedon became famous photographing the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. But working for magazines such as Rolling Stone and The New Yorker, he showed he could easily shift from glitz to gravitas, capturing the images of Washington power players like Henry Kissinger and Ronald Reagan. Just in time for the current election, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. has assembled more than 200 of his portraits of politicians and bureaucrats. Opens Saturday.

For more: corcoran.org


Tokyo Police Club:

Last time this Canadian indie rock band performed in Baltimore it was supposed to be a "secret" show, but a good-size crowd showed up anyway. Maybe it's because with their latest album, Elephant Shell, the guys manage to be earnest without being maudlin - a coup in the indie rock world. Catch them before they join Weezer on tour this fall. Shows starts at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Ottobar.

For more: theottobar



"Fringe" :

Lost creator J.J. Abrams has a new show, and it starts with bad things happening on a plane. Sound familiar? Well for better or worse, that is as close as the debut of Fox's sci-fi detective show Fringe comes to its weightier cousin, Lost. Lighter and a lot zanier (a cow is part of the team), the episodic drama starring Anna Torv promises to be a fun diversion without the weekly commitment. Premiere: 8 p.m. Tuesday on Fox.


BSO Season Opener:

With Yo-Yo Ma:

Marin Alsop's second season as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra opens with a gala concert featuring stellar cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing works by Tchaikovsky and Bernstein. Other participants include trumpeter Dontae Winslow, local choirs and a marching band. Tickets are pricey ($100) and going fast. The gala kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

For more: bsomusic.org



on PC and Mac:

Will Wright, the creator of classic games like Sim City and The Sims, is used to letting players play God. But in his new game, Spore, the legendary game designer takes the concept a step further, enabling players to start new worlds at the cellular level. After that, instead of natural selection, it's personal selection as players gradually custom-build their own species and civilizations. In stores today.



by Neal Stephenson:

Called the "poet laureate of hacker culture," Stephenson returns to the literary scene this week with what could be his most ambitious novel yet. Set on a far-off, Earthlike world, Anathem has a hefty back story and a new language to boot. The plot hinges on a cloistered young scholar who leaves the protection of his monastery just as an alien threat looms. Far from a light read, Anathem tackles heavy subjects like religion, philosophy and anti-intellectualism. In stores Tuesday.


Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek:

It's starting to feel like fall, but the fashion world will be firmly fixated on spring this week in New York. Big names such as Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen, Betsey Johnson and Badgley Mischka will roll out their latest designs. Celebrity highlights include Annapolis native and Project Runway winner Christian Siriano's first show and the debut of Victoria Beckham's high-end ready-to-wear line. In Baltimore, fashionistas can catch some of the action (but not much) on TV with the Fashion Rocks special on Tuesday (9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13).

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