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

The Baltimore Sun

BOOKS

Michael Ian Black:

at the Baltimore Book Festival:

My favorite talking head from the VH1 nostalgia shows heads to Baltimore next weekend to talk about his new book, My Custom Van . According to the publisher: "Never before has a single book combined awesome vans, unicorns, Billy Joel and erotic fiction in such a potent combination." Well, I'm sold. Black goes on at 6 p.m. Saturday. The festival starts Friday and runs all weekend in Mount Vernon Place.

For more: baltimorebookfestival .com

DVD

"Sex and the City" :

This sure-handed adaptation of HBO's hit comedy series proved that superheroes aren't the only ones who can fill multiplexes. Like most TV series-turned-movies, Sex and the City isn't a dramatic tour-de-force. But fans of the show should relish the opportunity to reunite with the shoe-addicted Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her gal pals in this comfortable, if not groundbreaking, film. In stores Tuesday.

OPERA

"Le Cabaret De Carmen":

Bizet's classic tale of lust and obsession gets a whole lot shorter and a whole lot sexier in Theater Project's latest show. Inspired by Peter Brook's controversial production from the 1980s, this show retains the breakneck pace (only 90 minutes) but adds a cabaret twist. This lively production seems like the perfect first show for opera virgins. Opens 8 p.m. Thursday.

For more: theatreproject.org

COMEDY

"DeFace The Nation":

Feeding off the intense potential for parody in this election, the Second City comedy troupe takes on the political establishment with the show, "DeFace The Nation." Neither Republicans nor Democrats will be spared as the comedians - many of whom have gone on to Saturday Night Live fame - take aim at Bush, Obama and both Clintons. Show starts at 7:30 Tuesday night at Towson University's Stephens Hall Theatre.

For more: towson.edu/artscal endar

CONCERT

Musiq Soulchild:

With a mix of soul, R&B; and good old-fashioned love balladry, Musiq Soulchild brings a much-needed sense of sophistication and smoothness to the urban music scene. The Philadelphia native is back on tour, promoting his latest project, On My Radio. With the new album, he experiments with Southern hip-hop but doesn't stray far from his soulful inclinations. He performs 8 p.m. Friday at Sonar.

For more: sonarbaltimore.com

TV

"The Office":

Last season's finale of NBC's hit comedy had more cliffhangers than the zaniest of daytime soaps (yes, I'm talking about Passions). After a long summer, the dysfunctional Dunder Mifflin crew is back with new episodes and, I hope, some resolved plot lines. Among the loose ends: Ryan's arrest, Pam and Jim's engagement and Michael's unborn child. Premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday on WBAL, Channel 11.

ART

"Reconstruction":

by David Hess:

Hess, whose large sculptures appear in prominent public spaces like BWI Marshall Airport, applies his striking industrial aesthetic to a smaller scale with his show at the Goya Contemporary. Some pieces like Turntable (below) are austere and geometric; others are charming and whimsical. Opens this weekend. On display through Oct. 31.

For more: goyacontemporary.com

GAMES

"Lego Batman":

Batman may have ruled the big-screen this summer, but the Caped Crusader was notably absent from video-game screens. Well, this week, players can finally get their Batman fix with a catch. Far from the brooding Dark Knight, this game is cute with a capital C. But like the Star Wars Lego games before it, it has the chops to become many "serious" gamers' favorite guilty pleasure. In stores Tuesday.

FILM

"Eagle Eye":

Shia LaBeouf and his Disturbia director D.J. Caruso reunite for another paranoid thriller, only this time the results are exponentially more explosive. LaBeouf plays a slacker who is thrust into danger, becoming the nation's top fugitive after a series of cryptic cell phone calls. It's fun but really far-fetched. Something tells me "the-cell-phone-made-me-do-it" defense doesn't go over well at Guantanamo. In theaters Friday.

COMEDY

Kathy Griffin:

The delightfully inappropriate comedian brings her celeb-trashing routine to D.C.'s DAR Constitution Hall for a pair of shows this week. Likely topics for discussion include: the outcome of tonight's Emmys (if you didn't know, she's won), her recent tryst with a billionaire and, of course, America's favorite train wreck, Britney Spears. She performs at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

For more: kathygriffin.net

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