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

The Baltimore Sun


'One-Man Star Wars Trilogy':

Being able to recite Star Wars dialogue verbatim is a common affliction of the nerd population. But Canadian actor Charles Ross takes the practice into hyperdrive. In Baltimore for a two-week run, Ross' off-Broadway hit re-creates all the characters, sound effects and even John Williams' score with nothing but some lights and elbow pads. Opens 8 p.m. Tuesday at Center Stage.

For more: centerstage.org


Heath Ledger:

in 'The Dark Knight':

Despite what the fanboys say, this Batman flick is not the best movie ever made. I will concede, though, that Heath Ledger is the best Joker ever. His stripped down psychopathic clown was so unnerving and erratic that he kept me guessing, even though someone had already blown the ending for me. Besides, with fast forward, the overlong Knight is sure to improve on DVD. In stores Tuesday.


John Legend:

Kanye West BFF and all-around smooth operator, John Legend rolls into Baltimore this week. Mostly known for love songs, the balladeer has also branched out into inspirational territory lately with his single "If You're Out There." Now it's part of Barack Obama's ever-growing stable of up-with-people theme songs. The show starts at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Lyric Opera House.

For more: : lyricoperahouse.com


'A Charlie Brown Christmas' :

: Before anyone else gets mowed down during a Wal-Mart doorbuster sale, maybe we should all sit back and heed the advice of Snoopy and company about the "real meaning of Christmas." It's one of the few Christmas traditions that chides the over-the-top materialism of the holiday, so it's no surprise that the 1965 cartoon is even more relevant today. Airs at 8 p.m. tomorrow on WMAR, Channel 2.


'Grace Hartigan::

Works on Paper':

An accomplished painter and a mentor to countless art students, Hartigan died last month, leaving behind an impressive body of work. In tribute, the C. Grimaldis Gallery has assembled some of her best work, ranging from the 1950s to her most recent work from 2007. The show runs through Jan. 10.

For more: cgrimaldis



'The Day the Earth :

Stood Still' : in IMAX:

We haven't had a chance to see this one, but judging by the amount of destruction in the previews, it's a safe bet that this sci-fi remake will look really cool in IMAX. Filmed with the big screen in mind, the movie centers on an alien who sets out to purge the Earth of humans. It's one of the first big releases for the new IMAX screens in White Marsh and Columbia. In theaters Friday.


'House of Saddam':

Part Mideast Falcon Crest, part much-needed history lesson, this ambitious mini-series has all the austerity of the best historical dramas and all of the sleaze of the most addictive soap operas. Although it takes a while for the saga to hit its stride, House of Saddam finally delivers in its second hour as the warmongering and backstabbing kick into high gear. Airs at 9 tonight and continues next Sunday on HBO.


Sock Monkey Saturday:

Homemade Christmas gifts are suddenly looking a lot cooler, thanks to the dreadful economy. Yet, they still haven't lost their potential to go horribly wrong. Luckily, the crafty folks at the American Visionary Arts Museum are ready to lend a hand with this annual event. You bring two pairs of socks, and they provide the rest, including instruction. The monkey-making runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more: avam.org


BSO Holiday Spectacular :

Yes, the tap-dancing Santas will be back. But this year, the big stars of the symphony's annual Christmas show are the kids of the African Children's Choir. The choir gives the children - many of them orphans - a chance for a better education while touring the world. And performing on American Idol isn't bad either. The holiday spectacular kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Meyerhoff.

: For more: bsomusic.org


Eric Hutchinson:

This Maryland native's career got a jumpstart after Perez Hilton became a vocal fan. Slowly but surely, Hutchinson's brand of acoustic soul has been winning new converts in addition to the outrageous gossip blogger. His latest single, "Rock and Roll," has been a staple on VH1, and he's frequently been named as an artist to watch. Show starts 7 p.m. Tuesday at the 8x10 Club.

For more: the8x10.com

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