'Mason and Dixon'
What's the difference between the North and the South? The Mason-Dixon Line, of course. The story of how it became one of the most famous boundaries in America is told in Mason and Dixon and the Defining of America, an exhibit that runs through Feb. 28 at the Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St. The name comes from two British experts, astronomer Charles Mason and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon, who were brought in to settle an 80-year land dispute between the Calverts of Maryland and the Penns of Pennsylvania. Beginning in 1763 on the Eastern Shore, in what is now Delaware, Mason and Dixon spent five years surveying the boundary between the two colonies, covering 312 miles. The exhibit features documents and artifacts from the historical society, the Maryland State Archives and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, including Mason and Dixon's handwritten journal and their survey instrument. Call 410-685-3750 or go to mdhs.org.
Eleven contemporary artists from Japan attempt to capture a world that is invisible to the naked eye - the world of the spirit - in Counter Photography: Japan's Artists Today, on view through March 6 at the Japan Information and Culture Center in the Embassy of Japan, 2520 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. in Washington. Although the photographs vary in the method of expression, all reflect the traditional Japanese belief that objects have a spiritual aspect and that art can help reveal it. Go to embjapan.org.
Few contemporary operas have taken such a strong hold as Doctor Atomic, the provocative and involving work by John Adams that delves into the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the first atomic bomb. As he did with Nixon in China, Adams uses the stuff of history to probe deeply into the intellectual and emotional issues beneath the surface. The Great Performances at the Met presentation of Doctor Atomic, starring baritone Gerald Finley as Oppenheimer and conducted by Alan Gilbert, will air at 9 p.m. Monday on WMPT-Select (digital) and WETA, Channel 26.
'Puss in Boots'
Boo! Hiss! Applaud! Audience participation is essential in this family-friendly production of Puss in Boots, which is styled in the 200-year-old tradition of British pantomime. This collaboration features singers from the Peabody Opera, young dancers from Peabody Preparatory and a cross-dressing star turn by James Kinstle in the role of Widow Weptalot. See Puss in Boots tomorrow through Wednesday at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 N. Preston St. Showtimes vary. Tickets are $12-$25. Call 410-539-3091 or go to theatreproject.org.
Andrew Lloyd Weber
Let the memory live again. This production includes tunes by the British composer and theater impresario for such shows as Cats, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera. The concert features a 30-piece orchestra and a roster of accomplished performers, including Shoshana Bean, who starred in Wicked on Broadway. Hear the The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber through Jan. 4 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. N.W. in Washington. Showtimes vary. Tickets are $25-$150. Call 800-444-1324 or go to kennedy-center.org.
'It's a Wonderful Life'
Your last chances to see It's a Wonderful Life in a theater this year are at 3 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. today at the AFI Silver. Only in a theater can viewers appreciate the qualities that make the film magical, including its evocation of a storybook small-town America that no longer is and probably never was. The theater is at 8633 Colesville Road in Silver Spring. Call 301-495-6720 or go to afi.com/ silver.
It's a Christmas movie! It's a Hanukkah movie! It's MGM's 1952 production of Ivanhoe, starring Robert Taylor as the noble Saxon trying to bring Richard the Lion-Hearted back to power after the Crusades; Joan Fontaine as his pale beauty Rowena; and Elizabeth Taylor as the ravishing and heroic Rebecca, marginalized by her faith (she's Jewish). See it at midnight Friday on Turner Classic Movies.
Lil' Wayne, Gym Class Heroes, Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole and T-Pain
With some of the hottest names in urban-pop, this show is sure to be rowdy. Lil' Wayne is undoubtedly this year's most successful rapper, leading next year's Grammy nominations with eight. And Keyshia Cole, whose sound is built on the hip hop-suffused template Mary J. Blige set in the '90s, has garnered platinum sales with her tortured-soul sound. See them at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. N.W. in Washington. Tickets are $45.75-$85.75 and are available through Ticketmaster by calling 410-547-7823 or going to ticket master.com.
The Walters Art Museum offers free winter-break activities for the family, including a drop-in art event. Kids and their parents can make star lanterns, jeweled votive candles or holiday greeting cards. The activities are for kids 3 and older at the museum, 600 N. Charles St., and run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. tomorrow through Jan. 1 in the Family Art Center. Call 410-547-9000 or go to thewalters .org.
The Windup Space is showing Critters, a visual-art exhibit with an animal theme. National and local multidisciplinary artists show critters in all their forms, some not totally pleasant. The show runs 4 p.m.-1 a.m. through Saturday at the Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave. Call 410-244-8855 or go to thewindupspace.com.
The Maryland Historical Society showcases toys that children around the state have played with in Nipper's Toyland: 200 Years of Children's Playthings. The exhibit also features portraits and photos of children. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays at the historical society, 201 W. Monument St. Admission is $4 for adults; $3 for students and seniors; and free for children 12 and younger. Admission is free on the first Thursday of every month. Call 410-685-3750 or go to mdhs.org.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture offers an exhibit that discusses the people outside of the traditional power structure who worked to eliminate segregation in U.S. schools. Courage: The Vision to End Segregation, the Guts to Fight for It runs through March 1 at the museum, 830 E. Pratt St. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; free for members and children 6 and younger; and $6 for seniors and college students. Call 443-263-1800 or go to africanamerican culture.org.