Irish Festival Everyone is invited to be Irish for the weekend at the 35th annual Maryland Irish Festival. The fun starts with special happy-hour pricing tonight, then continues through Saturday and Sunday with music, food, cultural exhibits and more. There's even an Irish Baking Contest, set for Sunday afternoon. (If you're an expert on soda bread and want to show off your baking talent to the masses, be sure to register by 2 p.m.) Here's betting there'll be plenty of things green. Runs 6 p.m.-11 p.m. today, noon-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday (with a Mass set for 10 a.m.) at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium. Tickets are $5-$12, with children under 12 and active military getting in free. Information: irishfestival.com
John Butler Trio Thank goodness music from Down Under has progressed beyond Men at Work. The John Butler Trio has been one of Australia's prime musical exports since the 2001 release of "Three" introduced audiences to the band's alt-rock sound. The group's latest release, 2010's "April Uprising," went platinum and earned the trio their highest chart position yet on the American Billboard charts. All that, plus they'll be coming to Baltimore hot on the heels of having opened for the Dave Matthews Band at New York's Madison Square Garden, so you know they'll be fired up. The show starts at 8 p.m. Sunday at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place. Tickets are $30. Information: 410-244-1131 or ramsheadlive.com. For more on the John Butler trio, turn to Page --.
Swanson times two Two movies starring the great Gloria Swanson, 1929's "Queen Kelly" and 1950's "Sunset Boulevard," kick off a new film series — called "You Be Cinema" and programmed by George Figgs, late of Fells Point's beloved Orpheum Theatre — starting at the University of Baltimore this weekend. It's quite a double feature: "Boulevard" is a film noir masterpiece, director Billy Wilder's scathing critique of Hollywood's short attention span and infatuation with youth, with Swanson as crazed, faded silent-film star Norma Desmond. When, during the film, Norma is looking at scenes from her glory days, it's clips of "Queen Kelly" she's watching. The fun starts at 5 p.m. today at UB's Student Center Performing Arts Theater, 21 W. Mount Royal Ave. Tickets are $4. Information: 410-837-4200 or ubalt.edu/spotlightub. For Baltimore Sun movie critic Michael Sragow's take on the two films, turn to Page --.
'Eroica' The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop perform Beethoven's Third Symphony. Originally intended as a tribute to Napoleon, a disillusioned Beethoven, disgusted with the French leader's imperialist streak, famously scratched out the name and substituted "Eroica," which translates to "Heroic." Says Baltimore Sun music critic Tim Smith, "From the two opening staccato chords, the symphony commands attention and delivers the musical equivalent of an emotion-rich, four-act drama." Also feaured will be works by Samuel Barber and Sergei Prokofiev. The music starts at 8 tonight at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $28-$66. Information: 410-783-8000 or bsomusic.org
Jingle Bell Walk Looking for an early opportunity to get in the holiday spirit, and maybe do some good at the same time? Head out to the Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie on Sunday for the 2010 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Runners and walkers of all kinds will be hitting pavements, pathways, walkways and other areas in and around the mall, all in the name of raising money for arthritis research. This year's event honors 17-year-old Lucy Rosenbloom, a longtime volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation who has been battling the condition since she was 2. The walk is set to begin at 8 a.m. Registration is $30. Information: glenburniejbr.kintera.org
Kathy Griffin Comedian, actress, best-selling author, reality-show star: for a woman who proclaims herself a proud member of Hollywood's D-List, Kathy Griffin is doing all right for herself. She'll be bringing her stand-up act to Baltimore this week. Those who offend easily might want to pass (Griffin's mouth has gotten her into hot water more than once). But if you want to hear someone riff hilariously on celebrities and being a celebrity (or trying to be one), then be at the Lyric Opera House on Nov. 18. The show starts at 8 p.m.Tickets are $32-$72 and available at the door, through ticketmaster.com or by calling 410-547-7328. Information: lyricoperahouse.com
'Unstoppable' Denzel Washington and Chris Pine try to stop a runaway train in the latest from director Tony Scott. Rosario Dawson and Ethan Suplee also star. Opens in theaters today. For a review, turn to Page --.