Main Event: Get Crafty
Hold on to your glitter glue, Charm City—the biggest indoor craft show in America is coming to town. Featuring more than 650 vendors, the 2017 American Craft Show celebrates the 75th anniversary of the American Craft Council with hordes of homemade goods and maker-based programming. Cases in (needle) point: “Hip Pop,” a curated collection of emerging artists and their work; “Style Slam,” a stylist-organized fashion presentation explaining how to integrate craft-show pieces into one’s wardrobe; “Let’s Make,” interactive demonstrations in which participants create their own work; and “Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft,” an exhibition showcasing the relationship between art and craft as interpreted in homes throughout the ages. For the solely retail-minded, the juried show also includes for-sale jewelry, clothing, furniture, home décor and more, all housed in the ever-adaptable Baltimore Convention Center. Feb. 24-26. Tickets: $16 for a one-day pass, $36 for a three-day pass. craftcouncil.org/baltimore — KIMBERLY USLIN
FUNCTION FOLLOWS FORM
Finding meaning in geometric forms presents a challenge for many of us. On Paper: Finding Form, organized by Baltimore Museum of Art Senior Curator of Contemporary Art Kristen Hileman, helps us better appreciate and understand the post-minimalist drawings of Eva Hesse and 1960s/ 1970s peers Mel Bochner, Brice Marden, Dorothea Rockburne and Robert Smithson—works characterized by a personal approach to geometric abstraction, all of them mined from the museum’s deep contemporary collection. Jan. 1 through Apr. 30, 2017 at the BMA. Free. 443-573-1700, artbma.org —JULIETH MEDINA-CICI
STRAIGHT OUTTA … ANNAPOLIS?
Performing a curious hybrid of funk, metal, reggae, ska and alternative rock—sometimes all in the same song—Annapolis-based Jimmie’s Chicken Shack has remained surprisingly pertinent since it emerged in the midst of the early-1990s grunge explosion. Superb players, they induce an unbidden, unconscious head-bob in a live setting, with frontman Jimi HaHa spinning tales of sin and salvation. Expect to hear songs from their entire catalog, including “High,” “Blood” and “Do Right,” when they take the stage Jan. 6 at Rams Head Live. Tickets: $10-$20, 410-244-1131, ramsheadlive.com —MICHAEL YOCKEL
Best remembered for directing 1930’s “The Blue Angel”—which catapulted Marlene Dietrich to stardom—Austrian-born Josef von Sternberg earlier honed his craft with several innovatively shot silent films, notably 1928’s The Docks of New York, the affecting story of what ensues when upright seaman (George Bancroft) saves suicidal hooker (Betty Compson) from drowning. Memorably, von Sternberg teamed again with Dietrich for 1934’s The Scarlet Empress, wherein she portrays a young, willful Catherine the Great en route to the Russian throne. Awash in cinematic sumptuousness, the film rates among the director’s finest achievements. The Pratt’s Central Branch screens Docks (noon) and Empress (2 p.m.) on Jan. 21. Free. 410-396-4616, prattlibrary.org —M.Y.
Every picture tells a story, and the work of painters Ellen Hill (mosaics on wood) and Sheep Jones (oil and encaustic) is no exception. Hill’s mosaics on panels display her personal responses to nature, while Jones’ whimsical work explores the boundaries, interiors and exteriors of the earth. Combined, Hill’s clashes of colors and patterns and Jones’ texturized fowls and flora might inspire you to philosophize about the world around you. Jan. 4-April 1 at Steven Scott Gallery. Free. 410-902-9300, stevenscottgallery.com —MICAH CASTELO
LAST COMIC OUTSTANDING
Comprised of an all-star stand-up lineup, the Comedy Get Down Tour corrals the talents of a quintet that has been all over TV for decades: Cedric the Entertainer (“The Steve Harvey Show” and “Barbershop”), Eddie Griffin (“Malcolm & Eddie”), D.L. Hughley (“The Hughleys”), George Lopez (uh, “George Lopez”) and Charlie Murphy (“Black Jesus”). Expect yuks aplenty and not a few barbs aimed at our soon-to-be president, especially from Lopez and Hughley, when they come together Jan. 13 at the Royal Farms Arena. Tickets: $50-$90. 410-347-2020, royalfarmsarena.com —M.Y.
EAT, DRINK, SAVE
Casual diners of the world unite and take over (from the foodies). At least for 10 affordable days. Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week offers two-course lunches/ brunches priced from $12 to $20, plus three-course dinners from $20 to $35, at more than 100 local restaurants, from fine-dining establishments to relaxed, innovative eateries. Many boast special menus for wine and beer pairings. Among the more than 100 participants: the Prime Rib, Langermann’s, B&O American Brasserie, the Brewer’s Art, Waterfront Kitchen, Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Bluegrass and Sotto Sopra. Jan. 13-22 all around town. baltimorerestaurantweek.com —M.Y.
A HOUSE DIVIDED
In the years just prior to the Civil War, Cecil County-based slave catcher Thomas McCreary tracked down escaped slaves bound from Baltimore and points south to the safe haven of Philadelphia. Most infamously, McCreary kidnapped Rachel Parker, a freed slave, in the aftermath of the 1851 Christiana Riot, a deadly Pennsylvania uprising against the previous year’s Fugitive Slave Act. In his new book, Stealing Freedom Along the Mason-Dixon Line, local author/historian Milt Diggins closely examines McCreary’s activities, the 1851 riot, the federal treason trial that followed and the pervasive toxic environment that gripped the region in the midst of the national debate over slavery, all of which he’ll discuss on Jan. 11 at the Pratt’s Central Branch. Free. 410-396-5430, prattlibrary.org —M.Y.
Despite being neither consistently barefoot nor an Italian countess, Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) has risen to considerable fame since her show of the same name debuted on the Food Network in 2002. Garten enjoys a sort of quiet celebrity; unlike counterparts such as Bobby Flay or Rachael Ray, she has opted against endorsement deals, cookware lines and restaurants. But it is just this kind of restraint that so endears her to her fans—and that animates her most recent book, Cooking for Jeffrey (her husband, for the uninitiated). Garten will discuss the new book, share stories and answer audience questions Jan. 17 at the Hippodrome. Tickets: $69-$97. 410-837-7400, france-merrickpac.com —K.U.
Claude Monet and Edouard Manet have long been considered two of the most significant artists of the impressionist movement (and two of the most easily confused by art history students). Get close enough to see the masters’ distinctive brushstrokes at A La Table with Monet and Manet: A French Wine Tasting Dinner, held in the Walters Art Museum’s 19th-century galleries. Part of the Artful Dining series, the event will feature French food and wine presented by chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola. Quelle magnifique fête. Jan. 21 at the Walters. Tickets: $225. 410-547-9000, thewalters.org —K.U.
MORE THAN A MEMORY
From the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, The Smithereens cranked out melodic, high-octane, two-guitar power pop that highlighted the thoughtful, often literate, lyrics of singer-songwriter Pat DiNizio. “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” from 1986, remains a benchmark of the genre, with its mod-smart opening lines “She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton/back in 1965.” And they always delivered live. DiNizio, guitarist Jim Babjak and drummer/rock historian Dennis Diken remain from the original lineup, joined by bassist Severo Jornacion. They still smite pretenders half their age. Jan. 28 at Rams Head on Stage (Annapolis). Tickets: $35. 410-268-4545, ramsheadonstage.com —M.Y.
On his most recent album, Allied Forces, jazz drummer/educator/author Steve Fidyk (who earned his master’s at the University of Maryland) leads a quartet through swinging interpretations of songs by Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and, somewhat unexpectedly, Brian Wilson (the Beach Boys’ melancholy “In My Room”), not forgetting his own protean originals. The album’s title winks at Fidyk’s stint performing with the U.S. Army Blues jazz ensemble, while declaring solidarity with bandmates Brian Charette (organ), Joseph Henson (alto sax), Doug Webb (tenor sax) and Shawn Purcell (guitar). Feb. 3 at An die Musik LIVE. Tickets: $10-$17. 410-385-2638, andiemusiklive.com —M.Y.
In Buddhism and Hinduism, “samsara” is the journey of the soul through the cycle of life, death and rebirth. But in Lauren Yee’s comedic Samsara, things get a little more complicated (as if transmigration isn’t complex enough). Katie and Craig are having a surrogate baby with Suraiya, an aspiring doctor from India who’s growing a “smart-mouthed fetus” in her womb (they chat, incidentally). All three—make that four—inject their respective neuroses into the budding equation. Discover what “family” means in the 21st century. Jan. 18-Feb. 12 at Single Carrot Theatre. $15-$29. 443-844-9253, single carrot.com —M.C.
GIVE ’EM THE DICKENS
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, published in 1861, clocks in at a densely packed, subplots-a-go-go 500 pages, not exactly suitable for the stage. And yet Gale Childs Daly’s crisp adaptation keeps intact the essentials of protagonist Pip’s ascent from destitute orphan to society gentleman and the myriad life lessons that journey entails, while lopping away some of the novel’s boggier details. In this production, six actors take on 35 roles, including the manipulative Miss Havisham, the lovely but chilly Estella, the kindly Joe and the surprising Magwitch. Feb. 1-March 5 at Everyman Theatre. Tickets: $25-$64. 410-752-2208, everymantheatre.org —M.Y.
MUSIC A LA MODE
BSO Music Director Marin Alsop strolls across Mount Vernon to conduct one of her favorite talent incubators, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, in a performance of works by a trio of modern masters: Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” Richard Strauss’ “Don Juan, Op. 20” and Dimitri Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47.” First presented in a 1938 radio broadcast led by Arturo Toscanini, Barber’s emotive “Adagio” has achieved iconic status over the decades, establishing itself as among the most recognizable 20th-century American works. Feb. 4, Peabody Institute. Free (with a ticket). 667-208-6620, peabody.jhu .edu —M.Y.
IN THE MOOD
Let’s talk about sex, baby … or, more accurately, sit in the audience and listen while other, braver people tell their most intimate tales onstage at The Stoop Sex Show. Prepare to be regaled by everything from the steamy-but-sweet to the seriously cringe-inducing. And, as always, before the main event, enjoy cocktails and live music—the latter courtesy of Patrick Alban & Noche Latina. Daring date night, anyone? Feb. 7 at the Senator Theatre. Tickets: $20. stoopstorytelling.com —K.U.
BIGGER THAN LIFE
In his just-published memoir, The Brand New Catastrophe, Mike Scalise chronicles with wit, humor and insight his life-altering experience after learning, at age 24, that a ruptured pituitary tumor had resulted in him contracting the hormone disorder acromegaly, which causes gigantism. Scalise details how the condition has affected his relationships with family and friends, including his girlfriend; how he has grappled with the medical establishment; how others, notably wrestler/actor Andre the Giant, have dealt with acromegaly; and how his self- perception has changed. Scalise discusses his book and life with Baltimore author Nate Brown on Feb. 7 at the Ivy Bookshop. Free. 410-377-2966, theivybookshop.com —M.Y.
A MELANCHOLY MAN
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra salutes Abraham Lincoln, mere days after his birthday, by presenting Aaron Copland’s emotionally potent Lincoln Portrait, corraling Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah to provide the work’s stirring narration. Also on the program: Dvořák’s “Cello Concerto” (with soloist Johannes Moser), Samuel Barber’s “Symphony No. 1” and the world premiere of composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s “Dancin’ Blue Crabs,” the most recent installment in the BSO’s Centennial Celebration Commission series. Feb. 16 at the Meyerhoff. Tickets: $33-$99. 410-783-8000, bsomusic.org —M.Y.
LET THERE BE LIBRETTO
The Peabody Chamber Opera presents Women in the Dark, a series of opera shorts featuring women who are distinctly unaware of the situations that surround them. The selections: composer Thomas Wittman’s “Sukey in the Dark,” a tantalizing take on the Cupid and Psyche myth; “Naomi in the Living Room,” composed by Jonathan Holland and based on a short story by Christopher Durang, that recounts a trip home gone wrong; and Errollyn Wallen’s “Anon,” a portrait of the secret lives of women across the world. See all three Feb. 16-19 at the Theatre Project. Tickets: $25. 410-752-8558, theatreproject.org —K.U.
SHARE HIS DREAM
Both commemoration and celebration, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade honors the civil rights leader (one day after what would have been his 88th birthday) with more than 50 participating groups. Expect to see high-stepping high school and community bands, dance troupes, civic organizations and equestrian squads. The event reminds us to honor the importance of King’s tireless work to achieve equality for all Americans, while simultaneously urging us to have a good time. Jan. 16 along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., beginning at Eutaw St. Free. 410-752-8632, promotionandarts.org —M.Y.
JUST FOR KICKS
Time to feis up, Baltimore! Get a head start on your St. Patty’s Day celebrations with Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary World Tour. The shoe-stomping, precision-driven Irish dancing phenomenon returns to the United States after a four-year drought, bringing with it new costumes, lighting, projections and more. Keep an eye (and ear) out especially for “Anna Livia,” a new a cappella hard-shoe performance. Feb. 17-19 at the Lyric. Tickets: $35-80. 410-900-1150, lyric baltimore.com —K.U.
For nearly 50 years, the Philadelphia Dance Company, more commonly known as PHILADANCO, has been inspiring audiences with a unique blend of African-American traditional dance, athletic ballet, jazz and modern styles. Beyond near-perfect performances and intricate choreography, however, the company prides itself on its proclivity for cultural exchange and art as activism, often performing before diverse audiences with the intention of “breaking barriers and building bridges.” Feb. 25 at the Gordon Center. Tickets: $23-$33. 410-356-7469, jcc.org/gordon center —K.U.
HITHER AND SLITHER
As guests arrive at Repticon, they’re greeted by a giant inflatable cobra before they’ve even walked in the door … and things just get creepy-crawlier from there. The herpetological convention features live animal encounters, educational seminars from the experts and thousands of exotic frogs, snakes, lizards and turtles—most for sale. A word to the wise: Don’t bring the kids unless you’re ready for a not-so-fuzzy addition to the family. Jan. 21-22 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Tickets: $10, $15 for a two-day pass. repticon.com —K.U.
Break the winter rut by teleporting yourself to meadow-like vistas via New American Gardens, a traveling photography exhibit of the work of the late landscape architects Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden, who transformed boring old lawns into what van Sweden called gardens that “move in the breeze and sparkle like stained glass.” Lose yourself in their tapestry-like plantings and flowers as big as dinner plates. Jan. 6-March 26 at Cylburn Arboretum. Free. 410-367-2217, cylburn.org —M.C.
Before she became a star in her own right, singer-songwriter Carole King and then-husband Gerry Goffin penned some of the biggest hits of the ‘60s—“Up on the Roof,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” and even “The Loco-Motion,” among many others. When she and Goffin split, however, she skyrocketed into the spotlight with her first majorly successful album, 1971’s Tapestry, featuring the singles “I Feel the Earth Move” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” Hear all the hits (and learn more about the woman behind the music) in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Jan. 24-29 at the Hippodrome. Tickets: $42-$174. 410-837-7400, france-merrickpac.com —K.U.