PAINTIN’ IN THE STREET
The streets of Little Italy will transform into stunning works of art at the Madonnari Arts Festival, named after the 16th century Italian traveling street artists dubbed “i madonnari.” The festival pays homage to the transient tradition with professional and student artists from around the world creating works of art on pavement, each inspired by this year’s theme: Freedom. As always, the street art will be surrounded by plenty of food and wine, as well as live music and other performance art highlighting Baltimore’s creative community. Just make sure to watch your step! Sept. 8-10 in Baltimore’s Little Italy. Free. littleitalymadonnari.com. —L.M.
For one weekend every year, the Inner Harbor welcomes a sea of characters from another world (or galaxy, in some cases), as well as a host of artists, authors and experts, for Baltimore Comic Con. The three-day festival includes costume contests, The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards, panels, discussion boards and photo ops with both characters and their creators. This year, Frank Miller, the genius behind comics Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, and Sin City, will be among the esteemed guests appearing at the event. Sept. 22-24 at Baltimore Convention Center. Tickets: $25-$150. 800-838-3006, baltimorecomiccon.com. —L.M.
Roll up your sleeves and get crackin’ at the 4th Annual Baltimore Seafood Festival. The waterfront event features crab, crab, and more crab, naturally, as well as fresh oysters, shrimp, and ceviche—not to mention food, drink, live music and plenty of family-friendly activities. Charm City favorites Captain James Seafood Palace, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood and Nick’s Fish House will be in attendance, as well as other city eateries like Cosima and The Rowhouse Grille. Be sure to bring your bib…and appetite, of course. Sept. 16 at Canton Waterfront Park. Tickets: $10-$99. baltimoreseafoodfest.com. —L.M.
Don’t miss this fall’s Sugarloaf Crafts Festival, where hundreds of independent artisans gather to sell ceramics, jewelry, specialty foods and more. With vendors catering to a diverse range of interests (and budgets), the weekend-long celebration of all things crafty has something for everyone, as well as technique demonstrations and workshops, entertainment from local jazz and folk musicians and more. October 13-15 at Timonium Fairgrounds. Tickets $8 in advance/$10 at door. sugarloafcrafts.com —K.S.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Hampdenfest returns for its 14th year with tons of its trademark quirk. Catch the uniquely Baltimore tradition of toilet racing, cheer on a pie-eating contest, peruse a selection of arts and craft vendors, or sample some mouth-watering local dishes, from pit beef to crab cakes—all while enjoying a daylong soundtrack of live music from both national and local artists.
Sept. 9 on West 36th Street. Free. hampdenfest.com —B.B.
The first-ever Baltimore Comedy Festival—not to be confused with the non-inaugural Charm City Comedy or Baltimore Comedy and Arts Festivals—bursts onto the scene with standup, showcases, art, panel discussions and podcast recordings at 10 venues throughout the city. The best part? It’s primarily free, save for two ticketed “premiere” events (artists TBA), and there will be plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with your favorite local comedian. Just don’t ask them for feedback on your standup set. Sept. 1-4 at various locations. Free. baltimorecomedyfest.com. —B.B.
ON THE DAILY
Hilarious host Trevor Noah takes a break from The Daily Show to bring his politically minded stand-up to Charm City. Audiences can expect a few jabs at our Commander-in-Chief, of course, but South Africa native also comes armed with an arsenal of musings about American culture, side-splitting-yet-biting racial commentary and much more. Oh, and he does a killer impression. Nov. 4 at The Hippodrome Theatre. Tickets: $69+. 800-343-3103, baltimore.broadway.com —B.B.
HERE’S YOUR SIGN
You know comedian Bill Engvall from 2003’s “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” but did you know that he’s also an actor and a Grammy-nominated recording artist? Watch as he brings his bevy of talents (and plenty of everyday-life humor) to the Lyric in a special one-night show. Whether you’ve been following him since the ’90s or you’re brand-new to his schtick, the seasoned performer is sure to bring some much-needed comic relief. Sept. 30 at the Lyric. Tickets $40-$60. 410-900-1150. www.modell-lyric.com —L.D.
KICK THE BLUES
Lighten up with Josh Blue, a standup star known for his appearances on Comedy Central and NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Blue, a Denver native, lives with cerebral palsy, a fact at the center of many of his hilarious sets. Laugh along with his self-deprecating tales of life as a husband and father, others’ reactions to his physical disability and everything else in his everyday existence. You might even learn a life lesson or two—after all, as he says, “I think we’d all be happier people if we didn’t take ourselves so seriously all the time.” Sept. 16 at Creative Alliance. Tickets: $19-22. 410-276-1651, creativealliance.org. —L.M.
Enjoy an evening of comedy royalty at Chris Rock: Total Blackout Tour. The unapologetic, inventive winner of four Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards is a comedy wildcard, never backing down from controversy (even when it makes his audience a little uncomfortable). The result? An unpredictable, laugh-til-your-stomach-hurts experience. Oct. 18-21 at The Theater at MGM National Harbor. Tickets: $136-395. 800.745.3000, mgmnationalharbor.com. —L.M.
This fall, Maryland Humanities’ annual One Maryland One Book programming celebrates Purple Hibiscus by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Winner of both of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the novel tells the story of a Kambili, a girl born into a Nigerian family with a perfect facade, but a restrictive and emotionally charged interior. Throughout the season, Marylanders across the state are encouraged to read Adichie’s book and meet up for discussions and book studies, sharing thoughts and perspectives in the hopes of increased unity and collaboration among residents. Sept.-Oct. Free. 410-685-6161, mdhumanities.org. —L.M.
It’s no secret that Baltimore has been home to many literary legends throughout history, from Edgar Allen Poe (obviously) and H.L. Mencken to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Follow in their footsteps on the Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour, which shows the spots where famous authors lived, worked and were inspired. Oct. 21 at Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch. Tickets: $10. www.mdhumanities.org/ —B.B.
A NOVEL EVENT
The Baltimore Book Festival returns to the Inner Harbor with the best and brightest of all things bookish, including author appearances, poetry readings, and roundtable discussions, as well as live music, food, kids’ activities, and of course, a bevy of booksellers. This year’s featured guests include Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Alice McDermott and Kwame Alexander, among many others—definitely worth leaving your reading nook. September 22-24 at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Free. baltimorebookfestival.com —B.B.
A FUNNY STORY
WYPR presents bestselling humorist (and literary icon) David Sedaris for a night of stories and sardonic humor at the Hippodrome. Sedaris, the author of 10 essay collections, is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and NPR’s This American Life. His most recent collection, Theft By Finding, is a selection of his diaries from 1977-2002, home to his observations of the world around him and of his own complicated life. He’ll read from the book at the WYPR event, as well as take questions from the audience—so come prepared to ask, and of course, to laugh. Oct. 12 at The Hippodrome Theatre. Tickets: $51-87. 800-343-3103, baltimore.broadway.com —B.B.
In Baltimore, political scientist and author Matthew A. Crenson writes in his book Baltimore: A Political History, “slavery once existed alongside the largest community of free blacks in the United States.” Since then, things haven’t gotten much less complicated, as evidenced by his detailed analysis of the city’s race relations throughout history. He’ll participate in a reading, Q&A and book signing Sept. 12 at The Ivy Bookshop. Free. 410-377-2966, theivybookshop.com. —L.M.
What could be better than a full symphony playing Broadway hit after Broadway hit? That symphony being accompanied by dancers twisting and twirling through the air. In the BSO’s four-night performance of Cirque Goes Broadway, Jack Everly conducts as acrobats and aerialists from LA-based Troupe Vertigo perform—all to the soaring sounds of Broadway’s best songs. Talk about something for everyone! Oct. 12 at Strathmore, Oct. 13-15 at Meyerhoff. Tickets: TBA. bsomusic.org. —B.B.
Think outside of the theater with Dance Works: Inside the Block/Outside the Box. The evening will feature a series of short dance performances in pop-up locations throughout the Creative Alliance building. Come ready to explore—the dancers won’t be the only ones moving around! Sept. 1 at Creative Alliance. Tickets $12, $9 members ($3 extra at the door). 410-276-1651. www.creativealliance.org —L.D.
But soft! This season, the Ballet Theatre of Maryland presents the ultimate pas de deux: Romeo and Juliet, adapted for ballet by 20th century Russian composer Sergei Profokiev. Watch as the talented troupe plies its way through the tragic masterpiece, melding dance and literature into one seriously star-crossed show. Oct. 20-22 at The Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Tickets: TBA. 410-263-5544. balletmaryland.org —K.S.
UNITED WE DANCE
Witness a message in motion from Full Circle Dance Company as they perform Peace, Hope, Diversity, “a collection of work to help reconnect and celebrate the people of Baltimore.” The new production showcases Baltimore’s spectacular dance talent while bringing awareness to relevant social issues. (Past shows have tackled topics such as race and discrimination, spirituality and religion, and body image.) Oct. 1. Location TBD. Free. 410-235-9003, fullcircledancecompany.org.—L.M.
Is there a ballet more classic than Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake? We think not. If you weren’t scarred for life by 2010 psychological thriller Black Swan, head to the Lyric to take in the Russian Grand Ballet’s elegant, technically stunning performance. Bonus: Russian Grand is one of very few companies who performs the Waltz for White and Black Swans, a rare number often omitted from stagings of the show. Oct. 4 at the Lyric. Tickets: $25-$72. modell-lyric.com —K.F.
A LITTLE RUSTY
Hidden treasures abound in Mark Sanders’ found art. In his latest solo exhibit, “Salvage Series,” the artist’s abstract sculpture moves from the global (metal, wood, concrete and glass found in the city’s alleyways) to the personal (1970s PC boards from his father’s engineering company, and burst water pipes and termite-eaten wood from his own apartment, pre-renovation), culminating in a celebration of grit and beauty not to be missed. Sept. 7-Oct. 1 at Alchemy of Art. Free. alchemy-of-art.squarespace.com —B.B.
ON THE WALL
Contemporary artist Alex Brewer, also known as HENSE, presents Painting and Wall Collage at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Brewer, whose expansive, colorful pieces have adorned walls across the world (including murals for Facebook and Apple), recently completed a commissioned piece along Hagerstown’s Cultural Arts Trail. This show, the WCMFA says, will be a culmination of that project and a celebration of Brewer’s exciting work. Oct. 21-Jan. 14 at the Groh Gallery. Free. 301-739-5727. www.wcmfa.org —L.D.
Fine artist Robert Andriulli of Millersville, Pennsylvania, brings vibrant life to traditional landscape art with. Recent Landscapes and Seascapes from Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida and the Southwest, a new exhibition in Fells Point. Though the show’s name could use a little spicing up, don’t expect to be bored by dull images of typical American landscapes—Andriulli creates scenes with a lasting impression, highlighting the beauty present in everyday life with his use of bright colors and imaginative texture. Oct. 4-Dec. 30 at Steven Scott Gallery. Free. 410-902-9300, stevenscottgallery.com. —L.M.
Maryland Art Place (MAP) has a reputation for providing contemporary artists with a platform to propel their work and career. Now, they’ll have the opportunity to build a whole new world in Altered Realities: MAP’s Fall Benefit Exhibition. For the annual benefit, artists will showcase pieces that challenge viewers’ perspective of everyday experiences using a variety of mediums and technologies. The show will be featured at a masquerade ball Oct. 28, and on view Sept. 14-Nov. 4 at Maryland Art Place. Free (ball is ticketed). 410-962-8565, mdartplace.org —K. F.
POINT ON VIEW
Featuring multimedia works by Wesley Clark, Larry Cook, Johnnie Lee Gray and Arvie Smith, Galerie Myrtis’ latest, “Black Man in a Black World,” explores both the historical and modern experiences of black men in the U.S. and abroad and gives agency to their perspectives. In addition to the art itself, the show will feature artist talks, a panel discussion, curated music and film screenings and more to support its raw, relevant message. Sept. 2-Nov. 18 at Galerie Myrtis. Free. 410-235-3711. galeriemyrtis.net —K.S.
Sit back and take in the magical sounds of the National Philharmonic in The Star-Studded Season Opening, featuring renowned violinist Sarah Chang and three-time Grammy winner cellist Zuill Bailey performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, respectively. (Founder and artistic director Piotr Gajewski conducts.) Opening weekend will include a special Member Encore Q&A after each show, as well as a chance to “meet the instruments” before Sunday’s performance. Oct. 14-15 at The Music Center at Strathmore. Tickets: $24-$73. 301-581-5100, strathmore.org. —L.M.
ALL THAT JAZZ
Break out your lawn chairs for this year’s Chestertown Jazz Festival. Expanding this year into a four-day affair with four different Kent County venues, the festival will feature storied genre professionals like percussionist Chuck Redd, vocalist Lena Seikaly and blues band The Sherman Holmes Project. Local food vendors and a beer truck will be set up throughout the park, along with Crow Winery, which hosts its second all-day Crowfest on Sunday. September 8-11 at Wilmer Park in Chestertown, MD. Tickets $25 advance, $30 at the gate. (410) 810-2060. www.chestertownjazzfestival.org —L.D.
Sturgill Simpson is a modern-day country prodigy. Since going solo in 2013, the artist has won two Grammy Awards: “Artist of the Year,” and “Best Country Album” for his 2016 A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. He’ll take the stage at one of Merriweather’s last concerts of the season, accompanied by roots blues musician Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, aka Fantastic Negrito. Sept. 15 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Tickets: $48-413. 410-715-5550, merriweathermusic.com —L.M.
If you’ve been to a wedding in the past twenty years, you’ve probably heard Edwin McCain’s ballads “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask For More.” And if you swing by Rams Head On Stage this fall, you’ll get to hear them sung by the artist himself. Though the singer-songwriter’s career took a turn in recent years with his one season boat-restoration show “Flipping Ships” on Animal Planet, he’s back to his crooning roots at the Annapolis show, backed only by a guitarist and saxophonist. Oct. 29 at Rams Head On Stage. Tickets: $33. ramsheadonstage.com. —B.B.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is pulling out all the stops for the 2017-2018 season, kicking off with a Gala Concert featuring nine-time Grammy-winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis on Sept. 9. Other highlights include the SuperPops featuring Frankie Moreno, symphony-newbie series Off the Cuff with conductor Marin Alsop, a collaboration with the Baltimore Boom Bap Society and Out of the Blocks, a celebration of the work of Leonard Bernstein featuring world-renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti, and much, much more. At the Meyerhoff and Strathmore. Dates and ticket prices vary. 410-783-8000. bsomusic.org —K.S.
The Hippodrome Broadway 2017-2018 Season is one for the (play)books. First up is Love Never Dies, the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, which takes the stage Oct. 3-8 and finds the Phantom and his love Christine meeting again, this time against the glittering backdrop of 1907 Coney Island. John Doyle’s revival of American classic The Color Purple follows, playing from Oct. 17–22 and set to a soundtrack of jazz, blues, and gospel. The last of the calendar year? The Lion King, which will have an extended run Nov.15- Dec.10, followed by 2018’s offerings: Waitress, a tale of a working-class girl with music by Sara Bareilles, Jan. 30- Feb. 4; School of Rock–The Musical, based on the hilarious Jack Black film, playing March 20-25; An American in Paris, an unforgettable World War-era love story on stage May 1-6; and finally On Your Feet! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical, running June 5-10. At the Hippodrome. Ticket prices vary. baltimore.broadway.com —B.B. and K.U.
Everyman Theatre’s 2017-18 Season starts off in September with Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, a story about lust, love, and “the power of obsession” written by David Henry Hwang and directed by Vincent M. Lancisi. The drama continues with Intimate Apparel, written by Pulitzer Prizewinner Lynn Notage and directed by Tazewell Thompson, which tells the tale of an African American lingerie seamstress in turn-of-the-century New York City. The year ends with The Revolutionists, a hilarious take on the French Revolution by Lauren Gunderson, followed by family drama Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a Pulitzer and Tony winner promising powerful performances. Aubergine takes the stage next, weaving food and family in a poignant, thoughtful meditation on love and life, and The Book of Joseph closes the season with the true story of a family that discovers a mysterious suitcase full of old letters “stamped with Swastikas.” At Everyman Theatre. Tickets: various packages and rates available. 410-752-2208, everymantheatre.org. —L.M. and K.U.
Single Carrot Theatre’s 11th season is all about crushing old ideas to make room for fresh perspectives, beginning on Oct. 6 with Lear (a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear), in which the original’s plot points are left behind and the stage is taken over by Lear’s millennial children, “a mix of heroes and villains indulging in their own selfish whims.” On Feb. 2, things get darker in A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney, written by Lucas Hnath. The show itself is set as a table reading in which the truth about Walt Disney comes to the surface—and it’s anything but magical. Also subverting Disney traditions is Peter Pan, staged as an interpretation inspired by the LGBTQ+ community in Baltimore and including “contemporary conversations on gender, sexuality, and performative identity.” (There, Neverland exists as a safe place for folks to be themselves.) The season will end with Putin on Ice in early Fall 2018, a fusion of “political puppetry and savage spectacle” surrounding Vladimir Putin. The play, written by Lola Pierson, examines the consequence of ego in politics by means of hyperbole, displaying Putin as a god-like power larger than life. At Single Carrot Theatre. 443-844-9253, singlecarrot.com – L.M.
For their 2017-18 season, Baltimore Center Stage covers a wide scope of the human experience, exploring topics from religion to romance to politics. On Sep. 7, the theatre will open with The Christians, by Lucas Hnath, a theatrical exploration of modern-day churchgoers, followed by Shakespeare in Love on Oct. 19, adapted by Lee Hall from the well-loved screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard about Shakespeare’s (possible) love life. Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau takes the stage to start the new year on Jan. 25, examining the dying auto industry in Detroit in 2008 and the unsure workers of the last car factory still in operation. On Mar. 1, American dystopian classic Animal Farm will open, followed by the final performance of 2017-18, a “major new musical project” still in the works that will serve as celebrated Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s farewell to Baltimore Center Stage. Sep. 7-Jun. 10 at Baltimore Center Stage. 410-332-0033, centerstage.org. —L.M.
STORIES WELL TOLD
Rep Stage at Howard Community College will celebrate its 25th anniversary by continuing a tradition of “producing engaging and evocative American contemporary classics and new work,” says producing artistic director Joseph Ritsch. Up first? The Heidi Chronicles, by Wendy Wasserstein. The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play, opening Sept. 7, delves into the life of a career woman working out the kinks of her life from the 1960s to ’80s. On Nov. 2, Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill follows Billie Holiday’s final performances at a divey jazz club in Philadelphia before her death, featuring several of her iconic musical numbers woven with recollections of and reflections on her life and career. Feb. 8 brings the world premiere of All She Must Possess, by Susan McCully, which tells the enthralling story of Etta Cone, a shy and eccentric art collector who spent her time amongst some of the greatest creative minds of the early twentieth century. Finally, True West by Sam Shepard will premiere on April 26 and finish out the season. The American classic walks through a tale of two brothers, seemingly opposite in nature, who come together at their mother’s house and fall into hilarious and dark chaos, all while figuring out their true familial roles. Sept. 7-May 13 at Rep Stage. 443-518-1510, repstage.org —L.M.
What do Martin Luther, Asia and Faberge eggs have in common? They’ll each take center stage at The Walters Art Museum this autumn. Kicking things off is Uncertain Times: Martin Luther’s Remedies for the Soul, which explores how the leader of the Protestant Reformation lived beyond his public role, running from Aug. 6-Oct. 9, coinciding with the reopening of Arts of Asia, one of the most outstanding Asian art collections in America. Rounding out the season is Fabergé and the Russian Crafts Tradition: An Empire’s Legacy, featuring more than 70 pieces (including two Imperial Easter Eggs). Free. 410-547-9000. thewalters.org —K.S.
A LITTLE ABSTRACT
This Fall, the Baltimore Museum of Art brings plenty of food for thought with three fabulous new exhibitions. From Oct. 1 to July 2018, the recently renovated East Lobby will be home to a two-story spherical onsite sculpture by Tomás Saraceno. Continue your abstract art journey with Spiral Play: Al Loving in the 80s, a collection of Loving’s three-dimensional collages, from Oct. 18-April 15, then return to pseudo-realism with Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s Front Room show, a series of paintings about her move to the United States from Nigeria on show Oct. 15-March 2018. At the Baltimore Museum of Art. Free. artbma.org —B.B.
ART AT WORK
Though not opening a new exhibition this fall, the Baltimore Museum of Industry has plenty to keep industrial enthusiasts busy, from free admission during Free Fall Baltimore and Doors Open Baltimore to “The Industrial Valley: Two Centuries of Manufacturing Along the Jones Falls,” a discussion of Baltimore’s rich manufacturing history led by Nathan Dennies of the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance. As always, the Farmers Market will last well into the fall, and the exceptional Reinvention: The Work of Chris Bathgate remains on exhibition until March 2018. At the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Prices vary. thebmi.org —K.U.
IT’S A MYSTERY
When you really think about it, mystery is the impetus behind almost everything: Science works to solve the mysteries of existence, art the mysterious connection between inspiration and realization, technology the mystery of mastery…the list goes on. The American Visionary Art Museum’s latest, The Great Mystery Show, explores this pursuit of the unknown through the “out-of-this-world testimony of astronauts, mystery writers, theoreticians, poets and psychics,” as well as plenty of stunning visuals. October 7-Sept. 18, 2017 at the American Visionary Art Museum. Tickets: $16. 410-244-1900, avam.org —K.U.
A FINE COLLECTION
Opening this September, the Reginald F. Lewis museum’s newest exhibition celebrates the work of one of the 20th century’s best known painters. Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence aggregates more than 50 of the acclaimed artist’s prints from the personal collections of Marylanders across the state. Known for his astute, colorful depictions of African-American life, Lawrence often spoke of the influence of Harlem on his work, resulting in a style he called “dynamic cubism.” In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will offer a series of programs from kids’ printmaking lessons to a seminar on art collecting. Maryland Collects opens Sept. 16 at Reginald F. Lewis Museum. 443-263-1800, lewismuseum.org —K.U.