"Avalon" is Barry Levinson's valentine to Baltimore. The city and outlying areas have never looked lovelier. This gentle and appealing film is all about four generations of Levinson's family, beginning with the five Krichinsky brothers who came to Baltimore and settled in an area called Avalon. ''Avalon'' is about the American dream and how well it wears. Joan Plowright, Elizabeth Perkins, above, and Aidan Quinn are in the cast. Language. Rating: PG. ****
"Bubbling Brown Sugar," the bouncing musical revue on stage at the Arena Playhouse, has a number of scintillating moments. The show recalls Harlem in the '20s and '30s with nostalgic dance and songs such as "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Ain't Misbehavin'," sung by a mostly talented cast. Outstanding performances by Sheila Ford and Artartus Jenkins, who illuminate the stage with their songs and patter. 7:30 p.m. 801 McCulloh St. Tickets: $15. 728-6500.
There's no confusion
There's no confusion this year about which network is carrying what game of the baseball playoffs, and then who has the World Series. It's all on CBS (Channel 11), and the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A's gets under way at 8 tonight from the AL East city with game two scheduled at the same hour tomorrow. (National League contenders Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are idle all weekend.) The AL announcing team includes Dick Stockton and former pitcher Jim Kaat, above.
John Waters' "Cry-Baby"
John Waters' ''Cry-Baby'' didn't do that well in the theaters, but it's certainly worth a rent as a videocassette. The film, done in Baltimore, returns to the days of the ''drapes'' and the ''squares.'' Johnny Depp is the drape who loves Amy Locane, a square, and Polly Bergen is one of the many adults who wring their hands in the film, as all adults do in Waters' movies. Occasionally funny, sometimes just silly, the film includes some well-staged musical numbers. Language. Rating: PG-13. **
Before they wear clothes
Before they wear clothes, Ndebele children of South Africa wear beads, the form of ornamentation that will express their status for the rest of their lives. "Ndebele Beadwork," at the Baltimore Museum of Art, displays 70 elaborately beaded objects dating from the early 20th century to the present. There are magnificent bridal veils, aprons, ceremonial vestments and arm and neck hoops with which the Ndebele women adorn themselves. It's as if they consider themselves walls on which to display their art, writes curator Frederick Lamp. The show runs ,, through Nov. 11.