Best Of This Week

August 12, 2007

THEATER

DEMOCRACY / / 2 p.m. today. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney. $25-$41. 301-924-3400, olneytheatre.org.

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Set against the backdrop of Germany in the 1970s, Democracy re-creates the relationship between former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and the spy who loved him. Brandt's personal assistant, Gunter Guillaume, passed on copies of documents and his own insights to the Stasi, East Germany's notorious secret police.

The drama by Tony Award-winning playwright Michael Frayn (Noises Off, Copenhagen) is an imperfect but fascinating exploration of one of Frayn's favorite themes, the divided self. The title, Democracy, refers to personal schisms as much as a system of government. The production closes today.

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[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

MUSIC

LINDA RONSTADT / / 5:30 tonight. Pier Six Concert Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave. $49.50-$64.50. 410-547-SEAT or ticketmaster.com

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In the '70s, Ronstadt (inset) was the most visible and highly successful woman in rock, racking up eight gold, six platinum and four multi-platinum albums by the end of the decade. Her hot streak continued to burn throughout the '80s but cooled in the '90s as she devoted more time to raising her family.

Now the chameleonic pop-rock legend, perhaps best known for such classic rock radio hits as "You're No Good" and "Blue Bayou," is back on stage.

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

TELEVISION

CALIFORNICATION / / 10:30 p.m. tomorrow. Showtime

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David Duchovny is lights-out terrific in this new cable series about an oversexed and underproductive Hollywood writer.

The first 10 minutes of the pilot suffer from the producers going out of their way in using the freedoms of premium cable to try and shock viewers. But once they settle down and focus on taking us inside the troubled psyche of Hank Moody (Duchovny), the series starts to click -- and some viewers will start to care.

The language is so coarse that there aren't three lines of dialogue from the pilot that can be quoted in this paper, but trust me, the words ring true -- and make the series resonate with contemporary life like few other comedies on network or cable TV.

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

FILM

DOUBLE INDEMNITY / / 7 p.m. tomorrow; 9 p.m Thursday. The Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St. $8. 410-727-FILM or thecharles.com

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In 1943, director Billy Wilder and co-screenwriter Raymond Chandler made a chillingly witty movie out of James M. Cain's novel about a femme fatale (played by Barbara Stanwyck) and a lust-struck insurance agent (Fred MacMurray) murdering her husband and trying to outsmart the agent's best pal, a Javert-like claims investigator played by Edward G. Robinson.

Stanwyck is a sensual death-dealer: There's something uncanny and eternal about how she snares MacMurray's eager-to-please agent. Her voice is a steel purr, and her movements walk a tightrope between lewdness and propriety. Stanwyck was the perfect Wilder actress and a Tinseltown rarity: a thoroughly unsentimental big star.

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

ART

SUMMER '07: A SELECTION OF GALLERY ARTISTS / / 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., through Aug. 25. C. Grimaldis Gallery, 523 N. Charles St. Free. 410-539-1080 or cgrimaldisgallery.com

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The mostly lighthearted summer group show at C. Grimaldis Gallery presents a selection of works by the usual suspects who have exhibited in the venue for years.

Painters Grace Hartigan, Eugene Leake, Henry Coe, Karl Connolly, David Brewster and Raoul Middleman all weigh in with characteristic flair, while photographers Christopher Meyers and Christopher Saah, and installation artists Sungmi Lee and Rene Trevino contribute spare but evocative images.

A highlight of the show is Greek photographer Dimitra Lazaridou's color photographs of distressed immigrant neighborhoods in her native Athens.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

FASHION

BEAUTY NIGHT OUT / / 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday. Harbor Magic Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Ave. $15 in advance; $25 at the door. 410-539-2000 or www.sinpr.com / BNO

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Looking for a night of pure indulgence? Head to an upscale beauty event that offers women an evening of shopping, pampering and product samples.

The evening will feature spa treatments, massages, mini-manicures and boutique shopping, as well as four hours of complimentary cocktails. Hors d'oeuvres also will be served.

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Bead for Life, a group of Ugandan women who earn money making beads and jewelry out of magazine paper.

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[TANIKA WHITE]

CLASSICAL

QING LI PERFORMS BEETHOVEN / / 3 p.m. Saturday. An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. $10. 410-385-2638 or AndieMusikLIVE.com

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