Best Of This Week

December 09, 2007

ART

LOW COUNTRY ART / / 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Zenith Gallery, 413 7th St. N.W., Washington. Free. 202-783-2963 or zenithgallery.com.

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Like the famed Gee's Bend, Ala., quilts that were on view this year at the Walters Art Museum, the distinctive art of South Carolina's Gullah culture comes from slave descendants whose geographical isolation and strong community ties helped to keep their African cultural heritage largely intact over the generations. Zenith Gallery celebrates the artistic traditions of the Sea Islands in an exhibition of paintings, batik, collage, sweetgrass baskets and glass inspired by the landscape and vernacular architecture of the region.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

CLASSICAL

LEON FLEISHER AND FRIENDS / / 7 tonight. Peabody Institute, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place. $5-$15. 410-659-8100, ext. 2.

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In the when-it-rains-it-pours department, consider the quandary for piano fans today. The ever-dynamic Yefim Bronfman will play a recital of Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel and more for the Shriver Hall Concert Series at 5:30. And the ever-inspiring Leon Fleisher, who received a Kennedy Center Honor last week, will be at the center of an enticing chamber music program only 90 minutes later at the Peabody Institute.

Fleisher, who recently regained limited use of his neurologically damaged right hand, will play a solo work of Bach and, joined by his Peabody faculty colleagues, will provide the keyboard foundation for Brahms' Piano Quartet No. 2. The program also features a Bach cantata with baritone soloist William Sharp.

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[TIM SMITH]

THEATER

THE SANTALAND DIARIES / / 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thurdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 23. $17-$25. Rep Stage at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. 410-772-4900 or www.repstage.org.

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Humorist David Sedaris became famous in 1992 -- though famous in the aw-shucks, low-key style associated with public radio personalities -- when The Santaland Diaries first was broadcast over the national airwaves. The play describes Sedaris' stint working at Macy's as an elf named Crumpet, and is brimming with his trademark wit and sharp observational skills.

Bruce Nelson tells Sedaris' tale of putting the fear of Santa into a misbehaving child, after loftily informing the boy's mother that St. Nick "no longer traffics in coal" inserted into Christmas stockings. Instead, Sedaris informs the boy, "If you're bad, Santa comes to your house and steals things."

The Santaland Diaries is the perfect antidote to the annual excess of holiday sugar.

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[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

POP MUSIC

KENNY 'BABYFACE' EDMONDS / / 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va. $65. 410-547-7328 or tick etmaster.com.

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One of the most prolific and successful pop-R&B songwriter-producers of the 1990s, Edmonds was behind such monster hits as Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" and Toni Braxton's "You're Making Me High." During that time, he also established a multiplatinum career as a performer, racking up solo hits such as "Whip Appeal" and "For the Cool in You." On Playlist, his latest CD and the first release on the newly reactivated Mercury label, Edmonds covers his favorite pop classics, including Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and others. On his current national tour, the uber-producer centers on his burgeoning skills as an interpreter.

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

TELEVISION

WRESTLING WITH THE ANGELS: PLAYWRIGHT TONY KUSHNER / / 9 p.m. Wednesday. MPT (Channels 22 and 67).

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The P.O.V. independent films series ends another stellar season this week with a look at the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angels in America. More appreciation than profile, the film is nevertheless an engaging and illuminating backstage exploration of the life and work of one of the nation's greatest literary voices.

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

WASHINGTON

FERNANDO BOTERO: ABU GHRAIB / / 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; through Dec. 30. American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington. Free. 202-885-1300.

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Colombian artist Fernando Botero has long been identified with the colorful, rotund humans satirized in his works. But in this series of paintings and drawings, he employs his typically oversize figures to depict the horrors of Abu Ghraib -- prisoners stripped, bound, blindfolded, terrorized by dogs and worse.

With the exhibit, which made its premiere in Europe in 2005, Botero reinvented his genial reputation and revealed layers of meaning in the events in the Iraqi prison. The American University show is the series' first appearance in a U.S. museum.

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[ANNE TALLENT]

FILM

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