Best Of This Week

December 30, 2007

TELEVISION

LAW & ORDER / / 9 p.m. Wednesday. WBAL-TV (Channel 11).

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The longest-running cop drama on television returns for its 18th season this week with lots of changes. Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) is the new district attorney, and Detective Edward Green (Jesse L. Martin) has a new partner, Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto). There are a couple of new assistant DAs as well: Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) and Michael Cutter (Linus Roache). Happily, Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) is still on the case down at the most famous cop shop in TV history.

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

R&B

CHUCK BROWN / / 9 p.m. Monday. 9:30 Club, 815 V Street N.W., Washington. $50. 800-955-5566 or tickets.com.

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The Godfather of Go-Go and Washington legend will help ring in the New Year with his gritty, syncopated brand of funk and blues. His latest effort, the solid We're About the Business, is his first album of original material since 1979's classic Bustin' Loose. After more than 40 years in the business, Brown is still making accessible, energetic music.

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

MOVIES

SECONDS / / 8 p.m. Thursday. Meyerhoff Auditorium, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. Free. 443-573-1300 or artbma.org.

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In a season when nearly everyone resolves to make over some part of their lives, the BMA's First Thursday Film Series has wittily scheduled John Frankenheimer's Seconds, an existential thriller about a company that, for a fee, will manufacture an entire new identity for you. Of course, first it fakes your death and gives you radical plastic surgery -- which turns a tired banker (John Randolph) into Rock Hudson. This fascinating period piece from 1966, complete with revelers crushing wine grapes in the nude, has lingered in the minds of many filmmakers -- Adrian Lyne referred to it in Jacob's Ladder, as did David Fincher in The Game -- and cinematographer James Wong Howe's creepy imagery still has the power to follow you home, wherever that may be.

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

ART

SNAPSHOT ART / / 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today and tomorrow. National Gallery of Art, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest, Washington. 202-737-4215 or nga.gov.

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Under the slogan "You push the button, we do the rest," George Eastman introduced the Kodak camera and roll film in 1888. Before you could say "Cheese!" Americans started snapping away, and they've been doing so happily ever since. The fascinating National Gallery of Art show reprises the technical and cultural history of snapshot photography and how it changed the way we see ourselves and the world.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

CLASSICAL

THE REST IS NOISE / / Published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. $30.

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For classical music lovers, a great aural experience is never too far away. A great literary experience that illuminates the musical art, in the gripping fashion of a genuine page-turner, is not necessarily as easy to come by. But that's exactly what Alex Ross provides in The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, which topped many a best-of-2007 list. Ross, who drew an overflow crowd to An die Musik this month for a discussion about his book, tells the history of a turbulent century that challenged, inspired and threatened composers. Even stories you think you know emerge with fresh detail or nuance. And, in the process of burrowing into his subject, Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, writes so stylishly that he makes an arresting music of his own.

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[TIM SMITH]

NEW YEAR'S EVE

HOTEL WASHINGTON -- THE LAST HURRAH / / 8 p.m. tomorrow. 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington. $169-$225. 202-686-5990 or prosinthecity.com.

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Mark the new year and the end of an era at the same time. The famous Hotel Washington will close its doors on Tuesday, and Professionals in the City, a D.C.-based social and networking group, is having a party the night before, ensuring that its guests will be among the last at this historic hotel. The evening will include a three-hour buffet; several open bars with signature cocktails; private, candlelit four-minute dating; performances by a Madonna impersonator; salsa and ballroom dance lessons; a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight and more. Tickets, both regular and VIP, must be reserved.

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[TANIKA WHITE]

THEATER

PUSS AND BOOTS / / 2 p.m. today and tomorrow ; 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Jan. 6. $12-$25. Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. 410-752-8558 or theatreproject.org.

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Hiss! Meow! And sing! The audience is expected to do all three -- and more -- in this British-style pantomime of the beloved children's classic. Written and directed by Roger Brunyate, the family-friendly show features current and former singers from Peabody Opera Theatre, dancers from the Peabody Institute and actors from the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. This fable of a poor miller and his crafty kitty is heavy on slapstick, elements of vaudeville and cross-dressing. In this production, the miller will be portrayed by a woman, and his mother by a man. The audience will be invited to cheer for the good guys and warn of approaching danger. In this production of Puss and Boots, the cat really will get your tongue.

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[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

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