Best Of This Week

April 27, 2008

TELEVISION

HOUSE / / 9 p.m. tomorrow. WBFF (Channel 45)

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At last, all the hit dramas that left the airwaves with the writers strike will be back in prime time when this hit medical series from Fox returns with four new episodes starting tomorrow night.

"No More Mister Nice Guy," the first of the new episodes, finds House (Hugh Laurie) and Amber (guest star Anne Dudek) competing for the attention of House's best friend, Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).

Last May, House was the most popular drama on network TV-- as if Fox wasn't already winning by a wide enough ratings margin with two nights of American Idol every week.

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

POP MUSIC

BOOTSY COLLINS / / 7 p.m. Friday. Rams Head Live, 20 Market Street. $40-$45. 410-244-1131 or tickets.ramsheadlive.com

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Before he racked up gold hits in the mid-'70s such as the oft-sampled classics "I'd Rather Be With You" and "Bootzilla," Collins was an important member of James Brown's famed rhythm section in the early part of the decade. Along with guests Chuck D of Public Enemy and Brown's daughter singer Venisha Brown, Collins will play tribute to his former boss. The show is sure to be downright funky.

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

THEATER

THESE SHINING LIVES / / 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Through June 1. $10-$60. Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. 410-332-0033 or centerstage.org

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This world premiere by up-and-coming playwright Melanie Marnich looks at the impetus of a landmark workplace safety lawsuit.

The real-life story is set in Chicago in the 1920s. The female employees of Chicago's Radium Dial Co. think they've hit the jackpot by finding comfortable, well-paying jobs painting glow-in-the-dark faces on watches. But that's before the women start getting sick.

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[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

DVD

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY / / Available Tuesday. Miramax. $29.99.

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The diving bell stands for the physical state of the real-life hero, Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), when a devastating stroke sends him into "locked-in syndrome," which leaves his thoughts and feelings intact within an inert body. The butterfly refers to the powers of imagination and memory that enable him to escape his diving bell and dictate a memoir with the blinking of his left eyelid. This film, based on that book, provides an ecstatic lift for movie lovers. You don't want to blink -- for fear you'll miss a second of it.

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

WASHINGTON

EUROPEAN UNION OPEN HOUSE / / / / 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Various locations throughout Washington. Times vary. Free admission. Some activities require a fee. 202-862-9541 or www.europeindc.com.

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The 25 embassies of the European Union and the European Commission Delegation invite the public to get a taste of various cultures with a host of activities. The Austrian embassy offers a sampling of its nation's wines, a dance performance and informational films.

The Embassy of Cyprus offers cultural food and beverages. You can also listen to traditional Czech folk music, meet the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, peruse a Bulgarian art exhibit and more.

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[JENNIFER CHOI]

CLASSICAL

MUSIC IN THE GREAT HALL / / 3 p.m. today. Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road. $5, $20. 410-813-4255, migh.org

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Sure, it's springtime, with cheery buds abloom, but that doesn't mean there's no room for Franz Schubert's song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey). The 24 poems by Wilhelm Muller that Schubert set to indelible music describe a soul tortured by the memories of a lost love as he wanders through a bleak winter landscape. Music in the Great Hall presents this profound masterwork in a performance by baritone Vincent Stringer and pianist Adam Mahonske.

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[TIM SMITH]

ART

COSMIC COLORS / / 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Light Street Pavilion at Harborplace. Free. 888-513-8385

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Graphic designer Peter Max's eye-popping psychedelic stars and planets in bright colors have made him one of the world's most commercially successful artists. Colors for a Better World is a traveling show of his paintings and posters that are also for sale, but mostly, it's just great fun.

Max's ebullient art dispenses with the edgy irony of Pop artists like Andy Warhol, and there's not a trace of Expressionist angst in his simplified forms and stylized designs. It's all 24 / 7 visual happy talk, served up with the panache and fizzy effervescence of pink champagne.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

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