Best Of This Week

June 29, 2008

Theater

Twelfth Night: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays; 8 p.m. some Wednesdays, Thursdays. Through July 13. The meadow at Evergreen House, 4545 N. Charles St. $15-$25. Call 410-366-8596 or go to baltimoreshakespeare.org.

In this well-loved Shakespearean romance, the clever Olivia, who is shipwrecked on a foreign coast, disguises herself as a man, and walks into a romantic triangle of mistaken identities. Meanwhile, in the household of the aristocratic Lady Olivia, a puritanical servant, Malvolio, tries to banish all pleasure - and his fellow householders plot a comic comeuppance.

Director Laura Hackman said the production will try to capture the spirit of New Orleans in the early 1920s.

"We wanted to set this story in a place that is simultaneously mournful and uplifting, but that was also a little bit dangerous," she says, "and that made me think of the birthplace of jazz. The play also has a lot of imagery about water and drowning, and that's ideal for a city that's built below sea level."

The show features Erin Sloan as Olivia, Tony Tsendeas as Sir Toby Belch, and Dana Whipkey as Malvolio.

MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY

Pop

The Neville Brothers: 7 p.m. tomorrow. Rams Head Tavern, 33 West St., Annapolis. $75. Call 410-268-4545 ramsheadonstage.com.

The Neville Brothers, the legendary group from New Orleans, have creatively melded funk, pop, gospel and jazz for years. Although their albums can be mixed bags at times, the Neville Brothers are generally invigorating onstage. The music shimmers with vibrant textures from the siblings' native city.

RASHOD D. OLLISON

LEISURE

Dundalk Heritage Fair: Noon-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dundalk Heritage Park, 2700 Playfield St., Dundalk. $5. Free for children 12 and younger with adult. Call 410-284-0591 or go to dundalkheritagefair.com.

One of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the country, this 33-year-old fair features a wide range of live entertainment and activities. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides, a rock-climbing wall and a beer garden, in which singers can belt out karaoke tunes. The long list of live performers includes Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad; Walt Wise, who presents a tribute to Rascal Flatts; and the Mahoney Brothers.

The fair also features a fireworks display at dusk on July 4, with a rain date set for July 5; vendors selling a variety of arts and crafts items; boat, car and motorcycle displays; and pig races. A children's section features activities for the younger crowd, and a juggler, a fire-eater and a 10-foot-tall Uncle Sam will wander the crowd. On Friday, before the fair opens, a three-hour parade will start at 8:30 a.m.

JENNIFER CHOI

DVD

MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS : The Criterion Collection. $39.95. Available Tuesday.

Paul Schrader's cinematic collage of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima's life and work is one of the most gorgeous and sophisticated portraits of an artist ever put on film.

Most biopics about artists fictionalize and simplify the life of a composer, painter or writer to treat it as direct inspiration for his or her work. Think of Johann Strauss in The Great Waltz, listening to the chattering of birds, the irregular clopping of a carriage horse, the piping of nearby shepherds and the sounding of a post horn - and coming up with "Tales of the Vienna Woods."

In the ruthlessly factual Mishima, Schrader shows art imitating life and vice versa - and ultimately focuses on how this complicated dramatist and novelist consciously strove to unite the two.

Bisexual, sadomasochistic, and increasingly devoted to Japan's warrior codes and feudal glories, Mishima bends both his words and his flesh to the power of his imagination. He becomes a muscleman and the commander of his own military squadron. He resolves his quest for an impossible harmony of art, life and politics in a lunatic act of public rebellion followed by ritual suicide. His story has enormous vitality, and this movie, a work of art in its own right, is a beauty.

MICHAEL SRAGOW

ART

SONYA CLARK : 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. Free. Call 410-547-9000 or go to thewalters.org.

Conceptual artist Sonya Clark presents sculpture, beadwork, photography and video art exploring cultural norms of beauty, aesthetics, hygiene and correct behavior.

Like Clark's previous experiments with hats, the whimsical creations in this show straddle the boundary between object-oriented and conceptual art, and all of them can be read as complex symbolic objects that evoke multiple meanings and interpretations.

GLENN MCNATT

CLASSICAL

LA RONDINE : 7 tonight at the Charles Theater, 1711 N. Charles St. $21. Call 410-727-3456; go to thecharles.com, or brownpapertickets.com/event/27841

Although Puccini is a towering figure on the operatic landscape, that presence and popularity is due to only a handful of his works that get performed year in and year out - La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Turandot. Among his less-noticed creations is La Rondine, a gem that was supposed to be Puccini's version of a Viennese operetta, but turned into something else, a bittersweet tale of a love affair that runs into family opposition (shades of Verdi's La Traviata). La Rondine can be seen today on the big screen, taped earlier this season at La Fenice, the famed opera house in Venice, and shown in HD. The cast, conducted by Carlo Rizzi, includes soprano Fiorenza Cedolins and tenor Massimo Giordano.

TIM SMITH

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