Best Of This Week

August 10, 2008

Leisure

FestAfrica 2008: Noon-8 p.m. today. Patterson Park, 200 S. Linwood Ave. $5; free for children younger than 10. 410-608-0410 or festafricausa.com.

Formerly called NaijaFest, the event features fashion shows, international and local African bands, dance lessons, storytelling, African food, games, face-painting and more. Visitors can also check out the health, career and tourism fairs.

Jennifer Choi

Television

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries : 10:30 tonight. MPT, Channels 22 and 67.

After six splendid years on PBS, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries comes to an end with two 90-minute episodes airing tonight and Aug. 17. Based on Elizabeth George's novels, the Lynley Mysteries puts social class front and center like no other series on television with the pairing of upper-class detective Thomas Lynley, eighth Earl of Asherton (Nathaniel Parker), and his working-class sergeant, Barbara Havers (Sharon Small). The last two episodes make for a fitting finale, with Havers and Lynley at each other's throats but, ultimately, covering each other's backs. Don't miss a great guest performance in the finale from Honeysuckle Weeks (Foyle's War).

David Zurawik

Classical

Maryland State Boychoir : 7:30 p.m. Thursday at MSB Center for the Arts, 3400 Norman Ave. Free admission. 410-668-2003 or marylandstateboychoir.org.

The Maryland State Boychoir, founded in 1987 by artistic director Frank Cimino, shares the talent of its young singers with audiences far beyond Baltimore throughout the year. The latest tour by the organization's 60-voice Concert Choir covered the southeast coast of the U.S. for eight days. A free "welcome home" concert by the boys will be held this week, featuring selections from Gabriel Faure's exquisite Requiem, as well as works by George Frideric Handel, Gustav Holst and John Tavener. American folk songs and gospel music will be part of the mix, too.

Tim Smith

DVD

Smart People: Miramax. DVD, $28.99; $34.99 Blu-Ray. Available Tuesday.

This sometimes droll, more often pleasantly literate movie is just the right size for home video. Screenwriter Mark Jude Poirier's smart people - depressed English prof Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) and his go-getter daughter, Vanessa (Ellen Page) - find themselves, in different ways, unable to shake the death years before of his wife and her mother. It's refreshing to see a movie so saturnine that a couple's "meet-cute" takes place in an emergency room: Wetherhold bops his noggin falling off a fence; an ex-student (Sarah Jessica Parker) is the emergency-room doctor who takes care of him. The movie boasts sharp, funny details. Wetherhold's unpublished, forbiddingly esoteric manuscript suddenly attracts attention when Vanessa suggests You Can't Read as a new title. (A hard-nosed publisher sees that with ruthless editing, this combative screed could put Wetherhold on PBS with Charlie Rose.) Thomas Haden Church steals the show as Wetherhold's ne'er-do-well half-brother, Chuck. His portrait of an intuitive yet fuzzy-headed man is wonderfully uninhibited and provides the film with some much-needed joy.

Michael Sragow

Pop music

American Idols Live! Tour 2008:

7 p.m. Tuesday. 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. $37.50-$66.50. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com.

The Top 10 finalists from the anti-climactic seventh season of American Idol stop in town to dazzle with simple choreography and big, big notes. The standouts include the sassy Syesha Mercado, the perpetually dazed dreadlocked hipster Jason Castro and the belting pop-rocker Carly Smithson.

Rashod D. Ollison

Theater

Rabbit Hole: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 7:30 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and selected Wednesdays, through Aug. 31 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney. $25-$48. 301-924-3400 or olneytheatre.org.

Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama, Rabbit Hole is the story of how an upscale suburban couple cope when a car accident claims the life of their 4-year-old son. Mitchell Hebert, making his directorial debut, says the show does more than merely document the grief process. "Rather, it is a play about survival," he says in a statement, "and the bravery, passion and beauty in people needing each other." Playing the role of Becca Corbett, the child's mother, is Deborah Hazlett, an Everyman Theatre ensemble cast member. Opposite her is that consummate craftsman Paul Morella in the role of the boy's father, Howie Corbett.

Mary Carole McCauley

Art

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