More Critics Choices

December 04, 2008


'It's a Wonderful Life'

The Senator Theatre hosts its annual benefit for the GEDCO CARES Food pantry Sunday with its traditional double-bill. You can view Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life (11 a.m., 3:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m.) either as a heartwarming tale of a well-spent life or a devastating account of an existence so miserable that only the intervention of an angel can redeem it (James Stewart, who stars, is so good it works either way). Then exult in the pathos-streaked exuberance of the premium 1951 British version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge (1:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m.). Admission: $6 worth of nonperishable food items or $6 at the box office. The Senator is at 5904 York Road. Call 410-435-8338 or go to


Lafayette Gilchrist

The gifted Baltimore musician freely and colorfully mixes elements of soul and pop into his jazz brew. The pianist's style has been rightfully compared to Thelonious Monk and Billy Preston. See Lafayette Gilchrist on Saturday at the 8X10, 10 E Cross St. Tickets are $10 and are available through Ticketmaster by calling 410-547-7328 or going to


Gabriela Montero

The powerhouse pianist Gabriela Montero has earned a solid reputation for two kinds of playing - what's written (her repertoire ranges from Bach to Rachmaninoff and beyond), and what's improvised on the spot. The Venezuelan-born Montero typically asks for suggestions from the audience on tunes and then freely develops them in a variety of styles. She will demonstrate this improv talent throughout her recital for the University of Baltimore's new Great Pianist's Series at 8 p.m. Saturday at the UB Student Center, 21 W. Mount Royal Ave. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 410-837-4053 or go to or

Classical guitar

The Baltimore Classical Guitar Society offers an intriguing opportunity to delve into the world of baroque plucked instruments. Hopkinson Smith, a Harvard-trained specialist in these instruments, will devote half of his recital to the baroque lute and half to the baroque guitar. Smith, who founded the highly respected early music ensemble Hesperion XX, has won particular praise for his lute transcriptions of Bach's solo violin works. The recital will be at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Museum Drive. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 410-247-5320 or go to (Smith will also give a public master class 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at the Peabody Conservatory.)


Maryland artists

Works by two prominent Maryland artists with connections to the Maryland Institute College of Art, Grace Hartigan and Reuben Kramer, go on display this weekend at two local galleries. Grace Hartigan Works on Paper runs through Jan. 10 at C. Grimaldis Gallery, 523 N. Charles St. Hartigan, who died at 86 on Nov. 15, was the founder and longtime director of MICA's Hoffberger School of Painting. Go to Drawings by Reuben Kramer from the Collection of the Maryland Institute College of Art opens Sunday with a reception from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and runs through March 2 at Galerie Francoise II, Studio 20, 3500 Parkdale Ave. Kramer, who died in 1999, graduated from MICA in 1934. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Kramer's work will benefit MICA's annual fund. Go to


Law center designs

Scale models and drawings depicting five designs for the University of Baltimore's $105 million law center are on display in the lobby of the current law school, the John and Frances Angelos Law Center, at the northeast corner of Maryland and Mount Royal avenues, during school operating hours, through Dec. 19. A team headed by German architect Stefan Behnisch and Baltimore architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross won an international competition this month held to select the architect for the project, due to open in 2012. This is the first public display of the design submissions.


'This Is How We Fall'

Colleen Thomas, a New York-based choreographer, created this piece in August while watching television coverage of the Democratic National Convention. The program also includes works by University of Maryland students and faculty members. This Is How We Fall/divided can be seen at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Route 193 and Stadium Drive, College Park, at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday. Tickets are $25; $7 for students. Call 301-405-2787 or go to

'Every Christmas Story Ever Told'

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