A city favorite: Maryland Film Fest

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Spring Arts Guide

March 19, 2009|By Sam Sessa

Though the full lineup has yet to be announced, this year's Maryland Film Festival will include plenty of favorite features from years past, according to director Jed Dietz.

Keeping with tradition, it will kick off with an evening of short films. That's rare for any festival, Dietz said, let alone one of this size.

"We're the only film festival anywhere that devotes its opening night to shorts," Dietz said.

Filmmaker John Waters will again select a movie he likes and host a screening. That's one of the festival's more popular events, Dietz said.

"They're always incredible," he said. "They've always been a big hit."

The Alloy Orchestra, a group of musicians who compose film scores, obtained a rare Russian print of the film The Man With a Camera, which will also be shown at the festival, Dietz said. The silent film debuted in 1929 and is known for its cinematography, which is considered experimental for the period. The orchestra wrote the score for The Man With a Camera but hasn't performed it for a long time, and this particular print is making its U.S. debut.

"Access to a print is very tricky," Dietz said. "It hasn't been seen stateside."

Another notable aspect of the annual festival is the tent village, which descends on the parking lot across the street from the Charles Theatre. The tent village hosts outdoor film screenings, as well as workshops and master classes. The festival takes pride in highlighting works by up-and-coming regional filmmakers, as well as the pros.

The festival's roster will be officially announced April 1. The festival runs May 7-10 in and around the Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St. For more information, call 410-752-8083 or go to md-filmfest.com.

Here are some more events to look forward to this spring:

April 1-May 14: : Several Jewish-oriented, juried films make their city debut at the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival at the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. in Owings Mills. $9 per film. 410-542-4900, ext. 239, or baltimorejff.com.

April 1: : Swan Lake, presented by Moiseev Russian Classical Ballet, comes to the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., at 7:30 p.m. $22.50-$57.50. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com

April 3: : Talented actress, singer, producer and comedian Lily Tomlin brings a variety of her characters to the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., at 8 p.m. $39.50-$59.50. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com.

April 3-5: : The National DanceSport Championships, a competitive ballroom and Latin dancing showcase, is at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, 202 E. Pratt St. Dancers vie for national and world titles. Prices vary. usadancenationals.org.

April 9-12: : The Johns Hopkins Film Fest features shorts, 16mm classics and new indie films at 3400 N. Charles St. $5 per screening; a day pass is $10, and a festival pass is $20. hopkinsfilmfest.com.

April 18: : For years, comedian Dave Attell hosted Insomniac With Dave Attell on Comedy Central. These days, he sticks to live stand-up tours. Doors open at 7 p.m. for his show at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live. $25-$35. All ages. 410-244-1131 or ramsheadlive.com.

May 16: : This year, the officials behind the Preakness Stakes banned bring-your-own beer and other beverages from the infield. Instead, for InfieldFEST, they are selling beer and water and offering a live concert by classic rockers ZZ Top, contemporary rockers Buckcherry and local rockers Charm City Devils. Infield tickets are $50 in advance and $60 the day of the race. Pimlico Race Course is at 5201 Park Heights Ave. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com.

May 22: : Larry the Cable Guy's career exploded when he toured with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White. He's known for his sharp Southern twang and even sharper wit. The blue-collar comedian stops by 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., at 8 p.m. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com.

BUDGET CHOICE

Transmodern Festival,:

April 2-5:

The annual Transmodern Festival celebrates avant-garde performances, art, films and culture at the H&H building, 405 W. Franklin St., and in the nearby Seton Hill neighborhood. Tickets are $10 per night April 2-4; April 5 is free. A festival pass is $25. transmodernfestival.org.

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