Repeatedly deemed Best Rock Club and once voted Best Drunken Hookup Bar by City Paper readers, Ottobar hosts an ongoing calendar of local and touring bands, DJs, and comedians. With bars on both floors of the two-story venue, guests can sip on mixed drinks and beers while listening to live music or pumping quarters into an award-winning jukebox. The venue also hosts special nights including spelling bees and underground dance parties, wherein guests shake their hips to the sound of shoveling.
"So You Think You Can Sing Opera" gives amateur aria-artists an opportunity to spread their lungs and take flight in front of a live audience. These open auditions for future productions by the Baltimore Concert Opera showcase the area's untapped operatic ability, with performers (hopefully) soaring their way through seminal pieces from the operatic canon—think American Idol, except with fewer power ballads and more Puccini. Dress code for the event is business casual, so dust off your opera glasses and opera Foam-Dome and enjoy an evening of high notes and high pressure with today's Groupon.
Strand Theater Company presents original, evocative plays with an emphasis on providing women opportunities for roles as actors, directors, playwrights, and set designers. Strand's upcoming 2010–11 season kicks off with the critically acclaimed The Glory of Living (October 7–23), which relates Rebecca Gilman's visceral and complex story of a 16-year-old girl married to an ex-convict twice her age. When the holiday season arrives and families start glazing their mistletoe with a mixture of eggnog and ham essence, you can get in the spirit with A Peppermint Patty Christmas (December 2–18), which portrays a character vowing to speak the truth when she heads home for the holidays. A dramatic adaptation of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (February 3–19) is a compelling one-woman play, written after the loss of Didion's husband and daughter. The season wraps up with the socially minded One Flea Spare (April 21–May 7), Naomi Wallace's sharp play based in seventeenth-century England and called "one of the finest works of dramatic literature" by playwright Tony Kushner.
The BSO's "Off the Cuff" series sends audiences on a journey through the lives and times of the evening's featured composers. Music Director Marin Alsop engages classical neophytes and veteran symphony-goers alike with her lively 90-minute concerts. Analyze This: Mahler and Freud delves into the subconscious of the composer and psychiatrist, re-creating a meeting between the two as Freud mentally pokes and prods at his subject's psyche. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony reveals the political drama of 1930s Russia, and Cinderella Suite explores Sergei Prokofiev's strained relationship with his fairy godmother. A free-for-all question-and-answer session follows each performance, and the evening concludes when several minor-league baseball players stop by to hit T-shirts into the crowd with a bat.
Hearken the sweet sounds of singer-songwriter Pete Yorn strumming to the rock 'n' roll rhythms of his upbeat, laid-back tunes during his upcoming concert at Rams Head Live!, a venue that plays host to some of the country’s top national, midlevel music acts. Since the release of his debut album in 2001 and hits such as "For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)" and "Crystal Village", Pete has actively toured with the likes of Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, and more, garnering a reputation for bearing the voice of an angel and the long, flowing locks of an angel’s unemployed uncle.
In recent years, The 8x10’s musical focus has returned to the name and vibe that it first debuted in 1983, serving up nightly live bands alongside a full bar of drinks and draft brews. The tap slings 16 ounces of frosty fermentables into beer glasses ($3.50–$6) and a backing track of bottled brews wets whistles ($4.50–$6; $8 for 22 oz. Fat Tire). Like a giraffe on stilts, drinks at The 8x10 are double-tall, so a goblet of Red Bull and vodka hosts an up-tempo duet of two shots ($8.50).