Dallas's twangy Old 97s caught flak whenever they veered too far into rock and pop, so lead singer Rhett Miller has gone temporarily solo to indulge that side. His new CD is full of melodic pleasures, and on Tuesday Miller brings his touring band the Instigators to the Black Cat (202-667-7960), along with fine openers the Damnwells.
-- Eric Brace Exhibition "Art-O-Matic 2002" isn't always pretty, but if you don't mind getting your boots dirty wading through the muck of some mediocre art, this latest edition of the sprawling art free-for-all, which oozes out of almost every corner of an empty government office building in Southwest Washington, might just reward the hard-working gallery-goer with the discovery of a few gems (or perhaps an old favorite or two) twinkling amid the landfill. Visit www.artomatic.org.
-- Michael O'Sullivan
Film It's better than you think: Eminem's new movie, "8 Mile," featuring the rapper as a hungry unknown in a depressed Detroit neighborhood, showcases Eminem in a positive light. And in the French film "Alias Betty," a fascinating chessboard-like story unfolds when a mother loses her son and then gains another -- thanks to a kidnapping.
-- Desson Howe Theater
A strong cast breathes vivid life into Brian Friel's "Faith Healer," a set of monologues that reveal, from three characters' differing points of view, the tragic undoing of a mountebank faith healer and his traveling companions, all under Kasi Campbell's sure direction, at Rep Stage in Columbia through Nov. 24. Call 410-772-4900.
-- Jane Horwitz