Typically organized loosely around a big idea such as love, wealth, war and peace, the yearly shows at Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum aren't merely thought of as exhibitions, but as mega-exhibitions. The latest roundup of outsider art opens Saturday, with a title that sounds almost as unwieldy, and as ripe for contemplation, as its subject. "Race, Class, Gender Does Not Equal Character" will remain on view through next September. Call 410-244-1900.

-- Michael O'Sullivan


The French farce "Cote d'Azur" -- a romper that doesn't shy away from sexual frankness or Mediterranean laissez faire -- is brazen yet sweet. During a seaside vacation, Marc (Gilbert Melki) and

Beatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) try to coax their presumably gay teenage son (Romain Torres) out of the closet, while Beatrix tries to hide a steamy affair. See review on Page 38.

-- Desson Thomson


Friday's Alejandro Escovedo Orchestra show at the 9:30 club marks the first time the wonderfully eclectic singer-songwriter's dream ensemble has played outside Austin. Escovedo, still battling health issues related to hepatitis C isn't promoting a new album, just the fact that he's able to go out and play again. The nine-piece orchestra includes True Believers pal Jon Dee Graham, bassist Mark Andes (Spirit/Jo Jo Gunne), cellist Matt Fish and violinists Brian Standefer and Susan Voelz (Poi Dog Pondering). Special bonus: Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group, who does few shows under his name, will open with his trio. Call 202-393-0930.

-- Richard Harrington

"Herded Like Cattle," by Japanese American artist Eddie Kurushima, at the Visionary Art Museum.