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Articles by Diana beechener

A speech impediment proves to be a royal pain in this excellent drama

At the close of the 1925 Empire Exhibition, England’s Duke of York Albert (Colin Firth: A Single Man) stands before a live audience for his radio broadcast debut. Instead of a refined address, the Duke broadcasts a halting stuttering address as his countrymen regard him in horror. 

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Natalie Portman pirouettes to the dark side in this ballet thriller

When watching ballet dancers leap and spin across a stage, it’s hard to remember that these dedicated athletes punish their bodies to create such grace. Director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) is happy to remind you. His psychological dance thriller (which may be the best new genre in years) — Black Swan is awash with close-ups of battered toes, bony arms and raw bloody flesh — and that’s just the normal ballerinas. 

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The Annapolis Chorale takes Messiah to the masses

In the middle of the shopping rush on the last Saturday before Christmas, one Nordstrom customer stopped browsing and started singing. Another 100 voices joined in, singing a seemingly impromptu but suspiciously professional “Hallalujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.

The reason for the effortless harmony: The Annapolis Chorale was adding an enticing fourth performance to the usual three nights of singing the Messiah.

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12 calendars to spruce up the march of time

In the pages of this illustrious paper, I get credited only as staff writer occasionally. For the most part, I’m Bay Weekly’s Calendar Editor. I’m the one who tells you what’s happening in Bay Country every day of every week.

It’s my job to rely on calendars, to get the dates right and to plan ahead. I look at a calendar every day. Every. Single. Day.

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December 5, Andrew Greene’s Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra plays Buster Keaton

In his right hand, Andrew Greene lofts a conductor’s baton. In his left, a DVD remote. The 19-year-old University of Maryland civil engineering major lives in the 21st century, but he longs for the 20th.

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Near and far, small towns and big cities are aglow with the magic of twinkling holiday lights.

 

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A soda can alligator takes top honors at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling contest

Josh Tichinel’s alligator may not be able to swim the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. But the soda-can reptile is a reminder that we can all help save the Bay through creative repurposing.

The Northern Garrett High School student won the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling art contest.

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Wizards and muggles will find fun and suspense as Harry’s magical world collapses around him

When the screen faded to black at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows there was an audible protest from the audience. The fact that a packed house sat still for 146 minutes and begged for more when the credits rolled is probably the best recommendation I can give.

But they pay me to write more than a paragraph.

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The National Aquarium is looking for a manatee with a bad sense of direction

If there is a manatee swimming in the Middle Branch of the Upper Patapsco, it must be cold.

The sub-tropical marine mammal was reported in mid-October. Since then, nothing — despite a plea to boaters for updates.

“With this one we haven’t been able to confirm an actual sighting ourselves with photographic evidence,” says Baltimore National Aquarium’s media/public relations director Jen Bloomer.

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A bigger budget means louder, not scarier, thrills in this horror prequel

I don’t think of myself as a horror wimp. I’ve seen it all, and I’ll watch the sequels. That said, the first Paranormal Activity creeped me out. Days later an unexplained noise or a movement in my peripheral vision would cause me to tense and search for its demonic origins. Paranormal Activity 2 is a worthy step in the series, but it nowhere nears the original’s scare-power.

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