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Archive for May, 2010

Height With FriendsThis video will be screened at Height’s record release party, which is today at the Hexagon in Baltimore’s rip-roaring arts district.

Height With Friends special mega-set featuring Mickey Free, Emily Slaughter, Gavin Riley, Travis Allen, Brendan Richmond, Liz Aeby, Pam Kurowski and Rob Dowler of Nuclear Power Pants.

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Pouring on Confusion

Up against a looming $121 million budget gap, Baltimore’s City Council is  again considering a 4 cents levy on beverages. Beverages included in this tax are soda, water, alcohol and other beverages with less than 10% fruit juice. But this one is facing hefty opposition (er, no pun intended). The alternatives are an increase in property taxes, laying off police offers and closing city pools just as another humid, sizzling summer kicks off.

The Stop the Baltimore Beverage Tax web site bills itself as “a coalition of concerned citizens, businesses and community organizations that oppose placing a new tax on beverages on the backs of hardworking families.” What the site doesn’t say is that it is funded by the American Beverage Association, which has launched a fierce advocacy campaign to stop this from going through. (more…)

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HFStival rises from the deadNow that we’ve entered our third decade, the culture lords of my generation have gotten nostalgic for the good old days. We worshiped Kurt Cobain, entered radio contests on WHFS 94.7 and made wicked cassette mix tapes. I remember a time when we taped the radio — BT on Transmissions, anyone? We loved the Nineties. I mean, we totally loathed the nineties, but in an ironic way we relished those days, cognizant of the dissonance… Ahem.

It seems others are feeling similarly wistful for the Clinton years when we unknowingly trashed the planet and beat icebergs back driving SUVs and rocking out to alternative schlock like Live.  Here, just 5 signs we are totally in charge of the culture ship and steering it back into time.

5. The artistic directors of Urban Outfitters has outfitted the Millennials in grunge-era plaid, imitation thrift store t-shirts and Rolling Stones-inspired t-shirts because we still haven’t gotten over seeing Mick Jagger sing Brown Sugar at RFK in 1994. Actually, no one has gotten over seeing Mick Jagger sing Brown Sugar, and that’s how they are selling a Super Deluxe edition of Exile on Main Street for upwards of $100. (more…)

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Matt Roth for The New York TimesThe Baltimore Chop reported this morning that the New York Times “dump[ed]” on Baltimore yet again. The Gray Lady had the audacity to point out that adding a third arts district in the boarded-up Howard Street corridor is fiscally risky and may not yield immediate results–measurable by, at the very least, fewer vacant buildings.

We perked up (being a bit foggy-brained this Friday morning) at this bit of the Chop’s post:

… the New York Times is looking down its nose at us again. They seem to see Baltimore as little more than a source for so-so regional cuisine, a great inspiration for campy Broadway musicals, and a crummy baseball team for the sweeping.

This time around they’re making us out to be a bungling, artless money-pit who is stuck in the Schmoke era and wants to copy Manhattan. We really, really wish the Times would mind their own fucking business a little more, and publish these cheap, quickie drive-by stories about Baltimore a little less.

And they include links to said (sad) articles which do tend to be reported via a helicopter ride in and out of Baltimore (would a Times reporter deign to take Bolt?). However, I would argue that the Times review of that Eastern Shore-inspired Greenwich village restaurant made it sounds pretentious, bland and overpriced, which is reason for a poor review: Maryland, especially in context of Manhattan’s West Village, is none of those things. (more…)

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Grilled Cheese & Co.At a meeting earlier this week I found myself staring enviously at my coworker’s American grilled cheese sandwich. There is something about the way yolk-orange cheese glooms between toast that brings to mind ski trips and happiness. It may be 86 degrees outside this afternoon, but I bet Grilled Cheese & Company in Catonsville is doing a brisk business. In fact, I believe I heard that Brian’s cousin is celebrating his anniversary there. Will he go for a Crabby Melt with Old Bay, or an upscale BLT with aged cheddar and diced tomatoes? Will she try a pressed sandwich with Whole Milk Mozzarella with hand pinched Italian sausage and marinara sauce?

Who, bar a lactose phobe, could shun a mascarpone  cheese and chocolate chip sweet?

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Painted Screen SocietyHow do we love the Creative Alliance of Baltimore. Where else could we catch a bluegrass band called Smooth Grass, a burlesque show called Hell Cats, and a Painted Screen tour in one week? How would we even know there is a Painted Screen Society of Baltimore? The CA site describes the screen tour like this:

Be the first to take the “Painted Screens Pilgrimage” to see Southeast Baltimore’s authentic treasures up close. Elaine Eff, folklorist and painted screens’ authority, gives a personalized guide on a tour bus with stops from Little Bohemia to Fells Point. Start off with breakfast and screening of The Screen Painter to see how it all began. Tour begins and ends at The Patterson.

Elizabeth Suman from the Baltimore Brew notes that the screens are beautiful but serve another purpose, especially in hot, sticky Bawlmer summers: “The screens allowed people to see out, but not in, granting homes a measure of privacy from passersby on the street.” She notes that a Czech grocer invented screen painting in 1913 to advertise his wares, while letting the harbor breeze flow in to prevent said produce from rotting.

For members this tour is $30, for non-members it is $35.

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Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / May 10, 2010Well, yesterday was a good news and bad news day.

We are now running a $500,000 ad campaign that implores tourists to come, “Find Your Happy Place in Baltimore.” It features a logo design that only a 5th grade teacher just discovering clip art could love. And within 24 hours, Happy has become synonymous with “trigger-happy” or high-as-a-kite-happy–as in just the place for a “thrill-seeking junkie,” as one person posted on the Baltimore Sun web site. The crime columnist Peter Hermann gathered a slew of spot-on comments about the new slogan, including from the former police commander Buz Busnuk:

[Buz] mentioned… The drug dealer named Don Papa who boasted three years ago that he made $180,000 in one night selling drugs on Pennsylvania Avenue. He called the street “a freaking gold mine,” and according to a transcript in a federal court file, told detectives: “This is the heroin capital of America, ain’t no more dope sold nowhere than right there on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

“He thought this place was Nirvana,” Busnuk said. “Wasn’t he in a happy place?” (more…)

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