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Joseph Kohl’s Baltimore Scenes from the end of the century at the Maryland Historical Society


Cut Copy w/ Palmbomen II ....................................................................... W NOV 29 Deer Tick w/ Nore Davis ................................................................................. Th 30 Priests w/ Blacks Myths & Mellow Diamond ................................................... F DEC 1 Reverend Horton Heat w/ Big Sandy • Dale Watson • The Blasters ............... Su 3 Jungle w/ Makeness ........................................................................................... M 4 DECEMBER


The Dead Milkmen


Hadag Nahash with

special guest Hanan Ben Ari ...W 6

NEW MEDIA TOURING PRESENTS Matt Bellassai This is a seated show.

Everything is Awful Tour .............Th 7

w/ Mindless Faith ...........................F 5

Boat Burning: Music for 100 Guitars

w/ Visuals by DC guerrilla projectionist Robin Bell .............Su 7

No Scrubs: ‘90s Dance Party

The Wombats

Gary Numan w/ Me Not You

Passion Pit ...............................W 10 Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven ....Th 11

with DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion .........................F 8 Early Show! 6pm Doors ....................Sa 9


Bear Grillz w/ Phase One •

Mogwai w/ Xander Harris ........Su 10 AN EVENING WITH

Hiss Golden Messenger .....M 11 The White Buffalo

w/ Suzanne Santo ........................W 13

The Disco Biscuits

Ticket included with purchase of tickets to 1/13 The Disco Biscuits @ The Anthem..F 12

RJD2 w/ Photay .........................Sa 13 Dorothy ....................................Su 14 ALL GOOD PRESENTS

Collie Buddz w/ Jo Mersa Marley

& The Holdup..............................M 15


Angel Olsen w/ White Magic.....F 15 ALL GOOD PRESENTS


Circles Around The Sun....Th 18


Victor Wooten Trio

feat. Dennis Chambers & Bob Franceschini ...................Sa 16

Municipal Waste w/ NAILS • Macabre • Shitfucker .Su 17

Up and Vanished Live

This is a seated show. .....................M 18


Ookay .........................................F 22


Tony Kill • Echelon The Seeker • OG Lullabies • Dawkins • FootsXColes • Sugg Savage .Sa 23


Flosstradamus .....................Th 28


SPOON w/ White Reaper

Complimentary Champagne Toast at Midnight! ............................ Su DEC 31





The Infamous Stringdusters ......................Sa 20 MØ & Cashmere Cat .............M 22 Tennis w/ Overcoats ..................W 24 Big Head Todd & The Monsters

................................................................SAT JANUARY 20

.......................................................................... FRI APRIL 27

On Sale Friday, December 1 at 10am


Dirt Monkey • Kompany Late Show! 10pm Doors.. ..................Sa 9


w/ Blaenavon & Courtship.............M 8

Lincoln Theatre • 1215 U Street, NW Washington, D.C. JUST ANNOUNCED! STORY DISTRICT’S


David Rawlings ............................DEC 6 Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas From The Fam-O-Lee Show.........DEC 7


Kip Moore, Randy Rogers, and Wade Bowen...................... DEC 13


White Ford Bronco: DC’s All 90s Band..................... DEC 31 Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow .......................... JAN 15

Majid Jordan w/ Stwo................... JAN 23 • •


The Wood Brothers w/ The Stray Birds ................... JAN 26 & 27

Dixie Dregs (Complete Original Lineup with Steve Morse, Rod Morgenstein, Allen Sloan, Andy West, and Steve Davidowski) ..................MAR 7 AEG PRESENTS

Bianca Del Rio ........................... MAR 15 Rob Bell w/ Peter Rollins ............. MAR 27 Max Raabe & Palast Orchester...................APR 11

U Street (Green/Yellow) stop across the street!

w/ Luther Dickinson ..................Th 25

Frankie Ballard.......................F 26 Enter Shikari w/ Single Mothers & Milk Teeth..Su 28


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Stop Light Observations

Kimbra w/ Arc Iris....................Tu 30 Typhoon ....................................W 31

Allan Rayman ..................................... Sa 2 w/ Lido Pimienta ................................... Tu 23 Rostam w/ Joy Again .......................Th FEB 1 Uno The Activist & Thouxanbanfauni w/ ........................................... Tu 5 Flint Eastwood w/ NYDGE.......................F 2 Busty and the Bass w/ Caye .............. Th 7 Anna Meredith..................................... Sa 3 Rico Nasty .............................................F 8 Mod Sun w/ Karizma .............................. M 5 Cousin Stizz w/ Levi Carter & Big Leano Why? .......................................................F 9 New date! All 11/13 tickets honored. ........ Tu 12 Shamir w/ Partner ................................ F 15 Anti-Flag & Stray From The Path .. Sa 10 Wylder ................................................ Sa 17 herMajesty MAGIC GIANT w/ The Brevet ............... Su 18 & Honest Haloway w/ Greenland ................................Sa JAN 13 MAKO .................................................. Sa 24

w/ Night Beats .............................M 29


Greensky Bluegrass w/ Billy Strings

Ticket included with purchase of tickets to 2/3 Greensky Bluegrass @ The Anthem .F 2

The best thing you could possibly put in your mouth Cupcakes by BUZZ... your neighborhood bakery in Alexandria, VA. |

w/ Little Stranger ............................... F DEC 1

• Buy advance tickets at the 9:30 Club box office •

TICKETS for 9:30 Club shows are available through, by phone at 1-877-4FLY-TIX, and at the 9:30 Club box office. 9:30 CLUB BOX OFFICE HOURS are 12-7pm on weekdays & until 11pm on show nights, 6-11pm on Sat, and 6-10:30pm on Sun on show nights.


Alex Aiono ......................................... Sa 20 Helado Negro + Cuco

PARKING: THE OFFICIAL 9:30 parking lot entrance is on 9th Street, directly behind the 9:30 Club. Buy your advance parking tickets at the same time as your concert tickets!




Joseph Kohl’s Baltimore

Scenes from the End of the Century at the Maryland Historical Society

Jennifer Marsh ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Ext. 9463 Lisa Snowden-McCray EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ext. 9461 Maura Callahan DEPUTY EDITOR Brandon Soderberg MANAGING EDITOR Ext. 9462 Jeff Stintz ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Ext. 9464 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING 202-747-2077 Azer Creative DESIGN & PRODUCTION 202-540-8928

Without Fail

Zeni Cafe offers up a filling Ethiopian breakfast

People Missing From the Room

Trans Day of Remembrance marked in Baltimore

On the Cover: ‘Untitled’ (Sex worker with bandana, circa 1988), Box 34, Group 5, Picture 60 Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy Maryland Historical Society

LETTER TO THE EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 WEEK IN REVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 BEAT NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 REAL NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 BLADE NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 JOSEPH KOHL’S BALTIMORE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 ART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 MUSIC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 STAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 BOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 SCREENS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 FOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 WEED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

For distribution, contact Lynne Brown at 202-747-2077, Ext. 8075. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC All material in the Baltimore Beat is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Baltimore Beat. Although the Baltimore Beat is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Baltimore Beat, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Baltimore Beat is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within Baltimore. Multiple copies are available from the Baltimore Beat office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 52-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Postmaster: Send address changes to the Baltimore Beat, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Baltimore Beat is published weekly, on Wednesday, by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Individual Subscriptions are $195 per year for 52 issues (only $3.75 per issue mailed to you USPS). Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Baltimore Beat are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Baltimore Beat or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to ©2017 BROWN NAFF PITTS OMNIMEDIA, INC.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017



Dear Baltimore Beat Editors, Thank you. I remember when it was announced that The Baltimore Sun planned to close the City Paper back in July this past summer and how that decision affected me. I felt like I was losing an integral part of Baltimore’s voice, its story, and its vibrancy. I always looked forward to picking up a paper copy of the City Paper from one of those ubiquitous yellow newspaper boxes that dotted the cityscape. I looked forward to learning about the best places to EAT, to learn about new business openings and closures, and be given an insight about small adventures throughout the city. In City Paper’s Walking Issue (Vol. 40, No. 24, June 15-22, 2016), I remember an article titled Time for a Walk extolling the virtues and wonder of footpaths that snaked through Roland Park neighborhood. I finished my coffee at On the Hill Café in Bolton Hill, and quickly biked up Roland Avenue. It felt foreign leaving the rapidly changing neighborhood of Remington and seeing the more boujee side of “suburban” Baltimore. I turned left on Beechdale Road and found my way at the beginning of the Squirrel Path neighborhood foot-trail a little bit east of where Indian Lane meets Edgevale Road. I fondly remember spending my entire summer Saturday exploring random footpaths that wound its way behind people’s houses, through groves of fruit trees, and past clustered rhododendrons while gazing in awe at the architecture of John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. A day like that brought Baltimore to life for me. With the City Paper as my compass, I started the process of exploring Baltimore from the lofty heights of gentrified neighborhoods to the grunginess of a changing Station North Arts Neighborhood to the local business sprawling through the Black Butterfly. As time passed, I eventually found myself becoming increasingly involved with the local community here in Baltimore. I moved into the CopyCat Building and dealt with the fallout towards DIY arts spaces that came from the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire, started working as a Baltimore Corps Fellow for WombWork Productions, Inc. which has supplied several key black actors and actresses to “The Wire,” “The Corner,” and “The Deuce,” and have participated in productions ranging from Light City Baltimore to the Baltimore Rock Opera Society. Whenever I traveled away from the city, I took comfort knowing that I had started to plant my roots here. I have repeatedly told visitors that I always sigh with relief when after a long weekend of traveling I get to see the skyline of Baltimore and the archways of the Guilford Avenue bridge heralding my entry back into my home. Baltimore would not feel like my home without a guide and alternative voice such as the City Paper. Last night, I attended the celebration of Baltimore Beat’s first issue above Ida B’s Table. At first, I felt apprehensive, because articles and voices were sharing that the Baltimore Beat would not be City Paper 2.0. However, after holding a copy of the first issue and reading some of the articles, I felt comforted knowing that there were still people willing to share their stories and their voices here in my home. During the celebration, I randomly struck up conversation with a stranger in the room who was leaning against the back wall. We bonded over shared experiences with friends in the Peace Corps, in the NGO field, and in the local arts scene. At the end of our serendipitous discussion, we started sharing our desires for what we could do moving forward as a part of in Baltimore’s future. The city is ever-changing, but maybe for just a little bit we can be living stories casting light on pavements, stoops, and streets.

Letter to the Editor


After the Ceasefire Lisa Snowden-McCray talks to Erricka Bridgeford Photos by Devin Allen

Thank you, Marvin Roxas



NOVEMBER 29, 2017

According to The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore City Police Department received a complaint against developer Scott Plank earlier this month saying he exposed himself to a female employee of the luxury condominium building where he lives in Locust Point. Plank, a wealthy and influential Baltimore businessman, calls the incident a “misunderstanding.” He was not charged with a crime. The Sun reports that the woman didn’t even want them to report on the incident because she feared she’d lose her job. Oh, by the way, Plank’s company, War Horse, helped finance a multi-million-dollar renovation of the western district police station. Amid a moment of totally welcome approach to kicking out all creeps, rapists, sexual harassers, and more, we have to ask: Will Scott Plank suffer?

We’re in full-out Holiday-with-acapital-H season (it began right after Thanksgiving, at midnight), and Jesus, Mary, and the man in the red suit have all conspired to bless us with a rare gift: a new Dru Hill album. The cover art for “Christmas in Baltimore” features a dragon wearing a Santa hat, a nod to the continuing theme of Asian-inspired dragon artwork found on most of the group’s releases. The timing feels just right, not only because of the time of year, but because Xscape, another early-’90s act, is also back and kicking ass. Long live the ‘90s R&B.

The Baltimore Shomrim, a Jewish civilian patrol—basically a neighborhood watch group active in Northwest Baltimore—got a brand new Command Patrol Vehicle (specifically a 2017 Chevy Tahoe). At first the story was the mayor gifted it to them, but as the Baltimore Brew reported, the car was paid for with “casino impact dollars” (specifically Video Lottery Terminal dough, which is separate from city money via Horseshoe Casino funds) and had been in the works for a while or something; who knows, it’s all still unclear. What is clear: The city had a hand in giving a neighborhood watch a vehicle that looks like a cop vehicle, which is confusing and troubling and encouraging of vigilantism. The Baltimore Shomrim is rather notorious; in 2012 one of its members, Eliyahu Werdesheim, allegedly beat a 15-year-old black teen with a communication radio, stoking longsimmering tensions between the Jewish community and the black community.

Dru Hill’s “Christmas In Baltimore”

Week In Review Stories from last week in Baltimore not covered elsewhere in this issue

Nothing against Owings Mills—it’s a perfectly fine and lovely place—but it stung to find out Baltimore County is getting a new Costco (and the convenient shopping and employment opportunities that come with it) when Baltimore is still reeling from the news that the Target at Mondawmin is leaving early next year. It’s part of a project to reinvigorate the site of the former Owings Mills Mall, but, again, it makes us wonder what the future of Mondawmin Mall would be if the city advocated for its residents at all.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017


Baltimore was the site of another battle against the Trump administration’s discriminatory military trans ban, and it was a win for those on the side of justice. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that trans service people are already suffering because of the ban. Trump hasn’t been in office for a whole year, but he’s already done a lot of damage. Fights like these help to ensure this country’s most vulnerable and marginalized people are protected.

It’s fun to see racist white guy Richard Spencer fail, so the news that he was unceremoniously booted from a Montgomery County farm was a nice Thanksgiving-week treat. Spencer and his think-tank the National Policy Institute used a third party company to book Rocklands Farm for the conference they were holding, but once the people in charge of the venue realized Spencer was involved, they shut the whole thing down. LOL.

There are many frustrating aspects of the city and BPD’s handling of Detective Sean Suiter’s shooting death earlier this month. First, the police took over the Harlem Park area immediately, surrounding the place where the shooting happened, posting up with large guns, and forcing residents to show ID. Then there’s the fact that city leaders, many of whom have paid lip service to the need for police reform and the way poor black communities are most vulnerable to the police, simply allowed this to happen. Finally, there’s the fact that the BPD held a press conference the Wednesday evening right before Thanksgiving to drop the news that Suiter was scheduled to testify the day after he was killed. We had a bunch of follow-up questions about that conference, by the way, but our emails weren’t returned. Maybe the department’s communications officials were all out Black Friday shopping?

If you think you hate Comcast now, just wait till the FCC votes to kill net neutrality. Without it, internet service providers like Comcast can do whatever they want with online content: slow it down, block it, and charge consumers more for fast-lane access. In short: rich fuckers threatening to control everyone else’s access to information and communication technology, all in the bullshit name of preserving the free market. Led by Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai—big surprise, a former lawyer for Verizon—the commission will vote on Dec. 14. By the way, 25 percent of the internet comes out of Baltimore—there’s a massive internet server right below the Hutzler Bros. Palace Building. In case you didn’t already have a reason to take this personally (and you do; this affects everyone).

There were three homicides in Baltimore since our last issue (Nov. 20-27, the week before the Beat goes to press): Two on Nov. 24 and another, Alexus McBride, on Nov. 25. All three of the homicide victims have yet to be named by the police, though McBride has been publicly mourned. As of Nov. 27, Baltimore has had 313 homicides.


People Missing From the Room The Trans Day of Remembrance offers solace and acknowledges that’s still not enough By Dharna Noor “Look out for people missing from this room,” Kevi Smith-Joyner, an activist with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, said in a tone that was at once critical and encouraging at the Transgender March of Resilience on Nov. 20. “I see no one in the community I work with every day.” The attendees applauded. Smith-Joyner was drawing attention to a clear tension. The event was organized by the Baltimore Transgender Alliance (BTA), a group started by trans women of color. But as Smith-Joyner pointed out, a majority of the event’s attendees were white. As Smith-Joyner spoke, BTA Executive Director Ava Pipitone and BTA Communications Organizer Jamie Grace Alexander nodded and snapped, welcoming the constructive criticism. The two had marshalled the march into the 2640 Space on St. Paul. The march had made its way from North Avenue up “the stroll” on Charles Street, where many trans sex workers—mostly Black— work every night. Smith-Joyner said there’s work to be done to ensure that sex workers are included in the event, and suggested paying sex workers to forego a night of work to participate in the event. “If they’re working ‘the stroll’ right now, that’s when they’re making their money,” they said. “I think it’s really important to [hear] the voices of those who are most affected and marginalized the most.” Jamie Grace Alexander, an event organizer, also addressed these tensions. “We want to empower all trans people to do what’s best for them,” she said. “If someone’s like, ‘I don’t want to get a job at like Costco or whatever, I want to trick on the street,’ I’m like, ‘bitch, do it.’” Taylor (who did not want to use her real name), a sex worker and an organizer with the Sex Workers Outreach Project, also noted that sex workers face issues of stigma—but that for many people, especially Black trans people, “it’s not a choice, it’s survival.” The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was started 18 years ago to honor the lost life of a transgender sex worker named Rita Hester. It is meant to highlight and give respect to the trans lives lost each year to violence. Each year, it’s observed globally by millions. This is Baltimore’s third year recognizing the event. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project has recorded over 17,000 murders of trans people between 2014 and 2017. And in the U.S., this has been a particularly horrific year for trans people. Last year, a record-breaking 27 trans people were


Inside the 2640 Space following the Transgender March of Resilience Photo by Jocelyn Dombroski / Courtesy The Real News

killed in the U.S. and a new report from the Human Rights Campaign and Trans People of Color Coalition shows that 2017 will not be better: At least 25 transgender people have been murdered in the U.S. so far this year. Most of those killed were people of color. In March, a transgender woman named Alphonza Watson was murdered just a few blocks away from 2640 Space. The event also came during highprofile national conversations about sexual assault and harassment. “It’s always [cisgender] white women whose stories are heard, especially when they’re beautiful,” said Taylor. Studies show that roughly half of all transgender people will experience sexual violence in their lives. Still, the BTA is

trying “subvert” the focus on grieving and hardships, instead centering resilience. “The idea is to try and create this sanctuary that’s like, metaphorically and structurally resilient,” Pipitone said as people lined up for free cupcakes and hot meals. Like Smith-Joyner, Pipitone spoke about the racial and class divides in the room and in Baltimore’s queer and trans communities. “It’s really class segregated,” she said. “It’s kind of, are you coming from an academic intellectual feminist identity politic that’s very exclusive, or are you coming from a, ‘shit sucks for everybody, here are we all together in this mess of like, LGBT or whatever, let’s dance?’” Pipitone said the “let’s dance!”


crowd is usually more welcoming than the academic feminist one. There was some dancing later in the night. As the dancing died down, Diane, a homeless trans person who has been presenting as a woman for about a year, spoke about how at home and safe she’d felt at the event. She felt the sense of sanctuary Pipitone had hoped for. But on the streets, she still faces what she called “terrorism” for being trans— from being picked on to “being sexually assaulted in a shelter.” There’s still work to be done to ensure that she’s safe. “It makes me angry,,” she said. This piece runs courtesy of the Real News Network.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

They Are Us Public defender Todd Oppenheim on why his clients matter B y To d d O p p e n h e i m Inevitably, during the holidays, I will run into family or friends or meet a new acquaintance at a gathering and be faced with a question often asked of me. The inquiry generally goes, “How do you defend them?” You see, I am a public defender of over 13 years in Baltimore City. Public defense has been my occupation since law school. I see it as one of only a few truly altruistic endeavors in the legal profession. So, when the subject of my job comes up in conversation, even with people that know what I do, something of the, “How do you . . . ?” nature tends to pop up. Generally, after indulging the “question,” I can twist the inquisitor’s logic around. My clients, them, are indigent people charged with criminal offenses who are either unemployed or qualify for my services under federal poverty guidelines (which, as income inequality widens, often cut out people who still cannot afford private lawyers). I don’t sign my clients up. I either meet them in jail on the random days that I do bail reviews (shortly after arrest) or I’m blindly assigned their cases through a supervisor at my office. Over three-quarters of my clients are African-American and most are young men in their early 20s. I’ve yet to represent a truly evil person without some sort of addiction, mental health problem, or trauma in their life. Now, those things don’t necessarily offer legal defenses to charges, but they are still relevant explanations and mitigating circumstances providing windows into the minds of the accused as well as larger societal problems. Some of my clients are innocent and most are overcharged. My clients are, first and foremost, human beings. No surprise, but the public too often forgets this because of skin color and/or socio-economic conditions. We warehouse them in jails in retched conditions and dress them up in bright yellow or pink jumpsuits before they’ve even been convicted. We think the worst of them simply because of the nature of their charges or their records (which many times have bogus charges or reflect where they live). Sometimes my clients don’t understand that I’m schooled the same as high-paid private attorneys. However, once they see that I have their interests in mind, and that I’m willing to stand up for them, they’re content. Considering the effects of being in jail or stung with a serious case, my clients are mostly pleasant to me. They simply want someone to fight for them whether it’s in a trial or just ensuring the process is fair (as much as possible). “How do you . . . ?” comes from a very superficial understanding of the justice system and who we are as a society. Everyone wants a fair court system, but most folks don’t understand how warped and potentially racist their perception is on the subject. You must consider that my clients are policed more heavily than any other population in the country simply because of who they are and where they live. Yet, recently, my home exterminator respectfully posed the “question” to me, but then went on to reveal his own history of run-ins with the law, a 30-day jail stint, and his son’s current long-term incarceration. Obviously, I thought he, of all people, should understand. But he is white and a county resident. Furthering the double standard, friends who have expressed doubt as to what I do have come to me for recommendations of private attorneys when they or people they know get in trouble with the law. Also, please don’t question my job and root for the Ravens and expect to have any moral consistency. Remember, their history with players getting arrested is not too good. Truth is, we are all one bad decision away from getting locked up—well, save for the caveats that black people may only need a half of a decision and rich and connected folks might get two decisions. Since the “question” is put to me so frequently, I propose that it be asked for whom it is more appropriate. Lawyers for Big Pharma who consistently defend price fixing of essential medicines by their companies or stick up for the pushing of pain pills (which seems worse than any street level dealer’s actions) deserve to be asked. Gun manufacturers’ attorneys probably don’t get inquiries about their clients’ culpabilities towards the waves of civilian shooting deaths. Meanwhile, I get called out for arguing for my clients to receive reasonable sentences for gun offenses. Insurance companies’ lawyers. Wall Street firms’ counsel. Slumlords’ representatives. Attorneys for pedophile priests. Harvey Weinstein’s legal team. Think any of them get asked, “How do you defend them?” The entire White House has lawyer-ed up for goodness sake. Three people with close ties to the president have been indicted thus far (one pled guilty already). Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, whose father is a convicted felon, is also under investigation. The aforementioned list deserves the presumption of innocence, but let’s inject some perspective into how silly the “question” to me becomes in the face of this hypocrisy. Still, how do I represent them? A society should be measured by how we treat the most helpless among us, my clients. They are human, no worse than us and no more prone to err than us. They are us. Think of it that way.

Activist, Community, and Government Events N o v . 2 9 - D ec . 6 BPD Monitoring Team Community Engagement Forum. The second of four planned events for citizens to contribute to the team’s community engagement plan. Nov. 29, 5-9 p.m., Dunbar High School, 1400 Orleans St. (410) 528-4670, bpdmonitor. com, free. West Wednesdays. Tawanda Jones, the sister of Tyrone West, a man killed in police custody in July 2013 has been gathering every Wednesday with other activists in the city to call attention to West’s death and police brutality in Baltimore. Nov. 29, 6:30 and Dec. 6 the intersection of 33rd and Greenmount. Unite For Our Schools. Event held by the Baltimore Education Coalition to address issues of testing, school funding, and more. Nov. 29, 6-8 p.m., Barclay Elementary School, 2900 Barclay St., Board of School Commissioners Legislative Forum. Community members share concerns with members of Baltimore’s Board of School Commissioners. Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m., Baltimore City Public Schools District Office, 200 E. North Ave., (443) 984-2000, Celebrating our Lives: A World AIDS Day Showcase. Members of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, The Black Treatment Advocates Network, Center for Black Equity Baltimore, The Community Cares Project, and AIRS celebrate World AIDS Day. Food, giveaways, entertainment, and community. Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m., The Real News Network, 231 Holliday St., Community Town Hall in Harlem Park. Meeting called by the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, to address recent police activity in Harlem Park. Meet the new Civilian Review Board. Nov. 30, 6 p.m., Metropolitan United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 1121 W. Lanvale St., Family League Community Listening Session #4. Mayor Catherine Pugh and Family League of Baltimore host a community conversation about local investment priorities for children and families. Free food and on-site licensed child care for children ages 2 and up. Nov. 30, 6-8 p.m., Furman L. Templeton Elementary School, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., Office of Sustainability - Sustainability Update. City’s Sustainability Coordinator Anne Draddy talks about her work overseeing the update of the city’s 2009 Sustainability Plan. Nov. 30, noon-1 p.m., Impact Hub Baltimore, 10 E. North Ave., facebook. com/events/1953586734894377 Team Make Baltimore Smile Holiday Toy Drive. Community toy drive. Nov. 30, 6-10 p.m., SNS Lounge, 6900 Belair Road, Free Keith Davis Jr. Solidarity Rally. Show support for Keith Davis Jr. Nov. 30, 5:30-7:30 p.m., 1401 Severn St. Event is followed by Pack the Courtroom event on Dec. 1, 8:30 a.m., Courthouse East, Room 228. Search #FreeKeithDavisJr hashtag on Twitter or Facebook for more information. Women Embracing Abilities Now “Bags of Hope” Event. Members of the group Women Embracing Abilities Now make holiday gift bags for young women with disabilities. They are looking for donations of lotion, soap, nail care accessories, and more. Dec. 2, 3-9 p.m., The League for People with Disabilities, 1111 E. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 323-0500, Decolonizing Hurricane Relief. Support recovery efforts post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria while learning about the conditions of colonialism in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dec. 3, 5 p.m., Oak Hill Center for Education and Culture, 2239 Kirk Ave.”ref”%3,A”3”%2C”action_ history”%3A”null”%7D&aref=3. State of the District Address. Councilman Isaac Yitzy Schleifer marks one year in office and delivers a state of the district address. Dec. 5, 7-8:30 p.m., Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 410-396-4819, Teach-In: Stop the Deadly Exchange. Discuss how to end police exchange programs, and how the policies that surround these programs affect Baltimore. Facilitated by Baltimore Palestine Solidarity and Jewish Voice for Peace Baltimore. Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m., 2601 N Howard St., Resiliency in the Face of Trauma. Talk about the effects of childhood trauma with a panel of community members, service organizers, neighborhood representatives, and more. Dec. 6. 3:30-6:30 p.m., DRU Mondawmin Healthy Families, Inc., 2100 Eutaw Place,

Todd Oppenheim is a lawyer in the Baltimore City Public Defender’s Office’s Felony Trial division. Email him at, follow him on Twitter at @Opp4Justice

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Slain Detective murdered day before he was set to testify against crooked cops; Sgt. Alicia White’s administrative charges dropped The night before a holiday, when most people’s attention is generally not on the news, the Baltimore Police Department revealed potentially shocking revelations about the murder of Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter and emailed a statement announcing the administratives charges against Sgt. Alicia White, the last officer facing a police trial board in the death of Freddie Gray, had been dismissed. At the 5 p.m. press conference, Commissioner Kevin Davis told reporters gathered at Baltimore Police Department headquarters that Sean Suiter, the Detective who was murdered on Nov. 15, was scheduled to testify the following day, “The very next day after Det. Suiter was murdered, he was scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury,” Davis said. “Det. Suiter was going to offer federal grand jury testimony about an incident that occurred several years ago that included officers who are now federally indicted back in March, the GTTF [Gun Trace Task Force] squad and included officers who were on the scene in that particular incident.” Eight members of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force have been indicted on federal racketeering charges. Eric Troy Snell, a Philadelphia police officer, was recently indicted for allegedly selling cocaine and heroin stolen from dealers by members of the GTTF. Prosecutors claimed he threatened the children of indicted Baltimore Det. Jemell Rayam. According to Maryland court records, Suiter worked with Wayne Jenkins and Maurice Ward, two of the indicted detectives. Sources close to the department told the Real News that Suiter asked to be transferred to work as a Western District Detective in order to get away from these officers. Davis stressed that Suiter “was not the target of any ongoing investigation,” and nevertheless insisted that there was no known connection between the murder and the impending testimony. “The BPD and the FBI do not posses any information on this incident and it appears to be nothing more than a spontaneous observation of a man behaving suspiciously in a spontaneous decision to investigate his conduct is part of any conspiracy,” Davis said, addressing rumors circulating on the streets, in the media, and among officers. There is “evidence of a struggle between Det. Suiter and his killer,” according to Davis, who cited a radio transmission and the sound of apparent gunfire and evidence of a struggle visible on Det. Suiter’s clothing.” Davis also said that Suiter was shot with his own weapon, confirming a story that has been reported on for days. Davis would not rule out that the department will investigate other officers for the killing, even though he says there is no evidence of it at this time: “There’s nothing we won’t consider. There’s no path we won’t go down if the evidence takes us down that path.” The press conference did nothing to quell rumors among citizens or police officers, who have been speculating about the case. In an emailed statement an hour and a half later, BPD announced that the administrative charges against Sgt. Alicia White, the last officer facing a police trial board in the death of Freddie Gray, have been dismissed. “Commissioner Kevin Davis has dismissed the scheduled administrative hearing board for Sergeant Alicia White. She will face no further administrative actions,” the statement reads. “We now have the experience of two administrative trials. A trial is the best test of evidence. Two separate boards have examined the evidence and have reached the same conclusion. The evidence and allegations against Sergeant White are the same.” (Baynard Woods; additional reporting by Brandon Soderberg)

The Baltimore Youth March Photo Courtesy The Real News Network

Students and advocates march in support of Baltimore Youth Fund “One of the problems is that we’re so quick to throw our youth into prisons and jails that we refuse to look them in the face and see them as human beings,” said 23-year-old East Baltimore native Shahem Mclaurin as members of the Frederick Douglass High School Marching band milled about with their instruments behind him. Mclaurin was one of over 100 students and advocates who marched from the Penn North Kids Safe Zone to Frederick Douglass High School on Nov. 21 in support of Baltimore Youth Fund, a $12 million dollar a year fund for city youth. The Youth Fund is expected to pass when it is voted on by the full City Council in December. “This is very important. It’s historic. I think we’re the only third or fourth city that have targeted funding for our youth,” said Council President Bernard “Jack” Young. Young and other city leaders spoke at the pre-march press conference outside of the Kids Safe Zone, which founder Erika Alston-Buck describes as “a safe recreational place where a kid can be a kid during out-of-school time.” “We’re open every day, and when school is closed, we’re open at noon because we know that a lot of kids go to school for gas and electric. They go to school for a hot meal,” Alston-Buck said. “So, when those schools are closed, we need to provide those same services.” Kids Safe Zone also provides mentorship, organized sports, a computer lab, and homework assistance, but, Alston-Buck says, because it doesn’t fit into “the wheelhouse for any foundation,” it is hard to get funding. This, says Young, is what the Baltimore Youth Fund is for. “It was meant to get to grassroots organizations that’s out doing the real community work,” he said. “It’s really essential that people from the community get to be in control of these programming dollars and get a say in who gets them,” McLaurin said. (Jaisal Noor)

Harlem Park meeting about police lockdown set for Nov. 30 During the investigation of Det. Suiter’s murder, police locked down parts of the Harlem Park neighborhood, insisting that people show identification to prove they live there in order to cross police lines. Many, including the ACLU have seen this as an unconstitutional overreach. Davis, however, placed the exigency of finding Suiter’s killer above any constitutional concerns. Councilman John Bullock, who represents District 9, which includes Harlem Park, told the Beat last week that he has been in “limited communication” with Baltimore Police over the course of the investigation and that he has received a few complaints from his constituents about the police lockdown—some of them spotted officers around the area with military-style weapons. He’d also heard of people being patted down and searched. “I’m open to meeting with members of the community,” Bullock said, when the Beat asked about whether he intended to take steps to address the issue. There is a meeting in Harlem Park on Nov. 30 at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall to address the lockdown. (Lisa Snowden-McCray)


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NOVEMBER 29, 2017

Protester disrupts D.C.’s Trans Day of Remembrance Activist Ashley Love objects to presence of police chief  

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. Organizers and participants of the city’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 said they believe the event succeeded in honoring transgender people who lost their lives to violence despite the disruption of the proceedings by a single protester who demanded that D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham leave. With nearly 200 people looking on at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, where the event was held, activist Ashley Love, who describes herself as a transsexual and intersex journalist, began shouting at Newsham to get off the stage, saying the event was not a “prop for the police department.” The atmosphere became tense when Love walked on stage, where Newsham was sitting beside D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large), and got into a brief scuffle with the church’s pastor, Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, when she grabbed a microphone from his hands and continued shouting for Newsham to leave the stage. Gay D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson and Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, who’s transgender, rushed to the stage and stood in front of Newsham, appearing to act as a shield as Love continued to shout at him. Members of the audience, including several trans activists, shouted at Love to stop the disruption. The commotion subsided to some degree when Newsham left the church through a stage door and Love returned to her seat. Newsham had been scheduled to speak at the event, but he did not return to do so. Mayor Muriel Bowser arrived at the ceremony minutes after Newsome’s departure. In her remarks at the event she praised both Newsham and the police department for what Bowser said was their strong commitment to combat violence in the city, especially violence targeting the transgender community. “Today is a day I wish we didn’t have to have,” she said. As she spoke, Love shouted from her seat that police continue to harass and mistreat transgender people. She cited the monetary settlement earlier this year that the city awarded trans activist Lourdes Ashley Hunter. Hunter sued the city with the assistance of the ACLU for a false arrest stemming from a noise complaint by neighbors at the apartment building where Hunter lives.

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Activist Ashley Love shouted at D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham to get off the stage, saying the Transgender Day of Remembrance was not a ‘prop for the police department.’ Photo by Michael Key / Courtesy Washington Blade

“I think it’s important that we recognize that our police department has come a long way in working with the community, the transgender community included,” Bowser told the Washington Blade. “We always have to be vigilant to do more. But I think Chief Newsham and the record of MPD should be commended,” she said. The tension and drama surrounding Love’s protest intensified minutes after things appeared to have calmed down when veteran transgender activist Earline Budd, the lead organizer of D.C.’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, became ill while sitting on stage and nearly fainted. Paramedics that were outside the church as part of their normal duty for appearances by the mayor and police chief were called to assist Budd. They escorted Budd off the stage and outside the church, where an ambulance was waiting. About a half hour later, much to the relief of the event’s organizers and participants, Budd returned to her seat on the stage. She later told the Blade the excitement over the disruption caused her blood pressure to rise, weakening her and bringing on a fainting spell. Transgender Day of Remembrance, which has become an international event, was founded in 1998 by transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester, a trans woman who lived in Allston, Mass., according to a write-up by

D.C. organizers of this year’s event. As of this month, there have been 265 reported murders of transgender people throughout the world in 2017, organizers said. That figure includes 25 murders of transgender people in the United States. So far this year there have not been any trans murders in the District of Columbia, according to D.C. police. The Nov. 20 event in D.C. highlighted the murders of 12 transgender women in D.C. dating back to 2000. Of those 12 cases, eight remain unsolved. Among those speaking were family members of four transgender women murdered in D.C. in past years. Among them were Judean Jones and Alvin Bethea, the mother and father of Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds, who was stabbed to death at a city bus stop in 2012. Since their daughter’s death Jones and Bethea have emerged as outspoken advocates for transgender rights. They told the gathering they were grateful for the strong support they received from the LGBT community at the time of Dodds’ death. Bethea praised D.C. police for an aggressive investigation that led to the arrest of the person charged with the murder a short time later. Newsham told the Blade after the event that he decided to leave because he wanted to bring the disruption to an end. “There’s a lot of frustration in the transgender community with the police across the country,” he said. “I think that here in Washington, D.C. we do a much better job than in some other places. Newsham said that had he spoken he would have pointed out that he isn’t so naïve to think D.C. police are perfect and don’t have a ways to go to improve their interaction with the transgender community. “But I did want people to know I’m willing to move us forward in that direction.” At least three prominent transgender activists attending the Trans Day of Remembrance event took strong exception to Love’s claim that D.C. police as a force are hostile and threatening to transgender people. D.C. trans activists Dee Curry and Jeri Hughes joined Budd in calling D.C. police as a whole highly supportive to the transgender community. Trans activist Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of the LGBT community services center Casa Ruby, said she agreed with Love’s concerns. She


said a part of the transgender community struggling to survive due to an inability to find gainful employment and who are forced into “survival sex work” continue to be targeted by D.C. police through antiprostitution crackdowns. Hughes, who said the community can’t expect the police to exempt transgender people from existing prostitution laws, said the answer is channeling those forced into sex work into employment training programs, some of which the city provides. “We must call it like it is,” Curry said in remarks at the event. “We know that there are some police among us that are of a different culture and they discriminate. But in Washington, D.C., to be fair and to be honest, we have come a long way and this police department is not that. And we need to acknowledge that.” Love responded by calling out from her seat that Curry was wrong and that D.C. police continue to harass and threaten trans women of color in the city. “You had your time,” Curry replied. “Everybody heard you. We want to move on with the proceedings.” In a statement she sent to the Washington Blade Tuesday morning, Love said, “2017 saw three trans people killed by U.S. police, Kiwi Herring, Sean Hake and Scout Shultz.” She added, “D.C. police recently paid a $40,000 settlement to the ACLU after unjustly arresting black trans leader Lourdes Hunter, so understandably most trans people of color find it revolting for the D.C. police to usurp and degrade the sacred TDOR and why attendees loudly applauded the removal of controversial Chief Newsham from our ceremony stage, for we came to honor our sisters and brothers tragically stolen by violence, not to be co-opted by those in uniform whose brutality we find unacceptable.” Participants supportive of Newsham’s appearance said those applauding did so because the disruption appeared to have ended, not because Newsham left the stage and the church. “Ashley Love is a professional provocateur who revels in invading others’ spaces to promote herself,” said longtime D.C.-area trans advocate Dana Beyer. “The progress our community has made with our allies over the past decade is a testament to the long, hard work of many, and the general ineffectiveness of the tactics of solo disruption,” Beyer said.


A Good Man Is Hard to Find Dude columnist struggles with what it means to be a man, female editor has doubts By Baynard Woods and Mary Finn Mary Finn, an editor with Democracy in Crisis, often makes extensive notes on my columns—in this case, we decided they were far more interesting than the column itself. So we left them, in dialogue with a half-formed column.

I have been trying to figure out a way, as a white man, to write about the mounting evidence that we are all horrible. Who needs to hear what I say about this?

Some guys are staying away from writing about this because they’ve behaved badly and they don’t want to be hypocrites or get caught. Can Glenn Thrush (NYT) write credibly about Trump’s assaults when his own aggression and follow-up apology emails are now on full display? This column’s women readers may feel dissatisfied with your reflections. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.—M.F. I made a list of every man I’ve ever known who I’d put my 401K on the line that they’ve 1) Never harassed someone at work 2) Never coerced a woman for sex 3) Never could be perceived by a woman as doing any of the above. There are four men on my list and I’m 42. Maybe we’re now seeing men for who they are. Even the “good” men. The “good men” need to see themselves as they are, not how they want to be seen.—M.F. I’ve been talking to parent friends about raising boys to be good men. Is this even possible?-M.F. But in the absence of an idea of what the good man may even be like, I worry that the more racist a man is the more likely he is to be believed and his victims vilified. Donald Trump and Roy Moore are only the most obvious examples.


I was talking to a nominally progressive guy in San Francisco and he said, “I mean, it just seems like we can’t win. It feels like no matter what we do, it’s never enough.” This guy despises Roy Moore but he feels misunderstood and attacked for being a man in the Me Too moment. There’s some solidarity between Mobile, AL and the Bay Area after all.—M.F.

after all of this was known.

Sixteen women have gone on record to say they were sexually assaulted or harassed by Donald Trump. He himself admitted to assaulting women in the Access Hollywood tape. There are further allegations that he raped a 13 year old. He was elected.

It’s not a coincidence that the Women’s March was the first mass movement under Trump. Trump will get away with his sexual assaults. Still, there’s something that’s happened to me since he got elected that has changed the way I see men. A friend told me she is sick of men. Me too. I’m having a hard time staying patient with men who pontificate. I think I’m holding regular guys (bosses, landlords, men on blind dates) accountable in a way I didn’t use to because I know Trump won’t be held accountable. Is that why so many women are participating in this national mass disclosure movement? If you can’t hold the president accountable, may as well make sure your boss isn’t a mini-Trump. —M.F.

He also defeated the first woman nominee. I think that matters but I’m not entirely sure how. Why are the women feeling any level of confidence to tell their stories with THIS guy as president? I’d think it would have been safer to disclose when Obama, a self-declared feminist, was in charge. Why now?—M.F. It’s weird that we’ve turned all of this horror into a partisan issue, but that is partially what it has become. And the Democrats are responding horribly.

It is unbelievable that the Clintons threw themselves an anniversary celebration of the 1992 win. I’ve always believed that Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick in the 1970s. It was disgusting to see the Democratic party luminaries celebrating Clinton. Bill Clinton and Donald Trump got away with sexual assault and got elected. Democrats need to reject Bill Clinton to have any credibility on Trump.—M.F. Rather than seeing this as an opportunity to truly interrogate themselves and what they are as a party, they want Franken to stay because they see it as politically advantageous.

More than 50% of white women voters checked the box for Donald Trump, even


Is there any gradation in how we judge what all these men did? My women friends say things like, “If it’s a one-time ass grab and the guy got scolded, that’s different than a serial predator.” Should the consequences

be applied bluntly or is there any room for nuance? I mean, I don’t want a boss who even grabbed one ass. But, would I be okay with a one-time ass-grab senator if he votes to keep Obamacare? I’m not sure how to judge.—M.F. Some young men growing up in this moment may take the failures of Franken and C.K. and Charlie Rose as hypocrisy and embrace their inner Trump. They have an answer to these questions that they can use: Ignore it all. Be A Men’s Rights Douche or a Far-Right Western Chauvinist ™.

I got a text from a “good guy” friend of mine:”Jesus Christ, Charlie Rose??” The more “good guy” or “progressive” the accused, the harder the blow. It really may be ALL men. Yes, even Charlie Rose. Are there any “good” guys out there?—M.F It’s the “good guys” who can be especially problematic because they hide behind their rhetoric (Franken): they can be sexual predators AND be seen as feminists/champions for the people. At least we know who Roy Moore really is.—M.F. Others will hold their worst parts in check out of fear of social consequences. Is that the best we can hope for, something like a paraphrase of Flannery O’Connor? “He would have been a good man ... if there had been someone there to shoot him every minute of her life”

Didn’t we already have this conversation during Anita Hill? I’m skeptical.—M.F.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

Joseph Kohl’s Baltimore There is no way for me or anybody here at the Beat to discuss the Maryland Historical Society’s current exhibit “Unscripted Moments: The Life & Photography of Joseph Kohl” without wading through a number of disclosures and so, here they are: Former Baltimore City Paper Photo Editor J.M. Giordano—a past co-worker of myself, Lisa Snowden-McCray, and Maura Callahan—helped put together the exhibit; also involved was another former CP-er Joe Tropea, current curator of films and photographs at MdHS, along with Josh Sisk and Andrew Holter (who is also, further disclosure, a friend of mine), both frequent freelancers for CP. And Kohl himself is probably best known for his work in CP. As a result of all these conflicts of interest, there’s just no way to “objectively” (whatever that means) review this show. I can tell you that “Unscripted Moments” brilliantly offers up Baltimore as, yes, land of quirk, and also counters that thanks to Kohl’s empathetic eye, providing something deeper, sweeter, and sadder about Baltimore, all the while chilling out with the kinds of people often ignored when we think of Baltimore’s past— Kohl’s approach to sex workers and trans folks in particular is touching and empowering. But my opinion should hold little critical weight because I love these photos and love the people who put this exhibit together. And so, in lieu of a review, we thought we’d get our insight on “Unscripted Moments” from someone behind-the-scenes— Andrew Holter, who worked on the collection as an intern for over two years. Below are his thoughts. Consider them the liner notes to “Unscripted Moments.” (Brandon Soderberg)

Linda Day Clark, Michele Clark, and Joseph Kohl, circa 2000 Courtesy the personal collection of Linda Day Clark

“Joe Kohl. . . . Should I know him?” Someone asked me this recently at a party, after I mentioned the new exhibit of photos by Joe Kohl that just opened at the Maryland Historical Society. This person meant the question as a joke, like I was about to flash my badge from the What’s Dope in Art Police and reply, You don’t know Joe Kohl? What do you know? Did you just roll in from the county? Do you need a map to Faidley’s? The fact is, though, everyone who lives in Baltimore should know the photographer Joe Kohl, but not because he was a brilliant and historically significant artist whose work is finally getting the kind of recognition it so obviously deserves from an institution like the Maryland Historical Society. No, that’s a judgment you can make for yourself when you see the exhibit. Baltimore should know Joe Kohl simply because in a better version of the city, Joe Kohl would still be walking around taking pictures. He would be a neighbor.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

Kohl died in 2002 from consequences of his treatment for leukemia; this year he would be 60. It’s not hard to imagine him as one of those people who shows up everywhere, somehow—on the bus, in the bar, at the party, on the corner, by the water, in the park, always with a camera. An imposing presence (“bear-like,” I heard his sister say), with glasses and muttonchops, he couldn’t be missed or mistaken. He got around. The breadth of Kohl’s subjects says that he would go anywhere he was assigned or invited to go through the 1980s and 1990s, until his illness. His career as a photojournalist took him to the usual scenes (City Hall, downtown office buildings, fires, the premiere of “Cry-Baby” at The Senator), but on and off the clock he followed his curiosities to rooms where more buttonedup photographers feared to tread. He was known in our town’s S&M dungeons, biker bars, and dank rock clubs. He was known to dancers on The Block, and on


blocks where trans sex workers worked. His access to these communities came only in part from the kind of intrepidness common to a lot of photographers; it had to have been more the way he made people feel in front of his camera. People trusted him to honor their hospitality and didn’t need him to validate their lives on the edges of respectability. They trusted him with their bodies. Rat fishing in Pigtown? Kohl’s beat exactly. A PETA demonstration against rat fishing in Pigtown, with someone in a mascot-sized rat suit? Even better. Performances of passion attracted him, and people who embodied shamelessness: the teenager so absorbed in headbanging the kid beside him looks scared; the couple leading each other around on dog leashes; the queer protester strutting down the middle of a D.C.

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Scenes from the End of the Century at the Maryland Historical Society

By Andrew Holter

“Untitled” (PP284 Box 6, F 3C, circa 1994)

“Untitled (Carl Clark)” (PP284 Box 30, G 6, P 19, undated)

“Untitled.” (PP284 Box 3, F 16, undated)

Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

CO N T I N U E D F R O M PAG E 1 2 street with combat boots and bare breasts, blowing cigarette smoke like Castro rolling into Havana; the middle-aged “Howdy Doody” aficionado, clutching his doll as if it were a child and he were one too. Vulnerable people are prone to exploitation by photographers; Kohl preferred the invulnerable, the kind of people who lived their difference in public as the truest and happiest versions of themselves. And Kohl liked the volatile too: “I think he really liked it when things went off the rails and he was there with his camera,” says his friend and model Donna Sherman in a short film that runs in this new exhibit. “I think that’s what he was going for. The unscripted spontaneous moments that could sort of never be repeated again.” “Unscripted Moments: The Life and Photography of


Joseph Kohl” is the first exhibit of Kohl’s pictures since 2003, when his closest friends, the photographers Carl Clark and Linda Day Clark, mounted a retrospective at School 33 Art Center in Federal Hill. The Clarks had helped salvage their friend’s work from the dumpster at the apartment complex where he lived. Alongside Kohl’s sisters, they helped locate his studio to recover the rest of his materials, and arranged for all the boxes and black garbage bags to go to the Maryland Historical Society—an unusual acquisition for a place whose collections run more to the 1790s than the 1990s. But there, under the supervision of Joe Tropea, the Historical Society’s curator of films and photographs and a ‘90s music scenester himself, the colossal undertaking of sorting, cleaning, cataloging, scanning, and making accessible all the stuff of Kohl’s life could begin. Fourteen years later—with the help of interns Lane Walbert, Kira Kickla, Chuck Patch, Sarah LaCorte, Priscilla


Williams, and myself—“Unscripted Moments” is finally happening. (Since Kohl left so few notes, the task of identifying the people, events, and dates of his photos is ongoing; Tropea encourages anyone with an educated guess about what they see to tell him.) Tropea invited photographers Josh Sisk and J.M. Giordano to help curate, and also called Linda Day Clark, who is approaching her 20th year teaching at Coppin State University in addition to her practice as an award-winning and nationallyexhibited photographer. Carl Clark, whom Kohl looked to as a mentor as well as a friend, succumbed to cancer at the end of 2015. This is the second show of Kohl’s work that Linda has helped create, and in his photos she can see things no one else can. There are artists from Baltimore, and then there

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“Untitled.” (PP284 Box 5, F 4, circa 1980) Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

“Untitled” (PP284 Box 12, F 13, undated Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

“Untitled (March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation)” (PP284 Box 8, F 16, April 1993) Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

CO N T I N U E D F R O M PAG E 1 3 are people who come to Baltimore to be artists. Kohl, from Anne Arundel County, belonged to this second group, who have to be watched closely. The motives of this group aren’t always pure. They have a mixed record across all mediums for what they give to the city and what they take from it. Baltimore is framed, staged, fabricated, gussied up, or gussied down for outside viewers. Kohl wasn’t like that. He lived and worked here mainly for the second-tier publications, the altweeklies and community newspapers. Though some of his photos were syndicated around the country and published in a few (mostly small-run, arty) magazines, the pictures in “Unscripted Moments” were by and large for Baltimore to see. Often he gave prints away as gifts. His work was never to show the world how exceptionally

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quirky or hard-assed or appalling Baltimore is, but to document the city for the benefit of people living here, so they could see themselves and see their neighbors, which is at least as high a calling as the local pastor or city councilperson. It’s clear from the kind of circles he ran in that Kohl understood himself as a participant in the city—an accomplice in the mad tangle of violence, gentrification, and grassroots political and cultural resilience that was Baltimore at the end of the last century. Some things never change. The writer Susan Sontag, who also died of leukemia, described street photographers as the natural descendants of 19th-century European flâneurs, who wandered their cities like walking was their job, soaking up all the sensation they could. The flâneur, Sontag wrote, was a “connoisseur of empathy”—a phrase that seems to fit the shoe-leather quality of Joe Kohl’s work and the pleasure he obviously took in other people. His


appetite for the city was enormous. But flâneurs were also solitary and basically selfish. While the passports of Kohl’s race, gender, and physical presence gave him relatively safe passage around Baltimore (except under low doorways), his relationship to the city wasn’t that of an internal tourist or a colonist trying to assimilate all its variety under the big marketable tent of Charm City. In a place as segregated and traumatized by its own self as Baltimore in 2017, Kohl’s photos leave behind a vision of what it can be to live in a city—even what it might look like in the earliest stages of building what Dr. King called “the beloved community.” Everyone counts in Kohl’s Baltimore. His approach to the city followed the logic of what bell hooks meant when she wrote: “Making the choice to look at images or read about

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“Untitled” (PP284 Box 8, F 1, circa 1993) Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

“Untitled” (PP284 Box 30, G 5, P 59, undated) Photo by Joseph Kohl / Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

CO N T I N U E D F R O M PAG E 1 4 eople different from oneself, irrespective of whether those images are positive or negative, opens up the possibility that positive curiosity will be awakened and lead to positive contact.” The people who let Kohl photograph them—many of whom are now gone —allowed him for reasons that had far less to do with the artistry of his work than the comfort he made them feel in the knowledge that their difference would be respected by his camera. The “diversity” of people in his photos hardly matters, though a lot of conventional wisdom backed by institutional money would say otherwise. “When we create beloved community, environments that are antiracist and inclusive,” bell hooks writes, following King, “it need not matter whether those spaces are diverse.


What matters is that, should difference enter the world of beloved community, it can find a place of welcome, a place to belong.” The way Joe Kohl made space in the city of his photographs for people to belong, to become permanent, makes his absence not just an artistic loss but a community loss. On the night of the opening for “Unscripted Moments,” the Maryland Historical Society was full of people, many of them visiting the place for the first time. Joe Kohl’s family was there, and so were some of his colleagues, his models, his punks, his people—a little grayer in the temples than they were in 2003 and 1993. Behind the DJ table was Landis Expandis, whose band the All Mighty Senators was photographed by Kohl and features in the exhibit. I saw teenagers laughing at some of the Historical Society’s oil paintings as they waited for the elevators—solemn portraits of the old white-wigged owning class commissioned to broadcast their dignity


and property, which in those days included much of Maryland’s natural resources and many of its people too. They do look silly, their postures stiff, faces pale as moons (or goths). In the middle of the evening, Linda Day Clark took a moment to herself on a bench opposite the gallery crowded with people there to see her friend’s pictures. Many of them never knew Joe Kohl; a lot of them were children or not yet born when he died. On the walls are her face, her son Jameel’s face, her late husband’s face, and more faces of people who shared a place and a time together. Future generations will have to make sense of that place and time through Kohl’s gift of those faces, which now can’t disappear. Linda sat by herself watching the entrance to the gallery for a still moment until someone came up to say hello.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

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After the Ceasefire

Joseph Kohl’s Baltimore

Lisa Snowden-McCray talks to Erricka Bridgeford

Scenes from the end of the century at the Maryland Historical Society

Photos by Devin Allen Stor y by Rebekah Kirkman • Photos by Reginald Thomas II


ISSUE DATE: 171129




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The Sweet Escape A dual exhibition at Area 405 poses the dérive as sanctuary By Maura Callahan

Lu Zhang, ‘Headspace’ Photo by Joseph Hyde / Courtesy Area 405

There are two ways to retreat, strictly speaking. The difference is not in the action—to pull back—but in the disparate circumstances in which one retreats: One is militaristic, the other leisurely. In war, you fall back because you are outnumbered, overpowered, or facing emminent defeat. In leisure, you fall back (usually to a peaceful place if you’re fortunate enough to have one) to rest, recharge, refocus. But either way, you are trying to escape. Escape fantasies grow more seductive by the minute these days. So does the premise for an exhibition featuring the work of Baltimore-based artist Lu Zhang and New York-based artist William Lamson at Area 405. Curated by Area 405 co-founder and executive director Stewart Watson, “Retreat” considers the implications of falling back into one’s work, one’s own interiority, the lull of repetition, reflection, and meandering. Zhang and Lamson ask us to follow a current. That is our escape. Zhang previously invited her audience into her studio during her residency at Baltimore’s dazzling George Peabody Library, where she created site-specific work in the form of six large books drawing directly from the library’s collection of mostly Victorian-era texts. Another space for the output and exchange of ideas, Area 405 houses the first floor artist-run gallery and


event space as well as 40 artist studios and the Station North Tool Library. Zhang, then, presents the production and experience of art in tandem. During “Retreat’s” run through Jan. 13, her studio/ installation, titled “Headspace,” will remain in flux. The final state of the space will be no more or less intrinsic to the work than its arrangement on the evening of its mid-October opening. Visitors might even find Zhang working on her installation, moving from the small desk equipped with paper, utensils, and some kind of automatic mist dispenser to the sculptures strewn throughout the gallery, adding to them, moving them around. She opens up her own subjectivity to the public. On that opening night, the gallery’s front room, where “Headspace” lives, is framed by three large hanging sculptures, two of which resemble the lines on the page of a ruled notebook by way of black strings pulled taut from floor to ceiling and from column to column. Mostly small, mostly white objects—drawings of repeated lines, cut paper, small toothpaste squirt-shaped sculptures, pieces of foil, crocheted squares, a number “3” from an address marker, loosely draped strings—are arranged more or less evenly across these grids. One of these structures holds pieces so tiny and distinct they resemble, from a distance, snowflakes suspended in air. Some of the objects feel


like direct nods to the physical character of the 170-yearold industrial warehouse space—the diamond-shaped negative spaces in a little paper sculpture echo those of the metal grates (one of which, I notice on a subsequent visit, Zhang has started to highlight by wrapping in aluminium foil) that cover the windows. In Zhang’s hands, this cherished modernist tool of the grid—which the critic Rosalind Krauss wrote “is what art looks like when it turns its back on nature”—becomes malleable both in form and function. The strings acting as the surface for her large-scale dimensional drawings appear flexible though taut, like strings on an instrument. In a nearby floor sculpture, Zhang eliminates that tension by loosely hanging three cut-out grids from hooks on a rolling metal rack. Layered over each other in limp sheets— along with a long white fringe, aluminum foil molded into a shape resembling the Chinese character for “moon,” short chains of metallic circles, among other forms— the grids here feel less like measuring apparatus than expressionistic marks culled from Zhang’s subconscious. Insofar as Zhang’s grids are dependent on the whim of her dérive-like practice—an intuitive flow—and


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William Lamson, ‘Untitled (Infinity Camera)’ Screencapture Courtesy Vimeo

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lacking of the modernist grid’s stagnancy, they are almost anti-grid. There’s a release in breaking through the mathematical rigidity and establishing a new logic, and Zhang asks us to join her in letting go. Behind the wall separating the brightly-lit room housing Zhang’s work and the darkened space containing Lamson’s, the destabilized grid—though less obvious— reappears in his video installation “Untitled (Infinity Camera),” projected onto a looming screen installed diagonally in the middle of the floor. In the video, the grid’s lines are drawn by the edges of Lamson’s self-fashioned optical device, “an open sided chamber of one way mirrors that can be configured in various ways in relation to the video camera.” The rig flows partially submerged up and down the waterways around New York City, holding the camera just above the water’s gently undulating surface as the device’s reflective sides reveal opposite views of the landscape as it floats past. At one point, a trio in a canoe pass our view, returning a curious gaze. In some shots, the view from the rig’s interior is fairly clear—it looks like we’re inside a kaleidoscopic box, water lapping and bubbling at its sides. There’s a simultaneous

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sense of interiority and exteriority, like we’re in a glass house, as we look out onto the angled views of the rippling tides, trees, distant buildings, the glow of the setting sun. In others shots, the rig is reconfigured, and the effect is more like an infinite series of concentric frames-withinframes. In any case, the video is quick to entrance, though the sharp shifts in perspective every few minutes keeps the viewer alert and aware. In a far corner of the gallery is a smaller screen hanging just below eye level, illuminated with another Lamson film wherein the camera follows a wrinkled sheet of silver mylar racing forward in a desert landscape, grazing the dry, cracked ground like a metallic tumbleweed. What exactly is propelling the object forward is unclear and, it seems, irrelevant— again, we’re seduced into a relaxed focus of the scene, its motion, the way the light hits at one moment and then another, a glimpse of the surrounding mountains when the shot moves just slightly upward. “Retreat” comes at a time when artist-run warehouse spaces similar to (and nearby) Area 405 are under threat of being inspected and shuttered by the city. In the wake of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, Calif. that killed 36 people last year, the Bell Foundry (just a few blocks away from 405) was abruptly condemned and its tenants


immediately evicted, their living, work, and performance space deemed unsafe by the fire department. But many of the building’s tenants and visitors valued the Bell as the closest possible thing to that seemingly impossible ideal of a “safe space”—in this case, where POC and queer folks could feel welcome and free to make and experience art away from whiteness and insularity of the DIY-scene-atlarge, where racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and harassment were explicitly not tolerated. People went to the Bell Foundry to retreat. With the Bell mostly empty (the Baltimore Rock Opera society still holds its headquarters there, but over 200 days after the listing was first posted, the building is still on the market for $1 million) and other warehouse spaces forced to hold fewer or zero events in fears of getting shut down, a show framed as a retreat into a space like Area 405 holds an irrefutable weight. Nowhere in the exhibition description or the work itself is an explicit objective to create a “safer space” like the Bell Foundry was, or really a community of any kind. The show instead offers an escape into ourselves— and sometimes that’s all we have. “Retreat” continues at Area 405 (405 E. Oliver St.) through Jan. 13, 2018. There will be an artist talk on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.


Daniel Elder Katie Elder

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, ‘Dwell: Aso Ebi’ Photo by Brian Forrest / Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London

Vanessa Vale


American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. (410) 244-1900, “The Great Mystery Show,” A group exhibition of self-taught artists exploring the unknown and human imagination. Through Sept. 2, 2018. “Reverend Albert Lee Wagner: Miracle At Midnight,” Art by the late visionary artist who experienced a spiritual epiphany at age 50. Ongoing. Area 405, 405 E. Oliver St., “Retreat,” In a dual exhibition, Baltimore-based artist Lu Zhang presents an in-flux, experimental installation ‘Headspace’ alongside New York-based artist William Lamson’s video installation ‘Untitled’ (Infinity Camera).’ Through Jan. 13, 2018. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, “Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Counterparts,” A suite of new paintings by 2017 MacArthur fellow Njideka Akunyili Crosby drawing from her experience as a Nigerian immigrant. Through March 18, 2018. “Phaan Howng: The Succession of Nature,” in collaboration with Blue Water Baltimore, local artist Phaan Howng highlights local environmental issues through a toxic-toned immersive installation. Through Aug. 31, 2018. “Spiral Play: Loving in the ‘80s,” Three dimensional collages in intense colors and spiral shapes by the late African-American abstract expressionist Al Loving. Through April 15, 2018. “Annet Couwenberg: From Digital to Damask,” Maryland-based artist Annet Couwenberg investigates the intersections of science, art, history, and technology through 11 textile works. Through Feb. 18, 2018. “Tomás Saraceno: Entangled Orbits,” Web-like clusters of iridescent-paneled modules are suspended in the museum’s East Lobby. Through June 10, 2018. “Black Box: Kara Walker & Hank Willis Thomas,” ‘Salvation’ by Kara Walker and ‘And I Can’t Run’ by Hank Willis Thomas are paired as explorations of the legacy of slavery. Through March 18, 2018. “Crossing Borders: Mexican Modernist Prints,” 30 prints and drawings by artists including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Elizabeth Catlett. Through March 11, 2018. Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, “Erin Fostel: A Measure of Place,” Baltimore artist Erin Fostel draws from grief in her charcoal drawings of Baltimore architecture. Through Dec. 1. Current Space, 421 N. Howard St., (410) 343-9295, “Layers,” Interwoven paintings and quilts by Baltimore-based artists Elena Johnston and Monique Crabb. Through Dec. 3. “It’s Not Complicated (But It Is),” Paintings by Sara Havekotte. Through Dec. 3. Guest Spot At The Reinstitute, 1715 N. Calvert St., (718) 541-9672, “Not on View: Re/Activating the Archive and its A/Effects,” Work from Conrad Bakker, Eric Doeringer, Noah Fischer, Kang Seung Lee, Antoine Lefebvre, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Paul Soulellis; with selected ephemera, texts, and archival materials from John Cage, Juan Caloca, Sylvia Federici, Coco Fusco, the Guerrilla Girls, Martin Herbert, David Horvitz, the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, Miranda July, Sister Corita Kent, Zoe Leonard, Mess Hall, Occupy Museums, John O’Connor, Press Press, Public Collectors, The Reinstitute Press, Gregory Sholette, Temporary Services, W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), Kara Walker, and Caroline Woolard. Through Jan. 6, 2018. Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., (410) 685-3750, “Unscripted Moments: The Life & Photography of Joseph Kohl,” Photographs from c.1980 through 2002 by the late Baltimore photojournalist Joseph Kohl. Ongoing. Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St., (410) 244-0899, “Complicated World Views,” Works by Ryan Travis Christian, Lauren Genovese, Kat Kennedy, Matt Leines, and Anna Silina. Through Dec. 31. Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, “Censored,” Art by Baltimore-based artists Paul Rucker and Stephen Towns, both of whom have previously had work closed to the public or removed in response to complaints or fears of protest. Also on view are images of performances by local performance artist Lynn Hunter and photographs of Baltimore’s Confederate and Columbus monuments before and after removal. On view through Dec. 31; artist talk Nov. 30, 6 p.m. Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, 830 E. Pratt St., (443) 263-1800, “Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence,” Over 50 prints by Jacob Lawrence from personal collections in and around Maryland. Through Jan. 7, 2018. School 33 Art Center, 1427 Light St., (410) 396-4641, “Slow Form,” A juried exhibition featuring the work of Mary Baum, Mollye Bendell, Kei Ito, Elizabeth Mead, Lake Newton, Nick Primo, Margaret Rorison, Matthew Sepielli, and Doohyun Yoon. Through Jan. 6, 2018. “Decompositions,” A solo exhibition by Chris Zickefoose employing common construction materials and negative space. Through Jan. 6, 2018. “Lost Earring,” A multi-media installation by Elliot Doughtie considers the shift of cultural touchstones and the evolution of the artist’s own queer sexuality and transgender body. Through Jan. 6, 2018. St. Charles Projects, 2701 N. Charles St., “Pre-Verse,” Paintings by June Culp, Joshua Bienko, and Delphine Hennelly in conversation with Grace Hartigan. Ongoing. The Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410)547-9000, “Fabergé and the Russian Crafts Tradition: An Empire’s Legacy,” 70 works including the Walters’ two famed Fabergé Easter eggs alongside gold and silver vessels, enamels, jewelry, carved stones, and icons from Russia. Through June 24, 2018. “After Fabergé,” Five digital prints of surreal, digitally-rendered Fabergé eggs by artist Jonathan Monaghan complement the exhibition “Fabergé and the Russian Crafts Tradition.” Through June 24, 2018. Y:ART, 3402 Gough St., (443) 928-2272, “The Miniature Holiday Exhibition,” Small artworks that serve well as gifts by Craig Haupt, Diana Sanlorenzo Campbell, Edmond Praybe, Justin Wiest, Ken Karlic, Lois Borgenicht, Mary Bickford, Nieves Saah, Ricardo Hoegg, Roland Phillips, Sally Hopkins, and Susan McCurdy Yonkers. Through Jan. 13, 2018.



NOVEMBER 29, 2017

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HI H8ERZ Mayhem brings brutal riffs and some fascist sympathy to Baltimore By Brandon Soderberg

Mayhem’s Attilla at Baltimore Soundstage in 2015. Photo by Josh Sisk

In a ridiculous and rightfully ridiculed New York Times piece from last week titled “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland,” journalist Richard Fausset hangs out with a Nazi doing regular things, not Nazi things, such as planning his wedding or shopping at the grocery store—in one of the photos accompanying the profile we see our neighborly Nazi with a shopping cart full tortilla and black beans, among other things. The piece is the kind of unassuming support of fascism by way of Journalistic White Man “objectivity” that has become all too common since Donald Trump got elected because the Amerikkkan press is, no surprise, ill-equipped to ponder hatemongers while at the same time desperate to declare its own half-baked wokeness. To those familiar with the punk and metal scenes, however, Nazism has been a persistent scourge, not a novelty to be pondered, almost always barely under the surface of any extreme scene or subgenre. We’ve got a great example of that in Norwegian black metal paladins of indignation Mayhem, who perform their 1994 album “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas,” this Friday at Baltimore Soundstage, and whose drummer is, well, pretty much a Nazi. If you care to hear the seedy, traumatic details of Mayhem’s mythography, you’ve no doubt heard them already so let’s rush through them briefly. In 1989 or so, five years into the band’s career (and two year’s after the gamechanging EP “Deathcrush”), Swedish vocalist Dead joined Mayhem and solidified their reputation thanks to his pained vocals, self-injurious performance style, and eventual, infamous suicide in 1991. When


Mayhem guitarist Euronymous discovered Dead—who slashed his wrists and then shot himself in the head—he took a photo (which later ended up on a bootleg album cover) of his corpse, brain hanging out, and made bits of his skull into jewelry. Two years later, Euronymous was stabbed to death by Mayhem bassist Count Grishnackh (he recorded solo as Burzum), who around that same time also burned some churches in a rejection of Christianity and a reclamation of Norwegian heritage. Out from under all of that, “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” (an auto didact’s translation of “about the mystery of the lord Satan,” by the way), the moment when black metal got big; the songs sprawl, the riffs spiral and sting, and it stops having much of anything to do with punk rock or hard rock. It’s a kind of unassailable constellate of young white men howling and screaming and hating their way through it all. There is no other record like it. And it is black metal as exquisite musical corpse—Dead’s lyrics fleshed out by guitarist Blackthorn (who also provided some riffs to the record and would serve time as an accomplice in Euronymous’ death) then sung by Dead’s replacement Attila, who sorta sounds like he’s chewing on the side of a couch when he sings and at times hits a kind of terrifying mania as if he doesn’t even hear the music at all—imagine Scott Walker crooning while on fire. Mayhem’s ability to get “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” together is mostly thanks to drummer Hellhammer, ostensibly Mayhem’s only member by the time the record was released (others were dead or in jail or, in Attila’s case, back in Hungary studying to be an electrical


engineer and out of touch because well, snail mail), and kept the group going to this day. Hellhammer has also been known to wear Nazi uniforms and signs his name on Mayhem records in such a way that turns the L’s of his name into lightning strike-looking Nazi SS’s. The bad faith provocation goes deep: In 1998’s tabloid-ish black metal history book “Lords Of Chaos,” he declared “black metal is for white people”; in the 2008 documentary “Until The Light Takes Us,” he praised Emperor drummer Faust for killing a gay man named Magne Andreassen in 1993 and called Andreassen a “fucking faggot.” With Mayhem, there is nothing to really “unpack.” A whole lot of art out there is made by terrible people often espousing terrible ideas. Rejecting it full-stop is not a cop-out, and embracing it is not a sign of sophistication or one’s ability to be “above” politics. Handwringing is useless and justifying it is bullshit. Fighting it, flipping it upside down, however, is an option. In Baltimore, the origin of Deathfest (which has welcomed Mayhem to its stage before) and a metal town for better and worse, there are also two of the best culture jammers when it comes to confounding and confronting black metal’s hateful history. In 2014, Drew Daniel, a Johns Hopkins professor and one half of the duo Matmos, put out “Why Do The Heathen Rage?” as The Soft Pink Truth, offering up queer avant-disco covers of black metal songs in order to celebrate and parody the music and in effect kill


NOVEMBER 29, 2017

VENUES An Die Musik, 409 N. Charles St., (410) 385-2638, Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington, D.C., (202) 888-0020, Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057, Bertha’s, 734 S. Broadway, (410) 3275795, The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, (703) 549-7500, The Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 667-4490, blackcatdc. com Cat’s Eye Pub, 1730 Thames St., (410) 276-9866, Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848, The 8x10, 10 E. Cross St., (410) 625-2000, E.M.P. Collective, 307 W. Baltimore St., (410) 244-0785, Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE, Washington, D.C., (202) 503-2330, The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, (301) 960-9999, Germano’s Piattini, 300 S. High St., (410) 752-4515, Joe Squared, 33 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444, Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, (410) 7155550, Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St., (410) 244-0899, Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 265-0930, The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, Pier Six Pavillion, 731 Eastern Ave., (410) 547-7200, pier-six-pavilion Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, (410) 244-1131, Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, Red Room, 425 E. 31st St., Reverb, 2112 N. Charles St., (443) 4474325, Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., (410) 347-2020, The Sidebar, 218 E. Lexington St., (410) 659-4130, Tin Roof, 32 Market Place, (443) 8738137, U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 588-1889, The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave., (410) 244-8855,

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

Joy Postell plays Bush + Brews at The Crown on Nov. 30.

MUSIC W E D . 2 9

Anthem. DC101’s Office Party featuring The Lumineers, J Roddy Walston and the Business, Joywave, Barns Courtney. Baltimore Soundstage. The Menzingers, Tigers Jaw, The Flatliners, Worriers. The Black Cat. Dot Dash, Bottled Up, Yesferatu. Cat’s Eye Pub. Dogs Among The Bushes. The Crown. #WavyWednesday with Martina Lynch, The Breedz, Fluent, Against The Grain, PhllthyBoiiUrg, Histo, Yung EBT. The 8x10. Bunk Buddha, Catullus Band, The Jauntee. 9:30 Club. Cut Copy, Palmbomen II. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night. Rams Head On Stage. Kris Allen, Marie Miller. The Sidebar. Back II Life. Tin Roof. Chris Diller. U Street Music Hall. Red Bull 3Style US Finals featuring Trayze, Eskei83, 2¢.

T H U . 3 0

An Die Musik. Jennifer Ferguson Smith & Kevin Royal Johnson. Anthem. Morrissey. Baltimore Soundstage. Devin Townsend Project, Dark Water Transit, Bridge To Divide. Bertha’s. Jeff Reed Trio. The Birchmere. The Marshall Tucker Band. The Black Cat. Postcards From The Vag: Greetings From Gilead. Cat’s Eye Pub. Baltimore Rockabilly featuring Jay Cleaver. Creative Alliance. Seth Kibel & Friends: Songs of Snark & Despair. The Crown. Blush + Brews featuring Isabejja, Joy Postell, Marcelline, Rachel Winder, Loc Spice, Jessicunt; A Night Of Japanese New Wave & Obscure. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Andy Grammer, Rachel Platten. Germano’s Piattini. Jenni Lyn. Metro Gallery. Hundredth, Spotlights, Tennis System, Gleemer.

Screencapture Courtesy YouTube

Motor House. Turntabliss Thursdays with DJ Sean J. 9:30 Club. Deer Tick, Nore Davis. The Ottobar. Us And Us Only, Pocket Bells, Smantx, Exnations; Heresy Goth/ Industrial Night. Red Room. Snake Union, Bonnie Jones & Tom Borax. Tin Roof. ‘90s Night of Grunge with Flannel - A ‘90s Revival Band. U Street Music Hall. CupcakKe, Raw Elementz, Tron Sagas; Hotel Garuda, Geotheory, Julius Jetson. The Windup Space. The Two Youths, O Paradiso, Manners Manners, $100 Girlfriend.

F R I . 1

An Die Musik. Abe Ovadia Trio. Anthem. Bon Iver. Baltimore Soundstage. Mayhem, Immolation, Black Anvil. Bertha’s. The Juke Drivers. The Birchmere. Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun, Commander Cody. The Black Cat. Pokey LaFarge, The Easy Leaves; House of Sweetbottom Holiday Cheer. Cat’s Eye Pub. Katie Bowers Band; Bad Neighbors. Creative Alliance. Caleb Stine’s Round the Mountain. The Crown. Karaoke Forever First Friday Edition; PUMP featuring DJ Amsies, DJ SHSHUNJ. Echostage. Gente De Zona. The 8x10. Consider the Source, Deaf Scene, You Bred Raptors? The Fillmore Silver Spring. $UICIDEBOY$. Germano’s Piattini. Bill Toms. Metro Gallery. A Benefit Concert for Moveable Feast: Ride For The Feast KickOff Party featuring Orchester Prazevica, Sac Au Lait, Barrage Band Orchestra. Motor House. Portfolio Day, Lenore LeNoire, Joseph And The Beasts. 9:30 Club. Priests, Blacks Myths, Mellow Diamond. The Ottobar. Juice Bruns, Snoopy Din-


ero, Solesky, Don Neil, Jett Bailey, Lord Business. Rams Head Live. Descendents, Frank Iero and the Patience, Canker Blossom. Rams Head On Stage. David Crosby & Friends. Red Room. Ami Yamasaki, Galaxy 555, Rozie Jordan and Greg Saunier. Reverb. Member Appreciation Night. The Sidebar. Hodera, Small Talks, My Heart My Anchor, Clairvoyant. Tin Roof. Trilogy. U Street Music Hall. Daybreaker; Stop Light Observations, Little Stranger; Ofenbach. The Windup Space. Genevieve, Snake Feast, Pathogenesis, Mother Moon.

S A T . 2

An Die Musik. Katherine Needleman; Folkal Point: Joan and Joni. Anthem. Dark Star Orchestra: Recreating the Grateful Dead’s 6/14/91 RFK Show. Baltimore Soundstage. Waterparks, As It Is, Chapel, Sleep On It. Bertha’s. Automatic Slim and His Band. The Birchmere. Cheryl Wheeler, John Gorka. The Black Cat. First Ladies DJ Collective Reunion Party; Bass Mayhem featuring Drakoulias, Kraftcheez. Cat’s Eye Pub. Tony Denikos Band; Roger Girke Band. Creative Alliance. Judith Berkson with Frank London and Michael Winograd. The Crown. Vague Saturday featuring Graham Hatke, BWO; Genie Isabella, James Nasty, “Elvis.” The 8x10. Vespertine Movement 10 Year Anniversary Show featuring Jackson Dean, Gordon Fog, Fake Madrid. Echostage. Tchami x Malaa. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Xavier Omar, Iris Temple, PinkCaravan! Germano’s Piattini. Troy Koger. Joe Squared. Matt Ellin, Sea Offs, june pastel, Nina Gala. Metro Gallery. Heaviness Of The Load, edhochuli.


Trunkweed, Gloop, Jim Shorts, Them Animals D E C . 2 Baltimore’s Trunkweed make thoroughly baked-sounding, loud-quiet-loud rock (with touches a surf and noise thrown in there) that feels fresh and alive and rarely traces over the lines of the bands they clearly love, such as Dinosaur Jr. or The Oh Sees, and are probably the best guitar-based band around, save for Screaming Females. They seem forever about-to-blow-up (and were or are signed to a major label or something honestly good for them, but also who carezzzzzz) and just released a great tape titled “Negative Universe,” with sleepy, explosive songs that will surely sound great engulfing New America. And check out last year’s “You Are A Nice Surprise,” an uncharacteristically profesh full-length featuring ‘Dark Daze,’ one of the group’s catchiest songs that delightfully devolves into guitar screech that would make tall dweeb and screeching guitar hero Thurston Moore jealous. Also on this bill, Frederick’s aptly-named Gloop, plus Jim Shorts and Them Animals, two other Baltimore bands on the same spectrum of Trunkweed. 8 p.m., New America Diner, 429 N. Eutaw St., (443) 388-8576,, $5. (Brandon Soderberg)

2015’s “Trunkweed Live, Man”

Motor House. Chiffon, Romantic States, Micah E Wood, No Hair. 9:30 Club. NPR Music’s 10th Anniversary Concert and Party. The Ottobar. Asthma Castle, End It, The Bali Llamas, DJ Noteman, DJ Double A. Rams Head Live. Borgore, MUST DIE!, Ray Volpe. The Sidebar. JAM Session A Benefit for Lung Cancer Patients. Tin Roof. Trilogy. U Street Music Hall. Allan Rayman; Will Eastman’s Birthday Party featuring Outputmessage, Julius Jetson, Nick Garcia. The Windup Space. Bar Fight.

S U N . 3

An Die Musik. Roots Cafe Christmas Show with Letitia Van Sant & Georgie Jessup. Baltimore Soundstage. The Sweet Spot Baltimore: Fetish Edition. The Birchmere. Blood Sweat & Tears. Cat’s Eye Pub. Steve Kraemer & The Bluesicians; Grapefruit Kings. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Seether, Shaman’s Harvest, The Dead Deads. Germano’s Piattini. The Patapsco Delta Boys. Lyric Opera House. Jackie Evancho. 9:30 Club. Reverend Horton Heat, Big Sandy, Dale Watson, The Blasters. The Ottobar. StillPointe Theatre presents Merry Little Kiki. Rams Head On Stage. Motown & More: A Holiday Celebration. Red Room. Volunteers’ Collective.

M O N . 4

An Die Musik. Monday Jazz Jam hosted by Alex Meadow and Joshua Espinoza. Baltimore Soundstage. Rapsody, GQ, Don Flamingo, Deante Hitchcock. The Black Cat. Cindy Wilson (of the B-52s), Yip Deceiver, Material Girls. Cat’s Eye Pub. Phil Cunneff New Trio. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Smith & Myers, J.R. Moore, Zack Mack. Metro Gallery. Morning Teleportation,


Us and Us Only, Super City, Polar Oak. 9:30 Club. Jungle, Makeness. Rams Head On Stage. Fantasia.

T U E . 5

An Die Musik. Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan. Anthem. The National, This Is The Kit. Baltimore Soundstage. Wage War, Oceans Ate Alaska, Gideon, Varials, Loathe. The Birchmere. Hot Tuna. Cat’s Eye Pub. Timmy Shelley Band. The Crown. Karaoke Forever. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Lil Pump. Rams Head On Stage. Marshall Tucker Band, Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones. The Sidebar. The Second After, Misery Loves Company, The Chief End, Go On Red. U Street Music Hall. Uno The Activist & Thouxanbanfauni, Byron Stingily

W E D . 6

An Die Musik. Evolution Contemporary Music Series: Bryce Dessner. Anthem. DC101’s Office Party featuring The Lumineers, J Roddy Walston and the Business, Joywave, Barns Courtney. Baltimore Soundstage. Shooter Jennings, Jason Boland, Julie Roberts. Bertha’s. Big Bertha’s Rhythm Kings. The Birchmere. Steve Earle & The Dukes, The Mastersons. Cat’s Eye Pub. J.E.T.T. The 8x10. Whose Hat is This? (featuring Members of Tedeschi Trucks Band), Rachel Ann Morgan Band. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Simple Plan, Hit the Lights, Story Untold. 9:30 Club. Hadag Nahash, Hanan Ben Ari. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night. The Sidebar. The Grievance Club, Forest Green, Moonflower. Tin Roof. Andrew Robear. The Windup Space. Baltimore Boom Bap Society.


Photo Courtesy Stingily

Byron Stingily D E C . 4 Teddy Douglass has set up a First Monday residency at the Rockwell, the Fells club owned by one of the All Time Low guys, that focuses on the sort of instrument-based house music Douglass and Jay Steinhour of the Basement Boys took all the way to the top of the charts in the early ‘90s. Along with Douglass, there’s DJ Tanz and instrumentalists Davon on percussion and Charles Dockins on keyboards. The guest this month is falsetto house icon Byron Stingily, former lead singer for Ten City, best known for their swooping and devastating track, ‘That’s The Way Love Is.’ In other words: Look everybody, this a chance to be in the same room up close and personal with a fucking vocal house legend in a loose, almost jam-like, exploratory context—and you should absolutely go and take it in whether you know Stingily’s work or not. You’ll be crying into your beer by the time he finds his way to ‘That’s The Way Love Is’ no doubt, but in the fully cathartic and empowering way house music enables. 7 p.m., The Rockwell, 702 S. Broadway, (443) 835-1336,, $10. (Brandon Soderberg)

NOVEMBER 29, 2017


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fashy black metal bullshit dead. “My record involves queer and trans and female people (and some straight, white male allies) working together to “cover” (in the sense of ‘occupy?’) a territory that isn’t (often) marked as such,” Daniel told me in 2014. The Soft Pink Truth’s cover of Mayhem’s ‘Buried By Time And Dust’ from “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is creaking electro that quotes Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans-Europe Express’ and Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock’ (while we’re on the topic of musicians doing heinous shit, Bambaataa has been accused by of molesting young men over the past few decades). Daniel described “Why Do The Heathen Rage?” as “a silly record about a serious question: Where does pleasure stop and responsibility begin?” In Baltimore there’s also Terence Hannum, whose corporeal metal band Locrian mixes and matches styles in a way that maybe wouldn’t have happened if not for Mayhem’s kitchen sink black metal, though Locrian’s music is instead humanist, empathetic, and existential. Tracks on 2015’s “Infinite Dissolution” explore the seemingly imminent end of the planet with interludes named after the Keystone Pipeline. And following the election of Donald Trump, Hannum (who is a professor at Stevenson University and in the band Holy Circle as well) put together an overtly anti-fascist noise project titled Axebreaker. Recent release “Live Assault II,” is as “brutal” as anything by Mayhem, and so it provides a fairly easy alternative to Nazi-adjacent noise. Axebreaker’s music suggests there are actually things worth getting geeked up over and hating, by the way—just not the honky paranoia of so-called “white genocide” but, you know, the genuine oppression that comes from corporate control, abuse, and fascism. The record’s rage is plainspoken like a black bloc breaking a Starbucks window, and its buried electronic beats hit hard like a fist in Richard Spencer’s face. Daniel and Hannum aren’t just making #Resist-style musical sick burns. They’re contorting a style and a whole heinous political philosophy in favor of death and pain and occasionally all-out hate, stripping the aesthetic for parts and assembling something new and restorative. There is lots of music out there, and perhaps one way to operate is to stop listening to music made by shitheads, especially when there’s music that fucking goes just as hard that isn’t made by shitheads. Full disclosure: It is this critic’s perspective that by far, like not even

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

a question, the most expressive piece of black metal of the past 20 years is “Strength and Vision,” a 2007 record from National Socialist Black Metal (in other words, fucking Nazis) group Slavia. It mixes hiss and static punk rocktinged black metal—echoes of Mayhem’s “Deathcrush”—with extended samples of classical music, middle eastern music, Hitler speaking, and Nazis chanting (it samples the way Kanye West’s “The Life Of Pablo” samples). But I really bring up Slavia, a fairly obscure band no longer around, because they offer up a windy way back to Baltimore and tacit Nazi support. When Jonas Raskolnikov Christiansen, the sole voice behind Slavia died in 2011 at age 31 of colon cancer, a tribute concert featured, among others, Hoest of the group Taake. In 2007, Hoest smeared as swastika on his chest at a show in Germany and claimed it was to provoke rather than advocate and consistently claims he is apolitical, though occasionally his lyrics have been anti-Islam in a way that would make Sebastian Gorka say “slow up.” Taake played Maryland Deathfest in 2014, seven years after the swastika shtick. Here’s a quote from Deathfest’s website: “Taake has met with some criticism because of some live performances and controversial song lyrics. Despite the bad press, front man Hoest maintains an apolitical stance, and says that they will continue to express themselves through their music.” Nazis, racists, purists of all kinds are well, banal and lame, and its supporters, sympathizers, advocates are weasels— which brings us back to the New York Times, especially that photo of a Nazi shopping at the grocery store, tortilla and black beans piling up in his cart. Everything is political, and that Times photo makes clear that nothing is “objective” though, like the article, it was meant to declare the opposite. The tortillas in one’s shopping cart are political, especially if you happen to be a Nazi shitbag (or even just a regular old “build that wall”-style Trump voter, by the way) and the tickets one buys to a show at Baltimore Soundstage celebrating a brilliant, terrifying album with death and abuse in the forefront and hey, some Nazi views as well—that’s political too. Mayhem plays Baltimore Soundstage on Dec. 1. Matmos plays E.M.P. Collective on Dec. 2 as part of a fundraiser for True Vine record shop. Holy Circle plays Metro Gallery on Dec. 14.



“The Goodies” at Iron Crow Theatre December 1-10. Photo Courtesy of Iron Crow Theatre

“Lookingglass Alice” at Baltimore Center Stage November 30-December 31.

“The Goodies” D E C . 1 - 1 0 When a BBC reporter was actually thick enough to ask Woody Allen, of all people, his thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the beloved filmmaker who allegedly assaulted his seven-year-old daughter expressed his concern over a “witch hunt atmosphere.” Women hear that a lot, often from men who enjoy telling people coming forward about abuse to calm down in hopes they themselves may appear more reasonable in their inappropriate or downright harmful behavior. Disclosure of abuse and harassment—and let’s remember that studies show fabricated allegations of sexual assault to be rare—isn’t a witch hunt. You know what is though? Actually hunting down women accused of performing black magic. That really happened, as we know, in Massachusetts in 1692-’93 in one of history’s most literal and catastrophic examples of society’s demonization of women. In an aptly-timed production, Iron Crow Theatre has devised an original play that sets the Salem Witch Trials in modern-day America, starring a cast of all women of color. In seeing the trials isolated from the Puritan extremism in which they originally unfolded, perhaps we’ll find how our modern culture still fosters attitudes that mystifies and destroy those who have no power. Dec. 1-10, Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., (410) 752-8558,, $15-$30. (Maura Callahan)

“The Revolutionists” D E C . 6 - J A N . 7 Lauren Gunderson’s ode to women of the French Revolution poses the always-pressing but now particularly urgent question: What is the responsibility of the citizen when a country is in crisis? Gunderson—the most produced playwright in the country this theater season—puts former queen Marie Antoinette, feminist playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday (all three lost their heads, by the way), and Caribbean spy Marianne Angelle (a fictionalized composite character based on the unsung women of the Haitian Revolution) in a room together to hash it out. All the while, de Gouges pens her “Declaration of the Rights of Woman,” Corday prepares to murder Jean-Paul Marat in his bathtub, Antoinette awaits the guillotine, and Angelle checks her fellow “revolutionists”— after all, they’re fighting for the freedom of a country that runs a slave colony. Dec. 6-Jan. 7, Everyman Theatre, 315 W. Fayette St., (410) 752-2208, everymantheatre. org, $25-$65. (Maura Callahan)


Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Center Stage


BIG Holiday Party. The Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) kicks off the holiday season with performances from improv troupes and live music by Big Infinite. Dec. 2, 7 p.m.midnight, The BIG Theater, 1727 N. Charles St., (888) 745-8393,, $5. Centurion Comedy. Local comedians perform exactly one hundred minutes of stand-up comedy. Hosted by Ian Salyers. Dec. 2, 9 p.m., Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, (410) 662-4444,, $5. Everything Will Be Okay (A stand-up comedy show) [#36]. Chris Hudson hosts an evening of stand-up featuring Samantha Kelly, Mike Allison, Christine Ferrera, Darryl Charles, and Eric Dadourian’s Nipples. Nov. 30, 8 p.m., The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848,, $5. Heavy Hors D’oeuvres 3: Interrobang’s Holiday Dinner. Interrobang Theatre Company presents short, new plays by Laura Fuentes, Richard Espey, and Natalie Piegari written around the theme of holiday dinner. Dec. 6-10 and Dec. 13-17, Strand Theater, 5426 Harford Road,, $10-$25. Laughs for BAF. Jessica Murphy Garrett headlines a stand-up showcase hosted by Elizabeth Danger Norman to benefit the Baltimore Abortion Fund. Dec. 2, 9 p.m., The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848,, $15. “Lookingglass Alice.” A contemporary retelling of Lewis Carroll’s trippy tale. Nov. 30-Dec. 31, Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0033,, $19.50-$74. Lou Room Live & Saturday Anightilation. Comedian Chris Hudson and improv teams Topiary, Imaginary Friends, and Dad Joke perform, followed by a free show at 9:30 p.m. from improv/sketch troupe Championship Arm Wrestling. Dec. 2, 8 p.m., Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St.,, $5. Prim and Proper. Alyssa Cowan, Angela Hamilton, Natalie McGill, Katie McKelvie, Krystal Pistol, Sarah Roche, Michele Sometimes, Kerene Tayloe, Rose Vineshank, and host Davine Ker perform in Charm City Comedy Project’s all-women comedy showcase. Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St.,, $5. The Roast of Santa Claus. Played by local comics, classic holiday characters get together to shit talk the big guy. Dec. 6, 8 p.m., The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 6254848,, free (donations for Toys For Tots encouraged). Stand-Up Comedy Night. Dan Marse-Kapr, Matt Brown, Mike Allison, Rose Wineshank, Mike O’Donnell, Mike Mora, and host Eric Navarro perform. Dec. 6, 9 p.m., The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069,, $5.


NOVEMBER 29, 2017

A WOMAN LEARNING 2016 Baltimore City Youth Poet Laureate Hannah Sawyerr releases her first book of poetry By Lisa Snowden-McCray


Hannah Sawyerr Photo Courtesy of Sawyerr

Hannah Sawyerr, 21, says she’s been working on her first book “For Girls Growing into Their Hips” (Penmanship Books) since she was 17. “My senior year of high school, that’s when I wrote the poem ‘For Girls Growing into Their Hips,’ and I remember I told myself if I ever got a book deal, that’s what I would title the book,” she says. Now a senior at Morgan State University, Sawyerr was able to make that dream actually happen. She won the title of Baltimore’s Youth Poet Laureate in 2016 by performing a poem that uses a simple Sunday dress to address issues of faith and sexual assault. A book deal was part of the prize. Sawyerr is a young black woman; her father is a refugee from Sierra Leone. So, her very being—her hair, her skin, her dreams and desires—is political, and would be so even if she didn’t choose to confront these facts head-on in her poems. “America has a way of treating immigrants as if its foundation wasn’t built on the backs of them,” she declares in a spoken word poem delivered in a video published to She says she writes for other women like her. “Young black women, but I guess women of color as well just because a lot of the experiences are shared,” she says, “but when I sat down and wrote the book, I’m thinking

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

young women between the ages of maybe 13-25.” Sawyerr’s poetry also confronts her own experience with sexual assault. In her poem ‘On Testifying Against Your Abuser,’ she talks about what it feels like to have such an intimate, private crime be splayed so openly in court. “The internet along with my mother have tried to convince me/ that I am some type of heroic super girl/ that all the women back home are looking up to me,/ it’s a bit ironic:/ the sight of his face makes me gag,” she writes. “Before my term [as youth poet laureate], when I didn’t have people watching me, it was easier to speak about these things,” she says. “Even on my campus there are people who know these things about me and it becomes kind of overwhelming.” Even though it’s daunting to keep talking and writing about something so sensitive, as the spotlight on her has grown, she’s found healing in doing so. “I had to realize that activism is healing, and people say that often, but there are so many things that activism is. Like, it’s hurt, it’s sadness, sometimes it’s exhausting, and that’s what I was really learning throughout my term.” Sawyerr is just one of the artists to come out of Baltimore’s notable spoken word poetry scene. It can be hard to take words that are performed and make them work on the page. However, Sawyerr says that for her, each word must make sense there first.


“There’s something special about reciting a poem orally, and it’s obviously going to be different, but if your work makes no sense or is completely wack on paper, it’s just not it,” she says. “I think people really need to take into consideration that the page is important.” Lately, she’s been mostly editing mode, prepping for the book’s release. “I have not started a second book,” she says. “I was actually just telling someone for me it’s so hard, I feel like I’ve been editing for so long and I really need to get into writing new stuff.” As a graduating senior, she’s also been thinking about what’s next, and wrestling with the idea of writing as a real, viable job and not “just a cute little hobby.” “I feel like whenever people ask me what I want to do and what I want to be, I get scared to tell them that I really want to be a writer,” she says. “I’m an English major and I want to teach, so education is really important to me, but I want to write. That’s what I want to do. I feel like what I want to do is so specific, and to most people it’s so unrealistic but that’s where my heart is, really.” “For Girls Growing into Their Hips” will be released Nov. 30. A book release party is planned the same day at the Murphy Fine Arts Center, James E. Lewis Museum of Art, 2201 Argonne Drive, from 7-9 p.m.


Alex Ross comes to JHU D E C . 5

“On Testifying Against Your Abuser” by Hannah V. Sawyerr


Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, (410) 662-4444, Carolyn Turgeon, editor in chief of “Faerie Magazine” discusses the new book, “The Faerie Handbook: An Enchanting Compendium of Literature, Lore, Art, Recipes, and Projects.” Nov. 30, 6 p.m. Baltimore County Public Library Pikesville Branch, 1301 Reisterstown Road, (410) 887-1234, Kathleen Waters Sander shares her latest book about the United States’ first railroad, “John W. Garrett And The Baltimore And Ohio Railroad.” Nov. 29, 2:30 p.m. Robert Kanigel, author of “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” among other books, discusses his career. Dec. 6, 2:30 p.m. Bird In Hand, 11 E. 33rd St. (410) 814-0373, Readings With Ralphie, a reading series organized by noted Baltimore writer Rafael Alvarez with Gerry Shields, author of “The Good of the Order: America’s Last 80 Years Through the Eyes of One Veterans Club.” Dec. 5., 7 p.m. The Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Mark Bowden, author of the New York Times bestseller “Black Hawk Down,” discusses his latest, “Hu 1968,” about the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. Nov. 29, 7 p.m. Johns Hopkins University, Gilman 50 (Bowman Drive), Homewood Campus, 3400 N. Charles St. New Yorker music critic Alex Ross discusses his 20th century music history book, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening To The Twentieth Century.” Dec. 5, 6 p.m. Maryland State Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (LBPH), 415 Park Ave. Education writer and reporter John Merrow discusses his book, “Addicted To Reform: A TwelveStep Program To Rescue Public Education.” Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m.


As much as I try to forget him, I always know his name Preacher Father to some but in this courtroom, he is S.B. Accused Repeat Offender but still— Innocent until proven guilty Often, I catch myself daydreaming of ways to seek revenge on him Perhaps shooting him— drowning him in his own semen or maybe, burning his house mimic the way he burned the home inside of me mimic the way my father burned on the inside, when I told him our living room filled with smoke my father used to call him friend. I settle for time in this courtroom, I’ve looked up tips for this, spent nights googling how to prepare as if I am the one on trial “How To Testify Against Your Abuser” The internet says: “There is power and worth in your testimony.” “Take pride in your testimony” The internet along with my mother have tried to convince me that I am some type of heroic super girl that all the women back home are looking up to me, it’s a bit ironic: the sight of his face makes me gag their sight of his face still gets their thumbs up on Facebook I marvel at the eeriness of this courtroom, try concentrating on my breathing; but the air is thick here, as if the presence of untold truths fill the room to its capacity My stomach begins to feel as weak as an


abuser’s apology, so instead, I convince myself that this is just a conversation A debate of some sort and I am only answering questions that everyone already believes they know the answer to. I think of the night I first forced myself to untie this tongue, My mouth becomes a reluctant fountain. As my testimony spills, as I am expected to spill this testimony from this woman body on this woman trauma for this white man judge the words taste bitter I recall all the times I have tried to proclaim words to heal my nation tried feeding my village on a roaring stomach But I can’t even remember the last time I said a prayer for myself— I do not pray for myself This work is hurt Just as much as it healing. Activism is a call for recovery As much as it is a call to action. Suddenly, all the bravery I’ve struggled to build inside myself doesn’t really compliment the color of this courtroom, I can paint myself into warrior woman, a masterpiece, but I have never felt more small than I do now Testifying against my abuser is not about a trial or about revenge This is a woman learning that to wear the burden of hurt but to deprive herself of the blessing that is healing is its own injustice

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

DEAR MAMA “Motherland” finds sisterhood in an overcrowded Manila maternity ward By Brandon Block


“Motherland” Photo Courtesy CineDiaz

“Slap me if it’s painful,” the nurse says, and this gets a laugh. She knows how to keep a casual but not glib demeanor in situations like this, because mostly the women that sit across from her are overwhelmed, and very often they’re scared too. Across from her is a 19-year-old woman, and this is her second pregnancy. She is skittish at the recommendation—which is to get an IUD to prevent further pregnancies—and looks down at her feet, around the room, rubs her wrist. Her mom told her not to get one, she says “Your mother is not gonna give birth for you,” the nurse retorts. She’s charmingly pushy—and that’s a pretty good barometer of the vibe at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, documented extensively in Baltimore filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz’s film “Motherland,” which returns to the Parkway next week after it screened at the Maryland Film Festival back in May, and at tastemaking festivals like the Berlinale and Sundance. “Motherland” patiently and earnestly follows a few days in the lives of women who give birth at one of the busiest maternity wards in the world, where the staff delivers about 60 babies a day. Prior to an executive order last year by President Rodrigo Duterte mandating free contraceptive access, the Catholic Church and anti-abortion interests had been largely successful in restricting access to contraceptives and abortion procedures. According to a 2013 report by the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unplanned. Women seek out Fabella because it’s cheap. The patients come from some of Manila’s most impoverished populations, where information about reproductive health, let alone preventative or prenatal care, is not widely available. Most of the women here already have multiple children whom they can barely afford to support.


The ward is basically one cavernous hall, with white concrete walls and aging equipment. Diaz’s camera tracks down an endless row of mothers and babies, two or three to a bed, attempting sleep amidst a symphony of squealing infants—it’s grandiose, in a way, spare yet crawling with the endless around-the-clock vitality of kicking and screaming human fucking life; this is actually the most glorious yet impersonal shot of the film, as it frames the women and children into grand cinematic spectacle. Lerma, a regular (this is her sixth time here), is uniquely boisterous, almost glib when she talks about having babies and getting by in Manila. She lives in a squat and “sells cigarettes and eggs by the station,” she declares to the others. “The children come one after another,” Lerma says. “I don’t have enough love to give all of them. I should have more love to give. But they came one after another. I can’t give enough love.” Lerma’s confidence is clearly soothing to the others, and slowly, they start to feel comfortable opening up— about their families, their husbands, what they don’t have, what it’s like to give birth. They share food and make jokes, sometimes sardonic and dark ones about how crazy the shit they deal with is. . Mostly we learn about the lives of these women though their paperwork as they are questioned by nurses filling out forms. The film is contained completely within the hospital grounds, and omits any omniscient narration or text explainers. Rather, Diaz uses camerawork and editing alone to guide to story, allowing the experience of the place to speak for itself. A pan around the waiting room reveals the checkin desk, where a woman with a microphone announces when mothers may meet their husbands in the lobby (visitors are not allowed into the ward, “to avoid infection,” and the fathers wait in a single file line that stretches


outside and down the block) or when they get to go home. When to leave can get dicey, and a plotline about one mother’s headstrong will to leave early despite her baby’s illness (she has three other infants at home, she argues, and thus needs to “go to HAMA,” or home against medical advice) loops in her feckless husband. The two have a marital confrontation in the lobby of the hospital, and she calls him an idiot, and this is all ignored amid the everyday commotion of the hospital. Diaz is incredibly attentive, and her camera lets life play out as it is without poking or prodding. It’s clear that these scenes were accomplished by sitting in one place for hours on end, just waiting for life to happen. This patient method allows the film to focus on the remarkable strength of the mothers, rather than dwell on their circumstances. The hospital, and maybe birth itself, becomes somehow both a vortex of the anxieties that drag on poor women in developing countries and an extraordinary haven. It’s an all-woman space where men are, at least for a little bit, not in control. It’s a space where women are in charge of their own decisions, where they nurture and comfort each other. The woman working the front desk—who frequently takes the microphone to deliver pep talks, gentle scolds about cleanliness, and stand-up jokes—observes that there is so much socializing between the mothers that they’re sticking around even longer than they need to. “Some of you are here even after you’ve been discharged,” she says. “You are vacationing here. Go home. Go on a real vacation. This is not a hotel.” This gets a laugh from the patients. And again, briefly, life isn’t so scary. “Motherland” opens at the SNF Parkway Theater on Dec. 1. There will be a Q&A with director Ramona Diaz on Dec. 2 following the 7:15 p.m. screening.

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

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FREE PERVERTED HOLIDAY CRAFT TIME December 1st at 5:00pm - 9:00pm

“Heat” screens at the Senator on Nov. 29 Screencapture Courtesy of Youtube


The Charles Theater

1711 N. Charles St., (410) 727-3464, “The Killing Of a Sacred Deer” (Yorgos Lanthimos, U.S., 2017), through Nov. 30. “Novitiate” (Margaret Betts, England, 2017), through Nov. 30 “The Florida Project” (Sean Baker, U.S., 2017), now playing “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (Bharat Nalluri, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Lady Bird” (Greta Gerwig, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Loving Vincent” (Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchma, Poland, 2017), now playing. “Last Flag Flying” (Richard Linklater, U.S. 2017), though Nov. 30. “Il Boom” (Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1963), Nov. 30. “Jane” (Brett Morgen, U.S., 2017) opens Dec. 1. “Paths Of Glory” (Stanley Kubrick, U.S., 1957), Dec. 2, Dec. 4. “Sailor Moon The Movie: Hearts In Ice” (Hiroki Shibata, Japan, 2000) opens Dec. 6.

The Parkway Theatre 5 W. North Ave., (410) 752-8083, “Human Flow” (Ai Weiwei, 2017), through Nov. 30. “My Friend Dahmer” (Marc Meyers, U.S., 2017), through Nov. 30. “Tom of Finland” (Dome Karukoski, Finland/Denmark/Sweden/Germany, 2017), through Nov. 30. Free Film: “Manila in the Claws of Light” (Lino Brocka, Philippines, 1975), Nov. 30. “Motherland” (Ramona S. Díaz, U.S., 2017), opens Dec. 1: Q&A with director Diaz on Dec. 2. at 7:15 p.m. “On the Beach at Night Alone” (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2017), opens Dec. 1. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (Jeremiah S. Chechik, U.S., 1989), Dec. 2. “Trading Places” (John Landis, U.S., 1983), Dec. 2. Double Feature: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Trading Places,” Dec. 4. Sight Unseen: Hybrid Cinema—Films, Videos, and Expanded Cinema by Michael Alexander Morris, Dec. 5. “The Running Man” (Paul Michael Glaser, U.S., 1987), Dec. 6.


December 4th at 6:30pm


December 6th at 6:30pm


Turn on your sexy creative imagination

December 8th at 6:30pm

THE STORY OF O with Bianca | $25

January 10th at 6:30pm

The Senator Theatre 5904 York Road, (410) 323-4424, “Murder On The Orient Express” (Kenneth Branagh, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Thor: Ragnarok” (Taika Waititi, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Victoria and Abdul” (Stephen Frears, U.K., 2017), now playing. “Justice League” (Zack Snyder, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Martin McDonagh, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Heat” (Michael Mann, U.S., 1995), Nov. 29. “The Simpsons Movie” (David Silverman, U.S. 2007), Dec. 3. “The Godfather” (Francis Ford Coppola, U.S., 1972), Dec. 6.



NOVEMBER 29, 2017

FREE LIBATIONS EVERY FRIDAY IN DECEMBER Purchase tickets in person at the store, over the phone with a credit card or online at

WITHOUT FAIL Zeni Cafe offers up a filling Ethiopian breakfast By Maura Callahan

This city boasts quality Ethiopian cuisine, but if you ask me, there are too few places to get it. There’s Dukem in Mount Vernon, and Tabor and Jano Bar & Lounge downtown. Ebenezer is moving from its spot on Washington Boulevard in Pigtown a few blocks up on Pratt Street. That’s pretty much it. This dearth is no good for people like me who, for whatever reason, experience near-violent cravings for Ethiopian cuisine’s deep, distinctive flavors—over the past year I’ve been toying with my own recipes using berbere spice and other ingredients from Kana Market next to Tabor, but unsurprisingly, great Ethiopian food takes the expertise of those who are brought up in the tradition and cuisine. But now, we can add one more to the lineup of Ethiopian restaurants in Baltimore. Zeni Cafe (316 Park Ave., [410] 244-0350) opened over the summer, and is located just a few doors down from Tabor, but it’s not the same deal. At the tiny storefront, you can grab a cup of super-dark Ethiopian coffee ($2) and go, or sit down for a traditional Ethiopian morning meal—“Qurs” in Amharic, the country’s state language—which, during my Saturday morning visit, also meant watching a televised football match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion (Manchester won 1-0, and the guys crowded into the cafe just to watch seemed pretty happy about that). Painted with thick waves of warm brown and buttery yellow that lead to the counter in the back, the walls are adorned with quintessential Euro-American cafe decor plus a couple Ethiopian coffee posters: Elegant women performing the traditional coffee ceremony, jebena (or coffee pot) in hand. Much smaller than those at Ethiopian spots serving dinner, Zeni’s sit-down menu offers just nine options— vegetables play less of a role in Ethiopian breakfasts, it seems, than they do in the herbivore-pleasing dinners, heavy with a range of stewed and sauteed greens, lentils, peas, and more. I went with the combination item ($13.99), which included injera (spongy, crepe-thin sourdough bread made from teff flour that doubles as a scooping utensil), tibs (chunks of tender beef with onion, fresh tomato, and peppers), and kitfo (minced beef in spices)—all of which are eaten for any meal. My admittedly inexperienced understanding of kitfo was that it’s traditionally served raw, like a tartare; this however was cooked through with touches of pink here and there (I’ll take my meat still kicking, but cool). The tibs were seasoned more sparingly than I’ve previously experienced, and tasted mild next to the richer, spicier kitfo. Both meats were dripping in their juices—you’ll need extra injera to sop it up. My partner ordered the scrambled eggs with firfir ($8.99)—finely shredded injera mixed with beef and spices, a breakfast staple in Ethiopia also called fitfit (Zeni also offers vegetarian firfir, and the scrambled eggs option can alternatively come with chechebsa, a chopped-up herb bread, instead of firfir). Remarkably flexible and strong, injera comes with most Ethiopian dishes for good reason: Why use a metal spoon or fork

NOVEMBER 29, 2017

Scrambled eggs with firfir and combination at Zeni Cafe Baltimore Beat Photo by Maura Callahan

when you can eat your food-to-mouth transportation device? Injera is addictive even removed from its function as a utensil, so using injera to scoop up more injera sounded great to me. Even better when it’s soaked with berbere spice, tomato, and meat juices. Served with a light and fluffy eggs, the dish proved to be our favorite, along with the coffee—strong and smooth with a deli-


cate foam film on top. Without fail, Ethiopian food will fill you up, and breakfast is no exception. Still, had our meal not followed two consecutive Thanksgiving feasts, I might have ordered a few pieces of baklava or a smoothie to go as I checked out at the counter. But this was not that day: As of press time, I am still hurting.


Photos from Baltimore foodies

Baltimore, a confession: There’s more of you than there are of us. That means that when it comes to food, sometimes you guys already know where to go, and you’re taking amazing photos of the dishes you’re eating too. It feels like a bit of a waste to just post these lovely, tantalizing shots just on Instagram or whatever, so here are a few pictures posted in the last week by some local foodies. (Lisa Snowden-McCray)

Pumpkin cider soup with sweet cream at Cunningham’s in Towson (1 Olympic Place, [410] 339-7730, Photo By Leandro Lagera (Instagram: @foodnomad)

Wood-grilled Maryland rockfish with shrimp, grits, and smoked tomato at Rye Street Tavern in Port Covington (225 E. Cromwell St., [443] 662-8000,

A Manhattan at Idle Hour in Riverside (201 E. Fort Ave., [410] 989-3405)

Photo by Arli of Arli’s Appetite (Instagram: @arlisappetite)

Photo by Ryan Detter (Instagram: @ryan97ou)



NOVEMBER 29, 2017


Trainwreck Photo by Brandon Soderberg / Courtesy Democracy In Crisis

Trainwreck I don’t need my weed to be “bad-ass.” I don’t need anything to be “bad-ass” really, but in an attempt to describe certain strains that pack a real mind/body high punch, whatever Grub Street Pot Poet is naming this stuff recalls a bunch of teens in their basement coming up with names for their hardcore band—“tough”-sounding descriptors that connote intensity, chaos, brutality thrown out there in order to find one more way to basically be like, “This shit’ll fuck you up, bro.” Ditto for this ultimately rather subtle if vehement strain that’s almost all sativa saddled with the dopey punk band name of Trainwreck. This strain is not at all bad-ass and will, as the preceding paragraph clearly indicates, send you on all kinds of thought tangents and riffs and into an interzone of general, brainy obsequiousness that would be truly intolerable (maybe they should’ve called this one Mind Trap!) if it didn’t bring with it a pain-relieving body high that’s truly something special. There is usually an opiate-like feeling that comes with strains that are big on sucking the anxiety and pain out from under you for a while, but Trainwreck is more dreamy than cloudy (mainly, it seems, because it’s almost entirely a sativa with a low but crucial percentage of indica in there too) and is a strong example of the way cannabis is not only a way less addictive replacement for pain pills but a rarefied reliever all its own. It’s as if you inhale some Trainwreck—it has a delightful tangy, cologne sour taste that doesn’t recall any other strains—and it races through your body and latches onto your joints and then lightly pounds and massages them for a few hours. That must be the indica elements doing their thing, and it’s easily one of the most promising strains in terms of sativa and indica talking to one another—no, better yet, conversating, rapping with one another, you feel me? Here’s how Leafly begins its description of Trainwreck by the way: “Trainwreck is a mind-bending hybrid with potent sativa effects that hit like a freight train . . .” So maybe they should have called it Freight Train instead? Being hit by a freight train is kind of different from being in a trainwreck. The former conjures a kind of immediate, maybe even blissful obliteration that isn’t far off from Trainwreck’s effects and the latter, a gnarled, burning and multi-part scene of chaos and pain. But hey, sounds bad-ass doesn’t it? Or OK, to be fair Wikileaf offers up this as the origin: “As the story goes the two brothers [from California who created it back in the ‘70s] had to pull their crop early because there was a nasty train wreck that happened near their grow site and they didn’t want it discovered, thus the name.” I prefer that possibly apocryphal story because it has a kind of scrappy, Townes Van Zandt-ian whimsy to it—and because, one more time everybody, weed is not “bad-ass.” (Brandon Soderberg) Strength: 8 Nose: Lavender-infused cheap beer Euphoria: 8 Existential dread: 4 Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 5 Drink pairing: Just water (heavy dry mouth with this one) Music pairing: Power Trip, “Nightmare Logic”; or Townes Van Zandt, “The Late Great Townes Van Zandt” Rating: 8

NOVEMBER 29, 2017




Black Jack Photo by Brandon Soderberg / Courtesy Democracy In Crisis

Black Jack Tracing down the genealogy of weed strains can be time-consuming and, ultimately, not particularly fruitful. The names proliferate like kudzu fever dreams. Based on its name, Black Jack could be the result of breeding Jack Herrer either with Blackberry Kush or with Black Domina. All of these have their own dubious lineages to complicate things further. It turns out this is Black Domina—itself a combo of four heavy-hitting indicas—which, when mixed with Jack Herrer, one of the best sativa-dominant strains around, you have a hard-charging, soft-drug speedball. I’m not advocating for illegal drugs like coke and smack, more like coffee and whiskey for me, but there is something about the simultaneous ingestion of stimulants and depressants (to the extent that sativa and indica fit that bill) that is unbeatable. Black Jack gives you a gliding pep in your step that slides as much as it bounces, like an R. Crumb cartoon without all the weird sexism and excess body-hair. When I offered some to a friend, he took the small, long, and dense bud. “It doesn’t really smell,” he said. “Break it open,” I said. “Holy shit,” he said as the sticky bud pulled apart between his thumbs and forefingers, releasing a damp floral smell. “It smells so fruity now.” He had just been in the library and he told me a story about how he opened his bag up and the entire section of the library he was in started to smell like his weed—Blue Dream. We’ve all been there, smelling some super loud shit, wondering who is holding, and realizing that the smell is coming from your pocket. But if the buds aren’t broken, Black Jack is pretty discreet and chill, without being weak. That fruity smell hits the back of the palate hard, especially from a vaporizer, making this one of the tastiest buds I’ve tried in a while. That along with the body relaxation plus the mental invigoration makes this a great bud for everyday burning—it isn’t too speedy with the sativa, causing your mind to run wild, and it isn’t too sleepy with the indica, sucking you into the couch. Black Jack does well for the appetite, though, and it made my Thanksgiving food taste far better than it might have otherwise, as I stepped on the porch to take a few hits before loading up my plate. Strength: 8 Nose: Banana and muddled mint in mud Euphoria: 7 Existential dread: 3 Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 4 Drink pairing: Rye-rish Coffee (rye whiskey in coffee) Music pairing: The Who, “A Quick One” Rating: 7



NOVEMBER 29, 2017




410-602-1440 Alan M. Jonas, M.D. Principal Investigator Robert B. Lehman, M.D. Sub-Investigator



NOVEMBER 29, 2017




Trapped by Depression?

Let Try to Find a Way Out...

Am I Eligible?

Are you 18 - 65 years old? Not getting adequate results with your current antidepressant therapy? Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) changes how you view the world. It causes extreme sadness and feelings of hopelessness.

A clinical research study is currently evaluating an investigational drug for its safety and effectiveness in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. LET’S TALK, CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE.

410-602-1440 /

Principal Investigator: Robert Lehman, M.D. / Sub-Investigator: Alan Jonas, M.D.



NOVEMBER 29, 2017




Has your life been affected by bipolar depression? If so, you may be interested in taking part in the 401 or 402 Study. The 401 and 402 Studies are looking at a potential new treatment – an investigational medication – for bipolar depression (bipolar I or bipolar II disorder) to see whether it works, and how safe it is, for improving the symptoms of bipolar depression. The 401 Study will look at the investigational medication when it is used on its own. The 402 Study will look at the investigational medication in patients who are already taking a mood stabilizer, specifically lithium or valproate. We are looking for people who are currently experiencing major depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder to take part in the 401 and 402 Studies. You may be able to take part in the 401 or 402 Study if you: • are between 18 and 75 years of age (inclusive)

If you are interested in taking part in one of these studies, or if you would like more information, please contact:


have been diagnosed with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder

are currently having a major depressive episode that started at least 2 weeks ago, but no more than 6 months ago

have previously had at least one bipolar manic episode or mixed episode (if you have bipolar I disorder) or hypomanic episode (if you have bipolar II disorder).

Study participation will last up to 12 weeks and will require nine visits to the study center.

ITI-007 Alan M. Jonas, M.D. Principal Investigator

Bipolar Depression Program

Desmond M. Kaplan, M.D. & Robert B. Lehman, M.D., Sub-Investigators



NOVEMBER 29, 2017




Are intrusive thoughts interfering with your daily life? Do these thoughts lead to distress or fear? If you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) you may qualify to participate in a clinical research study examining the use of an investigational medication for people with OCD, not currently satisďŹ ed with their SSRI (or clomipramine). For information please call


Desmond M. Kaplan, M.D. Principal Investigator


Alan M. Jonas, M.D. & Robert B. Lehman, M.D., Sub-Investigators

NOVEMBER 29, 2017






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WET CITY, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 29, 2017, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 29, 2017, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 29, 2017, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 29, 2017