J A N U A R Y 1 7 , 2 0 1 8 V O L . 2 I S S . 3 B A L T I M O R E B E AT. C O M
L I S A S N OW D E N - M CC R AY D I S C U S S E S B A L T I M O R E ’ S $12 M I L L I O N YO U T H F U N D W I T H L E A D E R S O F B E AU T I F U L S T R U G G L E ’ S A DA M JAC K S O N
THIS WEEK’S SHOWS ALL GOOD PRESENTS
Circles Around The Sun .................................................................. Th JAN 18
ALL GOOD PRESENTS
BoomBox w/ Of Tomorrow ............................................................................. F 19
ALL GOOD PRESENTS
The Infamous Stringdusters w/ Dangermuffin ..................................... Sa 20 D NIGHT ADDED!
FIRST NIGHT SOLD OUT! SECON
MØ & Cashmere Cat w/ Darius ................................................................. Tu 23 JANUARY
Tennis w/ Overcoats ..................W 24 Big Head Todd & The Monsters
w/ Luther Dickinson ..................Th 25
Frankie Ballard.......................F 26 STEEZ PROMO PRESENTS
Manic Focus and Minnesota .....................Sa 27 Enter Shikari w/ Single Mothers & Milk Teeth..Su 28
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
w/ Night Beats .............................M 29
Kimbra w/ Arc Iris....................Tu 30 Typhoon w/ Bad Bad Hats .........W 31 FEBRUARY
U STREET MUSIC HALL PRESENTS
Ganja White Night
w/ Lowland Hum .........................W 21
U STREET MUSIC HALL PRESENTS
Lane 8 w/ Enamour .................Th 22
• For full lineups and more info, visit merriweathermusic.com • 930.com
w/ Roosevelt Coliler .......F 23 & Sa 24
Rhye ...........................................M 26 Lights w/ Chase Atlantic & DCF .Tu 27 MARCH
Kelela .........................................Th 1 Galactic w/ Melvv & Olivia Noelle ..............Su 4
w/ Billy Strings
Attendance included with purchase of tickets to 2/3 Greensky Bluegrass @ The Anthem ..................................F 2 STEEZ PROMO PRESENTS
Emancipator Ensemble ......Sa 3 J. Roddy Walston and The Business w/ Post Animal..........Th 8 White Ford Bronco: DC’s All-90s Band .......................F 9
COIN w/ The Aces ......................Sa 10 Múm ..........................................Su 11 Sleigh Bells w/ Sunflower Bean ......................W 14 U STREET MUSIC HALL PRESENTS
w/ Elephante & Youngr .............Th 15
ZZ Ward w/ Black Pistol Fire
& Billy Raffoul ..............................F 16
LP w/ Noah Kahan .........................M 5 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark w/ GGOOLLDD ......Tu 6 Cornelius ....................................W 7 Beth Ditto w/ SSION ................Sa 10 ALL GOOD PRESENTS
Lincoln Theatre • 1215 U Street, NW Washington, D.C. THIS SUNDAY! D NIGHT ADDED!
FIRST NIGHT SOLD OUT! SECON
Bianca Del Rio ...................... MAR 15
.......... JAN 21
ALL GOOD PRESENTS
PostSecret: The Show ...... MAR 24 Rob Bell
The Wood Brothers
w/ The Stray Birds ................... JAN 26 & 27
w/ Peter Rollins .......... MAR 27
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester.............APR 11
Sucker For Love ................... FEB 10 Calexico w/ Ryley Walker ............APR 27 Dixie Dregs (Complete Original Lineup Robyn Hitchcock with Steve Morse, Rod Morgenstein, and His L.A. Squires Allen Sloan, Andy West, and Steve Davidowski) ..................MAR 7 • thelincolndc.com •
w/ Tristen .......................................APR 28
U Street (Green/Yellow) stop across the street!
w/ Jesse Royal & Etana .............Su 11
K.Flay w/ Yungblud ...................M 12 I’m With Her w/ Andrew Combs
9:30 CLUB PRESENTS AT U STREET MUSIC HALL
(Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan) ....................Tu 13
Cuco + Helado Negro
Mason Bates’s Mercury Soul ........................Th 15 Nils Frahm ................................F 16 Jon Batiste (Solo in the Round)
Flint Eastwood w/ NYDGE ..............F FEB 2 Anna Meredith ................................... Sa 3 Why? w/ Open Mike Eagle ........................F 9 Anti-Flag & Stray From The Path .. Sa 10 Wylder w/ Virginia Man ....................... Sa 17 MAGIC GIANT w/ The Brevet.............. Su 18 Higher Brothers ............................... M 19 MAKO w/ Night Lights .......................... Sa 24 Gabrielle Aplin w/ John Splithoff ...... Su 25
Early Show! 6pm Doors ..................Sa 17
STRFKR w/ Reptaliens .............Sa 17
MANY MORE SHOWS ON SALE!
w/ Brandy Clark & Clare Bowen ...... SAT JULY 14
On Sale Friday, July 19 at 10am
ALL GOOD PRESENTS
(F 2 - w/ Butcher Brown) .... F 2 & Sa 3
ALL GOOD PRESENTS
Merriweather Post Pavilion • Columbia, MD
w/ Dirt Monkey & Subtronics ....Su 18
The Oh Hellos
The best thing you could possibly put in your mouth Cupcakes by BUZZ... your neighborhood bakery in Alexandria, VA. | www.buzzonslaters.com
w/ Lido Pimienta ............................Tu JAN 23
• Buy advance tickets at the 9:30 Club box office • 930.com
TICKETS for 9:30 Club shows are available through TicketFly.com, 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.
HAPPY HOUR DRINK PRICES impconcerts.com AFTER THE SHOW AT THE BACK BAR!
Sevdaliza ........................................... Tu 27 Missio w/ Welshly Arms...................F MAR 2 Ella Vos w/ Freya Ridings ....................... M 5 Amy Shark .......................................... M 12 The Hunna & Coasts ....................... Sa 17 The Strypes ......................................... F 23 The Marmozets ................................ Sa 24 Vinyl Theatre & Vesperteen ......... Su 25 Hollie Cook......................................... M 26 Digitalism ........................................... W 28 Fujiya & Miyagi........................... Su APR 1
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!
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Tons of Guns
Transparency meeting reveals BPD seized 1898 guns, 2.3 million in cash, and hundreds of dirt bikes in 2017
Lisa Snowden-McCray firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ext. 9461 Maura Callahan email@example.com DEPUTY EDITOR Brandon Soderberg firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR Ext. 9462 Jeff Stintz email@example.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Ext. 9464 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org 202-747-2077 Azer Creative email@example.com DESIGN & PRODUCTION 202-540-8928
Essay collection “Rebellious Mourning” places pain in resistance
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Easy as pie
Dovecote Café chef Amanda Mack talks about going big by thinking small On the Cover: Adam Jackson Photo by Kyle Pompey.
WEEK IN REVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 BEAT NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 REAL NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 BLADE NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 LAYING THE GROUNDWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 ART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 MUSIC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 BOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 STAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 SCREENS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 FOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 SUGAR TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
JANUARY 17, 2018
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Week In Review Stories from last week in Baltimore not covered elsewhere in this issue
The latest development in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal: A Baltimore County bail bondsman named Donald Stepp who ran—oh boy, wait for it— Double-D Bail Bonds (complete with a sexy cartoon woman as the logo) plead guilty to assisting BPD’s Sgt. Wayne Jenkins in selling cannabis, cocaine, and heroin Jenkins had taken off the streets—only to put back on the streets. It was also revealed that Jenkins passed Stepp off as a police officer. As part of a new campaign—presumably involving Gregory Tucker, who as the Baltimore Brew reported gets paid $240 an hour to do P.R. on the city’s dime— that we suppose suggests the mayor is no-nonsense, Mayor Catherine Pugh posted a video her yelling at a Baltimore squeegee kid for not being in school. He doesn’t get to answer why he isn’t in school because Pugh keeps yelling and at the end of the video, he walks away dejected. As far as the video shows, Pugh doesn’t offer him a ride to school or offer him resources (she created a squeegee program). Reprehensible behavior by our mayor—all in an attempt to generate good P.R. Last week, Mayor Pugh announced that the city would demolish six buildings in West Baltimore’s Gilmor Homes—the housing project now best known as the place where Freddie Gray lived and where he was picked up by Baltimore Police to later die in their custody. There is no doubt Gilmor Homes is in disrepair, and we’ve long heard residents observe that the way the housing’s situated makes crime easy to hide, but Baltimoreans are also suspicious of a currently P.R.obsessed mayor down to demolish a partial reminder of the uprising. Besides, it’s not the building causing the crime, it’s the years of divestment and city apathy that has made Gilmor a problem area. Fix that, please. The roof of noted live outdoor venue Merriweather Post Pavilion collapsed last week. The Frank Gehry-designed pavilion, located in Columbia, was having its roof worked on as part of a five-year-long renovation project—the venue is closed until the spring season. Fortunately, no one was working on it when it collapsed. “Nobody was hurt,” Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. and operator of the venue, wrote in a statement. “That is of course, the most important thing. Second most . . . yes everything will be ready for season opening.” Mayor Pugh responded quickly and accurately last week when President Donald, discussing immigration, reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries.” “I’m appalled by these latest comments,” Pugh said. “They reinforce abhorrent racist attitudes, and evidence of the lack of knowledge, understanding, and empathy we expect of the person who occupies the highest office in the land.” Singer Davon Fleming has been a favorite of the mayor lately—she welcomed him home from his stint on NBC’s “The Voice” with a key to the city and had him perform during last month’s vigil to honor the city’s homicide victims. Then he served as grand marshal of the city’s MLK parade. It’s easy to see why: Fleming is wildly talented and some welcome good news when there’s so much bad going on. What’s less clear is why she decided, according to the Baltimore Sun, to award him a one-year consulting contract, paying up to $65,000 to “develop the operation of a program for City youth that focuses on the performing arts and community enrichment.” No doubt Fleming can sing, but aren’t there other more qualified folks already working in the city that could find better use for that money? A heartbreaking video spread quickly over Facebook last week. In the video, shot by Baltimore-based mental health counselor Imamu Baraka, a woman, seemingly in distress and wearing just a hospital gown and socks, wanders around in the cold outside the Emergency Department of University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus. Hospital officials acknowledged their error, noting that they failed to show “basic humanity and compassion.” But what would have happened to the woman if the incident hadn’t been caught on tape? How many others like her are there? And can we stop using the dehumanizing term “patient dumping” to describe this horrible act? Between Jan. 8 (when the previous issue of the Beat went to press) and Jan. 15 (when this issue of the Beat went to press) there were five homicides in Baltimore: Tavon Harrington and Kebreya Coleman, both on Jan. 11 in separate incidents; and three victims not yet identified on Jan. 10, Jan. 12, and Jan. 13. In total, there have been 11 homicides in Baltimore this year.
Community Events J A N . 1 7 - 2 4 Free Up Village Community Schooling Co-op Interest Meeting. Learn about the Baltimore Free-up Village CSE, an African STEAM-focused educational cooperative that ties together the traditional and the innovative. Jan. 17, 6-8 p.m., 4 W. 26th St., facebook.com/events/730654583807611. West Wednesday. 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. Jan. 17 and 24, usually held at the intersection of 33rd Street and Greenmount Avenue, check facebook.com/justicefortyronewest for details. The Citizens Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation. Meeting of the volunteer advisory group to the MTA. Members of the committee are the eyes and ears of the MTA transit system and all meetings are open to the public. Jan. 18, 1-2 p.m., William Donald Schaefer Building, 6 St. Paul St., mta.maryland.gov/cacat. J20 Defense Fundraiser. Baltimore Bicycle Works hosts a fundraiser party supporting the legal defense of the 200-plus people mass-arrested for participating in a peaceful march last year at Trump’s inauguration. Jan. 19, 6-8 p.m., Baltimore Bicycle Works, 1813 Falls Road, (410) 605-0705, baltimorebicycleworks.com. Women’s March Baltimore 2018. March to celebrate the anniversary of the inaugural Women’s March. Event begins with a rally at War Memorial Plaza followed by an eight-block march to McKeldin Square. Jan. 20, 11 a.m., baltimorewomensmarch.org. Brewers Hill Neighbors 1 Year Anniversary Party. Celebrate one year of the Brewer’s Hill Neighbors. RSVP required. Jan. 20, 2-5 p.m., St. Gerard’s Yma Inc., 3513 Foster Ave., eventbrite.com/e/brewers-hill-neighbors-1-year-anniversary-party-tickets41574827428?aff=es2. City Council Meeting. Meeting of the Baltimore City Council. Jan. 22, 5 p.m., City Hall, 100 N. Holliday St., Suite 400, baltimore.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Community Open Forum. Learn about community updates, the latest on the closing of the Target at Mondawmin Mall, and more. Jan. 22, 6-8 p.m., Bon Secours Community Works, 26 N. Fulton Ave., eventbrite.com/e/community-open-forumtickets-41607598447?aff=es2. Artscape and Baltimore Book Fest Info Session. Information session for anyone interested in submitting a proposal or application for Artscape and the Baltimore Book Festival, both held by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jan. 23, 6-7 p.m., Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (443) 263-4347, facebook.com/promoandarts. Baltimore Ceasefire Public Meeting – NORTHEAST. Learn how to support the February Ceasefire, make important community connections, and learn more about Baltimore Ceasefire. Jan. 23, 7-9 p.m., Morgan State University, Behavioral and Social Sciences Building, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, baltimoreceasefire.com. Baltimore Child Abuse Center’s Annual Community Gathering. The group’s annual community gathering, featuring a keynote address from Lourdes Padilla of the Maryland Department of Human Services. Jan. 24, 5-7 p.m., Sinai Hospital’s Zamoiski Auditorium, 2401 W. Belvedere Ave., eventbrite.com/e/annual-community-gatheringtickets-41463903652?aff=es2.
• • •
JANUARY 17, 2018
TONS OF GUNS Transparency meeting reveals BPD seized 1898 guns, 2.3 million in cash, and hundreds of dirt bikes in 2017 By Brandon Soderberg
Jan. 11’s meeting on “Increased Transparency About Police-Seized Property,” was as local activist ShaiVaughn Crawley had predicted when I spoke to him last week about it—”a dog and pony show.” Ostensibly framed in response to the actions of the federally-indicted Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF), the meeting was tied to a resolution from Councilman Robert Stokes “for the purpose of requesting that the Police Department provide the City Council with a full accounting of all seized guns, drugs, dirt bikes, and cash over the last 5 years, along with a thorough explanation of how this material was disposed of, how long the disposal process typically takes, and what the best ways to include community representatives in that process may be.” Steven O’Dell, the Baltimore Police Department’s chief financial officer and head of evidence units, told the committee he invited “transparency” and was there to answer questions and clarify. He hadn’t brought a presentation—a detail that seemed to rightly tick off Councilman Eric Costello, chair of the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee—and he didn’t provide a full accounting, though O’Dell gave some basic insight into how evidence is handled, disposed of, and accounted for during the meeting. Guns and drugs are burned and a number of BPD organizations (including witnesses from the crime lab, Internal Affairs, and S.W.A.T.) are there to watch the burn. Cash is deposited into the bank in three different accounts (gambling, narcotics, and other) and that money then goes to the city (at the point that it is deposited, the BPD no longer has any control over it or ability to track it, only the city does). Dirt bikes are sold to “a third party” who then sell them to private citizens and ideally, there is a clear paper trail from city to seller to buyer. Additionally, O’Dell said to the shock of everyone in the room, the last full audit of the BPD was four years ago. “Why no audit for four years? Why?” Councilman Brandon Scott asked, frustrated. O’Dell also read off data on seized guns and cash and drugs submissions since 2013 (to be clear, “submissions” refers to the number of evidence submissions in this category, as opposed to total tangible cash or drugs amounts).
Chief Steven O’Dell addresses the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee. Baltimore Beat Photo by Brandon Soderberg
crimes that GTTF member Sgt. Wayne Jenkins plead guilty to last week was stealing dirt bikes. O’Dell couldn’t provide specifics beyond those numbers. The committee demanded more in-depth information about the data as soon as possible: Scott asked for all of the data to be broken down by district; Mary Pat Clarke asked if the committee could witness a burn and expressed worry that seized evidence was making it back on the streets; and Costello, who was previously an informational technology auditor and again seemed particularly miffed by the police’s lack of information, questioned the processes, which seemed scattered and ripe for adjusting. Wouldn’t it be easy, Costello wondered, to video record these burns and have an officer hold up the gun, declare its make and model, announce the serial number, and then burn it? But without a more in-depth presentation of the seizure data—in other words, the sort transparency the committee demanded—this made the informational part of the meeting over police transparency over. There would have to be another meeting and voting on the resolution would come down the line, and so public comment began. While there were no references by O’Dell or by the committee to the GTTF scandal, it was the primary focus
SEIZED GUNS: 2013: 1960 2014: 2048 2015: 1850 2016: 2058 2017: 1898 DRUG SUBMISSIONS: 2013: 22, 244 2014: 18,120 2015: 11,932 2016: 12,479 2017: 13,700 CASH SUBMISSIONS: 2013: 6726 2014: 5733 2015: 4438 2016: 4628 2017: 4702 For 2017, O’Dell gave the exact amount of seized cash: $2,382,238. He added that of that, $152,758 was returned. O’Dell also said that around 400 dirt bikes have been seized since 2016, or specifically since the establishment of the dirt bike violators task force, which was established in July of 2016 (so, essentially 400 dirt bikes over the span of a year and a half). Sgt. Christopher Warren, the supervisor of the dirt bike violators task force was present but did not speak. Among the
from those who came to publicly comment. Nearly everybody who spoke observed that the GTTF is under federal indictment and that many members have plead guilty to stealing cash, drugs, guns, and dirt bikes. All of it confirmed the things they had heard or seen in their communities for years, even decades. “Why do we trust the BPD to take all of this stuff of the street?” resident Bill Goodin wondered. “We’ve been talking about this for 20 years, man.” “Why are these officers here without paperwork?” asked Val Jenkins of Hugs Don’t Shoot. “Y’all got to do better.” “They should have brought a bank statement,” said Leon Pernell, director of the Men and Families Center. “This is the same old bull.” The final speaker—after typical confusion involving those who had signed up but hadn’t checked to “testify” and Costello briefly getting into it with activist Crawley—was Rashad Staton. Staton is the vice chair of the Education Committee 12th District Youth Commissioner and addressed advocate dirt bikers and the dirt bike task force’s aggressive approach. “Once the funding [from dirt bike sales] is properly audited that money can then be reallocated into programs . . . solely devoted to youth and core cultural programs that deal with an advantageous approach and solution to the dirt bike culture,” Staton said. “We understand that the dirt bike task force is solely out there to propagandize and criminalize a certain population within our city. We ask that this money asked to go towards the redirection of public safety, that we invest it in the development of our young people in a program that’s culturally competent and accessible.” He alluded to “organizations that teach S.T.E.M. education with the interest of dirt bike culture in Baltimore City” such as B-360 Balitmore—“a community partnership dedicated to changing the perception of engineers and dirt bike riders”—and told the committee he could provide them with a list. “I am here to make sure that this goes on public record and to hold every single one of you all accountable and to let our law enforcement know that they have other avenues of prevention and intervention rather than the incarceration of our young black boys and girls in Baltimore city,” Staton said. “Thank you.”
JANUARY 17, 2018
The Takeover Frustrated parents confront the Baltimore City School Board about heating crisis By Brandon Soderberg
No matter what Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises and Baltimore School Board Chair Cheryl Casciani declared about Jan. 10’s school board meeting, it would not be business as usual. Schools were still working out a heating crisis that closed schools, became a national news scandal, and left students huddled together in winter coats in below freezing classrooms. As a result, frustrated parents, organizers, and students packed the North Avenue school headquarters building to get answers, in part with the organizational help of Not Without Black Women, who recast the meeting as a “Too Cold To Learn” protest. For the first hour, the meeting was, well, a school board meeting: acknowledgments of service and other minutiae, occasionally interrupted by a very necessary peanut gallery of activists in the back who howled, joked, and jeered. Audible groans when Casciani read aloud parts of her recent Baltimore Sun op-ed about money for heating and where it went to the crowd. There would be the town hall the hundreds there were looking for, Santelises told the crowd—and the overflow rooms watching the meeting on a live feed—in a week or so, on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at Dunbar High School. “There is space here for people to speak,” Santelises said stressing that only the 10 citizens who signed up for public comment would get to address the board tonight. “And we are creating space on Jan. 22 for people to speak.” “This is a tragedy, what if we can’t make it on the 22nd?” a parent in the back of the room screamed. “We’ve got jobs, I can’t even really go to work like I want to because I’ve got to take care of my children first.” Parent Kesha Diggs, whose children attend Rosemont Elementary/Middle School, then interrupted the board to mention the school’s asbestos problem as an example of how the school board’s words and actions don’t line up. “When you tell me you care and there’s an asbestos issue there and we’ve been discussing it since Dec. 7,” Diggs said, “I don’t believe it.” “Can we move the public piece up?” organizer Tre Murphy asked from the back of the room. Teacher Keysha Goodwin, simply
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raised a handmade sign which read, “Controlled information is not transparency.” Finally, Casciani agreed to move the public comment part up on the agenda. What followed was a number of speakers outlining a myriad of schools problems, often the heating issues, putting it all into stark relief. Education advocate Kim Trueheart focused on Gov. Larry Hogan, who she called “the problem in Annapolis” and mentioned the $65 million BCPS returned to the state that was for building maintenance and repair. Education reform activist Khalilah Harris quoted Jay-Z (or as she said, “the poet Shaun Carter”) when she told the board, “I don’t believe you, you need more people” and referred to the Horseshoe Casino money supposedly allotted for school funding as “a shell game.” Kimberly Smith, a grandmother, said the school needs to not only have a “heat policy” but a “cold policy” too, because even if the heat is working, that doesn’t necessarily mean the rooms aren’t freezing. Parent Tamika Snead declared, “Baltimore City kids matter” and told the board that the “heating crisis tells our children they are not a priority.” The prevailing argument was one first floated by many outside the building before the meeting: The lack of heat in schools is not a new problem; it’s part of the systemic issues city schools have faced for decades. “My immediate concern is actually about the narrative that’s not about the conditions that my students are facing because they’ve been facing these conditions for years and I trust my school administration to make every effort to make sure that my students have heat,” educator Cristina Duncan Evans said before the meeting. “What I am concerned about is a national narrative that basically blames Baltimore City for its poverty and doesn’t acknowledge that this is something that has been done to Baltimore City by decades of neglect.” “A lot of this has to do with the systemic oppression of black folk in general; people have to not be naive enough to believe that this facilities issue is a thing that came about just now,” said Jamal Jones of the Baltimore Algebra Project in front of BCPS headquarters. “There was an entire $2.1 billion campaign called the Transform Baltimore Campaign headed up by
Baltimore Education Coalition that was won [in legislation] in 2014 because of the issue of knowing our schools’ buildings have been dilapidated and eroding since the 1970s.” Inside, parents and organizers continued to take the meeting over. As one of the speakers who signed up made their way down from the third floor overflow, Lakesha Diggs requested she be able to come up and formally discuss Rosemont’s asbestos issues on the record in the meantime. Casciani conceded. Diggs said her children have not been in school since Dec. 2 because she won’t put them in a school that would expose them to a known carcinogen, asbestos. There was a mid-December meeting about the issue at Rosemont, and still nothing has been done. She told the board they have “no empathy for what our kids are going through.” Not long after, Tre Murphy silently walked up to the table to address the board and plopped down. He had not signed up, but he was going to speak. He quickly summed up the room’s attitude: “It makes no sense that we have to pack this building just to get an agenda amended. Because you knew that people were coming here. Let’s not play like we didn’t know that people was coming here and you can change that agenda around, we knew it was coming.” Murphy maintained his composure as Casciani raised her voice and threatened to call a recess or end the meeting. “It is not in your best interest to recess or adjourn this meeting,” Murphy said gently. They went back and forth, but Murphy’s patient tone worked. “Can everybody just please take it down a notch,” Casciani pleaded. Then, organizer Ralikh Hayes stood up: “That is not gonna happen. I was a student of Baltimore City and I am a taxpayer. You will listen to us. You will listen how we tell you to listen because you’re a public servant.” And then a City College student— the only student who spoke last night— stood up and praised the school board for their patience. He told the group that they were playing into racial stereotypes by raising their voices. The crowd wasn’t having it. “Where’s his mother?” one woman in the back yelled. Everyone laughed. The room was ruthless. Police
surrounded the woman who yelled at the student and she left, followed off of school property by a half-dozen cops. The City student’s respectability politics angle lingered for the remainder of the meeting. Santelises offered a hedged mea culpa and a critique of many of the night’s speakers. “We are cleaning up, but our mess up is not the only mess up,” she said. “We have seen decades of mess up and a lot of it is connected to funding.” She shifted to issues of “the narrative” and noted that television cameras and reporters had mostly left— they got the good stuff where everybody yelled at everybody. “So now that all the press is gone, right? So, what did they want to see? They wanted to see the acting out to then justify why they tell us we are incapable [of additional funding],” Santelises said. Then she addressed some of the critiques from the speakers, in particular teacher Cristina Duncan Evans, who invoked “performative wokeness” to describe the school’s approach to racial politics when she addressed the board. “So anybody who wants to know whether we are working for black and brown children, you come with me to Annapolis like we did last year and stand in the cold and get beat up in hallways in Annapolis, get told we’re not worthy of the money, and yet we go back,” Santelises said. “So I want a partnership, I’m fine with the hard push, but let’s do the push in the right direction. Let’s not feed the narrative. You want to go off on me, then you schedule a meeting and go off on me. I’ve been taking expletives and emails all week and I’d do it again because I am here for the kids of this city. If I wanted cushy, baby, I had it cushy in the last job I was in. I came back here because the answers are here. They are in the people of Baltimore City.” She caught a little of the crowd’s spirit, it seemed. Her rousing speech sounded a lot like the ones she critiqued—passionate, sincere, and appropriately pissed off. There is one major difference, as many parents there were quick to point out: She has the power to fix it. Additional reporting by Jaisal Noor.
COMMUNITY VOICES Op-Ed: Baltimore City’s policies are failing us, and they almost killed my husband
Kelly Cross Photo Courtesy Kelly Cross
My husband nearly became Baltimore’s seventh homicide of the year. He was robbed at gunpoint a block from our house on a dark street corner just a few hundred feet from the local Safeway. He noticed a young man who had slipped on the ice and approached to help him up. At the same time, the young man got up from the sidewalk, pulled out a pistol, and sprinted toward my husband. An accomplice restrained my husband and the two men proceeded to steal all his identity documents, his wallet, and his phone. We have all become sadly resigned to the random violence—especially gun violence—occurring throughout our city. We all hope that our neighborhoods will be spared. We certainly hope that our loved ones will be safe. But two nights ago, my husband very easily could have been shot and killed. He is alive because he was lucky. My husband was robbed on that street corner, and nearly lost his life, because that street is empty. There were no businesses open at the time of the incident, because there are no businesses. Had there been one restaurant, bar, or other venue supporting patrons at that time of night, my husband would have benefited from eyes on the street, lit storefronts, and a place to call the police after his phone was stolen. For the past five years, my husband and I have been actively working to improve conditions in our neighborhood. We began by planting trees. We then moved to buying and installing brightly colored benches and chairs to beautify the area. . . . We’ve begun to bring in businesses—we’ve helped Brown Rice open, we supported liquor licenses for Terra Cafe and the Eagle. We currently work directly with investors and property owners to promote the neighborhood. By now, we would surely have more businesses in the neighborhood, and it would be a safer place to walk at night if our ongoing efforts were not frustrated by the narrow view that the only people who are out at night are predators or prey. For the last nine months, we have faced stiff opposition against all efforts to open new late night businesses in our neighborhood. From the Planning Commission, our elected officials, and the few citizens with enough influence to make demands of both. Too many people in the city have an unfounded fear of corner stores, bars, and any venue open late at night (not that 10:30 is so late). Too many are opposed to storefronts they subjectively deem “tacky.” And too many have convinced themselves that the only sign of a successful neighborhood is a shiny new Whole Foods with valet parking. We make it deliberately difficult for small businesses to thrive in our neighborhoods. Healthy cities, safe cities, are those with pedestrians on streets at all hours. Who feels unsafe on New York’s 5th Avenue at 5 a.m.? Or 2 a.m.? Who believes my husband would have been robbed at gunpoint on Baltimore’s own Cross Street? In recent months, we have had various meetings with Councilman Robert Stokes and the director of planning about simple zoning changes in our neighborhood that would permit more businesses of the type that would have been—at the very least—a place where my husband could have called 911. In a separate meeting, I advocated for a neighborhood business that the mayor herself challenged, with Bill Cole in tow. Each of the businesses we have supported is a source of tax revenue, jobs, and eyes on the street. Ten small businesses employing 12 people is as good as any shiny new Whole Foods. The violence that occurs in each individual’s case is sometimes random. But the culture of violence that currently permeates Baltimore most certainly is not. Every day the people of the city have less and less hope, and the desperate young people with the least hope of all will take what they can get from anyone on an otherwise empty street. The streets are empty because the city is empty. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised thousands of new families would move to Baltimore, but in truth thousands have actually left. To bring them back and to welcome newcomers, the city needs hundreds of new small businesses (hopefully, many of them black-owned) located in neighborhoods where people live. Like my husband, one should not need a car to feel safe while fetching milk. These new businesses will put jobs within walking distance of people who now spend hours on transit for jobs paying less than a $15 minimum wage at the Amazon warehouse. It goes without saying that small businesses that create jobs also pay taxes. This is tax revenue we need to fund our schools, replace our pipes, and pay for the 6,000 new lights the mayor has promised us. We cannot solve this problem with more policing. The people who oppose small businesses are the same who have turned the police into the enforcer against every minor act of “trespass and loitering.” The irony of the situation is that we demand more police to patrol more empty spaces—spaces that are empty because there are no businesses to fund the police. The worst culprits in the crime that victimized my husband are such policies perpetuated by the mayor and those who share the “Narrow View.” My husband is shaken by the incident. But he’s alive. And neither of us blames anything other than the city’s policies for the crime that made him a victim. As a result of what happened, and because of our deep commitment to the neighborhood and the city, we will continue to fight for new businesses here. We intend to continue our efforts until it’s safe to walk from the Washington Monument to University Avenue; and from Penn North to Broadway. We would like to thank the members of the Baltimore City Police Department who responded to this incident. And we would like to especially thank them for their extra effort in calling the Department of Public Works to replace the failed streetlight at the corner where it all happened. Kelly Cross is president of the Old Goucher Community Association and a former Democratic primary candidate for 12th District City Council. He is on twitter @Kelly4Baltimore. Have your opinion published in The Baltimore Beat by emailing email@example.com.
JANUARY 17, 2018
A FAMILY’S FIGHT How Palestine’s Tamimi family resists Israeli occupation By Aaron Maté Israeli forces have killed three members of the Tamimi family and arrested scores of others, including 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, but the family continues its nonviolent struggle for Palestinian freedom. In recent weeks, people around the world have learned of Palestinian resilience through the plight of the Tamimi family in the occupied West Bank. For years, the Tamimis have led protests against the Israeli occupation and theft of Palestinian land. Then in December, Ahed Tamimi became a global symbol of resistance when she was arrested for slapping an Israeli soldier who was trespassing on her property. Just days earlier, Ahed’s cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, was shot in the face, leaving him in a coma. Ahed remains in Israeli military prison and is charged with multiple counts of assault. On Jan. 3, Israeli forces shot dead Ahed’s 17-year-old cousin, Musab Tamimi, at a protest in the West Bank. Just before he was laid to rest, Israel released another cousin, Noor Tamimi, on bail. Manal Tamimi, also a cousin, was arrested earlier this month at a protest calling for her relatives’ release. The Real News Network: It’s hard to know where to start, given how much has happened to your family, but let’s start with your own case. You were arrested at a protest calling for the release of Ahed, Noor, and Ahed’s mother. What happened to you? Manal Tamimi: We made a protest. First, in solidarity with Ahed and Nariman, because they had the trial in Ofer prison, which is the only Israeli prison in the West Bank, and then also in solidarity with female prisoners in the Israeli prison. After nearly two or three minutes of beginning the protest—actually it was a gathering—suddenly they began to shoot tear gas at us and one of the soldiers, she came to me, and she asked me to go back. When I refused, she immediately arrested me without any justification or without even warning, and then they told me that I attacked this soldier and that I was organizing illegal activity in a closed military zone. TRNN: What happened to you after you were taken to prison?
JANUARY 17, 2018
Ahed Tamimi Photo Courtesy The Real News Network
MT: When she took me back to the Ofer prison, and there we were away from the media and the cameras, they began, she began to beat me, and I had bleeding in the jaw that I—all the time in the prison I was very sick, and I was under extreme pain, and then they took me to interrogation where they kept me the whole night until 12:30 at night, outside, in cold. They took me inside for interrogation. Then they took me back, took me outside in the cold, and without food, without the water, without anything. And by the end of the interrogation they sent me to HaSharon prison where Nariman and I reached the prison around 4 in the morning, and then after that the trial began. I had two trials. I had to go back to Ofer prison, which is around three hours from HaSharon. HaSharon, it’s in Netanya and the Ofer is in West Bank in the Ramallah area. Of course, just going there from one prison to another, it’s a torture because they put you in a bus made of cells, metal, with metal chair. The cell is very small that you can’t move, and it’s black without windows or anything, and they took us from HaSharon at 2:30 in the morning, and we were back at 12 at night. The next day it’s the same. At 2:30 in the morning, we have to leave to the court and go back. So, it’s exhausting, and in the same time they, in these buses during the taking us to the court, they put us with the Israeli criminals—men, not women, in the same place. So this is also terrifying because most of them are, well, one of them, he was drunk and he was fighting. I think he had drugs or something, and all the time he was trying to attack us and it was so scary. We were terrified that one of them can attack us.
TRNN: As you were released, your cousin, Musab Tamimi, was shot dead in the occupied West Bank at a protest. He was 17 years old. He is the third member of your family to be killed by Israeli forces. Can you tell us about him, and were you able to go to his funeral? MT: Actually, Musab, he was killed while I was in prison. I was back from the prison clinic because I was very sick, and we were watching TV, and suddenly I saw him on the TV saying that Musab Tamimi, he was shot and killed. Of course, this is one of the most difficult experiences anybody could go through to see your cousin and his blood on TV while you don’t understand what’s going on and what’s happening. Musab, he was an active young man. He had many dreams he wanted to come true. He wanted to study. He was so clever. He was this kind of person who loved life to that end. [His family] used to live in Jordan, and they just came back to Palestine a few months ago, so he was so happy that finally he is in his country among his family with his people. But a sniper, well, he shot him, and it was clear that it—it’s assassination. It’s not a random shooting. Musab, he’s the third member of my family who was killed in the nonviolent resistance that we began in 2009, but actually 22 Tamimi has been killed since 1976 until now, during the resisting of the occupation. TRNN: Manal, can you tell us about these protests that your family has been involved in for years now against the Israeli theft of your land and water sources?
MT: Actually we are resisting since the beginning of occupation, but our organized resistance, it began on the 9th of December, 2009. After we lost two-thirds of the village land, due to the settlement, expansion. The settlement, it’s called Halamish, and it was built in 1976, after the settler took over British police stations, since the British men did, and since that time, they began to expand the settlement, and they began to get land under different justification, either that natural expansion for the settlement or for the clearing of state land or a closed military zone. So every time they change the excuse, but always it’s about the thefting of the land. So in 2009, when they took the spring, we decided that we have to begin our nonviolent, organized protest in the village. What we mainly wanted to do is to march toward the spring and and plant new trees just to ensure that this is a Palestinian land. But the Israeli response were very violent. They began to use different kinds of tear gas, which contain white phosphorus, nerve gas, and other chemicals of this kind. They began to use live ammunition and steelcoated bullets—the same kind that they shot Mohammed with two weeks ago, and he was so lucky that he survived. In the West Bank, we are living under the military law and they legitimize arresting children from 11 years up, and they can put them in jail for life, and there is another law that they can put children for up to 20 years for throwing rocks only. In the time that the Israeli or the settler child would be living in the same area around only 500 meters from us, they are allowed to throw rocks. They are allowed to threaten our lives, and they will be treated under the civilian law. This is not a democratic state. It will never be. It’s not democratic so these two children, in the same place, different law. One to call him a terrorist, a criminal, and other one to call him a victim. This interview has been edited and condensed. To view the entire interview, visit therealnews.com where you can find more independent local, national, and international journalism that examines the underlying causes of chronic problems and searches for effective solutions.
A roundup of LGBTQ news from the region and around the world courtesy the Washington Blade
Whitman-Walker celebrates 40 years
LGBT candidates hoping to ride Dem wave
Pioneer in D.C.’s battle against AIDS evolved into community health center
Hopefuls in Senate, gubernatorial races could achieve historic wins
By Lou Chibbaro Jr. Whitman-Walker Health, D.C.’s preeminent community health center serving the LGBT community, is set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its incorporation on Jan. 13, 1978 as the then Whitman-Walker Clinic. Its current executive director, Don Blanchon, points out that the organization that became Whitman-Walker — the Gay Men’s VD Clinic, an arm of the then Washington Free Clinic — was founded in November 1973 and began operating in the basement of D.C.’s Georgetown Lutheran Church. A timeline posted on Whitman-Walker’s website shows that the Gay Men’s VD Clinic, which began as an all-volunteer operation, hired its first full-time staff in 1976. In 1977, according to the Whitman-Walker history write-up, leaders of the fledgling clinic broke away from the Washington Free Clinic and began to develop “their vision for a new, diverse health care organization.” At the time the group incorporated as Whitman-Walker Clinic in 1978 the D.C. Department of Human Resources provided it with $15,000 in funding, marking the first in a long history of city financial support for Whitman-Walker. Blanchon, who did not become Whitman-Walker’s executive director until May 2006, said he has since learned from others familiar with its early years that its founders set a precedent for its mission and value system that remain in place today. “At the end of the day, before there was ever HIV and AIDS, there was an ideal that the gay community needed a different type of health care that was affirming of who they were,” he said. “And that was all the way back to 1973.” He notes that since then Whitman-Walker has broadened its health care work to cover the full diversity of the LGBT community, with greatly expanded programs and services for the transgender community in recent years. Blanchon said today’s Whitman-Walker Health has an operating budget of nearly $103 million and a staff of 290 employees. Although Whitman-Walker broke new ground in its first decade as an LGBT clinic, those familiar with its 40-year history say it established itself as one of the city’s most well-known healthcare institutions beginning in 1983, when the AIDS epidemic hit D.C. in full force. Two years earlier, D.C. gay attorney Jim Graham was elected president of the Whitman-Walker board in 1981, the same year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Report published an account of how young gay men were being stricken with a rare form of pneumonia normally contracted by elderly people with compromised immune systems. The CDC report was the first of a series of updated reports that later identified the condition afflicting gay men and other population groups as HIV/AIDS. It was at that time that Whitman-Walker assumed a leadership role in addressing the epidemic in the District of Columbia. Among other things, it launched an AIDS education program along with counseling and direct services for people with AIDS. A short time later it began its “Buddy” program that recruited scores of volunteers to help people living with AIDS at a time when little or no official government programs existed to take on that role.
By CHRIS JOHNSON With President Trump facing low approval ratings, signs continue to point to a political wave against him in this year’s mid-term elections — and LGBT candidates are hoping to benefit. A record number of openly LGBT candidates are running for office, many in high-profile statewide races, which could result in a milestone election for a group that has been historically underrepresented. Annise Parker, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, predicted LGBT candidates endorsed by the organization in 2018 “are going to do well.” “We’re in this business because we think our candidates are going to do well in any election, but we don’t see just a Democratic surge, we actually see a progressive surge across the United States,” Parker said. Parker added, “we’re going to have more LGBT candidates than we have had ever in our history,” but also candidates who are women and people of color also stand to make historic wins. “Even though those candidates who aren’t from our community and wouldn’t be our endorsed candidates, I think they’re going to help carry the banner for us a little bit,” Parker said. Signs are strong that Democrats will pick up seats in 2018, which is consistent with the historical trend of the party in opposition to the party of the president gaining seats in the midterm elections. In every mid-term election, the president’s party loses an average of 32 seats in the U.S. House and two seats in the U.S. Senate. (The only exception to these losses in recent years has been in 1998 and 2002 due to extraordinary circumstances. In 1998, there was
outrage over the impeachment of President Clinton. In 2002, there was an anti-terrorism sentiment after the attacks on 9/11.) A CNN poll published in December found 56 percent of respondents say they’ll most likely vote for a Democrat in the mid-term election compared to 38 percent who say they’ll vote Republican. According to CNN, that 18-point advantage is the biggest since the organization began polling on the 2018 election and the widest margin in two decades at this point in the election cycle. Democrats have their goals in sight. To win control of the House in 2018, Democrats needs 24 seats. To win control of the Senate, Democrats need just two thanks to the surprise victory of Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in the special election late last year. Part of the effort for Democrats to win control of Congress will be LGBT candidates seeking election to the House and Senate. In Wisconsin, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in Congress, will seek to keep her seat in the Senate. That seat might be a challenge for Democrats to hold even in a good election cycle. The Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel published an article this month titled, “Wisconsin Is Quietly Becoming The Top Senate Race Of 2018.” According to the article, conservative groups have reported spending at least $3.1 million against Baldwin, which is more than what all the other Democratic Senate incumbents on the ballot this year have faced combined. But that only counts the reported money, not the dark money coming from groups that don’t have necessarily have to report their contributions to the Federal Election Commission. Nine groups have spent more than $4.7 million on ads that attack Baldwin or boost one of the Republicans seeking to unseat her, according to the article.
JANUARY 17, 2018
FIRE AND FIRE AND FURY Steve Bannon and what a bad week really looks like By Baynard Woods I went to bed on Saturday night reading “Fire and Fury,” which, if I need to explain it at this point, is Michael Wolff’s ribald and riveting account of the early days of the Trump regime. It quickly became clear in the book that no one involved in Trump’s campaign expected, or wanted, him to win. That was a horrible thought: Trump and his motley crew of enablers, the doltish adult children, sleazeballs like Paul Manafort and Corey Lewandowski, fascists like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller—they all overestimated the American people. They thought we were better than we were. They thought they were safe because we would never elect Donald Trump. I went to sleep with this somber thought. At some point in the night, I woke up smelling smoke. I got up and looked around and sniffed and couldn’t find anything. It was like 10 degrees in Baltimore that night so I assumed if was a neighbor’s fireplace. At about 9 a.m., my wife woke me. “The dog is acting weird,” she said. The dog was shaking, pawing at us. “Smoke!” my wife yelled. I looked over and smoke was coming up through the floorboards. Then it burst into flame. By the foot of the bed. Fire and fury ensued. This is the essence of this year. Ultimately, the fire in my bedroom wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. The fire department—Big Government!—was there before the fire destroyed much. They cut through
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the floor and broke the windows. Most of the damage was caused by the smoke. We were safe and we didn’t lose anything of real value. We have renters insurance and I’m writing this from a hotel, where I spent a lot of time waiting on the bureaucracy of insurance and disaster mitigation to move. I bought the audio book of “Fire and Fury” and listened to the rest of it as I threw out former possessions that were now nothing but junk. However difficult my week, it turned out to be much better than that enjoyed by many of the people in the figurative conflagration of the book— especially Steve Bannon. Bannon is the almost Ahab-esque antihero of “Fire and Fury,” which in many ways charts his rise and fall—at least up until the point that the book’s publication precipitated a further fall. For being such a horrendous pseudo-intellectual schlub, Bannon is also fascinating, a far-right svengali. According to Harvard studies, during the last election, Breitbart was three times as influential as its next closest competitor (measured in terms of retweets and shares), the titanic Fox News. Bannon was at least partly responsible for that—and for getting Trump elected. That perception, that Bannon orchestrated Trump’s victory—as shown in another book, Joshua Green’s “Devil’s Bargain”—was probably the number one factor in his August White House ouster, even more important than the alt-right terror that ripped apart Charlottesville that month. In “Fire and Fury,” though, Bannon is
right about how horrible the Trump kids and Jared Kushner are. It was actually beautiful to listen to him (or Holter Graham, who read the audiobook) railing against the idiocy of Jarvanka— Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. And Jarvanka were also right about Bannon, his whack-job far-right Leninism, reveling in the destruction of the world. That circular firing squad is what makes the book so compelling. All of these people are so disastrously wrong about America, but they are pretty right when they assess each other’s weaknesses. Bannon’s weaknesses are nearly infinite—and the most important ones are intellectual. Sure he’s a slob and all that, but he is a sexist, racist “nationalist,” who created a section of the Breitbart site called “Black Crime.” After Wolff quoted Bannon saying that Don Jr.’s Russia meeting was treasonous, the president went on the attack with a new epithet, “Sloppy Steve.” Bannon tried to apologize, saying he was really attacking his predecessor as Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. But it wasn’t enough. Bannon was fired first from Breitbart and then from his Sirius XM show (with Fox preemptively refusing to hire him). Worst of all, billionaires Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who have supported most of his endeavors and funded his nationalist endeavors, cut ties with their schlubby honey badger. I watched all of this play out on cable as I tried to deal with the disaster bureaucracy. And it was delightful to see the pundits all talking about Bannon’s terrible week, even if it came for all the wrong reasons.
Bannon, by the way, did not have the worst week in Washington. That would go to the more than 12,000 Salvadorans who live in the district (the numbers are far larger if you count the D.C. suburbs, which have large Salvadoran enclaves). Ultimately, a Department of Homeland Security directive to end the Temporary Protective Status for people who came to the U.S. from El Salvador following a 2001 earthquake will affect more than 200,000 people who have been in the U.S. for more than 15 years now. It’s almost impossible to imagine how deeply that will affect their communities in and around the district. Bannon may be gone but this is the essence the dark alignment of Bannon’s alt-right with Jeff Sessions’ revanchist racism and Trump’s big boner for a wall. So on Thursday, when Trump was meeting with a group of senators about TPS and asked why we have so many people coming here from “shithole countries,” like El Salvador, Haiti (which already had its TPS rescinded), and various nations in Africa, it was clear that it didn’t matter whether Bannon was in the White House or “in the wilderness.” Trump, Bannon, and their crew may have overestimated the electorate in their expectation of losing. We should not make the same mistake and overestimate them. Whatever happens to Steve Bannon, racists now rule the executive branch. Baynard Woods is a reporter at the Real News Network and the founder of Democracy in Crisis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @baynardwoods
Adam Jackson Photo by Kyle Pompey
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK Leaders of Beautiful Struggle’s Adam Jackson discusses Baltimore’s $12 million youth fund By Lisa Snowden-McCray
At a time when some Maryland leaders, notably Governor Larry Hogan, are looking to crack down on crime, others are taking a longer view, pushing the idea that the way to stop crime is by focusing on and nurturing the city’s youngest residents. The Baltimore City Council recently approved the $12 million youth fund, aimed at making sure that smaller groups dedicated to working with kids in the city get the money they need to do their jobs. Adam Jackson, CEO of the grassroots think tank Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), co-chaired a 34-member task force aimed at laying the groundwork for the youth fund and joined me at the Real News Network studios to discuss. What follows is an edited and condensed version of that interview, which you can watch in full at therealnews.com. Lisa Snowden-McCray: Can you take us through a timeline of what has happened so far with the youth fund and how it came about? Adam Jackson: In the beginning, in November of 2016, voters approved the youth fund. And then there’s been the actual task force that was convened by the council president’s office from January to May of 2017 and we
produced recommendations. And so, as a result of those recommendations, there’s a few important pieces that people need to understand. One piece of it is that we suggested that there be a new intermediary organization created and that that be the ultimate entity that will manage the fund. And it will have citizen participation, resident participation in that organization, both from the board and in terms of allocations via the assembly of Baltimore City residents. And so, a part of that was figuring out what institution would anchor that process and the recommendation from the task force was Associated Black Charities be the institution to do that. Primarily because it has a racial equity frame when you’re talking about public policy and just general approaches around issues pertaining to people of color, black people. And so, we suggested that they be the anchor institution and so far, the city has been working with ABC to figure out the arrangement that they would have in the first year of disseminating funds, and also building out this new intermediary group. And so the first year, ABC will be the one distributing resources from the youth fund, but they’re gonna be integrating the recommendations from the task force. That’s a final
step that has to go through the Board of Estimates through the mayor’s spending panel. But already, there’s been an ordinance that has been approved by City Council in November of 2017. That was approved and that essentially authorized an entity to start doing that process. Hopefully our goal is to make that ABC, so we can begin the process of distributing money and getting it to community youths. LSM: How did LBS get involved with the youth fund? AJ: Essentially there were a bunch of white corporate nonprofits moving in, trying to make themselves the center of the resources, the center of gravity for the fund. So a lot of our advocacy in general around Baltimore has been criticizing the nonprofit sector in terms of who gets resources and who doesn’t, and traditionally, how they suck up a lot of the air when talking about getting resources from not just the government, but philanthropy. So, part of our intervention in the process was to figure out how to make sure that that money went to smaller, particularly black-led organizations and groups in Baltimore, to make sure that we finance the institutions in our community that are working on behalf of our people.
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It’s good to talk about racial equity, but we don’t really know how to put that in place. I think we ended up working well together at the end of the day because people agree fundamentally on the concept, but most of the hard work came when we had to operationalize it.
LSM: Was that something you guys went to the City Council with or did the City Council extend the offer to you? How did you guys decide that that needed to happen? AJ: I could speak just for LBS. One of the things that was happening like I mentioned in terms of those early meetings, particularly, there was this nonprofit organization, Strong City Baltimore, that was convening with an outside group called Participatory Budgeting, and a lot of their meetings, they weren’t centered on how to make sure it was racially equitable. It was a nonprofit essentially trying to sell its model around how they do participatory budgeting. So we intervened and criticized the process and actually, to the City Council president’s credit, they reached out to us directly and asked me to be co-chair of the task force, and I accepted the role. It was in the beginning parts where we were trying to make sure that the task force had meaningful community participation. I actually ended up happy with the results because of the actual recommendations that we put out which focus heavily on racial equity and ensuring that smaller organizations got capacity-building resources, so they could build out their programs—not just financing a program here and there, but actually creating more of an ecosystem for organizations for youth in Baltimore. That to me was the biggest thing that came out of it, was that, those results. LSM: I feel like the more people you invite to the table, it’s good, but also it can be a little bit crazy. Being in charge of 34 different adults with different outlooks on life and opinions seems like a gigantic task. How did you guys get work done? How did you get on the same page with everybody, and even have something that you feel was successful? AJ: Me and my co-chair, John Brothers from the T. Rowe Price Foundation, we actually talked about that in the very beginning. Part of the issue was to figure out how we lead it. So one thing I was very clear to him and everyone else about the task force is that there needs to be leadership by black people in Baltimore to make sure that this goes the right way, and he agreed to that, so that was the first step. Because me and John worked so well together on the task force, it made everything else function. I was probably one of the younger people—probably the youngest person in the room in a lot of those meetings that we had—and you had a lot of people that run city agencies, and philanthropic
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groups, and nonprofit organizations. And a lot of them, they didn’t disagree with the fundamental idea around making sure that smaller organizations had resources and that it’s racially equitable. The problem was operationalizing it. That energy and spirit was there around wanting to get that done; the problem was that people usually don’t have viable alternatives when you’re talking about actually implementing it. To me that’s what made the work easier down the line, is that once you figure out a way to operationalize it, then putting it into place is fairly simple. But I think a lot of people, they just hadn’t been used to talking about that in a real way. It’s all very theoretical and abstract in the nonprofit sector—it’s good to talk about racial equity, but we don’t really know how to put that in place. I think we ended up working well together at the end of the day because people agree fundamentally on the concept, but most of the hard work came when we had to operationalize it. LSM: I feel like people are usually creatures of habit, and what you guys are doing in the things I’ve read, and even our conversations, is that you’re trying to flip everybody’s brains to think about something a little bit differently. One of the things that really made me want to talk to you is that to kind of decentralize white power and the nonprofit industrial complex, you’re taking people that maybe aren’t trained for this work and you’re educating them so that they’ll be able to do this work and really other work in the future for the city. Can you talk a little bit about that? AJ: One of the major differences between this fund and how philanthropy is set up generally, is that usually in philanthropy you have the program officers who decide where money goes, and a portfolio, and that’s usually millions of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars. These people are mostly making arbitrary decisions about who gets money and who does not. In many ways that inoculcates the philanthropic sector from accountability because then they can point fingers to one another at each other’s organizations and say, “well this person does that,” or whatever. So part of the difference here, like you said, in terms of flipping that, is that we’re putting residents at the center of how money is decided—or allocated, rather—because we recommended from the task force that the city instead have a new nonprofit intermediate organization that is controlled and accountable to and by Baltimore residents. We have an assembly that will replace those program officers, or what we think of program officers. Instead of paying somebody $100,000
a year to decide where money goes, you instead can compensate city residents, have them be in a group setting and look at requested proposals and decide where money goes in their community. So, that’s dramatically different than what happens now. It’s a very small group of people who decide where millions and millions of dollars go in Baltimore every year. LS: Can you discuss, for those that are not as familiar, the limits of the nonprofit industrial complex? AJ: In reality a lot of these philanthropic and nonprofit groups are making money off the backs of black people and off the oppression of black people. And they know they’re not accountable to us because there’s just nothing designed in terms of infrastructure to make sure that they’re accountable to black people in a majority-black city. So part of the goal and objective is to not only have input, but to put us at the center of deciding where resources go. Besides that, we are also focusing on capacity building, because a lot of the time, you can have a Bback organization that works with several hundred students every year, or young people, but they can’t get any money to build out their actual institution. They’ll get programming money, they’ll get large swaths of students for their programs, but when we talk about their accounting, their legal infrastructure, some of the very bare bones things that a lot of white organizations have the ability to get because they had the resources to do it, black people don’t have that same access to resources. So the capacity-building piece is gonna be revolutionary, I believe. We’re not just talking about programs for kids every year, we’re talking about people being able to build and scale up their institutions so they can actually go out and receive more money or get larger contracts, or do more business. As opposed to right now, it’s a very small pot of dollars that you can go after, and a lot of times just for programs. So having residents at the center of it, and the piece about institution-building, where you talking about it through a racial equity framework, those are the things I think that make it revolutionary in terms of where public dollars go. LSM: Because you’re reframing something and we are a city of people who have been hurt by the status quo, have you thought about the challenge of getting people passed maybe their feelings of saying, “oh, that’s not gonna work.” How are you getting people engaged and getting on board with this? AJ: Well, there’s two different approaches. So, with black
The problem when you’re having conversations about crime with elected officials and public officials generally, is that everyone treats crime in a vacuum. Like it all happens the same way. And it only comes up when the murder rate is high or certain kinds of violent crimes are high. And what’s always missing is the systemic analysis about how we got to this point.
people, most of our energy is being focused on training our minds to think differently about how we engage in community work. Because a lot of the time, we think that black people don’t have assets in our community and don’t have institutions and organizations that can really transform our conditions. The problem is, we just suffer from disinvestment and not enough focus on the institutions in our presence, in our ownership already, that we can just invest more money into. So, part of that with black folks is just making sure that we can retrain our minds around that, and also understanding that we have approaches and methodologies to dealing with youths in our community. And so, instead of seeing it from a deficit-based framework, we should see it from an asset-based framework. And so, for black people, that’s the issue. But when you’re talking about white folks, I don’t care about their thoughts and feelings on it. Most of them are gonna have to be dragged. Like dragged physically to be like, you have to change how you operate if you are actually trying to transform the conditions of people who are suffering. And also, people need to be called out. There are a lot of white people in Baltimore that get six figure salaries working for major nonprofit organizations, claiming that they serve black people and in reality, they’re just hustling off our backs and hustling off our suffering because no one calls them out. And in Baltimore, it’s a very particular problem because white liberals have run Baltimore in terms of resources from the philanthropic entities and in public dollars. And because we don’t see it as an industry, we don’t see it as a method that people are using to make money for themselves to benefit themselves; we just see it as some kind of benign accident. People are getting called out. But it’s over. And people need to understand that they can’t hustle off the backs of our children just because they get a six figure salary and they have good intentions.
new machination or a new iteration of what people have already been doing. And in terms of working within the system, versus without, just to be clear to the viewers because I’m a Pan-African Nationalist, people think when you call yourself a Pan-Africanist or a Pan-African Nationalist, that your approach must be one where you have to work completely outside the system. You have to go onto a reservation, buy some land and plant, and be a survivalist basically. And that’s an approach, and I see value in that approach. But the problem is, is that right now, today, black people are suffering under the guise of white supremacy, under the system of white supremacy. LSM: Right.
LSM: Via legislation and this youth fund and other things that are going on in Annapolis, you kind of seem to straddle this line between activist—you’re not afraid to verbally call people out—but also working within the system. How do you create this lane for yourself? Or do you think that you’ve created a lane for yourself?
AJ: And so, the question to me isn’t, “How do I create this revolutionary fantasyland?” It’s like, I’m actually trying to change people’s conditions. I want black people to eat. I want black people to live quality lives today. And part of Pan-Africanism, if you understand it, you know the first question isn’t, “What’s your thought?” It’s “What did you do? What did you build? What did you create?” And so, for us, when we think about LBS, we don’t see it as a fantasy. We don’t see it as something that has to be 10, 15 years down the line. That should be the goal but in the here and now, there are systems in place. There are government structures. There are people who run those structures. And so our perspective is, if we can figure out a way to get public investment into black people and that will make black people’s actual lives and institutions better, then we’ll do that. But there’s always value in an inside and outside game. I would hope that most Baltimore politicians know that our group is one that will have a meeting and will talk and we’ll go through the process—but the second you out of step with community, it’s on. Because you have to go left. But it’s a matter of the political process. I think people sometimes see that as abrasive or they can see it as too aggressive, but to me, it’s a matter of black people’s conditions. We’re gonna always be aggressive for black people. So, just because a certain legislator doesn’t like us, it ain’t about being liked. It’s about being effective. And so, if people dislike our approach, that’s fine, but ultimately if we’re effective for black people, that’s all that really matters.
AJ: I think our approach has always been of the black, and the black freedom struggle, in terms of how black people have always organized to transform black people’s material conditions. And I don’t see anything that we do as particularly innovative. I just see it as a
LSM: Getting back to the youth fund. What do you guys say to people like Larry Hogan? When he was in Baltimore last, he kind of, I think, dismissed the mayor’s approach to stopping crime because he’s like, “We’re not gonna see immediate results from
focusing on kids.” AJ: The problem when you’re having conversations about crime with elected officials and public officials generally, is that everyone treats crime in a vacuum. Like it all happens the same way. And it only comes up when the murder rate is high or certain kinds of violent crimes are high. And what’s always missing is the systemic analysis about how we got to this point. Baltimore just didn’t end up with over 300 murders a year because black people are savages and that we need to lock more black people up. It ended up this way because of the systemic problems and it’s from a variety of areas, housing, education, a whole variety of areas in civil society in Baltimore that black people just have not gotten the sufficient resources or investment. And so, understanding that as the history in the systemic analysis, it means that you can point to the places where you need to improve people’s quality of life. And that’s not what elected officials do. What they say is, “More police now. We need more police to lock up more Black people now.” Even though we had a zero tolerance policing from 1999 to 2005 or 2006 with Martin O’Malley. He had over 757,000 illegal arrests and crime went down and people were “safe.” But ultimately, that’s what caused the uprising. LSM: Right. AJ: So, now we’re under a consent decree that basically says that those approaches are illegal and shouldn’t be done and now everyone’s stuck trying to figure out how do we decrease crime? The only logical conclusion you can have to fixing crime in Baltimore is to invest more in the people. You can’t just arrest people. You can’t arrest your way out of crime in Baltimore. And so, I think that’s the problem, is that all these elected officials have a very limited scope around what it means to decrease crime and violence, and I think even when people say that we’re gonna invest, it’s very short-sighted. The youth fund is an opportunity for people to invest in our young people on a consistent basis because it’s a rolling fund. And so now, we can have a strategy and an infrastructure for investing in an ecosystem of black people and institutions as opposed to some groups get $50,000 a year for their program one time. We should invest in our institutions and our ability as black people, to change our conditions. Most of the time, these elected officials are talking about one-trick ponies: “Let’s arrest a bunch of nonviolent offenders.” But if you don’t change the conditions, those conditions will always breed crime and violence.
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EVACUATION, EVICTION Post Office Garage Building deemed unsafe, artists removed By Brandon Block
The Post Office Garage building. Photo by Brandon Block
Artists with studios in the Post Office Garage building at 439 E. Preston St. were evacuated on Jan. 8 by the city after a pipe burst inside the building the night before. The pipe began pouring water onto the floor that then flowed out the door and down the sidewalk, said Joe Clancy, who has maintained a woodworking studio in the building for 8 years. There was no way to shut off the water. The artists were told they had until just 5 p.m. to remove their possessions, and a notice was plastered on the wall stated that the building was to be condemned. “They gave us five hours. Like, ‘here’s five hours, move all of your creative endeavors,’” Clancy said. “I have 22,000 pounds of equipment in the shop. And I have stuff that won’t fit out the door.” As it began to hail, artist James Bouché scrambled to carry his canvases along the sidewalks, which had completely iced over from the spill, into a car. Inside, the water on the floor had frozen, leaving swaths of ice around the space. Multimedia artist Paul Taylor left the building last November after working there for five years, but was there on Jan. 8. He said that after the owner of the building, Mike Stallings, died, the building hasn’t been as closely tended. “If today had happened while he was around, he would’ve been here,” Clancy said. “He was the kind of guy who, you knew he was gonna help you out, and you knew he wanted people in the building like this. . . . He was working towards fixing the problems in the building, no question about it.” Clancy knew about issues with the building, and had it checked out independently, and brought the issues to the attention of the current owner of the building, Travaju LLC, whose address is the same as Mike Stallings’ wife, Jill. After shutting off the water, the fire marshal issued citations to the building for not having an occupancy permit, as well as for a large crack in the front of the building. In 2016, the Baltimore Brew reported on the structural problems of the building and nearby 428. E. Preston St.—the building’s damage included exterior problems, floor sloping, and water flooding the basement—and suggested it may have to do with “sewer outfall, another utility pipe, unstable fill or a combination of issues.” The building was “deemed safe” by the Maryland Department of General Services, the Brew reported back then. Questions sent to Housing about previously calling the building “safe” have not been answered as of press time. The Post Office Garage building in Johnson Square is near the Station North area—the location of the Bell Foundry, whose artist-tenants were evicted in Dec. 2016
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and the building condemned following the Oakland Ghost Ship fire. The Bell eviction led to a mayoral “Safe Arts Space” task force that affected many DIY spots in the area such as the Annex and the Copycat. The task force resolved not to evict more spaces, and under an executive order signed by Pugh on April 4, city officials were directed to allow art spaces with code violations to stay open so long as the conditions “do not represent an imminent threat to life or safety.” Safety issues with the Post Office Garage were determined to be dangerous enough to merit. Still, there are echoes of the cruel, efficient eviction of the Bell Foundry: artists kicked out right away in winter and given just a few hours to remove all of their possessions including art, materials, and equipment. Unlike the Bell Foundry and other arts spaces, the Post Office was only used as a working space and not a living space as well—there were occasionally open studio events there where visitors could view illustrations, paintings, sculpture, prints, woodwork, furniture, and more from the artists using the space. As the five o’clock deadline rapidly approached, Clancy acknowledged there simply wasn’t enough time to collect everything. “[The tenants] are donating stuff to Open Works, they’re just getting stuff out any way they possibly can,” he said, adding he has “no idea” whether he would be allowed to come back for the rest of his stuff. “I’ve never been able to get an answer from people about that. On Tuesday, Jan. 9, Amy Bonitz, chair of the codes and regulations work group of the Safe Arts Space Task Force and president of Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO), said that the tenants would be given two days to retrieve their belongings. Kathleen Byrne, a code enforcement lawyer for the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development, reiterated the two day period over email. “It is never the City’s desire to displace tenants without ample warning, particularly during cold weather,” Byrne wrote. “We absolutely sympathize with the artists who work there, and we immediately began working on some remedies that we hope will help.” Byrne also stressed that this was not an eviction of the artists but a “temporary evacuation” of the building, citing the lack of water in the sprinkler system, missing information about the date it was last serviced, standing water in the building with electrical cords running through it, and “large metal grates not attached properly to the ceiling and bowing walls.”
g n i k n T hi g n i y u b of ? e m o ah
Cease and desist order posted to the Post Office Garage building. Photo by Brandon Block.
“This action taken by Fire is a temporary evacuation to protect the public until we can make sure the building is safe to occupy, not an eviction,” Byrne wrote. “This kind of action is standard procedure when buildings are deemed to be in this type of condition. In other words, our choices were to get people out as quickly as possible to keep them safe, or give them more time to evacuate and risk lives.” The problems identified, Byrne said, were deemed an “imminent threat to life and safety.” After observing “severe stress cracks in the front exterior wall,” a building inspector posted an “emergency condemnation and demolition notice,” and the building’s artists were sent scrambling for their cars. “I’m hearing a million different stories from all of the artists who are on site about all the different things that they think are happening,” said artist Marian Glebes, who was on hand Jan. 8, helping artists pack up and move their belongings. “A lot of the conversation was people not knowing where they could go, or when they could get a studio again.” Since November, Glebes has worked with Bonitz as the art space technical assistance program coordinator for BARCO. Her job is a manifestation of the goal of the task force, which was to act as a liaison between the city and artists working in vulnerable spaces—and to avoid kicking artists out of their spaces when the code issues are non-life-threatening. Glebes said that some of the harm in a crisis does comes down to “good intentions but miscommunicated impact,” adding, “there needs to be a clear answer . . . a lot of the story, when you’re experiencing a traumatic event, [is] not clear.” The Post Office’s artists, however, we left out of the loop, and so an evacuation felt like an eviction. “One of the things that folds into that is the kind of constant disconnect or mistrust between an arts constituency and a non-arts constituency, and the different languages that can come into play there,” Glebes said and added, “we need some sort of formal liaison on the artists’ side.” For now, Baltimore’s artists have stepped up to help out. “There’s been an outpouring of individuals volunteering space for the artists,” Glebes said. Additional reporting by Brandon Soderberg.
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Pieces by Lauren Frances Adams from “Germinal,” opening at the Maryland Institute College of Art on Jan. 20. Courtesy MICA
American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. (410) 244-1900, avam.org. “The Great Mystery Show,” A group exhibition of self-taught artists exploring the unknown and human imagination. Through Sept. 2. “Reverend Albert Lee Wagner: Miracle At Midnight,” Art by the late visionary artist who experienced a spiritual epiphany at age 50. Ongoing. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, artbma.org. “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. “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. “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. “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. “Tomás Saraceno: Entangled Orbits,” Web-like clusters of iridescent-paneled modules are suspended in the museum’s East Lobby. Through June 10. “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. “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. “Beyond Flight: Birds in African Art,” Approximately 20 works demonstrate the symbolic roles birds serve within African cultures. Through June 10. “Head Back & High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects (1976–2015),” Performance photography and a video documenting more than 40 years of work from American artist Senga Negudi. Through May 27. Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, 21 S. Eutaw St., (443) 874-3596, bromoseltzertower. com. “Moonifestations of Ancestral Earth: a voyage of expansion,” A celestial mixed media exhibition by Baltimore duo The Dandy Vagabonds (xander dumas and elliot moonstone). Closing reception Jan. 27 (guided meditation at noon, artist talk at 2:30 p.m.). Cardinal, 1758 Park Ave., cardinalspace.com. “The Post Contemporary Record Store,” Works by Seth Scriver, Neil Feather, Margaret Noble, Rutherford Chang, the Vinyl Vagabonds, and Vaunita Goodman examine the relationship between visual art and vinyl music culture. Artist talks and performances Jan. 19; on view through Jan. 27. C. Grimaldis Gallery, 523 N. Charles St., (410)539-1080, cgrimaldisgallery.com. “Collages: An Exhibition,” Collages by Romare Bearden, Vivian Fliegel, José Manuel Fors, Lee Hall, Grace Hartigan, Keith Martin, and Esteban Vicente. Opening reception Jan. 24, 6-8 p.m.; on view through March 10.
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Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org. “Peter Stern: Third Spaces,” Aerial photographs of the Mid-Atlantic by photographer and pilot Peter Stern. Through Jan. 27. Crystal Moll Gallery, 1030 S. Charles St., (410) 952-2843, crystalmoll.com. “Baltimore Seen Through a Lense,” Photographs of the city by Ron Dickey and John Sullivan. All proceeds support Northstar Baltimore. Live jazz opening reception Jan. 20, 2-6 p.m.; on view through Feb. 2. Current Space, 421 N. Howard St., (410) 343-9295, currentspace.com. “Horizon Compromise,” A solo exhibition of photographs by Brad Ziegler created over the course of three years spent traveling 46 states. Opening reception Jan. 13, 7-10 p.m.; on view through Feb. 4. “Nature,” Photography by Natalie Conn taken during visits to the Museum of Natural History in New York. Through Feb. 4. Goya Contemporary, 3000 Chestnut Ave., Mill Centre #214, (410) 366-2001, goyacontemporary.com. “Lilian Hoover,” A solo exhibition by the local painter. Through March 1. Maryland Art Place, 218 W. Saratoga St., (410) 962-8565, mdartplace.org. “Scott Pennington: Two Minute Joys,” Solo exhibition by Maryland native artist specializing in large-scale participatory installation and sculptural assemblage works. Opening reception Jan. 18, 6-9 p.m.; on view through March 10. Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., (410) 685-3750, mdhs.org. “Unscripted Moments: The Life & Photography of Joseph Kohl,” Photographs from c.1980 through 2002 by the late Baltimore photojournalist Joseph Kohl. Ongoing. Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., events.mica.edu. “Germinal,” Site-specific installation by painting faculty member Lauren Frances Adams exploring themes converging around feminist activists from American history, domestic ornament in service of political messages, such as Quaker abolitionist quilts and pro-Confederacy secessionist cockades, and the recent removal of Baltimore’s Confederate monuments. On view at MICA’s Pinkard Gallery, Bunting Center, 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave., Jan. 20-March 13; reception Feb. 15, 5-7 p.m. “Land/Trust,” Works exploring contemporary relationships to land by Margaret Boozer, Demian DinéYazhi´, Maren Hassinger, Mary Mattingly, Nadia Myre, and Glenn Ross. Opening reception Jan. 19, 6-8 p.m., on view through Feb. 22 in MICA’s Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave. Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, motorhousebaltimore.com. “10x10” Arts Every Day presents their second annual exhibition of over a hundred student and teacher artworks from Baltimore City Public Schools that respond to a culturally relevant body of work. This year’s artwork was inspired by painter Jacob Lawrence and Maryland story quilter Joan Gaither. Reception with performances by dancer and actress Maria Broom Jan. 14, 4-7 p.m.; on view through Feb. 23. Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, 830 E. Pratt St., (443) 263-1800, lewismuseum.org. “Freedom: Emancipation Quilted & Stitched,” Documentary-style story quilts by artist Joan M.E. Gaither, PhD that celebrate the contributions, lives, and legacies of people of color in Maryland. Through Feb. 28. Resort, 235 Park Ave., (443) 415-2139, resortbaltimore.com. “Ginevra Shay and Roxana Azar: A Big Toe Touches A Green Tomato,” In Resort’s inaugural exhibition, photography, sculpture, and ceramics from Baltimore-based artist Ginevra Shay and Philadelphia-based artist Roxana Azar. Opening reception Jan. 20, 5-8 p.m., on view through March 5. School 33 Art Center, 1427 Light St., (410) 396-4641, school33.org. “Test Pattern,” Works by Tom Boram, April Camlin, Roxana Alger Geffen, Luke Ikard, LoVid, and Rives Wiley. Opening reception Jan. 19, 6-9 p.m.; on view through Feb. 24. “Bodies in Sounded Space,” An exhibition of sculpture and musical performance by Fionn Duffy and Katie Shlon. Opening reception Jan. 19, 6-9 p.m.; on view through Feb. 24. “(un) familiar territory,” An installation by Bobby Coleman that echoes an abstracted urban environment. Opening reception Jan. 19, 6-9 p.m.; on view through Feb. 24. Steven Scott Gallery, 808 S. Ann St., (410) 902-9300, stevenscottgallery.com. “Painterly,” Recent works by Robert Andriulli, Gary Bukovnik, Ellen Hill, Sheep Jones, Kathryn O’Grady, and Frank Trefny. Through March 31. Terrault, 218 W. Saratoga St., 3rd floor, (336) 707-5511, terraultcontemporary.com. “Cut, Copy, Paste. It’s Not What You Think,” New mixed media works by local artist Alex Ebstein and New York-based artist Leah Guadagnoli. Through Feb. 17. The Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410)547-9000, thewalters.org. “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. “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.
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Lee “Scratch” Perry Marc Avon Evans Courtesy TheUpsetterMovie.com Courtesy Creative Alliance
Lee “Scratch” Perry and the Subatomic Sound System J A N . 2 1
Marc Avon Evans J A N . 1 9
Exploratory reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, who took the genre and turned it translucent in the ‘70s, has the kind of career where, you know, producing Bob Marley & The Wailers can be easily forgotten or put off to the side. In particular, there is his run throughout the ‘70s both solo (“Super Ape” and its bonkers sequel “Return Of The Super Ape,” in particular) and producing for others—between 1976 and 1977 he produced Max Romeo’s “War Ina Babylon,” The Heptones’ “Party Time,” Junior Murvin’s “Police And Thieves,” George Faith’s “To Be A Lover,” and The Congos’ “Heart Of The Congos”—all reggae classics, all very different. That he is also, in a way, the godfather of lots of electronic dance music including dubstep—of both the brainy dweeby U.K. sort or the Amerikkkan Moby-on-boner-pills wubby kind—is another feather in his cap. Scratch’s latest album, released in the fall of last year and the one he is currently touring, is an extension of 1976’s classic “Super Ape.” Titled “Super Ape Returns To Conquer” and assisted by Subatomic Sound System, it’s an album-length medley of Scratch’s work, a dance-ready way to hear all his records melted together. Openers for Scratch tonight are The Forwards and Bobby Babylon. 7 p.m., The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, theottobar.com, $20. (Brandon Soderberg)
Soulful house music—or OK, soul-adjacent house music; all house music is soulful— is a speciality in Baltimore, dating back to one of the city’s biggest house exports, production crew the Basement Boys. Marc Avon Evans is part of that history and keeps it moving along. On 2009’s ‘The Way You Love Me,’ a grown folks dance hit presented by former Basement Boy DJ Spen and his crew The Muthafunkaz, Evans floats above a lithe house beat and sounds like some hybrid of David Ruffin and Harold Melvin (lots of people compare him to Donny Hathaway and OK, sure, that too, but there’s something grittier about Evans, I think). Last year he put out an EP with Steven Stone titled “Rhythm Romance” with Evans howling achingly over propulsive party beats (start with the track ‘Enough’). Evans `also does jazz, soul, R&B, and whatever else and keeps in the scene as a co-host of Peace & A Cup Of Joe’s Acoustic Thursdays. You’ll hear selections from all of his two decades in music at Creative Alliance—one of those “a night with”-style shows that only certain musicians’ depth and breadth can maintain. 8 p.m., Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance. org, $15-$18. (Brandon Soderberg).
Mood2Soul with Thomas Blondet
Josh Stokes and Eze Jackson at Rap Round Robin 2016
Screencap courtesy Thomas Kessler
Josh Stokes, Mahatma X, Pale Spring, Infinity Knives, Alienood J A N . 1 9 If you’ve not heard Josh Stokes’ excellent album from last year, “Who Is Josh Stokes?,” you’ve maybe seen him around, working the music sometimes as part of Crown Conversations or DJing at the Motorhouse or drumming live for Abdu Ali—he’s on of the city’s most exciting musician all-around. Here’s what the Real News Network’s Eze Jackson said of ‘Say Word’ off Stokes’ album: ‘Say Word’ gives you a feel reminiscent of both Prince and George Clinton with synths that take you back to the mid ‘80s a bit. Josh Stokes is no clone, though. His voice and subject matter are all his own. . . . Stokes can handle almost any tempo or topic with the soul of a freaky Southern Baptist choir director who hits the city on the weekends to drink whiskey and party with harlots. His energy is almost Jimi Hendrix-reminiscent in that you wouldn’t expect someone so young to sound the way he does, belting out aged runs and harmonic backgrounds that you find yourself repeating over and over again.” This bill, by the way, is packed with similarly-minded musicians on the bill: Mahatma X, Pale Spring, Infinity Knives, and Alienood (who also curated the show). 9 p.m., E.M.P. Collective, 307 W. Baltimore St., facebook.com/EMPCOLLECTIVE, $8-$10. (Brandon Soderberg)
JANUARY 17, 2018
Mood2Soul J A N . 1 8 OK, so pardon the touch of nostalgia here; I supposed everybody gets to a certain age and starts missing things or remembering things a certain way and I’m no different. But there’s a bit of a house music renaissance going on in the city right now by way of say, Teddy Douglass’ events at The Rockwell and other low-key dance nights—all of this despite the death of the Paradox. House never went anywhere here—I remember talking to Ultra Nate and King Tutt just as EDM was absorbing some 4/4 signifiers and they were both unconcerned and intrigued that it might raise profiles—but I think there’s hints of casual Red Maple vibes happening, and that’s a good thing. Dance music nights do not need to be a huge deal or a room stuffed full of people all night to be a party. This week, Mood2Soul, a dance night at Motor House (or since I’m getting nostalgic here, the space that was once Load Of Fun) presented by house label Better On Foot and held down by Discuji, featuring Washington D.C.’s Thomas Blondet, who makes house that splits the difference between the accessibility of say, DFA, and the hard edges of Club Nervous Records. 8 p.m., The Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, motorhousebaltimore.com, free. (Brandon Soderberg)
VENUES An Die Musik, 409 N. Charles St., (410) 385-2638, andiemusiklive.com Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington, D.C., (202) 888-0020, theanthemdc.com Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057, baltimoresoundstage.com Bertha’s, 734 S. Broadway, (410) 3275795, berthas.com The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, (703) 549-7500, birchmere.com 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, catseyepub.com Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848, facebook.com/TheCrownBaltimore The 8x10, 10 E. Cross St., (410) 625-2000, the8x10.com E.M.P. Collective, 307 W. Baltimore St., (410) 244-0785, empcollective.org Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE, Washington, D.C., (202) 503-2330, echostage.com The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, (301) 960-9999, fillmoresilverspring.com Germano’s Piattini, 300 S. High St., (410) 752-4515, germanospiattini.com Joe Squared, 33 W. North Ave., (410) 5450444, joesquared.com Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000, bsomusic.org Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, modell-lyric.com Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, (410) 7155550, merriweathermusic.com. Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St., (410) 244-0899, themetrogallery.net Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, motorhousebaltimore.com 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 265-0930, 930.com The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, theottobar.com Pier Six Pavillion, 731 Eastern Ave., (410) 547-7200, livenation.com/venues/14732/ pier-six-pavilion Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, (410) 244-1131, ramsheadlive.com Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, ramsheadonstage.com Red Room, 425 E. 31st St., redroom.org Reverb, 2112 N. Charles St., (443) 4474325, reverbcollective.com Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., (410) 347-2020, royalfarmsarena.com The Sidebar, 218 E. Lexington St., (410) 659-4130, sidebarbaltimore.com Tin Roof, 32 Market Place, (443) 8738137, tinroofbaltimore.com U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 588-1889, ustreetmusichall.com The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave., (410) 244-8855, thewindupspace.com
JANUARY 17, 2018
MUSIC W e d . 1 7
An Die Musik. Nate Hook & Friends. Bertha’s. Baltimore Songwriters Association Songwriters Showcase. The Birchmere. Eric Benet. Cat’s Eye Pub. Rachel & Chick Hall. Creative Alliance. Panorama Jazz Band. Germano’s Piattini. Open Mic Night with Mary Reilly. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night. Rams Head On Stage. John Sebastian. The Sidebar. Chris Swartz, Centerfolds, Oh, Weatherly Plans, Rookshot, Face Value. Tin Roof. Building The Band. The Windup Space. Windup Wednesday; Alien Plants from Outer Space Bingo.
T h u . 1 8
An Die Musik. Rhythminic Accents. Bertha’s. Jeff Reed Trio. The Birchmere. Eric Benet. Cat’s Eye Pub. The Racket. Creative Alliance. Tinsley Ellis. The Crown. Jack Topht, Height Keech, Tremendous Athlete, Bobbi Rush. The 8x10. Chris Luquette And The Old AF Trio, Twisted Pine, Jordan August. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Jacob Sartorius, Zach Clayton, Hayden Summerall. Germano’s Piattini. The Max VanDerBeek Jazz Group featuring Lottie Porch. Metro Gallery. Karl Blau, Mess, Heartwarmer. Motor House. Mood2Soul. 9:30 Club. Circles Around The Sun. The Ottobar. Chiffon, Wing Dam, Smoke Bellow, Nerftoss; Heresy: Goth/Industrial Night. Rams Head On Stage. Junior Brown. The Sidebar. Purgatory, Atonement, Hivemind, Hellbent, Butchers Dozen. Tin Roof. As If - A ‘90s Tribute. U Street Music Hall. Vintage One Year Anniversary Party with Benny The Butcher, DJ Eskimo, DJ Furious Styles, DJ Dub, DJ Marcnfinit, DJ Wildchild DNA.
F ri . 1 9
An Die Musik. Sonic Trip Masters All Stars. Anthem. Walk The Moon, Company Of Thieves. Baltimore Soundstage. Dave East, S.U. The Clique, Jazzy Tazz. Bertha’s. Junior Brown. The Birchmere. Eddie From Ohio, Jake Armerding. Cat’s Eye Pub. Rachel Hall & Todd Miller; Nothin’ But Trouble. Creative Alliance. Marc Avon Evans. The 8x10. Sunbathers, Luke O’Brien, Wyland. E.M.P. Collective. Josh Stokes, Mahatma X, Pale Spring, Infinity Knives, Alienood. The Fillmore Silver Spring. LOCASH,
Morrison Brothers Band. Germano’s Piattini. The Baltimore Mandolin Trio. Joe Squared. SAVAK, The Effects, Patois Counselors. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Metro Gallery. Fire In Elysium, Seventh Seal, Midvale, From Nothing, Reign Of Z. 9:30 Club. BoomBox, Of Tomorrow. The Ottobar. Emo Nite Bawltimore. Rams Head Live. Saved By The ‘90s with The Bayside Tigers. Rams Head On Stage. The Idol Kings: A Tribute to Tom Petty, Journey, and John Mellencamp. The Sidebar. Lifetime Shitlist, Earthworm Von Doom, Thee Iron Hand, White Hornet. Tin Roof. Vertigo Red. U Street Music Hall. Fleetmac Wood. The Windup Space. 4 Hours Of Funk.
S at . 2 0
An Die Musik. SAUD! The Music & Influence Of McCoy Tyner. Anthem. The Disco Biscuits, Tauk. Baltimore Soundstage. G Jones, Eprom, Ana Sia. Bertha’s. June Star. The Birchmere. Rufus Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche. Cat’s Eye Pub. Nothin’ But Trouble; Community Groove. The Crown. Skin Tight Soul Party. The 8x10. Brokedown Hustlers, Dirty Grass Players, Kendall Street Company, Madison & The Charm City Groove. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Milky Chance, Lewis Capaldi. Germano’s Piattini. Gary Rubin and Brent Hardesty. Metro Gallery. REV909, Will Eastman, Ozker. Motor House. King of What. 9:30 Club. Now That’s What I Call A ‘90s Dance Party: Volume 4. The Ottobar. Pond, Fascinator; Girls Rule Dance Party with Particol. Rams Head On Stage. The Idol Kings: A Tribute to Tom Petty, Journey, and John Mellencamp. Red Room. Sandy Ewen and Will Schorre. The Sidebar. Point Blank, the Screws, Glue Traps, Babies With Rabies. Tin Roof. Soundtown. U Street Music Hall. Alex Aiono, Trinidad Cardona; Oliver Nelson, Noce, RussellRemix. The Windup Space. Winter Witching Hour.
S u n . 2 1
An Die Musik. Ayreheart. Bertha’s. June Star, Hootenanny.
The Birchmere. Mac McAnally. Cat’s Eye Pub. Steve Kremer & The Bluesicians; Pete Kanaras & The Hi-Fliers. The Crown. Constant Swimmer, Community Center, Liberata, Crane. Germano’s Piattini. Twisted Knickers Burlesque Brunch with The Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Lyric Opera House. Stephanie Blythe. 9:30 Club. Lee Scratch Perry and Subatomic Sound System, The Forwards, Bobby Babylon. Rams Head On Stage. Bay Tunes Guitar Rock Band School presents “Legends of Rock”; Cowboy Mouth.
M on . 2 2
An Die Musik. Monday Jazz Jam hosted by Alex Meadow and Joshua Espinoza. The Birchmere. Gaelic Storm. Cat’s Eye Pub. Phil Cunneff New Trio. 9:30 Club. MØ, Cashmere Cat, Darius. The Ottobar. Metal Monday.
T u e . 2 3
The Birchmere. Gaelic Storm. Cat’s Eye Pub. Muleman Band. The Crown. Karaoke Forever. Germano’s Piattini. Roland Park Chamber Strings. 9:30 Club. MØ, Cashmere Cat, Darius. The Ottobar. Two For Tuesday with DJ Heartbreak Beat. Rams Head On Stage. Bill Strings, Dirty Grass Players. The Sidebar. Looming, Pale Lungs, Caraway, Flabbercasters. Tin Roof. The Harikaraoke Band Gong Show. U Street Music Hall. Cuco, Helado Negro, Lido Pimienta. The Windup Space. Brews and Board Games.
W e d . 2 4
An Die Musik. Joshua Davis’ Love Salad. Baltimore Soundstage. Frosty Blue Bash 2018 featuring the Kelly Bell Band. The Birchmere. The Ventures. Cat’s Eye Pub. Dogs Among the Bushes. The Crown. Wavy Wednesday: Open Mic Edition. 9:30 Club. Tennis, Overcoats. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night. Rams Head On Stage. Gaelic Storm. The Sidebar. Misery Love Company, Go/ Ask/Alice, I Am Heir, As Embers Fall, Diver. Tin Roof. Building The Band. The Windup Space. Windup Wednesday.
GOOD GRIEF Essay collection “Rebellious Mourning” places pain in resistance By Rebekah Kirkman
An orange buffoon was elected president, and with fresh urgency everyone told each other, “Don’t mourn, organize,” a phrase often attributed to Industrial Workers of the World activist and songwriter Joe Hill, who supposedly said it before he was executed by the state of Utah in 1915. It is true; there is always work to do. But sometimes you have to make space to mourn, leaning into grief’s motivating, enervating, void-like manifestations all at once. “Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief,” an anthology of 24 pieces by various authors (many of whom are also activists), edited by writer and anarchist activist Cindy Milstein, takes those notions and pulls them apart, asserting that mourning and organizing can intermingle. This collection was borne out of personal pain, which is “inseparable from the pain of this world” as Milstein writes in the prologue. Too often we are expected to hide pain, an expectation that Milstein calls “a lie manufactured so as to mask and uphold the social order that produces our many, unnecessary losses. When we instead open ourselves to the bonds of loss and pain, we lessen what debilitates us; we reassert life and its beauty.” And so in the opening essay, “Feeling is Not Weakness: On Mourning and Movement,” writer Benji Hart carves out space for vulnerability and mourning within the fight for racial justice—it is, of course, natural to feel hurt in the midst of it, they write: “[Experiencing hurt] shows that I have not given in, not accepted the current, violent reality as inevitable, not forfeited belief in my own right to life.” The topics in the book’s essays flow and circle back around to each other, creating some cathartic conversation, vital and heavy as it grapples with uncomfortable truths. Following Hart, Claudia Rankine’s “The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning” goes deep into the deaths of Emmett Till, Michael Brown, the six black women and three black men killed by Dylann Roof at Emanuel African Methodist Church in 2015, the four black girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963, and others, noting the dangerous ways “the white imagination” views black people (“black bodies”), historically and presently, “as property and subsequently three-fifths human.” Rankine also considers the body as “evidence”: Mamie Till Mobley’s decision to have an open casket service, a call for public/collective grief and witness to what had been done to her son Emmett; Michael Brown’s body left to sit in the street for hours after
Courtesy AK Press
he was murdered, and in that his own mother “was denied the rights of a mother, a sad fact reminiscent of pre-Civil War times, when as a slave she would have had no legal claim to her offspring.” White supremacy has encoded a certain, serious anxiety into black Americans’ lives that can’t be simply swept aside, neutralized, or depoliticized—it is, clearly demonstrated, still extant. “It’s a lack of feeling for another that is our problem,” Rankine writes. Moments like this that dwell in a trough of seemingly interminable pain or inconclusive reality move in waves throughout most of the essays, along with rousing, rallying, sometimes enraging crests. In “Dust of the Desert,” Lee Sandusky writes about working in direct aid in the harsh, hot Sonoran Desert, through which people try to cross from Mexico into the United States. Sometimes people die in transit through this desert, and sometimes their bodies are never found, so their families don’t get closure. “Border work is predicated on ending the deaths of those crossing—currently an insurmountable task— and much of the action we take is in response to grief, but also anger and hope; the three are inseparable motivations that sustain organizing and action within
our community,” she writes. The stories of those who made it through help keep them going, too. Kevin Yuen Kit Lo’s kinda meta-essay “Fragments Toward a Whole” touches on personal ramifications of trauma, unveiling both the source of his repressed pain (he was repeatedly sexually abused as a child) and the pain of essentially reliving it while writing about it for this project, by way of notes sent to Milstein, the editor: “This has been a difficult text to write, and I had lost my momentum for a while. But the darkness and movement seems to be coaxing me toward some sort of ending, if not any sort of real conclusion.” Three pieces, one after another, rotate the issue of AIDS all around, like a gem. Sarah Schulman’s “The Gentrification of AIDS,” excerpted from her book “The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination,” makes sharp and complex connections on the epidemic and the rapid gentrification of cities in the middle of it. (Also, how the severity of that battle has largely been erased, and how people with AIDS’ “‘friends,’ coworkers, presidents, landlords . . . stood by and did nothing” and have never been held accountable.) Artist David Wojnarowicz’s tumultuous epic “Postcards from America/X-rays from Hell,” written a few years before he died of AIDS, recounts a kitchen table commiseration with a friend about AIDS, then yanks the reader around mourning lost friends, anger toward the government and society’s rampant homophobia (and complicity), and on. And anti-imperialist activist David Gilbert, interviewed by Dan Berger, discusses his organizing efforts that led to a peer education system about AIDS for fellow prison inmates—what Berger describes as “a stark example of a revolutionary commitment to confront state violence through a transformative politics of care.” That “transformative politics of care” ethos surges throughout this book as well as, more significantly, the fight against social ills in which many of these writers are involved. There is beauty and life and other heartening themes, as Milstein hopes for in the prologue, sewn into these stories. What “Rebellious Mourning” suggests is that taking care of yourself and others takes many forms—and it sometimes looks like doing the work. Cindy Milstein will present “Rebellious Mourning” at Red Emma’s on Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. For more info, visit redemmas.org.
JANUARY 17, 2018
“The Stories We Tell: Classic True Tales By America’s Greatest Women Journalists” J A N . 1 8
Thanks to some savvy rereleases, the past few years have resulted in the lifting up of a few women journalists whose reputations, if not exactly forgotten, are not where they should be (and a lot of that has to do with them being women and journalism being like most things, a big dumb boys club) such as Renata Adler and Eve Babitz (who is a journalist even when she’s a fiction writer). On Netflix, there is the Joan Didion documentary “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold” (if you want to understand the current political situation, read “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and “The White Album”) and oh, here in Baltimore there is even a restaurant named after Ida B. Wells. It is all, well, a start to usurping the journalistic canon. Editor Patsy Sims’ anthology “The Stories We Tell: Classic True Tales By America’s Greatest Women Journalists” collects pieces of nonfiction from Didion, Susan Orlean, Lillian Ross, and 16 others. Sims is joined by journalists Suzannah Lessard and Maggie Mes at Ivy Bookshop to discuss the anthology. 7 p.m., The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road, (410) 377-2966, theivybookshop.com, free. (Brandon Soderberg)
“It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What The Trump Administration Is Doing To America” J A N . 2 3 So readers, you could spend the beginning of this week listening to Donna Brazille cogently explain why the Democratic party is hot mess, and you could end it hearing investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, who has been around covering Trump for about 30 years, explain why—well, just look at the title of his new book: “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What The Trump Administration Is Doing To America.” All of this might get you more depressed and that’s totally legit, but it might also be good to endure a whole bunch of sobering real talk about politics, and Johnston knows Trump’s bullshit well. The book is split up into different sections where it unpacks what Trump’s doing or not doing pieceby-piece (“A President Like No Other,” “Jobs,” “Taxes,” “Fossil Fuels,” “Global Affairs,” “Education,” “Law and Order,” and so on). Here’s a quick, cogent excerpt: “Emotionally, [Trump] remains the thirteen-year-old troublemaker his father sent off to a military academy, where by his own account brutality was common. Being stuck in the awkward year between childhood and maturity for nearly six decades is a terrible fate, one that has twisted Trump’s personality.” 6:30 p.m., Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Branch, 400 Cathedral St., (410) 396-5430, prattlibrary.org, free. (Brandon Soderberg)
Baltimore County Public Library Pikesville Branch, 1301 Reisterstown Road, (410) 887-1234, bcpl.info. Chef, author, and owner of Gertrude’s John Shields discusses his book, “Chesapeake Bay Cooking.” Jan. 17, 2:30 p.m. Bird In Hand, 11 E. 33rd St., (410) 814-0373, birdinhandcharlesvillage.com. Charm City Spec, a speculative fiction series, featuring Tom Doyle, Malka Older, and Ariel S. Winter. Jan. 17, 7 p.m. A reading series featuring 2016’s Rubys Artist Project Grantees Thea Brown, Andria Nacina Cole, Michael Downs, Carla Du Pree, Andrew Klein, and Susan Muaddi Darraj. Jan. 23, 7 p.m. Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., prattlibrary.org. The Enoch Pratt Free Library presents Donna Brazile, a longtime Washington insider and the author of “Hacks: The Inside Story Of The Break-Ins And Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump In The White House.” Jan. 17, 7 p.m. Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Branch, 400 Cathedral St., (410) 396-5430, prattlibrary.org. David Cay Johnston discusses his new book, “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What The Trump Administration Is Doing To America.” Jan. 23, 6:30 p.m. Enoch Pratt Free Library, Govans Branch, 5714 Bellona Ave., (410) 396-6098, prattlibrary.org. Katia D. Ulysse, the Kratz Center’s Writer-in-Residence at Goucher College and author of “Mouths Don’t Speak.” The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road, (410) 377-2966, theivybookshop.com. A discussion about Patsy Sims’ “The Stories We Tell: Classic True Tales By America’s Greatest Women Journalists,” part of the Sager Group Women In Journalism Series, with Sims, Suzannah Lessard, and Maggie Messitt. Jan. 18, 7 p.m. Singer-songwriter ellen cherry and poet Edward Doyle-Gillespie. Jan. 21, 5 p.m. “Love, Hate, And Other Filters” author Samira Ahmed in conversation with Sujata Massey. Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Red Emma’s, 30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7585, redemmas.org. Baltimore Science Cafe: Brain Stimulation with Dr. Pablo Celnik, a researcher and clinician in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m. Cindy Millstein, the editor of “Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work Of Grief.” Jan. 21, 3 p.m.
Photo: Lars Plougmann
JANUARY 17, 2018
Samira Ahmed, author of “Love, Hate, And Other Filters,” speaks at Ivy Bookshop on Jan. 22.
6080 Falls Road @ W. Lake Avenue Mt. Washington WWW. THEIVYBOOKSHOP. COM
11 East 33rd Street, 1 block from Johns Hopkins Charles Village WWW. BIRDINHANDCHARLESVILLAGE. COM
BAYOU BLUES Women’s voices front and center in regional premiere of Audrey Cefaly’s “Love is a Blue Tick Hound” By The Bad Oracle (Annie Montone)
Donna Ibale (left) and Aladrian C. Wetzel in Audrey Cefaly’s ‘The Gulf’ directed by Betse Lyons. Courtesy Rapid Lemon Productions
There’s a scene in the “Mad Men” episode ‘Ladies Room’ that’s brutal in its simplicity. Two frustrated, male advertising executives sit in leather-clad chairs clutching brandy glasses. “What do women want?” one asks the other. His friend scoffs and takes a beat before replying: “Who cares?” And there it is. Six words of male dialogue to neatly sum up a patriarchal imperative: Unless their desires sell lipstick or skinny margarita mix, what real man truly cares what women want at all? This is the smarmy challenge that women constantly face both personally and professionally. We often have to fight to prove that our aspirations, frustrations, and flaws are just as varied, important, and intense as those of the men in our lives. Even in local theater, women’s voices are too rarely prioritized. An analysis done by Brent Englar, Dramatists Guild’s regional representative for Baltimore, followed 33 Baltimore-area theater companies over 122 productions from 2016 to 2017. Of those 122 plays, 40 (33 percent) were directed by women, and only 34 (28 percent) written by women. Not too fucking impressive in terms of gender parity. In light of Englar’s study, Rapid Lemon’s production of Audrey Cefaly’s short play collection “Love is a Blue Tick Hound and Other Remedies for the Common Ache,” staged at Baltimore Theatre Project as a part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival (which is based in Washington, D.C. but includes programming in Baltimore through Rapid Lemon, Center Stage, and The Strand), takes on more significance. Not only is the playwright a woman, but so are six of the eight
actors in the show, and all of the pieces (“Hound” is a compilation of four short plays) are women-directed. Not surprisingly, then, the female characters here feel more real than they typically do in more frequently produced, male-authored plays. They talk and act like people you might actually know, not a monolith of rabid high-heel consumers binge-watching old episodes of “Sex in the City.” Cefaly is an Alabamian native, and considers herself a “Southern playwright.” Her roots are evident in her work. Cefaly’s women are from different walks of life: They range from second daters in upscale apartments to waitresses in cheap Italian restaurants to beer-swilling fisherwomen. They’re just ordinary, in a way I rarely see on stage. And in their very averageness, Cefaly uncovers truth, humor, and an aching desire to be heard. Most successful of the four short plays are ‘Fin and Euba’ and ‘The Gulf.’ ‘Fin and Euba’ finds two women (played by Carolyn Koch and Lauren Erica Jackson) sitting on lawn chairs in a yard littered with tacky ornaments. It quickly becomes obvious that Fin is projecting her upwardly mobile ambitions onto her unwilling friend, hoping that by unsticking Euba, she might unstick herself. Euba is the perfect example of the type of complexity with which Cefaly imbues her female characters. She clearly hates her life, but she isn’t willing to take a chance on a risk, nor is she able to envision herself in a better situation. The hard part is that she might be right: Dreams are great, but don’t always lead to a happy ending. Koch and Jackson use a lot of physical shorthand (best friends talk so much more with their eyes) to good effect. Their catharsis feels earned. Cefaly uses this structure again in ‘The Gulf,’ but
this time, the two women, Kendra and Betty (Donna Ibale and Aladrian C. Wetzel), are lovers. Betty pushes Kendra, a sewage plant worker, to better herself, not realizing that “better” for Betty isn’t the same as “better” for Kendra. Director Betse Lyons mines a lot of drama out of the claustrophobic environment of a small fishing boat, building the tension to a breaking point. Betty and Kendra’s conflict and eventual resolution is satisfying because we believe their relationship 100 percent. The other two pieces, ‘Clean’ and ‘Stuck,’ are a little less thematically interesting. ‘Clean’ centers around Lina (Lyons, in a terrific, affecting performance), a waitress who feels invisible, but is seen more clearly than she imagines by an Italian dishwasher named Roberto (Justin Johnson). ‘Stuck,’ a parable on Internet dating and authenticity, is the most laugh-out-loud of the pieces, mostly due to the excellent comic timing of Mike Smith and Lee Conderacci. “What do women want?” is an unanswerable question. Women are people, and people’s wants and needs are wildly different. Cefaly’s work shines brightest when it illuminates the complex and rich relationships between women, when it acknowledges that, whatever it is that women want, we will need each other to get there. “God never gives us more than we can handle,” says Fin to her best friend in ‘Fin and Euba.’ She considers, then quickly amends: “Sometimes it’s just a little bit more than we can handle. But that’s why we have each other.” “Love is a Blue Tick Hound” continues Jan. 18-21 at Baltimore Theatre Project.
JANUARY 17, 2018
See us for Toys, Books, and More! 1001 W 36th St., Hampden Baltimore, MD
BEYOND BLOWN AWAY!: ADVANCED BLOW JOBS with Stefani Levin | $25 January 17th at 6:30pm
PLEASURE IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT with Sarah Brynn | $25 January 24th 6:30pm
FREE PELVIC PAIN INFORMATION SESSION
with Dr. Samantha DuFlo January 25th at 6:30pm
HEALING, PLEASURE AND SEX AFTER TRAUMA with Sarah Brynn January 28th 6:30pm
LOVING THAT BOOTY AND GETTING PLEASURE FROM THAT ASS with Alicia | $25 February 7th 6:30pm
G-SPOTS, SQUIRTING & FUN with Jacq Jones | $25 February 26th
ROPE SALON with Darian | $15 March 8th 7pm
POLY AND THE LAWPOLYAMORY AND THE LAW Jonathan D. Lane March 14th 6:30pm
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR VALENTINE’S DAY! Purchase tickets in person at the store, over the phone with a credit card or online at
Schroeder Cherry Screencap courtesy YouTube
January Puppet Slamwich J A N . 2 0
Originating as early as 3000 years ago, puppetry is still alive and well today, and not just on Sesame Street. Baltimore’s own Black Cherry Puppet Theater hosts a monthly showcase of local and out-of-town puppet artists and troupes bringing adult-friendly acts wherein sculpture and assemblage, often impressive even when not in motion, command the stage. This month, see Schroeder Cherry, a Baltimore-based museum educator and artist whose puppets actually seem more real than some people—you’ll have to check it out to see what I mean. Also performing tonight (there are two shows) are String Theory, Rachel Kotkin, Josh Hne, Meredith Faid, Daniela Hernandez-Fujigaki, and special musical guest The Flowery (aka Allison Clendaniel and Connor Kizer). 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., 1115 Hollins St., (410) 752-7272, blackcherry.ticketspice.com/january20th-puppet-slamwich, $8-$10. (Maura Callahan) Alex Hooper. Best known for his appearances on Comedy Central’s “Roast Battles” and “New Girl,” Alex Hooper performs stand-up with support from Mike Moran, Nikki Fuchs, and host Eric Navarro. Jan. 17, 9 p.m., The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, theottobar.com, $5. Badass Comedy. Improv and comedy from Bear Trap, Imaginary Friends, Bad Karaoke Experience, and Scrapple. Jan. 20, 8 p.m., Charm City Comedy Project at Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St., charmcitycomedyproject.com, $5. Centurion Comedy. Ian Salyers hosts exactly one hundred minutes of stand-up comedy from local comics. Jan. 20, 9 p.m., Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, (410) 6624444, atomicbooks.com, $5. “First Date.” A blind date newbie and a serial dater get set up on a date that turns out to be much more than they bargained for. Through Jan. 21, Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., (410) 752-1225, spotlighters.org, $10-$22. Impropourri. The Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) hosts a weekly bring-your-owntroupe improv and sketch showcase. Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m., The BIG Theater, 1727 N. Charles St., (888) 745-8393, bigimprov.org. “Inherit the Wind.” Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s courtroom drama chronicles the Scopes “monkey” trial. Through Feb. 4, Vagabond Players, 806 S. Broadway, (410) 563-9135, vagabondplayers.org, $10-$20. Mucking About. Long form improv from Bandicoot, Topiary, and Synched followed by an improv karaoke jam. Jan. 19, 8 p.m., Charm City Comedy Project at Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St., charmcitycomedyproject.com, $5. The Passing Zone. Comedy-stunt duo Passing Zone, aka Jon Wee and Owen Morse, finished in the top 10 on “America’s Got Talent.” Jan. 20, 9:45 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000, bsomusic.org, $36-$125. “The Tempest.” The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory presents the bard’s shipwreck drama featuring an original score. Through Feb. 4, St. Mary’s Outreach Center, 3900 Roland Ave., baltimoreshakespearefactory.org, $19-$24. “Trouble in Tahiti.” In Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera, the troubled marriage of a young suburban couple presents a critique of post-war American materialism. Through Jan. 27, StillPointe Theatre, 1900 St. Paul St., stillpointetheatre.com, $25. Women’s Performance Workshop. A two-day workshop open to all women-identified community members to hone performance work, culminating in a performance for the community. Workshop Jan. 19, 7-9:30 p.m. and Jan. 20, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; performance on Jan. 20, 8 p.m; Strand Theater Company, 5426 Harford Road, (443) 874-4917, strand-theater.org, free.
JANUARY 17, 2018
On harassment, violence, and vomit “In Between,” a Palestinian lesson in the drudgery and devastation of patriarchy By Maura Callahan
Sana Jammelieh (left), Shaden Kanboura, and Mouna Hawa in “In Between”
Ignited by the recent mass reckoning of sexual harassment and assault, a sub-dialogue (if you can call it that) has unfolded, seemingly between mostly men, or men talking at women, or simply men semipublicly bloviating into the void about how there are degrees to misogyny and sexual assault, and how those degrees matter. If we’re up to it we’ll respond: Yes, obviously catcalling and groping and unequal pay and gaslighting and mansplaining and rape are not all the same thing, nor is the experience of any one of those things the same for any two people—now can men please just stop doing all those things? I recommend that we direct these self-appointed sexism experts to Palestinian filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud’s feature debut “In Between” (“Bar Bahar” in Arabic) about three 20-something Arab-Israeli women living together in a Tel Aviv flat while navigating patriarchy and seeking respite in the city’s underground party scene (the depiction of which earned Hamoud the first fatwa issued in Palestine in seven decades). For some, the film serves as an urgent education; for others, a vital shift in tone and perspective on a world we know too well through a more micro web of experiences rarely depicted onscreen—the interior lives of brown women pushing back against tradition. Hamoud makes plain the multifarious but always grave implications of both overt and covert misogyny through the periodically intersecting stories of Laila (Mouna Hawa), a chain smoking, take-no-shit criminal lawyer by day and fuck-this-shit partier by night; Salma (Sana Jammelieh), a pierced, laid-back DJ who one minute is flirting with another woman and the next is humoring her Christian parents by enduring dinners with unimpressive male suitors; and their new flatmate Nour (Shaden Kanboura), a computer science student whose own quiet piety initially divides her from her decidedly less inhibited roommates—though early on chuckles at a well-endowed toy figurine and a moment of dancing alone offset Nour’s apparent austerity. Viewed most often through the dusky lens of fringe nightlife, Hamoud’s Tel Aviv feels familiar to city dwellers who have never set foot in Palestine. A boozy maze of lived-in corners and guiding streetlights, fuzzy electronica (often spun by Salma, in this case) bouncing off walls—the relief found in shadows, where it’s a bit easier to blend in. It’s a credit to how “In Between”
points to the ubiquitous need to carve out one’s own space in life under oppression, even though here we’re dealing with a very particular set of circumstances; that is, 50 years of Israeli occupation. The hostility surrounding Palestinians is palpable here: Salma quits her kitchen day job when she is chastised for speaking Arabic; she and Laila roll their eyes at the contempt thrown their way while shopping at a boutique. But anti-Palestinian sentiment serves more as an entangled backdrop than a narrative thread. Hamoud’s (albeit expansive) focus is the expectation that women live for men—which of course is far from unique to Arab women, though plenty of casual xenophobes insist that women must be “saved” from the hijab. Subscribers to this particular brand of White Feminism would also do well to pay attention to Nour’s story: By the end of the film, she finds strength and independence—and she still wears her hijab. The main source of her repression is not her Muslim faith but her scum fiance (Henry Andrawes), who exploits the label of religious morality and charity to excuse his own abusive behavior (needless to say, this kind of corruption is found at every level of all religions). Here’s your trigger warning, by the way: a brutal rape (no male gaze here, though) about 45 minutes in. Salma and a very drunk Laila return from a night out to find Nour weeping on the bathroom floor. Laila can’t help but vomit into the toilet before coming to her flatmate’s aid. She and Salma hold Nour, undress her, and bathe her as she cries. The scene at once conjures the devastation sexual assault doles out and the empowerment that tender solidarity brings in turn—all tempered by a shot of hard realism via Laila’s barf. Tragedy never strikes when we’re ready, and vomit is a perfectly reasonable response. The three women’s stories coil more tightly as they seek justice—or at least a way out for Nour from her doomed marriage. This plotline carries none of the sensationalism or negligence delivered in too many male-directed rape revenge flicks, and Hamoud and her heroines are less interested in punishment than resolution. If retribution has a place anywhere, it’s in movies, which can deliver vengeance with more gratification than life ever could. But Hamoud has no intention of appeasement; that would be counterproductive. She does, however, offer a subtle dose of “Thelma & Louise” vibes by peering into
her characters through plenty of car windshield shots— when there’s a man in the car, a woman is always in the driver’s seat. In the meantime, Laila and Salma continue to push against the nuanced patriarchal forces in their own lives. Laila can’t have a single night of fun without actively dodging unwanted advances; and her ostensibly progressive boyfriend (Mahmoud Shalaby) proves just as old-fashioned as all the rest, intolerant of her brazen autonomy and insisting that she tone it down while making no promises to do the same. Salma finds her family to be unaccepting, to say the least, of her attraction to women—and moreover, her lack of attraction to men. The three are entwined by the shared state of existing “in between” the reality of a stagnant social order and the strained attempts to live life as they envision it: free without fear. All three performers dig down into that narrow space and draw out the anxious energy it cultivates within each character— Hawa through Laila’s no-fucks-left-to-give restlessness, Jammelieh with Salma’s perpetual eye roll, Kanboura burrowed deep into Nour’s timid uncertainty. Through her sweeping yet appropriately understated storytelling, Hamoud applies even consideration to different points on the “spectrum of behavior” as prescribed by Matt Damon in reference to the abusive and sexist tendencies of men. She trivializes nothing in the process. With patent effortlessness— because wow women tell women’s stories pretty well huh?—she shows how those points aren’t really points at all, but branches of the same root; how for women living in a culture the “progressive” West often dismisses as outmoded, something so quotidian as men’s casual entitlement to their attention is still a stinging reminder of their place, and sexual assault is no less shattering. For people who live through this, none of “In Between” is revelatory, and the film never reaches the depth of the wounds inflicted upon Nour, Salma, Laila, and the people they represent—how could it? If the narrative ever feels cursory, it’s not for carelessness or oversight, but for the big step back (and forward, and back again) necessary to place in view an impossibly near-comprehensive picture of how half the world lives. “In Between,” directed by Maysaloun Hamoud, opens on Jan. 19 at The Parkway.
JANUARY 17, 2018
The Rise And Fall
“I, Tonya” re-examines the crime scene of a celebrity life By Max Robinson
“Who is Tonya Harding?” is the unspoken question at the heart of director Craig Gillespie’s darkly comic biopic, depicting the rise—and very public fall—of the two-time Olympic figure skater more renowned for her involvement in a 1994 assault on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan than her considerable professional accomplishments. Is she the ice skating super-villain the media would lead you to believe? A victim of devastating circumstances? The bruised soul searching of “I, Tonya” ultimately leans toward sympathy for its subject, zeroing in on the unfortunately very ordinary cycles of abuse that would come to define Harding’s personal and professional life. “I, Tonya” is first and foremost an Oscar vehicle for star Margot Robbie, whose sheer screen presence lit up the back half of “The Wolf of Wall Street” and was enough to make “Suicide Squad” at least morbidly watchable. Robbie inhabits Tonya Harding from age 16 to 47, flashing between braces and a feathered perm as teenager to bad skin and weight-adding prosthetics for her modern day incarnation. It’s the kind of big performance this sort of biopic demands. She’s joined for a series of framing device testimonials by Sebastian Stan as Harding’s abusive ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and Allison Janney as Harding’s chain-smoking mother LaVona. These testimonials are one of the more novel inventions of “I, Tonya,” which reenact real interviews recorded for the film. It’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re watching beautiful celebrities slumming it as aging, working-class losers in these segments but Robbie, Janney, and Stan are all talented enough performers that their occasional presence as talking heads never overstays its welcome. The Tonya-Jeff-Mom triumvirate of “I, Tonya” is central to the film’s hard focus on Harding’s lifelong exposure to abuse, gradually morphing from her mother’s calculated stage mom cruelty to the casual physical assaults that come to define Tonya’s glue trap marriage to Gillooly. It’s a credit to everyone involved that the on-screen violence against women in “I, Tonya” never feels exploitative (even Kerrigan’s story-mandated knee injury via telescoping baton is implied rather than explicitly shown). Janney, whose performance as LeVona is garnering deserved best supporting actress buzz, portrays the elder Harding with borderline cartoonish iciness as she berates her daughter’s performances, calls her names, and tosses chairs around. It’s an over-the-top performance that really only works because Janney’s entertainingly mean LeVona is never given a pass for a lifetime of shit parenting. Stan, most famous as Chris Evans’ sidekick-turnedmurder machine frenemy Bucky Barnes in the Captain America movies, plays the caterpillar-lipped Gillooly as a kind of dopey stock Coen Brothers movie loser whose hair trigger temper threatens to pop off at any moment. Harding and Gillooly’s on-again/off-again relationship is one of the only truly three dimensional elements of “I, Tonya,” with sucker punches and angry slurs from Gillooly punctuating the couple’s rare moments of down-and-out domestic bliss. Gillooly is the kind of abusive husband rarely seen on-screen, a rail thin Ned Flanders type whose outward harmlessness is an “aw gosh” mask for truly scary monstrousness. When it comes to Tonya herself, Robbie’s performance is by necessity much harder to pin down.
JANUARY 17, 2018
Between cigarette drags, Tonya refuses responsibility for the avalanche of nightmares that defines her at-home and professional lives. When an enraged Harding throws a skate at soft-spoken/tough love mentor/coach Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson) after a botched routine, talking head modern day Tonya reflexively exclaims, “that wasn’t my fault.” Later, Harding matter of factly suggests that a distraught, under-investigation-by-theFBI Gillooly kill himself from behind a locked hotel room door. These are shocking moments and we as the viewer are forced to reckon with the thick emotional callouses Harding’s grown after decades of abuse, the toll that takes on even an ordinary human life. Tonya Harding didn’t actually attack Nancy Kerrigan, the movie emphasizes, but it also never completely spells out how much she knew about the plot to intimidate Kerrigan paid for by her ex-husband-turned-manager. “I mean, come on!” an exasperated Harding begs the viewer. “What kind of friggin’ person bashes in their friend’s knee? Who would do that to a friend?” With its breakneck pace, looped bar jukebox soundtrack, and fourth-wall-shattering addresses to the audience, there’s a slight, winky slickness that pervades “I, Tonya.” Gillespie’s direction and a script from longtime romcom screenwriter Steven Rogers (“Hope Floats,” “Kate & Leopold”) err toward heartpumping music-driven skate routines that break up breathless “and then this happened” montages in an attempt to summarize the breadth and width of Harding’s life story in a single movie. “I, Tonya” is, as a result, often slight in its otherwise nuanced depiction of a complex figure. That superficial sheen is at least somewhat appropriate, however: Figure skating is, after all, built on the immaculate artifice of routine and “I, Tonya” hinges on the foul-mouthed, dirt poor Harding’s seemingly endless struggle to present herself as the kind of family friendly ice princess judges award gold medals. Reminders of class are ever-present in “I, Tonya”—from Harding and Gillooly’s awkwardly adult-supervised first date at an all-you-can-eat buffet to Harding’s hunched over evenings sewing her own costumes and ZZ Topscored skate routines—and suggest that the Kerrigan incident was the long-awaited excuse the perpetually nose-upturned pro skating world needed to banish square peg Harding from their uniformly circular ranks. “I, Tonya” is a tragedy, never more so when it emphasizes Harding’s futile attempts to find love and acceptance—from her mother, from her husband, from the world—that will never be returned. So who is Tonya Harding—world famous athlete, ‘90s pop culture boogiewoman, and imperfect victim— at end of film’s two-hour-plus run time? “I, Tonya” never sits still quite long enough to give us a totally satisfying answer, but it does cut through the corny late night show jokes and 24 hour news cycle demonization just deep enough to make us question our own culpability in Tonya Harding’s now-faded notoriety. Like the film’s subject, “I, Tonya” doesn’t ever reach its fabled potential for greatness but—as beautifully captured in Robbieas-Harding’s final bloody lipped “fuck ‘em” during a post-career celebrity boxing match—you at least have to admire its tenacity. “I, Tonya” directed by Craig Gillespie, is now playing at The Charles Theatre.
The Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St., (410) 7273464, thecharles.com. “Call Me By Your Name” (Luca Guadagnino, U.S./Italy, 2017), now playing. “Darkest Hour” (Joe Wright, U.K., 2017), now playing. “The Disaster Artist” (James Franco, U.S., 2017), now playing. “I, Tonya” (Craig Gillespie, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Lady Bird” (Greta Gerwig, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Shape Of Water” (Guillermo del Toro, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Glass Key” (Stuart Heisler, U.S., 1942), Jan. 18. “Happy End” (Michael Haneke, France/Germany/ Austria, 2017), opens Jan. 19. “Phantom Thread” (Paul Thomas Anderson, U.S., 2017), opens Jan. 19. “Trouble No More (Jennifer Lebeau, U.S., 2017), opens Jan. 19. “The Exterminating Angel” (Luis Bunuel, Spain, 1962), Jan. 20, Jan. 22, Jan. 25. Motorhouse, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, motorhousebaltimore.com. A Night of Black Brazilian Film: “Soul in the Eye” (Zózimo Bulbul, 1973), “Travessia” (Safira Moreira, 2017), “Merê” (Urânia Munzanzu, 2017), “God” (Vinicius Silva, 2016), “Jerusa’s Day” (Vivane Ferreira, 2014), “Kbela” (Yasmin Thayná, 23 min) with a discussion with Brazilian researcher and curator Janaína Oliveira, coordinator of FICINE (Black Cinema Itinerant Forum) after the shorts are screened, Jan. 19. The Parkway Theatre, 5 W. North Ave., (410) 7528083, mdfilmfest.com. “Bad Lucky Goat” (Samir Oliveros, Colombia, 2017), now playing. “Kaleidoscope” (Rupert Jones, 2017, U.K.), now playing. “Quest” (Jonathan Olshefski, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Strange Ones” (Lauren Wolkstein & Christopher Radcliff, U.S., 2017), now playing. Free Screening: “Wendy and Lucy” (Kelly Reichardt, U.S., 2008), Jan. 18. “The Final Year” (Greg Barker, U.S., 2017), opens Jan. 19 “In Between” (Maysaloun Hamoud, Israel, 2016), opens Jan. 19 Russian Arcs: A Selection of Narrative Film on Russian Culture: “Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari” (Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia, 2012), Jan. 19, Jan. 22. The Red Room, Normals Books and Records, 425 E. 31st St., redroom.org. Secret Psychic Cinema guest curator Herb Shellenberger presents “Zero de Conduite” (Jean Vigo, France, 1933) and “The Flower Thief” (Ron Rice, U.S., 1960) on 16mm, Jan. 21. The Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road, (410) 3234424, senatortheatre.com. “The Greatest Showman” (Michael Gracey, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” (Jake Kasdan, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” (Rian Johnson, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Molly’s Game” (Aaron Sorkin, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Post” (Steven Spielberg, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Trouble No More (Jennifer Lebeau, U.S., 2017), Jan. 18. “The Breakfast Club” (John Hughes, U.S., 1985), Jan. 21, Jan. 22, Jan. 23. “The Godfather” (Francis Ford Coppola, U.S. 1972), Jan. 24.Sana Jammelieh (left), Shaden Kanboura, and Mouna Hawa in “In Between”
EASY AS PIE Dovecote Café chef Amanda Mack talks about going big by thinking small By Lisa Snowden-McCray
Amanda Mack Photo by E. Brady Robinson
Dovecote Café chef Amanda Mack thinks in the micro—and both literally and figuratively. Literally, Mack is currently working on a line of sweet and savory hand pies. We are sitting in the kitchen in her Reservoir Hill home, and she’s mixing up the dough for a batch right now. “You would think the bigger the butter the better,” she tells me, plopping down a big plastic bag of full of butter crumbles. “When you’re baking, you want those big pieces of butter . . . but what I realized with doing the hand pies, because they’re smaller or like turnovers, you actually benefit more doing smaller pieces of butter so that it’s more evenly distributed.” “With a hand pie the crust is your first experience with the dish,” she continues. “So it’s got to be amazing.” But she has found that thinking small just makes sense when it comes to her business. Mostly, that means focusing closely on what she does best. Mack has worked at Dovecote for for a little over a year, but with a baby on the way (she also has a 4-yearold daughter and 10-year-old son) and her burgeoning hand pie business, she’s temporarily stepped away. “I’m still a collaborator with Dovecote,” she says. “I’ll always be with Dovecote.” Her profile as a chef and food curator is also growing. Last year, she had a recipe published in Food & Wine magazine—a kale and roasted pumpkin salad accented with blue cheese, yogurt, and chiles—and she worked on an event put on by the biannual, womanfocused food magazine Cherry Bomb, organized by Krystal Mack (no relation) of blk // Sugar bakery. “It’s good to have like a go-to product. I can be a chef, I can work here, I can be at Dovecote, I can do all
Photo by E. Brady Robinson
these great things but when you’re trying to get to a larger scale and be on a bigger platform, sometimes it takes being known for a specific thing. So that’s why I’m really focusing on . . . what is my thing? What do I enjoy most, what’s most me? What are the people most receptive to? And even though I’m a great cook, I think I’m an amazing baker,” she says with a smile. “I think I want to be known for that whole sweet and savory, that small plates and small bites. It’s my thing.” Mack grew up in Baltimore, in McCulloh Homes. Her grandmother was a chef who worked in some of the fanciest restaurants in Baltimore, she says. Her mom sent her out the door with homemade granola, along with the normal stuff you eat when you grow up in a food desert. “We also had [grocery store chain] Murry’s . . . we had Steak Umms,” she says. Mack says she has tried to take some of her cooking techniques from her mother and grandmother, but she’s put her own fresh spin on things too. For one, she’s tried to be more health-conscious when it comes to food. That started 10 years ago, when she gave birth to her son. “It was important to me at that time in my life, I made sure that he ate things that were good for him and good for his body, even if he didn’t like them,” she says. One thing she hasn’t strayed from, though, is the slow methodical way of cooking that her grandmother favored. She says that she doesn’t want to take shortcuts, and prefers to make everything by hand. “If I put it in a machine, then I feel like it’s from me, but it’s not really from me. Like I could do this in two minutes and 30 seconds in a KitchenAid [mixer],”
she says, referring to the dough she’s working through with her hands. “But it’s like, do I want to? When people experience my food, I want them to taste the work that I put into it. It’s not easy and I’m tired at the end of it, but it’s so good.” Mack says she likes catering to small, intimate groups where she can curate every part of the diners’ experience—from linen, to flatwear, to food. “I love it when you create something that people will remember after. Like grandma’s pie or grandma’s biscuits.” She’s also opening a shared kitchen space this year, where food and drink experts can hone their craft and learn to market their wares. “I understand the importance of access to a commercial kitchen and what that can really do for your business,” she says. “I also understand how expensive it is.” She also understands looks matter when you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the food business. “Making it is step one but if you don’t have access to a professional photographer, if you don’t have branding, if you don’t have a pitch, you just make good food. So I want to get people from baking and making to being the brand that stands alone.” Amanda Mack’s hand pies will come in apple caramel ginger and chocolate cherry flavors available for pre-order starting Feb. 10 via email (hello@MrsMarriedMack.com) or by phone (443-8824534) and available for purchase in March at Coffee Therapy, Extract Juice Bar, and Ground & Griddled at R. House. Find her on Instagram @mrsmarriedmack.
JANUARY 17, 2018
Sugar Talk Parsing polyamory By Jacq Jones
My partner has asked me to consider opening up our relationship. We have a few friends who have open relationships, and most of the time they seem to work (for them). I’m open to considering it. What are the things we should know? I really like this person and I don’t want to screw up our relationship. Congratulations on having a relationship where you have open communication. That’s not easy. You and your partner are already on a great path. Good communication is a cornerstone of any healthy relationship—open or monogamous. It’s especially critical when you’re going through the process of opening your relationship. The first thing I’d suggest you do is read some books. There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about what open relationships can look like. Just like any kind of relationship, they can be healthy, or messy, or boring. There also are a ton of different ways folks structure their relationships. My three favorite books on open relationships/polyamory (loving many) are: “Opening Up” by Tristan Taormino, “More Than Two” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickard, and “The Ethical Slut” by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton. These books will give you an overview of the different types of ways people do open relationships, how to healthfully process feelings, and what kinds of things you should be thinking about. After you’ve both read the books, each of you should start thinking about what your dream open
JANUARY 17, 2018
relationship would look like. “I’d sit down together and draw an enormous venn diagram [overlapping circles], then fill in your individual wants and needs on either side,” says Andre Shakti, a sex worker, educator, and activist who writes at IAmPoly.net. “Once completed, look over each other’s brainstorming and begin identifying where those wants and needs can potentially overlap in the center. I’d also encourage you both to place asterisks next to at least two of your wants or needs that may not overlap with the other’s, but that you’d be willing to compromise on or be flexible around. Finally, use all the information gathered to begin building your first non-monogamy platform!” You should expect that everything you want won’t overlap—you’re not twins. For example, you may find that your partner is primarily interested in hooking up with other folks and not building a relationship with them. You may be most interested in building a long term emotional connection with additional partners. As long as each of you is fine with the other’s wishes, it makes sense for each of you to build a poly plan that overlaps, but isn’t the same. As you grow in your relationship, you will make mistakes. You or your partner may set a boundary that you find doesn’t work, or feels yucky for one of you. Be gentle with each other. Keep being honest. Keep talking. Try to pay attention to which of your feelings are based on your own shit and what’s based on your
partner’s actions. If you’re upset about something related to the poly part of your relationship, take a breath, and talk to a friend who is supportive of your open relationship. Friends who have experience with polyamory can be great to help you get your stuff right sized before you go overboard on your partner. When you’re first starting out in a poly relationship, it’s a great idea to focus on dating or hooking up with other folks who identify as poly. There’s a lot of misunderstanding of polyamory. Frequently, people who aren’t familiar with polyamory think that opening your relationship means that something is wrong. Dating someone who’s coming from that place can stir up all kinds of unnecessary drama. Other poly folks have experience in the ins and outs of maintaining more than one relationship. You can meet other poly folks in a number of places: in person at events, at meet ups, on OKCupid, or through online communities. A quick google search will get you to a bunch of different options. Keep talking. Keep listening to each other. Take your time. Be honest. Practice forgiveness. Be kind. Remember it is always OK to say no—and enjoy exploring!
Do you have questions about sex, sexuality, relationships, or gender? Send them to sugartalk@ sugartheshop.com. Jacq Jones is a sex educator and the owner of Sugar, an education-focused sex toy store in Baltimore and online at sugartheshop.com.
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JANUARY 17. 2018
Baltimore Beat Presents
Celebrating the Baltimore Beat’s Liquor Issue, and the man himself,
Edgar Allen Poe Drink & Food Specials
Come dressed like Edgar Allen Poe or Annabel Lee and win prizes! Everyone’s “Last Words” get printed in
Wednesday, January 31st’s Baltimore Beat Annabel Lee Tavern annabelleetavern.com baltimorebeat.com
601 S. Clinton St., Baltimore MD 21224 In Upper Canton
Baltimorebeat.com, Volume 2, Issue 3, January 17, 2018