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J A N U A R Y 2 4 , 2 0 1 8 V O L . 2 I S S . 4 B A L T I M O R E B E AT. C O M



Big Head Todd & The Monsters w/ Luther Dickinson.................... Th JAN 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

Merriweather Post Pavilion • Columbia, MD JUST ANNOUNCED!


w/ Brothers Osborne & LANCO .. FRI MAY 18

On Sale Friday, January 26 at 10am



Typhoon w/ Bad Bad Hats .........W 31

Kelela .........................................Th 1 Galactic


• For full lineups and more info, visit •

(F 2 - w/ Butcher Brown) .... F 2 & Sa 3

Hippie Sabotage


Greensky Bluegrass

Lincoln Theatre • 1215 U Street, NW Washington, D.C.

w/ Melvv & Olivia Noelle ..............Su 4

w/ Billy Strings

LP w/ Noah Kahan .........................M 5 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark w/ GGOOLLDD ......Tu 6 Cornelius ....................................W 7 Beth Ditto w/ SSION ................Sa 10

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:


J Boog

w/ Jesse Royal & Etana .............Su 11

DC’s All-90s Band .......................F 9

K.Flay w/ Yungblud ...................M 12 I’m With Her w/ Andrew Combs

COIN w/ The Aces ......................Sa 10 Múm ..........................................Su 11 Sleigh Bells

(Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan) ....................Tu 13

w/ Sunflower Bean ......................W 14

Mason Bates’s Mercury Soul ........................Th 15 Nils Frahm ................................F 16 Jon Batiste (Solo in the Round)



w/ Elephante & Youngr .............Th 15

ZZ Ward w/ Black Pistol Fire

Early Show! 6pm Doors ..................Sa 17

& Billy Raffoul ..............................F 16


STRFKR w/ Reptaliens .............Sa 17



.......................................................... APRIL 26

On Sale Friday, January 26 at 10am THIS FRI & SAT! ALL GOOD PRESENTS

the WOOD brothers w/ The Stray Birds ................... JAN 26 & 27


Sucker For Love ................... FEB 10

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


Bianca Del Rio ...................... MAR 15

PostSecret: The Show ...... MAR 24 Rob Bell w/ Peter Rollins .......... MAR 27 Max Raabe & Palast Orchester.............APR 11 Calexico w/ Ryley Walker ............APR 27 Robyn Hitchcock and His L.A. Squires w/ Tristen .......................................APR 28

• •

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

The Floozies


Late Show! 10:30pm Doors .............Sa 17

Ganja White Night

Moose Blood w/ Lydia ............Su 18 Coast Modern..........................M 19 Wild Child w/ The Wild Reeds .Tu 20

w/ Dirt Monkey & Subtronics ....Su 18

The Oh Hellos

w/ Lowland Hum .........................W 21


Lane 8 w/ Enamour .................Th 22




Railroad Earth w/ Roosevelt Coliler .......F 23 & Sa 24

Rhye ...........................................M 26 Lights w/ Chase Atlantic & DCF .Tu 27



Sugarland w/ Brandy Clark & Clare Bowen ................................................. SAT JULY 14

Betty Who .................................W 21 Dan Auerbach & The Easy Eye Sound Revue feat. Robert Finley and Shannon Shaw

w/ Shannon and the Clams........Th 22

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

9:30 CLUB PRESENTS AT U STREET MUSIC HALL 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 MAKO w/ Night Lights .......................... Sa 24 Gabrielle Aplin w/ John Splithoff ...... Su 25 Sevdaliza ........................................... Tu 27 Missio w/ Welshly Arms...................F MAR 2

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

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


Ella Vos w/ Freya Ridings ....................... M 5 Amy Shark w/ MILCK .......................... 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!

The Real News Network produces independent, verifiable, fact-based journalism that engages ordinary people in solving critical problems in their communities. As legendary journalist Ida B. Wells said, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”

The Future Depends On Knowing. Find us online at

We examine the underlying causes of the chronic problems facing Baltimore, and investigate and report on effective solutions and models for change. We don’t just cover people in high office or limit news to the partisan horse race for power. People who fight for human rights and work for solutions are newsmakers. We believe that real change will be driven by the people who need it most. While we report and investigate on all important issues of social and economic concern, we consider the climate change crisis an existential threat. In all of our programming and journalism the impact of environmental degradation and the climate crisis, especially on marginalized people, and the urgency of finding solutions will be front and center.

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410-646-8124 HAIR * ART * MUSIC


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“Long Day’s Journey Into Night” director Donald Hicken talks the compassionate, misunderstood mind of Eugene O’Neill

Whiskey Girl

Cocktail photographer and blogger Nikki Davidson talks about her love of spirit

Cover Illustration by Alex Fine WEEK IN REVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 REAL NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 BLADE NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 THIS MEAD HALL GLITTERING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 MAKE ME A DRINK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 NO, MOMMY DOESN’T NEED MORE WINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 ART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 ON PAPER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 MUSIC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 BOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 STAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 SCREENS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 FOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 WEED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 FIELD TRIPPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

JANUARY 24, 2018


For distribution, contact Lynne Brown at 202-747-2077, Ext. 8075. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC All material in the Baltimore Beat is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Baltimore Beat. Although the Baltimore Beat is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Baltimore Beat, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Baltimore Beat is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within Baltimore. Multiple copies are available from the Baltimore Beat office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 52-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Postmaster: Send address changes to the Baltimore Beat, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Baltimore Beat is published weekly, on Wednesday, by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Individual Subscriptions are $195 per year for 52 issues (only $3.75 per issue mailed to you USPS). Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Baltimore Beat are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Baltimore Beat or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to ©2018 BROWN NAFF PITTS OMNIMEDIA, INC.


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

Baltimore native, comedian, and Oscar winner Mo’Nique issued a call via Instagram last week for her fans to boycott Netflix because the streaming content company offered her $500,000 to do a comedy special versus the $11 million they’ve paid Amy Schumer and $20 million she says they’ve paid Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. People, it seems, are mostly laughing off her request, but Mo’Nique has a point. She’s a fucking Oscar winner, after all. Mo’Nique accused them of colorism and gender bias and it’s worth noting: Another black comedian, Wanda Sykes, says Netflix also tried to lowball her but she instead opted to work with another company. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, along with 21 other AGs from around the country, are fighting back after the FCC’s recent net neutrality repeal, filing a lawsuit to block the move. Opponents of the repeal say it favors big business and makes the web less accessible for regular citizens by allowing companies like AT&T and Comcast to manipulate download speeds and favor some sites over others. “The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Maryland and across the country that rely on a free and open internet,” Frosh said via a statement. Amazon released the list of cities in the running to be the site of their HQ2 headquarters, and Baltimore didn’t make the cut. That’s a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. Mayor Catherine Pugh released a statement shortly after the announcement, saying that she was disappointed but that she’s not letting this stop her from pursuing a “strong growth agenda for Baltimore,” which means trying to lure other big businesses, like Apple, to the city. We just want to know: Is she ever going to tell us what she promised Amazon in the first place? We all got a shock last Friday morning when we learned that Mayor Pugh had axed now-former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and named 30-year veteran Darryl DeSousa as commissioner-designate. Pugh said that she made the move because she was “impatient.” Our beef: There were over 300 murders in this city last year. What made the mayor run out of patience now? Also, how is a 30-year veteran of the department going to bring change to a department that desperately needs it? City officials announced last week that they’d be forcing the people experiencing homelessness out of the makeshift encampment set up under Interstate 83. They said the move is driven by safety concerns, including the recent cold weather and the use of open flames. The city will provide up to 40 beds for anyone who wants them. However, according to advocates who spoke to The Baltimore Sun, the move is potentially traumatizing for many of the people who live there, noting that some places meant to be havens for people instead offer a whole host of other problems. Similar concerns were voiced during Mayor Pugh’s interaction with the protesters who set up tents on the lawn in front of City Hall this summer. There’s still much to be done to solve the city’s problem with homelessness. Thousands turned out in Baltimore last Saturday to mark the one year anniversary of the Women’s March. There were lots of signs and some dancing and words from Mayor Catherine Pugh, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and City Health Commissioner Leana Wen, among others. Ava Pipitone, executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance noted that even among members of the #resistance, there is still much work to be done—noting that we “not anchor our womenhood to the genitals of cis women,” and adding, “we need to upgrade our language from reaction to collective action.” The primaries are in June and candidates were required to file their latest fundraising stats last week. We learned that Republican Governor Larry Hogan has the most cash on hand—more than $9 million—and that he’s received donations from the Koch brothers. Among the Democrats, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has received $2 million, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has $1.05 million, and Ben Jealous has received $1.5 million in donations. Between Jan. 15 (when the previous issue of the Beat went to press) and Jan. 22 (when this issue of the Beat went to press) there were two homicides in Baltimore: A not yet identified man on Jan. 20 and Darone Johnson on Jan. 21. On Jan. 21, the Baltimore Police also mentioned “26 year-old Marco Byrd, murdered on January 19, 2018 in the 600 block of Duncan Street,” though this has not been determined to be a homicide. There have been 13 homicides in Baltimore this year.

Baltimore’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade on Jan. 15. Photo By Larry Cohen

Community Events J A N . 2 4 - 3 1 Granite Pipeline Open House. Learn about the second phase of the granite pipeline project. Jan. 24, 6-8 p.m., Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, 3001 East Dr., 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. 24 and 31, usually held at the intersection of 33rd Street and Greenmount Avenue, check for details. Bystander Intervention Training. Learn how to step up and be supportive when fellow community members are facing harassment and hate speech. Jan. 25, 7-9 p.m., 2640 Space, 2640 St. Paul St., Free Tax Prep Event. Council President Young will speak at a press conference to kick off the Baltimore CASH Campaign’s free tax preparation season. Jan. 26, 10 a.m., Boys to Men Empowerment Seminar. Information to encourage and inform local boys. Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, 3500 Hillen Road, Packing Social: Volunteer Event. Help donate feminine hygiene products and bras to women in need. Jan. 27, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. New Miracle CCC, 4802 Liberty Heights Ave., Second District Night. Catch up with City Council Representative Brandon Scott. RSVP to or (410) 396-4808. Jan. 27, 5-7 p.m., War Memorial Building, 101 N. Gay St., Zoo Volunteer Open House. Learn how to volunteer at the zoo. Jan. 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, 1 Safari Place, (410) 396-7102, FF $15 Baltimore Community Meeting. Meeting organized for people interested in raising the minimum wage in Maryland. Jan. 30, 6-8 p.m., 5011 Arbutus Ave.,



JANUARY 24, 2018






















Commissioner Davis fired, replaced by BPD veteran Darryl DeSousa

you probably shouldn’t take the position to begin with. So I’m very comfortable—there could be something happening out there right now, Baynard, unbeknownst to me, that could end my career right now. And I didn’t do it. I’m in here. And something could be happening right now that could shed a light on a shortcoming within the organization that I do or don’t know about, expose it, and the momentum behind it would be too big to withstand.” That were two months before members of the Gun Trace Task Force were indicted by federal prosecutors, so there was, indeed, something happening on the streets at that moment that Davis did not know about and that did, ultimately, end his career in Baltimore. (Brandon Soderberg; additional reporting by Lisa Snowden-McCray and Baynard Woods)

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has been fired, a press release from Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office announced this morning. “As I have made clear, reducing violence and restoring the confidence of our citizens in their police officers is my highest priority,” Mayor Pugh said via written statement. “The fact is, we are not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the City of Baltimore. As such, I have concluded that a change in leadership is needed at police headquarters.” Davis’ replacement is Darryl DeSousa, who was the top in charge of patrol and has been deputy commissioner since August 2015, one month after Davis was appointed interim-commissioner by then-mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Unlike Davis and previous commissioner Anthony Batts, DeSousa is veteran BPD, with the force since 1988. “I firmly believe that Commissioner-Designate DeSousa has the ideas, approach and demonstrated track record that will enable him to lead an accelerated effort to get criminals off our streets, reduce violence and restore safety—and peace of mind—throughout our neighborhoods,” Pugh’s statement this morning also read. “As one who has come up through the ranks, Commissioner-Designate DeSousa is widely respected by his fellow officers. Moreover, I have come to know him well during this past year given his leadership role in implementing the Violence Reduction Initiative and through our numerous other interactions.” In a press conference this morning at City Hall, Pugh stressed that she chose DeSousa because she wanted to “look inside [the police department] for those who demonstrated outstanding careers.” “Baltimore has long been my home and I’ve spent my career on its streets and in its neighborhoods to address problems and bring about solutions that are meaningful for the people we serve,” DeSousa wrote in his statement. DeSousa began his comments at the press conference by invoking one of the now-former commissioner’s major talking points: a focus on so-called “trigger pullers” and the belief that targeting them and getting them off the streets reduces violence. He said they are “coming after them,” and added that “it will be done in a constitutional manner.” An initiative related to this began this morning with a “surplus of officers” hitting the streets. DeSousa also said that he did not have previous knowledge of the federally-indicted Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) until the indictments, and then pivoted to violence reduction: “What I can say is in 2012, my first year as a district commander, we drove violence down in what was probably the highest reduction in a decade.” It was not hard to see this coming. Baltimore Beat’s December cover story, “Grave Concerns: Will Detective Suiter’s death bring Commissioner Davis down?” by Baynard Woods went through the many scandals and problems during Davis’ run as commissioner, which along with the ongoing homicide rate (343 last year in total, 318 in 2016), included the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, the secret surveillance plane, and the death of Det. Sean Suiter, which has not yet been solved. Additionally, rank-and-file officers had expressed disdain for Davis and a 1999 “unlawful detainment” incident often hung over his head. In October of 2015, 16 were arrested for occupying City Hall in protest of Davis being appointed commissioner. Organizer Ralikh Hayes, one of those 16 arrested, praised Davis being fired, but is skeptical that it will lead to serious shifts in how the troubled BPD operates. “While I am happy he is gone, I am not fooled by the mayor’s attempt to shift blame and accountability,” Hayes said. “I don’t believe BPD will change much if at all from top level changes—until we commit to a deep gutting of department, there will be no substantial change.” Councilperson Brandon Scott, who stood by the mayor and DeSousa’s side, held his own press conference after the mayor’s and praised DeSousa. “He doesn’t have to move into the city as every previous commissioner that I’ve known has had to do,” Scott said. “We have someone that understands every aspect of the city. Someone who raised children here but also will have the immediate respect of the rank-and-file officer because he came from them. Someone who has respect of the community. In the world that we’re living right now, I’m going to be flat-out and say it: It does matter that he’s an AfricanAmerican because he too understands what it’s like—he grew up in an area like Baltimore. He understands what it means to be young and black and how we have to show better respect and repair the relationship in order for Baltimore to be better.” Davis’ contract was $200,000 a year for five years and stipulated that if he is fired without cause, he receives 75 percent of his salary ($150,000). At this morning’s press conference, Pugh said she informed Davis this morning that he was fired. Almost exactly a year before he was fired, Davis reflected on failure, sitting in his office in police headquarters, looking out over the city with the Real News Network’s Baynard Woods. “I’ve always been pretty quick to recognize failure in myself and whatever organization I happen to be a part of or lead at the time,” he said. “If you take a job like this as the head of an organization like this and you’re not willing to walk away from it if things go sideways, then


The Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage in Maryland returned with force On Monday Jan. 15, 2018, a holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a coalition of union and non-union workers, activists, elected officials, and small business owners gathered in Annapolis to kick off the “Fight For $15” statewide campaign, calling on elected officials in Annapolis to raise the minimum wage during the Maryland Legislative Session, which began on Jan. 10 and will end in April. The event was led by Montgomery County senator and gubernatorial candidate Rich Madaleno, Baltimore County State Delegate Shelly Hettlemen, and the Maryland Fight for $15 Coalition. Democratic elected officials took to the microphone in the packed-beyondcapacity room in the House of Delegates to promise the crowd that they’d work tirelessly to pass a minimum wage bill. Madaleno and Hettlemen are the primary sponsors of the Senate and House Bills, which call for a gradual increase to $15 an hour by 2023. Critics of raising the minimum wage say that doing so would hurt small businesses. Emily Ennis of MOM’s Organic Market, a growing food market chain, and several other business owners were on hand to show their support for an increase. They said the increase would help grow business in Maryland. “We know that workers are also customers. So the more we pay them, the more they can spend and grow the economy,” Ennis said from the podium. Recent studies by the National Employment Law Project say that raising Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour would provide 573,000 Maryland workers with a raise. “Co-owning two small businesses, I understand that investing in workers yields the highest return on investment. Trust the workers that they will buy in when you do. Look your team in the eye and join workers with skin in the game;” said Ava Pipitone, a worker-owner of Red Emma’s Cafe and Bookstore and executive director of The Baltimore Transgender Alliance. Pipitone is also the co founder of HostHome, which provides donor powered housing to LGBT folks. Capitol Police shut the rally down an hour before it was scheduled to end due to the overwhelming turnout. “They weren’t ready for this kind of turnout,” one rally attendee said to me as we stood in the cold, slowly being admitted into the House Office Building after security checks. After an attempt to open up an overflow room lead to that room also being beyond capacity, the fire marshal made the call to shut the event down. The Maryland Fight For $15 coalition is comprised of Labor Unions, including 1199 SEIU, SEIU 32BJ, AFSCME; advocacy groups such as Jews United For Justice and Progressive Maryland; and many others, totaling over 60 groups and organizations, some representing the business community. Workers and activists traveled from all over the state to voice their support for raising the minimum wage. Ricarra Jones, political organizer for 1199 SEIU, which represents healthcare workers, said that the abundant turnout was due to the overwhelming statewide support for the issue. Over 200 people were present. “We put the word out, but once people knew the event was happening they jumped on buses and even organized carpools from Eastern shore and Western MD,” Jones said via text (Full disclosure: I was scheduled to perform spoken word at the event, but due to the early closing, I did not get the opportunity to do so. I also used to work as an organizer for 1199 SEIU). Last year’s efforts to raise the minimum wage fell short in Annapolis. The movement took another blow when Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who ran her campaign partly on a promise to raise the minimum wage in Baltimore, went back on her promise and vetoed the bill that the city council put before her. Pugh gained financial support from several unions by boasting her support for a wage increase, but later changed her mind after consulting with business owners. Mayor Pugh said she would support the statewide effort but has yet to make a comment about Sen. Madaleno and Del. Hettlemen’s new bills. The Baltimore Brew reported that Pugh gave a man a “thumbs up” when he asked her about raising the minimum wage from the crowd earlier Monday during the MLK Day parade in Baltimore. (Eze Jackson) Visit for companion videos to this story and more independent local, national, and international journalism that examines the underlying causes of chronic problems and searches for effective solutions.


JANUARY 24, 2018

A roundup of LGBTQ news from the region and around the world courtesy the Washington Blade Maryland state Sen. RICH MADALENO has raised roughly $439,000 for his gubernatorial campaign. He announced last month that he will accept public financing for his bid to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Madaleno raises $439,000 for gubernatorial campaign Maryland state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) has raised $439,862 for his gubernatorial campaign. Madaleno’s campaign finance report that he filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections last week indicates his campaign has $193,561.65 on hand. Madaleno’s report also indicates he loaned it $120,000 of his own money. Madaleno last month announced he would accept public financing for his gubernatorial campaign. He said on Wednesday that he will “be near” $975,000 once that figure is factored in. Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous; Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker; Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; lawyer Jim Shea; former State Department official Alec Ross and Krishanti Vignarajah, who was former first lady Michelle Obama’s policy director, are among the other Democrats who are running to succeed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Campaign finance reports indicate Jealous, Baker, Kamenetz, Shea and Ross have all raised more than $1 million for their respective campaigns. Hogan has raised nearly $5.5 million for his re-election bid since January 2017. Kamenetz reported he has slightly more than $2 million on hand. Shea has roughly $1.35 million on hand. Baker reported he has around $696,000 on hand. Jealous has just under $400,000 on hand, compared to the more than $444,000 that Ross has. Vignarajah reported she has around $405,195 in cash on hand and has personally loaned her campaign $100,000. Hogan’s campaign has more than $9 million on hand. The Democratic primary will take place on June 26. The winner will face off against Hogan in November. Madaleno could become the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S. if he were to win. (MICHAEL K. LAVERS)

Disgraced actor Kevin Spacey now faces allegations of racial intolerance. Screenshot via YouTube

security guards. “He started nit-picking about the uniforms, so we changed the uniforms. Then he would have his security come over and ask about a guard: ‘Why is that guard over there and not over here?’” Blue recalls. Later, Blue told the Daily Mail he heard from a production manager that Spacey had announced over a speaker “he did not want n---ers on his set anymore.” Spacey is now facing another sexual misconduct allegation from a third London man, according to TMZ. The incident is currently under investigation by Scotland Yard. (MARIAH COOPER)

LGBT groups blame Trump for shutdown In the wake of Congress failing to approve funding to avert a U.S. government shutdown, LGBT groups are placing the blame squarely on President Trump for refusing to agree to a deal allowing young, undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers to stay in the United States. The U.S. government shutdown took place at midnight Saturday after the U.S. Senate failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance debate on a continuing resolution to fund the government. The shutdown came exactly on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. Democrats had pledged to reject any resolution that failed to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and provide relief for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump terminated last year. (A federal court in California ruled against the Trump move as a result of litigation, so DREAMers weren’t in danger in deportation at this stage.) The resolution that came to the Senate floor, approved by the U.S. House, would have kept the government open and agreed to Democrats’ demand to reauthorize CHIP, but took no action for DACA recipients. As a result, the Senate voted 50-49 to invoke cloture largely along party-lines, which wasn’t enough to proceed with allowing funds to keep the government open. David Stacy, the Human Rights Campaign’s government affairs director, said in a statement the shutdown “is the result of a failure of leadership by Donald Trump and Mike Pence.” “After weeks of racist and irresponsible rhetoric, our nation is now closed for business to those who need its support most,” Stacy said. “It’s wrong to pit DREAMers against children’s health coverage. We can and should protect the 800,000 young people who could be forced to leave the only country they’ve ever known, and vital health care for vulnerable children.” Both Democrats and Republicans sought to deflect blame for the shutdown immediately after the vote in the Senate came up short. Democrats tagged the move as #TrumpShutdown, while Republicans used the tag #SchumerShutdown. (CHRIS JOHNSON)

Spacey accused of using N-word on ‘House of Cards’ set Kevin Spacey is facing mounting sexual misconduct allegations but now the actor is being accused of using the N-word on the set of “House of Cards.” Earl Blue, head of VIP Protective Services in Hanover, Md., was hired by production company Knight Takes King Productions to provide security on set during filming of season one of the show in 2012. Blue told the Daily Mail that Spacey was  “a very racist man.” He says his initial meeting with Spacey was “awkward.” “He looks me up and down, looks at my supervisor up and down, and reaches across us to shake the hand of the police officer and then walks away,” Blue told the Daily Mail. “We are all standing there looking at each other like, ‘OK, that was awkward.’” “He never spoke to my security guards, but he was talking to everyone else,” Blue added. Blue says Spacey was suspicious of the black security guards working outside his trailer and checked to make sure the door was locked “at least a dozen times.” Spacey was also reportedly unhappy with the uniforms and placement of the

JANUARY 24, 2018



Prosecutors push on against J20 protesters U.S. Attorney’s Office drops charges against 129 defendants but continues prosecuting journalists and others who have spoken to the press By Baynard Woods On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Washington D.C. dropped charges against 129 of the 188 people facing rioting charges during protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration last January. The decision comes after a jury found all six of the defendants in the first round of trials not guilty on all charges on Dec. 21. “The US Attorney has essentially admitted it never had the evidence to charge these innocent people in the first place, and we’re gratified to see they’ve come to their senses,” the ACLU-D.C. said in a statement. “For a full year, the government’s abusive prosecution has upended the lives of these defendants, who’ve endured the anxiety of multiple court hearings and suffered disruptions to their educations or careers while facing the prospect of more than 60 years in prison.” The government’s notice of intent to proceed lists three reasons for the continued prosecution of the 59 defendants named—and in doing so seems to acknowledge that there was never a strong case against the 129 people, all of whom have spent the last year looking at the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in jail. “The government is focusing its efforts on prosecuting those defendants who: (1) engaged in identifiable acts of destruction, violence, or other assaultive conduct; (2) participated in the planning of the violence and destruction; and/or (3) engaged in conduct that demonstrates a knowing and intentional use of the black-bloc tactic on January 20, 2017, to perpetrate, aid or abet violence and destruction.” “By that justification as written, it doesn’t make any sense for me to be one of the people they are focusing on. But it has never made any sense to be focusing on any of us,” said Elizabeth Lagesse, one of the defendants in the case who is also


part of an ACLU civil suit against D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and a number of individual officers who, they claim, violated civil rights or engaged in violence while on duty that day. “With my case in particular I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been outspoken or that I am part of the ACLU lawsuit,” she said. “This has always been political,” said Dylan Petrohilos, one of the people accused of planning the anti-capitalist anti-fascist march that resulted in some broken windows. “Not only has it always been political, it’s already been a yearlong punishment.” Petrohilos says he was not even at the protest. Months later, police officers raided the home where he was living, taking an antifa flag and copies of progressive magazines like The Nation as evidence. Since the beginning of the case, MPD and U.S. prosecutors have worked closely with far-right media. On the day of the protest, a police officer released a spreadsheet with the names of everyone who was arrested to the farright site In the first trial, prosecutors made liberal use of videos of an alleged planning meeting secretly recorded by an operative for James O’Keefe’s shady far-right sting site Project Veritas. Although prosecutors had previously argued for a protective order that would prohibit body camera footage from being released to the media, the night before they filed their intent to continue prosecuting 59 individuals, D.C.’s Fox 5 released “new” footage showing some members of the black bloc anti-capitalist protest breaking windows. To the defendants still facing charges, the timing did not seem coincidental. Journalist Aaron Cantú is among those still facing charges. Eight journalists were initially arrested, although charges

against most of them were quickly dropped. Alexei Wood, a photojournalist who was live-streaming the protest, was one of the six acquitted on all charges. Cantú’s lawyers filed a separate motion to dismiss on Friday, hours after the government announced it would continue with its prosecution of him. “This case doubly implicates the First Amendment, because not only was Mr. Cantú present as a journalist to gather and disseminate the news, but the newsworthy event he was covering was a political demonstration,” the motion reads. Cantú’s charges are based on the fact that he arrived where the black bloc was meeting, wearing dark clothes, and that he moved with them. His lawyers liken Cantú to a journalist embedded with the military. “Mr. Cantú’s brand of journalism continues a time-honored tradition of journalists who have embedded themselves to provide first-hand accounts of important events,” the motion reads. “American history is replete with examples of journalists sacrificing their own personal comfort or safety for the sake of a worthwhile story.” The decision to continue prosecuting a reporter for the actions of people he was covering comes only one day after Republican Senator Jeff Flake gave a long speech criticizing Trump’s attacks on the press as the “enemy of the people.” “It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader,” Flake said. He did not mention the name Aaron Cantú in his speech. Nor did the pundits who attacked the president’s “fake news awards” given out later that same night.


Most of the mainstream media still treats Trump’s war on the press as a Twitter feud. The prosecution of Cantú and others who have talked to the press such as Lagesse and Petrohilos shows that it is far more than that. In most jurisdictions, these crimes would be prosecuted by state’s attorneys, but in the District of Columbia, the Department of Justice oversees such prosecutions. The suit cites specific DOJ guidelines intended to prohibit just such prosecutions of the press. But when Jeff Sessions’ prosecutors ignore those rules, the mainstream press remains shamefully silent. Cantú and his lawyers are clear about the the stakes, however. “Prosecution of journalists not only imposes severe penalties on the individual journalists arrested and charged, but it significantly deters other members of the press from exercising their constitutional rights,” the motion argues, claiming that “the government’s conduct amounts to an outright ban on newsgathering at demonstrations.” But it is not only journalists who enjoy the protections of the First Amendment. Lagesse, who appeared on Vice News days before the government’s notice was filed, was insistent that she would not back down. “If they’re going to fight, so am I,” she said. “If they think they have a good case against me, then they’re wrong and I want to keep fighting. If it’s because they’re mad that I have been outspoken, I’m not planning on being any less outspoken.”

Baynard Woods is a reporter at the Real News Network and the founder of Democracy in Crisis. Email; Twitter @baynardwoods

JANUARY 24, 2018

This mead hall glittering Charm City Meadworks redefines an ancient libation and opens taproom to the public By Maura Callahan

Charm City Meadworks founders Andrew Geffken (left) and James Boicourt in the new tap area Photo by Tedd Henn

Mead is the world’s oldest known alcoholic beverage, dating back to around 9,000 BC in China and favored by ancient cultures for centuries. Andrew Geffken, a cofounder of Charm City Meadworks, believes this has to do with the drink’s simplicity—at its base, mead is simply honey fermented in water and yeast. “The theory that makes the most sense to me is that there was a beehive in a tree that dropped into a pool of water,” Geffken says. “There was some yeast floating around in the air that fermented it; a caveman drank it.” Also known as honey wine, mead was glorified in Norse and Greek mythology (“nectar of the gods,” as the Greeks called it) and consumed heavily by the characters of “Beowulf” and Chaucer. The tradition and popularity of mead has lived on in Ethiopia in the form of tej, honey wine often flavored with the leaves of the hop-like gesho plant. But in the west, mead has long been treated as little more than a vestige of civilizations past. Since the advancement of agriculture in the Middle Ages, beer and wine have taken precedence over mead, and beekeeping took a hit during the 17th century boom in the cheaper and more easily mass-harvested sugar trade. Now, mead is most commonly associated with the aforementioned literature, “Game of Thrones,” and the cough syrup typically sold at Renaissance fairs. Except in Baltimore. Just a little over three years since its establishment in a tight 1500-square-foot warehouse in Curtis Bay, Charm City Meadwork’s take on the ancient libation has become a go-to for the craft beer crowd and the beer-averse alike. Founded by

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Geffken and his partner and head meadmaker James Boicourt, Meadworks offers two styles: a more traditional still version with 12 percent ABV sold in bottles and a carbonated draft version with 6.9 percent ABV sold in cans, and a variety of flavors within those styles. “Part of the challenge is—and also opportunity— with mead is it’s a blank canvas,” Geffken says. “Nobody really knows the styles of mead they do IPAs, porters, or this is a sauvignon blanc, or a moscato, or a merlot.” All of Meadworks’ concoctions are available at their new taproom, opened last November in their 6,500-square-foot Johnston Square facility, where they moved their production last spring after some delays. The tap area boasts ample seating with a sci-fi-esque chrome sofa and coffee table carrying an assortment of games, wooden barrel tables with honeycomboctagon tops, and awards from mead competitions displayed on the walls. There, visitors can participate in mead and honey tastings, guzzle Meadworks’ offerings as well as root beer and cold brew coffee on tap, play Dungeons & Dragons at recurring game nights, and learn how honey becomes mead. At the facility on a mid-January afternoon, a handful of Meadworks’ eight full-time employees (one of whom, Elliot Madre, appropriately wears a yellow and black striped beanie with wings and antennae) are moving from tank to tank, adjusting valves and checking on fermentation status. One corner is covered with stacked barrels, another with lines of plastic totes filled with honey. Between them are a


row of massive metal tanks, much like those found in breweries. There’s no brewing in the production of mead, however: Honey, yeast, and water are mixed and left to ferment in the 1,000-gallon tanks for anywhere between 10 days to two weeks before being transferred to either totes to maintain the bright, floral flavor of the honey, or wooden barrels to smooth out the alcoholic taste. Geffken says the mead will sit in the barrels for at least a few months. “We’re not worried about freshness the same way the breweries are with IPAs, things like that,” Geffken says, “because it’s a wine in its base form. It’s just gonna get better with age.” The mead is then returned to the tanks for blending, and is flavored by infusion either during or after fermentation, depending on the ingredients. Traditionally, mead flavored with herbs and spices is called metheglin (from the Welsh word for medicine— mead was frequently used to treat various ailments back in the day); mead flavored with fruit is melomel. Meadworks boasts a series of interpretations on both metheglins and melomels. Though they have their lineup of mainstay flavors—with the still, winelike variety sold in bottles, there’s original dry, rosemary, and sweet blossom; the draft comes in basil lemongrass, wildflower, hops, and elderberry—Geffken and Boicourt continue to experiment with seasonal flavors and limited editions. Right now in liquor stores and on taps around town you’ll find the pumpkin fall seasonal and the “retire by the fire” winter seasonal


Charm City Meadworks’ new Johnston Square facility Photo by Tedd Henn

(cloves, vanilla, and cacao nibs—by my assessment, a toasted marshmallow in a can). Meadworks also offers single kegs of experimental flavors through the taproom; recently, the team has been concocting cocktail-inspired varieties. “We’ve had some pretty good ones the last couple of weeks that were kinda like a mojito, adding a little bit of mint to them,” Geffken says. “There’s been a lot of requests for some sort of interpretation of a moscow mule . . . and then we’ve had a couple that come across really nicely, almost like an amaro or sherry character to it.” Essentially, Meadworks is attempting to stretch the appeal of a libation long relegated to a niche audience by redefining what mead can be. Traditional mead is thick and potent. Back in its heyday, when water wasn’t so potable, mead was made as alcoholic as possible, and in turn super-sweetened with plenty of honey. After all, it was strong enough to knock out the monster Grendel in “Beowulf.” Still more drinkable by comparison, Meadworks’ bottled, non-carbonated version most closely resembles traditional mead. For something more authentic, go with Meadworks’ sweet blossom flavor— their sweetest mead, though Geffken notes that it’s still only semi-sweet. A sip fills your mouth with a warmth that lingers, the way straight honey does but with a smooth, refreshing delivery. It’s intense and full-bodied, but not syrupy like most European meads. Meadworks’ draft version is more like what Geffken refers to as the “modern mead,” similar in taste and


drinkability to cider. The rich honey flavor takes a little more of a backseat here in this lighter take. “They’re all still mead, which is the exciting part of it all,” Geffken says, “but we looked at it and the meads that we found that were already out there were those little bit thicker, heavier ones. That wasn’t what we were making at home, it wasn’t what we were excited about, it wasn’t what we wanted to drink when it was 95 degrees out in the summer. So we felt that hey, there’s this opportunity to do these lower ABV meads, kind of mead for the craft beer people.” Even as they make efforts to reach people who may otherwise never try mead, Meadworks is still focused on what it does best: honey. In the beginning, Geffken and Boicourt (who both share a background in engineering) wanted to use honey from their own hives, but the rapidly-growing scale of their operation made that impossible—last year, Geffken says, Meadworks went through about 60,000 pounds of honey and sold around 30,000 gallons of mead. Just one 3,200-pound tote of honey takes thousands of hives. So instead, Meadworks gets their honey from an aggregator in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Most of it is wildflower honey, but they’ve expanded to other honeys, like orange blossom and buckwheat. Geffken says he wants to show consumers that there’s more to honey than what they buy in the grocery store. “Now that we’re finally three years in we feel organized enough that we’re going to start doing some smaller batch stuff to showcase the terroir of honey the same way


people do with grapes,” Geffken says. “We started doing honey tastings here, where people come in and taste these honeys then tastes these meads because even if you haven’t had mead, you can easily tell the difference.” Some local wineries such as Linganore Winecellars also offer mead, and Maryland Meadworks is looking to open soon in Hyattsville. But Charm City Meadworks is still Baltimore’s first and only meadery. First picked up by The Wine Source in Hampden, Meadworks products are now available in stores and on tap at hundreds of locations throughout Maryland as well as Virginia, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. “You’ve got this really great, strong brewing scene going right now with Union, Monument, Diamondback, Key, all those guys,” Geffken says. “It was started even before them by Brewer’s Art. They’ve kinda paved the way and now that people are excited about beers—OK, what’s new, what’s next, what else can I try? So we’re getting some crossover there.” Geffken says Meadworks has received a lot of support from the craft brewing and distilling scene here. “It’s an interesting and exciting time to be here in Baltimore doing a tiny little alcohol business. I mean Baltimore people just love, love their booze.” Charm City Meadworks (407 E. Preston St., Suite B; public entrance at 400 E. Biddle St.) is open to the public Thursday through Sunday.

JANUARY 24, 2018

MAKE ME A DRINK On Aloha and alcohol By D. Watkins

Devin Allen makes me drink. You know, the dude from West Baltimore, who captured the historic Time cover Devin Allen (left) and D. Watkins during the uprising back in 2015. Since then he’s traveled the world, had Photo courtesy D. Watkins multiple shows, was recognized as the inaugural Gordon Parks fellow, taught numerous youth programs, and has donated hundreds of cameras to kids in which is dangerous. Dangerous because any bartender Baltimore. And still, he makes me drink. I hit him up can make them, it’s just vodka and lime juice––some about business, and he invites me to Aloha on Charles spots use a little simple, some used fresh lime and Street, which is literally 100 feet away from my office. others used the bottle stuff. Either way it’s drinkable and I have been to Hawaii twice and Aloha on Charles they work. Dangerous because Koni orders them back Street looks nothing like the tropical-fruit-garnishedto back, slamming empty glasses on the table—I try to drink-serving bars on the island. Aloha is a Japanese keep up, he challenges me to, but I have to explain to sushi spot, but they sell bar food like fried wings and him that I’m older. I used to be him 10 years ago. Not shrimps––oh, and they sell Korean food and Chinese food a world-renowned, celebrated writer, who graced many too. It’s actually a good business plan. It’s also the only magazines and televisions screens like him at 24. Not a mostly Black dive bar in Charles Village or Mount Vernon, dude who goes out and inspires kids to read at age 24, I’m not really sure what they call that neighborhood. like him––but a young dude who could drink all night They have a restaurant upstairs, but I meet Moody—we and pop in the morning like I haven’t had a sip. call Devin Allen “Moody”—downstairs in the dive part. It’s I’m too old for that, the way we drink physically easy to find him, his neat fro is always picked out and hurts, but still, we do this at Aloha, but really do it rounded to perfection, floating atop a crowd of people at Clavel. With age, I’ve actually developed a liking who are enamored to be in his presence. for gentrified cocktails, made with organic mixes “Yo this my bro D. Watkins,” he laughs says, and delivered by farm-to-table people who roll their introducing me to a new person every week. “He a top own cigarettes. Ain’t I a contradiction? Well Koni author, he from East Baltimore, but he cool.” is a contradiction too, because he also lives in East Moody has to say this to the crowd, because I’m Baltimore and guzzles those same drinks. ‘noid around strange people, even after I had two or Tariq Touré keeps me from drinking. His poems three. And then I pound vodka gimlets, as we trade and insight are wrapped in meaning and give hope. We dreams until the lights fade and the Lyft guy rolls up, ate chocolate chip cookies over my house on Christmas drops me off, and I prepare to do the same thing again Eve, where Tariq explained that we too can “Be the the next day. Light,” without alcohol. Tariq’s Muslim and offers us Kondwani Fidel makes me drink. I try to commit to wisdom and guidance. I probably would not have had work, I really do, and when I’m in almost in rhythm and a drink, but Lawrence Burney, who’s also a writer, and the words are flowing, he beats down my line and pops Koni––they make me drink. I think that Tariq thinks if I in the group text we share with Moody like, “Where you put the bottle down and developed even-more-focus, at Dummy?” If Moody replies first, we instantly get an I could strengthen my brand, gain a bigger audience Aloha invite, so we go. Koni drinks vodka gimlets too, and get that Ta-Nehisi Coates love. But Tariq is smart,

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he knows I don’t want to be loved like Coates, I want to be loved like Little Melvin. A dude that made mistakes, recognized them, and then used that power to help others choose a different way, while still being respected enough to walk on any block in Baltimore. I want to be loved like Little Melvin and would be honored to die in Baltimore just like Little Melvin. But I might be too ‘noid to live like Little Melvin. My old ways haunt me. Too many strangers speak, and I don’t know if they are plotting or just like my work––this is still Baltimore and the reason I hate going out now. A dude stared at me during one of those Aloha nights. I felt his eyes so I took the knife off the table and put it in my pocket. My friends were on their thirds and fourths, I was still sipping number one, staying on point, waiting for dude to make his move. I caught him looking for the third time, so I nodded, “Wassup?” He leaped from his stool and bolted in my direction, I rested my hand on the knife handle and slid my chair back. “D. Watkins, you D. Watkins, right?” he screamed, “I don’t wanna blow up your spot, but can we take a selfie? It’s for my daughter! Pleassse! She gonna love it!” I removed my hand and put a peace sign up for the picture. I make my drink. I can’t put that on Koni or Devin and it’s not fair for me to leave Tariq with the responsibility of encouraging my sobriety. The fact is that alcoholism runs bone deep in my family, my bloodline keeps these Baltimore bars and liquor in business, celebrating any and everything all of the time, even the stuff we shouldn’t celebrate, like making it to see tomorrow with that morning sip. Using it as a fix all for the pain, agony, and hurt that comes with existing in Baltimore as a Black person––there’s no shortage of that. And no shortage of the alcohol needed to numb it. Aloha has plenty, and carryout so you can take some home as well.


No, mommy doesn’t need more wine Challenging the alcohol-as-lifestyle narrative By Erin Shaw Street

Alcohol abuse and dependence has increased by 83.7 percent among women. Bigstock photo; courtesy of Subbotina Anna

Here’s a challenge: Scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed and count the references to alcohol. Maybe it’s an invite to a yoga and wine class. Maybe it’s a reference to drinking over the current state of political affairs. Maybe it’s another story from a publication touting the benefits of tequila, or a social media influencer holding a glistening glass in the middle of a dreamy vacation spot. Alcohol is everywhere. Problem drinking is on the rise at a dangerous clip, but we continue to create and consume media that celebrate the alcohol-as-lifestyle narrative like nothing is wrong. A study published last year in JAMA Psychiatry shows that problem drinking increased by nearly 50 percent in the U.S. between 2002 and 2013. Among women, alcohol abuse and dependence increased by 83.7 percent; among African-Americans, 92.8 percent; and among the poor, it rose by 65.9 percent. But mommy needs more wine. That’s what the meme/dishtowel/headlines imply, right? Before you look away and think this a statement against alcohol; it’s not. We have the agency to decide what we put into our bodies. Instead, it’s a challenge to consider how we create, engage with, and share stories related to alcohol within the greater cultural context.


That context includes a nation grappling with a public health crisis of addiction (and not just to opioids). My goal is to challenge us all—media and consumer (though the line is now blurred)—to be more thoughtful in how we tell stories and create spaces that acknowledge not everyone can or chooses to drink. I quit drinking nearly two years ago because it was ruining my life. With this perspective I’ve become acutely aware of the pervasiveness of the alcohol-aslifestyle narrative. As a former magazine editor, I used to tell those stories myself. I assumed everyone who drank was normal, and a small group of people who could not were abnormal. They were alcoholics. They were “other.” Having worked in media for 20 years, I understand the things we do for eyeballs and advertisers. Stories about ways to sneak wine into a handbag or beer yoga get a response. Images of beautiful people enjoying a beautiful drink signify aspiration and freedom. But there is another world, one in which people do not drink. Some are fighting for their lives. Others are opting out because they don’t like the way it makes them feel or act. Sobriety of late has been publicized as a trend, but it’s really a revolution to reclaim our lives.


There are millions of us who do not drink, and many more on the edge, wondering, “Do I have a problem?” What if we acknowledged this, not just in the recovery and sobriety communities, but in media? What if content creators—editors, writers, photographers, social media influencers—were better educated to understand the depth and breadth of the impact of alcohol, and approached our storytelling with sensitivity and thought? This year I’m collecting examples, good and bad, of stories that depict our alcogenic culture. My goal is to use these examples for discussion and collaboration with content creators about a better way to tell stories. Stories that don’t just glorify what comes from a bottle. Stories that are inclusive and reflective of a narrative that doesn’t always include a bottle. Erin Shaw Street is a writer, editor and content strategist based in Birmingham, Ala. She writes about travel/culture, health/wellness, and sobriety/ recovery. Her Tell Better Stories project examines the alcohol-as-lifestyle narrative in media and marketing. Learn more at and on Instagram @TellBetterStories2018.

DECEMBER 24, 2018

EDGAR ALLAN PO’ UP What liquor does to literature By Brandon Soderberg

Kemet Dank’s “Edgar Allan Po’ Up” t-shirt. Courtesy Bandcamp

Try and pry Edgar Allan Poe from all the gothic baggage, Baltimore branding, colorful Roger Corman adaptations, and mythography (drunk as hell then dead in another dude’s clothes, allegedly) for a moment, and just consider the oversized influence, a whole lot of which has something or other to do with liquor and what liquor can do to literature. What makes Poe’s work stick in your craw are the way his tales of vibe and mood read misremembered, hungover. His work nearly buckles, it wanders, it thuds, it sometimes goes inert—there is a distinct drunk wobble to Poe’s narratives. That’s why two of the most fulgent Poe adaptations as far as I’m concerned come from Federico Fellini and Toby Keith, both boozers, but very different, and whose Poe riffs are far from respectable. Poe’s short story “Never Bet the Devil Your Head”—wherein a harddrinking, serious gambler fond of the expression “I’ll bet the devil my head,” bets someone who turns out to actually be the devil his head that he can leap across a bridge and well, you know what happens in

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the end, probably—becomes Fellini’s “Toby Dammit” in 1968’s “Spirits Of The Dead,” an omnibus film adapting Poe short stories. Under Fellini, fresh off the fleshy surrealism of “Satyricon,” the story is instead about a down and out drunk actor (played by Terence Stamp in ghostly makeup) who plays the Hollywood game a little longer in order to get a Ferrari. The short begins with some handheld footage of clouds and a title card, which says or maybe even boasts that it is “liberally adapted” from the Poe story. What follows is a stylized and terrifying series of scenes wherein Stamp sweats in a plane (the sky a kind of post-nuclear golden red) and then in a cave-like limo, makes a fumbling appearance on a brutalist awards show, and then drives off in the Ferrari, whipping around a small, empty town that is seemingly impossible to escape. Finally, he attempts to jump a bridge to get out and, well, he does not. Throughout he is followed by a little girl painted white, who is probably the devil (in Poe’s original, it’s an old guy with a stupid haircut—”his hair was parted in front


like a girl’s,” Poe writes—which is maybe more terrifying than a little all-white girl, actually). “Toby Dammit” remains one of the most haunting and baffling Poe riffs—mostly inexplicable terror along with some meta stuff (whereas so much of Poe’s writing is about writing, this is a film about filmmaking) and all about that image of a young, handsome Stamp, sauced, white makeup melting off his face, driving a Ferrari into dead ends over and over again. Thirty-eight years later, jingoistic hick with tombstone-like teeth Toby Keith’s music video for ‘It’s A Little Too Late,’ a riff on Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado.” One of Poe’s extra-petty revenge tales, “The Cask of Amontillado” is about a man who traps his friend who he thinks has wronged him behind a wall after getting him drunk on wine. The Keith video is similar to the story’s basic plot points, though tinged with some additional toxic masculinity: Here, it’s Keith walling an ex-girlfriend with shots of her worrying and struggling and confused about her fate. In the end, the music video has a twist—big dumb Toby Keith is so mad at his


Toby Keith’s ‘A Little Too Late’ music video.

From Federico Fellini’s “Toby Dammit”.

Screencap courtesy YouTube

Screencap courtesy YouTube

ex that he accidentally walled himself in and not the other way around. It’s gross and stupid and one of those misogynistic jokes that pulls back at the last minute so he can get away with it, but it also stumbles into territory few Poe adaptations confront: Poe’s own ripe, protoInternet message board boi misogyny. ‘A Little Too Late’ is, in its own way, a dopey rejoinder to Edgar Allan “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world” Poe. I am reminded of a 2007 New York Times article about Toby Keith (whose gimmick would become camp with 2011’s ‘Red Solo Cup’), in which writer Kelefa Sanneh observed that “country singers have . . . freedom to mix the sublime and the ridiculous, in the interests of putting on a good show,” which totally describes a whole lot of Poe’s work better than the people actually talking about Poe. In Poe’s 1849 short story “Hop-Frog,” wherein a little person susceptible to alcohol is asked to dance and drink for the king and his cabinet and then one night after he’s just had enough he sets up an elaborate scheme involving flammable orangutan outfits which results in king and crew being lit on fire. It is one of those stories where knowing what happens is not a spoiler because the story is a bit obvious or rather, there’s nothing to spoil. And besides, what makes it compelling are the eerie, insane details. It all happens too fast, like you’re witnessing it. There’s no conventional tension; we don’t really see the set-up or anything, the only suspense is the tension of real life—when and how someone might break, which we feel throughout the story—and an inexplicable epilogue where Hop-Frog escapes with one of the other outcasts from the court and lives happily ever after. Sure, why not? Poe himself framed “Hop-Frog” in a letter to a friend as, well, cheap trash. He sold to a “sporting

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magazine”—essentially, a pulp magazine, pointedly non-literary—and boasted that it was commercial, a crowd pleaser that paid well, or at least something prurient that would grab lots of eyes, he imagined. To call a story in which a little person gets blitzed and sets a bunch of people on fucking fire the old timey equivalent of clickbait might be generous; it’s more like the 1849 equivalent of some outrageous video flying across Twitter. “Cop sharts while pulling a dog dressed in a tuxedo over for reckless driving”? I dunno man, the story’s nuts. If “Hop-Frog” is Poe’s interpretation of pop, though, that says a great deal more about Poe than popular taste at the time. Like some other paragons of macabre integrity (Three 6 Mafia, Cormac McCarthy, John Carpenter), he could not sell out even when he tried. Fortunately for him though, the world eventually came to him—his work had a kind of tectonic reshaping of the form, contributing to the invention of science-fiction, horror, detective fiction. Like lots of Poe works, “HopFrog” is a reversal story about the powerless becoming powerful. Simple stuff really, or simple on one level and really slippery on another. This is also a story that a drunk would write from the heart. Namely, “Hop-Frog” is a metaphor for alcoholism and the ways in which those who are not afflicted can encourage and objectify the drinker. The revenge is they don’t get a sloshing goof there to entertain and satisfy, but a kind of cosmic, terrifying sobriety. Drunks are funny until they’re not funny anymore: They’re very scary. “Hop-Frog” as half-metaphor or almost-analogy is thrilling, and something you can totally get away with in pulp. In this sense, “Get Out” is indebted to high-concept, low-brow Poe and a response to horror’s racist past, in which Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, another proto-horror visionary, indulged frequently.


Here in Baltimore, well, Poe love kind of makes sense but only because this is a city that full-stop embraces John Waters—whose biggest movie involves someone eating dog shit and a man’s asshole opening and closing, opening and closing. It’s only acceptable because it is so grotesque and odd and therefore, distinctly Baltimore. Here you’ll find Poe’s influence in the strangest of places. In Baltimore rapper Kemet Dank’s 2015 frantic posse cut titled ‘Edgar Allan Po’Up,’ Kemet chants ghost-like, “Edgar Allan Po’up/ That bitch need to roll up/ I’m 21 I’m so glad I got to grow up.” (Kemet also designed a shirt featuring the scratchy outline of Poe’s hair and a raven in profile along with the words “Edgar Allan Po’ Up” you can buy for $25.) Here Kemet goofily connects Poe to a more contemporary form of too-far-gone intoxication—lean—and expands the possibilities of Poe’s artistic descendants. Not the many gloomy dorks since Poe, not even charlatan-like Fellini or the Trump-y Toby, but brash Houstonians such as DJ Screw, Big Moe, Fat Pat, and others who popularized slowing rap down to a zooted crawl and surrounding it with otherworldly images—rivers of sizzurp, skeletons gripping styrofoam cups—and plenty of pain (go listen to DJ Screw and Point Blank’s ‘After I Die’). Indeed, Kemet’s ‘Edgar Allan Po’Up’ is on an album titled “All My Rich Friends Left Me To Die, All My Niggas Still In The Hood.” If all of this seems like a bit much, too tangential, just consider how incredible and incredibly strange it is that Baltimore’s football team is named after one of Poe’s poems and that the three goofy mascots are named Edgar, Allan, and Poe. That’s totally a tangent too. Maybe this is why Poe has been so easy to commercialize: His work often seems loaded with meaning and devoid of it; project into it what you will. Besides, do you really want Poe explained?


ART American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. (410) 244-1900, “The Great Mystery Show,” A group exhibition of self-taught artists exploring the unknown and human imagination. Through Sept. 2. “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, “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, “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., “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. Through Jan. 27. C. Grimaldis Gallery, 523 N. Charles St., (410)539-1080, “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. Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, “Peter Stern: Third Spaces,” Aerial photographs of the Mid-Atlantic by photographer and pilot Peter Stern. Through Jan. 27. “Unveiled,” Mequitta Ahuja, Milana Braslavsky, and Sebastian Martorana reexamine traditional artistic languages. Opening reception Jan. 27, 6-8 p.m.; gallery talk Feb. 10, 4 p.m.; on view through March 3. “Personal Locale: The Annual Resident Artist Group Exhibition,” Coinciding with the Annual Resident Artist Open House, the Creative Alliance hosts an exhibition of work exploring sense of place by its resident artists. Opening reception Jan. 27, 6-8 p.m.; 10 Minutes TOPS! Resident Artists’ Open House Feb. 17, 6-10 p.m.; on view through Feb. 17. Crystal Moll Gallery, 1030 S. Charles St., (410) 952-2843, “Baltimore Seen Through a Lense,” Photographs of the city by Ron Dickey and John Sullivan. All proceeds support Northstar Baltimore. Through Feb. 2. Current Space, 421 N. Howard St., (410) 343-9295, “Horizon Compromise,” A solo exhibition of photographs by Brad Ziegler created over the course of three years spent traveling 46 states. 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, “Lilian Hoover,” A solo exhibition by the local painter. Through March 1. Maryland Art Place, 218 W. Saratoga St., (410) 962-8565, “Scott Pennington: Two Minute Joys,” Solo exhibition by Maryland native artist specializing in large-scale participatory installation and sculptural assemblage works. Through March 10. Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., (410) 685-3750, “Unscripted Moments: The Life & Photography of Joseph Kohl,” Photographs from c.1980 through 2002 by the late Baltimore photojournalist Joseph Kohl. Ongoing. Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., “Germinal,” Site-specific installation by painting faculty member Lauren Frances Adams exploring themes converging around feminist activists from American history,


‘Deep Pool - Mecklenburg’ by Romare Bearden, on view in “Collages: An Exhibition” at C. Grimaldis Gallery, opening Jan. 24. Courtesy C. Grimaldis Gallery

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. Through March 13; reception Feb. 15, 5-7 p.m., at MICA’s Pinkard Gallery, Bunting Center, 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave. “Land/Trust,” Works exploring contemporary relationships to land by Margaret Boozer, Demian DinéYazhi´, Maren Hassinger, Mary Mattingly, Nadia Myre, and Glenn Ross. Through Feb. 22 in MICA’s Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave. Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 637-8300, “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. Through Feb. 23. Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, 830 E. Pratt St., (443) 263-1800, “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, “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. Through March 5. School 33 Art Center, 1427 Light St., (410) 396-4641, “Test Pattern,” Works by Tom Boram, April Camlin, Roxana Alger Geffen, Luke Ikard, LoVid, and Rives Wiley. Through Feb. 24. “Bodies in Sounded Space,” An exhibition of sculpture and musical performance by Fionn Duffy and Katie Shlon. Through Feb. 24. “(un)familiar territory,” An installation by Bobby Coleman that echoes an abstracted urban environment. Through Feb. 24. Steven Scott Gallery, 808 S. Ann St., (410) 902-9300, “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, “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, “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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From Blush + Brews Zine Vol. 1.

Blush + Brews is a Baltimorebased creative platform, event series, and monthly radio show founded by Jacob Marley in Spring of 2016. Blush + Brews has collaborated with nearly 100 artists to date, with its recurring team consisting of resident DJ Loc Spice, producer + designer Madi, DJ + illustrator Genie Isabel, and DJ + photographer Ashley Chambers. Inspired by the complexities of femme, fashion, and a desire to diversify the consideration of

Courtesy Blush + Brews

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artists spotlighted in music and design. A consistent space to dance all night, be yourself and apply the blush. Blush + Brews Zine Vol. 1 was created at Press Press. A small quantity of copies will be available for $3 at the next Blush + Brews event at The Crown on Jan. 26 at 10 p.m., featuring performances by Bobbi Rush, Ducky Dynamo, Hunter Hooligan, Kleonaptra, Loc Spice, and Nikilad.



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“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”-themed, pizza-devouring, chops-heavy pop punk group Cowabunga Pizza Time consists of members from the Baltimore Rock Opera Society and bands like Thee Lexington Arrows, Gunwife Gone, and Entertainment System—and does sound like some kind of candy-colored combination of all those groups’ ideas and ideals. Their new album, “Secret Of The Booze” is out this week with a record release show on Jan. 26 at the Ottobar (if you’ve not heard the band yet, start with ‘(Skeebrawlin’) At The Arcade’). Highly recommended if you like: Horse The Band, Stan Bush, Andrew W.K., Harold Faltermeyer, and Eastman & Laird. Cowabunga Pizza Time took a moment from a recent practice to answer the Beat’s 20 Questions: Below are answers from the Ralph (guitar and vocals), Mickey (lead vocals), June (keyboards, vocals), Leon (guitar), Danny (bass), and Chip (drums). (Brandon Soderberg)

1. What do you do? RALPH: Play guitar, sing backup vocals, sleep, and ninja train in the daytime—kick butt at nighttime. MICKEY: I jump up and down and yell about stuff, swing the micchaku around, and give out the free pizza, motivational platitudes, and high kicks. Sometimes I sing too. JUNE: Play keys, flute, and sing leads and backups. Hone my psychic skills. LEON: Rip leads, study chord charts, protect the innocent, but pretty much just always drilling scales. DANNY: Play bass and install secret gizmos and weapons into everyone’s instruments. CHIP: I play drums and align the rest of the band with the ever burning spirit of the ninja. 2. Why do you do it? RALPH: It’s all I know. MICKEY: I dunno. Beats workin’, I guess. JUNE: Why does anyone do anything? For the love of it. LEON: There will always be someone who needs Cowabunga Pizza Time and my job is to make sure we are there to help! DANNY: Because I have rhythm in my soul and it’s important to always be prepared. CHIP: Because one must do if one can. 3. What Baltimore stereotype annoys you the most? RALPH: That everywhere is “The Wire” MICKEY: That the city’s problems are the result of the people who live here not working hard enough to fix them or not caring enough about each other. That’s a load of bullshit. Can I say bullshit? JUNE: That it’s SO super scary and dangerous and it always will be. Yes, bad things happen, but people need love and assistance, not disdain and ignorance.

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CHIP: Knowledge without experience can be as dangerous as ignorance. 11. “The Wire”—yea or nay? RALPH: Mostly good, final season was kinda meh. MICKEY: RE-ELECT FRANK SOBOTKA. JUNE: Never seen it. LEON: Is that the one about Baltimore? DANNY: Yea. CHIP: “Pink Flag” was a good album.

LEON: That we bleed orange and purple . . . we don’t bleed. DANNY: That we have “fatbergs” floating around the sewers here. I’ve never seen one. CHIP: To be annoyed is to separate oneself from the whole of the universe and presume to be above it.

an anarchist zine by my bed that I need to finish. JUNE: A piece of music. LEON: Frank Zappa’s autobiography. DANNY: “The Essential Inventor’s Guide” (2010 edition). CHIP: “The Watchmen.” 8. Last Facebook post or tweet? RALPH: “Don’t be a dingus, Come out to our album release show at ottobar on January 26th 2018, dingus.” MICKEY: I post links to music I like. Have you heard that new Andrew W.K. song yet? JUNE: A video of an adorable man rapping while bathing his cat. LEON: I don’t use social media too often. It clouds the mind. That being said the last thing I posted was a cute little kitty cat . . . playing a guitar . . . DANNY: “Hey Table Legs, this razzleberry is happening tonight at the Thermos Center!” (I”ve been unsuccessfully trying to start new slang words) CHIP: A Tide Pod meme.

4. Favorite Baltimorean? RALPH: As long as you’re not an asshole—all of you. MICKEY: Tie between the “don’t urinate on my leg” lawyer dude from TV and Kyle Merman. JUNE: There are too many people to love to pick just one. LEON: Chip has driven me and inspired me beyond words so I would probably pick him. DANNY: Ottmar Mergenthaler. CHIP: Tom Tasselmyer. 5. Favorite restaurant/eatery? RALPH: Pizza, pretty much any of them. MICKEY: American Wings and Pizza. JUNE: Paulie Gee’s pizza. LEON: I usually don’t have much time to go out to eat. I love ordering pizza from Spartan’s and eating it at home in the pair. DANNY: Joe Squared. CHIP: Daniella’s. 6. Last thing you bought? RALPH: Component ingredients for smoke bombs. MICKEY: A bag of Utz crab chips, a pineapple soda, and two packs of Magic cards. JUNE: Pad See Ew and a yoga class. LEON: Pizza and guitar picks. DANNY: A soldering iron. CHIP: Money is a manmade concept that holds no value in the realm of spirit. 7. Last thing you read? RALPH: Dark Nights Metal: “Batman: The Murder Machine.” MICKEY: I’ve got two comics and

9. What do you believe in? RALPH: Sasquatch. MICKEY: I believe in Human Power. JUNE: Love rules all, but touch my keys and die. LEON: Practice makes perfect, hard work, and my totally radical Cowabunga pals. DANNY: Perpetual Motion, perfect devotion, the things I never had, my Mum and my Dad. CHIP: Balance. 10. What do you wish you’d known when you were younger? RALPH: The sooner you start training the sooner you start kicking ass. MICKEY: To never give up, but to have the guts to ask for help when you need it. JUNE: To trust myself. LEON: Things tend to work out. DANNY: Ohm’s Law.


12. What are you tired of? RALPH: I keep leaving my sai behind after battles. Gotta stop doing that. MICKEY: Waking up every day to hear some new pile of Trump related bullshit. I can still say bullshit, right? JUNE: Misogyny. Destructive gender roles. LEON: All of this Nazi crap. Cowabunga Pizza Time does not play around when it comes to a Nazi threat. They better keep out of Baltimore or they’re gonna find themselves in a world of hurt! DANNY: Of waking up tired. CHIP: The importance of significance. 13. What are you grateful for? RALPH: Family. MICKEY: Yeah, and our friends too. UNE: My ability to make music and kick ass. I can say ass, right? LEON: Rock and roll, pizza, and good friends. DANNY: Electricity. CHIP: The beauty of existence. 14. Favorite quote? RALPH: “DEATH TO VIDEODROME! LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!’ MICKEY: “If you think you’re too old for rock & roll, then you are.” JUNE: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” - Elbert Hubbard LEON: “You will only achieve if you let go of your doubt and push past your limits.” - Chip DANNY: “Invention, my dear friends, is 93 percent perspiration, 6 percent electricity, 4 percent evaporation, and 2 percent butterscotch ripple.” CHIP: “It’s okay not to know but not okay not to ask.” - David Lieberman 15. Best gift you ever received? RALPH: Probably Nintendo. MICKEY: My first bike. JUNE: The little girl growing in my womb right now. LEON: My guitar!



W ed . 2 4 DANNY: A graphing calculator. CHIP: Life. 16. Favorite local nightspot? RALPH: Anywhere with a stage, some loud as hell speakers, a bar, and is within range of pizza delivery. MICKEY: Sidebar, l think. I really miss Liam Flynn’s. JUNE: Sidebar. Ottobar. Windup Space. Metro Gallery. LEON: I spend most of my time at home in the sewer dojo. DANNY: Engineers Club of Baltimore CHIP: Windup Space, Ottobar, or Sidebar. 17. If your life were a book, what would the title be? RALPH: “Cowabunga Pizza Time: Out of the Shadows.” MICKEY: “My Life as an Idiot” JUNE: “‘She Can Really Wail’: The Story of June” LEON: “Practice, Patience, and Pizza: A Story of Determination, Discipline, and . . . Pizza.” DANNY: “The Phenomenology of Living in the Sewer.” CHIP: “What Are You Even Saying?” 18. What do you want the most? RALPH: Justice and pizza. MICKEY: Fellowship and pizza. JUNE: Equality and pizza. LEON: Skill and pizza. DANNY: Knowledge and pizza. CHIP: Discipline and pizza. 19. What do you look for in a significant other? RALPH: Fundamental martial arts understanding and a good pizza recipe. MICKEY: Someone that loves cartoons, wants the world to be a better place for everyone on it, and can burp at least as loudly as I can. JUNE: Ninja skills, music skills, emotional intelligence. LEON: Someone that can appreciate a slice and some good rock! DANNY: A good library and a working knowledge of electronics. CHIP: A stillness of mind and purity of soul. 20. Why Baltimore? RALPH: Because Baltimore is our home. MICKEY: That’s kind of a big question. JUNE: Is there anywhere else, really? LEON: We love the people. DANNY: It’s a strategic location near the pizza belt. CHIP: Why ask why?


An Die Musik. Joshua Davis’ Love Salad. Baltimore Soundstage. Frosty Blue Bash 2018 featuring the Kelly Bell Band. 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.

T hu . 2 5 An Die Musik. Trio Sefardi. Baltimore Soundstage. Creed Bratton from “The Office,” Mike Moran. Bertha’s. Jeff Reed Trio. The Birchmere. The Ventures. Cat’s Eye Pub. Ruben Montoya Band. The Crown. UFO vol 10 with Jacob Marley, Tromac Pineapple, Alienood420, Ta$hannie, Tensah; A Night Of Japanese New Wave & Obscure. The 8x10. The Trongone Band, Colin Thompson Band, Jonathan Sloane Trio. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Chris Janson, Phillip Michael Parsons. Germano’s Piattini. The Max VanDerBeek Jazz Group featuring Lottie Porch. Joe Squared. Songwriter Round Robin. Motor House. Mood2Soul. 9:30 Club. Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Luther Dickinson. The Ottobar. Chumps, Grassroots, Howzit; DJ Diamond Dustin. Rams Head On Stage. Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October. The Sidebar. Artist Pop Up Series. Tin Roof. As If - A ‘90s Tribute. U Street Music Hall. Psymbionic & The Widdler. The Windup Space. June Star, The Linemen, Big Mama Shakes.

F ri . 2 6 An Die Musik. The Joshua Espinoza Trio. Baltimore Soundstage. Identity Theft: BassLights Tribute Night. Bertha’s. Juke Drivers. The Birchmere. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Cat’s Eye Pub. The Black Falls Band; Ken G. Shorts. Creative Alliance. Mwenso & The Shakes. The Crown. Blush + Brews with Bobbi Rush, Ducky Dynamo, Hunter Hooligan, Kleonaptra, Loc Spice, Nikilad. Echostage. Above & Beyond: Common Ground, Spencer Brown. The 8x10. Normandy Wood, Smantx, Shivering Isles, Slow with the Ghost. E.M.P. Collective. GRL PWR Presents Sweat! Pretty Boi Drag Take Over with Trillnatured and EunB1. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Brett Young, Ross Ellis.

Germano’s Piattini. Showtunes to Warm a Winter’s Night - Calla Fuqua. Joe Squared. National Razor FDIC, Toothless, University of South Vietnam School of Warfare, Indictments. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. BSO Superpops and Ann Hampton Callaway - Diva to Diva: From Ella to Adele. Metro Gallery. Holdfast, Clear For Takeoff, One Life To Lead, The Great Heights Band, Front Royal. Motor House. Classical Revolution Baltimore’s Chamber Jam. 9:30 Club. Frankie Ballard. The Ottobar. Karaoke Happy Hour + Electric Cafe Dance Party; Cowabunga Pizza Time, Schroeder, Mallwalker, Please. Rams Head On Stage. Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show. Reverb. Hip-Hop Open Mic Night. The Sidebar. Bruised Ego, Sickdeer, Nuclear Tomb, Ralph, Cemetery Bastard. Tin Roof. Jason Dumm Band. U Street Music Hall. Seth Troxler. The Windup Space. High Fantasy: Pizza Party Printing’s 6 Year Pizzaversary Black Light Poster Show with Alms, Bastards Of Reality, Incisor, Gateway To Hell.

S at . 2 7 An Die Musik. Marilyn Crispell. Baltimore Soundstage. The Green, Jesse Royal, Leilani Wolfgramm, Edjacated Phools. Bertha’s. Whale Show. The Birchmere. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Cat’s Eye Pub. Tony Denikos Band; Carl Filipiak Jazz Band. Creative Alliance. Raul Midon. The Crown. Night Gruuvs with DJ Kevin Anthony; Micah E. Wood, Ramona Cordova, Sarah M., Dyyo Faccina, DJ Loc Spice. Echostage. Shy Glizzy, Rico Nasty, Q Da Fool. The 8x10. PeopleSources Presents: Let’s Danza. The Fillmore Silver Spring. The Devil Makes Three, The Huntress And Holder of Hands. Germano’s Piattini. Jefferson Street Strutters. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. BSO Superpops and Ann Hampton Callaway - Diva to Diva: From Ella to Adele. Metro Gallery. Penntera, Clenched Fist (tribute to Sepultura), Psychoholic Slag (tribute to White Zombie). 9:30 Club. Manic Focus, Minnesota. The Ottobar. The Districts, Pine Barons; Butter with DJ Dan G and more. Rams Head Live. Ten (Tribute to Pearl Jam), Deathbed Motorcade (Tribute to Stone Temple Pilots). Rams Head On Stage. High Voltage (AC/ DC Tribute). Red Room. Thread Duo, Andrew Bernstein, Sam Cooper/Corey Thuro. The Sidebar. Melon Farmers, Canker Blossom, Urban Crater, MSH, Seesick.


Tin Roof. Steve Matthews. U Street Music Hall. The Magician, Bit Funk, Fady D. The Windup Space. Chase Ultra.

S un . 2 8 An Die Musik. Marilyn Crispell. Baltimore Soundstage. Day26 Experience, Ay-Rock, DJ Jus. Bertha’s. Whale Show. The Black Cat. Destroyer, Mega Bog. Cat’s Eye Pub. Steve Kremer & The Bluesicians; Timmy Shelley Band. The Crown. Fuss, Screaming Art Large Ensemble, UHHM. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Brockhampton. Germano’s Piattini. Otherworld. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. BSO Superpops and Ann Hampton Callaway - Diva to Diva: From Ella to Adele. 9:30 Club. Enter Shikari, Single Mothers, Milk Teeth. The Ottobar. Service Industry Night. Rams Head On Stage. The Sibling Rivalry Tour featuring Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones and The High Divers; Justin Townes Earle, H.C. McEntire (of Mount Moriah). The Windup Space. Expert of Nothing.

M on . 2 9 An Die Musik. Dunbar Alumni Jazz Band. The Black Cat. Laura Stevenson, Baby Grill. Cat’s Eye Pub. Phil Cunneff New Trio. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity, Red Fang. 9:30 Club. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Night Beats. The Ottobar. Metal Monday. The Windup Space. Horatio Dark.

T ue . 3 0 Cat’s Eye Pub. Rod & Real. The Crown. Karaoke Forever. Germano’s Piattini. An Evening with Billy Colucci. 9:30 Club. Kimbra, Arc Iris. The Ottobar. Two For Tuesday with Particol. Rams Head On Stage. Howie Day, Demar. The Sidebar. Double Dragon, Gyna Bootleg, Maryland Mansion. Tin Roof. The Harikaraoke Band Gong Show.

W ed . 3 1 Cat’s Eye Pub. Baltimore Rockabilly with Jay Cleaver. 9:30 Club. Typhoon, Bad Bad Hats. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night. Rams Head Live. Neck Deep, Seaway, Creeper, Speak Low If You Speak Love. The Sidebar. Back II Life. Tin Roof. Building The Band. The Windup Space. Windup Wednesday.

JANUARY 24, 2018

SCRAMBLED EVES Boredom and vodka in Eve Babitz’s tableau vivant of glamorous and boozy ’60s Los Angeles By Rebekah Kirkman Eve Babitz makes scrambled eggs alone, ostensibly preparing for a night in at home, in one scene; another day, she takes a bite of scrambled eggs in a restaurant booth with a musician friend as part of a “sinless breakfast” along with bloody marys, after a round or two of Scotch in her friend’s home. The mundanity of these images from Babitz’s drink- and drug- and loveladen biographical fiction “Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A.,” originally published in 1974 and reissued in 2015, has seared in my memory. Babitz, as the book’s narrator, an artist in her late 20s and early 30s in 1960s Los Angeles, offers Technicolor observations of the city’s sunset glow and its heaving dryness to decorate other details a reader can cling and relate to: an arts scene, a creative community of sorts whose fruits and delights are elided to make room for gossip, like who’s sleeping with whom; for pondering the inner lives of the rich and powerful; and for lazing and lamenting how much was drunk the previous night, and why. Babitz writes a universe that’s so suffused with sex and romance and all their permutations among her people that everything seems attainable, and basically everyone is a big ol’ flirt, including God, and you can make him send you something—or someone— nice, depending on your little ol’ actions down below. Scrambled eggs, an easy, innocuous, no-commitment effort, are like a burnt offering to God: “So, if you want to get invited to something not quite dinner, you could make scrambled eggs with no bread on the side but melted cheese in the scrambled eggs or something, to show God that you are serious about staying home and being virtuous,” Babitz advises in the story ‘Dodger Stadium.’ “His interest is then piqued as He seeks to devise an appropriate temptation for you to succumb to.” An occasional lover, an older married man in town from New York, calls her up and invites her to a baseball game (of all things) just as she finishes her “last delicious fluffy bite.” But mostly she’s being clever, which she is throughout the book, full of funny logic, rules, and self-made mythologies. In the story ‘Sirocco,’ Babitz


been her, perhaps you have too, and that figure is built into the whole conceit of “Slow Days.” Trying to reach some lover, “since it’s impossible to get this one I’m in love with to read anything unless it’s about or to him,” Babitz prefaces many of the stories with italic notes to him, almost like a “wish you were here” scrawled on a souvenir postcard. At some point along the way you forget that the italics are asides to someone who apparently wasn’t paying her enough attention—it is simply how things go sometimes, and her world didn’t stop moving for him or anything like that.

BOOKS Baltimore County Public Library Pikesville Branch, 1301 Reisterstown Road, (410) 887-1234, Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio discusses his book “Why?: What Makes Us Curious.” Jan. 31, 2:30 p.m. Bird In Hand, 11 E. 33rd St., (410) 814-0373, Alison Roman, author of “Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes” is joined by cooks Lauren Sandler of Canningshed, Jinji Fraser of Pure Chocolate by Jinji, and Sarah Conezio of Keepwell Vinegar. Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m. Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Author and political commentator Chris Matthews discusses his new book, “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.” Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road, (410) 377-2966, Nathaniel Rich, author of “King Zeno.” Jan. 25, 7 p.m. Poets Shirley J. Brewer, Rachel Eisler, Clarinda Harriss, Kathleen Hellen discuss “Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology Of Subversive Verse,” edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane. Jan. 28, 5 p.m. Red Emma’s, 30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7585, Virginia Eubanks, author of “Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor.” Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.


Photo: Lars Plougmann

JANUARY 24, 2018

spends a few pages meditating on having given up a traditional love life—that is, an illusion of stability through monogamous marriage and children, or something—and then later gets into a threesome, which doesn’t exactly go the way she wants it to. But first she describes how she only hangs with three groups of people: lovers, “just friends” (men who are not lovers), and women friends, who seem far better than the first two because, as she quotes her agent Erica, “You know that when you have dinner with a girlfriend, you’re going to come home a whole human being.” Nothing is actually perfect; even the loveliest lovers wear on you. And that boundary-breaking threesome (featuring one of her dear, previously-“just friends”-William) was the result of “passion from boredom and vodka,” but also the sirocco, or the Santa Ana winds. “Just think, if we didn’t have the Santa Anas, how straight we all would be,” she observes. And in a way, the morning after, the Santa Ana really pulled her away from William and Day, a woman she desired more than she did William, and flung her into the arms of another just-friend and later-on-in-another-story-lover, Shawn, who comforts her with this short lesson: “Sometimes if you can’t get what you want, you get what the person you want wants.” Shawn is, of course, heartsick for the man who left him in Charleston, which drove him to L.A., and it all grows more web-like from there. There are all levels of drunkenness apparent in each story in “Slow Days” that range from purely exuberant to blithe and bored to miserable to angry, culminating in the final bender of ‘The Garden of Allah,’ where Babitz gets utterly hammered with two women (one of whom doses her with LSD), Mary and Gabrielle, whom she had spent the earlier portion of the story describing in alternating tones of admiration and fear. Among those drunk-levels there is also a kind of lovelorn drunk person who at some point of the night, fully sloshed, spills it all. I mean, maybe she spills her drink or has to vomit some “gorgeous waterfall of yellow” (as Babitz describes Mary’s) but also, more so, she seems intent to unspool certain details of her private life. I have

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To get through the day “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” director Donald Hicken talks the compassionate, misunderstood mind of Eugene O’Neill By Maura Callahan


Donald Hicken (left) directing Everyman Theatre Resident Company members Deborah Hazlett and Danny Gavigan in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Photo by Jared Earley, courtesy Everyman Theatre.

A lot of liquor disappears in American playwright Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical reckoning and Everyman Theatre’s next production, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”—the New York Times succinctly diagnosed the play as “a tempest in a bourbon bottle.” The drinking begins just before lunch at the summer home of the Tyrone family in 1912 and continues throughout this ordinary day, the ferocious, looping arch of which makes up the entirety of the play, hence the title. It’s an obvious vice for James Tyrone Sr. and his two adult sons (the youngest of which is based on O’Neill himself), while their mother turns to morphine. Something to get through the throws of their mutual resentment, their collective inability to sever their present and future from their past. To direct the company’s first-ever production of an O’Neill play, Everyman tapped Donald Hicken, who retired from his 36-year-long tenure at the Baltimore School for the Arts in 2016 and more recently directed Everyman’s productions of John Patrick Shanley’s “Outside Mullingar” and Frederick Knott’s “Wait Until Dark.” I sat

JANUARY 24, 2018

down with the director to discuss the play and the life of its author, whom Hicken describes as “the first great American playwright in the modern era.” Baltimore Beat: Can you tell me more about the background of the play? I understand it was published posthumously, and premiered a few years after his death in 1953. Donald Hicken: He requested it not be published until 25 years after his death because he wanted to make sure everyone who was named or implied was long gone. I think that was partly why he wanted to protect it, but also partly he didn’t want to have to throw open all the closets and pull out all the skeletons. He said it was written in tears and blood. His wife at the time describes him writing it and hearing the sobs coming from the room where he was writing it. It was really hard for him to write, and he wrote “A Moon for the Misbegotten” after this to kind of purge that demon, to forgive his brother, who died of alcoholism. He was already a very successful playwright, he was a Pulitzer prize-winning, Nobel prize-winning


playwright. So he was extremely successful and he was also suffering from what was thought to be Parkinsons disease but turned out not to be; it was a much more rare neurological phenomenon. He was losing his ability to write, and he could never use a typewriter, he could never dictate. He wrote everything in pencil. He got to the point where the tremor was so bad that in order to keep writing he had to write so small that one needed a magnifying glass to transcribe it. He knew he was losing the ability to write. He knew he had to get this play written. He needed to forgive and understand his life from the standpoint of his family. So he goes inside this family in a way that is extremely meaningful for anyone, for all of us who’ve been in families. I think that Carlotta, his widow’s decision to publish it—she maintains that he told her she could if she had to. We have no way of knowing if that’s true or not. Bennett Cerf at Random House was in favor of respecting his wishes and not publishing it, but I think then there was sort of compromise like, well, it’ll be published but


not performed. In fact the first production was done in Sweden, it wasn’t even done in this country, it was done in translation first. They tried to protect it from being produced even though it had been published. And once it was published it was a big sensation, I mean people saw how brilliantly written it was. And it’s sorta become known as his greatest play, partly because I think some of the other plays are a little misunderstood. BB: How so? DH: I think we’re kinda in the same place with O’Neill that the 18th century was with Shakespeare. They found Shakespeare too sad, so they changed the endings, like Romeo arrives in time and Juliette wakes up and they live happily every after, and that’s kinda the way they thought it should be. They didn’t understand tragedy in that way. I think we’re that same way with O’Neill because we don’t think of it as anything wrong with greed—what’s wrong with greed, what’s wrong with being successful? There’s no cost. And if you say there is it comes across as melodrama, sentimental. I think we think of O’Neill as maybe overly sentimental. Because he believes in compassion and empathy. BB: You used the word “groundbreaking” to describe the play, how do you mean exactly? DH: He wanted to break the mold of 19th century Romanticism and start to tell a new kind of truth in a new way. And he was inspired by Ibsen and Strindberg, maybe to a lesser extent by Shaw. And these were playwrights who were eschewing verse and Romantic circumstance and settings and starting to tell stories of real people in real life situations. He was fascinated by the growth of industrial America and what it was doing to what he considered to be the soul of America. He saw America being consumed by materialism, losing its soul to greed. The greed and criminal activity were rewarded whereas sensitivity and compassion and empathy and those kinds of things were trampled. I don’t think anyone in America was writing like this. Both Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller credit O’Neill with showing them a new way of writing for the theater. They basically credit him with being the first to kind of break the mold. Up until then everyone was writing sort of heroic, romantic epics about valiant noblemen and damsels in distress. And he was interested in topics, kinda post-Freudian topics of psychological and emotional dimension. He saw people as duplistic, wearing masks. In a number of his plays he actually uses masks; people would put on a mask and behave a certain way, take the mask off and we hear their real thoughts, their real feelings. I think for contemporary audiences that’s all seen as kind of cheap trick. So I don’t know whether we’ll ever get back around to it, but we might. The groundbreaking part of it really was the fact that he talked about things that nobody else [was talking about]. A lot of his plays were banned. Productions were stopped because of language that he used. In “The Iceman Cometh” he had prostitutes depicted onstage. Police shut that production down in Chicago. And he also insisted in “The Emperor Jones” that the lead character be played by an actor of color. The producers said, “No, you don’t want to do that, you want to have a white guy in blackface.” Because that was the tradition, if people of color were depicted onstage it was a white person in blackface. And he said he wasn’t having blackface, he wanted an actual black person to play the role. And he actually went out and found a guy who was an elevator operator who worked around in community theater and stuff and had been active in Harlem Renaissance sort of stuff, and he got him to play it. The play was an enormous success; the guy became kind of an overnight sensation. It was running performance after performance, it was getting


increasingly more accolades and it kinda went to his head and he started drinking and celebrating and had a couple performances where he was too drunk to go on, and they needed to replace him. The producers basically said, “We told you so, you should’ve had a guy in blackface.” And O’Neill instead of saying, “you were right and I was wrong” and doing that, he went off and found another actor of color, he insisted, and the second actor happened to be Paul Robeson. So it was really the beginning of Robeson’s career. [O’Neill] was groundbreaking in a number of ways, in terms of his insistence on a certain integrity in the work—and the kind of subject matter he was working with. BB: Booze was a major force in O’Neill’s life and plays a major role in “Long Day’s Journey.” Can you tell me more about his handling of addiction in the play? DH: Well you know he was an alcoholic and he drank off and on all of his life. He went through long periods of sobriety but he also relapsed a number of times. In the household, even though they consume a tremendous amount of booze over the course of the day, I think that the presence of alcohol in the house was not a big deal from O’Neill’s perspective and I think that while he acknowledged, at the time this play was written his brother was drinking himself to death. And he knew it. O’Neill was sober when he was writing this play and I think he understood the importance of remaining sober, but I don’t think he felt that at the time in 1912, in this household, this Irish Catholic family, the presence of alcohol in this house was not a particularly big deal. His mother’s addiction to morphine was the great shame because as they’d say, “only whores took dope.” Now I do think that O’Neill, by the time he wrote this play, had come to an understanding of the terrible toll all that drinking took on his brother because it was in the process of killing him, and on his father who didn’t die of it but certainly didn’t help him. But it was at a day before AA. There weren’t really any reasonable treatment programs. They put you in a sanitorium and not allow you to have any and that was it, very little sort of therapeutic, no 12-step, there was very little therapeutic process that had been identified at that point that was having any degree of success; they were basically drying people out and then releasing them back out into the world. So the extent to which people went right back to drinking was pretty substantial. And as I said, O’Neill went back and forth a lot in his life. Usually when he would get around his old friends. And there were some times in his life when he came close to dying from drinking bad stuff. And he did have one suicide attempt when he was a young man. BB: What can you tell me about your approach to this production? DH: I’ve had a history with the play; I’ve worked on or been associated with two other productions. So I have a great deal of respect for the play. My approach I suppose would be described as traditional in the sense that I’m not trying to do anything conceptually unusual with it. The setting is based on the actual home. It’s not a realistic depiction of the home; it’s kind of fragmented, a way of illustrating the fragmented nature—and it really isn’t a home. It doesn’t feel cozy. It feels kind of porous and disconnected. There’s a dominant staircase to where the spare room is where [the mother] goes to use. I don’t know whether it’s symbolic necessarily but it is, to me, appropriate. But in terms of the costumes and the setting and the sound design and all of the production elements, they’re pretty faithful to the play as written. O’Neill is famous for writing these long, long stage directions. The italics in this play is almost as long as the play itself. You kind of have to take that with a grain of salt; I mean he goes into very specific character descriptions and very specific descriptions of each moment—because he lived it. We pretty much ignore


Playwright Eugene O’Neill Photo by Alice Boughton, courtesy Wikipedia Commons

those. Some of the actors have actually crossed them out in their scripts so they’re not tempted to read them. I don’t believe we’ve ignored them in spirit but I believe we’ve ignored them in terms of what they dictate. BB: What do you think this play says to an audience today? DH: I think it says that love is a rigorous process, that love requires vigilant service to other beings, and it’s not an easy road. I think at the center of this, there’s this triangle, these three men, a husband and two sons who love this woman so deeply that even with everything that happens in the course of this day, they remain a family. And that’s because of that bond, that inexorable, inextinguishable bond. I think of it as kind of a love story, or a story about love. And addiction and history and all of that kind of stuff, those are obstacles that need to be overcome or need to be dealt with, and I think they try as hard as they can to deal with it, each in their own way—and not very successfully. But nobody leaves at the end. Nobody runs away; everyone’s there at the very end. So I think it says something about the resilience of people and families. I mean I know a lot of families get torn apart by addiction; that happens all the time. But I think this is a family that—hard to say they survive, but they go on. This interview has been edited and condensed. “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” opens at Everyman Theatre on Jan. 31. For more information, visit

JANUARY 24, 2018

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An Evening Of Music And Comedy With Creed Bratton J A N . 2 5

Yes, that Creed Bratton. Once the guitarist of ‘60s sha-la-la hippie band The Grass Roots until he dropped his pants onstage and was asked to leave, Creed Bratton became better known as the Dunder Mifflin quality control guy with the same name on NBC’s “The Office.” Like all of the show’s supporting characters, Creed periodically broke Dunder Mifflin Scranton’s fluorescent light bubble with suggestions of life beyond the office’s suffocating walls, narrative offshoots that in part make “The Office” endlessly rewatchable to the point that Netflix will have a riot on their hands if they ever take it offline. Since Creed Bratton the character was loosely based on Creed Bratton IRL (“loosely” being the operative word here), this meant tangential sketches of a sketchy guy with a storied, drug-fueled past—a kleptomaniac, former cult leader and follower, fake ID provider, and probable serial killer with enough wisdom to fill a lengthy, hidden Word document. “You ever notice you can only ooze two things? Sexuality and pus.” 8:30 p.m., Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057,\creedthoughts, check it out, $22$24.20. (Maura Callahan) BIG Mainstage. Baltimore Improv Group hosts two troupe performances every Friday and Saturday night. Jan. 26 and 27, 9 p.m., The BIG Theater, 1727 N. Charles St., (888) 745-8393, Camp Adventure. Ian Salyers hosts a night of improv, stand-up, and sketch from Silversmith, Peach Pit, Toe Money Improv, and Lance Curran, plus a bonus improv jam. Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Charm City Comedy Project at Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St.,, $5. Everything Will Be Okay (a stand-up comedy show). Chris Hudson hosts a night of stand-up featuring Archie Jamieson, Garrett Hardy Harvest, Beth Haydon, Ahmed Vallejos, and Ivan Martin. Jan. 25, 8 p.m., The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848,, $5. “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,, $10-$20. Murdered Word III. Over 30 artists from Baltimore and beyond doing whatever they want: performance, musical sets, video, and interdisciplinary work all in one place. Jan. 27, 8 p.m.-4 a.m., E.M.P. Collective, 307 W. Baltimore St.,, $10. “Skeleton Crew.” In the third play in Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy, four workers at the city’s last exporting auto plant face down an uncertain future. Jan. 25-March 4, Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., (410) 332-0033, centerstage. org, $20-$79. The Smoking Lounge. Kathleen Williams hosts a night of improv, stand-up, and sketch from Trampus, Thighmeat, Moonbot, Siberia, and OLGA. Jan. 27, 8 p.m., Charm City Comedy Project at Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St.,, $5. “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.,, $19-$24. TotaShiSho Episode One. A new game show from Feral Woman. Featured panelists for episode one are Jana Hunter, Rahne Alexander, Christine Ferrera, Mike Smith, Jordan Card, and Molly Margulies. Jan. 26, 8 p.m., The Mercury Theater, 1823 N. Charles St., “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.,, $25. “Waitress.” Featuring original music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, the musical based on the film by Adrienne Shelly tells the story of a waitress and expert pie maker who sets out to rebuild her life. Jan. 30-Feb. 4, Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400,, $42-$214.

JANUARY 24, 2018



GOT TO BE REAL Raunchy, hard-drinking, hard-partying “Girls Trip” depicts another side of black women By Lisa Snowden-McCray


“Russian Ark” screens at the Walters on Jan. 25. Sana Jammelieh (left), Shaden Kanboura, and Screencap Mounacourtesy HawaYouTube. in “In Between”

SCREENS The Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St., (410) 7273464, “Call Me By Your Name” (Luca Guadagnino, U.S./Italy, 2017), now playing. “The Disaster Artist” (James Franco, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Happy End” (Michael Haneke, France/Germany/ Austria, 2017), now playing. “I, Tonya” (Craig Gillespie, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Lady Bird” (Greta Gerwig, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Phantom Thread” (Paul Thomas Anderson, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Shape Of Water” (Guillermo del Toro, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Trouble No More (Jennifer Lebeau, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Exterminating Angel” (Luis Bunuel, Spain, 1962), Jan. 25. “Bob Le Flambeur” (Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1955), Jan. 27, Jan. 29, Feb. 1. Metropolitan Opera: “Tosca,” Jan. 28.

Writing about “Girls Trip” is really writing about Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip.” And writing about Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip” is really writing about a kind of black woman freedom not often shown in a major film. The movie also stars Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and Baltimore native Jada Pinkett Smith as a group of college bffs who, after living out my own CrossColors-Freaknik-A-Different-World-early-’90s fantasies (I was too young to really rock an asymmetrical haircut and hit a mean running man like I would have wanted), have drifted apart. They are making up for lost time at Essence Fest, a yearly gathering in New Orleans organized by Essence Magazine, which turns the city into a black woman Mecca (New Orleans is, conveniently, one of the blackest and booziest places on earth). “Girls Trip” was released in July of last year, and made an estimated $100.1 million. Black women, especially, flocked to the film in huge groups. I saw it in White Marsh by myself during some much needed me-time and even though I was by myself, my midafternoon screening felt more like a bachelorette party. The film, ostensibly about Regina Hall’s dissipating marriage to a trifling husband, is a full-out, fun raunchfest with Haddish’s character, Dina, at the center of it all—all id and impulse. For me, it was a breath of fresh air. “That’s some white boy shit right there,” Latifah’s character Sasha mutters to herself as she walks past some men drunkenly zip-gliding from one New Orleans building to another. But it’s not. Turns out the black girls could do it too, and make it grosser (pro-tip: pee before you get in one of those things). When we meet Haddish’s character Dina, the other women in the film are sitting in the waiting room at a clinic, solemn and concerned. Lisa, the party girl turned


repressed mom, reassures the others in a hushed tone. “We’ve been through this before,” she says. Dina comes crashing in, breaking the silence. “It’s chlamydia, ya’ll” she exclaims. “That shit you can cure! Ayyye!” Dina stays drunk, she loves sex, she fights. She’s the kind of woman who in, say, a Tyler Perry film, would be chastened by her sinful ways, saved, and engaged to an uptight light-skinned guy by the end of the film. Here, though, Dina is thoroughly herself in a way that none of the other characters are—not delusional media it-girl Ryan, not uptight Lisa, not grudge-holding Sasha. It’s Dina who finally gets sick of their phony shit, and Dina who calls on them to get it together. “I love you, but I hate you bitches,” she yells after everything comes to a head. It’s not just the raunchiness. The movie feels genuine in the way it shows us. When the women first get to Essence Fest, groups of regular, everyday black women mill about, laughing, drinking, having fun. The film shows the main characters smoking weed, tying up their hair at night, drinking a lot (hand grenades, shots, even an unfortunate run-in with drinks spiked with absinthe)—real things that black women do. And in the end, Ryan sums up the value of the friendship, and the value of the film too. “No matter who else is in the picture, my girls are my constant,” she says. “They give me permission to be who I am, and I am going to be me. We’re going to be us: loving, laughing, worthy, magical us.” Yeah, OK. It’s corny. But it’s true too. “Girls Trip” is out on DVD/Blu-Ray and available for streaming on Amazon, iTunes, and more.


The Parkway Theatre, 5 W. North Ave., (410) 7528083, “The Final Year” (Greg Barker, U.S., 2017), through Jan. 25. “In Between” (Maysaloun Hamoud, Israel, 2016), through Jan. 25. “Quest” (Jonathan Olshefski, U.S., 2017), through Jan. 25. “Beuys” (Andres Veiel, Germany, 2018), opens Jan. 26. “Please Stand By” (Ben Lewin, U.S., 2018), opens Jan. 26. “Office Space” (Mike Judge, U.S., 1999), Jan. 27. (Mike Judge, U.S., 2006), Jan. 27. Double Feature: “Office Space” (Mike Judge, U.S., 1999), “Idiocracy” (Mike Judge, U.S., 2006), Jan. 29. Sweaty Eyeballs Present: Best Of Ottawa—a collection of jury awarded short films and fan favorites from the 41st edition of the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which took place in September 2017. Jan. 30. The Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road, (410) 3234424, “Darkest Hour” (Joe Wright, U.K., 2017), now playing. “The Post” (Steven Spielberg, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” (Rian Johnson, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” (Martin McDonagh, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Godfather” (Francis Ford Coppola, U.S. 1972), Jan. 24. “Safety Last” (Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor, U.S., 1923), Jan. 28, Jan. 29. “The Sound Of Music” (Robert Wise, U.S., 1965), Jan. 31, Feb. 1, Feb. 4, Feb. 5, Feb. 6. The Walters Art Museum, 600 N Charles St., (410) 547-9000, Russian Arcs: A Selection of Narrative Film on Russian Culture: “Russian Ark” (Alexander Sokurov, Russia, 1999), Jan. 25.

JANUARY 24, 2018

WHISKEY GIRL Cocktail photographer and blogger Nikki Davidson talks about her love of spirits and where to go to get a good drink By Lisa Snowden-McCray


Nikki Davidson Photo Courtesy of Davidson

I first heard of cocktail photographer and blogger Nikki Davidson (also known as @cocktailcrafty on Instagram) when one of our writers, Arli Lima, suggested that we run two of Davidson’s drink recipes in our Holiday Guide last month—a Stella Noel and a Christmas Mule. I was impressed and intrigued. I decided to hit up the Baltimore native and City graduate again for our Liquor Issue to learn a little more about what she does and why she does it. (Lisa Snowden-McCray) Baltimore Beat: How did you get into food photography? Nikki Davidson: I started in 2014, just snapping photos of what I was drinking at bars, just like everyone else. I’m a foodie but I always forget to take pictures of the food I eat so I was like “OK, I’ll just post my drinks.” Then people started following me to find out what I was drinking, where I was drinking, and then I started realizing that I really enjoyed photography. I started learning how to do that, and it just took off on its own. BB: What kind of drinks do you prefer? ND: I try to try everything because if you say, “oh, I only drink this,” then you’re shutting yourself off to so many different opportunities, and sometimes you might try something that you think you don’t like and it might blow your mind. So I try to try little bit of everything—but I’m definitely a whiskey girl. BB: I’ve noticed a lot of times if I order, say, a Manhattan, or something like that, people will doubt me. They’ll be like “oh you know that’s not a sweet drink.” Is that something you’ve run into? ND: I’ve definitely met that when I first started hitting cocktail bars. The stereotype is first I’m woman, so they try to give me something sugary and sweet, and second I’m black so obviously I want cognac. I would order whiskey on the rocks and I would get like “are you sure you want that?” so I would always try to say something and show, hey, I know what I’m

JANUARY 24, 2018

talking about. And that’s also why I learned, because I got frustrated of always being pushed toward the same type of stuff, but because I didn’t know what I wanted, [I tried] to find out what else was out there. BB: What are some of the places that you would suggest for someone if they wanted to reach out to some more creative, friendly bartenders? ND: I like R. House (301 W. 29th St., r.housebaltimore. com). The bartenders there are super-friendly and they are very creative with their drinks. Even just the names spark conversations. Like I think they did a whole “Home Alone”-themed cocktail menu for the holidays, so even the names you’re going to be like, what inspired this drink? Since I’m into whiskey I like Bookmakers [Cocktail Club] (31 E. Cross St., They have a huge whiskey menu so . . . they’ll be able to educate you and guide you on all things whiskey. I live in Mt. Vernon so one of my favorite neighborhood bars is B & O American Brasserie (2 N. Charles St., The lead bartender there, Brendon Dorr, he’s really knowledgeable about all things cocktails. He would probably, if you just picked a spirit or picked a drink, he could probably give you an entire thesis paper on the topic, so I’ve definitely learned a lot from him. BB: Do you think Baltimore is a cocktail town? ND: Baltimore and Maryland actually had big roots in rye whiskey. Maryland was the home of it and a hub, and then the prohibition came and that dried up. I think that we’re actually starting to get back to those roots with all the new distilleries that opened up and there’s a new cocktail bar opening up every month now, I can’t keep up with them. We’re known for our food but people are really starting to pay attention and notice us. This interview has been edited and condensed. Read the full Q&A at


Photo Courtesy of Davidson

BOOZY HOT CHOCOLATE INGREDIENTS 2 cups Milk 1/4 cup Condensed Milk 3 ounces Dark Rum, Bourbon, or Dark Tequila 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder 1/4 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips 1/2 tsp Vanilla Pinch of Kosher Salt OPTIONAL: Marshmallow Fluff INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a saucepan, bring milk to a simmer. 2. Stir in condensed milk. Reduce heat. 3. Using a whisk, slowly stir in chocolate chips. 4. Once chips have melted, add cocoa powder. Continue stirring until smooth. 5. Now add vanilla and salt. Continue to stir a minute longer then remove from heat. 6. Stir in alcohol 7. Add hot chocolate to heat resistant mug. 8. Top with marshmallow fluff. Toast using a kitchen torch.


Field Tripping


My life with booze: A teetotaler’s drinking diary

Slactavis Sours Slactavis Sours is 1500 milligrams of “RSO-style” syrup (RSO is Rick Simpson Oil, the renowned cannabis oil that many people swear by used to treat cancer and other ailments) in a 4-ounce bottle, and proffers a particularly strong edibleslike high, though one you’ve got a little more control over. It hits you quick and all at once (weird side effect: a ringing in my ears) not a few hours later like a whole weed brownie or something and drapes you in a cloak of dullness. What Slactavis Sours doesn’t enable, however, is that antsy edibles energy—no ramp-up here; just a splat kind of stoned that then oozes through your body starting at your eyelids. And for those who have to smoke a lot to feel better, sipping some of this syrup is easier and more low maintenance than maybe inhaling a lot of some really intense strain to help what hurts (a friend with asthma who has had to stop smoking loves it). Some advice: Go with the sour grape flavor. It is the most overpowering and engaging—the grape taste peaks through and collaborates with the cannabis taste instead of just drowning it out. Puncture a small hole in the foil covering the lip of the bottle so you can lightly sip it rather than guzzle too fast (another friend found it useful to sip over the holidays to tolerate their family). And lastly, once you’ve drank the bottle, stretch that shit out by filling the bottle with water and shaking it up—you’ll have another night or two of quiet, slow burn highs. Or fill the bottle with water, drink it, and repeat a whole bunch of times and sit back and feel like you’re covered in tar. Slactivis Sours is branded a bit like lean—the wildly popular, rather dangerous codeine-laced cough syrup, Promethazine (the brand Actavis made the syrup until recently, stopping because of all the negative PR)—and that’s kind of fucked up. And even though Slactivis is essentially recommending its product as a healthier alternative to lean, that’s deceptive: Insofar as Slactavis Sours is also something viscous that’ll get you high and, unlike lean, this won’t potentially stop you heart, that much is true. But the highs aren’t that similar to lean. And then there is its presentation: The bottle looks stupid with this cartoon character on it that’s like the Warheads candy logo and the fonts are all puffy and drippy and the label reads like a drug rugger’s bad, offensive joke (“Report to Dr. Dodo if you wake up in public naked”). Depending on your tolerance for weed’s current respectable rebranding (weed yoga woo!), this redolent pain reliever is either regressive stoner bullshit or a welcome stubby stoner thumb in the eye of “good” taste. (Brandon Soderberg) Strength: 10 Nose: fake grape Euphoria: 9 Existential dread: 7 Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 7 Drink pairing: Not liquor you fucking dipshits Music pairing: A three-song playlist on a loop featuring The Botany Boyz’s ‘Smokin’ and Leanin,’ Karen Gwyer’s ‘Maukon,’ and Peter Brown’s ‘Without Love’ Rating: 7


By Kate Drabinski It’s the Booze Issue, and I gotta say, I’m the least likely contributor to such a thing. I didn’t have my first taste of alcohol until my mom force fed me some champagne the night of my high school graduation. I was one of those straight edge teens, but not cool enough to be straight edge, so really mostly just a total dork. I’m a rule follower by nature, and back then, if it wasn’t legal, I wasn’t doing it. I kept my head down, my nose clean, and my grades up, assuming that was my ticket out of Boise, Idaho and on to bigger, better things. And then I hit college. Everyone was boozing it up, and I was the one my dormmates called when somebody seemed too drunk to get home from whatever frat party they stumbled into. I remember getting a call at 3 in the morning one weekend, somebody begging me to help get a friend home. I threw on some clothes, hopped on my moral high horse, and swooped in to save the day. I ended up covered in alcohol others spilled on me, but none got in my mouth, and everybody ended up safely back to the dorms, heads in the toilet while I invisibly patted myself on the back for my Good Choices. Because I am a nostalgic motherfucker, I still have a square from that alcohol infused sweater, cut out and kept in my scrapbook, a memory of before I started getting into the hooch myself. That started at the end of my first year. I hit the spring party and I don’t remember what I drank, but I do remember waltzing around the Intrepid down at the Chelsea piers with my skirt pulled up to my neck yelling, “WHY WON’T ANYONE LOOK AT ME???” Friends assured me later that yes, people were looking at me, and I felt gratified. Oh, so that’s what alcohol is for. And then I was a drinker, sort of. I spent weekends at the Night Cafe, a dive bar on the corner on 106th and Amsterdam, where I was never asked to prove my age and got my first introductions to other things my high school self promised never to try: public sex, weed, and cocaine. Oh, college, the memories! But drinking was never really my thing. I drank to gin up some courage on occasion, and to fit in, but I didn’t really develop a taste for it, preferring the sweet taste of nicotine instead. I was a smoker, totally committed to a pack a day. In order to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day—that’s 20 cigarettes in maybe 16 to 18 awake hours—I had to smoke whether I was drinking or not. I’ve always been more anxious than depressed, so cigarettes fit my personality better anyway. I left New York City for the Bay Area for graduate school, where sophisticated graduate students drank beer with flavor and eschewed


the rail drinks of my youth. I went through a few bouts of wine tasting and attempts at that snobbery, but it was way out of my price range. When I quit smoking (still got cancer, oh well) my taste buds came back, and I got really into tasting whiskeys. They tasted so good on my refreshed tongue. OK, maybe I could get into booze. And then I moved to New Orleans, broke up with my girlfriend, and went on a multiyear bender. New Orleans is known for its food and its drinking, but mostly we weren’t drinking anything fancy. I drank more Miller Lite in those years than most of y’all did in your entire college career; I drank enough of it to get drunk on the stuff—no easy feat. And then there was that Mardi Gras when I got my front tooth knocked out by beads, dumped by a Coast Guard pilot when she saw my new grill (“Sorry, I’m shallow”), and drank so much Jameson that I woke up in an emergency room, no idea how I’d gotten there. It was the last time I drank during Mardi Gras, or much at all, for a very long time. It’s a funny story now, but here’s what happened: I drank a lot, left the bar with a man, and ended up falling after he pushed me against a car and started doing I-don’t-remember-what to me. I hit my head so hard on that car that I had a concussion, and mine was the ambulance blocking up traffic in the French Quarter that night. Nothing funny about it, and the losing side of boozing it up so many of us end up on. In Baltimore I have become a social drinker, still usually with the cheap beer and rail drinks, because I’m old enough not to care what other people see me drink. My go-to is Charles Village Pub, where on weekdays you can get two-forone vodka sodas from 3:30-6:15. I’m a cheap date, so one round of those and I’m as tipsy as I want to be. On classier days I can be found with the $5 beer-and-a-shot at Cultured in the Mount Vernon Marketplace with my work wife. We will occasionally make poor choices and have a second whiskey with our beers, and those are the nights I end up in a car home. And then I got diagnosed with cancer, and now I don’t drink at all. Like, at all. I had two sips of a delicious mimosa at Clavel last weekend, but that’s all I’ve been able to get down. I mean, I could drink, but it just feels wrong—I have CANCER. I’m lucky that this doesn’t feel like a loss, because there are times in my life when it would have felt just like that. For now I’m one of those teetotalers, though I’ve dropped the judgment, adopting my dad’s life philosophy: different strokes. Drink up, Baltimore, and give me a call if you need a ride home. I’ll just need to borrow your car.

JANUARY 24, 2018



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