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F E B R U A R Y 2 8 , 2 0 1 8 V O L . 2 I S S . 9 B A L T I M O R E B E AT. C O M


Merriweather Post Pavilion • Columbia, MD

JUST ANNOUNCED!

DISPATCH

w/ Nahko and Medicine for the People & Raye Zaragoza .......................... SAT JULY 21 On Sale Friday, March 2 at 10am

VANS WARPED TOUR

........................... JULY 29

On Sale Now

L METAT! FES

THIS WEEK’S SHOWS

Kelela w/ Tiffany Gouché ......................................................................... Th MAR 1 Galactic (F 2 - w/ Butcher Brown • Sa 3 - w/ Aztec Sun)......................................... F 2 & Sa 3

Hippie Sabotage w/ Melvv & Olivia Noelle ................................................... Su 4 MARCH

APRIL (cont.)

Cornelius w/ Ava Luna ...............W 7 No Scrubs: ‘90s Dance Party

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

Beth Ditto w/ SSION ................Sa 10

The Black Angels

The Motet w/ Soule Monde ......Th 5 Anderson East

with DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion .........................F 9

w/ Devon Gilfillian ..........................F 6 w/ Black Lips .................................M 9

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

J Boog

Andy Grammer ......................Tu 10 Thirdstory ...............................Th 12

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

Mason Bates’s Mercury Soul ........................Th 15

The Marshall Tucker Band • Blackberry Smoke • The Outlaws and more! .................................................................. MAY 6

Dierks Bentley w/ Brothers Osborne & LANCO ................................................. MAY 18 Jason Aldean w/ Luke Combs & Lauren A laina ................................................. MAY 24 Florida Georgia Line .................................................................................... JUNE 7 Sugarland w/ Brandy Clark & Clare Bowen ......................................................... JULY 14 David Byrne w/ Benjamin Clementine................................................................ JULY 28 Lady Antebellum & Darius Rucker w/ Russell Dickerson..........AUGUST 2 Jason Mraz....................................................................................................AUGUST 10 AUG 11 SOLD OUT!

Phish .................................................................................................................AUGUST 12 Kenny Chesney w/ Old Dominion ............................................................AUGUST 22 • For full lineups and more info, visit merriweathermusic.com • 930.com

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

Hurray For The Riff Raff & Waxahatchee

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

w/ Bedouine ..............................Su 15

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

JESSIE WARE ...............................................................................FRI MAY 11

Judah & The Lion

Gomez : Bring It On 20th Anniversary Tour

Sofi Tukker ..............................W 18 Clean Bandit w/ Nina Nesbitt .Th 19

Dixie Dregs

D NIGHT ADDED!

FIRST NIGHT SOLD OUT! SECON

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

w/ Lydia & McCafferty ................Su 18

Coast Modern..........................M 19 Wild Child w/ The Wild Reeds .Tu 20

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

Lotus .............................F 20 & Sa 21 The Weepies

D SHOW ADDED!

FIRST SHOW SOLD OUT! SECON

Betty Who w/ Pretty Sister

Hideaway 10 Year Anniv. Tour w/ Curtis Eller’s American Circus .Su 22

& Spencer Ludwig........................W 21

Maneka w/ Bleary Eyed •

Stars w/ Dan Mangan .................M 23 Steven Wilson

Tosser • DJ Franzia ......................F 23

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

w/ Paul Draper ...........................Tu 24

w/ KGD .......................................Sa 24

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

of Montreal .............................Su 25 Turnover w/ Mannequin Pussy

w/ Makeness ................................F 27

Echosmith

& Summer Salt ...........................Tu 27

................ SAT JUNE 9

On Sale Friday, March 2 at 10am

w/ Colony House & Tall Heights..Tu 17

Moose Blood

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

Max Raabe & Palast Orchester.............APR 11 Rick Astley ................................APR 18 ALL GOOD PRESENTS

PostSecret: The Show ...... MAR 24 moe................................................APR 20 Rob Bell w/ Peter Rollins .......... MAR 27 Calexico w/ Ryley Walker ............APR 27 Jacksepticeye ...........................APR 3 Robyn Hitchcock and His L.A. Squires AEG PRESENTS w/ Tristen .......................................APR 28 Stuff You Should Radiotopia Live ....................... MAY 9 Know About (Live).................APR 5 • thelincolndc.com •

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

w/ The Score & Jena Rose ..........Su 29

Kate Nash w/ Miya Folick.........M 30

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

The Soul Rebels

MAY

feat. GZA & Talib Kweli.......Th 29

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

2-Night Passes Available .....F 30 & Sa 31

9:30 CLUB PRESENTS AT U STREET MUSIC HALL

U STREET MUSIC HALL PRESENTS

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Carpenter Brut.......................Tu 1

D NIGHT ADDED! FIRST NIGHT SOLD OUT! SECON

APRIL

Matt and Kim w/ Tokyo Police Club

Cigarettes After Sex ..............M 2 Yo La Tengo ...............................W 4

MANY MORE SHOWS ON SALE!

9:30 CUPCAKES

M3 SOUTHERN ROCK CLASSIC FEATURING HERN SOUTOCK R ! E F ST

Perpetual Groove w/ CBDB ..F 13

Nils Frahm ...............................F 16 Jon Batiste (Solo in the Round) The Floozies w/ Anomalie

Queensryche • Kix • Tom Keifer • Ace Frehley and more! .............................................................. MAY 4 & 5

ALL GOOD PRESENTS

AN EVENING WITH

STEEZ PROMO PRESENTS

M3 ROCK FESTIVAL 2018

& Future Feats .............................Th 3

930.com

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

Ella Vos w/ Freya Ridings ............... M MAR 5 Amy Shark w/ MILCK .......................... M 12 Craig David presents TS5.............. Tu 13 The Hunna & Coasts w/ Courtship ... Sa 17 The Strypes ......................................... F 23 The Marmozets ................................ Sa 24 Vinyl Theatre & Vesperteen

Digitalism ........................................... W 28 Curtis Harding.................................. Sa 31 Fujiya & Miyagi w/ Annie Hart ..... Su APR 1 Ripe ........................................................W 4 Colter Wall w/ Jade Bird ...................... Sa 7 Skizzy Mars ....................................... Tu 10 Pale Waves w/ INHEAVEN ................... W 11 w/ The Stolen ........................................ Su 25 Yung Gravy ......................................... M 23 Hollie Cook w/ Jenna Camille.............. M 26 Jeremy Loops................................... Sa 28 Albert Hammond Jr w/ The Marias.. Tu 27 Geographer w/ So Much Light .... Th MAY 10 • Buy advance tickets at the 9:30 Club box office • 930.com

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

HAPPY HOUR DRINK PRICES impconcerts.com AFTER THE SHOW AT THE BACK BAR!

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!

930.com


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The Future Depends On Knowing. Find us online at www.therealnews.com

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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MARKET 100 E. PRATT ST.

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SIMA'S SALON

WET CITY

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WE LOVE YOUR PET, NATURALLY! 3531 Chestnut Ave. Baltimore, Md 21211

410-235-2469 PHOTO BY CHRISTY ZUCCARINI

https://www.howlinhampden.com/


VOL.2 | ISS.9 ADDRESS PO Box 53352 Washington DC 20009 PHONE 410-844-0755 EMAIL info@baltimorebeat.com DIGITAL www.baltimorebeat.com PUBLISHED BY BROWN NAFF PITTS OMNIMEDIA, INC. Kevin Naff knaff@baltimorebeat.com PUBLISHER Ext. 8088 Jennifer Marsh jmarsh@baltimorebeat.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Ext. 9463

The Fake Oscars

Lisa Snowden-McCray lmccray@baltimorebeat.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ext. 9461

The year in movies as not told by the Academy

Maura Callahan mcallahan@baltimorebeat.com DEPUTY EDITOR Brandon Soderberg bsoderberg@batlimorebeat.com MANAGING EDITOR Ext. 9462 Jeff Stintz jstintz@baltimorebeat.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Ext. 9464 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING classifieds@baltimorebeat.com 202-747-2077

Life Is Sweet

On Baltimore filmmaker Emily Eaglin’s gently surreal “Sweeter”

Back to Basics

Chef Kiran Patnam talks beating Bobby Flay, his Indian roots, and more

WEEK IN REVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 COMMUNITY VOICES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 COMMUNITY NOTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 REAL ESTATE NOTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 DRIVING WHILE BLACK/WHITE IN WEST BALTIMORE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 REAL NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 BLADE NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 FAKE OSCARS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 LIFE IS SWEET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 ART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 MUSIC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 SCREENS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 BOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 STAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 FOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 WEED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 SUGAR TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 ON THE COVER: Daniel Kaluuya (left) and Tiffany Haddish. Illustration by Krysten Hayes.

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

4

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

As of press time, acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa is headed for almost certain confirmation as the city’s next commissioner outright. The City Council was set to confirm him on Feb. 26 after a four-hour confirmation hearing the week before. Mayor Catherine Pugh, however, won’t tell us if she did her homework before appointing De Sousa—specifically, according to The Baltimore Sun, whether she reviewed any of his internal affairs files. Remember: The mayor said she got rid of former Commissioner Kevin Davis because she was “impatient.” You can’t rush a decision as important as this one, though. Especially when the BPD is embroiled in so much scandal. The secret surveillance plane that flew over the city back in 2016 recording citizens—which the Baltimore Police said wasn’t secret even though the mayor and city council among others didn’t know about it—is back and it’s um, woke? Ross McNutt of Persistent Surveillance, who pitched his spy plane to the cops back then, has returned with a new program, Community Solutions, and a new pitch: The spy plane that records people all the time can be used to catch crooked cops! Mayor Pugh, addicted to terrible ideas, is considering it. “Using the BPD’s corruption as an purported basis to put every resident of Baltimore under permanent aerial surveillance to keep a record of everyone’s every public movement, as a means of inducing other cities to purchase PSS’s Orwellian product, which will also allow PSS to amass more data to sell on the private market, is truly one of the most stunningly cynical and repulsive things I have ever heard of in my entire life,” ACLU’s David Rocah told the Beat in an email. At a press conference for Light City last week, part of the goal was to “change the narrative,” as our mayor says, with much of it focused on responding to the U.S.A. Today declaration that Baltimore is the most dangerous city in America. Whether or not a well-loved free festival held all over the city from downtown to the surrounding neighborhoods that are primarily affected by the danger can or even should be countering that is up for debate, but Light City has become one of those things everybody embraces. A number of the headlining acts were announced at the presser and they include hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash as well as G. Love & Special Sauce and Kimbra. We anticipate being downtown for Flash and look forward to seeing the increasingly ambitious Neighborhood Lights artist commissions that were a highlight last year. We’ve already voiced her support for Baltimore native, comedian, and awardwinning actress Mo’Nique and her crusade to bring attention to the fact that because she’s black and a woman, she’s routinely undervalued for her work. She’s been on a bit of a media tour of late, sparring with the ladies of “The View” and dunking on Charlamagne Tha God on his New York City based radio show “The Breakfast Club” (find that video online, pop some popcorn, and watch it from start to finish, if you can). It’s interesting that for Mo’Nique to spread the word, she must use the same outlets that tend to undervalue and gaslight black women (Charlamagne recently scolded black women and said that they should be more like white, racist Twitter personality Tomi Lahren). Mo’Nique holds her own, though. Rep. Elijah Cummings wants to know the same thing we all do: What the hell is going on with the city’s broken metro system? Specifically, how long did the Maryland Transit Association know about the problems that led to it being shut down abruptly in early February? “If the Metro subway has been operated while an unsafe condition existed, I would like to understand what specifically prompted the immediate shutdown,” Cummings wrote. Over the weekend, a film of Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman play “Notes From The Field” premiered on HBO. The play, which focuses on Baltimore and the school-toprison pipeline, finds Smith, a Baltimore native and one of a kind, performing, acting out, and giving voice to different affected people, though phrases such as “giving voice” fall short. It’s more like she briefly absorbs their personalities and puts it on the stage—a shocking display of empathy. “Notes From The Field” is a nice counterpoint to the more straight-down-the-line documentary “Baltimore Rising” that premiered back in the fall. Meanwhile, Theo Anthony’s stellar essay-like documentary “Rat Film” played on PBS. If you want a fairly three-dimensional look at post-uprising Baltimore, watching “Notes From The Field,” “Baltimore Rising,” and “Rat Film” (along with “The Keepers” and “Step”) is a good start. There have been six homicides between Feb. 19 (when last week’s issue of the Beat went to press) and Feb. 26 (when this week’s issue went to press): Andreas Tamaris on Feb. 19; Dorian Cook, Juwanna Eskridge, and Tyrone Manning all on Feb. 21; Preston Green on Feb. 24; and Jasmine Chandler on Feb. 25. So far this year, there have been 37 homicides in Baltimore.

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FEBRUARY 28, 2018

Thank God it's Friday A documentary film by Jan Beddegenoodts about the town of Nabi Saleh and the Israeli settlement of Halamish.

Homewood Friends 3107 N. Charles Street

March 11, 6:00 pm Baltimore Palestine Solidarity Jewish Voices for Peace - Baltimore


COMMUNITY VOICES Op-Ed: The Handicapped Guy in the Room By John Nagle “To make a reservation two to seven days from now, please press two.” I press two. An agent picks up after three rings. “Mobility Agent 524521. May I have your client identification number, please?” I give it to him. “How may I help you, Mr. Nagle?” “I would like to make a ride for Thursday, please. “Mr. Nagle, you already have two rides scheduled for that day.” “I know. I want to go somewhere else.” A pause. “And you are keeping the other rides?” “Yes.” Another pause. “Where are you going?” There is a note of slight disbelief in his voice. “The Ottobar, 2549 North Howard.” “Is this a business?” “Yes.” “And what will you be doing there?” “Seeing a band.” “What time do you need to be there?” “9 p.m.” “And what time will you return?” “Midnight.” “That’s late.” “I’m aware.” I have this conversation every Saturday morning, when I make my extracurricular Mobility rides. Even in 2018, almost 30 years after the Americans With Disabilities Act, the idea of a disabled person living a relatively normal life is still a novelty. I’m usually the only handicapped guy in the room. I have cerebral palsy, which means my body has too much muscle tone, making my muscles tight and spastic. I can’t walk and use a wheelchair. It’s like living an episode of TV’s “Perfect Strangers,” except when Balki does his dance of joy, my body tightens up and I can’t breathe. Once you’ve witnessed a spasm, you never forget it, which makes me a ton of fun at parties. Our culture has a very specific idea of what a disabled person should be. We are either inspirational vessels for able-bodied people to project their pity onto, or we are gung-ho “Murderball” types who consider handicapped people that haven’t climbed the K2 to be complete and total wimps. I fall into neither one of those categories. I’m not going to feed you the same old song and dance about how I wouldn’t change my disability for anything. I would. Imagine being 33 years old and having a trip to Chipotle being one of the only spontaneous activities you can do. It sucks. Every part of my life is planned down to the minute, except for what I’m listening to (The Replacements, thanks for asking). It requires an enormous amount of patience, which is hard to muster sometimes. When you are disabled, you hear the word “advocacy” a lot, as in: “John, you’d be a great advocate.” It’s flattering to hear, but when these well-meaning (usually able-bodied) people suggest that to me, they have a very specific form of advocacy, which are speeches and joining groups. I’ve done plenty of both, and it’s not really my style. I advocate for myself by going to shows, by going to the movies, by getting that burrito bowl at Chipotle. The more people see me out and about in this great of city of ours, the less odd it becomes. By visiting spaces that I technically shouldn’t be in, it helps to open doors for other people like me.

Daniel Elder Katie Elder Vanessa Vale 409 W. Coldspring Lane Baltimore, MD 21210

410-646-8124 HAIR * ART * MUSIC facebook.com/SoulLoveSalon

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Hanover Street Bridge Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

R E A L E S TAT E A N D C I T Y L I V I N G N E W S

In the Most Important News since it was announced a while back that GrubHub would start delivering Taco Bell—the Lord Baltimore Hotel (20 W. Baltimore St.) changes its pets policy as of March 1 to allow dogs on two of its floors, reported the Baltimore Business Journal. It will cost you an extra $50 to bring your pooch to the hotel. The City Council committee on taxation, finance and economic development voted unanimously to approve tax breaks for Northwood Plaza at the request of nearby Morgan State University. It went to full council vote on Monday, Feb. 26 (after the Beat goes to press). The beloved shopping center has been getting more attention lately with many noting that it has fallen into neglect (though shout out to Sunny’s Subs!) and a planned two-level Barnes & Noble bookstore with a Starbucks has generated lots of interest in the plaza, which is close to Morgan State. In what seems like another shake-up in the Baltimore Police Department, police Colonel Melissa Hyatt, who was the highest-ranking woman officer in the BPD, has left to be the vice president of security for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Downtown Partnership has announced it supports a state bill to increase the minimum wage to $15. On Twitter, the organization posted: “Employees and working families need a strong minimum wage to live & stabilize their communities - which is why I just advised our state legislators of Downtown Partnership’s support for the proposed statewide $15 minimum wage increase.” Under Armour and ESPN have announced they will team up to turn vacant lots into recreation spaces such as basketball courts, playgrounds, etc. in three cities, including Baltimore (the other cities: Philadelphia and Los Angeles). $400,000 in grants will be available to local programs to lobby for the money via Local Initiatives Support Corporation, along with the money UA and ESPN are offering. The Hanover Bridge will begin repairs in 2019, says the Baltimore Department of Transportation, noting that repairs will be costly—likely more than $100 million. Councilpersons Ed Reisinger and Eric Costello, however, have said the bridge is in such a degree of disrepair that improvements should begin sooner. Primarily, they encourage a $5 million “redeck” of the bridge, fixing its surface and preventing potential damage to cars driving over the bridge. As the new Lexington Market—and by “new,” we mean the knocking down of the old one and opening a new more “food hall”-like one right next to it—moves right along, there has been a side debate about moving it all together. Owen Rouse of Capital Markets at Manekin floated the idea of moving the market to the Inner Harbor in a Baltimore Business Journal op-ed. We’ll let the internet debate the ins and out of this, though we’ll just point out that moving one more thing downtown at the sacrifice of another part of the city is unwise and as Klaus Philipsen wrote on his blog, Community Architect Daily: “The history of mergers shows that combining two ailing concepts rarely breeds success, since in economics, unlike in math, two negatives don’t make a positive. Furthermore, Lexington Market is urgently needed as a cornerstone and anchor for the revitalization of the Westside which is still in need of a shot in the arm.” Meanwhile, the city, in its bowing to developers over time, has turned the idea “downtown” into a dirty word for those concerned with racial equity and the gentrification-averse. A downtown that didn’t feel like it was in opposition of the rest of the city, that didn’t feel like it was there to absorb the good of the rest of the city, and existed for both tourists and locals, would be great. Maybe put another market there instead and leave Lexington alone?

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DewMore Baltimore hosts Artivism Day on March 4 at Impact Hub. Courtesy Facebook

COMMUNITY EVENTS F E B . 2 8 - M A R . 7 Board of Estimates Meeting. Weekly meeting, chaired by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Feb. 28, 9 a.m., Baltimore City Hall, 100 Holliday St., (410) 396-4804, baltimorecitycouncil.com/content/board-estimates-meeting-42. 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. Feb. 28 and March 7, usually held at the intersection of 33rd Street and Greenmount Avenue, check facebook.com/justicefortyronewest for details. Training for Listening Campaign to Disrupt Rape Culture. Learn about how to facilitate and plan an interview with someone who has been impacted by sexual or domestic violence in Baltimore. March 1, 6-8 p.m., GLCCB, 2530 N. Charles St, 3rd Floor, survivorsgathertogether.com/listening-campaign. Baltimore Family Biking Open House. Bikemore and Baltimore Family Bike Party open house event full of different bike setups, resources, and more. March 3, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Peabody Heights Brewery, 401 E. 30th St., bikemore.net. Meet Me in the Middle - March! Monthly meeting for members of Communities United, a grassroots organization of low to moderate income individuals and families in Maryland. March 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Communities United, 2221 Maryland Ave., communitiesunite.org/monthly_calendar. Artivism Day. DewMore Baltimore invites artists to come together to celebrate the work organizations and individuals are doing to end violence in Baltimore. March 4, 5-8 p.m., Impact Hub Baltimore, 10 E. North Ave., facebook.com/ DewMoreBaltimore. RTW and JQ Baltimore: Trans Rights Through Zine Making. Members of Repair the World Baltimore and JQ Baltimore come together to discuss trans rights and what we can do as a community to be proactive in fighting discrimination. March 7, 7-9 p.m., Repair The World: Baltimore, 3700 Eastern Ave., jvcbaltimore.org.

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Driving while black/white in West Baltimore By Gioncarlo Valentine and Benjamin Warner

Photo by Gioncarlo Valentine

This summer I returned to my hometown of Baltimore to visit my former high school for the first time in two years. This was a special occasion because one of my former college professors turned close friend was presenting a scholarship contest that would award a deserving, talented writer at the school with a little money and a platform to share their writing. Ben, my former professor, is white and practically all of the students at the school are black. It was nice to be back in West Baltimore, the area that helped me craft so much of my identity, but seeing its conditions worsening put me a bit on edge. I don’t remember a time when there weren’t abandoned houses everywhere, but this dilapidation and decay felt new. The reds and browns of the houses, cracking and fading. Garbage lining the streets. There were people napping on the benches in the park outside the school. There were twice as many drug dealers as I remember, selling outside of the corner stores. My community was in a state of disrepair, but I was still glad to be home. After Ben’s presentation I got in his car and we left the school’s parking lot so he could drop me off downtown at a coffee shop and head home to little Noah, his 1-year-old son. Although I grew up in this neighborhood, I’m notoriously bad at giving directions. All the years I spent traversing the streets of Baltimore were clearly spent in vain. After telling Ben to turn left down a one-way street and realizing the error, he pulled the car over, reaching for his phone in order to get more reliable directions. Within 10 seconds, a police car pulled up behind us. I was confused for the first few seconds; I didn’t know what the lights meant. But when I realized what was happening my spine stiffened; I was terrified. I’m a poor, black man living in America in 2018, so each time I come in contact with the police I feel both a

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

sense of disdain bordering on hatred and the terror of knowing that under the right circumstances, my body could be taken. This is the lived reality of black men and women everywhere, no matter your attire, zip code, or demeanor; we are in danger under a police state. This trauma lives in our marrow, hovers above us like lore. But this truth, this fear, this disdain, for me, is rooted more in common history than my own experience. I’ve never been stopped by the police. I’ve never been profiled or pulled over. And I’ve always felt a strange sense of shame about this. Because I’m a femme, gay man I’ve never been as targeted by the cops. In situations where the police would pull up on my block, I’d see them look directly past me, confronting the straight men I was with. Of course I don’t claim this as a universal truth, but many feminine, gay men can attest to the homophobic privileges we experience when it comes to police interactions, especially in places with a largely black population. A plainclothes officer emerged from the car behind us. The man, black and tall with skin like almond, slammed his door and approached. As he got closer I started trying to ground myself. I gently reached for my phone, with the hopes of recording the interaction. But then I thought of Philando Castile, and I was scared to reach for anything. I wanted to be confident, show a command of the law, give off a “don’t fuck with me” attitude, but then I remembered Sandra Bland and remained silent. Before I could do anything, Ben rolled the window down and the officer leaned in. Before the officer could speak, Ben explained, “We got lost and made a wrong turn” to which the officer replied, “Yeah, I figured as much.” This exchange felt almost convivial. They were both smiling as if they were in on some kind of joke. I sat in the passenger seat perspiring

and confused. The officer, still smiling in his purple Ravens t-shirt, proceeded to tell Ben to make an illegal U-Turn, and then a left onto Saratoga Street Ben thanked the man, who’d barely made eye contact with me, and we followed his instructions. As we drove away I felt both embarrassed for being so fearful, and enraged. Soon my rage would swallow my embarrassment whole. Ben and I only had about six minutes remaining in the car. During that time we spoke lightly of the clear racial biases at play, but I was quiet for most of it. When he spoke he wasn’t tense, he wasn’t fatigued. He had the smugness of a person who’d narrowly dodged a ticket, while my back was covered in the sweat of a black man who’d narrowly gotten away with my life. When we arrived, I exited the car, smiled, and waved. In the coffee shop I found my favorite seat was open. Ella Fitzgerald’s voice filled the cafe, echoing from the ceiling as if she were calling down from heaven. I opened my laptop and stared blankly at the dark, empty screen. I felt just as empty. I’ve seen so many black police officers in Baltimore execute sheer and irreversible brutality on black men. I’ve seen young girls slammed and pinned to the ground by grown men in uniform, as the neighborhood rallied defenseless around them. This is why I think of the police as an enemy to the black body, aside from their slave catching origins. However, I’ve seen very few people discuss the violence shown by black police officers to black bodies. It’s a special kind of irony, like they have to prove the point that they lack bias. The idea that these men feel more allegiance to a police brotherhood with a history that is bloody and anti-black, than to the black men and women that bore and nurtured them, is a seismic psychological trapdoor. Thinking about it took my breath away.

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Thinking about the friendly tone this officer took with Ben, the assumption that he had to be lost to be in such a neighborhood, and his insisting that we make that illegal turn felt very much like my first, vicarious whiff of white privilege at work. I didn’t feel any anger toward Ben; this was not his fault. There are systems in place that make these kinds of interactions the base for his experience and feelings toward the police. If the police are kind, helpful, gentle, and forgiving to you, why would you feel apprehensive? What I felt was a lot more convoluted than that. I felt like a traitor to black people. My proximity to Ben’s privilege thwarted my induction into a club, into an experience, into an unfortunate rite of passage for black men and women in this country. I had never been pulled over by the police and now that I had been, I’d been spared, because of my white friend. I knew that craving abuse, craving trauma, craving the violence that I’ve known police to wield as generally as they do their presumptions about black men, was idiotic, but it was uncontrollable. I thought about all the alternative universes and outcomes. What if I was driving? What if a more masculine-presenting black man was driving? What if he’d had on a hood? What if the officer who stopped Ben was white? Would I have still been safe? I couldn’t know any of these things for certain but the feelings had weight, and that weight had value. When I finally turned on my computer I looked up the video of Freddie Gray being brutalized by police officers. It had happened only minutes away from where the officer had stopped us, assisted us, and sent us on our way. I wished, with everything my chest could hold, that Freddie had been shown some kindness, some softness. And I was finally thankful that I had been. (Gioncarlo Valentine)

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Photo by Gioncarlo Valentine

I live in West Baltimore. Well, West of Baltimore. Catonsville, to be accurate, which is six miles from West Baltimore, where in April of 2015, Freddie Gray was taken unconscious from a police van with injuries to his spine that would ultimately claim his life. Six miles from the Penn-North neighborhood where police in riot gear stood in front of a CVS that poured brown toxic smoke from its windows, filling the street like a sandstorm. Just six miles away, Catonsville is a quiet suburb of summertime scoop shops and a dog-friendly farmers’ market that rotates its buskers from bluegrass to Tom Petty covers. At night, I drag my garbage cans to the curb and listen to crickets. I look up and see the stars through the branches of old oak trees. But I can also feel the closeness of what happened there, just six miles away. It’s not unusual for me to drive through West Baltimore when the Beltway is backed up, and I’m rerouted through the city. And it’s not unusual that I look out the window and find myself distracted by the small pleasantries of daily life: neighbors leaning across iron railings that divide rowhouses, a set of flower boxes in full purple bloom, children running down the sidewalk with arms outstretched— kept earthbound, it would seem, only by the weight of their backpacks. But however much I’d like those to be the impressions I carry with me, they aren’t. The indelible images of West Baltimore—the ones that mark it as a danger zone—are real, inasmuch as those images really exist: boarded up rowhouses and corner drug deals. The absence of streetlights that quicken my pulse as twilight comes. And if I’m driving home after a

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late class, and the streets are dark, I sometimes see a corner store lit up in flashes of red and blue and feel ashamed. It’s not the shame of some illegal secret, but of knowing, in that moment, that I’m safe. There’s a cop right there, protecting me from danger. I’m ashamed of what that moment exposes of the moment just before—that as I drove through the streets of West Baltimore, I’d been gripping the steering wheel in fear. Often it’s only once I’m home that I can steady myself with the truth of where I’d been: that the people living quietly behind those rowhouse doors—pressed by systemic racism and poverty—are more likely hungry than violent. I hear the term “underserved” used quite a bit where I live. Maybe the vagueness of that word is the point. It can mean a lot of things. But walking around my Catonsville neighborhood, I certainly understand what it means to be “served.” Thinking about this difference eats at me. (Please don’t feel bad. The guilt that arises in considering the word “underserved” is a fairly selfaffirming condition from which to suffer.) “Well,” a friend asked me once, “What can you do about it?” This year, I started to volunteer at a West Baltimore high school. What those students might benefit from, I reasoned, is a bit of college-level instruction in contemporary fiction. That’s the subject I teach at a local university, and I’ve had to come to terms with the limits of what I bring to the table. But if my skills are meager, what I received in return was not. I met some exceptional students at that school: bright, motivated, and willing to discuss plot and dialogue with a man who’s approach into middle age continues to strip him smooth of any hipness. I’ve also had the opportunity

to work with their passionate and dedicated teacher—a teacher who is white in a classroom of black and brown faces, a ratio not at all lost on her. Before class on my first day, I stood lost in the hallway, looking for a bathroom. “Do I need a hall pass or something?” I asked her. “No,” she told me. “No one will stop you. You’re white; you’re like royalty.” As it happens, a good friend of mine, the photographer Gioncarlo Valentine, is a graduate of this high school. On a day he was in town from New York, he stopped by to see his former teachers and sit in on one of my lessons. I was also his ride, and after class let out, I drove him through the city to a coffee shop, foregoing Waze and relying on his sense of direction. After all, he’d been born and raised in this neighborhood. Driving with Gioncarlo is like trying to seatbelt an exotic bird. There’s a lot of flapping and screeching and raucous repeating of sentences in such a way that might suggest sarcasm. I’m always surprised when he gets out of the car that I’m not left in a haze of feathers. On this particular drive, his animation was such that (I maintain) his directions to the coffee shop suffered. “Just take a left!” he shouted at me. “Any of these lefts!” I did as instructed—turned left—and as it registered to me that something was wrong, that the cars parked both sides of the street were facing me, I heard the bleat and pulse of a siren. Later, Gioncarlo would tell me that never in his life had he been pulled over, and I would think how strange and lucky that was, and then realize, no, it has nothing to do with luck; he’s been careful his whole life, taken measures so that

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he’d never have to be in this situation. I’d think of all the times I’d been stopped— for speeding or blowing through a red light or driving with expired registration tags—and how each time I’d sat in the driver’s seat, simply annoyed that my day was being delayed, and how I’d spoken to the cops as though they were any other state employee, a tax assessor or park ranger . . . But before I thought of any of that, I looked into my rearview mirror and saw a police officer step from his car, and on this street where every driver of every car was black, my heart rose into my throat because—in the seconds it took for him to make his way to my window—I was black too. But it only lasted those seconds. By the time he reached my window, he was smiling. “I’m a little lost,” I said. He looked at me, bemused, and said, “I figured as much.” It was as if my whiteness had released some hidden valve, and depressurized the air around the car. I felt my breath return. “Where you going?” he asked me. He wore a Ravens t-shirt, and his badge hung from a lanyard across shoulders so broad I thought maybe he was, indeed, a linebacker, on some kind of community-building ride-along. “Light Street,” I said, and he gave me the easy directions. I thanked him and started to pull from the side of the street, but cars, of course, were coming in my direction. The officer stepped out and, with palm outstretched, halted the oncoming traffic. I made my three-point turn aware of the world around me, but without any fear of it, and drove out of there like royalty. (Benjamin Warner)

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Bills proposed for safe consumptions sites and against crude oil terminals New bill to create safe consumption spaces for heroin users would save lives and money By Taya Graham & Stephen Janis

City Council, encouraged by activists, moves forward with bill to limit crude oil terminal expansion By Dharna Noor & Taylor Hebden

The heroin crisis in Baltimore has generated political support for safe consumption spaces, facilities where drug users can safely take heroin under the supervision of medical professionals. “What that means is, a facility that is supervised by medically trained personnel would be set up for people that use drugs to come in and use their drugs there, under supervision,” said Harriet Smith of Baltimore Harm Reduction in Annapolis on Feb. 13 in support of a bill in favor of safe consumption sites. The bill (H.B. 519) is proposed by District 11 Delegate Dan Morhaim of Baltimore County and would allow community organizations, hospitals, and health centers to open safe consumption spaces throughout the state. Two other related bills proposed by Morhaim require hospitals to have an addiction counselor on the premises 24-7 and adjustments to drug possession charges that would prevent users with small amounts from going to jail until their third charge. While it’s unclear if Democrats in Annapolis will support it, the opioid crisis continues to claim lives across the country and the idea for safe consumption has growing support among people who understand the roots of the problem. “It’s been imperative for years that we treat people with compassion. Now is the time to do it,” said Reginy V of the BRIDGES Coalition (Baltimore Resources for Indoor Drug-use Grassroots Education & Safety). “This is a space where you can access safer consumption, needs, and services. Completely community run, it does not need to be run by the city or the state. I’m definitely with staff who are peers.” Baltimore resident Ricky Morris, who was advocating in Annapolis as well, understands the opioid problem first hand. “I OD’d myself years ago, and just think, if no one was there to help me, and I lost my life, I wouldn’t be here today for my children,” Morris said. “I wouldn’t have had a chance to do better, turn my life around, so give people the opportunity to evolve and do it.” Safe consumption sites are an idea that have taken hold elsewhere. Seattle and San Francisco are on track to be among the first in the nation to take this bold step and open its first safe injection sites this July, and cities such as Colorado and Philadelphia intend to follow. Last year, The Real News spoke to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health professor, Susan Sherman, who co-authored a study that calculated that a single safe consumption space could save the city 7.8 million dollars a year, by cutting down on emergency room visits, transmission of diseases like AIDS, and enhanced treatment opportunities. “If that doesn’t appeal to you, keeping people alive, and you know, it’s cost effective. It actually saves a lot of money in terms of ambulance coming for overdoses, in terms of people being in the hospital, so that’s also an external benefit,” Sherman said. Similar to the bail bond industry wining and dining legislators to beat back bail reform, looming over the effort to stem overdose deaths, is the power of big pharmaceutical companies. That said, advocates are hopeful that the urgency of the crisis will lead to real solutions. “Give people the opportunity to evolve and do it, and learn from their mistakes, and just have them in a safe environment where their life can be saved,” Morris said.

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Five years ago, a crude oil train derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and the resulting fire killed 47 people. On an unseasonably warm Feb. 21, a city council committee, encouraged by environmental activists, voted to advance a bill—Bill 17-0150—that would help avoid such a disaster in Baltimore. Because railroad transport is entirely in the hands of the federal government, the bill seeks to prevent oil terminals the only way it can: by changing zoning codes so that the two crude oil terminals currently in Baltimore cannot expand and no new ones can be built. “There are two terminals that are currently permitted to ship crude oil. They would be grandfathered in under this bill. They just would not be allowed to expand,” said Taylor SmithHams of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network who gathered with others in front of City Hall before the hearing in support of the bill. “This bill would put crude oil terminals into our prohibited use category of our zoning code, and that’s what happens when you become a prohibited use and you’re already in existence, is you just, you can’t expand your operations,” The bill’s chief sponsor, Mary Pat Clarke and co-sponsor, Ed Reisinger joined activists outside. “We have companies like CSX and other businesses, they’re looking through the lens of profit, and not the people’s public safety,” Reisinger said. “If we limit any expansion or new terminals for crude, we begin to diminish the future traffic through and in Baltimore City,” said Clarke. Activists say some 165,000 residents live in the blast zone—or the area near the tracks where crude oil is shipped that will be affected by an explosion. Keisha Allen, the president of the Westport Neighborhood Association, stressed that its communities like her own that are put atrisk by crude oil terminals. “The people who are most affected...are already marginalized communities,” Allen said. In an op-ed by Allen posted on the Beat’s website, she provided a list of train accidents in Baltimore over the past 18 years: the 2001 train derailment in the Howard St. tunnel which caused a fire and water main break; the 2013 Rosedale train explosion; the 2014 retaining wall collapse on 26th Street which affected the railroad below; and a 2016 derailment of a train in the Howard St. tunnel carrying acetone.” Allen also wrote of the specific problems with crude oil transports: “The crude oil that is transported on these trains is more explosive than conventional oil due to a higher concentration of flammable methane and toxic fracking chemicals mixed in with the crude. To make matters worse, most of the train cars carrying this oil have thin skins, no heat shields, and inadequate protections against punctures in a derailment. So when these train cars puncture, they often explode.” Advocates who testified at City Hall stressed that crude oil train terminals pose dangers to public health. “When workers and residents are exposed to the chemicals in crude oil, they can have prolonged respiratory symptoms years after the spill, liver and blood disorders, and even lung cancer,” said Laalitha Surapaneni of Physicians For Social Responsibility. Councilperson Eric Costello, who opposes the bill said that crude oil is being singled out and provided a slippery slope argument: “Tomorrow it will be jet fuel. On Friday it will be gasoline. Saturday, chlorine. Maybe by Monday we’ll ban sugar,” Costello said. Activists agreed that other commodities can be harmful, but as Sauleh Siddiqui of Johns Hopkins University Department of Engineering says, “ those products are far more regulated.” “We know a lot more about them than we know about crude oil, and crude oil is actually the problem here,” he testified. Valerie Hall, a retired firefighter and resident of Mount Winans, fears firefighters are not properly trained to handle crude oil fires. She found out that there’s not a single hazmat-trained fire fighting unit in all of South Baltimore. “If we had a derailment, or an explosion of crude oil in South Baltimore on any given one of those five train tracks, it would be catastrophic,” Hall told council. Visit therealnews.com for more independent local, national, and international journalism that examines the underlying causes of chronic problems and searches for effective solutions.

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A roundup of LGBTQ news from the region and around the world courtesy the Washington Blade earlier this year, officials have told the Washington Blade. Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesperson, confirmed Mattis delivered his recommendation to Trump, but wasn’t forthcoming about the next steps. “The White House has received the Department of Defense’s recommendations on transgender personnel in the military,” Gidley said. “It is currently under review.” Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesperson, said late Friday the “secretary made his recommendation to the White House this morning.” The recommendation was due Wednesday in correspondence with a directive Trump issued in August banning transgender military service. Mattis was initially scheduled to meet with Trump on Tuesday for lunch, but that was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. The recommendation had to wait until Friday. Officials wouldn’t disclose the nature of Mattis’ recommendation to Trump. According to multiple media reports, Mattis was expected to advise Trump transgender people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. That would stand in contrast with Trump’s directive, which reinstated a ban on transgender service lifted in the Obama years, sought to bar new transgender recruits from serving in the armed forces and prohibited the U.S. military from paying for gender reassignment surgery. Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, said in a statement a policy that allows transgender people to serve is the only recommendation that makes sense. “At the heart of this recommendation is the fundamental question of whether or not any qualified American should be allowed to serve our country, regardless of their gender identity,” Broadway-Mack said. “The qualified transgender Americans proudly serving and enlisting in the military  deserve our full support, not Donald Trump’s unfounded and reckless attempt to ban them.” The next steps in the aftermath of the Mattis recommendation remain to be seen. Defense officials have said Trump would announce a new policy on transgender service after March 23, which would correspond with the date in the August directive when the ban should be fully implemented. One issue that might come up in any new policy is transgender troops who are non-deployable because they’re going through transition. Under new “deploy-or-out” rules implemented by Mattis, a member of the armed forces who’s non-deployable for 12 months or more will be separated from the armed forces. If transgender service members go through transition and can’t be deployable for 12 months, they may face expulsion from the U.S. armed forces under that “deployor-out” policy. Matthew Thorn, executive director of the LGBT military OutServe-SLDN, denied the “deploy-or-out” policy will be an impediment for transgender service members. “Trans service members are currently deploying and are able to meet the standards set forth,” Thorn said. “Further, there are waivers available for commanders and units should any service member come close to the timeline set forth in the deployability memo. So long as the standards are equitable across the board we expect this to be a non issue.” Regardless of Mattis’ recommendation to Trump or any new policy on transgender service he may implement, multiple courts have enjoined the U.S. military from enforcing Trump’s ban as a result of litigation filed by LGBT legal groups. That means transgender people will be able to serve in the U.S. military without fear of discharge over their gender identity and obtain transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery, even if Trump attempts to modify his policy with a kind of “Trans Ban 2.0.” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement “thousands of trained and capable transgender troops have been serving ably and openly for nearly two years without issue.” “It’s no wonder the secretary doesn’t want to cause needless chaos for the military and discard valuable personnel with critical skills just because of who they are,” Keisling said. “And of course, as we have heard military leaders and lawmakers of both parties say so many times, any American who can meet the military’s tough standards and is willing to risk their life should be able to join up and serve.” (Chris Johnson)

Va. Del. Danica Roem supported the defeated amendment. Photo by Michael Key / Courtesy Washington Blade

Va. House kills nondiscrimination amendment Members of the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates last week killed a proposed amendment to the House budget bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination provision. Joseph Papa of Equality Virginia pointed out to the Washington Blade the proposed amendment would have codified into law Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order that bans discrimination against LGBT state employees. The proposed amendment failed by a 52-48 vote margin, with all of the chamber’s Republicans opposing it. State Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax County) — who supports LGBT rights in the General Assembly — also voted against the proposed amendment. The Fairfax County Democrat in a statement later said his vote was a mistake. “I screwed up,” said Kean on his Twitter page. “For nine years in @VAHouse have ALWAYS voted for equality and against discrimination. Sorry to have surprised my @VAHouseDems colleagues.” State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) in her own tweet described Keam as “a champion for equality.” “We all make mistakes,” wrote Roem, using the hashtag #oops. “Del. Keam is a good friend and an incredible colleague.” (Michael K. Lavers)

Mattis delivers recommendation on trans military service Defense Secretary James Mattis delivered his recommendation to President Trump on transgender military service in compliance with a directive to the Pentagon

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FEBRUARY 28, 2018


Our President’s Dickpunching Politics “Bloodsport” and more in Trump’s movie syllabus By Brandon Soderberg

bsoderberg@baltimorebeat.com

That “Bloodsport” is Donald Trump’s favorite movie is, like so many things about Trump, thinly sourced, apocryphal yet pathetic, and regularly reported as fact. He once praised the 1988 JeanClaude Van Damme vehicle, a crude tapestry of gnarled battles and quietmoment scenery-chewing about an American’s victory in a Hong Kong underground fighting tournament, in Mark Singer’s 1997 New Yorker article. And that’s about it. But facts don’t matter with Trump and it makes cosmic sense that “Bloodsport”—which was released 30 years ago on Feb. 26—would be Trump’s favorite movie. It says something about political discourse too: The turning point involves its hero, Frank Dux (Van Damme) proudly punching someone squarely in the dick.

corroborated his stories (“If he says it’s true, it’s fine with me,” a high school buddy told the Times). As for Dux’s underground work in Asia—which included saving orphans from being trafficked by selling the sword he won for winning the Kumite to buy their freedom—it’s hard to prove, Dux explained, because these were “clandestine” missions. It is good mythography and his audience of karate aficionados were primed to embrace it no matter what. Wakanda isn’t real—as Ben Shapiro, supposedly intellectual “hip” hatemonger of the Trump era, tweeted recently—but the Kumite isn’t either.

“When you’re in a fight with a bully, always throw the first punch—and don’t telegraph it—hit hard & hit fast!” - @ realdonaldtrump, Sept. 25, 2014

Trump frequently cites “Citizen Kane” as another favorite, because of course: It’s a massive critique of power and control that flexes and bloviates like the powerful, so it appeals to powerful bloviators, the way rich coke-snorting dickheads like “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” or man-baby losers love “Garden State.” Trump’s “Bloodsport” love, meanwhile, is cast as yet another example of how un-presidential he is—a 1988 actioner is surely beneath the presidency. Worse, as detailed in the New Yorker, is one of his sons fastforwarding to the ass-kicking parts, squashing the movie into a supercut of thrills. Through this, you can learn something about the absurdity of respectability politics that mar political conversation: The problem with Trump is, as always, not his opinion or his point of view so much, but how he goes about it. He doesn’t even watch his favorite movie, he races through it like it’s porn.

Trump is full of it and the real-life Frank Dux was too. Like Gatsby in a karate gi, West Coast martial arts instructor and veteran Dux turned his life into a grandiose story of covert operations and victory in a fighting tournament called the Kumite, which he recounted to karate magazines not so hot on fact checking. Eventually, his account of those events became “Bloodsport.” That’s when the Los Angeles Times exposed its “true story” as a lunkheaded hustle: The Kumite trophies Dux won were from a Hollywood-based trophy manufacturer, a Kumite-related organization’s address was Dux’s own, the “secret” medal of honor he was awarded seemed sketchy, and a few friends half-assedly

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

“If it was anybody else, I’d say what’s going to happen to you would be a lesson to you. Only you’re going to need more than one lesson.” - “Citizen Kane”

As if Trump’s love of “Bloodsport” would be praised if he sat back and enjoyed the little things, like say, Dux rocking a split atop a skyscraper, a lighthearted Jacques Tati-like scene where army officials chase Dux through the streets, or its coiled soft-serve synthesizer score. On the campaign trail, Trump often entered events to music from 1997’s “Air Force One,” a movie where the president does away with all of the separations of power and literally defeats terrorists himself. Most movies are indoctrination. Bill Clinton of the infamous 1994 crime bill claimed one of his favorite movies was “High Noon,” a Western about a marshall who wants to be peaceful but just can’t because he feels responsible for all the baddies; George W. Bush loved “Field Of Dreams,” a dim, signifying baseball movie dipped in nostalgia, enough said; and like Trump, Barack Obama apparently loves “The Godfather,” a lament for a certain kind of criminality, one that’s more decent, respectable— appropriate for 44, who quietly dronebombed the hell out of many and deported plenty.

“You lose, American asshole!” - “Bloodsport” Trump is all about bloodsport. His reality shows were bloodsport, the business world he stomped around in is bloodsport, the primaries were all about drawing blood for him, and when he offers up something like teachers becoming Charles Bronsons and arming themselves so they can get into shootouts with school shooters, that’s bloodsport. Our reality show president, the totally logical next step after Hollywood actor Reagan—with detours into sub-Kennedy creep Clinton and warmongering dullard Dubya, parts of which Trump also subsumed—eats

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up the fuck-it-see-how-it-shakes-out pathology of reality TV. Remember, that New Yorker article said Trump turned off 1996’s “Michael,” a sentimental snooze starring John Travolta as a schlubby angel, 20 minutes in and put on “Bloodsport” instead. And as Trump watched Van Damme drop down into a split, stick his fist straight out, and bop his opponent in the junk in slowmotion, a unique example of how Trump pops the hood on reality followed. “You want to write that Donald Trump was loving this ridiculous JeanClaude Van Damme movie,” Trump said to reporter Singer. “But are you willing to put in there that you were loving it, too?” He dares Singer to embrace “Bloodsport” and suggests that if he doesn’t he’s just denying himself a hard truth. This is the typically Trumpian dick-punch: His bullshit detector is strong though his own propensity for bullshit is unmatched.

“Unfortunately, most thugs and muggers aren’t looking for a fair fight.” - Frank Dux in “Self-Defense Against Knives,” 1980. A shabby epilogue courtesy of TMZ (who else): Van Damme, in 2016, holding a small dog, wearing a hat that says “JCVD” (the name of the first of two meta-action projects he has made where he plays a sundowning version of himself), loose as a goose, reedy, hardly the boyish Frank Dux, pacing around a parking lot, praising The Donald. “You’re talking about the wrong things in politics. Right now, you need a guy like—” Van Damme told TMZ cameras, then stumbled for a second and reset. “I would say, look, I love my brother Muslim. They love martial arts, I love them. I love everybody on earth. Right now, we need Donald Trump.”

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THE FAKE OSCARS The year in movies as not told by the Academy

In the film industry, 2017 was really more of the same—Hollywood upholding the racist and misogynist structures that exist just about everywhere else but in some ways more publicly and with more money on the line, and more general acceptance due to the industry’s milquetoast liberal politics, and just generally favoring utterly mediocre movies—until it sorta wasn’t. Folks have been pushing the messages behind #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo and #TimesUp long before the hashtag power or celebrities protesting on the red carpet or production companies deciding to oust a select few offenders. But the heat is visibly rising, and more are paying attention, or at least performing attention. Once again, the Oscars (which airs March 4) is another sea of mostly white men, many standing in the spotlight with their histories of sexual harassment and assault in the shadows, which says as much about the awards as it does the industry that produces such a narrow pool. The immensely talented Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig have been anointed here as the token black and female filmmakers to dominate categories for “Get Out” and “Lady Bird,” respectively. In a year that was otherwise awful for people of color and women, this was a comparatively better awards season. But the progress is still deplorable. And even when the Academy does right, it’s not a remedy. Case in point: Mo’Nique, Baltimore native and hey, let’s not forget, a fucking Oscar winner. Mo’Nique shook up the entertainment industry earlier this year with an ongoing boycott of Netflix, claiming gender and racial bias in the lowball, stipulationladen deal they offered her in exchange for a comedy special—$500,000, way less than Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, or Amy Schumer, who were each paid tens of millions of dollars. Fellow comedy veteran Wanda Sykes, it turns out, was offered just $250,000. “How is it that when it comes to these two black female comedians that are still at the top of their game, after 50-plus years being in this business, be offered $750,000 collectively?” she said on “The View.” “Make that make sense.” There is no sense, at least none outside of the sexism and racism that determines who and what is valuable. Here in The Beat’s first Fake Oscars issue, we try to emphasize that void by dragging what sucked and boosting what film got right in 2017. That’s why we asked illustrator Krysten Hayes to put Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star of “Girls’ Trip” (with Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and oh hey, another Baltimore native, Jada Pinkett Smith) on our cover as a Oscars statue alongside a sunken Daniel Kaluuya, rightfully nominated for an actual Academy Award for his leading performance in “Get Out.” This is not a comprehensive corrective to the actual Academy Awards so much as a snide gesture highlighting the industry’s bullshit and the accomplishments of the few who had the opportunity and access to create good art and get it produced. The Fake Oscars has its roots in alt weeklies like The Beat, and was brought to Baltimore via the now-closed City Paper by then-arts editor Bret McCabe (one of the critics praising and skewering films in the following pages). “At a long defunct alt-weekly called The Met in Dallas, which gave me my first bylines & then staff job, one of my A&E freelance writers did a sidebar fake-Oscars column one year that we turned into an annual, group-effort make fun of Hollywood’s self-congratulations thing,” McCabe wrote to The Beat. “After The Met was bought/shut down by what is now called Voice Media and I got a job at CP, I suggested the idea to the staff in 2003 or so, and then [Editor In Chief Lee Gardner] christened them the Alties in a subsequent year’s edition as we started doing them annually.” Locally, this was a big year for movies. Baltimore and its residents served as the subject of three documentary features—Amanda Lipitz’s “Step,” Theo Anthony’s “Rat Film,” and Sonja Sohn’s “Baltimore Rising”—and as the murky ‘60s backdrop for Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” (our city wasn’t recognizable at all in that one, nor was it filmed here, but it’s nice to entertain the thought that our sludge-filled harbor could accomodate a sexy mermantype). In the spring, the Maryland Film Festival reopened the long-shuttered Parkway Theatre as a hub for year-round programming, bringing to the big screen incredible films such as the aforementioned “Rat Film” and “In Between.” Here, we briefly place under a microscope all these all more, including many contending for actual Oscars this weekend. In the Trump era, we say the best film offsets the industry’s white male favoritism and subverts concepts of respectability, all while transporting audiences away from the bullshit—if only for a few hours. (Maura Callahan, Deputy Editor, Baltimore Beat)

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B E S T

P I C T U R E

“Girls’ Trip”

A few weeks ago, while walking through a very crowded movie theater lobby crammed full of people waiting to see “Black Panther” it occurred to me that movie-going can be a comfortable, communal experience. It certainly felt that way when I went to go see “Girls Trip.” The movie turned a normal White Marsh movie theater into a big ol’ bachelorette party, with all of us gawking at Kofi Siriboe’s physical perfection and loving literally anything Tiffany Haddish did onscreen. Thank you, Malcolm Lee, for giving the world a movie that showed black women being happy, fun, high, sloppy, even kind of gross. It was a breath of fresh air. (Lisa Snowden-McCray)

B E S T

D I R E C TO R

Dee Rees, “Mudbound” Spike Lee disciple Dee Rees (previously known for the relatively small, black, queer, low-key tragedy “Pariah”) adapts Hillary Jordan’s novel about two men returning from WWII and how differently it shakes out for them, one being white and one being black with a mix of contemporary grit and old Hollywood classicism.The movie parses race and class delicately (if we ever get a film version of Edward P. Jones’ “The Known World,” Rees should helm it) and in that sense feels of the moment, but it’s full of big emotions and recalls affecting over-the-top ‘50s melodramas such as “Giant.” (Brandon Soderberg)

B E S T

DOC U M E N TA R Y

“Get Out”

The genius of Jordan Peele’s film is in the details: The Armitages, in all their woke liberal glory (they’d definitely be part of the #resistance), the creepy party of gawking old white people, Rose’s (feigned) racial cluelessness. These are all racial realities that many black people must navigate in real life. The very last moment of terror—when flashing police lights appear on the scene—is scary because the viewer understands that for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), the police are just more bad guys. The surprising twist (it’s actually Chris’ comic relief best friend Rod behind the wheel of his security job vehicle) works because we recognize the broken system most black people try, with varying degrees of success, to avoid. The debate about “Get Out” for many was whether it was a comedy or a horror movie, but everything about that movie is all too real. (LSM)

B E S T

D R A M A T I C

A C T O R

Ben Safdie, “Good Time”

The emotional core of breathless crime flick “Good Time” is not dirtbag whiteboy Robert Pattinson as Connie, ready and willing to rip anybody off, but Connie’s partially deaf, developmentally disabled brother Nick, roped into a robbery and arrested for it as Connie runs wild trying to get Nick’s bail money.The performance by Ben Safdie—who co-directed “Good Time” with brother Josh—as Nick is tragic and touching, and nothing but terse devastating gestures. He’s what the movie is ultimately about. (BS)

B E S T

Superhero of the Year: Lil Rel in “Get Out”

C O M E D I C

Cardi B

A C T O R

The Bronx rapper and personality-and-a-half didn’t star in one Hollywood movie this year, though she did star in hundreds of short movies or moments that she morphed into a year-long star turn—on Instagram, on talk shows, at awards shows, and in some of her music videos. She brought a Gena Rowlands-like eccentricity and sincerity to the proceedings (imagine: “Woman Under The Influence 2018” starring Cardi and Offset) matching funny

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face comedy with dead-serious rants against bullying, slutshaming, and well, whatever else is plaguing the news. As Lindsay Zoladz of The Ringer observed, “her shtick feels as indebted to Lucille Ball as it does to Lil’ Kim.” (BS)

B E S T

S U P P O R T I N G

AC TO R

Dawnyell Taylor, “Baltimore Rising”

“The Wire” star Sonja Sohn is the force behind this look at Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s 2015 death released to HBO. There were lots of familiar faces in the film, especially activists Makayla Gilliam-Price and Kwame Rose. But Baynard Woods wrote about a haunting, prescient scene which focused on Detective Dawnyell Taylor, led the investigation into Gray’s death. On the witness stand, she clashed with prosecutors who accused her of sabotaging the investigation and in the film, we see her celebrating as Officer Caesar Goodson is acquitted of Gray’s death: “Taylor’s celebratory fist pump seems almost a confession that she did sabotage the case—or at least clear evidence that she was strongly in favor of the defendants,” Woods wrote. (LSM)

B E S T

F R I E N D S

“In Between” (“Bar Bahar”) Maysaloun Hamoud’s feature debut finds three young Arab-Israeli women seeking respite from quotidian misogyny and anti-Palestinian sentiment through the underground party scene in Tel Aviv. They each fight their own battles—sitting through dinner after dinner with the family’s lineup of male suitors, discovering an ostensibly woke boyfriend is just as old fashioned as the rest—but come together in active solidarity when one is sexually assaulted. This is a love story about the bonds women form with each other to get through all the bullshit, but also the joy in friendships entirely disconnected from the world of men. (Maura Callahan)

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B E S T

A N I M AT E D

M O V I E

“The Lego Batman Movie”

While Christopher Nolan’s Batman films leaned heavily on realism and the darker, grittier elements of the source material, this goofy, over the top “The Lego Movie” spin-off embraced the mythology as a whole. By synthesizing every conflicting tone in the entire history of Batman into one celebratory ode to the caped crusader, this a film that pokes fun at the goofiest side of Batman while applauding the pathos at the character’s core. (Dominic Griffin)

B E S T M E TA P H O R F O R T H E TOTA L S U C K I N G C H E S T W O U N D T H AT WA S A M E R I C A I N 2 0 1 7

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Raped and murdered teenage girl? Backstory. Cancer as unfortunate pre-existing condition? Quirky character trait to carbon offset a police officer’s neighborly negligence. Peter Dinklage cast as the “town midget”? Discrimination played for laughs. A sadistic, misogynistic, racist cop? Worthy of redemptive character arc. And a grown-ass mother’s righteous, barely containable anger about all of the above? An irrational, untamed force that needs to be reminded of her place in the world. (Bret McCabe)

FEBRUARY 28, 2018


B E S T

C U S S I N G

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Spitting out “poor fucking you” while huffing a slim ciggie and rocking Billie Jean King glasses and a bowl cut is impressive. Casually dropping the c-word on a fellow ice-skating mom is ribald. But Janney takes the cussing-a-blue-streak statue home for her didn’tI-teach-you-anything sigh to her daughter, at her wedding: “You fuck stupid, you don’t marry it.” (BM)

B E S T

FA S H I O N

S P R E A D

“Nocturama”

A vaguely marxist critique of French neocolonialism where the chickens come home to roost in a shopping mall makes its points primarily through an ironic curation of commodities and pop/political iconography. An aesthetic shock, whose sympathy for its marginalized characters stops short of imagining a revolutionary future. (AK)

B E S T AC TO R F O R C E D TO DO C R A P I N A H O L L Y W OO D M OV I E

Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”

Best Film That’s Not Really About Rats: “Rat Film”

B E S T

B R E A K FA S T

P O R N

“Phantom Thread”

There’s no on-screen sex in PTA’s couture ‘n class period piece, but don’t worry, it’s still insanely horny. In their first scene together, DDL’s insufferable Reynolds and seaside hotel waitress Alma flirt over his impossibly decadent breakfast order: Welsh rarebit with a poached egg, bacon, scones, butter, cream, jam, a pot of tea, “and some sausages.” There’s a remarkable, almost overwhelming intimacy in the back and forth between two strangers, culminating in plans for a dinner date. It’s hungry boy season, folks. (Max Robinson)

B E S T

F E E D I N G 5 0 0 0

O F

T H E

“Okja”

When McDonald’s already calls itself “a modern and progressive burger company” it’s hard for a satire about a genetically modified superpig version of “5 loaves and 2 fishes” to not hit with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but it helps when it plays like Joe Dante directing a CRASS album. (Adam Katzman)

B E S T

M U S I C A L

“Step”

Following members of a Baltimore high school girls’ step team as they train, compete, and apply to colleges in the aftermath of the 2015 uprising, Amanda Lipitz’s documentary boasts exhilarating pump-up scenes set to Fifth Harmony and Tate Kobang. But the best numbers come from the girls’ stomping feet and rallying cries fit for both the stage and the streets— especially when Black Lives Matter serves as the crux of their routine. (MC)

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

S U P E R H E R O

O F

T H E

Lil Rel in “Get Out”

Y E A R

Some best friends you can’t even get to help you move a couch on a lazy Sunday, so for Lil Rel’s TSA agent Rod Williams to spend the entirety of “Get Out” searching for his missing buddy like Sam Gerard hunting Richard Kimble is beyond laudable. When’s the last time your BFF saved you from a crazy cult of milquetoast white people hellbent on transporting their minds into your own? (DG)

B E S T

FA K E

N E W S

“The Post”

Journalism is rarely about nailing the story and changing the world—it’s a tangle of fuck-ups, apologies, missed calls, ignored (and therefore understandably upset) loved ones, and somewhere along the way words on paper or on a screen that may have some societal impact. Movies like “The Post” (or “Spotlight” from a few years ago) present journalism as this noble profession and, well, it ain’t. We get it, Trump is in office, but resist the urge to valorize journalists like this. Good journalism movies are “Medium Cool” (about the honky callousness of TV news) or “Kill The Messenger” (about Gary Webb, who exposed the connections between the C.I.A. and the crack epidemic, had his career ruined by other journalists who were mad they missed the story, and ended up dead—supposedly a suicide, though Webb was found with two bullets in his head). They are not Spielberghelmed love letters to fucking WaPo. (BS)

B E S T

C H E S A P E A K E

“The Shape of Water”

Dump a man, fuck a fish. (MC)

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B A E

Sure, the just-make-him-James-Bond-already British actor had to free Asgard in fake dreads and glowin-the-dark contacts in “Thor: Ragnarok,” but that movie was bong-hit fun. In “Molly’s Game” Elba is saddled with playing the intelligent, urbanely liberal righteous dude that Aaron Sorkin writes into nearly everything he pens as a stand in for himself. Elba, naturally, not only crushes an idiosyncratic American accent but makes his lawyer to high-end poker maven Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) more than just another one of Sorkin’s “The West Wing”-ian imperfect idealists. (BM)

B E S T

CO M P L E T E A N D U T T E R V O I D

“Dunkirk”

Christopher Nolan is the kind of auteur who peers into his navel and sees a Fabergé egg’s luxe interior. Of course he turns one of military history’s largest evacuations—a nine-day operation of British, Dutch, Belgian, and Irish navy vessels, plus around 850 private boats, that rescued more than 338,000 soldiers off a French beach—into a cinematic mood fugue. Yes, the cinematography is gorgeous, the score is hauntingly minimalist, the combat sequences brutally disorienting, but this approach transforms an actual story of backs-against-the-wall solidarity into a highly polished gemstone that discards the one thing that made Dunkirk’s miracle possible: humanity. (BM)

B E S T M O R A L B A N K R U P TC Y

“Detroit”

Because, yes, the name of the largest majority black city in America deserves to be the title of a 143-minute piece of creative license that boils down the lengthy, complex history of systemic urban policy, police brutality, and disinvestment that led to the conditions that produced the city’s 1967 unrest into a horrifying piece of racial torture porn about the bad apple cop who beat and murdered three teenage black men at the Algiers Motel. I don’t have enough middle fingers for this trash. (BM)

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM


B E S T S P E C T R E H AU N T I N G E U R O P E

“Personal Shopper”

A medium, alienated from their labor, trying on commodities fetishized by their boss, has their work disrupted by what might be a ghost. While the plot derails, the possibilities floated by a whodunit harken back to the greatest spectre of all. (AK)

B E S T F I L M T H AT ’ S N OT R E A L L Y A B O U T R AT S

“Rat Film”

OK, the feature debut from local filmmaker Theo Anthony is sorta about rats. But more than an examination of our city’s huge rodent population, “Rat Film” is a demonstration of two things: Baltimore’s pioneering and enduring history of systemic housing segregation (which is intertwined with but outsizes our history of pest control); and, formalistically, how many distinct yet cohesive ways you can tell a story— which Anthony proved is essential in creating a picture of a multitudinous city like this. (MC)

B E S T

V I C E

M E D I A

C E O

Jared Leto, “Blade Runner 2049” Not even gonna debate whether Leto’s Niander Wallace is a replicant or not because either way, dude’s a douche. With his slicked-back hair and fondness for the male kimono, Wallace is the kind of tech-bro who sees himself creatively disrupting the world to make a better tomorrow, and his plans involve figuring out how to make replicants, well, replicate. If he needs to exsanguinate a female replicant just because he can to make a point, so be it. Total world domination built upon discarded female bodies, hmm, kinda brings to mind a certain manufacturer of virile viral content. (BM)

B E S T

Y E A H A L R I G H T G E T I T D U D E

W E

“mother!”

Do you remember the scene in “Walk Hard” where John C. Reilly’s drugged out Dewey Cox is really up his own ass and making unlistenable music with 50,000 didgeridoos and animal sounds but none of his friends feel like they can tell him it sucks? This is Darren Aronofsky’s 121 minute, $30 million dollar version of that exact thing. And it suuucks. (MR)

B E S T M O V I E YO U D I D N ’ T S E E

“Colossal”

Anne Hathaway plays the alcoholic we need in writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s pitch-black sci-fi comedy, which offers the best advice for dealing with violent, manipulative men: Find your inner Godzilla and toss the motherfucker off the face of the earth. (BM)

B E S T M O V I E YO U ’ L L P R O B A B L Y N E V E R S E E

“Dawson City: Frozen Time”

Dawson City became a town during the Klondike Gold Rush at the 19th century’s end, when people sought fortune in this desolate spot in the Yukon. The prospecting town was also the last stop for many silent films, and in the late ‘70s a trove of roughly 500 presumed-lost silent reels was unearthed there. Found-footage filmmaker master Bill Morrison uses that footage to tell a story about Dawson City, and about how film ostensibly tells history, in this utterly arresting documentary feat. (BM)

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM

Best Musical: “Step”

B E S T “ K I S S M E T H R U T H E P H O N E ”

B E S T H O L L Y W OO D M E TA P H O R

What better way to honor “The Human Surge,” a movie in which the precarity of migrant labor under globalization and the struggle to find wi-fi are only countered by the reliable income of chaturbate, than with Soulja Boy’s eternal anthem of cellular romance. (AK)

Oddball if determined self-taught actor/filmmaker has idea, self-finances laughably bad film that a studio executive wouldn’t touch if his Soho House membership depended on it. After film spends a decade building cult status, a successful, mainstream abuser—I mean, actor/director—adapts it as vanity project and rides the in-joke laden, cinematic Duchampian readymade to awards season back patting. Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. (BM)

“The Human Surge”

B E S T

V E G A N

N I G H T M A R E

“Raw”

A hazing ritual gives a lifelong vegetarian her first taste of meat in director Julia Ducournau’s “Raw,” which not only suggest that veterinarian school is pure hell on anybody who doesn’t want to eat anything that has a mommy, but that rabbit may be the gateway meat to eating boyfriend. (BM)

M O S T R E A L I S T I C D E P I C T I O N O F B AT M A N FA N DO M

O’Shea Jackson Jr. in “Ingrid Goes West”

Nothing course corrects the sad, “The Simpsons”born Comic Book Guy caricature of funny book fans like casting Ice Cube’s handsome charmer of a son as an aspiring screenwriter obsessed with “Batman Forever.” That his adoration of the character is less about geeky fandom and more about Batman’s larger resonance to his backstory is a sweet touch. Also, a grown man asking a woman to dress up like Catwoman for him in bed and to “tell me my city needs me” is the most authentic nerd shit ever. (DG)

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“The Disaster Artist”

B E S T

C H O R E OG R A P H Y

“Baby Driver”

Edgar Wright’s unfussy entertainment feels like it was written entirely around a soundtrack, and from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s ‘Bellbottoms’ opening heist and chase and on, its record-nerd song selections seem to dictate both the film’s mood and the onscreen actions of the characters, be they breakout stars such as Ansel Elgort, or veteran, dependable character performers like a purple ‘80s Chevrolet caprice. (BM)

B E S T I N D I C T M E N T O F B A B Y B OO M E R S

Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

James Gunn’s follow up to the first “Guardians” is sort of like watching someone talk out their childhood while digging through a crate of records. It’s fitting then that the movie’s villain is a cosmic deadbeat dad in the form of the man who played Jack Burton. Ego is a perfect boomer bad guy, weaponizing Russell’s faded ‘80s action star charisma into a vain space monster whose super-villain plan boils down to “fuck you, I got mine.” At the very least, he delivers the finest evil monologue about Looking Glass’ ‘Brandy’ in movie history. (MR)

FEBRUARY 28, 2018


B E S T

A R M

The Arm from “The Cloverfield Paradox” “Cloverfield Paradox” may have been more or less a Superbowl commercial/publicity stunt, but please don’t pretend like you didn’t lose your mind at Chris O’Dowd’s somehow sentient limb crawling around and writing notes like Thing from “The Addams Family.” (MR)

B E S T M A N I C P I X I E D R E A M G I R L

Armie Hammer, “Call Me By Your Name”

With his khaki shorts, short-sleeve Oxford shirts, braided leather belt, Converse high tops, and mancandy grad-student dance moves, Armie Hammer’s Oliver doesn’t look or move like the typical manic panic dream girl. But as the smart, nerdy, hot older object of attraction through which Timothée Chalamet’s moody, intelligent, and kinda posh Elio learns things about life and love, he more than fits the bill. (BM)

FAT H E R

O F

T H E

Y E A R

Willem Dafoe in “The Florida Project”

Best Director: Dee Rees, “Mudbound”

B E S T B E S T S E I Z I N G T H E M E A N S O F P R O D U C T I O N

“Logan Lucky”

Logan Lucky offers some interesting ideas about redistributive wealth in the south by showing how the same laborers required to make institutions run—in this case miners working under a race track—can easily dismantle them. While they don’t transform Nascar into the Paris commune, it’s always nice to know they probably could. (AK)

B E S T G R AT U I TO U S D E AT H I N A D I S N E Y M O V I E

R O M CO M

“The Big Sick”

“The Big Sick” is a singular love story (based on a true story) and a smart cultures-clashing movie. Here, Kumail Nanjiani playing himself navigates his Muslim family’s expectations—especially when he begins dating a white girl, Emily (Zoe Kazan)—countering stereotypes (it is Renoir-ian in that everybody here has their reasons) and ends where it should end, not pushing that indulgent bro-comedy two-hour mark that say, Judd Apatow and crew thinks makes their comedies “serious.” Here is a romantic comedy with the right mix of sweet and bittersweet—and the funniest 9/11 joke in a movie ever. (BS)

Snoke getting smoked in “The Last Jedi”

B E S T O N - S C R E E N “ T R U M P W O N ” D Y S TO P I A

Listen, the new Star Wars movie was built around subverting audience expectations. In this case, subverting the expectation that Andy Serkis as a villainous CG pleasure lord will NOT get cut in half with a lightsaber and sort of cave in on himself like a rain-soaked Subway footlong. Or that the heroine and villain of the movie will have a cool fight while the aforementioned bisected corpse just kind of chills out in the background. Where’s my dead Snoke action figure, Hasbro? (MR)

The 2029 America-in-decline of “Logan” is existentially terrifying and not because of any killer Sentinel robots or big blue Oscar Isaacs. Consider the group of proto-MAGA bros glimpsed chanting “USA!” at people trapped behind a chain link fence at the Mexican border. Or the child-hunting cyborg bad guys and their more than passing resemblance to real life border patrol militias. Other X-Men movies may tease the end of the world but “Logan” is the first one to feel actually hopeless. (MR)

“Logan”

B E S T

M I N I O N S

Porgs, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS PORGS! (BS)

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

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In a film about America’s hidden homeless and many of the young mothers among them, the women who, having given birth so early, aren’t much more than big kids themselves, there’s something heartening about seeing a guy whose face is so legitimately terrifying play such a heartwarming figure. Dafoe’s Bobby Hicks, the manager of the Magic Castle Motel, does his level best to serve two masters: the capitalist system that ensures his livelihood depends on his loyalty to the property’s policies and his inner compassion for the transient guests of the motel who must never be allowed to establish residency. It’s the nicest, most caring role he’s played since Jesus. (DG)

W O R S T FAT H E R O F T H E Y E A R

Nicolas Cage in “Mom and Dad” Look, it’s a whole movie about parents being infected with some kind of virus that makes them want to murder their own children, so every parent in the movie is technically a bad one, but Cage takes the cake as a menacing patriarch whose bloodlust more closely resembles a coke rage than anything else. It’s a tour de force performance of hilarious absurdity and genuine terror, how one might (maybe accurately) imagine it would be to actually have Nicolas Cage as your dad. (DG)

M O S T O R I G I N A L S C R E E N P L AY

“The Book of Henry”

Seth: Stefon, why don’t you tell us your pick for Best Original Screenplay. Stefon: Right, right. This year’s most original screenplay is “The Book of Henry.” It’s got everything. A supergenius child who plots the murder of his childmolesting neighbor before his own untimely death by a rare disease. His Xbox-obsessed single mother who must execute his exacting gameplan. And Sarah Silverman flirting with a child. Seth: Stefon, “The Book of Henry” isn’t even nominated. And didn’t the director just get fired from a “Star Wars” movie? Stefon: There’s no justice in the world, Seth. (DG)

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM


B E S T

P O W E R M E TA L A L B U M

“Thor: Ragnarok”

Vikings that can travel through Rainbows in the Dark of the cosmos? To battle the god of death and prevent hell on earth? In a goofy concept album about refugees? RIP RONNIE JAMES DIO. (AK)

B E S T

K I S S

The Two Michael Fassbenders in “Alien: Covenant” “Alien: Covenant” is not, strictly speaking, a great movie, but the twin performances by Fassbender as the megalomaniacal android David and Walter, the newer model more sympathetic to his human creators, are great. From the minute it was clear this film featured two Fassbenders, any rational human’s first instinct must have been, “make them kiss,” but can you fucking believe Ridley Scott actually made them do it? They really kiss! It’s the best moment in the whole damn movie. Fuck a xenomorph. (DG)

B E S T S T E R L I N G V O I D & PA R I S B R I G H T L E DG E , ‘ I T ’ S A L L R I G H T ( O R I G I N A L H O U S E M I X ) ’

“BPM”

‘It’s All Right’s’ earnest use of the dancefloor as a public forum on everything from apartheid to environment is what most echoes “BPM’s” understanding of how queer activism and house music are deeply connected, given the way disco and house reconfigured the liberatory praxis of the ’60s for an underground more overtly welcoming to marginalized communities. (AK)

B E S T P R O B L E M AT I C , A N T E B E L L U M B O D I C E - R I P P E R

“The Beguiled”

Sofia Coppola’s decision to remake meaty-paws filmmaker Don Siegel’s “The Beguiled” from 1971 was inspired: She returned to ‘70s American cinema not to simply honor it but to present it as a maelstrom of masculine nonsense and sleaze. As a result, her version of the story of an injured Union soldier tended to by women at a seminary in the South slows down and becomes more campy than slimy and therefore, way more hot. That is has little to say about slavery or the Amerikkkan condition is not a surprise (this is Sofia Coppola after all) but demands someone remix Coppola’s version the way she remixed Siegel’s original. (BS)

O F

B E S T FAT E T H E F U R I O U S

“xXx: Return of Xander Cage”

The F&F family is now full on Deep State doing psyops with green screen stunts lost in CGI simulacra so overwhelming it competes with their use of digital surveillance. With “Xander Cage,” Vin Diesel takes the same CGI’d-to-death absurdity and uses it to dismantle the militarized surveillance state he was plucked from ’90s counterculture signifiers to sell in the first place, setting up a new gang with the outlaw charm that initially brought us to the F&F franchise. (AK)

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM

Best Vegan Nightmare: “Raw”

B E S T

H U M D R U M

“Lady Bird”

TOW N

The semi-autobiographical coming of age story from Greta Gerwig is less an ode to adolescence and more a love letter to the mundanity of home. She makes no attempt to doll up her native Sacramento, not even to make it endearingly quirky; her eponymous heroine learns through lived-in experience and eventually separation that the total absence of glamour and excitement leaves room to explore identity—and yes, all those feelings. (MC)

P E T T I E S T U S E O F H O L OG R A M

A

“Marjorie Prime”

In the near future, Long Island beach house dwellers use digital avatars of deceased loved ones to have the last word in conversations that went sour without resolve, until an AI-assisted simulation of what could’ve been said outlives both what actually was and who said it. Heady, heartbreaking, and relatably petty. (AK)

B E S T

FA R E W E L L

Harvey Weinstein and other powerful Hollywood men long known as serial abusers/sexual harassers/silencers BYE. (But there’s still much work to be done: Woody Allen, for example, is still making movies that filmmakers and performers who claim the #timesup hashtag continue to be involved in [cough JT cough] despite allegations from his children that he was sexually abusive, by the way his movies are trash anyway, come on guys; and appointing Weinstein as the monstrous face of the epidemic diminishes the fact that it is an epidemic— just because he’s been ousted doesn’t begin to repair the damage, and the problem is bigger and more varied than him; meanwhile the #MeToo movement is necessary but imperfect—some voices are privileged while others are drowned out, the onslaught of public testimonies is retraumatizing for many survivors, etc . . . ) (MC)

B E S T

T R U M P

I N D I C T M E N T

“The Founder”

Michael Keaton plays hyperambitious sick fuck Ray Kroc, the guy who saw the potential in a small burger joint called McDonald’s and slowly stole it out from under two trusting, ethically-minded, quality controlobsessed brothers and turned it into the behemoth of bad-for-you burgers we all know and love and hate and love and order and eat up and get diarrhea from but oh was it worth it. The movie of the Trump era, really. (BS)

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FEBRUARY 28, 2018


SCREENS

“Sweeter” Screencaptures Courtesy Facebook

Life Is Sweet On Baltimore filmmaker Emily Eaglin’s gently surreal “Sweeter” by Brandon Soderberg Baltimore filmmaker/activist Emily Eaglin’s short film “Sweeter,” which hopped around a few film festivals and is now streaming for free on Facebook, splits the difference between candy-colored Charm City quirk and Baltimore’s prolific gritty city realness that too often gets twisted into one-note, post-“The Wire” pain. “Sweeter” drops us into the life of 23-year-old video game designer mom Samira (Eaglin) and her young daughter Willy (Je’Syre Beckwith) and rolls out the maddening contingencies of being a woman, specifically a black woman for whom labor is expected and undervalued, all the while providing a casual, intimate, portrait of mother and daughter. The first time we meet Willy, she’s reading in bed and Samira has been tipped off that she isn’t asleep because Willy has just posted something to Goodreads. Samira goes up to her room, tells her to go to sleep, which Willy isn’t too interested in, and they talk about trading places. Willy, in part rightfully, wants the freedom of being an adult—this is where her precociousness is particularly well-observed; for bright kids, childhood mostly means boredom—and Samira, good mom, levels with her and shows her calendar to Willy so she can see what it’s like to be an adult, for real. From there, a few lightly fantastical moments wherein Willy stands in for Samira (she makes

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

bsoderberg@baltimorebeat.com

breakfast, she attends an obligatory brunch) that have the charm of something like Spike Jonze’s video for Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Sky’s The Limit’ where kids play-acting as adults is less for laughs than affording children agency and reminding busy grown-ups that we’re not all different. That the film doesn’t see this conceit through beyond just two clever scenes is just fine—it commits to the distracted nature of a child’s mind and perhaps a mom’s mind when she’s juggling too many responsibilities, makes its point, and returns to the rarefied rewards of parenting. In this case, Samira’s point is well-taken by Willy, who then writes her book report for school about the wage gap. At the heart of “Sweeter” is a seriousness with a loud and clear message, but the way Eaglin puts all that in the mouths of delightfully regular-ass people recalls warm hearted, working class movies such as Charles Burnett’s “My Brother’s Wedding” or Mike Leigh’s “Life Is Sweet” filtered through the genteel surrealism of say, Beyoncé collaborator Melina Matsoukas’ videos or Spike Lee in his expressionistic “School Daze” phase. The short kicks off brashly with shots of Samira twisting Willy’s hair into braids as Willy cries, set to the Isley Brothers’ ‘Twist and Shout’ while the opening credits appear on the labels of beauty products around the bedroom. It’s a common scene of black life given a lithe boost of film school savvy and situational humor. Meanwhile,

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Eaglin embraces a naturalistic kind of acting and as director, she doesn’t try to contain Je’Syre Beckwith, so Willy blurts out her lines, mumbles and laughs through them, which is how kids speak and think and act and overreact (which is quite different from overacting, by the way). The points here are made, and made, um, sweetly: Being a woman, specifically a black woman, means you must work twice as hard for half the pay. It’s good for kids to know this stuff early even though they shouldn’t have to know this stuff yet. After the end credits, a dedication: “To Korryn Gaines. In memory of the years of motherhood unjustly stole by an unjust system. Rest In Power (1992-2016).” And just like that, the stakes of “Sweeter,” a movie about black motherhood, about a black mom who keeps it as close to 100 with her kid as a mom possibly can, are raised. We’ve watched the story of a 23-yearold mom mothering and we’re reminded of another mother (Gaines was 23 when she was killed) prevented from parenting by the police, a crueler but connected arm of the same system that puts everything in place to underpay a mom like Samira. “Sweeter,” directed by Emily Eaglin is streaming at facebook.com/FilmFairy.

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM


See us for Toys, Books, and More! 1001 W 36th St., Hampden Baltimore, MD

410-467-2632

“Shades of Brown: The People of Paper” by Leneé Freeman opens at Jubilee Arts on March 2.

HOW TO PICK A LUBE with Alicia Elan March 2nd 6:30pm

Courtesy Facebook

ART ATLAS Fine Art, 823 Park Ave., (443) 845-5939, facebook.com/AtlasFineArts. “William Wright,” A solo exhibition featuring paintings by self-taught, English-born artist William Wright. Opening reception March 3, 7-10 p.m. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, artbma.org. “Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning,” Baltimore-based painter and quilting artist Stephen Towns’ large ‘Birth of a Nation’ quilt is surrounded by his ongoing ‘Story Quilts’ series narrating the life of Nat Turner. On view March 7-Sept. 2, conversation with Stephen Towns and Mark Bradford on March 7, 7 p.m. C. Grimaldis Gallery, 523 N. Charles St., (410)539-1080, cgrimaldisgallery.com. “Collages: An Exhibition,” Collages by Romare Bearden, Vivian Fliegel, José Manuel Fors, Lee Hall, Grace Hartigan, Keith Martin, and Esteban Vicente. Through March 10. Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org. “Unveiled,” Mequitta Ahuja, Milana Braslavsky, and Sebastian Martorana reexamine traditional artistic languages. Through March 3. Current Space, 421 N. Howard St., (410) 343-9295, currentspace.com. “Tight Craft,” A solo exhibition of fiber works by Baltimore-based labor artist, percussion enthusiast, and ventriloquist April Camlin. Through March 4. Galerie Myrtis, 2224 N. Charles St., (410) 235-3711, galeriemyrtis.net. “Art of the Collectors VI,” An exhibition exploring the role of the collector in preserving culture with work by prominent and lesser known artists including prints and African art from private collections and institutions. Tea With Myrtis on March 3, 2-4 p.m. (registration required); on view through March 24. Gallery CA, 440 E. Oliver St., babblebabble.com. “Babble,” Multimedia works examining how language barriers alter verbal communication and understanding by Jianfeng Yao, Alina and Jeff Bliumis, Gerald Leavell II, Brendan Fernandes, Lucio Pozzi, and Naoko Wowsugi. Curated by Yuzhuo Mark Zhang. Opening reception March 2, 7-9 p.m.; on view through March 28. Jubilee Arts Baltimore, 1947 Pennsylvania Ave., (410) 728-1199, jubileeartsbaltimore. org. “Shades of Brown: The People of Paper,” A solo show by Maryland native artist and designer Leneé Freeman featuring paper doll collages or paper people illustrations in various shades of brown paper to represent the diversity of the African diaspora, fashion trends, and lifestyles. Opening reception March 2, 6-8 p.m.; on view through March 30. Resort, 235 Park Ave., (443) 415-2139, resortbaltimore.com. “Ginevra Shay and Roxana Azar: A Big Toe Touches A Green Tomato,” In Resort’s inaugural exhibition, photography, sculpture, and ceramics from Baltimore-based artist Ginevra Shay and Philadelphia-based artist Roxana Azar. Through March 5. St. Charles Projects, 2701 N. Charles St., stcharlesprojects.com. “Butterfly Pictures,” New video performance and paintings by Aiden Dillard. Through March 1. “Salad For Everyone,” Work by Philip Hinge, Nick Irzyk, Jennifer Sullivan. Opening reception March 3, 6-9 p.m.; on view through April 3. Terrault, 218 W. Saratoga St., 3rd floor, (336) 707-5511, terraultcontemporary.com. “Regular Goods,” A two-person show by painter Nicole Dyer and ceramicist E. Saffronia Downing rethinks the painting as object and vice versa. Opening reception March 3, 7-10 p.m.; closing reception April 18, 7-10 p.m.; on view through April 21. For more art exhibitions, visit baltimorebeat.com.

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM

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FEBRUARY 28, 2018

ROPE SALON

with Darian | $15 March 8th 7pm

POLY AND THE LAWPOLYAMORY AND THE LAW Jonathan D. Lane March 14th 6:30pm

BLOWN AWAY- KILLER BLOW JOBS with Stefani | $25 March 26th 6:30pm

EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!

Purchase tickets in person at the store, over the phone with a credit card or online at

www.sugartheshop.com


MUSIC

VENUES An Die Musik, 409 N. Charles St., (410) 3852638, andiemusiklive.com Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington, D.C., (202) 888-0020, theanthemdc.com Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057, baltimoresoundstage.com Bertha’s, 734 S. Broadway, (410) 327-5795, berthas.com The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, (703) 549-7500, birchmere. com The Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 667-4490, blackcatdc.com Cat’s Eye Pub, 1730 Thames St., (410) 2769866, catseyepub.com Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 6254848, facebook.com/TheCrownBaltimore Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE, Washington, D.C., (202) 503-2330, echostage.com The 8x10, 10 E. Cross St., (410) 625-2000, the8x10.com E.M.P. Collective, 307 W. Baltimore St., (410) 244-0785, empcollective.org The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, (301) 960-9999, fillmoresilverspring. com Germano’s Piattini, 300 S. High St., (410) 752-4515, germanospiattini.com Joe Squared, 33 W. North Ave., (410) 5450444, joesquared.com Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000, bsomusic.org Lithuanian Hall, 851 Hollins St., (410) 6855787, lithuanianhall.com Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, modell-lyric.com Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, (410) 715-5550, merriweathermusic.com. Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St., (410) 2440899, themetrogallery.net Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., (410) 6378300, motorhousebaltimore.com 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 265-0930, 930.com The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 6620069, theottobar.com Pier Six Pavillion, 731 Eastern Ave., (410) 547-7200, livenation.com/venues/14732/ pier-six-pavilion Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, (410) 2441131, ramsheadlive.com Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, ramsheadonstage.com Red Room, 425 E. 31st St., redroom.org Reverb, 2112 N. Charles St., (443) 447-4325, reverbcollective.com Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., (410) 347-2020, royalfarmsarena.com The Sidebar, 218 E. Lexington St., (410) 6594130, sidebarbaltimore.com Tin Roof, 32 Market Place, (443) 873-8137, tinroofbaltimore.com U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 588-1889, ustreetmusichall.com The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave., (410) 244-8855, thewindupspace.com

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The Black Cat. Frightened Rabbit, Wintersleep. Cat’s Eye Pub. Dogs Among the Bushes. The 8x10. DJ Williams Shots Fired with All Star Cast. Metro Gallery. ADULT., HIDE, Extended Release. 9:30 Club. Quinn XCII, Chelsea Cutler. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night; Sister Ex, Meatbot. Rams Head On Stage. Graham Nash. The Windup Space. Windup Wednesday.

T H U . 1

An Die Musik. Leo’s Maximum Gospel Trumpets. Baltimore Soundstage. The Expendables, Through The Roots, Pacific Dub, Amplified. Bertha’s. Jeff Reed Trio. The Birchmere. Graham Nash. The Black Cat. Futuristic, Ishdarr, Scribecash, Saab. Cat’s Eye Pub. Pete Kanaras Blues Band. Creative Alliance. Xylouris White. The Fillmore Silver Spring. A$AP Ferg, Denzel Curry. Germano’s Piattini. Fireside Collective. Metro Gallery. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Wume, Smoke Bellow. Motor House. Mood2Soul. 9:30 Club. Kelela. The Ottobar. The Twain Train: Shania Twain DJ and Karaoke. Rams Head Live. Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Havok. Rams Head On Stage. Trevor Hall. The Sidebar. The Effects, Balkan Falcon, Cotten Seiler and the Foxhole Atheists. U Street Music Hall. CloZee, Choppy Oppy, McWavy, Raptorstein.

F R I . 2

Baltimore Soundstage. American Nightmare, Pissed Jeans, Protester, Cloak/ Dagger. Bertha’s. Juke Drivers. The Birchmere. Rachelle Ferrell. The Black Cat. Conspiratease Burlesque Show. Cat’s Eye Pub. Katie Bowers Band; Bad Neighbors. Creative Alliance. Nina Simone-Miriam Makeba Tribute with Akua Allrich. The Crown. First Friday Karaoke. The 8x10. Soohan, Anna Morgan, Christian Dope. E.M.P. Collective. Western Star, El Silver Cabs, The Lushpockets. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Eric Johnson. Germano’s Piattini. Gary Rubin and Brent Hardesty. Joe Squared. Your Solar, In The Presence of Wolves, Heavy. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” in Concert with University of Maryland Concert Choir. Metro Gallery. Pressing Strings, Skribe. 9:30 Club. Galactic, Butcher Brown.

The Ottobar. Take Me Out 2000s Indie Dance Party. Rams Head On Stage. White Ford Bronco ‘90s Party. Reverb. Reverb Open Jam Night. The Sidebar. Lost in Society, Rooney’s Shoe, The Stifled, Old Bay Thrashers. Tin Roof. Dell Fox Company. U Street Music Hall. Missio, Welshly Arms; Lee Burridge. The Windup Space. Tomason, Sea Lilies, Flying Faders, Yanni II.

S A T . 3

An Die Musik. Folkal Point: Stone Hill AllStars. Anthem. Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Midland. Baltimore Soundstage. Dermot Kennedy. Bertha’s. Automatic Slim and His Band. The Birchmere. Rachelle Ferrell. The Black Cat. 1000mods, Telekinetic Yeti, Alms; Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show. Cat’s Eye Pub. Tara; Roger Girke Band. Creative Alliance. Viva Brasil! Carnival Dance Party. The Crown. Sauce with James Nasty. Echostage. DJ Snake. The 8x10. 15th Annual Mammojam. Germano’s Piattini. Jan Knutson and Griff Kazmierczak. Metro Gallery. Midvale, The New Reign, Saturnine, Novarium, Spermasaurus Rex. 9:30 Club. Galactic, Aztec Sun. The Ottobar. New Wave Dance Party with DJ Billy; Live Punk Rock Karaoke. Rams Head On Stage. Robert Klein. Red Room. Beatriz Ferreyra, Twig Harper, Jeff Carey. Reverb. GrassRoots, The Stonewall Vessels. Royal Farms Arena. Kid Rock. The Sidebar. Madball, Next Step Up, Flatline, Evade. Tin Roof. Vertigo Red. U Street Music Hall. Joywave, Sasha Sloan, Kopps; Dieselboy, Bill & Ed, Seanny Ranks B2B DJ Rubble, Kinetics MC. The Windup Space. Bedlam Brass, The Mondawmen, J Pope and the HearNow.

S U N . 4

An Die Musik. Billy Kemp: Roots Cafe SingerSongwriter Series. Baltimore Soundstage. Aaron Watson, Jack Ingram, Ryan Beaver. The Birchmere. Dwele. The Black Cat. BRNDA, Poppies, Julian. Cat’s Eye Pub. Steve Kraemer & The Bluesicians; Grapefruit Kings. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Jeezy, Tee Grizzley. Germano’s Piattini. Jazz Brunch with Cecilia Zabala. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” in Concert with University of Maryland Concert Choir. Lyric Opera House. Alice Cooper. Metro Gallery. Vista Kicks, Rent Party, Stranger.

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Motor House. World Sound Series: Meklit. 9:30 Club. Hippie Sabotage, Melvv, Olivia Noelle. The Ottobar. Service Industry Night. Rams Head On Stage. Suzy Bogguss. Red Room. Volunteers’ Collective. U Street Music Hall. The Rumpus Room: A Family Dance Party with Marc Meistro, Stereo Faith; Lil Xan, $TEVEN CANNON. The Windup Space. Bedlam Brass, The Mondawmen, J Pope and the HearNow.

M O N . 5

An Die Musik. Monday Jazz Jam hosted by Alex Meadow and Joshua Espinoza. Baltimore Soundstage. Brett Dennen, Dean Lewis. The Birchmere. David Archuleta. The Black Cat. Report Suspicious Activity, Two Inch Astronaut, Anna Connolly. Cat’s Eye Pub. Phil Cunneff New Trio. Germano’s Piattini. Sound Underground. 9:30 Club. LP, Noah Kahan, Kat Cunning. Rams Head Live. Hippie Sabotage, Melvv, Olivia Noelle. Rams Head On Stage. Brett Dennen; Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou Records Revue. U Street Music Hall. Ella Vos, Freya Ridings.

T U E . 6

An Die Musik. MUSA’KE (Dauda/MikeGary) Monthly Tuesday Series. The Birchmere. Sweet Honey In The Rock. The Black Cat. Frigs, The Rememberables. Cat’s Eye Pub. Timmy Shelley Band. Creative Alliance. The Songster Series: Christen B. The Crown. Karaoke Forever. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Michael Schenker, A Sound Of Thunder. 9:30 Club. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, GGOOLLDD. Rams Head Live. Eric Johnson. Rams Head On Stage. Jim Belushi & The Board of Comedy. The Sidebar. Sweet Ascent. The Windup Space. Standup Comedy at The Windup Space: Benefit for Homeless in Baltimore.

W E D . 7

Bertha’s. Big Bertha’s Rhythm Kings. The Birchmere. Pat Green. The Black Cat. Nada Surf. Cat’s Eye Pub. Matt Kelley’s Swangbang. The Crown. Grandchildren, Kingsley Ibeneche, $100 Girlfriend, DJ Pancakes. The 8x10. People’s Blues Of Richmond, Disco Risque, Medusa’s Disco. The Fillmore Silver Spring. Sabaton, Kreator, cyHra. Germano’s Piattini. Cissa Paz and JP Silva: Authentic Brazilian Music. Metro Gallery. The Zephyr Bones, The Dune Flowers. 9:30 Club. Cornelius, Ava Luna. The Ottobar. Karaoke Night. Rams Head Live. JJ Grey & Mofro, Hollis Brown. Rams Head On Stage. Colin Quinn. Tin Roof. The Harikaraoke Band Gong Show. The Windup Space. Windup Wednesday.

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM


SCREENS

“Annihlation” Screencapture Courtesy YouTube

HELPLESSLY HOPING “Annihilation” is a sterile sci-fi acid trip into the unnatural world By Max Robinson There’s a very dry “2010s” visual aesthetic that defines a lot of newish heady sci-fi. That kind of IKEA showroom sterility that shows up in, say, Amy Adams’ immaculate living room in “Arrival” or any number of of “Black Mirror” episodes. You know what it looks like: cavernous rooms with untouched hardwood floors and abstract furniture that looks unblemished by a human buttocks. Maybe there’s a lab set with sliding glass doors and an LED touchscreen. This is the case in Alex Garland’s directorial debut “Ex Machina” and it’s definitely the case in his follow up, “Annihilation.” But while the antiseptic quality of other recent science fiction outings is usually unremarked upon set dressing, the excruciating cleanliness of “Annihilation” feels like an important narrative feature. Our occasional glimpses at the home life of biology professor/grieving Army widow Lena (Natalie Portman) are deafening in their emptiness. The bars of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s ‘Helplessly Hoping’—implied to be Lena and her husband’s “song”—drifts through barren hallways from unseen Bluetooth speakers. Even the film’s brief scenes of physical intimacy feel oddly sexless. It’s not exactly subtle, but these snapshots of Lena’s soured domestic bliss are an effective contrast to the overgrown and unpredictable nature of “Annihilation’s” primary setting, the mysterious Area X. While based on the initial entry in novelist Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy, “Annihilation” doesn’t feel like the perfunctory adaptation it otherwise might have been. Garland’s film version veers wildly from its source material, which feels appropriate for a movie about standing unbowed in the face of the unknown and unknowable. In a

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nutshell, the plot of both film and book follows a five-woman team of specialists as they journey into an otherworldly environmental disaster zone where biology and physics have gone wrong. Portman’s Lena volunteers, hoping it’ll offer answers to the inexplicable reappearance of her husband (Oscar Isaac) and his ensuing illness. The previous teams that attempted to investigate the growing blight of Area X never returned and each member of the party has their own reasons for joining what is ostensibly a suicide mission. Eventually, what you’d expect to happen in a movie called “Annihilation” happens. Radios and compasses prove unreliable. Tensions run high. There’s gruesome snuff film footage in an abandoned military base. The size of the expedition steadily gets smaller. Garland’s film is definitely in the same vein as haunted house sci-fi pillars like “Aliens” but here the goal is to unsettle rather than outright scare the audience. The film populates Area X with a variety of freaky flora and fauna, from a pair of lithe otherworldly deer to an albino alligator with blender-like teeth to a skeletal grizzly bear that makes familiar human screams. “Annihilation” posits these movie monsters as mindless symptoms of the film’s central antagonist, Area X itself. There’s no malice when a helpless linguist is dragged away to her doom, only a terrifying new ecosystem playing out like a vaporwave nightmare edit of a “Planet Earth” episode. When Portman or a teammate blows away a visually stunning CG creature with automatic rifle fire, it’s cathartic, but never triumphant. The film’s stunning visuals are its strongest asset, a prismatic house of horrors with only locked doors. The human stars of “Annihilation” play second-

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fiddle to the movie’s funhouse mirror garden of eden but still shine through the unnatural weeds and vines. Jennifer Jason Leigh, as the amoral psychologist heading up the mission, parlays her trademark sneering viciousness into an unreadable and unnerving pokerface as she leads her team into alien oblivion. Tessa Thompson and Swedish actress Tuva Novotny both avail themselves admirably as scientists, but the real scenestealer here is Gina Rodriguez as the tough but friendly Anya. There’s something remarkably satisfying in watching the star of CW’s “Jane the Virgin” chew scenery as a Colonel Kurtz-style maniac and her eventual breaking point torture of her teammates is excruciating to behold. Portman herself is never as intriguing as her on-screen colleagues but delivers a solid, fairly nuanced performance nevertheless. She shines most when playing off her unwitting coworkers’ fraying wits or in her fleeting moments with Isaac’s nofirst-name-given Kane. Still, Portman’s Lena is the lens through which we view “Annihilation.” The film ultimately boils down a woman torn between the comfort of a stolen past and her uncertain but looming future. Garland draws plenty of visual parallels between the ever-growing Area X and the cancerous cells Lena studied as an academic. Lena is a woman in crisis and Earth is a planet in crisis, each unable to return to what they were before. It’s safe to say “Annihilation” isn’t the kind of smart sci-fi movie interested in a tidy finish, only the inevitability of an ending. “Annihilation” is now playing in theaters.

FEBRUARY 28, 2018


SCREENS

Danai Gurira as Okoye in “Black Panther”

“Black Panther”: Bringing the Spirit of Wakanda Talk Back M A R C H . 3

“The Great Satan”

Hell On Earth Found-footage video collective Everything Is Terrible brings “The Great Satan” to the Parkway By Maura Callahan

mcallahan@baltimorebeat.com

The product of thousands of devil-centric found footage clips slowed down, sped up, and spliced together, “The Great Satan” is a profoundly dense 75 minutes of Christian hip-hop puppets, the little known superhero “Bibleman,” pasty televangelists proclaiming that “if you listen to heavy metal music, the devil will make you kill your mom,” occult porn, somehow a lot of singing ducks, and even more cursory blips of what just happened at Vine speed. This dizzying visual essay on humanity’s desperate attempts to both squash and indulge in hedonism is the work of Everything Is Terrible, the Los Angelesbased collective responsible for six found footage features including a remake of “Holy Mountain” comprised entirely of dog-related clips, plus a stillgrowing collection of 15,000 “Jerry Maguire” VHS tapes amassed to eventually form a pyramid in the desert. EIT will present “The Great Satan” with a live show complete with costumes and puppets at the Parkway on March 7 as part of their nationwide tour (during which they will be accepting “Jerry Maguire” VHS donations). While “The Great Satan” leaves one spinning and likely nauseated, it’s the logical culmination of modern life, especially for viewers like myself who were born during and in the wake of Satanic panic and whose religious upbringing coincided with the dawn of YouTube and randomcore. EIT approaches found footage filmmaking as an exquisite corpse: In this case, Satan is something of a unifier as the film shuffles through a loosely connected stream of thematic threads ranging from dogs to she-demons, drugs to literal rebirth, law enforcement to Dungeons & Dragons, demonstrating that the devil is indeed everywhere you turn. The majority of these clips are saturated with a certain dread—the laughing-to-keep-from-crying kind that comes with the glass half empty sense that

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

nothing matters—that would be paralyzing if not for the rapid fire speed that leaves no time to dwell, which is really a blessing. Audio of children singing a quasireggae rendition of Matthew 6:34—“Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself”—plays over footage of a sad polar bear sitting on melting ice cap. The most time we’re given to meditate on a single image is about 15 seconds, and it’s just a single shot of an obese, bewildered cat sitting up next to the words “it’s a wonderful life” painted in what appears to be blood. The rest is too-brief-to-register snippets of dicks getting ripped off in B-horror movies, that one brilliant hip-hop number from “Teen Witch,” a poorly rendered CGI demon fucking a guy from behind, and celebrity cameos from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Bee Gees, a three-eyed Whoopi Goldberg, what appears to be a young Keegan Michael Key of “Key & Peele,” and Gene Simmons, obviously. Soon enough, Christian, Satanic, and secular material become fairly indistinguishable. Every fragment feels like humanity flailing about in search of direction where there is none, twisting some moral significance out of anything and everything. Here, evil at work looks like feminism, Limp Bizkit, and a man’s face adhered to a wall like a taxidermy buck head claiming that he’s there “hiding from god.” Righteousness is praying with such intensity that it literally sets off explosions in Satan’s lair. Dredged in historical precedent, ministry as warfare is taken to the next level here; cue a beheading montage set to the kids’ marching tune ‘I’m in the Lord’s Army.’ Altogether, this is unequivocally an endurance test, less a hate watch than exposure therapy to human folly distilled into its core kitsch. Heed the advice delivered at the film’s introductory sequence—“fasten your spiritual seatbelts.”

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So yeah, “Black Panther” is officially about, well, the Black Panther. And yeah, Killmonger, and M’Baku, and W’Kabi and are all great and compelling. But the real shining stars of the movie are the women: strong and smart Nakia, quick and deadly Okoye, and innovative, witty Shuri. It’s because of this that Brittany Oliver, founding director of the advocacy group Not Without Black Women (NWBW), felt like she had to put together an event to talk about the blockbuster film. Black Panther: Bringing the Spirit of Wakanda Talk Back, will be held March 3 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at Cheat Day Bar & Grill (737 Carroll St., [443] 708-0929, cheatdaybarandgrill.com). Panelists will include Oliver, community health activist and Morgan State University professor Lawrence Brown, Nnamdi Scott of the Ujima People’s Progress Party, and Morgan sociology and anthropology professor Natasha Pratt Harris. Community advocate and NWBW leader Charlene Rock-Foster will facilitate. “I think that ‘Black Panther’ has provided an opportunity for various black communities all across the nation to have really important conversations about what it means to be black in America,” Oliver says. “Originally we were not [having an event] but because of the response that we were getting from the community, they wanted us to have a talkback because Not Without Black Women brings a certain type of perspective when it comes to black radical politics.” She says that it’s important to talk about the part women play in the story, and what that means for real women in real life. Some of the topics to be discussed: the importance of black women’s roles both in reality and in the film, the lessons to be learned from “Black Panther” that can shape and influence black politics, and how entertainment influences our youth and communities. Oliver is hopeful that by discussing these issues, we can bring a little bit of Wakanda to reality. “Black women should be uplifted in these roles in this way,” she says. “And so I think that ‘Black Panther’ shows the power of when women are uplifted and placed at the center.” (Lisa Snowden-McCray)

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“Belladonna Of Sadness” screens at the Charles on March 1. Screencap Courtesy YouTube

SCREENS The Charles Theatre

1711 N. Charles St., (410) 727-3464, thecharles.com. “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. “The Insult” (Ziad Doueiri, Lebanon/France, 2017), now playing. “Belladonna Of Sadness” (Eiichi Yamamoto, Japan, 1973) March 1. “Loveless” (Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2017) opens March 2. “Nostalgia” (Mark Pellington, U.S., 2018) opens March 2. “The Party” (Sally Potter, U.S., 2017) opens March 2. “The Earrings Of Madame De…” (Max Ophüls, France, 1953), March 3, March 5, March 8.

The Parkway Theatre 5 W. North Ave., (410) 752-8083, mdfilmfest.com. Gunky’s Basement: “American Psycho” (Mary Harron, U.S. 2000), Feb. 28. “A Touch Of Sin” (Jia Zhangke, China, 2013), Feb. 28. “The Cage Fighter” (Jeff Unay, US.. 2018), through March 1. “For Your Consideration” (Christopher Guest, U.S., 2006), special Purim screening and Wild Purim Rumpus party, March 1, “Have A Nice Day” (Liu Jian, China, 2017) through March 1. “Kékszakállú (Bluebeard)” (Gastón Solnicki, Argentina, 2016), Q&A with co-writer and co-producer on March 4, March 5., opens March 2. “Western” (Valeska Grisebach, Germany/Bulgaria/Austria, 2017), opens March 2. Masters Of Long-Form Cinema: “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels” (Chantal Akerman, Belgium, 1975), opens March 4. “Until The Birds Return” (Karim Moussaoui, France/Germany/Algeria, 2017), March 6. Everything Is Terrible’s “The Great Satan” live show, March 7.

The Senator Theatre 5904 York Road, (410) 323-4424, senatortheatre.com. “Black Panther” (Ryan Coogler, U.S., 2018), now playing. “A Fantastic Woman” (Sebastián Lelio, Spain, 2017), now playing. “I, Tonya” (Craig Gillespie, U.S., 2017), now playing. “The Post” (Steven Spielberg, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” (Martin McDonagh, U.S., 2017), now playing. “Once Upon A Time In America (Extended Director’s Cut),” (Sergio Leone, U.S., 1984), Feb. 28. “Singin’ In The Rain” (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, U.S., 1952), March 4, March 5., March 6.

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FEBRUARY 28, 2018

presented by


BOOKS Bird in Hand, 11 E. 33rd St.,  (410) 8140373, birdinhandcharlesvillage.com. Award-winning author Eric Puchner will read from his latest collection of stories, “Last Day on Earth,” now out in paperback. Puchner will be joined in conversation by local Baltimore writer, Nate Brown. March 1, 7 p.m. The next installment of the local Readings with Ralphie series with Raphael Alvarez features novelists Eric D. Goodman, Jeff Richards, and Erin J. Mullikin, who is founding editor of the online literary journal Nightblock and small literary press Midnight City Books. March 6, 7 p.m. Greedy Reads, 1744 Aliceanna St., (410) 276-6222, greedyreads.com. Join author Susan Weis-Bohlen for a book talk and signing of her book “Ayurveda Beginner’s Guide: Essential Ayurvedic Principles and Practices to Balance and Heal Naturally.” The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road,  (410) 3772966, theivybookshop.com. Giles Milton, host of the podcast Unknown History, will read from his latest book “Churchill’s Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat,” an account of the top-secret organization whose purpose was nothing short of the destruction of Hitler’s war machine. March 6, 7 p.m. Elliot Ackerman, former Marine and author of the critically acclaimed novel “Green on Blue,” will read from his new novel of the Syrian Civil War, “Dark at the Crossing.” Nominated for a National Book Award, “Dark at the Crossing” has been named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, Military Times, and others. March 7, 7 p.m. The Red Canoe, 4337 Harford Road,  (410) 4444440,  redcanoecafe.virb.com.  First Friday: Every first Friday of the month, Red Canoe showcases a new local artist, along with delicious food and complimentary wine. March 1, 6-9 p.m. Red Emma’s, 30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7585, redemmas. org.  Todd Miller, author of “Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security,” will discuss how the world is preparing for mass displacement by fortifying borders and imprisoning migrants. He will be joined by Nasim Chatha, of Alliance for Global Justice, and the two will discuss the U.S.’s role in managing or advising the prison systems of 38 different countries. March 2, 7:30 p.m. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor will read from her latest, “The Body Is Not an Apology,” a book that invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. March 4, 3 p.m. Spanning American transgender history from the mid-20th century to today, Susan Stryker will lead attendees on a chronological journey through major movements, writings, and events in her new revised edition of “Transgender History.” March 6, 7:30 p.m.

“Animal Farm.” A stage adaption of George Orwell’s allegorical story of a group of farm animals who revolt against man. March 1-April 1, Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., (410) 332-0033, centerstage. org, $20-$79. BWC’s Gin & Jokes Presents: Drew Michael. Actor and former writer for “Saturday Night Live” Drew Michael headlines Baltimore Whiskey Company’s recurring comedy night. Hosted by Umar Khan. March 1, 8:30 p.m., Joe Squared, 33 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444, pros.brownpapertickets.com, $7. “Count Down.” As part of the 2018 Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, The Stand present Dominique Cieri’s interdisciplinary piece about girls growing up in the child welfare system. Through March 4, Strand Theatre, 5426 Harford Road, (443) 874-4917, strand-theater.org, $10-$25. Drunk Shakespeare. Single Carrot Theatre and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Associate Artistic Director Lizzi Albert present the first installment of the new Drunk Classics series. Actors will perform fully rehearsed scenes from the Bard, but wasted. March 3, 8 p.m.; Single Carrot Theatre, 2600 N. Howard St., (443) 844-9253, singlecarrot.com, sold out (standing room tickets available for $5). “Gertrude Stein and a Companion.” The love story of writer Gertrude Stein and her life partner and Parisian avant-garde member Alice B. Toklas as told by Win Wells. March 2-25, Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St., fpct.org, $19-$24. “Hand to God.” Stillpointe Theatre presents Robert Askins’ Tony-nominated play about a grieving widow who runs a Christian-ministry puppet club, her teenage son, and his possessed puppet. March 2-17, St. Marks Lutheran Church, 1900 St. Paul St., stillpointetheatre.com, $20. Huggy Lowdown and Chris Paul. The Tom Joyner Morning Show personalities co-headline. March 4, 6 p.m., Magooby’s Joke House, 9603 Deereco Road, (410) 252-2727, magoobys.com, $20. “I Hate Hamlet.” An actor who hates “Hamlet” takes on the title role and encounters the ghost of John Barrymore. Through March 4, Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., (410) 752-1225, spotlighters.org, $10-$22. Jeanne Robertson. The veteran performer and former Miss North Carolina performs family-friendly comedy. March 3, 7 p.m., Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, modell-lyric.com, $31-$51. “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical drama spans one day in the life of a family troubled by addiction and the inability to let go of the past. Through March 4, Everyman Theatre, 315 W. Fayette St., (410) 752-2208, everymantheatre.org, $43-$65. Nephew Tommy. The co-host of the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show performs. March 1-3, Baltimore Comedy Factory, 5625 O’Donnell St., (410) 547-7798, baltimorecomedy.com, $30-$40. The Peking Chinese Acrobats. The internationally renowned troupe performs gravity-defying feats. March 6-7, Goucher College, Kraushaaur Auditorium, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, artsonstage.org, $10. “The Pillowman.” A writer becomes the focus of a police interrogation when his macabre short stories are linked to a series of actual child murders. Through March 18, Vagabond Players, 806 S. Broadway, (410) 563-9135, vagabondplayers.org, $10-$20. Prim and Proper. Alexa Sciuto hosts an all-women comedy showcase featuring Kristy Belich, Alyssa A. Cowan, Robin Hazel, He He, Diana Keating, and Cristina Payne. March 2, 8 p.m., Charm City Comedy Project at Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St., charmcitycomedyproject.com, $5. “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. Through March 4, Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., (410) 332-0033, centerstage.org, $20-$79. Slapstick Jukebox. Happenstance Theater presents a physical comedy mash-up inspired by 19th Century European Circus entrées, Vaudeville, silent film, and early television. March 1-4, Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., (410) 752-8558, theatreproject.org, $15-$25.

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Photo: Lars Plougmann

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

STAGE

6080 Falls Road @ W. Lake Avenue Mt. Washington WWW. THEIVYBOOKSHOP. COM

READ LOCAL

11 East 33rd Street, 1 block from Johns Hopkins Charles Village WWW. BIRDINHANDCHARLESVILLAGE. COM


Back to Basics Chef Kiran Patnam talks beating Bobby Flay, his Indian roots, and more By Lisa Snowden-McCray

When he was growing up in Hyderabad, India, Chef Kiran Patnam, executive sous chef for the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Harbor East, remembers making special journeys with his dad just to buy their favorite ingredients. “My father is a great cook too,” Patnam says, sitting in the dining room in Apropoe’s (700 Aliceanna St., [410] 895-1879), the hotel’s restaurant. “We used to walk a long time in the farmers market, me and my father. [If] he likes a particular vendor, he wants to go by cilantro just from him. For some reason he thinks that’s better. I remember one day we took a bus to buy cinnamon. We traveled like 20 minutes, then walked for five, 10 minutes. That particular vendor, he was selling cinnamon sticks. We bought the cinnamon stick, get on the bus, walk home, just for cinnamon!” In January, Patnam was on the culinary competition show “Beat Bobby Flay,” and bested Flay with his take on the Indian classic butter chicken. On the show, Flay used a pre-made spice mix while Patnam opted to carefully mix his own spices. Patnam, 31, has been excelling at cooking since he started culinary school back in India. He worked at the JW Marriott in Mumbai, then came to the United States where he was quickly promoted to leadership positions at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona and then at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland. He says cooking is more than just a job for him. “When I wake up, when I’m sleeping, I’m waiting [and wondering] when is the morning going to come to go to work, I am not kidding,” he says. Here in Baltimore, Patnam doesn’t spend much time cooking himself. Instead, he’s charged with leading a kitchen that feeds as many as 300 people in less than three hours. “I can’t be cooking on one station, I can’t lead that way,” Patnam says. “I gotta be overseeing every single thing in the restaurant, including the dishwashers.” Patnam says that his parents watched the episode of “Beat Bobby Flay,” with his brother back in India. It was a full-circle moment, because his family has always supported his career. “When my father saw me on TV . . . he cried. He was so happy, he felt so emotional. That’s what they want to see their kids to be. I think this is the top of the game. There is nothing better than this. I made their day, I believe.” Patnam was thinking of his parents when he chose his Flay-beating dish for the show. He could have prepared anything, but chose the butter chicken dish because it meant something to him. “It is a connection,” he says. “Wherever [I] go, I can’t forget my basis, where I came from. I’ve done fancy dishes, I’ve done fancy restaurants, fine dining . . . but what makes me, what brings me here is those dishes. I have a very high respect [for] those kind of dishes. I grew up eating those dishes so I wanted to showcase that.”

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM

lmccray@baltimorebeat.com

FOOD

Chef Kiran Patnam Courtesy Kiran Patnam

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FEBRUARY 28, 2018


WEED

AK-47 Photo Courtesy Youtube

Suspended Brewing Photo Courtesy Instagram

Food&Booze

Here’s what should be the biggest food-related news in the city right now: The Salvation Army is opening up DMG Foods, a non-profit grocery store in Abell on March 7. Located at 400 E. 29 St. (right by the McDonald’s on Greenmount Avenue). On its website, dmgfoods.org, it says DMG Foods will “combine social service with a traditional grocery shopping experience . . . social services include nutritional guidance, shopping education, workforce development, and meal planning.” DMG Foods is also currently hiring, so head over to the website for job listings. After offering private tours for a while now (most of which quickly sold out), Suspended Brewing in Pigtown (912 Washington Blvd.) has its grand opening on March 3. The brewery and tavern offers beers in a 3,000 square foot taproom. We’ve heard good stuff about the Persian, “a kettle sour conditioned with Iranian barberries.” More market news: There’s a bit more information about the redesign of the embattled Cross Street Market in Federal Hill (1065 S. Charles St.). At the beginning of February, demolition began on the exterior and interior renovations should begin in April or May. Important: Cross Street Market will remain open all through the renovations and redesign. If you haven’t noticed, Trip’s Place & Gatsby’s (1817 N. Charles St.)—formerly Club Choices—has returned to Station North over the past few months with plenty of events including some much-needed after hours events. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, head over on March 10 for a Club Choice Reunion night featuring DJ Porkchop and DJ Supa Big L among others. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, Baby’s On Fire’s David Koslowski has been spinning at Idle Hour (201 E. Fort Ave.) for a First Saturday DJ event along with Niko Kwiatkowski. He now has a Mixcloud page that highlights some of these mixes: mixcloud.com/dj_davidkoslowski. As the Baltimore Fishbowl reported, nine City Council members have signed on in support of the Reform on Tap Act of 2018, the bill from Comptroller Peter Franchot that would loosen craft brewery regulations: John Bullock, Eric Costello, Zeke Cohen, Ryan Dorsey, Bill Henry, Sharon Green Middleton, Leon Pinkett, Brandon Scott, and Shannon Sneed. Mayor Pugh and Council President Jack Young did not sign on which, hey, is a bit maddening. For those not aware, this should be a small business-supporting slam dunk: The bill helps support small brewers and lets them compete with the big brewers by changing some absurd big time brewer-friendly restrictions.

• • • • •

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

AK-47 By Brandon Soderberg

bsoderberg@baltimorebeat.com

I’m smoking some AK-47 and while at least it’s not called AR-15, the name of this sativa-dominant strain is just not sitting right some days out from another school shooting. This one in Parkland, Florida, resulting in 17 dead and the expected Republican cowardice combined with circling the wagons on behalf of the NRA, Trump hitting a new nadir, and then that nearly equally tedious moment where Democrats say “no more” but then half-step their way out of responsibility. Meanwhile, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, amid all this trauma, are at the right age to be pissed off and politically engaged and have called the president and everybody out—famously, Emma González called BS on the predictable political talking points. A nationwide school walkout is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, and that will keep this conversation going. April 20, of course, is also international get high day, and so once again cannabis is weirdly connected to serious pain. What I’m getting at here is there is death and pain emanating from my bowl this afternoon because at some point or another, some cannabis dude-bros decided to name their strain after an automatic weapon and there are people being shot with semi automatic weapons all of the time, it seems like. The mythography of AK-47 sends you back to the early ‘90s when it was effectively reimagined, though its origins bend back to the ‘70s, supposedly tied to some Thai and Afghani strains. Perhaps, given the global chaos of that era, there was some gallows humor in calling it AK-47, but that has long passed now that it’s sitting in, say, a dispensary so dickweeds like me can buy it. Another fraught strain name: jittery favorite Green Crack. Let’s be more thoughtful about our weed strain names. And while I’ve never fired an AK-47, I’m pretty sure this strain—or really any strain—doesn’t invoke a famous Russian war weapon. AK-47 actually proves thoroughly calming, with a high that will find you forging connections between whatever bullshit is in your mind and on the news or in the world—this is how you get the rant above, I do beg your pardon—and doesn’t let your mind sit still, even as you feel as though you’re morphing into a water bed. It’s also one of the most tasty strains, a marked plain yogurt taste from the buds that gets a bit more sour on the exhale. Overall, a quilt of alleviating weed feels. Strength: 9 Nose: Chobani Euphoria: 9 Existential dread: 5 Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 2 Drink pairing: Some kind of mezcal Music pairing: Squirrel Bait, “Squirrel Bait” Rating: 8

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BALTIMOREBEAT.COM


SUGAR TALK Keeping it up By Jacq Jones As I’ve been getting older, sometimes my erection doesn’t last. Is there anything that I can do? Erections—how easy it is to convince your penis to stand up and how reliably it stays hard—can all change with age. Often, those changes are totally normal. However, sometimes, they can be one of the first warning signs of health problems. Erectile changes can be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or heart disease. These are health issues that benefit a lot from early treatment. If you have noticed a change in your erection patterns, checking in with your clinician should be your first step. Don’t have health insurance? Check out Chase Brexton or another Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). A quick google search should turn up several close to you. FQHCs offer health care on a sliding scale. Once you’ve had your health checked out, it’s time to deal with the erection stuff. The good news is there are a lot of options. The bad news is that no solution is perfect. Penises are pretty amazing things. When you get turned on, all kinds of chemical stuff happens in your brain. A message gets sent down your spine and blood gets sent to your genitals. The blood fills up the the spongy tissue in the penis and creates an erection. As we age, blood flow changes, and those changes can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection. In some cases, additional stimulation like vibrators (there’s even a vibrator called The Pulse that’s specifically designed for penises!) and taking your time can get you to an erection. Are there parts of your body that you like to have stimulated in addition to your

BALTIMOREBEAT.COM

penis? Nipples? Butt? Add it all in. Sometimes people choose to use medications like Viagra or other “erection drugs.” These drugs all work the same way. There are vasodilators—which means that when someone is turned on, the medication helps open up the small blood vessels in your body sends more blood to the penis. Blood causes erections. Lots of places sell supplements that they claim will do similar things. Those supplements are either useless or they are working on your blood flow. It’s a bad plan to take something that is affecting your blood flow without getting it from a clinician. Worst case scenario, it could interact with something else going on with your body or a medicine that you’re on and hurt you. Want to use a medication, but don’t want to take a pill? There is emerging research that indicates that CBD oil (made from marijuana or hemp) may be of some use in supporting erections. If you have your medical marijuana card, it might be worth a try. Below are sex toys that can also help you get and maintain erections—and you don’t have to go to the doctor. Cock rings: To use a cock ring to help an erection, first, put it on when you aren’t hard. First, lube up, next, insert the balls, then insert the penis. The cock ring should rest back behind your balls and at the base of the penis. The ring will help your blood stay in the penis and help you to maintain an erection. There are cock rings that have vibrators attached. The extra stimulation of a vibrator may provide the boost you need to help you keep that erection going. If you aren’t getting an erection at all, a cock ring isn’t the place to start. It’s also not a great idea to use a cock ring

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if you are taking any erection medications or cocaine. You shouldn’t wear a cock ring for hours at a time. Pumps: A pump is a simple device that draws blood into the penis. There are number of different kinds of pumps that vary a lot in price from around $25 to over $300. Put a cock ring around the base of the pump. Once the pump has helped you get an erection, roll the ring off the pump and onto the base of the shaft of your penis. That ring will help you keep the blood in the penis and keep your erection. Harnesses: Sometimes, an erection just isn’t going to happen, but you still want to penetrate your partner. That’s where a harness comes in. With a harness, you can attach a dildo to your body and penetrate your partner. Harnesses are pretty much magic. The Deuce harness by Spare Parts is specifically designed for folks with penises and scrotums. You get to pick what size dildo you and your partner want that day. You don’t have to worry about if you’re staying hard; you can just focus on giving your partner pleasure. Some folks find that they really love using a harness. Not only does it take all of the pressure off worrying about your erection, but you get to experience what it’s like to be focused on your partner and not distracted by your own sensations. It can be a deeply sexy and hot experience! Do you have a question about sex, relationships, or gender? Send us an email at sugartalk@sugartheshop.com. Jacq Jones is a sex educator and the owner Sugar, a sex positive, education focused sex toy store in Baltimore and online at sugartheshop.com

FEBRUARY 28, 2018


R E S E A R C H If you’re a smoker,

&

W E L L N E S S

If you are 18-60 years

we’d like to know what’s on your mind.

old and smoke daily, we need you for a research study at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Your participation could help us understand more about how nicotine affects the brain.

• Participants paid for time and travel—up to $665 • Requires 3 study visits • Conducted in Baltimore at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus

To learn more:

1-866-START-NOW

ResearchStudies.DrugAbuse.gov

Are you struggling with cocaine use? Maybe we can help.

FORMER SMOKER?

You are one of life’s great mysteries.

We need you for a research study if you:

Some things in this world we just don’t understand. One of them is why you were able to quit smoking when so many others can’t. Help us understand why.

• Are 18–60 years old

• Use cocaine or crackcocaine and want to quit

If you are 18–60 years old and have successfully quit smoking cigarettes, we need you for a RESEARCH STUDY at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore. Your participation could help us develop new treatments for people who want to quit smoking.

Stock photo. Posed by model.

This study looks at whether an approved depression treatment called TMS (a type of non-invasive brain stimulation) might also work to treat cocaine addiction. All study participants will receive TMS therapy to see if it works to help them stop using cocaine.

Participation is quick and easy! We’ll ask you to: • Fill out questionnaires • Have an MRI scan of your brain • Provide blood and urine samples

• Participants may earn up to $1,230 • Participation may include up to 15 study visits • All study visits will take place in East Baltimore

You will be paid for your time – up to $230 for completing the study. Plus, you’ll even receive an image of your brain on a t-shirt!

Learn more:

Call today to see if you qualify.

ResearchStudies.DrugAbuse.gov

www.ResearchStudies.DrugAbuse.gov

1-866-START-NOW FEBRUARY 28, 2018

1-866-START NOW

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Baltimorebeat.com, Volume 2, Issue 9, February 28, 2018  

Baltimorebeat.com, Volume 2, Issue 9, February 28, 2018

Baltimorebeat.com, Volume 2, Issue 9, February 28, 2018  

Baltimorebeat.com, Volume 2, Issue 9, February 28, 2018

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