VIDEODROME CULT CLASSIC LIVES ON AT THE CHARLES
QUIZ: HOW BALTIMORE ARE YOU?
PACKAGE DEAL Q&A WITH POST TYPOGRAPHY
SEEING BALTIMORE AN INTERVIEW WITH PATRICK JOUST
CHARMMAGAZINE.COM USA $5.50
HAMPDENFEST SEE WHAT HAPPENED!
HARD WORK AND YOUR TIME FUTURE ISLAND RELEASES THEIR NEW ALBUM
O C TO B E R 2 0 11 8
Package Deal: A Quick Q&A With Bruce Willen & Nolen Stralls By Elliot Jay Stocks
22 Hard Work and Your Time: Future Island’s New Album “On the Water” Released this Fall By Sean Flowers
12 Weird and Wonderful: Hampdenfest By Larry Perl
24 Seeing Baltimore: An Interview with Baltimore’s very own photographer,
68 Shit’s Goin’ Down! Fall 2011 Baltimore Events 70 QUIZ: How Baltimore Are you?
Patrick Joust By Patrick Joust 38 Charm Presents: Best of Baltimore
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A N OT E F R O M T H E E D I TO R
Charm Magazine has been dedicated to giving
with that?). Crime is down, but some city cops
the Baltimore metropolitan area an alternative
seem to e personally make up for it. Schools are
source of news and opinions on local politics,
better, ostensibly, but are they really? The test
communities, culture, and the arts. More than
scores don’t necessarily tell for sure, apparently.
300,000 readers turn to us every week for
We started the baseball season with hopes of a
Baltimore’s most comprehensive calendar of
better-than-.500 year only to wind back up at
events; coverage of the latest in movies, music,
the, ahem, “rebuilding” stage. We said goodbye to
visual arts, and the printed word; provocative
Willie Don and hello to the Grand Prix. All in all,
voices on topics ranging from sports to sex to
it’s been a wait-and-see kind of year, if you don’t
cyberspace to City Hall; and stories they won’t
count the weather. It was the snowiest 12 months
find anywhere else.
we can remember as well as the wettest.
Charm Magazine uses a controlled free
But while we’re waiting for baltimore to emerge
circulation method, audited by nationally
rejuvenated, all its problems solved, we’re pretty
recognized Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).
grateful for what we have. In fact, when it comes
We use more than 1,600 yellow street vending
time to compile the Best of Baltimore issue, we’re
machines and circulate in more than 1,800
downright good with it. Because it’s one long
locations in the metropolitan Baltimore area.
list of things to like, love, lift up, celebrate, and
Charm’s innovative website, charmmagazine.
just plain dig about all things 410/443, from an
com, easily reaches web users in the Baltimore/
arts scene that’s booming to a culinary scene
Washington D.C. metropolitan area, as well
that ranges from haute cuisine to down-and-
as around the country and world. The easy-to-
dirty delicious to the many day-to-day amenities
navigate format makes our site a popular Web
that improve life here immensely but often go
destination with our growing audience of online
readers. We seem to be in a period of transition here
One thing’s for sure: We’ll be interested to see what this next year brings. Won’t you?
in Baltimore. They say our local economy isn’t stinking anymore, but it sure as hell isn’t
climbing yet. Our mayor is on her way from being
a default leader to a properly elected one (thanks
Editor in Cheif, Charm Magazine
to the paltry few who bothered to vote–what’s up
“IT’S ALL YOU, HON”
Package Deal: Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals. With Lettering & Type they’ve created one of the most inspiring and informative books on typography in recent years. The men known as Post Typography explain why they come as a package. Unlike our other interviewees, you come as a pair. What’s it like working as a duo — who handles what? BW: The way it usually works is that one of us has an idea for something and the other person thinks it’s cool. Then it’s usually a back-and-forth process where we feed off each others ideas. And then as far as execution goes it really depends; sometimes it’s whoever came up with the initial idea, or the person who has the best visual approach to something. I’m intrigued about how it all came about. What made you start working together? BW: Well actually it started when we knew each other in college. We both had similar interests: guitars, music, and art. We started working together because we were in a metal band together called League of Death. The
With Lettering & Type, you’ve made a wonderful book that bridges
name was actually much scarier and cooler than the band actually was!
the gap between a handy reference guide and a beautiful coffee table
The two of us designed some posters, CD packages, and t-shirts. That was
book. For me personally that makes it one of my favourite books on
the start of our collaboration.
typography: I can use it for education and inspiration. Was that a
When did realize that working as a duo would be the path that you
conscious goal from the outset?
took in a non-musical sense?
NS: Definitely, because if you look at a lot of books that are out
BW: For me personally I don’t know if there was a single moment. Nolen
there on type design or typography, it seems like most of them fall
had been designing posters for concerts and bands in Baltimore for a while
into one of those two camps: it’s either a lot of eye-candy but no theory,
and I’d seen his work. So once we started theband together we definitely
or something so dense that it’s difficult to dig through and find the
had to make some cool posters for it. Those first posters were a lot of fun to
easy entry points. Those kind of books are great for someone a little
work on and we just screen-printed them ourselves. It was always a really
more advanced, but no good for a student or graphic designer who’s not
good time and the final product was usually really good, too.
really immersed in that world. The whole time we were writing and
NS: We really just enjoyed working together and once we started getting
designing the book we wanted to do something that hadits foot in
projects for things that weren’t related to our band, it was a natural
both of those worlds.
I think it’s a great approach. Sadly a lot of typography books and magazines are unnecessarily highbrow. And that’s exactly what 8 Faces is attempting to avoid: we’re trying to bring typographic BW: In the last few years, there’s been much more awareness of lettering and type design and typography in general. Letterpress printing has made a comeback and you’re starting to see mainstream, corporate ad campaigns that are using all this custom lettering: things you wouldn’t have seen ten years ago. Do you have any idea why that might be? BW: We’ve talked about it a lot and I think that a big part is that computers became so ubiquitous in the 90s. Obviously with the computer, you start to do things that are very precise and clean, and naturally there was a backlash against that. In the late 90s you started seeing a lot of people doing more hand-drawn lettering and custom lettering in general, so that now that’s become ubiquitous. It’s cool: there’s definitely a lot more interesting work out there now, as far as lettering and type design goes.
IMAGES BY BRUCE WILLEN AND NOLEN STRALLS
geekery to the masses rather than a few elitist groups.
“IT’S ALL YOU, HON” A lot of your typographic output tends to fall into the category of lettering rather than type. What do you like and dislike about each of the processes? BW: Well obviously it depends on the project. Sometimes you’re doing something that really needs to be type-oriented and that requires you to create a typeface. And then other times something needs to be a little more customized or have a human quality for hand-drawn lettering. NS: For myself, there’s a greater satisfaction when it like comes to lettering. It comes from taking these basic alphabetic shapes and pushing them into a visual area in which we don’t normally experience them. If handed two projects — one custom lettering and one type design — which one would you be more drawn to, assuming you had no other details? BW: We don’t actually do that much custom type design jobs in general, but I would say probably lettering, just because the process is a little faster and more organic, and obviously designing a typeface is generally extremely involved. If you’re doing something more lettering-based it’s often quicker and a little more creative in the sense that you can focus on solving one particular problem. They’re both extremely different processes, even though they’re both about dealing with the alphabet. Type design is so much more about systems, whereas lettering — while it does deal with systems — allows a little more flexibility, which makes it more fun in a way. But of course type design is fun too! Well, I think you succeeded, for what it’s worth. Are there any plans for a sequel? NS: We don’t have any plans in the near future to write any more books. It would’ve been nice if that book had been a little larger, because with a lot of points we were only able to graze the surface; especially some of the type design stuff at the end. We probably could have written an entire book on type design!
IMAGES BY BRUCE WILLEN AND NOLEN STRALLS
—ELLIOT JAY STOCKS
Weird and Wonderful A film festival, toilet race, mac and cheese cook-off, and karaoke-singing ‘fish boy’ made this year’s Hampdenfest one to remember. New this year was the Great Baltimore MacOff, a kind of chili cook-off for macaroni and cheese dishes. Prices were so low, samplings so generous and varied, and lines so long that cook-off organizers were hard-pressed to keep up, and worried about running out of food. Denise Whiting, owner of Cafe Hon, helped out with two employees, according to Genny Dill, Hampden Community Council secretary and a cook-off organizer. The winners: Lucia Treasure’s mac and cheese with Natty Boh and Dijon mustard won the critics’ choice award in the amateur category. Corner BYOB’s lobster mac and cheese with truffle oil swept the critics’ choice and people’s choice awards in the professional category.
“It’s good to be back on Planet Baltimore” Hampden Food Pantry, said Genny Dill of the Hampden Community Council, who helped organize and staff the cook-off. But the biggest hit at Hampdenfest was the second annual toilet race, perhaps typified best by “Honey Pot,” the name 40% of an outhouse on wheels, the racing entry of Chris Doiron, of 15% Bolton Hill. Graffiti scrawled 15% on and above the door advised, “Please be neat 10%and wipe the seat,” and warned, “Abandon all5% hope, ye who enter.” But the outhouse was eliminated earlier in 15%
YOU VOTED! What is your favorite free festival in Baltimore? ARTSCAPE
the competition. “I don’t think it was built for speed,” said Charlotte Hays-Murrray, owner of the store Charlotte Elliott. “I think it was built for gawking at.” — LARRY PERL
For more polls log on to charmmagazine.com!
P H OTO G R A P H S BY J O L I N A B E R G M A N & PAT R I C K J O U ST
The cook-off raised at least $500 for the
Baltimore trio, Future Islands, continues to grow on its third and best album, “On the Water”. By Wesley Case
There was one blowout fight between Sam Herring and William Cashion during their stay in Elizabeth City, N.C., this past spring. Herring, the guts-on-his-sleeve singer of Future Islands, and bassist Cashion were at Thumpers Downtown Bar & Grill with keyboardist/programmer Gerrit Welmers and producer Chester Endersby Gwazda after a long day of recording. Little did Herring know, Cashion and Gwazda were feeding him drinks with plans to later do “drunk takes,” in which Herring would record vocals inebriated. Once the idea was exposed, the fun was over. “I was like, ‘I’m not doing this! My voice is important! It’s not an instrument! You can’t just play it when you want to,’” Herring says, mocking his anger in between sips of tomato soup at a Charles Village coffee shop. “I was wasted.” Herring is laidback in person but an animated frontman who punctuates many statements with a hearty laugh. And that argument now makes him laugh along with Cashion, a soft-spoken moustached man in knock-off Wayfarers, and the quiet Welmers, who spent the interview staring off, looking generally bored. But the singer had a point. His voice — a stirring, cathartic growl with the ability to impress, sadden and soothe — is important. Since 2006, the Baltimore-via-Greenville, N.C., trio has cultivated a lush, nuanced sound, and Herring’s Jekyll-and-Hyde singing is its centerpiece. The band’s prominence has grown at home and outside, thanks to grueling tour schedules and a growing catalog of danceable break-up songs. They’ve been described as “post-wave,” “post-punk” and “new-wave,” but labels seem ill-fitting. Future Islands, a band of 27-year-olds who sweat it out on the road more than they are ever home, stick to what the members naturally gravitate to — propulsive backbeats, a sturdy low end, floating-in-mid-air synthesizers and Herring’s vocal bloodletting. And anyone paying attention will notice each release is more refined than the last. The evolution continues with “On the Water,” the group’s third and most accomplished album. Released on Tuesday, the 10-song album was recorded at a friend’s waterfront house the band used as a studio and home.
The band’s time in Carolina differed from last
time, that same year. But while the group
year’s sessions for its sophomore album, which
is often associated with Wham City, they
took place at Cashion and Herring’s old home
arrived at the party too late.
on the edge of Bolton Hill. “For me and William, recording ‘In Evening
“We showed up in the wake of it,” Cashion says, matter-of-factly. “So we’ve always gotten
Air’ really hurt our brains a lot,” Herring
asked what it’s like being a part of this crazy
says. “We couldn’t escape because we were
collective, but by the time we moved here, no
living there. We’d come downstairs and the
one was living together. They got kicked out
house was a wreck with recording equipment.”
of the Copycat [Building in Station North]. We
This time, writing and recording were
were never truly a part of that.”
balanced out with breaks for “Eastbound &
Still, the band is vocal about its pride for
Down” DVDs, beers on the beach, baseball
Baltimore’s independent music scene. Even
catches and cook-outs.
though Wham City’s exposure has cooled,
Being by the water triggered nostalgic
other local bands that “were starting to get
memories for Herring and Welmers, who grew
recognition a few years ago are now the
up as high school best friends on the North
bigger bands,” says Herring.
Carolina coast. Herring met Cashion in art
A member of one of those acts, Wye Oak’s
class at East Carolina University, and the
Jenn Wasner, sings on “The Great Fire,”
three became friends and bandmates, first
a slow-burning “On the Water” highlight
in a five-piece called Art Lord & the Self-
of missed connections from guy-and-girl
Portraits. That band shed a couple of members
and eventually morphed into Future Islands. Future Islands shared bills with the
“If you let me be there, again / I’ll be still, won’t say a word,” Herring and Wasner
Wham City ambassador/electronic-music
sing, full of longing, as their voices harmonize.
maestro, and a friendship was born. At
Herring doesn’t hesitate to say Wasner’s
the time, the arts movement Deacon headed
contribution sold him on the song.
was a magnet for quirky outliers and high
“I didn’t love singing it until Jenn sang
praise, culminating in Rolling Stone naming
it, and then I stole her inflections the best
Baltimore the “best music scene” in 2008.
I could,” he says with a chuckle. “She has
It was enough to draw the trio north, one at a
an amazing voice.” # OCTOBER 2011
One of the most respected members of the new Baltimore school of photographers, Patrick Joust has influenced many of the current American Elegy-type shooters. His brilliantly effective photographs of Baltimore denizens, urban landscapes, and aging automobiles are not only visually satisfying, but emotionally charged. A prolific photographer with a prodigious output, the quality of Patrickâ€™s work stays strong in style and substance. â€” Robert Fay OCTOBER 2011
What brought you to photography?
the environmental influence of a city like
For some reason I never took photography
Baltimore the likely culprit?
very seriously as an art form until after college.
That’s an interesting question. The city
My attitudes began to change when I realized
definitely plays a role in all of our work. Living
just how powerful a good photograph could be
in Baltimore and trying to understand/
and that it was no simple process to do it well. I
interact with the city is what brought me
began having a growing interest in the classic
into photography and I think it has been an
street photography of Robert Frank and others,
inspiration to others as well. It’s a complex city
and while I wasn’t really sure what I hoped to
that shares some of the best and worst aspects
achieve, I wanted to create something along
of American life, and as such, it provides a lot of
those lines (even though my pictures now are
material worthy of being captured.
mostly quite different). What spawned my interest further was
Another factor that influences the similar scope you mention, is the fact that a lot of
when I moved to Baltimore for the first time in
us know eachother and shoot together. I’ve
2002. I came as an Americorps volunteer and
been lucky to shoot with Tim Castlen,Michael
worked as a tutor and mentor for adults and
Wriston, Chuck Patch, Andrew Mangum and
children throughout the city. While driving
several others over the last few years. These
and walking around I developed a growing
photographers not only have fun with what
desire to try and capture my surroundings, so I
they are doing, but take it seriously and are
bought a Canon Rebel 2000 SLR and picked up
producing first rate work which has helped
a couple of cheap rangefinders, including the
to improve the work of all of us here. I might
excellent Canonet QL17.
be biased, but I think Baltimore is especially
After my first time in Baltimore, I spent
blessed with a lot of talented photographers.
a couple of years in San Francisco as well.
I started a group called FilminBaltimore
During this time, photography was kind of an
and we have regular get-togethers at various
on-again-off-again hobby for me, which was
Baltimore watering holes to casually talk
largely influenced by the fact that I didn’t have
about photography, the city and our various
a lot of money for film and processing. In 2005
adventures. So we all kind of compare notes and
I bought a Canon Rebel XT and went the digital
are influenced by each other, even though we
route for a while, thinking I might never shoot
certainly have our own ideas for where we want
on film again, but while I took a handful of
our individual projects to go.
pictures during that time that I was happy with, I didn’t have a great sense of direction and the
What draws you to your more common
overall quality of my work was pretty low.
subjects, such the inner city environments,
I would say things didn’t really develop in
along with its inhabitants, and older
a strong way until 3 or 4 years ago, which was
around the time that I started participating on
I am a huge fan of cities and I’ve always been
photography sites like pbase.com and flickr and
fascinated with their evolution, their problems
then meeting some local photographers who
and what they have to offer. I feel like some
became my friends (this was also shortly after
of the more “marginal” neighborhoods in
I moved back to Baltimore in 2006). Once I
Baltimore, and other “rusty” cities, are in
started really looking at what others were doing,
certain ways healthier than what you might
I found myself inspired to get outside and shoot
find in many middle and upper class suburbs
more. I also tried to simplify my process for
because people tend to know their neighbors,
taking pictures, forgoing zoom lenses and auto
interact, sit outside, etc. Obviously I wouldn’t
everything cameras for the simpler designs I
want to stretch that notion too far in a city with
used when I first got started.
some neighborhoods that are so full of crime and poverty, but it’s a quality that shouldn’t be
There seems to be a crop of individuals
overlooked and often is. I could walk for hours
from the current “Baltimore school” of
in the suburbs without seeing or interacting
photography, whom, while individualistic
with anyone and that would be pretty unlikely
in approach, are similar in scope. Would
in many of Baltimore’s neighborhoods, whether
you consider that accurate and, if so, is
they are considered healthy or not.
“I could walk for hours in the suburbs without seeing or interacting with anyone and that would be pretty unlikely in many of Baltimore’s neighborhoods, whether they are considered healthy or not.” 26
people specifically, I often find myself striking
shots it’s all about capturing or creating an
Something I ask myself when thinking too
up a conversation with someone about a
atmosphere that’s both realistic and slightly
much about my own work–do you find hope
car, architecture, the weather or just about
fantastic/magical. When capturing pictures
in your subjects or are you simply connecting
anything. It’s an aspect of photography that I
of people on the street, I’m hoping to get
to and with the situation at hand?
never really considered before I started doing
something that corresponds to what I saw/felt
It depends on the situation. I feel that there is
it, but it’s one that I value a great deal and I
at that moment, though this isn’t all that easy
so much potential that is wasted in Baltimore,
think it’s gotten me out of my shell a little bit.
and I have a lot of near misses to show for it.
and when you look at crime rates, the horrible
My interest in older automobiles is kind of a
Even though I’ve produced a lot of images
strange one because I’m not really a car person
over the last few years, I still feel like I’m not
exists here, it’s often a challenge to be hopeful.
in general. Though I do have some fantasies
entirely sure where I’m going, particularly
I find it very frustrating that we live in a time
about buying an old Karmann Ghia or Porsche
when it comes to classic street photography,
where the poor are almost completely ignored.
912, and driving it around on weekends,
which I enjoy a great deal but I find to be
Politicians and voters today don’t want to talk
I prefer to save my money for travel and
difficult to do well. I think it’s going to take
about “the poor” and just want to pretend
photography. Sometimes people ask me about
several thousand more photos before I develop
that we are all part of one big middle class
makes and models and I rarely know much
a better sense of what I’m doing, but I’m
and that everyone starts from the same place
of anything. My wife and I share a nice cheap
enjoying the process, so I’m not too worried
and therefore should take care of themselves.
little Toyota Yaris and though I love going on
I don’t think we have a good concept of
road trips, I prefer to walk, carpool or take
school system and the cycle of poverty that
community and the larger society in which we
mass transit on a daily basis. I would love it
Is your work consciously political?
live. This is why you have the richest country
actually, if I didn’t need to have a car at all.
That’s really interesting. I don’t think I try and
on earth possessing the equivalent of a large
I think I have a particular fascination
convey something distinctly political. I usually
and stagnant poorer country within.
with older American cars from the 60’s and
don’t give my images titles anymore, largely
70’s because they stand out so much on the
because I’ve run out of ideas, but also because
empty lots and the discombobulated nature of
street. These cars seem to represent a national
I don’t want to influence the perception of
a city racked by decades of poverty are obvious
belief in never ending abundance and while
the viewer too much beyond the confines of
indicators of neglect. It should be a national
the SUVs and large cars of today represent
the image. I don’t think I’m trying to make
shame, but it’s not on the radar screen of most
the same thing, somehow the big outlandish
any overt political statements, but I know my
Americans. Since I don’t see us, as a country,
nature of the classic large American car of the
sensibilities can be seen in a lot of my images.
veering our sentiments in the direction of
70Ðs is more compelling. These vehicles had a degree of built-in obsolescence even when brand new. There is something about their designs that comes off as archaic and I think this is why I’m drawn to them so much, even though I would never actually want to own one. More generally, the automobile represents a sense of freedom and exploration and yet they are also partly responsible for the destruction of our great cities and the creation
I think my pictures of abandoned rows,
“I think my pictures of abandoned rows, empty lots and the discombobulated nature of a city racked by decades of poverty are obvious indicators of neglect.” I think the political influence of photo-
social responsibility and activism, it is hard to
of unsustainable lifestyles. So I have a love/
graphy is somewhat limited anyway. There
see anything hopeful in these pictures. At the
hate relationship with the car and I guess that
was a time when pictures of suffering
same time, I do find hope in this city all of the
makes them interesting to photograph.
people in Life Magazine would be enough to
time because individuals and communities
galvanize people towards some kind of action
are making efforts to improve the city and
fascination with movies like The French
and even legislation. Unfortunately I don’t
make it more livable. I hope I’m capturing
Connection, Dirty Harry, Le Cercle Rouge,
think the photograph has that same degree of
some of that. Baltimore, and other cities like
etc. There is just an aesthetic to the 60’s
power today. I also think that photographers
it, have the advantage of an infrastructure
and 70’s that I’m attracted to that old cars
and artists in general, shouldn’t give
geared more towards the individual rather
themselves too much credit when it comes to
than the automobile. This was a disadvantage
the influence of their work on the political
in the age of the interstate, but now I think it’s
What are you trying to convey or capture in
sphere. Art has an important place and it
becoming an asset and so I do have some hope
would be wonderful if that place was more
that things will change for the better, even if it
Well the short answer is that I don’t know
prominent, but I don’t think taking a picture, at
is just a sliver.
exactly. I guess it kind of depends on the type
least to the extent of my ability, is the same as
of picture I’m taking. In a lot of my night
getting involved and making a difference.
With all that being said, I also have a
Of course my hope comes from a perspective of someone who lives in relative OCTOBER 2011
comfort, has a great job and a stable life and the time for things like photography and travel. I think that my point of view can’t be seen as a stand-in for the reality of others. I’ve said this before elsewhere, but to a certain extent, I am just a tourist in this city and only momentarily connecting with many of the subjects I capture. And of course sometimes it’s all just about the light and composition and I don’t necessarily find myself considering anything else anyway.
incredibly beneficial to see how another photographer approaches a situation. Tim is
to keep up. Whether it’s a 15 year old kid
great with people, and I learned a few things
who’s just getting started or someone with
from him about approaching people on the
decades of experience, I have found a lot of
street as well as how to take a good picture.
The two of us have conversations about gear, film, developing, etc., that I’m sure would
After discovering Robert Frank and
bore a lot of people to tears, but it’s fun for us
becoming a photographer, was there a
and I think we’ve been able to bounce things
moment of realization that Frank’s America
off each other that has led to better work
didn’t really exist anymore or was it the
from both of us.
I met Mike through flickr and we hit it off
For me the most important characteristic of
right away. I think he’s the only photographer
Frank’s photography in The Americans was
I’ve come to know who has even more energy
his uncovering of the contradictions between
than me, when it comes to just going out
who we really are and how we like to see
I have undoubtedly been influenced by
to shoot. We’d be out late shooting, and I’d
and portray ourselves as Americans. Frank
many of the “great” photographers, past and
be ready to get home knowing I’d be very
excelled at capturing the sense of alienation
present. Of course I already mentioned the
tired for work the next day and find out that
that exists between the vagueness of the
work of Robert Frank and there were a couple
he actually had to get up hours before me
American dream and what things are like
of excellent retrospectives including his work
and was still energetic enough to take more
when our guard is down. While locales and
and that of William Eggleston during the
pictures. When he got the word that he was
aesthetics certainly look different today, I
past few years in Washington that had a lot
being transferred to California, we put in
think a revisiting of Frank’s images shows how
about their process for taking, editing and
even more days and nights of shooting all
little has changed when it comes to issues of
developing photos, which I found to be very
over Baltimore and a lot of my shots from
class, race and our desire to fill voids within
helpful and interesting. The work of Vivian
that time are among my favorites. I had a
ourselves through consumer culture.
Maeir, Gordon Parks and Milton Rogovin are
much better idea of what I wanted to get out
also big inspirations for me.
of photography when I met Mike, but our
generally introspective. We like to keep
similar interests helped both of us to develop
moving forward, pausing only briefly to
and improve the quality of our work.
celebrate winners, while ignoring the rest of
Could you talk about your influences, past and present?
Still, I think I have been most influenced by my contemporaries and by fellow photographers that I’ve met online and
Of course there are many others that I’ve
As a whole, the United States is not
society. It’s an act that is difficult to maintain
befriended. I would say my two biggest
met in person or online via flickr that have
and that quickly falls apart when a greater
influences have been my friends TimCastlen
influenced me as well, like ChristopherHall,
deal of scrutiny is applied.
and MichaelWriston. My photography
DanWetmore, MandoAlvarez and others.
improved much for the better since I met
I look at other people’s work as much as I
more I see similarities between the work of
them. I met Tim through pbase.com in
can and I think it’s all been a big help in
other street photographers working across the
2006/7 and since he also lives in Baltimore,
improving my own over the years. I have
United States today. Frank’s America is still
we got together to shoot and chat about
been very happy with my output lately,
here and very relevant because once you look
photography, gear, etc. He’s actually the one
but whenever I feel my ego growing to an
past the old cars, hairstyles, etc., it’s easy to
who encouraged me to join flickr. He also
unnatural proportion, it’s easy to take a
see ourselves in his pictures.
helped plant the seed for my interest in M
look through all of my friends’ and contacts’
mount rangefinders and taught me how to
photos to put things in perspective and
Would you mind telling us a bit about your
develop my own film and make prints.
inspire me to get better.
process and gear?
I had actually never shot with anyone before meeting Tim, and I think it was
There’s so much good work going on all over the world that I really find it difficult
The more I look at Frank’s images now, the
As a lot of people know, I’m a bit of a collector and enjoy switching things up in my camera bag from time to time. Typically though, I
“To a certain extent, I am just a tourist in this city and only momentarily connecting with many of the subjects I capture.”
walk around with a twin lens reflex camera of some kind and then a 35mm camera, usually my Leica M3. I’ve found this combination gives me lots of options for the kinds of scenes and situations I like to capture. I do shoot digital from time to time, but the vast majority of my work now is on film. Digital can be great (especially the quality you get from a full or large frame sensor) but I find
an emulsion and stick with it without having to worry about doing a lot of post-processing afterward. The restrictive aspects of film photography allow me to be more creative because I’m forced to prepare and think about each frame. Also, you just can’t beat the quality of medium format film (except with large format film, of course) and ever since I first started shooting with a medium format TLR (the Super Ricohflex) about 3 years ago, I’ve been hooked. I don’t want to sound like I’m putting down digital though. I really don’t think of film and digital in opposition to each other. Shooting digitally has helped improve my photography as well because the instant feedback reduces frustration and makes the learning curve much easier. When I do shoot digital, it’s usually with my Canon 5D and some classic manual focus Nikkor or Takumar lenses in AE or Manual mode. This arrangement is pretty similar to my analog style as well and makes the transition between shooting digital and film less radical. I’ve had mixed feelings about the importance of gear because I do think that someone can take great pictures with just about any kind of camera, but I do find that the process of taking a picture can be a lot more enjoyable if you find the type of camera that is right for you. For me a TLR just feels right and I enjoy looking at the world that way. For 35mm, a good quality rangefinder works best for me. Of course I enjoy shooting with SLRs, point and shoots, and other cameras as well, but I believe the tools you use can have a big influence on your output and make the whole process more fun. What are you currently working on and is there anything cooking for the future? At the moment I’m in the process of developing and scanning over 40 rolls of film that I shot on my recent trip to Buenos Aires and Montevideo. I am going to be tied up with that for a long time. Otherwise, I don’t have anything specific that I’m focused on other than to try and improve my work and create a larger pool of photos from which I can hopefully extract something worthwhile and lasting. I especially want to do more street portraiture and convey a broader sense of the character of my city. #
CHARM MAGAZINE PRESENTS
So, we seem to be in a period of transition here in Baltimore. They say our local economy isn’t stinking anymore, but it sure as hell isn’t climbing yet. Our mayor is on her way from being a default leader to a properly elected one (thanks to the paltry few who bothered to vote–what’s up with that?). Crime is down, but some city cops seem to e personally make up for it. Schools are better, ostensibly, but are they really? The test scores don’t necessarily tell for sure, apparently. We started the baseball season with hopes of a better-than-.500 year only to wind back up at the, ahem, “rebuilding” stage. We said goodbye to Willie Don and hello to the Grand Prix. All in all, it’s been a wait-and-see kind of year, if you don’t count the weather. It was the snowiest 12 months we can remember as well as the wettest. But while we’re waiting for baltimore to emerge rejuvenated, all its problems solved, we’re pretty grateful for what we have. In fact, when it comes time to compile the Best of Baltimore issue, we’re downright good with it. Because it’s one long list of things to like, love, lift up, celebrate, and just plain dig about all things 410/443, from an arts scene that’s booming to a culinary scene that ranges from haute cuisine to downand-dirty delicious to the many day-to-day amenities that improve life here immensely but often go unnoticed. One thing’s for sure: We’ll be interested to see what this next year brings. Won’t you?
decadent elegance. Hungry and thirsty from the walk? The choices are nearly inexhaustible. Where else will you find affordable Afghan, Ethiopian, French, Italian, fine-dining, and Indian restaurants within a few blocks of each other? For after-dinner drinking there’s the Midtown Yacht Club, the Drinkery, George’s, Dougherty’s, the Stable, the Brewer’s Art, and the Owl Bar, to name just a few local bars where
Best Reason To Live Here Smaltimore
and ends up with a screwed-up ignition.
you’ll find a diverse crowd of Mount Vernonites
Thanks for trying. Don’t even get us started
and others who remind you that, though the
Almost any time we meet someone new, it
on the muggings, hit and runs, stolen bikes,
’hood would be an attraction anywhere, it is
eventually comes out that we have friends,
burglaries, gun violence, and murder—
family, bandmates, or even lovers in common.
crime’s in our lives and the lives of every
Several years ago we wrote about this as “one
person we know, it’s in our pages and on the
degree of separation.” Now, whenever this
television, and it wears us down. Baltimore,
happens, someone says “Smaltimore.” But
please, learn some respect for your neighbor,
the really interesting stuff happens after
for property, for life.
the Smaltimore moment. “Cities enable the most brightly,” argues Edward Glaeser in his
Best Neighborhood Mount Vernon
recent book Triumph of the City: How Our
Mount Vernon is not only the best
Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter,
neighborhood in Baltimore; it is one of the
Greener, Healthier, and Happier. He means
best in the world. We’d be thrilled to find a
that every one of those encounters is a chance
neighborhood anywhere on Earth with the
for creation and innovation because we learn
squares, the views, the architecture, the art,
from and are inspired by each other. Of
the restaurants, the bars, and the access to
course, the bigger the city, the more people
public transportation that we find in our own
there are to meet. But Baltimore is the perfect
Mount Vernon. Its central location makes
size to allow all those accidental encounters
it easy to walk to Station North, downtown,
to blossom into fruitful collaborations. All
the harbor, and the West Side. It’s not only
those friends we have in common make us
possible to live without a car in Mount
more likely to keep talking. And, it being
Vernon, it ‘s easy. There’s the light rail, the
Smaltimore, we’re sure to meet again. Plenty
Hopkins shuttle, the Charm City Circulator,
of joint ventures die with the Bohs or, well,
the 64, the 11 line from Canton to Towson,
joints that spawned them. But other chance
and the 35 that goes all the way to UMBC.
meetings are responsible for many of the
From the four squares surrounding the
great things you’ll find lauded throughout this
Washington Monument, you can stroll
issue. Far from stifling us, these Smaltimore
in almost any direction without being
moments end up forming important parts of
disappointed. The hub of Baltimore’s gay
our cultural, economic, and social lives.
neighborhood, Mount Vernon maintains
collaboration that makes humanity shine
a worldly charm and a European kind of
Best Reason To Leave Baltimore Crime From littering to homicide, our beloved city streets can feel like they are running on the energy of crime and that’s seriously messed up. Sure, it’s not unusual to have parked cars broken into in broad daylight when a forgotten iPod is left on the seat or a pile of parking change is visible—that’s the price of living and working in the city—but it begins to feels personal when a hooptie Honda with over 200,000 miles gets amateur crack-jacked
O U T S I D E “ V I C C I N O S ”, M T. V E R N O N
Best View Baltimore Cemetary
Best Oriole Mr. Boh
Getting the best views of Baltimore isn’t
We went out on such a high note last year after
Best Place to Watch Fireworks The top deck of the Caroline Street Parking Structure
always easy. The top floors of the city’s
Buck Showalter took over as manager, and
It’s not exactly the Ritz, but hey there’s parking
highest buildings would offer spectacular
the Os were going to be greatly improved this
right there (duh!) and the view is awesome.
views, for instance, but typically aren’t
season. There was “Buckyball” to look forward
We’re not sure how legal it is bring booze, but
places just anyone can go. Consulting a
to, whatever that was. In any event, we were
it’s probably more legal than drinking outside
topographical map of Baltimore City reveals
going to be playing at least .500 ball, maybe
in the Inner Harbor or on Exeter Street is.
its highest ground elevations, but these places
a shot at a wild card, hey, it could happen.
Of course, it’s way less crowded, and you’re
too may not always be easy to get to. That’s
Vladimir Guerrero was going to crush pitches
right on the outskirts of all the action, so
why Baltimore Cemetery—highly accessible
clear out to the intersection of South Camden
getting home isn’t as bad. Most importantly,
at the far eastern end of North Avenue,
and West Eutaw streets. Next thing you know
it’s significantly less stabby than your more
where one simply drives through the arched
Brian Roberts isn’t coming back this year,
popular fireworks-viewing destinations. Well,
entryway and seeks the highest ground, just a
and Luke Scott is out for the season. Félix Pie
for now at least.
few dozen yards inside—is such a great place
can’t get it together in the outfield. There are
to see the city. From here, the foreground of
Goodyear-blimp-sized ERAs in the bullpen,
the cemetery’s gravestones and monuments
and as of this writing Guerrero is batting .285,
gives way to acres and acres of rowhouses and
leading the Orioles in batting. We dealt Koji
Best Area We’d Like to See Revitalized The New East Baltimore
the renovated American Brewery Building,
Uehara to Texas. We’re looking at next year.
Used to be, most of the 80-plus acre
and in the background are downtown’s tall
Ain’t the beer cold? Yes, it’s cold, and it
redevelopment area being managed by
buildings; the newer towers of Harbor East;
Znumbs the ache of another season of futility.
East Baltimore Development Inc., was a
the Johns Hopkins medical campus; the port
Natty Boh now flows from taps at Orioles Park
neighborhood known as Middle East. That
facilities in Canton, Dundalk, Fairfield, and
at Camden Yards, and thus we say thanks, Mr.
started to change about a decade ago, when
Locust Point; the Francis Scott Key Bridge;
Boh, you are this year’s MVP. You are Orioles
plans for a $1.8 billion remake of the area—
and beyond. It’s a hard view to beat, and
Magic. You take us to Birdland. We’ll see you
the biggest of its kind in the country—took
anyone can go enjoy it.
in the spring.
shape amid great excitement, hope, and controversy. With the city’s eminent-domain powers as a tool, more than 1,300 households were relocated from the community and more than 30 acres of homes and commercial properties were demolished, essentially wiping Middle East off the map and replacing it with a vast, depopulated blank canvas of cleared land on which to imagine a whole new future. The deep pockets of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Johns Hopkins University—whose medical campus, just south of the area, is the project’s chief beneficiary— pitched in, and somewhere along the line, it was named “My New East Side.” Today—after the project stalled with the bursting of the real
N AT I O N A L B O H E M I A N F A C T O R Y “ M R . B O H ”, BREWER’S HILL
estate bubble and the apparent rudderlessness of the project’s management, exposed by this year’s Daily Record investigation—it’s called “The New East Baltimore.” So far, more than a half-billion dollars, more than a third of it public funds, have been spent, so finishing the project seems the only option. Let’s hope it works, lest the ambitious promises made a decade ago turn out to be empty ones, further disillusioning former Middle Easterners and undermining the perhaps misplaced faith the public placed in this sad project.
Best Festival Transmodern Transmodern is the city’s best festival, because it has the essence—and only the essence—of what makes every other festival great. This year’s Artscape, for example, had a lot of really cool stuff, but it was hard to find amid all the white (tent) noise. Transmodern was all really cool, unapologetically experimental stuff, and that’s it. Now in its eighth year, the festival has expanded beyond the galleries in the H&H building, though H&H was still the hub—Celebration filled one floor with its art-psych-rock and the Effervescent Collective performed a video-game dance on another. But Rooms Play was performed—if that’s even the right word—down the block in the Current Gallery. Imagine what Baltimore would be like if the city gave the $7 million in tax dollars it spent on the Grand Prix to Transmodern instead. Baltimore has no special claim on racing. But it does have a claim on strange. And Transmodern is Baltimore Weird at its best. www.transmodernfestival.org
TRANSMODERN FESTIVAL 2011
Best Collective Red Emma’s Baltimore is blessed with an abundance of collectives, but Red Emma’s is the mother of them all. This bunch is single-handedly, er, collectively bringing the Revolution to Baltimore. Named after anarchist Emma Goldman, this worker-owned operation is the most political—and the most collective—of our collectives. But that’s just part of it, because the really great thing about Red Emma’s is how diversified it is. The members run the coffee shop and well-stocked bookstore in Mount Vernon, but they also organize the Free School, which offers a variety of classes on radical politics and grassroots culture. They host the annual Radical Book Fair at Bookfest this weekend and run one of the city’s best performance spaces, the gorgeous 2640 Space at St. John’s Methodist Church in Charles Village, home to some of our most epic shows, including Celebration’s CD-release party and two hotly anticipated nights with Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. Red Emma’s shows us how much we can do if we work together and reminds us how much fun it can be. Viva Red Emma’s! 800 St. Paul Street, 410.230.0450 www.redemmas.org
Best Place to Run Baltimore’s Unintentional Green Spaces The 2010 Census revealed that this incredible shrinking city of ours lost another 30,000 residents in the last 10 years. Most of the side effects of this mass exodus—vacant houses and all the social ills they incubate—are not particularly positive. But if you’re a runner, there’s a silver lining: Nature is reclaiming patches of the city, and there’s nothing like an abandoned road for a peaceful jog tinged with agreeable shades of the apocalypse. A road that skirts TV Hill in Woodberry, meandering perhaps half a mile to Cold Spring Lane, comes to mind. Accessible via a trail in the recesses of Hooper and Rockrose Park (Google it), its pavement is cracked and the woodlands—including some luxurious poison ivy—have begun to devour it, but it remains a good solid running surface. You’re unlikely to meet anyone else there, which makes it a
R E d E M M A’ S O F
potentially poor choice for a night jog,
M T. V E R N O N
but by day, it’s a lovely escape right in the middle of the city. OCTOBER 2011
have a Kids Menu section on their giant menu, they have a giant menu, they are friendly, they have a giant coffee cup on their sign, and they top off the cuppa coffee on our table. And they have the crazy dessert case with the chocolate mousses. But we’re having rice pudding. And more coffee.
Best Food Blog Baltimore Pizza Club
6501 Eastern Avenue, 410.631.5666 www.broadwaydiner.com
Baltimore Pizza Club is diligently devoted to
Best Coffee Shop Spro
the single subject of pizza, be it homemade
Yes, it’s all a bit precious: the prodigious
or camping-friendly recipes, related news
beverage menu, the coffee made to order by
Best Food Truck The Gypsy Queen Cafe
articles, or viral YouTube videos of the Olsen
the cup, the tall glass apparatus that wouldn’t
With the recent explosion of food trucks
twins back in the ’90s singing “Gimme Pizza.”
look out of place in a chemistry lab through
around the city, it’s only appropriate that
Most importantly, the blog reviews local pizza.
which brown liquid slowly drips. But walk
the Gypsy Queen should reign over them all.
Members of the club meet at a predetermined
by early or surprisingly late—the cafe is
Since early this year, the Queen has prowled
pizza vendor and take collective notes on the
open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and
the streets of Baltimore providing lunchtime
pies. The meals and notes are then digested
Saturdays—and the storefront tables are full
sustenance that, in the chefs’ own words,
(ha) into a reader-friendly post complete with
of hipsters sipping and surfing the net. They
“marries inventive cuisine with cheeky-smart
photos and hilarious editorializing, such as
know, as we do, that the performance pays
ass street food.” While other trucks may
“it is like the pizza that the Teenage Mutant
off. Nowhere else is caffeine given this much
specialize in burgers or burritos, the Queen
Ninja Turles [sic] eat” in a review of Rocco’s
attention, and the coffee is damn good.
seems to offer a little something for everyone.
of Glen Burnie. Baltimore Pizza Club has also
851 W. 36th St. 410.243.1262
The menu varies day to day, but you can count
extended posting privileges to ambassador
on high-quality falafel es, mouthwatering
and honorary members in other cities,
sliders (with either bacon relish and cheddar or, brace yourself kids, black truffles), hush
Best Diner Broadway Diner
And it’s not because that braying television
served in a waffle cone. Maybe the most
huckster Guy Fieri stopped in once; it’s
astounding thing about the Gypsy Queen is
Best Breakfast Huevos con Chorizo at Tortilleria
because the Broadway Diner is open 24
how cheap it is: usually between $6 and $10
hours, you can get breakfast anytime (huge
for entr?es satisfying enough to make you skip
requirement for anything seriously calling
dinner. With weekly appearances at City Hall,
Bagel? Bacon and eggs? McMuffin? Forget
itself a “diner”), they serve stuff like “Disco
Canton, and Charles Village, you really owe
that. You’ll see, maybe after one of those
Fries,” they have a “Happy Waitress” item on
it to yourself to track it down and experience
long nights when you need that particular
the menu (in this case an open-faced grilled
culinary royalty first-hand.
combination of protein and spicy heat that
cheese and bacon), they serve a Soup of the
always seems to soothe (or at least comfort)
Day, they offer a Vegetable du Jour, they
so it’s a great source for planning your
the residual effects of overindulgence that you thought you could only find in a greasy egg sandwich doctored up with hot sauce. Observe: a heaping mound of eggs scrambled with fiery red chorizo, served with an almost too-generous allotment of fresh steaming-hot tortillas, refritos, lime wedges, and green and (way hotter) red sauces. Sometimes you have to ask for guacamole so don’t forget. And you don’t have to be hungover to enjoy this to the last bite, just a little hungry. 1716 Eastern Avenue, 410.276.3741 www.tortilleria-sinaloa.com
puppies, and ultra-creamy mac ‘n’ cheese
Best Gluten Free Meet 27 Five years ago, could we even have had this category? Now, with the rise of gluten allergies and gluten-free lifestyles, places like Meet 27 are necessary and welcome. But the real compliment is that you don’t need to want gluten-free food to enjoy Richard D’Souza’s cooking. And desserts from next door’s Sweet Sin Bakery will have you saying, “I can’t believe it’s not gluten.” 127 W. 27th St., 410.585.8121 www.meet27.com
Best New Restaurant Corner BYOB A quirky city should have quirky restaurants, and Corner BYOB established its bona fides early on with its confusing corkage fee and its weird and challenging charge-you-totake-home-leftovers policy (the fee is for the container). And yet the kitchen turns out exquisite Belgian-inflected dishes—rabbit and prunes gently cooked in beer, classic moules frites, a massive veal chop. More intriguing is the restaurant’s exotic food club, which offers kangaroo, bear, even python to area foodies’ adventuresome palates and takes the notion of “got game” to a whole new level. 850 W. 36th Street, 443.869.5075 cornerbyob.com
Best Upscale Restaurant Woodberry Kitchen Under ordinary circumstances, it wouldn’t be surprising if Woodberry Kitchen’s luster had dimmed, if its popularity had cooled, if it had lost half a step. But among the many benefits of a rigorous farm-to-table concept—at least in Spike Gjerde’s hands—is that the surprises keep coming. We look forward to each and every opportunity to see what’s on the menu, be it an exquisite preparation of some staple (chicken in its many forms) or something we’ve never tried (e.g., half a hog’s head, its dusky, sumptuously flavorful meat draped in luscious fat) or just another round of the various small-plate “snacks” that start things off (and threaten to supplant the apps). Woodberry Kitchen still feels like the place to be, and it’s definitely still the place to eat. 2010 Clipper Park Road, 410.464.8000 www.woodberrykitchen.com
Best Album Rome Cee’s The Extra Mile Maybe hip-hop needs more students. We’ve had plenty more teachers than just “the teacher” KRS-One, of course—MCs ready to tell you how to live in the world, how it is, what’s wrong with it, how to fix it. And we’ve
Best Band Future Islands
Best Live Band Needle Gun
had even more MCs that just don’t give much
There are great bands and game-changing
We remember Needle Gun from years ago,
time and check out this Patron in my glass.
bands and bands that the internet really loves
banging on shit and generally creating pure
Less so MCs that come at the world, and at
and maybe Future Islands fits into all of those
sonic hell, when suddenly noise music seemed
lyricism, from the perspective of growth,
somehow or other. But something else has
like about the most perfect teenage catharsis
change, and maturity. And humility. Rome
struck us over the past couple of years: its
ever. Figures, the guys were but teens then, a
Cee came up in much the same rap world
ability to convert people, to slowly pry open
crew of way-young kids that had fallen into
as the dudes still stuck in street-corner rap
a listener’s chest until it’s just blood and guts
a storied underground culture dominated by
battles, probably got into some of the same
and heart all sloshing around in there, totally
bands like Nautical Almanac. Figures, the
kinds of shit—but here we are a decade or so
exposed. Maybe it happens when you realize
guys were but teens then, a crew of way-
later, listening to the deftly delivered poetry of
that singer Sam Herring, nearly theatrical in
young kids that had fallen into a storied
a man grown and humbled by the world. The
his gut-deep delivery, is totally for real and
underground culture dominated by bands like
record, released on Under Sound Music, isn’t
earnest, and that you’re totally bored of indie
Nautical Almanac. They’re all growed-up now,
very flashy, but it dishes a whole lot of guests
singers acting bored on stage. Or that “synth
relatively speaking, developing into the kind
and a different producer for nearly every
wave” doesn’t begin to describe the palette of
of demented yet razor-sharp freakazoid noise-
track—and one J Dilla freestyle—filling in
programmer/keyboard player Gerrit Welmers.
rock powerhouse—with still a plenty keen ear
Rome Cee’s vision piece by discrete piece. It’s
It’s enough to make you feel silly for having to
for nonsense—that’s quite well outfitted to
not backpack, it’s not “indie,” nor is it street
have been converted in the first place. And we
level a house show near you.
rap or holier-than-though rap preaching.
of a fuck, all swagger, all number one all the
suspect forthcoming new album On the Water and the shows that will take place in its wake will create an army of new converts.
Best New Band White Life No matter what tangential musical concept project local musician and songwriter Jonathan Ehrens decides to pursue—speed pop Art Department, lo-fi Repelican— the result is always delightfully original and overwhelmingly catchy. The newest incarnation of the Ehrens-fronted band, White Life, a five-member ensemble that released its debut self-titled album with Ehse Records earlier this year, is easily the most infectiously appealing, with synthy, ’80s-inspired dance jams, saxophone solos, and the added vocal stylings of Jonathan’s sister, Emily Ehrens. Heartfelt lyrics and elegantly structured tunes make for an album’s worth of instant hits, and the siblings’ natural stage presence turns their live performances into instant dance parties. In particular, “Time Is Wasting” and “I Want Love” scratch a nostalgic itch, feeling at first
LEFT: FUTURE ISLANDS, RIGHT: WYE OAK
Best Song Wye Oak “Civilian” There are plenty of things to celebrate about Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack’s success over the past year, from the release of third album Civilian to a new level of buzz and an ongoing cycle of ever-bigger tours/tour dates (Merriweather em-effin’ Post Pavilion, back to us, though, is the new record’s title
Best Label Friends Records
Best All-Ages Show Space Charm City Art Space
track. On the album, a moody folkish guitar
How does one make a record label make sense
No booze or drugs at Charm City Art
intro and an organ’s slightly ominous tones
in the year 2011? Well, it certainly helps if you
Space, just a lot of loud punk and metal and
underlie Wasner’s confessional-sounding
makerecords—the seven-inch variety as well
otherwise heavy music with some frequent
croon, the track building as the band’s songs
as the 12-inch type—one of the last remaining
doses of folk-punk and assorted weirdness.
often do into a controlled tantrum of electric
fruits of the music biz people are actually
The no-substances policy isn’t to be taken
guitar. A happened-across link to an acoustic
eager to pay for. But most of all, you must
as some sign of lameness or whatever. CCAS
performance on a rooftop in Amsterdam
focus on good music that people are going to
wants a safe place comfortable for everyone.
brought out bullseye lyrics about hanging on
want to hear and might not hear otherwise.
Believe it or not, a bunch of drunk people isn’t
to baby teeth and wanting to love someone
And considering that releases on Friends
a terribly benign thing. Shows at CCAS are
“like my mother’s mother’s mothers did,”
Records’ hoppin’ release schedule over the past
also out early, which is kinda great in a town
underlining the ache already there in Wasner’s
12 months include the likes of Height With
where a show done by 1 a.m. is over early.
voice. And then, a few weeks ago, we heard its
Friends’ whut-hop opus Bed of Seeds, Secret
Finally, the space is just about the epitome
opening bars and the mournful background
Mountains’ Rejoice (think: Jefferson MTA
of DIY—legit and somewhat aboveground,
vocals of its pounding climax scoring the
Bus), Microkingdom’s kick-your-ass/weed-
sure, but collectively run and booked. Also,
Season Two trailer for AMC’s The Walking
your-brain spazz-out Three Compositions
the space is fantastic and big enough while not
Dead. It’s an indie-rock anthem and a heart-
of No Jazz, Celebration’s long-awaited Hello
losing that dingy basement vibe.
piercing lament for the ways things end,
Paradise, and Co La’s summer jamDial Tone
1731 Maryland Avenue
and don’t, and a soundtrack for the zombie
Earth we call this one easy.
apocalypse, and it devastates in all contexts.
y’all) for the duo. The one that keeps coming
Best Underground Music Venue Soft House DIY spaces come and go before you even know that they’re there. By the time you see that hand-drawn flier for some show at some place with a name like Trash Cat Palace, the kids have already moved out or been kicked out and the world probably isn’t missing a whole lot. But sometimes spaces open that feel vital—Floristree, for example—that put time and effort into making the music space feel like not just an ad hoc room in a warehouse to set up a PA, but an actual comfortable space with good sound—and plants everywhere? And good music? Soft House has curated an impressive run of concerts in its two and a half years of existence, from its annual Soft Fest to Ghostly International ambient brain Christopher Willits to a great many other things that fit within the general category of music best savored slowly. www.myspace.com/softfest
Best Place to Hear Hip-Hop Sonar Scan any event on the Sonar calendar presented by Tay-Land Promotions and file the performers’ names away. The odds are pretty good that at least one of ’em is going to be next year’s breakout MC. That’s in some part just a statistical observation: The sheer volume of local rappers that pass through is pretty huge. Thanks in large part to TayLand, the venue’s become a ground-zero for the kind of massive bills of local MCs that mix up Baltimore big names and untested rappers into a stew giant enough such that it can barely fit on a flier. Sonar’s always been kind to hip-hop—in a city with very few aboveground outlets for it, notably—but the past year has seen it approaching critical mass. 407 East Saratoga Street, 410.783.7888 www.sonarbaltimore.com
Best We’ll Miss You Double Dagger Calls It Quits There likely hasn’t been a band over the past decade of Baltimore music that’s become more of an institution than Double Dagger, a go-to for quality loudness, intelligence, and populism. Double Dagger has been the band that can rile a 20-year-old crusty, make an avant-everything art student crowd surf, and lay a hook into an indie-rock old-timer—while sharing a record label with Tortoise. As we were putting the finishing touches on this issue, Double Dagger announced it’s calling it quits, going out on a “high note.” Fair enough.
Best Local Music Blog Bmore Musically Informed Well, first things first: Bmore Musically Informed main guy Brett Yale moved to Seattle for work last month, leaving the blog in what looks like a bit of a precarious spot. That’s the catch with the whole blogging thing: You can do something pretty important that a whole lot of people might depend on for information, but it usually doesn’t pay very well—if at all. The bummer is that if Bmore Musically Informed sinks—hopefully some other local folks will pick it up—the city’s left with not very much music blog-wise. Which, given what’s going on in the city musically, is weird and a bit of a bummer. www.bmoremusic.net OCTOBER 2011
& Best Visual Artist Jordan Bernier Jordan Bernier’s artwork has been a humbly proliferated part of Baltimore’s visual cultural identity for the past half-decade or so in the form of show posters, zines, band art, T-shirts, and photography. His work has come to define a Baltimore look and feel, appearing on Beach House and Future Islands tees and Whartscape and Transmodern festival posters. Transitioning to include drawings, sculpture, installation, and, most recently, cut-paper video work in his repertoire, Bernier’s ambition and talents know no limits. An enthusiastic supporter of his local creative community, Bernier has always placed an emphasis on his peers in the projects he pursues, including public sculptural skate ramps, collaborative and compilation artist books, or lending his time and screen-printing skills to other artists. Despite all this, a full-time job, and pursuing a second master’s degree, Bernier has had 10 exhibitions in the past year, including a solo project in the Contemporary Museum’s Liste series where his 11-channel, 23-television video sculpture
“DREAM HOUSE” ZINE BY JORDAN BERNIER
blew museum-goers’ minds.
Best Solo Art Show Dustin Carlson “Cowboys and Engines”
Best Short Show Duox at Baltimore Liste, Contemporary Museum
performances and offering rented studio space,
Dustin Carlson’s solo show at Gallery Four,
Duox, the collaborative art pseudonym used
simultaneous shows in its main and smaller
Cowboys and Engines, is the first resident
by Daniel Wickerham and Malcolm Lomax,
galleries, Current has had a busy two-week
solo show the gallery has presented. Carlson’s
made the most of its five-day solo project at
turnover schedule for proposed exhibitions
talents and efforts, usually reserved to
the Contemporary Museum, using refined
of photography, installation, and thematic
running a museum-quality gallery and
conceptual pieces while emphasizing the
collaborations, as well as curating larger group
producing custom projects in his fabrication
impermanence of the installation. While
shows. With its spacious back lot for outdoor
shop, were focused to create a body of work
video, sculpture, and faux-finishing comprised
events, indoor work space, and an army of
that filled all three rooms of Gallery Four’s
the peripheral details of their show, the focus
passionate volunteers, Current’s exhibitions have
massive space. With the ability to build and
was a large pair of ice blocks, quickly melting
been steadily ambitious, smart, and successful.
create anything he imagines, Carlson imposed
in the museum’s un-air-conditioned gallery.
412 North Howard Street
a self-limiting theme of the manufactured
Over Liste’s duration, the blocks dripped
American West. Steel billboard frames with
into an empty fish tank below, releasing
M-F 10am – 4pm
spacious Western landscapes border the first
incased objects as they shrunk, a constantly
gallery. Car-seat benches are arranged in the
center of the space. As you move through the
Current and its co-directors work tirelessly to keep the creativity flowing. Putting on
Best Museum Experience Larry Clark’s “Tulsa” Series, The Baltimore Museum of Art
pumps face off, nozzles in their holders like
Best Art Gallery Current Space
pistols in holsters. An ice-machine oasis faces
Recently reopened in a Howard Street
photographers to drink in the mammoth Seeing
mechanized, rattling truck exhaust pipes, and
storefront after a brief homeless hiatus,
Now: Photography Since 1960 we thought
a herd of kinetic oil pumps fills the back room.
Current Space has reclaimed its reputation as
one of them was going to talk about Larry
Carlson’s work juxtaposes consumerism and
one of Baltimore’s cultural epicenters. Hosting
Clark’s “Tulsa” series from 1971. Surely some
classic Americana at every turn.
art exhibitions, music shows, festivals, and
photographer wanted to talk about these images,
space, two old-fashioned, hand-made gas
When we invited City Paper’s regular
some people keep firearms lying about as if
Best Art Website Brown Paper Bag
they were as much a part of day-to-day life as
Brown Paper Bag, a deservedly popular
Best Film Series The Charles Theatre Revival Series
the sports page, the terrible congruency of a
art blog, boasts a wide variety of coverage,
It’s one thing to show great movies at a
tiny coffin being needed to house a baby’s tiny
including favorite contemporary artists,
comfortable, well-kept independent movie
corpse. And while some of the photographers
Time Travel Tuesdays (art from the past!),
theater; it’s another to actively support a
mentioned the series, nobody wanted to
show announcements, and local studio visits.
culture of film, easing people along in that
confront it head on. It was only later after
Curated by Sara Barnes, an artist with a
transition from people that like to go to the
visiting the show for the 90th time that the
keen eye and an admirable dedication to arts
movies to people that love film. A revival
realization hit us. Yes, we go to museums to
reporting, the site focuses on Baltimore’s
series is a vital part of that. And so we were
see the sort of Keatsian truth and beauty that
community while contextualizing local
most excited to see the Charles Theatre bring
humans are sometimes capable of creating,
work with artists and art trends in other
its back, proving at the outset that “revival”
but we also go to see ourselves reflected in
cities. Enthusiastic write-ups and excellent
doesn’t mean canonical black-and-whites with
the artist’s defiantly nonjudgmental eye.
photography make Brown Paper Bag
a series-debut showing of Jaws. Hard to think
And Clark’s photo series remains a brazen
comprehensive, fun, and one of very few
of something better to top the list of old, great
reminder that sometimes the ordinary
sites providing extensive documentation of
movies we’d love to see on a big screen.
madness of everyday American existence is
Baltimore’s diverse art scene.
1711 North Charles Street, 410.727.3456
tying off and preparing to shoot up, the way
Best Place to Buy Art CART Current Space CART, a convenience-store-themed art
Best Mural Gaia’s Raven
exhibition mounted at Current, actively
While the midflight raven wheat paste isn’t
encourages art purchase in its very design.
necessarily the most exciting piece Gaia’s
Transforming the gallery into a fully
installed around the city, in this case, it’s
functioning artisan minimarket, exhibiting
what the image stands for that makes it the
artists present art multiples, including zines,
best. Installed on the side of the Edgar Allan
postcards, original drawings, paintings,
Poe House on West Lexington Street, the
and crafts created and exhibited in a series.
street artist stepped in to offer a hand to the
Whether you are looking for affordable
museum earlier this year with a donation of
artwork to hang in your home or hand-made
a limited-edition print of his raven piece at
goods, including tote bags, jewelry, plush
a more manageable size. Available through
objects, and edibles, CART is the place to find
the Poe House for $400 each, the artist
it. Items, which range in price from cents to
thoughtfully added his spin to Baltimore’s
$300, are even shrink-wrapped and price-
literary icon while bringing some much-
tagged to reinforce their purchasability.
needed attention to this under-appreciated
412 North Howard Street
museum and landmark.
112 W. Baltimore Street
“SHIT’S GOIN’ DOWN”
M USIC MUSIC
10/7 Tune yards, Pat Jordache,
10-31 The Chain Gang of 1974:
and les Blondettes
Halloween Party with special
guests DJ Cullen Stalin @ Sonar
10/9 Small Sur, Happy Family,
TH. “Terminal Love” with DJ’s
Power Animal @ Open Space
Adam Savage, Tony Pence, Little
Dana, and Simon Phoenix
10/12 Weekends, DJ Dog Dick,
“ T E R M I N A L LOV E ” PA RT Y 9 /1 5
@ Ottobar theottobar.com
Winks, Witches Meet @ Johns Hopkins Levering Hall
9/31 - 10/2 Cove Folder
C H E A PEATS E AT+SDRINKS & DRINKS CHEAP
Efferescent Collective with Dan
M Sushi Happy Hour 10-Midnight
10/14 Moss of Aura, Norwegian
Deacon @ Area 405
@ Sticky Rice
Arms, Bamboo, Chester Gwazda
CLOSING 10/13 David J.
T Half-off Quesadillas and
Armacost and Nikholis R.
Margharitas @ Holy Frijoles
10/18 The Pains of Being Pure at
Plank’s Disorderly Construct
Heart, Twin Sister, The Dialogue
@ Open Space Gallery
@ MetroGallery themetrogallery.com
W Half-off Burgers and $2 Natty Boh @ Turps
sonarbaltimore.com OPENING 10/13 Glass House 10/21 Double Dagger @ Ottobar
turpsbaltimore.com TH Open Bar 10-11pm $5 Cover @ Red Maple redmaple.com
10/22 Zola Jesus, Xanopticon,
10/14 Spiral Cinema: Gates of
Nautical Almanac and DJ Cullen
Heaven Dir. by Errol Morris
F Oyster Special @ Cafe Hon
Stalin @ Ottobar
(1978) Screening @ Open Space
10/23 Chairlift, Matthewdavid
@ Ra Sushi
THRU 10/21 CART Exhibition @
Current Space currentspace.com
10/24 Odd Future @ Sonar sonarbaltimore.com
SAT Weekend Sushi Happy Hour rasushi.com SUN Buy One Appetizer Get One Free @ Golden West
THRU 10/30 HOLY SHIT
@ Nomad Gallery Baltimore theottobar.com 11/17 Wye Oak, Pattern is Movement @ Ottobar theottobar.com
nomadgallery.com PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHELSEA LAZURE
11/7 Surfer Blood @ Ottobar
HOW BALTIMORE ARE YOU? Though it is not the capitol of Maryland many consider Baltimore to be one of the best attractions in the state. With all it’s grandeur and wonderful sights, like those at the Inner Harbor, it is really the people that make Baltimore such a diverse city. Are You a Baltimorean? Do you have the knowledge to qualify yourself as a true citizen of Baltimore? By Caroline Ward How do you pronounce Baltimore?
A . Best crabcakes around!
B. I’ve heard of it but never been.
C. Baltimore.. How else?
C. The what?
The Twelve O’Clock Boys are..
A . Is the nectar of the gods.
A . A gang that rides around on dirt bikes
B. Is cheap, but good beer.
“raising hell” in Baltimore every Sunday.
C. I’ve heard of it but never had it.
B. Characters from a John Waters movie C. A boy band
Do you know how to peel and pick a crab?
What is Baltimore’s World Trade Center’s
A . Yes, I’ve been able to do it since
claim to fame?
I was five.
A . It’s the worlds tallest five-sided building.
B. Yes but I just learned.
B. It’s Maryland’s tallest five sided building.
C. No, I just like crabcakes anyways.
C. It’s the tallest building in the USA.
Which of these television shows is
What is “the Block”?
based in Baltimore?
A . Nickname for the 400 Block of East
A . The Wire
B. Law & Order
B. Nickname for the harbor.
C. Last Man Standing
C. Nickname for the main cultural hub in
Baltimore. What is the name of the field the ravens play on?
A . M&T Bank Stadium
A . A genius.
B. Raven’s Field
B. I’ve seen a few movies and know he’s from
C. Soldier Field
B-more. C. I saw Hairspray on Broadway.
M O ST LY A’s
You’re a true Baltimorean,
You’re a Baltimorean-in-
You’re a Baltimore Rookie.
Hon! You live and breath
Training. You’ve clearly
Have you ever heard of
this fine city. You are one of
visited or lived in the city
the fine citzens the represent
at one time, however, you
Apparently you know
everything that makes
seem to be missing some
absolutely nothing about
Baltimore great. The heart of
key knowledge of the what
the city of Baltimore. Take
Baltimore is in you.
makes Baltimore, Baltimore.
a refresher course in history and geography.