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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

22 70


1 7 3 2 B O LTO N ST R E E T S UIT E 2A BA LT I M OR E , M D 2 1 2 1 7 410 225 9 5 2 4







Christine Brown

Christine Brown

Brian Metcalf




Jacqueline Groves

James Brown

Andrea Shalk




Matilda Guy

Charles Carroll

John Kowal




Isaac Gertman

Julianna Nowak




Nicole Mayer

Catherine Kowal



Sara Matthews

Brian Tress, Maureen Campbell



Angelo Tirambulo C O N T R I B U T I N G E D I TO R

Hunter Dorrington




Eveline Christiansen

Gabe Kelley



Alex Walling, Jasper Fleming

Christine Mitchell SOFTWARE ENGINEER


Ladan Zarabi



Eric Holtzmann, Christian Egger,

Laureen Moyal


Brianna D’Arcy

Angelina Robe, Anthony McNair, Poppy Lundie


Eden Fahey





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

Christine Brown

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





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.




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!







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!


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 Patrick’s work stays strong in style and substance. — 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

American automobiles?

around the time that I started participating on

I am a huge fan of cities and I’ve always been

photography sites like 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

about it.

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

often embody.

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

your images?

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.

inspiration online.

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 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. #








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—

pure Baltimore.

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




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.




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

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

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

pizza-related travels.

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



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

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

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



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




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.



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

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. 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


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

changing exhibition.

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

potently ineffable.

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






10/7 Tune yards, Pat Jordache,

10-31 The Chain Gang of 1974:

and les Blondettes

Halloween Party with special

@ Ottobar

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

Winks, Witches Meet @ Johns Hopkins Levering Hall


9/31 - 10/2 Cove Folder


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

@ Sonar

@ MetroGallery

W Half-off Burgers and $2 Natty Boh @ Turps OPENING 10/13 Glass House 10/21 Double Dagger @ Ottobar

@ Nudashank TH Open Bar 10-11pm $5 Cover @ Red Maple

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

@ Sonar

THRU 10/21 CART Exhibition @

Current Space

10/24 Odd Future @ Sonar

SAT Weekend Sushi Happy Hour SUN Buy One Appetizer Get One Free @ Golden West


@ Nomad Gallery Baltimore 11/17 Wye Oak, Pattern is Movement @ Ottobar




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?

Lexington Market...

A. Balmer

A . Best crabcakes around!

B. Baldamoar

B. I’ve heard of it but never been.

C. Baltimore.. How else?

C. The what?

Natty Boh?

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

Baltimore Street.

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?

John Waters...

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.




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

Baltimore, Maryland?

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.



Charm Magazine  
Charm Magazine  

A magazine about Charm City