Up.St.ART Annapolis Spring 2020

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Poignant Placement by JANICE HAYES-WILLIAMS photography by KAREN DAVIES


tatues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass were unveiled by Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan at the Maryland State House on February 10, 2020. The bronze statues, created by Ivan Schwartz of StudioEIS and weighing 500 pounds each, were strategically placed in the Old House of Delegates Chamber. In that room, Maryland’s third Constitution was ratified in 1864, during the American Civil War, and included Article 24, which abolished slavery in Maryland: “That hereafter, in this State, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; and all persons held to service or labor as slaves, are hereby declared free.”

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upstart-annapolis.com | 3

get to


410.544.5448 | thepointcrabhouse.com 7 0 0 M i l l C r e e k R oa d A r n o l d , M a r y l a n d 2 1 0 1 2


Volume 7


Issue 1



Poignant Placement




By Janice Hayes-Williams


Hither, 14 Come Stare Awhile •MITZI BERNARD

By Desiree Smith-Daughety


22 Language of Music • A N N M AY O M U I R

By Madeleine Parsell




By Zoë Nardo



Fly by Henley Beall. Digitized pen and charcoal. Photo of artwork by Ralph DeFalco.

38 Old-School Sounds •RICK HOGUE— G A R R E T T PA R K G U I TA R S

By Dylan Roche



46 Finding Her Happy

64 Main Focus



By Jennifer Kulynych


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SPRING 2 0 2 0

By Marley Crank


56 Pasts & Presences

72 The Novice Monk

• L U C I A S T. C L A I R R O B S O N


By Geoffrey Young

By Brenda Wintrode



The I.W.S.A.(Inner West Street Association) & the Annapolis Arts District Calendar

Editor’s Inkwell Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. –Paul Engle, Poet, Novelist, Playwright


here are myriad definitions of poetry—some include the technicalities of prose; others refer to the origin of subject matter. Either way, poems become extensions of the human experience: the words inside of each poem hold together the very ideals and ponderings of the writer.

Poet John Keats referred to poetry as being something that isn’t singular. He describes poetry as our highest selves communing with language and spilling out of our fleshy containers. When poetry takes form, each poem exhibits a cadence and tongue unto itself and is representative of its creation. Many people say that the year 2020 symbolizes a year of clarity and self-reflection. What an auspicious time to invoke our inner poets and put the pen to the page. We invite you to submit your poems on the theme of power. Poems may speak to external or internal power. They may represent the struggle within, a relationship, power as energy or another manifestation, power’s relationship to trust, or a simple recognition of the role power plays in your life. There are no boundaries to the topic. Poems should be 50 lines or less and submitted in a Word document that also contains your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and the number of lines of poetry, all typed in the upper left corner of the document. Poem titles should not be included in the line count. Please type your poems in Times New Roman font, size 12, and single-spaced (except when denoting a break in the poem). Please submit your poems by April 1, 2020 to upstarteditor@gmail.com, and the subject line of your email should be Power Poetry Submission. Poets whose poems have been chosen will be contacted by April 30, and the selected poems will appear in the Fall 2020 issue of Up.St.ART Annapolis. We look forward to reading your work!work!

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Nancy Hammond Editions Window on the Marina

Window on the Bay

Blue Heron, Blue Water

Nancy Hammond Editions features original art, prints and custom designed gifts by Nancy Hammond

Sprintime Garden at the Marina

192 West Street, Annapolis MD 21401 Open Daily 410-295-6612 NancyHammondEditions.com



Publisher & Creative Director Jimi Davies jimihaha@gmail.com Editorial Director Andrea Stuart upstarteditor@gmail.com Copy Editor Leah Weiss Associate Editors Michele Callaghan Zoë Nardo MacDuff Perkins Contributing Editors Marley Crank Janice Hayes-William Jennifer Kulynych Zoë Nardo Madeleine Parsell Dylan Roche Desiree Smith-Daughety Brenda Wintrode Geoffrey Young

Art Director Cory Deere cory@corydeere.com Photography Director Alison Harbaugh alison@sugarfarmproductions.com Contributing Photographers Karen Davies Ralph DeFalco Alison Harbaugh Sarah Jane Holden Emily Karcher Kaitlyn McQuaid Sofia Sciacca Advertising Jimi Davies jimihaha@gmail.com

facebook.com/UpstartAnnapolis twitter.com/upstartnaptown instagram.com/UpstartAnnapolis

SUBMISSIONS: For article submissions, email proposal to upstarteditor@gmail.com. Up.St.Art Annapolis Magazine is published quarterly. Subscription rate: $40, payable in advance. Single copies $10. Back issues, if available, $15 (includes shipping and handling). For subscriptions and all other inquires, send an email to jimihaha@gmail.com or call 410-212-4242. Entire contents © 2020 by Up.St.Art Annapolis MagazineTM unless otherwise noted on specific articles. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without Publisher permission.

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Desiree Smith-Daughety

Marley Crank

ZoĂŤ Nardo

Jennifer Kulynych

Madeleine Parsell

Brenda Wintrode

Dylan Roche

Geoffrey Young


Sofia Sciacca

Emily Karcher

Kaitlyn McQuaid

Alison Harbaugh

Ralph DeFalco

Karen Davies

Sarah Jane Holden

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Stop by Heroes Pub and enjoy our Award Winning Wings and one of our 48 beers on draft!

410-573-1996 heroespub.com

1 Riverview Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland


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Come Hither, Stare Awhile by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY


riends of Mitzi Bernard raise nary an eyebrow when invited over to help cut out naked women. Over glasses of wine and old issues of Playboy magazine, they form a modern-day women’s circle. In the age of #MeToo and the upcoming hundredth anniversary of US women’s right to vote, Bernard finds that the conversation over how women are viewed isn’t yet over. “I’m a product of the seventies and equal rights—it comes out in my art,” says Bernard. “I take a picture that society might perceive or judge in one way

and incorporate it into another piece of art to tell the story of strength, power, and lovability. My idea is to find beauty and strength in places we may have ‘judged’ differently, whether it be my different kind of art, or our judgments of others, particularly women.” Currently a chief of staff for a legislator in Maryland state government, Bernard recently took a year off to develop her art and discover her artistic voice. Previously, she served for 27 years as executive director for Bay Community Support Services, a nonprofit that she started.

Miss Conception by Mitzi Bernard. Collage on canvas.

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Bernard has always taken art classes, and initially she worked in paint, but fresh inspiration came seven years ago, when she saw Annapolis artist Jeff Huntington’s work. “Up close, it looks like little pieces of paper, then you stand back and see the whole image,” she says. “I was so astounded, I had to figure it out.” Her first piece using collage as the medium was completed five years ago. Stanley, one of her three rescue dogs (Henry and Louie complete the trio), served as the model. She wasn’t sure how to depict his flowy hair, and the piece stalled. Her daughter, Zoë Nardo, came across some 1970s Playboy magazines in a vintage store and got them for her to possibly use. Bernard scissored out pictures of women and advertisements, and the piece came together. The finished work, Playboy Stanley is mesmerizing. Viewed from several feet away, the colors work together to give a paintlike appearance. Draw closer, and one can discern the individual paper strips. The eye roves across patterns, searching out image details that could be lurid when only a single woman is seen, vulnerable in her nakedness, but when grouped together, in the context of the piece, offer a more collegiate portrayal of sisterhood. “It shows how we can find innocent lovability and beauty in places we might not have considered,” says Bernard. During her work hiatus, she created additional pieces, using papers cut primarily from old Playboy magazines, which are now provided to her by friends and friends of friends, along with

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Hawkeye by Mitzi Bernard. Collage on canvas.

was such a powerful image for me,” other types of paper and a bit of says Farhoumand. “Sometimes art paint. ScarFace, made primarily or a song will just hit your soul. I of 1980s—and some 1970s-era was moved because it was about the images, represents the pain that beauty and strength of women. We women experience from scarring all have it, no matter what shape, throughout their lives that makes color, background, country, or race.” them stronger. The female figure’s Miss Conception has a central stance exudes power, with eyes message about how people make closed and face content, tilted up value judgments that aren’t always toward the sun. Suspended from accurate and can dismiss the notion one nipple is a picture of a woman that we’re made up of different in a coquettish pose, presenting a attributes. At the bottom center of humorous reclamation of her power the piece is her daughter’s image. outside the pages of Playboy. An array of Playboy Bernard takes images fan above her inspiration from head, images that beloved connections " . . . details that represent judgements around her, could be lurid that may befall her, including her and she’s bookended daughter and the . . . but when by watchful, family’s animals. grouped together, judgmental eyes. Female Fury is based Wings sprout from on Rachel, one of in the context her back, the feathers her two horses, and of the piece, displaying words portrays an angry describing the good mare, its painted offer a collegiate things she has done. eye piercing in its portrayal . . . " “We are all made of wisdom, defiance, good and bad,” says and ferocity. With Bernard. “There’s a Shakespeare Female Fury, Bernard says she’s quote tattooed on her fingers that conveying that women aren’t meek says, ‘there is nothing either good or but have strength; they’re angry, have a long way to go, and are going bad, but thinking makes it so.’” Each of Bernard’s works takes to be vocal about it. about 200 hours to create. She starts Female Fury was acquired by with a message and an image, but Farah Farhoumand, a dentist in the last five hours in the process Washington, DC, who learned bring forth the result, as she selects of the piece through Bernard’s from her baskets brimming with husband while on a boat-buying cutout pictures. When determining search around Annapolis. He had a specific picture’s inclusion within told her that his wife was an artist a piece, she considers multiple and showed her a phone photo of variables, such as color, size, Female Fury. The piece resonated movement, and hue. “I look at each with her, recalling a particularly piece of paper placed up close and difficult time, when she and her then step back to see how it looks in sister-in-law had to stand strong the piece as a whole,” she explains. while working to bring justice for “Sometimes one little piece of paper a child in their family who had can change the entire look of the been victimized by a relative. “It

Bernard cuts up vintage Playboy magazines. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.

Bernard works on a new piece at her home studio. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.

work or surprise me and take the piece in an entirely new, fun, or terrible direction.” She will have a basic plan when she starts out, but the piece usually takes on a life of its own, evolving as she proceeds. For her first solo show, which took place in February 2020 at

Tsunami in Annapolis, Bernard created two new pieces. At the time of this writing, one was still in progress, set up on her workspace. It was being designed to be smaller than her prior works, with an intended message of coming awake—she had roughed

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Playboy Stanley by Mitzi Bernard. Collage on canvas.

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such, with a nod to the closet in which the women in the cutout images have been harbored. Notwithstanding, her work is gaining wider exposure with its inclusion in group shows such as SoCo Arts Lab, and it’s resonating with viewers. Recently, a woman in charge of the annual Playboy reunion contacted Bernard. She’d found her work on social media and was

inquiring about using Bernard’s images at an upcoming Playboy event. “I was excited she loved them and felt the message was a positive one,” says Bernard, “and to know that my message of strength and power in women was being heard by the women who were making those statements in my art.” █ For more information, visit www.mitzibernardclosetart.com.


in a butterfly with a woman’s face emerging at the head. She feels that Tsunami is a perfect venue for her work. Bernard says, “The art I create isn’t considered fine art, it’s considered outsider art and is appreciated more by people with an open mind who are open to my message.” Bernard considers herself an outsider, closet artist, which she describes as being akin to a closet smoker—someone who’s not really

Bernard and her dog, Stanley. Stanley was the subject of her first collage using cut up Playboy magazines. Photo by Alison Harbaugh. ScarFace by Mitzi Bernard. Collage on canvas.

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Robert DiLutis | March 20 & 21 | 8pm Haydn Copland Beethoven

Symphony No. 104, London Clarinet Concerto Symphony No. 8

Awadagin Pratt | May 1 & 2 | 8pm Garrop Beethoven Boyer

Pandora Undone Piano Concerto No. 1 Ellis Island: The Dream of America

Family Concert | May 9 | 11am The Life & Times of Beethoven This original Really Inventive Stuff program celebrates Beethoven, his remarkable age, and four famous notes. Featuring the music of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with a playful peppering of fascinating facts and trivia.

For tickets, call the Box Office: 410.263.0907 | Purchase online at annapolissymphony.org




C AT E R I N G | C A F E | B A K E R Y




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Language of Music by MADELEINE PARSELL photography by EMILY KARCHER


ver the course of her life thus far, 82 years to be exact, Ann Mayo Muir has taken the hand of inspiration countless times and developed an impressive musical portfolio. In addition to her work with The Highwaymen and, more prominently, the Maine-based folk musician and songwriter Gordon Bok, Muir has studied under acclaimed traditional fiddlers Alasdair Fraser and Martin Hayes. Throughout her career, Muir’s talent has been guided by intuition and an unwavering ear for just the right sound. Arguably, both intuition and a good ear came in handy when Muir encountered Bok while she earned her stay at a ski lodge in Vermont by singing. An enthusiastic member of the audience led her to a neighboring A-frame to hear Bok sing for the lodge’s diners. She responded by sitting on the floor in front of the stage as patrons finished their meal. The two of them subsequently

discussed music for hours in a small kitchen off the stage, and the rest is history, as they say. Under Bok’s tutelage, Muir learned about folk music, which she had not particularly listened to previously. She had already discovered the chords she loved, most of which were not commonly used in folk music. While working together, Bok encouraged Muir to sing more like him—softly, with her eyes closed, and allowing the words to gently blend together—a method that did not stick. While Bok would sing softly to pull the audience in, Muir strived to sing with clarity for those in the very back of the room to hear. “I thought about the people in the back row . . . I wanted them to hear the words, because I liked the words,” she recalls. She also had a strong tendency to enunciate each word, having grown up with a nearly deaf father. Although Bok and Muir differed in many ways, their voices blended beautifully for almost 40 years, 27 of

Ann Mayo Muir enjoys a silly moment as she poses with her ukulele.

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She recalls having so many words and melodies floating through her mind that she feared someone else’s work would come out instead of her own. “ Then I realized it was impossible.”

Muir in her kitchen.

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which were spent working in a trio that included Ed Trickett. They toured throughout the United States twice a year to places where folk music had an audience, visiting colleges, churches, festivals, and homes. This continued even when Muir relocated from Annapolis to France with her second husband. Bok, Muir, and Trickett created 11 albums starting with Turning Toward the Morning, released in 1975 and ending with Harbors of Home in 1998. Muir, Bok, and Trickett toured a final time together in 2000. The trio was forced to part ways when an age-related hormonal shift occurred that prohibited Muir from reaching the same vocal range. Up until this point, Muir had never written her own music, even though she recorded an album in the early 1960s called The Magic of Mayo Muir. Over the years, the trio performed a diverse array of folk songs ranging from lesser known pieces unearthed by research to songs written by Bok and other contemporary folk musicians. For years, this suited Muir, who found each composition uniquely compelling. When the trio dispersed, Muir learned to work alone, which presented its own challenges. Until then, she had not seen herself capable of creating her own music. She recalls having so many words and melodies floating through her mind that she feared someone else’s work would come out instead of her own. “Then I realized it was impossible, of course that couldn’t happen,” she says. When inspiration offered her its hand, she took it and found something she did not know was there waiting to be shared—her own words. Muir has found inspiration for her songs in conversations and musings “I love getting a phrase,” Muir states. She will hear something and think, “There is a song in that one.”

Muir plays one of her lifelong favorite tunes, "How are Things in Glocca Morra?" on the nyckelharpa.

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While studying fiddle, one of her teachers told her that he had a notebook of unfinished phrases he had yet to complete. This inspired Muir to charge ahead and write full pieces. She has completed a significant amount of compositions, which she attributes in part to a willingness to forge ahead, make mistakes, and not be afraid to make changes. She consistently works through the challenges as they arise. She did just that while creating her latest album, Notes from Across the Sea, performed and

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recorded by Ensemble Galilei in 2009. “It was something I never dreamed I would do, or thought I could do, because I don’t write [or read] music [notation]. I play everything by ear,” says Muir. She has learned an impressive array of instruments over the years, starting with her beloved baritone ukulele. She taught herself to play around the age of eight by memorizing how each chord looked in the pictures of her music book. Other than the fiddle, which she learned through one-on-one instruction,

Muir learned to play instruments by ear and memorizing how hands moved over the strings or the keys. Most fondly, Muir remembers learning to play the harp. “I built [the music] chord by chord. I found the chord that matched what I wanted to hear,” she explains. Muir likens learning to play the harp to architecture, putting the pieces together the way one builds a house, with the floor, the walls, the ceiling. Playing each instrument yielded a sense of personal creation as she discovered the chords that produced the sounds that she sought.

Muir enjoys a Sunday afternoon playing and singing old favorites on her baritone ukulele.

Perhaps a bit conspiratorial, Muir endeavors to stir things up wherever she goes. She inquires among strangers, “What instruments do you play?” and “What would you like to play?” The point is simple, to inspire others to play music and experience what Muir believes to be true. Music is a universal voice for those willing to converse with it, and it is never too late to learn the language of music. █ For more information, visit www.annmayomuir.com.


In Notes from Across the Sea, Muir wrote music for four instruments, the harmonies of which were picked up and woven into a musical tapestry featuring nine instruments throughout the album. When Muir discovered Sibelius Software®, a program used to compose music, she found her awaking; she could hear each note as she placed it on the staff. After arranging each measure, she would ask the music where to go next. “And [the music] told me . . . so I just kept going and every time I ran out, I’d ask again,” she says. As Muir listened to each song, she found a language in the music, built of questions and replies. While some notes needed to be longer or shorter, each element provided an important piece to the conversation of the song. To Muir, it was obvious—the music was speaking to her, and she understood every word. In this fashion, she constructed an album of 13 songs in which the creative talent of Ensemble Galilei was given the freedom to build on Muir’s melodies. Believing in the music is a part of Muir’s creative process. When recording songs with vocals, she navigates with her instincts rather than with a plan. “I hit ‘record’ and sing my song as if it already [exists]. The words tell me the music every time,” she says. Muir has a long relationship with music built on trust and faith; they have an open dialogue that exists only in intimate relationships. From Muir’s perspective, “People miss the music they haven’t been doing.”

Muir in her sunlit kitchen overlooking Spa Creek in Annapolis.

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Art on Paper Apr 2 - May 2 Reception: Apr 9 Winter Member Show Spring Show Jan 5 -6Jan 21 May - 30 Reception: Jan 14 Reception: May 17

Paint Annapolis June 7 - 14 20th Annual Plein Air Competition WWW.MDFEDART.ORG

18 State Circle, Annapolis MD 21401 | 410.268.4566

art by Matthew Barber Kennedy, Paint Annapolis 2018

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Chairs Are People, Too by ZOË NARDO photography by ALISON HARBAUGH


few miles from downtown Annapolis, one will find Tallulah Bankhead shimmering in luscious Zoffany velvet, Romeo and Juliette complementing each other with their matching medallions and tassels, and Elvis Paisley draped in a funky paisley print trimmed in turquoise. These are only a handful of the personalities and personas that have been crafted over the years by high-end furniture designer Monica Cortright. “I really get to know each piece that I design, and once it’s finished, I name it, and it comes to life,” she says. “Chairs are people, too.” Cortright, who is referred to by some as the Chair Whisperer, started designing one-of-a-kind furniture after inheriting two chairs

that needed new reupholstery from her father six years ago. “I wanted to design something special and dedicate them to him,” she says. “The designs had to be as unique and wonderful as he was.” After unveiling what she refers to as “the chair experiment” to her family and friends, the uproar of praise and demand for more chairs motivated her to officially start her company, Monica Cortright Designs. In Annapolis, where seersucker fabrics and anchor embroidery are the more common decors, Cortright’s designs stand apart from the nautical norm by boasting exotic patterns, overlapping vibrant colors, and ornate details dangling off of every wooden edge. Her favorite designer is Manuel Canovas, from Paris, whose work is instantly recognizable

Detail of Talulah Bankhead, Dahling, designed by Cortright.

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“It gives me

absolute joy, taking old pieces that need a new life and

totally giving them

a new one.”

by its vivid, almost neon, colors and bold, in-your-face-patterns ranging from floral arrangements to the depiction of Prince Dara Skikoh’s wedding. But Cortright doesn’t only uses designer textiles. A few years ago, she used fabric from a pair of vintage shorts that she bought in the1980s on San Francisco’s Haight Street as upholstery on armchair tops. Whatever the chair needs, the chair gets. Where an average person might overlook an old chair because of a broken leg or its blemishes, Cortright would likely be drawn to its untapped beauty and unknown personality. Peeling varnish, missing pieces, or deflated cushions are only minor speed bumps in Cortright’s journey when creating each of her signature designs. “It gives me absolute joy, taking old pieces that need a new life and totally giving them a new one,” she says. When her friend, the founder of the world’s largest Rolling Stones fan group, asked her to create a custom chair based on the album Beggars Banquet, she dusted off the 1968 record for inspiration

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Sunshine Daydream, custom chair and pillow designed by Cortright.

L–R: Garden of Earthly Delights, Sunshine Daydream, and She’s a Rainbow, designed by Cortright.

Detail of a custom chair designed by Cortright. This chair is one in a pair titled Yin and Yang.

Detail of Sunshine Daydream, designed by Cortright.

Several bolts of fabric that can be found in Cortright’s studio.

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Some of Cortright’s custom chair and pillow designs.

and began stripping the varnish off of a dilapidated chair as the record spun. Cortright sourced fabric with the same graffiti as walls on the controversial, alternate album cover, bought old tour shirts off of eBay to use as arm covers, and then topped off the design with a custom-made Union Jack pillow. The finished project renders a throne that Mick Jagger would be flattered to sit upon. Designing isn’t something that’s new to Cortright, as she’s always had a way of letting her imagination and rock and roll personality run rampant from her fingertips. After getting her degree in theater and costume design, Cortright designed for her first and only offBroadway play but quickly realized that she wanted to design more than costumes. This led her to 34 | Spring 2020

design jewelry, children’s clothing, and home decor, but she still felt unsatisfied. Today, designing oneof-a-kind furniture perfectly fits the bill, and she wakes up every morning eager to get to her studio. Her background in theater and costume design still fuels how she approaches each new piece. “With costume design, you design for the character in the play, and that’s exactly what I do with my chairs,” she says. The fabric chosen for the backrest might differ from the headrest, which could differ from the armrest and seat, but they all come together as an elegant, neverbefore-seen costume. Because each distinct pattern or texture blends with the next one in such beautiful juxtaposition, Cortright has begun saying that fusing all these elements

One of the Yin and Yang chairs.

together is her superpower. As any designer will tell you, the beauty is in the details, and Cortright’s work is no different. Nearly every chair wears tassels that dangle from the armrest or the headrest and, in Cortright’s mind, are seen as its jewelry, and the pillows that Cortright designs are perceived as the piece’s hat. The characters in Cortright’s play these days, much like those in her off-Broadway show, have costume changes. The pillows and the seat are always fashioned to have an alternate pattern on the opposite side in the event that an outfit change is warranted. A fancy embroidered cambric, the fabric under the chair, is the last touch before the project’s completion, and Cortright refers to it as the chair’s sexy lingerie. “You

look at a chair and you just don’t expect it to be dressed up and ready to go to a party,” says Cortright. “And my chairs are dressed up and ready to go.” Whenever she gets a new chair, whether it’s from an estate sale, auction, or high-end dealer, she immediately brings it to her Annapolis studio and sits with the chair to soak in its personality. Her studio walls are lined with colorful Indian saris and many spools of fabric from all over the world. The tables are covered with braided, woven, and fringed trim or gimp, and heaps of high-style prints and woven samples lay everywhere else. She begins by laying and pinning fabric on each part of the chair,

Cortright lays out potential fabrics onto an antique chair that she will reupholster.

and then she will take her planning to paper. Cortright meticulously draws and specs out each chair so that when she takes it to one of her master upholsterers there aren’t any questions. Over the years, she’s curated a long list of seamstresses and upholsterers who make her designer dreams a physical reality. Sometimes a chair will go to the artisan several times because something isn’t just right, but when Cortright goes to pick up her finished piece for the first time, she describes the feeling as comparable to a child on Christmas morning. And then, after all the trial and error, she might have a tough time finalizing the sale. “Sometimes

it’s hard to say goodbye,” says Cortright. “It’s more like an adoption than a sale.” In the last six years, Cortright has named dozens of pieces and used well over 200 different fabrics, tassels, buttons, and trims to build Monica Cortright Designs. In 2019, her chairs were shown in windows on Main Street in downtown Annapolis, and she plans to open a showroom in Annapolis sometime this year. Until then, she will continue to create custom statement pieces such as Elvis Paisley in her studio and find the perfect office or home for them to live in. █


Cortright in her studio, surrounded by fabrics.

For more information, visit www.monicacortright.com.

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EVENTS 1397 Generals Highway Crownsville, MD (410) 923-1606 luresbarandgrille.com



38 | Spring 2020

Old--School Sounds by DYLAN ROCHE photography by SOFIA SCIACCA,



s a musician and a collector of vintage guitars, Rick Hogue has enjoyed several amazing experiences: partying with Eric Clapton, meeting Bob Dylan, appraising Lenny Kravitz’s guitar collection. He’s jammed with friends and neighbors, bought and sold guitars to local artists, and offered space for music teachers to connect with generations of students. His passion is one of the reasons that Garrett Park Guitars—the shop he established more than 30 years ago—has flourished. Despite

its niche specialty, or maybe because of it, the store has survived changing cultures and down economies, continuing to be a haven for budding and accomplished musicians alike, a place where the quality of craftsmanship and sound matter, and where old guitars find new life. Hogue describes Garrett Park Guitars, located today at 7 Old Solomon’s Island Road in Annapolis, as a museum store as much as it is a store; he and his team are less like salespeople and more like curators. “Yeah, it’s a business, but there’s a passion we have,

here,” he says. “All of us who work here share in this love for handling, restoring, and selling these old instruments.” Vintage guitars line the walls in several rooms and alcoves, and the staff is poised to discuss the instruments with anyone who walks in off the street, whether it’s a talented and knowledgeable musician or a curious passerby. “Rick was way ahead of the game on the vintage gear thing,” says local musician and longtime patron Bryan Ewald. “I learned quite a bit over the years from him about what was what.”

Rick Hogue, owner of Garrett Park Guitars, in the guitar showroom playing a 1964 reissue Gibson ES-335 guitar.

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Garrett Park customers walk past the front desk after a private guitar lesson.

Hogue realized his potential for refurbishing and reselling guitars in the early 1980s, when he searched to buy a 1963 Fender Telecaster. Frustrated that he only had $300 to spend and the guitar he wanted was $550, he settled for a $300 1964 Fender Jaguar. He continued searching for the older guitar and eventually found a refinished one. Upon calling the seller, he found that he could trade the Jaguar for a 1967 Fender Telecaster and a 1966 Fender Bandmaster amp. Because the ’67 Telecaster had been stripped down to its natural wood, he then spray-painted it seafoam green and polished it until it looked new. He sold the guitar for $300 and an

40 | Spring 2020

amp for $250, and then went back and bought the 1963 Telecaster, which he later sold to a neighbor for $650. “The lightbulb went off in my head—I thought, ‘I could do this as a hobby,’” he recalls. “For years, it was my side hustle—I had a job in medical sales. I got promoted, became the regional manager, traveled all over the place, and like 60 percent of the time I was doing my day job, but the rest of the time, I was looking for guitars. Back in the day, I would travel down south and fill my car with guitars and amps to bring them back.” Some locals remember when Hogue started operating more informally. “I met [Rick] before he

had a store,” says local musician Dean Rosenthal. “He was going around, selling stuff out of the back of his car . . . he was just kinda getting into it. I remember going to gigs, and Rick would show up. When he opened up his first shop, I started going up there because, at that time, there weren’t a lot of music stores in Annapolis. There really wasn’t a guitar hub with collectors’ guitars, vintage guitars . . . you had to go to DC or Baltimore.” In October 1991, Hogue moved his business into a brick-andmortar storefront in Arnold—he had previously operated out of a neighbor’s downstairs apartment— and named it Garrett Park Guitars because he liked the sound of it.

Colorful ukuleles hang on the wall in the front showroom at Garrett Park Guitars.

Garrett Park Guitars offers a variety of music lessons for all ages. Stefan Heuer, a local musician gives a lesson on the ukulele to nine-year-old Eli.

Starting a family made it difficult for Hogue to travel and seek out old guitars, so for several years he focused his business on new models. Although he enjoyed the work and maintained great relationships with the manufacturers, vintage guitars continued to be his first love. “About 10 years ago or a little longer, during the recession, it got hard to sell anything,” he says. “Gradually, I started losing interest in new guitars, and we sort of parted ways with some of these manufacturers that I had worked really hard to get . . . In a way, it was a gift because it focused my attention back to vintage guitars.” Hogue explains that vintage guitars are valuable to musicians because they’re built with craftsmanship that was sacrificed when the instruments became popular in the mid-1960s. “It was a passion shared by millions and millions of people,” he says. “The manufacturers responded by pumping guitars out. Instead of craftsmen dictating how instruments were built, you had accountants, cost evaluation, saying, ‘We can get two necks out of that block of wood if we shave off an eighth of an inch’ or, ‘We can use polyurethane instead of lacquer.’ They were cutting corners in order to increase production and cut costs. They were cutting out central things that made guitars so wonderful in the first place.” And musicians took notice. The new guitars were not as easy to hold or play, and the sound was not quite as good—and thus an interest in vintage guitars began. Hogue knows that his shop is a beacon for collectors in a market fraught with forgery, and it takes a knowledgeable collector to identify

upstart-annapolis.com | 41

General Manager Nate Kieser shows the Paul Reed Smith 2002 Dragon Prototype #2.

Detail of the Paul Reed Smith 2002 Dragon Prototype #2.

42 | Spring 2020

For more information, visit www.gpguitars.com.


the real ones. “You have to have confidence to buy one of these old guitars,” he explains. “I’m very fortunate that I learned from others who had great knowledge, and I’ve been mentored by really great people.” Such expertise and knowledge have built a reputation for Garrett Park Guitars, which is regarded as a place not only where people can buy vintage guitars or get their guitars repaired but also where musicians with specialized interests can be served. “I don’t know anyone else who has the kind of knowledge Rick does, and the passion for it,” says Larry Freed, publisher of Annapolis Music Scene magazine. “Even more important than that, he gets to know each individual who is a buyer of these things . . . it’s not about selling something to a customer. It’s helping friends get what they want.” Garrett Park Guitars also nurtures the musician beyond sales. In 2004, it launched the Garrett Park School of Music, offering lessons. Since then, it has grown to accommodate about 200 students. “We put kids in bands, and then we teach them their parts, and then they go out and play shows,” says Hogue. “And some of these kids are really, really good. That’s been very rewarding for us to see.”

The business is also known for its philanthropy. Ewald notes that Hogue is supportive of area musicians and their causes. For example, he donates instruments for auction at Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians (AMFM) fundraisers. It’s also where people can check out the latest find by Hogue or another Annapolis musician—perhaps a concert poster or a suit once worn by George Harrison. “To this day, I still go to Rick’s shop, and he’ll go, ‘Hey, look at this,’ and I’ll go, ‘My God, where did you get that?’” says Rosenthal. “He’ll say, ‘I have my sources.’ It’s unbelievable.” From Hogue’s perspective, Garrett Park Guitars is a way that he, a musician and collector, can support others in a wildly talented community and further an appreciation for music. “Music has been such a passion, such a blessing for me my whole life,” he says. “Music is such a great medicine for us when we’re happy and when we’re sad. It’s just something that touches us in place nothing else can.” █

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46 | Spring 2020

Finding Her Happy by JENNIFER KULYNYCH photography by RALPH DEFALCO


enley Beall’s life could be a screenplay: talented young artist spends her days working as a barista and her nights sketching and painting. Using Instagram to promote her work, she hopes to beat the odds and make her name without an art school education. She’s not entirely sure how it will work out or whether she can actually turn her creativity into a viable career. Yet Beall is more than okay with that. “Art makes me happy,” she says, smiling, “and I’d rather struggle and still be happy.” Will she succeed? You can’t meet her and not hope that she does. At first glance, you might imagine

All-Seeing Eyes by Henley Beall. Pen and charcoal.

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She grew

discouraged and

gave up on art for a time . . .

Curiosity by Henley Beall. Charcoal.

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Beall is just another twentysomething pulling shots behind the counter of Rise Up Coffee in Annapolis: jeans, baggy shirt, tousled hair, discrete tattoos. She’s a little bit guarded and studiously ironic. And she still lives at home with her parents, Kurt and Lila Beall, in Hillsmere. Named for a family friend, Beall is tall, with long dark hair. Her smile is incandescent, engaging, and transformative, making her hazel eyes glow and dissolving any wariness. Smiling, she has star power. Talking about art, her own art in particular, makes Beall smile. She remembers being very young when her favorite aunt first taught her to draw butterflies. As a middle schooler, Beall studied at Wiley Bates Middle School’s performing and visual arts magnet program, where teachers Leo Hylan and Jean Orzech helped her develop her talents and taught her the artistic and digital imaging techniques she still uses today. Beall’s experience at Annapolis High School was more complicated. She loved being part of a diverse public school community, and says she made close friends she would never have met in what she describes as the insular world of Annapolis’ private schools. Still, she chafed at the structure of high school AP art classes. She grew discouraged and gave up on art for a time, playing lacrosse instead, like her brother, Sam, age seventeen, and her sister, Malissa, age nineteen, both of whom still play lacrosse competitively. High school lacrosse was never Beall’s passion, though. “I wasn’t very good,” she says with a laugh, “but the team was fun.”

Introspection by Henley Beall. Digitized pen drawing.

After high school, Beall spent a semester at college in Florida, but soon returned to Annapolis. She enrolled in classes at Anne Arundel Community College and sought the advice of a family friend, noted Philadelphia cartoonist and illustrator Jim Hunt. Hunt advised her not to borrow money to go to art school but to start making and selling her art on her own terms, without shouldering the crushing burden of student loans. Still, she needed a day job. Landing at Rise Up Coffee, Beall learned to make specialty drinks, mastering the art of tracing hearts and smiley faces in the froth of customers’ cappuccinos and Psychoactive Entity by Henley Beall. Acrylic paint and Posca pens.

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Confusion by Henley Beall. Charcoal.

Beall’s other interest is psychedelic art, and some of her large, vivid works couldn’t be more different from her starkly detailed charcoal portraits.

50 | Spring 2020

getting hooked on a daily cortado—a caffeine blast comprising four shots of espresso and a splash of steamed milk. Along the way, she found inspiration in the work of British photographer Lee Jeffries, who won critical acclaim for his series of stunning, high-contrast, extreme close-ups of homeless men and women. As a street artist who documents people living in the streetscape, he also uses photographic techniques to sharpen the contrast and emphasize the emotion in his subjects’ eyes. Seeing Jeffries’ raw,

Stress by Henley Beall. Charcoal.

arresting images, Beall was moved to pick up charcoal and paper, hoping to create art that could speak equally powerfully. She began by using Jeffries’ work as a model and moved on to her own compositions, focusing on faces that convey strong emotion. Beall’s other interest is psychedelic art, and some of her large, vivid works couldn’t be more different from her starkly detailed charcoal portraits. On days when Beall is more inclined to make bright, dynamic pieces, she likes to explore what she describes as the

Cicada by Henley Beall. Digitized pen and charcoal.

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Tipper and Friends poster (2019) by Henley Beall. Digitized pen and charcoal.

52 | Spring 2020

For more information, visit www.henleybeall.com.


Ant by Henley Beall. Digitized pen and charcoal.

mathematics of geo-symmetry. Using acrylics and a large panel or paper, divided in half and gridded with a ruler, she allows the design to emerge on one half of the background, using the grid to mirror the shapes and colors on the other side. The result is part pop art, part Grateful Dead art print circa 1979. Presently, Beall is building her portfolio and exhibiting her work. In September 2018, the restaurant Tsunami featured one of Beall’s first exhibits. She considered it an exciting success because she sold several pieces. She also maintains her presence on Instagram and developed a website on which she shows her work. Beall has taken inspiration from Annapolis-based artist Jeff Huntington, and she aspires to have her art be as impactful as his someday. No matter how successful she may become, the native Annapolitan has strong ties to her community and its lively public art scene. “I can see myself staying here,” she says, “it’s a happy place to be.” █

Artist Henley Beall. Photo courtesy of artist.

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56 | Spring 2020




he novelist Lucia St. Clair Robson’s latest release, Devilish (2014), is a thriller about murder, romance, environmentalism, supernatural visitations, and the friendship between four formidable women. It takes place in Cliffs of the Severn, Arnold, which is also where Robson’s life in Pines on the Severn takes place. Sitting in her living room, she indicates through the picture window the homes of her characters’ real-life counterparts: “Faye lives there. I can throw a

rock and hit it. Doc’s house is on the playground at the corner . . . This is Alice’s house.” The importance of place is a constant in Robson’s work, though Devilish is a departure from the historical novels for which she is mostly known. Heretofore, she has transported readers to nineteenth century Texas, Tennessee, and Florida, to eighteenth century Japan, even to colonial Maryland. Given her life experience, itinerancy of time and locale is no surprise. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Florida, Robson lived in Venezuela during a stint in the

Author Lucia St. Clair Robson.

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Peace Corps, Japan (“Just for the hell of it,” she says), Arizona, and South Carolina, before settling back in Maryland. Robson got her start as a novelist on a lark, after meeting her future husband, the science fiction writer Brian Daley, at a writers convention in Baltimore in 1979. A librarian at the time,

she happened to mention her interest in the life of Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped in 1836, at age nine, by Comanche Indians, and later married into their tribe. “Rescued” by Texas rangers 24 years later, Parker spent the rest of her days trying to return to her Comanche family. Daley’s editor, Owen Lock,

Robson’s collection of the 10 novels she has written and their different versions and translations published in other countries.

58 | Spring 2020

suggested that Robson write a novel about Parker and send him a sample. “I told him not to be ridiculous,” she says, “I didn’t know how to write a book.” But she got started and eventually sent Lock six chapters. He called her with a wry acknowledgment: “I got your piece of trash,” he said, and subsequently forwarded the manuscript to an editor at Ballantine, who offered Robson a substantial advance on what would become Ride the Wind. It all seemed to happen by chance. “I didn’t dream of becoming a novelist,” she says. Today, she boasts two Spur Awards and a Lifetime Achievement award from Western Writers of America. The success of Ride the Wind, in 1982, set off a string of works involving American Indians, including Walk in My Soul (1985), about Tiana Rogers of the Cherokee, and Light a Distant Fire (1988), depicting the heroism of the Seminole tribe of Florida in the 1830s, a people that had fascinated her since learning about them in the fourth grade. “They held out against overwhelming odds,” she says. “They never surrendered. They never signed a peace treaty.” Adversity is a common theme in Robson’s work. “Most of my books are about underdogs. I guess that’s why I write about women so much. In history, women are told to shut up and don’t bother people.” Robson feels that plumbing the lives of historical underdogs offers a salutary benefit to reader and writer alike. She says that such stories provide perspective. “When you know how bad it was, it helps you get through day to day.”

Robson keeps meticulous notes on her research and files them in an antique card catalog for quick reference.

But there is another sort of perspective at play in Robson’s work, something akin to possession or channeling, is necessary to successfully weaving fiction into the lives of real people. “In order to write about [historical figures], you really have to get into the time, the place, and hopefully their heads.” Her process begins with copious research — “I’ve run out of shelf space,” she says — and diligent organization. An old library card catalog, located in her woodpaneled home office, is stuffed with cards indexing the source of every fact contained in her novels. From this hard-earned perch of historical mastery, Robson’s

imagination takes flight. Perspective, then, becomes more than clarity gained by comparison. It represents experience by proxy, occurring in the mind, and it effects an almost magical transportation. “When you’re writing about [an event], you’re no longer a spectator. You’re a participator. These people become your friends.” So, too, do their descendants. Robson’s empathetic portrayals of the life of native peoples led to her formal adoption into two tribes, which meant taking on tribal names. To the Comanches, she is Dek Wa Wop, or “one who speaks for others.” To the Cherokees, she is White Hawk.

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“Most of my books are about underdogs. I guess that's why I write about women so


Such acceptance has been primary for Robson. “[After Ride the Wind came out], I wasn’t worried about what the [literary] critics would say. I was worried about what the Comanches would say.” In the case of the Cherokee descendants of Tiana Rogers, the family was impressed by more than just the literary merits of Walk in my Soul. “I got a phone call from someone called Little Dove after the book came out. She said, ‘The family wants to know where

you got those stories.’ I said, ‘Well, I either read them or I made them up.’ She said, ‘No, those are stories only the family knows.’” Little Dove went on to describe the family patriarch, known as Uncle, who kept by his bedside a Bible and a thoroughly marked-up copy of Walk in my Soul. When Little Dove told Uncle the elders wanted to adopt Robson, he replied, “You can if you want, but she’s been with the family a long time.” Robson folds her long frame into a low living room chair,

A selection of novels written by author Robson.

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reflecting upon her stories. “I’m not spooky. I’m not religious. But there are unexplained things that happen. Some connections get made.” A particular connection came in 1996, not long after her husband, Brian, had succumbed to pancreatic cancer. A close friend called to tell her Brian’s spirit had visited him, “big as life.” Soon thereafter, Robson was involved in a car accident on Route 50. Once home, “I was kind of shaken. I was lying on the couch. And I just felt

this overwhelming sense of love . . . It was the most intense thing I’ve ever felt. And I guess it was Brian.” She looks out the window from her low chair, pensive, amused. “A lot of these houses have ghost stories.” Robson calls Devilish her most autobiographical novel. She began it soon after Brian’s passing, but set it aside. “It was too whiny, too selfpitying.” Molded by time’s softening hand, the novel is fun, inventive, strange, and rich with intricate detail.

Supernatural visitations mostly take the form of incubi—raunchy sex demons—but the women of the novel hold their lost loves vividly in mind, as Robson does hers, and feel their presence, big as life. Devilish may represent a departure for Robson the historical novelist, but it continues a creative process emphasizing experience borne of imaginative flights and an orientation toward unseen worlds, whether they be epochs long past or strange

occurrences right next door. Up next, Robson aims to cinch two strands of her interest: she’s working on a novel about Jefferson Davis’ Camel Corps experiment in the pre-Civil War southwest. “Maybe a haunted guest house kind of thing,” she hints, a sparkle in her eye. █


Robson researches for her next novel with the working title Camel Corps. She studies maps and books written about the region and stories from the past.

For more information, visit www.luciastclairrobson.com.

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Main Focus by MARLEY CRANK photography by KAITLYN MCQUAID


small group of friends walk through the doors of Main & Market for a weekend dinner out. They come upon a crowded dining room filled with the smiling faces of families and friends enjoying their meals. The hostess welcomes them into the café, informing them that it will be a bit of a wait. Comforting smells of home cooking waft through the air, and the tantalizing cakes and piles of pastries in the case across the room create a sense of homeyness. The group eyes each enticing dish that is being delivered around them before the decision seems to make itself: “Put us down for a party of three, please!” The enterprise that has become Main & Market was originally named Main Ingredient. It was born out of Garry’s Grill, a restaurant in Severna Park, when it decided to broaden its horizons to catering. Michelle O’Brien brought the concept to life by in 1993, and from the get-go she aimed to provide

carefully curated and high-quality catering experiences to a broad clientele. The company quickly outgrew its Severna Park roots and upgraded to a bigger space to accommodate more catering jobs. In 1997, Main Ingredient moved to its current location at 914 Bay Ridge Road in Annapolis. At the time, that area was not home to many food service providers, but the location proved to be ideal, especially as the company became the exclusive caterer to the Blue Heron Room at Quiet Waters Park, just down the road. Main Ingredient flourished and soon integrated a café and bakery along with its catering services, providing to-go gourmet foods, desserts, and drinks—a service ahead of its time—which captivated the attention of the local community. A year after the Annapolis location opened, the relationship between Main Ingredient and Garry’s Grill dissolved, and the café matured to include the option to eat in. This offered customers the

A table display is set to showcase the catering services of Main & Market Catering in Annapolis.

64 | Spring 2020

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Walking into the café, a customer often feels welcomed home. There are always familiar faces...

Starting as coworkers, these women now consider each other friends and family after having worked together at Main & Market for over 10 years. L–R: Nanette Williams, Christy Rosetti, Deb Darrow, Ellie Elder, Sue Sanchez, Evie Turner, Janet Ormay, Sam Cotton, and April Haynes.

opportunity to enjoy with leisure Main Ingredient’s cuisine, all made to-order on any given day, not just when catered. O’Brien’s daughter ran the café, and her daughter’s best friend, Evie Turner, ran the catering. Turner had worked part-time at Main Ingredient when the company began, catering for O’Brien, and as the company evolved, her role there also evolved. Amid the build up to the economic collapse of 2008, many fell victim to hard times; companies collapsed, and businesses and individuals

66 | Spring 2020

became more frugal. Catering became a luxury, and the demand for corporate catering declined, dwindling Main Ingredient’s business. During this time, Main Ingredient was fortunate enough to find a new partner to support its endeavors—in 2007, Tom Hogan, owner of Federal House in Annapolis, bought Main Ingredient, and that allowed it to develop into the company it is today. As a full-service café, in-house bakery, and high-demand catering service, all with a growing customer base, it eventually outgrew not

only the size of the space it occupied since 1997, but also the name it donned when it was just a catering company. And so, in January 2017, after a yearlong renovation that updated the dining room and catering office and increased the size of the kitchen, Main Ingredient emerged rebranded as Main & Market. The change is intended to bring a more focused understanding of what the business offers. As Main Ingredient, some would know it as just the café and others just the catering. Main & Market speaks to both aspects of the company.

Through all stages of its evolution, Main & Market has maintained its expectations of the customer experience. Turner, who is now vice president of catering, reflects that both arms of the company continue working with vigilance to quality. Ingredients are carefully chosen, delivered daily, and sourced locally whenever possible; everything is prepared in the commissary-sized kitchen onsite; and the staff operates with a mission to be present, friendly, and ensure that every customer feels special, taken care of, and satisfied with a delicious meal. Walking into the café, a customer often feels welcomed home. There are always familiar faces, such as that of Janet Ormay. Like Turner, Ormay has been with the company for over 20 years, and she is not the only longstanding employee. The decor’s, rustic, earth tones set the mood, allowing customers to sink in to their booths, sip a glass of wine, and enjoy the innovative and refreshing dishes that the menu offers. Menu offerings include signature dishes such as snickerdoodle French toast, Hungarian mushroom soup, and herb-crusted salmon as well as daily lunch and dinner specials and seasonal favorites. On the bakery side of the café’s operation, favorites include the fresh-baked pumpkin muffins, gooey cinnamon buns, and of course the desserts. The selection changes constantly, but staples include coconut macaroons, eclairs, derby pie, and an assortment of cakes.

Cakes and other baked goods sit in the display case in the cafe of Main & Market where they also offer comfort gourmet food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Examples of custom cakes are on display in the meeting room of Main & Market Catering, where clients can discuss their catering needs with expert consultants.

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The catering side of the operation is only a short walk next door from the café. When clients walk through that door, April Haynes, who has been with the company for more than 10 years, greets you calmly, instilling peace of mind. The waiting room, balanced and filled with decor meant for inspiration, reflects the attention to detail required of the planning process. The open-office floor plan provides an opportunity to see the team at work. By the time they walk into the bright and tidy conference room, clients are ready to discuss their goals. After a recent event at the Maritime Museum in Annapolis, a museum staffer reached out to Main & Market’s event coordinator, expressing gratitude for and awe of the experience: “It was like five people crawled inside my brain and handled things before I said them . . . they were intuitive, efficient, cheerful, and so much fun to work with.”

L–R: Sue Sanchez, Janet Ormay, Ellie Elder, and Evie Turner have worked together at Main & Market for over 20 years. Some joined the team in high school and stayed on as the business changed locations and owners.

The Italian Cannoli Cake, a chocolate cake with a cannoli and chocolate ganache filling, is just one of the many decadent desserts available at Main & Market Cafe Bakery. 68 | Spring 2020

Main & Market’s reputation for excellence is reflected in its preferred venue list, which has expanded to include Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis Maritime Museum, Running Hare Vineyards, and William Paca House. Its catering services also extend to Washington, DC, Baltimore, and the Eastern Shore. Just as the community has supported Main & Market, it, too, works hard to advocate

for its community. The company provides support to organizations such as Hospice of the Chesapeake and YWCA, to ensure that they meet their annual goals. It donates food for events, such as Shells and Bells and hot chocolate for the Jingle Bell Run, and supports local schools as much as possible. This year, it will be catering the Denim and Diamonds event, which attracts upward of 1,200 people.

Main & Market wants you to let the rest of the world melt away as you enjoy dinner with your loved ones. Take your shoes off and dance as if you haven’t a care in the world at your wedding. Socialize with your guests as you all celebrate another year. Simply be you, and the rest will be taken care of— that’s its main focus. █


Main & Market Cafe offers diners a variety of delicious comfort gourmet offerings, from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to decadent desserts. It sources local ingredients for a seasonally rotating menu.

For more information, visit www.mainandmarket.com.

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Novice Monk



aw Maw remembers crying in the monastery as the Buddhist monk scraped the single-blade razor across his scalp. His parents stood behind their then13-year-old son, catching the falling pieces of his thick, black hair with a white sheet. Maw, now 31, sits at a conference room table in a West Street office space that serves as the home base for Annapolis Mindfulness, a center for Buddhist meditation and spiritual learning that he founded in 2018. The St. John’s College student explains how he spent his first adolescent summer as a koyin, or novice monk, in his home country of Myanmar (also

72 | Spring 2020

known as Burma), and how that experience remains a piece of thread woven into the tapestry of years between now and then, one he has continued to stitch, tear, mend, and recreate. In the Burmese Buddhist tradition, parents commonly pledge their sons to a sangha, a community of monks, for a period of time, and it is believed to bring good luck to the family and discipline to the child. After the transition ceremony, Maw’s parents were required to adore him as their spiritual superior. “For me, it was natural, . . . [a] rite of passage,” says Maw. “Not a strange experience, because that is what everybody does in my culture.”

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Zaw Maw leads a group in Vipassanā, a Buddhism-based meditation practice, during a Saturday afternoon seminar at The Commons in Annapolis.

Shaving the scalp symbolized rejection of self and place in a world of material comforts and an entrance into the immaterial one. Stripped of his worldly station and possessions for the threemonth spiritual immersion, Maw experienced a strict Buddhist lifestyle—no home-cooked meals, visits with friends, or soccer playing on the monastery grounds. The day before his head was shaved, he

74 | Spring 2020

rode into town on a horse, dressed as a prince, lavishing gifts of food upon the townspeople, wearing a bejeweled wooden crown, with shapes painted on his face with white paste ground from thanakha tree bark. Maw remembers his rigid daily schedule at the sangha. He would awaken at 3 a.m. and drape his saffron robe around his body, pulling it through the string tied

around his waist. The string had to stay on his body, even when the saffron robe was not, as it was a reminder of his devotion to the Buddha. He would meditate for an hour before breakfast, then walk the village path through the green countryside with the other koyin. In his mind’s eye he can still see the blanket of morning fog covering the hills and hear the sound of roosters crowing.

Each boy carried a black lacquer bowl to collect the daily alms of food from the townspeople, and a tin cup for the curry. When they walked, they set their gaze just far enough ahead to know where they were going, and certainly not down at their feet. They were not to make eye contact with the people or say “thank you” to the givers. There was to be no emotional attachment to the exchange. Such restrictions would give any teenager a reason to cry, but that was not the only reason for Maw’s tears. He feared the impending silence. “I was scared of what my mind would be like in the quietness because I don’t have any stimulation anymore,” he says, 19 years later. “What do I dwell on?” Perhaps this sharp memory is what allows Maw to empathize with his Annapolis Mindfulness students, some of whom are new to meditation. A handful of people have come to the Sunday night group. Maw offers them herbal tea before starting. They initially sit in a circle, on white, plastic chairs, and listen as Maw offers suggestions on how to meditate, noting that there is more than one way. He tells them to focus on the cool sensation of the in-breath as it grazes the tip of the nose and then to focus on the warmth of the breath leaving the body. Observe the breath, he says, don’t try to change it, and do not judge it. After the brief practice, Maw invites the group to share what they experienced. He considers himself a novice still and learns from listening to others.

Everything can be a meditation, says Maw. He meditates in silence a few times every day and while doing his daily activities. Cooking a curry can be a meditation, as can be his three-mile run or walking with his wife, Melissa, and their two-year-old daughter, Thida. Annapolis Mindfulness was born out of Maw’s passion for learning and for his culture. “I wanted to create a space where there’s going to be a discussion, but what’s going to be the subject?” he’d asked himself. “And that’s when it came about, what I’m passionate about: Buddhism.” Social worker Cary Lukens, 44, took Maw’s four-week beginner’s meditation course and says Maw puts the class at ease. “His teaching is unique, but it’s also very accessible,” says Lukens. “He’s a very gentle teacher.” Students sit however they are comfortable, on floor pillows, chairs, or a couch. Maw shares teachings on Vipassanā meditation, or insight meditation, the practice of remaining present in mind and body. Maggie O’Leary, 64, has been involved with Annapolis Mindfulness since its inception. She describes Maw as soft-spoken, nonjudgmental, and very deep. “I wanted to experience group meditation, and what it was like to actually learn meditation from somebody who had been trained as a Buddhist monk,” she says. During the week, Maw works the late shift for the county’s crisis response system. If someone walks into a fire station or safe station asking for help with an addiction or a mental health emergency,

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“I can contemplate

on it in a meditation practice—what it

means to be in the

thought as opposed

to with the thought,”

Courtesy of the Zaw Maw family archive.

Zaw Maw is passing on what he learned from his teachers.

76 | Spring 2020

Maw shows up to care for the person’s immediate basic needs and follows that person’s progress. Five years sober himself, Maw experienced two hospitalizations for emotional breakdowns. At age 21, Maw came to St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to study philosophy. During his first year, he found the mountain of cultural differences too high to scale. A debilitating homesickness crept in, and he sought an escape through alcohol. He withdrew from school in his sophomore year, only to experience a reverse culture shock upon his return home. Suspended between two worlds, the conservative mores of his Buddhist community and the expressive, secular American college community, “I lost my identity,” he explains. During his mid-twenties, Maw remembers being frustrated and so consumed by what he calls selfcentered thoughts that he was not able to access his meditation practice. “Although the tool was available, I [couldn’t] see it,” he says. Amid the tumult, he decided to finish his education and came back to the United States, this time to St. John’s in Annapolis. His addiction and emotional struggles continued, and he suffered another emotional collapse.

In hindsight, he values that experience and sees how it has aided his spiritual growth. “I can contemplate on it in a meditation practice—what it means to be in the thought as opposed to with the thought,” he says. Since becoming sober, he got married and started a family. He graduates from St. John’s this spring and hopes to continue growing Annapolis Mindfulness. Maw ends each Sunday night session with a loving-kindness meditation. He instructs the group to meditate on the concentric circles

of relationships in their lives, starting with those closest to them, wishing them health and happiness and that they be free from anger and free from danger. Next, they are to wish loving-kindness to their neighbors, then enlarge the circle to include the people in the city, then in the state, sending ripples of loving kindness as far as their minds can reach. After the five-minute closing meditation ends, there is a lighter feeling in the room. The group gets up to leave. Some have one more cup of tea and chat

with Maw, each perhaps feeling a little more present than when they first arrived. They gather blankets and purses and put the chairs back around a table. Some walk together down the stairs and out onto West Street. Then they walk back to their cars, not looking too far ahead, and certainly not down at their feet. █ For more information, visit www.annapolismindfulness.com.


Neil Fennerty (left) and Carman Klassen (right) join Zaw Maw in a group meditation.

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