THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE I.W.S.A. & THE ANNAPOLIS ARTS DISTRICT
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Nancy Hammond Editions
Nancy Hammond Editions features original art, prints and custom designed gifts by Nancy Hammond
192 West Street Annapolis MD 21401 Open Daily 410-295-6612 NancyHammondEditions.com Heron and Sweet Gum Heron and Shining Sumac
Heron and Water Hickory Heron and Paw Paw Leaves
Limited Edition signed and numbered giclee print, 30” x 40” Signed Artist Proof, 22” x 30”
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
CONTENTS 6 | Winter 2018
Andy’s Instinctive Travels • A N D Y K AT Z
By Julia Gibb
Making Future Music
Dazzled by Africa, Inspired to Act
• B I L L P E T TAWAY
By Brenda Wintrode
SNAP •CELIA PEARSON
By Julia Gibb
WILD • M I K E PA R E D E S A N D N A N C Y L AW
By Leigh Glenn
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE I.W.S.A. & THE ANNAPOLIS ARTS DISTRICT
W INT ER 2 0 1 8
Focus on Fan Experience • E VA N W E I N S T E I N
By Brenda Wintrode
The Next Big Thing
Local, Homey, Eco-friendly
Chuck D (2015) by Andy Katz. Graphite and white charcoal on cardboard. 16 "x 20".
• R A O U L G R AV E S
By Desiree Smith-Daughety
• E V E LY N ’ S
By Emma Harrigan Campbell
Giving All You’ve Got
The Shifting Lenses of an Art-full Life
•WILLIE BAKER, A.K.A.“LABLACQ PEARL”
By Desiree Smith-Daughety
CINE The Great Idea • M C B R I D E G A L L E RY
By Christine Fillat
By Leigh Glenn
The I.W.S.A.(Inner West Street Association) & the Annapolis Arts District Calendar
inter is hinged to our sunrises and sunsets as we settle into darker days and longer nights. The urge to stay in and move slower takes over. In honor of this time of repose, I am sharing a poem.
Into the Silk We Weave Into the silk we weave, aghast! Triumph over a braided past,
Fatigue, our fuel, so we abide,
Lay down our heads for dreams that guide, A hush, it hangs, our worries glassed. Alone, not forlorn. Oh! Sweet fast,
Hunger pangs of heart, full and vast, Beg feast of passion—knotted, tied Into the silk we weave.
Jimi Davies is on thin ice.
Where thunderstorms tempt flabbergast, Our sky has widened, love’s forecast
Calls sun and squall, our eyes now dried, We play the fool, can’t be denied, Our past and present, all is cast Into the silk we weave.
upstart-annapolis.com | 7
RISE TO NEW HEIGHTS with the Visual Arts department at Anne Arundel Community College
Courses range from the traditional fine arts to digital design and time-based media. Curriculum emphasizes the technical and conceptual aspects of visual inspiration. Newest course additions include Alternative Photographic Processes and Introduction to Historic Preservation.
AACC teaches courses in: • Art History. • Ceramics. • Graphic Design. • Painting and Drawing. • Photography. • Printmaking. • Sculpture. • Video Game Design. • Video and Media Production. • Web Design.
If you love art and want to see what AACC can offer you, visit www.aacc.edu and select Liberal Arts.
Photo courtesy of Tyler Mitchell
Publisher & Creative Director Jimi Davies email@example.com Editorial Director Andrea Stuart firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Leah Weiss Associate Editors Michele Callaghan MacDuff Perkins Contributing Editors Emma Harrigan Campbell Christine Fillat Julia Gibb Leigh Glenn Desiree Smith-Daughety Brenda Wintrode
Art Director Cory Deere email@example.com Contributing Photographers Alison Harbaugh Sarah Jane Holden Willie Lee Productions Bridgett Rheam Advertising Jimi Davies firstname.lastname@example.org Kim Oâ€™Brien email@example.com Melissa Lauren firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Costello email@example.com
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SUBMISSIONS: For article submissions, email proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com or call 410-212-4242. Entire contents ÂŠ 2018 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.
10 | Winter 2018
Emma Harrigan Campbell
Willie Lee Productions
Sarah Jane Holden
upstart-annapolis.com | 11
12 | Winter 2018
Andy’s Instinctive Travels by JULIA GIBB
hat brings a soft-spoken middle school teacher and married father of two out in the wee hours of the night, following a hip-hop icon’s bus to . . . he’s not entirely sure which Washington, DC hotel? The answer, of course, is art. During his childhood, art lifted up Andrew Katz when he needed it and gave him much-needed direction. He now goes to great lengths to complete what are, in essence, collaborative artworks whose finishing touches are the signatures and tags of the hip-hop artists he depicts in his portraits. Katz’s love of hip-hop was born in the mid-1980s when he discovered a mix tape left by his sister in the stereo system after a party, but it took many years before his portraiture and musical obsession intertwined.
KRS-One (2012) by Andy Katz. Charcoal on paper, 14" x 22".
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14 | Winter 2018
“I look for ways to encourage student artists to navigate the creative process through meaningful and thoughtful solutions.” Born in Ellicott City, now living on the Eastern Shore, Katz is a proud Maryland resident. When he was in the sixth grade, his father passed away, leaving the family reeling. “Art saved me,” he says, “because I was an average student at best.” He credits a middle school art teacher with recognizing his need for extra encouragement and guidance; with her help, art became a safe haven where he could focus and excel. Building on his skills through high school, Katz started developing his identity as an artist. A teacher for 23 years, Katz offers the support he is so grateful to have received as a teen. He is currently Visual Arts Department Head for K–12 and middle school art instructor at The Key School in Annapolis, teaching drawing, painting, sculpture, and design. “I look for ways to encourage student artists to navigate the creative process through meaningful and thoughtful solutions,” he says. Far Left: DJ Lord (2012) by Andy Katz. Graphite and white charcoal on cardboard, 16" x 20". Left: B-Real (2012) by Andy Katz. Graphite and white charcoal on cardboard, 16" x 20". upstart-annapolis.com | 15
Questlove (2015) by Andy Katz. Watercolor on paper, 22" x 30".
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After a semester studying at Towson and later at Catonsville Community College, Katz built up his portfolio and nerve to apply to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where he was accepted. Gravitating to tight, realistic renderings, he was confident working in black and white, only to feel he would ruin the drawings when he added color. Artist and MICA professor Phyllis Plattner helped Katz resolve that trepidation, encouraging him to focus on creating a highly developed drawing before starting to add color. He invests 60 to 70 percent of his time and effort in the drawings that underlie his paintings, rendering not only the outlines but also the edges of shadows, colors, and shapes. He then begins experimenting in small areas with paint—in most cases, watercolor. It’s a slow process, he says. “But once I had permission to work in a tight style, I fell in love.” He laughs as he recalls being asked by the Annapolis Watercolor Club to do a demonstration. He warned them, “It’s going to be really boring, watching me work.” He agreed to participate anyway. “Sure enough,” he says, “everyone was checking their watches and yawning. I think I did about an inch-and-a-half section in over an hour and a half.” Katz still works in black and white, rendering some of his portraits on cardboard. He enjoys the texture and how the fragility of the drawing surface makes him take his time and pay close attention to the pressure he
applies with his drawing tools. “Only one piece has a hole in it,” he smiles, “where the dog jumped on it.” Working first in black charcoal, he allows the cardboard to show through and function as a pigment itself, lending a warmth and depth to the skin tone of the artists he depicts. Finally, he adds highlights in white. Recently he began experimenting with carefully cutting and peeling away the top layer of paper to reveal the corrugation beneath, working the texture into his compositions. In 2012, Katz added another dimension to his portraiture when he had an opportunity to ask Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew to sign a watercolor portrait Katz had made of the athlete. In a humorous nod to the lyrics, “I’ve got mad hits like I was Rod Carew” from the Beastie Boys song, “Sure Shot,” he asked Carew if he would sign his painting, “I’ve got mad hits–Rod Carew.” Carew genially obliged. The piece now seemed finished in a new way, and Katz set his mind on finding the Beastie Boys to add band member Mike D.’s signature to the piece— and succeeded. Katz goes to great lengths to procure the tags and signatures of the artists he depicts. He has since gotten the signatures of all the artists he drew who were on that mix tape from the 1980s. “I create these little adventures for myself; I call them missions.” Normally reserved, Katz says, “When I meet the artist, when I get my work signed, it puts me in a place where I feel much more confident to talk to people.” These missions have taken him on many wild pursuits, late nights, and emotional roller coasters. He chronicles them on
visual timeline. Viewers could scan a pod with their devices, and a video with related content would appear. He continues to expand his DC connections. In May 2018, Katz had a solo show of his portraits at Blind Whino, an arts and culture collective based in southwest Washington, DC. Knowing that technology plays a major role in his young students’ lives, Katz strives to keep up with software and apps that can enhance and extend the art viewing experience. For one project, his students dressed up in Civil War costumes. “We made them look like tintypes,” he explains. When a viewer scanned the images with a device, a video popped up, featuring students reading Civil-War-style letters from home. “We put candles on, had all these props from the Civil War era . . . it’s really
sophisticated.” He emphasizes to his students that video and apps aren’t a substitute for the hands-on part, only an extension. “We have to model our behavior, walk the walk, make sure the kids see us doing it.” He’s honest about what he doesn’t know as well. “That’s how they learn,” says Katz, “not just by me talking.” █
Andy Katz at the Blind Whino. Photo by Mig Martinez.
his blog, THIS MIGHT NOT WORK’ The Art Adventures and Endeavors of Andrew J. Katz (katzart.blog). Typically, his interactions with the artists are positive, the musicians humble and gracious. This was true of Chuck D, who, ultimately gave Katz a job working on the Public Enemy website. “I’ve never met someone so genuinely generous with promotion and empowerment of other people,” says Katz of the artist. He has also learned drawing on an iPad, illustrating a book while working long-distance with the author and experimented with digitally creating portraits of hiphop artists. There is something strange to him about these pieces—there is no original, and the sensory experience is lacking. “If I do a watercolor painting, I’ll look down at my hands and I’ll have paint all over my hands, and I’ll smell the paper, and I can erase and see the bits of paper, and I can change the surface.” In 2015, Katz met artist Cory L. Stowers at a hip-hop show in DC. Stowers, knowing of Katz’s interest in augmented reality apps, invited him to be part of one of his projects. Katz did conceptual renderings for a piece centering around African American activist Paul Robeson, including a timeline of Robeson’s life and achievements. He also participated in painting the mural itself. “It was strange,” he says, “the street artists were trying to capture my style on a very irregular wall.” The finished mural is a “living timeline” of Paul Robeson’s life, including “history pods”—six-foot circles with line segments in between, creating a
Mike D (2014) by Andy Katz. Watercolor on paper, 16" x 20".
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MARYLAND FEDERATION OF ART MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
SMALL WONDERS DECEMBER 1 - 23
WINTER MEMBER SHOW JANUARY 4 - 20 FOCAL POINT JAN 24 - FEB 23
VISUAL HARMONY @ MD HALL JAN 10 - MAR 2
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by BRENDA WINTRODE Photos courtesy of BILL PETTAWAY
he twentieth-century conductor Leopold Stokowski said, “A painter paints pictures on canvas, but musicians paint their pictures on silence.” Musician, composer, and electronic music artist Bill Pettaway splashes the jingling of swaying wind chimes with warm laughter or dubs the rip of a car’s hand brake over a bass plucking a heartbeat on a canvas of silence as intentionally as Jackson Pollok would throw paint.
Pettaway, 57, awakes at his home in tropical Miami as early as 3 a.m. to begin composing, and sometimes he does not stop until 3 a.m. the next morning. His passion for modular music challenges him to create the next level of sound (audible art). The Annapolis native describes what he calls his “noisemaking” with modular synthesizers as “future music” that has the potential to become background composition for film or television. “I love electronic music,” says Pettaway. “It’s got me addicted to it. I sleep this. I
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live this.” Pettaway alternates notes and overlaps rhythms, merging the synthetic and the ambient with the harmonious and the discordant. The results stimulate the auditory senses, evoking visuals and emotions of films yet to be made—eerie suspense-thriller montages, intergalactic science fiction, and wanting flashbacks of familiar voices. Childhood friend and fellow musician Mike McHenry attests to Pettaway’s early passion for and fascination with crafting sound, and credits him as one of the “best guitar players I’ve ever heard.” The two became friends in middle school and attended Annapolis High School together. McHenry recalls endless hours jamming together on guitars in Pettaway’s basement after school. “Other kids were trying to imitate Kool and the Gang, and we were trying to figure out what they were listening to on Saturn,” says McHenry, who describes Pettaway as a ball of energy and highly creative. “He’s outside the box. His mind is not restricted by rules. With his music theory knowledge on top of his musicianship, he is second to nobody,” exclaims McHenry. After high school, Pettaway received an intensive music education at the Southwest Guitar Conservatory in San Antonio, under legendary guitarist and founder of the school, Jackie King. Outside-the-box thinking meant Pettaway was often
“Other kids were trying to imitate Kool and the Gang, and we were trying to f igure out what they were listening to on Saturn.”
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misunderstood in his early school years. He remembers teachers not knowing how to answer his unique questions. This dynamic, combined with undiagnosed dyslexia, resulted in his being mistakenly placed in special education classes until an advocate later corrected the error. Pettaway chose not to react negatively and instead designed his own curriculum. He practiced guitar in between customers at his job pumping gas on the corner of Chinquapin Round Road and Forest Drive. When he wasn’t jamming with McHenry after school, he would walk from Parole to the well-known jazz club, King of France Tavern, on Main Street, in the basement under the Maryland Inn (now a coffee shop). “Someone would put a chair out[side] for me to sit right near the door because I was too young to be near the liquor, and I would sit and listen for hours,” he says. “If I had enough money, I would buy a ginger ale.” He studied every intonation and beat of jazz giants like Maynard Ferguson, John Scofield, Jimmy Bruno, and The Grainger Brothers. “I saw the future. I knew what I was going to do. It was in my spirit to do it. I was going to play music. I just wasn’t sure at what level I would make music,” says Pettaway. In 1989, Pettaway received his answer when pop music’s Milli Vanilli did a remake of Pettaway’s “Girl You Know It’s True,” a song he composed and originally recorded with the Baltimorebased group Numarx. In the decades since then, his talents and consultative and creative contributions have been coveted at
Record Producer Jimmy Douglass, Geneva Randolph, and Bill Pettaway.
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lymphoma for the fifth time in 10 years with the care of best friend Geneva Randolph and an anonymous donor’s bone marrow. Randolph, who has known Pettaway for over 18 years, describes him as the closest person to her next to her mother. She didn’t hesitate to quit her job to become his fulltime caregiver. “He’s one of the smartest individuals I’ve ever met. He’s nice to everyone, even when people aren’t nice to him,” she says. The pair just released their first joint electronic music recording, “Esoteric Hair.” Randolph expresses appreciation for the reverence Pettaway’s holds for his craft: “It’s not just the creation of sound or an instrument, it is truly something sacred to him.” Randolph attests to Pettaway’s positivity even during the bleakest moments of his illnesses. “His spirit always remained upbeat. He has a strong belief in God that his parents instilled in him, and he gave thanks to God every day,” she says. This latest period of illness has informed Pettaway of his next artistic direction. “The cancer helped me. I’m not gonna say, ‘why me?’ I’m still living. I don’t let that stop me from being myself,” he says. There are days where he doesn’t feel well but is determined to follow his heart and his passion. He says, “You say a prayer and you put your shoes on and you get to walking. And you don’t get attached to something, because everything changes.” █
the highest levels of professional musicianship. A small sampling of Pettaway’s credits includes writing lyrics and composing for rapper Jay Z’s album The Blueprint Collector’s Edition and playing guitar on Missy Elliot’s “Respect” and “Under Construction,” Timbaland & Magoo’s “Indecent Proposal,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” and “Sexy Back.” Remarkable still is that when Pettaway was in between recording gigs for some of the biggest names in music, he would come back to Annapolis to work at the same gas station and later, car rental business. “Sometimes I have to escape and do normal things,” says Pettaway. He attributes his work ethic to the values instilled in him by his parents. “Working gives you people skills. I learned everything I needed to know about people from that gas station,” he says. It was also at that gas station, during the 1990s, that Pettaway discovered musical artist Toni Braxton, and subsequently introduced her to the people who launched her career. Now far from the sailing town he once called home, Pettaway watches for dolphins, crocodiles, and stingrays from his seventeenth-story balcony overlooking a blue canal and a green golf course. He always envisioned living somewhere tropical and enjoys spending time in nature. “It feels so good to wake up and see the sun,” says Pettaway. Less than two years ago, he defeated non-Hodgkin’s
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Masterworks SEASON José-Luis Novo, Music Director | The Philip Richebourg Chair
December 14, 2018 | 8 PM
A Winter’s Heart Celtic Music Celebration
with Cathie Ryan Join beloved Irish-American singer Cathie Ryan, her three-piece band, and the Symphony for a Celtic holiday program, blending traditional and original songs mixed with rousing jigs and reels!
March 1 & 2, 2019 | 8 PM
Moonlight & Movie Music
Mozart Symphony No. 25 Annapolis Film Festival Short Feature Music selected by Maestro Novo Mahler Adagietto from Symphony No. 5 Revueltas La Noche de los Mayas (The Night of the Mayas)
March 29 & 30, 2019 | 8 PM
with the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club Whitacre Deep Field Aaron Smith, conductor Beethoven Symphony No. 9 José-Luis Novo, conductor
To purchase tickets: 410-263-0907 | annapolissymphony.org
10/31/18 4:31 PM
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Sea Glass (2018). Still Life, archival inkjet print on cotton rag paper. Photo by Celia Pearson
by JULIA GIBB
ong before ever capturing an image with a camera, Celia Pearson experienced a visual awakening during a childhood immersed in environmental beauty. Growing up on a farm outside of Washington, DC, she was free to roam the countryside, riding her pony through what seemed to be endless acres of farmland, traveling lanes and fields that took her from one farm to the next. In the summer, she stayed with her paternal grandparents in their home on a small island off of Kittery Point, Maine. There, along the shore with her family, Pearson says, “We collected things, always. That place where the land meets the sea is a very special
place to me.” It’s a perfect metaphor for the liminal space Pearson explores through her creative process. Through this lens, finely attuned to beauty, Pearson finds compositions, shapes, and patterns, filling her work with the energy of the unseen. Local photographer the late Dick Bond was Pearson’s first and only teacher—and the reason she became a photographer. “He was a scientist in a state of wonder,” she says. Bond taught photography at the tiny Stratus Gallery on State Circle, where Pearson took her first class in 1972. When Pearson told him, “I want to photograph what you can’t see,” he responded,
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A Door Opens (2018). Archival inkjet print on cotton rag paper (photomontage). Photo by Celia Pearson.
“ I’m not only seeing the surface beauty, I’m experiencing something else.” 30 | Winter 2018
“You can’t photograph what you can’t see!” But Pearson strives to go into, beyond, and beneath the outer appearance of her subjects. “I’m not only seeing the surface beauty, I’m experiencing something else. And that is what drives my work the most.” In the late 1970s, Pearson created and exhibited fine art photography around Annapolis. In 1979, she started a business as an assignment photographer. After 20 successful years, during which she developed a
national reputation for her work photographing interior spaces, gardens, and architecture, she yearned to follow her muse while continuing on her professional path. Her vision and creativity compelled her to return gradually to fine art photography, her true love. Pearson’s process is visceral and intuitive. “Making art slows me down and hushes my busy mind,” she says, “I find more breathing room.” Within that quietude resides a transformative
Glass TransformedÂ (2018). Seven archival inkjet prints on silk, silk organza, and polyester. Photo by Celia Pearson.
experience that simultaneously transports her deeper within and outside of herself. While creating and observing, she waits to feel the shift in mind and body for that moment when gut instinct compels her to press the shutter button. The composition of Pearsonâ€™s works reflects the relationship that develops between artist and subject. Luminous pieces of sea glass are placed deliberately, creating a meditation of form, color, and light. Sometimes
compositions wait patiently for discovery inside a seashell or in the rhythmic growth habit of a plant. Zooming in on these lyrical moments creates a sense of intimacy. Using a shallow depth of focus enhances the worksâ€™ abstract quality, bringing only small portions of the subject into focus while letting the rest remain dreamily soft and painterly. The transition from out of focus to sharp creates a dynamic juxtaposition of movement and rest in these still lifes.
Travels in Southeast Asia in 2008 and 2009 exposed Pearson to a deluge of visual, aural, and olfactory stimuli, pushing her beyond traditional ways of composing and presenting her work. Exploring Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam with only a professional-grade point-andshoot, a panoramic camera, and an old 35-millimeter camera, she documented landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, art, and street life. The resulting imagery
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Wet (2013). Archival inkjet print on cotton rag paper. Photo courtesy of Celia Pearson.
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demanded a different process of creating and displaying the body of work that would become her exhibit titled Layerings: A Glimpse of Southeast Asia. Pearson created photomontages, combining multiple images with diverse but sympathetic colors and textures, allowing the images at times to show the seams where they abut other images. Her montages encapsulate the bombardment of stimuli while finding common threads of color and texture running through the images.
Inspired by the textiles and rice paper seen in her travels, she printed works on silk, some displayed on their own, hanging unframed and unfettered at their bottom edge, free to shift with currents of air. Other prints on the diaphanous fabric hung sometimes in front of another static image printed on paper, combining the two in an ever-shifting, ethereal landscape. In a body of work called A Door Opens, Pearson revisits some of her
previous subjects—sea glass, shells, and plants, along with hints of architecture. Some of these works are photomontages, bringing disparate yet harmonious subjects together. Others feature images of actual doors. But the feeling here is that in the artist’s soul a new door has opened, and she has eagerly walked through it, lured in by the exploration of yet another facet of her art. While Pearson chose the subject matter for bodies of work, such as What We Collect, and Things That Grow, sometimes, she says, the subjects choose her. This was the case with her series called Glass Transformed, which began when author and sea glass researcher Richard Lamotte asked her to create the photographs to illustrate his first book, Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems. The experience led to many more months in her studio, photographing a now-beloved subject, always only with available light, as is her way with all of her art. Another of Pearson’s exhibits, Molten Beauty: The Soul of an American Galvanizing Plant, evolved in similar fashion. The recipient of one of Pearson’s yearly photography calendars, Kathleen Ortel, sought her out to photograph a century-old industrial workplace in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for a customized calendar. The company, Korns Galvanizing, does the more intricate galvanizing jobs that larger, automated plants can’t handle. Pearson was immediately excited by the heat, sound, and energy of the place, along with the obvious pride employees
“ You can’t tell it’s canvas. It doesn’t reflect light, [there’s] a richness that’s remarkable.”
Photographer Celia Pearson at her home studio in Eastport. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.
and Pearson and her two sisters help care for her. A retired professional modern dancer, Wolf empathizes with her daughter’s artistic spirit and is one of her most trusted advisors. She often traveled with Pearson and accompanied her on her first trip to Southeast Asia. She contributed the title Layerings to the resulting body of work. Wolf had endless patience when her daughter would stop and make photographs. “She would just
sit and wait . . . She has always been an observer—she was content, occupied.” Pearson’s voice fills with emotion as she reads aloud from her book-in-progress, Molten Beauty: “This book is dedicated to Nicole Rose-marie Wolf, my mother and lifelong muse. We are fellow travelers, kindred spirits. I am deeply grateful for her presence.” █
took in their work. “It was such an honest, raw, gritty place, “ she says. “[You could] feel the heartbeat of the universe in it.” She envisioned an exhibit, and Ortel forged a collaboration between artist and company to bring it to fruition. Pearson printed large-scale works on silk and on uncoated, fine-woven canvas, and loves the effect, saying, “You can’t tell it’s canvas. It doesn’t reflect light, [there’s] a richness that’s remarkable.” Pearson believes that we are all artists. The rapid advance of technology, which allows nearly everyone to have some sort of camera on hand at almost every moment, has inspired an explosion of creativity. This presents both a boon and a challenge to photographers who have spent decades accumulating knowledge and working. Pearson strives to make her work accessible at a variety of price points, offering posters, notecards, and the yearly calendar, in addition to her limited edition prints. A book of her works from Molten Beauty, along with some writings, is in progress. Nicole Wolf, Pearson’s 91-yearold mother, also lives in Eastport,
See Celia Pearson’s work at www.celiapearson.com.
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Dazzled by Africa, Inspired to Act by LEIGH GLENN photos courtesy of
MIKE PAREDES & NANCY LAW
I A wild elephant in Zambia.
f you were a United Airlines passenger and were greeted by pilots Mike Paredes or Nancy Law, you probably wouldn’t guess that the two have survived multiple, unpredictable encounters with elephants, crocodiles, lions, and buffalo in places such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Commercial flying afforded Paredes and Law the opportunity to meet—they were introduced by fellow pilots, and he’d heard about her great parties in Annapolis—but their shared sense of adventure moved their relationship to another level that eventually included marriage.
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Now they’ve parlayed their wanderlust, poignant sense of what is beautiful, and photography skills into wildlife conservation and humanitarian support, primarily in Zambia in south-central Africa. Paredes always knew he wanted to travel, and after a brief stint attending a large state university in Florida, he transferred to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Law had worked as a
“ That made our work more professional to me, and also gave it some deeper meaning.”
Mike Paredes and Nancy Law reunite with safari spotter Sadera at the Tanzania/Kenya border 10 years after their first trip to Africa, during which he was their spotter.
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flight attendant, often sitting in the jump seat behind the pilots, and decided she’d rather fly. She learned to do so at Bay Bridge Airport, flying small commuter planes, instructing others, and eventually getting hired by United Airlines. The couple’s shared sense of adventure—from Law’s preParedes, 25-day, 10-country, around-the-world race in a Piper Navajo twin-engine with extra fuel tanks, and Paredes’ desire to record travels and encounters through photography—has always brought them back to Africa and informs and inspires their activism. “I got into photography in 2007, on our first trip to Africa, which is when I bought my first ‘real’ camera, a Nikon,” Paredes says. “That’s when it really hit me that I was lucky enough to be seeing incredible places and beings, and that I wanted to artfully represent them.” He upgraded his equipment as finances permitted and began photographing everything from wildlife to people on the streets, whenever he had layovers. “Nancy and I learned quickly that most African species are in big trouble due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching,” he says. “The situation with rhinos, who are tragically almost all gone due to poaching for their horn—which is made of keratin, exactly like a huge fingernail, and doesn’t cure any disease or, ahem, bedroom challenges at all—and elephants, who are slaughtered for their tusks, really impacted us and turned us into environmentalists at home.”
That included getting involved with others in their community and the Severn Riverkeeper to force Anne Arundel County to adopt a more responsible coastal plains outfall system. “Personally, I also started seeing our wildlife here in Annapolis through a more precise and appreciative lens, if you will,” says Paredes. “Nancy has always had a sharp eye and deeper appreciation for what’s around her than I have, and thanks to her . . . I see the beauty of the world right outside our house in a more profound way.” It’s been more than 20 years since Law visited Africa the first time. In Kenya, in 1996, she felt blown away. “I fell in love with the sense of the place, the absolute, perfect beauty of the wildlife, the aesthetics of the tribal designs and clothing, the enormous generosity of and smiles on the faces of Africans, their culture and way of living,” she says. “It’s the first time I realized how amazing vegetables could taste—organic, grown in the African sun, just unbelievably delicious.” Two years into their marriage, in 2007, they visited Kenya’s Masai Mara and Lewa Conservancy together, with Law’s best friend and her boyfriend, and had an even deeper experience. “I felt the ancientness of our connection to the continent—the fact that we as a species were born there,” she says. “The trip changed my entire outlook on life,” adds Paredes. “A conservationist and photographer was definitely born there. We pledged to go to Africa every other year, as finances allowed, electing not to spend money on things so much as experiences.”
Paredes says it would be hard to top Law’s around-the-world race in terms of adventure, but gradually his photography began garnering attention, and he chose to provide at least half of the profits from the mapphotographic.com site to benefit conservation of his photograph’s subjects, including elephants and other animals. “That made our work more professional to me, and also gave it some deeper meaning,” he says. He also allows conservation organizations to use his photographs online and in print to support particular campaigns. One of Law’s photographs, a meerkat in Namibia taken in 2009, made it into a National Geographic book, The World Awaits, after someone saw it on Your Shot, National Geographic’s photo community. But for the most part, Law is Paredes’ art director. “She seems to find more joy in being less about the technical parts of photography— she’d rather observe,” says Paredes. “She’ll spot, and I’ll be ready with the camera, and she’ll compose the shot sometimes.” The trip to Kenya also got them involved in elephant conservation, which included successfully getting a law passed in New Jersey to ban the sale of ivory in the state
A wild kudu in Zambia.
as well as pushing for legislation in Maryland to stop the sale of ivory and bringing in former safari guides to testify in support of such proposals. Paredes says you can visit antique shops and shows in Maryland and still see ivory for sale. “[Shop owners and dealers don’t] realize the blood attached to an ivory trinket. Ivory is not art.
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A wild lioness peers out of the bush, photo by Nancy Law.
“Mike all of a sudden whispered, ‘Don’t move, don’t start the engine!’”
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Some people argue differently, but it’s a body part—it’s not art.” People think old ivory is okay, says Law, but factories can make new ivory look old, and it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. “I know people still think it’s like a tooth,” she says, “but the poor elephant was massacred—entire herds, their tusks cut out.” China had been the main market for ivory, says Paredes, but its government is now phasing out state-sanctioned markets. In
the United States, the struggle is going state-by-state, as it’s unlikely that anything will pass at the federal level at this time. “It is something that might be difficult to make people understand because we don’t have any elephants here,” Paredes says. “I wish everybody could sit with elephants in Africa to just be in their presence.” The two have had that experience. “One time, in
Wild elephants in Zimbabwe.
Namibia, we were driving a jeep around and stopped at a waterhole,” says Law. “We were sitting there and Mike all of a sudden whispered, ‘Don’t move, don’t start the engine!’ A huge wild elephant silently walked directly next to Mike’s window and lowered its head a bit, checking us out, then eventually walked to the water to drink. It was like touching God, to us. It was a religious experience.”
In 2011, Paredes and Law visited Mozambique to support the restoration of Gorongosa National Park. Much of the country’s civil war was fought within the bounds of the park, where more than 90 percent of the elephants were killed during that time, says Paredes. “They don’t trust humans there like in other parts of Africa, and we were actually charged by a herd,
which was terrifying,” he says. “But they are coming along, and really need to accept us because, for good or bad, humans will either save them or wipe them out.” In Mozambique, they met some people who have since become close friends. One of them convinced the couple to come to Zimbabwe the following year.
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“[It] was an unreal, incredible trip. We wound up in a sinking boat in a crocodile- and hippo-infested lake—survived—scrambling up a tree to escape a crazy melee between a pride of lions and a herd of buffalo—survived and got photos!—running alongside wild painted dogs, and white-water– rafting the Zambezi River.” After their first visit to Zambia, in 2014, Paredes and Law got involved with Dazzle Africa, a Nevada-based nonprofit that supports conservation in Zambia
and strengthens the ties between people and wildlife in the country. Today, Paredes is on its board of directors. In November 2018, they volunteer-led a second safari to Zambia—the first was in 2016—with a special requirement: each attendee had to fundraise a minimum of $1,000 instead of building in a profit to the safari cost. “They often raise even more,” says Paredes, “so the organization has more funds for the projects.” This spreads awareness about the plight of Zambian wildlife
in the safarigoers’ communities. The money from their November safari is dedicated to the operating costs for an anti-poaching plane that patrols around Mfuwe, where South Luangwa National Park is located. Involvement by outsiders in conservation in various countries in Africa tends to be complicated. “One of the things we really believe in and are proud to be volunteering with Dazzle Africa is [the] relationship between the wildlife and the people who live
around the wildlife,” Paredes says. “You can’t be the saviors from North America when you’re overstepping your bounds.” Dazzle Africa works in one area and is integrated with the community. The needs are identified, and the people help themselves. “These towns around the national park are directly benefiting from tourism. Local people from those towns are benefiting,” says Paredes. Dazzle Africa also recognizes how important it is to teach
Buffalo versus lions. After having to climb a tree to escape the action from a herd of buffalo and a pride of lions in Zimbabwe, Mike Paredes shot this photo of the action.
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Mike Paredes and Nancy Law in Burma, now known as Myanmar.
Back home, Annapolis offers something of a vacation for Paredes and Law, as they love to sail. “We have a small sailboat. We kayak on local waters and observe and photograph the amazing wildlife we have here. It’s rare that I don’t have binoculars nearby or Mike is without his camera,” says Law. Paredes also serves on the board of the Annapolis-based nonprofit Future History Now, which helps integrate art into the lives of young people from underserved communities.
Having fun posing in front of an elephant in Zimbabwe.
Could there be a Future History Now mural coming to Mfuwe? “[It] would be the perfect melding of two organizations,” says Paredes. “I think that will happen.” █ To learn more about Dazzle Africa and Future History Now, visit dazzleafrica.org and futurehistorynow.org.
Photographing very rare wild black rhinos in Zimbabwe.
people about the value of the animals and sponsors students, even those in college, to return to the community to help. Sometimes safarigoers pay for students’ education or donate the costs of the patrol plane. “We are the guardians of this earth and we are the guardians of these animals, and we have the ability to save them,” Law says. “Our children are our best hope for that. We’re trying to make sure that those children benefit from our coming and will take care of their earth, their animals, and their land. “A lot of people think that this land is there for us to exploit, and it’s just not,” says Law. “Having an oil company come in and take over the land . . . that could destroy an entire ecosystem and pollute the water, and we’ve seen that so many places we’ve been.”
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THE MITCHELL GALLERY
The Illuminated Pages
See what can be accomplished without a cell phone. Painted Pages:
Illuminated Manuscripts, 13th-18th Centuries Jan. 9 -Feb. 24, 2019
For information about all exhibition-related programs,
including tours, lectures, workshops and book club, visit sjc.edu/mitchell-gallery or call 410-626-2556. THE UNEXPECTED TREASURE IN ANNAPOLIS
St. John’s College | 60 College Avenue | Annapolis, MD 21401
Joachinus de Gigantibus de Rotenberg (illuminator), Pietro Ursuleo of Capua (scribe), Leaf from a Book of Hours, Italian, 1465 – 1483. Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on parchment. Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania. Leaf from a Dominican Missal, Italian (Perugia), c. 1353. Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on vellum. Reading Public Museum. Reading, Pennsylvania.
CALL FOR ARTISTS
Anne Arundel County Juried Exhibition 2019 Image & Imagination May 23 – June 11, 2019 Cash prizes are awarded for Best in Show, Best Two-Dimensional, and Best Three-Dimensional. Details and Online entry: http://themitchellgallery.org. DEADLINE March 24, 2019
Focus on Fan Experience by BRENDA WINTRODE photos courtesy of EVAN WEINSTEIN
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Moonrise Festival, 2018.
or the past five Augusts, roughly 30,000 guests per day have ascended on Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course to absorb their fill of sound and visual stimulation at the two-day Moonrise Festival, the area’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festival. The sensory filled weekend, produced by event company Steez Promo, features live EDM bands, DJs, hip-hop artists, and rappers, all who enchant the audience with hypnotic beats while light artists mesmerize with digital light shows and pyrotechnics. Costumed dancers bedazzle onlookers in neon rainbow costumes, futuristic makeup, and glitter—lots of glitter. With virtually every sense activated, showgoers just might feel that they are being transported to a fantasy-like escape, perhaps even sent into another orbit. “It’s a privilege that I get to do events of this size and work with artists that I really believe in,” says Steez Promo president Evan Weinstein. Electronic and dance music performers Marshmello, Illenium, and Excision are just some of the 87 acts that played on the four stages at the 2018 festival.
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Weinstein describes what motivates him to market and produce what, to some, might be a monstrous undertaking. “It’s realizing these bands are going to be big, finding new music that’s going to cross thresholds, and break boundaries,” says Weinstein. Weinstein’s festival world is one of many interests within his orbit. He turns marketing plans into revenue for the nonmusical clients of his separate marketing Moonrise Festival, 2018.
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consulting business. “I love creating the architecture for a program and helping a brand penetrate a certain aspect of their marketplace,” says Weinstein. The social media virtuoso illuminates a path between his clients and their prospective customers. “There are opportunities to help people follow their dreams or just build a local private business,” he says. Weinstein heralds the importance of social media platforms for all
of his clients and encourages musicians and businesses alike to keep their minds open to all such channels. “Even if you’re a band, you’re a media company first, then you’re a musician,” says Weinstein. “There are no shortcuts,” he says. “Marketing yourself is the work— actual posts, creating content, and being active on all social media platforms.” The industrious 36-yearold says he has always had an
entrepreneur’s mind-set. “I always had a summer job. As a camp counselor, I had to ‘sell’ an activity to get kids to show. I was always making something, like a craft— eyeglass holders to sell to my mom’s friends. I flipped baseball cards. Even now, I go to yard sales and see what I can pick up and flip,” he says. Weinstein attended college for a time to study financial economics and history but left early and
Weinstein understands that every guest’s festival experience is personal and can involve more than just the music. The Moonrise Festival also features products and ads of its sponsors, food and merchandise vendors, and even a booth for tie-dyeing one’s skin. The avid environmentalist and animal lover plans his events to minimize their environmental impacts. He reports that the 2018 Moonrise Festival event used only 100-percent-compostable plastics.
began working. He sold cars and ran nightclubs, and the latter led him to the world of promoting shows for those clubs. He not only had a passion for marketing and promoting but also knew he was onto a trend with full-time EDM festival marketing and show promotion. “Things took off with dance music globally, then domestically,” says Weinstein, whose company hosts events in 12 markets from Vegas to Miami and Virginia Beach to Boston.
When he’s not traveling for work, Weinstein spends time at his Highland Beach home, just south of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation building. He loves to go crabbing, experiment with cooking, and, inspired by one of his culinary heroes, Anthony Bourdain, search for his next gastronomic experience. He can be found dining a few times a week at his home-base bistro, Vin 909 Winecafé. In the early 2000s, while at a hip-hop show at Baltimore’s 13th Floor, Weinstein met Kenny Liner, the founder of Believe in Music, a Baltimore-based after-school program at Green Street Academy. The program provides middle school and high school youth with an authentic studio space to create music and matches them with mentors from the music industry. “You can really see the difference in the kids,” says Weinstein, who watched this transformation firsthand when he was paired with a vulnerable youth. “He now works for the program and is becoming a rapper,” says Weinstein. The fan’s happiness remains at the forefront of Weinstein’s creative and business endeavors, but so does his own happiness. “Happiness is more important. I’ve had moments recently, periods where I’m wondering, ‘Am I happy doing this?’ I would give it all up tomorrow if I wasn’t,” he says. █
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Save Save Money. Money. Get Get Better Better Care. Care.
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THE NEXT BIG THING
Children wait for Santa to arrive during the Bykes 4 Tykes event at the Greene Turtle, Annapolis.
by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY photography by BRIDGETT RHEAM
he trajectory of a person’s life can, like light, refract and traverse in a new, unplanned direction, compelled by the most unexpected events. Even by a surprise birthday party. Raoul Graves traces his start in event planning and promotions to a joyous occasion when someone threw a surprise party for him 15 years ago. What that person couldn’t know was how this act became a pivot point in his life. When 500 people showed up for the party, the venue owner suggested that Graves throw parties more often, and Graves responded, “You know what? I’ll do that.”
The next summer, Graves followed through, hosting a party just for fun to which 500 people again flocked. Next BIG Thing Productions grew organically from there. People would approach Graves and ask if he could work on various events for various occasions after seeing his staging and use of props such as searchlights, military and first responder vehicles, and other background staging to go with the theme, such as a haunted beer garden for Halloween. He began receiving requests for weddings and then for nonprofit events. Graves is no stranger to the art of showmanship. In his early years, he got his first bartending gig at Rams Head Tavern, which
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Bykes 4 Tykes event.
Bykes 4 Tykes event.
Next BIG Thing Productions, One Koast Entertainment, and Shook Productions & Media put together the â€œANNAPOLIS STRONGâ€? fundraiser at the Greene Turtle in Annapolis. The event demonstrated support for the families of the victims of the Capital Gazette shootings and saluted the employees of Building 888 offices, first responders, and community journalists. The ChalkBus provided a creative outlet for attendees to share their thoughts.
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local. Graves’ grandmother used to put on an annual family cookout attended by hundreds of people. When she passed, Graves stepped into her role, now heading up his family reunion committee but with one sanity saving tweak: it’s now a biennial event. The most novel event he’s ever
produced was also one of the many he’s launched. Bykes 4 Tykes provides bikes to children whose families otherwise don’t have means to provide them. Just two years ago, Graves set a goal of making sure 100 children each year receive a bike. Sponsorships always get snapped up, so he plans to keep raising the ante. The weekend before Christmas, 100 children are invited to a local restaurant (to date, it’s been at the Greene Turtle—he produces all of the company’s events). The lucky 100
are chosen by nonprofit children’s programs that work with the city and county school systems. The children think they’re only being rewarded with a free lunch for doing well at school. They do enjoy a complimentary meal, but they also meet Santa and hear carolers from such programs as Naptown Sings. With the help of a community leader, they each make a Christmas ornament kit for a child who must stay in the hospital over the holidays, and they make an ornament to give to their parents or someone else. The children then get up, thinking they’re leaving. Lined up along the patio, they say “cheese” for what they believe is a group photo. When the time is right, they are asked to turn around and are greeted by each sponsor, lined up with a bike, calling out “Merry Christmas!” “It’s a tear jerker—I cried ‘mission accomplished,’” says Graves, recalling how appreciative the children and parents are. “That’s my favorite event. My family has a thing: Give us our flowers while we’re still here. Whenever someone’s in need, we were taught to help them,” he says, “not turn our back—help encourage them to get through.” While he finds himself especially drawn to nonprofit work, a recent pivotal moment, his own wedding, has inspired him to set course in that direction as well. “You can get paid in many different ways, but it’s gratifying work, and that’s payment. I love people, period,” Graves says. “I’m a man for the people and for family, God, and positivity in the community.” █
he credits as being the venue where he first got to know and love what he refers to as his Annapolis family—the community of friends he’s developed. He learned to bartend and then took it a step beyond, becoming a “flair” bartender after teaching himself some tricks. Next BIG Thing Productions may soon benefit from this area of expertise by incorporating server and bartender training for personnel to use at private events. Graves brings his talent and an allembracing enthusiasm for people to planning, production, and promotions for nonprofit causes. His illustrious client list includes Eastport a Rockin’, The Bernie House Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and food and clothing drives for Lighthouse Shelter, to name a few. One annual charitable event—the Eastport vs. Annapolis Tug of War— allows him to exchange his clipboard for a section of rope to hold while helping to raise money for charities. Graves modestly claims bragging rights for being a member of a tug team made up of bars on the Eastport side, which so far has gone undefeated for five years straight. For an event, Graves may be called to handle any and all facets, from planning to promotions, to service provision to the whole shebang. Other events only require him backing up others to facilitate what they’re doing. “I’m the ‘fix-it’ of events—the event doctor. They call me when there’s a problem.” Graves comes by this type of work naturally, maybe even genetically. He hails from a large family, with elders who had lots of siblings that grew the family tree. All who are still living are
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Local, Homey, Eco-friendly by EMMA HARRIGAN CAMPBELL photography by SARAH JANE HOLDEN
f, while taking a walk in West Annapolis, you’ve spotted a large eggplant statue, then congratulations, you have found Evelyn’s. Just opened last year, Evelyn’s is a unique eatery that provides locally sourced, fresh ingredients in its meals for an affordable price. Inside, paintings of flowers adorn the gray walls, and more flowers are set on every table, providing an extra touch of comfort. The lively, warm atmosphere is enhanced by the light buzz of chatter from the patrons. A pleasant hostess seats people with a smile, calling them “dear” as if she has known them for a long time. From the bright, busy, kitchen the smell of freshly made pancakes wafts through to the dining area.
On the wall, a chalkboard decorated with floral vines welcomes customers and provides more information about the restaurant in swirly handwriting: “At Evelyn’s, we are committed to a ‘plant to plate’ mentality. We will strive to source locally (when possible) by working with farmers in our community to provide the freshest ingredients possible.” This principle was a prominent motivator for the restaurant’s founder, Brandon Stalker. “Everything we do here is local,” he says. “It’s locally sourced food, local artists . . . there’s plenty of stuff right here to be able to supply what you need.” A resident of Annapolis for nearly all of his life, Stalker aims to make this
restaurant a haven of sorts for the locals. Another of Stalker’s aspirations was to create an eco-friendly, sustainable restaurant. All ingredients are set in a croprotation system, which is healthier than attempting to grow the same crops year-round—a practice that may rely on more chemicals and energy. The restaurant also makes an effort to recycle as much as possible and minimize waste. Anything that does not have to be powered electrically is powered with natural gas. These efforts create an environmentally conscious eatery that may benefit both patron and planet. Stalker began forming the idea of Evelyn’s about six years
Owner Brandon Stalker with his children, Evelyn and Michael, in front of Evelyn's.
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“ The emphasis on local eating instills a sense of pride in Annapolis for producing such fantastic ingredients for the benef it of the locals.”
ago, while helping at Caroline’s Cakes. There, he discovered his interest in the restaurant business and one of the biggest rewards in the trade, “[The] instant gratification of watching people enjoy your food,” he says. Stalker strives to make his menu, prices, and policies accessible and open to everyone. The breakfast and lunch menus include everything from quiche to burgers, with many gluten-free and vegan options available. The food is high quality and the most expensive item is 15 dollars. The children’s menu is well developed, Evelyn's cook Jairo Lucrio hustles in the kitchen during the Wednesday lunch rush.
inspired by Stalker’s two children. One of these children is sixyear-old Evelyn, who often proclaims that this is her restaurant, “My dad just manages it,” she explains. She occasionally tags along with her father and helps out around the shop with unabashed excitement. While mom-and-pop establishments have been dwindling over the years, Evelyn’s manages to preserve the wholesomeness of a small, local business with familial energy. Supporting other local vendors is of great importance to Stalker, especially the artists. He loves art, and displaying the paintings and sculptures from artists around the area seemed like a natural course of action. Along with the eggplant, several asparagus stocks Server Philip Miles gathers hot breakfast from the kitchen.
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sprout out of the ground in front of the restaurant, and a large pear stands on the corner of Giddings and Annapolis. Viewers are often amused by the creations, hand built by Jan Kirsh, and stop in to inquire about them. Evelyn’s works to perfect every aspect of its institution. Externally, it draws attention with the striking sculptures and pops of color. Internally, an atmosphere and décor radiate a comfortable ease that makes customers feel right at home.
Above: Server Lindsey Smith stops to visit with Evelyn's customers.
The emphasis on local eating instills a sense of pride in Annapolis for producing such fantastic ingredients for the benefit of the locals. Then finally, are the dishes themselves, creating a meal that replaces thoughts of hunger with awe. Enjoy. █
Jen Dollar (center) serves lunch at Evelyn's.
Right: Evelyn's owner Brandon Stalker accepts a curbside delivery from Susan Noyce of Agriberry Farms.
Visit evelynsannapolis.com to learn more about the Evelyn’s experience.
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IDEA by CHRISTINE FILLAT Photos by ALISON HARBAUGH
lose to Church Circle, near the top of Annapolis’ Main Street, sits McBride Gallery. Framed artworks are displayed in the storefront’s windows, and inside, oil paintings share space with watercolors, pastels, ceramics, and small sculptures. The gallery’s seven rooms are traversed in a circle—its walls lined with masterfully created artworks. The space resembles someone’s home, with furniture placed here and there. While visually exciting, the atmosphere is decidedly calm, perhaps meditative, a testament to the gallery owner’s discerning vision. This is Cynthia McBride’s world. McBride has a school of thought governing her gallery shows. Her philosophy is all about the great idea. “Artists have a good painting idea,” she reasons, “and if they have a great painting idea, that’s the start of a wonderful
painting.” She applies this concept to organizing her shows, with such titles as Women Artists of the West, Best of the Chesapeake, Looking Back: Memories, and 100 Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic. Gallery shows have openings on Sunday afternoons, often with live demonstrations or artist talks, and are always well attended. During the 1960s, McBride grew up on a remote farm in the northern reaches of Minnesota, close to the Canadian border. Farming was a family affair. She and each of her five siblings had their respective chores; her duties involved chopping wood, baling hay, driving the tractor, and cleaning out the barn. Water pumped from the well was heated on the woodstove. The family grew all its own fruit and vegetables and had a self-sustaining farm. “I was [like my dad’s] eldest son. His righthand man, his hired hand,” McBride jokes. “It was a different life, but very wholesome.”
Cynthia McBride in front of McBride Galley.
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Paintings adorned the walls in the McBride farmhouse, whereas McBride’s friends’ homes displayed framed images from the pages of magazines. Her family’s home was more like a museum, with original watercolor and oil paintings presenting views of landscapes, farm life, and family members, all painted by McBride’s mother, Frances Karlsson. A trained artist, Karlsson worked in a home studio, where she’d create paintings for various clients. “We would stand in the doorway,” McBride reminisces. “We couldn’t walk in while she was working without being invited. She would look at us and we would say, ‘Can we come in?’ She would say, ‘Yes, but don’t jiggle the table.’ I heard that 100 times or more. We would stand as close as we could but not touch the table.”
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A solo show at Lutheran Brotherhood Insurance Company in Minneapolis gave Karlsson an opportunity to present her artwork and share it with the public. “That was important,” states McBride. “She had a couple of things like that, but being so isolated, she didn’t have [many of ] those opportunities, and I felt that hurt.” In 1972, after graduating from college and as a young bride living in Massachusetts, McBride decided to open a small business. “I really hadn’t been in any art galleries, growing up on a farm and then off to college; I’d seen them from the outside, but I thought, ‘I can do that. I know a lot about art,’” she recalls. She opened The Original Gallery in Hull, Massachusetts, selling original artwork and offering custom framing. “When you’re 25 and you’re
“I really hadn’t been in any art galleries, growing up on a farm and then off to college; I’d seen them from the outside, but I thought, ‘I can do that. I know a lot about art.’”
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Art lovers and artists gather at McBride Gallery to view Painted Violins, an exhibit and fundraiser featuring violins painted by 10 local artists.
“[Learning] benefits the customer, the collector, the visitor. The artist benefits. The gallery benefits . . . We all win. ”
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deciding you’re going to open your first business, you think you can do anything.” She learned how to frame, work in a store, and run a business. She went on to owning successful galleries in Sewickley (Pennsylvania), Annapolis, and Severna Park, promoting local and nationally known artists and custom framing. The lifestyle suits her; she was able to work while her daughters attended school. A McBrideowned gallery has been a significant presence in the Annapolis art scene since 1978.
McBride developed The Best of the Chesapeake to showcase art made in the mid-Atlantic. Artists come to this area from as far away as Canada for the inspiration of the Chesapeake Bay. This yearly show is juried, with cash prizes to artists in different categories. The show’s artwork is for sale, with prices ranging from $425 to $15,500. Choosing a favorite piece is a matter of personal taste—and, of course, budget. A show at McBride Gallery is also a learning experience, with interactive talks with the artists. “If you’ve learned something, that’s energizing,” says
McBride Gallery showing of Painted Violins exhibit.
a conversation between the viewer and the artist. The sun will always be setting or rising, the cow will always be grazing in the field, and the glints of light will perpetually be dazzling on the horizon. This is what living with art is all about. At McBride Gallery, living with beauty is always possible. It is, perhaps, the best Great Idea. █
McBride, explaining why she does this. “A lot of people walk into a gallery, and it’s so staid and dead, you don’t really leave learning anything. [Learning] benefits the customer, the collector, the visitor. The artist benefits. The gallery benefits . . . We all win.” She takes great pleasure in helping people understand what makes a good painting. “How do I know what’s good?” and “I really don’t know what I like.” are statements she hears often. “Everybody has the ability . . . to appreciate beauty,” says McBride. “What we don’t always recognize is composition and design.” She encourages patrons to trust their eyes to know if something is pleasing or perhaps a bit off. Gesturing to a landscape painting, McBride points out the places the eye goes to, the places where the sunlight glints and the areas of darkness, and the effect of the intensity of colors. “Look at that red of that barn, there. That’s powerful. It’s cropped, which makes it more intimate, like you’re coming up to it. This is a plein air painting. You’re saying, ‘My eyes want to squint, that sun is so bright.’ Doesn’t that feel bright? It almost makes you want to squint. You can feel sun here, shadow here, it’s believable. That’s the farm I grew up on. That’s my daughter Abigail’s painting. She loves going back, when she can.” Abigail McBride has a strong presence in her mother’s gallery. A skilled still-life and landscape artist who works in oils, she got her first painting lesson from her grandmother Karlsson on the Minnesota family farm. Many of her paintings are made on trips to visit her 101-year-old grandfather. Thus the family tradition continues. A work of art represents an encapsulated universe. It is a glimpse into the artist’s sensibility and becomes
For more information, visit www.McBrideGallery.com.
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Giving All You’ve Got by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY photography by WILLIE LEE PRODUCTIONS
ctor Willie Baker, a.k.a. “Lablacq Pearl,” has a passion for the performing arts that began around age eight. Perhaps it was inevitable; he comes from a family impassioned by the arts, including uncles, cousins, siblings, and a mom who is a writer. Baker recalls his first performance from around that age, at the Baltimore event venue Martin’s West, alongside his brothers and sisters, where they recited a rap about education written by their mother. Another major performance that stands out in his memory was for Baltimore City’s mayor—Baker recited another rap that his mother wrote. Momentum kept building from there, as Baker accepted
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any performance opportunities he could get his hands on . . . or put his feet to. While a lot of his early performances involved raps his mother wrote, his heart has been in dance—something he’s always done well. As a teen, he joined a church and its band, moving from behind the piano to center stage and traveling to perform, first for small groups, then hundreds. “So many things have happened—wonderful things—just from moving forward and not letting my circumstances dictate to me my outcome.” He showed his moves in last year’s production of The Full Monty at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. Maybe you’ve already seen Baker: headphones on, a rhythmic fusion of fitness and performance, grooving
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along for five miles around Annapolis. Dancing is both his entertainment and workout. “The passion for dancing helped me lose 120 pounds,” he says. “I threw down. I’m an entertainer, I take it very seriously.” He has auditioned several times for American Idol—including the first one, which Kelly Clarkson won. That first experience was challenging but good, his deep, operatic voice standing out among pop-song-perfect vocals and earning him a ticket to the second round. He fondly remembers having to get creative to make it out to the auditions in Seattle. For that, Baker went bold: a decorated box in hand, he door-knocked for donations in exchange for a song and earned some money before a couple at the last house he stopped at bought him a plane ticket for Seattle—they didn’t even have him sing for it. “I tell you, it never stops,” Baker says, sharing a string of “‘I tell you, it examples of hands never stops,’ reaching to help along Baker says, his path. He stayed a in the Northwest sharing a string week and having little money, of examples of spent some nights hands reaching sleeping in the airport. was there someone to help along his Itstopped him and said, path.” “God told me to give you this,” and handed over close to 50 dollars. Every time Baker was down to his last dollar, someone would step in and give enough for the next leg of his journey. One man followed him out of a store, asking if he was hungry, pulling snacks from a bag. Noting he wasn’t dressed like someone needing help, Baker says, “I’m blown away—I can’t believe this. I was almost in tears.” Baker, fixated on living his dream, decided to take a chance on something different. Rather than return to Maryland,
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he continued on to California, where he’d previously gone to college. Arriving in Los Angeles, Baker got off the bus, let out his hair and changed his clothes to transform his look to what he refers to as “L.A. ready,” meaning looking like a star and ready for any opportunity. He caught a ride out of the bus terminal to seek lodging. Baker wanted to give the driver what little he had. He found money in a different wallet compartment and gave it to the driver, feeling it was meant for him. “Pushing forward is one of the hardest things to be done, but I’m glad I kept doing it,” Baker says, describing his sometimes unsettled life in pursuit of his dreams. Baker wasn’t always “Lablacq Pearl.” He went through different incarnations before finding his true expression. His alter ego was born 12 years ago, stemming from rebellion. He felt the church cared more about his sexuality than he did, and he wanted to separate himself from judgment and judging others, a box he couldn’t live in. Baker doesn’t care for titles because he says they divide people, and he supports everyone. Being Lablacq Pearl is freeing, from everything society and its systems said he was supposed to do. The character came, dark and androgynous, a representation of how he felt and wanted to express himself. He got the opportunity to introduce Lablacq Pearl, stepping onstage in costume, wearing a cloak and spookyfinger gloves, during an open mic night at the now-defunct The Whiskey. “It was like being alive in a different kind of way when I went out on that stage and revealed who I really was. Sexuality is not personality,” he says. As Lablacq Pearl, he’s putting out his essence and soul and wants people to really feel it. People have responded, and it brings something out in others that Baker finds particularly gratifying. People started expressing who they really were around
him, confiding those hidden soul pieces. “I really love people and desire to change the world, have people accept themselves how they are—fetishes, wear bright colors, what you like to do, just do it,” he says. Baker loves community and uplifting people and believes that is what defines entertainment. “I’m about progression and moving forward.” His mission is to foster change by uniting communities. “Hopefully, I can help people identify with who they are instead of the external and leaning on someone else. Whatever hurdle you need to jump over, do it. Break it. Break the wall—break it down.” █
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Shifting Lenses of an THE
Art-Full Lee Bonner on set of epi sodic TV show Profiler. Photo Courtesy of Lee Bon ner.
by LEIGH GLENN photography by ALISON HARBAUGH
t 18, Towson native Lee Bonner was on his third visit to Leeds Music Corp. in New York City, where he and his bandmates—the Lafayettes—had brought another set of 78 rpm demo discs. In a large room, an old fellow took the discs into a phone-booth-sized glass enclosure to listen. Just as before, the man shook his head from left to right—the first demo was a no-go. But then his head shook up and down—yes to the second song, “Nobody But You,” cowritten by Bonner and Frank Bonnarigo, the band’s singer. Leeds agreed to publish the song and secure a contract with Jubilee Records. For musician and filmmaker Bonner, now 74, that moment was one of many that dollied about his creative life. “I can’t tell you how exciting it was, watching that old guy shaking his head,” Bonner recalls today.
In fourth grade, Bonner learned to play trumpet and read music and joined the school band. As a teen, he received a guitar one Christmas and took lessons at Fred Walker’s on Howard Street in Baltimore, getting there by streetcar and bus. A friend later asked him to join his band, but the band’s guitar player was better than Bonner, so Bonner switched to bass. The Lafayettes, named after the street in Baltimore, played soul music and R & B at school dances, teen centers, Catholic Youth Organization events, the Alcazar and Dixie ballrooms, and fraternity parties. When the band members heard that Leeds Music’s Tommy Chianti would be at the Battle of the Bands on the local Buddy Deane Show, they decided to play original songs, even though it meant they were unlikely to win. Bonner, the main songwriter, said the band thought it more important to get a song published. They came in third, and
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Chianti invited them to bring their songs to New York for vetting. At the time “Nobody But You” garnered approval, one of Bonner’s girlfriend’s relatives worked for RCA Victor’s songwriterproducer duo Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, who had recorded Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and Della Reese. He took the demo to the duo’s secretary. About a week later, Bonner and friend Phil Huth were heading for Smetana’s Delicatessen when Bonner’s mother called him back to the house to answer a phone call from New York. It was Peretti, wanting to record “Nobody But You.” “Phil and I were so excited, we went down to the basement and wrote a song,” Bonner says. That song, “Life’s Too Short,” became the flip side and the hit. “Nobody But You” was reportedly a song that The Beatles enjoyed playing before they became famous, Bonner says, but
“Life’s Too Short” boosted his band’s demand locally as well as at venues such as Yale University. The Lafayettes never spoke of their brush with renown, but its potential crossed Bonner’s mind. “It was a little scary—‘If we have a huge hit, they’re going to run our lives and we’ll have no say,’” he says. “I was always glad it wasn’t too big.” Instead, Bonner pursued art, at which he’d always excelled, attending Baltimore Junior College. One of his instructors, a commercial artist, helped him land his first job, working for Evelyn Bodine, wife of Baltimore photographer Aubrey Bodine, at an illustration and design firm. After moving to an advertising agency as an art director, Bonner started working on TV commercials and knew he needed to get into film. He transitioned over to Eucalyptus Tree Studio, where he did artwork and film. But he discovered that ad agencies sought out film companies, not design firms, to create commercials. Still, he made the best of it, and had fun. One enjoyable project was a commercial for the Baltimore Zoo. He recorded the voices of his children and their friends saying how much they liked the animals. The visuals showed adults riding the zoo train with voiceovers from the children, including one who asks, “What are those monkeys doing?” “Of course, Lee Bonner at his Eastport home.
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you know what those monkeys are doing,” Bonner says, implying that they were mating. The tagline was “The Baltimore Zoo—for kids of all ages.” The commercial won a New York Art Directors Club gold medal. Bonner learned writing and directing by watching directors to see how they did things and staying open to the crews’ suggestions. Along the way, he worked with Garrett Brown, who later invented the Steadicam and Skycam, as a cameraman whenever he could, while Bonner directed. Once he had high-caliber contacts, Bonner launched his own company, Bonner Films.
Lee Bonner in bed with Vanna White (and a few others) during a Quality Inn commercial shoot. Photo courtesty of Lee Bonner.
The Lafayettes in 1962. Photo courtesy of Lee Bonner.
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His brother in-law is screenwriter and director Barry Levinson, known for films Diner, Avalon, and Rain Man, and Bonner often worked with Levinson’s wife, Diana, when she freelanced as a wardrobe, hair, and makeup artist. He married her sister Denise. Through Diana, he got into episodic television work, including directing a few episodes of the Baltimore–based series Homicide: Life on the Streets. Bonner brought to his work an innate ability to visualize, something that he says a lot of directors don’t have; to compensate, they’ll shoot
Lee Bonner on set with Jonathan Winters during a Quality Inn commercial shoot. Photo courtesy of Lee Bonner.
Among other projects, he crafted a set of child-sized Adirondack chairs for his grandchildren at his home workshop in Annapolis. “There are always things to do around the house and for other people,” he says with a smile, “but it ain’t filmmaking, by any stretch!” █
from every angle and then edit for the best. But he could imagine what he wanted—close to this subject, pan over to that one, and be finished—and in a business where saving time means saving money, that ability was platinum. In Los Angeles, while working on The Practice, Bonner was asked to finish filming in 15 hours, but he would wrap up work in 12 hours, so the crew could enjoy their evening—everyone was ecstatic. Over time, Bonner became tired of episodic television. “The producers would totally let the directors do what they wanted, then change it,” he says. His own efforts to get producers on the same page with him were unsuccessful. Nonetheless, he enjoyed meeting and working with the actors. Bonner lived through the drastic technological changes in the way moving images are recorded. He used to schlep 10 cans of 35-millimeter film, each 2 inches thick and 16 inches in diameter, to Technicolor in New York for processing. “Now, you take a teeny chip the size of your finger, copy all of it, erase it, and use it again,” he says. He shot footage with his iPhone for some commercial work, though he used a Panasonic mic to capture the sound. He would like to do a remake of 21 Eyes, which he cowrote with Sean Paul Murphy in 2003, but the costs are prohibitive. His creative drives remain, and to satisfy them, he’s taken up woodworking.
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