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urBanite B A L T I M O R E

Is Baltimore an Emerging Film Town? Jed Dietz, Guest Editor

Encounter: Superheroes with a Hip-Hop Beat Home: Building with Straw in Mount Washington Neighborhood: Scenes of Little Italy

Out There: MICA Grad Animates LA Coming Attractions: Skizz Cyzyk, Katie O’Malley, and Steve Yeager with Maryland Film Festival Picks

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Every day, some of her best customers are a big bunch of babies. For Susan Kline, it all began with an old nursery rhyme with the line, “Friday’s child is loving and giving.” “It’s those characteristics that we want to encourage in the children here,” she says. “Here” is Friday’s Child, a full-service childcare center located on Canton’s town square.

Excitement is brewing at the harbor’s edge… With the new huge neon sign of a winking ‘Mr. Boh” on the harbor’s

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the center’s staff. “We just love our kids,” says Susan softly. Pictured above: Friday’s Child

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They take a lot from their clients. But they drew the line at tomatoes. They’ve said yes to everything from jet-skis to jumbles of flea market ‘junque.’ But when one customer wanted to leave literally stacks of cases of fresh tomatoes in his storage unit, Paul and Sarah Ribniscky had to say no. As

feet and covers 25 acres bordering the water’s edge in Canton. That said, Brewers Hill offers you enormous opportunities for growth—with your choice of flex, retail, and office space, as well as 100 apartments and loft-style residences. And, with its central location just minutes from downtown Baltimore and I-95, you’re never far from, well, anywhere. Even the environmentally “green,”

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w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

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urBanite BA LT IM OR E

Urbanite Issue 10 April 2005 Executive Producer Tracy Ward Durkin

No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly


—Ingmar Bergman, Swedish film director

umans naturally tell stories. How we tell stories has evolved over time: from early oral traditions to the bookbound written word; from Greek chorus to stage to silent film and the first talkie; from campfire tales to media spin. At the heart of it, we like a good narrative. Telling stories is becoming increasingly visual. Local filmmakers have shed light on our city with candid openness since John Waters captured our cultural underbelly in the 1960s. Baltimore’s films tell of our city’s poignancies and prejudices, our challenges to integrate races and genders, and our struggle to define our place in the world. In Barry Levinson’s Avalon, we watch large and boisterous intergenerational Thanksgiving dinners shrink over time to a handful of family silently eating frozen dinners in front of the ghostly flicker of a television. They are watching a fictional family around a dinner table. That one image summarizes the evolution of American domestic life. And how many of us, thanks to John Waters, can’t walk past a pink flamingo lawn ornament without gagging a little in remembrance of Divine’s dog doo scene? That’s the power of visual storytelling. And that filmic power is now spilling over into our everyday lives. The ease with which people digitally capture their lives in moving pictures—from advanced cell phone technology to affordable handheld cameras—is opening new avenues for storytelling opportunities. The personal film narrative may well usurp the written memoir. Cheap and easy video technology allowed New York director Jonathan Caouette to create Tarnation, a visual diary of his life with a mentally troubled mother, for $218.32. The film is 3/1/05 10:33 AM Super Page8,1Betamax aUrbanite Frankenstein mix of VHS, Hi-8, and Mini-DV film. In Baltimore, directors Jonathan

photo by Marshall Clarke

to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.

Schulz and Evan Guilfoyle expanded a student film project into a feature length movie for $36,000 using guerilla filming techniques. The resultant Winterlude, screened at The Charles Theatre last month, has an ethereal home movie‑meets‑documentary quality, blending fiction and truth in the filmmakers’ lives. The evolving role of “film” in our world means people are harnessing cinematic storytelling to communicate in new ways. The New York Times reported in March that cinema degrees are becoming the new MBA. “Film school is beginning to attract those who believe that cinema isn’t so much a profession as the professional language of the future,” writes reporter Elizabeth Van Ness. She interviewed graduates who have applied film techniques to other professions. This national trend can be seen here at home where Paul Santomenna of the Megaphone Project uses film as a social justice tool (p. 29). And while international terrorists show films of captured hostages, controversy has arisen locally over Rodney Bethea’s Stop Snitching DVDs, documenting drug dealers threatening potential witnesses. Still, in its most traditional form, a good film speaks, as Bergman said, to the depths of our souls. Baltimore photographer Harry Connolly captures that wonder in one lovely shot of the Little Italy outdoor cinema (p. 16). You will also notice that there is a narrative feel to the very design of this issue. Art Director Alex Castro gathered photographers, designers, and illustrators to help him create a film of sorts within our own pages. —Elizabeth A. Evitts

Screenwriter Elizabeth A. Evitts Director Jed Dietz Production Designer Alex Castro Production Assistant Ida Woldemichael Art Director Ann Wiker Script Supervisor Angela Davids/Alter Communications Agency Producer Jeff Stintz Production Coordinator Bellee Gossett Best Boy Robbie Whelan Based on a screenplay by: Laurel Harris Durenberger Advertising/Editorial/Business Offices P.O. Box 50158, Baltimore, MD 21211 Phone: 410-243-2050; Fax: 410-467-7802 Editorial Inquiries: Send queries to the editor-in-chief (no phone calls, please) including SASE. The magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. Urbanite does not necessarily support the opinions of its authors. To subscribe or obtain assistance with a current subscription, call 410-243-2050. Future Themes: May: Home June: Water July: Independence August: Literature September: Architecture and Design October: Health Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission by Urbanite is prohibited. Copyright 2005, by Urbanite LLC. All Rights Reserved. This publication is FREE and is distributed widely throughout Baltimore City. If you know of a location that urbanites frequent and would recommend placing the magazine there, please contact us at 410-243-2050.



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6 9 11 12

editor’s note guest editor’s note corkboard have you heard…

15 food: farm fresh steve blair

16 neighborhoods: little italy harry connolly

18 home: house of straw alice okleshaw

photo by Marshall Clarke

Cara Ober

21 encounter: the 5th L

Cara Ober is a painter, teacher, and writer, who recently curated the exhibit Inward Gazes at Goucher College’s Rosenberg Gallery. Cara exhibits her own paintings locally and regionally, most recently at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, and in Picture Window, sponsored by Baltimore’s Office of Promotion & the Arts. She attended the American University in Washington, D.C., and is currently a graduate student at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

jason tinney

22 baltimore observed:

architects of the future stuart sirota

25 the script: a conversation about baltimore’s film scene

photo by Stephen Spartana

Karen Patterson Karen Patterson’s photography has been shown in galleries in Scotland, Korea, New York and Baltimore. Her artistic focus is on the intricate thought process of an average person, and she works to visually lead a person into another world that seems familiar no matter how odd. Samples of that work can be seen on www., an artists’ collective developed in Baltimore.

27 the lingo: a glossary of film terms steve yeager

28-31 the filmmakers:


home movies j a s o n t i n n e y the megaphone project r o b b i e w h e l a n small town on the big screen a n n e h a d d a d silent success: umbc r o b b i e w h e l a n

32 the venues

ed bellafiore

photo by Marshall Clarke

Jason Tinney Writer and performer Jason Tinney was born in Frederick and has lived in Baltimore for more than a decade. His first book, Louise Paris & Other Waltzes, (poetry/prose) was published in 2002. His second book, Bluebird, (short stories and poems) was published in 2003. He performs with two Baltimore-based bands—The Donegal X-Press and The Wayfarers—and collaborates with artist Brian Slagle on a traveling art/literary show called The Swinging Bridge.

33 the producers: runaway movies joan jacobson


34 baltimore school for the arts: a history caught on film

charles cohen and marc fanberg

37 sustainable city: farming the city eden unger bowditch

photo by Marshall Clarke

Steve Yeager Steve Yeager won the prestigious Filmmakers Trophy for Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival for Divine Trash, his feature film on the early career of Baltimore icon John Waters. Steve’s sequel to Divine Trash, In Bad Taste, aired in January 2000 on the Independent Film Channel. Steve was the 1998 Honored Alumnus at Towson University, where he is an adjunct professor of theatre. A theatre as well as a film director, Yeager recently directed a highly acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.

39 out there: from charm city to the city of angels charlie vascellaro

41 in preview: maryland film festival

k a t i e o ’ m a l l e y, s k i z z c y z y k , s t e v e y e a g e r

cover collage: Marc Fanberg

45 resources

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

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what you’re saying

“movies are a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.”

Baltimore’s Up-and-Comers

Finding Urbanite in New Places

The magazine is looking better with every issue, and issue No. 9 (Baltimore’s Up-and-Comers) is a beauty; you really fill a niche in this town. Loved the page layouts, the photography, and the addition of fiction— that is one fine short story. Also, I was very impressed that you quoted Jane Jacobs, a true urban visionary; perhaps you can get the rights to reprint whole sections of her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. We need to be reminded often of what it takes, and what we don’t need, and what it is that makes a city vibrant and vital. The latter is clearly the goal of Urbanite, and what truly sets it apart.

For some time now, my wife and I have picked up earlier copies of Urbanite at the Mount Washington Whole Foods Market. We received our first issue of Urbanite in the mail in January—with its new format, its monthly publication and its expanded scope—and it has been thoroughly reviewed, read, and wholeheartedly approved of! We share various pieces, like “Making Connections” and “Common Ground” (issue No. 7) with friends and colleagues, and we attend events highlighted in “Corkboard.” We want to thank you so very much, and we hope you can maintain this free, mailed subscription service, though if a subscription charge should become necessary, we’d be happy to consider that. Meanwhile, great continued success.

—Jim Sizemore is a cartoonist living in Baltimore. His work has appeared in Urbanite. Where Are the Women? If I see one more list of “people who make Baltimore better” that is 75% men, I will scream! Women are so often seriously underrepresented in these kinds of high-profile articles. In the case of Urbanite, it may obscure the ways in which you seek to support the accomplishments of women. —Linda C. Barclay is an attorney with Baltimore City’s Department of Law. Finding Yourself Coming out of the 33rd Street YMCA, I spotted Urbanite. Wow, what a cover! Loved the stories on up-and-coming Baltimoreans even more. Incredible. As an avid reader, there’s great excitement reading a publication where you think, “I might even know some of these folks.” That’s one of the appeals of Urbanite, that one feels she could very well find herself inside its pages.

—Baltimore City resident Neil Curran is a retired urban planner. He was formerly employed with the City of Baltimore and Washington County. Bravo! I just wanted to let you know that I read Urbanite today and was so impressed with the March issue (Baltimore’s Up-and-Comers). The cover is great, the ads look incredible, and the stories on the local business people were wonderful to read. Keep up the good work! —Steve Appel is the owner of Nouveau Contemporary Goods. Urbanite encourages its readers to write—and it does not have to be all about us. We want to hear what you’re saying. Send your letters, including name, address, and daytime phone, to Mail, Urbanite, P.O. Box 50158, Baltimore, MD 21211. E-mail us at Mail may be edited for length and clarity.

—Charlie Chaplin, filmmaker

“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.”

—Alfred Hitchcock, filmmaker

“The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud yourself.”

—Will Rogers, writer and actor

“To this day, in every movie I make, if no one eats dogshit, there are a few people who say I’ve sold out.”

—John Waters, filmmaker

“He took direction very well. He’s very comfortable in front of the camera. [But] he shouldn’t give up his day job.” —Jay Russell, director of Ladder 49, on Mayor Martin O’Malley appearing in the feature-length film

“Film criticism became the means whereby a stream of young intellectuals could go straight from the campus film society into the professionals’ screening room without managing to get a glimpse of the real world in between.”

—Judith Crist, film critic

“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.”

—Federico Fellini, Italian director

—DeBora M. Ricks is an attorney-turned-writer living in Baltimore. “Even though I make those movies, I find myself wishing that more of those magic moments could happen in real life.”

—Jane Seymour, English actress

“I’ve made so many movies playing a hooker that they don’t pay me in the regular way any more. They leave it on the dresser.”

—Shirley MacLaine, actress

“My movies were the kind they show in prisons and airplanes, because nobody can leave.”

—Burt Reynolds, actor, producer, director

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”



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—Actor Chico Marx in Duck Soup

Most of us in the film community talk about the powerful economics of film, television, and commercial production. Production companies hire up and down the socioeconomic ladder, they do business with Maryland companies, and they often leave the area where they filmed better off physically (rather than demanding publicly financed capital investment for infrastructure). Often, film production companies give back to the community in other ways, too. The two HBO series David Simon has written and produced, The Corner and The Wire, have worked in some of our city’s toughest neighborhoods and have contributed to those neighborhoods in a variety of ways. People from the neighborhoods have started careers in production, and some physical improvements in the neighborhoods have been made. As they began last season, The Wire held a fundraising event, with HBO’s backing, that drew people from around the country to their set in an abandoned Sam’s Club and raised more than $50,000 for the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. On the softer side, the branding power of a Ladder 49 or Runaway Bride or Sleepless in Seattle is incalculable. There are tourists to this day who visit places where scenes from these films, as well as NBC’s hit series Homicide, were filmed. While already as important economically as one of our great sports teams, film production has the potential for explosive growth. Maryland enjoys some important competitive advantages, like a great crew base (Thank you John, Barry, and David!) and the tremendous variety of locations our state offers. We’ve been featured in films representing Spain, Texas, and Manhattan. In addition, our community is unusually friendly to crews, despite the temporary inconvenience brought on by hordes of film people and their equipment. Our Maryland Film Office, and its new counterpart in Baltimore (the Division of Film, Television and Video), is staffed with film professionals who know how to make things happen. Political support for these offices has grown through two different mayoral administrations and three governors. The Baltimore community is unique in ways that may not always be easy to articulate. Or copy. We see it reflected in the enthusiastic response from the hundreds of filmmakers who come for the Maryland Film Festival, which you’ll read about in the “Script” (p. 25). It is reflected in the locally run Charles

photo by Marshall Clarke

guest editor’s note

Theatre, the art house movie world’s Camden Yards. It is reflected in the large, singular, historic Senator Theatre, and in the smaller Mission Media. It is reflected in the Creative Alliance’s movie series at the refurbished Patterson, MICA’s growing commitment to film, the summer’s free outdoor Italian American Film Series, and a wide variety of neighborhood-based film programs, some of which are highlighted in these pages. When we started the Maryland Film Festival, we knew that great film festivals took on their host communities’ personalities, making them unique in the film world. People who have never been to Park City, Utah, or Cannes, or even Toronto, can still tell you something about the locale from what they know about the festival. Though much is happening in Maryland—production has grown from about $25 million in economic impact to over $135 million, and the Maryland Film Festival has grown from 8,000 guest admissions to over 12,000—we are just at the beginning. The Film Festival is projecting 20,000 admissions by 2007 and based on what we’re seeing, production could double in the next few years. Building a major film festival here, all by itself, is like creating an event the size of an All Star game for our community. When the leaders of New York City wanted to drive throngs of tourists to the tip of Manhattan after 9/11, they chose a new film festival as their vehicle. Not incidentally, a great film festival is also one of the best ways to encourage future production. As you’ll learn from this issue of Urbanite, our community has all the tools to make this growth happen. Some of those tools are easy to describe, some have more to do with the atmosphere of the place. We have just begun to answer the question, “Is Baltimore an emerging film town? ” And these stories have made an interesting start. The opportunity we have to grow this art form (and build a big industry) in Baltimore is a rare opportunity indeed. —Jed Dietz is the director of the Maryland Film Festival and president of the Producer’s Club of Maryland, which administers the Producers Club of Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship each year in partnership with Sundance Labs. He is the founder and general partner of Film Development Partners, a limited partnership investing in ideas for feature film production. He also served as an executive producer of the Fox Network movie Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story.

An electric new play about truth, prejudice, and art.

Permanent Collection By Thomas Gibbons | Directed by David Schweizer

The Pearlstone Theater

Mar 11th–Apr 10th | Tickets $10–$60 or 410.332.0033 w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


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Find YOUR Place in the City . . .

A layered and living dialogue between past and present

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Home of the famous bloomin' onion as well as steak, chicken, salads and more. Open everyday for dinner 410-522-7757

Casual and funky Tex-Mex style roadhouse and outdoor café serving made-from-scratch, authentic Tex-Mex food and drink. Open everyday for lunch and dinner. 410-534-0606

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A Canton favorite. Billiards, spirits, gourmet food, coffee and more. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 410-327-9889

Traditional Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. Open everyday for lunch and dinner. 410-522-7700

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Developed and Managed by Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, Inc.



april 05

photo by Nora Fok – Teasel

photo by Amy Jones

sieur Shlomi” Still from “Bonjour Mon


Jewish Film Fest ival The Jewish Comm unity Center of Greater Baltimore and the Senator Theatre present th e 17th Annual Willi am and Irene Weinbe rg Family Jewish Film Festival. Eight screenings will be preceded by lectur es from guest spea kers or the director. $8 per film Apr 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12 , 14, and 19 Check website for times Gordon Center 3506 Gw ynnbrook Ave Owings Mills 410-542-4900 ex t. 239 w w w.baltimorejf f.c om

Veronica’s Room novels Ira Levin has a penchant for writing ies, mov ul that get turned into successf Stepford including Rosemary’s Baby and The m goes Wives. His thriller Veronica’s Roo Herman rey Aud the onstage this month at Spotlighters Theatre. Apr 22–May 21 Lobby opens at 7 p.m. Fri and Sat 1 p.m. Sun 817 Saint Paul St 410-752-1225 ww

Wearable Sculptural Objects International artist Nora Fok comes to Towson University for a free lecture about her work creating wearable sculptural objects. 8000 York Rd University Union, Chesapeake Room Apr 7 7 p.m. 410-704-2800

Our Playground at Stadium Place Community-Built Playground Inc. and more than 3,000 volunteers will build an acre-sized playground on the former site of Memorial Stadium over nine days. Volunteers are needed for four-hour shifts. Food and childcare will be provided. 33rd St and Ellerslie Apr 7–10 and Apr 13–17 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m. 410-235-3334

Johns Hopkins Film Festival The Johns Hopkins Film Festival is one of the few film festivals in the area to accept unsolicited submissions. Independent and underground films will be screened on the state’s largest projection screen, in Shriver Hall on the JHU campus. Apr 7–Apr 10 Check website for times 3400 N Charles St

Garden Walk ds of the Stroll the lush groun during their Cylburn Arboretum ered the free Garden Walk off each month. second Saturday of e 4915 Greenspring Av 13 g Apr 9–Au 1 p.m. 410‑396‑7839 info@cylburnassociat

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


have you heard. . .

Magazine… There is more to the workplace than joke-a-day calendars and water-cooler gossip. New York’s Work magazine, with its second issue available at Hampden’s Atomic Books, tells stories of people in all sorts of careers, mostly written by the workers themselves. How does a family-run bodega stay open 24 hours a day? Do freelance workers have a union? What happened to dressing in power suits

to go to the office? Work is edited with an all-inclusive attitude that makes it very readable—no job is too menial or too glamorous to be covered. In the post-Internet-startup world, we need a magazine for all the possibilities of life. —RobbieWhelan


by L

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e Pas

stained gold-oak hardwoods and old-world furniture, the bistro includes a menu of sautéed salmon with barbecue sauce and caraway seeds, chestnut soup with black truffle quenelles, and a variety of fine wines. 1717 Eastern Avenue; 410-534-5650. —R. W.

ea n

Restaurateur Rick Wallace, co-owner of the new Timothy Dean Bistro, knew Fells Point was the perfect location for his latest investment when he first walked the neighborhood. “There are just so many people who are out to have a good time and who would love to eat at a restaurant like ours,” he said. Named for its chef and designed in contemporary

im of T photo

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sy o

fG aller



oc ot ph

The Beveled Edge, known for its quality custom framing and fine art conservation, has relocated to an expanded setting in Mount Washington Village. The renamed Gallery G at the Beveled Edge opened in February with an inaugural exhibit titled Iconic Passage featuring the paintings of Gina Falcone Skelton and clay vessels by Brian Kakas (through

April 3). The gallery will continue to hold six- to nine-week shows of work by both local and national artists. 5616 Newbury Street; 410-664-5700; —R.W.

Contemporary Homes In Historic Neighborhoods Canton


Roland Park/Heathbrook

New LuxuryGarageTownhomes Garage Townhomes From New Luxury From$279,900 $259,900

Patricia Massey • 410-534-0178



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Co ur

tes yo

f Ro yal Books


Film buffs shouldn’t miss the selection at Royal Books, located on Baltimore’s “book block” next to the famed Kelmscott Bookshop. Owner Kevin Johnson offers rare, first-edition novels, and he has a section dedicated to books turned into film. His current inventory includes rare editions of The Bridge over the River Quai and National Velvet. A new acquisition of Richard Jessup’s The Cincinnati

Kid, basis for the 1965 film of the same name starring Steve McQueen, goes for $75. Johnson also sells books about filmmaking, as well as original screenplays from movies and from TV shows like Baltimore’s own The Wire. 32 West 25th Street; 410‑366‑7329; —Elizabeth A. Evitts


aM elam ed

adjacent to his already popular lounge. The new space books bands, like Interpol and LeTigre, who draw crowds too big for most other area clubs. 407 East Saratoga Street; 410-327-8333;

yG en n

For a long time there has been a niche in the night club world that Baltimore has not been able to fill— certain bands required that their Mobtown fanbase take the MARC train south to the 9:30 Club or the Black Cat in D.C. Lonnie Fisher, owner of the Sonar Lounge downtown, has decided to change things by expanding his primarily DJ-centric club to include a 12,000-square-foot “warehouse” concert space,


ob ot ph

by Jen L

. De nnis


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This spring, Trixie’s Palace owner Andriana Pateris says she’s adding, “lots of fun and affordable housewares” to the flush mélange already available at her Fells Point boutique. Pateris—who splits her time singing for rock band Cicaeda, teaching yoga at the Midtown Yoga Center, and going on buying trips to New York, Las Vegas, and Bali—has hand-painted planters, decorative plates in old-school tattoo bird designs, latch-hook rug kits, and hanging

fringe room dividers that bring the smart, modish style of Trixie’s into your home. These items compliment her stock of abundantly chic urban threads and accessories, like the vintage brocade clutch purses made by the local-label Monka. 1704 Thames Street; 410‑558‑2195. —Cara Ober

An affordable breakthrough in the art of the personal film documentary.


Baltimore has a New Age Bookstore! Personal Film Documentaries

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Visit us in our beautiful restored Victorian on the Avenue in Hampden 810 W 36th St. 410.235.READ (7323)

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Evenings of Wine & Cheese Join Whole Foods Market, Harbor East and Bin 604 for our exciting new series; Evenings of Wine & Cheese . Over the course of the series we will explore pairings of wine & cheese from all over the World.

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is the natural choice for delicious foods.



april 05


by steve blair

Think Globally, Eat Locally Shop direct and reap the harvest of locally grown organic produce.

Year-round availability of fresh, wholesome produce in our city is adequate, respectable even—what with our old city markets, farmers markets, and more grocery chains offering organic produce. A few of our neighbors who have a strong commitment to sustainability are working hard to ensure that accessibility and affordability can continue to exceed our expectations. The result? There’s more than one way to purchase reasonably priced, locally grown organic produce in Baltimore.

Normans are willing to add additional pick-up locations for convenience. The benefits of joining a CSA program are twofold. It gives us access to fresher whole foods with a longer shelf life because it eliminates the four to five days of distribution to a supermarket. It also helps break the farmer-wholesaler-retailer-consumer chain, saving fuel and packaging materials. By eliminating the middlemen, we ultimately help curb demands on the environment.

Buy the Farm Joan and Drew Norman own and operate One Straw Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm in White Hall, Maryland. Established in 1983 with just 25 acres, the husband-and-wife team now cultivates more than 200 acres. Over the years, the Normans watched as their produce was shipped to destinations across the country instead of locally, and despite their growth in business as organic farmers, they found this arrangement “morally wrong.” So today, many of their crops are sold through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program with the encouragement and support of Future HarvestCASA, the Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. The Future Harvest-CASA program fosters a direct link between its 51 member farmers and their communities. Urbanites like you and me can pay a farmer in advance for produce from their upcoming harvests, becoming “shareholders” in the crop. In its simplest form, Joan Norman explains, “You give me money; I give you food.” As a One Straw Farm shareholder, a $400 membership entitles you to eight units of produce weekly for twenty-five straight weeks, from June 7 through November 15. One unit can be a bunch of beets, a head of lettuce, a small box of tomatoes, or a handful of fresh-cut flowers. Weekly pick-ups are available throughout the city: You can get your weekly take Tuesdays in Hamilton, Thursdays at Boordy Vineyards, or Saturdays at the 32nd Street Farmers Market in Charles Village. The Normans also welcome shareholders to come out to their farm to pick up the produce on Thursdays after 11 a.m. If a cluster of interested members resides in a particular part of town, the

Share the Labor If you can’t commit to a CSA program this year, consider joining a food cooperative, which is owned and operated by the members that use its services. The main goal of a food co-op is to keep the costs of produce down through direct relationships with farmers, and to offer work-for-store-credit exchanges with its members. In March of 2004, Gretchen Heilman and five cofounders opened The Village, a natural food co-op in Charles Village adjacent to The Yabba Pot (whose owner, Skai Davis, is also involved). The former haberdashery at 2429 Saint Paul Street is an intentionally tiny spot, jam-packed with inventory, some of which is provided by One Straw Farm. “We wanted to start simply,” Heilman explains, which happens to go hand-in-hand with the down-to-earth makeup of a co-op, which stocks “all local organic produce and bulk foods.” Annual memberships are $25 and entitle families to a 5% discount every time they shop (the store is open to the general public as well). The membership is per household, making it a deal for those in roommate situations. The Village encourages volunteers, and offers a $3-per-hour store credit to those willing to work. As the warmer months approach and we get back to grilling outside and eating more fruits and vegetables, remember that by not only demanding the very best produce for ourselves, our families, and our friends, we can also do our part by supporting the farmers who work to sustain our communities. p.45 45 p.

There are several area farms with community supported agriculture (CSA) programs convenient to Baltimore. Each offers a unique program with a variety of food options. Breezy Willow Farm 16-week produce program can include dairy, baked goods, jams, and the farm’s handmade goat’s-milk soaps. Pick-up locations at the farm and in Columbia. P.O. Box 134 West Friendship, MD 21794 410-442-1807 Calvert’s Gift Farm (Certified Organic) 25-week produce program includes free-range eggs in addition to produce. Pick-up location at the farm. 16813 Yeoho Road Sparks, MD 410-472-6764 Cromwell Valley CSA (Certified Organic) Offers 150 shareholders produce in exchange for helping Cromwell Valley farmers. 410-880-2428 One Straw Farm (Certified Organic) 25-week produce program includes herbs and flowers. Pick-up locations at the farm, the 32nd Street Farmers Market in Charles Village, and the Church of the Messiah in Hamilton. 19718 Kirkwood Shop Road White Hall, MD 410-343-1828 —Steve Blair Source: Maryland State Department of Agriculture website.

—Steve Blair wrote “Cooking with Tea” for the March issue. w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05



photographs and essay by harry connolly

Little Italyun cuore grande Wanting to explore Little Italy, I called Father Michael Salerno, pastor of Saint Leo’s Church. Father Mike had me stand on his altar, look out over pews full of strange faces, and explain myself. I began in ignorance, so my talk was sketchy, but I did say I would spend a year photographing the neighborhood. That was eight years ago. Those Little Italy faces are familiar to me now, as are the streets, the sidewalks, and the homes. I don’t pretend to know everything about Little Italy. It keeps some secrets. But I have stories. In the Cinema al Fresco photo, there is a young woman sitting next to a man she doesn’t know.



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Before the end of Cinema Paradiso, they were holding hands. They’re married now. I captured the night they met. The photo of Dominic Petrucci playing bocce ended up on the bar at Rocco’s Capriccio. One night it was stolen. Dominic was thrilled to think that someone wanted his portrait so badly. People would say: “You should have been here forty years ago. This place was something back then. Of course, we would have thrown you out. No stranger with a camera in our neighborhood.” No one threw me out. Things have changed. Now I say, “You should have been here eight years ago. This place was something back then.” It still is.

This Page (Clockwise from the top): Outside Luigi Petti on Eastern Avenue; Father Michael Salerno; The Bocce Court; Bocci player Dominic Petrucci Opposite Page (Clockwise from the top): The corner of Exeter and Trinity Streets; Jude Giorgilli’s wedding day; Pepino’s Bar; Cinema al Fresco — Harry Connolly’s book Little Italy will be published this fall by Diamond Publishing Company, which is owned by Little Italy native Steve Geppi.

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april 05



by alice ockleshaw

photography by paul burk

House of Straw a mount washington couple proves green building can be bales of fun.

Clockwise from the left: Smooth lime plaster seals the strawbale and prevents moisture from entering the wall. Malleable strawbale provided a simple solution to constructing the curved wall in the architect’s original design. Homeowners Ruth Sadler and Bob Byrnes examine a piece of SIPS paneling made from wood byproducts wrapped around foamcore. Opposite page: Beadboard salvaged from the demolished porch provides a decorative covering for the interior strawbale wall.



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Six months after erecting a strawbale wall in the library addition to their Mount Washington home, Bob Byrnes and Ruth Sadler are used to the jokes. “There’s the three little pigs,” Sadler laughs, “and the building inspector asked if he should bring a pitchfork.” The married journalists’ 70-year-old home is the first in Baltimore City to feature the century-old method of constructing exterior walls from stacked and sealed strawbales. In fact, in their sunny 250square-foot addition, the smooth curve of a sepiatoned lime plaster wall serves as the only visible sign that the room is virtually an urban laboratory for environmentally friendly construction. Salvaged beadboard and wood flooring, recycled stone for the foundation, and SIPS paneling (an innovative wall material made of wood byproducts

Tips for Building with Strawbale Choose wisely Strawbale offers weather and sound protection, but realize that it’s wide. “Make sure you have room for a 21-inch-thick wall,” Bart says. Do it yourself The materials to build a strawbale wall are a little less than a traditional stick-built wall (about $250 for a 12-foot wall). Workshops and online resources provide tips on the low-skill technique. To save on the labor costs of plastering, Byrnes and Sadler did a lot of the work themselves. Get approved After Sadler and Byrnes’ project, the precedent has been set for future strawbale builders in the city, Bart says. Select a location Consider building with strawbale on the cold side of the house (usually the northwest corner in this area). You’ll get the greatest benefit from the insulating value. Reduce noise Strawbale is also an excellent noise barrier. You can use it for street-side construction to damper traffic.

and foamcore) are just a few of the green building materials used in the space. “They are real pioneers,” says Ed Gunts, architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun, who works with the couple. “They are breaking new territory, and it’s something other people are likely to catch on to.” The strawbale seems to hold particular interest to Marylanders, who are increasingly using the material to construct portions of, or all of, their homes. In Sadler and Byrnes’ case, it was a rounded wall that inspired the use of the agricultural byproduct. “To build a curved strawbale wall, all you have to do is put a bale on a couple of blocks and jump on it gently,” says Polly Bart, owner of Greenbuilders, Inc., who constructed the project. “It would have been much more difficult with traditional stick building.”

A traditional stick-built wall actually requires more steps than a strawbale version: framing with two-by-fours, sheathing with plywood and covering the outside in weatherproof material (like siding), then insulating and drywalling and painting the interior. “When you do a strawbale wall, you put up a couple of posts and then you stack your bales and cover the inside and the outside with plaster. And then you’re done,” says Bart. Since the addition’s completion, Byrnes says he’s noticed that the entire house feels warmer in the winter: “If you feel the surface of the plaster, it’s warm to the touch.” In fact, strawbale is three times more insulating than wood, can be constructed for about the same cost and utilizes recycled agricultural waste in place of dwindling lumber supply—


all things that Bart pointed out to officials when working to get city approval on the project. Fire and moisture trapping are usually the biggest concerns, but according to Bart: “Strawbales don’t burn well at all because they are compressed,” and “using dry bales and a permeable plaster prevent moisture in the walls.” Bart has high hopes for strawbale—and she’s made believers of her clients. With more projects like Sadler and Byrnes’, strawbale might someday be more closely associated with beauty and sustainability—and less with huffing and puffing. —Alice Ockleshaw wrote “One Man’s Treasure” about a Waverly rehab for the March issue.

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april 05


why are our frozen ready-to-cook crab cakes


because we make them with america’s

# 1 crab meat. *

Restaurant-Quality Seafood. Available at your supermarket. www.phillip *A.C. Nielsen, 52 weeks ending 10/25/04



april 05



by jason tinney

photography by karen patterson


L th

ing and conduct s performing ol o h sc le d and mid s. ng workshop ence in creative writi ed about viol rn ce n co to ry ve e ar “We main thing is David. “Our ys [or] sa le p y,” it eo C p e g Baltimor ot judgin N . le p eo p ght in rities and provoke thou r own insecu ou g n si u t u rs b is what’s pointing finge say, ‘OK, this to em th g n playi are that, flaws and dis you might sh e b ay m d an it.’” Later h me going on wit do to change to g n yi tr m hat I’ h going but this is w and I are bot ou “Y : to n dow solution? he will boil it me up with a co e w n ca n?” . How mmunicatio through this the lines of co i sees en m op Fe e loss of huw as n ’s How ca the city ces, and the st oi ju ch ’t , en ce ar en ’t s ol aren nst vi The problem community weapon agai s. of the urban in s n m le ve b his son to TV screen “E . ro es p ys o e it. “Th man her ity,” he sa d Femi takes n an u , m ss m le st co of re ck urban ring essage to h a la Ade becomes stuck in the king in the sp his poem A M ne’s stuck wit s as yo b er er d iv e ev el an d s, th d , e le ea n h re as idd ar are-knuck raising child mid-week, sl the privilege and holds him Baltimore, b —teenagers e.” timore grins on er al g h B in . d er yw ss go th an er le g ea ev n m ch w ti d of much paren the Spee tease. It’s war —it’s pretty h. It’s the kin we’re ready to winter’s teet d. , the violence n ow in gs n ee ’60s m ru d w d et en an b d op g in e an nce the late en change u want to hav ord rely spoken si de’s diaper is e rings and th yo -w A ba on es s en ve h n’ ak p e’ ok re m W d i’s sp il m at d th ge e ch a. Fe is socially char TV became th Shock Traum or of PHAT, ip-hop ce to h n at d a si in r d h ea it h ve or E The 5th L, a w co es e hero hael Allen, th n gram directhe group—super ght for us … David’s. Mic legal guardia ger, VIP’s pro e skeleton of in th sl performance E in n t si s no longer fi aw for oe D e— le d er p gu h an n r , eo e to p al ou n g ’s li aw n ce e et L u n mi of yo on on Ever si beat and po y. There is Fe . The group r a bus. A rs early. power factor on the other code , d is ou ss h ol r, o o ’s R to or tw id b p are waiting fo av ar u e h D d ed d A d an ow , an h sh i is ,” am mi’s g up i and his The Dri F Outside Fem today ’s progr We’re comin rity is Ade, Fe es up to Fem e. cu code name: er go se e th g ye p in lo d ou p vi gr a em Little Fish.” e Son. Pro “Keep the Shock Traum e, “Hey there, d name: Nativ A e to d A ys s sa ie and im the best i carr rm at ld son. Femi says. son, smiling and I wish h bor and Fem s, h L will perfo d ar 11-month-o 5t h an e e h th th e e ak on th om o t sh ou tern MaryWe walk fr Femi and I Later this af art talking ab University of out Femi and I st ab enter at the . g C ip s me a in s a tr h a’ m e et m u ol u m ra h ra T w the of luck. id and he give d I say so Shock T av an of D the Shock t g to n ar ti d p a i en an h m ar as y p en. Fe romot een made Center I extend m difficulties of unication op ation have b on Program/P m ic land Medical ti n m u en co m rv m of te co es In n li s of -based n smell the iolence keeping the hug. All kind ns, a hospital Street and ca e VIP/PHAT: V ee T en r re fo G es n is s s. iv d e d o dow hoo yon Alternat smiles and n today. I walk Trauma, ever city neighbor ing Healthy get to Shock ichael . to strengthen e e M w in . th ed d g n en le in gh h ig u ce m es W n ro d rain co ally ca ism th initiative ations.” as been offici youth recidiv h ic n g of u gi s m e te h m ra T s. co g e. n is stem gon by reduci out all the “m d hospital sy I say. al justice an nues apologizes ab rters Coffee n ve Ross. erformance?” p d lle A or tu p -w m en local crimin i Lawal at Po ro bove: David p ok m A Fe sp im d in an an t s Porters; ed e os rm avid R iny sid “How ’bou mi Lawal at Having perfo Below, left: D ael says. ent is the sh h m ographs of Fe ic n ot M ai ph ” rt o e, te d a tw A y. en e: to e in pon untry, “I’ll hold e Universit House; middl and we mov ay happen u Coppin Stat across the co e Son David agree night you m iv avid Ross at y d D at ou B . an t, B N i in gh d m on ri co an gt Fe L h in Fis of the 5th se on Wash that The Dri all of rs Coffee Hou remaining nference room o t theater, a h n co tw ra e b h vi (t them at Porte a id to av in D d m s an or le i in sf r Fem , blurr g har rger ro quickly tran enced voices levard, but fo ) there are la d L e h ca rc 5t h fo e it d th W s an e. of bers prose school poetic justic in area high original mem lure you into e at ar e s th s th et o m p h g— e n yt a so ay thes monies—rh omping out to play. By d tap as if it’s st to etry as a o ot p fo r to u yo se of odes ca ow sh a s 5th L unfold

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


baltimore observed

by stuart sirota

Architects of the Future An innovative class at Poly turns students into urban planners.

photo by Joe Giordano

Fred Nastvogel is a man on a mission. Just as Baltimore’s engineering community came together to rebuild Baltimore after the Great Fire of 1904, Nastvogel sees his students at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute High School as nothing short of budding design leaders with the ability to rebuild Baltimore’s ravaged neighborhoods. For the past four years, Nastvogel, a former architect, has taught a freshman course at Poly called Fundamentals of Engineering. Don’t be fooled by the stodgy title, though: While the course may be grounded in engineering, it is a unique amalgam of civics, urban planning, environmental science, drafting, and wood and metal shop. The real title of this course should be something like Problem Solving in 3D. Rather than simply teaching conventional design methods, Nastvogel challenges his students to solve problems through exploration, testing, and visualization. “The idealism that is often associated with conceptual design is usually stripped away by the time it is implemented in the real world, but I don’t believe it has to be this way,” Nastvogel says. “I want these kids to figure out ways of turning their ideas into reality without losing the idealism and creativity.” Nastvogel creates a living laboratory, of sorts, by having the student projects relate directly to Baltimore. His students have worked on a range of design plans, from creating a household system for collecting and reusing rainwater to developing a community project on blighted and vacant blocks in East Baltimore; from constructing a three-dimensional topographic map of Baltimore to designing a personal rapid-transit system for the city. For the latter, students learned about innovative systems in other places, and then built their own mockups for a conceptual system.



april 05

photo by Joe Giordano

Students are also designing a theoretical transportation network for Baltimore that would be, in essence, an “inner-beltway” through the city—but only for pedestrians and bicyclists. This network would connect to the series of other trails and greenways already built or planned by the city. In conjunction with this, the students have a parallel project to examine how this proposed “green” transportation network could relate to the adjacent neighborhoods it traverses. More detailed study by future classes is planned, including building models representing new forms of affordable housing. Nastvogel places heavy emphasis upon collaboration and teamwork, as well as self-expression and innovative thinking. Students learn how to effectively communicate ideas through various types of model-building exercises. For each assignment, students begin by working independently, but then come together in small teams to synthesize their work into one refined product. These are then presented to the rest of the group and critiqued. As a result, there is an energy to these classes, a lively repartee between Nastvogel and his enthusiastic students. “The things we learn and get to do here are so different from anything else,” says ninth-grader Kristin Lee. “This is my favorite class.” “My goal is to excite the passion and creativity within my students and send them out into the world in hopes of making a difference,” says Nastvogel. “Why can’t Poly rise to the occasion and be the instrument of Baltimore’s rejuvenation?”

Opposite Page: Upper: Jasmine Smith takes a closer look at a design project during a recent class. Lower: A student-designed CAD model for an electric motor. This Page (clockwise): Matthew Lipscomb fabricates one of his designs using a bandsaw; A blueprint for a pinhole camera; Students created a 2D and 3D model of the city they envision for their future; Students drafted a blueprint schematic for a motor incorporating principles for an air-friendly hybrid car. Background image: A drafting detail of the “green” inner-beltway.

—Stuart Sirota wrote about transit-oriented development in the January issue. He maintains, an online newsletter about making Baltimore a more livable, sustainable city. He can be reached at

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


Is Baltimore an Emerging Film Town?



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photo of Doug Sadler by Linda Farwell; Demane Davis by Demane Davis; Jack Gerbes by Roger Miller; Ken Winokur by Ken Winokur & Russ Smith. Opposite page: photograph of Creative Alliance by Karen Patterson.

JED DIETZ, founder of the Maryland Film Festival and champion of Baltimore’s celluloid scene, gathers a GROUP of professionals to discuss the movie industry in Baltimore. Participants include: DOUG SADLER, the inveterate storyteller, who is considered Baltimore’s next Barry Levinson. Born in Louisiana, trained in film in Los Angeles, his film Swimmers won the Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship in 2003 and opened at Sundance in January of 2005. Set on the Eastern Shore, Swimmers has its East Coast premiere at the Maryland Film Festival next month. DEMANE DAVIS, the exuberant and savvy African American ad writer turned screenwriter/director. A native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, her first film, Black & White & Red All Over premiered at Sundance in 1997. Her 2001 release Lift, starring Kerry Washington (Save the Last Dance; Ray) along side Lonette McKee (He Got Game; Jungle Fever) screened at both Sundance and the Maryland Film Festival. JACK GERBES, the no-nonsense director of the Maryland Film Office since 2002 (after joining the Office in 1991), his understated appearance belies his influence in the movie world. Gerbes is a rare find in the industry: a good-natured, seasoned problem-solver who has earned the respect of directors across the country. KEN WINOKUR, renowned musician and founding member of Boston’s Alloy Orchestra, his passion for scoring both contemporary and silent films makes him one of the world’s leading composers. His enthusiasm for film is contagious and the artist--who has screened films around the globe--recently chose to premiere his most important work in Baltimore. As we join the conversation, Jed is talking with Doug about filming in Maryland.

Jack Gerbes I don’t want to put any additional pressure on Doug, but for the past two or three years, when I’ve been introducing him around, I’ve put the moniker of “our next Barry Levinson and John Waters. He’s the Eastern Shore’s Barry Levinson.”

Jed Dietz You’ve made two films here. Can you talk a little bit about how this area has fed you as a writer/ director? Doug Sadler I’d been in L.A., writing and writing, and I kept thinking about Maryland. Being here was very important to Swimmers and Riders. The amount of community I was able to draw on was key. The resources here in terms of crew are wonderful.

Jed Dietz There truly is something of a pull in this area for filmmakers. DeMane, unlike the people we’ve been talking about, your roots are not here, but when your film Lift came out, you came to Baltimore. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship to the city?

Jed Dietz You and filmmakers like John [Waters] and Barry [Levinson] have all lived in different places. You could’ve written a movie about anyplace, you know? Doug Sadler I got into exploring the watermen on the Bay and I very much wanted the nature and the environment here to be present in the film.

DeMane Davis I remember thinking that the architecture was gorgeous. I’m nosy. I look in a lot of windows. I didn’t get arrested, which was a good thing.

(They laugh.)

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april 05


I also remember the audiences were so interested and so open. Going out to Sundance you get spoiled because people are very interested. When you go other places, there are the cinephiles who are going to ask questions and stay afterwards, but I remember being in Seattle and not a lot of people hung around. But in Baltimore, even prior to the movie showing, people were approaching me in the lobby, asking questions and thanking me for being there. Afterwards we had a really great questionand-answer period. A representative had to say, “I’m sorry, we’ve got to stop the questions because we’ve got another film.” Baltimore was a really welcoming experience. I felt like an outsider when I first arrived, but not after I left. Jack Gerbes Does it make a difference knowing that there is an instant community in a city like Baltimore? Not just the technicians that could work on your film, but rather a general acceptance and enthusiasm about independent film? DeMane Davis Absolutely. Like in Boston, people are somewhat receptive, but I feel like the leadership isn’t totally tolerant. When I was in Baltimore, people were really open and receptive. I was psyched about the turnout [at my screening for Lift]. I always like to sneak in and sit in the middle so I can hear what people are saying. I wasn’t able to do that because I wasn’t able to get a seat! That’s what I remember the most. That, and the age and race range. It was a mix. I know that I could come back here because people are really into film. Jed Dietz I remember reading the script when it came out of the Sundance labs, and it wasn’t a world I knew anything about. People were dumbfounded this could possibly be based on reality. And in Baltimore people jumped right in, like, “How did you know this?” DeMane Davis That’s one of the magical things about film: getting to see someone respond like that. Then they walk away with that information. I remember when Black & White & Red All Over played in Sundance, we had one Salt Lake City screening in this beautiful old theater and the audience was mostly white, and after the movie (it was about black-on-black violence) this woman with white hair walked up to me and she goes, “Now, are there really guns in the inner city?”

Ken Winokur We’ve been to a lot of the big festivals in New York and Seattle and San Francisco and Chicago, and they’re these huge, amorphous festivals that happen over many weeks in sometimes as many as a dozen venues. You may be going to a great film, but it kind of loses that sense of going to a special festival. Your comparison between Telluride and the Maryland Film Festival is apt because obviously they couldn’t be geographically more different, but Telluride is a town that’s so small the party is the town. Your town’s a little bigger, but your festival is really nicely contained. You get to know the people. In fact, I’ve often described Baltimore as reminding me of Boston 25 years ago. Boston wasn’t this city on the rise at that point, where real estate was so expensive you couldn’t even think of renting an apartment in the city. It was a friendly community where the artists all knew each other, we could go to the various venues, galleries, bars, whatever, and there was a whole community. I get that strong sense out of Baltimore. The biggest thing that’s happening in my life this decade, essentially, is our premier of [1925’s] Phantom of the Opera. We’ve purchased the negative for this film and are restoring it back to its beautiful, colored version. When it really started to come together, I started thinking, “Now I’ve got to plan for a premier.” We’ve premiered films at Telluride and at Lincoln Center and the San Francisco festival and we have choices. Jed is the person I wanted to introduce this film to the world. I felt comfortable that I could trust you guys to launch this thing properly. I knew you could get an enthusiastic audience and give it the breadth that it needs. I thought, alright, let’s do it. Let’s do this in Baltimore. Jed Dietz DeMane was talking about the difference between the Sundance and the Maryland Film Festival audiences. Do you do a Q & A at Telluride? Ken Winokur We don’t. Telluride’s all about the films, rapid fire, and people literally don’t even stay to applaud sometimes before they race out. There’s just barely enough time to race up the street so you can get in line and see the next film. Jed Dietz

(They laugh.)

Wow …

DeMane Davis And I said, “Yeah,” and one of the actors was there and he said, “Yes, ma’am, yes there are.” She said, “Well thank you. I really didn’t know.” And you kind of go, “Huh?” but at the end you feel cool that she was able to come up and talk about it and walk away knowing that.

Ken Winokur There is a sense of excitement at your film festival. The whole package really works to bring people and make them thrilled to be there. I spend a lot of time standing in the lobby of the Charles [Theatre] and I get to hear what people are saying. We really enjoy the kind of enthusiastic response of the audience.

Jed Dietz That’s what art does. It takes people into different worlds. Ken, you’ve performed so many different places, especially Telluride, which is a big festival (ours is a baby festival). Can you talk a little bit about audiences here for your work?



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Jed Dietz There’s been a lot of talk in the film world about different kinds of incentives that different cities are able to offer--economic incentives for folks to make films in those towns. I’m just curious: When

you as a filmmaker are considering where to go, how much does that enter into your process? Doug Sadler It doesn’t really impact my desire, but it definitely enters into the equation significantly when it comes to production, financing, and actual shooting. If you can do it for several hundred thousand dollars cheaper somewhere else, someone is going to want to go there. I certainly had a lot of those conversations about people wanting to research other locations for Swimmers and me having to say no, even if it’s cheaper, it belongs here. If that location specificity isn’t so much the focus of the film story-wise, obviously it becomes tempting to say, “Yeah, we could do it X, Y and Z place.” DeMane Davis For me it’s always about the story first, it’s about the script and what’s best for that, and I just want to serve the story. If there are bonuses that come along the way, I think that it becomes important to my line producer and executive producer. I respect and appreciate that. Jed Dietz But the incentives in that situation give you another tool to sell the location you want to be in? DeMane Davis Yes, that’s true, absolutely. Doug Sadler Incentives also support the integrity of the crew that lives there. I mean having a crew that’s available, that’s truly local, is always preferred. And experienced and very motivated and good and all those things. Jed Dietz Thank you guys for making wonderful films and for bringing your films here. Keep going. DeMane Davis And thank you for always being such a source of support and advice. FADE OUT: THE END

Glossary of Film Terms Action The most often heard term on a film set along with “cut.” It signifies the beginning of the camera’s recording of a dialogue or action sequence from the script. Action Axis (180 degree line) Determines where the camera is placed so that movement and/or an actor’s eye line in relation to another actor are consistent throughout the scene. ADR Stands for Automatic Dialogue Replacement, sometimes called looping. When an actor in a studio replaces dialogue that was improperly recorded or distorted (by airplanes, traffic noises, etc.) during location filming. Best Boy

The gaffer’s (electrician’s) first assistant.

Blocking The movement of actors and/or action on a film set, usually the director or assistant director’s job. Continuity The matching of an actor’s movement and/or props usage so that a scene shot from various camera angles can be edited together without noticeable interruption. Cut The second most often heard term on a film set. It signifies a halt in the filming of a scripted scene. Cutting Room Floor

Where most of an actor’s best scenes wind up; just ask them.

Dailies/Rushes The unedited “raw” footage from the previous day’s shooting that the crew “rushes” to see on a “daily” basis. Dolly Shot/Tracking Shot A term referring to a moving camera shot. The camera is usually mounted on a vehicle set on wheels or tracks in order to produce a smooth movement. Foley Theatre the film.

A studio where sound effects are recorded in synchronization with

Gaffer One of the three “g’s” of a film set. Another name for an electrician. A person responsible for providing safe electrical power to all the equipment. Gaffer Tape Wide tape that literally holds the film industry together. Not to be confused with duct tape. Gaffer tape leaves no sticky residue on film equipment. Grip The second of the three “g’s” on a film set. A person responsible for moving production equipment around a film set. Gopher The third “g” on a film set. Basically a production assistant asked to “go for this or go for that.” Hitting the Mark When an actor stops at the correct spot in a scene for framing and focusing. The actual mark is usually a piece of gaffer tape placed on the floor. Master Shot The term for an entire scene shot from one camera angle involving all the actors in the scene and with no editing. Usually the first shot in the filmed sequence. MOS A term from the birth of the sound era in Hollywood referring to a scene shot silently or “without sound.” Since many German directors were working in the business at that time and the German word for with is “mit,” the acronym became “MOS” rather than “WOS.” Pick Ups/Pick-Up Shots Shots needed to complete the storytelling that were initially missed or left out and are “picked up” at a later time. Room Tone Sound recorded without dialogue on the location or set to be used to bridge gaps in the soundtrack. Postproduction The editing, looping, music recording, etc., that is completed after the film has been shot. Set Ups

The number of times the camera is moved in order to film the scene.

Second Unit The crew that shoots stunt scenes, crowd scenes, car driving scenes, etc., that do not involve the principal actors. Slate The identifying marker at the beginning of each filmed scene. It is sometimes “clapped” to provide a synchronization point for the picture and sound for postproduction. Wrap The third most often heard word on a film set. And the one the entire cast and crew looks forward to.

—Steve Yeager

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


home movies By

J aso n

T i n n ey

T h e C reati v e A llia n ce bri n g s u s t h e n e x t g e n eratio n o f D I Y f ilmma k er s

Dallas Shelby is a great name.

It is a name that seems to have been lifted straight from celluloid—a name that seems to belong to film. And in fact, it does. Dallas Shelby is a filmmaker, one of many, among natives and transplants from around the country, converging inside the borders of Baltimore’s independent film and video community. It is a community with a long and scrappy tradition. Budgets aren’t big, but that’s not always a problem when tenacity, audacity, and the Creative Alliance are involved. The Creative Alliance, one of Baltimore’s biggest neighborhood advocates and Highlandtown’s artistic jewel, has been bringing filmmaking to the masses since 1999. It began when a group of Baltimore filmmakers approached them about offering the same support and resources already given to area visual artists. The nonprofit answered with Creative Alliance MovieMakers (CAmm). The program provides a “multipronged” approach according to Megan Hamilton, program director and co-founder of the Creative Alliance. CAmm offers salon screenings, film and video equipment rentals, classes and workshops—everything from editing and sound design to fundraising—as well as a venue to view locally made films. On the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m., CAmm’s free salon screenings bring filmmakers together to critique each other’s work and to mingle. “It’s not just about encouraging people to make the work and screen it,” Hamilton says. “It’s about encouraging everybody that’s making the work to know the other people that are making the work, to see if there are fruitful connections.” But it is the annual CAmm Slamm that really brings folks together. Now in its fourth year, the weekend long film festival has taken on legendary stature. In a caffeine-driven, speed-trap dodging, frenzied 48 hours—beginning Friday evening—filmmakers jump into the ring against one another, in friendly competition, to see who can make the best ten-minute video. After the smoke has cleared, these frazzled, bleary-eyed artists come together on Sunday night with their guerilla films for a screening that’s open to the public. The audience votes for the best film and three are awarded prizes. (The next CAmm Slamm will be held September 23 to 25.) The Creative Alliance also offers artists a residency program. Enter Dallas Shelby, originally from Arkansas, who moved here four years ago. “I spent some time talking to local artists,” Shelby says, “and everything about the city seemed to be something I wanted to be a part of.” As a CAmm artist-in-residence for the past year, he took his film Not Another Tolkien Movie to the New York Independent Film Festival in May 2004. “Baltimore has a thriving indie film community,” Shelby says. It should be no surprise that Baltimore is a nest for such fertile filmmaking. John Waters was one of the early pioneers of the “do it yourself ” style. Kristen Anchor, director of CAmm says, “In terms of industry and in terms of just ‘do it yourself ’ filmmakers, there’s a ton of stuff going on and they feed off of each other very well.” photograph of Dallas Shelby by Karen Patterson



april 05

the megaphone project B y



Paul Santomenna,founder and director of the Megaphone Proj-

ect, edits footage from his current documentary, Hearts in the Darkness, which explores the personal lives of Baltimore prostitutes. He points to the women on the screen, and says each of their names. “She’s been a prostitute for more than 10 years. She has HIV. I’ve gotten to know about two dozen of these women pretty well.” There is no judgment in his voice, but no patronizing compassion, either. His tone is one of detached friendliness, one of someone who is keeping his eyes and ears open so as not to miss any of the details. What interests Santomenna as a filmmaker is the plight of these women, and he can’t understand the plight without first understanding the person. “As a filmmaker, I find it really helpful to have a solid grounding in narrative storytelling,” he says. “What Megaphone Project is good at is telling really focused, concise stories about complex issues.” The Megaphone Project began in 2002, when Santomenna received a Community Fellowship Program grant from the Open Society Institute. Since then, he has relied on independent donors and community organizations to keep his operation afloat financially, and the company has produced fourteen videos about social problems facing the citizens of Baltimore. This is prolific output for a staff of just one full-time director (Santomenna) and a few volunteer interns. The goal of the Megaphone Project, according to Santomenna, is to effect “measurable change” in the community. Groups like You Are Not Alone, which advocates for the well-being of prostitutes, and neighborhood advocacy group ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), come to Santomenna, and he shoots movies that compliment the package of policy papers, studies, and petitions that these organizations use to advance their cause. “What advocates are really trying to do is tell stories of injustice and compel people to look at it and say, ‘This is not acceptable,’” says Santomenna. “Sometimes it is helpful to have more than just the written word. Film is a very emotional medium.” The Project’s most recent film, Infected, exposed the abhorrent health conditions of the Baltimore City Detention Center. The goal of Infected was for the higher-ups at the Maryland Department of Corrections to see it and recognize the “moral necessity” of change. “We’re not interested in broadcasting [our films] or distributing them,” says Santomenna. “We only distribute to people who can make changes happen.” After Infected screened at the Creative Alliance in January, Santomenna received a letter from Prison Health Services, Inc. (the founder of the private managed correctional healthcare field) saying that his movies were biased. They demanded he stop showing them. “We’re not journalists,” he says. “We are trying to get a reaction.” The Megaphone Project is patently on the side of the impoverished people depicted in its films. Aesthetically, the movies are not beautiful. With virtually no money for post-production, the final product is grim and stark, but still well-made. “We’re mostly doing stories about poor people struggling to make bad situations better,” says Santomenna. “In that way, our bare bones style is sort of appropriate.” This approach is part of a wider vision Santomenna has for more honesty and democratization in the media. “What I find infuriating about mainstream media is how everyone claims to be objective and that they’re telling a story and the audience can take whatever they want from it,” Santomenna says, “and I think that is sort of disingenuous.”


—Robbie Whelan is Urbanite’s Editorial Assistant. photograph of Paul Santomenna by Karen Patterson

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april 05


I didn’t want to be an old man never having done this, so I basically stepped off a cliff and said, “I will make a film.”

photo of Doug Sadler and Rodney Taylor by Linda Farwell

small town on the big screen B y

A n n e

H a d d ad


The red carpetdoesn’t reach to the Eastern Shore, but it’s only a

plane ride away. Doug Sadler, for now, is enjoying the dual privileges of living in a small town and making movies for a big country. His muses are on the Shore, even if the business is not. “I’m not going to cocktail parties in Easton where I might meet someone who wants to invest in a film,” Sadler said. He does live part-time in New York, with trips to Hollywood as needed. It all amounts to earning citizenship in the nation of independent filmmakers, such as Alexander Payne, who draw inspiration from their own regions, but whose character-driven pieces are universal. “I don’t want to just make films about Maryland, but I’d like to keep making films in Maryland,” Sadler said. Sadler’s second feature film, Swimmers, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and will be screened at the Maryland Film Festival in May. It’s a drama about a waterman’s family, told from the perspective of an 11year-old girl whose need for an operation has set off a financial and personal crisis for her parents. Sadler’s career is gaining momentum. Like Payne, who went on to direct Sideways, Sadler hopes to be seen as more than a regional filmmaker. His agent is bringing him scripts written by others, for him to direct. For Swimmers, Sadler had a budget of more than $1 million. His first film, Riders, cost significantly less: For that film, Sadler pulled together whatever cash he could, along with friends and family and local teenagers willing to work for next to nothing. “We had jobs that normally would go to a high-paid person in their 30s being done by a 16 year old,” Sadler said. When Sadler was 12, his parents sold the successful Louisiana farm where they raised quarter horses so they could live on a sailboat. After a year



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and a half, they settled in Easton in time for Sadler’s freshman year at Easton High School. Later, he returned every summer from Vanderbilt University to work on a ferry, coming of age around people who make a living from the Chesapeake Bay. He and his wife, Linda Farwell, are raising their 2-year-old son in Easton. By the late 1990s, Sadler’s interests had moved toward film. He had graduated from the American Film Institute and started an artists’ retreat called The Oregon Lab, which continues to flourish. But what he had not yet done was make his own film. “I didn’t want to be an old man never having done this, so I basically stepped off a cliff and said, ‘I will make a film,’ ” Sadler said. He started his own production company, theatrefirefilms, so small it has no capital letters and only one employee—Sadler himself. Riders, about a troubled teen trying to protect her younger sister from their mother’s boyfriend, premiered in 2001 on the Sundance Channel, drawing strong reviews and garnering him an invitation to the Sundance Institute filmmaking labs. Swimmers benefited from the advice and attention of founder Robert Redford himself, as well as Sally Field and Ed Harris. Swimmers attracted professional actors such as Shawn Hatosy (another Maryland native), Cherry Jones, Sarah Paulson and Robert Knott. “Once you’ve passed through a filter and received someone’s stamp of approval, you’re that much more attractive to all the other entities out there looking to fund and produce a film,” Sadler said. “The whole thing is about momentum. You know, it’s a lot easier to get a date when you’re already dating.” —Anne Haddad wrote about the disc golf course at Druid Hill Park in our March issue.

silent success





This country’s most marketable film degrees are from universities located at the centers of film production—places like the University of Southern California and New York University. Why would aspiring filmmakers choose to go to college in Baltimore? And what about a college in the corner of Baltimore County? Interestingly, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has of late produced more than its share of graduates who are finding success in the film industry. Director Bill Whiteford (class of 1980) won an Oscar for his documentary King Gimp (1999); writer/director Brian Dannelly’s (class of 1997) feature film Saved (2004), starring Mandy Moore and Macaulay Culkin, grossed nearly $9 million at the box office last year; Tim Best (class of 1997), a technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, helped create the Oscar’s Best Animated Feature, The Incredibles. “This school has a long history in the film world,” says Melanie Berry, program coordinator of the Department of Visual Arts at UMBC. “Its roots go back pretty far.” She mentions former professor Stan Van Der Beek, considered one of the most influential experimental filmmakers of the twentieth century, as one of the cornerstones of the film program. Whiteford, whose Academy Award-winning documentary follows the life of a Towson native who became a successful painter in spite of having no use of his hands due to cerebral palsy, studied under Van Der Beek in the 1970s. He believes that Van Der Beek’s influence and expertise helped shape and give vitality to the film program at UMBC. “There’s a sense of creativity there that’s just infectious,” he says. “There are lots of ideas bouncing around and lots of freedom to explore.” The film program is unique in that it is structured as part of the Department of Visual Arts as opposed to a stand-alone film department. Students are required to take classes in all fields, giving them a well-rounded academic background that reaches far beyond the editing room. Holly Lavenstein, a professor of filmmaking at UMBC for ten years who specializes in shorts, taught Brian Dannelly when he was in college. “We’re not a big film school,” she says. “We’re a good film department in a big visual arts program. The difference is the encouragement we give our students early on to make their own work, to push their ideas from the beginning— in short films, narrative films, and experimental genres.” She says that the department does work from more of an art-house film context than other schools, but that it also pushes the students to study every aspect of filmmaking—cinematography, art direction, writing— regardless of their focus. Another key feature of the department is that many student projects are still shot on film, rather than on digital media. “With film there is more pre-production, and the format lends itself to a certain kind of filmmaking that is more artistic.” The environment that these sorts of practices produce is one that allows students to follow their most passionate path. Whiteford says he was never steered toward Hollywood-type work or art films, and that he ended up making documentaries because it was simply what he loved to do.

photograph of Holly Lavenstein by Karen Patterson

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april 05


now showing . . . American Visionary Art Museum 410-244-1900 The Charles Theatre 410-727-FILM (3456) Creative Alliance at the Patterson

Enoch Pratt Free Library 410-396-5430 Film Classics at the Hippodrome 410-752-8083


The Johns Hopkins Film Festival


Maryland Film Festival

The Senator and The Charles have always been Baltimore’s answer to the corporate multiplex, but due to the success of annual events like the Maryland Film Festival, MicroCineFest, the Hopkins Film Festival, and the Little Italy Outdoor Film Series, our city has become rich with many other exciting film-going opportunities. Every Wednesday night, the Creative Alliance screens art house titles and revivals with the help of George Figgs, the cineaste behind the beloved Orpheum Theatre in Fells Point. Kristin Anchor, director of the Creative Alliance MovieMakers program, reports good attendance. “People are fed up with Hollywood junk and are looking for a refreshing movie experience,” she says. The Enoch Pratt Free library claims a wonderful collection of 16mm films and holds screenings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, free to the public. Showing everything from animated shorts to foreign gems or comedy classics, there is often a good turnout of local film connoisseurs. MICA recently kicked off a Monday Night Film Series in its Brown Center that will run through the end of this month. The program features documentaries and “mockumentaries,” many hosted by the filmmakers themselves. Aside from their regular screenings of topical cinema, the Walters Art Museum collaborates with the Maryland Film Festival to bring us films that often relate to their current exhibits. The Hippodrome Theatre has recently taken to screening films on days when there are no live performances. Some gems recently projected there are Dr. Strangelove, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Wizard of Oz. This summer, American Visionary Art Museum Director Rebecca Hoffberger plans to launch the new Hughes Family Outdoor Movie Theater where patrons can enjoy family-oriented classics and short educational pieces while sitting on the grassy knolls of Federal Hill. Just across the water, ground has been broken for construction and development in the Inner Harbor East area. There is talk of a large independent film venue becoming part of the planned retail space. Midtown, downtown, or Highlandtown, our city has a lot to offer its film-going public. With all of these options for a more pure cinematic experience in Baltimore, one could quite possibly see a different movie every day of the year without even getting on the beltway.

410-752-8273 MICA – Maryland Film Festival’s Spring 2005 Film Series Highlights 410-225-2300 MicroCineFest 410-243-5307 Mission Media The Senator Theatre / Rotunda Cinematheque Senator: 410-435-8338 Rotunda: 410-235-4800 The Walters Art Museum / Graham Auditorium 410-547-9000


b e ll a f i o r e

—Ed Bellafiore has worked on several local film productions and has served as the art department coordinator for HBO’s The Wire.



april 05

photo of Creative Alliance by Karen Patterson



J o a n

J a cobson

photo by Karen Patterson

There was a time when making a motion picture in Baltimore was a quaint proposition. Barry Levinson would roll into his hometown, or John Waters would walk out his front door, and they would start shooting. Today, the business of making movies in Baltimore is anything but quaint. It is a cutthroat venture as Baltimore and Maryland vie with other cities and states for the millions of dollars in revenue that comes with the glamour of having movies made here.

“Over the past two fiscal years, filmmakers have brought more than $200 million to Maryland businesses,” says Hannah Byron, the city’s first director of its Division of Film, Television and Video, a position created by the O’Malley administration last year to recruit film producers to Baltimore. Byron says that 80% to 90% of that $200 million ended up in Baltimore in the form of crew wages, hotel stays, restaurant meals, and outlays of cash to other local businesses. But now Maryland, a state with a track record for making movies with seasoned film crews and diverse locations, could stand to lose its advantage over other states. The movie industry today “is extraordinarily competitive,” Byron says. “You bend over backwards to be accommodating. You have to be very aggressive because you know they’re going to be looking [for locations] in Pennsylvania and Virginia,” she says. In the last two decades, Maryland has drawn dozens of feature films with a variety of locations—from city courthouses to county horse farms— in a small geographic area that appeals to producers. The state also offers a 5% sales-tax exemption for filmmakers. But today, that is not enough to guarantee that a movie about Maryland will be filmed here. Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office, knows this firsthand. Last year he had spent months scouting locations for the movie Annapolis when he got a call from the producer telling him they were pulling up stakes and moving the filming to Philadelphia. Why? Dennis Castleman, assistant secretary for the state’s Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, offers a simple explanation: “Money talks in the industry,” he said. While Gerbes was scouting locations in Maryland, a new Pennsylvania law was passed, offering producers millions of dollars in savings if they filmed there and took advantage of the state’s new 20% tax credit. The Pennsylvania law took effect at the end of last June. Within a week, Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the greater Philadelphia Film Office, was on a plane to Los Angeles. “I didn’t go after Annapolis; I went after whatever I could get,” said Pinkenson. “As soon as the incentives were passed I was in L.A. and started with the studios. They were all receptive. They offered two projects within a

day,” she said. She estimated the savings for Disney, producers of Annapolis, will be $3 million to $4 million. Since the Pennsylvania law was passed, the interest in making films there has picked up substantially. “It’s been great,” said Jane Shecter, director of the Pennsylvania Film Office. “We’re getting more productions, for sure. We’ve been a lot busier.” Similar laws have been passed in Louisiana, New York, and Illinois.

Louisiana’s incentives are so lucrative that the producers of Ray saved $3.7 million, according to MovieMaker Magazine. As of last November, Louisiana had 15 new movie productions going, according to the magazine. But the magazine rates New York City (where producers are offered both city and state tax incentives) as the No. 1 city in the United States in which to make movies (Baltimore is rated No. 9.). The magazine noted New York’s hospitality toward movie makers. For example, the city closed down the Brooklyn Bridge for eight nights to shoot the Ewan McGregor movie Stay. But bending over backwards to find locations is no longer enough. Baltimore shut down the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge on South Hanover Street for two days last fall so makers of a sequel to the action film Triple X could stage a boat crashing onto the bridge. And the state allowed producers of Enemy of the State with Will Smith to use a sub-tunnel beneath the Fort McHenry Tunnel for a chase scene. After losing the movie Annapolis, the Ehrlich administration introduced a bill in the legislature that would put Maryland on an even playing field with other states offering incentives. Maryland’s proposed law would offer a rebate to filmmakers, rather than tax incentives. The bill would set up a fund of $6 million and offer the rebates to producers of major films spending at least $500,000 in MaryContinued on page 43 w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05



by charles cohen

The Knights of Columbus open the swank Beaux Arts Alcazar Hotel in Mount Vernon in 1925.

photocollage by marc fanberg

Fifty-five years later, in 1980, the Baltim ore School for the Arts takes over the now aging and aban doned Alcazar building with just sixty-eight students. (The school will grow to more than 300 students, auditioning 1,200 potential students for just 100 spots a year.)

ts r a e h or t f l o o sch ILM F e r N o O m i GHT U balt A C Y R A HISTO

sure and ed expo e n th . (To u o ore’s y .W.I.G.S at Baltim SA establishes T elementary th g in iz Recogn s, the B ared for gram ge in the art ts. nurturing ining Skills), a pro school studen dle Ga id in m d rk n o a W

More th an 40,0 0 produc tion of T 0 school child ren hav he Nutc the BSA e see rac by Lisa de Ribe ker, originally c n the BSA’s re of th e New horeographed York Cit for y Ballet.



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In 1990 th e National Endowme one of the nt for the A top five pu rts names blic arts sc Departmen the BSA hools in th t of Educa e country an tio n names it the Doris D d the U.S. a Blue Rib uke Charit bon Schoo able Found award the l. In 2001, ation and th school a $ e Surdna F 1.1 million oundation grant.

Former BSA students, like Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac Shakur, start appearing on the national pop and cultural scene.

The BSA creates an innovative curriculum that allows students to pursue various art forms while partne ring them with the city’s top cultural institutions, like the Baltimore Museum of Art and Everyman Theatre.

premiere omes a c e b ry lle ists. azar Ga visual art The Alc talented l’s o o h the sc


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The Colgate Salsbury Vis iting Artists brings ente Series, esta rtainment in blis dustry leader Holbrook, K s to the scho hed in 2001, athleen Turn ol, including er, Lynn Red Hal grave, and John Water s.

Expansio n: $24 millio n in public/pri vate financing will convert th e neighbori ng House bro Graham w (once hom nstone e to H.L. Mencken ) in story com to a threeple state-of-th x with e-art med ia, music, ph oto and dance fac ilities. photographs courtesy of Baltimore School for the Arts w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05




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april 05

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sustainable city


eden unger bowditch

Tips for City Gardening

farming the city Just like a filmmaker, a gardener needs a good plot. In England, during the Industrial Revolution, the Allotment Acts of 1887 and 1889 offered small urban plots to families in need. Ever since, community gardens have played an important role in the health of cities. By 1914 Baltimore had two children’s gardens, in Druid Hill and Patterson parks. Today, city residents have two opportunities to cultivate the land with their neighbors: the City Farms program and community gardens. The City Farms program, run by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, began in 1978 under Mayor William Donald Schaefer, and today the Clifton, Patterson, Druid Hill, Leakin, Carroll, Fort Holabird, and DeWees parks offer residents plots of land to rent and farm. There are 550 plots in the city, averaging 8 feet by 15 feet, and one person can rent up to three for $20 each (which gets you mulch, soil, and access to water). Beyond the benefit of greening the city, the farms bring communities together. “I am amazed at what a diverse population city farmers are,” says Patricia Caya, the most recent City Farms coordinator. (A new coordinator, Coleen McCarty, was named just before press time.) “We have every race, age, men and women, all working together. It is really a jewel in the cap of Baltimore.” Caya says gardeners join because they have no yards for themselves or because they want to share the farming experience. People trade ideas, seeds and produce from their plots. They grow everything from carrots and beets to dahlias and lettuce. There is a collective potluck at the end of the season, which is in its twenty-seventh year. Another option for shared farming is creating or joining a community garden, coordinated and run by neighborhood organizations, like the Greater Baltimore Master Gardener Program. The Master Gardener Program works with the community organizations that maintain fifteen gardens in places like Chasewood, Homestead, Hampden, Reservoir Hill, Gwynns Falls, and East Baltimore. “They are mostly in areas where people are reclaiming greenspace,” says Patricia Foster, co-chair of the community gardens committee. The

program offers a certificate for anyone interested in serious gardening. The course combines lectures and hands-on fieldwork. The master gardeners themselves do a great deal of volunteering in the community gardens. “We don’t start gardens,” says Foster. “In fact, we are very particular. There has to be a strong neighborhood organizer and real commitment. We act as educators.” With approximately 15,000 vacant plots in Baltimore equaling around 1000 acres, there’s plenty of opportunity. Foster notes that with commitment, p.45 45 people can really work magic. p. — Eden Unger Bowditch is the author of several books about Baltimore, including Baltimore’s Historic Parks and Gardens (Arcadia Publishing, 2004).

Test the Soil Air pollution, as well as other toxins, leach into city soil. For $50, the environmental chemists at Penniman & Browne will test your dirt for lead. For $200 you can test for nutrients like magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Choosing Plants The United States is divided into gardening zones and Baltimore is Zone 7. Select plants that are climate appropriate for this zone. You can ask employees at your local garden store or nursery for help, or you may find zone information directly on the packages of the seeds you buy. Watering Never water at midday. Most of the water will evaporate and may even burn the delicate petals of your flowers. Instead, water in early morning or late evening. Fertilizing Fertilizing more than twice a year may be excessive. Much of the nitrate run-off from urban areas is due to over-fertilizing lawns. Nitrate can enter our water supply, as well as kill fish and other wildlife. Take a Class This month, urban agriculture classes are being offered through the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Program. See our resources page for details.

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april 05


by charlie vascellaro

Foll ow

the trail of


CA I M nt e c re


ua r ad



We’ve all seen them walking along Mount Royal Avenue through the Bolton Hill and Mount Vernon neighborhoods; skinny, hungry-looking kids in tattered clothes, carrying oversized portfolios bigger than their bodies by day, gathered in oversized groups around the cocktail tables of the Mount Royal Tavern by night. Have you ever wondered what happens to the students of the Maryland Institute College of Art right after they leave Baltimore’s art enclave? Less than two years removed from graduation, Emilie Leborgne is now the lead character animator for the soon-to-be-launched No Good Television (NGTV) cable channel in Los Angeles. Leborgne, 23, launched her path here in Baltimore when she unearthed an interest in animation and filmmaking at MICA. A self-described “child of the world,” Leborgne was born in France but spent much of her young life relocating around the globe for her father’s business. She bounced from Holland to Tokyo to Belgium. She also made frequent trips to New York to visit her grandmother, and when the time came to consider college, she focused on art schools in the United States “The [art] schools in Europe only do art. But I also wanted to learn history and literature,” Leborgne says. She enrolled in the general fine arts program at MICA with plans to study sculpture and children’s book illustration, but a required computer literacy course changed her focus to animation. She found that 3-D animation combined her interests in sculpture and storytelling. She began to produce short, humorous three-dimensional animated films (many of which can be viewed on her website: One of her recurring characters is a long and lanky bald-headed young man who appears in her short features Spotlight, Walks and Runs, and Weight, and his vivid characterization is an example of how three-dimensional animation can depict physical expression. MICA has been placing increasing emphasis on programs in video and animation due to the growing interest of students, like Leborgne, who want to expand their art into the arenas of film arts. During her four years at MICA, Leborgne produced several short video and animated features for the school’s Channel Organix film festival and ultimately served on its selection committee. After graduating magna cum laude, she flew overseas to attend the Animation Workshop in Vi-

borg, Denmark, enrolling in a concentrated masters course in character animation. Almost on a whim after completing the workshop program, Leborgne set her sights straight for the heart of the film industry: Los Angeles. She experienced a bit of culture shock arriving on the West Coast. “When I first moved to L.A., I would walk up to the top of these mountains and look out at the city and it was mind-boggling,” she says. But before long, she adjusted. “I used to think it would be glamorous, but it’s kind of like downtown Baltimore,” said Leborgne. She pounded the pavement looking for work and in just a few months landed her first job working on video games for Legacy Interactive, makers of video games based on the TV shows Law and Order and ER. Along the way she learned to negotiate for higher pay, which came in handy when she finally got her break at NGTV. The whole concept of money and

money management was almost alien to Leborgne as a college student. “I’ve never negotiated before; I had no idea what my worth was,” she says. In addition to her full-time job, Leborgne continues to work on her own films. She draws her inspiration from introspective “serious brainstorming with paper, and myself, and a pen” she says. “I try to find a peaceful setting to work in and I write down any idea that comes to mind. Recently I was sitting in a park watching a family, and this little boy was running in such a funny way and I thought I would like to animate it,” she says. “Of course every artist’s work is also kind of autobiographical,” she adds, and her new life in Los Angeles is providing plenty of material. “It’s a great city to be young and hungry in—in a career sense, of course.” —Charlie Vascellaro is a freelance writer living in Baltimore. The Greenwood Publishing Group will release his biography on home run king Hank Aaron this spring.

Animator Emilie Leborgne and some of her characters. From L to R: This little boy comes to life when he retells his version of a popular fairytale in her animated short Jack and the Beanstock; A handrawn still of a 2D character from the short A Lady Always Smiles; Leborgne’s 3D character from the short Spotlight.

Images by Emilie Leborgne

out there

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april 05




by Dael Orlandersmith

Sponsor: Media Sponsors:

March 18 – April 24, 2005 Previews March 15, 16, 17 Baltimore Premiere Wednesdays through Sundays Ticket prices: $15–$28 Box Office: 410-752-2208 1727 N. Charles Street, Balt., MD 21201 Photo of Paul Nicholas and Dawn Ursula. Photo by Stan Barouh.




Does its last owner know it’s lost? Did anyone choose tails? What does being inside a vending machine feel like? Has it ever fed the homeless? Has it ever been in a celebrity’s pocket? Would you use it to play pinball or call your mother? Has it ever done time in a parking meter? Is the other side sticky? Are the ridges on the side purely cosmetic? Has it ever funded terrorism? How many pool tables has it reserved? Did they use George Washington’s good side? Has it ever been a tip for lousy service?

Shouldn’t we celebrate curiosity?





april 05

in preview

by skizz cyzyk, catherine o’malley and steve yeager

What a great way to celebrate movies—ask people who are not filmmakers to pick a film that has meant a lot to them and host a screening of it. Our Maryland Film Festival came up with this unique idea, and has done Guest Host screenings since its inception in 1999. Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick, civil rights leader Julian Bond, journalist Robert Novak, and National Public Radio’s Scott Simon are just some of the people who have participated. My dad, Attorney General Joseph Curran, chose The Wizard Of Oz in 2000 and my husband, Martin, chose the great Irish fable Into The West in 2001. In 2002, I chose My Brilliant Career, director Gillian Armstrong’s moving story about a nineteeth century Australian woman trying to balance family and career. It launched the careers of Judy Davis and Sam Neill, and won awards around the world, but it is hard to find. It was wonderful to share this important movie with my family and a bigger audience. This year, Senator Barbara Mikulski has chosen the great To Kill a Mockingbird (May 6), and Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill will host a sing‑a‑long version of Mary Poppins (May 8). I can’t wait! —Catherine O’Malley is a Maryland district court judge and the first lady of Baltimore.

Opening Night Shorts Short films are the orphans of the movie art form. There is little market for them, and even the film festival world rarely rolls out the opening night red carpet to short films. The Maryland Film Festival is changing that. The often overlooked smaller siblings to independent feature and documentary films can be bite-size packages of brilliance, telling their stories and making their points in a fraction of the time it takes to watch an average movie. Twice, so far, the festival has opened with a shorts program, continuing our celebration of shorts throughout the festival and into our wildly popular Shorts in a Tent program at Artscape every summer. The festival’s Opening Night Shorts program is always a carefully chosen mix (comedy, drama, animation, documentary, experimental), with plenty of the filmmakers and cast present to answer questions from the audience, which typically includes up-and-coming talent, well-known filmmakers, and celebrities. We scour the world for great shorts, and on May 5, 2005, we will once again introduce several deserving filmmakers to an appreciative Baltimore audience. —Skizz Cyzyk, filmmaker and founder of MicroCineFest, is the programming manager of the Maryland Film Festival.

La Chatte à deux têtes

Guest Hosts

Guard Dog

To Kill a Mockingbird

take a sneak peak at next month's Maryland Film Festival

John Waters’ Picks Boom; Clean, Shaven; Baxter; Fuego; I Stand Alone; Dog Days; La Chatte à deux têtes. Ever heard of any of these films? And what do they all have in common, you ask? John Waters. Each year since the festival’s inception in 1999, Baltimore’s favorite son has introduced one of these obscure films to unsuspecting Maryland Film Festival audiences. Ours is the only festival in the world where Waters has been a presenter every year. His selections have delighted audiences seeking a glimpse of the far side of film. His pick for the 2005 Festival is La Chatte à deux têtes (The Pussy with Two Heads), French director Jacques Nolot’s take on a Parisian porn theater. Never boring, always unexpected, the movies John chooses are guaranteed to produce a jolt, a laugh, and maybe a wave of nausea, but no matter what the visceral reaction, they always give audiences a lot to say in any discussion of the weirdest films ever made. That’s a contribution only John Waters could make.   —Steve Yeager For the latest schedule, visit the festival’s website: w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05






Illustration: Mark Fredrickson



SLY U O M R O “EN INING!” TAent Weekly ENETnEteR rtainm

Book and lyrics by Music by HOWARD ASHMAN ALAN MENKEN Based on the film by Screenplay by ROGER CORMAN CHARLES GRIFFITH Choreographed by KATHLEEN MARSHALL Directed by JERRY ZAKS


APRIL 19 – MAY 1

Tickets: 410.547.SEAT • • Tickets also available at all Ticketmaster Outlets, Hippodrome Box Office (M-Sat 10-5) Groups (20+): call 410.837.0110 or 800.889.8457 • Tickets are subject to handling fees and service charges. No exchanges or refunds.



april 05

New Broadway Cast Album on DRG

Runaway Movies continued from page 33 land. land. The The rebates rebates equal equal 50% 50% of of employee employee wages wages paid paid during filming. The maximum rebate per during filming. The maximum rebate per film film would would be be $2 $2 million. million. “We’re “We’re doomed doomed if if we we don’t don’t [pass [pass the the legislation],” legislation],” said Castleman. said Castleman. Maryland Maryland film film officials officials chose chose aa rebate rebate rather rather than a tax incentive after consulting than a tax incentive after consulting with with accounaccountants tants of of major major film film studios studios who who found found the the rebate rebate atattractive, said Elizabeth Carven, Maryland’s tractive, said Elizabeth Carven, Maryland’s deputy deputy assistant assistant secretary secretary for for the the Department Department of of Business Business and Economic Development’s Division of and Economic Development’s Division of Tourism, Tourism, Film Film and and the the Arts. Arts. If the If the law law passes, passes, producers producers will will know know the the exexact amount of the rebate in advance of filming. act amount of the rebate in advance of filming. But But in in states states with with incentives, incentives, said said Carven, Carven, the the savings savings are not always clear until after the film are not always clear until after the film is is made. made. In In Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, she she said, said, there there is is aa cap cap on on the the amount amount of of money money to to be be divided divided among among film film companies companies and and some may not get as much of the pot some may not get as much of the pot as as they they anticianticipated. pated. Annapolis Annapolis filmmakers filmmakers were were able able to to save save so so much because they were the first film to dip into much because they were the first film to dip into the the pot pot and and use use the the new new law, law, said said Carven. Carven. Carven said there are Carven said there are “seven “seven major major motion motion picpictures waiting” to see if the legislature will tures waiting” to see if the legislature will pass pass the the rebate rebate law law before before they they commit commit to to Maryland. Maryland. As thethe outcome of the As of of Urbanite’s Urbanite’spress presstime, time, outcome of bill was unknown, but the house bill has thirty-three the bill was unknown, but the house bill has thirtysponsors and the senate versionversion has fourteen sponthree sponsors and the senate has fourteen sors. sponsors.

One of the bill’s supporters, who testified in the legislature, is Bunnie Gleiman, vice president of Bond Lumber, a Lutherville company that has made millions of dollars supplying movies, television productions and commercials with lumber since the 1980s. Gleiman said the production of Ladder 49 in 2003, a movie about a fire company, brought her company $250,000, due mostly to the nature of the film: “Buy it, build it, burn it,” she said. HBO’s The Wire, produced by David Simon, has brought Bond Lumber $304,000 in the last three years, she said. Even the smaller productions, like John Waters’ movies, bring the company between $5,000 and $20,000 in business. Gleiman says she already notices the economic impact of film productions going to other states. “It has a ripple effect,” she says. “I’ve been on the phone with my suppliers (also located in Maryland) wanting to know, ‘Why aren’t you buying like you were?Where Whereare arethe themovies?’” movies?’” were. If the bill doesn’t pass, she adds, “It doesn’t look good for me.” While city and state officials worry over keeping filmmakers from fleeing to Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana and other states, they also have to worry about Canada and other countries. A filmmaker working in Toronto, for example, can get up to 34% in tax credits of labor expenses, combining Ontario and federal Canadian credits. Last year, in an effort to lure filmmakers back into the United States from foreign countries, the

Larry. Sharon. Pete. Eat, drink, and meet Mary. Laura. Michael. Carey. Steve. Becky. James.

U.S. Congress passed a federal tax incentive package to stop what film directors were calling “runaway productions.” But that hasn’t stopped individual states from piling on more incentives. Film recruiters for Baltimore and Maryland say it would be a shame to lose the business when Maryland has “an incredible crew base,” said Byron, noting the Baltimore area has developed a group of professionals from years of working on John Waters and Barry Levinson movies, as well as the Homicide and The Wire television series. There are 500 skilled workers in the Baltimore area who handle film crew jobs that include building sets, handling wardrobe, and electrical work, says Rosemarie Levy, business agent for the Mid-Atlantic Studio Mechanics Local 487 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. “We can do two or three shows simultaneously,” says Levy, who is worried that jobs will dry up if the bill is not passed. “This is health and welfare for our members. This is their pension,” she says. Some of her members, she adds, are already being recruited to work on films in Louisiana. “It’s a sad note,” she said. “If [the bill] doesn’t pass, we’re finished.” —Joan Jacobson wrote “A Neighborhood Neighborhoodby byAny AnyOther OthName” in the March issue, about thethe development of er Name” in the March issue, about development thethe Cherry Hill neighborhood. of Cherry Hill neighborhood.

Join hundreds of your fellow Downtown Baltimore business professionals and neighbors at the 3rd Annual Downtown Partnership Networking Event Thursday, April 28, 2005

29 South Front Street 5:30–8:30 pm Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails Downtown Partnership members: free Non-members: $30 Please RSVP to Downtown Partnership by Wednesday, April 27 at 410.605.0456 or Presented by:

Contributions to Downtown Partnership are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes. However, they are deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense. FIN 52-1326864

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


� One fire extinguished his career—now another is making it hotter than ever.

Creating a community takes art…

Talk to Chris Gavin about metal and

The art of seeing amazing

you could believe this Scottish black-

possibilities where others

smith is a poet too. “Metalwork is a

don’t—and being absolutely hands-on in

magical medium,” he says, “especially in

crafting every detail.

the fire where it is truly transformed.” His company, Mandala Creations in Metal, makes this kind of magic every day, where a pot rack might suddenly resemble the branch of a tree. While his work

That’s what you’ll dis-

now, ranging from sculpture to beds and tables, is actively collected,

cover at Clipper Mill—a

Chris knows that fire burns both ways. In 1995, a devastating blaze at

new community that’s uniquely defined by the artisans

Clipper Mill destroyed his original shop. His reaction?

and artists who have worked here for more than 150 years.

Salvaging his anvil from the ashes, he went back to work.

From its start as the Union Machine Shops, once the

“This park always has had such tremendous history and

largest machine manufacturing plant in the nation, to its

flavor to it,” Chris smiles. “I love it here.”

later role as an artist’s colony, Clipper Mill has always been

Pictured above: Chris Gavin of Mandala Creations in Metal

a place of innovation and activity. Now along the Jones Falls, it is being reinvented as a vibrant mixed-use community—one that you can call home or work, or both. Within its 17 acres bordering massive Druid Hill Park, Clipper Mill will offer cutting-edge choices balanced with

Six months on a sailboat, then it came to him all at once: “Build furniture.” Erik Rink can’t explain why those words popped into his head 13 years ago. But as he

environmentally sustainable design—and your pick of homes, apartments, condominiums, office space, and live/work artist studios. With its central location and own light rail

says, “Once I made that decision, literally every door I’ve knocked on

stop, you’re never

has opened.” Now an award-winning master cabinetmaker,

far from, well, anywhere.

Erik heads up Artisan Interiors at Clipper Mill, creating what he calls “large-scale, built-in furniture.” Whether he’s building compete libraries or home theater installations, Erik blends custom finishes and high-end veneers with a single goal—turning out a handcrafted,

There’s an art to creating a community— and you’ll find it where it all started, at Clipper Mill. To see it for yourself, call 443-573-4000.

one-of-a-kind piece that fits perfectly within a room. “We want to be known as a top cabinetry shop staffed by artists,” says Erik, “and we’re in the best place to do it.” Which of course beats floating around any day. Pictured above: Erik Rink of Artisan Interiors

Clipper Mill In Baltimore’s historic Jones Falls Valley

� 44


april 05

For more information on the Greater Baltimore Master Gardeners and joining a community garden, call John Foerster at 410-396-1888. cfm?Parent=3&ID=344


Urban Agriculture Classes University of Maryland Cooperative Extension (MCE) 17 S. Gay St. 410-396-1888

Food: Farm Fresh From p. 15 The Village: A Natural Food Cooperative in Baltimore 2429 Saint Paul St. Future Harvest—Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) 410-604-2681 Maryland Department of Agriculture Alternative Farming Systems Information Center National Agriculture Library / U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Sustainable City: Community Gardening From p. 37 For more information on renting a City Farm plot, call the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks at 410‑396‑7839.

Cooking Ethnic Vegetables April 16, 12:15 p.m. –1:15 p.m. Once you’ve learned how to grow them, stay for the second part of the program to learn how to make ethnic veggies into delicious ethnic dishes. Taught by Gwendolyn Jackson of the MCE Home and Garden Hotline Timely tips and advice for the urban gardener. 800-342-2507

Upcoming Classes: The Bold and the Beautiful April 2, 10 a.m. –12 p.m. This class will focus on flowering plants and how they can help beautify the landscape in large community gardens and open spaces. Taught by Dr. John Foerster of the MCE Garden Pests April 9, 10 a.m. –12 p.m. Insects are a natural occurrence in all gardens, and some of them are even good for your plants. Learn which ones are, and which ones aren’t, and how to recognize them. Taught by Dr. Michael Raupp of the University of Maryland Ethnic Vegetables for Baltimore Gardens April 16, 10 a.m. –12 p.m. Learn about the vegetables that are the staples of various ethnic groups, and how they can be integrated into Baltimore’s community gardens. Taught by Dr. Stephan Tubene of the University of Maryland

Penniman & Browne 6252 Falls Road 410-825-4131

fiction submission guidelines Urbanite publishes fiction on a periodic basis. We welcome submissions of exceptional, compelling, literary fiction. We appreciate style and substance: a distinctive voice and a polished craft serving a story that must be told. A connection to Baltimore or the urban experience is preferred, but not essential. We will consider published and unpublished “sudden fiction” of 500 words or less, short shorts of 1,000 words or less, and short stories and stand-alone novel excerpts up to 3,000 words. Every submission must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We are not responsible for lost or damaged manuscripts. Send submissions to: Fiction Editor Urbanite P.O. Bx 50158 Baltimore, MD 21211

EXTREME HOMES of patterson park

house tour April 23, 2005 | 1:00-4:00 pm | 36 N. Streeper St.

The “Best of the Best” architect-designs from Patterson Park’s premiere developer Patterson Park Community Development Corporation 443.220.5942

next month

Guest Editor, Martin Moeller of the National Building Museum joins us for our Home issue. Free subscriptions upon request: w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

w w w. u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o re . c o m

april 05


urbanite marketplace

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april 05

Call Greg at 443-271-1669 2807 Cresmont Ave, Baltimore

LUKE WORKS is a design and fabrication studio specializing in concrete counters, custom furniture and metalwork. We offer a one-stop solution for contemporary architectural elements that enhance residential and commercial spaces. LUKE WORKS is happy to collaborate with designers, architects, and homeowners.

The Cecil

Jill Ellen Smith

University Style/Roommate Suites in Baltimore near JHU. 4-Bedroom lofts starting at $675 per roommate. Rent includes all utilities, broadband internet, basic cable, and local phone. Other amenities: onsite parking, controlled access, exercise room and more. Open House Every Saturday from 11am-4pm.


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Today, the good life is about savoring. The restaurants and shops at Harbor East offer the very best options to please every palate. From gourmet entrees fusing the finest, freshest ingredients to shops and services that satisfy the most discriminating shopper, the place to be in Baltimore has turned in a whole new direction…East.












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april 05


S I N A I.






april 05




N E E D S.


April 2005 Issue  

Is Baltimore an Emerging Film Town?

April 2005 Issue  

Is Baltimore an Emerging Film Town?