O Y S T E R C U L T U R E • W I N T E R B E A C H G E T A WAY S • j ones f alls re v i val • G R O S S A N A T O M Y february 2011 issue no. 80
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february 2011 issue no. 80
the sun also rises
two years after a major newsroom purge, a scrappier, web-savvier baltimore sun has arisen. is there hope for quality local news after all? by m i ch a e l a n ft
seaside escape when the snow flies, it’s time to head to the beach. by benjamin warner and andrew reiner
departments 9 41
baltimore’s news jungle
what you’re saying
what you’re writing
17 21 25 67
love and hate: missing mom, sick at the wedding, and navigating integration
this month: craft show, bike symposium, and a love note to mother earth
the goods: classic menswear. plus: midnight snacks, valentine’s day cards, and imitation antlers baltimore observed
betting on the half shell spurred by new state incentives and a market for high-end, locally produced foods, oyster farming takes root in maryland waters. by ch a r l e s c o h e n
this month online at www.urbanitebaltimore.com: photos: more shots of the jones falls mills
on the air:
feb. 16: twitter and the sun feb 24: oyster farming
keeping up with the jones jones falls mills helped make baltimore some 150 years ago. now the mills are themselves being remade. by brennen jensen
57 radio: urbanite on the marc steiner show, weaa 88.9 fm
black magic a relic of slave-era spiritual magic lives on in a hidden downtown candle shop. by baynard woods
newstrust baltimore: ferreting out the city’s best journalism
the incredible bulk a new baltimore food co-op takes flight. by martha thomas
reviewed: mccabe’s and the grille at peerce’s
wine & sprits: on the rocks
the feed: this month in eating
drawing blood a program that teaches the art of medical illustration celebrates its centennial. by r i ch a r d o’ m a r a
on the cover: design by kristian bjørnard
plus: big easy tunes, contemporary photography, and this month’s cultural highlights
eye to eye
online arts/culture editor cara ober on joyce j. scott w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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issue 80: february 2011 publisher Tracy Ward Tracy@urbanitebaltimore.com creative director Alex Castro general manager Jean Meconi Jean@urbanitebaltimore.com editor-in-chief Greg Hanscom Greg@urbanitebaltimore.com managing editor Marianne K. Amoss Marianne@urbanitebaltimore.com editor-at-large David Dudley David@urbanitebaltimore.com online editors food/drink: Tracey Middlekauff Tracey@urbanitebaltimore.com arts/culture: Cara Ober Cara@urbanitebaltimore.com proofreader Robin T. Reid
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contributing writers Michael Anft, Scott Carlson, Charles Cohen, Michael Corbin, Heather Dewar, Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, Mat Edelson, Lionel Foster, Brennen Jensen, Michelle Gienow, Clinton Macsherry, Richard O’Mara, Andrew Reiner, Martha Thomas, Michael Yockel, Mary K. Zajac editorial interns Amelia Blevins, Breena Siegel production manager Belle Gossett Belle@urbanitebaltimore.com designer Kristian Bjørnard Kristian@urbanitebaltimore.com staff photographer J.M. Giordano Joe@urbanitebaltimore.com production intern Ed Gallagher senior account executives Catherine Bowen Catherine@urbanitebaltimore.com Susan R. Levy Susan@urbanitebaltimore.com advertising sales/events coordinator Erin Albright Erin@urbanitebaltimore.com bookkeeping Iris Goldstein Iris@urbanitebaltimore.com founder Laurel Harris Durenberger Advertising/Editorial/Business Offices 2002 Clipper Park Road, Fourth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21211 Phone: 410-243-2050; Fax: 410-243-2115 www.urbanitebaltimore.com Editorial inquiries: Send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org (no phone calls, please). 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. Subscription price: $18 per year. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission by Urbanite is prohibited. Copyright 2011, Urbanite LLC. All rights reserved. Urbanite (ISSN 1556-8105) is a free publication distributed widely in the Baltimore metropolitan area. To suggest a drop location for the magazine, please contact us at 410-243-2050. Postmaster: Send address changes to Urbanite Subscriptions, 2002 Clipper Park Road, Fourth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21211.
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contributor s Staff photographer Joseph M. (J.M.) Giordano has been shooting for Urbanite since 2005. He has also shot for international magazines such as i-D and companies such as Discovery Channel Inc. In 2006, he co-founded with Tom Doxanas Gutter Magazine, an online fashion/ feature magazine dedicated to youth culture. Gutter has since expanded to the United Kingdom with sites in London and Scotland. He specializes in feature photography, editorial, and designer lookbooks.
photo by Nicole King
Urbanite’s bookkeeper/ marketing assistant Iris Goldstein got back to her roots with this issue, photographing wintry scenes from Maryland’s beaches (p. 42). Goldstein graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a photography degree in 2006. She’s spent the last four years working on a photo project that she hopes will one day become a book; some of her work can be viewed at www.irisgoldstein photography.com. She lives in Monkton with her boyfriend, two dogs, and cat. After being kicked out of several Greenville, South Carolina, high schools, Baynard Woods ran as far from there as a 1972 model vehicle would take him. In New Mexico, he met and married Nicole King, a fellow Carolinian, who helped bring him back east. They now live in Baltimore. Woods, who earned a Ph.D. in ancient philosophy, teaches Greek and Latin at the University of Maryland College Park. In “Black Magic” (p. 29), he writes about Old Grandpa’s, a shop downtown that he came across while researching his book, Coffin Point: The Strange Cases of Ed McTeer, Witchdoctor Sheriff, about a South Carolina lawman who used hoodoo to govern Beaufort County for thirty-seven years.
Last January, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released
a study of Baltimore’s “news ecosystem” that confirmed what locals already knew: This town’s media landscape isn’t what it once was. Among other things, PEJ found that our flagship newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, produced a mind-boggling 73 percent fewer stories than it did in 1991. Where did all the news go? A lot of it simply vanished. According to the report, “new media” ventures didn’t come close to making up for the decline in “dead tree” journalism. Still, a year later, it must be said that there is a spicy soup of new media enterprises bubbling along in this town. Baltimore Brew and Investigative Voice have been around for a few years now, and the online politics and government journal Center Maryland just celebrated its first birthday. Then there are peppy purveyors of boosterism such as BMore Media and What Weekly, an ebullient Web magazine staffed by what one contributor calls a group of (all-volunteer) “photographers, filmmakers, and freaks.” “We did a lot of research on Web media,” says co-founder Justin Allen, whose background is in engineering. “We saw that the media landscape was changing pretty quickly. Nobody is exactly sure where it is going to go. We thought that we had as good a chance as anybody else.” And it’s not just starry-eyed newcomers burning up the Twittersphere and building a throng of fans on Facebook. Some of the most ambitious new-media startups are run by some very Old Media characters. One of the latest on the scene is Patch, a project of AOL that has enlisted a small army of reporters to do “hyper-local” reporting in close to fifty Maryland communities, including the north part of Baltimore City. “Local is where it’s at,” says Doug Donovan, a former Sun politics reporter who is now regional editor overseeing a dozen Patch sites in Harford and Baltimore counties, as well as the new North Baltimore site. “As regional metropolitan newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Baltimore Sun have pulled back from the suburbs, there’s been an opening for someone to come in and provide the type of coverage we’re providing.” Cutting a path through this news jungle can be a trick, of course, and that’s why Urbanite has signed on as a partner with NewsTrust Baltimore, a pilot project funded by the Open Society Foundations that aims to teach people to be more discerning about good journalism and bad— and to shine a spotlight on the best work being done in the city. It relies heavily on public involvement, so grab your machete (or red pen, as it were) and dive in at http://newstrust.net/baltimore. There are new signs of life at the storied Baltimore Sun as well. In this month’s feature story, “The Sun Also Rises” (p. 33), contributing writer Michael Anft writes about a pack of young reporters who are making good use of new media tools such as Twitter to build audiences, if not ad revenue. Reading Anft’s story, one can imagine a day when the Sun, while a shadow of its former globe-trotting, Pulitzer Prize-winning self, does a solid job of what it does best—covering city politics, crime, schools, and business—and a cadre of smaller publications fills in around the edges. And that, I think, is cause for real hope. Ultimately, a healthy news ecosystem no longer rests on a single, keystone species. The Sun is, and will remain, a critical piece of the puzzle, but it will be one of many forums for the kind of high-minded storytelling that allows us, as a society, to improve our collective lot. Elsewhere in this issue, Charles Cohen writes about another much-changed ecosystem, the Chesapeake Bay, and an industry that shows great promise for restoring both livelihoods and bay health: oyster farming (“Betting on the Half Shell,” p. 25). Baltimore Sun veteran Richard O’Mara marks the hundredth anniversary of a world-class medical illustration program (“Drawing Blood,” p. 67). And Martha Thomas tells about an effort to dust off that hippie-era staple: the natural foods co-op (“The Incredible Bulk,” p. 57). Feast on more fresh content at www.urbanitebaltimore.com. If you haven’t signed up for our weekly e-mail magazines yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. And yes, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter too. Find our tweets under @UrbaniteMD. —Greg Hanscom
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT Coming Next Month: Baltimore’s little-known change makers www.urbanitebaltimore.com w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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what you’re saying T U D IO RE AR T S n o . 7 9 B A LT IM O issue
S · IN V E N
G R IF FI O R S AU L
T H · MY M
ID LI FE A
R T C A R -I
11 ry 20 janua
as e d i t grea
s Inspiration r e tt e for a b Baltimore
from the web it’s a bird Re: “Winged Mystery,” a Web-only story about mysterious birds spotted in West Baltimore: Yes, these look like guineas; we have them at our plant nursery in Perry Hall. Ours didn’t know about “roosting in trees,” and we’ve lost fourteen of the original sixteen to foxes and dogs this year. The two cowed survivors are locked in a cage each night and follow our workers around outside during the day. If they make it ’til spring, we’ll get some new chicks—they can take survival training from the two older girls. —4native
We want to hear what you’re saying. E-mail us at mail@urbanitebaltimore. com or send your letter to Mail, Urbanite, 2002 Clipper Park Road, Fourth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21211. Please include your name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.
too trashy Your interview in the January 2011 issue (“The Maker”) quotes Saul Griffith saying that getting his news on a Kindle, iPad, or computer, rather than on paper, is an example of dematerialization. My own experience has been that in Baltimore and Howard counties, disposal of electronic equipment requires special handling because it is environmentally unfriendly. Someone with all of the latest tech gadgets has surely abandoned many, many electronics into the environment to keep up with the demands of changing technology. Newspapers can be recycled and are biodegradable. Saul Griffith’s idea of “dematerialization” seems to apply a “tech-warped logic” to a physical reality. —Diana Marta, Catonsville
greener isn’t always better Re: “Scouting for Parks,” a Web-only story about efforts to document green spaces that don’t appear on maps: I applaud the effort of so many Baltimoreans to preserve their community assets. It’s heartening to see so many people deeply invested in their neighborhoods. However, I cannot help but feel that many of these efforts to preserve “green spaces” are detrimental to the future health of the city. For example, the Pigtown Horseshoe Pit is a beautiful space, true, but by preventing the construction of a new building on the vacant lot, the stakeholders ultimately prevented new residents from settling in the neighborhood and improving it further. Furthermore, the city was deprived of income (sale of the property and future taxes) that it could use to improve its beautiful-butfoundering city parks. Horseshoe games and barbecuing are transient activities that do not need to be tied to any specific place. There are plenty of (even nicer) parks or other community gathering spaces in Pigtown where these activities could occur. If we feel obliged to save every scrap of “open space” for even the slightest sentimental attachment, how will we ever densify these pockmarked neighborhoods to bring in new people and investment?
You don’t “green” a city by suburbanizing it—i.e. maintaining green buffers between all the buildings. Baltimore’s citizens would do better by focusing on their formal parks and streets. —Marcszar Wow! You all are silly. We have enough vacant properties in B-more. A small patch of green space being cared for by its residents is more valuable then you all know! Take a day and get “lost in Baltimore” before you talk about sprawl! —Parks . . . parks Dude, you totally missed my argument! I’m not arguing that residents shouldn’t tend to the green spaces/vacant lots next to them—in fact, I wish more people would do that! I was arguing that “if” the demand ever comes to build something on those vacant lots (as it did in the Pigtown example), people should realize that those lots usually need to be infilled and not hold them out as permanent patches of nebulous “green space.” —Marcszar
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what you’re writing
Everyone was up and awake, but you could feel an emptiness in the house. On this Friday, August 28, 2009, my mother had to leave the country and go back to El Salvador, due to some immigration problems she had in the past. To make it worse, it was the day before my eighteenth birthday, and she was not going to be here to celebrate it with me. My two sisters and I had never been away from my mother for a long time, and knowing that she was going to be so far away and that we did not know when we were going to see her again brought tears to my eyes. As I helped my father load her two huge brown suitcases into the car, I looked back into the house, and I could see my mother through the glass door hugging my two sisters goodbye with tears rolling down her face. The ride to the airport was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. During the ride I started to look back at all the times that I didn’t listen to my mother or talked back to her or even wished she was gone in a moment of anger. And now she was going to really be gone. It broke my heart. I cried silently in the back of the car. When it was finally time for her to board her flight, we sat and waited until the line to check bags was completely gone, because we didn’t want to part. This was the first time in eighteen years that I saw my father cry, holding her hand, knowing it was time to say goodbye. Then she stood up and hugged me tight, grabbed me by my face, and said, “I love you and your sisters so much. Take this as a ‘see you guys soon,’ because we will get through this and be together again.” It has been a year and a half since the day she left. I now realize how important having my mother here is to me. Most of all I miss us being together as a family.
—Yessica Palacios lives in Catonsville.
Just two years apart and the only
offspring of older parents, my younger sister, Laura, and I were close growing up. Sure, we fought like any normal sisters—drawing imaginary lines down the center of our shared bedroom and the backseat of the car that the other was not allowed to cross. Still, I was the one who taught her about the world, introduced her to all her favorite things, and even taught her how to drive after my parents used up all their patience teaching me. After following me to a distant college and entering the same field of study, she was offered a job at the same company I had gone to work for upon graduation. Two decades later, we barely speak to each other. What happened, I’m not really sure. Sometime in our late 20s she changed. Her once sunny and fun-loving personality became surly and snarky. She turned our mutual friends against me. She complained until I couldn’t stand to be around her. She was nasty to our parents, service people, and me. I was concerned about the change and wanted to help her, but she resented and rebuffed my attempts. Was there a medical problem? A chemical imbalance in her brain? Or was she finally rebelling after years of feeling second best, of having to live up to the expectations of our parents and teachers who constantly compared her to me? Was she expressing her resentment at me for being an overachiever? We’ve gone our separate ways now. Even though we still reside in the same town and work for the same company, I no longer care to spend time with her, and she feels the same. Whenever we make a feeble attempt at rapprochement, it always fails. I guess I may never know what happened to her, to us. But I miss my best friend. —Name withheld. Names have been changed.
Enduring the trials and triumphs of grad school forges bonds of friendship unlike any other. So when my dear friend Kate told me she was getting married in New Delhi and asked if I could come, the answer was simple. Of course I’d go. American weddings are a love story spun in white, but Indian weddings are love painted in warm colors. Kate wore a paprika red lengha, the traditional garb of an Indian bride, with her hair drawn up in gold. Strands of orange marigolds and fuschia roses lined the tent where the ceremonial flame blazed amber. Although I didn’t understand a single word of the ceremony, I didn’t have to. The way Kate and Puneet looked at one another said it all. At the reception, the waiters wove between guests delivering colorful bites: saffron gold dal, sage green paneer, glazed gulab jamin, and juicy meats on skewers. I happily ate delicious plateful after plateful. Some of these tasty creations were a mystery. But I figured since everything was cooked, I’d be OK. The next morning, I stepped out onto the balcony of the hotel. As soon as the stench of incense and burning trash hit me, I sprinted for the bathroom. I remained in the fetal position for the rest of my Indian holiday. When I asked for plain rice, I got ginger rice. When I sought ginger ale, there was only lassi. Asking for more toilet paper got me Kleenex. And when I cried to the British Airways agent to get me home earlier, he apologized. All flights were full. So I lay on my bed, drinking my electrolyte solution and praying for deliverance. Thankfully, our friendship was stronger than a touch of E. coli, although I can’t say the same about my love for curry. Recently, Kate flew across the globe five months pregnant to attend my wedding, where she introduced herself as “the friend whose wedding nearly killed Sam.” It made me laugh. But when she asked where we’d be honeymooning, the answer was simple: not India.
—Samantha Kymmell-Harvey lives in Baltimore with her husband and two crazy cats and works as a high school French teacher. She loves singing and traveling, but her passion is writing young adult literature. She has completed her first novel, which she hopes to publish some day. Tears spring from my eyes, and my
chest tightens as I recoil from the stinging slap across my 5-year-old face. “Don’t EVER say that word again,” my mother hisses. I am sing-songing “eenie, meenie, mynie, moe, catch a nigger by the toe” in the backseat of the car, sitting by Wilhelmina, my
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black nurse and our housekeeper. Meena, as we call her, turns her head and stares out the window, as powerless to defend me as she is to defend herself. I am only mimicking a child I’ve heard on the playground of my town’s Memorial Park, a lovely green space dedicated to the honor of the Confederacy. It is 1957, and no Negro children dare play there. In seventh grade, the first eight or ten black boys and girls integrate my large white public school. They are quiet, well dressed, respectful, intelligent above the norm of our school, and terrified by the task set before them. They will be on the college track with me, navigating a hostile environment. When I look for guidance on how to behave toward these children, who are treated as invading aliens forced upon a defiant population, my mother and father remain silent. Behind the scenes, they are supporting efforts to create a private school my younger sister will attend. A cousin my age and I will be the last girls in many generations of our family to attend the local public schools. I am a very confused pre-teen. Honestly, I love the black women who have raised me— Wilhelmina, Dorothy, Elouise, Betty Lue—as much as or more than I love my parents. Yet white supremacy is the only view in my small, tight-knit town. What should I believe? How should I act? Will it ever get better? —EB Sharp lives and writes in Baltimore.
“What You’re Writing” is the place
for creative nonfiction from our readers. Each month we pick a topic. Use the topic as a springboard into your own life and send us a true story inspired by that month’s theme. Only previously unpublished, nonfiction submissions that include contact information can be considered. We reserve the right to edit heavily for space and clarity, but we will give you the opportunity to review the edits. You may submit under “name withheld” to keep your essay anonymous, but you do need to let us know how to contact you. If you’ve already changed the names of the people involved, please let us know. Only one submission per topic, please. Send your essay to Urbanite, 2002 Clipper Park Road, Fourth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21211, or e-mail it to WhatYoureWriting @urbanitebaltimore.com. Submissions should be shorter than four hundred words. Because of the number of essays we receive, we cannot respond individually to each writer. Please do not send originals; submissions cannot be returned. Topic Bedtime Story Growing Pains Summer Nights
Deadline Feb 7, 2011 March 7,2011 April 11, 2011
Publication April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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Love Your Earth!
Feb. 6, 10:30–11:30 a.m.
Show your love for Mother Nature at Irvine Nature Center’s annual “Love Your Earth!” event. Families with children ages 5 and older can learn about the planet they live on and the animals they share it with, while also making eco-friendly crafts such as Valentine’s Day cards made from recycled stationery, heart-shaped suet bird feeders, and “love your mother” T-shirts.
Irvine Nature Center 11201 Garrison Forest Rd., Owings Mills $10; free for members 443-738-9200 www.explorenature.org
Moving Stories: Getting Around Baltimore
Feb. 10, 6–8 p.m.
Got a story about riding the bus, driving a taxi, or kayaking to work? Most folks in town do—and some of them will share those true tales at “Moving Stories: Getting Around Baltimore,” a project of the Maryland Humanities Council in partnership with the Stoop Storytelling Series. The event, part of MHC’s Practicing Democracy initiative, includes small-group discussions on transportation issues and a performance by local spoken-word duo the 5th L.
Walters Art Museum 600 N. Charles St. Free 410-322-7080 www.mdhc.org
Timonium Motorcycle Show
The Maryland State Fairgrounds becomes biker heaven for the Timonium Motorcycle Show. On display will be custom and antique bikes from all manner of foreign and domestic manufacturers. Also making an appearance are Sons of Anarchy stars Kim Coates (pictured) and Theo Rossi, better known as Tig and Juice, and the futuristic Lightcycle featured in the new sci-fi film TRON: Legacy.
Maryland State Fairgrounds 2200 York Rd., Timonium $15 adults; $5 children 10–15; free with paying adult for children younger than 10 410-561-7323 www.cycleshow.net
Maryland Bicycle Symposium
Feb. 22, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m
Cyclists unite in Annapolis at the 14th annual Maryland Bicycle Symposium, hosted by Bike Maryland. Cycling advocates, commuters and recreational riders, and elected officials will discuss issues ranging from mountain bike trails to transportation planning and design.
11 Bladen St., Annapolis See website for registration information 410-960-6493 www.bikemd.org
American Craft Council Show
More than 700 artists show off their creations at the American Craft Council show, billed as the largest indoor craft show in the country. Visitors can browse jewelry, furniture, clothing, home décor, and more, as well as the new “Handmade Under $100” selection of thrifty items. Those curious about learning the trades can also view live craft demonstrations.
Baltimore Convention Center 1 W. Pratt St. See website for admission prices and discounts 800-836-3470 http://shows.craftcouncil.org/ baltimore
Living History Presentation
Feb. 26, 1 p.m.
This year, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum’s celebration of Black History Month focuses on African Americans in the Civil War. Among the events is a living history presentation that honors Baltimore’s African American Civil War soldiers buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in southwest Baltimore, with performances by Civil War re-enactor Zsunee Matema (pictured), students from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and the United States Colored Troops Historical Society.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum 830 E. Pratt St. Museum admission required; see website for details 443-263-1800 www.africanamericanculture. org
Photo credits from top to bottom: courtesy of Irvine Nature Center; © Ldambies | Dreamstime.com; no credit; © Hasan Can Balcioglu | Dreams time.com; courtesy of Jenny Sauer; photo by Rick Falcon
For more goings-on about town, get thee to Urbanite’s newfangled website: www.urbanitebaltimore.com. w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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After hearing repeated requests for a men’s version of his wife’s successful boutique, Double Dutch, Daniel Wylie quit his job as a project manager for a construction company and, last November, opened up 16 Tons (1100 W. 36th St.; 410-554-0101; www.shop16tons.com). “I want to encourage grown men to hang up the hoodie and try something else,” he says. The one-room store—a former bank building that has been home to Atomic Books and the T-shirt company Squidfire—is stocked with “timeless, classic” men’s apparel: dark denim, knitted winter sweaters in earth tones, and short- and long-sleeved plaid shirts, as well as hats, belts, and more. Wylie, who rings up sales from behind a register that he built out of salvaged steel and wood, says spring items should be in mid-month.
photo by J.M. Giordano
Always In Style
courtesy of Restoration Hardware
Looking for a little something for your sweetie? Baltimore-based graphic designer and animal lover Brooke Behnken Mulholland has created mini valentines featuring images of cats and dogs sporting red and pink heart-shaped headbands and such phrases as “My tail wags for you.” Their tiny 2-by-3.5-inch size and bright green envelopes make them perfect for handing out during recess—or for sneaking into that special someone’s briefcase. Available in sets of eight at Behnken’s Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/ shop/FuzzyMug) and sets of sixteen at Marlowe, McCrystle, & Jones Florist (10921 Falls Rd., Lutherville; 410-825-4900; www.marlowmccrystleandjones. com) and ArtSpring (821 Wayne Ave., Silver Spring; 301-495-3425; www. artspringsilverspring.com).
If you love the rustic feel of antlers mounted above the fireplace but aren’t too keen on taking out a member of the deer population, Cast Resin Deer Antlers are a tasteful alternative. Molded from naturally shed antlers, these realistic decorations are also available in moose, steer, and even antelope antler forms at Restoration Hardware in the Mall in Columbia (10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy.; 410-772-8070; www.restorationhardware. com). They’re a great accompaniment to the Yule Log channel. —A.B.
photo by Brooke Behnken Mulholland
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Right from Left
Local graphic designer Ellen Lichtman came up with the idea for Shoezooz when her independent toddler was learning her right foot from her left and wanted to put her shoes on all by herself. These durable, moisture-proof stickers depict the front and back end of an animal, indicating which shoe goes on which foot. “Kids just catch on immediately,” says Lichtman. “It’s a simple puzzle piece.” Plus, they’re just so darn cute! Available at aMuse Toys in Fells Point (1623 Thames St.; 410-3425000) and Quarry Lake (2576 Quarry Lake Drive; 410-415-0000) and the American Visionary Art Museum Sideshow Shop (800 Key Hwy. 443-872-4926; www.side showbaltimore.com), as well as online at www.shoezooz.com.
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When she caught her son Aaron hunting for a sweet snack in the middle of the night, Sandra McNeil joined him in making some tasty treats. In October, after friends and family raved about their creations, the duo opened up Midnite Confection’s Cupcakery in Federal Hill (1051 S. Charles St.; 410-727-1010), where they sell all manner of unique, witching hour-inspired cupcakes—from their signature classic chocolate on chocolate “Midnite” to the alcohol-spiked “After Hours” line. For the full menu and catering information, go to www. midniteconfection.com.
photo by Savvy Selebrations
photo by Michelle McClelland
After selling coffee and iced tea for four months at the Catonsville Sunday Farmers Market, Chris Sikora opened up a stand-alone shop at the end of October called Six Mile Coffee (609 Frederick Rd.; 443-860-9781; www. sixmilecoffee.com), named for the distance from the shop to the Inner Harbor. Brewing fair-trade, organic Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company coffee and Numi tea, the shop also serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and wraps. The best part? A convenient drive-through window. —A.B. w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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The 20th century Old Town Bank Building has been converted into a state of the art Holiday Inn Express hotel featuring: -Sixty eight well appointed Guest Rooms -Complimentary shuttle service within 1.0 miles radius -Fitness and Business Center -Free Wi-Fi Internet Access -Full Breakfast Buffet included -Meeting Facilities -On-site parking Available 221 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 • 410-400-8045 • www.hiexpress.com/baltimoredtwn Make your reservation by March 31st and Receive 15% Discount
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Down on the oyster farm: Kevin McClarren works with floats loaded with oysters at Marinetics Inc., home of the Choptank Sweet.
Betting on the Half Shell Spurred by new state incentives and a market for high-end, locally produced foods, oyster farming takes root in Maryland waters. by charles cohen
photography by david harp
he home of Choptank Sweets plays to the eye so idyllic that a city boy weary of his concrete environs has to combat the temptation to flee to this land of oyster mud and gentle rain. Standing dockside, he watches with career envy as an oyster farmhand skims across the still Choptank River in a Playskool plastic kayak, dragging a line of oyster floats, as if ennobled as the latest generation of indigenous oyster growers. But summers here bring a good three months of brutal summer heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, and in winter, workers sometimes have to chop away at ice with picks to save the oysters floating in their cages. “There’s an awful lot of guys who tell me, ‘I’m gonna retire, and I’m going to get into oysters,’” says Kevin McClarren, founder of Marinetics Inc., the nursery for the much sought-after Choptank Sweet oyster. “Yeah, good luck. It’s not a retirement activity.”
Oyster farming is a hard buck to come by, but oyster-culture is on the rise on the East Coast, thanks to a renewed appreciation for the fashionable mollusk. To witness the trend, walk into any of the new crop of seafood restaurants around Baltimore that showcase oysters the way breakfast joints boast their micro coffee roasters. The Oceanaire Seafood Room at Harbor East features seven to twelve different oysters nightly; all of them, including Choptank Sweets, come from oyster farming operations, says sous chef Ben Gossman. In Virginia, oyster farmers produced 12.6 million oysters for the raw bar, worth about $3.3 million, in 2009, up more than tenfold from 2005, according to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. But Maryland has been slow to embrace oyster aquaculture. Watermen have long suspected oyster-culture would be the death knell for the public fishery that has been the way of the Chesapeake since John Smith sailed up the bay in 1608. In Maryland, they have stubbornly held on to the old way of plunking around on the open waters on a first-come, first-served basis.
That could soon change. Last fall, just in time for the oyster season, the state enacted a slew of new regulations, including a $2.2 million loan program to encourage oyster farming, boost embattled watermen, and help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The state will open up 600,000 acres for private lease, a departure from old regulations that basically made the Eastern Shore off limits to oyster-culture. McClarren, who twelve years ago gave up a job at a New England fish farm to launch his private oyster operation, was warned by a Virginian about what he was about to get into. “He said, ‘It’s going to be like operating a business in Russia,’” says McClarren. “It was an indication of an attitude that was pretty much known about Maryland.” This attitude is rooted in the 1880s when the Chesapeake oyster was king, when watermen were pulling 10 to 15 million bushels annually from the water. Back then, the nation’s appetite for oysters triggered the proliferation of the canning industry that crowded Baltimore’s harbor and fueled the growth of the B&O railroad, which carried the bay’s bounty out west. A combination of factors led to the oyster’s demise. Concerns about overfishing
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In the raw: Choptank Sweets and other farmed oysters have landed a spot on upscale seafood menus around the city.
A sampler of the fresh, Webexclusive content posted weekly at www.urbanitebaltimore.com
photo by Cory Donovan
constant soil runoff from surrounding land, and the oysters will die. Mike Naylor, director of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Shellfish Program, takes umbrage with this assessment. “Some of that is hyperbole,” he says. Based on the watermen’s own records of where they pulled last year’s catch, Naylor estimates that the sanctuaries should reduce this year’s catch by 10 percent—certainly not a crippling loss to the fishery. State experts also point out that the watermen have benefited greatly from state shellfish programs since 1965. The state employed watermen to move massive amounts of shell inoculated with baby oyster seed (known as spat) from the lower bay to the upper bay, where they had a better chance to grow beyond the reaches of the disease. Ultimately, a rebuilt oyster fishery and a robust oyster farming industry could be beneficial to both the bay and the people who would make a living on it. The oyster has been dubbed a keystone species, essential to the bay’s health due to its ability to filter pollutants, silt, and life-choking algae from the water. Before the great harvests of the 1880s, oysters could filter the entire bay at summer water temperatures in less than six days, according to Roger Newell, professor of Marine Science at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. These days, it would take more than 700 days. Newell cautions that the oyster shouldn’t be thought of as a miracle pill to cure what ails the bay. People still need to figure out a way to slow runoff, fix sewage treatment plants, and deal with poultry waste from farms, which is a major presence on the Eastern Shore. (See “Now or Never,” July ’10 Urbanite.) Still, Kevin McClarren has witnessed the potent cleaning potential of oysters on his farm in the Choptank River. “That water is as green as can be,” he says. “But dump a bunch of oysters in there and walk by seven minutes later, and that water is gin clear.” McClarren attributes his success to a growing customer base that appreciates the oysters’ dual role as the bay’s primary filter and a locally produced, gourmet meal. The question is, how many more high-end, specialty oysters can the market support? As Simns, the waterman who is dubiously planning his own business, puts it, “The guy who jumps into it first is going to make money.”
An Artful Life F r om A r t s /C ult ur e
Doreen Bolger has been the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art since 1998 and, more and more, has come to personify the face and the heart of the museum to the local arts community. http://bit.ly/urbaniteartfullife LOL Baltimore F r om A r t s /C ult ur e
Second City comedy tickles and taunts Charm City theater. http://bit.ly/urbanitesecondcity
photo by by Tracey Middlekauff
led Maryland to enact one of the nation’s first environmental laws in 1865, forcing skipjack boats to use only their sails and not their motors, which made dredging too efficient and oysters scarce. The oyster catch held steady until two diseases in the bay, MSX and Dermo, went from a chronic presence in the 1950s to brutally efficient parasites. Oyster catches dropped from about 2 million bushels in the early 1980s to about 26,000 in 2004. Today, with catches hovering at around 180,000 bushels and with the bay’s oyster population estimated to be between .01 and 1 percent of its pre-fishery heyday, scientists and state officials agree that the old way of oystering is no longer sustainable. While the state is supporting new aquaculture ventures, it is shutting down oystering grounds, increasing oyster sanctuaries from 9 percent to 24 percent of the state’s bay waters. The move rankles the 6,000 watermen who hold state licenses, who say the sanctuaries make up some of the most oyster-rich territory sitting in the mouths of the bay’s tributaries. “They cherry-picked our best bottom,” says Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association. “They left us with the dregs and expect us to spend $100,000 to get into aquaculture.” Simns says watermen aren’t against aquaculture. In fact, he’s one of the first to have signed up for the new leases, but he objects to what he described as the state’s arrogance in sticking to its plan despite concerns that it “is going to flop at our expense.” He and other watermen point out that MSX and Dermo, which aren’t harmful to humans but kill or stunt the oysters’ growth before they reach market size, thrive in salty waters in the main part of the bay—where oyster farmers are allowed to set up shop. He also says that if the sanctuaries aren’t “worked” regularly by watermen, the few remaining healthy beds will be silted over, thanks to the
Garden of Eden F r om F ood / D r ink
Eden Center in Virginia is filled to bursting with more than a hundred Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and retail shops. http://bit.ly/urbanitegardenofeden A Serving of Soul F r om F ood / D r ink
New vegan eatery the Land of Kush serves up satisfying, rib-sticking fare. http://bit.ly/urbanitelandofkush
—Charles Cohen is a Baltimore-based freelance writer. He spent two years as an Eastern Shore reporter covering the demise of the Chesapeake oyster. On the Air: Oyster farming on The Marc Steiner Show, WEAA 88.9 FM, on February 24 w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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Grandpa’s heir: Shop owner Ted Perry creates number sheets used in betting by practitioners of hoodoo.
A relic of slave-era spiritual magic lives on in a hidden downtown candle shop. by baynard woods
alk into Old Grandpa’s, one of the nondescript storefronts on West Saratoga between Liberty Street and Park Avenue, and you’ll find a window to a world that’s all but gone. Old Grandpa’s is officially called the Lucky Star Candle Shop. The shelves are stocked with aromatic oils, magical roots, psalm candles, and aura-cleansing sprays. The wood-paneled walls are lined with old number sheets and dream books, which loyal customers use to find winning lottery numbers. But the odor of cigarette smoke in the air, the rabbit ears and soap operas on the TV, and the old VHS tapes stacked up behind the counter feel more Old Time than New Age. So do Ted and Kim Perry. Middle-aged storekeepers with old Baltimore accents and deep roots downtown, they’re hardly the types to run a hoodoo shop. “Old Grandpa’s,” Kim says, answering the phone on a recent afternoon. There’s a pause, then, “1-4-2 and 9-3-3.” After hanging up, she explains that the caller was looking for winning lottery numbers. He’s from Georgia, she says, and has “called every day since we opened up here in 1976.” Like most of Old Grandpa’s customers, the caller is elderly and African American, “carrying on the old southern traditions.” Old Grandpa’s is one of three spiritual supply stores on the west side of downtown. There’s Jericho on West Lexington, which deals primarily in herbs, roots, and other botanicals, and on West Saratoga, Grandma’s
Candle Shop sells books and paraphernalia for a variety of spiritual traditions. The three stores share roots in the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural south to urban centers in the early 20th century. When West Africans were brought to America as slaves, their beliefs and culture mixed either with Catholicism to produce voodoo, or with Protestantism, which resulted in what is generally called hoodoo. During slavery, nearly every plantation had a “root doctor.” Even Frederick Douglass, who considered such hokum beneath him, once used a root to charm a violent slave trader. After Emancipation, these root doctors remained prominent. And wherever there was a root doctor, there was also someone who ran the numbers game; gamblers hoped hoodoo would help them pick the lucky digits—and some claimed that it did. When people left the rural south—and their root doctors—for urban centers up north, a bustling mail-order hoodoo business sprang up, which eventually led to centralized distribution points. By the 1960s, a Beaufort, South Carolina, root doctor named Dr. Eagle boasted, “We don’t go into the graveyard anymore and look for special roots and things. We buy straight from the factory in Baltimore now.” He was probably referring to the Clover Horn, which opened as a storefront on Gay Street in 1943 but did a predominantly mailorder business that blended the dark and domestic arts, mixing spiritual and cosmetic
charms to provide specialized products that the newly urban African American might not be able to find elsewhere. In her book Spiritual Merchants, author and conservator Carolyn Morrow Long shows that the Clover Horn wasn’t much of a factory at all. The owner was the cousin of a major spiritual merchant in Memphis, who produced many of his supplies. But the number sheets for the illegal street lottery were authentic Baltimore. Phil Perry, Ted’s father, picked those numbers with a method he claimed to have learned from his Native American grandmother. When he opened his own store in 1963, Perry stocked prayer candles and mixed up oils with names like “High John” for court cases, “Bend Over” for romantic relations, or “Steady Work” for economic opportunity, but the bulk of his business was still in the numbers. Today, the number sheets are little changed. The bearded mystic painted on the store window also adorns the covers of popular sheets like “Old Grandpa,” “The Digit Master,” and the “Ping Pong Weekly.” Inside, drawings and clip art frame combinations of numbers. “Make the bookie cry” is typed over a picture of a Keystone Kop on a bicycle sporting the handwritten numbers 2-3-7. Beside that, a man and a woman lie in bed, where the numbers 1-7-6 are inscribed. In the dream books, anything you might dream about—a bicycle, a man, a suitcase, or a mountain— corresponds to a number that can tell you what your dreams are really about. Old Grandpa’s has regular customers, but many have never bought anything more than a one- or two-dollar Ping Pong Weekly. It’s hardly enough income to support the Perrys. Ted works a side job, leaving Kim and her mother to look after the store on most days. The various New Age fads over the last decades have passed Old Grandpa’s by. The Perrys thought the Internet would revolutionize their business, but their customers still call every week and send money orders in the mail. Old Grandpa’s customers are getting old themselves. “You don’t see somebody for a while, and you know they’ve died,” Kim says. “Once the old ones are gone, I don’t know what we’ll do.” While toiling over a number sheet in 2003, Old Grandpa himself died. The Perrys haven’t changed the store at all since then— but it doesn’t seem like much has changed since it moved to Saratoga in 1976. “I’m keeping it open for my father,” Ted admits, turning to look out the window at the deserted street. “I just couldn’t close it up. I guess it’s my way of mourning.”
photo by J.M. Giordano
—Writer Baynard Woods lives in Baltimore, a few blocks from Old Grandpa’s.
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CHeCk us ouT on THe go. Download our mobile app: www.ywgcmobile.com or text YWGC to 87778. Baltimore Metro Bel Air Canton Federal Hill 410.583.0400 410.420.6778 410.732.3030 410.727.0606 Phoenix Timonium Westminster 410.667.0801 410.561.0044 410.876.3500
L i F E b r i d g E H E a Lt H
Sinai’s Heart Center offers comprehensive care The Heart Center at Sinai Hospital is one of the most comprehensive cardiac care centers in the region.
William Herzog, M.D., Helen Dalsheimer Director of Cardiology at Sinai.
For an appointment or doctor referral, call 410-601-WELL (9355)
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Using advanced heart care methods and an Emergency Chest Pain Evaluation Unit located in Sinai ER-7, physicians diagnose and begin treatment at the earliest possible moment. The Schapiro Cardiac Diagnostic Center at Sinai, with its six new catheterization labs, provides the latest technology in coronary arterial visualization, including offering a flat-panel, biplane X-ray machine. More than 4,000 patients are treated in the Heart Center’s catheterization labs each year. The fullservice facility offers patients the advantage of diagnostic testing, coronary stent placement and recovery in one convenient setting. Electrophysiologic procedures are performed to treat patients with cardiac rhythm disorders and advanced heart failure. The Heart Center includes an ultramodern and expanded suite of 24 private, preparatory and recovery beds. “Our physicians are all extremely pleased that Sinai Hospital chose to support our work with state-of-the-art-facilities,” says William Herzog, M.D., Helen Dalsheimer
Director of Cardiology at Sinai. “Our ability to care for patients is also enhanced by a dedicated and experienced staff of nurses, radiologic technologists and mid-level providers,” Dr. Herzog says. The Heart Center at Sinai excels in the field of cardiac surgery. The most skilled heart surgeons perform bypass procedures and valve surgery. A recovery area with six coronary care beds is currently under construction. A 48-bed Progressive Care Unit and 14 post-cardiac surgery step-down beds further enhance patient care. The Heart Center at Sinai treats patients and patients’ family’s needs with compassion and understanding. Patients and their families traveling more than an hour for cardiac catheterization or open-heart procedures receive a complimentary stay at the nearby Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys. Patients at the Heart Center at Sinai also benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program located at Northwest Hospital. Cardiologists, cardiac rehabilitation specialists, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and behavioral psychologists help patients maintain a healthy heart.
Advancing heart surgery Recent technological advances have made it possible for heart surgeons at Sinai to perform heart valve procedures without fully dividing the breastbone (sternotomy). These include a less invasive technique for mitral valve procedures, such as an operation which does not stop the heart from beating. Minimally invasive surgery is shorter, leaves smaller scars, and reduces the trauma and pain associated with conventional open-chest surgery. A patient’s recovery time is greatly reduced, as are the amount of blood loss, the likely need for blood transfusions and the risk of developing infections. Patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery often heal faster and are able to resume normal activities sooner. The Heart Center at Sinai also includes the Sinai Center for Thrombosis Research, which leads the way in research on platelet inhibition in patients undergoing catheter-based coronary revascularization procedures. For more information about the Heart Center at Sinai, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
The Sun Also Rises by michael anft
Two years after a major newsroom purge, a scrappier, Web-savvier Baltimore Sun has arisen. Is there hope for quality local news after all?
on september 16, when a troubled
son shot his mother’s surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore got a clear look at Where Journalism Is Now. The scene was made of gripping, hair-trigger stuff: After shooting Dr. David Cohen at 11:11 a.m., Paul Warren Pardus holed himself up in his mother’s hospital room. Meanwhile, a mile away at the Baltimore Sun, a cadre of journalists, led by crime reporters Justin Fenton and Peter Hermann, sprang into action. Unlike past generations of scribes who worked toward the next daily edition—usually several hours away—they and other staffers didn’t have the luxury of staring down one fixed deadline. News doesn’t just happen anymore; it runs like a meth-charged hamster on a treadmill. After a newsroom scanner blasted an account of a shooting on the eighth floor of
a building in the Eastern District, Fenton got moving. He couldn’t think of any other tall buildings in the district except for Hopkins, and what the scanner was telling him—“Doctor shot”—seemed to confirm his suspicions. Activating his Twitter account using his cell phone, he told his followers and baltimoresun.com readers about the chatter on the scanner. He was careful to call the reports “unconfirmed,” however; he remembered that a tweeted story about a shooting on the Potomac River a year or so ago actually turned out to be a military drill. After furiously calling around to city cops and reading some tweets from people inside the hospital, Fenton realized this was more than a drill. He rushed to the scene, reaching it just before police blockaded the area. He sequestered himself in a computer lab in the Hopkins School of Nursing that
provided a view of the building across Wolfe Street where the shooter lurked. He took pictures and forwarded tweets from people working at the hospital. When other media outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, saw his tweets from the scene, they patched him on air for interviews. CNN’s @BreakingNews Twitter feed, which has two million followers, instructed people to follow Fenton’s feed for updates. “I gained something like 1,100 followers that day,” Fenton recalls, adding that many of those followers have since hung around. “The picture I took of the [police] sniper, which I didn’t think was that big of a deal at the time, was aired on national television and national websites and picked up 13,000 views on Twitter itself.” Just before 2 p.m., police at the scene said they had shot and subdued Pardus.
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Hearing on scanner: someone may have been shot inside Hopkins Hopsital....officers asking for supervisors, officers on roof
National news outlets ran with that account, Shots were fired on eighth floor of hospital.. but Fenton had a reliable source that counthis is all unconfirmed, its chatter on the tered it. This was a case of murder-suicide. scanner at the moment (Dr. Cohen survived, but Pardus killed his mother, then himself.) Fenton set the record straight in the Sun’s tweets and on its website and then told his story in a video shot by some of the paper’s multimedia staffers and posted on the paper’s website. During the event, Hermann manned the crime desk, working cop angles and untangling how police handled the crisis. variety of media: blogs, Facebook, phone apps has recently dusted off or introduced five Later, Fenton’s phone died from all the and photos, texts, tweets, video, and the Web. sections and has resuscitated the Sunday tweeting and calling. As he recharged it back Young reporters such as the Sun’s Fenton Sun Magazine. Just two years after laying off at the Calvert Street newsroom, he helped (who is 27), Julie Bykowicz, Annie Linskey, sixty people, the paper has added eleven new write up a longer story for the Web and for Julie Scharper, and Gus Sentementes squeeze journalists. Its circulation numbers, once in print and put out links to it via Twitter and out streams of stories, information trails, and free fall, have stabilized and even gotten a bit other means. gossip during workdays that can stretch as of a bump. From her computer in College Park, long as twelve to fourteen hours. Their goal But what the Sun has gained in immeSandy Banisky followed the Hopkins tale as is to ensure that eyes remain it unfolded. “I was glued to Justin Fenton’s on the websites and feeds that Twitter feeds and the paper’s website for two make up one of the early 21sthours,” says Banisky, the Abell Professor in century’s news operations. 11:23 a.m. Baltimore Journalism at the University of The approach has made RT @iloveburritos: @justin_fenton “Shoo Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Jourthe Sun’s website the go-to spot nalism, who spent thirty-eight years in the for coverage of the city. The on Nelson 8. Stay in your office or room a Sun newsroom. She was alerted to Fenton’s paper has broken stories on doors until all clear is announced.” tweets by a text message sent to her phone underreported rapes, addicts by the Sun. “I was reading the story on the overseeing homes where other 11:35 a.m. Web, following the updates on Twitter, and addicts seek drug treatment, More police cars arriving by the minute [l watching it be edited” on Twitter as events and the investigation and photo] unfolded, she says. The coverage by Fenton conviction of ex-Mayor Sheila and a half-dozen or so other reporters who Dixon. Then, it has updated 11:37 a.m. worked the story from a distance “combined them, sometimes many times Police pushing everyone back from Wolfe a young staff and veterans who used various daily, for weeks, on its website. helicopter circling media in a way that told us the story as it Arguably, it has found a method happened.” for remaining relevant without More importantly, they not only got the one-third of the news staff it Hopkins story and its details to the public had two years ago, while its first, but they also got it right. news hole—the percentage of The story behind the Hopkins shooting/ the actual newspaper devoted murder-suicide story exemplifies what today’s to news stories—has been metro dailies—beset by declining readerdecimated. diacy, its detractors say, it has lost in depth ships, gutted news staffs, unpaid use of their The Sun can point to other signs of and breadth. As the local media landscape material by Google and the like, and debt incremental progress. The print version has flattened to include a palette of niche wrought from corporate websites covering news events, takeovers—can do on and dozens of blogs dedicated to their best day. It’s also a décor, food, and music, the Sun tale of what daily papers has been pulped into a niche— are becoming. They’re reporting news that breaks in now leaner, faster, more Baltimore City. And for all the focused on a limited gepaper’s success at online story11:38 a.m. ography, and more likely telling, its new news approach is UNCONFIRMED: on scanner, police were to package, or “repurpose” something of a crapshoot. Keepsaying a doctor may have been shot, and (the news industry’s ing all those eyes on screens so staff down here are saying that as well. euphemism), stories in a they can continually take in all 11:39 a.m.
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RT @runADAIRrun: @justin_fenton yes, we got a text warning us to stay on lockdown
@justin_fenton sorry, that should be the suspect is barricaded in room that up-to-the-millisecond reportage doesn’t equal megabucks. For all that effort, newspapers reap a pittance for Web ads, when they can sell them. All of which raises a question: Is that overmedicated hamster going to save the Sun and the news industry? Will that be enough to guarantee its survival?
Sending again: police confirm a doctor has been shot at Hopkins, is in critical condition, the suspect has barricaded himself on 8th floor
A sniper set up outside [links to photo]
this is the part of the story
where, narrative tradition holds, you get to meet the young band of tirelessly working, techno-hip beat reporters who are transforming how we experience the news. But you won’t. Approached for permission to interview employees for this story, the Sun muzzled its entire editorial staff. The paper of audacious, sometimes bombastic opinionators (H.L. Mencken, Russell Baker) and loud moralists (David Simon) rendered itself mute. Questions were referred to Renee Mutchnik, the paper’s director of marketoter incident ing and communications, who gave curt e-mailed and lock answers. (“Staff schedules and current projects make it difficult to participate in the in-depth interviews links to and access you are requesting at this time,” Mutchnik wrote.) As deadlines for this e St, story loomed, the Sun remained in information lockdown until Justin Fenton persuaded his editors that he should be allowed to talk about social media and how he uses it. (Thus, many of the details in the story’s opening scene.) Every other insidethe-paper source referred to below wouldn’t allow his or her name to be attached to thoughts—a sign of the chill that attends a nationwide unemployment rate for journalists estimated to be as high as 40 percent and, perhaps, the skittishness that comes from unflattering media attention on the Sun and its parent corporation, the Tribune Co., which declared bankruptcy in 2008. The inside story of the Sun’s conversion to a multi-platformed twenty-four-hour news cycle, pieced together using news accounts and off-the-record interviews, begins a
decade ago. The merger between TimesMirror, the Sun’s former owner, and Tribune in 2000 came during an era of demands for higher profit margins, ones that would eventually be carved whole out of the flesh of the newsroom. Experts note that when papers nationwide were locally owned, annual profit margins of 3 to 10 percent were considered acceptable. After heavily leveraged mergers and purchases by large national corporations in the 1990s, those figures were deemed paltry. Chief executives pushed for profits of 20, even 30 percent. The Sun, by all accounts, is still profitable. But especially in the fallout from real estate leviathan Sam Zell’s purchase of Tribune in 2007 and the ensuing bankruptcy, much of that profit is used to pay off the loans he used to buy the company. “Leveraged debt has to come out of profits,” says Ted Venetoulis, the former Baltimore County executive who has been part of a group that has tried to buy the Sun for the past few years in order to return it to local ownership. “If you take away the debt that you subtract
from the profit total, then it appears that the Sun is still quite profitable.” Zell borrowed $8 billion, in part from the pension funds of some of Tribune’s nonunion employees, to buy the company. Even before it found its way to bankruptcy court, Tribune didn’t make enough to pay its shareholders a nice dividend and still chip away at the massive amounts it owed. Tracing the history of the Sun’s circulation is a bit like watching waves of buffalo tumble over a cliff. A decade ago, the Monday through Friday circulation hovered around 300,000. By 2005, that had plummeted to 246,000. Four years later, it had plunged to 187,000. So Zell and co. followed a time-honored tradition in modern journalism: They cut costs. In January 2009, the company replaced the Sun’s longtime editor, Tim Franklin, with J. Montgomery “Monty” Cook, a technophile who responded strongly to the message news consumers were delivering to creaky dailies across the country: “We can read your papers for free online and read other blogs as news sources as well. Why should we pay you— just so we can get ink on our fingers?” 12:23 P.m. Twitter, texts, and Police told me a few moments “aggregation sites” that ago that the suspect has not been act as clearinghouses subdued. I am in a building w a for the best stories vantage point though and not at that have run elsewhere (including the media center Sun) all come free as well, unless you make 12:23 P.m. people pay for them, RT @bbjonline: Chopper captain on as very few papers or @WBALTV11 says still an “ongoing sites do. (The Wall tactical situation here at Hopkins”... Street Journal is one “This is still not over by far.” major exception.) The brave new world
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Source says man was disgruntled about mother’s spine surgery, shot her doctor
Nurses here say they often have to call police for disturbances, whether family fights or old rivals. But never attacks on staff
On the Air: Twitter and the Sun on The Marc Steiner Show, WEAA 88.9 FM, on February 16
... Annnnd now I’m part of the lockdown. Unable to get out of nursing school, where I’ve been holed up 1:50 p.m.
Reporter at command center says ‘its over.’ Not sure what that means
RT @samuelwalters: RT @ michaelmhughes: SWAT team leaving, shaking hands. Must be over.
of news meant that papers, with their large staffs, were lumbering dinosaurs burdened not only by debt, but also by the changing expectations from readers as well. “We have to stop being a newspaper company—right now,” Cook told a group at Johns Hopkins University in April 2009. “We are a digital media company.” That same month, Cook got around to some serious cost-cutting, laying off sixty people—about one-third of the remaining newsroom staff. The bloodbath is remembered for its excruciating, eminently tweetable details. Staffers covering the Orioles game at Camden Yards were fired over the phone. Others learned of their demise via their company ID badges, which wouldn’t open doors of the Sun building when they tried to report to work. Cook is vilified by many in the newsroom (and certainly by many who are no longer there). Some rejoiced upon hearing he had resigned from the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he had taken a position after quitting the Sun early last year, after a student publication reported that he had used Google Chat to send illicit messages to an undergraduate. But some staffers see some upside in his fetish for “multi-platform” reporting. “It has made me a better reporter in some weird ways,” says one reporter who blogs and tweets. “It’s made me a faster writer. I’ve never been the clearest writer, but there’s no one to  things on the blog. So, you have to make sure to do it yourself.”
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RT @baltimoresun: Reporter Erica L. Green says that the #HopkinsShooting standoff is over. The police have shot the shooter.
Twitter’s 140-character limit is “perfect for break1:53 p.m. ing news,” Fenton says. “I RT @baltimoresun: According to won’t report twenty-four (police spokesman) Guglielmi the hours a day, but tweeting shooter is dead. makes me think constantly about work.” Twitter has 1:58 p.m. also become a good way to Ppl moving freely again [links to photo] flush out sources. Fenton often posts things like this: “We’re seeking witnesses to last night’s gun battle on Calvert St. DM us if you saw anything.” Twitter has also opened up recurring conversations with readers, demonstrating that in a business grasping madly at anything resembling relevancy, the new all the time who want to know why there’s a bells and whistles of journalism are hardly helicopter over their house.” inconsequential things. “Social media might not increase our readership, but it creates the downsizing of staff and bonds with readers,” says Fenton, whose emphasis on new media have come with crime reporting work now has 3,800 Twitdownsides, of course. There’s not much news ter followers, tops among individuals in the outside of the city’s limits that receives the newsroom. “The people who use Twitter to attention that the Hopkins story did. Foreign contact us think more highly of us and are and national bureaus are no more or have more connected to us.” been overtaken by Tribune-wide bureaus More tweets means a reporter can that send the same stories to papers in Chiget more attention for his stories. “I don’t cago or Orlando, resulting in fewer reporting necessarily think of it as journalism,” Fenton voices and a much more provincial daily says. “It’s promotion and interaction. I use it paper. And a large percentage of the Sun’s to give a behind-the-scenes look at what I’m Web content is cyber-fishwrap: umpteen working on. I lift the veil a bit.” More people predictable items on the Ravens, poorly talk to him on Twitter than send him e-mails considered lists of the top-this or most-that, or letters or make phone calls combined, he blogged reminders to visit a fast food place adds. “I get Twitter messages from people
Police now saying shooter’s name is NOT Warren Davis; that’s the name the hospital knew him as but they are unsure true identity
for free Friday coffee, a nightlife blog that oozes puerile writing. The new emphasis on getting things out quickly and into several different social media streams has arisen largely out of the ashes of print, which will phase out over time, experts tell us. In Baltimore, longer print stories and sidebars have given way to a news hole that is unrecognizably tiny when compared with what the Sun delivered to daily subscribers a decade or so ago. Inside stories are noticeably smaller. “If I can get more than 15 inches [about 900 words] for a complex story, I feel blessed,” says one longtime reporter. The result is less information about fewer stories. Crime and city agencies—schools, government, courts, sports teams—are blanket-covered, while the suburbs, private schools, and the cultural fault lines present in them are largely ignored. The Sun has chosen to focus its attention on the city, leaving the bulk of
just be the  pieces on ground rents,” says one longtime 4:11 p.m. staffer. “The view is APBenNuckols AP confirms the that it’s too expensive name of doctor wounded in the to field an I-team.” #HopkinsShooting: Dr. David B. Cohen. The paper has also More details coming soon … Retweeted kept costs down by hirby @justin_fenton and 8 others ing younger, cheaper, and less experienced people in the newsroom. While Fenton and others have made Likewise, a lengthy profile of Peter G. Angethat strategy look good a lot of the time, the los was long on his days as Orioles owner and paper’s sometimes-green staffers can miss negligibly short on his role as a major politistories. Last summer, an education reporter cal power broker in Baltimore and Maryland, summoned to a Baltimore City Public barely mentioning his troubles with Gov. Schools event faithfully took down notes Martin O’Malley. Callow reporters often at the school system’s dog-and-pony show equal shallow copy, but the Sun is hardly the about its new food program. But she missed only paper in the United States to get rid of the newsworthy fact buried amid it: The better-paid reporters for ones that don’t cost schools’ lauded, sometimes-controversial, loit as much. cavore food and nutrition There are other challenges that come director, Tony Geraci, with the transition to new media. Blogs and was stepping down. tweets can lend themselves to editorializing (The paper caught on and can sometimes trivialize serious news. several days later, but 1:59 p.m. One reporter says she likes “the personality the schools quickly I’m told suspect shot himself and his mother. you can get into your writing when you’re saved face by anPolice did not shoot him blogging.” But that can cut both ways. With nouncing that Geraci inconsistent editing and no pattern among would keep his title, 2:24 p.m. reporters—some use social media, others if not his central role. Mayor and police commissioner to brief don’t—it’s hard to gauge whether there are See “Hard to Swallow,” media shortly any social media standards at the paper. July ’10 Urbanite.) 2:43 p.m.
Inside the hospital right now, you’d never know that there was a such commotion earlier
its coverage of county issues to its subsidiary publications, the Towson Times and the Catonsville Times. Not only has Tribune chopped away Sun bureaus in Johannesburg, Beijing, and Washington, but the paper no longer has a physical presence in the ’burbs. The Sun’s days of Pulitzer hunting appear to be over as well. Investigative reporting pops up occasionally but lacks the same breadth or ambition as the prize-happy publication of yore. “The last series with any impact might
Juliemore @prezjackyoung was adamant that metal detectors should not be installed in hospitals. They would deter patients from seeking care, he said. Retweeted by @justin_ fenton and 2 others 3:14 p.m.
Tape on the windows of the eighth floor, if you can make it out [links to photo] 3:50 p.m.
Here’s out story, which has and will be updated. Shooter identified as Warren Davis, 50 [links to article on Sun’s website]
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Suspect now identified as Paul Warren Pardus, of Arlington, Va. Records confirm he is related to a Jean Davis
Tweets excerpted from Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton’s Twitter feed, Sept. 16, 2010. (Times have been adjusted by one hour to match crime reports.) To read the the final Sun story, go to http://bit.ly/hopkinsmurdersuicide.
And reporters who are applaud the hiring of longtime Sun editor expected to be objecMary Corey as “director of content” (“editor,” 4:41 p.m. tive often morph into in old newsroom-speak) last spring, and say Records search indicates that a Paul opinion-makers on the that the recent hires are a sign that things Warren Pardus has a concealed blog sites, opening up are on the upswing. carry permit from state of Virginia; possibilities for ethical And no one is advocating that Baltitrying to confirm w/st. police breaches. more’s news leader change course. “Right Fenton says some now, reporting in multiple platforms is readers have taken him imperative,” says Sandy Banisky, the UMD to task for “retweetprofessor. “People expect to get their news in ing” controversial posts a variety of ways. Will it ultimately protect by other Twitter users—mostly because they the news operation? No one really knows.” there’s no evidence that concentrating on misunderstood that he didn’t write them— For now, everyone in the industry is playing social media will save a paper,” says Butch but that he and other reporters have been wait-and-see: “Maybe this is what papers Ward, managing director of the Poynter careful not to cross the thin line that blurs have to do until the next best way to relay Institute, a journalistic think tank in St. the objectivity of print news with the more news comes along.” Petersburg, Florida. Ward worked as an subjective cadences of the blogosphere. “I At the very least, the Sun is taking the editor at the Baltimore News American from look at it like I’m on the radio talking about baby steps it needs to take to keep people 1973 to 1982. “It can be a piece of a successone of my stories,” he says of his Twitter paying attention. Even those who would ful strategy, but it’s not going to save the feeds. “There’s more around the story I can rescue the paper from its distant landlords enterprise.” applaud the effort, saying that it has kept the While some papers have decided paper looking forward. to pour what’s left of their resources “They’re really trying over there,” Veneinto investigative reporting—Ward toulis says. “They’re using social media to is especially effusive in his praise 5:44 p.m. reach out to younger readers, which is a wise for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel UPDATE: Police discovered the bodies strategy. No one really knows what to do and its Pulitzer-garnering work, after sending in a robot w a camera. about the gap in revenue between digital and which was done with a smaller They may have been dead during the print media, so everybody’s experimenting.” budget—the Sun has focused on soentirety of the standoff Then he adds a line familiar to those who cial media. It’s not above gimmicks have spent too many hours humbled in the designed to reap ad revenue, such attempt to make modern media work: “We’ll as instituting slide shows—usually 6:17 p.m. figure this out.” pictures of food or barrooms that New details, but you’ll have to wait involve top restaurant or tavern until this story is filed. —Urbanite contributing writer Michael Anft listings—because advertisers will has been in the news business for thirty years. pay for each page clicked on. Hence, if there are twenty-five plates of food to look at and someone clicks talk about in that context.” through the entire slide show, the Sun will But although he and his colleagues use receive ad revenue for each click—although social media in hopes that it helps rescue the relatively very little in the way of cash outlay. Sun and its parent company—and save their the paper of the jobs—Fenton knows there are limitations. wordy mencken and the “Until we can translate [social media] into 9:52 p.m. Big Picture, all-the-pieces-fit Dadollars,” he says, “we should just connect Hopkins shooting story vid Simon has succumbed to the with as many people as we can.” updated, @by_rlhill spoke w atomization of the news world. That translation is crucial to the conIt tears off smaller pieces and tinued vitality of the news industry. UnforPardus’ neighbors who said they chews them more. Today’s Sun is tunately, dollars get lost in it. Internet-based “admired” how he cared for his all about bits, not mega-bytes. ads on blogs and websites generally garner mom Still, despite their smaller about 10 percent of what print ads have tranumbers, smaller stories, and ditionally brought in. The idea that newspa9:53 p.m. diminished reporting range, Sun pers can save themselves by building up their reporters say they see brighter audiences of the future—younger readers— He was often seen running skies these days. They’ve surhinges on their converting social media into errands with her and helping her vived the bottoming out of staff cold hard cash. get around size and are moving forward “Maybe it’s that no one has successfully with more confidence. They built up those younger audiences yet, but w w w . u r b a n i t e b a l t i m o r e . c o m f e b r u a r y 11
THE AMERICAN CRAFT COUNCIL SHOW BALTIMORE CONVENTION CENTER FEB 24-27
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escape: Urbanite’s Travel Supplement
by benjamin warner
When the snow flies, it’s time to head for the beach.
photo by J.M. Giordano
or the past five winters, with snow on the ground, my girlfriend, Joanna, and I have hit the beach. Initially, we went because I was still in grad school, and the rates were inexpensive. But now we go because it’s tradition, and because we like to explore a landscape so geographically close but so psychically removed from of the Baltimore-D.C. corridor where we spend our lives. Rehoboth, Chincoteague, Broadkill, twice to Dewey. We stay on the water when we can. And when you go to the beach in the winter, you always can. To go to the beach in winter is to drive up to a dark parking lot and look onto the golden light of a reception desk as the woman in the window raises her head from a novel. It’s to check in and stomp ice-melt off your boots and be given a list of places where locals wouldn’t be caught dead eating seafood. It’s to take a key attached to a red plastic diamond and be told to park anywhere you want, to drag a suitcase over the sandy boards of a seaside deck, to walk into a room with wood paneling affixed diagonally to walls as thin as cardboard. To go to the beach in winter is to fill the college boy fridge with food for a picnic by the window—to use the wicker love seat as its staging point.
summertime, too, they are not reflected, as they are in the deciduous months, by the bare limbs of reaching scrub trees. It’s those trees that cast the gray winter beach in stillness. But no matter how deeply carved into the landscape they might seem—the frozen rock edge of a jetty at shoreline, the salt-crusted break in a sand-shelf—these shapes will not remain. When I walk on a winter beach, bundled to my eyeballs against the wind, my gloved hand held out to Joanna who may or may not take it, who may or may not have already hightailed it back to the warmth of the car, I think, sadly, this is not for long. Come summertime, the clarity of focus that comes of dark objects bent against a white sky will go fuzzy with the first surfward sprint of a 4-year-old in water-wings. Austerity fights a losing battle to the cute and the inflatable. Still, the knowledge of loss is fortifying in winter, where loss, itself, is beside the point. All is already lost. We are living in it, breathing it in. Loss, come to find, is bracing. Last New Year’s Eve, Joanna and I made our first trip to Chincoteague, images of wild ponies buoying our spirits against what seemed like the discovery of a ghost town. And although we may have been the only two people under 65, we weren’t the only ones out to celebrate. We had to go to five different restaurants before we found one with seating for two. Who makes a reservation in a
ghost town? Were they locals? Winter-season waterfowl enthusiasts? Lost? It didn’t matter. We would have gone to a pizza joint if they’d taken us in. In fact, we tried. The pizza joint was booked. Instead, we got a table at AJ’s, an elegant waterside place on Route 2113, manned by a single waitress so flushed she might have just come in off the pier. She took us to a tiny nook away from the main dining room that afforded a view of snow-capped parking lot trees. And although there were white cloths and heavy cutlery on the table, a space heater had been plugged to an orange extension cord that snaked beneath our chairs. In our nook, there was only one other table, and we worried that having company so close would turn our dinner conversation selfconscious. But when the next couple arrived— Voila!—they spoke French. It was like having two well-behaved cats purring in the window. Elsewhere in the restaurant, a fire was going. Although it was my first time on the island, I already felt at home. A beach town in winter is like that, taking in its strangers hospitably and with quick compassion—because after all, everyone who’s made it there has just come in from the cold. —Benjamin Warner teaches composition at Towson University. He’s waiting for the weather to turn really bad before planning a trip to the beach.
Frosty Festivities by andrew reiner
Winter is a quiet time on the Delaware-Maryland coast, but that’s not to say there’s nothing to do. We took a quick survey of events planned for February through April, with an eye to activities that will get you in out of the cold and at least one that will wear the kids out so they’ll sleep well on these long winter nights. Enjoy. 1 Ogle 350 boats and 140 exhibits at the East Coast’s largest indoor boat show, the 28th annual Ocean City Seaside Boat Festival, Feb. 18–20 at the Ocean City Convention Center. (4001 Coastal Hwy; 410289-8311; www.ocboatshow.com)
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2 The organizers of Merchants Attic I & II bill it as Delaware’s largest indoor garage sale. Feb. 19 and March 26, 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at the Rehoboth Convention Center. (229 Rehoboth Ave.; 302227-6446)
Flying high: The annual Great Delaware Kite Festival takes place in early April.
3 Enjoy baking contests, tastings of local confectioners, and children’s games at the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival. March 5 at the Rehoboth Convention Center. (302-227-2772; www.downtown rehoboth.com)
4 Mosaic, the gallery collective for downtown Rehoboth, sponsors the Second Saturdays Destination Art Walk, which meanders among downtown art galleries 2 p.m.– 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. (www.mosaic rehoboth.com)
5 The 42nd annual Great Delaware Kite Festival features contests, kite and craft vendors, and food. April 2, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Cape Henlopen State Park. (15099 Cape Henlopen Dr.; 302-645-8983; www. destateparks.com/downloads/ programs/chsp-spring-2010.pdf)
courtesy of Cape Henlopen State Park
Arriving in the evening, our first view of the beach is a dark one, caught from behind a sliding glass door. Lights burn and waver from piers and jetties, what in the morning reveals itself to be a reach of the landscape itself, wrapping around the water. We crack the door to hear the plash of the surf just long enough for the cold to force us in again. Then it’s the rev of the heating unit until it fogs the glass, the thump of a distant neighbor we will never meet, a late night talk show that condenses its sound to this one little room, making us feel afloat in the universe, or at least out to sea. After a continental breakfast—itself just emerged from a deep freeze—we make our way down the road to where cars can park on the beach. In the summertime, I’d never dream of walking on the beach with my shoes on, an unholy act punishable by plagues of sand, unshakeable grains in the toes. But in winter it’s harder packed, the cold having adhered a tread more friable than flour-like, and we stroll along as if on a crumbly boardwalk. There are oyster and scallop shells as well as trash that, in this more solemn season, suggests distant turmoil in the deep: a strip of black rubber anchored in a broken dune, smoothed lumber, shards of green and white plastic pickle tubs half buried with bubble kelp. There are windblown, wavepressed ridges in the sand up off the water, and although those lines are surely there in
saturday: lewes and dewey beach
Seventy-two chilly hours on the Delaware-Maryland shore by andrew reiner
long weekend trip to the Delmar—Delaware and Maryland—beaches can soothe the most harried soul for longer than a spa day or family Ravens outing. And if we stop kvetching about the cold long enough, we just might discover what tourist-wary locals know but won’t tell us: Between the cheaper prices, slower pace, unmatched culinary options, and highly imaginative state park programs, Delmar is the perfect place for a winter de-fragging. Since determining what’s open for business in the winter is about as easy as finding a beach parking spot in July, here’s a suggested itinerary for a long weekend, starting on Friday evening in Rehoboth Beach and taking a progressively southern route along Route 1, also known as the Coastal Highway, Delmar’s main drag.
photo by Iris Goldstein
Surf’s up, dude: The East of Maui surf shop in Dewey Beach serves diehard surfers all winter long.
friday: rehoboth beach
Hailed widely as Delaware’s restaurant capital, Rehoboth boasts more inspired menus than any other beach town in the Mid-Atlantic. For less than the price of a frozen ribeye and microwaved baked potato in one of those crowded Texas- or Aussie-sounding joints that line Route 1 south of town, you can jump the pond and dig into authentic Brit fare at go fish! (24 Rehoboth Ave.; 302-226-1044; www.gofishdelaware.com). The British fish and chip shop offers $11 dinners during the off-season that, in addition to the classic fried cod, feature beer-battered softshell crab as well as tandoori chicken skewers and lamb vindaloo. It’s worth the extra few dollars to go native with sides of mushy peas or English chip shop curry sauce. One block over, Hobos Restaurant & Bar (56 Baltimore Ave.; 302226-2226; www.myhobos.com) is pushing a foodie revolution, or “hobolution,” as Gretchen Hanson calls it. The chef/owner of the self-described “eco-global fusion” restaurant combines street food and a green ethos: Everything on the menu is grown organically within a 40-mile radius. Where else can you find a Buffalo seitan hoagie on the same menu with blueberry bacon-glazed cod or organic filet mignon finished in a sour cherry balsamic glaze? Lobster sliders following
quinoa salad? To aid your digestion, head up the street for the Blue Moon Divas Show, an apertif of live and lip-syncing performances. Hailed as “The Best Drag Show in Delaware” by Delaware Today magazine, the free show starts weekly at 9:30 p.m. at the Blue Moon Restaurant (35 Baltimore Ave.; 302-227-6515; www.bluemoonrehoboth.com), another local culinary standout. Had enough for today? The Bellmoor Inn & Spa (6 Christian St.; 800-425-2355; www.thebellmoor.com) bills itself as a luxury “resort hotel,” but it feels more like a low-key, posh modern inn without the attitude and airs typical of places that pamper with heavy terrycloth robes and down comforters. In winter, deluxe rooms start at $129/night weekdays and garden rooms start at $99/night weekdays (available late February). Or head up the road to the Lazy L at Willow Creek Bed & Breakfast (16061 Willow Creek Rd.; 302644-7220; www.lazyl.net) in Lewes, where guests can lounge by an outdoor fireplace or in the hot tub, or while away their time at the pool table, karaoke machine, or slot machine (no, it doesn’t pay out). For an extra $20, your canine sidekick can get in on the inaction. Winter rates begin at $110/night; stay a third night for half price.
Consider starting your de-fragging in earnest with beachcombing. As any beachcomber worth his sea salt will tell you, volatile winter storms yield the most exotic treasures. Attendees of last November’s International Beachcombing Conference went searching for sea glass and ceramic pottery shards along Lewes Beach. Anyone who has ever scoured this narrow beach in the morning low tide knows, however, that its real booty arrives in the form of gregarious, scooping ghost crabs and Photoshop-perfect conch shells. Another option: Head over to Cape Henlopen State Park (15099 Cape Henlopen Dr.; 302-645-8983; www.destateparks. com/park/cape-henlopen/park-office.asp), where you’ll find frequent nature hikes and exceptional bird-watching opportunities. If you’re looking for a little more action, go south along Route 1 to the circa-1876 Indian River Life-Saving Station (25039 Coastal Hwy.; 302-227-6991; www.destateparks.com/attractions/ life-saving-station). The self-guided tour of the station reprises the back-breaking lives and work of 19thcentury surfmen, ancestors of the modern U.S. Coast Guard, while monthly weekend programs include classes on such handy maritime skills as surf fishing, beach driving, weaving Turk’s Head knot bracelets, and boiling prickly pear and sea lettuce into soups and jams. To take the edge off the chill, check out Coastal Delaware’s best happy hour specials: tours and free tastings at the state’s only farm winery, Nassau Valley Vineyards (32165 Winery Way, Lewes; 302645-9463; www.nassauvalley.com/vineyard.htm) or at Dogfish Head Brewery (6 Cannery Village Center, Milton; 302-684-1000; www.dogfish.com). Tastings at both venues end by 5 p.m. (Since tours at Dogfish Head often back up, the good brewers encourage visitors to roll a few rounds on their bocce courts.) If you’d rather swish a little local history or celestial beauty around in your mouth, try the full-moon hikes or lantern tours at Fort Miles Historical Area (Cape Henlopen State Park; 302-645-6852; www. destateparks.com/PARK/cape-henlopen/programs/ index.asp). Costumed historic interpreters lead groups among the ghostly barracks and long-silent gun batteries that once protected coastal Delaware against the threat of Nazi submarines. For diners, Lewes—the cedar-shingled, historic first town of the first state that looks as if a chunk of Nantucket floated away on an ice floe—holds a few stellar restaurants. One of these is Café Azafran (109 Market St.; 302-644-4446; www.cafeazafran.com). The restaurant advertises “authentic Mediterranean cuisine” with a heavy nod toward Spain, which translates into traditional tapas and such large plate standouts as red wine-braised lamb shank and a vegetarian mosaic of white bean mash, broccolini, haricots verts, and carrots tapenade. The aperitif and espresso menus excel. If you’re feeling a yen for something more exotic, head south on Route 1 to Ponos at Dewey Beach (1306 Coastal Hwy.; 302-227-3119; www.ponosfine dining.com). The only Delmar restaurant that features a Hawaiian-influenced menu, Ponos features Kona
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coffee-braised short ribs, Opakapaka (Hawaiian deepwater red snapper) and crackling pork shank. Illuminated with hundreds of tiny fiber optic lights, the dining room channels a Hawaiian beach by night—even when it’s frigid outside.
saturday night-sunday: bethany and fenwick
For a place to crash, head south to the Addy Sea Bed & Breakfast (99 Ocean View Pkwy.; 302-539-3707; www.addysea.com) in Bethany. A sprawling, cedarshingled Victorian mansion decked out in period antiques, it offers TV in only one room, but all rooms have WiFi access and something better—one of Bethany’s most commanding ocean views, plus the surf’s soundtrack to lull you asleep. Winter rates range between $75 and $150. The Woodsong Country Inn (37269 Dirickson Creek Rd., Frankford, DE; 302-539-8845; www.woodsongbandb.com) is a modern facility set in a sylvan setting a few minutes’ drive to the beach. It features such creature comforts as plasma TVs, WiFi, fresh-baked cookies every evening, and wine on weekends. Suites start at $99/night during the off-season. Up next: the beloved Sunday diner breakfast. The Penguin Diner (105 Garfield Pkwy; 302-541-8017; www.penguindiner.com) serves breakfast all day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday only) and stands as perhaps the only diner in all of Delmar where you can score challah French toast and sugar-free maple syrup. If you seek the old school (and cell phone-free) diner experience, try the Frog House Family Restaurant (116 Garfield Pkwy.; 302-539-4500), which re-opens in March. The breakfast menu has barely changed over the family-run establishment’s fifty years of service. The JFK-era options include thirteen types of pancakes, homemade creamed chip beef, locally pressed scrapple, and hickory-smoked bacon “cakes.” Once your belly is full, drive south along Coastal Highway to Sea Shell City, a Fenwick tchotchke shop selling hermit crabs and beach chair-lounging Rasta figurines bellowing, “Life’s a beach, Mon!” Above the shop resides the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum (708 Coastal Hwy; 302-539-9366; www. discoversea.com), the area’s proverbial hidden gem or, more accurately, buried treasure. DiscoverSea houses and displays nearly 10,000 artifacts from regional, national, and international shipwrecks, including 18thcentury doubloons and daggers salvaged from a 1720s quicksilver galleon. Curator Dale W. Clifton Jr. also runs a tiny archaeology lab where he has cleaned and identified thousands of pieces that reside in museums throughout the world. If you’re still fighting off a post-brunch carb coma, break out the bomber hat and cross Route 1 to Fenwick Island State Park (Route 1/Coastal Hwy.; 302-227-2800; www.destateparks. com/park/fenwick-island/) for a stroll on 3 miles of beachfront so pristine you’d swear that Route 1 is miles away. Lunch, anyone? Duck into Nantuckets Restaurant (601 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick; 302-539-2607, www. nantucketsrestaurant.com). Its quahog—the clam of choice for chowder aficionados—and scallop “chowdah” soothes and relieves like Pepto Bismol for the weary soul. West 54 Café and Espresso Bar (38857 Bennett Ave. and Route 54, just over the bridge; 302-
436-5505) is another Fenwick favorite, where existential angst melts beneath a steaming restorative that, in this case, comes from from the fairly traded coffee bean. And for the price of a small shopping spree at the nearby Rehoboth outlets you can support a local artist: The walls here brim with the works of painters, photographers, and craftsfolk.
sunday night: ocean city
For your last night, try one of Ocean City’s most imaginative and picturesque restaurants, The Shark (12924 Sunset Ave.; 410-213-0924; www.ocshark.com), situated on the commercial fishing harbor overlooking Ocean City’s inlet and Assateague. Much of the Eastern Shore/southern-inspired menu—blackened mako, gingered calamari, fried eggplant layered with sautéed shrimp and crab meat—hails from local waters and organic farms. Liquid Assets Bistro (94th St. and Coastal Hwy.; 410-524-7037; www.ocliquid assets.com) advertises home-cooked comfort food on an eclectic menu that will appeal to the foodie as
night and get the next night for half off; weekday nights are two for one.
monday: assateague and berlin
Since you’ve gone to all the trouble of playing hooky, don’t pack up, rush home, and blow the Zen vibe you’ve been cultivating all weekend. Follow Route 50 West out of Ocean City and take Route 611 South to Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland Visitor Center: 7206 National Seashore Ln., off Route 611 South; 410-641-1441; www.nps.gov/ asis/), where you can drive through the park and beachcomb or walk along the 37 miles of beachfront. Best of all, you can rub hooves, figuratively speaking, with the park’s celebrities, the wild horses. If you’re committed to touring by car, stop at the visitor center and buy the audio self-guided tour. Even if you only tool around the park for a short time, Assateague’s backstory is worth hearing. photo by Iris Goldstein
If we stop kvetching about the cold long enough, we just might discover what touristwary locals know but won’t tell us: Coastal Maryland and Delaware are the perfect place for a winter de-fragging. Piecemeal: The Ocean Gallery World Center in Ocean City, a boardwalk landmark, has a facade made of buildings from all over the world.
well as to the wallet. Entrees range from seared scallops with butternut squash and mushroom risotto to a grilled cheese sandwich layered with applewood smoked bacon, apples, cheddar, and pane dolce. When you’re ready for rest, head to Castle in the Sand (3701 Atlantic Ave.; 800-552-7263; www.castle inthesand.com), an Ocean City stalwart since 1960. The Castle, as it’s known, has grown from a mom-and-pop motel to a large complex of three oceanfront buildings, featuring hotel rooms as well as weekly condominium rentals and cottage-type apartments. Oceanfront rooms cost between $49 and $92 weekdays; call for weekend rates. At the northernmost end of Ocean City, The Fenwick Inn (13801 Coastal Hwy.; 800-492-1873; www.fenwickinn.com) doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles, yet the renovated mini high-rise draws beachgoing crowds year-round for one simple reason: It’s easily one of the best bangs for the buck in Delmar. Rates are $99/night with this unbeatable caveat: Stay Friday
On your way home, west along Route 50, consider one more stop near Assateague—Berlin, Maryland. A Victorian-era town oozing with enough postcard charm that movies such as Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting were filmed there, Berlin resides merely ten minutes from Ocean City off Route 50. The epicenter of Berlin’s culture resides on and near Main Street, which houses antique shops and galleries showcasing local artists. Call a few days in advance, and you might be able to book a crash course in glassblowing at Jeffrey Auxer Designs (19 Jefferson St.; 443513-4210; www.jeffreyauxer.com). For a one-time fee of between $25 and $75 and no more than a one-hour investment, Auxer will teach you to blow and sculpt your own ornament, flower, or paperweight. As your wind your way back home on Route 50 West towards the Bay Bridge, pop that Assateague CD back in and finish up your audio tour. This can be the new soundtrack to your Baltimore winter blues.
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Steve Fisher Continues by rupert wondolowski
I wake up screaming. I scream scratching the dog’s belly in bed, scream seeing the third pillow has fallen to the dusty floor. I scream during breakfast, wet bananas on lips. Shaving, I scream. I scream cleaning up the bloody mess. Scream when the neighbors pound, when the police come knocking. I scream on the walk to work, yard ladies gyrate gardening shorts, Arabbers hurl eggplant torpedos at me, their horses stomp, dogs bark. I scream the news grotesque, football game shooting in Anchorage, Middle East imploding. I scream under Manhattan like undigested pork. The previous day, screaming, I crossed a small lake in the countryside on a rowboat. Screaming, I ate a picnic lunch, ants forming a moustache above my screamhole.
II. In the evening the sky flames up with rockets as I sit down to an outdoor meal with a manufacturer of dolls’ voices from Newark, the fauna and wildlife and scout troop suddenly a parfait of gelatin beside the yarn trees. For three days I can’t scream as I lie in bed and listen to the dogs amidst the trees, the sound of gamelan. I see lizards on the walls of my room and I awake one morning to find that the lizard on the light switch is nothing but the janitor’s wrinkled hand. Eventually I will regain enough strength to put it away with Percy Shelley’s heart which I’ve preserved in linen all these years.
photo by Liquid Borgnine
I scream quietly during a polo-shirted golf match, a drink umbrella catching on my sore uvula.
Rupert Wondolowski is the editor of Shattered Wig Press, publisher of The Shattered Wig Review, and most recently The Elements by The Tinklers. When his doctor OKs it, he holds a Shattered Wig Night at the glorious 14 Karat Cabaret. His last book, The Origin of Paranoia As a Heated Mole Suit, was published by Publishing Genius Press. His writing has recently been included in The i.e. Series Reader and City Sages: Baltimore. He also paints primitive pop expressionist pieces, plays in the gentle apocalypse gospel band the Night Spots with his wife, Everly, and stares deeply into the soulful eyes of his dog, Max.
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Hidden valley: The Mount Vernon Mill No. 1 sits amid waterside greenery little changed over the centuries.
Keeping Up with the Jones
Jones Falls mills helped make Baltimore some 150 years ago. Now the mills are themselves being remade. by brennen jensen | photography by j.m. giordano
he last century in its sweep across Baltimore appears to have missed this deep, narrow, winding stream valley, sometimes gray with morning mist and enjoying a private, premature twilight of cool, lingering shadows when the sun drops below the rim of hills in the afternoon.” The Sun described the Jones Falls Valley this way more than sixty years ago, and much of this purply prose still holds. Although a six-lane expressway was sent careening alongside, and often over, the meandering river in 1962, reclusive stretches remain: stands of centuriesold trees, clutches of antebellum architecture. Sections of Falls and Clipper Mill roads snake beside a steep-walled
streambed from Hampden to Midtown like a mountain hollow road in some remote corner of Garrett County. How slowly does time move in this valley? Consider that up through the 1920s a water wheel-driven mill was still grinding flour here. (Look for its rubble footprint by the circular falls beneath the Wyman Park Drive bridge, itself a replacement of a 19th-century steel-truss structure preservationists fought vainly to save in the 1970s.) It makes perfect sense that streetcars can be seen rattling along a loop of track here nearly fifty years after they vanished from the city streets, thanks to the presence of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum on Falls Road.
But the obdurate old valley is experiencing rejuvenation. The mills that sprouted along the falls some two centuries ago helped Baltimore grow from a muddy backwater into a booming city—first through flour exports and then via the cotton duck sailcloth the valley turned out that drove the storied Baltimore clipper ships. Now the mills themselves are being energetically remade, Victorian-era buildings emerging as office space, apartments, eateries, and artist studios. Currently the 1873 “Mount Vernon Mill No. 1” at 3000 Falls Road is slated for a $40 million makeover by Terra Nova Ventures to create a mixed-use complex with apartments, offices, and restaurants on both sides of the falls. About a mile north, construction is under way by Seawall Development on a $20 million reimagining of the stone Union Mill in the west end of Hampden into apartments geared toward teachers, who should be moving in this summer. These projects follow in the footsteps of a handful of other mill makeovers since the 1980s, including the Clipper Mill campus of renovated structures
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Locally made: Woodberry Kitchen, one of the city’s most popular restaurants, sits among art studios and offices in the renovated Clipper Mill complex.
Sound design: The 1853 and 1881 Mount Vernon Mill No. 3 at the foot of Chestnut Avenue became the mixed-use Mill Center in the 1980s. Tenants include a sound studio, artists, and an Apple computer sales/ service company.
space Heart of stone: The oldest part of the Mount Washington Mill complex is this circa-1807 stone building. Baltimore’s oldest industrial building turned out cotton duck and later nuts and bolts until the late 1980s, when it was redeveloped into a swanky office and retail campus.
and new construction that’s home to one of the city’s hottest restaurants (Woodberry Kitchen) and finest magazines (this one). Farther upstream, the circa-1807 Mount Washington Mill—the city’s oldest industrial relic, often billed as the third oldest textile mill in the country—underwent a mixed-use makeover some twenty years ago and counts the city’s first Whole Foods grocery among its tenants. “The string of mills that exist up and down the falls are spectacular buildings— jewels in the crown of Baltimore that are unusual outside of New England,” says Mark Thistel, board member of the preservation group Baltimore Heritage, who resides in one of valley’s oldest homes: the stone, circa-1811 summer home of industrialist and abolitionist Elisha Tyson in Stone Hill. (See “History in the Making,” February ’07 Urbanite.) “This has been called the most intact urban mill village in America. It’s just extraordinary that all the buildings exist and are being repurposed.” Terra Nova’s project is among the valley’s most ambitious, as it encompasses four
buildings strung along 10 acres of riverside greenery. One of the buildings, a four-story structure erected in 1918 and slated for office use, is actually on the west side of the falls and accessed via a footbridge. Along with offices, more than ninety apartments and two restaurants are planned for the site. The development firm’s founder, David Tufaro, recently learned that its application for some $3 million in state historic tax credits was denied. No reason was given, he says, but the pool of money for the program has been capped and curtailed of late. “It’s disappointing, but we are still looking to break ground this spring,” Tufaro says, adding that the firm’s application for some $6 million in federal historic tax credits is still pending. “This is a very worthwhile project, as it’s among the last large mill buildings in the city.” Once the linchpin in the Mount Vernon Company’s string of textile mills, the brick complex is largely vacant, last used by a manufacturer of Styrofoam coolers and model train equipment. Its bucolic setting boosts
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space its appeal for residential use. Plans call for some ninety parking spaces to be creatively placed within lower sections of the mill building itself in a manner that preserves the waterside views for the residents. “What this project does is open up the visibility of the scenery here to the public,” Tufaro says. “We’ll be cleaning out a lot of the overgrown vegetation to have more attractive views of the stream.” Last fall, the city council approved a planned unit development for the site, whose northern end currently sports the ramshackle remains of former roofing company. These will be razed, Tufaro says, and his firm has the option to erect a new two-story commercial structure. Renovating the mill remains the chief priority, however. Just restoring the mill’s roughly 250 windows to their 19th-century appearance is a mammoth task that could cost $3 million. (Most of the windows are filled with bricks, a vestige of the mill’s 1940s switch from cotton to synthetics, the processing of which required greater climate control.) “Based on historic photos, the windows really do dramatically transform the building from something that’s now fairly plain Jane to something really attractive,” Tufaro says. While Terra Nova is still completing its financing package, construction crews are already at work at Union Mill (built in 1866 as
Cotton to it: It’s hard to miss when this stand-alone portion of the Mount Vernon Mill No. 1, known as Picker Building, was erected. It is slated for residential and restaurant use. Back in the day, workers here would pick seeds and dirt out of incoming cotton at the start of the fabric-making process.
the Druid Mill), which has the distinction of being the largest stone mill in Maryland. The price tag here is $20 million. “We are well under way and thrilled at the opportunity to be in this neck of woods,” says Seawall cofounder Donald Manekin, who feels the two mill projects complement each other. The fifty-seven one- and two-bedroom apartments will be marketed to teachers, similar to the Miller’s Court historic renovation project the firm completed in Charles Village in 2009. (See “After-School Special,” January ’08 Urbanite.) The bulk of the 25,000 square feet of office space to be created within the mill has already been leased, Manekin says, adding that Seawall’s own offices will move there. Unlike the leafy seclusion enjoyed by Mount Vernon Mill No. l, this stone edifice sits adjacent to a busy Pepsi distribution center, although Manekin feels truck noise shouldn’t be a problem. “The building has walls that are roughly 36 inches thick, and once you get inside you won’t hear it,” he says. That the historic mills along the falls are being restored gives heart to the folks interested in restoring the ecosystem and water quality of this much-abused urban watershed. More than a hundred years ago, the famed Olmsted Brothers landscaping firm called the Jones Falls Valley “remarkably picturesque” and home to the “finest scenic features” of any of the city’s stream valleys. They proposed it all become a park, an idea that was batted around through the 1960s. In the end,
industry (and highway planners) always got the upper hand. (Toothbrushes, bolts, ice cream cones, and Noxzema are some of the other products once made in the valley.) The Jones Falls Trail, a marked byway linking Penn Station to Druid Hill with plans to reach Mount Washington, has helped renew the valley-as-park idea. The repurposed mills might help it further. “We love the idea of bringing more people close to the Jones Falls, which for a long time has been a dumping ground,” says Halle Van der Gaag, deputy director of the Baltimore Water Alliance. “More of this type of mixeduse development is really exciting, because it is reusing an existing resource. We also hope that as more people start to see the river, more people will start to care about it.” Driving by at 60 miles an hour on the Jones Falls Expressway doesn’t count. “Many people don’t even know the Jones Falls as anything but a highway,” Van der Gaag says. “But it was a river before it was a road.” —Brennen Jensen, an Urbanite contributing writer, has written more about the Jones Falls Mills at www.urbanitebaltimore.com. Web Extra: More Jones Falls Mill photos at www.urbanitebaltimore.com
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This month in eating
The Incredible Bulk A new Baltimore food co-op takes flight. by martha thomas
photography by j.m. giordano
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hen Baltimore Food Co-op opens its doors this spring (the goal is April), it won’t be because a bunch of people in worn jeans and flannel shirts sat cross-legged on the floor and discussed worker-owned organizations and the redistribution of wealth. And although its goals are lofty—selling local, sustainable, and fair trade products; making healthy food accessible to all; supporting local agriculture and small businesses—the high-mindedness is tempered by realism. “We’re not going to sing ‘Kumbaya’ and accept food stamps and then charge $7 for a gallon of milk,” says Cheryl Wade, who will, if all goes according to plan, work at the co-op once she turns the Sisson Street space currently occupied by her shop, the Mill Valley General Store, over to the new venture. If Baltimore Food Co-op succeeds, it will be due to its business plan. The board of directors—whose members include a former real estate developer, a lawyer, a law librarian, an IT specialist, and Wade, who’s worked in the grocery industry since she was 6 years old—aren’t exactly the Kumbaya-singing types. The 6,500-square-foot space will stock as much local food as possible: produce from One Straw Farm and Tuscarora Organic Growers, Ostrowski’s sausage, Tulkoff horseradish, Interstate cider and vinegar, Maple Lawn Farms turkeys, and local milk—not just the natural and organic stuff from Trickling Springs, but also nonorganic products from Baltimore’s Cloverland Dairy, which Wade assures are hormone- and antibioticfree. She’s also checking out Washington Flour in Ellicott City to make sure that its ingredients are not genetically modified. “It’s like a contest,” Wade says. “I try to find the best product at the best price that’s local.” And if a product isn’t grown around here, she’ll find an importer with sustainable practices. “It’s the 21st century,” she says. “It’s OK to have olive oil or a cup of coffee.” People who remember reading Frances Moore Lappé’s book Diet for a Small Planet in the ’70s probably have a clear picture of what co-ops used to be. Co-ops generally had limited hours and limited inventory. There was the dusty beige rice, best washed before cooking; thick, dark honey ladled into plastic tubs; bread from a nearby bakery; and lots of stuff in bulk: flour, cornmeal, bricks of tofu immersed in murky water, D-grade maple syrup that looked and tasted like molasses, loose popcorn (and, of course, brewer’s yeast to sprinkle on it). These co-ops were based on a communal model, with members donating work hours in exchange for discounts on food. More important, they filled a niche market, providing whole foods and organic produce in an era when supermarkets and processed foods
were on the rise. But after their heyday in the ’70s and ’80s, co-ops declined, says Stuart Reid, executive director of the Minnesotabased Food Co-op Initiative. The enthusiasts who created the model went off to have families, buy houses, and open IRAs. Recognizing the ever-more-affluent market that co-ops had spawned, high-end grocers stepped into the picture, replacing the dusty bins with clean, well-lighted stores packed with organic baby food, exotic vinegars, and hormone-free beef. Cool products proliferated, like juice made with green leafies and blueberries, once concocted by small start-up companies but now produced by corporations that could afford to follow the food safety regulations they’d hired lobbyists to enact. And thanks to those same corporations’ relentless marketing of antibiotic soaps, the idea of having someone sift through your oatmeal with their bare hands became less appealing. “Some of those stores in the ’70s weren’t real clean,” Reid admits.
Co-ops sold dusty rice, best washed before cooking; thick, dark honey ladled into plastic tubs; and lots of stuff in bulk: flour, cornmeal, and loose popcorn with brewer’s yeast to sprinkle on top. Maryland once boasted a handful of coops. One was Sam’s Belly, located in the building next to what is now Normals bookstore in Waverly. In the 1970s, when Lappé’s treatise on food justice was turning average Americans raised on red meat into chest-thumping consumers of brown rice, Hugh Pocock, a MICA professor who teaches courses in sustainability (he’s not involved in the Baltimore co-op), loved to hang out in the store, with its wood floors and smells of yeast and honey, chamomile tea, and Dr. Bronner’s soap. The co-op showed him “that food didn’t need to be packaged. We had more contact with the food itself and where it came from.” Reid says there are about three hundred food co-ops in the United States; in the past three years, he’s received about three hundred inquiries from groups who want to start one of their own—including the Baltimore group. Plenty exist in other cities: There’s the Seward Co-op, started by a group of neighbors in Minneapolis in the early ’70s (and later managed by Reid), which last year sold more than $20 million worth of food, and the nearby Wedge, named for a part of the
city trapped like a slice of pie between two diagonal avenues, which is likewise thriving. The Maryland Food Co-operative, started at the University of Maryland in 1975, is still serving 36,000 students. But there’s no longer a Sam’s Belly or anything like it in the city, and attempts to reboot co-ops here in the past decade or so have failed. Skai Davis, former owner of the Yabba Pot, says that by the time the Village, a co-op that she and a dozen or so others started around 2003, got on its wobbly legs, “we realized that everything we were doing was being done by someone else.” Whole Foods stocked whole grains and organic products; CSAs offered directly sourced produce. The tiny storefront adjacent to Davis’ restaurant couldn’t compete with grocery stores in volume. And the group’s dreams of a community space with coffee, art exhibits, and cooking classes were being carried out by a new generation of DIYers who were taking over old industrial buildings in the newly designated Station North Arts District and holding events in the former St. John’s Church at 2640 St. Paul Street. Another issue, Davis says, was the lack of organization. “When you have fifteen people trying to make decisions, nothing gets done. It was like the government.” “Successful food co-ops need a good business plan, a good market study, and lots of community interest and investment,” Reid says. Baltimore Food Co-op’s close association with the Mill Valley General Store achieves the latter two goals. As far as the business plan goes, board of directors president John Segal says two of the things that will set this venture apart are reasonable prices—and not depending on volunteer labor. “When you rely on volunteers, the work is only as good as they feel on a given day,” he says. He believes people today would rather donate money than time. Baltimore Food Co-op members will pay an annual membership fee, and paid employees will run the shop, with volunteer committees for things like events. Any profits or dividends will be put back into the business for the first five years. Gretchen Heilman Piper was one of the hardworking Baltimoreans behind the Village co-op. She now lives in a small town in Maine, where the year-round population is around 6,400 and the Belfast Co-operative is central to life. It’s a place to run into friends, post a flyer about an apartment for rent, or advertise a burgeoning acupuncture practice. But even more, Piper says, the co-op “creates a whole vibe of eating well. Not just for yourself, but as part of a community.” —Martha Thomas remembers slicing cakes of tofu at her food co-op in college.
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sautéed spinach and pine nuts, cauliflower au gratin. There’s French onion soup with a manageable swirl of Gruyère cheese for a pleasant nutty flavor and croutons that keep their crunch in the broth. Even an otherwise pallid Caesar salad had a powerful garlic punch in its judiciously portioned dressing. Lump crab cakes come two on a platter, or paired with a petit filet. The menu’s sole vegetarian entree is more than an afterthought: lasagna, which uses polenta instead of noodles layered with ricotta and vegetables, beneath a dousing of rich tomato sauce. Desserts include chocolate chip brioche bread pudding with hazelnut crème anglaise, and strawberry shortcake, surprisingly flavorful during the off-season, thanks to strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar and dense pound cake. Ito and business partner Daniel McIntosh (who also owns music venue Sonar) seem committed to ensuring that McCabe’s remains true to its history. These days, it may not be the only place to get a burger in the ’hood, but it remains a classic. (Lunch and dinner Tues-Sun; closed Mon. 3845 Falls Rd.; 410-467-1000; www.mccabeshampden.com.) —Martha Thomas
The Grille at Peerce’s
nce upon a time in Baltimore County, there was a restaurant called Peerce’s Plantation. It sat on a pretty point of forested land overlooking the Loch Raven Reservoir and was for decades a favorite haunt of the north county Old Money set, and a special occasion dining spot for everyone else—the kind of place popular for celebrating evennumbered wedding anniversaries. The fare ran to rockfish and crab cakes and veal Oscar; peach melba was the signature dessert. Perhaps the old-school menu and out-of-theway location eventually led to this august institution’s demise; Peerce’s shut down in 2001 after six decades of serving as Baltimore’s favorite pre-prom dinner destination. A new incarnation, the Grille at Peerce’s, opened quietly this past October (following two other attempts to revive the location as a restaurant and catering hall, respectively) and has since been packed with diners who are clearly relieved to have an upscale but reasonably priced place to eat dinner and drink a glass of wine without driving thirty minutes south. Executive chef Mark Hofmann, previously of Henry’s Bistro and Tark’s Grill, oversees the kitchen. The menu is resolutely traditional, with French onion soup and filet mignon. The
seven mix-and-match sides accompanying all entrees include three kinds of potatoes, green beans, and coleslaw. Well-priced sandwiches—brisket, shrimp salad—and entree salads strike a more casual note, making the Grille at Peerce’s a more affordable, everyday dining possibility than was Plantation. There are a few standout items: a house short-smoked salmon is grilled and served with a marinated tomato relish that sparkled even given its off-season food service origins. Boneless Mongolian short ribs, braised to fall-apart tenderness in a sweetish barbecue sauce, are prime comfort food for a chilly evening, particularly when accompanied by the punchy garlic-packed mashed potatoes. Pacing can be a problem; the Crabatini—an appetizer of very nice Venezuelan lump crab, wisely unmessed-with and presented with silky cubes of avocado and mango in a martini glass rimmed with Old Bay—hit the table simultaneously with the salad course, and entrees arrived while the first two courses were still being consumed. But the wines-by-the-glass pours were generous, and the kitchen cheerfully and skillfully heated up a cold crème brûlée (the only house-made dessert) to meet a diner’s preference for European-style warm
photo by J.M. Giordano
photo by J.M. Giordano
notice. Every now and then, however, the craving for a juicy burger or crab cakes and fries, or the longing for one of those simple wooden bars where everybody knows your name—or doesn’t mind learning it—might strike, and those older than 40 who live above 34th Street might think McCabe’s would have been just the place. McCabe’s re-opened last April, and you have to scrutinize it with a mighty critical eye to figure out what’s changed. The good news is the burgers are better than before, now made with beef from a local farm and served between sweet, buttery brioche buns A classic: French onion soup with Gruyère and crunchy croutons from nearby Stone Mill Bakery. at McCabe’s Patrick Ito, who worked at Charles Street brasserie Copra, has ntil McCabe’s abruptly shut its doors taken over the kitchen, and it’s a great match. in 2009, it had been an essential part of The menu is straight-up Baltimore pub grub, the Hampden-Roland Park food landscape, featuring crab cakes, burgers, and pulled one that harkened to an era when special pork. The comfort quotient has been turned occasions were celebrated at the power-lunch up a notch: The pulled pork is tossed in barhotspot Polo Grill and the word “hon” was a becue sauce with a hint of mustard and lots simple salutation. of brown sugar, then draped in sweet pickled Plenty mourned its passing, but more onions. There’s a nice cornmeal crusted cod than likely most of the neighborhood’s newsandwich—a tad dry, but perked up with a bie diners, sated with choices from Rocket tartar-esque remoulade. Fries are hand-cut to Venus to Woodberry Kitchen, didn’t even and compete with other intriguing sides:
Fresh starter: The “Crabatini” appetizer combines avocado, mango, and lump crab
custard—and then took it off the bill, indication that this remake of a Baltimore landmark earnestly aims to please. (Dinner Mon–Sun; brunch Sun. 12460 Dulaney Valley Rd.; 410252-7111; www.thegrilleatpeerces.com) —Michelle Gienow
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Take a Step Back in Time With Casey Cares Foundation
Bustles, Boots & Blackjack Casey Cares Foundation 11th Annual Gala
March 26, 2011 B&O Railroad Museum
Enjoy costumes, casino games, cocktails, dancing, dinner & more!
Loring Cornish In Each Otherâ€™s Shoes Exhibition Opening: Sunday, February 13, 2011, 2-4 pm FREE ADMISSION The Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus 15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21217 / 410.732.6400 / jewishmuseummd.org
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On the Rocks
A toast to the stone heads of Mount Rushmore
By Clinton Macsherry
courses Tues. to Thurs. Chef Becker creates a new prix fixe menu each week.
Flight of 3 wines available @ $3 a glass! You can pair wines with each course from our Selected Suggestions. Guests must order the 3 course menu to be offered the 3 wines for 3 dollars each.
Lunch Tues.-Fri. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Sunday Brunch Wine shop open 7 days
921 East Fort Avenue Baltimore, MD 21230 At the Foundry on Fort 410-244-6166 the-wine-market.com
s alcohol good for your constitution? It depends, I guess, but it appears to have benefited the Constitution. Among the document’s Chief Defenders, links to drink date back to the beginning. February’s commemoration of Presidents Day brings to my mind the Heads of State carved into Mount Rushmore—Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln, left to right—whose associations with wine and spirits are variously rooted in pleasure, profit, and whiffs of scandal. Of course, the presidency has evolved along with American culture. The earliest European settlers considered water a potential health hazard and alcoholic beverages a blessing. By the time of the Founding Fathers, beer, cider, and liquor had become staples—consumed throughout the day, often beginning at breakfast. By most estimates, average Americans in the late 1700s downed more than twice the amount of alcohol we drink today. Under George Washington, the Continental Army provided a daily ration of liquor to its soldiers. Resigning his command in 1783, Washington hoped to retire to Mount Vernon, but work on the Constitution and two presidential terms intervened. Returning to his plantation for good in 1797, Washington ventured into whiskey-making—ironically, given his role while president in suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion. Soon he was operating perhaps the largest distillery in the country, with a peak (and highly profitable) production of 11,000 gallons. Washington’s whiskey recipe consisted primarily of rye, with smaller portions of corn and barley. It was top-shelf for its day, although Washington himself
preferred port and Madeira. Destroyed by fire in 1814, Mount Vernon’s distillery has been reconstructed over the past decade. Small quantities of estate-produced rye are sold on-site at $95 for a half-bottle—but not until spring, as they’re sold out for now. Washington’s fellow Virginian and successor-once-removed, Thomas Jefferson, became America’s first connoisseur-in-chief. On diplomatic duty in Paris during the 1780s, his incipient interest in wine developed into full-blown oenophilia. Jefferson had impeccable taste. Soon after his arrival, he ordered twenty-four cases of Château Haut-Brion— then, as now, a Bordeaux of the highest rank. Jefferson traveled and tasted throughout Europe’s preeminent wine regions. He stocked the cellars of both the White House and Monticello, at considerable expense. Recent lawsuits over auctions of allegedly counterfeit bottles from Jefferson’s collection have put his wine purchases under renewed scrutiny. Earlier litigation brought national attention to the drinking habits of Teddy Roosevelt. Campaigning for a third term in 1912, with Prohibitionism on the rise, TR confronted rumors about drunkenness. When the Michigan Iron Ore newspaper editorialized that he “gets drunk … not infrequently,” TR sued for libel. Insisting under oath that he had “never been drunk”—the occasional mint julep notwithstanding—he introduced supporting testimony from a parade of witnesses, including former Rough Riders. The Iron Ore recanted, and TR received six cents in damages, the legal minimum. Abraham Lincoln came of age as the Temperance Movement, Prohibitionism’s precursor, was gaining power. As a boy, Lincoln lived on a farm near Knob Creek in Kentucky. His father worked at a neighboring distillery, and according to bourbon historian Charles Cowdery, Lincoln helped with odd jobs there. In the 1830s he and some partners acquired an Illinois license to operate three dispensary taverns. (Early Lincoln biographies euphemistically called them “groceries.”) Lincoln abandoned them for his subsequent law career and, as a Republican, found common cause with temperance allies. As president, he signed a Temperance Declaration urging citizens to “discountenance” drinking altogether. That hasn’t stopped Jim Beam from naming a small-batch bourbon in honor of Lincoln’s boyhood home. Aged nine years, Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon (100 proof, $30) pours clear and coppery, with heady scents of baked apple, cinnamon toast, and firewood. Peppery-hot on entry, its caramel and spice-cake flavors carry lingering warmth. I’m not normally a bourbon drinker, but I’m proud to live in a country where anyone can grow up to enjoy fine whiskey.
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w i n e & s p i r i t s
photo by Russ Flint
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811 Cathedral Street at read Street
EMM2010_UrbaniteAd_Feb2011.indd 1 1/7/11 12:24 PM
Andrew Watson ’10 • Jazz Band, saxophonist • 2010 Friends School Drama Award recipient • Varsity wrestling • National Park Service summer volunteer Attending Reed College
Erika Wohl ’10 • 2010 Friends School Latin Award recipient • Interned for Capitol Hill nonprofit • Photography • Varsity tennis Attending Skidmore College
1/4/11 5:41 PM
Join us for “Lunch and Learn” with the Head of School Observe classes, speak with students, meet administrators and faculty. Next sessions: February 8 and April 14. Visit friendsbalt.org or call 410.649.3211 to register.
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eat / drink
This Month in Eating Compiled by Marianne Amoss
The Chocolate Affair
More than four dozen area restaurants, chocolatiers, and caterers show off their sweet and savory creations at the twentieth annual Chocolate Affair, which benefits Health Care for the Homeless. Live music, strolling magicians, and silent and live auctions are also on the bill. 6 p.m.–9:30 p.m. $85; $95 at the door; $175 for Chocolate Angel ticket, which includes VIP parking and a gift bag. Urbanite is a sponsor.
M & T Bank Stadium 1101 Russell St. 443-703-1336 www.chocolateaffair.org
Romance After Dark
Feb. 12 and 14
Take your sweetie to Boordy for a romantic evening of fondue—chocolate, cheese, and caramel/butterscotch—hot Wassail, and s’mores toasted over an open flame; there will also be live music both nights. 6 p.m.–9 p.m. $25 per person.
Boordy Vineyards 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes 410-592-5015 www.boordy.com
Max’s Belgian Beer Fest
For its annual festival, Fells Point brewpub Max’s Taphouse provides more than 120 Belgian beers on tap and more than 175 in bottles, as well as such Belgium-inspired eats as Trappist burgers and chili made with beer. 10 a.m.–2 a.m. daily. Free admission.
Max’s Taphouse 737 S. Broadway 410-675-6297 www.maxs.com
Maple Sugar Weekends
Feb. 19–20, 26–27
Stop by Oregon Ridge on the last two wintry weekends of February to explore the history and practice of maple sugaring. Folks can go anytime between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to observe demonstrations, tap a tree and collect sap, and watch the sugar being made in an evaporator. Free.
Oregon Ridge Nature Center 13555 Beaver Dam Rd., Cockeysville 410-887-1815 www.oregonridge.orgcom
Cajun Cooking Class
Learn to prepare authentic Cajun food during Mardi Gras season. Participants in the class, part of the Baltimore International College’s Food Enthusiast offerings, will cook traditional dishes including Louisiana gumbo with dirty rice, shrimp and crawfish jambalaya, and beignets. 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. $80 per person.
Baltimore International College 210 S. Central Ave. 410-752-4710 ext. 247 http://bicedu.myshopify.com/
For more food-related events or to read restaurant reviews, go to www. urbanitebaltimore.com. w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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ON 2nd Annual HIPPODROME
It’s Bigger and Better! ALL tickets include the post-show FOODIE EXPERIENCE with OPEN BAR! Sample gourmet menu items from the area’s top restaurants.
VIP Tickets Available! Includes premium seating, exclusive pre-show cocktail reception and demo with Alton Brown.
Hippodrome Theatre • Saturday, March 19th Ticketmaster.com • 410-547-SEAT • Hippodrome Theatre Box Office Due to the nature of live entertainment; dates, times, performers and prices are subject to change. All patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket. No exchanges or refunds. Tickets are subject to service charges and handling fees.
69 music: Classic Sounds of New Orleans 71 art: Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960 theater: An Almost Holy Picture
“New Growth in the Nasopharynx,” by Max Brödel, published in Lewis’ Practice of Surgery, Vol. IV, Chapter 6, The Pharynx, p 55, 1943. Original art is #373 in the Walters Collection of the Max Brödel Archives in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
73 the scene: This month’s cultural highlights
Inside edition: Max Brödel’s strikingly realistic illustrations of a fibroma at the base of the tongue (left) and the tumor’s relationship to the tonsil
by richard o’m ar a
A program that teaches the art of medical illustration celebrates its centennial.
ome people make art for its own sake, others for the pleasure of the uplift it gives those who view it. Others, a smaller cadre, sketch and paint to help save human lives. They create images of the organs, the nerves, the architecture inside the human body. Many of these images are drawn by an artist standing in the operating room by the surgeon, sketching what he or she can see and conceptualizing those parts that are not visible to the artist nor the surgeon. How does the artist draw what can’t be seen? It’s not magic; rather, it’s a matter of recalling observations of previous procedures, retrieving memories of studies of anatomy and pathology. These are medical artists, and many are trained at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Art as Applied to Medicine. Their illustrations appear in medical books and journals and
provide pathways for surgeons and other physicians. They are twice trained: once through the rigors of art schools, then two years side-byside with medical students working their way to their MDs. Theirs is an ancient skill. It emerged during the Renaissance, when it was seized upon by Leonardo Da Vinci and others like him. To perfect their art, they dissected cadavers to know every inch of the human body. It was brought to Baltimore a century ago by a young German artist named Max Brödel, who proved to be something of a genius as an artist, and more. In July Hopkins will celebrate the Art as Applied to Medicine department’s centennial, and its founder, Brödel. Brödel settled comfortably in Baltimore. He had a German’s fondness for beer, good food, music, and stimulating repartee. Such w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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For a show like this, however far you have to travel won’t be too far.
—New York Times
TREASURES OF HEAVEN SAINTS, RELICS & DEVOTION IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE FEB. 13–MAY 15
BECOME A MEMBER & SEE IT FREE! baltimore / 600 n. charles st. thewalters.org open wed.–sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
WHAT WILL YOU DISCOVER? Arm Reliquary of the Apostles, German (Lower Saxony), ca. 1190, The Cleveland Museum of Art. This project received important early support through planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Magnanimous gifts from Paul Ruddock and an anonymous benefactor made the catalogue possible. We acknowledge with gratitude the support of Marilyn and George Pedersen and the Sheridan Foundation which, together with additional implementation funds from the Kress Foundation, a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts made the exhibition possible. Additional support is provided by an anonymous donor, Ellen and Ed Bernard, Ann K. Clapp, Mary Jo and Ted Wiese, Stanley Mazaroff and Nancy L. Dorman, and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States.
courtesy of the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Man with a mission: Brödel believed that successful medical illustration required “great untiring devotion.”
tastes drew him to H.L. Mencken, who introduced him to the Saturday Night Club. Brödel, tutored in the piano as a youth in his hometown of Leipzig, assumed the club’s first piano, and Mencken played second. For decades they played together. They also drank a lot of beer. Brödel instituted the department, the first of its kind in the United States, in 1911. He taught young artists the skills of this trade, selecting the best among all the applicants, and imbued in them a quest for perfection. They “must study the elementary branches of medicine … dissect and draw the human body in toto … study fresh tissues at autopsies and learn to interpret pathological specimens,” he wrote. His demands were intense; he was dismissive of students driven by utilitarian purposes. “There must be love for the work,” he said, “great untiring devotion.” Brödel died in 1941, but his influence on American medicine endures. John Lienhard, a commentator on the National Public Radio program The Engines of Our Ingenuity, wrote in 1993, “When I look at Brödel’s work, I know he was Leonardo’s modern inheritor.” Still, Lienhard agreed with a prediction, first advanced in 1938, that Brödel’s work would eventually be rendered extinct—that “technology and interior lighting of the human body would put an end to the art he’d so perfected.” “Totally absurd!” says professor Gary P. Lees, current chair and director of the Art as Applied to Medicine program, fourth in the line begun by Brödel. Currently there are five programs like this in North America. Most are in teaching hospitals. Lees estimates that forty to fifty graduate students apply to his program each year; about twenty are interviewed, only six accepted. Hardly evidence of a dying craft. Lees says that the growth of technology has expanded the artists’ work, not diminished it. For instance, he says, they
are working on a program to facilitate gene sequencing and using such inventions as electronic slates that enable the artist to draw directly onto a computer. (Most still prefer to begin their work with pencils.) Among them, there seems to be a universal reverence for Brödel. This from his biography, Max Brödel: The Man Who Put Art Into Medicine, written by Ranice W. Crosby and John Cody, both graduates of the department: “In the hands of the master,” they wrote, referring to one of his best works, “the result was an image of amazing palpability and realism, even when the subject was something never seen in reality, e.g. the interior of an intact brain.” It is this kind of realism that is still sought after today. At a certain point in their studies, the advanced students must present their work to the faculty in what Professor Lees calls a “sketch and layout session.” At one of these sessions, Susanne Slattery of Pennsylvania presents five sketches to facilitate a surgeon’s work around a dysfunctional heart. “These images here are wonderful,” remarks Lees, “the way you have lifted the heart out of the body.” As it was with Leonardo and dissection, so it is with medical students, the dead servicing the living—and art. Nearby, Brödel’s name—and the image of the man, the awareness of his having been there—is awakened by collected items on display in the Brödel Conference Room. Among them are his own etchings of placid wooded scenes on what is called “bracket” fungus, hard as a rock growing out of trees taken from Brödel’s retreat in the Canadian woods. His artful illustrations, in the thousands, are contained in cabinets against the wall and hung in the corridors outside. A picture of Henry Walters, of the eponymous museum, is on the wall above the cabinets; it reminds all just who provided the 1911 endowment of $108,893 to keep the department going through the years—and keep Brödel in this country. Finally, and certainly among the most important items displayed, are the newly made beer mugs for use at the department’s centennial banquet on July 20. Beside the mugs stands one of the bottles for the beer: Brödel Beer (The Stroke of Genius) On the other wall, an immense portrait has been mounted of the curly headed genius. He looks happy and maybe a little thirsty. —Richard O’Mara spent most of his journalistic career at the Baltimore Sun, as an editorial writer, a correspondent in Europe and Latin America, and the paper’s foreign editor.
photo courtesy of Garry Winogrand. Centennial Ball, Metropolitan Museum, New York, from the series Women are Beautiful. 1969, printed 1981. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Stanley Kogan and Lynda Winston, Baltimore, BMA 1986.243.32. ©The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Recent Works Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960, Feb. 20–May 15 at the Baltimore Museum of Art To wrap her head around the Baltimore Museum of Art’s substantial photography collection—and start planning for future exhibitions in the contemporary wing, closed last month for a year of renovations— contemporary curator Kristen Hileman put together a survey exhibition of photography from the last five decades. Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960 includes more than two hundred images by more than sixty photographers, including such big names as Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. The free exhibition is meant as a follow-up to 2008’s Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900–1960. It also illuminates the ways in which photography has developed into a “socially engaged medium,” as Hileman says, exploring everything from the human condition to humanity’s effect on the environment, as well our notions of time and reality. It includes work that takes a conceptual, innovative approach to producing and presenting photographic images, from such artists as Anthony McCall and Kota Ezawa. Hileman says her sentimental favorites of the bunch are William Eggleston’s 1974 photographs of Elvis Presley’s famed estate. “There’s something about his depiction of Graceland that to me is so quintessentially American and evocative of this eccentric luxury and rock/pop culture,” she says. Garry Winogrand’s photos (including the one pictured above) are also period pieces, depicting stylish revelers at a late 1960s party in New York City. That ability to record revealing, ephemeral moments is the strength of this medium, Hileman says. “Good photography captures a moment in time and makes it real to us as time progresses, so we can look back at our world.” —Marianne Amoss For more information, call 443-573-1700 or go to www.artbma.org.
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photo by Stan Barouh
courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways
Dixieland Unbound Classic Sounds of New Orleans (Smithsonian Folkways, 2010) For information about Classic Sounds of New Orleans, call 1-888-FOLKWAYS or go to www.folkways.si.edu. Robert Cataliotti will speak about the music of New Orleans at the Pratt Library’s central branch on Feb. 27. For details, call 410-396-5430 or go to www. prattlibrary.org.
t he at er
Are You There, God? An Almost Holy Picture at Rep Stage, Feb. 2–20
hen Michael Stebbins thinks about his life, he says, “I’m amazed when I look back on the past, how events and decisions out of your control lead you to where you are today.” Like all of us, Stebbins has had setbacks, but he sees them as part of a journey that has, among other things, prepared him to play the role of Samuel Gentle, the sole character in Heather McDonald’s An Almost Holy Picture.
oppin State University professor Robert Cataliotti knows his way around the vaults of Folkways Records (now known as Smithsonian Folkways), the storied label whose intrepid producer/archivists roamed the rural South after World War II capturing the uncanny sound of what music writer Greil Marcus famously dubbed “old, weird America.” A scholar of African American music and literature, Cataliotti produced the label’s 2001 release Every Tone A Testimony: An African American Aural History, as well as a recent collection of independently recorded Paul Robeson material. His new Folkways collection is different: a snapshot of black New Orleans in the pre-Preservation Hall early 1950s, when the birthplace of jazz was still an insular, deeply segregated city of the Jim Crow South, not the nation’s rollicking party capital. “I put it together so it told a story that traced the evolution of the quote-unquote ‘classic’ New Orleans sound that people are familiar with,” says Catallioti, who lived in the city’s Ninth Ward during the 1980s. White researchers—academics and music obsessives who sometimes braved police interference to record in segregated
Samuel Gentle’s trials may not be the garden variety challenges faced by most. As a minister in New Mexico, he’s confronted by the tragic death of children on a school bus (a plot point that has been compared to the Russell Banks novel The Sweet Hereafter). Later, he returns to his native New England, where his wife gives birth to a daughter who suffers from a rare disorder that leaves her covered with a coat of fine hair. Gentle, who lives up to his name, questions the conviction he has had ever since boyhood, when he heard the command “Follow me” from a source he assumed to be divine. McDonald, who until recently lived in Catonsville, says that she wrote the play to make sense of things in her own life and initially thought it might be “too private and quirky to resonate with anyone else.” But the Broadway production, with Kevin Bacon in the lead, gave the play legs: It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been produced at regional theaters throughout the country, including Center Stage and the Round House
clubs—originally taped these tracks (largely between 1946 and 1961), and the music has a loose, late-night jam-session immediacy, a sound that literally rises up from the streets. The album opens with a marching brass band, a hamboning shoeshine boy, a quarrelsome gathering of Mardi Gras Indians, and a street corner evangelist who performs a self-penned gospel number as traffic honks in the background. Then the jazz begins—an eclectic local brew of everything from the barrelhouse piano of Champion Jack Dupree’s “Rattlesnake Boogie” to guitarist Snooks Eaglin’s delicate rendering of “Saint James Infirmary” (one of several cuts that draw on what Catallioti calls “the canonical New Orleans repertoire”) to the exotic swing of now-obscure regional subgenres such as New Orleans string band music. It’s not your usual Big Easy party album, but good times still roll: Listen to pianist Billie Pierce’s shaggy half-shouted rendition of “Shake It and Break It,” a favorite of Catallioti. “It’s not a finesse piece,” he says. “It just cooks. I love that.” —David Dudley
Theatre in D.C. The play premiered in New York in early 2002, shortly after the city was shaken by 9/11—a time when its theme of wrestling with why awful things happen was on many people’s minds. This month’s Rep Stage production is directed by Tony Tsendeas, who directed Stebbins in the role of the abstemious seeker Martin Luther in Wittenberg (in separate productions at the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival and Rep Stage), a “what if” look at Hamlet’s school days. Stebbins, the producing artistic director at Rep Stage, says McDonald’s play has been on his wish list for some time; this season, her play fit into the mix, he says. And it also fits in with Stebbins’ life as an actor. “I’m at a point in my life where I’m looking back and thinking about my life,” he says. And like Samuel Gentle, he believes, “the best comes out when we are vulnerable and open to questioning everything.” —Martha Thomas For tickets, call 443-518-1500 or go to www. repstage.org.
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Attend an upcoming open hous Washington DC Center Wednesday, March 16 6:30-7:30pm
A celebration of everything Federal Hill
Homewood Campus Thursday, April 7 6:30-7:30pm
Saturday February 26, 2011 Baltimore Museum Of Industry
Learn more and RSVP online today
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Dress to Impress Open Bar - Fabulous Food Fashion Show - Live Music All included in ticket price: $60 ($75 at the door). Info: 410-727-4500 www.historicfederalhill.org
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1/7/11 12:23 PM
t h e s c e n e : f e b r u ar y MUSIC
On Feb. 13, the Music in the Valley series at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Glyndon hosts organist Victor Li, a student at Peabody Institute who is also studying applied mathematics at Johns Hopkins University. (3738 Butler Rd.; 410-8335300; www.stjohnsglyndon.org) Dream of warm weather on Feb. 4 as the Baltimore Symphony performs Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, along with compositions by Bruch and Mozart, at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. in Frederick. Among its other performances this month, the orchestra presents a semi-staged version of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute on Feb. 24, 26, and 27 at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. (410-783-8000; www.bsomusic.org) On Feb. 13, Baltimore folk/grunge quartet Arbouretum hosts a release party/show at the Ottobar to celebrate their new album, The Gathering. Also performing is local folk/psychedelic six-piece Secret Mountains. (2549 N. Howard St.; 410662-0069; www.theottobar.com)
Alberto Gonzales in 2007. The Peabody Chamber Opera performs it as a prelude to Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, performed by American Opera Theatre. At Theatre Project, Feb. 4–12. (45 W. Preston St.; 410-752-8558; www.peabodyopera.org/ seasons/s1011/)
Island, about the penguins, fur seals, and other creatures living on the island of South Georgia, to Extreme, featuring the adventures of surfers, snowboarders, and other, well, extreme athletes. Through March 3. (601 Light St.; 410-685-5225; www.marylandsciencecenter.org)
To accompany The Narcissism of Minor Differences, Maryland Institute College of Art has organized a film series that centers on intolerance, the theme of the exhibit. The screenings start Feb. 3 with Freedom Riders, about activists who challenged segregation on public transit in the Jim Crow South, and wrap up March 5 with Intolerance, a 1916 silent film with live accompaniment from Anne Watts and Boister, who wrote a new score for the movie. (1301 W. Mt. Royal Ave.; 410669-9200; www.mica.edu)
Running Feb. 2–27 at the Hippodrome is Jersey Boys, the award-winning musical based on the story of 1960s pop group the Four Seasons. (12 N. Eutaw St.; 410547-SEAT; www.france-merrickpac.com) The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents Cymbeline, the Bard’s romance that draws from legends about the British King Cunobelinus, in Oliver’s Carriage House in Columbia. Feb. 18–March 19. (5410 Leaf Treader Way; 410-313-8874; www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com) At the Strand Theater Company is the one-woman, theatrical adaptation of Joan Didion’s heartbreaking, bestselling memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, about her husband’s sudden death. Feb 3–19. (1823 N. Charles St.;443-874-4917; www.strandtheatercompany.org)
OPE R A
At the Baltimore Museum of Art on Feb. 12, Baltimore Ballet performs a program that includes The Firebird, Igor Stravinsky’s 1910 ballet based on Russian folktales. (10 Art Museum Dr.; 410-667-7974; www.baltimoreballet.org)
Melissa Dunphy’s The Gonzales Cantata was inspired by recordings of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that led to the resignation of Attorney General
During the nine-week IMAX Film Festival at the Maryland Science Center, seven films will be available daily, from Survival
E X H I BIT
Through April 30, the central branch of the Pratt library hosts Glass House of Dreams, an exhibit that celebrates the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park through photography and antique postcards. (400 Cathedral St.; 410-545-3115; www.prattlibrary.org) LITE R ATURE
As part of its Saturday Night Anime series, Towson University’s anime club screens Steamboy, the 2004 film set in a fictional version of Victorian England where energy is provided by steam. A discussion follows. Feb. 5. (8000 York Rd.; 410-704-ARTS; www.towson.edu/artscalendar/) V ISUA L A RT
Annapolis Opera presents the children’s opera Hansel and Gretel, Engelbert Humperdink’s 19th-century version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, on Feb. 5 at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. (801 Chase St.; 410-2805640; www.marylandhall.org)
ones on display in the Walters Art Museum’s exhibition Treasures of Heaven, which runs Feb. 13–May 15. Their works are also on display at the Walters, in Relics and Reliquaries: Reconsidered, Feb. 26–May 22. (600 N. Charles St.; 410-547-9000; www.thewalters.org) An accompanying exhibition, Enshrined Materials, is up at Current Gallery, Feb. 25–April 1. (421 N. Howard St.; www. currentspace.com)
In Insectology, ten artists explore the habitats, behaviors, and shapes of insects and how they relate to humans through sculpture, photography, and other media. Feb. 1–March 6 at Goucher College’s Silber Art Gallery; opening reception on Feb. 10. (1021 Dulaney Valley Rd.; 410337-6477; www.goucher.edu/x37375.xml)
F I LM
Novelist Margaret Meacham leads a three-session writing course, covering the development of story ideas through publishing, starting Feb. 15 at the Cloisters Castle. To register, call 410-821-7448 or e-mail aapplegarth@promotionandarts. com. (10440 Falls Rd.; www.promotionand arts.com)
For more arts and culture events, along with directories of local theaters, galleries, and literary venues, go to www. urbanitebaltimore.com.
digital still from Michelle Dunn’s Go Again (2010)
MICA students created contemporary versions of reliquaries—vessels for holding sacred objects—inspired by historical
The nonfiction New Mercury Reading Series, now at the Windup Space, holds its first reading of 2011 on Feb. 26. Readers include Violet Glaze, Lia Pupura, and Molly McQuade. (12 W. North Ave.; http://thenewmercuryreadings.com/)
Towson University’s Center for the Arts Holtzman MFA Gallery exhibits two artists who take the urban landscape as their inspiration. In Smoke and Mirrors, Juan Rodas blends actual and digital images of cityscapes into surreal images that question reality. In Persistence, Michelle Dunn explores the “internalization of the urban experience and the cyclic actions of individuals that take place in these spaces” through photography, video (including the above still, from Go Again), and 3-D media. Feb. 11–March 5, with an opening on Feb. 10. (8000 York Rd.; 410-704-ARTS; www.towson.edu/artscalendar/) Compiled by Marianne Amoss w w w.u r b a ni te b a l tim o re.c o m
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Music and Dance for Infants to Adults June 20 - August 1, 2011 Registration begins April 1 Summer camps in voice, strings and dance. Private and group classes in music and dance for children and adults, beginner to advanced. Downtown, Towson and Annapolis campuses. 21 E. Mount Vernon Place, 1st floor, Baltimore, MD 21202 410-234-4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.peabody.jhu.edu/prep
Sports, music, dance, crafts, creative science, imaginative play, junior chefs and more. For boys & girls, ages 3 – 17. Free extended day. Lunch & snacks. Lots of new camps! Bryn Mawr & Summer: June 20 – August 19 109 W. Melrose Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210 www.brynmawrschool.org/summer Vicky Burns - 410.323.1118 x1268
Where excitement and fun never end! Co-ed day camps – ages 4 – 13: traditional, technology, drama, or sports. Swimming, lunch and snack included! Extended hours available 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. June 13 – August 12, 2011 Friends School of Baltimore 5114 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21210 410-649-3218 or 410-649-3209 www.fscamp.org email@example.com
Summer Art Camp
Community Art Center Towson University Professional art instructors teach drawing, painting, sculpture and mixed media. Museum tours, swimming, drawing on location and exhibitions. Extended Day. Three 2-week and one 1-week sessions. Ages 6-14. Also teen Computer Graphics Workshop. June 20 – August 5 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252 410-704-2351 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.towson.edu/cac
June 20-July 29, 2011 Enrichment and skill building programs for boys and girls grades 1-12. Courses include extensive art program, music, outdoor education, SAT prep, science, math, foreign language and sports camps. Contact Maryann Wegloski, 410-323-3800 ext. 279.
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St. Timothy's Summer Riding Camp offers a full day with the horses. Includes riding lessons, demonstrations, field trips, on-site swimming, crafts, and much more. Spend some time with us in the countryside. Ages 8 - 14. Camp Dates: June 13 - June 24 • June 27 - July 8 • July 11 - July 22 • July 25 - August 5
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An unforgettable summer for kids 3 1/2 to 17. Programs for preschoolers, clay art, sports, science, leadership camps, and more. Open House is Saturday, April 9 from 11-1pm. June 20 – August 19 2425 Old Court Road, Baltimore, MD 21208 410-339-4120 www.parkcamps.com
Programs for children ages 2 to 12 include recreational sports, nature, music, arts, science, Toddler Preschool & Summer Montessori. Session 1: June 13-24; Session 2: June 27-July 8; Session 3: July 11-22 Corner of Falls & Greenspring Valley Roads Lutherville, MD 21093 410-321-8555 www.montessorischool.net
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photo by Michael Koryta, courtesy of Goya Contemporary
eye to e y e
The product of African American, Native American, and Scottish ancestors, Baltimore artist Joyce J. Scott uses her art to transform the personal into the universal. In Ancestry Progeny 5, several small African figurines coalesce into one seated figure. The African carvings that make up her limbs appear roughly hewn and stained with age, while the rest of the figure is immaculate and clean. White, pearly beads fashion her delicate dress and cap. She is a visual conundrum: dainty and endearing, but also awkward and uneven. Scott explains, “Your grandparents can’t choose you, and you can’t choose them. This piece is about all human beings and the arbitrary guidelines we set for race. In American history, race blending was forbidden, but it has been going on since the beginning of time.” Ancestry Progeny 5 declares that ethnicity, family, and lineage are constructed from a shared history. We are each a product of thousands of unique individuals, as well as their beliefs and decisions. For better or for worse, the future is always informed by the past. —Cara Ober
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Joyce J. Scott Ancestry Progeny 5, 2009 African sculpture, glass beads, and thread 15½" x 21" x 17½" Courtesy of Goya Contemporary
I finally got tired of pretending I could hear the conversation
Now, I “get it” Over the years, I began to realize that I was missing parts of the conversation, especially when I was out with friends or business partners. I didn’t want to annoy anyone by asking them to repeat themselves, so I often guessed what people were saying to me - which made me look a little foolish at times. It got boring, I felt left out, and I began missing opportunities. Now, I can’t believe I waited so long to get a hearing test and the help I needed to hear better.
THE HEARING AND SPEECH AGENCY offers comprehensive hearing services in a state-of-the-art facility, conveniently located just off Northern Parkway, at 5900 Metro Drive in Baltimore. Our audiologists are not just technicians. They meet the highest level of professional certification, including completion of graduate programs at top-tier universities. HASA audiologists use advanced diagnostic equipment to evaluate hearing, including high-tech, sound-treated booths. Because hearing loss is usually progressive, getting help sooner can preserve more of your natural hearing
ability and speech clarity.
HASA Audiology Services Comprehensive hearing evaluations Hearing aid evaluation and selection Hearing aids (from standard analog to the latest digital technology) Hearing aid repair Hearing aid training and orientation Assistive listening devices Custom hearing protection Cerumen management Un-sedated ABR evaluations for infants, young children and adults (threshold and diagnostic) Auditory processing evaluations Cochlear implant candidacy screening and counseling Routine cochlear implant mapping
Please call 410.318.6780 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Visit us online at www.hasa.org
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