The rebirth of urban lacrosse
inside the copycat
may 2 0 1 2 no. 9 5
Free Urbanite/Friends Records Summer Music Download Inside
2012 McDonogh SuMMer PrograMS Day caMPS red Feather for children turning 4 prior to June 18, 2012 Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 A full-day program designed to give our youngest campers a full day of fun and new experiences red eagle for boys and girls 5 to 8 entering first grade and up in fall 2012 Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 Arts and crafts, swimming, horsemanship, and much more McDonogh Senior camp for boys and girls 9 to 12 Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 All the fun of Red Eagle plus weekly field trips outdoor adventure camp for boys and girls 10 to 14 Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 Rock-climbing, high and low ropes course, orienteering, plus weekly watersports and environmental studies The all Sports camp for boys and girls 8 to 13 Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 Swimming, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, and more Teen camp for boys and girls 13 to 15 SoLD ouT! Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 Designed by teens for teens, activities include hiking, scavenger hunts, tubing, sailing and an overnight adventure counselor-in-Training Program for boys and girls 14 to 16 Session 1: June 18 to July 6; Session 2: July 9 to July 27 An introduction to the responsibilities of a counselor’s job Fun on the run camp for boys and girls 11 to 14 July 9 to July 13 Water activities, bowling, a day at Hershey Park, and more
waTer caMPS ultimate watersports for boys and girls 9 to 15 Weekly: June 18 to July 27 Wind surfing, sea kayaking, and sailing chesapeake expeditions for boys and girls 10 to 14 Weekly: June 18 to July 27 Exploration of the various Chesapeake Bay eco-systems by kayak Baltimore Sailing camp for boys and girls 11 to 14 July 16 to July 27 Wind surfing, sea kayaking, and sailing
icamp™ for boys and girls 7 to 13 Weekly: June 18 to July 27 Theme-based adventures chosen by the camper
McDonogh elite Baseball camp for boys 9 to 12 July 9 to July 13 Baseball camp for experienced players
McDonogh chess camp for boys and girls 5 to 12 Session 1: June 18 to June 22; Session 2: June 25 to June 29; Session 3: July 2 to July 6 Strategies and tactics taught by a national chess master
rising Star Boys Basketball camp for boys 8 to 15 Session 1: July 9 to July 13; Session 2: July 16 to July 20; Session 3: July 23 to July 27 Designed for the novice or advanced player
college application workshop for rising seniors July 30 to August 2 Students will create a resume, complete the Common Application, and craft an essay.
McDonogh international Soccer School: goalkeeper camp for boys 10 to 16 July 16 to July 20 Focused instruction for goalkeepers
SPorTS cLinicS coeD SPorTS cLinicS The McDonogh Tennis Program for boys and girls 7 to 14 Weekly: June 18 to July 27 Instructional tennis program for boys and girls Basics & Beyond golf camp for boys and girls 8 to 15 Weekly: June 18 to July 27 Instructional golf program for boys and girls McDonogh competitive Swim camp for boys and girls 9 to 15 Session 1: June 18 to June 22; Session 2: June 25 to June 29 Designed for team swimmers
young actors Theatre for boys and girls 10 to 16 June 18 to July 17 Training in all aspects of musical theatre. Call 410-998-3526 for auditions young Filmmakers camp for boys and girls 10 to 14 Session 1: June 18 to July 6 SoLD ouT! Session 2: July 9 to July 27 Scriptwriting, filming, and computer editing for the beginning filmmaker Visual arts camp for boys and girls 9 to 13 SoLD ouT! June 18 to July 6 Drawing, painting, sculpting advanced art Techniques: Drawing for boys and girls 9 to 14 SoLD ouT! July 16 to July 20 Sketching, drawing, and image manipulation advanced art Techniques: Painting for boys and girls 9 to 14 July 23 to July 27 Painting techniques and color theory circus camp Stars! for boys and girls 7 to 15 Session 1: June 25 to June 29 Session 2: July 2 to July 6 SoLD ouT! Session 3: July 9 to July 13 Juggling, spinning plates, tight-wire walking, and clowning McDonogh rock Shop for boys and girls 9 to 15 Session 1: July 2 to July 13; Session 2: July 16 to July 27 Instrument instruction and performance to composition and studio recording for the aspiring musician
acaDeMic PrograMS american immersion at McDonogh for boys and girls 10 to 17 Session 1: June 17 to June 30; Session 2: July 1 to July 14; Session 3: July 15 to July 28 A blend of academics, cultural interactions, language instruction, travel experiences, summer activities, and total American culture and English language immersion. This is an overnight program.
McDonogh international Soccer School: Defender camp for boys 10 to 16 July 16 to July 20 Focused instruction for defenders McDonogh international Soccer School: advanced Skills Program for boys 9 to 14 July 23 to July 27 Tactical training and conditioning for both field players and goalies
girLS SPorTS cLinicS
McDonogh international Soccer School: Kinderkick camp for boys and girls 4 to 6 June 18 to June 22 Half-day soccer camp for beginners
McDonogh international Soccer School: general Skills camp for girls 6 to 14 June 18 to June 22 Introduction to the world of international soccer
McDonogh Junior eagles Basketball camp for boys and girls 5 to 8 June 18 to June 22 Half-day basketball camp for beginners
McDonogh international Soccer School: advanced Program for girls 9 to 16 June 18 to June 22 Tactical training and conditioning for both field players and goalies
McDonogh international Soccer School: Pipeline Soccer club individual and Team camp for boys and girls 8 to 15 June 25 to June 29 Designed to train all club- and travel-level players for the 2012-2013 season McDonogh Squash and Badminton camp for boys and girls 9 to 15 Session 1: June 18 to June 22; Session 2: July 25 to July 29 General skills camp for players of all levels
BoyS SPorTS cLinicS
McDonogh international Soccer School: Striker camp for boys 10 to 16 July 16 to July 20 Focused instruction for goal-scorers
McDonogh Baseball School for boys 7 to 14 June 18 to July 6 Baseball camp for all ability levels Kids Day Lacrosse camp for boys 6 to 10 June 18 to June 22 Half-day lacrosse camp for beginners McDonogh Lacrosse academy for boys 7 to 14 June 18 to June 22 Boys lacrosse program, beginner to advanced Matt Stover Kicking camp for boys 8 to 18 June 24 One-day placekicking camp taught by Matt Stover of the NFL
McDonogh girls Basketball camp for girls 8 to 15 June 18 to June 22 Basketball instruction for beginner to advanced players McDonogh girls Lacrosse camp for girls 6 to 14 June 25 to June 29 Program for beginner to intermediate players eagle Volleyball camp for girls 10 to 17 July 2 to July 6 Volleyball camp for beginner to intermediate players McDonogh Field hockey camp for girls 8 to 15 July 9 to July 13 Program for beginner to intermediate players
oVernighT SPorTS caMPS Between the Pipes Lacrosse growing goalies camp for girls entering grades 4 to 9 June 17 to June 19 Instruction for the beginner and intermediate level goalkeeper rising elite girls Lacrosse camp for girls entering grades 2 to 6 June 18 to June 20 Designed for the advanced athlete who seeks to take her game to the next level
McDonogh Baseball School: Pitching camp for boys 7 to 14 June 25 to June 29 Designed to cover various pitching drills and techniques in depth
Between the Pipes Lacrosse Super Savers camp for girls entering grades 9 to 12 June 19 to June 21 Ideal for the elite goalkeeper preparing for the college game
McDonogh Baseball School: Batting camp for boys 7 to 14 July 2 to July 6 Hitting clinic featuring live and machine pitching and the hitting tee
McDonogh international Soccer School: Pre-Season Prep for boys and girls 10 to 18 July 29 to August 1 Preparing the serious soccer player for the upcoming season
Mighty Mites novice wrestling camp for boys 5 to 8 June 25 to June 29 Half-day wrestling camp for beginners
McDonogh international Soccer School: Striker camp for boys and girls 10 to 18 July 29 to August 1 Preparing the serious goal scorer for the upcoming season
Maryland Future champs wrestling camp for boys 7 to 17 June 25 to June 29 Designed to teach beginning and advanced techniques McDonogh Football camp for boys 6 to 14 Session 1: July 2 to July 6; Session 2: July 23 to July 27 Non-contact football camp for all kinds of players McDonogh evening Lacrosse camp for boys 5 to 13 July 9 to July 12 Emphasis on fundamentals for beginner and intermediate players
McDonogh international Soccer School: Defender camp for boys and girls 10 to 18 July 29 to August 1 Preparing the serious defender for the upcoming season McDonogh international Soccer School: goalkeeper camp for boys and girls 10 to 18 July 29 to August 1 Preparing the serious goalkeeper for the upcoming season
McDonogh international Soccer School: general Skills camp for boys 6 to 14 July 9 to July 13 Introduction to the world of international soccer
TranSPorTaTion & Lunch provided for select programs at McDonogh. BeFore & aFTercare available to campers who attend Red Feather, Red Eagle, Senior Camp, All Sports Camp, Teen Camp, and Outdoor Adventure Camp. MuLTiPLe SiBLing DiScounT offered to campers’ families participating in any of the following camps: Red Feather, Red Eagle, Senior Camp, All Sports Camp, Outdoor Adventure Camp, Teen Camp, Counselor-in-Training Program, Young Actors Theatre, Visual Arts Camp, Young Filmmakers Camp, McDonogh Tennis Camp, McDonogh International Soccer Schools, and McDonogh Baseball Schools. For More inForMaTion caLL 410-998-3519.
McDonogh School, owings Mills, Maryland 21117-0380 | www.mcdonogh.org | email@example.com | 410-998-3519 Urbanite 1-31.indd 1
3/29/12 10:07 AM
4 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
#95 May 2012
feature Art and the Public Space by Bret McCabe
about the cover: Photo by J.M. Giordano On the cover of this month's issue is a mural by Michael Owen, creator of the Baltimore Love Project. The painting is located in the Oliver neighborhood of East Baltimore. Bradley Hamblin designed the cover and laid out our feature story about community art.
Community art often gets a bad rap as touchy-feely murals and opportunistic economic development. Could something more interesting be going on?
Editor’s Note 9 What You’re Saying 11 What You’re Writing 17 Don’t Miss 19 The Goods —— baltimore observed
Writing about Iraq
by Rafael Alvarez Dario DiBattista, who did two tours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, teaches at the Community College of Baltimore County while honing his craft as a writer.
25 27 29 31
Update Health Urbanite Project Voices
47 It's Like That, and That's the Way It Is
Chasing a Goal by Jeff Seidel
Baltimore public schools and Morgan State have a rich history of lacrosse, but the game all but dried up in the city several decades ago. Programs like Blax Lax, celebrating its tenth anniversary, are bringing the game back to Baltimore and beginning to bear fruit.
The Culture Club
by Brandon Weigel In a forthcoming book of photos, Rob Brulinski and Alex Wein document moments in the lives of the people living (and working) in the Copycat Building.
—— food + drink 55
Speed the Plow
by Michelle Gienow In Harford County, two young farmers are taking organic farming one step further by taking a step into the past.
—— arts + culture
more online at www.urbanitebaltimore.com
Urbanite on The Marc Steiner Show, WEAA 88.9 FM May 7: Matthew Porterfield on Maryland film and his latest project, I Used To Be Darker
May 23: The rebirth of urban lacrosse from Morgan State to Blax Lax
The Kid Stays in the Picture
by Anne Haddad Matthew Porterfield and symbiotic filmmaking in Baltimore
on the air
May 15: Writing about war: Iraqi vet Dario DiBattista returns to Baltimore.
59 Dining Reviews 61 Wine & Spirits
65 Book 67 Music 67 Theater Scan the QR code to listen to our free 2012 Summer Music Playlist, compiled by Friends Records and Arts E-Zine co-editor Baynard Woods. To download tracks to your computer, visit bit.ly/SummerMusicPlaylist.
—— 69 The Scene —— 74 Eye to Eye Urbanite #95 may 2012 5
Summer is Coming.... issue 95: may 2012 publisher Tracy Ward Tracy@urbanitebaltimore.com general manager Jean Meconi Jean@urbanitebaltimore.com editor-in-chief Ron Cassie Ron@urbanitebaltimore.com assistant editor Rebecca Messner Rebecca@urbanitebaltimore.com
p u d e t a e h t ge at
digital media editor Andrew Zaleski Andrew@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, Baynard Woods Baynard@urbanitebaltimore.com proofreader Marianne Amoss 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, Robin T. Reid, Andrew Reiner, Martha Thomas, Baynard Woods, Michael Yockel, Mary K. Zajac editorial interns Michael Nakan, Cassie Paton production manager Belle Gossett Belle@urbanitebaltimore.com graphic designers Bradley Hamblin, Lisa Van Horn staff photographer J.M. Giordano Joe@urbanitebaltimore.com
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6 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
production interns Sarah Thrower, Wen Xiong video intern Lindsay Bottos-Sewell senior account executives Catherine Bowen Catherine@urbanitebaltimore.com Freda Ferguson Freda@urbanitebaltimore.com Susan R. Levy Susan@urbanitebaltimore.com account executive Natalie Richardson Natalie@urbanitebaltimore.com sales marketing associate Erin Albright Erin@urbanitebaltimore.com bookkeeper/distribution coordinator Michelle Miller Michelle@urbanitebaltimore.com creative director emeritus Alex Castro 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 share 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 2012, 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. Urbanite is a certified Minority Business Enterprise.
bottom Photo by Weng Vong; middle photo no credit; Top photo by a stranger on the bus; Ron Cassie PHOTO by Sarah Thrower
Bret McCabe initially scoffed at communitybased arts projects when he first starting seeing them around Baltimore as a Johns Hopkins undergraduate in the early 1990s. Through watching artist acquaintances explore community-mediated creativity, however, and witnessing Baltimore’s creative workers apply their ideas to various social situations during his nearly decade-long stint as a music and arts editor at the City Paper, his understanding of the practice has shifted. He is currently a Johns Hopkins Magazine staff writer. Melki, who penned Urbanite's fiction piece this month, is a Baltimore writer and author of 21 Hustle: The Funkyhiphoopnautic, a sly, urban, comedic, futuristic novel. A self-described media activist utilizing journalism to address injustice, he is completing a spiritual self-help book about the interconnectedness between spirit and matter and the true reasons people suffer through bad times.
Wen Xiong was born in Chengdu, China, in 1989 and came to the United States in 2004, attending middle school and high school in Bayside, New York. Currently, she is a graphic design major at Towson University. She's worked at The Towerlight, Towson University's newspaper, and Substance 151, a Baltimore branding company, as a graphic design intern. She expects to graduate in December 2012. In addition to graphic design, Xiong is also interested in illustration. She created the illustration on page 61, accompanying Clinton Macsherry's wine column.
the effort of reviving broken cities through public art projects and the attraction of a creative citizenry have been underway for a decade or more. One of the most dramatic revitalization projects in the country has been in Braddock, Pennsylvania—a ghost of a steel town that lost 90 percent of its population alongside the decline of nearby U.S. Steel. Mayor John Fetterman, a 6-foot-8, 350-pound tattooed giant who ignored a birthright in professional wrestling and instead earned a Harvard public policy degree, tirelessly pushes community art projects, hoping to attract artists, designers, urban gardeners, and entrepreneurs. Check www.15104.cc (it's the town's zip code) for a look. Visiting Braddock a couple of years ago with a journalist friend from Pittsburgh who had interviewed Fetterman, I came away moved by the town’s struggle to again become a viable place to live. Still, despite some incredible public art and other projects, the otherwise desolate landscape of abandoned houses in Braddock reminded me of a previous reporting trip to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward in the aftermath of Katrina. Braddock felt like it might be too far gone to recover the way Fetterman hopes it will. On the other hand, New Orleans today—with its rich cultural tradition— appears to be at least partially moving forward in its reconstruction because of its commitment to the arts—for example, the building of the Musician’s Village conceived by New Orleans natives Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis. And in Baltimore, with the combination of a stabilizing population, improving high school graduation rates, and flourishing high tech companies—as well as a continually burgeoning creative culture—the city feels on the cusp of a leap forward. Art is certainly no panacea for all that ails American cities, but if there’s one thing that the public projects, like our cover photograph of Michael Owen’s mural, aspire to show, it’s the unique ability of the arts to open the door to new possibilities. In our feature (p. 33), former and longtime City Paper arts editor Bret McCabe examines the intersection of art, community organizing, and urban revitalization that has become a rising phenomenon in Baltimore. Elsewhere in the magazine, Rafael Alvarez profiles Dario DiBattista, a local Iraqi War vet who used his military benefits to go to college and pursue a writing career (p. 23). He’s since penned a memoir, Go Now, You Are Forgiven, and now teaches writing at the Community College of Baltimore County. Also, Michael Corbin profiles another Baltimorean with a compelling story, Tonia Poteat, who was recently selected to serve in the Office of the U.S. Global Aids Coordinator, where she will develop programs for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people in the world (p. 27). Also this month, coinciding with the one of the absolute best things about living in Baltimore—the Maryland Film Festival—former Baltimore Sun journo Anne Haddad interviews filmmaker Matthew Porterfield, whose films Hamliton and Putty Hill have received critical acclaim (p. 63). Putty Hill was scheduled to be screened early this month at the Whitney Biennial, and recently Porterfield wrapped up shooting this third film, I Used to be Darker, in Ocean City. Finally, Assistant Editor Rebecca Messner, who has been leading our editorial coverage on Baltimore City’s food deserts—the focus of Urbanite Project 2012: Healthy Food Challenge—highlights innovative attempts already underway to address the problem of access in Baltimore to healthy, affordable food (p. 29). Part of the motivation behind her story this month is to inspire fresh ideas and remind everyone that proposals for the Urbanite Project 2012: Healthy Food Challenge are due May 31. (For details, go to www.urbaniteproject.com.) The deadline falls on a Thursday. Rebecca will be here waiting for your foam boards with open arms until 5 p.m. ... Oh, and big thanks to Friends Records' Brett Yale and Jimmy MacMillan for organizing our free 2012 Summer Music Playlist of local artists, which can be downloaded by visiting http://bit.ly/SummerMusicPlaylist.
Coming next month
The Games People Play Why do sports matter? Urbanite #95 may 2012 7
Four reasons to spend your honeymoon at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
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what you’re saying
no farm, no foul
and maintaining boundaries for development (smart growth).
94 april 2 0 1 2 no.
—Johnny Oyster Seed Is the era of suburbia
Sprawled Out Re: “The Era of Suburban Sprawl Has to End. So, Now What?” Apr. ’12, about the environmental implications revealed in the PlanMaryland report: i think the magic solution is to stop subsidizing urban sprawl by building more and more roads to service these communities. If the state stopped building the infrastructure through all these farmlands and rural areas, people would not move there in great numbers because they would not be able to get to where they need to go efficiently. Then you would reduce many other issues like septic use, runoff, and pollution from transportation. There is more than enough vacancy in urban areas to accommodate the projected growth through the next decade. If we use up all that space then we should look at other options, but as my mom always said, eat everything on your plate before you ask for more. —Wally Pinkard
as [maryland director of Planning] Rich Hall points out, the incremental suburbanization of Maryland is very much like the “frogs in boiling water” analogy—as we frogs passively stew in the pot, developers have been steadily slicing and dicing our rural communities into an asphalt checkerboard of plasticine houses and strip malls. Forever lost in this process is our rural character, culture, and heritage, the very things that have defined Maryland for centuries. Unless we take action to change our current course, “The Land of Pleasant Living” will soon challenge “The Garden State” of New Jersey for the most ironic and anachronistic nickname. Let's take action to chart a course for our future that maintains the Maryland character; this means setting limits
Home-Cooked Meals Re: “No Farm, No Foul,” Apr. ’12, about the farm to table trend in Baltimore: i can’t help but be a little frustrated by Chef X’s statements in this article. While I understand that relying on local/seasonal ingredients creates inevitable restrictions, it is also an undeniably logical step that has to be made in the food and restaurant industry. Chef X’s comment, “But does it matter to me whether it came from 60 or 6,000 miles away? Not particularly,” displays a total disconnect from the entire intentions of local food. Of course it matters whether the food comes from 60 or 6,000 miles away. A close connection to a restaurant's source of food creates transparency in food production, an understanding of the producer's industry and yield, efficiency in communication, better appreciation for the food itself, and overall higher quality products. The entire rationality of local/seasonal food is impossible to ignore. It is exactly how food works: Certain produce grows in certain climates during certain times of the year. Shipping tomatoes from across the globe may satisfy an immediate craving, but it’s ultimately snubbing the realities of nature. … Even if local food is a trendy fad, at least it's a productive one. —J Marksdóttir
Virtual Unreality Re: “The Wired Campus,” Apr. ’12, about new digital tools finding their way into college classrooms: “the wired campus” by Andrew Zaleski was somewhat amusing. In the May 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest, a paid academic-ghostwriter explains how thousands of students cheat and why. The article … commented that colleges have known about new ways of cheating for years. [It] describes in shocking details how students in college, graduate school, and even nursing and law school are willing to pay thousands of dollars to get someone else to write papers or to complete course work for them. The ghostwriter comments that he works on an online company that generates tens of thousands of dollars a month by creating original essays for cheating students. … There are three demographics that seek his services: English as a Second Language students, hopelessly deficient students, and crazy rich kids. Is Andrew Zaleski for real? —Leo A. Williams
A System of Injustice Re: “Trayvon Martin, Disproportionate Minority Contact, and Baltimore,” about racial inequality in the justice system, posted to our reinstated Crime & Punishment blog: thank you for pointing out this crucial understanding in the consideration of racial justice. You suggest that the causes of racial injustice remain unaddressed and ignored. While specific narratives of injustice, rightly, arouse us, as they have with Trayvon Martin, these tragic incidents fail to address, create a dialogue beyond the incident, or define solutions to the growing disproportionate minority contact (DMC) at all points in the juvenile justice system. In a nation that refuses to acknowledge even its growing population of impoverished people, how will we ever get it to address the embedded racism that feeds the dire consequences of DMC? Like all issues of genuine importance in the U.S., at this time in our history, with our polarization, our increasing bigotry and fomented fear, there is seemingly no will to do anything about any of it. This is the tragedy that is greater than any one incident, no matter how gruesome. Without creating strategies for confronting this greater tragedy, we are lost in its pernicious devouring of our minority youth. —janjamm
Fenced In Re: “Slow Out of the Gate,” Mar. ’12, about sprucing up the city’s back alleys by gating them off: as city residents working on one of the alley gating projects featured in your article, we want to clarify an important point. Your story gives the impression that a handful of our signed gating consent forms were turned down by the city simply because the properties' ownership had changed hands. In fact, of the fifty-two signed consent forms we submitted, fully twenty-one were rejected. Not only had the forms in question been signed by property owners, but some had even been authenticated by a notary public! The city rejected them nonetheless, saying that we need an “authorized” signature. With the bar set so unattainably (and inconsistently) high, it is difficult to believe that alley gating in Baltimore will ever be more than a feel-good boutique initiative available to only a select few wealthy enclaves. Perhaps it would be better to get rid of the city's alley gating statute altogether and return to the days when neighbors simply had to get the blessing of the police and fire departments to protect their homes and communities with alley gates. —Grant Corley and David Leibensperger
Join the conversation. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@UrbaniteMD). E-mail us at email@example.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. Urbanite #95 may 2012 9
Baltimore Campus at Inner Harbor 17 Commerce Street • Baltimore, MD
Stratford welcomes the Dunbar High School students participating in the Healthy Food Cook-Off on May 31st
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*Contact Admissions for degree availability at each campus. **Disclosure statements available at www.stratford.edu/disclosures
Call 888-345-9048 or visit Stratford.edu/Urbanite 10 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
what you’re writing
photo by Hillary D. Levin Photography
i am usually a patient person. Not now, though; not this winter, not when spring is so close. Last fall, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, like the hard trimming that occurs in fall, I had the cancer pruned out. Then came winter and chemotherapy—a season of stillness and patience. I waited, curled up on the sofa, until my nausea subsided. I endured the attack of toxic chemicals as the rosebush outside my window endured winter’s wind and cold. We both were in hibernation, storing our energies until later. Chemo ended, and January brought with it radiation. I pictured my renegade cells being blasted by the invisible, destructive beam, unable to get organized enough to heal and grow. I am content to lay still, bare breasted, while the technicians position me. But I will be content only a while longer. Treatment will end in March, just in time for the healing rains of early spring, my favorite season. It was during spring that I was pregnant with all my children, feeling like Mother Earth’s accomplice, happily swollen with new life. Just like the crocuses, ready to bloom in early April, I gave birth in spring and early summer. Now, I
want to see those first blooms in my backyard. I can imagine the forsythia bushes with their sprays of sharp, yellow flowers dotting our neighborhood. I take my hope from them. If God gave His creation the ability to withstand the assault of wind, ice, and cold and answer with tender shoots arching towards the sun, He will equip me likewise for renewal and rebirth. When those first stems break through the ground, I hope my hair also begins its journey. I have atrophied muscles to strengthen and taste buds to regenerate. I want to breathe deep the sweet, white blossoms of my Judd Vibernum instead of alcohol wipes. I want to feel the ache in my muscles from pushing a wheelbarrow and not from just walking down the hallway. Come, spring, open your blossoms; show me your resiliency, and I will show you mine. —Gretchen Zietowski lives in Eldersburg. When not raising her three children, growing vegetables, and repairing her dilapidated garden beds, she works as a nurse at the Baltimore VA Medical Center.
she’s 5 years old now—an unofficial official big girl. In my mind’s eye she’s still a baby, still helpless and small against the backdrop of a complicated world. But her front tooth has fallen out. The length of her pant legs is starting to rise. She’s growing before me, in spite of me. She will be my last child and my only child, burdened with the task of carrying a legacy—a legacy that’s rested upon small shoulders. Her genes will make them broad one day. Her experience will keep them straight, never sagging. A mother’s heart has desires for her child. I imagine her life shaped by possibility—limitless. I wish for her safety, joy, stability, and love. In a few short years she will embark upon a journey that will transform her. Her voice will no longer hold the cadence of a child’s chorus; she will transform and blossom into womanhood. As for this moment, I welcome the warm sun on our backs as we make mud pies in the garden. Our now will be forever embedded within my heart. —Latosha Lane-Richardson is a 30-year-old Baltimorean, wife, and mother who enjoys the fine art of conversation and laughter.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 11
what you’re writing
as i got into bed that night, my face made its way easily to your chest. I could hear the uneven rhythm of your heart, mirrored by my own pounding heart. Our bodies were betraying us. They were telling the story of our feelings, contradicting that cool demeanor we wore on our faces and expressed in our words. I felt an exhilarating excitement that affected me physically, mentally, and spirituality. Physically, you drove my body crazy (enough said, right?). Mentally, my mind raced with no end in sight. I truly admired you as a person, from your easygoing, laid-back attitude to the great respect you showed me whenever I was with you. Spiritually, I felt like God had given me a gift wrapped in a lovely package. For so long, I'd been alone and had faith that God would send someone great one day, when I was ready. God truly does work in mysterious ways ... But even with all of these things contributing to my beating heart, I tried to slow the pounding, taking deep breaths. If our relationship was a flower, it'd still be a bud, half open, half closed. The seasons were changing, though, and we were slowly getting closer to being in full bloom. —Morgan Randall is a soon-to-be graduate of Notre Dame of Maryland University, majoring in Communication Arts. Her goal is to be a travel writer in order to combine her love of writing and desire to experience other cultures throughout the world.
born three weeks premature, my grandson brings with him the unexpected first bloom of spring to our family. He comes out crying and peeing, nature’s sure sign of good health. Then he is placed, tiny and red-faced, on his mother’s chest. She gazes at him with wonder and an unforgettable look of love and recognition. I watch with a full heart as he curls against her breast, his fists knotted, his feet drawn up. The first attempts
at nursing are unsuccessful, but he has the instinct and will soon learn. Later, when I first hold him, he is wrapped in a blanket, his head covered with a blue wool cap, his face peaceful in sleep. Then he squirms, stretching and feeling his limbs for the first time. He mimics all the expressions of an old man with furrowed brow and scrunched-up nose. Visitors ask if he looks like his mother or father or grandparents. The real likeness is to no one and to everyone. He is a timeless reminder that life endures and flourishes. When he cries, he squeaks a tiny birdlike sound that makes me laugh. When he smiles for the first time, it is like the bud of a crocus bursting from the earth into sunlight. And then another small miracle happens. He opens his deep blue eyes and sees the world for the first time. He looks puzzled, as if not fully seeing or grasping this strange new place. Everything he does today is for the first time, and we are fortunate to share it. New life comes in many forms, but none as wondrous or moving as a newborn. He is a gift, the chance to experience again the bloom of life.
always thought of him but never took the time to check in. Perhaps that was my own selfishness. I was sucked into the real world, and I stopped looking back. I figured he would become something impressive: a botanist with a PhD or a pharmacist or a doctor. He had the brains. He had the abilities. He was so passionate about science and nature. If anyone was going to be successful, it was him. My mom called last year to tell me the news. Aaron had overdosed on heroin and died at only 21 years old. How did the boy who could make anything bloom end up wilting so soon? —Liz C. is a full-time student in Baltimore who spends most of her free time exercising and planning her wedding with her fiancée, Kaitlyn.
“What You’re Writing” is the place for creative
—Gerard Marconi is a teacher and writer who lives in Federal Hill. His recently published novel, Gods and Heroes: Baltimore Stories, is about growing up in Baltimore during the 1960s.
when i was growing up, I had a friend named Aaron who was obsessed with plants. He loved planting them, he loved tending them, he loved caring for them. If anyone could make something beautiful out of nothing, it was Aaron. I met him in tenth grade during the botany unit of our biology class. We became pretty good friends over time, mainly because he gave me one of his seeds in a class experiment when I ruined my own. After we graduated high school, we never saw each other much. I left for school in Baltimore, and he stayed back in my hometown. I
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 What YoureWriting@urbanitebaltimore.com. Submissions should be shorter than 400 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 Up at Dawn Nerves Companionship
Deadline May 14, 2012 June 11, 2012 July 9, 2012
Publication July 2012 August 2012 September 2012
Going up the country, where the water taste like wine. Make sure that your ride is ready for that dream vacation this summer. Complete repairs and maintenance on Asian, European and domestic vehicles. Maryland State Safety Inspection, used car screenings, check engine light analysis.
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$25.00 Off any 30, 60 Or 90,000 Service. Urbanite #95 may 2012 13
1. Octavia Octavia is a unique boutique of fabulous fun women’s apparel, accessories and handbags. Clothing for the office to black tie evenings. We specialize in mother of the bride gowns, mitzvah suits, and dresses. 5100 Falls Road (Cross Keys) 410-323-3066 “Friend” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OctaviaII
4. Stebbins Anderson STEBBINS- A Baltimore tradition since 1867. Stebbins has everything you need to enjoy the outside. Patio tables, chairs, umbrellas, replacement cushions and a full line of Weber grills. Stebbins offers a great selection of manufactures such as Brown Jordan, Winston, Hanamint, Telescope and Lloyd Flanders. Shop early for your best selections!!!! 5. Joy Sushinsky Love your life now? What will the next 20, 30, or 50 years bring? You may not be able to see the future. But a sound financial investment of your first home purchase now will ensure that you have the ability to fund you future dreams. Free homebuyer seminars the last Tuesday of every month. Please contact me to find out more. Joy.firstname.lastname@example.org 443.622.7323 6. Zeke’s Coffee Founded in 2005, Zeke’s Coffee is a family owned and operated company. Freshroasting each pound with a small fluid bed roaster, and using only the finest available beans, Zeke’s boasts high quality, locally roasted coffee.
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2. Misha & Co. Misha & Co. is a unique find in the Baltimore area. Michael has been creating jewelry since the age of sixteen. Working with classic and unique materials including recycled gold and silver from clients’ old jewelry, Misha’s can create any piece of jewelry that one can envision–all with state of the art computer animated design or working with traditional hand wrought techniques. Whether you are looking for modern to antique or classical, Misha’s creations are unsurpassed. 3. Joe’s Bike Shop The Mt. Washington Bike Shop has been a Baltimore institution since 1972, and since 1999 when it became Joe’s Bike Shop, it has continued to build on that reputation. The shop has helped Olympians, World and National Champions, and countless local teams. But the shop has never forgotten that it is a neighborhood bike shop and has always been ready and able to help any cyclist with any problem no matter how small or large.They look forward to seeing and helping you.
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Green Spring Station 10751 Falls Road., Ste 119 443.275.1321 • mishaandco.com
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ask about homebuyer incentives
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Joy Sushinsky 443.622.7323 email@example.com 1131 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211 410.889.9800
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Retail Shop Open Monday - Saturday, 8am - 6pm Sunday, 8am - 4pm
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802 Kenilworth Drive
4607 Harford Road Baltimore, MD 21214 410-254-0122
5813 fallS rd | Baltimore md 21209
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Spring Vintage has arrived!
7. Bolton House
Located in historic Bolton Hill, just minutes from the Light Rail and Metro, Lexington Market, the Hippodrome, and the Inner Harbor, Bolton House offers comfortable studio, one and two bedroom apartments in a secure-entry building.
8. DeBois Textiles
Spring is in full bloom at DeBois! Authentic vintage clothing for men, women and children at greatly reduced prices. Check out our great selection of Easter dresses, prom fashions and so much more. Shoes, hats, denim, fabric—you’ve got to see it to believe it! Award winning thrift store—everything under $10.
Bolton House offers high rise apartment living at a price that can’t be beat! Great Value & Location Phenomenal Views Plenty of Parking Metro/Light Rail Adjacent All Utilities Included Fitness Center
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store hours: mon - sat, 10am - 5pm 1835 washington blvd, baltimore 410-837-8081 • www.deboistextiles.com
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Hello Baltimore, it’s SHIFT beer time! Introducing 16 ounces of a job well done, whether you just finished work or play, cracking open our new refreshing pale lager rewards your efforts in hoppy style. This is what the end of the day tastes like. For more info about SHIFT, go to www. newbelgium.com.
10. Love Me Two Times
From Chico’s to Chanel, with some Lanvin and Givenchy in between, Love Me Two Times is the newest and hippest consignment shop in Baltimore. Imagine having access to the closet of your favorite style icons such as Jackie O and Cher! We have the best collection of second-hand designer pieces outside of New York City!
11. Emporium Collagia
Baltimore’s Hippest Consignment Shop
2.yeAr . y! AnniversAr
Celebrating 2 Years! An eclectic, artful mix of unique home goods and fashion accessories in Historic Fells Point. Local collage artist and merchant Luana Kaufmann offers a collage of shopping delights: glassware, jewelry, soap, candles, stationery, books, crockery, men’s and children’s gifts, botanicals, and scent, as well as her own dream-like, found-image collage art.
Consignment Boutique Featuring Vintage & Designer Labels Accepting consignments now of upscale designer namebrands and vintage clothing ROLAND PARK 600 Wyndhurst Ave • 410.323.1070
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Sun, Mon & Thurs, 10-7 Fri & Sat, Noon-10 Closed Tues & Wed Celebrating all month long! Mention this ad for special discount.
Zia’s is a café, juicebar and caterer. They offer healthy, delicious, quick nourishment for breakfast, lunch or dinner, using organic, free-range & local ingredients. From meat-eaters to vegans, vegetarians to raw foodists, they believe everyone deserves fresh, cleanly produced food. Zia’s invites you to discover how delicious healthy eating can be!
“ELECTRIC SHOCK THERAPY FOR THE SOUL.” PETER MARKS, WASHINGTON POST
“AN ECSTATIC PHENOMENON” TIME OUT NEW YORK
ca m p N TRE DA M E Day Camp for Girls and Boys Ages 5 to 11
games sports music
arts and crafts
Session 1: June 11–15 Session 2: June 18–29 Session 3: July 2–13 Session 4: July 16–27 Session 5: July 30–August 10 For information/registration form, call the camp director at: 410-532-3588 or 410-532-5548
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4701 North Charles Street | Baltimore, Maryland 21210 ndm.edu/about/campnotredame
16 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
don’t miss images (clockwise from top left): Photo by Paul Kolnik; photo by Mary Catherine Adams, KineticBaltimore.com; Courtesy Photo; courtesy of The Solar and Wind Expo; No credit: courtesy of Mina Cheon
1 May 3–June 30 visual art
Baltimore-based new media artist and scholar Mina Cheon presents a solo exhibition, Polipop & Paintings, at Maryland Art Place. Featuring thirty life-size digital paintings culled from her previous exhibit, Polipop, and her enormous hand-painted work, 15 Billion Years, the exhibit explores the politics of media culture through bold and colorful pieces. Free Maryland Art Place 8 Market Pl., Suite 100 410-962-8565 www.mdartplace.org
2 May 5 community
Human-propelled works of art trek across 15 miles of unruly Baltimore City terrain during the American Visionary Art Museum’s fourteenth annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. With inventive themes ranging from pink poodles to giant tortoises to miniature replicas of Charm City itself, Kinetinauts (a.k.a. pilots) compete for a host of coveted awards like the Mediocre Award, Worst Honorable Mention, and Best Bribes. Free American Visionary Art Museum 800 Key Hwy. 410-244-1900 www.avam.org
3 May 9, 7 p.m.
5 May 12, 3 p.m.
Andrew Bird will whistle his way into your heart when he stops by Rams Head Live! The singer, songwriter, and violin virtuoso will play tracks from his latest release, Break it Yourself. His sixth solo album features a duet with St. Vincent’s Annie Clark and a slew of luscious Irish-inspired fiddle runs.
Travel Channel celebrity Andrew Zimmern (pictured) takes a break from eating weird things to host the Third Annual Hippodrome Foodie Experience. The Bizarre Foods host will dish about the kooky cuisines he’s sampled from all parts of the world. Come hungry to enjoy a sampling of fare from Baltimore’s best food trucks and restaurants, including Alewife, Ra Sushi, and Waterfront Kitchen. Spring for the VIP tickets and score a post-show chat with Zimmern himself.
$37.50 Rams Head Live! 20 Market Pl. 410-244-1131 www.ramsheadlive.com
4 May 11–13 green/sustainable
Check out creative ways to power your home or business with renewable energy sources at the third annual Solar and Wind Expo at the Timonium Fairgrounds. The weekend features exhibits and seminars on topics ranging from weatherization to solar water heating to green building design. Plus, this year’s expo features the Electropalooza, an indoor race showcasing electric motorcycles. Adults $10–$12, children free Timonium Fairgrounds 2200 York Rd., Timonium 410-439-1577 www.thesolarandwindexpo.com
For more events, see the Scene on page 69.
$94–$250 The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center 12 N. Eutaw St. 410-837-7400 www.france-merrickpac.com
6 May 12–13 theater
Adapted from the 1974 cult classic film and poking fun at Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Young Frankenstein the musical follows young Dr. Frankenstein’s slightly unhinged passion to bring a man back from the grave. The creepy comedy features musical interludes like “The Transylvania Mania” and “He Vas My Boyfriend.” $45–$65 The Lyric 140 W. Mt. Royal Ave. 410-900-1150 www.lyricoperahouse.com Urbanite #95 may 2012 17
PS-2012 FL Urbanite 3-25.qxd
We invite you to visit your child’s future. Friday, May 18. TAKE A FIRST LOOK First-year Kindergarten to Grade 12 Friday, May 18, 8:45-10:30am RSVP 410-339-4130 firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET THE EDUCATORS dedicated to teaching children how to think, not what to think.
TOUR THE CAMPUS
2425 Old Court Road
We are an engaging enlightening Community of faith
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18 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
classes, science and math wing, arts center and theaters, athletic center, sports fields, and ponds.
Baltimore, MD 21208
concerning academics, arts, athletics, SATs, college admission, and long-term outcomes.
PARK Learn to think •
Photos (clockwise from top left): Courtesy of Happy dog baltimore; photo by sarah Thrower; courtesy of Pinweel, © Daniele Taurino | Dreamstime.com
what ’s new in style, shopping & beyond
Paws in Action
cassie paton Worry about your four-legged pal when you go out of town? Happy Dog (217-649-7657; www.happy dogbaltimore.com) understands. “A dog is like your baby,” says co-founder Lalaine Byrd. Happy Dog’s team of avid runners and dog lovers offer both dog-exercising and pet-sitting services (they take care of cats and other animals, too) and work in a number of neighborhoods, including Canton, Butchers Hill, and Locust Point. Happy Dog also keeps a real-time online pet journal, where they upload photos and details of your dog’s day, so you can see exactly what Duke is up to.
andrew zaleski Facebook photo albums are so 2008. Behold Pinweel (www. pinweel.com): Released in February and developed, partly, in Baltimore, it’s a group photo-sharing iPhone app that allows you and your friends to assemble a virtual photo book. Users create and name albums and invite people in their phonebook as followers, who are then able to collectively contribute snapshots. Albums can be public—viewable by anyone—or private to just you and the friends you invite. Just be sure to invite mom to the right album.
Not Your Grandma’s Popcorn
cassie paton There’s popcorn, and then there’s milk chocolate caramel drizzle popcorn. Popsations Popcorn Company (877771-9563; www.popsationspopcorn.com) hopes you’ll try the latter. Based in Timonium, the gourmet popcorn company mixes small batches by hand using fresh and gluten-free ingredients. (The selection also includes classic, dark, and white chocolate caramel drizzles.) Kernels are air-popped, meaning oils and fats are kept out of the process, which makes for a lighter popcorn. According to founder Robin Garrison, no oil also allows for extra chocolate: “We’re creating addicts.” She’s joking. Sort of. Order online, or pick up a bag at Eddie's in Roland Park or Charles Village.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 19
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Trapeze Wednesday, June 13 6:30 pm
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Saturday, June 9, 2012 Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
Harbor East, 700 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
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A great day spa and salon makes you feel less like a mom and more like one of the girls. Especially if you visit with the girls. Yes, Mother’s Day is coming. But who says you can only feel beautiful one day a year? Not us. Special Mother’s Day Gift Certificates and Packages Available Now at AboutFacesDaySpa.com. Annapolis 410.224.4110
20 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
Photos (clockwise from top left): Courtesy of Woofound; photo by Lindsay Bottos-Sewell; Photo by JoJo Johan
With Woofound (www.woofound.com), aimlessly searching for stuff to do is a thing of the past. It’s like Pandora Internet radio for experiences, says co-CEO Dan Sines. Launched in Baltimore in the fall, Woofound curates experiences by showing users a series of slides featuring different activities and locations—an art gallery opening or a restaurant downtown—and having them tag slides as “Me” or “Not me.” Over time, Woofound figures out what you enjoy doing most and offers suggestions for what to do based on where you are and your unique sensibilities. As of last month, Woofound is available as an iPhone app.
Moving On Up
andrew zaleski Patrick Sutton Home (700 President St.; 410-605-0196; www.patricksuttonhome.com), the home furnishings boutique that bears the name of the prominent local interior designer, relocated to Harbor East last month. “It’s a little bit more intimate,” says manager Stacy Connelly of the new space. Inside are a variety of items with a distinctively European style—home fragrances, linens, antique and vintage chests, mirrors, and case goods—as well as pieces designed by Patrick Sutton himself, including bookshelves and coffee tables. Design services by trained design consultants, which include a forty-five-minute in-home consultation followed by in-store design work and a final presentation, are also offered at $300 per room.
If the Shoe Fits
andrew zaleski Aaron LaCrate has come a long way from airbrushing T-shirts in the basement of his childhood rowhouse in Highlandtown. (“The creative hub of the universe,” he says.) In April, the part-DJ, part-producer, part-streetwear designer released his exclusive line of handmade New Balance 577 sneakers (www.sneakersnstuff.com), for which he designed the colorways in February 2010. A collaboration with the New Balance factory in England, Stockholm-based shoe store Sneakersnstuff, and LaCrate’s Milkcrate Athletics clothing label, the shoes cost about $200 and are a “limited global release,” he says.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 21
CoME CElEBRATE oUR GRAnD oPEninG
SATURDAY, MAY 12TH
3 – 4 pm: Main Street Parade featuring marching band, street performers, f ire engines and dog parade. 4 – 7 pm: Family fun activities by our new retailers. Food tastings, games, prizes, giveaways, face painting, balloon artistry and caricatures. 7 – 10 pm: Enjoy the Blatant Eighties live performance on the plaza under the iconic water tower.
For more information, visit www.mchenryrow.com
Things To Do @ McHenry Row
Picture yourself in a brand new apartment chef at
Pace yourself with
Satisfy a sweet tooth at
your work in the business center pearly whites at
Amuse yourself in the game room Stimulate your taste buds at
Watch the sunset from the rooftop lounge
Treat your hands at real estate with the Strata Group Gold offices
Fill your Rx at HT Pharmacy
BRAnD nEW APARTMEnTS
Beer & Wine
SQ FT oF lEED GolD oFFiCE SPACE
Ride the elevator
Pamper your pet at
Target your online ad Listen to concerts at the outdoor plaza
Connect to the world in the leasing center Cruise around in a Zipcar
Valet your trash with pickup at your door Energize your car at the EV stations
Barbeque with neighbors on rooftop grill
Savor a new spirit in the wine lounge
Service your mobile at
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Sip a new vintage at
Center your breath in the yoga studio Manage
Drive through your deposit at
Discover how to cook in the demo kitchen
Surf the web
Shape yourself in the fitness
Unwind with friends in the fireside lounge
Create your ad campaign with GKV
Feel the pulse of the city in Locust Point
Ring the concierge
Gather around in the media room
Engage with the teller at
Catch a free ride on the Circulator Bus
Inspire your inner
Perk up your day at
Enjoy a good meal at
Participate in your community at BMC
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Access I-95 in under a minute
Park with ease in attached garage
Greet your friends under the iconic water tower
with free wifi
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1580 Key HigHway Baltimore iN loCUSt PoiNt
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Secure your bike or kayak in a covered Erase your stains at
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SQ FT oF RETAil SPACE
All in onE PlACE McHenry row
people / update / health / urbanite project / voices
Photo by j.m. Giordano
Writing About Iraq Dario DiBattista, who did two tours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, teaches at the Community College of Baltimore County while honing his craft as a writer. By rafael alvarez
like the inuit using every
trace of the beastly Leviathan to survive— wasting not, wanting not—Dario DiBattista has been slicing off big, fatty chunks of his six-year war memoir and selling it. To the Washington Post and Connecticut Review; to Washingtonian magazine and the Three Quarter Review. To whoever will read it, because he “believes in the power that words have in this world.” His story is called Go Now, You Are Forgiven. You wouldn’t think a 28-year-old would have that much to say, especially in an age when, according to author and F. Scott Fitzgerald intimate Frances Kroll Ring, “our young people grow up faster and stay children longer.” But DiBattista is the exception. A Marine lance corporal who finished boot camp just before 9/11, he served two tours of duty, used his VA benefits to go to school, became a writer, and now is adjunct professor at the Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville. He makes an extra buck waiting tables at an Outback Steakhouse. And he is decades wiser than the 17-yearold who graduated from Perry Hall High School in 2001. “Before I joined [the Marines] I was your typical suburban white kid who wanted to be a drummer in a shitty indie rock band, live in a van, and eat bean burritos,” says DiBattista. “Today I stay up late listening to loud music and writing.” Up late, blasting Phish, and writing about the fellow Baltimore County kid he recruited out of high school and was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber. And how he met the young Marine’s widow a day or so after he was killed, an encounter others might dismiss as coincidence. “I decided that recruiting Norm [Anderson] would be my personal mission,” DiBattista writes in a Washingtonian essay last year. “After a recruiting event—a pull-up challenge at his high school—I talked to him alone for a long time in the recruiter’s office, the fluorescent lights making my dress uniform almost glow …” Lance Cpl. Anderson, explains DiBattista, “saved three lives by stepping in front of the
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IS YOUR CHILD SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION? Pharmasite Research is currently offering a clinical research study of an investigational medication for depression. Your child may qualify if they are currently experiencing these symptoms: • • • •
Feeling sad, depressed or irritable Loss of interest in school, friends or their usual daily activities Low self esteem or sense of failure Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
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Baltimore Lab School provides an exceptional academic experience for bright students with learning differences and ADHD. Summer Program also offered 2220 St. Paul Street Baltimore, MD 21218 410-261-5500
Robert B. Lehman, M.D., Principal Investigator • Alan M. Jonas, M.D., Sub-Investigator
24 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
people / update baltimore observed
Update by Cassie Paton
Dario dibattista Photo by LCpl. Michael McMaugh, 1st Marine Division Combat Camera; Update photo by J.M. Giordano
bienvenidos a baltimore
DiBattista both yearns vehicle and forcing him to and works hard for the use the bomb early …” kind of respect afforded Not long before, DiBat“You’ve got a vehicle coming those men, as well as his tista had been near the up your six!” my sergeant current favorite, Paul same place as Anderson— Auster, who has written Al Qa’im—in a very screamed at me over the about the daily combat of similar situation. hissing radio. “Shoot it, D-Bo, living in New York City. “‘You’ve got a vehicle shoot it!” I fondled the trigger But he’s no fool. coming up your six!’ my “As good as a writer that sergeant screamed at me of the M240 Golf machine gun people may think I am, I over the hissing radio. with my index finger. I didn’t know it’s my story they’re ‘Shoot it, D-Bo, shoot it!’ I interested in,” says DiBatfondled the trigger of the want to kill civilians. tista, a Christian who—in M240 Golf machine gun a deep depression over all with my index finger. I he’s been through in two tours of duty—was didn’t want to kill civilians,” he writes in the ultimately talked out of a third deployment by Washingtonian piece. an atheist friend. “I was suicidal. That was the The story continues: “I didn’t have the right reason I volunteered again—if I died, no worto make the choice I did—by not shooting, I ries,” says Battista. “I was in Fallujah, and I saw decided that the Iraqis’ blood was more impora lot—shot at, rockets, mortars, snipers, IEDs. I tant than ours. That was unfair to the other feel a lot older than 28.” Marines’ families, friends, and wives.” In the end, a case of mononucleosis sealed It was Anderson’s wife, Victoria, that the decision against a third enlistment and DiBattista encountered at the Treehouse enrollment as an undergrad at Central Conbar in Cockeysville the night the news of her necticut State University—one of a few colleges husband’s death was broadcast on the evening at the time that would give a reservist, albeit news. They talked for hours. one who had seen combat, a veteran’s ride. Anderson held no resentment against him, DiBattista parlayed that into a master’s degree DiBattista says, reporting that she was proud in writing with disciplines in poetry and nonof her husband’s service, and derided the fiction—from Johns Hopkins University. peace activist Cindy Sheehan for using her son Borrowing a phrase from All Quiet On the Casey’s 2004 combat death to crusade against Western Front, DiBattista now believes that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Victoria the United States has been in both Iraq and sobbed, DiBattista was flooded with memories Afghanistan far too long and the effort is just of his own encounter with a possible suicide “a wastage” of human life—one that barely regbomber, a moment, he says, when he “didn’t isters at home. “To my students [at Catonsville] kill like a Marine.” war is a video game, and the news isn’t much War stories have been among the most popumore than a snapshot,” says DiBattista. lar of all narratives since Homer sang the Iliad. “To me, writing is still a necessary and Great American war writers—those who have important platform to describe war,” he says. chosen fiction to best tell the tale—are many, “I think of literature as a gift—a chance for a with a bard for every war, and range from the new way of thinking and a new understanding. non-combatant Stephen Crane to Norman Literature gives us that new empathy we did Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, and the great Vietnam not have before.” War author Tim O’Brien.
While the overall number of Baltimore City residents is in shaky decline, the number of Latinos living here has sharply increased over the last decade, a trend likely to bring about economic and political changes (see “El Nuevo Baltimore,” Dec. ‘11 Urbanite). In March, the city government issued an executive order to prohibit city employees from inquiring about immigration status. During a speech given the same month at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told Latino community members that they were essential in reversing the population decline and that Latinos would not be discriminated against, according to the Baltimore Sun.
bay blues A number of policies on the state and federal levels help reduce the amount of debris, chemicals, and other harmful pollutants that find their way into the Chesapeake Bay courtesy of stormwater runoff (see “Under Pressure,” June ‘11 Urbanite). But according to the Washington Post, Governor Martin O’Malley’s controversial septic bill was scaled back when its passage became uncertain. Instead of giving the state the power to deny permits on new housing developments with septic systems—which contribute to bay pollution—the bill now requires counties to draw tiers of housing developments before subdivisions can be approved. As written, the bill “would not prevent counties from defining these tiers in a way that would allow major subdivisions to be built on farm and forestland,” according to the Post, a move some state legislators feel is inefficient for curbing suburban sprawl.
marks of improvement Thanks to the Head Start Act, preschool programs nationwide were established to give disadvantaged children a leg up when it came to kindergarten readiness (see “The Bond,” September ‘11 Urbanite). According to a recent Baltimore City Public Schools report, though, just 73 percent of kindergarten-age children in the city were deemed “fully ready” for school in the 2011–12 school year, compared with 83 percent of kindergarteners throughout the state. (Readiness is measured in areas of literacy, mathematical thinking, and social development, among others.) However, the report also shows that only 66 percent of children were ready for kindergarten in 2010.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 25
health baltimore observed
Searching for Identity and Finding a Calling A longtime HIV/AIDS health care provider at Chase Brexton will be serving in the Office of the U.S. Global Aids Coordinator. By Michael Corbin
photo by Sarah Thrower
onia Poteat remains fiercely protective of the transgender patients she provided care and counsel for at Chase Brexton Health Services in Mt. Vernon—as well as their personal stories. Personal narratives of identity can be mistold and misunderstood, she says. Poteat’s own coming out story was made public in the award-winning 2007 documentary For the Bible Tells Me So , which profiles Christian families whose faith and relationships are challenged as they struggle to accept their gay and lesbian children. Poteat’s conservative Christian parents both serve as pastors in Haw River, North Carolina, where she grew up. Ultimately her story became a testimony of parental love built around Poteat’s search for identity and her life’s calling—getting health care to the most vulnerable and the hardest to reach populations. Last month, as Poteat was successfully defending her doctoral dissertation at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, she was named Senior Technical Advisor for Most At Risk Populations in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC). Housed in the State Department, the OGAC is part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, begun under President George W. Bush and expanded by the Obama Administration. The initiative is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, and Poteat’s mission will be to develop and implement policy and programs for HIV/ AIDS prevention and treatment in some of the most challenging communities in the world. “I didn’t think I would get the job,” Poteat says. “You know how people have an insecurity about what they were ready for? I didn’t think the Office the Global AIDS Coordinator would think I was ready.” She pauses, dreadlocks framing a still surprised, smiling face. “But they did.” Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology and director of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Public Health and Human Rights, says Poteat’s combination of scientific rigor and moral compass make her an excellent choice. “You have to have the heart for this work,“ he says, noting Poteat’s clinical work as a physician assistant at Chase
Brexton and significant experience before coming to Baltimore. “And what makes Tonia unique is that there is simply not a discipline in public health with which she is not conversant.” During her journey from North Carolina to Baltimore, Poteat studied at Yale and Emory universities, worked in a methadone clinic on Manhattan’s lower east side, and provided health care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities at clinics in Kansas and Georgia. She also was worked for the Centers for Disease Control to help with HIV/AIDS programs in places like Rwanda and Tanzania. Poteat says that her international work clarified connections between her personal experience and the fate of many around the world. “It felt like the global south was similar to the southern United States,” she says, “full of people of color with lots of health needs that weren’t being met." And it was in part that larger story of race in the African Diaspora and specifically in the U.S. that prompted Poteat to participate in For the Bible Tells Me So . “One of the things that was important to me … was that the movie wasn’t just about white people. That was important to me—to be a family of color. I think what often happens is that black people are presented as more homophobic than everyone else, and it was important to me that that not be the message,” she says in a post-film interview.
This personal and professional journey, traversing the intersections of race, gender, class, sexual identity, health care, and social justice, led Poteat to Hopkins and the study of international public health. Through her work at Chase Brexton and her academic research at Hopkins on the HIV/AIDS care—or its absence—provided to transgender individuals, Poteat examined how whole communities can be stigmatized, made subject to a broad range of discrimination, and not get the health care they need. “Transgender discrimination is part of gender oppression,” she says. “Sort of how straight people don’t understand they have a sexual orientation until they meet somebody whose sexual orientation is different from theirs, I think people who are not transgender don’t realize that we all have a gender identity and a gender expression until they meet someone who surprises them in the expression of their identity,” she continues. “It gets all bound up in what our expectations of who men and women are supposed to be, what we’re supposed to look like, what our bodies are supposed to be like, what we are supposed to do.” Poteat believes part of the way stigma and discrimination work in society is to maintain the status quo, and she has spent her time in Baltimore listening closely to the stories of her transgender patients, healthcare providers, and transgender advocates in the city. She’s also immersed herself in the health care literature for transgender communities worldwide. Baltimore has been a laboratory of sorts for Poteat, a case study and catalyst for her desire to get health care for those most at risk. “What I am doing is looking for the common theme of these stories,” she says of the Baltimore narratives, the voices from those excluded beyond the city, and her own story. “How is power [or a lack thereof] playing out in each person’s story, and what can I pull out and make useful for health care as a whole? That is what I am after.” Reducing infection rates for the most atrisk populations will be no easy task, however. While the rate of expansion has slowed amid infection rate declines in many countries, observes JHU’s Beyrer, those declines are not being seen in the most at-risk communities. “For the next phase of the AIDS response we have to do better with those who are excluded,” he says. “And we won’t, in my view, be able to control the virus until we can provide service to those most at-risk and excluded.” What a public health career allows her, says Poteat, is the ability to pursue health care justice on a larger scale than a patient-by-patient basis. When asked where her sense of justice comes from, Poteat immediately smiles. “My mom. Her sense of fairness,” she says. “It’s definitely not a religious thing, though I think your life calling is always spiritual. I have found mine.” Urbanite #95 may 2012 27
The 2012 Urbanite
P r o j e c T:
Fc ho od allenge
Why do We still have food deserts?
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Urbanite Project 2012: Healthy Food Challenge is seeking creative, innovative, non-traditional ideas that address one or more of the barriers to affordable, healthy food for Baltimore City residents living in food deserts. Deadline for entries is May 31. UPCOMING EVENTS Urbanite Project 2012 Healthy Food Film Series: May 4, 2012, 6pm Urban Roots, screening 2640 2640 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21218 June 4, 2012, 6pm Food Stamped, screening Enoch Pratt Central Library, Wheeler Auditorium 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201 Discussions following each screening. Open to the public. For details: www.urbaniteproject.com inStitUtional partnerS
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American Communities Trust | Enoch Pratt Library Greater Baltimore Committee Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States The Marc Steiner Show | Richardson Farms | Zia’s
urbanite project baltimore observed
Leading the Way In Baltimore, the effort is already underway to increase access to healthy food in food deserts. By Rebecca Messner
Fab farm: Elisa Lane (left) and Maya Kosok at Whitelock Community Farm in Reservoir Hill.
photo by J.M. Giordano
hen we talk about Urbanite Project 2012: Healthy Food Challenge, there may be a tendency to get overwhelmed by the scope of the problem. Twenty percent of Baltimore City’s land qualifies as a food desert. That means one in four school-age children and one in four African American residents lives in one. Studies show that people living in food deserts are more likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds of all the city’s adults and 40 percent of high school students are overweight or obese. But that’s not to say the situation is hopeless. On the contrary, Baltimore is one of the most progressive cities in the country when it comes to tackling the issue of food insecurity. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, along with Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino, used Baltimore as a model city as when they formed the Food Policy Task Force at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January. This national task force will try and implement some of the initiatives already in place in Baltimore. Baltimore was one of the first cities to hire a food policy director, Holly Freishtat, who oversees the Baltimore Food Policy Initative (BFPI) and its various projects. It is Freishtat’s full-time job to see that Baltimore gets healthier. In March, the city launched Get Fresh Lexington, the first of a plan to make healthier choices available at the city’s six public markets. Five farmers markets in Baltimore City already accept EBT (food stamps)—in June the Jones Falls Expressway market will do the same. The Virtual Supermarket is an online grocery delivery service that targets food deserts, accepts EBT (food stamps), and delivers groceries for free to designated pickup locations at libraries. It essentially utilizes the same technology as Fresh Direct in New York or Arganica in Baltimore, but for people who can’t afford to pay $20 delivery fees. “We are the only city doing this,” says Laura Fox, co-coordinator of the Virtual Supermarket. “We are the only program that uses online food
ordering and accepts food stamps.” Fox is currently working on the next phase of the program, which will set up branches in senior centers and public housing complexes. For now, the program services three communities and has taken food to more than two hundred people—not many, Fox admits, when compared to Baltimore City as a whole. A number of factors contribute to this small amount— for now, services are so localized that not many people outside the communities that are already taking part in the program realize it’s there. They’re also restricted by the hours that the libraries are open. “The Enoch Pratt libraries are amazing— they are great locations, safe locations,” says Fox. “But we found that, for some people, the library is a little too far from their home. And so we’re trying to figure out how to bring this closer to where people live.” Fox also says there’s a psychological barrier to consider. More than a lack of Internet access, it’s the unfamiliarity of letting someone else pick which apples to bring home that keeps people away. “Some people like to touch their food. They say they don’t want to order their food online,” Fox says. Still, she remains optimistic. “I think it works because we’re bringing food directly to communities,” Fox says. “It’s easy. Because the technology is here. People are getting more comfortable using it.” Beyond government, there are people on the ground working to make Baltimore healthier. Maya Kosok is an Open Society Institute-Baltimore fellow who founded Farm Alliance in Baltimore City (FAB City). FAB City aims to form an
established network of urban farms, so existing and future farms can benefit from pooled resources and shared knowledge. “Right now, you have to be half crazy and have some sort of financial safety net to start an urban farm,” Kosok says. The aim of FAB City, she says, is to increase the viability of urban farming, thereby increasing the city’s access to urban-gown food. Although it’s a little blurry where community garden ends and farms start, Kosok estimates there are ten to twelve operational urban farms in Baltimore. She hopes that at least eight of those will be formal members of the alliance this summer. “An urban farm, in my mind, is not going to in and of itself solve the problem of food deserts, but it’s one piece of the puzzle,” she says. “A lot of these farms are running de-facto afterschool programs. This kid at a farm stand I visited recently was pushing the carrots really hard, because he grew them, saying ‘They’re so good!’ Would he be doing that at the grocery store? Probably not.” Urban farming, Kosok says, is tough work, no matter where your farm is in the city. “Most of the urban farms are inherently in low-income neighborhoods,” she says, “because that’s where the land is.” Regardless of location, she says the effort is most effective when it starts within the community. “It’s definitely been shown time and again that the stronger the relationship with your neighbors, the stronger your farm is going to be.” Entries to Urbanite Project 2012: Healthy Food Challenge are due May 31. For more information, go to www.urbaniteproject.com. Urbanite #95 may 2012 29
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Voices baltimore observed
Throwing the Party Artscape's visual arts coordinator talks about his career and largest free arts festival in the country. Interview by Ron Cassie Photo by J.M. Giordano
jim lucio, renown for his iconic Polaroid por-
traits of Baltimore’s colorful, quirky, and subversive characters, enters his third year as visual arts coordinator at Artscape this summer. Also known as Defekto, his online alter ego, Lucio reinvented himself after his favored medium, instant film, was discontinued several years ago by Polaroid. Although still producing art—recent shows have included a retro, pop culture totem exhibition at the Contemporary Museum, a show at the Plywood Gallery, and a project at Gspot with painter and partner Jeremy Crawford—today he devotes most of his time to Artscape, working in the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. You worked as a designer for kids’ T.V. show Blues Clues, as a City Paper graphic designer, operated the Flux galler y in Station North, continued to produce your own art, and now, you ser ve as Artscape’s visual coordinator. How did this happen? Flux kind of set the tone for what was going to come. I’d never operated a gallery. I’d never put on a show. I’d didn’t know how to throw a party either and just started doing those things when I moved to Baltimore. And basically these are the things that I loved to do and enjoyed being around, and it worked to my advantage. Any Polaroid film left? I have about sixty or seventy exposures left; I bust it out occasionally. I don’t carry it around with me everywhere like I used to. I got a medium format [film] camera last year, and I’m still really passionate about photography. But I still need to make the transition from the instant film … I haven’t got used to buying the film, getting it processed, looking at the negative, and hoping that something turns out because the learning curve is kind of steep for me. I love the results when it works. I’m still kind of figuring out how I want to approach it. Any tidbit from this year’s Artscape's midway theme, "Roadside Attractions," which is being extended from Mount Royal Avenue, across the Charles Street bridge, to North Avenue? Well, there is one—a juke joint. I’ve been working with Michael Zebrowski at Morgan State, and his
architectural students are going to turn this into a summer project. We’re going to put music and dancing inside, and it’s going to be a place where people can chill. Hopefully there will be beer and good food nearby. It’s about creating an atmosphere. These things are kind of made from old galvanized metal and scrap wood pieced together. It’s blues music and “let’s get whatever kind of instruments together that we can and just have a good time.” We’re going to make it work. It’s going to be 20 by 40. It’s a big project. What’s your favorite thing at Artscape? Well, I love the Baltimore Rock Opera Society. They do a grand spectacle with costumed performers, cars that spew blood, and guitars that are on fire. Just an amazing visual spectacle. What else is new? I did put the call out a little farther this year because I like the idea of attracting out-of-thearea artists. Baltimore should have more than a regional appeal. I know some people think this should just be for local artists, but if bringing in out-of-state artists puts a fire under your local artist’s ass to take more ownership of this [that’s fine, too]. What’s the Artscape planning cycle like? I equated it to a pregnancy. The planning is nine months. My first year, I wore my Keith Haring baby pin. And then afterwards it’s like your having postpartum depression because it’s over and it’s like it’s never happened. But then it starts all over again. I mean it might sound strange to explain it that way, but it’s exhilarating when it happens. How do you keep things fresh each year? As much as I love so many artists who have shown their art year after year at Artscape, I’m like a champion of the underdog and the artist who maybe sometimes feels like maybe Artscape is too big for them. Or they say, “Maybe next year, I don’t know if I’m good enough.” All I have to say is you’re good enough, and the door is open. You have the same opportunities as everyone else has. New artists create more diversity and more passion and a better Artscape. To you, what does Ar tscape represent to Baltimore? I think it represents a really diverse city. I think it represents a city that really cares about the arts. I think it represent a city that benefits from the arts. Clearly, it’s a city that loves the arts and, besides Artscape, likes public art projects, the murals, and improvements in different neighborhoods; I guess Artscape is part of that bigger picture. We don’t want to live without art.
ART+ The Public Space Community art often gets a bad rap as touchy-feely murals and opportunistic economic development. Could something more interesting be going on? By Bret McCabe photography by J.M. Giordano
Inspiring ideas: Michael Owens's Waverly mural complements the Giant Foods on 33rd Street.
undreds of condoms—that’s what sculptor and installation artist Sarah Doherty saw when she first moved to Baltimore in August 2007. She settled into a carriage house on the 2200 block of Hargrove alley between St. Paul and Calvert streets, and when she looked out the window while sitting at her computer, she witnessed whatever was going on in the alley. “Sex for money was out there,” says Doherty, a Maryland Institute College of Art faculty member. “People shooting up, which is freaky to watch.” Doherty starting sending emails to friends about what she saw—the sex, drugs, giant rats, and trash. She had moved from San Diego, where she lived in a neighborhood undergoing gentrification that also happened to be located on a fault line. A nearby neighborhood had already been spruced up, and odd things were happening there. Doherty recalls a man leaping to his death from the balcony of a “really glamorous living situation.” She arrived in Baltimore intrigued by the idea of geological fault lines intersecting with psychological fault lines. "I would cross Calvert Street and I would feel my whiteness, my middle-classness, and fear," she says. "That's when I started thinking about the alley itself as a fault line, as a site where humans are being real slippery to need or want to have paid sex back there, or to need to procure and use their drug of choice, or that they just feel so entitled and irreverent to the world that they can just throw all their trash back there.” She responded artistically to the alley, using a cracked concrete pad as a canvas. She picked up trash and discovered some of the abandoned properties on the alley were owned by the city. And she assigned the alley to students. By the summer of 2009, the 2000–2300 blocks became Axis Alley, an urban intervention. By strict definition, Axis Alley isn’t a community art project, because it started as a single artist’s response to a situation that organically evolved into a group effort. Axis Alley did have an impact on its community, however, and Doherty did respond to the alley in ways that echo the creative processes that unite those practices frequently understood as “community art”—whether they’re called cultural development, social action, transformative art, socially conscious design, open practice, etc. Ultimately, in 2010, Doherty put out a call for artists, seeking works to “transform, activate and revitalize the overlooked, underattended areas of Baltimore’s back alleys.” Some aspects of the project were supported by grants from the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative, funded by the Anne E. Casey Foundation, and the Central Baltimore Initiatives Grant. As works were added to the alley—murals, sculptures, installations—people began to visit it.
Images of the alley and project were included in the 2010 book Urban Interventions: Personal Projects in Public Spaces . Additional work on the alley ceased in July 2010, when a major development project finally broke ground to revitalize the area that included the alley. “All the stuff that was in my view is completely gone and remodeled,” Doherty says. “I think our rat population has gone down and trash dumping has gone down immediately right behind me—so there's been some progress, revitalization, but at a loss of character and history. And so that's a tricky thing that I'm still wrestling with.” That Doherty doesn’t identify as a community artist is what makes her and Axis Alley a good example of how community art practices and values have spread into other aspects of visual arts practice. Community art—an imperfect umbrella term here for a wide variety of cultural activity—isn’t tidily defined or casually dismissed. But it is influencing the way we look at, interact with, and think about the city in which we live. “There’s been a kind of convergence of influence from the community arts movement on what you might think of as cutting-edge, avant-garde art,” says Arlene Goldbard, a San Francisco Bay-based writer and activist who has been working as an artist organizer and cultural development and
ce n e g r e v on c f o d n ts i r k a a y n t i e n e u mm o c e There’s b h t as f m o o r k f n i h e nc tt e h u g l i f m n i u f o o ty a h w n o t t r n a e e m d e r v a -g mo t n a v a , e g d e g n i tt cu
t ds in fron ert y s tan arah Doh alvert S tree t. S r o s s pro fe rt h C y : MICA 2 0 0 block o f No g an alle e2 Reclaimin unit y mural in th h e r co m m
Urbanite #95 may 2012 35
advocate since the mid 1960s, primarily in the Bay area. Her 2000 book, Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development , co-authored with Don Adams, is a veritable bible on the American and British history and theory of community cultural development. In the late 1970s she was the co-director of the organization that ultimately became the Alliance for Cultural Democracy and lived in Washington, D.C. to track cultural policy. For a brief time, Goldbard lived in Baltimore in the early 1980s, and recalls such early local community-based arts projects mounted by the Baltimore Voices troupe at the Theatre Project, then under founder Philip Arnault (currently with his Center for International Theatre Development). “If you look at art in museums, art in theaters that don’t identify as community arts, you see a lot of participatory, crowd-sourced, collectively based, telling-ordinary-people-stories work,” she continues. “Some of the values and characteristics of community arts have infused what’s seen as experimental practice that actually exists in a more higher art frame. So there’s bleed over into that, and we see that in a lot of places across country—a sort of convergence of identified community artists and people who are doing other kinds of performance and installation work that are affected by their methods.” Today, Goldbard travels around the country as a cultural development consultant, speaking on college campuses and meeting with people working in community art and the intersections of art and social justice. “The creativity and resourcefulness that people bring to make it happen even in the absence of funding streams is really kind of amazing,” she says. “It feels to me as this kind of a volcano situation. There’s this gigantic reservoir of creativity in the service of democracy and then we’re seeing the amount of it that pokes up above the surface of the land mass. And that’s true across the country.” That situation is very true in Baltimore, which over the past decade has witnessed an explosion in its arts community—in music, visual art, theater, literature, performance, and the ecstatic combinations of all of the above. Arts organizations, such as the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, have community building as part of their mission. Artist/curator Peter Bruun founded Art on Purpose in 2005 under the vision that “creativity and community go hand in hand.” The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts has long sponsored community murals and other projects. The Contemporary Museum was founded by curator George Ciscle under the idea that community outreach could connect contemporary art with people’s everyday lives. This flowering has coincided with changes in the city's landscape, which often took root in areas associated with the arts community. Remember, ten years ago we didn't have arts pockets, official or unofficial, like the Station North Arts District, the west side Howard Street corridor, the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, Greenmount West's City Arts. Most recently, Open Walls Baltimore, the partially PNC Bank-funded street-art mural project in the Station North Arts District, has been discussed as a community revitalization effort. If there’s a symbolic moment of Baltimore’s adoption of the arts as a tool for revitaliztion, it probably came in 2003, when then-mayor Martin O'Malley invited sociologist/economist Richard Florida to address the city's Cultural Town Hall meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center. At the time, Florida had become an urban pied piper for his 2002 book, The Rise of the Creative Class And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life, which argued, with data, that "creatives"—a demographic that included science and technology professionals as well as artists and designers—can encourage the sort of economic development that drives urban revitalization. Whether this is a good strategy or not, it’s been happening for some time. However, consider what it represents: recognition of economic value in the creative arts. That might not seem like such a big deal, but recall that
36 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
Street art: Kalima Young, project coordinator of the MICA-administered Baltimore Art + Justice project, stands in front of a portrait of Trayvon Martin by local street artist Justin Nether.
as recently as the 1980s, creative culture was enough to go to domestic war over. In Baltimore in the early 1980s, “there was a lot of stuff there at that time and there was a feeling of rising expectations [for community arts practice], but then Ronald Reagan was elected president and funding for all of that work was eliminated overnight,” Goldbard says. “In the Department of Labor there were public service community arts jobs, quite a few in Baltimore, and those all ended immediately. So then we had this long period of ‘Oh my god, what are we going to do?’” Today, of course, we’re seeing local and state government agencies and foundations everywhere partner with creatives. Take, for example, the nonprofit cityLAB's 6% Place in Pittsburgh (www.citylabpgh.org), drawing from community art’s values. Launched in the fall of 2010, the 6% project has targeted three neighborhoods to test a 2007 CEOs for Cities study that claims that neighborhoods with a minimum 6 percent population of creative workers become destination attractions. Or consider Chicago’s artist/ cultural planner Theaster Gates, featured in December’s Art in America, who has used community-based performance and installations to explore race in America. His Dorchester Project, started in 2009 when he moved into two buildings on Chicago’s South Side, is his effort to show that “spaces committed to art, public education, design, and advocacy can contribute to the cultural and economic redevelopment of a neighborhood,” according to the project’s Tumblr site. All this points to a psychic shift in creative labor's perceived value, even if everybody in the creative arts community doesn’t identify with the “community art” tag—as Karen Stults, the director of MICA's Office of Community Engagement—knows from experience. The Office of Community
Engagement was launched in fall 2010, and Stults, who came to arts after working in social justice and policy advocacy, knew MICA had been active in its community for many years. It was just happening under many names. “A lot of people use the phrase ‘community art’ as the umbrella for this, and I learned early on that that was not the umbrella phrase under which everybody gathers,” she says. “So I've had to catch myself and say we’re the office of community engagement. We're about creating support, visibility for, and increasing the impact of arts/design-based community engagement. Art is one tool. Design is one tool.” At MICA, art and design developed community engagement separately. Illustrator Ken Krafchek helped form the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) in 1999 after students expressed interest in engaging with the community outside of the campus. It eventually led to the development of the Master of Arts in Community Art graduate program in 2005, one of the first community arts grad programs in the country, and more recently, an MFA program in Community Art. Graphic designer Mike Weikert started MICA’s Center for Design Practice (CDP) in 2006, which he describes as applying the brand strategy/design-thinking process to develop innovative ideas and solutions to addressing or raising awareness of issues. Last fall, Weikert became the director of MICA's social design graduate program, anchored at MICA Place in East Baltimore. The program, and the building on Collington Street, is a laboratory for the social design ideas that drove CDP projects but on a different scale. MICA isn't the only hub for this kind of work (see: Creative Alliance, above), nor the only local higher education institution exploring these
issues. The University of Maryland Baltimore County has a vital Art and Community curriculum that cranks out its own indispensable ideas and genre-exploring artists; its faculty member Lisa Moren has addressed environment issues by using watercolor pigments sourced from the Chesapeake Bay watershed. And Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning has spent twenty-five years exploring the built environment through economic, environmental, and social lenses. Morgan’s Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies, slated to open this fall, plans to incorporate civil engineering and transportation to its approach to urban planning and design. However, MICA remains the local institution with the most recognizable history of student and faculty community engagement as well as a pedagogical investment in the expanding role of community arts as a discipline, yet it still wrestles with how to define, discuss, implement, and evaluate these strategies. That's not a criticism, more the recognition of the situation’s complexity: People come into this art/urban intersection from many directions. Stults tried to get a handle on MICA’s community footprint when she first took office, starting an asset inventory of the institution’s activity. One of her first hires was artist/activist Kalima Young, another advocacy veteran, who created the Youth Urban Health Information Project to connect young people to health and social support services in their neighborhoods while making horror flicks such as Grace Haven. Young serves as project coordinator of the MICA-administered Baltimore Art+Justice project, a grant-funded effort compiling data to create a mappable database of social demographics, Baltimore artists, and community/advocacy groups to facilitate better partnerships. Assessing the efficacy of those partnerships is more elusive. Social justice organizations, urban planners, and funding organizations are used to thinking in measurable statistics while artists look at their work through aesthetics—two different languages. “Because art is so amorphous and visceral, we need to shift our framework from numbers to process,” Young says. “And that process evaluation is telling that tale, how you worked with people, what happened when you worked with people, how did language start changing. And if you can somehow get funders and the research community to embrace process impact, you get a richer story.” Consider one story: Local performance artist and activist Rebecca Nagle started the Boundary Block Project in 2008 as an effort to bridge the racial and economic divide among the Bolton Hill, Druid Heights, Madison Park, Upton, and Sandtown neighborhoods. She laughs that she was a MICA student going into neighborhood association meetings with her “Let’s get together as white people and black people and low-income people and middle-class people that have all of this really intense history and become friends,” spiel. The inaugural block party on the Eutaw Place median was well attended, and after the third annual event, Nagle held a dinner where neighborhood representatives came and talked about their communities’ strengths and weaknesses and what they wanted to do about them. Later, the idea arose to paint a mural of community leader Charles Johnson, president of the Sandtown Habitat Homeowners’ Association. Those close to him knew him as Mr. Charlie. He lost his fight with cancer in January 2010, but not before the mural was completed on the block where he lived. “I’ve always been sort of ‘ugh’ toward murals, but then the mural of Mr. Charlie—making that was like mourning," Nagle says. "It was this whole community remembering this important person as he was dying. It was really heavy and had a lot of meaning—and had a lot of meaning for me.” Nagle’s experience, is not uncommon. “I speak on campuses a lot, and what I see when I’m there is that there’s a keen interest in responses to the question: What are viable ways for artists who care about their work and care about the world to have some kind
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Remembering a co mm Sand tow n-W inche unity leader: Children from the ster community pa ss art projec t at Fulto n and Lorman aven by a neighborhood ues, organized in by community art part ist Rebecca Nagle .
of an influence and to make a living?” Goldbard says. “And when you ask those questions, then there’s many, many ways to recast art in the service of democracy somehow that aren’t following the conventional path as laid out as artistic success.” When Goldbard is speaking about the new direction of the creative culture, she’s also speaking to the economic reality of being an artist. Every year, the U.S. turns out thousands of arts graduates with conventional training “grounded in the fantasy that everybody who graduates from theater is going to get a job on Broadway and visual artists are going to have a museum show,” she says. “Those things aren’t true. So the fact that people want to work as artists, they want to do something meaningful, they don’t just want to decorate the world, that converges with the community arts world and, in that sense, expands it.” The practice of community arts and the value of creative labor has become a very public discussion outside this country as well. German artist and curator Marion von Osten has explored the conditions of cultural production, such as the role creative labor has played in reshaping Berlin post-1989 to the present. While most of her work and research focuses on European cities, the June–August 2010 issue of e-flux journal, which she guest-edited, offers a rigorous theoretical framework for what we’re starting to see in Baltimore and other American cities now. An interesting thread running through von Osten’s piece, “In Search of the Postcapitalist Self,” reconsiders the idea of the “commons,” the shared public space where cultural and political debate happens, as a locus for the communal, an engagement with the “idea of ‘becoming common’ or ‘being-in-common’ versus the idea of community as an identitarian and homogenous group.” Think of photographer Vik Muniz’s partnership with Brazilian trash-pickers at a landfill outside Rio de Janeiro, which was documented in Lucy Walker’s 2011 film, Waste Land. Where an artist and a population establish a common purpose—that is a community. This search for something meaningful from creative labor isn’t abstract for local artists and students, says artist and MICA faculty member Fletcher Mackey. “We have students here who want something different from art. And when they find out that there’s a world out there that they can go into without having to be worried about being torn to shreds or have to go to New York to become famous, they love it. They really want their work to find meaning with other people.”
Nagle was one of those grads and says art is a really great tool for social change because it creates culture. “So much of our culture determines the way that we behave," she says. "It creates social norms; it creates the way that we see things, the way that we think things, what we think is possible. So I feel like art is this really powerful tool to change the way that people see the world and the way that people interact with the world.” And it doesn’t take an artist to recognize what Nagle is saying. Scott Burkholder earned a degree in chemical engineering but migrated into the arts in search of a career in social entrepreneurship/social change. Currently, he serves as the executive director of the Baltimore Love Project, artist Michael Owen’s street art endeavor. In November, he applied to become a member of a local organization of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educational and civic institutions, and notes the interview included a question about the three biggest issues facing Baltimore. Burkholder supposes that most of the applicants cited those omnipresent woes: a flawed education system, drugs and crime, corruption. But he sees those less as problems than consequences and to him it would be better to identify the ideas that produced them—philosophies, for lack of a better word. “I think our philosophies are shaped by families, so we need to strengthen family units,” he says, before naming moral-quareligious education as another philosophy shaper. The last piece is art, he says: “what we’re listening to, what we’re observing, what we’re allowing to influence us in our entertainment and our environment.” Burkholder realizes that family units are challenging for outside entities to address, and that the separation of church and state makes dealing with religion uncomfortable for government and nonprofit institutions. That leaves art. “We have an opportunity to shape philosophy with art,” he says. “Art, in all its forms, can show the world for what it is, its good and its bad. But more significantly, art is the place where we have the opportunity to demonstrate our hope, of what the world could be like if certain things were a certain way. And that's intriguing and very powerful. “I think we can change society by promoting art,” he continues. “How I measure that, I don’t know yet, and I understand how critical it is to be able to tell people that. But I’m learning.”
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Chasing A Goal By Jeff Seidel
Courtesy of Morgan State Uiniversity
Baltimore public schools and Morgan State have a rich history of lacrosse, but the game all but dried up in the city several decades ago. Programs like Blax Lax, celebrating its tenth anniversary, are bringing the game back to Baltimore and beginning to bear fruit.
Banner year: Two years after this photo was taken (in 1973), Morgan State's varsity lacrosse team knocked off undefeated Washington & Lee, the highest ranked team in the country.
Kier Johnson and Lafonte Livingston couldn’t get the ball. That happens at times in a la crosse game, but the two Northwestern High players found that problem in a different way—their own teammates wouldn’t pass it to them. Johnson and Livingston weren’t exactly shocked when this happened in the opening minutes of a summer league game a few years ago. After all, here they were, two guys from Baltimore City on a team with play ers from nearby counties, including private
schools with solid lacrosse programs. Frus trated with the situation, they ran over to Northwestern coach Lloyd Carter, watching on the sideline, and asked his advice. Carter gave them a blunt answer: “Go get the ball yourselves.” And so they did. Moments later, Livingston slid over into an open space when a teammate got double-teamed and the player had no choice but to pass him the ball. Making the catch, Livingston raced straight to the
goal and scored. Around the same time, John son finally got the ball in his stick, fighting off a teammate for a loose ground ball near midfield and starting another play that led to another scoring chance. Those plays pushed Johnson and Livingston into the team’s of fensive flow. When the game ended, the team mates complimented both players, and while they accepted the kind words, being frozen out remains a fresh memory. “They were say ing ‘good game, good game.’” Johnson says. Urbanite #95 may 2012 41
“But I was [saying] this is what I do. If you give me the ball a little sooner, I’ll make things happen for you.” Lacrosse has generally been a sport for the richer (read: white) folks in the suburbs, in both public and private schools. Baltimore City Public Schools? Hey, they do mostly basketball and football, right? City public schools used to play some decent lacrosse back in the day when they competed in a league with the private schools, but that broke up twenty years ago. Kids and
Nonetheless, lacrosse is enjoying a slow rebirth in Baltimore City, and more kids, especially African Americans, are picking up the game at the high school and youth level. And with the Lacrosse Museum & Lacrosse Hall of Fame located in Baltimore City, next to Johns Hopkins’ home field, the NCAA championships hosted by M & T Bank Stadium recently, and Maryland overall considered a hotbed of talent, there should be a chance for a student-athletes to get a look from colleges, local coaches say.
“There’s great opportunities in lacrosse, more so than basketball,” says Bob Wade, coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City Public Schools and former head basketball coach at Dunbar and the University of Maryland.
coaches in the city apparently lost interest in lacrosse, and the best athletes focused on trying to find college scholarships through football and basketball. The mortal blow to city lacrosse may have come in 1981, when Morgan State’s varsity men’s team, which had knocked off previously unbeaten power Washington and Lee in 1975, was disbanded for financial reasons. Morgan State’s squad had been formed in 1970 when a former Baltimore high school lacrosse player and Morgan grad student, Howard “Chip” Silverman, realized that many of black Baltimore’s high school lacrosse players were students at Morgan but were not playing lacrosse. One of the better programs nationally among smaller colleges in the 1970s, Morgan State made the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association tournament in 1973 before falling to Washington College, 11-7. Morgan State then earned another post-season tournament slot two years later, again dropping a decision to Washington College in the quarterfinals. The Bears even put forth a good year in their final campaign, scoring road wins over Georgetown and Villanova plus a home victory over Notre Dame. Lloyd Carter, who played on that final team, still shakes his head over Morgan State’s cutting of that program. “We were shocked, completely shocked because it was a winning program,” he says. “It just caught everybody off-guard. I think it affected [city lacrosse] drastically because African Americans had nowhere to play that they felt comfortable going. With me coming up, I knew there was a Morgan. We used to go watch them play when I was in school. It motivated me to make myself a better player.” There’s a club team there at Morgan now, but still no varsity program, and local observers says it doesn’t appear likely lacrosse will become a varsity program again at Morgan State in the near future. 42 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
“There’s great opportunities in lacrosse, more so than basketball,” says Bob Wade, coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City Public Schools and former head basketball coach at Dunbar and the University of Maryland. “We have several football players that participate in lacrosse, and they’ve caught the eyes of several college recruiters in recent years.” Kids interested in lacrosse in Baltimore can lean on a program founded by local African American coaches called Blax Lax, which
focuses on giving players from the city places to play during summer and winter. The Baltimore City Fire Department’s deputy chief of community outreach and recruitment by day, Carter, who co-founded the program with City College head coach Anthony "Merc" Ryan a decade ago, has rearranged his daily schedule for the past dozen years to be able to coach Northwestern’s varsity team. And it was something seemingly small that happened late in his second year that ultimately became the spark for Blax Lax. Shawn Medlin was one of Carter’s top athletes in 2001. He earned Most Valuable Player honors in the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association All-Star game that spring, thanks to a threegoal performance—despite playing on the losing squad. Medlin came to Carter near the end of that season and said he loved the game and wanted to keep playing lacrosse but couldn’t find anywhere to do it. The fact that a talented player had nowhere to keep playing infuriated Carter and became the impetus for his starting Blax Lax with a group of Baltimore City coaches. “He had nowhere to play, and we just felt that was an injustice and started the program,” says Carter, who starred at Edmondson High and played on the last Morgan State team in 1981. “Our first goal was to do a summer league, which we’ve been doing ever since. But we’ve done fairly well in terms of giving kids the opportunity to play year-round.” Blax Lax began in 2002 and is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer. It’s
Givng back: Northwestern High School lacrosse coach Lloyd Carter, who played at Morgan State, is one of the founders of Blax Lax, a program which teaches the game to Baltimore City youth.
photography by sarah Thrower
sports mostly for boys and young men, although a handful of girls take part. The Blax Lax program includes skill clinics and travel teams for participants of various ages, but mostly high school and college-age athletes, with leagues in the summer and winter. Carter expects more than one hundred players will take part in Blax Lax this summer, which runs from mid-June to early August. Carter adds that Blax Lax staff doesn’t just throw the sticks on the field and teach how to run, shoot, and score goals. The instructors work tirelessly on teaching the fundamentals of lacrosse, drilling the kids on stick skills, defense, developing both hands, understanding how and when to pass and shoot, as well as when to dodge and the right time to shoot high or low. Carter’s proud of the program and believes there are a lot of good players in the city who just don’t get attention. “It’s like the best-kept secret in the world,” he says. “There’s always been quality lacrosse players coming out of Baltimore City—but you’ve got to show you can play." Nationally, lacrosse has taken off in recent years. US Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body, has established chapters in forty-three states, and more than 560,000 people played on organized teams in 2009, compared to just over 250,000 in 2001. Meanwhile, Major League Lacrosse, with eight teams, including the Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bayhawks, appears to have gained a foothold and is now entering its twelfth season. Youth lacrosse is the fastest-growing segment of the sport, with more than 30,000 additional players picking up the sport last year, according to a US Lacrosse survey. In addition, the NCAA reports a total of 130 new college teams—eightyeight women and forty-two men—added over a ten-year period ending in 2008. Maryland, the Philadelphia suburbs, Long Island, and the private Eastern schools in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut remain the cultural hubs of the sport, but it’s slowly spreading to the south and west. Long-time Princeton men’s coach Bill Tierney shocked many with his move to the University of Denver in 2009. In women’s lacrosse, the University of Florida, which began playing the sport in 2010, was already ranked No. 5 in Division I in mid-April this year. The sport is gaining more media coverage, too. ESPN3 has doubled the number of exclusive college games it's covering in 2012 from last year. The network also will televise forty-two Major League Lacrosse contests this year—all of which could help rebuild interest among Baltimore City athletes. For decades, Baltimore City public schools had played sports in the Maryland Scholastic Association, a group featuring private schools and where lacrosse was considered very important. But the city schools switched to the current Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association for the 1992-1993 school year and began playing most of their in-season games against
Fighting for position: A Northwestern High School player (right) battles in a game this year.
other city schools, no longer meeting the private school powerhouses on the field. With the big private school matches a thing of the past, the sport lost some popularity. And eventually many long-time coaches—fixtures like Obie Barnes (Forest Park) and the late Augie Waibel (Edmondson and Poly) who loved teaching and coaching the game—retired or moved on to county programs. Ultimately, as time went on, there weren’t as many coaches interested in teaching and coaching lacrosse in the city, says Ron Belinko, athletic consultant to Baltimore County Public Schools, who played on a Southern High team that won the 1960 Baltimore City title and then lost to St. Paul’s in the MSA championship game. “There was a void,” Belinko says. “It’s not a sport that the student population is going to pick up and say, ‘I want to play.’ You have to sell that to a group of youngsters and start from scratch." Those interested in helping lacrosse grow in Baltimore City believe strongly that once kids see and experience the game, the interest will
continue, especially with good coaching. “The game sells itself, but you need the support and the structure … whatever it takes to get them playing. Once they get bitten by the lacrosse ‘bug,’ as long as that support continues, the kids are going to play,” says UMBC men’s lacrosse coach Don Zimmerman. After lacrosse faded, the sport then went through an initial kind of re-introduction in the city beginning around the mid-’90s. Raymond Harcum—who supports the Blax Lax program— is the boys’ varsity lacrosse coach at Poly, the defending Baltimore City champion. Harcum has run his own high school/adult club team since the mid-’90s. He’s seen interest in the sport slowly growing in the city. At Poly, Harcum now needs to make cuts because he can keep only thirty players on the team. But Harcum has an extra ten to twenty players learning the sport on a kind of practice squad. “It’s starting to return. It’s slowly starting to return,” Harcum says. He doesn’t think that city Urbanite #95 may 2012 43
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teams are at the same level as the highest-caliber private and county public school teams, “but we can definitely compete with them. That showed in some of the public school’s regional playoffs last spring. Poly earned the top seed in the Class 3A-2A East Region. The Engineers got a bye in the first round and then beat city rival Mergenthaler Vo-Tech, 11-4, in the next round. That earned Poly a spot in the region semifinals, but Northeast of Anne Arundel County then rolled to a 16-5 victory in that game. Northwestern was the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A-1A East Region tournament while Dunbar got the third seed. The Poets eventually won three playoff games— all against Baltimore City opponents—before losing to Queen Anne’s, 17-3, in the region semifinals. City public school players are also quietly earning interest from various colleges. David Goldman (Poly) is believed to be the only city player now competing at the Division I level in college. He’s with Jacksonville University. Jamar Peete, who played at Walbrook High School, now competes for Division II Limestone College. Lantz Carter from Northwestern, Lloyd's Carter’s son, now plays at Division III powerhouse Salisbury University, ranked No. 1 in the country in mid-April. Poly's current goalie, Nicholas Kostas, recently committed to Division II Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia. Lacrosse, of course, has been a part of the younger Carter’s life since his elementary school days. However, lots of kids in the city still know little or nothing about the game. They’ve never picked up a stick, and lacrosse just isn’t part of their world. But that’s slowly beginning to change because of a growing number of available programs, such as the Charm City Youth Lacrosse League, that teach elementary and middle-school children about the game. Founded in 2009 by Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler and run by executive director Jody Martin, Charm City strives to provide lacrosse skills training, league play, and mentoring to underserved Baltimore City youth at no cost. In 2009, working with several community recreation centers, the league gathered with kids from several neighborhoods, including Harlem Park and Poppleton, in basic lacrosse instruction clinics. In 2010, Charm City Youth Lacrosse expanded into the communities of Liberty Heights, Morrell Park, Heritage Crossing, Violetville, and Bentalou. To help the children make it to weekly sessions, free round-trip bus transportation from several recreation centers is available, if needed. Gansler has been coaching lacrosse for about twenty-five years and came up with the concept for Charm City Youth Lacrosse after realizing there weren’t any teams representing Baltimore City at a big tournament he went to a few years ago. They were up to about 250 players last spring. Gansler has helped convince major companies like Comcast, the Cordish Companies, and DLA Piper to become sponsors. Charm City also uses high school coaches and high school players to work with the same kids
each week. They practice, play games, and often hear from African American leaders like Elijah Cummings, Kurt Schmoke, and Kweisi Mfume about life away from the lacrosse field. Gansler and his two sons coach and work with the players in the league each week, teaching the game they love. “We’re getting more organized, and the kids love it,” Gansler says. “One of the things that you have to overcome for some of these kids is that lacrosse is seen as a white boy sport. It’s the greatest sport in the world. But it also is an avenue [for top players] into an elite private school or an elite college.” Charm City Youth Lacrosse is expanding next year as well, adding a girls program for the first time. Currently, there’s a small number of girls who informally join in each week. The girls’ program is a few steps behind the boys but starting to grow. There were eighteen official high school boys teams in the city public schools playing this spring, but just seven for girls. In addition, most of the recreation programs in the city are geared for boys. Michele Uhlfelder, who played for Pikesville High and Maryland and is the head women’s coach at Occidental College in Los Angeles, says boys and girls who are interested in the sport need to understand that improvement comes from hard work, no matter a person's age or skill level. “It’s not just about pedigree skills or having a stick in your hand since you were 4 years old,” Uhlfelder says. “The opportunity for growth is available to all, wherever you’re from. You’ve just got to have access to the game and people who believe in you, see your potential, and won’t label you.” On a recent afternoon, after a fast-paced intersquad scrimmage, the last several minutes of a Northwestern practice returned to an almost a rudimentary skills practice session. The Wildcats worked on several different passing and shooting drills in front of the goal—the kind of the fundamentals that Coach Carter emphasizes and teaches on a daily basis. He acknowledges Baltimore City is still viewed as mainly a football and basketball town. However, he says what many still don’t realize is that there’s a number of middle and high school athletes who’ve picked up lacrosse and are working just as hard as their peers in those more familiar other sports. Johnson and Livingston both shake their heads at the way they must keep proving themselves on a constant basis. But they’ll keep right on battling. “They think, ‘Why are the city kids playing lacrosse?,’” Livingston says. “‘They don’t need to be playing lacrosse. They play football and basketball.’ “Well, no, it’s lacrosse, too. They underestimate us. We really have to prove ourselves.”
Baltimore City Youth Lacrosse For Baltimore City youth interested in playing lacrosse, there are a number of good programs, starting for kids as young as 5 and going all the way up through high school. For middle school athletes, there are a number of programs that teach the sport. Here’s a list of some good places to go for those who want to improve their skills or start playing the game.
Baltimore Youth Lacrosse League, run by the Parks & People Foundation, Saturday mornings in June at Patterson Park for middleschool-age boys. For information, call Monica Logan at 410-448-5663, ext. 110.
Charm City Youth Lacrosse League, every spring March–May, ages 5–11. For information, call 410752-5550.
Blax Lax, a variety of programs and teams for boys and girls in the spring and summer. There are programs in the winter and summer mainly for ages 14–adults. For information, call 443-690-6825 or go to www.blaxlaxinc.com.
Baltimore City Middle School Lacrosse League, run by Parks & People Foundation. They have spring leagues, and the programs have teams based on the schools players attend. Call Monica Logan at 410-448-5663, ext. 110. —J. S.
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he sun wearily peeled off the horizon’s tight grip as it crept upon Route 40 during its habitual rise above the infinite sprawl of strewn metal and concrete deities some called city. Anachronistic train tracks clanged like loud hammers rudely crisscrossing socioeconomic and cultural borders like thick coagulating blood traversing the veins of some terrestrial body begrudgingly awakened from its slumber. Pillz could see the slight drops of mist outside his tall windows that served as his entry point to the gleaming downtown of skyscrapers and golden-hued, electroplated steeples. He could see the faint reflection of himself in the window. He looked younger than he should. His life was a war. Or was his war life? Pillz smiled egotistically, amazed that he still possessed the frame of some raw powerful athlete. Twenty years went in a blink. Twenty years ago, he was a B-Boy—a term the hip-hop proletariat identified by before the corporate takeover of hip-hop. B-Boy wuz before real hip-hop slowly tapped out to the brutal commercial takedown, replete with collateral industries of quasi-scientific overanalysis of one myopic slice of Black culture. Twenty years ago, Pillz was a B-Boy and a hoop-god, infallible to gravity with the ability to dunk a basketball in the contorted faces of many a challenger seeking to earn a rep by dismantling his. That was then, and then was always good. But then wasn’t now, even though at times he felt like he was again back then—when endorphins saturated his being. Still, then was just always a thought away, when he was that dude. Returning to the now, Pillz ditched his memories like a pair of old kicks tossed onto the street wire. He stared into the sky and smiled like the city was his. Mornings and late night were the only times he could steal those elusive, brutally honest moments of mental Tai Chi before the noise of the outside world ushered in his new list of ”gotta-dos.” Inescapable as body odor, his gotta-dos had morphed into majestic pyramids of collection notices and overdraft fees mercilessly competing with his joneses to do better than yesterday. Pillz measured his self-worth by the “got-dones.” His got-dones were the only currency that mattered, and as always, his gotta-dos were messing wit his got-dones. Sweating ’em like some hacking overzealous defender trying to stop him from getting to the rim. Pillz knew how to get a tight defender up off him, how to break them ankles, cross ’em over to get the room he needed to score. No one could stop him from getting to the rim. He knew what to do and how
to do it, he just needed motivation . . . Coffee, thought Pillz. Italian? … Nah, Ethiopian. Morning intervals of past hoop dreams transitioned into nothingness. Nothingness rudely shattered by the vibrating noise from his phone symbiotically atop his copy of Gerald Massey’s Lectures. According to Massey, the early church left out helluva lot of information about who Jesus was. Pillz wondered if Dan Brown with all his DaVinci shit had ever read Massey or Alvin Boyd Kuhn. He knew Brown read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and Messianic Legacy ’cause he read both of them back in ’94 himself. Hollywood was a mutha, Pillz laughed to himself as he picked up the phone to figure out who the hell be calling him this early. Maybe it was Jesus? The caller I.D. read WT, but he knew he didn’t know anyone named WT. WT? Maybe that’s short for what the … Pillz laughed to himself as he decided to answer the phone anyway. “Yeah,” said Pillz, all the while hoping not to end his four-year streak of successfully ignoring the pitiful attempts of debt collectors to confirm he existed. Maybe they were closing in on him? Maybe he was gonna have to move off the grid quicker than he thought. Alaska? All the fresh salmon you could catch … Nah. Plus, now they got gangs in Alaska. It’s too damn cold to gangbang in Alaska. Gangs must be like “Yeah, kid, when I see you this summer, it’s on! In six months when them icicles drop, watch ya back, fool.” Now, that would be just my luck—survive B’more and instead of catching salmon, catch a bullet. And it probably won’t even be a gangbanger—just some trigger-happy Republican with bad eyesight thinking I’m a Black Russian. Okay, ixnay Alaska. “I’m trying to reach Pillz.” “Who you?” “I’m WT.” “Yeah … what up,” mumbled Pillz. “I got your number from a chick in my yoga class, Tina. She said you had the good shit.” “Yeah,” smiled Pillz. “Oh, you talking ’bout double-jointed Tina with the bad eye?” Pillz stopped suddenly. “What shit you talking ’bout?” “Well, I got some serious pain going on, and Tina said you could help.”
Urbanite #95 may 2012 47
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“OK. Maybe I can help you . . . maybe not, “said Pillz cryptically. WT paused for a second, and Pillz could almost hear him thinking through the phone. Pillz glanced up, just in time to see a pigeon land on his window and grin, like kid you got too many gotta-dos to turn down cash. The bird just sat there chilling. Pillz stared at the bird like this won’t Occupy Wall Street, you had to get buzzed into this building. Wall Street, Occupy, Left or Right didn’t matter none to him—they all had they hustle, and he had his. For bretheren like Pillz, it was like people who played the lottery, worrying ’bout the Dow Jones averages. Shit, at least with the lottery, poor people had an actual chance to win. Pillz had a multitude of clients, and they politics wuz they own problem. He sold to the Occupy and Wall Street execs in the same transaction, and a few of his Goldman Sachs clients invited him into an offshore hedge fund managed via an MP3 player and a privateinvitation-only social media site. By the time the government realized he’d joined the secret society of alchemical masters manufacturing money out of thin air, he’d have already cleared ’bout $2 billion. If the Feds catch me, I’ll just ask the other Feds who bailed out my clients to bail me out—heard they got Bernanke on speed dial. The pigeon looked at Pillz like he heard his thoughts and like it wasn’t no normal pigeon but more like some winged sage. An animal angel whose job it was to warn cats by shitting on ’em, before they slipped up and did something like buying that just-beforeclosing, last batch of shrimp-fried rice from that red-bricked Chinese restaurant that operated on the occupied side of a semiabandoned row house. This shit was weird enough to be on the new show about ancient animal aliens. Pillz looked at the pigeon and saw he was wearing a pair of Jordan Melos. Damn, didn’t know they came that small. Note to self, grimaced Pillz. Never buy that last batch of shrimp fried rice at closing time. “So, you gonna tell me what you got?” said WT breaking up Pillz’s unplanned meander into the sordid world of friends with feathers. “I need to see if it is worth my while to head your way. You off 40, right?” said WT. “I don’t put my biz out there like that, kid—this is Bal’more. You could be wearing a wire,” said Pillz. “Tell you what, meet me at Lexington and Eutaw around 11, and I think I can help you.” An hour flipped into two as Pillz threw on his black hoodie and made his way across the city toward Lexington Market. It was a blustery day with the sun peeking out between dark clouds that shifted back and forth across the sky. The wind blew with an unusual aggressiveness. Pillz swore he saw tumbleweed blow down the street. He had never seen it so empty. The only thing open was the dollar store. It was even emptier outside than the day the First Lady unexpectedly showed up to buy some cheap snacks for the White House.
I think it was the First Lady, Pillz mused. Or maybe it was Oprah, ’cause they wouldn’t open the door? He looked up only to see what had to be WT walking towards him with a major limp. WT was about 6’4” with a limp that made him 6’ even. He struggled up the block, grimacing, eyes squinting against the wind as it slapped him in his face. He was in pain; Pillz could see that. He could also see that kid looked like a narc. Nah, retail security guard, concluded Pillz. “What up . . . Pillz,” said Pillz introducing himself with a closedfist pound to WT. WT smiled sparingly and instead of pounding Pillz with a return closed fist nervously tried to shake his fist. Pillz stared over WT’s shoulder and then glanced in the cardinal directions to make sure was clear. “OK, you got the ends?” “Yeah,” remarked WT, “you got the product?” “I do, but I need to see some ends,” said Pillz. “Yeah, I understand,” said WT as he slid the tightly folded cash over to Pillz’s outstretched palm. “I just don’t wanna get ripped off. Everybody in B’more got a hustle, it seems.” “You right about that,” smiled Pillz, “but vicking somebody ain’t mine. We good,” said Pillz as his eyes scoured the perimeter. “Just walk over a few steps to your left and look down underneath that empty brown bag bottle of gin and we good,” he whispered. A helicopter zoomed overhead across the skyline, recklessly doing figure eights over the top of the seniors building, scaring the shit out of old people. Without hesitation, WT walked looking down, saw the empty brown bag bottle of gin, and picked it up. He peeked inside and saw about an ounce of the good stuff wrapped up in a sandwich baggie. He looked up eager to signal to Pillz he was good, but by the time he turned around Pillz was ghost. All WT saw was intersecting concrete blocks that led to nowhere. He scanned the other direction and saw some old tumbleweed floating down Eutaw. He knew what the tumbleweed meant: He had until sundown to get the hell out of Dodge. Either that, or it was Sunday and Lexington Market was closed. The sun peeked through the weaving clouds for a quick cameo as WT slid his pocket knife out from his front pocket and cut a small slit into the baggie. He lifted a hit of the powder and rubbed a small taste on his tongue. His eyes rolled back in delight and he could feel the pain leaving his body almost instantly. WT tucked the product into his hoody pocket and started trekking up the street back home. He smiled to himself, thinking, Damn, this is the purest glucosamine-chondroitin on the streets of B’More. He wasn’t proud of the fact that he had a habit and had to deal with all types of strangers to get his fix on, but he was a stone health junkie and he wasn’t apologizing for that. It was like that, and that’s the way it is.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 49
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space In a forthcoming book of photos, Rob Brulinski and Alex Wein document moments in the lives of the people living (and working) in the Copycat Building.
By Brandon Weigel
photography by Alex Wein
one of the first things rob brulinski points out in the Copycat Building is the splatters of dried blood on the floor in front of the stairwell. He quickly pulls out his iPhone and shows a picture revealing that yes, the blood was fresh as recently as this morning. Brulinski has no idea how it got there, and the only signs that someone else so much as happened upon it are the partial footprints and paw prints outlined in dark red.
At arm's length: Alison Worman, an artist who works in fibers and printmaking, finds inspiration in the space.
High fashion: Painter Kalynn Burke makes use of the space's tall ceilings.
Daily grind: Josh Libercci makes use of the half pipe in his apartment.
"We love being part of the weirdness of things," Brulinski says. It’s somewhat fitting that Brulinksi would stop to notice such a detail and, well, document it. “We love being part of the weirdness of things,” he later says. For the past six months, he and collaborative partner Alex Wein have traversed the building’s maze-like hallways, ridden in its rickety elevators, and ascended its many staircases to photograph artists, musicians, dancers, craftspeople, and others in the places they live and, more often than not, work. Dubbed the Copycat Project, the aim is to release a hardbound book of the photos using funds from Kickstarter, an online fundraising website, showcasing one of the bustling central hubs of Baltimore’s burgeoning arts community. The six-story brick warehouse first opened in 1897 as a factory for Crown Cork & Seal, a bottling cap and bottling machine manufacturer that revolutionized the beer and soda industry. Crown Cork left for Philadelphia in 1958, and many of the building’s floors were divided up into smaller industrial spaces, including Copycat Printing, which placed a billboard atop the building, giving the complex its unofficial name. By the 1980s, many of the businesses had left, and the vacant spaces with huge ceilings and wide-open floor plans soon became living and working spaces for artists. And it is the way creative types have reused or repurposed this space that informs the project the most. “We basically just wanted to capture a slice in time in this building,” says Wein. “No matter the slice in time we capture, I feel the charisma and identity of this building is still the same.” Brulinski and Wein, who live in and operate a photography studio out of the Copycat, first got the idea to start the photo series after Wein had a chance encounter with Dan Frome at the bar Club Charles. Wein discovered two things. Frome also lives
another navigating hallways and walking in the converted industrial building, and he rooms, through breakdancing and the band operates a recording studio out of his loft Weekends playing, all in one, fifteen-minute space. And with that, Wein realized there tracking shot. was great potential behind every door. “We wanted to unmask the labyrinth “It wasn’t just a measly spark, it was a that this place is,” Wein says of the video. ‘Bah-Boom!’” says Wein. “Immediately, I was “And,” Brulinski quickly adds, “we had just floored—the possibilities that each space thirty people who were willing to do that holds.” with us.” Soon they were knocking on doors and ran into a jewelry designer who forges metal in his space; a jazz musician whose For more photos of the Copycat Building, living space was filled with instruments—a visit http://bit.ly/copycatbuilding. marimba, a xylophone, chimes, and more; a woodworker, and so on. Additionally, hours were spent combing old online records, libraries, and archives to research the history of the building. Reactions from residents, they say, have been positive, with many people expressing surprise such a project has never been undertaken. After six months, Around and around: they’ve shot about 115 of Rebecca Milton's day the building’s occupants, job is in a veterinarian's office. beyond their expectations. “Months ago, we had a goal of 100, and we said, ‘Shit, we’re never gonna make it,’” says Brulinski. “But now we just keep pushing it further and further.” Many of the pictures focus on a subject frozen in action—taking a break from sewing, sitting at a drum kit, grinding the lip of a half pipe. Others show people surrounded by their work. More still simply feature people in the comfort of their homes. Taken as a whole, the diverse disciplines and the people who work in them show the creative energy that permeates the place. This is perhaps better demonstrated in a video, shot by Tyler Davis of Monolith Productions, attached to the project’s Kickstarter page. It follows one subject after
54 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
food + drink
feature / dining reviews / wine + spirits
Speed the Plow In Harford County, two young farmers are taking organic farming one step further, using horses to plow their fields. By Michelle Gienow photography by J.m. Giordano
It’s a late afternoon in early spring, sun slanting sideways across a wide field sloping down to Little Gunpowder Falls. This is old country, first farmed in the 17th century. Wooden fences still slump along pasture borders. Walnut trees, some of them planted by those early farmers, cast long shadows over the grass. And the man plowing back and forth across the hilltop is walking behind a team of horses pulling a moldboard plow. His name is Tom Paduano. He’s wearing a Carhartt jacket and a ballcap that reads “Flying Plow Farm,” the organic farm he founded in 2010 with his wife, Sarah Rider. Flying Plow is the only certified organic vegetable farm in Harford County.
Horse power: Tom Paduano readies the fields with Rocky and Rosie.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 55
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Work horse: Rocky and Rosie, both Halflingers, worked on an Amish farm before joining Flying Plow Farm.
Despite the pastoral, history-steeped setting, Flying Plow’s decision to go to horse power is largely business-based. “We are not back-to-thelanders. For us, using horses is not this romantic thing,” says Tom. “Rooted in the use of horses is that gas prices are rising. Electric tractors or alternative sources of energy to power big equipment—[I] don’t see them being developed. Also, fuel is a big input expense running tractors, and we can grow all the fuel we need for our horses.” Unlike petroleum, says Tom, equine power pays back with a multiplier: Horses are self-replicating, and they make their own fertilizer. “The argument you always hear against horses is that the work takes longer, but I am finding that it doesn’t take longer to do certain tasks. It’s just a different rhythm,” Tom says. Tom, 31, and Sarah, 33, met when they managed neighboring farms in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It was a natural partnership; each had ambitions to start an organic operation using sustainable practices. Between them, they had more than a decade of farm experience. “We cast a wide net—Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern Maryland,” says Tom. “There were many opportunities managing farms for wealthy people. We weighed that. You get the stability of a salary and health insurance. But it’s not your vision, and the money that's backing you often comes from Wall Street, which was a consideration for us. It’s harder to be a startup, but we ultimately decided we didn’t want to work for anybody but ourselves.” Their search led to Nanasau Mound, a venerable farm in Joppa that was mainly producing horses and hay. Sarah had spent a year working there after finishing her agronomy degree at Penn State, and the couple liked the idea of working land they already knew. “That was one less unknown,” Sarah says, “and I’d already formed some connections, which helps when you’re starting a business.” They knew they wanted to go to horse power eventually and
liked that the place already boarded horses. “And it came with built-in fertility—lots of free manure!” Flying Plow’s founders began working six of their forty leased acres in late January 2010— just in time for Snowmageddon. “We were shoveling out 4 feet of snow to build the greenhouse to start our seeds by the end of February,” Sarah recalls. The land, which for many years had grown only hay, woke up slowly. “In growing hay conventionally, the drill is you harvest the hay and spray for weeds and then add chemical fertilizers,” says Tom. “But you’re not adding organic nutrients. You’re feeding the crop, not the soil.” Tom and Sarah found the soil “pretty compacted.” It hadn’t been plowed in a long time. It had no worms. The soil seemed, in their words, “dead.” They dug in—by hand and, for the time being, with machine-powered tools—tending and amending their fields. The land responded with an abundance of heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers. That first year it fed the couple and fifty inaugural CSA members, and left them with enough produce to sell at two Baltimore City farmers markets. The following season they opened with seventy-five members, then found they could handle another twenty-five. Demand for fresh, organic vegetables that had never crossed a time zone grew. They even did a brisk after-season business selling cold-hardy crops like kale and turnips, with
customers ordering online and picking up at the farm. They added a flock of laying hens, another of broiler chickens. They started a small herd of heritage cattle. Word spread about the storybook-neat little farm with the bountiful shares. By March, they had already sold all 100 CSA shares for 2012. With two successful seasons behind them, Flying Plow went horse shopping. They settled on a pair of Haflingers from an Amish farm. “They’d been mainly used on the road to draw a buggy, but they were well broke,” says Tom. “They’re a very good team, which is what I need because I’m not that experienced as a teamster.” Rocky and Rosie, like all Halflingers, are compact, caramel-colored creatures with light cream manes and tails. They’re smaller than standard draft breeds like Percherons, but they’re sure-footed and like to pull. “The plan this year is use them as much as we can and integrate them into our work cycle,” says Sarah. “So far we’ve used them to haul hay and wood, and to plow.” “It’s funny,” adds Tom. “We’re buying equipment from the Amish that they don’t want to use anymore because it’s too old-fashioned for them. But just like mainstream agriculture, they want bigger equipment, with hydraulics.” However, Sarah says, horse power is not necessarily the logical next step for every organic farm. “Even among the people we know who are trying to do this, it seems there are a lot of work horses that ended up just standing in a pasture,” she reflects. “You already have a whole lot of moving parts running a farm, and that’s just one more huge part to factor in.” For Sarah (who has spent much of her life around horses) and Tom (who worked draft horses on a “living history” farming gig), though, it makes sense. “We are the first generation to grow up with the knowledge that oil is not going to last forever,” Sarah points out. “We really have to find new ways to do things—or rediscover old ones.” Sustainable soil: Paduano insists the idea to use horses on his farm was based on the economic reality of rising gas prices.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 57
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dining reviews food + Drink Truck Patch Farm in Carrol County; the f lour comes from Lancaster, Pennsylvania; the eggs from By Rebecca Messner Fallston. n the sketch comedy show This, again, is Portlandia, there is a skit in more about earnestwhich the people of Portland, ness—the quality Oregon, are made fun of (as they ing red ients here are in every episode) for acting really do make the like they live in the 1890s. Men difference between greasy diner and grow out their muttonchops and authentic, delicious butcher their own meat; people food. Consider the fervently support local businesses omelet, cooked to and buy locally grown produce; p e r fe c t ion w it h everything that can be is pickled. fluffy, golden eggs, And while Jack Neill, 23, and Zach Schoettler, 22, do make razor sharp cheddar, their own sausages and pickle bright green spinach, their own vegetables (and Jack and curried sausage. has a nice beard), they treat Jack American beauty: Jack and Zach's sausages are Brea k fast sa ndwiches, which Neill & Zach Food, their breakfast-and- handcrafted weekly in unique flavors. recommends on an English muffin (because lunch joint, with nothing but earnestness. they look nicest that way), are artfully crafted Located in the tiny basement of the Women’s and ample. Jack and Zach are equal opportuIndustrial Exchange building (most recently vacated by Sofi’s Crepes), the U-shaped counter nity hashbrownists—serving a colorful array of has just twelve stools. The one-page menu is white and sweet potatoes beside most breakfast simple—breakfast on top, lunch on the bottom— entrees. The duo also makes their own granola— but exhaustively researched. A chalkboard above a sweet, playful mixture of oats, coconut, cranthe cash register details which ingredients come berries, chocolate chips, and Rice Krispies. from where: Pork for the sausages comes from Neill and Schoettler pride themselves on the
Jack & Zach Food
photos by Sarah Thrower
Not about the beer: Brew is but one pleasing element of Heavy Seas Alehouse.
Heavy Seas Alehouse By Martha Thomas
amed for the predominant line of Clipper City beers, Heavy Seas Alehouse is not necessarily about the brew. In fact, beer is but one appealing element of the place, which has slipped seamlessly into the framework of its Thai and Mexican predecessors. The rough
barn board walls and deep booths, the long bar and communal tables in the repurposed tack factory seem designed for merry groupings: some sampling shot glass-portioned flights of Heavy Seas presented on wooden paddles, others sipping rum from brandy glasses. In fact, the Next Big Thing at the bar is not the craft brews. The alehouse has a nicely edited selection of rums by the glass, varieties of the sugar-distilled concoction described on the menu with words like spicy, nutty, vanilla, molasses, and oak. The Dominican Republic Atlantico, for example, is somewhere between a sweet brandy and a peaty whisky—complex and meant for sipping. But the real attraction here is Matt Seeber, the Tom Colicchio protégée, who ran the celebrity chef’s Craftsteak in Las Vegas. Seeber’s name doesn’t appear on the website or the menu, but his honed abilities are certainly in evidence, from the oyster stew with its tangy, not-tooheavy broth, fresh chives, and large fleshy oysters to the delectable desserts. Just as the non-beer set shouldn’t be deterred by the alehouse motif and the somewhat dorky pirate logo, those who eschew meat mustn’t let Seeber’s steakhouse background steer them away. The menu leans toward seafood, with a generously stocked raw bar featuring a daily selection
sausage—lightly browned with a crispy shell, its spice is intricate, not overpowering. Neill and Schoettler craft new batches weekly in flavors like red wine fennel, beer apple, and “Baltimore,” which combines Old Bay and Natty Boh. Lunch is a likewise simple affair, and after you’ve sampled all the sausages, it’s worth trying a homemade veggie patty. It’s refreshing to see veggie patties where individual ingredients are recognizable, not mashed to a pulp—sweet potatoes, onion, and broccoli are yellowed by a generous addition of curry, served on a toasted brioche bun with sweet, pickled onions. Lunch dishes are elevated by the addition of housemade potato chips—paper thin, with an appetizing sheen of grease. You can break them with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. The space feels collected, the way a recent college grad would decorate his first apartment— old prints that were either saved from the mildew of grandpa’s basement or bought for cheap at a yard sale. A faded American flag is mounted on the wall below a fencing mask and two crossed foils. There is a guitar hanging above the counter and an ornate, hand-drawn sign on one bare wall that reads “WANTED: bookshelf or piano.” Jack plays the banjo and Zach plays the guitar, but both want to learn to play the piano. If anyone has one they’re trying to get rid of, they’re encouraged to let the duo know. (Breakfast and lunch Mon–Fri, brunch Sun. 333 N. Charles St.; www.jackandzachfood.com) of oysters. The smoked mussel salad is not to be missed—the smoke is just right, deep but not overwhelming, and the mussels are pretty much unadorned, save for a light dressing of lemon mayo with celery and red onion. Likewise, a lobster salad is simple: chunks of meat (just shy of a one-pounder), tossed with a discreet lime-ginger vinaigrette, with shiny strands of Japanese seaweed on the side. Of course there’s red meat here: the twentyfour-hour beef shortrib, glazed in Peg Leg beer, slides effortlessy from the bone, and the menu includes a grilled hangar steak and the Heavy Seas burger. But Seeber is egalitarian, including a vegetarian plate with root vegetables and Brussels sprouts, a portobello sandwich, and some nice side dishes (although the best of these, faro risotto, is laced with pork confit and decorated with bits of fresh tarragon, fennel, and parsley). The menu is simple and, although not extensive, offers possibilities for mixing and matching—raw bar and salad, appetizers and sides, a sandwich, or the whole shebang. And of course, there’s dessert, ginger cake made with stout, Earl Grey crème brulée, and the Pimlico pie, whole pecans embedded in sweet brown sugar and rich chocolate filling. Bottom line, if you go to Heavy Seas for the beer, you’ll return for much more. (Lunch and dinner daily. 1300 Bank St.; 410-522-0850; www. heavyseasalehouse.com) Urbanite #95 may 2012 59
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Climate change hits the bottle. By Clinton Macsherry
ack in mid-February, when spring sprang, I had to remind myself that scientists insist on distinguishing between weather and climate. Pointing to this past winter-that-wasn’t as proof of global warming loses perspective. Climate changes at a glacial pace, in fractional measures of temperature or sea level. The polemics surrounding global warming mostly concern the extent to which humans have accelerated the process. I read a slogan to that effect on a T-shirt I saw someone wearing in March. What this means for Planet Wine has started to take shape over the past decade. Since 2006, Spain has hosted three World Conferences on Climate Change and Wine, with addresses from Al Gore and Kofi Annan and presentations on alarming trends in many of the world’s wine regions. Optimum growing conditions differ among grape varieties, but in general, they favor sunny weather, dry (but not too dry) environments, significant diurnal temperature swings (with cool nights preserving acidity), and long growing seasons that allow grapes to achieve not just sugar ripeness but also botanical maturity. Climatic warming, even by a degree or two over thirty years, can dramatically affect wine. Cool vintages formerly made ripening a struggle, but in many places over-ripeness now poses a greater threat. In Australia, for example, warming has played a major role in grapes ripening twenty days earlier on average than in 1985, according to the journal Nature Climate Change. Early ripening typically produces wines with excessive sweetness and high alcohol—derisively labeled “fruit bombs”—without the more balanced character imparted by fully mature grapes. The scorching European summer of 2003 may have provided Old World wine lovers with a taste of things to come. Hyper-ripe grapes yielded wines that some critics hailed as unctuous and exotic, while others reviled their stewed and raisinated flavors. No one, however, found them even remotely classical, and subsequent tasting has called their aging potential into question. Warming could radically reshape the U.S. winescape. According to a Stanford University study, the amount of Napa Valley acreage suitable for premium grape-growing may be halved by 2040, based on a conservative estimate of a 2-degree average temperature increase over that time. Vineyards at more northerly latitudes, particularly in Oregon, might benefit at least in the short term. Somewhat less predictable consequences of climate change—a greater number illustration by Wen Xiong
of destructive high-heat days, erratic swings between drought and flood conditions, heavy strains on water resources, the prospect of emergent pests or diseases—could still wreak havoc on the Pacific Northwest’s wine industry. Back East, vintners wait to see what global warming has in store for them. Maryland vineyards typically cope with the “double-whammy” of Arctic-influenced winters that can kill all but the hardiest vines and humid summers that promote grape rot, says winemaker Anthony Aellen, whose family established Frederick County’s Linganore Winecellars in1971. But warmer winters carry risks for vines, too. “With global warming come rapid shifts,” Aellen notes. “If mild weather brings vines close to budding, a late shot of Arctic air could cause major bud kill,” decimating the crop. “On the other hand, if climate change progresses to the point of extending the growing season, especially if it’s dry, it just might be the opening Maryland needs to produce full-bodied, richly flavored red wines beyond our typical Cabernets and Merlot.” Linganore is splendidly set amid rolling hills, and its sustainability practices have garnered awards. (You can recharge your electric car there after the drive.) Among Linganore’s specialties is “Maiwein,” or May wine, available this month at the winery ($16, 10 percent alcohol). The herb sweet woodruff infuses a Cayuga base, creating “a light-bodied, slightly sweet, aromatic white with a cinnamon-y, spicy background,” says Aellen. “It’s a sipping-on-the-deck wine.” In the German tradition, it’s served with strawberries and used to celebrate spring. Sounds good, even if the toast comes several months late. Urbanite #95 may 2012 61
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The Kid Stays in the Picture Matthew Porterfield and symbiotic filmmaking in Baltimore By anne haddad Photography by J.M. Giordano
t’s been a good year for Matthew Porterfield. In July 2011, he won the $25,000 Sondheim Artscape Prize, then earned a Creative Capital Grant. His successful Kickstarter campaign for his just-completed third film, I Used to Be Darker, brought in $42,394—a couple thousand more than his goal—thanks to the critical success of his first two films, Hamilton and Putty Hill, the latter of which will be shown this month as part of the Whitney Biennial in New York, putting Porterfield in the realm of Werner Herzog and Laura Poitras. D arker, a family-driven drama about a pregnant runaway from Northern Ireland who seeks refuge with a Baltimore-based aunt and uncle, was listed as number 27 of the 100 most-anticipated films of 2012 on www.ioncinema.com. As he prepares Darker for the festival circuit, his mentors speculate that he could be Baltimore’s next big filmmaker. Porterfield’s budget for Darker might be enough to pay the catering bill on a typical bigbudget production. He can’t give a final figure for now, but said it is under the $500,000 minimum needed to qualify for Maryland state film production tax credits. It is not enough to pay the cast and skilled, professional crew what they’re worth. He has accepted the fact that he needs to support himself as a part-time instructor in the Film and Media Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University. As the state’s film community recovers from a period of economic drought, Baltimore is poised to deliver a stronger, more deeply rooted array of talent, both in front of and behind the camera. But they’ll only survive if the big names keep coming back. “It’s always been a symbiotic relationship,” says Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office, part of the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development. “If the big productions didn’t come here, we wouldn’t have that pool of talented and skilled people. It’s all one crew base.” Over three decades, filmmakers John Waters and Barry Levinson, and TV producers Tom Fontana and David Simon fostered a community of skilled professionals who attracted other film and TV productions to Maryland. Members of this community, in turn, donate their off-time and skills
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Feature / book arts + culture to up-and-comers like Porterfield who, for now, has more talent than money. In the late 1990s, after a filming boom in Baltimore that produced such films as Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and Twelve Monkeys (1995) and seven seasons of Homicide, Louisiana and New Mexico began offering tax incentives to film and TV production with the zeal once reserved for attracting a new factory. The boost in incometax revenue from the high-paying jobs in film and TV set off a fierce competition among at least forty-two states now doing so. Maryland was doing well but joined the incentive game in 2005 to stay competitive. “[Until 2009,] there was enough trained crew to run two or three major studio productions at the same time,” says David Simon, who produced The Wire and Homicide in Maryland and now produces Treme in Louisiana. “We were quite successful in the old days, when we used to attract productions by the talent of our crew base, the variety of locations and just the reputation Maryland has,” Gerbes says. “With the tax incentives, nothing is more frustrating than a producer calling you and saying, ‘You have a great crew base and personally we think you guys are fabulous, but we can get X million dollars by going up the road, so, sorry!’ All the film commissioners I know would rather go back to what it was, which was a level playing field.” Like it or not, Gerbes says, incentives are necessary. When Maryland tried to minimize them in 2009 and 2010, much of that crew base moved away to places like Louisiana, where productions spent about $1.4 billion during 2011, compared to $17.6 million spent in Maryland that year. Maryland's most profitable year for film and TV was 2006, with $74 million spent by productions including season four of The Wire. Simon remembers one day in Louisiana last year when, he says, “I walked out my office door and encountered a First AD [assistant director] who worked for me on The Wire, and then down to the street where I held the door open for one of my old propmasters, and then around the corner to the parking lot, where I ran into a Second AD, who worked on Homicide and The Wire. And all of them weren't Treme hires—they'd come down for other film work because they could no longer support families in Maryland.” Maryland restored film production tax incentives to the state budget—$7.5 million last year and an expected $22.5 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, although at press time, that was still dependent on a legislative special session to agree on a budget. The payouts happen only after an independent audit confirms the money was spent on in-state salaries and contracts. TV and film production is still a lucrative business, with salaries that are often more than double the salaries for comparable jobs in other industries, according to a study the General Assembly commissioned from the Sage Policy Group.
“You look around at the places where they have really built up production—like Toronto and Vancouver—they’re always tied in with a very active festival program and an art-house scene,” says Jed Dietz, director of the Maryland Film Festival, which screened Porterfield’s first two films. “New York City, L.A., Vancouver, Toronto. These are places that are a locus of film production. They also have strong local moviegoing scenes.” The Maryland Film Festival, which started in 1999, has directly benefited from the in-state production, Dietz said. Every year brings more films and more ticket sales, and filmmakers from all over the country who, while they’re here, get information from Gerbes’ office on why this is a great place to make their next film. “If you’re worried about the image of the city,” Dietz says, “then the last thing you want to do is shut down film production.” And now HBO’s VEEP and Game Change and the Netflix series House of Cards are turning the soil in Maryland and greening up the film economy, while Porterfield and other local directors stand ready to glean the fields. Despite not being eligible for the tax break, Porterfield’s growing success and steady output indicate he could reach that level in the near future, something like the independent Jamesy Boy, made by Maryland natives Trevor and Tim White and Wayne L. Rogers. The cast includes Mary-Louise Parker, Ving Rhames, and James Woods. The estimated economic impact of the production is $5 million, including some 400 jobs created during the five weeks of filming in March and April. “We’re very excited about Matt,” Gerbes said. “He’s in the vein of Barry Levinson, John Waters, and David Simon. They’re telling particular stories of Baltimore and of Maryland, through their eyes.” Porterfield’s roots spread from the Park School he attended to the working-class neighborhoods of Northeast Baltimore where his muses live. In his films, Baltimore is integral to the storyline—it’s not just a bit player or a stand-in for Washington or Philadelphia. In Porterfield’s films, Baltimore plays itself. So it’s no wonder that screenings are always a full house. But how to explain its success at the Berlin, Vienna, and Buenos Aires film festivals and theatrical release in France? “Putty Hill played really well in Latin America,” Porterfield says. “It’s a testament to certain themes. The physical spaces have to speak volumes about the lives of the people who inhabit them. “It would be great to have a bigger budget and to be able to pay everyone,” he says. More money could mean higher-end equipment, a larger team, and more shooting days. At the same time, he stressed, his independence is invaluable. “I’ve been able to do what I want artistically,” Porterfield says. “I think [Darker] will look like it was made with two or three million dollars.”
The Street Where They Lived by Richard O’Mara (Alondra Publishing Company, 2011) By Baynard Woods
he Street Where They Lived, a memoir by Richard O’Mara—a longtime columnist, reporter, and editor for the Sun, and a contributor to Urbanite—evokes the author’s youth in a roughand-tumble Philadelphia neighborhood during the Depression years with the kind of freeflowing reminiscence that allows us to feel our friends’ memories almost as if they are our own. The best chapters in the book—“The Man Who Changed His Name,” about O’Mara’s uncle; “Travelling,” about a hitchhiking trip to Miami; and “Petey, the Lion” about a violent friend who finally drove O’Mara to literature—are beautiful character studies in which the voices of innocence and experience mingle in the spot-on recreation of a long gone world. O’Mara writes some stunning sentences, but he is at his best when, in an understated manner, he puts the prose at the service of a strong character. O’Mara rambles through most of the stories like a man telling tales bellied up to his local bar—the further in the past the stories are, the more they are clouded by sentimentality (in the sections on his early education, I can’t help but hear the voice-over in the movie A Christmas Story). The essays pass from character to character as if we know them all. Perhaps because all of the chapters were originally published as essays, they do not create a coherent book. The garrulous guy at the bar seems to have had a few too many when he tells us for the third time that the neighborhood was unofficially called Cork Town because of the county in Ireland so many of the residents came from. At the end, O’Mara seems to nod off, throwing in a random recollection about the Kennedy assassination as the penultimate paragraph. A few edits here could have gone a long way. This is a shame, because, for the most part, O’Mara’s world grows more interesting as he grows older. He writes about an army base in the Alaskan Territory in a way that is both exalted and chilling. In the introduction, O’Mara tells us that he intended to write about his years as a reporter and a foreign correspondent, but the book was unable to escape the neighborhood he left in real life. For all but the most serious romantics, youth is but a prelude to the rest of life. The Street Where They Lived leaves me waiting for O’Mara’s second volume of memoirs. Hear O'Mara read selections from his memoir at the Enoch Pratt Free Library (central branch) on May 23. For more information, visit www.prattlibrary.org.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 65
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music / theater arts + culture
Welcome to the Machine Nootropics by Lower Dens (Ribbon Music/ Domino, 2012) by Joseph Martin
Top cover image by Shawn Brackbill; Bottom photo by Jeffrey D. Martin
fter a beloved debut, many bands take the define-and-refine route: Tighten up, take fewer chances, and retrench. But Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter had more radical evolution in mind. Driving to the Eastern Shore to compose the band’s second act, she found her angle via Germany’s most famous man-machines. "I was listening to Kraftwerk’s RadioActivity,” she recalls. “And I became fascinated with how they allowed the simple repetition of parts to let tones and textures really flourish. Giving [songs] eight minutes to breathe gave them a lot more weight.” The Kraftwerk connection didn’t end there. Having nabbed the krautrock pioneers’ breadth, Hunter wed it to a topic dear to that band: transhumanism, the ability to transcend human limitations via technology. The resulting Nootropics—named for a subgroup of brainsharpening pharmaceuticals—lived up to its
Crazy Beautiful Freak Show
The Baltimore Rock Opera Society’s Valhella: The Ragnarøkkoperetta, May 11–13, 18–20 at the Autograph Playhouse Opera in a Can’s Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing, May 12 at Towson University
hen a group of male recent Goucher grads living in a house they had dubbed Brotopia spawned the Baltimore Rock Opera
(Fe)male bonding: Jen Tydings brings glamorized Vikings to the BROS.
name, allowing Hunter herself some measure of transcendence. “Transhumanism is a key of entry into a human instinct to improve,” she says. “This record could be the part of the story of my own development—I’m a human animal, too. But the thematic arc gave us a broader conversation, made us look beyond our own lives.” Appropriately, the Dens tossed their postpunk punch in lieu of billowing synth swells, sequenced clicks, and steel-encased harmonies— a far cry from 2010’s Twin Hand Movement. But, ironically, Hunter attributes Nootropics’ woven artifice to newly sophisticated band interplay. “It’s like we wanted to be an old-school acoustic ensemble,” she says. She points to the
Society in 2007, the acronym, BROS, was both convenient and fitting. Their first production, Gründlehämmer, performed at 2640 in 2009, was set in the mythical kingdom of Brotopia, where a dark king attempted to usurp power with a heavy metal motif. The group went on to perform another original, BROpocalypse, at Artscape for the past two years, atop an art car they call “The Brothership.” If the combination of metal music and guy bonding seems a bit daunting, Jared Margulies, whose title Grand Vizier of Rock Wizardry translates to Outreach and Development Director, reassures. The BROS’s upcoming Valhella is written and directed by a woman, Jen Tydings. “It’s the first time a girl has stepped up. She’s whipping us into shape,” says Margulies. The new show, subtitled “The Ragnarøkkoperetta,” is loosely based on the Norse mythology of Ragnarök, the foretelling of the downfall of the gods. In Tydings’s version, three brothers, each afflicted by a disability (one is blind, one deaf, one mute), become the musical saviors of their plague-afflicted clan. The rock opera is outfitted in full Nordic regalia, with a soundtrack that pays homage to 1980s metal popularized by such bands as Manowar and the Swedish Bathory. “It’s the glamorized version of Vikings,” Tydings says. “I wanted to create an alternate universe.” But Valhella: The Ragnarøkkoperetta will be easy listening compared Manowar (though Margulies would have you think Hedwig, not Andrew Lloyd Weber). Tydings, who started penning the opera about two years ago,
additions of instrumentalist Carter Tanton and drummer Nate Nelson, both seasoned players, as major catalysts for the album’s atmospheric bent. “Like a jazz band, [we are] learning to sit back when it’s your turn and stand forward when it’s time to carry the song.” Unified dynamics aside, Nootropics may be a tough sell for older fans. Where earlier songs worked a soulful slow burn, an uncanny valley like “Lion in Winter Pt. 1” feels purposely brittle; even the human elements of songs like "Propagation” and “Alphabet Song,” with their palpable heartbeats, buzz with a surreal hum of oscillations and machinery. But for all its conceptual heft, Nootropics still offers a uniquely liminal humanity; when Hunter crows “don’t be afraid,” as in technophobic/-philic monologue “Brains,” she’s as much feeding herself verbal Xanax as preaching acceptance. And, ultimately, it’s this humanity that keeps the album compelling. While Nootropics seems like a paean to computer love on its surface, its contents remain as intimate—and human—as anything in Hunter’s catalogue.
To hear tracks from Nootropics, visit http://bit.ly/LowerDensMusic. describes it as somewhat “tongue-in-cheek.” She continues, “It’s fun metal, with ballads and a lot of power yelling. Families will like it.” For a more sedate introduction to opera, parents need look no further than the nascent Opera in a Can troupe’s production of Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing by classical composer Malcolm Fox. The Towson University resident company, comprised of undergraduates in performance and music education, debuted last spring with a performance of Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, a pastiche of songs from operettas by Rossini and Offenbach. This year’s Sid the Serpent, directed by Phillip Collister, assistant chair of the music department, is the tale of a dancing circus reptile who ventures into the world to pursue his dream of becoming a singer, along the way learning about various musical styles and the way music works. But “the central message of the show is that everyone has their own talents,” says Collister. Collister says he formed Opera in a Can as a learning tool for burgeoning performers: “Children are a mirror to what is happening on stage. Whatever you give kids, they give it right back.” In addition, he points out, children seem to appreciate the operatic form. “When they hear people making sounds like that, it’s like watching some crazy, beautiful freak show.” For tickets to Valhella: The Ragnarøkkoperetta, visit www. baltimorerockopera.org.For tickets to Sid the Serpent who Wanted to Sing, visit www.events.towson.edu.
Urbanite #95 may 2012 67
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Hashiguchi Goyo, Woman Combing Her Hair, March 1920, woodblock print on paper, 17 9/16” x 12 7/8”, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Gift from the Erna and Charles Bertram Hoffberger Collection, 2011 (95.880)
this month’s happenings Compiled by Anissa Elmerraji
On May 19, the Second City—the comedy school that boasts such celebrity alumni as Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, and Steve Carell—headlines at the Columbia Festival of the Arts’ Gala Celebration 2012. Honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of the festival’s founding, the gala features an open bar and seated dinner, where entrees like lobster ravioli and grilled filet of beef tenderloin await. (10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia; 410-715-3044; www. columbiafestival.com)
May 22–23, experience New York City’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the dance company formed more than two decades ago to celebrate the African American cultural experience and the tradition of American modern dance. Performing at the Lyric Opera House, the show includes five dances including Home, a piece set to gospel house music inspired by victims of HIV. (140 W. Mt Royal Ave.; 410-900-1150; www. lyricoperahouse.com) Winner of one of the 2011 Baker Artist Awards, Japanese dancer and choreographer Naoko Maeshiba comes to the Theatre Project to present her first solo piece, KAWA to KAWA, May 24–27. Drawing on her research at the Cultural Exchange Station in Tabor, Czech Republic, the dance explores the relationship between body and space. (45 W. Preston St.; 410539-3091; www.theatreproject.org)
Is Goodnight Moon collecting dust on your bookshelf? Consider donating your gently used children’s picture books, board books, novels, and comics to Baltimore Reads’ seventeenth annual Books for Kids Day. Your donation on May 5 brings Baltimore’s nonprofit literacy advocate one book closer to reaching its goal of bestowing 75,000 books on children with nothing to read. (Falls Rd.
Twelve of Hashiguchi Goyo’s thirteen existing ukiyo-e prints are on display in Hashiguchi Goyo’s Beautiful Women at the Walters Art Museum. Starting May 19, see first editions of Goyo’s traditional Japanese woodblock prints, eight of which are striking depictions of beautiful women. (600 N. Charles St.; 410-547-9000; www.thewalters.org)
at Cold Spring Ln.; 410-752-3595; www. booksforkidsday.org) Wayne Schaumburg, local history buff and resident tour guide of Green Mount Cemetery, reveals some surprising statistics about Charm City during Baltimore: A City of Firsts at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. On May 6, hear how Baltimore gave birth to the refrigerator, gas lighting, and other historical firsts. (1415 Key Hwy.; 410-727-4808; www. thebmi.org) On May 24, this year’s annual Ric Pfeffer Lecture—which honors the legacy of Johns Hopkins professor and social activist Ric Pfeffer—welcomes back social theorist David Harvey with a lecture entitled “Seizing the Time for Anti-Capitalist Struggle.” A Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at City University of New York, Harvey is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Enigma
of Capital and the Crisis of Capitalism and the forthcoming Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. (2640 St. Paul St.; 410-230-0450; www. redemmas.org)
Pontiak brings the psychedelic-rock sound of their latest album, Echo Ono, to the Golden West on May 1. Made up of brothers Lain, Van, and Jennings Carney, the group recorded their ninth album in their farm studio near the Blue Ridge Mountains. (1105 W. 36 St.; 410-8898891; www.goldenwestcafe.com)
On May 5, the Concert Artists of Baltimore team up with Peabody musicians to present The Sacred and the Profane at the Lyric Opera House. Under the direction of Maestro Polochick, the night features Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Orff’s Carmina Burana. (140
W. Mt. Royal Ave.; 410-625-3525; www. cabalto.org) At The Beat Goes On! The Music of the Baby Boomers, conductor Jack Everly leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in popular songs from the 1960s. At the Meyerhoff May 17–20, enjoy classics from the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Supremes, as well as popular movie and TV themes from the era. (1212 Cathedral St.; 410-783-8000; www.bsomusic.org) Baltimore Concert Opera closes its season with Giacomo Puccini’s Il Trittico on May 18 and 20. The set of three one-act operas includes Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Giannic Schicchi, based on Dante’s epic poem, Divine Comedy. (11 W. Mount Vernon Pl.; 443-445-0226; www. baltimoreconcertopera.com)
Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined premieres at the Fells Point Corner Theatre on May 4. An exploration of the plight of women in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, the play follows Mama Nadi, a plucky madam who has to cope with the turbulent times. (251 S. Anne St.; 410-276-7837; www.fpct.org) Canadian contortionists Cirque du Soleil pay tribute to the King of Pop at the Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, May 5–6 at the 1st Mariner Arena. Scored with infectious hits like “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” the show reveals a fantastical world full of music, dance, and magic. (201 W. Baltimore St.; 410-3472020; www.baltimoreareana.com) On May 16, Everyman Theatre presents their final performance of the season, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You. The Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy follows the eccentric Sycamore family. Madness ensues when Sycamore daughter Alice has her straight-edge boyfriend and his parents over for dinner. (1727 N. Charles St.; 410752-2208; www.everymantheatre.org) Poet, playwright, and radio celebrity Al Leston returns to the Theatre Project for a live telecast of his syndicated radio show, State of The Re:Union, which explores what makes American cities tick. On May 17–20, Leston shares stories about Baltimore and his other travels
Urbanite #95 may 2012 69
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the scene GREEN/SUSTAINABLE during State of The Re:Union Live. (45 W. Preston St.; 410-752-8558; www. theatreproject.org) Spartacus comes to the Lyric Opera House straight from Russia on May 30. Performed by the State Moscow Classical Ballet Theatre, Soviet-Armenian composer Aram Khatchatourian’s most famous show tells the age-old story of Spartacus, who incites the Third Servile War against the slave population’s oppressive masters, the Romans. (140 W. Mt Royal Ave.; 410-900-1150; www.lyricoperahouse.com)
Maryland Institute College of Art invites you to their fifth annual ArtWalk 2012 on May 10. The 3K walking tour features seven buildings teeming with works by more than four hundred emerging artists from MICA’s class of 2012. End the evening with a casual dinner and mingle with the artists. (1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.; 410-669-9200; www.mica.edu)
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Create a tiny world inside a tube at the American Visionary Art Museum’s Peep Show Workshop with Nana Projects on May 19. Local art troupe Nana Projects guides participants through the process of this Victorian-inspired art form
that transforms silhouettes, gels, scratch art, and other odds and ends into a colorful miniature world. (800 Key Hwy.; 410-244-1900; www.avam.org)
community Don a floral frock and indulge in drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the formal gardens of Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum & Library during its second annual Alice’s Wonderland Garden Party on May 10. With proceeds going to the Evergreen’s ongoing restoration, the party features a silent auction and a prize for the guest decked out in the maddest hat. (4545 N. Charles St.; 410-5165589; www.museums.jhu.edu) The League for People with Disabilities bands with the Rotary Club of Baltimore City to celebrate community changemakers and the seventy-fifth anniversary of The League’s Camp Greentop—a recreation program for children and adults with disabilities—during Milestones at the American Visionary Art Museum. The evening, on May 19, features a gourmet dinner from Innovative Catering, a silent auction, and live music from folk-rock group Three of a Kind. (800 Key Hwy.; 410-323-0500; www.leaguefor people.org)
Give your garden an Italian twist when you learn how to grow your own pizza toppings at Baltimore Green Works’ Pizza Garden workshop. At the Irvine Nature Center on May 3, you’ll plant some organic pie-ready veggies in unconventional containers like bottles and cans. (11201 Garrison Forest Rd., Owings Mills; www.baltimoregreenworks.com)
benefits of the device, which stores rainwater for later outdoor use, like watering plants, washing your car, and filling up your swimming pool. (Chesterfield and Belair rds.; 410-254-1577; www. bluewaterbaltimore.org)
On May 9, the Beginner Farmer Training Program features two workshops about the ins and outs of urban farming. “Urban Soils” brings experts from the EPA and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future to talk about good soil, while “Starting a New Farm in a Baltimore Neighborhood” features advice from farmers and community leaders. Sponsored by Future Harvest, Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, Civic Works’ Real Food Farm, and the Farm Alliance of Baltimore City, the workshops aim to raise awareness about possible solutions to the city’s food deserts. (2701 St. Lo Dr.; 410-366-8533; www.futureharvestcasa.org)
Take mom aboard The Black-eyed Susan, Baltimore’s authentic paddlewheel riverboat, for the Annual Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise on May 13. Pump her full of mimosas and have her dine on buffet offerings like Nawlins-style shrimp creole, apple-filled pancakes, and smoked Nova Scotia Salmon. She’ll be sure to feel appreciated. (2701 Boston St.; 410-342-6960; www.baltimore paddlewheel.com)
Save water (and money) when you learn how to build you own recycled rain barrel at Blue Water Baltimore’s Rain Barrel Workshop. Go to Herring Run Park on May 17 to learn about the countless
Sip some of Maryland’s finest wines at the twentieth anniversary of Wine in the Woods, May 19–20. Come rain or shine, the outdoor events brings a neverending supply of live music and food to the tranquil Columbia woods. Unleash the sommelier within during one of the weekend’s wine education seminars. (5950 Symphony Woods Rd., Columbia; 410-313-4700; www.wineinthe woods.com)
The Genuine Article. Within walking distance of historic Ellicott City.
AMENITIES: Mill Race lounge | 3-RooM Fitness club (with gyM, caRdio theateR and a studio) | libRaRy | bike stoRage | concieRge-style seRvice | PaRking (coveRed and oPen) | scenic obseRvation deck | RiveRside oPen-aiR Picnic and PaRty RooM FEATURES: all utilities included (individually contRolled) | designeR kitchen with custoM cabinetRy | toP-bRand stainless steel aPPliances and kohleR® FixtuRes | huge, FactoRystyle windows | classic exPosed bRick walls in Most aPaRtMents | washeR and dRyeR in each aPaRtMent | incRedible RiveR and wooded hillside views | 24-houR Maintenance guaRanteed
1 & 2 Bedroom apartments & lofts • 2-level apartment homes. Call for pricing.
840 oella avenue, ellicott city, Md 21043
Urbanite #95 may 2012 71
cheaspeake shakespeare company
2012 SeaSon marketplace
Merchant of Venice Romeo and Juliet Pride & Prejudice Richard III Located in Historic Ellicott City
The region’s source for exciting classics cheaspeakeshakespeare.com
The Perfect Weekend Getaway Lancaster Arts Hotel is PA’s first Boutique Arts hotel featuring 63 rooms and restaurant housed in a historic tobacco warehouse.
MODERN GOODS FOR KIDS • Clothing & accessories • Toys & books • Newborn - 8 years
3608 FALLS ROAD 410-366-2270 URBANBABYRUNWAY.COM
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at McDonough Rd. Valley Village Shopping Center Owings Mills • 410-363-3353
Check Out Our Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Menu
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410-327-4488 celadoneventdesign.com email@example.com
Are you interested in maximizing your child’s learning potential? Reggio Emilia inspired Arts Integrated Baltimore City Public Charter School…Free Currently enrolling for 2012-13 Academic year Creatively Exploring the Arts & Sciences
Celebrate Spring at Cobella with Highlights! Robert R. Gisriel AIA, Architect Specializing in: Historic Rehab’s, Kitchens, and Additions 410-625-0392 To see projects, go to: www.gisriel-architect.com
Lenny’s Famous Trays for All Occasions Dairy • Deli • Fried Chicken Salads • Sandwiches • Desserts
Event Planning and Coordination
All month in May, exclusively for our Urbanite guests, when you make an appointment at Cobella for a full or partial set of highlights you will receive a complimentary Blowout! Remember to mention this ad!
9117 Reisterstown Rd Owings Mills, MD 21117 410-998-2090
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Baltimore’s ONLY smokery, specializing in smoked seafood and meats, savory cheese pies, gourmet foods, smoked seasoning salts and chef’s supplies. Belvedere Square Marketplace Baltimore, Maryland 21212 Tel: 410-433-7700
Let us create an annual print & digital campaign to reach your potential customer for less than $570 per month.
Open Monday - Saturday, 8am - 6pm Sunday, 8am - 4pm Fresh, locally roasted coffee, loose leaf teas and brewing accessories.
For more information: 410.243.2050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
72 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
4607 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214 410-254-0122 www.zekescoffee.com
The only museum show in the world where galleries nominate artists and the curator selects from their choices. Check out www.contemporary.org
to find out its whereabouts!
Hungry? Hire an At-Home Personal Chef
• Yummy gourmet meals • Organic and local • Time saving and healthy • Cheaper than eating out • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert • All prepared in your kitchen
Type A Home www.typeAhome.com 410.913.5724 May-June Real Estate Classes Forming: CareersCB.com Our Roland Park Office
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Not seeing the results you want from your antidepressant? Please consider our depression research study. Our office is conducting a research study to evaluate whether adding an investigational medication to an approved antidepressant therapy might give relief from the symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) when added to a current medication. You may be able to take part in this study if you: • Are 18-65 years old, • Have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) • Have been experiencing symptoms of depression for at least the past 2 months, • Have been taking at least one antidepressant medication as prescribed but it is not helping you enough. Additional study criteria will be assessed by the study doctor. The study lasts 15 to 22 weeks. Participants will receive either the investigational medication or a placebo (an inactive substance). All study-related medications, office visits and examinations will be provided to you at no cost.
For more information, please call
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We know Your Baltimore & Reach The World Georgiana Tyler, Manager email@example.com 410-235-4100 Community - Home -Career
Urbanite #95 may 2012 73
eye to eye
the strength, grace, and speed of horses have long fascinated visual artists: The Chauvet Cave, painted some thirty thousand years ago, stands as a dramatic testament to man’s relationship with the powerful animal. Painted larger than life and directly onto the wall, the Chauvet horses exemplify the physical and symbolic qualities that have proven inspirational to artists throughout history. Contemporary artist Lauren Boilini continues this historic trajectory in the epic-sized wall painting Wind me up, Shout me out, which depicts a writhing mass of muscular horses in motion. Like those of our Paleolithic ancestors, Boilini’s paintings capture the essence of her subject without extraneous detail and rely cara ober on monumental size and expressive gesture to communicate their power. cara ober is urbanite’s online arts/culture editor. to receive Boilini, who studied art history before becoming a studio her weekly e-zine, go to bit.ly/ artist in Baltimore, cites Peter Paul Rubens's equestrian war ezinesignup. paintings as another inspiration for Wind me up, Shout me out, and borrows heavily from his dense, twisting compositions to create an undulating surface of animal energy. Although not exclusively, Boilini has long been interested in depicting the horse, but it wasn’t until she attended an artist-in-residency program at Jentel Arts in Wyoming that her disparate interests came together in one painting. “I was living on a 1,000-acre cattle ranch surrounded by livestock and rodeos, so the horse imagery came easily,” she explains. Like the monumental artworks that inspired it, this huge painting is an overwhelming, transcendent experience. In layers of expressive color, the artist deftly combines charcoal drawing and oil painting into an explosive, physically active style that suggests a constant state of motion and conflict. “To me, the horses stand for virility and power,” says Boilini. Multiplied exponentially into a dense thicket, Wind me up, Shout me out is a fantasical image that simultaneously celebrates the creative and destructive elements of raw, unbridled (ahem) power. 74 may 2012 www.urbanitebaltimore.com
Lauren Boilini Wind me up, Shout me out (2011) Oil and charcoal on canvas 109” x 269”
S h o p s / S e r v i c e s : B e l v e d e r e P h a r m a c y • B a b y l o n N a i l s a n d S p a • T h e D u t c h F l o r a l G a r d e n • T h e H o u s e D o w n t o w n • L y n n e B r i c k ’ s W o m e n ’ s H e a l t h & F i t n e s s • M a t a v a To o
MAY 18 The Crawdaddies CAJUN/ZYDECO 25 Sons of Pirates CLASSIC ROCK JUNE 1 The Kelly Bell Band PHAT BLUES 8 Mambo Combo SAMBA 15 The Apple Scruffs BEATLES TRIBUTE 22 Junkyard Saints ZYDECO 29 Teachers for Sale ROCK JULY 6 The Remainders ROCK 13 Mister Wilson Band CLASSIC ROCK 20 Swingin’ Swamis LATIN JAZZ 27 Donegal Express CELTIC ROCK AUGUST 3 Sons of Pirates CLASSIC ROCK 10 Rob Byer Band COUNTRY 17 New Romance 80s TRIBUTE 24 Mambo Combo SAMBA 31 Oella ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY
Concerts presented by:
E a r t h ’s
Belvedere Square • 540 E. Belvedere Avenue • www.belvederesquare.com • Follow us on
Ceriello Fine Italian Foods •
Please note that outside alcohol is prohibited at the concerts. Beer, wine and other drinks are available from the Belvedere Square merchants.
B o n B o n ’s I c e C r e a m •
Belvedere Square is an outdoor shopping destination unlike any other place in Baltimore. With our eclectic mix of restaurants and shops, featuring the best food, home furnishings, gifts, services, and fitness, we have something for everyone. The Market at Belvedere Square offers fresh pastas, gourmet soups, breads and cheeses, produce, sushi, savory pies, coffee, desserts, candy, and more, fresh daily.
Te c h L a b P h o t o D i g i t a l I m a g i n g • Tu e s d a y M o r n i n g • M a r k e t / E a t e r i e s : A t w a t e r s •
T C B Y • R e s t a u r a n t s / C a f e s : C r u s h • E g y p t i a n P i z z a • G r a n d C r u W i n e B a r • R y a n ’s D a u g h t e r I r i s h P u b • O f f i c e s : A l l s t a t e I n s u r a n c e • L o y o l a C l i n i c a l C e n t e r • M u l t i S p e c i a l t y
N o u v e a u C o n t e m p o r a r y G o o d s • S u n Tr u s t B a n k • S p r i n t •
Healthcare • New Pathways •
Free outdoor concerts every Friday night from 6-9pm
E s s e n c e S m o o t h i e s • G r e g ’s B a g e l s • I k a n S u s h i & S e a f o o d • M a r k e t B a k e r y • N e o p o l S a v o r y S m o k e r y • T h e P e a n u t S h o p p e • P l a n e t P r o d u c e • P l o u g h b o y S o u p s • S u b w a y •