Baltimore Book Festival: Day 2

12:01pm – leave apartment

12:12pm – arrive at Cultural Center in time to see
the train pull out of the station. 😦

12:26pm – fare inspection, I feel so validated
knowing my pass is good.

12:30pm – arrive at Baltimore Book Festival

12:33pm – lunch at a table near the stage, a blues
band is playing

12:47pm – exploring south end of festival

12:54pm – arrive at main festival tent or “Literary
Salon,’ there is a HUGE line blocking the entrance to the tent. When I ask the
line is for, I simply get a “NO CUTTING,” “LINE STARTS BACK THERE!!!”

1:01pm – the line was for the book
signing tent, and once I get inside the salon I see a woman giving out “Free
Fall” bookmarks, but no TV cameras.

1:04pm – moderator
announces the Martins’ have not arrived yet, but they are expected in “5-10

Roland and Jacquie Martin arrive in the Salon tent for their discussion of
their respective books.

Roland talks about editing his wife’s book: “I am not your husband – I am your editor. I know what I’m doing, and in
the end I think she’ll agree with me.”

moderator asks about politicians being balanced. R – “NO!” when pressed about
the Obama’s being balanced Jacquie simply ignores the question and goes into a
stump speech about delegation, time management and saying no. I’m glad I didn’t
have to pay for this event.

1:33pm – she
talks about how FB and Twitter are making us “incapable of having face to face
conversations.” Meanwhile, her husband gets a tweet which he answers on stage
(he claims it’s from his bosses
asking him to comment on a story they had just run, but it was most likely
staged for “ironic effect”).

Roland: “We are living a lie – overspending, owning too much stuff, living in a
house we know we can’t afford. We are living our dream life with our dream income… but by saving money and living
within our means – that is the ‘new normal.’”

1:40pm –moderator opens floor for questions.

“There is no ‘Hispanic Vote’ as Hispanic\Latino voters in different parts of
the country are different…but their influence in Colorado, Arizona and Nevada will decide the next election.”

Roland gives Obama a “C” for his handling of the economy and caving to his GOP
challenges. “When I make an investment, I expect an ROI – Return on Investment
– if I vote for you than I expect to get what I want to get…

1:54pm – “Why should gays, females and old white men
have ‘agendas,’ when the Black Man is supposed to stay quiet? It is time we
call for a Black Agenda!”

2:08pm –discussion breaks up

trying to get an explanation of how the new GO Pass at Centerstage works, but
instead they just hand me a card with the phone number and logo on it.

 2:27pm – get
one of the last seats for the “Why Do We Kill” panel at the City Lit stage.

moderator: “I know this is cheesy, but it’s worked so far today – at the count
of three shout: ‘NO RAIN!’”

moderator introduces the panelists former homicide detective Kelvin Sewall and
Stephen Janis founder of the “Investigative Voice” blog.

 2:37pm – Janis
explains the politics of crime in the city as crime “drives tourists away from
the Inner Harbor and more importantly deters people from buying property

moderator asks Sewall what the best part of his job was: “Being able to go up
to a grieving family member and tell them ‘we caught the guy that killed your
loved one.’ It doesn’t bring their relative back, but it provides them with

2:47pm – Janis
begins to address the “systemic, city wide nature” of crime within Baltimore

2:48pm – when
he is essentially shouted down by a man in the back of the audience: “BULLSHIT,
there is no crime in my neighborhood! It’s not til you get to the Section 8
housings that you run into crime in my part of city – so I say we TEAR THEM

moderator gives him a chance to walk it back, but no slams ahead full throttle:
“Drug addicts DESERVE TO DIE!” When asked if he really meant that as it sounded, he replied “YES, you live by the
sword you than you DIE by the sword!”

Sewall says the real solution is to
start anti-gang education at the elementary school level as gang activity is
“already common on middle school campuses.”

moderator opens floor to questions, Janis takes time to softly address his
differences with the earlier shouter.

3:01pm – how does politics effect police work?

Sewall: Our justice system is
overworked, prosecutors\public defenders are overworked and judges and DAs are
under increasing pressure for convictions since they are elected.

Janis: And that pressure comes
mainly from us – the media – we print stories about crime rates, convictions,
and any sentencing they receive.

3:04pm – How
are they getting word out about this issue if they are a) not getting any media
attention and b) not addressing the communities directly affected by said
issues? They did have a full review in CP when the book came out, but the
authors agreed (in principle) to have a similar forum in East\West Baltimore if asked.

3:12pm – battery on my camera dies. 😦

Sewall: “Human nature means we will never
solve the problems of homicide.”

3:22pm – Why
are such a disproportionate number of violent offenders black? Janis says it
may have to do with the number of older houses still affected by lead paint.
(?) Sewall goes into a mini-rant about how the media only covers white victims
of crime while ignoring black victims.

3:24pm – panel
breaks up; book signings and further discussion continued at next tent.

3:35pm –funnel cake. 🙂

3:48pm – catch
last part of Jared Ball’s Mixtape Radio Show and book discussion. There are not
one, but two TV cameras trained on

arrive at Baltimore Free School tent for next panel, but instead find it set up
for children’s activities. I try to find some nearby tent it could be held in,
but there wasn’t one.

people come by to break up activity area and set up seats for next panel.

4:07pm – start of chunkily named:
“Opionions…Everyone’s Got Them: Writing about What You Love, What You Hate and
Everything Else that Makes Up The Majority of Life” (yes, that’s the real title)

4:09pm – there five people on the panel (almost half
the size of their audience), and I’m not sure if I’m going to be attributing
them correctly.

4:16pm – How do you chose a topic to write about?

4:18pm – Michael Corbin (CP): “Freelancing is a fool’s errand.”

4:23pm – Brook
Hall (???) on social media sites: “they are completely reactionary. People forwarding
stories, commenting on them, but not PRODUCING them.”

4:25pm – Omar Farooq (Indypendent Reader): “Memes
are the new expectations of editors, writers must be controversial or they
cannot get attention. Controversy is more important than substance.”

4:29pm – God, this is b-o-r-i-n-g.

4:37pm – Does a negative opinion of something stop
you from writing about\reviewing it? Split decision

4:45pm – going to try to get at least one more shot
out of this camera, they’re saying anything interesting anyway.

4:54pm – how will blogs and online news sources effect
traditional books\newspapers? Hall: “books will become luxury items.”

5:00pm – I left the panel and made my way towards my apartment.

Categories: adventures, attractions, Baltimore, entertainment, festivals, writing | Leave a comment

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