Monthly Archives: November 2011

Baltimore Art in Review

September”

Painting in Parts,” Maryland Art Place

Hand Held: Personal Arts from Africa,” Baltimore Museum of Art

October:

All Things Round: Galaxies, Eyeballs and Karma,” AVAM

Lost & Found: The Secrets of Archimedes,” The Walters Art Museum

November:

Baltimore Heroes,” Geppis Entertainment Museum (updated November 15th)

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Categories: art, attractions, Baltimore, entertainment | Leave a comment

Editorial: More thoughts on “Baltimore Heroes”

These are three important points that I didn’t address in my
review of “Baltimore Heroes:”

According to GEM’s website, Heroes strives to showcase the “unique personalities and businesses that make Charm
City so charming.” But, the problem is, they’re trying to do so in a room that
is maybe 20’ x 20’ – nowhere near enough room for three centuries of
philanthropy, innovation and athletic achievement (even though they have an
entire separate museum immediately below them for sports).

They currently get around this by rotating content every
four months, in other words, making it what it should have been all along – a
series of temporary exhibits (except more tightly focused on one individual or
group). For instance, they could do an entire exhibit on Baltimore radio
stations, rather than simply displaying a few neatly folded T-shirts on the
bottom shelf of their platinum artists’ case.

Another idea, and I’ve toying with this for a while, would
be to sell\lease the adjoining “Extra! Extra!
exhibit to another museum, move Heroes into that much larger space and then
shift “Going Global: 1991-2003” into the old Heroes space. This would be much more work
and be only a temporary solution at that, but it is easier and far less
expensive then spinning it off into its own gallery (see below).

This leads into the exhibitions second major problem: there
is nothing to tie it into the rest of the museum. Geppis is an “entertainment
museum,” and while not explicitly stated, these galleries reflect the shared
values and experiences of the entire country not the hyper-local jingoism
expressed by this exhibit.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with civic pride,
but this is not the venue to display it in. It’s about knowing who your
audience is – in this case tourists\visitors – and what they are looking to see
in a museum of this sort. Specifically, they are looking for that “shared
experience” I mentioned earlier, but regional magazines, old neighborhood
prints and TV station logos are not part of said experience.

It is this point that leads me to believe that the idea
behind this exhibit is worthy, but it is a poor match for its venue. If this
exhibit were located across the hall from “Nipper’s Toyland
or in the back room of the Baltimore Visitor’s Center,
I wouldn’t bat an eye. I can also see it housed at Power Plant Live as part of
a mini-museum row with MAP and the National Pinball Museum or coupled with the proposed
Ripley’s museum
in the warehouses behind Camden Yards or even a
separate space downtown (I hear Charles Center is vacant).

I don’t expect the museum to take my points seriously, but I
think Baltimore’s heroes deserve more than what this current show is offering
them.

Categories: attractions, Baltimore, Baltimore Guardian, editorials, entertainment, ramblings | Leave a comment

Museum mania!

I left the apartment around noon. I could have left an hour
later if I wanted to, but I thought I’d stop by Starbucks first. It was
officially 52 degrees outside, but it was cloudy with gusty winds making it
feel more like the lower 40s.

However, when I was stopped at the intersection outside the
Lyric, a dark late model car pulls out to the curb, and a woman asks me how to
get to somewhere I didn’t catch where. I tried to get her to repeat it, but she
just growled “shut up” and flipped me the middle finger as she screeched off. I
half hoped she’s be hit by another car, but I didn’t feel like dwelling on
something this early in the day.

I got this strange feeling of déjà vu as I was sitting on
the light rail. I knew I’ve heard the operator’s voice before, but, for the life
of me, I couldn’t think of where…until I was leaving the train and I suddenly
heard his voice say: “Thank you for riding the monorail. We hope you have a magical
day here at the Magic Kingdom!”

I arrived at Convention Center at 1:19pm and crossed the
courtyard into the lobby of Sports Legends museum and finally up the stairs to
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum on the second floor. It had been approximately 7
months since I’d stepped foot in the museum to cover the opening of “Baltimore
Heroes,” and I had returned to follow-up on their supposedly “quarterly”
changes to their permanent exhibit. As it turned out they were extremely minor,
and I could easily just repost my previous story (it had been lost to a server
crash in August).

I left the museum, and made my way towards the promenade. The
“Occupiers” were making small “wish flags” which “connote the wishes we have
for the world, as a group and as individuals.” I could ponder on the meaning of
that, but I was never much for arts and crafts.

I arrive at the Maryland Science Center, and when I got to
the ticket counter to buy my IMAX ticket, the man insisted I come back in 2½
hours for their “Fridays After 5” promotion. I told him I was on a schedule and
had other places to go that night. He rolls his eyes and says “I’m just trying
to save you money, but if you WANT to pay more…”

He eventually hands me my tickets and wristband (why I need
an admission ticket AND a wristband is beyond me). I spend the next 20 minutes
or so wandering through their gift shop trying to figure out what my brothers’
kids might like, but then I realized that there was no way I’d be able to guess
what kids that age might like. Finally, I just take a seat on a bench in the
hallway and begin taking notes until they announced the film was starting.

The film, Rocky Mountain Express was an extraordinary film
following the construction of the titular route through the Canadian mountains
and into the plains on the opposite side of the Rockies. It was a promotional
film, but it was so wonderfully shot and richly narrated shot that it was easy
enough to forgive this minor detail.

The movie got out just minutes before the hour meaning I had
to rush over to the planetarium on the other side of the museum…just to find
out that the doors didn’t open until show time (and even then they opened 3
minutes late).

Their planetarium show, Black Holes, was informative with an
interesting visual narrative. However, its script was rather dry and
repetitive.

I leave the museum at 4:38pm and make my way across the
promenade to the Circulator stop, and I arrive exactly as two northbound buses
fly by in the far lane. I was stuck waiting outside in the cold, biting winds
until the next bus decided to arrive.

Eventually, the bus came and I got on taking a seat near the
middle of the half-crowded Circulator. As we passed the “Occupy” encampment, I
couldn’t help but wonder if any of those flags would wind up in a museum.

Categories: adventures, art, attractions, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, entertainment, light rail, movies | Leave a comment

OWS mini news round-up

Occupy Denver has elected a new “leader,” Shelby
a 3 yr old border collie, in accordance with a request from city hall.

Amidst recent police violence, Occupy DC went ahead with a Barbeque
followed by ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s.

NYFD agreed to return
the generators
they confiscated from OWS protesters. This is good news for
the electricity-less Occupy Baltimore.

Occupy Seattle protesters shut down Chase bank; others march to CEO Jaime Dimon’s
speech at Sheraton.

Meanwhile, protesters in London marched on Westminster,
and several OWS members are marching from New York to Washington DC.

Occupy Baltimore: Day 35 – that’s five weeks at the fountain!

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Shopping mall nine

I don’t own a car, so my holiday shopping in Baltimore is limited to malls along the Light Rail, Metro Subway and Charm City Circulator\Harbor Connecter. This is a list of the nine establishments that I know of that fit those requirements.

1) Lutherville Station is one of my favorite malls. Okay, it’s not,
but I get train sick on the light rail and getting off there gives me a chance
to recover before continuing on my way to Hunt Valley. Besides, they have a
Borders (now closed), Old Navy, Kohls, and a Halloween store.

2) Hunt Valley Town Center is usually my ultimate destination
whenever I get off at Lutherville Station. It’s a small relatively walkable
outdoor mall with a variety of shops built around a central “Main Street” which
conveniently terminates at the light rail station.

They have a bookstore, a coffee
shop and several chain restaurants, but I wish they carried the whole “town
center” theme beyond just that one street.

3) Sadly, Owings Mills mall (which looks a lot like a vacant version of Philadelphia’s King
of Prussia mall) has fallen victim to both increased competition and a
worsening economy as nearly every store front was vacant (as was the entire second floor save for the food court). Go there
if you think we’re out of the recession.

4) According to Wikipedia, Reistertown Plaza was built as an
outdoor mall, and it shows through in its atrocious layout. In fact, if I
wanted to go the Dollar Store on the north side of the mall I’d have to exit
via the food court and go around the back of the building – ditto for anything
on the west side of the plaza.

5) Mondawmin Mall is a
large indoor mall located on MTA Metro line; it is clean and bright with two
large fountains near the back entrance. It has a nice selection of stores and
is definitely worth the “Best Mall” award it
won in 2009.

6) Southside Marketplace is a basic strip mall on the, well, south
side of Federal Hill just west of Fort McHenry. It is roughly a half mile from
the nearest CCC stop, but it will be much more convenient to get to once the
Harborview Connecter opens sometime next year.

7) The Gallery is an
upscale mall in the heart of downtown Baltimore that is doing quite well for
itself despite the visible mob of “Occupiers
across the street protesting (amongst other things) the conspicuous display of
wealth.

It’s not huge, but it manages to
house most upscale chains like Gap, Banana Republic and Starbucks. They have a
limited food court on the 4th court.

8) Harborplace is sometimes called “the crown jewel of Inner Harbor,”
and, frankly, I have no idea why.

Their Light Street Pavilion
consists of only 3 stores: H&M, Newsstand and Hooters. The rest of it is
vacant from the departure of Phillips Seafood to the nearby Power Plant
complex.

Their Pratt Street Pavilion
consists of seven restaurants, a psychic and a smoothie shop along with a
bridge to The Gallery.

9) Cromwell Field Mall, like Southside Market, is essentially an oversized
strip mall with a grocery store and an assortment of fast food places, but
lacking a major anchor store. It is across the street from the southbound
terminus of the light rail.

Categories: attractions, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, holidays, light rail, metro subway, retail, transportation | Leave a comment

Occup Baltimore: Days 27 – 28

Many commenters on Facebook complained about the quality of
the above video; personally, I couldn’t tell the difference between that and
their usual GA feed video. The part I disliked was that they essentially spent
23 minutes proving everything the right wing says about them.

The supposed issue at hand, or at least one of them, is
whether Security has the power to remove troublesome individuals from the
“Occupied” area. When can a matter be handled “internally” (and by whom) and
when do they bring the evil protest-hating cops?

But first, you have to establish what “trouble” is and how
does one recognize when someone is starting it. Stealing is bad, sexual assault
is bad, and yelling about “jobless commies who don’t belong here” is apparently
also bad. Sadly, these rather obvious observations raise more questions than
answers.

No-one advocates rape of any sort, but how do you “steal”
from someone who doesn’t believe in “personal property?” Why would get up in
the middle of a discussion about theft in the encampment to criticize the
finance committee for storing the group’s money off site? More importantly, why
does a group of people currently “Occupying” a public site without a permit in
order to protect free speech trying to remove someone who dares not only to
disagree with their politics but remind them that the city has declared their
Occupation “illegal?”

The local Fox station did a story tonight about drug
use and reported sexual assault
over the weekend which was not reported to
police until today – presumably after pressure from Security to keep quiet. Said
reporter was shoved, and had her camera blocked by security members shouting
“NO CAMERAS!” The media team has a similar policy of attacking anyone who
disagrees with them in print\blogs by not only posting hateful comments on the
bottom of said story, but also posting their picture and all available contact
information onto their Facebook site with calls for supporters to “send them a
message.”

This report caught the attention of Mayor who sent out a
press release criticizing the alleged cover-up, and sending someone over to
document conditions in the encampment.

The movement says that these issues of drug use, theft and
other homelessness are simply part of urban life. They existed long before the
Occupation, and thus there is “nothing the group can do” to protect against
such crimes though they will do “everything they can to help police” (whom they
don’t trust) in their investigation.

However, some members have said that since the security team
“cannot guarantee the safety” of overnight campers than maybe the group should
either disband or radically shift how it deals with itself internally.

The next day the discussion continued to be about either
disbandment or options for reform (like limiting protests to daytime hours).
Unfortunately, the video feed was cut off at that point (“dead battery”) so I’m
not sure what other options were offered other than better tents and fairer
shifts.

Person had to be ejected from camp for disrupting the GA. It
is not clear from the 0video what he was doing wrong, but you could clearly see
a man walking off camera and hear a pop tab open with several members turning
around to stare at him before banding together and telling him to leave a few
minutes later. Naturally, the video feed is once again cut off at this point.

The video returns briefly for the group discussion of who is
“allowed” to be part of the group and that Occupiers need to start telling
people who not contribute regularly enough to “get the fuck out.”

This sort of petty (and sadly pervasive) “I
contribute more than you do
” or “only people who stay overnight can call
themselves Occupiers
” attitudes just piss me the fuck off.  Get off your high horse and find some other
group more worthy of your scorn, true democracy – which is what this movement
supposedly about – is about giving voice to ALL people not just those who have
nothing better to do than spend it sleeping in a public park like the homeless
people they’re trying to keep out.

The disenfranchised are just as much a part of the 99% as
the seemingly “normal” people from TU, Fell’s Point or Charles Village.

In fact, as a gay adult with Autism* I know what
it’s like to be an “undesirable” and to have people either yell and curse just
because they can (see here, here and here)
or simply dismiss me out of hand (like Cullen saying I wasn’t worth talking to
because I was just “a freelancer”).

In fact, the reason – the ONLY reason – I started
Park\Mosher Media in the first place was because employers weren’t comfortable
hiring “people like (me).” I can interpret that statement many ways, but I’m
going to defer to what my marketing professor, Ian Scharf said:

“If your company practices sexual harassment, racial
discrimination or condones illegal activity,
than you really don’t want to work for them in the first place.”

I still support many of the demands of OWS, but seeing local
members bullying\slandering reporters and watching GA meetings with people
talking about excluding members for not meeting arbitrary quotas and whether
Security over (or under) stepped their boundaries in dealing with this weekend’s
events makes me happy that I never actually “joined” their movement.

It’s okay, they’d have probably rejected my application anyway.

Categories: Baltimore, editorials, news, protests | Leave a comment

Occupy Baltimore: Day 23

3pm – “March to Constellation Headquarters” and “Civil Disobedience Training”

6pm– Workshop on “Male Privilege open to all genders” starts at McKeldin Fountain.

6:12pm– Occupy Baltimore puts out call for FB users to come down to the square to
document the night’s events citing “news sources” that police will raid the
encampment around midnight.

7:43pmBaltimore Sun: Unions, including police, ask Mayor Black to Stand Down on Occupy
Protest

8:25pm – “Education for All” rally officially begins.

9:56pm – Egyptianpresidential candidate and organizer of Egyptian Revolution, Medhat Khafagy,
speaks. He is there to show solidarity with democracy and the Occupation movement.

10:27pm –Committee reports: Medical speaks about plastic cuffs, protecting face, and
alerting the medic\legal teams of medications. She reminds overnight protesters
to stay warm.

10:53pm – GA closes “with love from: LA, MIA, SF, LV and PHX”

UPDATE – November 3, 2011

Occupy Baltimore has posted a petition to replace the boiler
at Rosemont Elementary School. As of 5:45 this afternoon, it had 101
signatures.

Categories: Baltimore, protests | Leave a comment

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