Monthly Archives: December 2011

Baltimore theatre in review


The Rivals” (Centerstage) ****

Epicoene, or The Silent Woman” (Mobtown) ***


“Logic, Luck & Love” (Spotlight UB)***


The Fantasticks” (Spotlighters) ***½

Captain Freedom” (Landless) *


And Underneath the Moon,” Glass Mind **½

Categories: Baltimore Guardian, entertainment, theatre, writing | Leave a comment

More holiday festivities in Baltimore

I left the apartment around 11:30am. Unlike last week, I was in no particular hurry to get anywhere since I only had three items on my itinerary.

I arrived at the B&O Museum at 12:18 for their “Holiday Festival of Trains.” What? I was there last week? Yeah, I know, but the layouts change every weekend this month so I decided to check it out again. Sadly, I wish I hadn’t. Not only was it crowded and hard to navigate through but the layouts themselves weren’t nearly as good (a shame since I like HO-scale). I tried having lunch at their café, not only were there no tables left, but there was a line stretching nearly to the door. I left the museum, both hungry and disappointed, at 12:54pm.

I got to the Inner Harbor at 1:30pm, and made a pass through of a nearly deserted McKeldin Square. Those ugly tents from a few months ago are mostly gone, and the protesters seemed MIA – even the intersection of Pratt\Light streets was deserted!

“Ha,” a young woman said getting off the Circulator behind me (to her friend).”Maybe they got cold and went home.”

The city should be so lucky as that’s been their strategy for the past several months. Unfortunately for them, Mother Nature has been quite generous with the protesters so far.

I cross the street into The Gallery Mall to try and find something to eat, but realized that the only thing there I liked was Sbarra and that Chinese place. I took the escalator down to the third floor so I could cross over to Harborplace via the overpass, and as I did I saw about dozen men in yellow shirts entering the mall. I figured it had to be a late lunch break.

Harborplace, like the Gallery, was simply yet elegantly decorated. The trees on either end of the balcony were decorated with the names of various stores within the struggling tourist mall. I went into the 5 Guys there, and ordered a bacon cheeseburger and when I sat down to eat it I could see several police cars parked outside the Gallery.

I made my down to the Power Plant complex at the end of the promenade where the city was hosting something called “Rock the Dock.” I figured it would be small, but I was expecting it would be bigger than one tent. Even the whole “trackless train” they had a disappointment.

I then head inside Barnes & Noble to buy a coffee and browse books for an hour. I really wasn’t all that thirsty, but I had nearly 2 ½ hours to kill before the light show at 5pm. I even went over to the Best Buy across the street and went through their discount game bins, and still had more than enough time to find a seat before the show started. In fact, I could have made it all the way back to the apartment, grabbed a heavier jacket and still make it back in time for the show (believe me, I considered it as it got cold after the sun came down).

The sun had gone down, but the sky was still relatively light when the laser show started at 5pm. This meant, I could see the red\green laser lights while the overarching spotlight effects were nearly invisible. It was still an impressive show… but it was only 7 minutes long.

I made my way back to the Circulator, figuring I could see the rest of the show some other time. The police cars were long gone, but there was a crowd of people waiting at the stop. By the time I reached my stop, it was dark enough to hold a light show (the new moon now hidden behind thick clouds).

I had barely enough time to shower, check my e-mail and charge my cell phone before having to head out again. Actually, I forgot to plug my phone in until I was about ready to leave for Station North so I left it behind, grabbed a heavy jacket and made my way to the new Chipotle on Charles St.

Despite the efforts of the neighborhood’s homeless population, I managed to eat dinner and get to the theatre with only a few minutes to spare. The show was nice enough, the plot wasn’t all that complicated nor was the acting perfect, but I was sitting down in a heated theatre so it wasn’t all bad.

I got back to my apartment – for good – just in time for the fire alarm to go off. I headed back outside into the cold, and into the shadow of the three fire trucks in front of the building. As soon as I found someplace with enough light to begin writing this post, I was told it was a false alarm and to head back inside. The actual alarm however, kept going for another 20 minutes, more proof that holidays in Baltimore are never boring…

Categories: adventures, attractions, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, entertainment, festivals, holidays, news, theatre, transportation, writing | Leave a comment

Occupy Baltimore: Day 61

Occupy Baltimore seems to be on a bit of a reflexive kick lately with not one but two events celebrating Sunday’s two month anniversary at McKeldin Square. Why not? A lot can happen in two months – heck, I was fired from Mickey-D’s after only one – but their list of achievements consists almost entirely of “not being evicted yet.”

This isn’t to diminish the marches, rallies and art shows they have held (mostly off-site and organized through Big Labor, kind of ironic since OB is protesting high unemployment rates). It is important to have some concrete events for people to meet up with like-minded individuals and express their dissatisfaction with a system so obviously stacked against them. It’s also a LOT easier to get people to commit to one afternoon rally than for an “indefinite protest” (especially since most people don’t have “indefinite” free time to give to your cause).

In fact, the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Brew and even Kalle Lazne, publisher of Adbusters magazine and the chief instigator of Occupy Wall Street, have called for a “change in tactics” for the young people in the square – even OB supporters like Prof. Lester Spence of JHU, have stated that the movement has gotten “stale.” No-one is saying that OWS (or even OB) should disband – however, Lazn does suggest:

“We declare ‘victory’ and throw a Party… perhaps the 3 month anniversary of OWS on December 17th…and invite the world to join us.

“Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps. We use the winter to brainstorm, network, build momentum so that we may emerge rejuvenated with fresh tactics, philosophies, and a myriad projects ready to rumble next Spring.”

As Spence said in the above link, the Occupy movement isn’t about any one particular space – that’s why we have satellite movements in DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities around the world – but rather it is an idea. You can break up an encampment, but you cannot break an idea and the more you try to do so the more momentum it acquires.

As the Brew pointed out in their piece, the momentum behind this idea can be used for a variety of social causes such as: fixing schools, monitoring city hall, or continuing their fight against the Baltimore Development Corporation. These are all worthy suggestions, and I hope OB uses their winter downtime to pursue them… at least, until their next “project” is ready to rumble.

In the meantime, there is nothing else going on in the Inner Harbor on the 17th, but if the local Occupiers go through with Lasn’s suggestion, it’ll be one hell of a party – especially since they’ve already got music.

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

Old Tyme Christmas in Fells Point

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Holiday train displays at B&O museum

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Holiday Festivities in Baltimore

I planned on leaving my apartment around 10am, but didn’t end up leaving for over an hour later. I had a full itinerary, and something was going to have to get cut from it.

I head down to the Light Rail and get to the station exactly as the train pulls in. By the time I have my ticket, it’s already gone. The next train to come by was a short one, but it was going north so I boarded it anyway. I took a seat near an old woman who scowled at me when I sat down and then went back to her furious knitting. Another woman was ranting about her boss making her see clients on a weekend. Your merriness may vary, but I was determined to make the most of my day.

My first destination was “Winterfest” at Baltimore Clayworks. It’s a showcase of various ceramic items in different colors and sizes, each helpfully enough, marked with a price tag so you could purchase them if you wanted. They were interesting to look at, but they obviously weren’t meant as “museum pieces.”

Meanwhile, the Occupiers are having an art show of their own at Baltimore Clay Pots (a Christian coffeehouse in West Baltimore), odd how all the interesting programs they hold are hosted off site by different groups.

The first thing I did when I got back downtown was get a quick lunch before moving onto my next festivity (remember, I’m a full hour behind schedule). In fact, I already missed the “Holiday Laser Show” at the Maryland Science Center (noon) so I took the Circulator west to see the model train displays at the B&O Railroad Museum.

I arrived at the railroad museum at 1:14pm, and spent the next half hour or so taking pictures of the various model layouts. Some of them were quite elaborate and well-constructed; others looked like they were slapped together five minutes before the museum opened that morning. They also had ballet dancers, Santa photos and an indoor carousel.

The Circulator between the museum and Harbor East was more crowded than I had expected, but the people on board seemed somewhat merrier than the woman on the light rail earlier. The bus pulled into the circle around 2:14pm, and I spent the next 90 seconds perusing the four vendors who had set up around the stage on Aliceanna St for the neighborhood’s “Joy-Jingle-Jam.”

It was a less than 5 minute walk to my next destination: “An Old Tyme Christmas” in Fells Point. This event was a lot larger with numerous vendors selling food, clothing and jewelry and a large stage with strolling Victorian carolers and other roaming entertainers wandering around the narrow square.

Unfortunately, my camera battery died shortly after 3pm, and my phone wasn’t far behind it, so I didn’t get too many pictures of the event. I considered going all the way back to my apartment to charge it, but that would give me a maximum of 40 minutes in my apartment (nowhere near enough time for either) before I’d have to leave to come back for the tree lighting at 5pm.

Meanwhile, my hometown of Shamokin, Pa hosted, a very well attended, “A Downtown Christmas” on Eighth and Independence Streets in the former Masonic Lodge. Food and carolers were on site and 20 trees decorated by local merchants and organizations were on display until 6pm and then donated to those in need.

By the time the mayor arrived at 5:17pm, I was wishing I had gone back to the apartment just for a heavier jacket. Fortunately, the program started almost immediately upon her arrival and within ten minutes everyone was filing off to the end of Broadway pier (or in my case, the stone steps behind Bond Street Wharf) for the annual “Parade of Lighted Boats.”

Unlike the tree lighting, the parade started more or less on time with about than 50 boats sailing from Fells Point to the Inner Harbor and back again decked out in “festive holiday lights.” I was initially disappointed about the camera, but it wasn’t that great of a loss as most of the boats weren’t really decorated that well… but they were still festive in their own way!

The Occupiers were preparing for their seminar “Reflections on a Growing Movement” in honor of Sunday’s 2 month anniversary…held at a church in Charles Village. Oh well, at least their “General Assembly” will be held on site, but, frankly, I was too cold to stand outside for another 3 hours (even though it’s been nearly four weeks since I wrote anything about them).

I stopped into the Starbucks in Harbor East on my way back to the apartment, and I was waiting I could see the Circulator pull into the circle. Another arrived as I was picking up my order, but it was already after 7pm so my chances of making it to “Underneath the Moon” in Station North were next to impossible. I took a seat next to a young man who looked (and sounded) like Cullen from Occupy Baltimore and we sat there in silence until I finished my coffee and disappeared merrily into the night.

Categories: adventures, art, attractions, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, entertainment, festivals, holidays, light rail, photography, protests, transportation, writing | 1 Comment

Upcoming Holiday Arts & Crafts in Baltimore

National Aquarium: Celebrate World Holiday Traditions (December 2nd)

Clay Pots: Community Event in Solidarity with Occupy Baltimore (December 3rd)

B&O Railroad Museum: Holiday Train Displays (weekends through December 31)

Baltimore Clayworks: Winterfest (Through January 2012)

Charm City Craft Mafia: Holiday Heap (December 3rd)

Baltimore Reads: Holiday Fair (December 10th)

MICA: Arts Market (December 7-10th)

Streetcar Museum: Santa’s Streetcar (December 10, 17-18th)

Categories: art, attractions, Baltimore, entertainment, holidays, movies, upcoming events, writing | Leave a comment

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