City Paper’s annual “Best of Baltimore” ballots hit newsstands this week, and here are a few of my choices (at least the ones relevant to this blog) with admittedly arbitrary and superficial explanations of why. I just hope this post doesn’t discount my ballot.
Best Theatre Company: “Glass Mind Theatre”
Why? Sure, Elliot Rauh shoving his uncovered junk in our faces may be brave on a certain level, but it isn’t necessarily innovative theatre. Fuzz Roark’s casting of non-singers for “Hello Dolly” may be risky, but their comparatively strong acting wasn’t enough to save it from mediocrity (the reverse was true of “A Little Night Music,” but with less blowback).
Centerstage and Everyman are the easy choices, and while I may not like everything they produce, one cannot argue with the quality of their work making a choice between them completely arbitrary.
This leads me to the final criteria I chose to consider: which company has the best chance of being the “next Everyman\Centerstage” and the only logical answer was GMT which consistently produces works that are challenging and entertaining for less than their larger competitors spend on marketing.
Best Place to See Art: “The Walters Art Museum”
Why? Yes, it’s the easy choice, but the Contemporary Museum is closed. I like Minas Gallery and the Baltimore Museum of Art, but neither is worth the effort for me to make regular sojourns up there. UB Gallery is too small, and as great as MICA shows are there is little point in critiquing student artwork (that has likely already been graded by harsher critics than I).
But in the end, WAM offer high quality shows (except “Public Property”) throughout the year on a range of subjects at no cost to the visitor. Who am I to argue with free?
Best Blog: “Aisle Pass” (my “other” WordPress blog)
Why? I didn’t come to this decision lightly. I was tempted to say Baltimore Brew (I instead listed them as “Best Baltimore Related Website” and Mark Reuter\Fern Shen as “Best Journalist”).
It may not look like it (okay, it doesn’t look like it), but I put a lot of work into planning stories that not only what I have time\money to cover, but that I feel my reader(s) will be most interested in (though I was surprised by how popular those game reviews were. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to continue with them after the theatre season starts up again next month).
Besides, there is nothing “wrong” with self-promotion 😉