Charles Village

It takes a village: Part 2

I left the Starbucks on St Paul Street just at 6:46pm, and decided to take the long way around past the Barnes & Noble and through the eastern edge of the JHU before heading back towards Charles St again. I follow Charles down to the end of Wyman Park, and then circle around that block another two times just to eat time. That’s when it suddenly struck me – I had completely forgotten where the theatre was!

I sit on a ledge on the corner of Charles and 30th Streets, and tried to figure out where it was from that. Naturally, the theatre isn’t listed on Google Maps (its address is, and you can see its exterior on Google Streetview, but the building isn’t labeled as such on the map). Obviously, this was going take some trial and error.

I got up and nearly crashed into a harried looking student in a white fraternity T-shirt carrying two packs of party cups. He trips over a gap in the sidewalk and they go flying in all directions. Naturally since I have nothing to do for the next 40 minutes or so, I help him gather as many of those cheap plastic cups as I could. He thanked me sincerely, and then made his way back down Charles again.

After about fifteen minutes of walking back and forth across from Charles through the side streets, I took a rest on a wall at Charles and 28th Streets, and just tried putting the name into my phone: “Autog-“  and instantly got “Autograph Playhouse, 9 W. 25th St, Baltimore Md.”

By the time I got to the theatre, it was already 7:43pm – 17 minutes before curtain. I bought my ticket, and a can of Cherry Coke. As soon as I enter the main lobby, they announce that the house is now officially open.

It was also the first play I’ve seen at Autograph Playhouse, a space much larger (and darker) than I expected yet the audience wasn’t seated in the ample auditorium but directly on the stage (a move that reminded me of their “friends” at Single Carrot). Getting on the stage was a bit tricky, as the one set of stairs they had for that were both tall and deep with no back and somewhat hard to see in a dark theatre – especially since they were painted black. Unfortunately my shoe momentarily got caught in the final step, and if I hadn’t been grasping the handrail. I would have tripped my way onto the stage.

I find a seat in the back (3rd) row in the first chair not “guarded” by a sheer yellow scarf. I was hot, sweaty and tired, and more than anything I needed something to drink. I open my soda, and when I go to take a drink from it, it slides out of my hand and spills all over the couple sitting next to me.

Now, I actually DO have something to fear, once intermission arrives…fortunately, it took a long time to arrive (it seemed like “three hours,” but was probably less than one).

If they hadn’t sold out, I would have changed seats, but, to my surprise, I managed to get back inside without incident (though I did nearly fall on the stairs leaving the stage). I did, however, buy a new soda (they have to make money somehow).

The play itself wasn’t bad, but I was a tad preoccupied during the first half of the show. You can read the rest of my opinions here.

Finally, after two hours and forty minutes, my “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was over, and once again I nearly tripped on the tall backless stairs leading back to the main seating area. This of course left me with a problem: how do I get back to Bolton Hill?

I’m sure I could look up where the nearest bus stop that would take me past Penn Station was, but I didn’t like the idea of waiting all alone on a darkened street in an unfamiliar neighborhood for an indefinite amount of time. I could have called a cab, but then I realized I had already walked almost 2 blocks which meant I had nearly gone halfway to the northern boundary of Station North without even realizing it.

Station North isn’t known as the safest neighborhood in the city (though it has improved greatly even since I’ve moved here), but I made it to North Avenue without any trouble. I was a bit cold, but the relatively light nighttime traffic meant crossing the end of the Howard Street easier than I anticipated.

I opened the door to the apartment, and the first thing I saw upon entering the apartment was the LED time on the microwave in the darkened kitchen. It was 12:05am, and I was dog-tired. Yes, even “criminals” need to sleep sometimes.

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Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charles Village, theatre, writing | 1 Comment

It takes a village: Part 1

I left the apartment shortly after 5pm, and made my way over to the cab stand at Penn Station. Surprisingly enough, there was no line so I was sent off immediately. The problem was: I had no real clue where I wanted to go. All I knew was I was going to see a play in Charles Village at 8pm.

I get out of the cab, go to the ATM at Hopkins Square, and the bank doors are locked. I turn around and find a young man in a JHU shirt coming down the stairs; he asks if the ATM is locked. I tell him yes, and he pulls out a card (I couldn’t tell what kind), swipes it at a reader next to the door and it opened instantly. Honestly, I was impressed, but he acted as if it was nothing.

I tried following him inside, but found he was holding the door for me. Frankly, if you’ve read this blog, you know I’m not used to this kind of treatment. I was bracing myself for some sort of robbery or other ulterior motive, but all he said was “no, really, you were here first.”

That was it, and there I was just me getting all paranoid over nothing. It was almost surreal. I left the bank, and headed back up the stairs to the Ruby Tuesday on the corner. It was only sit-down restaurant in the area, and it was “closed.”

I check my smart phone to see if I could find any other restaurants in the immediate area. As I’m walking, I can a commotion up ahead, but paid no attention to it and kept scrolling through the list of pizza and noodle shops.

I get to the area where the scene is taking place, a man was yelling at an officer for pulling him over. Nope, Subway, Quiznos, Starbucks, Chipotle…and I check the light and traffic and the second my left foot left the curb…

“HEY, YOU, GET OVER HERE – NOW!”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

I turn around, and the cop is standing there pointing at me with a come here, hurry up gesture. The man he was originally ticketing is still screaming at him in the middle of the street.

“ID,” I dutifully hand it over, and he dutifully copies everything onto his tablet. I knew darn well he was doing it to appease his other capture, but he went on with a patronizing lecture anyway.

“Are you aware, ‘Mr. Jonathan Adam Twiggar,’ that 325 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in the past year – 12 of them fatally? So, we are here to prevent any further casualties and that is why I am issuing you this criminal citation for failure to obey a pedestrian signal.”

“My foot never-“

“You can argue with the judge. I’m here to make sure that you are not number 13. Do you understand the charges made against you?”

Not really, but why make myself sound dumber than I already do? He tears the ticket off and goes onto a standard explain about how I’ll receive a summons to appear in court at which time I’d be given a chance to give my side of the story…or I can avoid all of that hassle by simply writing a check to the city.

“Great,” I sighed. “Once again, me the one who stands at the curb until the signal changes, even when others laugh at me for doing so because there is no traffic and no cops around is getting a ticket for ‘jaywalking.’”

“I understand that,” he said flatly. “But here is you ticket. Have a nice evening.”

That’s one problem created, and another two left wide open. I still hungry, but more importantly I had two hours and twenty-one minutes to fill before the show started.

The opposite side of the crosswalk from the cop with the angry traffic violator – sorry, alleged traffic violator – was a Chipotle, and, as usual, the line stretched all the way to the door. The queue alone should eat at least 15 minutes, but it was only 10 when I got the counter.

I ordered my three steak tacos with cheese, and when the girl at the end of the counter asked if “that was it?” I answered “yes” with a sweeping gesture towards the cashier. That’s when she grabbed a handful of lettuce and dropped some into each shell.

“What are you doing?”

“I asked if you wanted lettuce. You said ‘yes.’ So I’m putting it on like you said.”

“You asked if ‘that was it,’ and I said ‘yes.’”

She made this irritated face, and tossed the food into the trash. I’ve worked food service before so I know how hard it can be, but I wasn’t mean to her at all. Another line woman comes back and remakes the order without lettuce. I sorta felt bad for momentarily stopping up the line, but I got no audible complaints.

I took a set of open tables near the back wall, sat my food on one and the ticket on the other and eat my quick service dinner. I now had one hour and thirty-six minutes before the show so I went to the Starbucks immediately next door.

It had no line so I was able to get my drink rather quickly, but it also had no Wi-Fi either so I had little to do while sitting in there. At least the staff was friendly even adding a smiley face to my cup. It was a nice gesture, but it wasn’t quite enough to lift my spirits.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charles Village, retail, theatre | Leave a comment

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