Travel


  |  SHARE:        |  
BMA 100th Anniversary Gala and Party




It was a night to remember at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which recently hosted its 100th Anniversary Gala and the Party of the Century in celebration of the museum’s centennial, as well as the newly renovated Dorothy McIlvain Scott American Wing. Both sold-out events, Gala and Party guests entered the BMA on Nov. 15 through the reopened historic Merrick Entrance. In their finest black tie, Gala guests enjoyed cocktails and music by the New Legacy Jazz Band, while Party guests enjoyed drinks, savory dishes and desserts and—most importantly—danced the night away. To plan your next trip to the revitalized museum (no gown or tuxedo required), visit artbma.org—and don’t forget the brand new BMA Shop, including fun finds for holiday shopping, like those found in STYLE’s 2014 Gift Guide.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Globe Trotting
By Ian Zelaya

When Caleb Luke Lin studied illustration at MICA, he realized he preferred to depict literal rather than interpretive information. “I enjoy taking concrete points of data and conveying them in an artistic sense,” says the 23-year-old, who designed this eye-popping hand-painted Globe of Animal Migration Routes—a nod to his passion for biodiversity. Lin researched how far and for what purpose certain animals traveled. “I didn’t know some birds go from the Arctic to the Antarctic every single year, and how far into the Arctic Circle whales will go to eat krill,” he says. While the globe is one-of-a-kind, he also sells gorgeously illustrated Baltimore maps and accessories at Trohv in Hampden, where (if you hurry) you can pick up this beauty for $500. Trohv, 921 W. 36th St., 410-366-3456, trohvshop.com

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Central Perk
At CUPs Coffeehouse in Hollins Market, the young employees are brewing with potential.
By Andrew Zaleski

James Stewart is showing off his shoes, a pair of Reebok sneakers almost as new as the ink needled into his biceps. On his right arm is the number 9, and on the left the number 7, stitched together to signify the year the 17-year-old Digital Harbor High School student was born. Underneath the 9 is “Paula”—his mother’s name, and one made all the more important because she didn’t have to buy him his tattoos.

“I’m buying most of my stuff. I got nice sneakers on right now. I got a lot of nice stuff, so I’ve got to work to get nice stuff,” he says. “I can’t keep going to my mother.”

Using his own money is a point of pride for Stewart, who, on this particular Friday afternoon, is wearing only one article of clothing he didn’t have to buy: his CUPs Coffeehouse shirt. It’s Stewart’s first job, and while barista isn’t a position he intends to carry long-term, working at this small, corner coffee shop in Baltimore’s Hollins Market neighborhood has not only made his wallet a bit fatter; it also has helped him grow up in and out of school, he says.

“I never had any work experience. Working, believe it or not, it gets you mature,” says Stewart. “Now in school I don’t get in trouble. I come to the school with a whole different demeanor. I come to school ready to work.”

The shop itself is owned and operated by Holly Gray, an ebullient woman in her late 30s who moved to Hollins Market about 12 years ago and founded CUPs two years back.

“I was constantly frustrated by the fact that there was nowhere for me to go if I wanted to grab a cup of coffee or just meet with a group of friends,” she says.

But the coffeehouse serves a secondary, more significant purpose. A nonprofit coffee shop, CUPs is an extension of the volunteer work Gray did tutoring teen-age girls through an after-school program at Monroe Street United Methodist Church. During that time, she would eventually open her house and invite the girls to work on homework there.

At CUPs, a similar vibe pervades, as children and teens from the neighborhood travel in and out to purchase lunch or a drink, spend time drawing or grab a book from the shop’s library and read.  The most intriguing action is happening behind the counter.

Gray exclusively hires teens and adults between 16 and 24 who are transitioning out of foster home care or considered at-risk—potential victims to the perils of street violence and drug-dealing. Her employees, seven baristas right now, take life-skills classes twice a month in financial literacy, resume writing and more. They also complete eight hours of community service in the Hollins Market neighborhood every month. Stewart, who started working at CUPs in August 2013, spends his time in a neighborhood rain garden steps away from the shop on South Arlington Avenue.

“They all really struggle with confidence, with the ability to speak to people that are unfamiliar,” Gray says of the kids she has hired. During CUPs’ first year of operation, she says all 12 of her employees had been physically attacked, at home, in the neighborhood or at school. “They carry around these things. Inwardly they feel beat down.”

So far Gray hasn’t drawn a salary from CUPs—all the money the shop makes goes toward paying her employees—and keeping the lights on and the Zeke’s Coffee brewing. The ultimate goal is to have her employees spend a year at CUPs, and then find full-time employment elsewhere or pursue their education.

“I had my first job when I was 14,” says Gray. “I had all those opportunities and I could develop and follow that path to success, and those just weren’t readily available here.”

Stewart knows his time at the shop is almost up, but he’s ready for the next step. The eldest of three, he’s been the man of the house for 11 years, looking out for his mother and younger sisters. He sets aside a portion of his wages for his family. After graduating high school, he plans to head to community college and begin studying to become a registered nurse. The future’s uncertain, but the sandwich wraps he’s made and the cups of coffee he’s poured have done more than give him some pocket money.

“You can grow up in a community like this and still make it somewhere—that’s what Miss Holly does,” he says. “She’ll give you a chance.” 

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Can't Miss This Bus
By Ian Zelaya




Dodge the rain on the B, take a selfie on the U or lay back and relax on the S. Needless to say, waiting for the bus has gotten a little less boring on South East Avenue in Highlandtown, thanks to the creation of the most obvious (yet brilliant) bus stop of all time. The three 14-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide sculptures went viral when first unveiled in front of the Creative Alliance in July, as part of the initiative TRANSIT–Creative Placemaking with Europe in Baltimore. Created by Madrid-based artist collective mmmm, the wood and steel structure is its second U.S. installation, serving as an effective bus stop, but also designed to stand out as a quirky, signature piece of Baltimore art. “We love the people in Baltimore. They like to work, and to party,” says mmmm’s Eva Salmerón. “The city has a lot of personality. It reminds us of Madrid in a way, as both are open cities where everybody is welcome.”

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Naughty or Nice
By Christopher Corbett

The words “naughty or nice” actually only appear once in the popular Christmas song “Santa Claus is Coming (or Comin’) to Town,” which observes its 80th season to be jolly this year. It’s a secular little ditty. No mention of the Birthday Boy in this tune, no siree. No references to the Nazarene. It might be Baby Jesus’ big day but you’d never know it from this number. The word “Christmas” only appears once in the last bit of the song and that is the part that is never sung. That makes it perfect for malls and elevators or wherever the songs of the season blast and bray.

Just a holly jolly song that anyone can enjoy. Right? “Naughty or nice” promises the sauciness of an old Vargas drawing, a harmless pinup. A wink! The song is perfect in a time when so many worry about giving offense. Probably not. But the actual words of “Santa Claus is Coming (or Comin’) to Town” bear examination.

Consider the ominous opening: “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.”

That’s a little scary if you think about it—and it gets us off to an alarming start. Someone is singing that to a child? A child who believes in Santa Claus? This is plainly some sort of warning. A threat. If you just read these words—as opposed to hearing them sung—they’d give you a scare, I think.

“He’s making a list?”

What’s that sound like?

“He’s checking it twice?”

Do I have to spell this out for you?

“He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.”

How’s he going to do that? Mmmmm?

Oh, don’t you worry about how. But he IS going to find out one way or another—and, when he does… That’s left to the imagination, which I imagine could be running wild in the mind of an impressionable child.

There is something decidedly not-so-jolly about that language. Father Christmas? Saint Nicholas? Or Big Brother?

Speaking of which, I once read a writer invoking George Orwell in musing on these lyrics. But Orwell had not begun his classic novel “1984” when J. Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie composed this number in 1934. Perhaps Coots and Gillespie inspired Orwell?

Eddie Cantor was the first singer. Their song was an immediate hit. Still is.

Entertainers from Frank Sinatra to the Partridge Family to Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton, Kenny G, Rod Stewart, the Jackson 5 and Dora the Explorer have all covered it. Tommy Dorsey and the Andrews Sisters, too. Plus, Gary U.S. Bonds and Merle Haggard and Bing Crosby (no surprise there). And don’t forget about Justin Bieber. Actually, please do.

I like the Drifters version, it’s a little eerie. Or you can try the Jamaica All-Stars, Liberace or some festive fellow called DJ Klaus Noel. I think that’s house music?

You’ll hear this song a lot this holiday season. At first blush, it seems safe and secular. Of course. Just a playful holiday jingle. Couldn’t possibly offend.

Understandable, though, for someone to make that Orwell connection. That’s no stretch. “Santa Claus is Coming (Or Comin’) to Town” is certainly a Santa for a dystopia—an Orwell or Huxley Santa. A Santa for “1984” or “Brave New World.” Not so much fa, la, la, la, la as auto-da-fe.

“He sees you when you’re sleeping.”

He does? Yikes! 

“He knows when you’re awake.”

Is this the North Pole or North Korea? Where’s Edward Snowden when we need him?

“He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.”

Or what? And how does he know these things? Cell phone records?

This is a Christmas song? I don’t think so.

But let’s face the facts, shall we? Santa Claus IS coming to town. Anyone can tell you that. We’ve been aware of his pending arrival since sometime in late summer when Santa’s little helpers at the CVS started hauling out the Christmas stuff.

The actual holiday is really only one day, if you think about it. But it’s also a season. A whole season. And a long one, too. There’s nothing you can do but accept it and decide to keep Christmas in your own way. I suppose in the privacy of your own home you might even use the word “Christmas.” But whatever you do, I urge you to listen closely to the lyrics.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Name Change
Southern Draw
By Martha Thomas



Plenty of Baltimoreans remember Ixia, the flamboyantly decorated restaurant and lounge on Charles Street in Mount Vernon. Others recall Louie’s Bookstore Café, the soothing hangout that preceded Ixia. But most folks’ memories stop there. “People kept coming in and asking about the history of the building,” says Ezra Tilaye, owner of Ware House 518, which replaces his previous restaurant Crème in the same space. Originally a private home, the building became a furniture store called Ware and Company in 1923. (“The restaurant’s name is a pun,” he points out.)

Décor is austere, with distressed wood floors, reclaimed wood tables and cowhide backed booths. Chef Chris Vocci’s menu is Southern fare locally sourced. Crème in Washington, D.C., which Tilaye also co-owns, is a popular soul food spot, but “the concept never caught on in Baltimore,” he says. “I’ll admit when we came here, we didn’t know the city.”

What’s he learned? “Baltimore loves a story—especially loves a story about Baltimore.”

518 N. Charles St. 443-869-3381, warehouse518.com

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Skiing the Blues
A free-spirited writer revisits Crested Butte—this time with daughter in tow.
By Martha Thomas



Spring break at Crested Butte in Colorado is all blue, the deep azure of a sky against white snow so bright on a sunny day it’s nearly impossible to take it all in without a pair of Maui Jims. They’re called bluebird days, when the sky matches the blue square that designates a trail with no surprises. My daughter is cruising without a care, and I’m relieved to stay in the blue boundaries, hoping that the cortisone pumped into my arthritic hip survives the week.

The last time I was in Crested Butte, the skies were pewter gray and the trails we skied weren’t marked. I don’t remember a ray of sunlight during the two days I visited the funky nascent ski resort with my college roommate Alex. We drove into the tiny town center, past false-fronted wood buildings reminiscent of a Hollywood Western, looking for a guy she knew from Outward Bound who worked on the ski patrol. We’d traveled over the Monarch Pass from Boulder in a blizzard, furrowing through the drifts in her Land Cruiser, its tires outfitted with chains. We figured Fredo would let us crash at his cabin. We didn’t have enough money for lift tickets, but hoped to follow our host up and down the hill on skinny skis.

Steve Monfredo, who lived on the side of a mountain that faced the ski area, was good at just about everything he tried, Alex had told me. We were hoping for tips on telemarking, the ski technique that Fredo made look so easy, knees bending to the snow as if he were
Nijinsky taking a deep bow after Le Sacre du Printemps.

Crested Butte has changed mightily in the 30 years since Alex and I slept on the floor by Fredo’s woodstove, after wolfing down the quesadillas he stuffed with black beans from a can. We got stoned and read poetry in the light of a gas lamp. I wrote in my Laura Ashley journal before zipping into my sleeping bag in anticipation of the fire dying during the night.

On our spring break trip last year, my (then) 14-year-old daughter Mary and I camped in the guestroom of our Baltimore friends’ sun-filled house a few feet from the mountain resort’s shuttle bus stop. Our friends, John Segal and Christy Schoedel, have decorated their getaway with paintings and pottery from galleries down the hill in the arty village of Crested Butte, and with photographs by John’s son Chris, who works as a photographer and videographer for the mountain resort. They took us out for meals of sushi and grass-fed beef; we drank craft cocktails and craft beer. Mary and I slept between flannel sheets decorated with pictures of moose, in a rough-hewn bunk bed made by a local woodworker. And this time, we had lift tickets.

The town of Crested Butte, which began its life as a supply center for the surrounding mining camps in Gunnison County, was incorporated in 1880. At the time, the region was the center of Colorado’s mountain coal production.

Duane Vandenbusche, a local historian and professor at nearby Western University, remembers its evolution as a ski town. A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, he came out to teach at nearby Western State in 1962, the year after the first T-bar was installed near what is now the West Wall. He’d never been on skis in his life. He bought a pair of Heads with cable bindings, lace-up boots and long thongs to keep the boot in place. His first run—an easy pitch—took five hours, what with falling every 50 yards, struggling to get up and put his skis back on. “Now I do that run in about three minutes,” he laughs. At 77, he skis on newer shaped skis, but wears a frayed cotton turtleneck and thick knit Norwegian sweater that looks as if it dates to the era of his old Head Standards.

We began our week of skiing at the very spot Vandenbusche first tackled the slopes, though today there’s a high-speed chair to whisk us up the mountain. These days there are 15 lifts and more than 1,500 skiable acres. And while the mountain maintains its reputation as a place for the hardcore, more than half of the 121 trails at Crested Butte are rated for intermediate skiers.

I’m content to explore these, skiing carefully, my arms holding an imaginary dinner tray in front of me, poles angled nicely behind. My feet are spaced hip-width, a yoga-style stance anathema to the knees-pinned-together form I learned in the 1970s.

Crested Butte the resort and the town itself layer the old with the new. The resort has terrain parks for snowboarders and claims to have birthed mountain biking, when cyclists rode their retrofitted balloon-tire Schwinns down the slopes 40 years ago. The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame was established in Crested Butte, but moved to Fairfax, Calif., earlier this year, and summers find the extremists transitioning from boards and skins to knobby tires.

The false-fronted buildings along Elk Avenue—Crested Butte’s main street—now house galleries and restaurants. On our first night, we had delicious comfort food at the West End Public House, the town’s first gastropub, opened in 2010. We also ate at Lil’s Sushi Bar, a sophisticated spot with a long bar proffering saki and prickly pear margaritas along with its expertly prepared sushi and Japanese robatayaki.

Our hosts also made coveted reserv- ations at Uley’s restaurant, a log cabin on the side of the mountain accessible by Snow Cat (see sidebar).

One afternoon, Mary and I quit skiing a little early and took the shuttle into town to explore the shops and galleries. We visited the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, tucked in the back of an old hardware store (that also happens to have been the town’s first gas station). We looked at pricey ski pants, handmade jewelry and local art. Mary bought a print from a local photographer, Dusty Demerson. The photo shows the pastel painted wooden buildings on Elk Avenue shot at dawn after a snowfall.

Duane Vandenbusche—who had Steve Monfredo as a student, and often skied with him before the lifts opened in the morning—still hits the slopes a few times a week. Crested Butte “has always been on the cutting edge in terms of skiing, climbing and doing outdoor things,” he says. “It’s never lost that character.”

Riding up a lift, I see a skier who looks like an exotic bird, his arms outstretched, dipping low, his back knee practically grazing the ankle of the leg in front. He rises in a slow-motion leap like a dancer to turn, coming down in the same elegant genuflection on the other side. Look, I nudge Mary. Isn’t that beautiful? I used to telemark, but not so gracefully, I tell her. No way could I do it now, with this hip.

Fredo died in 1987, just a couple of years after Alex and I visited him. He was climbing on Mount Communism in what was then the Soviet Union. His friend Mark Udall (now a Colorado senator), carried him down the mountain after Fredo suffered a pulmonary edema. It turns out, he’d had scarlet fever as a child—a detail of his life even he may not have known—and his heart never fully recovered.

Crested Butte has a run called Fredo’s on the north side, out of the sun. It’s a double black diamond, so we didn’t ski it. Not this trip. But maybe Mary will return someday and ski Fredo’s, maybe with her best friend from college.

Planning your trip

Crested Butte took first place in Powder magazine’s 2014 Ski Town Throwdown. Visit downtowncrestedbutte.com for the inside scoop on arts, culture and special events, including the Crested Butte Songwriters Festival (Jan. 15-19). For ski-and-stay packages, go to skicb.com. United Airlines offers daily flights from BWI to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (with stops in Denver). Transportation from Gunnison to Crested Butte is available via the Alpine Express. alpineexpressshuttle.com

The must-do mountain meal

During the day, Uley’s Cabin, which sits off the International run, is open for lunch and drinks at its popular “ice bar”—named for an earlier incarnation that was actually carved each season from ice. During the winter months, Uley’s also serves dinner after the lifts have closed. Diners bundle up to ride the Snow Cat to the cozy cabin with rough-hewn walls decorated with antique tools for a prix-fixe five-course meal of Colorado specialties by chef Chris Schlaudecker. On the night we visited last March, entrées included local short ribs with roasted Yukon potatoes, farm-raised duck with cherry and mushroom risotto and Norwegian salmon with beurre blanc and lentils. The wine-pairing suggestions were spot on; dessert was white chocolate apple bread pudding. We dined by candlelight. skicb.com/uleys

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Skinny Supper
Farewell Food Court
By Martha Thomas



Everything about Seasons 52 at the Mall in Columbia is alluring: seasonal dishes presented with aesthetic flair, mindful of color, flavor and texture. The restaurant décor is rustic chic, with stone-accented walls and wooden wine bins, hundreds of glasses suspended above the bar. The place offers 52 wines by the glass—chosen by co-owner and master sommelier George Miliotes. And here’s the best part: Entrees all purport to be 475 calories or less.

Mind you, this is a chain. There are close to 50 Seasons 52 branches throughout the U.S., comfortably at home in shopping malls and the type of Towne Center that pipes music from speakers hidden in the shrubbery.

But if you find yourself in such a place—say, shopping for holiday gifts—and your feet are dragging and you really, really need a glass of pinot, I’ll wager the boneless rainbow trout or roasted quail with mushroom risotto stuffing will make you much happier than the best TGI Fridays has to offer. Plus, the “mini indulgences”—small portions of sweets like blueberries and lemon curd or Belgian chocolate s’mores—won’t wreck your diet.

10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, 410-715-1152, seasons52.com

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Hot Spot
Pizza Pizza
By Martha Thomas


There are similarities between the new Birroteca in Bel Air and the original on Clipper Road in Baltimore. The youthful wait staff wear plaid shirts and seem genuinely invested in your happiness. Plates and cutlery are
replaced between courses. And the Duck Duck Goose Pizza, a Birroteca staple, comes perched on a pizza stand, the glistening goose egg yolk bright yellow as ever.

But Birroteca in the ‘burbs, a dozen miles north of the beltway, lives in a squat, nondescript building that resembles a fast food joint. That doesn’t mean the new spot won’t be a success. Owner Robbin Haas has a track record when it comes to picking locations—in Baltimore he turned two previously troubled spots into busy, vibrant neighborhood hangouts (Nickel Taphouse is the second). He hopes to do the same for this former Bill Bateman’s.

“The economic climate in Harford County is great,” says Haas. “There are a lot of restaurants in [the area], but not a lot of restaurants like us.”

1226 Belair Road, Bel Air, 443-981-3141, bmorebirroteca.com

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Now Serving
whiskey on the water
By Martha Thomas

Jamie Hubbard had been eyeing the building at the corner of Aliceanna and Wolfe for years. He ran the bar at Jack’s Bistro and would talk with David Munyon, who worked in the kitchen, about opening a place of their own. He jumped ship to manage One-Eyed Mike’s, a neighborhood insiders’ fave known for its Grand Marnier Club—now some 2,000 members strong. Meanwhile, he kept watching the nearby spot occupied by a corner dive called Pearls, owned for nearly half a century by the same family.

In July—after “a deep cleaning,” according to Hubbard—the team, Hubbard, Munyon and “One-Eyed” Mike Maraziti, opened Lobo, a food-centric bar that he describes as “heavy on the whiskey.”

There’s also plenty of beer on tap—much of it local, along with a selection of German and Belgian suds. The food menu will promote sharing. There’s a nightly chef’s board with charcuterie and pickled things and a list of 10 to 15 sandwiches with meats roasted in-house. It’s certain to become another locals’ favorite. 1900 Aliceanna St., 410-327-0303

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Drink Me
Christmas Past


From chestnuts on an open fire to Santa’s cookies to that menacing mistletoe, holiday traditions offer us comfort and joy—and the chance to reimagine longtime favorites. This cocktail is a twist on a classic: The Old
Fashioned—adding a bit of smoke, spice and intrigue.

2 oz Breaker Bourbon Whisky
.5 oz Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Ghost Pepper Chili Simple Syrup
3 oz DRY Soda Co. Vanilla Bean soda

Combine Breaker Bourbon Whisky, Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and top with Vanilla Bean DRY Soda. Garnish with a large orange zest.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
December Get Out


Lonely Boys


They may not be the flashiest rockers on the planet—Stephen Colbert refers to them as “Beardy and Glasses”—but The Black Keys’ music speaks for itself. The Grammy-winning, indie-garage sensation from Akron, Ohio, is bringing its second world tour to Baltimore to promote “Turn Blue,” the dynamic duo’s eighth studio album. Composed of skilled drummer (and sarcastic Twitter sensation) Patrick Carney and bluesy vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach, the Keys have been together since 2001, but rose to prominence in 2010 with “Brothers,” a near-perfect release that provided supremely catchy fodder for seemingly every TV commercial, sporting event and cable show that year. If you haven’t heard “Gold on the Ceiling” either you’ve been living under a rock—or we need to curate more of your entertainment choices. Dec. 4, at Royal Farms Arena. Tickets, $32-$80. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com —Ian Zelaya

Making Headlines


Hot off the presses (and Broadway), the cast of Newsies is hitting the streets and headed to Baltimore. The Tony Award-winning Disney production captivates audiences with its high-energy song-and-dance numbers and heartwarming story. Dec. 2-7, at the Hippodrome. Tickets, $39-$169. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com —Kieran Butler

Bmore Merry

A traditional, family favorite is getting a Charm City twist when director Ian Gallanar takes audiences to Baltimore’s 19th-century business district though his artistic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Dec. 2-23, at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. Tickets, $15-$48. 410-244-8570, chesapeakeshakespeare.com —K.B.

Sweet Baby James

American classic James Taylor is bringing his folksy blues sound Baltimore for one night of tear-and cheer-inducing favorites. Dec. 2, at Royal Farms Arena. Tickets, $81-$103. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com —K.B.

Tempting Fame

Experiencing a case of writer’s block and desperate for his next big hit, famous playwright Sidney Bruhl is faced with temptation when a former student shows him the play that could put his career back on track—that is, if the manuscript was his. A thrilling production that will have you on the edge of your seat, Deathtrap will keep you guessing until the last moment. Dec. 10-Jan. 11, at Everyman Theatre. Tickets, $34-$60. 410-752-2208, everymantheatre.org —K.B.

Fine Arts

Get crafty at the MICA Art Market, a pop-up shop where you can pick up glorious gifts, including paintings, ceramics, jewelry, textiles and more, all created by MICA students, alumni, faculty and staff. Dec. 10-13, at Brown Center’s Leidy Atrium and Falvey Hall. Free admission. 410-225-2280, mica.edu —K.B.

Festive Feud

We’ve all been there—a lovely holiday get-together suddenly turns into a feud about whose mashed potatoes are fluffier or how long you’re actually supposed to cook the ham. Enjoy a little schadenfreude at Holidrama! Part Deux, Stoop Storytelling’s annual fete where locals share seven-minute holiday stories that range from horrible to hysterical to heartwarming (or all three). Dec. 15, at Center Stage. Tickets, $20. 410-332-0033, stoopstorytelling.com —K.B.

Childhood Retold

Seven artists tell stories of their childhood and teenage years in Juvenescence, an art exhibit featuring video, paintings, photography and more to transport viewers back to the emotions and struggles of going through adolescence. Through Dec. 7, at the Silber Art Gallery at Goucher College. Free admission. 410-337-6477, goucher.edu —K.B.

Amateur Hour

Listen in as the BSO teams up with amateur artists in this year’s Rusty Musicians, which invites non-professionals to play alongside the world-class orchestra for a free concert that is open to the public. Under the direction of BSO assistant conductor Nicholas Hersh, the un-auditioned string, brass, wind and percussion instrumentalists will perform “Polonaise” from Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Christmas Eve” and other holiday inspired selections. Dec 17, at the Meyerhoff. 410-783-8000, bsomusic.org —K.B.

X-Rated Xmas

Baltimore is obsessed with John Waters—and John Waters is obsessed with Christmas, which makes for a jolly old time, when the “Hairspray” director brings back his critically acclaimed one-man holiday show (aptly titled A John Waters Christmas) to his hometown for a public display of naughtiness. Dec. 19, at Baltimore Soundstage. Tickets, $40-$45. 877-987-6487, ticketfly.com —K.B.

Green Christmas

No matter what color your thumb, luxuriate in holiday splendor at Ladew Gardens’ Christmas Open House. Walk through the 1746 manor to see how each room unfolds with decorations inspired by this year’s “dreamy” theme. Dec. 12-14. Tickets, $4-$10. 410-557-9570, ladewgardens.com —K.B.

Like A Virgin

Bringing together more than 60 pieces of artwork from museums and private collections in the United States and Europe, Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea explores how the image of the Virgin Mary was portrayed by Renaissance and Baroque artists, including Michelangelo, Botticelli and Sirani. Dec. 5-April 12, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C. Tickets, $8-$10. 202-783-5000, nmwa.org —I.Z.

Men in Tights

Elves aren’t the only ones donning spandex this season. Cirque Dreams Holidaze promises dazzling acrobatics, dancing gingerbread and as much cheer as you can muster while sucking in your abs watching the company’s super-svelte performers make merry. Dec. 26-28, at The Lyric. Tickets, $49-$69. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com —I.Z.

Sugar Plum Fairies

It almost wouldn’t be Christmas without the tale of Clara, the Mouse King and The Nutcracker Prince as 120 students from Baltimore School for the Arts and TWIGS after-school and weekend programs team up with the BSO to perform the holiday classic. Conducted by maestro Robert Bernhardt and choreographed by Boston Ballet executive director Barry Hughson. Dec. 19-21, at The Lyric. Tickets, $26-$67. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com —K.B.

Feeling Whiskey

Belly up for a Rye Whiskey Tasting in this special edition of The Walters Art Museum’s “Make Night” series, where you can learn about the art, history and economics of rye whiskey in Maryland —and, of course, sample the goods. Cheers! Dec. 18, at The Walters. Tickets, $45 members, $50 non-members. 410-547-9000, thewalters.org —K.B.

Funny Business

From high school dropout to Emmy Award-winning humorist, Paula Poundstone has been hitting the pavement for more than 25 years—performing her signature brand of smart comedy, serving as first woman to perform stand-up at the prestigious White House Correspondents Dinner, and making NPR nerds swoon as a panelist on the beloved quiz show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” See her live on Dec. 12, at Rams Head On Stage. Tickets, $40. 410-268-4545, ramsheadonstage.com —Jessica Bizik

Downton Diva

Believe or not, the prim and proper American heiress Cora (aka the Countess of Grantham from “Downton Abbey”) knows how to rock out. When she’s not wowing us in her 1920s gowns, actress Elizabeth McGovern stuns onstage as the lead singer of Sadie and the Hotheads, an eclectic, seven-person band that’s embarking on its first U.S. tour. Dec. 9, at Rams Head On Stage. Tickets, $45. 410-268-4545, ramsheadonstage.com —I.Z.

Getting Groovy

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to boogie. Catch a screening of Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America before experiencing your own soul train and dancing the night away to the sounds of DJ Graham Hatke’s funky beats. Dec. 11, at Creative Alliance. Tickets, $9 members, $12 non-members. 410-276-1651, creativealliance.org—K.B.

Looking Around

Having spent four months in Florence finding inspiration through her photographs, South African born and educated artist Jo Smail presents her new series of paintings Leaning Over the Edge of the Moon on display at Goya Contemporary through Jan. 28. 410-366-2001, goyacontemporary.com —K.B.

Tune In

Take a holiday journey that will leave you in a feel-good mood with a Christmas attitude. Come watch the Joe Landry adaptation It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, inspired by the Frank Capra classic. Through Dec. 21, at Center Stage. Tickets, $19-$64. 410-332-0033, centerstage.org —K.B.

Great Day

The Fresh Beat Band is coming to Charm City with their energetic, kid-friendly tour. The Nickelodeon band is perfect for your little ones to sing and dance along to, with hit singles such as “Here We Go” and “A Friend Like You.” Dec. 19, at the Meyerhoff. Tickets, $37-158. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com —K.B.

Cool Sculpting

Immerse yourself in the works of acclaimed sculptors Lorenzo Quinn, Larry Schueckler and Tolla, and other emerging artists at Objects of Desire, Dec. 1-20, at Renaissance Fine Arts in Cross Keys. 410-484-8900, renaissancefinearts.com —K.B.

City That Reads

Critically acclaimed author Azar Nafisi (of “Reading Lolita in Tehran” fame) defends her position that Americans really do care about books in The Republic of the Imagination. Prove her right at a free reading at The Ivy Bookshop, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. —J.B.

American Girls

Lessons Learned: American Schoolgirl Embroideries presents artwork from girls attending school along the East Coast in the 18th and 19th centuries. The textiles include scenes of landscapes, literary and biblical scenes, giving us a peek into life during early American civilization. Through May 2015, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 443-573-1700, artbma.org —K.B.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
STYLE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Fifty Shades of Success
Naughty writers are playing nice (at least with each other) in the hopes of dominating the romance market.
By Betsy Boyd / Photographs by Justin Tsucalas

Five years ago, D.C. attorney Robin Covington (not her real name), then 40, told her lawyer hubby she was going to sit down and write a romance novel, something she’d talked about doing forever. Rather romantically, he offered to buy her any laptop she wanted if she completed the manuscript. That was her single goal, to finish the damn thing.

“My first novel was a romance about a soap opera actress and a cop,” Covington says. (Like many romance genre authors, her regal pen name is devised both for personal protection and dramatic enhancement.) “I finished it in six months. It was bad!”

But Covington, now 45, was infatuated with the genre and wanted to keep writing, so she did some research and joined the Maryland chapter of Romance Writers of America, or MRW, where she fell at first sight for the professional women she encountered and said yes! to an assortment of writing workshops and a cracking peer critique exchange.

“When you go to the monthly MRW group meeting and say, ‘I got another rejection’ and you’re sitting next to a New York Times best-seller, who says, ‘I got 150 rejections,’ you feel better,” Covington says.

“We want to encourage people, that’s the whole point,” says MRW President Christi Barth, 44, a prolific Harlequin author by night, who works in advancement at MICA by day. Barth publishes under her real name, incidentally, though she says she doesn’t broadcast her second career at MICA. Two of her Harlequin/ Carina Press novels, “Love on the Boardwalk” and “Love at High Tide,” happen to feature a pair of Ocean City buddy cops.

“Writing romance is a very solitary profession. You’re sitting on your couch working till 2 in the morning,” Barth says. “We start every meeting by having writers—there are 82 members, 80 of whom are female—go around the room and share news. ‘Did you submit a query letter? Did you get a request for a partial manuscript? A full?’ Every month, people clap, even if you got a rejection.”

Inevitable rejections aside, MRW authors seem to feel the group love and find it easier to keep plugging away at their craft.

In 2014 alone, Covington will publish seven novels. She self-published “Temptation,” her second in the New Adult category (books for and about early 20-somethings)—making what she calls “really good money” for it. She had already published six novels through Entangled Covet, a paranormal romance subgenre imprint.

The two other central subgenres in this market are contemporary and historical romance, but each contains many subsets. Highlands romance, for example, dwells in historical, while werewolves and fantasy are subsets of the paranormal realm. “Mature” romance, within the contemporary category, cooks up saucier love scenes than most. The list continues…

While she’s not a best-seller and hasn’t quit her successful day job—“We like vacations and I want to pay for most of my kids’ college,” she says—Covington’s story is an undeniably successful one. She’s currently working on a new romance series set in Fells Point and recently signed with a literary agent she met via a fellow novelist.

Happy endings (hey, don’t interpret that dirtily) aren’t uncommon for hardworking writers in the sizzling romance genre, the industry that in 2013 raked in $1.08 billion, second only in total sales to the thriller genre’s $1.09 billion, and bankrolls ahead of literary fiction’s $548 million.

Eighty-four percent of romance authors in this country are women, 16 percent men, and they range in age from 30 to 54. Average income from writing: $55,000. (One author interviewed confessed to earning just shy of seven figures since she started publishing in 2011.) Fifty-one percent of romance books are paperbacks; 38 percent are e-books (which sometimes go to print when sales sky-rocket); 10 percent are hardcover; and 1 percent are audio.

The longtime lucrative genre is also notoriously ahead of its time in terms of publishing strategies and consumer responsiveness.

“Romance is always on the leading edge of publishing,” says Owings Mills-based romance, paranormal and historical romance novelist Stephanie Dray, 43, one of those best-seller-types in the MRW. (Note: Dray is her real name; she’s Stephanie Draven when she writes straight romance.) “We’re about three years ahead of every other genre in marketing and the algorithms of Amazon, packaging, trends, social media. Romance writers are more willing to engage and share information with one another—and their very clued-in readers are more likely to follow them online.

“When romance writers self-publish they know what they’re doing,” Dray explains. “For a book about a ménage à trois, maybe you’ve got two men and a woman on the cover. But where the woman is tells the readers what kind of [relationship] they have. If she’s off to the side, the two men are involved with each other; if she’s in the middle she’s the star. Romance readers know this. General fiction is harder to classify and to market.”

Of course, there’s another key element at play in this billion-dollar killing spree. “Fifty Shades of Grey”—the E.L. James novel originally published as an e-book by an Australian press, The Writer’s Coffee Shop, and quickly sent to print by Random House—figures heavily in the feel-so-good story. And with the   much-hyped “Fifty Shades” movie coming out on Feb. 13, the impact of James’ titillating series on the market is poised to surge anew.

“‘Fifty Shades’ created a rather rabid readership,” says best-selling Annapolis-based novelist Laura Kaye. “The book mainstreamed the genre where the sexual journey of the characters is the defining plot element.”
“The marketplace started validating their choice—these books used to be stuck in the back,” Covington adds.

“‘Fifty Shades’ has been instrumental in bringing attention to not only the romance genre, but erotic romance as well,” says Eliza Knight, an MRW author based in Mount Airy, and Dray’s regular writing buddy at the Panera in Eldersburg, where the two share breakfast, lunch and long, quiet word-churning stints side by side.

Though Dray is one of the heavier hitting best-sellers at the meetings—she works as a novelist full time—she comes off as egalitarian and supportive of her fellow writers as can be. (Note to self: Read Dray’s “In Bed with the Opposition,” published by Entangled, a romance about a Maryland political campaign, based on William Donald Schaefer.)

Several years ago, when Kaye, new to MRW, asked Dray if she would read her first novella, “Hearts in Darkness”—the story of an extremely appealing man and woman trapped in an elevator during a blackout—Dray trusted her instincts and agreed. Kaye, 44, who writes erotic thrillers, paranormal romance and more, has published a whopping 18 books since 2011. Fun local note: Her feisty, frisky “Hard Ink” series—yep, set in a tattoo parlor—features one heroine who resides in Patterson Park.

Today Kaye and Dray (forgive the rhyme) are collaborating on a straight historical novel about Thomas Jefferson’s influential eldest daughter, Patsy, whose dad wrote her no less than 30,000 letters. (Imagine how much more email he might have sent.)

At a time when literary publishing is working through intense growing pains, redefining itself in the face of new technologies and consequentially publishing fewer unknown writers—for less money— it’s been downright inspiring for this fiction writer to speak to an assortment of motivated Maryland scribes. In fact, their positive energy is a turn-on.

Romancers seem to have the crazy-making, procrastination-inducing novel-writing game figured out. Not only do they support one another through the lonely writing nights, take each other to task on their deadlines and goals and offer honest critical feedback that evidently works, they also churn out the bleeping pages.

“My daily goal is 3,000 words,” says Kaye, who left a tenured associate professor of history position at the Naval Academy when her romance books started taking off.

“I try to write at least 10 pages a day,” says Covington like it’s nothing. And that’s coming from a full-time lawyer. (Reader, how’s your “to do” list looking right now?)

“When I first started, I didn’t expect to find such intellectual powerhouses in the romance genre,” Dray notes. “These are educated and talented women.”

Even powerhouse Dray, a graduate of Smith, hits a creative wall now and then. Why? It’s not always easy to write a sex scene, and since the 1950s, steamy love scenes remain the emotional heart of every romantic story’s structure. They show the characters’ vulnerability. Therefore, they need to be utterly believable. And lustily engrossing.

“I will often write a book and skip the sex scenes and put them in a bracket and say sex scene goes here,” Dray says. “One time I got help from Christi Barth—I told her I hated my scene. ‘I’m so bored!’ She said, ‘Well, what if he takes his tie and blah, blah, blah’…and the next thing you know I’m able to write it!”

Another thing the romance writers do right: They ignore the literary snobs who love to gab and jab about how formulaic romance writing can be. Barth, who has taught romantic fiction writing at CCBC, admits that the genre has its familiar tropes by necessity—they’re user-friendly elements that the readers come to expect… and even crave.

“They say there are only seven stories in the world,” Barth says. “I like to think of it more as a skeleton: boy meets girl; boy loses girl; somebody falls in love; they encounter a problem! But you have to find your voice. That’s everything.”

Andy Palmer, 44, an MRW member and beginning romance writer who has already set a goal to publish two books in 2015, agrees. Palmer, one of the two male members of the association, was Barth’s creative writing student.

The Baltimore County resident plans to place his real name on his subgenre romance books, a fantasy and a paranormal, the latter set in Baltimore and featuring a pack of UMBC students.

“Good stories are about good characters, and good characters require goals,” Palmer says. “The romantic theme is not only timeless but agnostic, existing anywhere people are.”

Does Palmer ever feel like the odd man out in a bustling group of romance-writing women? Does he feel intimidated trying to gain ground in his female-dominated genre of choice? As a straight male among sex-styling vixens, does he have to try not to turn red?

“I see it as an opportunity,” Palmer says, businesslike to his core, “to show that your typical guy knows romance, too, but also to give a male perspective on things. And the MRW has welcomed me with open arms.”

Open arms, eh, Andy? Hey, these people are pro writers, so I’m not going to make any more jokes. Who knows, someday I might even try my own hand at the hot-heavy genre. (Insert easy joke at my expense!)

In Lust with Romance: Maryland Fans Confess

“I read the erotic cowboy genre to make up for my ‘vanilla’ husband! Think drug cartels and rough loving…BDSM [bondage and discipline/sadomasochism]. I can get lost in the fantasy—I have to force myself to go to sleep. Just one more chapter!” —Jennifer Deets, 36

“I have been reading romance for four years. It gives me a sense of peace that all is right in the world when things are going wrong. I love reading mysteries and thrillers, but erotic paranormal is my favorite. —Jacquie Johnson, 62

“Just because romance novels are geared toward women and have happy endings, they’re often belittled as ‘trash’. This drives me CRAZY! The historicals must be very accurate because fans do their own research and demand authenticity. Smart women do read romance. —Gayle Economos, 60

I’m a die-hard fan—so much so that I’ve gone from a stay-at-home mom to a self-published romance writer. My first book has gotten as high as No. 8 in New Adult on Amazon. —Laura Rosner Ward, 37

“I love Laura Kaye’s work: I feel that she puts her heart and soul into her books— they are sexy, romantic and emotional. Yes, I read in public—I’m not really concerned about what people might think!” —Carolyn Johnson, 58

How the Pros Write S-E-X

“Sex scenes are vulnerable for the characters and the author—they’re my favorite. I write at the end of my 22-foot closet. I have a window! I’ll sit and listen to music; I can close the door. It’s helpful to be out of the traffic from the house.” –Robin Covington

“I only write a sex scene by mixing a single white Russian and not getting up till it’s done.” –Christi Barth

“I save them for a moment when I’m feeling it. Otherwise I guess you’d have to put on some Marvin Gaye and pour some wine.”–Stephanie Dray

“It’s a bit of a seduction for myself. Since I tend to write pretty sizzling, detailed scenes, I need to really see it. There’s a lot of mechanics to writing a love scene—not just with making sure the hero doesn’t have three hands, but also with adding in the emotion and conflict. Every sexy/love scene has to mean something. It has to drive the story forward.” –Eliza Knight

“An erotic scene is the most difficult to write if you’re sick or tired or in a bad mood. It’s difficult to not end up writing: ‘They were too tired to have sex so they just went to bed.’” –Laura Kaye

EXCERPT
They pressed closer, held tighter, kissed more deeply until all Crystal knew, all that existed in the world, was this moment, this place, this man. Shane’s hands moved over her body. Fisting in the long lengths of her hair. Gently cupping her breasts. Stroking her bare thighs. Crystal adored the way he seemed to need to touch her. How powerful and necessary human touch was. How life-giving and affirming. And how simply mind-blowing was it to discover that touch could be a giving thing, not just about taking, that touch could be healing, and not just about hurting, that touch could comfort, and not just exert control. Even when things had been better with Bruno, they’d never been like this.

- From “Hard As You Can” By Laura Kaye

 

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
The Greatest Gift
From family and friends to complete strangers, local organ donors are saving lives.
By Christine Grillo / Illustration by James O'Brien



If you’ve watched “House” or “Grey’s Anatomy,” you might have the wrong impression about organ and bone marrow donations. No, doctors aren’t running to the hospital roof to grab a heart in a cooler from a helicopter pilot. In real life, the procedures are calm and methodical—and more safe and successful than ever. Every year, thousands of patients’ lives are saved by both living and deceased donors, but, unfortunately, there’s still a wide gap between how many people need organs and how many organs become available. Some die waiting, while others live to tell the tale of the gifts they were given.

Lisa and Michele

In 2005, as a mitzvah, or good deed, Lisa Rostaing hurried to the bone marrow registry booth at her temple, swabbed the inside of her cheek with a Q-tip and provided contact information to enter a national bone marrow registry. “It took about 30 seconds,” says Lisa, a youth director at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles. “I figured, I can’t cure cancer, but maybe I can save somebody’s life.” Years passed.

In Baltimore, in 2008, three weeks after getting engaged, Michele Bresnick Walsh was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer known as acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML. Michele, who practices business law, was 38. Because AML progresses rapidly, she started chemotherapy immediately, but her FLT3 gene mutation meant that her only real hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant.

To find a suitable marrow match, doctors compare 10 genetic markers. Even though they look first to the family for marrow donations, only about 30 percent of patients find a compatible donor there; the other 70 percent have to rely on the kindness of strangers. “My sister wasn’t a match,” says Michele, “so we had to turn to the national registry.”

Back in Los Angeles, Lisa got the call in November more than three years after her cheek-swab. The best matches often come from within the same ethnic group, and Lisa and Michele are both from families that trace back to Eastern Europe. They were a 10 out of 10 match. Lisa was urged to think very seriously about the decision to donate marrow. “But I felt strongly about going through with it, whatever it was,” she says. She had several rounds of blood work, filled out packets of health forms, banked a pint of blood for her own use post-surgery, and had a complete physical with EKG, all in Los Angeles.

By March 2009, Michele and Lisa were both ready, and Lisa was flown out to the East Coast. For the procedure, Lisa chose general anesthesia over an epidural. The surgeon made small incisions and pushed a needle into both of her hip bones and extracted thick, liquid marrow through the needle in a process known as bone marrow harvesting. She had the surgery at 6 a.m. on a Friday, spent the night in a hotel paid for by the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and flew home Saturday afternoon with very little pain.

“There was no scarring,” she says. “It was not a walk in the park, but my attitude was this is 24 hours of discomfort to save someone’s life.” Michele’s health returned, she got married and this year celebrated her fifth year of remission.

Identities of donors are kept confidential for as long as the donors wish, but eventually Michele and Lisa met. “It was so emotional,” says Michele. “I was bawling.” The two became fast friends and now meet up or take a vacation together once a year—including a getaway to the Bahamas.

Michele is very active in There Goes My Hero—a nonprofit founded by Erik Sauer, another leukemia survivor—which provides meals for patients receiving treatment, funds research and holds bone marrow drives to add as many people to the national registry as possible. (There’s currently an urgent need for non-white people to enter the registry.)

The American Cancer Society says that serious complications for donors are rare. “Some people think the procedure is invasive, like on that episode of ‘House,’ ” says Michele. “But the majority say it’s not that painful.”

Marty

Five years ago, Marty Maren, a 56-year-old sales representative, woke up feeling very ill. His wife insisted he go to the hospital, and by the end of the day he was on life support. His liver was failing, and his only chance for survival was a transplant.

“Who gets to the top of the wait list is determined by how critical the patient is,” says Andrew Cameron, MD, PhD, surgical director of liver transplantation at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Marty’s doctor. “People at death’s door get better placement.”

Four days after Marty was admitted, Dr. Cameron attempted a transplant with a liver from a deceased donor in Pittsburgh, but Marty was too sick to receive it. Dr. Cameron passed that liver on to the next person on the list and removed Marty’s dead liver. There was no other option now—without a liver, he would die in a few days. Then a young man died in St. Louis, and it was his liver that Dr. Cameron successfully transplanted into Marty.

“My life was saved by my wife, by Dr. Cameron and by Saint Rita, the patron saint of the impossible—and of course by my donor,” says Marty.

Six months after his surgery, he wrote a letter to the family of his young donor, but got no response. “This is the worst time in their lives,” says Marty. “I didn’t want to push.” In 2013, Marty and his wife, Michele Gregory-Maren, co-founded the Maryland chapter of Transplant Recipients International Organization, or TRIO, a support group for the transplant community that provides free education and advocacy. This month, Marty celebrates the five-year anniversary of his transplant, and he’ll try again to contact the donor family.

Although there have been great advances in “living liver transplants,” in which a living donor gives part of his or her liver to the recipient, most patients need a liver from a deceased donor. “Every year, 20,000 people are on the liver transplant list, and 7,000 become available,” says Dr. Cameron. “Organs are a limited resource, and we’re good shepherds of them, but people die waiting.”

Suemi

In February of this year, Suemi Smith received two kidneys from a deceased donor. Age 30 and married, with a 7-year-old daughter, she’d been on dialysis for almost three years following acute kidney failure that came on the heels of lupus. When she got the call at work, she broke down in tears. The next morning, she received a transplant of two kidneys. Nine months later, she’s living a new chapter in her life. “I’ve been feeling very good,” she says.

When Suemi asked her doctors about her donor, all they could tell her was that her donor was a child. Because Suemi is petite, her team decided that a transplant of two kidneys from a child would be successful. “Being a mother, I can’t imagine having to bear losing a child,” she says. “I’ve thought about reaching out to the family, but it’s a very delicate situation. I know there’s no comfort when you lose a child, but I’d like them to know how much their gift has helped me.”

Andy and Meagan

When she was a sophomore at Loyola University in Baltimore, Meagan O’Neill became sick with a blood disease so rare that there’s no name for it. With several months in the ICU, plasma treatment and blood transfusions, she made a fullrecovery—except for her kidneys. After a year of dialysis, it became clear that she needed a kidney, and her mother’s brother, Andy Nestler, age 49, was the healthiest match.

“When he learned that he was the best match, he didn’t even think twice,” says Meagan. In September 2007, she and her uncle went to the hospital together for the transplant; they checked in on Thursday, and left the hospital together on Sunday. Andy was back at work two weeks later, and Meagan, whose health improved immediately, was able to return to school the next semester.

A designated donor since she was 17, Meagan works at the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, which provides help to the families of deceased donors in the form of support groups, workshops and memorial services, all free.

“People have misconceptions about what it means to be a designated donor,” says Meagan. “The way it’s portrayed on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is very upsetting and untrue. With donation, there’s no running around.” Designated donors receive exactly the same medical care as those who are not designated, and through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, dignity and respect.

In Maryland, the percentage of people who check “yes” to being an organ donor on the driver’s license application or renewal is about 46 percent. Baltimore’s designation rate is the lowest in the state, at about 32 percent. (Compare this to Worcester County, with a rate of 56 percent.) “I’m kind of amazed at how many people are not designated,” says Meagan. “Your chance of needing an organ is much, much higher than your chance of being a donor.”

Leslie and Kai

This year, Leslie Kriewald, a teacher at Baltimore City College, donated one of her kidneys to a former student. Kai Dambach, 22 years old, was born with a congenital birth defect that wears out his kidneys—and he had already received a kidney each from his parents. Over the years, Leslie had become friendly with Kai’s mother, running into her here and there around the city. “Last winter she told me her son was getting sicker and needed another kidney,” says Leslie. In April, Leslie was tested to see if she could help. “If it was my kid, I’d hope someone would step forward.”

“There was a lot of testing, extensive blood work, a psych evaluation, a cardio test, a CAT scan,” she adds. In the end, the tests determined that she was a perfect blood and tissue match, and that she was healthy enough to donate. “For me it was an easy decision. Once I knew I was healthy enough to do it, it was a no-brainer.”

In August, at age 59, Leslie had one kidney removed and returned to work the following week. “I don’t recommend going back to work one week later, but it was fine,” she says. She had surgery on a Tuesday and was home on Thursday. “The pain was minimal, and I had a great support team.”

Leslie continues to be amazed by the gratitude she gets from the recipient and his family. “It continues to blow me away,” she says. “One of my biggest realizations was that, at the end of the day, it’s really easy to do good things for other people.”

How can you help save a life?

- Say ‘yes’ to organ, eye and tissue donation at the MVA. Or register immediately online at donatelifemaryland.org.

- Get your cheek swabbed for a bone marrow registry. Visit BeTheMatch.org to find a registry drive near you.

- Talk with your employer, congregation or school about hosting a bone marrow registry event, especially if you can reach non-white populations, where the need is greatest.

- Get a Donate Life license plate to spread the message.

- Make a financial donation to organizations that provide support for transplant patients and donor families, such as Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, There Goes My Hero and TRIO of Maryland.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Lady Baltimore
Mera Rubell, 71, Art Collector and Hotelier

You might expect a world-famous art collector and the owner of a chain of boutique hotels to be impervious to the charm of Charm City, but Mera Rubell is clearly in love. When Rubell Hotels—a family business run by Mera, her husband, Don, and their son, Jason—purchased the Lord Baltimore Hotel, formerly the Radisson, in 2013, they meant for the transformation of the now 86-year-old structure to be swift, authentic and done just right. Although the glamorous matriarch managed to travel to their home in Miami and other jet-setter destinations—from New York to New Orleans, Berlin to Basel—she spent most of the last year on-site, managing the redo. After
hundreds of detail-oriented decisions, including design and staffing, Rubell, whose late brother-in-law, Steve Rubell, founded iconic Studio 54, can name every bellhop and bartender in the place. And somehow, she still found time to hit local theaters, tour 36 artist studios (in the same number of hours!), curate an exhibition of Baltimore artists in New York and dine in more restaurants than this writer has tried in 15 years. Here, Rubell talks about living her life with passion. No surprise, it was her idea to be photographed in bed.

> My first year in Baltimore was all about selecting toilets and wallpaper. I didn’t get out much. To get a 440-room hotel done in a year took every minute of focus.

> When you believe when others don’t, there is a huge opportunity. When you look at real estate in Chicago or New York or Philadelphia, that opportunity has left the station. But in Baltimore you can still do this.

> When we bought the building that is now the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, people thought we were absolutely crazy. This was a section of Miami that was full of poverty and quite dangerous. Coming from New York, we understood that neighborhoods have a life cycle and things change.

> Hospitality is the last of the great human-interactive businesses. The Lord Baltimore is about fantasy, history, memory. It’s about a city coming back, believing in itself, taking pride in itself. We care about this place.

> We have four passions—art, tennis, food and family. We became partners with our children—and this has been a magnificent collaboration.

> Don and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. When we got married, he decided to go to medical school and I was a preschool teacher in New York. Our greatest entertainment was long walks on 8th Avenue in the ’20s—kind of like what Chelsea is now—and, in those days, artists occupied retail storefronts where they lived and worked. We found artists who welcomed us in. It became an extraordinary adventure.

> We didn’t set out to be art collectors. When we first started buying art, we only had $100 to spend a week, so we allocated $25 of that for art. Sometimes it was $5 a week to five different artists. The artists were happy to do this. And afterward, galleries were happy to do this. We found ourselves very motivated over these years to cover the beautiful addiction that we developed. 

> When people say they can’t afford to collect art, I tell them anyone can do it. Regardless of your budget, you can find something. You may not find it in Basel where booths are $50,000, but you can find a $100 drawing in a smaller fair. Paying less doesn’t mean the artists aren’t talented.

> We never buy just one single work by an artist because we are all about telling a story. How do you tell a story with just one work? Each artist is a universe of ideas and talent, expressing the issues of our time.

> Art brought us to Baltimore. Our first trip was to visit the Cone Collection at the BMA, and we were blown away!

> In some families, one kid wants to be a lawyer and another wants to be an Indian chief. People always say, ‘I wish my kid would grow up to be this or that.’ I don’t wish for my kids to be anything other than who they are.

> A female friend once told me that once women become 60, they disappear. I started wearing the hats at that time, because it’s impossible not to stand out in them and you always make a statement.

> A bed is a powerful metaphor for life, death, dreams and naughtiness. A lot happens in the bed.

As told to Cara Ober

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Game of Thrones
Give your guests the royal treatment with this modern twist on a Medieval meal.
Written and photographed by Tracey Middlekauff

When Most people think of medieval food—if they think of it at all—they likely envision comically large turkey legs and dinosaur-sized hunks of brown meats. But famous portrayals of a gluttonous Henry VIII aside, medieval cuisine, at least for royalty, was much more complex and varied.

The 14th-century manuscript “Forme of Cury,” a compilation of more than 200 recipes compiled by “the Master cooks of King Richard II,” contains an eclectic range of dishes such as Chickens in Confyt, Pottage of Gourd and Rabbits in Gravy. Many of the dishes are sumptuous and rich, fragrant with spices like ginger, cardamom and saffron. There’s just one catch: None of the recipes contain measurements. Oh yeah—and they’re written in Middle English.

To make your life easier, I’ve adapted a selection of these recipes here, complete with ingredient measurements and a few fun embellishments.

The clarrey, or spiced white wine, contains honey, cinnamon, white pepper and ginger—a perfectly potent potable for a cold winter’s night. The salat, or medieval herb salad, will likely challenge your preconceptions of medieval cuisine, as it’s loaded with greens and even downright healthy. Don’t be put off by the raw leeks and green onions, as the fennel and mint serve to sweeten the breath. (And they taste great, too.)

The Tartelets de Bry, or Brie tartlets, originally called for Rowan cheese, which no longer exists. Food historians concur that Brie is likely the closest modern cousin. I use St. André Brie, along with Port Salut, set off with a bit of saffron and ginger for a surprising yet delicious flavor. Finally, the pork tenderloin is a flavor bomb of caraway, coriander, garlic, saffron and red wine. All of these dishes together truly comprise a feast fit for a king.

Tartelets de Bry (Brie Tartlets)
makes 6 4-inch tartlets

1 prepared pie crust, rolled out
and cut into 6 equal portions
5 egg yolks
5 strands saffron, crumbled
8 ounces St. André Brie, cubed
8 ounces Port Salut cheese, cubed
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 teaspoon ginger
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar

Lightly grease the tartlet pans and line with the prepared pie crust. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk together the egg yolks and saffron. Add the cheeses and cream, stir vigorously to combine. Add the spices and divide evenly among the tartlet pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set. Allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then gently flip to remove the tartlets from their pan.

Salat (Medieval Herb Salad)
serves 4-6

2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
into small dice
1 fennel bulb, chopped into
small dice
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 cups arugula
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary,
chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint,
chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of cherry balsamic vinegar
Handful of dried cranberries,
to garnish

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, vinegar and cran-berries. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and the vinegar, and gently massage into the salad. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Before serving, garnish with dried cranberries.

Clarrey (Spiced White Wine)
Serves 1-6 (DEPENDING ON YOUR MOOD)

1 bottle sweet white wine
3⁄4 cup honey
5 whole cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon white pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the wine and the honey. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, add the other ingredients, stir to combine, and leave covered at room temperature overnight. The next day, strain through a cheesecloth.

Comarye (Pork in Red Wine Sauce)

serves 4

1 1-pound pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
5 cloves of garlic
2 cups red wine, divided,
plus more for basting

Sauce:
3⁄4 cup chicken broth
Few grinds of fresh black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon cumin
4 saffron threads
Salt, to taste

Grind together the coriander, caraway seeds and peppercorns. Set aside. Meanwhile, smash the garlic into a paste. Add a 1⁄4 cup of the red wine and spices to the garlic and spread on the tenderloin; allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the tenderloin, along with the marinade, in a baking dish and pour the remainder of the wine around it. Bake for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 325 and bake for another 45 minutes, basting frequently, until the internal temperature reaches 145 F. (If the liquid evaporates, add more wine to the baking dish.)

Remove the tenderloin and set aside, covered with foil, to rest for 15 minutes. While the meat rests, make the sauce. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Add the chicken broth, pepper, cumin, saffron and salt to taste. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Serve the pork sliced into medallions accompanied by the sauce.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Chef Talk
Michael Ransom - B&O American Brasserie
By Martha Thomas

Michael Ransom took over the kitchen at B&O American Brasserie at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in July and has been quietly shifting the menu to more casual fare with an emphasis on small plates. A Michigan native, Ransom trained at the Kendall Culinary Academy in Chicago and later moved to San Francisco where he became executive chef at Bar Adagio, followed by a stint at Henry’s in Berkeley. In 2013, he was named executive chef of Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen, at the Kimpton Group’s Serrano Hotel.

What is your voice as a chef?

I love coastal cuisine, that’s what brought me to San Francisco. I love regional cuisine, not just based on ingredients, but on the unique culture. For example, in Baltimore you’ve got the crab cake, which will have mayo or some aioli based binder, where in San Francisco, the classic Dungeness crab is straightforward, steamed or boiled.

How did you get into cooking?

My parents were hippies. I grew up around a self-sustaining culture. That’s probably what got me into cooking at a young age. My dad worked in apple and cherry orchards. He was a pruner and did harvesting. My parents had a small maple syrup business. They’d cook maple syrup. They gardened for most of our food. My mom picked wild leeks, we did a lot of morel hunting and we foraged for berries. My parents wouldn’t buy prepared foods. If we were hungry, we had to make something. I ended up cooking for my brother and sister when we were younger.

Did you ever feel deprived?

We were probably below the mean income, but because my parents were resourceful, we never felt like we didn’t have what we needed. My dad did everything himself. He built most of our house and would rebuild our cars. He was very self-sufficient.

Are your parents proud of you?

My mom says she’s glad she cooked with me at an early age. She had a big influence on my cooking. That was how we bonded. She was a midwife while we were growing up and went back to medical school in her 40s. Now she’s an ob-gyn.

Wow, what a role model.

Yes, she is an amazing role model.

What will be the most significant changes on the B&O menu?

I’m putting more emphasis on finger food. We’re dubbed an American brasserie, and I’m bringing in more pub fare to complement our bar program. We’ll do a lot of bites and snacks, including our own jerkies, rockfish pate, liver mousse. We want to add energy to the dining experience, to allow guests to sample and taste. The gastro pub term is a little bit played out. We’re staying true to the brasserie approach, while remaining seasonally focused.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Restaurant Deconstructed
Winning Taste at Horseshoe Casino
By Martha Thomas

The Horseshoe Casino, close to the South Baltimore spot where sports fans roar and highways crisscross overhead, is worth a visit—even if don’t have a taste for gambling. The carpets pulse in hues of brown and gold, the chandeliers drip glittering light, live lounge music bounces from the landings and the parking is free. Did I mention the dizzying choice of eateries? Welcome to sensory and gustatory overload. The Horseshoe planners, headed up by Caesars Entertainment, fought hard for permission and spent more than $442 million to build the place. The ground floor is buzzy with gambling machines and heavy with food choices.

The Marketplace, a food court proffering Baltimore goodies, curves around the Russell Street side in the shape of, well, a horseshoe. B’more Beers, a bar specializing in local brews like Union Craft, Brewer’s Art and Stillwater (and yea, Natty Boh) sits at its center, while a Heavy Seas burger joint, Tark’s at the ’Shoe, and a Lenny’s Delicatessen outpost offer short-order windows. Mallow Bar—a dessert and coffee shop featuring local entrepreneur Nikki Lewis’ gooey variations on Rice Krispie treats—has a brightly lit café area where you can sip a frothy drink or share a sweet. Try, for example, fondue for two—pots of chocolate and caramel with marshmallows and strawberries for dipping (you can also have it spiked with wine). 

Johnny Sánchez, a brand new concept from chefs John Besh and Aáron Sánchez (who met as youngsters working in New Orleans and later competed on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef”), is a brightly colored taqueria with menu items like squash blossom quesadillas, goat stew and suckling pig tacos. The margarita list is inventive—try the prickly pear or blackberry and mezcal—and there’s a Bulleit Rye cocktail with ancho chili and chocolate bitters. The restaurant is decorated with colorful light fixtures and fiery red abstract paintings, and a DJ spins every night beginning at 9.

Jack Binion’s Steakhouse, named for the Dallas native and Horseshoe founder, is just what you’d expect: slabs of beef (many single servings are 16 ounces) and pricey sides ($8 for a baked potato). But save room for dessert. Seriously. Baltimore’s own Duff Goldman’s Charm City Cakes dominate the dessert menu, including Bananas Foster cake, white cake with berries and white chocolate ganache, and red velvet cake. It’s like Jack Binion himself is admonishing us all to eat cake.

Guy Fieri’s is as brash as you’d expect with in-your-face options like the Off-da-Hook Burger, higher than it is wide with a fat fried onion ring crunch in the middle. Even the turkey sandwich (here called Pic-a-Nik), is described as “chillin’” on its “awesome pretzel hoagie smeared with donkey sauce.” After reading a certain New York Times review, aren’t we all just a little bit curious about what the host of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” shovels up for Charm City?

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Family Tree
Online access to historic records unlocks a writer’s past, present and future.
By Jennifer Mendelsohn




I fell down the genealogy rabbit hole entirely by accident. A college friend shared a Facebook link that caught my eye: a Kickstarter campaign to help produce a documentary about a family-run matzo factory on Rivington Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Rivington Street, I thought. My mother had cousins who lived on Rivington Street.

We’d long ago lost touch with them. And so, out of curiosity, I searched their names on Google. And up popped a listing from the 1940 census, showing those very cousins living at 127 Rivington St.

How cool! You can search the census!

And so I started to poke around, looking for my parents as small children, and my grandparents and great-grandparents as newly arrived immigrants early in the last century. There they were in black and white. It all seemed somehow satisfying and validating, official proof of their existence.

I’ve always been fascinated by old documents. I remember being strangely thrilled as a child to see my late grandfather’s electrician’s license in a gray metal strongbox in my father’s closet. The online world now holds a treasure-trove of such documents, not just the census but naturalization papers, passenger manifests, birth and death certificates, draft registrations. Like the bones and pottery dug up by archaeologists, they bear silent witness to people and events long gone, daring me to fill in the blanks and reconstruct their narratives. The storyteller in me was hopelessly hooked.

My older brother had done much of the legwork for our family tree, so I harbored no hopes of discovering a secret sister or celebrity cousin. But I nonetheless became fascinated by the way these newly available documents could flesh out family lore and bring my ancestors’ stories to life in three dimensions.

While I knew, for instance, that my paternal grandfather, who’d come to New York City from Latvia as a toddler, had had a sad, hardscrabble childhood, I really only grasped the vaguest outlines of the story. But I soon found myself staring at the 1900 census page for 169 Ludlow St., the tenement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side where my grandfather’s family lived. Next to each woman’s name is recorded the number of children she had given birth to, followed by the number of living children she had. My great-grandmother Frieda Mendelsohn’s numbers—9 and 4, respectively—seemed shocking until I started looking at her neighbors. Essie Goldberg’s entries read 14 and 3. Yetta Hafter: 10 and 6. Ida Bilkers: 12 and 3. (Married at 20, Frieda’s nine children included three sets of twins, a fact that I still can’t quite fully grasp.)

The deeper I got into the paper trail, the more my family’s struggles came to life in sobering detail. I found a ledger entry from a Staten Island cemetery for the pauper’s grave where Frieda’s 8-month-old daughter Rachel was buried in December of 1899. I worked to picture the somber scene that winter day. Was my then 9-year-old grandfather there as they lowered his baby sister into the ground?

And while I think I may have been aware that my grandfather’s younger siblings, Lena and Joe, were sent to an orphanage after their mother contracted tuberculosis and eventually died, there was something startling and poignant about actually seeing my great-grandfather’s signature on their intake and discharge papers; both children were in and out of the institution—they were, heartbreakingly, listed as “inmates” in the census—for much of their short lives. I tried to imagine the ritual of goodbyes and reunions.

It soon became clear to me that genealogy is not just about losing yourself in the past. Rather, it’s about engaging yourself very powerfully with the present and the future. Becoming intimately familiar with the lives of my ancestors made me feel more anchored and centered in the here and now. I looked at my children’s faces with a newfound awareness of how they fit into a larger context. And I realized that events that had happened on the Lower East Side more than a hundred years ago— the death of an 8-month-old baby, for instance—had profoundly shaped the man my grandfather became. And that, in turn, had affected the man my father became. And so on and so on, a chain linking endlessly into the future.

I came to see what a too-perfect cliché I now embodied. My 20-something great-grandparents, a simple Latvian shoemaker and his wife, had boarded their family onto a boat in 1892 in search of a better life. Frieda Mendelsohn died at just 36, and only one of her nine children—my grandfather—lived to see 30. And here I was, with my college education and my swim club membership, sitting in an air-conditioned home, able to peruse the Internet from my phone. I had two children kept almost effortlessly healthy by the wonders of modern medicine and hygiene; I could hop in my car and be at one of the best hospitals in the world in less than 15 minutes. I could push a button and get ice from my refrigerator, or type words on a computer keyboard to make a hot meal appear at my doorstep. Now what was I complaining about again?

In their wildest dreams, Isaac and Frieda Mendelsohn couldn’t possibly have imagined the circumstances of my life. But I sense that on some level, I must represent exactly what they were after as they braved that passage across the Atlantic 122 years ago. I can only hope I do them proud.

Jennifer Mendelsohn lives with her husband and their two boys in Mount Washington. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, People, Slate and USA Weekend.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Let it Glow
Sparkly chic beauty buys from top designers
By Jessica Bizik

1. Jewelry designer Alexis Bittar’s Liquid Gold Compact will make her melt, $42 at Sephora. 2. Can’t walk in a pair of red bottoms? Try stiletto-inspired Christian Louboutin Nail Colour, $50 at Sephora. 3. Jimmy Choo Stars Eau de Parfum is like lightning, not to mention tiger orchid, in a bottle, $98 at Macy’s.

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Star Gazing
We predict these crystal ball pendants will be a hit in 2015
By Jessica Bizik

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN, BABY? While the name Astro Balls (much like that old pickup line from the ’70s) makes us giggle, we’re unabashedly attracted to these zodiac pendants by British designer Stephen Webster, who’s made custom baubles for everyone from Madonna to Mickey Rourke. All the usual suspects are here: Pisces (fish), Aquarius (swirling shell) and Capricorn (goat), along with nine other horoscopes—each hand-crafted in 18 karat gold vermeil and blackened sterling silver, then paired with precious gemstones that are laser-cut for an almost holographic look the designer calls Crystal Haze. Anybody else have a contact high? $650 at Radcliffe Jewelers, Pikesville and Towson. 800-487-0309, radcliffejewelers.com —JESSICA BIZIK

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Get Bent
A yoga-averse editor succumbs to the charm of a sleek new studio
By Jessica Bizik

“We did research to make sure our branding wouldn’t feel intimidating,” says Jason Herd, co-owner of M Power Yoga in Brewers Hill, where most folks coming in to namaste are newbies. Everybody gets a free trial, which many turn into a “10-Day Challenge” and commit to practicing yoga every single day. That’s no challenge (at least logistically) thanks to diverse classes, from Melt Hot Fusion (in a 100+-degree room at 40 percent humidity) to Music in Motion (a Vinyasa class where live humans play the harp, Grateful Dead tunes, etc.). Spirituality isn’t ignored, but references are limited—say, the occasional Sanskrit phrase, spoken first in English—as instructors focus on a more universal motto: “Inspired Living.” This (former) yoga hater was inspired to add Mend Restorative Yoga to my weekly workout regimen, after a particularly seductive Sunday class that stretched my muscles—and my perspective of what a yoga studio can be. mpoweryogastudio.com

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
City Smart December
By Ian Zelaya

Brooklyn, N.Y.

No, you didn’t just walk into a Lady Gaga video circa 2009. The Brooklyn Museum is putting a new spin on the phrase “those shoes are to die for” with Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. Curated by Lisa Small, this pump-tastic exhibition examines the power of the elevated shoe and its artistic and architectural potential, from fetish fodder to fashion statements, with more than 160 stilettos, thigh highs and other daring footwear dating back to the mid-17th century; plus, six specially commissioned short films inspired by high heels. Through Feb. 15, 2015. brooklynmuseum.org

Washington, D.C.

While it pains us this event is happening in D.C. instead of Charm City, we can’t wait for the world premiere of Diner, the musical adaptation of Barry Levinson’s first film at the highly regarded Signature Theatre. Directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall—and set to 1950s rock music written by Sheryl Crow—the stage adaptation stays true to Levinson’s semi-autobiographical tale, which revolves around five childhood friends who reunite as 20-somethings at their beloved late-night hangout (inspired by the Hilltop Diner on Reisters- town Road) for a Christmastime conversation about the perks and struggles of adult life. Suddenly we’re craving gravy fries. Dec. 9-Jan. 25, 2015. signature-theatre.org

Philadelphia

With Showtime’s recent announcement that it will revive the cult classic “Twin Peaks” in 2016, it’s a perfect time to check out some of the earliest, mind-bending works from the show’s creator, David Lynch, at the place where he acquired his artistic vision. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts—Lynch’s alma mater—presents David Lynch: The Unified Field, featuring 90 of the surrealist filmmaker’s paintings and drawings that date back to 1965, many of which haven’t been seen in public. Don’t miss the room devoted to 1967’s “Six Men Getting Sick,” the 68-year-old director’s bizarre, experimental animated short film. Through Jan. 11, 2015. pafa.org

December 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Supper Club
Written and photographed by Tracey Middlekauff

For most americans, the month of November is ruled by one of two obsessions: The daunting prospect of cooking an enormous feast for friends and family, or the terrifying-yet-alluring idea of eating one’s weight in stuffing and potatoes. But what about the rest of the month? All too often, we become so distracted by the Big Holiday at the end, we either forget to eat well the rest of the time or order an endless stream of takeout dinners in anticipation of all the cooking that lies ahead.

Enter these four simple yet elegant, nourishing and satisfying meals. They seem fancy, yet they’re a snap to pull together. The butternut squash soup is velvety and rich, with just a hint of smokiness thanks to the pancetta. To turn it into an easy weeknight meal, serve it with some Roquefort toast.

The risotto, meanwhile, is infused with the flavor of that stalwart fall vegetable, the Brussels sprout. And just because you may have seen Gordon Ramsay bring professional cooks to tears over their failed risottos, don’t be intimidated by this dish—it’s quicker and easier than you think to pull off this classic. The artichoke pasta is simplicity itself, and the tangy, garlicky goat cheese sauce is pure luxury. Finally, you don’t need a grill to make a perfect seared flank steak. Armed with a heavy skillet, buttery, melt-in-your mouth meat is mere moments away.

Sure, these meals aren’t exactly diet food—but it’s November, and who’s counting calories?

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4 - 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces pancetta, cubed
1⁄2 white onion, small dice
1⁄4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (available pre-cut at Trader Joe’s)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
Paprika and chopped flat leaf
parsley, to garnish

Melt the butter in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crispy. Remove the pancetta (leaving behind the rendered fat) and set aside to drain on paper towels. Add the onions, paprika, salt and white pepper to the fat and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the squash and stir, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the squash is soft—about 20 minutes. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender. Temper the cream and slowly whisk into the soup. Add salt and white pepper to taste, and serve garnished with paprika, parsley and pancetta. This goes beautifully with melted blue cheese or Roquefort cheese toasts.

Pan-Seared Flank Steak Over Charred Corn & Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese Buttermilk Dressing
Serves 4

For the steak and marinade:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 pound flank steak
Salt and Pepper

For the dressing:
1⁄2 cup buttermilk
3⁄4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1⁄4 cup plain Greek yogurt
11⁄2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Juice of 1 whole lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:
4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1⁄2 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
1 small red onion, diced small

First, make the marinade. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the flank steak. Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade, and add, along with the steak, to a Ziploc bag. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator (but leave it in the marinade) 30 minutes before cooking.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together all the ingredients with an immersion blender and refrigerate until ready to use. To make the salad, cook the corn in a skillet over high heat until charred. Toss with the tomatoes, onions and parsley. Coat with the dressing and allow the flavors to come together while you cook the steak.

To sear the steak, heat a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, that’s been coated with 1 tablespoon high smoke point oil, such as canola. When the pan is good and hot, add the steak and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare (depending on thickness), until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F. Remove, cover the steak with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut the steak into thin slices against the grain. Divide the salad among 4 plates and serve the steak on top, garnished with parsley.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Pasta

Serves 4 - 6

1 pound farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces Chevre, crumbled
2 14-ounce cans of artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry and cut
into quarters.
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
4 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Minced flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large stockpot filled with well-salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a deep skillet, sauté the garlic in the butter over medium heat until fragrant. Add the cream and cook until the cream simmers, stirring occasionally. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly add the Chevre, whisking until melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add the artichokes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add half the parsley, and stir the pasta into the sauce. Lower the heat to low, fold in the spinach, and cover until just wilted. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with parsley. 

Brussels Sprout Risotto with White Truffle Oil and Pine Nuts
Serves 4

For the sprouts:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces Brussels sprouts, shredded (like cabbage for slaw)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the risotto:
2 tablespoons butter
1⁄3 white onion, minced
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
1⁄2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon zest, pine nuts and white truffle oil, to garnish

First, make the Brussels sprouts. In a deep skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred. Add the lemon juice and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste, cover and set aside.

To make the risotto, heat the stock in a small saucepan and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent. Add the rice and stir. Add the wine and cook until absorbed by the rice. Add the stock to the rice 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring—preferably with a wooden spoon—until absorbed. Work slowly, adding the stock until the rice has become creamy and soft, but not mushy. This will take about 30 minutes. Add the Pecorino Romano and stir until melted. Next, fold in the Brussels sprouts. Serve immediately garnished with a pinch of lemon zest, pine nuts and drizzled with white truffle oil.

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Sweet Dreams
By Kieran Butler

When given minimal guidelines for a design project, Jackie Bayer lets her imagination run wild. The senior design director of Amanda Austin Interiors opted for pure opulence when designing this stunning guest bedroom in Catonsville.

“We were able to use materials that are more luxurious, because they aren’t getting daily wear and tear,” says Bayer, who drew inspiration from the fashion sense of the wife who resides there. “The whole room was meant to be a version of how she dresses and moves.”

The owner’s penchant for rich, colorful scarfs translated into a gold chinoiserie pattern embellished on the deep teal wallpaper—“Blue Pine” by Little Greene. Her signature jewelry became sconces with tassels and mini-chandeliers used in lieu of lamps on the nightstands. Bayer then dressed the rest of the space with silk, wool, linen and even a little velvet—bringing in neutrals to balance the darkness of the wall color.

Contemporary pieces play nicely with traditional details, including reproductions of vintage Vogue covers and the classic slipper chairs that flank the bed—the perfect focal point of this fashionable room and dream project.

“The clients let us take our creative vision and run with it,” says Bayer. “That’s a beautiful treat that doesn’t happen very often.”

RESOURCES

Interior Design:
Amanda Austin Interiors
Jackie Bayer and Sadie Sanchez
443-759-6177
amandaaustininteriors.com

Custom Bed:
Mitchell Yanosky
410-467-2211
mitchellyanosky.com

Carpet:
Greenspring Carpet Source
410-561-9200
greenspringcarpetsource.com

Upholstery:
Ibello Upholstery
410-243-1163
ibelloupholstery.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Covet
Arm Candy by designer Rebecca Myers...
By Paige Whipple
Covet



At night, Rebecca Myers’ Clipper Mill studio sits beneath sparkling lights strung across the brick rooftops, but during the day, it sparkles on its own. Visible reflections of nature grace the display cases with rings crafted perfectly into the shape of a twig, honeybee-adorned necklaces, delicate flower earrings and, of course, our particular favorite, the Peony Cuff. The piece boasts an 18-karat-gold setting and 22-karat-gold overlay, combined with oxidized silver, ruby and diamonds. “I get most inspiration straight from my own garden,” says the designer. “But we have some other natural elements sprinkled into the collection, like earrings that are cast eucalyptus seeds from Costa Rica.” To view Myers’ luxe designs in person, make an appointment to stop by her showroom at 2010 Clipper Park Road. Peony Cuff, $9,800. 410-889-3393, rebeccamyersdesign.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Savvy Shopper


Fab Formal

Savvy remembers trying on formal gowns in a women’s store where she had little privacy, which didn’t bother her but did bother the bored men sitting at the bottom of the stairs. (Apparently, they were shocked by her appearance in a bustier.) Such silliness isn’t a problem at Francesca’s Atelier, where women—i.e., the paying customers—can privately try on garments to their hearts’ content. “We understand women,” says owner Francesca Ripple, who’s had years in the biz at her eponymous bridal boutique, “and we know that a 50-year-old is different from a 20-year-old. She wants to look age-appropriate, but still fashionable. She doesn’t want to be smothered in chiffon.” Monique Lhuillier, Paula Varsalona and Theia are just some of the designers whose gowns and cocktail dresses await you in this new glam space. Green Spring Station, Lutherville, 443-841-7057

Finer Things

Savvy is gobsmacked by the swirl of color and texture in the new, 2,000-square-foot space of Samuel Parker Clothier. Twice as big as its former Lake Falls Village location, it still reflects owner Ken Himmelstein’s impeccable style, with English standards like Turnbull & Asser, Seaward & Stearn and Drake’s supplemented with new lines such as Breuer of Paris. Gentlemen, start your engines. Village of Cross Keys, 410-435-5000



Get Your Chic On

When Savvy discovered Canadian designer Frank Lyman in Montreal years ago, she flipped. So imagine her delight to find his vibrant prints and elegant shapes here in Charm City. Newly moved from Kenilworth to Cross Keys, Chic Chic Boutique is the dream child of Rosanna and Dario Sech, a husband-wife duo from Italy. In addition to Lyman’s nonpareil (and wrinkle-free!) clothing, they carry sumptuous watercolor frocks and versatile jackets by Marisamonti, party dresses by Rinascimento and Le Vertige, wool scarves hand-knitted by Rosanna herself and exotic, vintage-looking handbags by m. andonia—the latter spotted on Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston. Babes from 25 to 75 will be happy shopping here. Village of Cross Keys, 410-435-0090



Man Up

Red chairs hanging from the walls? Vintage bicycle seats as hooks? Where am I? In the new mostly men’s store called Angel Park. Perhaps not the manliest name, Sav thinks, but who is she to question the marketing acumen of Toni James and her husband, Justin, who have made such a success of Katwalk next door? There are a few women’s items here, but Angel Park is full of Y chromosomes. High-end leather goods by Daniel Won, avant-garde Parisian styles by Billtornade, bow ties by Marshall Artist, even facial scrub by Man Cave—all sing a siren song to the guy who wants more than just T-shirts and jeans. 1707 Aliceanna St., Fells Point, 410-669-0600

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Mountain Majesty
Foodies, fitness fans and fashionistas all feel at home at this luxe retreat in the farmlands of Tennessee.
By Mary Ann Treger



It’s like discovering a pearl in the wilderness,” says a Versace-clad woman to her dinner companions while I sip a glass of Cabernet and savor a bit of eavesdropping at Blackberry Farm. It is the perfect description. 

Few would expect such refinement in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee. Don’t bother looking for a sign on the main road to guide you to a place where chic and sheep coincide—gawkers are discouraged. In fact, the average tourist has never heard of this rural retreat and that suits Blackberry Farm just fine. They don’t advertise.

Instead, word-of-mouth, articles in high-end publications, top rankings on nearly every “best resort” list plus awards from the James Beard Foundation and Wine Spectator feed the momentum. Hollywood celebs (rumor has it Oprah and Martha Stewart stayed here), West Coast techies and others in the know frequent this bucolic resort/spa/gourmet getaway for exceptional and very private R&R. 

Even the word “resort” feels wrong. “Experience” is a better description. With only 69 rooms and cottages on 4,200 acres (plus an additional 5,000 acres of private wilderness for fox hunting, horseback riding, fly-fishing or hiking) this Relais & Chateaux working farm and gastronomic mecca offers perks that are far from the usual golf or skiing choices (they don’t have either).

They do have a dairy, creamery, charcuterie and brewery plus a master cheesemaker, beekeeper, chocolatier and preservationist who oversees the jam making. Jams also are sold on the farm as well as to fancy food emporiums through- out the U.S. (The blueberry is to die for.)

All vegetables served are grown on the farm and only heirloom seeds are used. Milk from the sheep is used to make their yogurt and cheeses. A butcher and baker are on staff and, odds are, a candlestick maker is here somewhere, too. The sommelier and his team oversee a 221-page wine list representing 175,000 bottles including rare vintages such as a $8,500 bottle of Montrachet.

The farm is even cultivating truffles.

To hunt for them—assuming they materialize, there are no guarantees for this 10-year project—Blackberry is breeding rare Lagotto Romagnolo dogs imported from Italy. Fall in love with a puppy? They are for sale—$6,000 each, trained with commands given exclusively in Italian, of course. Untrained, the price is halved.

Privately owned and managed by the Beall family since the early ’70s, Blackberry Farm employs a staff of 375 to care for its pampered guests. Room rates include three glorious meals each day and begin at $795; cottage suites from $1,495. For families or groups of friends needing four or five bedrooms, a new Garden House collection includes a main house with a full kitchen so the chef can create private dining experiences plus two charming cottages clustered nearby.

When the Blackberry’s new spa, The Wellhouse, opened I talked my hubby into a three-night stay. On arrival, our car is whisked away. (Our cottage comes with its own golf cart.) If we want a lift, a fleet of new Lexus cars is available, with or without a driver.

From the outside, our brown wood-framed cottage appears unremarkable.

Inside we find all the bells and whistles of a luxury hotel—soaring 17-foot ceiling in the living/bedroom, polished wood floors topped with eclectic furnishings, Frette linens and robes plus a pantry stocked with complimentary snacks. The bathroom is big enough for a family reunion. (With heated floors, natch.)

Despite the temptation to hang out in the fancy digs, we head outdoors, winding our way through pastures dotted with horses and a dozen piglets following their mom. We discover a crystal-clear trout stream, a tranquil lake and we linger at the boathouse before putting a canoe to use. While there are plenty of activities—yoga, fly-fishing, horseback riding and archery for starters—there is something to be said for doing nothing. The only thing on my ‘to do’ list is visiting the spa, which specializes in incorporating wellness and beauty rituals inspired by the region’s mountains, forests and other natural elements.

Face down on the massage table, my dings and dents are tweaked as hot, moist herbal poultices are pressed into my aching muscles. The delicious scent is a combination of ginger, mint, lemon verbena and sage taken straight from the farm’s own garden. I make a mental note to try the Sheep’s Milk, Lavender and Wildflower Honey Pedicure on my next visit, but after 90 minutes of detoxifying bliss, I’m ready for something else hedonistic: dinner! 

“Good evening,” says the tall young man who swoops down upon us, ready to fulfill our every wish. I’m having trouble focusing on menu choices. Instead, I’m fixated on the room, a splendid turn-of-the-century barn with high ceilings and massive beams.

I place the snowy white antique linen napkin on my lap and scan the French china and sterling silver. Given the game plan we anticipate a hoity-toity menu. While there is plenty of haute cuisine, the forward-thinking chef creatively combines fancier fare with southern foothills food. And, he doesn’t take himself too seriously —Guinea Hen Croquettes with White Truffle Sauce are served on a piece of tree bark. My husband’s paté is served on slate at the same time my Swiss Chard Salad is presented on fancy gold-rimmed china.   

Dinner may be the star each day, but breakfast and lunch aren’t far behind. Both are served in a room you would expect to find in a private country estate. In our cozy banquette, surrounded by the owners’ impressive art collection and
antique furnishings, we decide that the most beautiful art (and there’s plenty of it) is the daily vista of fog hanging over the Smokies as viewed from the sprawling stone terrace.

By day three, we’re accustomed to being spoiled. At checkout, a perky young man appears with two boxed lunches for our trip home. Even those aren’t ordinary—turkey sandwiches with scallion mayo on rosemary flatbread, containers of radish and stewed-apple salad and the most extraordinary chocolate chip cookies on the planet. A perfect parting gift for a perfect weekend. blackberryfarm.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
High Roller
By Ginny Lawhorn




Casinos worldwide are known for extravagance in service and decadent offerings. The Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut is a prime example with its $3,000 signature Sapphire Martini garnished with a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings. Here is our luxurious, blue curacao-free interpretation. Earrings sold separately.

4 large ripe blueberries
3 oz dry champagne
1.5 oz Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur
1 oz Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin
1 teaspoon fresh grapefruit juice

In a mixing tin muddle the blueberries with gin, liqueur and grapefruit juice. Add ice and stir gently for 30 seconds. Pour through a fine strainer into a coupe glass and fill with champagne. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and a few blueberries.

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
City Smart - November 2014
Hot Happenings In...
By Ian Zelaya

Washington, D.C

Remember detective Lester Freamon from “The Wire”? Long before Clarke Peters played the smart cookie who solved crimes in the streets of Baltimore, he wrote a hit musical called Five Guys Named Moe—an homage to swingin’ songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordan—which debuted at London’s West End Theatre in 1990. The story follows Nomax, a recently dumped, whiskey-swilling romantic who finds new hope from five cheerful jazz musicians who pop out of his 1930s-style radio. Jump on the “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” bandwagon when director Robert O’Hara deftly revives the show for a six-week run, starting Nov. 14, at Arena Stage. arenastage.org

Philadelphia

One of the most innovative design companies in the world, Swiss family-owned Vitra has been creating eye-catching artwork, accessories, furniture and more since 1950. In Vitra—Design, Architecture, Communication: A European Project with American Roots, you can learn the colorful story behind the company’s U.S. connections, inspired collaborations (with the likes of Philippe Starck) and contemporary campus that includes a museum and offices designed by Frank Gehry. Nov. 22 to April 26, 2015, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. philamuseum.org


New York City

Yeah, yeah, we know. A shirtless Bradley Cooper is a sight for sore eyes. But the Oscar-nominated actor’s chiseled figure will be the last thing on your mind when you see him take on the heartbreaking role of Joseph Merrick in the second Broadway revival of Bernard Pomerance’s late-1970s play, The Elephant Man. Based on the true-life story of Merrick—a Victorian Englishman who was given the titular alias at a freak show due to his physical deformities—Cooper follows in the footsteps of David Bowie and Mark Hamill, who’ve both taken on the part. Also starring: the incomparable Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola, whom we’ve loved since “Laurel Canyon.” Premieres Nov. 7 at Booth Theatre. elephantmanbroadway.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Dessert Duel
Pumpkin Flan Bread Pudding
Angie Law

SERVES 12
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
8 cups of sliced day-old brioche
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
(not pumpkin pie mix)
3 eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1⁄4 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 tablespoon kosher salt

Spray an 8-inch cake pan lightly with pan spray. Sprinkle the 1⁄2 cup of granulated sugar evenly in the cake pan. Bake the sugar in a 400-degree F oven until sugar caramelizes and turns amber in color. Swirl the pan if necessary, but do not stir. Let the pan cool, allowing the caramel to harden. Slice the brioche into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk and heavy cream. Then whisk in the pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Toss the sliced brioche in the pumpkin milk mixture. Allow to soak for 8-10 minutes. Pour the soaked bread into the cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then very carefully, using oven mitts or a dry towel, flip the cake onto serving plate being careful not to get any caramel on you (it will be hot!). Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Dessert Duel
Apple Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Drizzle
Delaney Van Dyke

Makes 24 cupcakes
1 stick unsalted butter, room
temperature (plus more for coating muffin pans if needed)
21⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3⁄4 cup buttermilk
3 cups grated green apple (about
4 medium, peeled and cored)

For the vanilla frosting:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons whole milk
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel sauce:
20 Kraft caramel pieces, unwrapped
1⁄2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice and salt; set aside.

Beat the butter, white sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add the room-temperature eggs, 1 at a time. (Blend first egg into the butter mixture before adding second egg.)

Stir in the buttermilk and grated apple after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.

In a bowl, combine all frosting ingredients. Beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cooled cupcakes or use an icing bag and decorate.

Microwave caramels and milk in large microwaveable bowl on high 3 to 31⁄2 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Using spoon, drizzle sauce over iced cupcakes.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Small Bite Battle
Savory Sausage StarsKim Wiggins
Kim Wiggins

Makes 48 stars
1 pound bulk sausage (I prefer hot)
7 ounce jar roasted red bell peppers
1 package wonton wrappers
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 ounce bottle of ranch dressing
1 can (2.25 ounces) black olives, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Individually place wonton wrappers in muffin pan and bake for 7-10 minutes, until golden brown. Take out of the pan and place on a cooling rack and cool completely. Repeat until all of the wrappers are cooked.

Cook sausage (per package directions), then drain any excess grease and crumble. Drain roasted red peppers and chop into small pieces. Set both aside.

Mix all ingredients except for the sausage in a large bowl. Add sausage and mix thoroughly.

Place wonton wrappers on large baking sheet. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the sausage mixture into each wonton cup. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until mixture melts. Serve immediately.

Cook’s tip: Wonton wrappers can be cooked up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Small Bite Battle
BBQ Pork Sliders w/ Avocado Crème & Pickled Red Cabbage Slaw
Marc Dixon

Makes 24 mini sliders
5 lb boneless pork shoulder or butt
4 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons cayenne
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground black peppercorn
24 mini buns

For the braising liquid:
2 cups ketchup
1 quart orange juice
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Remainder of spice blend (above)

For the red cabbage slaw:
1⁄4 head red cabbage, shredded
1⁄4 cup kosher salt
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar

For the avocado crème:
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1⁄4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ounce chives, snipped
Salt to taste

To prep the pork: Preheat barbecue grill to max temperature, and oven to 225 degrees F. Cut the pork shoulder into 4 even pieces. Mix all spice ingredients together to make a “spice rub.” Coat pork entirely with rub, using a baking pan to catch excess. Reserve excess.

To make the braising liquid: In a large mixing bowl, add ketchup and leftover spice rub. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

To make the red cabbage slaw: Combine red cabbage, salt and sugar. Mix well and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain juices and rinse cabbage well. Mix cabbage with red wine vinegar and let sit for 1 hour. Strain cabbage and place in airtight container. Keep cold until needed.

To make the avocado crème: In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. Adjust seasoning if needed.

To cook pork: If using an outdoor grill, place pork on grill and char all sides to look “burnt.” Watch out for flare-ups. If grill is not an option, pan sear in large skillet in a well-ventilated kitchen. Once pork has been properly charred, place in a roasting pan with enough room for braising liquid. Pour braising liquid into pan with pork. (Liquid should barely cover meat.) If more liquid is needed, just add water.

Cover pan with foil and place in oven. Cook for 3 hours or until pork is “fork tender.” Cool pork in liquid until easy to touch. Remove pork and shred. Strain braising liquid into a large pot and reduce over medium heat until liquid starts to thicken. Stir in shredded pork and continue to cook until a thick “BBQ pork” consistency is met. (Alternatively, use a Crock-Pot and follow manufacturer’s instructions.)

To serve: Lightly toast mini buns, , throw some cabbage slaw on the bottom, top with avocado crème, add pork and top with more avocado crème and top bun. Or serve “big” on a traditional bun or your favorite bread, also toasted.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Breakfast of Champions
Omnivore’s Delight
Scott Stauber

SERVES 4
4 eggs (your heart’s desire of color)
1 large bunch of thick asparagus, peeled and trimmed
1⁄2 pound pancetta, thinly sliced
Smoked paprika, to sprinkle
Radish, shaved for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil
Manchego cheese, shaved

For the lemon honey vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 tablespoon honey
1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄8 tablespoon smoked paprika
1⁄8 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt

For the tomatoes:
Mix of heirloom tomatoes
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

To make the main dish: Place eggs in simmering water and poach. Remove from water and place on a paper towel.

Toss the asparagus in a little extra virgin olive oil to coat. Sprinkle the smoked paprika on the asparagus. Wrap a few layers of pancetta evenly and snugly around the asparagus. Grill or pan sear until pancetta is crisp.

To make the vinaigrette: Whisk all ingredients together except the oil. Then slowly whisk in the oil until the dressing emulsifies.

To make the tomatoes: First cut the tomatoes into 1⁄4-inch slices, then slice each piece in half to create a half-moon appearance. Shingle the different types of half-moon tomatoes on the base of plate. Season with kosher salt and fresh pepper.

To plate: Place pancetta wrapped asparagus on top of tomatoes. Place poached egg on top of the asparagus, sprinkle with a little paprika and drizzle the vinaigrette over the egg and asparagus. Shave flakes of manchego and garnish with a little shaved radish.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Breakfast of Champions
Heath Bar Pancakes
Chad Gauss

SERVES 4
2 cups flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4  eggs
21⁄4 cups buttermilk
2 ounces melted butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heath bar pieces, as needed

Mix all dry ingredients (except Heath bar pieces) well. Mix wet ingredients well. Fold into each other. 

Place a nonstick pan or a griddle on medium heat. Add a small amount of butter to the pan. Pour in the pancake batter and sprinkle a bunch of Heath bar pieces into the batter.

When the mix starts to bubble, flip the pancake and cook on the other side. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Powdered sugar, too.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Chef Talk
By Martha Thomas

CHEF TALK: Bella Kline, Pen & Quill

After years of wrangling, a massive renovation and grand opening with the mayor and VIPs, the reincarnation of the iconic Chesapeake restaurant never hit its stride. The Karzai family, which owns b Bistro, The Helmand and neighboring Tapas Teatro, pulled out of the original project in 2011, but stepped back in. They reorganized the dining room, freshened the menu and hired chef Bella Kline, 24, who has worked at Chameleon in Baltimore and Chicago’s Michelin-starred Longman & Eagle. Pen & Quill opened in late summer.

What’s your cooking style?
My training has been very French. Things like choucroute garnie (sauerkraut and pork). But here we’re doing it with more of a Korean profile, with fish sauce and ginger, a marriage of sauerkraut and kimchi.

What was it like to work at a Michelin-starred restaurant?
The biggest thing was the expectation for your knife work. There’s only one way to do a brunoise, that’s a small dice. The Longman & Eagle chef, Jared Wentworth, is the kind of guy I love working for. It was like a well-manicured pirate ship. He’s crazy and wants everyone to have fun. But if something isn’t perfect, it’s going in the trashcan. You sit up a little straighter when he’s around.

Is that the kind of kitchen you run?
I definitely want to have the respect from my cooks that I had for him. I want them to be the best they can be.

How did you find out about the job?
My sister, Naomi Kline, is beverage director here. She was long-term bartender at Tapas before Helmand brought her here.

Why do you think the Chesapeake tanked?
All that I’ve heard is, whatever they were trying to do didn’t work. Maybe it was the design of the dining room: A huge wall divided in half. If a server can’t see your table, they don’t know what you need.

How do you make an amazing experience?
It’s not just about the food. We want to be the friendliest restaurant in town. The Karzais are very present. Normally in restaurants, something breaks and you say, “Where’s the duct tape?” Here, if something breaks they fix it. We had a really big flood the first weekend the restaurant opened. It was Quayum [Karzai] cleaning it up in the morning.

You ‘thru-hiked’ the Appalachian Trail with your fiancée, Meaghan. How did that work out?
It was our “Can we spend the rest of our lives together?” test. We passed.

What did you eat?
I started out pretty ambitious. Our packs were the heaviest. But when you’re walking 20 miles a day, you can easily eat everything. So we got more realistic. It became more of a freeze-dried life. Some hikers wasted away to nothing. I was the strongest I’ve ever been. You take your pack off, you feel you could do anything.

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Now Serving
By Martha Thomas


Cocktail Culture


The newly opened Bookmakers Cocktail Club, atmospheric by Federal Hill standards, combines the intimacy of a dimly lit speak-easy with an imaginative kitchen and bar.  The team is impressive, beginning with chef Chris Amendola, who came to Baltimore to take over the kitchen at Fleet Street Kitchen after working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in upstate New York—ground zero for the farm-to-table furor. Ryan Sparks, who worked at Of Love and Regret, Jack’s Bistro and most recently Rye (by the same team behind Bookmakers), is a cocktail techie, compressing ghost peppers into bitters or extracting tincture of nasturtium for cocktails. The kitchen and bar share herbs and seasonal fruits to create eclectic menus that cry out for pairings. The sublime Old Fashioned, made with 1792 Bourbon and an artisanal ice cube emitting orange essence, is calling. 31 E. Cross St. 443-438-4039, bookmakersbaltimore.com 


Celebrity Dish


Chef Bryan Voltaggio says Baltimore’s Aggio, in the rapidly redecorated Tatu space—charcoal walls, mod lighting, painted brick—can be taken a lot less seriously than Volt in Frederick, where Table 21 proffers a 21-course prix-fixe symphony of flavor and texture. The new restaurant located in Power Plant Live! has a high-back banquette they call the “Godfather’s Table,” where you can order whatever you want. “I encourage grazing,” says the chef. “That’s what Italian eating should be.” While influenced by Voltaggio’s heritage and crafted by chef de cuisine Dan Izzo (who’s worked at New York’s Lupa), the food here is a far cry from Little Italy red sauce. Dishes are infused with Voltaggio’s passion for all things Chesapeake. The $95 chef’s tasting (yup, but you don’t have to order it) offers a squid ink pasta with Maryland blue crab. The regular menu boasts creative fare like Berkshire pork with pistachio butter and peach mostarda. “I grew up coming to the harbor and love this area,” says the Top Chef contender, who also plans to open a contemporary diner, Family Meal, in the old Houlihan’s spot by year’s end. 614 Water St. 410-528-0200, volt-aggio.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Table Manners
By Martha Thomas

STYLE food editor Martha Thomas reflects on the ups and downs, ins and outs, of restaurant dining with children.

Many years ago, Marc Dettori prepared a feast for a friend’s birthday party. The buffet table was loaded with familiar dishes from Dettori’s native France: salade niçoise, quiche, pissaladiere (an onion tart with a pastry crust) and burgers from meat he had ground himself.

There were plenty of guests—both kids and adults—at the gathering, but in Dettori’s memory, one family stands out like a punch in the gut. “The kids didn’t recognize anything on the buffet,” recalls the Petit Louis maître d’. “They took one look and threw a fit.”

The solution? The parents left and “came back with these big buckets from Kentucky Fried Chicken.” To say Dettori was miffed would be a misreading of the situation. “You can’t be mad at children. I was mostly sad,” he tells me. “The parents didn’t give their kids an opportunity to try something different.”

When Dettori, now 63, was a kid growing up in the Beaujolais region, he says “we ate what the adults ate. I don’t remember my mother making special meals for us.” And in restaurants, he recalls, “there was no such thing as a children’s menu.”

I myself am not a fan of special menus for children. What’s the point of raising kids to believe that eating out means eating chicken fingers and mac n’ cheese? But kids’ menus mean parents can find something for their oft-picky offspring. Portions and prices are child-sized.

Petit Louis doesn’t have “quote unquote kids’ food, but they can usually find something they like,” Dettori says. He sees kids eating escargot, foie gras and steak frites (restaurateur Tony Foreman says it’s not uncommon for parents to introduce snails to kids as young as 3).

But let’s be honest. As delightful as an escargot-eating toddler sounds, sometimes kids and restaurants can be a recipe for disaster—and not just when there’s no fried chicken on the menu. Though Dettori has never had to ask a family to leave, he’s packed plenty of dinners in carryout containers after a kid has had a tantrum.

“If you can’t get your child to quiet down in one minute, that’s the line,” says Cynthia Lett, a Montgomery County-based etiquette and protocol expert, and author of “Modern Civility,” released in January 2014. “No matter how cute they are, they’re disturbing other diners,” she says. Sure, outbursts happen, but to allow bad behavior to continue, Lett points out, “is the height of rudeness.”

Her son, now 16, has been going to restaurants with his parents since he was a baby. “My son is autistic and would have true meltdowns. When it happened, we’d march him out—no matter if it was raining or snowing,” says Lett, adding that she and her husband became pros at predicting where their son’s mood would go, so they could determine if it was safe to go back to their meal—or if they should box it up to take home.

The problems parents face when they bring small children to restaurants can be amplified when the tab is high. “If you’re paying $100-$200 per person, you don’t want to share your experience with someone’s small person,” says Lett.

“I understand that many parents are trying their best, but why should everyone in my party be inconvenienced—or have a less enjoyable meal—because your child is misbehaving?” says a fellow media type who prefers not to be named in this article. “I don’t think the ‘It Takes a Village’ philosophy needs to extend to Sunday brunch at Gertrude’s. Find an IHOP and have a rooty tooty, fresh ’n fruity day.”

Indeed, the question of whether kids even belong in fine restaurants swirled across the Internet in the early part of the year, after chef Grant Achatz, owner of Chicago’s famed Alinea (where dinner for two can run upward of $1,000), tweeted about a crying 8-month-old; his shorthand musing included the question, “tell ppl no kids?” The reaction to that idea is, not surprisingly, polarized. Some advocate banning kids altogether—as a smattering of restaurants from Brooklyn, N.Y. to Monterey, Calif., have done—to fierce defense of the parents’ right to expose their children to the world. “People want to take kids to jazzy places to give them an exotic experience,” points out Foreman. In some cases, parents might not have a choice. As the story goes, the couple at Alinea had a babysitter cancel on that fateful night, and didn’t want to walk away from the exalted pre-paid reservation.

While Lett and others fix responsibility on the parents, Foreman says the restaurant staff can step in to help. He remembers two little girls—he guesses they were about 2 and 4—who waged battle in a banquette at Cinghiale. “For the people on the other side, all they knew is there were wild animals next door,” he says. The staff moved the offended diners to a new table and “did a restart.” The couple received fresh drinks and new first courses, says Foreman. “It was like covering moving expenses to put them in a new neighborhood.”

The family-run Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia offers an adults-only dining area—like a pre-emptive strike for guests who want a predictably quiet, sophisticated dining experience. “We’ve found this actually attracts more families to the restaurant,” says chief operating officer Rachael Mull, who runs the restaurant with her parents and sister. “Our regulars feel more comfortable, because they know people who don’t want to be around their kids will be seated in a different area.” The restaurant also gives out custom bibs with the tagline “Poutine Please?” (one of the restaurant’s must-have dishes) to babes and toddlers.

Jessica and Albert Grosman’s daughter visited her first restaurant “when she was a day old,” says Jessica, a dietitian and consultant. Now Linley, 8, eats stinky cheese in Paris (“the stinkier the better,” according to her mother), baby octopus in Japan and game meats in London—Albert is a portfolio manager who has clients all over the world. “We were just in Italy and I think she ate her body weight in cured meat,” says Jessica, a vegetarian.

Linley’s favorite restaurant is Petit Louis, where she loves mushroom velouté and escargot, says Grosman. “She’s very upset when mushrooms aren’t on the menu. We have to explain to her that you only get them in season.”

Grosman believes that many Americans don’t hold their children to high standards when it comes to food. “We let them eat junk food to make them happy,” an approach that can backfire, she points out, as “additives and sugar probably contribute to their bad behavior.”

Today’s American chain and casual restaurants enable less than optimal diets with kids’ menus of fried foods, greasy burgers, pizza and noodles with sweet red sauce. But plenty of independent Baltimore chefs make an effort to please both kids and their parents. Thomas Rudis has had a dish called “Cactus Flower” on the menu at Golden West for more than a decade. It’s slices of Granny Smith apple surrounding a scoop of peanut butter. Kids also can order plain quesadillas with grilled chicken.

Personally, I love Woodberry Kitchen’s “Carrots and their Tops.” On my first visit to the restaurant, the server set down a plate of braised carrots, glistening with maple sugar-sweetened butter, and told me, “Here are your carrots.” He then poured green sauce—made from macerated carrot tops blended with the braising liquid—from a small pitcher, announcing, “and their tops.”

In my memory, this dish is magical; after experiencing it at an adult dinner, I couldn’t wait to bring my then-7-year-old daughter to try it. Sure enough, she found both the ritual and the sweet, buttery vegetables enchanting.

Woodberry also has a seasonal kids’ menu, with flatbreads from the wood oven, grilled chicken-on-a-stick and miniature steak frites. For Spike Gjerde, the issue isn’t just feeding kids. “Being a kid-friendly restaurant isn’t a passive thing,” says the owner/chef. “You have to engage them.” Woodberry offers a menu with a farm scene for coloring, and a small tin of K-dough, a version of modeling clay, made with flour and olive oil, colored with seasonal berries, greens or even coffee.

Gjerde’s own kids, now 11 and 14, are “both an 11 on the pickiness scale,” he says. But they’re coming around. His son Finn, 14, recently had a birthday party at Toki Underground, Erik Bruner-Yang’s ramen bar in D.C., where Gjerde has “tasted things so good they made my hair stand up.” Even so, he says, “ramen is a good entry point” for kids.

Beth and Eric Laverick—and their kids, Molly, 3, and Connor, 5—are fans of the Middle Eastern food at Lebanese Taverna. “People are surprised when I tell them the kids’ menu is fabulous,” says Beth, a local events marketing guru. Her kids eat falafel, lamb shawarma and hummus with vegetable sticks.

The family lives in Patterson Park, and makes dining out a family adventure. “We might ride scooters to Johnny Rad’s or combine a meal at Red Star on Wolfe Street with a visit to the playground on nearby Thames,” says Beth. But note: There’s always a bailout plan. “Everyplace we go is within walking distance” in case of irredeemable meltdown, she says. “Or we call Über.”

When my daughter was born, we lived in Manhattan, and I wrote restaurant reviews for a neighborhood newspaper. We’d make reservations for the hour she’d most reliably sleep and I’d prepare for her arrival with a soothing supper of mother’s milk. Most of the time, she’d fall asleep on the banquette by my side.

When she got older, I established rules, based on experiences I’d had with friends’ kids. The worst of all, I thought, was getting out of their chairs, roaming the restaurant, or making the table into a fort. If you ask my 15-year-old today the most important rule of restaurant behavior, she’ll quickly tell you, “Don’t go under the table.”




Go Early. Tip well.

When I reached out to a few parents of young kids for anecdotes about restaurant meltdowns, I heard an overwhelming number of stories about diaper blowouts. I also heard about a little boy, told to dress up for a fancy outing, who ran up to his room and put on a red velvet cape and golden crown. Taking a child to a restaurant can be both charming and challenging. We asked some experts for tips.

>> Start teaching manners at home. “We’re raising a generation where sitting at the table is an occasion,” laments etiquette expert Cynthia Lett. If you practice graciousness at home, “it will be second nature when you go out.”

>>Go before 5. “If you take kids to a restaurant after 7,” says Beth Laverick, “you’re asking for trouble.” The marketing maven and mother of two also has found that in some restaurants, the bar is quiet in the early evening. “Patrons are more casual in the bar area,” she adds.

>>No matter when you go, make sure kids aren’t exhausted. For many children, 5 to 6 p.m. can be witching hour, when a long day and hunger combine to make them cranky. As with Scarlett O’Hara, a snack before dinner may keep them chill.

>>Bring along distractions. Even parents who eschew toddlers on iPads swear by electronic entertainment to settle a child desperate to make a fort under a neighboring table.

>>Don’t demand special foods. “There’s usually something on the menu the kids will eat,” says Laverick. “Figure it out.”

>>Tip generously. Laverick remembers a family who regularly came to a restaurant where she worked as a server. “The kids were out of control. The parents let them whine and scream,  tear open jelly and sugar packets, crush Cheerios and cement raisins into the floor. Then they’d leave a 15 percent tip…if we were lucky.”

>>Think economically. If you are blowing big bucks on a meal, wouldn’t it be fiscally prudent to subsidize your peace of mind with the cost of a babysitter? —M.T.

 


       

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
In Living Color
By Kathy Hudson



Photography by Tony Amador

Kilburn? Kile-burn? Sill-born? How DO you pronounce it? And where is it? That’s what people once asked about Cylburn Arboretum (pronounced SILL-burn, by the way). No more. This once under-discovered treasure on Greenspring Avenue, near Sinai Hospital, today enjoys rising-star status among the green oases of Baltimore City. Hundreds of well-pruned trees, wide lawns, 14 gardens and 3.5 miles of trails greet visitors as they walk, jog, bike or drive through the shiny black gates.

Some 42,000 visitors each year experience nature, educational programs and entertainment on the 207-acre property that once belonged to chromium magnate Jesse Tyson. This year, Cylburn celebrates 60 years as an arboretum open to the public for free. Although the Tyson estate was purchased by the city in 1942, it was turned into a home for neglected children. In 1954, Cylburn reverted back to public park status.

“While Tyson’s brother’s house, Ruscombe, is surrounded today by cement, Jesse Tyson’s home is still gardens and an arboretum. He and his wife were all about the landscape. They had a conservatory that’s gone now,” says Lynda McClary, executive director of the Cylburn Arboretum Association. The nonprofit maintains and installs the plants and trees and organizes public programs and outreach initiatives, from outings and camps for children to yoga classes and art exhibits. The buildings, grounds and plantings themselves are owned by Baltimore City.

On a sunny weekday afternoon, joggers run on the trail by the entrance. A family picnics near the 10,000-square-foot Vollmer Center, a green building with three green roofs, offices for the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland and the Horticultural Society of Maryland, which recently designed and installed a stylish new entrance garden.

Two children ride a scooter and a trike up to the 1868 Victorian Revival mansion designed by George A. Frederick, also the architect of City Hall. Under an adjacent collection of Japanese maple trees, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) professor and Cylburn’s artist-in-residence Paul Moscatt and his wife paint the sculptural canopy of these 150-year-old trees. In nearby formal gardens, frequently used for weddings, Moscatt’s student paints a Lady Baltimore statue.

Beyond a flagstone patio, a photographer shoots the bountiful, end-of-season All-America Selections display of the latest plants and vegetables. Sounds of schoolchildren carry up the hill from the greenhouses and the Johns Hopkins Aquaponics Project, where fish, herbs and vegetables are raised in 3,000 gallons of water.

Cylburn Arboretum has year-round interest. “It is one of the few mature forests in the city,” says McClary. “Some trees are 250 years old.” Tree collections include the evergreen conifer, holly, magnolia and boxwood, as well as deciduous maple, chestnut, oak, dogwood and Japanese maple. Ancient ginkgos and dawn redwoods are stunning in autumn, as are collections of graceful grasses and flaming viburnums. Six named gardens, some filled with native plantings and berries, attract butterflies, beneficial insects and migrating birds.

“The row of maples between the parking lots catches both early morning and late evening sun,” says chief horticulturalist Melissa Grim. “Their yellow color glows when the sun strikes them.” Even the parking lots at Cylburn have curb appeal.

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Mrs. Eddie's
Nancy Cohen, Indie Grocer



It’s the stuff of North Baltimore legend. How in 1944, Victor Cohen opened Victor’s, a small market in the historic Tudor shopping center in Roland Park. How, after buying a grocery franchise from Eddie Levy, Victor kept the Eddie’s Supermarket name for his newer, = bigger store on Roland Avenue. How his loyal butcher shop customers insisted that Victor’s meat was better than Eddie’s, and to keep them happy, Cohen offered two butcher shops in his new grocery. Thirty-five years later, Eddie’s still has two butcher shops, Victor’s Prime Meat and Eddie’s USDA Choice Meat—side by side and virtually identical—a source of wonder and amusement to the uninitiated.

Eddie’s feels like the bar in “Cheers” where everybody knows your name. It’s friendly, old-fashioned. On a cold day, Carl Sanders opens the door for shoppers wearing an elegant, full-length cashmere overcoat. Lengthy and deeply personal conversations are held in the aisles. Flirtation is rife. One Roland Parker, who claims to visit three times a day, fears that “when the bomb hits, I will be in the deli line at Eddie’s.”

On the 70th anniversary of Eddie’s of Roland Park (no relation, by the way, to the Eddie’s of Charles Village or Mount Vernon), we spoke to Nancy Cohen at the second Eddie’s store on North Charles Street, which she bought in 1990. Victor Cohen’s daughter and only child, Nancy reflects on her decision to carry on one of Baltimore’s most beloved brands.

My earliest memory of Eddie’s is sitting on the window ledge at the Roland Park store eating Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies out of a huge gold tin.

I have a master’s in psychology from Loyola. But, in 1981, I decided to switch gears—going into the family business instead of going on for an advanced degree.

There was resistance at first. I’d been hanging around the store with my dad since I was a little girl, and when I began to take charge, some people had a problem with that.

Relying on instinct is something you learn with time. I pushed hard, against my dad’s advice, to buy the Charles Street Eddie’s, which has been a great success. And I made a mistake years ago in not buying a property—I won’t say where, but it’s one I still regret.

It is fun, mostly. I love being in the stores, sourcing new products, talking to customers, finding out what they want. Have you tried the Manoucher bread, by the way?

I found this olive oil in Tuscany and a wonderful cheese up in Vermont. We’ve always supported local vendors—Zeke’s Coffee, Berger Cookies, Vanns Spices—and local growers, too. If only it could just be about picking out the food!

But there’s so much more than supplying the groceries. It’s the real estate, the liquor licensing, the staffing, the training—and there’s more regulation every year. That’s the stress of being an independent.

Employee benefits are something I feel strongly about. We need to do good when we can. I really love my employees.

We look for people who like people. That’s my top hiring criteria. The skill set is second. I want to see a smile.

The customer has changed. People want to know a lot more about their food now, which is great. Personal service is still valued, but customers are in more of a hurry these days. Convenience is a priority.

People tell us they want tables outside of Eddie’s. We do, too. Roland Park is due for a major renovation—and that’s definitely part of our plan. We are starting renovations on the Charles Street store in early 2015.

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins is a cause close to my heart. And my synagogue, Chizuk Amuno. We support the Roland Park community by providing the local schools with gifts. And we sponsor Little League teams, naturally.

What else? I’m an animal lover. I have an American bulldog named Dylan and a pit bull named Abby. They’re both rescues. And I adopted Siena—a big, beautiful Cane Corso.

I have an old farmhouse in Brooklandville, with some land. Of course it needs work. And it smells like dog.

—As told to Cynthia McIntyre

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Neighbor's Pet
By Christopher Corbett

A good pet sitter is hard to find. Once, I hired a dreamy Gilman School lad to care for our cat for a weekend only to find that when we returned he’d forgotten all about his furry friends. (This may be why boys are not the best baby sitters?) The cats were fine, albeit grouchy and hungry.

Then I tried the boy’s father, figuring I might have better luck with an adult. We went up to Princeton to sponge off some old friends at Thanksgiving. We’d only be gone 48 hours. On the morning of Thanksgiving Day he called to report that a car had killed our cat. My wife and daughter were devastated. There was much weeping and rending of garments.

But I was suspicious. I asked my neighbor when he let the cat out of the house. He had not let the cat out, he assured me. Well, we left the cat indoors. So how was he outside and dead? My neighbor was no help. All cats looked alike to him. (He was a dog person, you see.) He’d found this one in the street and naturally, as he was supposed to be cat sitting, determined that he had a dead cat on his hands. He had respectfully placed the remains in a cardboard box from Eddie’s Liquors and put the box in his garage in anticipation of my return and the obsequies.

You can’t really call the police in Baltimore about this sort of thing. The fire department is stretched thin. Animal control is hopeless. There are not many people whom you can ask to get up from the dinner table on Thanksgiving to drive across Baltimore to look at a dead cat. But I know one such person.

I found my friend with his in-laws, an elderly couple that might be described as slightly addled. As it turned out, examining a dead cat was just the sort of digestif my friend needed. He went right over to view the corpse. The deceased was an enormous old tomcat that bore no resemblance to our cat. None. Wrong color, too. Our cat was just fine, still inside our house where my friend fed him.

The best cat sitter we ever had was a matter of pure luck. When we first came to Baltimore, we lived in a three-story rowhouse. And our next-door neighbor was an ancient woman who lived with her nephew, a recluse who rarely spoke. Eventually his sister and her husband moved in, too. I was not yet familiar with the novels of Anne Tyler so it took me a while to realize that some of her characters had escaped from one of her books and moved in next door to me. But they were perfect neighbors. The curtains were always drawn. Property was spotless. Never made a peep. We appreciated this because a block away some high-spirited Johns Hopkins lacrosse players were committing crimes against decency.

The nephew had done something in a factory in Baltimore when Baltimore still had factories. And now in retirement he went for walks, watched television and talked to his cat, Alexander. We called him Boo Radley, in deference to the greatest neighbor in American literature. He told me once that he had never been to the Inner Harbor, which was exactly 35 blocks away. I liked that a lot.

I told my wife, “I’ll get this guy to talk to me.” It took a while, but I’m persistent. And so it was that I became his friend. I do not believe he had any others. We were not discussing metaphysics but enjoyed each other’s company.

My wife and I never worried about going away—for a weekend or a month. Boo would be watching. Federal marshals would not have kept a closer eye on things. And in the evenings, weather permitting, he sat in the back- yard and sang to Alexander. I liked that a lot, too.

Boo never went anywhere so it was impossible to return the favor, but one Sunday (he always went for a drive on Sunday—alone) he called and asked me to help him. His car had broken down on old U.S. Route 1 south of the city. I found him in a pet cemetery where he apparently had been going every Sunday for all the years that I knew him. He was visiting the graves of his best friends. Family members, really. He’d had a dog named Buddy and there were various cats interred there, too. When I saw him at those graves, hearing his recollections of his long-dead companions, I realized: not only had we found the world’s best neighbor and cat sitter, we had become part of Baltimore. 

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Jump for Joy
By Jessica Bizik
Jump for Joy

TURN UP THE HEAT WITH CARDIO PILATES

I LOVE HOW Pilates strengthens from the inside out—and gives me peace of mind on the mat. But, sometimes, I want to unleash something more primal. Enter Rhythm Reformer, the cardio-minded, small-group class at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, where you can jump, jive and wail on the “Rolls Royce” of Pilates equipment. “Pilates doesn’t have to be quiet or serious,” says program director Kimberlee Strome, who also teaches an equally fun, time-saving Spin/Yoga fusion class. During my class, I was springing (and sweating) with abandon—propelling backward on the carriage, then landing on the jump board with different foot positions, much like playing hopscotch. It feels like you’re flying, albeit horizontally. And it’s a blast. Another fave: the Full Studio Jump Board class incorporates other Pilates equipment like the tower and chair. 12-week session, $360-$420 (with $89 annual fee for non-members). bestbaltimorefitness.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Seasons of Love
Struggling to make the lessons of a bittersweet summer last all year long.
By Jennifer Mendelsohn


I’ve never put much stock in New Year’s resolutions; January doesn’t inspire me as a time for new beginnings. It’s always been the fall, with all those brand new composition notebooks waiting to be filled and the rubbery tang of pristine pencil erasers, that has felt most ripe for reinvention. You could return to school each year with a completely blank slate, creating a new persona to go with your gleaming Trapper Keeper and Holly Hobbie lunchbox.

It’s been 25 years since I last registered anywhere as a student. And even though that means I’ve been out of school far longer than I ever was in it, my internal calendar is still intrinsically calibrated to the school year. Whenever fall rolls around, I feel the urge to take stock and start fresh, to tackle new projects and reorient myself. And summer still feels almost holy: a time of unfettered days of riding bikes to nowhere amidst the droning hum of cicadas and the unrelenting rays of morning sun. Nights chasing fireflies and eating Popsicles, whispering secrets at sleepovers. No homework. No agenda. Rules and bedtimes gone temporarily slack.

The need for a relaxing summer felt especially pressing this year. Last spring we unexpectedly found ourselves needing to leave the school our two boys had called home for four years. We were relieved and thrilled to find them both ideal new placements, but I was impatient for the school year to end so we could officially pull up stakes and move on. I counted down the days till summer began. And once it did, I vowed to let it unfold slowly. I didn’t want to wake up in September and wonder where the time had gone. Instead,  I wanted to be intensely present, to drink in all that good summer zen.

That vow took on an unintended poignancy when, across a three-week period in June, the blissful bubble of summer was pierced by the news that three people close to me had each suffered the tragic loss of a young family member. Ever since my father passed away suddenly in 2012, I’ve been extremely uncomfortable with death. An unfamiliar and unwelcome undercurrent of anxiety had crept into my life as I became hyper-aware of just how fragile we are. It was as if whatever filter had previously allowed me to function in a world where things sometimes went horribly wrong was suddenly stripped away. I became convinced that such an outcome was not just a possibility but a certainty, a rule rather than the exception. I was beset with irrational worry about the terrible fates I was certain would befall the people I cared most about. How was it conceivable that you could love something so much that could one day be taken away? Would it be better to hold back somehow?

But rather than forcing me farther down the rabbit hole of anxiety, that unnerving trio of tragedies pushed me, surprisingly, in the opposite direction. They made clear that there is simply no way to protect against the myriad terrible possibilities that can cross your path, many of them ghastly and heartbreaking. The only answer was to love even harder, to celebrate and appreciate the myriad possibilities that aren’t ghastly and heartbreaking. Sometimes that means being more mindful of the simplest of joys. The wonder of a just-picked backyard tomato.  A hot shower after a day at the beach. The chance to watch your kids ride their bikes down your childhood street.

Just as I was grappling with all of this, I came across a blog post about the death of my friend Sarah’s brother, who was killed in a car accident on his way to pick up his children at camp. In trying to come to grips with the loss, Elizabeth McGuire quoted a passage from Louise Erdrich’s “The Painted Drum” that stopped me in my tracks.

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on Earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

“I guess the lesson is that we aren’t here to protect ourselves,” McGuire wrote in a comment. “We are here to be vulnerable.” 

I found myself thinking of those words all summer long, as I savored gorgeous berries, lingered over impromptu beers with neighbors and cheered with my family at Camden Yards. I thought of those words as I spent the umpteenth night eating takeout pizza at our neighborhood pool, watching my carefree boys pretzel themselves off the diving board. The pool is now long closed, the beach boardwalk shuttered for another year. But I’m still trying to remember those words, to embrace my utter vulnerability instead of constantly trying to hedge against it.

I want to be sure I can tell myself I tasted as many apples as I could.

Jennifer Mendelsohn lives in Mount Washington with her husband and their two boys. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, People, Slate and USA Weekend.

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Picture This
History Repeats
By Ian Zelaya


Civil rights activist Joseph Lowery

Never one to shy away from provocative subject matter, J.M. Giordano has shot portrait series featuring everyone from drag queens and death metal musicians to exotic dancers and their doormen. The City Paper photo editor found inspiration for his latest indie project while attending the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in D.C. last year.

“I realized I hadn’t seen current portraits of the civil rights leaders who spoke that day,” says Giordano, who decided to recreate the poignant studio shots photographer Richard Avedon took of these activists in the ‘60s. “I thought a great way to close the circle Avedon opened would be to photograph these icons today in the same style.”

All photographed in front of a white background, the nearly life-sized portraits remove the subjects from their landscape to create a conversation between the subject and the viewer—with luminaries such as Simeon Booker, the first African-American Washington Post reporter, and Kwanzaa founder (and Maryland native) Maulana Karenga—staring directly into the camera.

“No one is really grinning in the photos. They’re very natural,” says Giordano. “The real portrait is the photograph in between the smiles.”

The Baltimore native photographed several leaders during the Freedom Summer anniversary in Mississippi—an event he drove to on a whim after hearing about it on NPR. It was there he captured 93-year-old Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in his home near Jackson. (“He was an amiable guy,” says Giordano, “but I couldn’t shoot him from the waist down, because he was wearing pajama bottoms.”)

> See Giordano’s portraits at “Struggle: Portraits of Civil Rights and Black Power” on display through January 2015, at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. rflewismuseum.org

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Wrinkle In Time
An intrepid editor turns back the clock with Botox and Perlane.
By Jessica Bizik



“TELL ME WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF.” Secretly, I’m hoping plastic surgeon Dr. Michele Shermak utters the famous line that started off every episode of the cult-hit TV show “Nip/Tuck.” (Turns out, she was a fan, too.) But on my virgin visit to her Towson practice, she goes softer: “What would you like to discuss today?” I explain that I’m here for Botox—“Something everyone I ask says I don’t need,” I tell her, giving my barely creased forehead a Vanna White finger-swipe. “But I need a great story for the mag.” Also I confess: When I catch my face at rest in the reflection of my computer screen lately, “I look tired and sad—like the world’s bringing me down.” (Cue: “Gravity” by John Mayer.) During the next hour, I develop girl-crush levels of admiration for Shermak, a brainy beauty who explains that time (loss of collagen, elasticity, etc.) and a recent weight loss may account for my newly deflated face. We opt to double down with two different injectables to perk me back up.

BODACIOUS BOTOX: No worse than getting a Novocain shot, the Botox app takes just minutes as Shermak deftly injects the liquid in tiny dots across my forehead and beside my eyes. The results take about ten days to fully kick in—and they are amazing. My forehead is as smooth as a baby’s bottom and my crow’s feet have (temporarily) flown the coop. Originally I was worried I’d end up looking perma-surprised like “Real Housewife” Ramona Singer. Instead, my eyes retained their usual squinty almond shape, but my eyebrows have a microscopic lift—a nice pick-me-up that detracts from the genetic puffiness under my eyes and fits my flirty personality. Only side effects are a faint, pea-sizebruise and a dull headache that goes away quickly. Bonus: I can no longer make my famous “You must be kidding me” face, which is a benefit in dating and business meetings! (No, my face doesn’t feel frozen.) Results can last four to six months, but Shermak suggests first-timers come back in 90 days for a second treatment. “It’s like a one-two punch,” she says—noting this subsequent shot will help “train” the muscles to stay put longer.

PERFECT PERLANE: My new best friend numbs the lower part of my face to reduce the discomfort of injecting the Perlane, a hyaluronic acid-based filler from the makers of Restylane but with larger gel particles for deep folds. It still hurts a bit as she works her way into the corners of my mouth and under my bottom lip, but I chill out when she tells me, “People are going to wonder why you’re so smiley—it’s because I made you that way.” Over the next 48 hours, my usually big, goofy grin is stuck in a lemon-slice shape and my attitude is equally sour. (“I wish my face could cheer,” I complain at the Ravens game.) But I follow doctor’s orders, applying soothing Arnicare gel and massaging the ropey filler into submission. After a few days, the Perlane disperses to where I can’t feel it at all—and I’m convinced I’ve discovered The Fountain of Youth. The filler adds just enough volume to turn my unintentional frown upside down. I don’t look different; just happy and rested. (It’s better than Ambien!) And results can last up to a year.

Final Verdict: After experiencing the artistic precision of this surgeon, I am officially addicted. I will never let any other syringe-wielding human being touch my face. Botox, $300-$750. Perlane, $550-$1,000. drshermak.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
November Get Out
By Ian Zelaya

Grand Entrance

Consider the score settled. In 2004, STYLE contributor Jim Burger declared closing the Baltimore Museum of Art’s main entrance in 1982 one of 10 decisions that changed Baltimore for the worse. Now, 32 years later, it was worth the wait for the grand reopening of the Robert G. Merrick Entrance—still guarded by two striking cement lions that date back to its original opening in 1929. “Visitors can gather on the front steps and enter through the historic entrance to the heart of the museum, just as architect John Russell Pope had envisioned,” says BMA director Doreen Bolger. “The first thing they will see is the restored Fox Court, arguably the most beautiful interior in Baltimore.” Also reopening after two years is the Dorothy McIlvain Scott American Wing, which Bolger describes as a “breathtaking new presentation of American art that demonstrates its internationalism and Maryland’s significant, creative role from the 18th to the 20th century.” Be among the first to see it at the American Wing Opening Celebration, including a ribbon cutting and ceremonial sweeping of the marble steps; plus family-friendly activities and birthday cake. (The BMA turns 100 this year!) Nov. 23. 443-573-1700, artbma.org

Dancing Queen


For an artful evening in D.C., check out the world premiere of Little Dancer—based on the story of Marie Van Goethe, the young ballerina who was canonized by Edgar Degas in his sculpture at the National Gallery of Art. Part fact, part fiction, the musical—directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman—follows Marie as she tries to overcome an adverse family life and pursue her ballet dreams. Through Nov. 30, at the Kennedy Center. Tickets, $45-$150. 800-444-1324, kennedy-center.org

Let It Goooo


It’s almost too perfect. Disney’s immensely popular Pixar fantasy musical comes to the ice in Disney On Ice: Frozen, a live-action spectacle that tells us the story of young Princess Anna, who sets off to find her exiled sister Elsa, who gives new meaning to the term “ice queen.” Through Nov. 2, at the Royal Farms Arena. Tickets, $30-$80. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

Office Talk


Best known for his role as Ryan Howard on the U.S. version of “The Office,” B.J. Novak will stop by the Johns Hopkins University’s Eisenhower Speaker Series, where we hope he dishes about his on-screen love interest and off-screen friendship (and writing/producing partnership) with Mindy Kaling. Nov. 5, at Shriver Hall. Free to the public; reserved seats, $25. 443-997-9009, jhu.edu

Burns Notice


Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is the next big name to make an appearance at the Baltimore Speakers Series. The Oscar nominee and Emmy winner has been praised for his style of applying photographs and archival footage to documentaries, which include “Prohibition” and “The Central Park Five.” Nov. 11, at The Meyerhoff. 410-783-8000, baltimorespeakerseries.org

Beatles Juice


Come together for the Beatles retrospective that is BSO’s Classical Mystery Tour, which features original arrangements that will have audiences singing along to some of the Fab Four’s iconic hits. Nov. 28-Nov. 30, at The Meyerhoff. Tickets, $35-$90. 410-783-8000, bsomusic.org

An Angel Gets His Wings


Fresh off the heels of last year’s smash hit “A Civil War Christmas,” Center Stage doubles down with another family-friendly holiday delight, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Performed in the style of a 1940s live radio broadcast, Joe Landry’s retelling of the classic Capra film features five actors who take on all the characters of Bedford Falls’ memorable citizens. Nov. 18-Dec. 21. Tickets, $19-$59. 410-332-0033, centerstage.org

Art Lottery


School 33 Art Center’s 22nd annual Lotta Art Benefit incorporates a lottery-style drawing for original artwork donated by more than 100 local artists. Proceeds benefit School 33, which has provided Charm City with art education and exhibits for more than 30 years. Nov. 8, at School 33 Art Center. Tickets, $50-$175. 443-263-4350, school33.org

War Heroes


The 7th annual Cinefest is highlighted by documentary and dramatic films focused on the impact of war on survivors. The final two films screening this month are “Harbour of Hope,” a Swedish documentary about three Holocaust survivors, and “Last Dance,” an Australian drama about a terrifying situation that forces another Holocaust survivor to con- front her past. Nov. 2 and Nov. 6, at the Gordon Center. Tickets, $12-$14. 410-356-7469, jcc.org

Perfect Pitches


Enjoy an a cappella concert of epic proportions as the Alexandria Harmonizers and the Pride of Baltimore Chorus team up to present Harmony on the Harbor, with 10 quartets and three choruses, including The Ronninge Show Chorus and Sweden’s International Champion Chorus. Nov. 3, at The Meyerhoff. Tickets, $33-$103. 410-783-8000, bsomusic.org

Wings of Love


World-class soprano Asako Tamura is renowned for her portrayal of the Japanese geisha named Butterfly in Giacomo Puccini’s tragic opera Madama Butterfly, which portrays the love and loss the titular character endures after a dalliance with an American lieutenant. Nov. 7 and Nov. 9, at The Lyric. Tickets, $57-$190. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

Brotherly Love


A collaboration 16 years in the making that features the words of Stephen King, the music of John Mellencamp and the musical direction of TBone Burnett? Yes, please. Together, the dynamic trio created Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a haunting, supernatural, Southern Gothic musical. Set in a small Mississippi town in 1967, “County” tells the story of the McCandless family, including two brothers who hate each other, and their father who forces them to confront their demons in a haunted cabin. The 15-person cast teams up with a four-piece band to deliver folk-rock melodies that propel this dark tale of jealousy and revenge forward. Nov. 16, at The Lyric. Tickets, $52-$93. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

Show Me How You Boylesque


Step aside, Jane Fonda. We’re already blushing thinking about Mr. Gorgeous’ upcoming NSFW take on Barbarella, and we probably won’t think of the alien-friendly sexpot in the same way ever again. The 6-foot-5 Clarke Kent-esque dancer (and Maryland native) oozes charisma and charm during his sexy, comedic “boylesque” performances that might have you asking for an encore. Nov. 22, at the Creative Alliance. Tickets, $22 members, $25 non-members. 410-276-1651, creativealliance.org

Art Space


Inspired by the Space Telescope Science Institute on the Johns Hopkins University campus, BMA presents Front Room: Dario Robleto, an exhibit that features numerous sculptures and prints from the Texas-based conceptual artist, inspired by space exploration, nautical history and early sound recordings. Nov. 16-March 29. 443-573-1701, artbma.org

Giving Trees

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Benefiting the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Festival of Trees jump-starts the holiday season with more than 600 trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and numerous gift vendors—along with hourly entertainment at Santa Land, featuring “reindeer” rides, carnival games and more. Nov. 28-Nov. 30, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Tickets, $7-$13. festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org

Animal Close-Up

Stunning images of animals in their natural habitat are the focus of the annual Nature’s Best Photography Awards, featuring approximately 60 eye-popping photos of wildlife and nature from some brilliant amateur and professional photographers. Through April 20 at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. Free. 202-633-1000, si.edu

Hot Off The Press


If you have a fascination with the printed word—and what magazine reader doesn’t?—you’ll love From Pen to Press: Experimentation and Innovation in the Age of Print, The Walters’ latest exhibit that explores a time when printing was a new and experimental medium, starting with Gutenberg’s Bible in 1455. Nov. 22-April 12. Free. 410-547-9000, thewalters.org

No Holds Bard


The Maryland Ensemble Theatre presents Twelfth Night, which follows a town marshal who falls in love with a saloon owner, who’s actually in love with one of the Marshal’s men, who’s actually a woman who’s in love with the marshal. Prepare to laugh and be really confused while watching this Western-style version of one of Shakespeare’s beloved comedies. Nov. 1, 2, 6-9, 13-16, at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick. Tickets, $20-$24. 301-694-4744, marylandensemble.org

Visionary Gifts


The American Visionary Art Museum’s annual Bazaart Holiday Art Market features original paintings, jewelry, metalwork, sculptures and textiles from more than 50 regional artists and craftspeople. Shoppers also are invited to tour the museum for free. Nov. 29. 410-244-1900, avam.org

Harbor Holiday


Thirteen stores will get a festive face-lift in Window Wonderland, Maryland Art Place’s annual arts competition, where selected artists create elaborate window displays for the holidays in Harbor East. This year’s judges include Bmore Art founder Cara Ober, Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District director Priya Bhayana and STYLE magazine’s editor-in-chief Jessica Bizik, who will select a “Best in Show” winner to receive a $1,000 cash prize. Nov. 14-Jan. 2. 410-962-8565, mdartplace.org

Local Flavor

All throughout November, stop by Merritt Gallery & Renaissance Fine Arts in the Village at Cross Keys for a celebration of noted regional artists. The collection will showcase a diverse range of genres and media, featuring the work of Eric Abrecht, Jeff Erickson, Vitali Miagkov, Tina Palmer, Alice Pritchard and John Sills. 410-484-8900, renaissancefinearts.com

Beautiful Lives


Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver will discuss his new book, “Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most,” which explores the inspiring lives of those with special needs. Nov. 12, at The Church of the Redeemer. Free, with a ticketed reception before the open event at 7:30 p.m. 410-377-2966, theivybookshop.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Object
Luxe Lather
By Paige Whipple

Get a rock that’s even bigger than Kim Kardashian’s. No, these PELLE Soap Stones won’t fit on your ring finger, but they look like they belong there. Inspired by the shape and color of naturally occurring gemstones, such as rose quartz and aquamarine, and metamorphic rock such as jade and onyx, designers Jean and Oliver Pelle (who met as students at the Yale School of Architecture) hand-cut these stunning soaps in their Brooklyn studio, where they also design modern-chic lighting fixtures, furniture, jewelry and more. The all-natural, vegetable-based glycerin soaps are subtly scented with essential oils (think eucalyptus, lemon basil and camphor) and look even better dripping wet. Not that you’ll let anyone use them. $18 each at The Store LTD in Cross Keys. 410-323-2350, villageofcrosskeys.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  

About Faces’ makeup master Owen O’Donnell reveals three new faves:





1. Just twist the Telephoto Face Brush by Smashbox to adjust your coverage level (liquid or powder foundation) from sheer to seriously airbrushed, $39.






2. Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer, also by Smashbox, goes on as a lacquer and adjusts to a stain for eight straight hours of sexy, $24.






3. Divine Oil addicts will adore the new Parfum Divin de Caudalie with hints of rose, cedar, vanilla and spicy pink pepper, $64. All at About Faces Day Spa & Salon.

aboutfacesdayspa.com

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Bliss in the Suburbs
By Martha Thomas

AMBASSADOR DINING ROOM


The Ambassador Dining Room, tucked without fanfare into a classic apartment building in Tuscany-Canterbury, has long been revered as one of Baltimore’s most romantic restaurants. Owner-brothers Keir and Binda Singh recently opened a sibling restaurant, Ananda, in the suburbs. Set apart from the grand nouveau townhomes of Maple Lawn, the stand-alone building resembles a castle, with decorative turrets, and 8,000 square feet inside—twice the size of the Ambassador.

Maple Lawn is a planned community in the farmlands of Howard County, close to I-95. The county’s percentage of residents of Indian descent is higher than that of Maryland overall, and the median household income in these parts is more than $100K per annum. Seems like the perfect spot for a chic Indian restaurant with plenty of elbow room for special events. Plus, there’s a parking lot.

Food. Ananda plays copycat to its sib, offering familiar Indian dishes. The kitchen is headed by Keir and Binda’s sister, Kinday Kaur, born in the northern Indian state of Punjab, a region known for its aromatic sauces—think chicken and lamb masala—and tandoori-grilled meats and kebabs, stuffed paratha bread and dal. There’s also a classic pan-fried Goan fish, served whole in a garlic curry.

Décor. The restaurant’s eight fireplaces create winter ambience. Slowly turning fans operated by pulleys overhead, rattan furniture and reclaimed wood walls create a Colonial vibe. Sumptuous textures abound, from velveteen tufted banquettes to fleur-de-lis wallpaper and silk Rajasthani pillows. The Maharaja Room can host up to 180 guests, and the Marigold Room is great for meetings. Even with its high-tech trappings, the room is stately, with leopard-print, highbacked chairs, palatial ceilings and stained-glass clerestory windows.

Service. On an early visit, we were happy to see familiar faces among the waitstaff. Dining room staff, dressed in black jackets and starched white shirts, are friendly while formal. Spot-on service is part of the Ambassador’s charm, and Ananda maintains the tradition.

Cocktails. The Polo Bar offers happy hour daily from 4 to 6 p.m. with $5 cocktails (a rum and fruit Malabar punch, gin & tonic, Spicy Mango with Sriracha vodka) and small plates (lamb kofta, a Kerala cake made with crabmeat, masala fries).

Final Verdict. Did we mention that Ananda means ‘bliss’ in Sanskrit? 

Ananda. 7421 Maple Lawn Blvd. 301-725-4800, anandarestaurant.net



November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  



November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Entrée At Your Own Risk
Seared Maryland Rockfish with Cauliflower, Squid Ink Potato Croquettes and Romesco Sauce
Zack Mills, Executive Chef, Wit & Wisdom

SERVES 4
4 rockfish fillets (7 ounces each)
2 cups multi-colored cauliflower
1 cup fennel, diced
1⁄2 cup black and green olives, chopped
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced

For the Romesco sauce:
1 cup charred red bell peppers
2 cups charred tomatoes
1⁄2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup white bread, cubed
(crust removed)
2 tablespoons garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon almonds, slivered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the croquettes:
2 cups potatoes, mashed
2 tablespoons squid ink
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups egg wash
4 cups breadcrumbs, fine
Salt and pepper

For the fennel salad:
1 cup frisee
1 cup fennel, shaved
2 tablespoons fennel fronds
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

To make the Romesco: Coat red bell peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and place either on a grill or gas burner. Allow peppers to char on all sides. Once charred, move to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam. Slice tomatoes in half and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and char the same way as the peppers. Once charred move to a bowl but do not cover.

Thinly slice onions and garlic and place in a pot over medium-low heat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and allow to cook for another 2 minutes.

Peel the charred skin from the peppers and separate the flesh from the stem. Place both the bell pepper flesh and charred tomatoes to the pot with the onions, garlic and paprika. Let cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers and tomatoes are softened and have given off most of their liquid. Add sherry vinegar and allow to cook for 1 more minute.

Transfer everything to a blender along with the rest of the Romesco sauce ingredients. Blend on high for about 1 minute until very smooth. Remove and allow to cool. It is best to place mixture in a squeeze bottle to plate.

To make the croquettes: Make mashed potatoes however you prefer and place on a tray in the refrigerator to cool. (My method would be to boil peeled Yukon Gold potatoes in heavily salted water until all the way cooked, then mix with warmed heavy cream and butter. Ratio should be 2 parts potato, half part cream, half part butter.) Once cooled, move potatoes to a bowl and mix with squid ink until they are black. Roll potatoes into spheres just smaller than a golf ball and place on a tray. Move the tray to the freezer for at least an hour.

Make a breading station by using 3 separate bowls; 1 of flour seasoned with about 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 with eggs whisked well together with 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 with very fine breadcrumbs mixed with a tablespoon of salt.
Remove potato balls from the freezer and begin to “double bread” by first coating in flour, followed by egg wash, followed by breadcrumbs then back into the egg wash and finally back into the breadcrumbs. Make sure each croquette is fully coated, place on a tray and move back to the freezer.

To make the rest of dish: In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1⁄4 cup of canola or vegetable oil. Season the rockfish’s skin side very well with salt and place skin side down in the pan. Season the flesh side and press down on each piece of fish to ensure that all of the skin is touching the pan. Place in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

In a small pot over medium heat, add olive oil followed by diced fennel, cauliflower florets and chopped olives. Season with salt and pepper and cook until everything is warmed through but not browning, about 3 minutes. Add
vegetable stock and let reduce to a glaze. Remove from the heat and mix in minced chives and shallot.

Gently drop croquettes in a 350-degree fryer and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the fryer; shake off excess oil and season with salt.

To plate: Place the mixture of cauliflower, fennel and olive down on the bottom of the plate, about the same size as the fish. Place fish on top. Mix ingredients for the fennel salad together in a bowl and top each fish. Place 3 dots down around each fish just bigger than the size of the croquettes and place croquettes on top.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Entrée At Your Own Risk
Seared Maryland Rockfish with Cauliflower, Squid Ink Potato Croquettes and Romesco Sauce
Zack Mills, Executive Chef, Wit & Wisdom

SERVES 4
4 rockfish fillets (7 ounces each)
2 cups multi-colored cauliflower
1 cup fennel, diced
1⁄2 cup black and green olives, chopped
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced

For the Romesco sauce:
1 cup charred red bell peppers
2 cups charred tomatoes
1⁄2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup white bread, cubed
(crust removed)
2 tablespoons garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon almonds, slivered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the croquettes:
2 cups potatoes, mashed
2 tablespoons squid ink
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups egg wash
4 cups breadcrumbs, fine
Salt and pepper

For the fennel salad:
1 cup frisee
1 cup fennel, shaved
2 tablespoons fennel fronds
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

To make the Romesco: Coat red bell peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and place either on a grill or gas burner. Allow peppers to char on all sides. Once charred, move to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam. Slice tomatoes in half and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and char the same way as the peppers. Once charred move to a bowl but do not cover.

Thinly slice onions and garlic and place in a pot over medium-low heat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and allow to cook for another 2 minutes.

Peel the charred skin from the peppers and separate the flesh from the stem. Place both the bell pepper flesh and charred tomatoes to the pot with the onions, garlic and paprika. Let cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers and tomatoes are softened and have given off most of their liquid. Add sherry vinegar and allow to cook for 1 more minute.

Transfer everything to a blender along with the rest of the Romesco sauce ingredients. Blend on high for about 1 minute until very smooth. Remove and allow to cool. It is best to place mixture in a squeeze bottle to plate.

To make the croquettes: Make mashed potatoes however you prefer and place on a tray in the refrigerator to cool. (My method would be to boil peeled Yukon Gold potatoes in heavily salted water until all the way cooked, then mix with warmed heavy cream and butter. Ratio should be 2 parts potato, half part cream, half part butter.) Once cooled, move potatoes to a bowl and mix with squid ink until they are black. Roll potatoes into spheres just smaller than a golf ball and place on a tray. Move the tray to the freezer for at least an hour.

Make a breading station by using 3 separate bowls; 1 of flour seasoned with about 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 with eggs whisked well together with 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 with very fine breadcrumbs mixed with a tablespoon of salt.
Remove potato balls from the freezer and begin to “double bread” by first coating in flour, followed by egg wash, followed by breadcrumbs then back into the egg wash and finally back into the breadcrumbs. Make sure each croquette is fully coated, place on a tray and move back to the freezer.

To make the rest of dish: In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1⁄4 cup of canola or vegetable oil. Season the rockfish’s skin side very well with salt and place skin side down in the pan. Season the flesh side and press down on each piece of fish to ensure that all of the skin is touching the pan. Place in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

In a small pot over medium heat, add olive oil followed by diced fennel, cauliflower florets and chopped olives. Season with salt and pepper and cook until everything is warmed through but not browning, about 3 minutes. Add
vegetable stock and let reduce to a glaze. Remove from the heat and mix in minced chives and shallot.

Gently drop croquettes in a 350-degree fryer and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the fryer; shake off excess oil and season with salt.

To plate: Place the mixture of cauliflower, fennel and olive down on the bottom of the plate, about the same size as the fish. Place fish on top. Mix ingredients for the fennel salad together in a bowl and top each fish. Place 3 dots down around each fish just bigger than the size of the croquettes and place croquettes on top.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Entrée At Your Own Risk
Slow Roasted Duck with Duck Fat Potatoes
Lauren Schein

SERVES 4
Whole duck, 4 to 5 pounds
2 to 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes,
cut into bite-sized chunks
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt
Bottle of wine (this is for the cook,
not the duck)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry duck. Cut off excess skin from both ends of the cavity (I use this to render more duck fat but feel free to discard). Using a very sharp knife, prick skin all over, being careful not to pierce the meat. Place duck, breast side up, in a deep roasting pan with a V-rack. Using your sharp knife, score the duck’s skin in a diamond pattern, again being very careful not to pierce the meat. Wrap the legs together at the ankle, securing with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the duck. Season liberally with kosher salt. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and roast duck for 1 hour.

After the first hour, remove duck from the oven, poke skin all over, flip so that the breast is now facing down, return to the oven for 1 hour, and pour a new glass of wine.

After the second hour, repeat the poke-flip-wine routine so that the breast is now facing up. Roast for 1 hour.

During this time, transfer the potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil at high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse the potatoes under cold water, vigorously shaking them in the colander to rough up the edges. This extra step will ensure that your potatoes remain fluffy on the inside with a crisp exterior.

After the third hour, remove duck from the oven. Lifting the V-rack (this may require a second set of hands) add potatoes, smashed garlic, salt and a drizzle of olive oil to the roasting pan, stirring well to incorporate. Return V-rack to the roasting pan and again, poke-flip so that the breast is now facing down. Roast for 1 hour.

After the fourth hour, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove duck from oven, stir potatoes and repeat one final poke-flip-wine. With the breast now facing up, roast duck for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow duck to rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Serve alongside roasted potatoes —and more wine, of course.

  |  SHARE:        |  
Try It

TRY IT: mystery meal



Like an apparition, Dinner Lab mysteriously alights in a place unknown until it’s nearly too late. Those in the know gather for a coveted meal; they eat, drink and post seductive photos of composed plates before departing, to await word of the next secret meet-up. Unlike the parties all your friends on Instagram seem to attend, you can ensure an invitation to these culinary conclaves by joining the club. Dinner Lab Baltimore offers pop-up dinners to its members—who pay a $125 annual fee for advance intel. The subscription buys you access. Dinner details are posted early in the week for member sign-up, with an average event cost (including a multi-course meal and drink pairings) of $60. The concept started in New Orleans in 2012 with a series of wildly popular dinners created by up-and-coming chefs—and now has expanded to 20 U.S. cities. In September, chef Kwame Onwuachi, a Dinner Lab regular from New York, took over Hampden’s old Ideal Theatre to serve up whimsical variations on such familiar dishes as steak and eggs (with jerk beef cheeks and quail eggs) and cornbread pudding. The cherry on top: members have access to events in other cities, so you don’t have to worry about where to eat on your next trip to Austin. dinnerlab.com —Martha Thomas


Nalley Fresh co-owner Chef Carlo

Whoa, Nalley!

“Release Your Inner Chef” is the motto for create-your-own salad, wrap and bowl joint Nalley Fresh, a fun option for folks who want to go all out with their own, healthy (or not-so-healthy) creations. Similar to the point-and-pick style of Chipotle—but with a wider variety of fresh, made-in-house ingredients—the local chain, which launched in 2011, has become a fan favorite in Hunt Valley, Towson and downtown Baltimore, with new locations in Canton and Timonium set to open in late fall. Founder Greg Nalley prides himself on the restaurant’s international food profile—and the way his fans interact with the brand. “This concept is really hot. Customers take ownership of their concoction and are really proud of what they make,” he says. While the menu changes daily, mainstays include proteins like buffalo chicken, falafel and grilled salmon, which can be mixed with various leafy greens, fruits, cheeses, veggies and dressings, for one-of-a-kind salads, wraps and unique bowls such as brown rice and sweet potato. nalleyfresh.com —Ian Zelaya

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Second Acts
Creative Alliance co-founder Megan Hamilton bids adieu to life at the Patterson Theater—and invites performance pro Josh Kohn to take the reins.
By Betsy Boyd

Photography by David Stuck

On a quiet weeknight in 2001, Megan Hamilton was stepping out of the Creative Alliance’s brand-new location at the Patterson Theater in Highlandtown when a pickup truck screeched to a halt and an irate fellow stuck his head out to holler at her.

“I’m like, ‘Hello?’ And the guy goes, ‘Why isn’t that marquee on?’ So I explain, ‘Because we don’t have a show today.’ And he’s like, ‘I had out-of-town guests and I brought them down here the other night to show them that marquee—and it was completely dark,’” Hamilton reminisces with a laugh. “We went on to have a very nice conversation.

”The anecdote tells a story of local pride; it also speaks to the organization’s far-reaching effect on our city’s diverse population. Co-founded as a nonprofit in 1995 by Hamilton (who is the program director), her friend Margaret Footner, who’s still the organization’s executive director, and Daniel Schiavone, the theater’s original artistic director (replaced by Jed Dodds in 1999), the Creative Alliance remains a space dedicated to showcasing—and spreading the word about—Baltimore’s fierce creativity.

In November, Hamilton, 57—the statuesque, self-proclaimed “outlaw by nature” with the wild-and-wavy gray hair and well-worn cowboy boots—plans to take her final bow, as Josh Kohn, 33, a D.C. transplant who leaves his program-officer post at the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, formally steps in. Hamilton has decided to apply her enormous energy far away in the Peace Corps, but her legacy will always light up that marquee.

Back in the early ’90s, the recent Goucher grad and Evanston, Ill., native, was writing art criticism for Baltimore City Paper and luxuriating in what she labels the little-known but ultra-impressive Baltimore art and band scene of the time.

“After Goucher, I moved downtown and immediately got locked and loaded with a really interesting group of young artists that were doing street-based performance and a lot of wild stuff. They went to Three Mile Island when it was melting down,” says Hamilton, who then realized there was a vast chasm between the artistic types who were producing great work and, well, everyone else in the city.

“I knew we’d have an uphill battle,” she says of deciding to launch a downtown venue that focused almost exclusively on homegrown talent. “Back then, ‘local’ was considered a code word for ‘bad.’ People thought, ‘If it’s art from here, it’s going to suck. If it’s not on the cover of Slate or Time, it can’t be any good.”

Fast-forward more than two decades, skipping past the dedicated trio’s temporary residence in several locations, including an old Moose lodge on Highland Avenue and the rat-infested Pep Boys warehouse on Conkling (where they dubbed the hard-to-ignore stench of recently deceased “alley buffalo” Eau du Creative Alliance).

Now we have a hard-won performance space that regularly presents our town’s best musicians, like Todd Marcus, Lafayette Gilchrist, Arty Hill, Caleb Stine and Anne Watts. Plus, so much more—from dance parties to eclectic art exhibits to the lovely Halloween Lantern Parade and other family-friendly programming. And, of course, the infamous burlesque shows that are so popular with young Cantonites. (“We’re not too fussy about what gets people in the door,” says Hamilton, with a laugh.) 

CA also has partnered with Southeast Community Development Corp., area schools, churches and other neighborhood groups to expand its reach. “Our work with the local immigrant and refugee community has been profound,” she says.

It’s a perfect time, in Hamilton’s opinion, to bring her successor onboard, as Kohn is uniquely qualified to help give the Creative Alliance a more global focus.

“What we’re doing in Baltimore is so awesome, but it’s just that—in Baltimore,” Hamilton says. “This community needs to be connected with a broader world. Josh has a solid web of connections—musicians, agents and venues—from all over the country and the world. He can bring amazing people to Baltimore and have them get to know our amazing performers and audiences. And at 33, he can still stay up late and drink beer… how glorious is that?”

Kohn cut his teeth as a tour promoter for the National Council for the Traditional Arts in Silver Spring, Md., an organization founded in the 1930s, where he was instrumental in changing the snoozy programming approach (think: musicals for the early bird dinner crowd) to something much more happening.

“We brought in a lot of hip-hop,” Kohn says of the gig, where he planned many large-scale cultural festivals. “I took D.C. go-go music up to Maine, which was insanity. I brought down Inuit throat singers and a 90-year-old fiddler from West Virginia, who were really embraced by a younger community. I think by the end of my tenure, there was this really strong sense that these festivals were for everybody, not just a single, old-folky audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

No wonder Hamilton feels so secure entrusting the Patterson to a young pro with such a quirky, crowd-packing history—and a shared belief in the power of live performance to be not only entertaining and thought-provoking, but, in some rare cases, transformational.

“The risk in going to a live performance is higher than going to a film or whatever,” she says. “But the potential reward is exponentially greater. You could make critical friendships. You could change someone else’s life. You could learn a message that you take into your school, your church, your voting booth. That’s a lot of what we’re about.”

“That deeply transformative thing doesn’t always happen,” adds Kohn. “But when it does, it’s extremely powerful. As both a fan and a presenter, I’m always on that quest.”

While Hamilton may be nostalgic for those days a decade or two back when she could rock out till all hours with performing artists, her next role doesn’t sound exactly cushy. Next year, she accepts her Peace Corps appointment. As of right now, Albania seems the likely destination.

So what will she miss most about the post-industrial town she’s called home longer than any other place—and the theater where she has danced and dreamed for decades?

“I don’t think I can even envision that,” she says more quietly than usual.

“I do know that on some rainy, cold day wherever I end up, I will be crying my eyes out missing my home and my people.”

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
French Connection
Chef Cindy Wolf invites STYLE in for a first look at her new château-inspired home kitchen
By Martha Thomas



Photography by David Stuck

Cindy Wolf is, well, fired up about her fireplace. The fieldstone beauty wasn’t part of the early vision of her new kitchen, but after an incongruous outline of brick was unearthed from beneath circa-1980s, salmon-colored floor tile—and the shadow of a hearth was discovered on the basement ceiling of the 1905 house—the fireplace became her obsession. “It drove the entire kitchen design,” says the Foreman-Wolf restaurateur, sipping on a non-fussy cup of French vanilla coffee. (No, they don’t serve that at Johnny’s.) Once the notion of a kitchen fireplace became lodged in her brain, Wolf couldn’t let go. And Brian Thim, her interior designer, along with contractor Jeff Bayer, of Bayer Construction in Catonsville, couldn’t say no. “It wasn’t the easiest thing to achieve,” says Thim, an associate with Rita St. Clair Associates. “But we were determined to figure it out.”

The fireplace, which dominates what was once a wall of cabinets, drove decisions about storage. Pantry cupboards with roomy pullout bins share a wall with the refrigerator, a scaled-down 30-inch Sub-Zero. Even the stove, from the French company La Cornue, is small—it couldn’t accommodate a holiday turkey or party roast. Going with a smallish oven “was a conscious decision,” says Wolf, who has lived in the Roland Park house for three years. “If I need to cook something large, I can do it at work.” While buying an
industrial grade Wolf was tempting (“number one, it’s a great oven. Number two it has my name on it”), she opted for the brand found in the kitchens of grand homes in the French countryside.

La Cornue stoves come in all sizes and can be ordered in custom colors with matching cabinetry. “I thought about getting baby blue,” says Wolf. “It’s my favorite color.” However, an oven that matches her eyes might not please future homebuyers, she decided, so she went instead with a smoky black, with stainless trim and brass knobs. “I was so excited when it was delivered,” she says. “It sat in the hallway and I almost hugged it a few times.”

In another space accommodation, Wolf’s pots are tucked in an unlikely spot. “I love Julia Child,” she says. “I cooked for her. So I did what she did.” She opens a door with a flourish to reveal a narrow back staircase with walls lined in pegboard, hung with copper and All-Clad cookware—reminiscent of the beloved chef’s own home kitchen, now enshrined in the Smithsonian. Before Wolf redesigned the interior at Charleston seven years ago, she says, “I worked in basements and enclosed rooms for my entire career.” Now she has an expansive view of the restaurant’s dining room, where guests graze on the low country cuisine that has garnered Wolf recognition as a three-time James Beard-award finalist, with Charleston a consistent No. 1 in Zagat, and a top five restaurant nationwide by OpenTable.

Initially, the chef figured her home kitchen would resemble her workplace, with open shelving to keep everything within easy reach and a large stainless steel worktable. “I tried to nudge her toward making it more homey, more warm and inviting,” Thim confides.

Once a fireplace became the focal point, his concerns disappeared. Wolf barraged the designer with photos of fireplaces in French chateaux, stone structures in generations-old kitchens with high ceilings supported by heavy beams and whitewashed walls. She began to fantasize about installing a cast-iron frame so a pot of polenta could hover over an open flame, or fowl could crisp on a spit. “I was at Michel Guérard’s three-star Michelin restaurant outside of Bordeaux, (Les Prés d’Eugènie),” she says. “He has a wood-burning fireplace and does quail in there.”

If her kitchen had been wider, Wolf says she would have installed a center island; “I don’t like cabinetry in my face.” Instead, she faces a plain white wall of tumbled marble bricks, as soft to the eye as a feather pillow. The counter itself is burgundy-colored marble, veined in gray with hints of turquoise. Thim found the stone in a pile of remnants at Universal Marble and Granite Company. “It was probably quarried 30 years ago. You can’t get this anymore,” he says.

The fireplace stone, from Lancaster County, Pa., is laced with shimmering mica, and reminds Wolf of her childhood (“I picked up mica in my driveway in North Carolina,” she says). The thick mantelpiece embedded in the stone was hauled down from the Endless Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, and the ceiling beams were reclaimed from a 19th-century Lancaster barn. “It meant a great deal to me to have things from Pennsylvania,” where her parents were both born, she says.

The fireplace represents Wolf’s family in other ways. She envisions sitting around the kitchen table—in this case a charcoal gray, polished soapstone surface with a nickel-colored velveteen tufted banquette—with her mother, sister, niece and nephew, playing board games by the fire. “Our lives have really changed,” she says, “I grew up in a traditional family where everyone would be dressed up on holidays. We’d sit in the living room thinking, ‘Can we please leave?’” Wolf says with a grin. “We’re not like that anymore. We have fun.”

November 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  


To our fabulous guests and sponsors, thanks for making STYLE’s 25th Anniversary Bash
at Wit & Wisdom a night to remember!


Be sure to “LIKE” Baltimore STYLE on Facebook to tag your pics and receive invites to exclusive events,
enter stylish giveaways and keep in touch with the editors at STYLE mag!

    





  |  SHARE:        |  



To our fabulous guests and sponsors, thanks for making STYLE’s 25th Anniversary Bash
at Wit & Wisdom a night to remember!


Be sure to “LIKE” Baltimore STYLE on Facebook to tag your pics and receive invites to exclusive events,
enter stylish giveaways and keep in touch with the editors at STYLE mag!


    



  |  SHARE:        |  



To our fabulous guests and sponsors, thanks for making STYLE’s 25th Anniversary Bash
at Wit & Wisdom a night to remember!


Be sure to “LIKE” Baltimore STYLE on Facebook to tag your pics and receive invites to exclusive events,
enter stylish giveaways and keep in touch with the editors at STYLE mag!


    



  |  SHARE:        |  
Ones To Watch
By Ian Zelaya


Abdu Ali, recording artist
At 24, the nationally touring UB grad already has two mixtapes under his belt. Influenced by Baltimore club music, his funky, chaotic, danceable jams mixed with rap and punk sound unlike anything else you’ve heard. “I have a lot of energy and I’m not shy about the energy I give out,” he says. “My performances are a soft rage, but that anger is coming from a loving place.” Catch Ali perform Sept. 6 at The Crown (Photo by Keem Griffey)


Nicholas Hersh, BSO assistant conductor
The Illinois native has arranged and conducted numerous orchestral takes on popular music—including a thrilling performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which has more than 90,000 YouTube hits. “I’m interested in concerts that don’t follow the traditional format,” he says. The 26-year-old is new to the city, but says he’s obsessed with Faidley’s Seafood crabcakes in Lexington Market.


Blacksage, band
“Creepy, sexy lullaby jams.” That’s how Baltimore duo Drew Scott and Josephine Olivia describe the synth-laden pop songs on their debut EP “Sixtape.” Blacksage’s music goes hand in hand with their live shows, offering minimal lighting and a shadowy vibe you won’t want to shake for a while. Check them out at the Windup Space on Sept. 20 or the Saratoga Toga Party at Maryland Art Place on Oct 25.

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Ones To Watch
By Ian Zelaya


Danny Gavigan, actor at Everyman Theatre
Everyman’s brand-new company member (and soon-to-be heartthrob) splits his time between Charm City and Los Angeles. Gavigan is excited to play Hollywood star “Jake” in Theresa Rebeck’s three-person play, “The Understudy” in September. “One of my all-time favorite rants is in this play—about relationships and broken hearts,” he says. “I cannot wait to dive into those words.”


Katie Hileman, artistic director at Interrobang Theatre Company
Founded by four UMBC grads, Hileman says the brand new theater company produces professional and contemporary work with the right touch of edge. “I like plays that are a little weird, but grounded in the acting work. It keeps things theatrical and interesting,” she says. Expect to see Interrobang perform “The Aliens” by Annie Baker at the Charm City Fringe Festival in November.


Ryan Haase, artistic/ set director at Stillpointe Theatre Initiative
Unfamiliar with Stillpointe? Prepare to get spooked. “People have been saying we’re like the show ‘Penny Dreadful,’” says Haase, adding Tim Burton and Disney villains as inspiration. “Our new pieces of musical theater fall under dark
comedy.” The theme for the upcoming season is “well-behaved women rarely make history,” with shows focusing on strong women and literary heroes

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Ones To Watch
Ian Zelaya


Joe Riggs, mentalist
Move over, Benedict Cumberbatch. There’s a new Sherlock Holmes in town and his name is Joe Riggs. The internationally known mentalist and
deductionist, influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous consulting detective, has a knack for reading people just by looking at them. Essentially, lying to Riggs isn’t a good idea, unless you’re at one of his performances where he might wow you and the audience by calling you out on your fib. Raised by psychics, Riggs, 35, has been entertaining and consulting for 15 years and even puts his talents to use at law enforcement agencies. Sound familiar? That’s because Riggs’ story is the premise for CBS’ “The Mentalist,” in which Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) helps solve crimes using his “reading” abilities—and Riggs can proudly say he served as a consultant for the first two seasons of the award-winning series. Did we mention he just moved to Baltimore for love? Let him pick your brain at a free public performance on Thursday, Sept. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Johnny’s in Roland Park. theworldofjoeriggs.com


Abbi Jacobson, comedian/actress/writer/producer
Don’t go to Bed, Bath and Beyond without coupons, because Abbi Jacobson (left) wouldn’t approve. She also wouldn’t approve if you haven’t seen “Broad City,” Comedy Central’s freshest series in recent memory. Jacobson, a MICA alum, and Ilana Glazer turned their web series into a half-hour scripted comedy (produced by Amy Poehler) that premiered earlier this year, about two broke twenty-somethings living in New York City. Portraying fictionalized versions of themselves, Abbi is the well-intentioned, unlucky aspiring artist—a perfect contrast to Ilana, a sexually adventurous free spirit and freeloader. Provocative, relevant and downright hilarious, the show provides one of the most
genuine friendships on TV. (It helps that The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre alumni are also BFFs in real life.) “Broad City” is available on VOD services and has been renewed for a second season.


Noah Himmelstein, theater and opera director
Noah Himmelstein is certainly making a name for himself in the theater world. Having directed numerous plays and operas including “Things I Left On Long Island,” “Positions 1956,” and “Loving Leo,” his latest project is the 12-movement oratorio “I Am Harvey Milk,” which has been a monumental achievement for the Pikesville native and Carver Center for Arts and Technology graduate. Part choral work, part theater, “Milk” follows the life of the first openly gay man to hold public office and has been performed seven times around the country over the past two years—the most recent being a massive reunion show featuring more than 500 men from choruses and orchestrasacross the country at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. “It’s the most extraordinary thing I’ve been a part of,” Himmelstein says. “My mission is to combine opera and theater.” “Milk” can next be seen Oct. 6 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, starring its writer/composer Andrew Lippa and Kristin Chenoweth.


Owen Daniels
Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels can’t wait to take Baltimore by storm. “The fan base here is unbelievable,” says the former Houston Texans tight end who brings his offensive skills to the field—along with meteorological talents. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with a degree in atmospheric and oceanic science, Daniels acquired the nickname “The Weatherman” after delivering a forecast on the local news in Madison, a hobby that followed him to this year’s Super Bowl, where he and Al Roker delivered the game-day forecast on the Weather Channel. “I’ve been interested in weather since I was a kid,” says Daniels, who grew up near Chicago. “I’ve tried to keep my foot in the door for my post-NFL career—seeing what I can do in front of the camera.” Daniels is already in talks to find a community service project in Baltimore. His Catching Dreams Foundation in Houston provides critically ill kids with iPads, PlayStations and portable DVD players to help pass the time while they’re in treatment.

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Moonstruck
By Betsy Boyd

Sick of stalled zippers? Here’s your fix: The MagZip from Under Armour automatically aligns and locks into place by a magnetic pull. Engineer/inventor Scott Peters-along with his mom, Nancy Peters, and friend Dave Lyndaker-developed the efficient sliding technology to help Nancy’s brother who suffers from Myotonic Dystrophy, which makes zippers and buttons extra tricky. “We would design a concept, get it built, hand assemble it ourselves, sew it into jackets and then test it on friends, family and Uncle Dave,” Peters says. “After many prototypes and a few years of development, we finally had something that worked great!” The device took top honors at Under Armour’s annual Future Show for inventors-and, starting this fall, will appear in more than 15 men’s, women’s and kids’ athletic items by UA, including this ColdGear Infrared Zenith hoodie ($175) in a “Russian Nights” print—perfect for a moonlight run. Also look for a stylish men’s version called the Werewolf. Howl!

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Ones to Watch
Highly anticipated books, selected by Ed Berlin of the Ivy Bookshop
By Betsy Boyd


Lila (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Marilynne Robinson’s fourth novel, tells the sweeping story of her eponymous (and utterly complex) protagonist’s hardscrabble childhood and unusual courtship to a much older man. Why readers enthusiastically await the October release: Robinson’s first book, “Housekeeping,” (1980) remains a critical darling, while her “Gilead” (2004) received the Pulitzer.


The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters (Random House). New York Times best-selling author and Baltimore native Wes Moore’s wildly anticipated December release shares inspiring stories of people who, despite great adversity, have made a profound difference in their communities, including two Iraq War vets and a struggling single mother who started a clothing company that hires single moms.


The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books (Penguin). In her follow-up to “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” popular Azar Nafisi discusses three time-honored novels, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Babbitt” and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter”—highlighting fiction’s value in our country’s history and in our lifelong roles as citizens. Sign us up this October.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Cool for School
Fun facts about five new education leaders in (and around) Baltimore.
Ian Zelaya


Fred Bronstein, Dean, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University
With past stints as president of the St. Louis, Dallas and Omaha symphonies, the talented pianist and educator seeks to establish Peabody as a national voice for music advocacy. Last great books he read: “My Nine Lives” by Leon Fleisher and “Life” by Keith Richards.


José Antonio Bowen, President, Goucher College
The former arts dean of Southern Methodist University and author of the acclaimed “Teaching Naked” is also a jazz pianist, having shared the stage with Liberace, Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck. On his iPod: 20 hours of BBC Radio 4 podcasts and the R&B band Tower of Power.


Kim Roberts, Head of School, Garrison Forest School
Previously assistant head of her alma mater, the all-girls Castilleja School in Palo Alto, Roberts is about girl power—and a big fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Anna Karenina.” Favorite fashion statement: Anything but stripes—her 10-year-old daughter said she was overdoing them.


Samuel Hoi, President, MICA
Coming from the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, the arts and design education advocate brings his expertise to Baltimore, along with stylish cowboy boots and a love for Jean Paul Gaultier. What he was like in high school: The quiet type, Hoi says he’s living proof anyone can become a college president. 


Marylou Yam, President, Notre Dame of Maryland University
A nationally recognized researcher on victims of domestic abuse, the former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Saint Peter’s University adores swing jackets and Michael Bublé. Meal she can’t live without: Cheese ravioli. She makes the sauce from scratch.

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Fall Preview
Summer may be winding down, but culture is just starting to heat up! Get to know some of Charm City’s most creative movers and shakers who are certain to make your fall arts season absolutely fabulous.
September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Chef Talk
Dave Newman, Blue Pit BBQ
By Martha Thomas

A native of Reston, Va., Dave Newman worked in San Francisco for Nancy Hawthorne, Michael Mina and others before coming to Baltimore, with his wife Cara in 2005, with the goal of opening a restaurant. His Blue Pit BBQ on Union Avenue in Woodberry opened in July, though the whiskey bar opened several months earlier.

You moved here from San Francisco almost a decade ago with the idea of opening a restaurant. What took you so long?
When I started at Brewer’s Art in 2008, I told them I wouldn’t stay long because I wanted to open my own place. But I ceased the search because I really liked working for them. It was so refreshing to find people who really give back to their employees.

I understand the restaurant is named after your dog?
Blue Pit encompasses a lot: Blue smoke is the ideal smoke for barbecue. Blue ribbon, the pit is where you cook it. I also have a blue pit bull, Sakai, like the city in Japan. I own a lot of Japanese knives, they’re made in Sakai, where the best steel in the world is made. A lot of knives are made of blue steel.

What kind of barbecue are you serving?
We’re pulling things we like from different regions. We’ll do burnt ends from Kansas City—that’s when you dice it up the point, or the fatty side, toss it in sauce and re-smoke it. Texas is known for brisket, North Carolina for pork. St. Louis and Memphis are ribs.

And the all-important sides?
We do classic sides with a twist: Pickleback slaw, made with brine from our housemade pickles, a loaded baked potato salad with bacon, green onions and sour cream dressing. Collard greens with smoked pork necks and sherry vinegar. I cook them down until they have texture of creamed spinach.

You’re also into whiskey?
Our bourbon program has grown tremendously; we opened with 45 varieties and now have over 100. We try to keep prices reasonable, so people can try things they might not have the wallet for otherwise. We have a 25-year bottle of rye (Jefferson’s Presidential Select 25 Year Rye) that you can try for $13 an ounce.

The décor is fun—rustic and DYI.
Jesse Harris (the designer) built a communal table with wood he salvaged. He stripped the original fixtures and gave them a patina. He hand-built bent copper tubing for light fixtures and used pipe elbows to mount the bar shelves. That’s what we had to work with. People have said, you need to hide that wiring. We say no, we like it. That’s who we are.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Restaurant Deconstructed: Belvedere Square
To market, to market
By Martha Thomas
Restaurant Deconstructed: Belvedere Square

Belvedere Square has been through ups and downs since it was first developed in 1986, fluctuations that align with the economy, management and public tastes. Over the last year or so, the market has sprung into bloom. Atwaters, the soup and sandwich shop, extended its reach within the space, adding a dairy case, beer and wine, and an ice cream shop. Artisan food vendors have been sprouting along the back wall. One day, illuminated letters sprung from the roofline, uniting disparate food and retail beneath an art deco font.

Scott Plank, who had experimented with his interest in sustainable food by creating an employee restaurant at Under Armour (the company he helped launch with his brother Kevin), is deeply invested—with both cash and vision—in the market.

The Back Story.
“Who doesn’t love Belvedere Square?” Plank wants to know. “I’ve been going there since I moved to Baltimore in 2003.” Plank’s three kids, now ages 10-16, especially loved the Friday night Summer Sounds concerts, where they could run and play. Plank’s goal, he says, “is to make the market world class.” Investing in real estate is just part of the picture. The next step, he says, “is to engage the real estate to create community.”

Face Value.
Changes at Belvedere Square have moved incrementally. The management company, Cross Street Partners, began with the exterior, expanding sidewalks and adding the bright umbrellas—with heaters to stretch the outdoor season. “We took down all the signage,” from the front, Plank says, and installed clear, bold, neon letters. The goal was to create the excitement of a 1940s trip to the market. Mary Mashburn, of Typecast Press, chose a vintage font, Streamline Moderne, for the gaint letters.

Real Simple. Plank gets his hair cut at Blue Spark on Harford Road and used to plan his trips to Lauraville around lunch at Toulouloo, the diminutive Cajun café owned by Shawn Lagergren. Newly relocated to Belvedere Square, the menu remains simple, the dirty rice “unbelievable,” says Plank. “It’s very specific. Lagergren does really good fried stuff, like oysters and alligator bites, po’ boys, pizza and that’s that.” Such focus is part of what Plank is looking for in the Belvedere lineup—which also includes longtime tenants like Neopol smoked fish and Greg’s Bagels, as well as newcomers like Hex Ferments.

Maker’s Market.
The market is designed to nurture small, homegrown food vendors, says Plank. “We wanted to make sure we’re a place where people make stuff—and customers can engage with the makers.” He points to chocolates made by Jinji Fraser, a former Under Armour employee. “I’ve known her for years. She was making chocolate in her condo,” Plank says. “We were able to help her with the rules and regulations of
becoming a food vendor.” The bootstrap story is familiar to Plank. “That’s what Under Armour was,” he says. “We founded that company in my grandmother’s basement.” The new Belvedere Square is an opportunity to give small makers exposure “on the big stage.” Even Spike Gjerde’s Shoo-Fly diner was established to manage all the canning and pickling for its fellow Woodberry group restaurants.

The Future.
Belvedere Square is just the fluttering eyelids of Plank’s vision. He’s involved with developing a similar market in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, hoping to replicate the concept in even more cities. “Food and community are the nexus of everything,” he says.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Moonstruck
Sick of stalled zippers? Here’s your fix.
By Betsy Boyd
Moonstruck

Sick of stalled zippers? Here’s your fix: The MagZip from Under Armour automatically aligns and locks into place by a magnetic pull. Engineer/inventor Scott Peters—along with his mom, Nancy Peters, and friend Dave Lyndaker—developed the efficient sliding technology to help Nancy’s brother who suffers from Myotonic Dystrophy, which makes zippers and buttons extra tricky. “We would design a concept, get it built, hand assemble it ourselves, sew it into jackets and then test it on friends, family and Uncle Dave,” Peters says. “After many prototypes and a few years of development, we finally had something that worked great!” The device took top honors at Under Armour’s annual Future Show for inventors-and, starting this fall, will appear in more than 15 men’s, women’s and kids’ athletic items by UA, including this ColdGear Infrared Zenith hoodie ($175) in a “Russian Nights” print—perfect for a moonlight run. Also look for a stylish men’s version called the Werewolf. Howl!

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Harvest Moon
By Ginny Lawhorn

Picture this: while every cocktail may not be worth a thousand words, an artfully crafted one always creates the opportunity for conversation. This concoction provides rich autumn color balanced with savory harvest flavors—certain to warm up your family and friends for fireside chats this fall.

1.5 oz Art in the Age Rhubarb Liqueur
1 oz Gabriel Boudier Ginger Liqueur
2 oz cold press apple juice
1 oz organic carrot juice

In a mixing tin combine ingredients over ice. Stir gently for 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with freshly sliced apple and carrot as preferred.

 

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Bedside Manners
Bedside Manners

When Savvy was growing up, nobody ever talked about thread count in sheets. Now it’s all 500-this and 600-that. Sheets have gone from utilitarian to luxurious. But thread count, it turns out, is a sham. At least according to Carla Wing, owner of Phina’s, the Federal Hill retailer Savvy recently rediscovered. “It’s all about quality—how the sheet is woven,” explains Wing. “I’ve seen 800-thread-count sheets fall apart in the wash, but a 200-thread-count sheet of Egyptian cotton, made in Italy, that’s so sturdy it can last 10 years.” Wing’s Signoria Firenze sheets will have you drifting off under the spell of Morpheus in no time. Also look for classic linen hemstitched napkins by Saro, luxe robes and bamboo towels, pretty bath products and other little luxuries for the homes. Brides will love the Universal Registry. Sweet dreams. 919 S. Charles St., 410-685-0911. phinas.com

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
The People's Photographer
Iconic street art documentarian Martha Cooper has captured the hearts of graffiti fans around the globe. Now she’s turning her lens on Sowebo in Baltimore.
By Deborah Rudacille

98,000. THAT’S HOW MANY PEOPLE follow Martha Cooper on Instagram. A 2013 retrospective of her work titled “Street Signs” at the Palazzo Incontro in Rome drew lines stretching around the block. “In all my years in Rome I’ve never seen an exhibition more crowded,” wrote photo historian Jessica Stewart. A 2014 exhibition of Cooper’s work, “Evolution of a Revolution,” in Lublin, Poland has drawn such big crowds that the organizers are moving the show to Moscow this fall. The 71-year-old Cooper will attend the opening—one stop on a crowded late-2014 itinerary of festivals, exhibits and talks that will take her to the Azores, Istanbul, Switzerland, Argentina, Russia, Poland, Brazil and Art Basel Miami.

At such gatherings, “it’s like the Dalai Lama has been carried in when she arrives,” says Baltimore folklorist Elaine Eff, an old friend of Cooper’s. Fans jostle to have their photo taken with her and ask her to sign copies of her books, notes Eff, who calls Cooper “one of the great unsung photographers of our time.”

Unsung in her hometown of Baltimore perhaps but not amongst those who revere Cooper as the pre-eminent documentarian of what proponents call the biggest art movement in the history of the world—graffiti and street art. Her 1984 book with Henry Chalfant, “Subway Art,” is often called the “bible” of that movement and Cooper herself the matriarch of a family of tens of thousands of artists around the world inspired by it. “She’s an icon,” says Jay “J.SON” Edlin, a 55-year-old historian of graffiti and street art who first met Cooper in the early 1980s when he was a teenager spraypainting subway trains in New York City.

Cooper herself is modest about her fame. “When I’m in that world, I’m an icon. Take me one step out of that world and I’m nobody.”

Others beg to differ. “What’s amazing about Martha is that she has deep credentials, way past graffiti,” says Steve “ESPO” Powers, a friend and a fan, who points to Cooper’s current project, “Soweto/ Sowebo,” which pairs her shots of daily life in the Baltimore neighborhood with similar scenes of the South African township. Like her photographs of kids playing in the streets on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 1970s, these images show the joy and creativity expressed by poor and working-class people in neighborhoods often viewed as gritty and depressed.

“Marty’s work resonates with anyone who grew up in an urban environment because they capture the essence of city living, which to me means making the best use of a not always ideal situation,” says Baltimore-born artist Chris Stain, who recently painted an 80-foot-high mural in Brooklyn based on one of Cooper’s NYC photos. “Marty’s work has continuously highlighted a will to survive and be creative amidst the concrete jungle.”
Born in Baltimore in 1943, Cooper grew up in Mount Washington and attended Forest Park High School. She started taking photographs at a young age, encouraged by her father, Ben, who owned and operated Cooper’s Camera Mart in Hamilton with his brother Harry. She left Baltimore in 1959 to attend Grinnell College in Iowa, and after a stint in the Peace Corps in Thailand, studied ethnology at The University of Oxford. Though she had originally planned to become an anthropologist, she decided that she didn’t like working in museums and eventually found her way to journalism, becoming a staff photographer for the New York Post in 1977. It was there that she began taking the photographs that would ultimately make her reputation.

Edlin recalls first meeting Cooper when another young graffiti artist named SEEN invited her to photograph his crew spraypainting subway tunnels and trains in 1980. “We were a pretty wild bunch,” Edlin recalls. “It was dangerous but you got acclimated to it; you learned where the third rail was, how to walk on the tracks.” When the crack epidemic hit New York, just about the time that Cooper was beginning to photograph graffiti artists and their work, “you had to be armed,” Edlin says, “not to defend yourself against police but against other crews.”

Cooper was protected because attention-starved graffiti artists benefited from her photos of their work, Edlin says. “To have someone coming in taking beautiful pictures of your work with an expensive camera was an honor and also a validation of what you were doing.”

Cooper says that she decided to document the subway artists and their work because she thought that it was an ephemeral local phenomenon, an outgrowth of social conditions in the New York City of the late 1970s and early 1980s. “I was documenting that world in the spirit of historic preservation,” she says. “I thought, ‘this could only happen in New York City.’ I was wrong.”

When “Subway Art” came out in 1984, published in the U.K. because Cooper and Chalfant couldn’t interest an American publisher in the book, “there was an initial flurry of interest but then it died down,” Cooper says. Around the time the book was released, Mayor Ed Koch declared war on graffiti; train yards were protected by a double row of barbed wire-topped fences with attack dogs running between the rows, and subway cars were whitewashed and immediately removed from service if they were tagged. As Cooper had predicted, by the late 1980s subway art in New York was finished.

Throughout the 1990s she worked as a freelance photographer for publications like National Geographic and Smithsonian. “Little did I know that graffiti was spreading around the world,” Cooper says—or that it was slowly fusing with the South and Central American mural tradition to produce a new kind of public art, welcomed and sometimes even sponsored by municipal authorities.

In 2004 she was invited to sit on a panel with a group of younger folks who called themselves street artists, rather than graffiti writers, and who worked primarily with images rather than text. “I was 60 at the time,” she says, “and they knew who I was.” Those artists were traveling the world, painting and wheatpasting huge murals in city-sponsored festivals and exhibiting in museums. Some were selling works on canvas for eye-popping sums.
“I thought ‘if this is happening, I’m going to get in on it,’” Cooper says.

Since then, she has spent the greater part of every year journeying to far-flung locales, from Senegal to Stockholm, to photograph artists at work. “Her passion for expressive subcultures and voracious curiosity in spite of her age is truly inspiring,” says the Baltimore street artist Gaia, who curated Open Walls Baltimore in 2012 and 2014. “Marty has adapted with the times as many street artists have made the transition to the tradition of mural production and as many graffiti writers have become institutionally recognized.”

Cooper and Chalfant’s “Subway Art,” which has reportedly sold half a million copies, “undeniably changed the history of graffiti and the surface of the world’s cities,” Gaia says. But the work that Cooper has been quietly and methodically carrying out in Baltimore over the past decade, documenting daily life in Sowebo, may provide an even more enduring testament to her art. “The simple fact that she has recognized the wealth of culture in Southwest Baltimore despite its violent and troubled façade, is a testament to Martha’s courage and humanity,” he says.

Cooper herself believes that her Sowebo photographs, like her images of a now-vanished era in New York City, may need time to gel. “The work I do needs to sit for a while,” she says. “The ordinary becomes extraordinary after a few years.”

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
He's Got Game
INTERVIEW BY JESSICA BIZIK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUSTIN TSUCALAS

We get a kick out of Ravens “Renaissance Man” Justin Tucker. He sings opera in seven different languages. He raps freestyle in a Dr Pepper commercial. He does spot-on impersonations of Ray Lewis and Christopher Walken. He geeks out over grammar on Twitter and invites his fans to come “shank golf balls” with him in Patterson Park. He proposed to his fiancée with a finely orchestrated event straight out of an episode of “The Bachelor” (and actually admits to watching Bravo). And by the age of 24, he has already won a Super Bowl and broken the record for the longest kick in a domed stadium (61 yards) among several others. No wonder FOX Sports dubbed Justin Tucker “The Most Interesting Man in the NFL.” And nearly every man, woman and child in Baltimore is crushing on the player who scores bonus “cool” points for his character.

STYLE: You’re just a few months shy of age 25, but you’ve already delivered the commencement speech at your alma mater, the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas. How was that?
JUSTIN TUCKER: Such a huge honor. There’s definitely a parallel between kicking a ball through the uprights in front of thousands of people in a football stadium and preparing yourself to go onstage and perform a piece of music or express yourself through fine arts.

I heard you had a voice professor who was a former pro athlete.
I did. His name is Nikita Storojev and he’s an ex-professional hockey player. Played in Russia for a number of years. He had a completely different way of training his students—and it was pretty intense at times. I’d leave those hour-long voice lessons more exhausted than after a 6 a.m. football workout.

What’s a great first opera or aria to get someone hooked on the genre?
Oh, man. It’s hard to just pick just one. I have a few go-tos as far as performing. I like ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini’s ‘Turandot’— Pavarotti has a great rendition of that one. My favorite is probably ‘The Toreador Song’ from ‘Carmen.’ It’s just such a masculine song. [Makes fist.]

You’ve written about listening to everyone from Frankie Valli to Miley Cyrus.
Yes, a lot of people really like the story of me as an opera singer, but that’s not all there is to me. I listen to every type of that music I can get my hands on—or, rather, put my ears to. I love visual art, too. My fiancée Amanda was an art history major in school and we took a couple of classes together. Ancient Roman art was fascinating.

Would you consider a post-NFL career in music?
Absolutely. It would be great to find a way to combine a business component and a fine arts component, so I could work every part of my brain—left side, right side, cerebral cortex.

So what’s that dream job?
I’d find some land, build a recording studio and manage a record label. Kind of do the Pharrell [Williams] thing, where I’d produce, then hop on a couple tracks, and one will
magically blow up, and before you know it, we will be flying off to the Maldives on a G6.

What car do you drive in this perfect life fantasy?
It would be sick to have a Fisker Karma. They’re totally over the top, but I drove one for a weekend last year and now I’m a huge fan. Mine would be matte white with black wheels.

What’s your personal style? I know you love your custom Indochino suits.
I do. When the pants are just a little too tight to be comfortable, that’s when you know you look good. Around town I like to wear good, clean, raw denim with a white T-shirt and some sweet sneakers. But when we travel with the team, there’s a quiet competition to see who can dress the best.

Do you guys ‘Fashion Police’ each other?
We’ll say stuff like, ‘Yo dog, that’s a sick pocket square.’ Or if somebody’s rocking a mean elbow patch during a game, you let them know. But if one of your teammates is looking real whack, then you’ve got to put it out there, like, ‘Bro, you need to get that suit tailored. You don’t need to wear your daddy’s suit. You’re in the NFL. Buy something that fits.’

You also have great taste in TV—‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ What’s your favorite show right now?
‘House of Cards,’ hands down. Kevin Spacey is my favorite actor. We binge-watched both seasons recently. If I saw him, I’d run up and say, ‘Oh oh oh, Frank [Underwood]—I mean, Kevin—I love you!’ I want to plan a power lunch with him at Wit & Wisdom.

I saw you were geeking out over the ‘National Spelling Bee,’ too. Yes! Gokul is so cool. I thought for sure he was going to win. Those kids are so freakin’ smart.

And you admittedly watch ‘Botched’ [the plastic surgery nightmare show] and follow all the ‘Real Housewives’ on Twitter.
Yep, I’m confident enough to own it. Here’s the thing: we’re around football so much at our facilities, right? We meet and practice for hours. The TVs in the cafe-eria are always set on the NFL Network or ESPN—and it’s the same stories recycled over and over throughout the day. Sometimes the specialists will go in there and eat lunch together. And when it’s just a few of us, we change all the channels. Put on Bravo or E! and catch up on our entertainment news.

Are you telling me the Wolfpack sits there watching ‘Millionaire Matchmaker’ together?  Because that’s like my dream.
Well, usually I’m the one putting on Bravo. Sam [Koch] and Morgan [Cox] will put on something like the Golf Channel or HGTV. We’re all big ‘House Hunters International’ guys. Recently, ‘Island Hunters’ has become one of our favorites.

On the Ravens website, writer Ryan Mink described you as having a “lovable weirdness” about you. Does that resonate?
A label like ‘weird’ isn’t usually desirable but he puts ‘lovable’ in front of it and it’s supposed to be a compliment, right? I’ve always been a bit of a bigger personality. I try to stay happy and positive in everything I do. I think that resonates well with my friends and teammates—and I have an amazing family and fiancée who support me. No situation, whether it’s on or off the football field, will ever change who I am. So I guess if you want to call it my lovable weirdness, Ryan Mink, you know what? I’ll take it.

I saw an Instagram photo of you doing a headstand. Are you into yoga?
Yeah. I started doing yoga this offseason—and I actually quite enjoyed it. Just another way to take care of my body.

And your mind, too?
Definitely. Focusing on how to really center myself. That’s something that’s important to me—having my feet under me and knowing exactly where they’re going. Knowing exactly what the rest of my body will be doing in that 1.3 seconds between the snap, the hold and the kick.

Do you have any pregame rituals for good luck?
Ever since my rec soccer days, I lay out my uniform in front of my locker—helmet, shoulder pads, jersey, pants, socks, shoes, everything—in the shape of a man on the floor. It’s something I borrowed from Deion Sanders, Prime Time. I grew up watching the Cowboys and Prime was one of my favorite players.

You once tweeted a quote from Donald Trump that said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with bringing your talents to the surface. Having an ego and acknowledging it is a healthy choice.’ How big is your ego after kicking a 61-yarder? Does your brain just implode?
It would be pretty easy for that to happen—to fall into that trap. But I try to keep it in perspective. Part of being a pro is knowing that you’re a part of something that is bigger than yourself.

Watching kickers is always emotional for me. I’ve definitely cried for Billy Cundiff.
There have been times where I’ve struggled, myself. Realistically, any game could come down to my foot. It’s a blessing, it’s nerve-wracking, it’s a great opportunity. It is something that a lot of people would probably be scared of. Those are the times when I depend most on my teammates and remember they have my back, just like I have theirs. If I’m going down, I’m going down swinging. More often than not, we’re going to come back with points.

More than 90 percent of the time, in fact. Are fans still jerks sometimes when you make a mistake?
Sure. I can’t tell you how many knuckleheads have blown up my Twitter feed with fantasy football remarks. It’s ridiculous. But, it comes with the territory. It just goes back to the philosophy of ‘never let yourself get too big.’ Even if I was on some level of celebrity like The Biebs [Justin Bieber], you just can’t let it affect who you are, how you behave and your truest relationships.

What was the best perk you got after you won the Super Bowl?
Anquan Boldin and I got to play bubble soccer on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,’ which was really fun. I’ve always been a fan of his.

I remember! And Josh Charles played with you guys, too. Any other big brushes with fame?
I don’t want to name-drop a long list, but Amanda and I have been lucky to meet some amazing people. My favorites, though, are right here in town. Recently we’ve gotten to know the members of a band based out of Timonium called All Time Low. Jack and Alex. I can say they’re two of my best friends. Love those guys. Baltimore’s just filled with great people.

Fun. OK, last personal detail. What’s the tattoo on your back?
It’s a cross with wings. It has my Catholic confirmation saint name, which is Cephas—that’s what Jesus called Peter—and a reference to the Bible verse where Jesus says to Peter, ‘You are the rock upon which I’ll build my church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.’

Why is that verse meaningful to you?
It ties in the human element to spirituality. In any major world religion, there’s a human element at play, which some might argue is flawed. I think it makes the whole thing just beautiful. I got the tattoo when I was 18. Looking back on it now, I think 80 percent of people regret their tattoos. The only thing I regret is not doing it way bigger and way more ornate.

I’m a retired Catholic, but I do like the new pope. How about you?
He’s a baller! Pope Francis is the coolest. But I also liked Pope Benedict and Pope J.P.2. But whatever religion you identify with—whether it’s Judaism or Islam or something else—there’s always a unifying component. We were all made by the same guy upstairs. To steal a line from ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ we should all just ‘Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes.’

 

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Christopher Corbett Essays
Flag Waving
By Christopher Corbett

One of the things that surprised me when I came to Baltimore long ago was the peculiar enthusiasm for our difficult-to-sing national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This zeal is not evident elsewhere in this republic. I don’t believe that I had ever thought about those broad stripes and bright stars before the fates landed me here. Most Americans only know the first verse and there have been many attempts to replace it with an easier-to-sing ditty.

But Baltimore is THE city of the national anthem. It’s our heritage. For here we saw the rockets’ red glare and heard bombs bursting in air in the dawn’s early light. No other place in America can make that claim. (I wonder if any other place cares? But I won’t dwell on that.)

In September, we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812—which, in Baltimore, was actually the War of 1814 (things happen slowly here). That’s the year when those broad stripes and bright stars withstood the perilous fight o’er the ramparts. (Feel free to sing along now.) The British bombardment of Fort McHenry! The Star-Spangled Banner! Francis Scott Key! You remember, of course? Trust me, Baltimore remembers.

This month, let us put aside our petty differences. Let us not dwell on whether Baltimore is breaking our hearts or the survey that showed nearly half of Maryland’s citizens wanted out of the Land of Pleasant Living. Let’s not brood over 26th Street collapsing or that it will cost at least $18.5 million to fix (it’s only money and we have none). Who cares if Stephen Colbert thinks Charm City is an “uninhabitable wasteland.” He’s wrong. It’s a densely
inhabited wasteland—and we’ve got those broad stripes and bright stars and Poe’s body, too!

Let us also remember that when the British sailed up the Chesapeake Bay in the summer of 1814 they easily sacked Washington. The locals cut and ran. Scattered like chickens. The White House was abandoned. Dolley Madison? Remember her? She saved the portrait of George Washington attributed to Gilbert Stuart. The British actually burned the White House along with many other public buildings. Historians always note that the British were actually amazed to find so little resistance.

After that easy victory in Washington they headed north, where Baltimore offered its would-be invaders a rather different reception. Washington was a small, swampy burg at the time, but Baltimore was the third largest city in America. There were 8,000 souls in Washington, but nearly 50,000 in Baltimore. Washingtonians could not get into their wagons fast enough when they heard the British were coming. But in Baltimore the
natives prepared to fight house-to-house if necessary.

Well, as every schoolchild learns, Fort McHenry withstood the onslaught—and in the morning the flag was still there! So our enthusiasm for “The Star-Spangled Banner” remains robust. Think only of our spirited public singings of that hard-to-sing song. (It has bested many a great vocalist.) Plus, we have the manuscript. It’s up at the Maryland Historical Society. I urge you to visit.

And we have Fort McHenry, an honest-to-God National Park on a tiny spit of land jutting into the water. Let the rest of the country have Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. We’ve got Locust Point!

The War of 1812 or 1814, or whenever it was, is only yesterday in our memory for not only did Fort McHenry withstand the fabled bombardment, but the locals—a grab bag of volunteers, old men and boys as young as 12, and some defenders lured right out of the taverns—turned out en masse. More than 16,000 heavily armed Baltimorons mustered—much to the surprise (and chagrin) of the Brits.

When talking trash about our homespun forces, British General Robert Ross famously quipped “I don’t care if it rains militia!” Big talk. Ross stopped for breakfast at a farmhouse as he rode confidently toward the city and the locals asked him if he would be back for dinner. The general dramatically assured them that he would “dine in Baltimore tonight—or in hell.” Ross got that right. A sniper promptly shot him off his horse and he bled to death. The British invasion unraveled. Baltimore has always hated trash talk, hon.  9

spet-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
The Jazz Singer
We caught up with Molly Ringwald to ask about her first jazz CD (“Except Sometimes”), her international tour (coming to the Gordon Center on Oct. 25) and what it was like to work with beloved “Brat Pack” film director John Hughes.
BY JESSICA BIZIK


By the age of 3, you were already performing on stage with your dad. Do you remember those days?
Very well. All my earliest memories tend to be focused around music and singing. I really thought for most of my childhood that’s what I was going to do when I grew up. Then the acting thing kind of took over.

Tell me about your dad? I’ve always been a real daddy’s girl. He started working in jazz clubs when he was about 15 years old. He grew a beard—which I’ve never seen him without—so he could pass for 18 and play music. He’s blind and raised our family on a musician’s salary.

What jazz artists do you love? I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone lately. I love Blossom Dearie, Chet Baker, Anita O’Day. Also, there’s this 26-year-old French-American singer, Cecile McLorin
Salvant. She’s just fantastic.

When did you really find your voice? When I turned 40. That’s when I gave myself permission to put [my music] out there. When you’re known for one thing, even though you can do something else, sometimes you feel like, “What are people going to think? Am I going to be accepted?” Then you turn 40 and you just don’t care.

I love your Simple Minds cover [“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from “The Breakfast Club”]. Was that an obvious choice or did you wrestle with it?
While we were recording the CD, John Hughes passed away. One day at rehearsal I asked Peter [Smith], “Is there any way we could do this song as a ballad?” I started singing it a cappella and he put these beautiful chords behind. It was really interesting. I thought it would be a nice tribute to John because music was so important to him and also to our relationship. I have to say, I idolized him. He was a very unique, dynamic person. When we did those movies together, we clearly had a sort of creative synchronicity. He truly loved music and would just give me mix tape after mix tape. He’s the person who really introduced me to the Beatles. Before then, I had only heard “I Am the Walrus” and it freaked me out as a kid.

What’s it like interacting with your fans? Does anyone come up and ask if they can borrow your underpants for 10 minutes like in “Sixteen Candles?” [Laughs] No! But that would be funny. People are incredibly nice. When I perform, I’ll often call out to the audience and ask questions, like “Who is the greatest jazz vocalist of all time?” At the Montreal Jazz Fest, that’s no problem. But a couple of times it’s been dead silent. Yikes. I realized afterward, when I was signing CDs, that tons of people have never heard the Great American Songbook—and now they love it. It was this feeling of “Oh my God, we’re ambassadors of jazz.”

You’re the gateway drug to Ella Fitzgerald. I’m a gateway drug! Yes!

So what’s next? Is there really a “Jem and the Holograms” movie? Yep, I’m in that. I also just started filming another movie—and I’m working on my next novel and starting to think about another CD. Maybe a live concert on DVD.

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Q&A: The Cat's Pajamas
We asked soul sensation Bosley Brown to shed the ’60s slim-cut suit and stage persona—and reveal what really motivates him to get out of bed in the morning.
By Jessica Bizik

Tell me something totally uncool about you.
I learned early on that I can’t try to look sexy. I did that for my driver’s license and I look like a serial killer.

What was “Baby Bosley” like at Gilman?
A wallflower.

I’m shocked. You’re such a showman.
I grew into it. I was pretty dramatic. Started in theater.

What was your early experience with music like?
Like a dream. I’d just lay in bed and listen to the radio. Make up little songs in my head. I swear to God I wrote a No. 1 hit when I was 8 years
old but I can’t remember it.

Was it a love song?
Yes, I’ve always been a ladies man.

How’d you discover Motown?
My mom had a bunch of cassettes. But my first love, honestly, was Elvis Presley.

Why Elvis?
“Jailhouse Rock.” I heard it when I was 5 or 6 and it was the coolest goddamn song. Still is. Put on some early Elvis and I can’t stop myself from moving.

Your stage name is a nod to James Brown—and the new album [“The Dirty Dogs Radio Show”] is super-funky. Where’d you get your soul, man?
My stock answer is “I’m only white on the outside.” But If I’m being honest with you, it’s a deep question. I’m a white kid from the suburbs. How do I convince people that I’m not just trying to reappropriate something to look cool or knock somebody off? How do you do it? Just being human, I guess. I have a heart inside of me like anybody else. I want to share my vision of the beauty in this world through my music.

I listen to you when I’m Spinning at the gym. The only other man with that claim to fame is Prince.
That’s amazing. What song does it for you?

“American Gurlz.” It just has such a dirty beat and makes me laugh.
That’s a perfect response. I had a great time playing that character—the misogynistic narcissist. Lampooning mainstream rap for fun.

What’s the best lyric you’ve ever written?
I wish more people listened to the words these days. I’d say the last song on this album called “Some Friends of Mine.” That song has no
characters; it’s about personal experience. It’s me taking off my mask at the end.

That one makes me cry.
Yeah, I really like the first verse before it gets too sad. “I’m a lowdown dirty dog and I ain’t proud of how I’ve been, but I can feel a change that’s coming somewhere deep from within. Like a clean wind makes me feel like I can start again.”

What’s it mean to you?
Everybody has suffering, heartache. Even as a young man I’ve been through some shit in my life. I can share that with people.

How much time do you spend obsessing over getting famous?
More than I should, maybe? I’ll see some crappy band on “The Tonight Show” and get envious. I wish I could say fuck the money. But this is what I want to do with my life. It’s not like I’m going to give up tomorrow and become an accountant.

Pretend I’m a record executive. Give me your best elevator speech.
Underneath this very stylish jacket, Jessica, I’m strapped with TNT. I’ll blow this elevator sky-high if you don’t sign my band right now. I could be bluffing, but do you really want to take that chance?

>>Click here for more music!

sept-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Weird Science
Could ‘80s pop icon-turned-Hopkins professor Thomas Dolby be the lightning rod that finally transforms Station North into an incubator of arts, entertainment and technology? Stranger things have happened.
By Sam Sessa

Until last year, Thomas Dolby had never spent much time in Baltimore. But when his “Invisible Lighthouse” tour brought him through Charm City, he decided to have dinner at a restaurant by the harbor, followed by a sunset stroll down the cobblestone streets of Fells Point.

“I was really enamored with it,” he says. “It just seemed like a city that has a lot of possibilities.”

Starting this fall, Dolby could help the city realize some of those possibilities. The man best known for the 1980s synth pop hits “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” is becoming the first Homewood Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University, where he will teach “Sound on Film,” a course that helps students from Hopkins and Peabody craft soundtracks for movies.

The new position also brings Dolby into the heart of Baltimore’s surging arts and music scene. He’s helping to launch a new film and technology center at two sites in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District: the old Parkway Theatre and the building at 10 E. North Ave.—both of which are under renovation. It’s a joint effort among Hopkins, the Maryland Film Festival and MICA, which could be a big step for the neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization.

“Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Station North was really hopping,” Dolby says. “It would be fantastic if it could come back.”

If you’re only familiar with Dolby’s hits from decades ago, this new position might seem like something of a comeback for the mad scientist of music. While Dolby did take a 14-year hiatus from the spotlight, he stayed at the cutting edge of technology, music and film—just behind the scenes.

Born Thomas Morgan Robertson, he grew so interested in keyboards and recording equipment that his friends nicknamed him Dolby, after the audio company Dolby Laboratories. He was fond of silent movies, especially the way their stars (Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin) played the underdog. Later, when Dolby began performing in the late ’70s and early ’80s, he would borrow their vintage trench coats, suits and hats, throw in a bit of what he calls the “academic look” and use it in his music videos.

“It was the age of pin-up boy frontmen in bands—people like Sting, Adam Ant and so on,” Dolby says. “I didn’t feel like I could really compete in the handsome boy stakes. So I thought, ‘The thing to do is set myself apart.’”

Which he did—so well, in fact, that people still come up to him on the street and shout “Science!” or whistle a few lines of “Hyperactive.”

For a time, Dolby popped up all over the music industry. To help pay for the studio time to record his first album, he played synthesizers on the Foreigner hits “Urgent” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Def Leppard brought him in to record parts for their “Pyromania” album, and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters cast Dolby in the 1990 concert of “The Wall.”

In 1992, after releasing four albums in 10 years, Dolby left show business and moved to Silicon Valley, where he developed technology for cellphone ringtones. He became musical director of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference, where luminaries from all different fields came to share ideas. By the time Dolby dipped his toe back into the music scene in 2006, it was a different world.

“I felt a bit like Austin Powers, waking up after decades of cryogenic freezing and there were all these shiny new toys to play with,” he says.

For the past several years, Dolby, 55, has lived in Suffolk, along the east coast of England, with his wife, Kathleen Beller (who played Kirby Colby on “Dynasty”). They also have three college-age kids. In England, Dolby loves to sail and watch shipping boats drift along the distance. He even filmed a documentary about a decommissioned lighthouse by his home, which he took on tour with live music.
Titled “The Invisible Lighthouse,” it won Best Picture at last year’s DIY Film Festival. He’s a “water-oriented person,” so it’s no surprise he and Beller are moving into a new Baltimore home right by the harbor.

But that’s not all Dolby likes about Charm City. He turned down a job offer in Boston to take the position at Hopkins in part because, he says, “Baltimore just seemed to have a freshness to it.”

Once the Parkway is up and running, Dolby plans to host a show similar to a TED talk, where guests from the music industry would come to talk shop with an audience. It would be broadcast live, and focus on composition, production and sound design.

“There’s clearly an appetite for audiences to understand what goes on behind the scenes,” Dolby says. “A few decades ago, if you were a celebrity, you were encouraged to be in a fishbowl, to keep a distance from your audience. Now with blogging, with tweeting, I think we’re in an age where performers are willing to let their guard down and share their process.”

As a child, Dolby was surrounded by teachers. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were professors at the University of Cambridge. His mother taught algebra. And though all five of his siblings would go on to become teachers, Dolby at first chose a different path, skipping college for a career in music.

“I was the youngest of six kids, so there was never any parental pressure on me to follow in their academic footsteps,” Dolby said. “But it wouldn’t have surprised me if they secretly thought, ‘After a few years of banging his head against a brick wall in showbiz, he might come back to the fold and end up in academia.”

Though it took a few decades (and perhaps a bit of head-banging), he has at last become Professor Dolby—though he’s still getting used to the title.

“Annoyingly, most pull-down menus on the Internet only have ‘Mr.,’ ‘Mrs.’, and ‘Ms.’ They might have ‘Dr.,’ but very few of them have ‘Prof,’” Dolby says. “I have to do something about that. Otherwise, how am I going to get a good table at a restaurant?”

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Heart Strings
A writer struggles to find a place in her house—and her life—for a beloved childhood musical instrument.
By Jennifer Mendelsohn


It’s not every day that a music critic for The New York Times makes me cry.

But that’s exactly what happened when I read Zachary Woolfe’s story “After Playing, Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow,” in which he writes about having donated his unplayed cello to a program that provides instruments to underserved public schools.

Much of Woolfe’s account rang eerily, uncomfortably true. His cello, he wrote, had become “as useless and forgotten as my appendix,” gathering dust in a closet, taken out only to move from one apartment to the next.

As I write this, my own cello leans silently against the wall in a corner of my dining room, where it has more or less lived since we moved into this house in 2003. It hasn’t been taken out of its case in months, and the last time it was played with any degree of seriousness, Bill Clinton was still governor of Arkansas. But the thought of giving it up, of having it out there in the world without me, makes me positively queasy.

“These instruments become vessels for so much of our time, energy, care, anxiety and joy,” Woolfe wrote. “To give them away is to admit that there are parts of our lives that are over. For many of us, it is to say goodbye to our childhoods.”

And how.

I first began to play the cello in fourth grade, and within two years I was a serious presence on the local music circuit: All-County. All-State. All-Milky Way. OK. Maybe not that last one. But there was an endless schedule of lessons and concerts and auditions, hours and hours spent practicing and rehearsing. And always when I looked out into the audience, there was my father, my perpetual chauffeur, patiently doing The New York Times crossword puzzle or reading some dense book to the strains of Saint-Saëns and Vivaldi. In one of our family’s most painful episodes, my 50-something father, inspired by the pint-sized talented musicians in my circle, decided to try to learn to play the violin himself. And while his devotion was commendable, let’s just say it significantly dwarfed his talent.

Throughout adolescence, music became my entrée to the world at large, my cello like a trusty sidekick. It went with me on countless bus and car trips and flew with me to concerts in Canada and the Bahamas. I spent four life-changing summers playing chamber music at a tiny camp on the shores of Lake Dunmore in Vermont. In high school, I got my first taste of quasi-adult independence lugging that cello on the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway to take lessons in Manhattan.

Eventually, though, it became clear that music did not have the utter grip on my soul that it did on some of my fellow players. “Don’t become a professional musician unless you absolutely have to,” I was warned. I decided not to go the conservatory route, but I dutifully brought my cello to college and continued to study. I had always assumed that after I graduated, playing the cello would naturally find its way back into my life somehow. Mysteriously, that never happened, but my long-silenced instrument has stayed with me ever since. In the summer of 2001, it was—quite miraculously —in the one part of my Washington, D.C. apartment that wasn’t destroyed by a freak flash flood. It seemed almost providential.

When I first stopped playing, I was taken aback by how much I missed the physicality of it, the familiar sensation of my fingers against the metal strings and glossy wood. But eventually those cravings faded, as did the hard-won calluses on my fingers that had always marked me as a card-carrying member of the string players’ fraternity. For a long time, muscle memory was strong enough that I could still pull out the cello and sound reasonably legitimate, the way some people can still robotically recite parts of their bar mitzvah haftorah. But now I am so out of practice I can hardly play at all. The cello is like a ghost from my past, a language I once spoke fluently but can now only understand a few words of. 

Of course, the oldest cliché about parenting is that it makes everything old seem new again. And so when my six-year-old son decided he wanted to take up the violin through a program at school last year, I felt a stirring of something essential but long dormant within me. As I watched him hold that tiny instrument for the first time, beaming with possibility, I was overwhelmed.

One Sunday afternoon last winter, I settled into a creaky wooden chair in a school auditorium to watch my son’s very first orchestra rehearsal. As I unfolded The New York Times, I was flooded with memories of my father, who passed away unexpectedly two years ago. So this is what it looks like from the other side, I thought. Zachary Woolfe wrote that over time it “became harder to justify letting my cello accumulate dust, knowing it could be doing for someone else what it had once done for me. I began to imagine life without it.” Selfishly, I am not there yet. I still need my instrument with me, a physical reminder of who and where I’ve been. I’m just not ready to let it go.

In the meantime, I have no idea whether Alec will take to the violin as I did to the cello. I can’t predict whether a passion for music will burrow its way into his soul, whether it will open his horizons and literally take him places he otherwise would never go. But if one day, the thought of giving up a beloved instrument brings tears to his eyes, I know I can call it a win. 

Jennifer Mendelsohn lives in Mount Washington with her husband and their two boys. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, People, Slate and USA Weekend. She also serves as one of Us Weekly’s Fashion Police “Top Cops.”

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Traveling with the Queen
A culture aficionado gets the royal treatment on the QM2—and gets to schmooze with the “Royal Tenenbaums” director, too.
By Lisa Simeone

“Since the discovery of America by Columbus, nothing has occurred of so much importance to the new world as navigating the Atlantic by steamers.”

I may not have the maritime chops of shipping magnate Samuel Cunard, who uttered those words in 1840 as he was set to launch the first regular transatlantic passenger service, but I can’t help but
concur with his sentiment—albeit with a 21st century twist: Since flying has become impossible, nothing has occurred of so much importance in my life as my discovery of the Queen Mary 2.

I stopped flying in this country in 2010 because of the odious practices of the TSA. Suddenly, my life of travel was over. I lamented never seeing Europe again. And I made an assumption I bet many people make: ocean liners are only for the wealthy. I had romantic notions of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in “An Affair to Remember” and thought such a glamorous experience wasn’t for the likes of me.

Boy, was I wrong. Depending on the time of year and location of your cabin, you can do a 7-day crossing on Cunard’s QM2 from New York to Southampton, all meals (excluding alcohol) and entertainment included, for anywhere from $800 to $20,000. We sprang for a private glassed-in balcony for $1,500. Though since you have the run of the ship, you could be just as happy with an interior stateroom for half the price.

At the pier in Brooklyn, the QM2 fills the skyline. Imagine the Empire State Building laid on its side yet still towering. My husband and I drop off our luggage with a porter at the curb and go inside, where security is a breeze. After we get our pictures taken and are handed our Cunard i.d.-slash-credit card (how you pay for
extras on board), we’re given a number, like you’d get at a deli counter. Since we got there early, we’re No. 25, which puts us well ahead of the 2,500 or so passengers still to come.

We pass into the huge hangar that serves as a waiting area, where it already feels like a party. I chat with several people who’ve done this crossing umpteen times. That’s one thing you quickly learn about the QM2: it’s not a cruise, it’s a crossing. No half-naked, sunburned bathers doing belly-flops in the pool or getting drunk and vomiting over the side. This is a Queen, after all, and people respect her.

Each time a number is called, people clap and cheer, and watch as passengers pass through a big door. On the other side, we head straight for the escalator, above which is written: “Leaving Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboudit!” Then we climb a few ramps, glancing down at the vertiginous views below, until we pass through the longed-for portal. A phalanx of smartly dressed Cunard employees greets us. We’re on the ship.
Tim is desperate to watch the World Cup, so after dropping our stuff in our stateroom, he hightails it to the Golden Lion Pub and I stay behind to unpack. To my delight, I see Phillip, our cabin steward from last year. Miraculously, he’s taking care of us again this year. He’s a sweetheart and, like all of the ship’s employees, works his rump off.

Soon it’s time to dress for dinner. Tonight is “informal,” but that just means not black tie. There’s a strict dress code in the Britannia, the soaring, wood-burnished, main restaurant. Three of the seven nights are formal—gown and tux—though you can always go to the Kings Court on Deck 7 if you’re not in the mood for formality. But before dinner, there’s one big event: the sail-away.

On this brilliant, sunny day, the outside decks are filled with passengers and crew. A group from St. Lucia called Extasea is jamming beside the pool aft on Deck 8, people are dancing and waiters are handing out glasses of champagne while the ship powers away from New York harbor at 25 knots (about 30 mph). As the Manhattan skyline recedes and we pass the Statue of Liberty, the sky suddenly blackens. It starts to rain. Most people head inside, but those of us who know what’s coming wouldn’t miss this for the world: the moment the red funnel of the mammoth ship passes under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge with, seemingly, only inches to spare. Actually it looks like it’s going to crash into the bridge, which accounts for our thrilled screams and squeals.

Though I bring a book on the QM2, I rarely read it. There’s so much to do. My favorite activity each day is attending the lectures—on art, literature, design, architecture, aviation, you name it—in Illuminations, the golden auditorium. This time the standout is the charming, impeccably dressed Giancarlo Impiglia, whose paintings reminiscent of Art Deco adorn several staircases on the ship. If you’re otherwise inclined, there are also trivia games, gambling, computer classes, dance lessons, designer shops, a gym, spa, library and planetarium.

But the pièce de résistance is the Hollywood stardust provided by film director Wes Anderson, actress Tilda Swinton, actor Jason Schwartzman and producer Roman Coppola—who were a post-booking
surprise on this now “celebrity” cruise (not to be confused with a Celebrity Cruise.)

“I invited myself,” says Anderson before the screening of “Moonrise Kingdom.” “I’ve always wanted to sail on the QM2. Then I asked if I could invite my friends.” He and his team introduce his movies, including his latest, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and in general mingle with the hoi polloi. Well, not quite. Swinton made it clear this was a private vacation, so I don’t get to ask about her living-art exhibit at MOMA (where she napped in a glass box while onlookers gawked and giggled), nor her formidable fashion sense—especially the sky-high, sparkly green shoes she’s wearing one night. They’re like the Ruby Slippers, only emerald.
I run into the entourage (they travel in a pack) on my way to the Royal Court Theatre. Wes Anderson smiles and gallantly holds the door open for me. “Be cool,” I tell myself. I simply nod and say “thank you.” Of course now I’m kicking myself for not having barged into their filmic retinue just a bit more. After all, they saw that my hand was the first that shot up that morning at the panel discussion, where I was sitting right smack in front of them, and that the otherwise capable moderator never called on me because I wasn’t near one of the microphones on the aisle. Exasperated, I had finally stood up with, “I don’t need a microphone; I can project!”
I also spend my days walking around the promenade on Deck 7, splurging on champagne and caviar in the supremely elegant Veuve Clicquot Lounge and occasionally popping into the Golden Lion to witness the mayhem when somebody scores a goal in the World Cup. Every evening I look forward to dinner at our window-side table in the Britannia, where the food is out of this world and we can watch the endless ocean as we eat. I love getting all dolled up and sashaying to the Grand Lobby down the long, luxurious corridors, bounded by enormous brass bas reliefs depicting the four seasons and verre églomisé panels
depicting the four elements.

One night, we’re invited to sit at the Captain’s Table. Kevin Oprey is as dashing as you’d expect of a British sea captain. He tells us the QM2 is such a feat of modern engineering, she almost steers herself. Though in a gale, it’s all hands on deck—rather, on the bridge, where he and his officers control the computerized navigation system.

And, oh, the music! In the Chart Room, an ensemble of musicians from Juilliard plays the hell out of jazz standards. One night when they’re particularly rambunctious, somebody grabs my hand and I find myself swept up in a conga line. In the Queens Room, the orchestra plays everything from big band to disco, while couples swirl on the dance floor. Since I love to waltz, I ask one of the male dance hosts to take me on. His name is Bob Wall; he’s a retired Air Force pilot and a perfect gentleman. Later that week he’ll spin me expertly in the Hustle. And in the swanky Commodore Club, where a superb pianist named Campbell Simpson does boogie-woogie Bach as well as Harold Arlen, a couple of us sing along to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Arrival at Southampton, in the quiet, early dark of morning, is magical, as the tiny lights of the coast begin to appear, then grow more abundant, until the ship slowly slides up to the pier. True to Capt. Oprey’s words, the QM2 can practically turn on a dime, so she needs no tugboats to pull her into port. Along with hundreds of other people above and below, we stand on our balcony and watch the dock workers getting ready to receive her. For them, this is routine. But for us, it’s an awakening from a dream, one to which we know we’ll return again and again, for as long as the Queen reigns.

sept-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Candy Bar

Tom Looney was talked into putting a flat screen in his new bar. “I was pushed,” says the co-owner of the Gypsy Queen food truck and former owner of the beloved, now defunct, Helen’s Garden in Canton. “This is not a 20-something sports bar,” he insists. “It’s the opposite of that.”

Bar Liquorice, which opened in midsummer, has a dark and slightly illicit air, a speakeasy with black leather bar stools and chocolate brown walls decorated with posters from 1920s Paris. “I call it small, dark and handsome,” Looney quips.

The menu reflects the tiny kitchen, with pressed sandwiches, charcuterie and bruschetta. But that’s not the point. Looney expects a more mature clientele at his 35-seat restaurant to sip on classic cocktails, craft beers and wine. “It’s a small, intimate place,” he says. “I want it to be about conversation.” 801 East Fort Ave. 443-708-1675, barliquorice.com —MT

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
City Smart - September-October 2014
Hot Happenings In...
By Ian Zelaya

New york city

Hugh Jackman performing onstage is something to behold, as shown by his Emmy-winning turn as a Tony Awards host and a starring role in 2009’s “A Steady Rain.” The Australian heartthrob returns to Broadway in “The River,” Jez Butterworth’s follow-up to the Tony-nominated “Jerusalem.” Also starring Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo, the erotic, mysterious and poetic drama tells the story of a man and a woman who encounter each other at a remote fishing cabin on a moonless night. The preview show premieres Oct. 31 at Circle in the Square theatre, with opening night on Nov. 16. theriveronbroadway.com

Philadelphia

Indulging in drinks and dinner before a show is many theatergoers’ favorite pastime. But if you want to do so at Volver, a perfect pre-theater option in Philly, you’ll have to buy a ticket for the restaurant, too. The acclaimed chef Jose Garces has basically eliminated the “no-show” with his new, 34-seat restaurant that requires parties to purchase advance tix at a set price ($75 to $250 per person) with the choice of two nightly seatings. Menu includes innovative plates such as Monterey Bay Squid, Carnitas Popcorn, and the cheekily named Milk & Cereal—rice flakes, quail egg, chicken oyster, truffle, thyme marshmallows and white asparagus milk. Or stop by the bar any time for cavier, champagne and cocktails. volverrestaurant.com

Washington, D.C.

Film buffs can “get shorty” for 11 straight days (and nights) at the DC Shorts Film Festival, the largest fest of its kind on the East Coast. We’re talking 135 films from 25 countries, ranging from two to 30 minutes—from dramas to documentaries and funky experimental films—at five different locations in D.C. and Fairfax, Va. One standout:the 15-minute comedy “Anxious Oswald Greene,” a fantastical flick about a desperate man who seeks an unusual cure for his crippling anxiety. Don’t miss the opening weekend parties and filmmaker Q-and-As after each screening. Bonus: you can also watch 100 curated shorts from the comfort of your couch at dcshorts.com

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Expect the Unexpected
Two creative forces combine their powers—for good art and design.
By Lisa Simeone

Empty space. New building. Lots of foot traffic. Stone’s throw from the light rail. What to do? You could be forgiven for letting your imagination run wild. Or, if you’re Jeanine Turner and Jeffrey Kent, you could tame that imagination, harness it and put its products out there for all to see. That’s what the two have done at the Fitzgerald Apartments in Mount Royal, where their latest collaboration, Unexpected Art and Décor, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Turner and Kent are used to putting their heads together. She’s a self-taught artist and interior decorator. He’s a MICA-trained painter. They started collaborating at Silo Point, the luxury condominium complex developed by Turner’s husband, Patrick, of Turner Development Group. When the condos upstairs were first being shown, the lobby downstairs was empty. Turner got to work spiffing it up and engaged Kent to help her. They brought in furniture, sculpture and other artwork to dress the space. Then another Baltimore developer, Toby Bozzuto, asked them if they’d like to do something similar at the Fitzgerald, the eco-friendly, LEED-certified apartment building the Bozzuto Group had built. Though the apartments were quickly rented and a Barnes & Noble bookstore took over most of the ground floor, there was still one empty space waiting for a retail tenant. That’s where Turner and Kent opened Unexpected Art. New this fall, the gallery/shop has now added furniture to its offerings, so if you want a sofa or lamp to go with that mixed-media piece, you can find it here. Turner’s and Kent’s own works are mixed in with those of other artists and artisans, such as Matt Ludwig of Ludwig Metals and Sandtown Millworks, Arman Mizani and Jill Hillman.“We’re very specific in selecting furniture that you don’t find just anywhere,” says Turner. The same goes for the art on the walls. “We like working with young artists,” says Kent, “but not everyone can show here. We’re selective.”With everything from $80 necklaces to $10,000 tables, the variety is impressive. Anyway, says Kent with a grin, “All art is affordable. If you can afford it, it’s yours.” Tues. through Sat., 1 to 6 p.m. 1205 W. Mount Royal Ave., 443-838-8877, unexpectedartspace.com

sept-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Waist Not, Want Not
A lighter approach to comfort food favorites.
Written and photographed by Tracey Middlekauff

Like most people, I am not immune to the seductive allure of comfort foods, especially when the days grow short and the weather turns brisk. There’s just one problem: all of those rich and soothing dishes can fill your belly with a lot more than intangible comfort. Yes, I’m talking about packing on unwanted pounds—I call it the comfort food casualty.

But I am a stubborn woman, and I refuse to give up the foods I like just because they may not agree with my waistline. Instead, I’ve come up with ways to lighten up some of my favorite hearty cool weather dishes, and I’ve not lost any flavor in the process.

This chickpea flatbread, also known as socca, is my new favorite way to make homemade pizza, and as an added plus, it’s gluten free. The dough is made from chickpea—aka garbanzo bean—flour, and it’s a protein-rich, carbohydrate-free treat that feels like nothing short of an
indulgence. I’ve topped mine with a pea puree and fried cheese, but let your imagination run free. Anything you love to pile on your favorite pizza will work here.

Buttery mashed potatoes have always been my No. 1 go-to food when I need a big helping of comfort. But since I can inhale pounds of the stuff in one sitting, I don’t partake as often as I’d like. The solution to this craving conundrum: my root vegetable mash, a healthy and hearty mash of carrots, parsnips and rutabaga, which gets a luscious punch from Greek yogurt rather than butter.

If bulgogi isn’t on your list of comfort foods yet, it should be. This Korean dish of fried thinly sliced beef marinated in, among other things, a sweet and hot mixture of sesame oil, dark soy sauce, ginger, garlic and honey, is usually served with heaping portions of starchy white rice. Here, I’ve made a vegetable “rice” out of steamed cauliflower flavored with sesame oil and black sesame seeds.

Finally, I’ve used spaghetti squash to transform another one of my dietary Achilles’ heels—spaghetti with marinara sauce—into a filling, flavorful and low carb version of the original. Who says you can’t have your cake (or pizza) and eat it too?

Bulgogi with Cauliflower ‘Rice’
serves 2

For the bulgogi:
1 pound skirt or flank steak, cut against the grain into paper thin strips
(Tip: If you find it difficult to cut the meat very thinly, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. The meat will firm up and be easier to slice.)

For the marinade:
6 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1⁄4 -1⁄2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1⁄8 teaspoon ginger powder
1 clove minced garlic
1 large green onion, chopped (green stalks included)
Pinch white pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together, add the meat, stir, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the cauliflower “rice”:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
1⁄8 teaspoon salt

Meanwhile, make the cauliflower “rice.” Chop the cauliflower into roughly equal parts. Steam until very soft, approximately 20 minutes. Mash with a potato masher until it has the consistency of short grain rice. Add the sesame oil, black sesame seeds and salt. Stir to combine. Reserve and keep warm.

When it’s time to cook the steak, heat a deep-sided skillet over medium heat and fry the meat in batches, stirring often,  until brown, about 4-5 minutes. Serve the meat, along with any juices from the pan, over the “rice” and garnish with sliced green onion.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara & Fresh Basil
Serves 2 as a main course; 4 as a side dish

Squash:
1 3-pound spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Marinara:
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 -6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
3-4 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake, face down, on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet until tender. When cool enough to handle, shred each squash with a fork—spaghetti-like tendrils will emerge. Set aside.

While the squash is baking, make the marinara. In a deep-sided skillet over low heat, gently cook the garlic so that it infuses the oil. Before adding the tomatoes, remove the garlic cloves. Squish each tomato so that the sauce has a chunky consistency. Add the salt and pepper, and cook covered at low heat until the squash is ready. To serve, spoon the sauce over the spaghetti squash stands, as you would with pasta. Serve garnished with the fresh basil, fresh ground pepper and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Root Vegetable Mash
serves 4 as a side dish

5 carrots, peeled and cut into rough chunks
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
(note: cut all of the vegetables into roughly equal sizes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped chives, to garnish (approximately 1 tablespoon)

To a stockpot filled with salted boiling water, add the carrots and the rutabaga. Ten minutes later add the parsnips. Boil the vegetables until soft, for a total of 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside. In
a saucepan, saute the garlic over medium heat until fragrant. Add the root vegetables and stir. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Temper the yogurt and stir in to combine completely. Add the salt and pepper, stir. Serve hot with the chopped chives.

Chickpea Flatbread Pizza (Socca) with Pea Puree & Fried Cheese
serves 4 as an appetizer; 2 as a main course

For the flatbread:
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together all the ingredients and cover. Let sit for 2 hours at room temperature. Meanwhile, make the pea puree. When you’re ready to make the flatbread, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a cast-iron skillet and heat under the broiler until the oil is just beginning to smoke. Remove and add the chickpea batter, swirling it to coat the pan completely. Return to the broiler and cook until the edges are brown and the middle is set, about 10 minutes. Allow to sit for a few minutes, and then gently slide the flatbread from the skillet.

Pea Puree:
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, minced
1⁄2 pound peas, fresh or frozen
8 - 10 leaves fresh tarragon, minced
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, saute the shallot in butter until translucent. Add the peas and tarragon, lower the heat, and cover until the peas are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the peas to a slightly chunky consistency, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Fried cheese:
4 ounces halloumi or paneer cheese

In a frying pan, fry the cheese on both sides until brown and crispy. To assemble the flatbread, add the pea puree and top with the cheese, and garnish with chopped chives. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Putting Down Roots
Ian Gallanar, founder of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, has done his share of moving. Until now.
By Martha Thomas

Ian Gallanar had a PROBLEM with Shakespeare. He didn’t connect with the Bard—at least early on. “I thought it was for smart people,” he tells me, pushing his glasses up his nose. In his high school English class, “everyone else seemed to be nodding a lot. They seemed to get it.”

But things changed for the founder and artistic director of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC), after he saw the Kenneth Branagh-directed “Much Ado About Nothing,” with Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington. It wasn’t that the star-studded 1993 film was so enchanting. The scene that got to Gallanar was between Michael Keaton, as the bumbling constable Dogberry (“who exists to be funny,” Gallanar notes), and his assistant, played by Ben Elton. “They were terrible,” says Gallanar, who was at the time artistic director for the Minneapolis-based National Theater for Children. The actors “didn’t understand rhythmically how that comic banter should work,” he says. “I thought, ‘I could help this scene be funnier.’”

A few years later, he founded Minnesota Shakespeare in the Park. Not surprisingly, the first production was “Much Ado,” and the actor playing Dogberry was a standup comedian. “He understood comic rhythm.”
It turns out that children’s theater was good preparation for Shakespeare, especially the way Gallanar likes to direct. As in children’s theater, the Bard’s scripts demand an extraordinary suspension of disbelief, often communicated through exposition. “In children’s theater, the actor will say, ‘I’m a dragon and there’s a mountain I have to climb’; you don’t need an elaborate dragon costume or an actual mountain to create excitement and connect to the audience.”

Shakespeare indicates actions and settings in the script—Lear’s stormy heath, the magical forest of Arden, Hermione’s statue coming to life in “The Winter’s Tale,” countless shipwrecks and sprites. “The term that Shakespeare nerds use is ‘original practices,’” he explains. With minimal lighting and sets, and no mikes, the cast takes the audience on a wild ride.

Since its founding in 2003, the CSC has made its summer home at the stabilized ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City. The walls and columns of the former girls finishing school frame a dramatic plein air stage facing a lawn where viewers can picnic and children don’t have to sit still. The site (rumored to be haunted) also has inspired popular roving productions, in which audience members follow actors from scene to scene.
On a chilly night in October several years ago, my daughter and I stood on a dark hillside as the weird sisters made their predictions about Macbeth, while the murderous Thane himself strode up the hill. We later gathered in a brick-walled cellar to watch Lady Macbeth panic over the killing of the king. Illuminated by spotlights, the actor’s shadow danced menacingly above her slight frame, as the deed itself loomed over her conscience.
Now Gallanar, who received raves for the roving “Macbeth” (and the follow-up production of “Dracula,” directed by Scott Alan Small), stands on the stage of the CSC’s new home. The former Mercantile Bank at the corner of Redwood and Calvert in downtown Baltimore will open its doors this month with the rom-com “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The CSC purchased the building for $1.2 million in 2012, after searching the region for an indoor location. (They pre-viously “wintered” at the Howard County Center for the Arts.)

“We looked at a lot of old houses with big fields,” says CSC managing director Lesley Malin (who played Lady Macbeth in the moving production). “We looked at auto dealerships on Route 40.”
“We looked at the Enchanted Forest” (a former amusement park in a strip mall), adds Gallanar. “We couldn’t get anyone to return our calls.”

After the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival folded in 2011, Gallanar and Malin expanded the search to Charm City. When they walked into the former bank, more recently the Redwood Trust nightclub, they didn’t expect much. The interior was grimy. There had been a private bar in the basement called the “Bed Room” for its relaxed seating. “It was just icky,” Malin recalls.

But then they looked up. Columns rose through the open atrium to a coffered plaster ceiling with flourishes painted in bright colors that reminded them of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre in London.

Working with the architecture firm Cho Benn Holback + Associates, the company has put about $4 million into renovating the building. They built a smallish fixed thrust stage that bears some similarities to the Globe, the London theater that once staged Shakespeare’s newly penned plays. Of course, that theater held 2,600 souls in the 1600s, 10 times the capacity of the new CSC—though, as Malin points out, “people were smaller back then. And willing to be squished.”

Like the Globe, the CSC’s new theater is intimate, with rows of seats stacked vertically; the single row comprising the third tier looks straight down on the stage three stories below and feels like a perch in the rafters.
The red upholstered seats were Malin’s pick (“We learned about them at a Shakespeare conference.”), while the flip-down benches have lumbar support and no armrests to encourage a sense of community.

In Shakespeare’s day, theater was a casual affair; audience members drifted in and out. “If someone wants to get up in the middle of the show and get a drink and watch the rest of the show from the bar, that’s OK,” Malin says. Shakespeare anticipated distractions by building frequent expositions into the dialogue, Gallanar explains. For example, in “Romeo and Juliet,” after a fight takes the lives of Mercutio and Tybalt, “the prince comes on and Benvolio has this long monologue describing the fight we just saw.”

Gallanar has a hard time pinpointing his home of origin. Born in Seattle, he spent much of his childhood in Los Angeles, attending high school and college in Western Pennsylvania. “I’ve had 33 different mailing addresses” in his 52 years, he says. “I’m exhausted just saying that.”

In 1999, when Gallanar was directing Rep Theater of America—a national touring company that could set down roots anywhere—he and his then wife settled in Maryland to start a family. 15 years later (“the longest I’ve lived anywhere”), Gallanar, now divorced, with a teenage daughter, appears to be settling in. The stage is fixed. The chairs are bolted to the floor. That seems unusual to a director who once staged a production atop a plywood-covered swimming pool and used hay bales for audience seating. The physical space “becomes a metaphor,” he says. “But this feels like home.”

sept-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Heavenly Ramen

Mount Vernon’s Joss Sushi bar has made a seamless transition to its new identity, TenTen Ramen—not to be confused with the Bagby property farther south. (By the time you read this, there may have been a kerfuffle; who knows?) The name is an alliteration of Japanese characters meaning “heaven, heaven.” Folks in these parts have been craving ramen since Erik Bruner-Yang of D.C.’s Toki Underground popped up at Artifact Coffee last winter.

“It’s kind of shocking that the noodle trend has skipped Baltimore,” says chef Jason Jiau, fresh from completing the hospitality management program at Temple University. After his parents shuttered Joss last year, Jiau began tinkering with the broth, which boils for eight or nine hours, reducing to one-fourth its original volume. TenTen serves broths in plain and spicy, pork-based and vegetarian variations. There’s also beef noodle soup and a handful of Japanese sides, like fried rice and chasu don (soy braised pork on rice). The wood bar, built for sushi grazers, could just have easily been built for noodle slurpers. 413 N. Charles St., 410-227-2116. tentenramen.com —MT

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
The Look
Party Girl
By Jessica Bizik

It’s a fact. Everybody loves Audrey Slade. Known for her smarts, style and collaborative spirit, the director of public relations at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore has brought together some of the city’s finest chefs, fashionistas, philanthropists, wellness gurus and others for events that make the luxury hotel a hot (and haute) destination for locals, not just jet-setters. So it’s no surprise we selected Audrey as this issue’s model citizen—and our planning partner for STYLE’s 25th Anniversary Party at Wit & Wisdom from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15. To RSVP, visit baltimorestyle.com/25years

Where to buy:

Audrey is wearing head-to-toe selections from Green Spring Station, our fashion partner for the party. Nicole Miller printed sheer blouse, $220, and embellished pants, $495, from Panache. Claudia Ciuti metallic/wood sandals, $355, from Matava. Oliver Weber ring, $182, from Bijoux Inspired Jewels. Marti necklace, $195, from Trillium.Photographed by David Stuck. Makeup by Natalie Sams, Four Seasons.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
As the Romans Do
By Ian Zelaya

“The top is really special,” says designer David Wiesand—owner of Baltimore-based custom furniture and decorative arts company McLain Wiesand—in describing his storied PXE Center Table. “It was inspired by a trip to the Walters Museum. The idea was to try to make a tabletop that looked like it had the qualities of ancient Roman glass.” The round top is composed of three, 8-inch-thick glass slabs bolted together, a combination of iridescent blue green, teal and gold metallic shades. The base is hand-forged steel with a gold leaf finish—a collaboration with artist Robert Machovec, known for his work with found metal. “We’ve made them as both center tables—something you’d see in an entrance or foyer—and beautiful dining tables,” says Wiesand. $14,500 for this model. Custom sizes available. 1013 Cathedral St., 410-539-4440. mclainwiesand.com

Septmeber-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Spontaneous Combustion
A totally fake, fill-in-the-blanks interview with Baltimore Improv Group (BIG)
By Jessica Bizik

To celebrate Baltimore Improv Group’s big move to the Mercury Theater (formerly the Strand), we asked artistic/executive director Michael Harris to share some fun facts about the theater company. Then we invited four BIG performers to throw out random nouns, verbs and adjectives (a la “Mad Libs”) to liven up the story. In short: Hijinks ensue.

After 10 years, we’re getting rid of our Gypsy shoes and moving into our permanent home on the planet Jupiter. That means, starting this fall, we can commit to performing every Friday and Saturday night. Hooray! The size of our company has grown to somewhere between 14.5 and 3,879,247 people—or roughly the size of President John Adams’ booty, depending on how many peppadew he eats a day. We’re basically one big, happy douche canoe.

If you’ve never seen improv show, here’s the deal: We ask the audience to suggest a theme, character or setting—then we use those details to create a totally unscripted play for them on the spot. Sometimes the best scenes come from the simplest suggestions, like how to marry a unicorn or play shuffleboard. The worst suggestion we’ve ever received came from a bachelorette party. No matter what we asked for, they just kept yelling the word SODOMY! (OK, that’s actually true.) We all have different day jobs, including chimney sweeps, bikini inspectors, pooper scoopers and nostril trimmers. (Not the hair, the actual nostrils. Some people just have too much hole.) We also have a few lawyers, accountants, web designers and waiters (i.e., stand-up comedians).

We perform more than 90 shows a year. If you ask us why we do improv, most of our performers will say something like, “I’m fulfilling a desperate need for attention that was not adequately satisfied in childhood.” (Actual answer.) But, to be honest, we also do it for the sex, since so many of our fans are single. The rest of the time, we like to sit around thinking about taxes, the state of our immigration policy and falling into the sky when gravity stops working.

Here’s the scoop on the people in this photo. Michael Harris is a complete totalitarian who has a pet octopus and refuses to stop singing “I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here” by Little Orphan Annie since we moved into our new digs. Bridget Cavaiola can best be described as promiscuous and ebullient. (Go ahead, “Google” it, we’ll wait.) She’s also our education director. Yes, adults and kids can take classes with us—and we even just added an improv workshop to help folks dealing with social anxiety.

Heather Moyer, who handles our publicity, is a great mom with a unique talent: shooting milk out of her eyeballs. Katie Long believes she’s the secret love child of Rick Moranis and Madeleine Albright. Can’t you see the resemblance? And then, of course, there’s Rasheed Green—a self-proclaimed diva who has been known to walk offstage shouting, “I don’t need this nonsense! Be in my dressing room in five minutes with a freshly poured ginger ale.” Come check out a BIG performance soon, including “The Movement,” a fun collaboration with The Collective dance company, on Oct. 10 at the BMA. bigimprov.org

>>Read the actual interview here: “OFF THE CUFF: Michael Harris”.

sept-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Gambling Man
Meet Chad Barnhill, general manager of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore—the stylish new $442 million gaming and entertainment facility downtown.
By Jessica Bizik

I love Ben Affleck, who keeps getting kicked out of casinos for counting cards. I don’t really understand what it means—or how you can control what humans do with their brains.
Whenever you get down in a deck—meaning you’ve seen enough hands—it’s really just a plus/minus system. So when the cards come out, you’re either plus one or minus one, and when it gets in the player’s favor, that’s when you see the bets jump up. We actually teach our surveillance officers how to count cards because it makes it easy to spot someone doing it.

How do you regulate it? It’s not illegal.
It’s more of a common understanding among gamblers that casinos frown upon it. When a known counter walks in, it’s often an easy conversation to say, “Hey, look, if you want to play blackjack, I’m going to ‘flat bet’ you, meaning whatever your first bet is—whether that’s $100 or $1,000—that’s the only bet you can make the entire time you’re here.”

So you don’t kick them out?
Nope. You can also say, “We’re glad you’re here, but you can’t play blackjack. You want to play a slot machine? You want to have bottle service in our mezzanine level at $1,000 minimum spend? Have at it.”

Are you tempted to count cards yourself?
No. First of all, I’d get caught. But card counting is no fun. You’ve got to be very focused—and it’s incredibly difficult. You’re not out there laughing, joking, high-fiving people and having a cocktail. You’re watching every card that comes out of that shoe.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had at a casino?
Doing shots with Kid Rock was pretty interesting.

Give me a fun fact about the new casino.
Sticking with that theme, Guy Fieri’s restaurant has a “shot machine” where you get to select your shot—say, a fireball—and it comes out of a gun straight from the freezer at like 2 degrees.

Why else would a non-gambler like me come to Horseshoe?
Sixteen hours of entertainment a day, cool design elements, celebrity chef restaurants and an open floor plan where you can live vicariously through the high rollers.

True or false: casinos in Vegas pump in extra oxygen to keep people awake.
False. Urban legend. Now, I will say, the old school philosophy was to build casinos with no windows or clocks, but we have lots of windows. If you drive by the casino on Russell Street, you can look inside and see all the lights flashing.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Q&A: Faking It
Two local artists conducted the perfect “culture jamming” experiment—hijacking Victoria’s Secret’s identity to create a conversation about sexual consent.

MICA fiber arts grads Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle landed on Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People” list for an elaborate “panty prank”—where they pretended to be Victoria’s Secret launching a line of PINK consent-themed underwear bearing slogans like “No Means No” and “Ask First”—in support of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, the duo’s organization that aims to reduce sexual abuse and help survivors heal.

How did the idea for the hoax come about? We did the prank to get new people talking about consent and avoid preaching to the choir.
Basically we thought, ‘We want to have a conversation with Victoria’s Secret consumers, so let’s pretend to be Victoria’s Secret.’ Your Pink Loves Consent website got more than 100,000 hits the first day—and thousands of people tweeted the hashtag #loveconsent.

Were you scared of getting sued?
Thankfully, we had a very good lawyer. How did you pick the slogans? We contrasted Victoria’s Secret’s actual PINK product line that’s marketed toward middle school and high school aged girls. They use slogans like, ‘Sure Thing’ and ‘NO’ in really big letters followed by ‘peeking’ in tiny letters. You used a diverse group of models for the campaign, including minority and plus-size women. Feeling good about your body, no matter what size or shape it is, is really integral to the idea of consent and pleasure. We want to help reframe what’s considered sexy, so it’s up to each individual to define what that means to them. Did fans feel betrayed when they realized they’d been duped? When we did the reveal, people’s frustration wasn’t directed at us for having done the prank but at Victoria’s Secret like, ‘Why wouldn’t you do this?’ I bet lots of women wanted to buy the underwear. They did, but launching a lingerie company isn’t one of our goals. So we released a DIY guide. Lots of college and community groups have started making their own underwear to raise money for consent campaigns.


How did you two connect on your shared message and mission? Hannah had been working at House of Ruth as a community artist and resident. Around the same time, Rebecca set up an arts therapy program and had transformative conversations about issues surrounding sexual and domestic violence. We both realized this was a private conversation—taking place inside the shelter—and it needed to be more public.

How do you encourage people who haven’t been affected by this issue to get involved? Right now we live in a culture where the burden is on the survivor. It’s asking a lot of that human being to be a mouthpiece for an issue they didn’t even choose to be connected to. It just happened to them. The more we can all share that voice—and remove stigmas or labels for speaking out—the better our society will be.

What’s next for the two of you? The Monument Quilt. Communities across the country are engaging in this public art project by making quilt squares and hosting quilt-making workshops and local displays. We’re doing a 13-city tour through September. The final vision is that the quilt will be displayed on the National Mall—covering a mile of the lawn with thousands of survivor stories to spell, ‘Not Alone.’
themonumentproject.org
—JESSICA BIZIK

sept-oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Write On
Poet Kendra Kopelke is director of the MFA program in creative writing and publishing arts at the University of Baltimore—celebrating its10th anniversary this fall.
Betsy Boyd

1. What is your background and how did you find such a lasting fit at UB?
I graduated from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins and started teaching in local schools. When I landed at UB, I was so taken with the diversity of students—most of whom had full-time jobs in addition to their classes—the unique and abundantly creative faculty from a range of disciplines, including graphic design and digital media, and the urban energy of the Mount Vernon campus.

2. How is UB different from every other master’s in fine arts program?
No other program that we know of has a dual focus on writing and publishing arts. No other program emphasizes creativity as something you can enliven and enrich throughout your life. [Students take “Creativity: Ways of Seeing” in their first semester.] And no other program teaches writers to design and produce their own handmade, electronic and printed books. Many of our students currently run their own publishing ventures.

3. What do students gain by learning to make these beautiful thesis books?
Students learn who they are as writers, artists, publishers—and what they really care about. When asked to create the physical form (or “home” as we call it) for their work, they come to understand their own writing voice. They learn how to push themselves as writers—and how to let go of their work when they publish it.

4. What is your program’s coined catchword “plork” all about?
Play + Work = Plork. It’s the animating spirit of the program—work as a form of play (not its antithesis) and play as a way of working. This is a kind of creativity that’s usually lost or abandoned after childhood. A willingness to experiment, to trust accident, to suspend judgment. So much good work happens when we are playful.

5. What will happen behind the scenes at your 10th anniversary bash?
We’ll recharge everyone’s creativity with workshops, enjoy alum readings and dance the Plork at an after-party. It’s a time to join our voices together and hear the emerging new sound.

Sept-Oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Put An Egg On It
By Martha Thomas

Turns out, Hampdenites crave a good runny egg. When David Sherman opened the tiny Café Cito, he put a drippy egg sandwich on the breakfast menu. It was so popular, he’s since added six variations. On offer: Artisinal English-style Flory’s truckle cheddar cheese and spinach—or a mix of mushrooms, or house pimenton and fennel sausage—on a soft, chewy roll. If that’s the first thing you try at Café Cito (“small café” in Spanish) it won’t be the last.

Sherman trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and lived in New York and San Francisco (where he worked for Spanish chef Daniel Oliveira). Locally, he’s worked at b Bistro and Tapas Teatro, and in 2006, opened the short-lived Nasu Blanco, a Spanish and Japanese concept in Locust Point. That venture failed, he says, because “I was trying to wear too many hats at once and couldn’t keep up.”

In June the chef started serving weekend BYO dinner with a menu that included fish cheeks and spicy tuna tempura, vegetarian miso-glazed eggplant, and seared ribeye with roasted garlic puree—and the possibility of adding dinner on Thursdays and Sundays. “We want to focus on doing a few things really, really well,” he says. “This is a passion-over-profit venture.” 3500 Chestnut Ave., 443-682-9701, cafecitobmore.com —MT

September-October 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
Soul Siren
Celebration front-woman Katrina Ford continues her reign as one of Baltimore’s indie-rock darlings—but she’s just having fun making music in the basement.
By Bret McCabe


IMAGINE THIS: Katrina Ford,  the statuesque vocalist for Baltimore’s indie-rock powerhouse Celebration, and Sean Antanaitis, her band mate and husband, are sitting at home discussing their evening plans. Since moving to Baltimore in 1998 the couple has carved a singular path through the local music community, first with the intensely potent Love Life, now as Celebration. They’re sought-after collaborators—with Ford lending her indelible voice to records by TV on the Radio, British electronics duo UNKLE and Future Islands’ breakout new album “Singles.” She also fronts the local dream-pop groove machine Mt.  Royal. Antanaitis put his distinctive chops on Scarlett Johansson’s 2008 solo album.

When Ford, sitting for an interview at a Station North coffee shop, candidly talks about what their evenings together are like, the mind begins speculating about how a glamorous creative-class power couple spends its free time. Fabulous party? Hot-ticket event? Checking out the cool nightspot du jour?

 “We’re like—let’s go play synthesizers,” Ford says, followed by an infectious laugh. “Not all of it becomes a Celebration song, it’s just what we do.”

 They’ve been doing that for a decade as Celebration, the band whose name is a statement of purpose. Ever since its 2005 self-titled debut, Celebration has functioned as a euphoria delivery service—distilling organs, drums and voice into a powerful narcotic that soothes the soul. In recent years the core trio of Ford, Antanaitis and drummer David Bergander added keyboardist and backing vocalist Tony Drummond and guitarist Walker Teret to the band’s live settings, creating a powerful rock combo that still agilely handles its rhythmic curves and hypnotic melodies. This lineup yielded the ten songs on the band’s new “Albumin,” released on Aug. 18.

It’s Celebration’s first record with the British label Bella Union, which was founded by the Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde in 1997. Guthrie left to start his own venture in 2000, and ever since Raymonde runs the label like an impeccable small press.

“I can’t believe there’s still people like this making records,” Ford says of the authentic “music lovers” at Bella Union, which has released exquisite albums by Australia’s Dirty Three, American composer Van Dyke Parks and the spectral Swedish indie-pop band I Break Horses. Stylistically these artists are all over the map; what unites them is their outsider iconoclasm. Working on the fringes of the conventional indie-rock industry machine, these musicians refuse to churn out albums quickly just to plug into the 24-7 music cycle in hopes of trending high on social media. They take their time to make the music they want to make.

“We didn’t think we were going to work with a label again after [a less-than-ideal experience with] 4AD,” says Ford. “But when we tried to go at it alone, we realized we needed help to spread the word. We’re not good at tooting our own horns. We just want to play music.”

It’s what Ford and Antanaitis have done for 23 years—22 of those as a couple. Ford is a refreshingly no-nonsense front-woman, the kind of artist who has spent enough time on this planet to recognize how precious it is. Between working to pay the bills and the day-to-day living of being a grown-up, that doesn’t leave a huge amount of spare time to create, so she and Antanaitis take advantage of free time together as much as they can.

They head down to their basement, fire up a click track to provide a rhythm and begin playing off each other until an idea forms.

They record everything. Sometimes those musical ideas end up as Celebration songs, sometimes they become something more personal. “Tomorrow’s Here Today,” a song off “Albumin,” began life as a gift for their drummer Bergander and his wife on the birth of their son, Asa. A skipping beat propels the song along its cheerful way, the melody growing out of a gauzy keyboard wash that opens the song. Throughout Ford coos a collage of lines that hit the ears like drops of overwhelming tenderness—“before you know, you’ll be grown”; “the future will burn bright my love”; “this world needs a face just like you”—before the entire song blossoms into the titular chorus.

That was six years ago; it was Bergander and the band who lobbied for it to become a Celebration track. “We wrote the song as a gift and it kicked around our lives for a few years and the rest of the band said, ‘I think we should make this a rock song,’” Ford says. “And we thought, let’s try it.”

Such is the alchemy of songwriting: songs often start as mere ideas that steep inside the band members’ heads for a while before they mature into songs. Everybody puts in a piece of himself or herself—and what comes out the other side might end up on an album. “When you work with people for as long as we have you have another language, another mythology, and that’s our music,” Ford says. “It moves around and develops and changes. It’s thrown away and resurrected and rebuilt. We just go wherever the excitement is for everybody.”

That’s why sometimes it takes time to put out new material. Though the band is a prolific songwriting unit, “Albumin” is Celebration’s first release in three years. What started as about 25 song ideas eventually ten. Working everything through the band’s algebra simply takes time.

So, of course, when Ford and Antanaitis are home, and the laundry is done and the cats are fed, they’re going to do what artists do: create. She can’t imagine doing anything else with her life. “When I was a little kid, I used to daydream this,” Ford says. “And since we’re a couple, when we have time off together, we do what we love—make music.”

sept oct 2014
  |  SHARE:        |  
That’s The Ticket

Forno started service last spring, a week before the wildly popular “Book of Mormon” opened at the Hippodrome across the street. While the scenario created a trial-by-fire, the crowds also confirmed what owner Bryan Noto, former manager of Alewife, had suspected. “I felt strongly that the neighborhood could sustain another restaurant,” he says of the area that also includes the University of Maryland Hospital and many highrise apartment buildings. “Some nights at Alewife we were turning away 100 people.”

Noto and his wife and co-owner Emini Dukic, were inspired after traveling in Sonoma, where local wines were served with simple dishes made from “natural, seasonal ingredients,” he says. His father-in-law, Amir Dukic, helped build out the space with wood reclaimed from Pennsylvania barns, recycled brick and window panes salvaged from a church.

Chef Kris Sandholm’s menu features brick oven pizza and small plates, salads and main courses, use such locally sourced ingredients as Big City Farms greens, Virginia rockfish and Springfield Farms chicken.

The restaurant is prepped for the theater season. Menu items are “geared to come out quickly while still having higher quality,” says Noto. “We’ve got it down at this point.” 17 N Eutaw St., 443-873-9427. fornobaltimore.com —MT

September-October 2014

Let us know what you think...



keep up with style
Style Pinterest
Style Twitter
Style Facebook



MOST RECENT TRAVEL ARTICLES…