Monthly Archives: November 2009

Seeking Fortune and Adventure

We’re sorry. We’re sorry as hell. Its completely the Chop’s fault and we take all responsibility. We throw ourselves upon the mercy of Gentle Reader. (not Google Reader). The Chop is about to commit one of the biggest sins in the entire blogosphere, which is like bigger than the universe, even.

We’re leaving town for a while.

You know those Dos Equis ads about the Most Interesting Man In The World? Well, the Chop doesn’t want to flatter ourselves, but we’re pretty much the real life version of that. After all, how do you think it is we live as a man of leisure, and go out on the town 7 nights a week? We’ve been cadding around since Easter now.

Our line of work takes us to some far flung places. The Chop has seen some shit. The Chop has done some shit. Whether it was negotiating a land deal with a tribal chief in west Africa, taking part in re-supply missions in Kuwait, braving a hurricane at sea off the Bahamas, or singing karaoke in Japan… the Chop was there.

This time, the Chop is bound for a cold, cold winter in Northern Europe. Who knows what lies before us? Druids? Celtic chapels? Soccer hooligans? Autobahn races? Red light districts? We’re about to find out.

One thing is certain though… the Chop’s not going to be around a computer for a long time. Or a television. Or radio. We might be able to check in once a month or so. We’ll be reading books the rest of the time.

Regular posts will resume in March. Maybe in time for Opening Day.

Now, it pains us to start a blog and then get out of town a week later. It really does. But the Chop is not a sayer. The Chop’s a doer. We didn’t want to sit around and talk about “Oh, when we come back, maybe we’ll start blogging.” Nope. We just did it. Now we’ve got something to come back to. Incidentally, this thing has been a lot more fun that we thought it would be initially, so we’ll definitely pick up right where we left off. When the Chop returns, we’ll have a pocket full of money and a thirst for some good old American Whiskey.

And finally, it should be noted that in the first week, we didn’t actually believe that anybody would read the damn thing.

So thanks for that.

And to show our appreciation while we’re gone, we thought you might enjoy this image of Tara Reid drunk, as a reminder of what not to do this holiday season:

I'll suck your cock for a thousand dollars

Didn't I see you at Mother's last night?

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Filed under World Travel

Station North Flea Market Today

We’re still pretty excited to get up to Towson tonight to see Gentleman Jesse and His Men, but we also wanted to put in a word here for the Station North Flea Market going on today in North Avenue between Maryland and Howard.

Get your rags and bones today from 9-2. 100 W North Ave.

This thing has been going on occasionally for some years now, and while its been a good while since the Chop has made it out for the sale, we seem to remember it being an excellent place to buy original paintings (especially if you go in the Spring, when MICA grads are getting ready to move away and trying to scrounge money and lighten their loads).

We’d be thrilled to get some art for the very blank walls in our brand new house, but the even higher priority on our shopping list is some leftover hipster flannels and thermals. You know, the kind you see on the street and think:

Why is that kid dressed like a gay autistic lumberjack?

Well, the Chop can pull off Wearing those shirts splendidly, and believe it or not, we actually do work for a living. We’re going to need them too, because where we’re headed, its going to be colder than Sarah Palin’s frozen, black heart.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Other

Round II: Book Signing, Then Back To The Sidebar.

Now, we know we said the Chop would be heading down to Howard County to see Valentino Deng, but those were plans, and plans change, you know?

While we still recommend What is the What, its the book we haven’t read which is catching our attention tonight, namely, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys.

Meet the Authors at Atomic books tonight. 7pm.

Yep. The Chop is headed back to Atomic Books for another reading, and hopefully this one will go a little more smoothly than the last one. This being Baltimore though, people do love their whores, so there may just be a good crowd on hand.

The Chop is especially interested to see Shawna Kenney, who we had a chance to see when she sat in on the panel discussion recently at 2640, and who is fascinating not only because she was a teenage dominatrix, but also because reading her work or listening to her is kind of like discussing sex with your sister. You can talk about the kinkiest stuff in the world, but none of it is going to be a turn-on.

Which is just as well, because the Chop actually bumped into our little cousin at the feminist sex discussion, who was there with some guy. It wasn’t as awkward as you might think though, and on the whole the discussion would have made for a better sex ed curriculum than most schools are currently teaching.

But what really changed our minds for tonight was the ability to jump right on 83 afterwards and get down to the Sidebar for Baltimore’s own Deep Sleep. Granted they would have been an even better fit on last night’s bill, but Deep Sleep is certainly good enough to stand alone.

Remember when we told you Tony Pence was great? Here's more proof.

Twin Killing. 2 new Deep Sleep records out soon! (Photo: ChestyXBond)

Hell, it being the Sidebar, we might even drink enough cheap beer to close our eyes and half-believe that it actually is Los Angeles in 1984.

Its pretty unusual for the Chop to make such frequent trips down there. Over the years we’ve grown accustomed to the Sidebar hosting a lot of bands we just weren’t that into like Thee Lexington Arrows. So with the Talking Head closing up shop, we’d really like to see Sidebar continue in this direction. Hell, Landspeedrecord! even played there again 2 Saturdays ago.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Books and Literature, shows

Shook Ones and Title Fight @ Sidebar Tonight

Don’t sleep on this. Don’t. Just don’t. We don’t care if you’re tired from work. We don’t care if you want to stay home and watch the Office on TV. Or Mad Men. Or whatever the hell people watch these days. We don’t even care if you’re out of clean underwear and your baby has swine flu and you have to miss your own birthday party. (And you know who you are, Birthday Girl.)

This is Shook Ones.

The Bellingham lads are, in the Chop’s humble opinion, basically the coolest band in America at this point. If you ask around, it won’t be long until you find some jaded old has-been scenester who will try to tell you:

Oh piss piss moan moan. They just sound like Lifetime. They’re not doing anything original.

The Chop has heard a lot of those so-called ‘original’ acts lately, and they all fall flat on their faces. You with your genre-defying, your high concepts, your time signatures and pedals and exotic drums. Fuck you. This band does what you don’t… it rocks.

Get Shook Tonight!

Shook Ones @ Sidebar tonight

We’re quite serious here. As much as we love the bands that we love, (and you need only page back through this week for examples) this is the one we’re really excited to see. This is the one that’s not at all a shadow of something else. No ex- this and former- that. This is a band that’s doing its best work right now!

When you pull up next to the Chop going up Calvert Street and say ‘Who’s that idiot and why is he bouncing around the car and screaming so much?’ Its us. And its because we’re listening to Shook Ones. Loud. By the time this band is finally done, they’re going to be more important than Lifetime. And Keep in mind, they’re from Washington State. Its gonna be a hot minute before they come back this way.

Let's get ready to rumble!

Kingston PA's Title Fight (Photo: Danielle Parsons)

Opening up is the still relatively new PA band Title Fight, whom the Chop had a chance to see live recently at the Celebrated Summer 3 year anniversary show in Towson with Pulling Teeth and Black SS. We don’t mind telling you we were very pleasantly surprised by Title Fight, who sounds way better than any band with such a dumb name has a right to. We were expecting a third rate Stout, but were stopped in our tracks by something that reminded us more of the short lived Baltimore band A Perfect Kiss. We freaking loved APK while they were around, and yeah, sometimes we do wish we could be 19 again and listen to Saves the Day and Jimmy Eat World all day. So what?

We even bought the Title Fight CD that night, and the sound takes us back 10 years in a wholly un-contrived and non-ironic way.

Stumbling on them was also a good reminder of how we used to find out about all the new bands we liked… by seeing them live.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, shows

End Of An Era (Which Actually Ended A Few Years Ago)

Sam Sessa over at Midnight Sun blog reported today that the end times have finally arrived for the Talking Head Club.

The Talking Head, which opened up in a dinky underutilized space on Cathedral Street in 2002, stayed there about the course of the summer before moving to the former Ottobar Space at 203 Davis Street Downtown, where the club really came into its own.

Original Site of the Talking Head

Original Site of the Talking Head (Photo:

In the following years, the Davis Street bar was an epicenter for the Baltimore underground, filling the niche for a true independent venue smaller than Fletcher’s or Ottobar, but larger than most of the DIY spaces in town. The Talking head will be long remembered for playing host to some of the Chop’s favorites like Braid and Q and not U, and for being the spawning ground of Baltimore’s own Oranges Band. Its also, of course, the place where Taxidermy Lodge blew the fuck up from a weeknight DJ to a full-on east coast Phenomenon.

203 Davis Street

203 Davis Street (

Much as we hate to say it though, the Chop is going to be happy to see the Head go away for good. Since moving into the backroom at Sonar, its been more or less on its last legs, and a distraction from what may come next.

This whole turn of events though is a perfect illustration of why the Baltimore music scene has always been among the best in the country. In Baltimore, we can accept when things are at an end, because we are absolutely certain that something better will take shape in its place. Just as there was no need to wail at the loss of the Marble Bar, The Rev, or Memory Lane, we can be sure that something will replace the Talking Head. And sooner rather than later.

The only question is, What form will it take?

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Filed under Chop Rants!

A Break in the Action.

There’s not a lot on the Chop’s social radar for tonight, which is probably just as well. After all, we’ve been busy as hell lately, and could use a break. Besides, what good is it to have bought a brand new house if you’re not going to stay home and enjoy it once a week?

So we’ve made plans to have the Fireman over for dinner. We’re pretty excited since the Fireman dropped off the face of the earth like 10 years ago, found some woman a very nice young lady to marry and knocked her up was recently blessed with his first child. And of course, became a fireman. So we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Roommate has also invited his brother, The Kid Who Shot His Eye Out.

I swear this really happened.

It happened at Christmas, too.

And let it not be said that the Chop doesn’t know how to entertain. For the Fireman, the Chop is going to be rolling out another pot of our increasingly delicious veggie chili, paired with caeser salads and a few bottles of Dogfish Head punkin ale. Throw on game six of the world series, and that’s an evening worth staying in for.

If you’re looking for something to get up to yourself, we suggest the Copyrights at the Sidebar. The Sidebar’s really been stepping up its game lately, as you’ll see the rest of this week.

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Filed under A Day in the Life of the Chop

Gentleman Jesse and His Men @ Celebrated Summer Records This Saturday

As of right now… this is the Baltimore Chop’s first ever world exclusive! since this news is so super-new, we’re pretty damn sure no one has blogged about it yet. (Of course, we make good use of the ‘schedule’ feature on WordPress. Do you really think we’re up and writing at 7 am? Hell no.)

But on to the news… This Saturday at 9 Celebrated Summer Records is going to be hosting a last-minute show featuring Atlanta ‘close-your-eyes-and move-your-feet-simultaneously’ rockers Gentleman Jesse and His Men. This band sounds like a cross squarely between Television and the Minutemen, and that alone should make you want to go.

(He really is better than you.)

Tony Pence inside CSR. (Photo: Joy Davis)

The Chop also wants to take this opportunity to throw out a wholehearted endorsement of Celebrated Summer Records, and its founder and proprietor, Tony Pence, who buys and sells very cool records at very fair prices. The store is named after a Husker Du song, and that alone should make you want to patronize it. And if it doesn’t then you should bear in mind that the Roommate was once upon a time the founder of the Tony Pence Admiration Society.

Bet you wish you had your own admiration society.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, shows

What Would Jesus Buy @ Windup Space Tonight


When the Chop started up earlier this week, we wanted to make a blog to tell you what we’re actually doing. We really are running wild in the streets now, and life moves faster than the speed of blog.

You won’t read any posts here about how the Chop sat on the couch all day and watched football and played with his cat and did the dishes. That’s not how we roll.

We’ve got the opposite problem, at least this week. We’re having a hard time picking events, and don’t know whether to drop them all on you in one post, or separate posts.

First things first though. And by first, we mean tonight.


What would Jesus buy? Sandals. Or a PS3.

Tonight the Chop will be showing up early to catch happy hour and secure a good seat at the Windup Space for a free screening of What Would Jesus Buy? , presented by the Action! Film Series.
The screening comes just in time for the kickoff of Christmas Shopping season too. With each passing year though, the Chop favors Christmas shopping less and less. The truth is that the Chop’s family members are all quite content, and at this point in life anything we could give or receive from close friends and family is little more than a token.

There’s also the fact that last year we celebrated Christmas in Freetown, Sierra Leone, drinking fifty cent beers, listening to steel drums at a street festival on a balmy night. Nothing like an African Xmas for a little perspective.

There’s also some business about a discussion afterward with representatives from local businesses, but we’re thinking we might just slide out early on that. After all, we’re taking the Part Time Professor as our date, and she’ll likely be impressed by the new furniture at the house, since she did sit on lawn chairs in the living room last time she was here.

I’m impressed by that furniture too. Its a wonder I even go out at all anymore… especially since I could stay at home and watch the whole movie for free online

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Film

More Monday Action.

The Chop would be remiss if we let the day go by without saying a word about Fight Amp, playing at Golden West tonight.

Fight Amp (Fight Amputation) has been on the Chop’s radar for several years now, going back to the time when they were playing in support of their splits with Gunna Vahm and erstwhile Baltimore band Exosus.

Fight Amp @ Talking Head. 2006

Fight Amputation at the old Talking head. 2006. (Photo: Scott Russell)

The Chop has seen a lot of live bands in our day, and most of them tend to blend together after a while. But in the way of high praise, we will say this; Fight Amp is a band that, once you’ve seen them, you will never forget that fact. They are one of those rare bands that exudes an ecstatic, infectious joy when they take the stage. They’re delighted to grind your face off, offering something to everyone in the audience, regardless of whether they prefer punk, metal, hardcore, grind or whatever.

If we’ve got any gas left in the tank tonight, we might just stop by.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, shows

Stoop Storytelling Tonight.

If you want to find the Chop on the town tonight, you might bump into us at Centerstage, where we’ll be checking in with the wildly successful Stoop Storytelling Series.

Stoop Storytelling

This installment of the Stoop features seven speakers holding forth on Kitchen Confidential: Stories about cooking, eating, and assorted food issues.

Given the glut of craptastic food porn that’s been clogging up our cable box these last several years, it’ll be nice to be reminded that there are more perspectives on food than Alton Brown and Anthony Bourdain, and personalities more genuine than the insipid Rachel Ray and more exciting than the vapid Giada De Laurentiis. And right here in Baltimore.

Plus, its a good excuse to drop into Iggie’s, whose pizza is fantastic, and who supports local non-profits.

Throw in drinks and a little live music, and you’ve got yourself a Monday evening.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Theater