Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sayonara, Dubin-san

Sigh. Today the Chop doffs our cap one last time to a Baltimorean we well admire; Brian Dubin. He’s off to Japan as of today. What’s he doing there? Who knows. We’ve been gone, you know, and each year that goes by we fall more and more into the trap of allowing internet interactions to substitute for actual interactions.

A Man of Impeccable Taste

Dubin himself has been prone to reclusion over the years, spending long periods in which his only signal to the outside world is posting links to rare Nirvana bootlegs to Facebook. When he does come out though, man, does he ever. Dubin has been a part of some of the most crucial Baltimore bands of the last decade, including the Charm City Suicides, the New Flesh, and Fascist Fascist. It’s little remembered that he was even the original drummer for Double Dagger. He’s also been a regular contributor to the Mobtown Shank, filling you in on music you might not have known about otherwise. So his body of work and influence in these parts won’t be soon forgotten.

We also plan to do a bit of finger wagging at his (surprise!) bon voyage party tonight though, since we are firmly on record as being very much opposed to anyone moving away from Charm City for any reason. But we do wish you all the luck and success Dubin, even if we hope secretly that you’ll decide to come back soon.

Whatever you want to do Baltimore, you can do it right here. Whatever you want to be, you can be right here.
And if everyone who ever dumped us like a fugly, snaggle-toothed hook-up had stayed, Baltimore would now be the Mecca you wish it was.

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I thought My Eyes They Would Be Dry…

But now I see and know what is going on tonight. We’re keeping it low-key and heading up to Atomic Books for a reading of one of our old favorites, Dance of Days by Mark Andersen and Mark Jenkins. The Chop can clearly remember when the first edition was published by Soft Skull Press back in 2001, and our first introduction to the book was Andersen reading from it and making a very touching, personal speech about what DC punk has meant to him, and what it can mean to all of us. The tone was even more bittersweet, coming as it did during the last show at the Wilson Center.

Mark Andersen and Sab Grey read at Atomic Books tonight, 7pm.

Since then, Andersen has become the DC scene’s pre-eminent self-appointed historian, continuing to document the scene’s happenings and researching and cataloging the ‘salad days’, continuing to update the book with a Whitman-esque passion, in addition to his work writing for the Washington Post and Time Out New York, among others. He’s also a founding organizer of Positive Force DC and is the director of the We Are Family Group, which does settlement work in DC. Our hat is certainly off to anyone who can keep himself that busy, and effect so much positive change in his own community.

The new third edition of Dance of Days includes a new introduction and a whole new chapter, as well as other updates on DC bands such as Crispus Attucks, Scene Creamers, and the permanent hiatus of Fugazi.

Andersen will be reading from the book and signing copies alongside Baltimore’s own Sab Grey, frontman of the seminal skinhead band Iron Cross, and author of two novels, including Hated and Proud, from which he’ll be reading tonight.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Books and Literature

Date Night

Wasting no time, the Chop picked up the phone and got himself a date for his first Friday night back in town. Maybe not what you’d call a hot date, but we’re keeping our mind well open, since the nature of our work precludes much interaction with the fairer sex while we’re abroad.

And while dating girls in college (no, not grad school, but actual college is one of those things that most men want to do as much as possible while they still can, we’ve found that it doesn’t usually work so well in real life. We fear we’re in for an evening of listening to inane pop-culture references, youthful know-it-all-ism, and statements like “I listen to anything that has a good beat…”

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of dateworthy events in town tonight. We’ll see where we end up.

CA residents' open house is tonight, 7pm.

It might be over to the Creative Alliance for their Residents’ Open House. See the opening, have some cocktails, and watch Celebration play an acoustic set for free. Hard to go wrong there.

Then again, if she doesn’t fancy herself highbrow, we might get up to the Metro Gallery for Humiliated III, cause hey… why not make a potentially awkward date even more awkward by listening to stories about other awkward dates. Very meta. It could go really well for us, or really badly. Probably no in-between.

Humiliated III @ Metro Gallery, 8pm.

Of course, if it does go well, the laughs don’t end as Bar Bacon hits the Golden West tonight at 11:00. We might suggest it as an afterthought, or might drop her off early and slide in there solo. Either way, its a good night.

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Filed under Art Openings, Baltimore Events, Comedy

Comics Without Filters @ Windup Space Tonight

So, we know we said we wanted to sit around, but we’re quickly remembering just how un-funny prime time television can be. Two and a Half Men? Gary Unmarried? The New Adventures of Old Christine? For fuck’s sake.

What is funny is tonight’s Comics Without Filters show at the Windup Space. Its a benefit for Doctors Without Borders too, because, you know, doctors don’t recommend filters.

The lineup features Jim Meyer, Justin Schlegel, Erin Jackson, Jason Weems, Erik Myers, and Doug Powell, which is quite a lot of talent for a mere $12 donation, and the show kicks off at 8:30.

Of course, if you’d rather stay home and piss and moan about snow some more, you can always catch Meyer’s Bar Bacon at the Golden West this Friday.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Comedy

Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Doo Doo Brown Edition

We haven’t had a chance to mention it yet, but the Chop is an enthusiastic member of the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like: upwardly mobile bleeding-heart urban quasi-intellectuals (along with a few bona-fide academics) get together every second and fourth Wednesday of the month to prognosticate and practice parlor punditry while solving polemical problems over pitchers of pilsner. You might say its the Chop’s own version of the Algonquin Round Table. At the very least, it combines two of our favorite pastimes and gives us something to look forward to on a Wednesday.

Formed almost 3 years ago, the Baltimore chapter has transformed in that time from a small core of relative strangers with common interests falling under the same umbrella to a group of quality friends the like of which its hard to make after one leaves college life behind.

Meetings are always informal and open to all comers of any left-of-center political persuasion. Discussion topics range from the personal and small talk to local and state issues, national politics, international crises and back again as more and more pitchers are served. And of course, a special effort is made to welcome and encourage first time visitors.

In the Future, we plan to use this space to blog about national politics bi-weekly in advance of each meeting, although this week we’ve just returned from abroad, where our access to media of any sort was severely limited. We definitely didn’t get our daily Wonkette fix, so we’re certainly looking forward to getting the dirt.

All we know today can be summed up in bullet point fashion:

> Dick Cheney is in the hospital. We hope he’s in a lot of pain. In fact, we hope its like torture.

>James O’Keefe III is in jail. Fuck that guy. we hope he stays there a really long time. And since its Louisiana, we like to picture him getting a daily butt-raping by that big black dude from The Green Mile. We’ll raise a pint to that.

>Scott “Doo Doo” Brown is public enemy number one of the wingnuts. The Chop loves a little political theater, farcical and absurd though it may be. Phony outrage is always more entertaining than genuine resentment, so if we’ve got to watch the teabaggers rant and rave, better they do it at him than at Uncle Ted. Besides, Brown’s daughter is single and he doesn’t mind pimping her out.

> And speaking of U.S. Senators with overexposed daughters, John McCain is almost out of a job. Awesome.

> Of course… everyone else is almost out of a job too.

We’ll be talking about all this and more at tonight’s meeting, which is 7 pm at Joe Squared. Just look for the table with the red, white, and blue bottle on it.

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The Lush Goes To Southampton

The Chop is taking the day off today. The post below comes from the March Issue of British FHM. Although the Chop didn’t write this one, we feel like we could have, because after spending a good part of our trip in Southampton, it mirrors some of our experiences quite closely. If you’re after going for a night on the town, this is pretty much what you can expect.

1. Joe Daflo’s, 5.55 pm

It seems the closer you get to the Continent, the closer you get to continental drinking hours. Its just shy of six and, after a journey involving a lost child, an angry naval officer, and a replacement bus, The Lush scuttles out of Central Station and into Joe Daflo’s. An establishment which sounds like a provincial fancy dress store, but is actually a church-turned-pub, albeit one without any alcohol worshipers. In fact, staff outnumber punters, and the only other imbibers have children. Children! A quick San Miguel and its off to check into the hotel.

2. Soul Cellar, 8pm

“You should be in prison, you filthy child molestor!” The Lush turns to mutter something about it being tough to tell girls’ ages nowadays, only to find the old woman’s vitriol is aimed at her husband- a man who is no longer welcome in her Honda and will now be walking home. Show over, we duck into Soul Cellar- a homely bar with a middle aged drunk spilling Guinness in the doorway, BB King on the stereo, a selection of 28 beers (including Duvel And Sam Adams) and oh, Jesus, legs. Nice Legs. In a short skirt and connected to a streamlined torso and pretty face that are celebrating their 21st birthday-and far more interested in screaming and drinking through a straw than conversing with the Lush. We drink up and head for the town’s binge drinking mecca, Bedford Place.

3. 90 Degrees, 9.20 pm

This should read 180 Degrees. It’s what anyone in their right mind will do.

4. The Cricketers, 9.30 pm

But What’s this? Just 100 yards away is a pub. A real pub, with a wooden bar and low roof, that serves real ale, but refuses to serve seventeen-year-olds. Great. Well, not for Lolita freezing her non-existent buttocks off in the strappy top and hot pants, admittedly, but great for the Lush.

5. Vodka Revolution 10.50 pm

Three pints later we take a stroll to what was once the Lizard Lounge, but its now a Vodka Revolution. Which must be a bad thing, right? yes, in every other town across the country. Here, no. Here, aside from the name, the only visible changes are the menu (it now sells pizzas) and the staff’s uniform (they now wear Inter Milan strips.) Is this supposed to be an Italian? Do Italians like Vodka? We’re discussing this with a chesty fox with one of those tattoos just above and below her jeans line when our afternoon McDonalds comes back to haunt us via a gut-dropper of table-clearing proportions. Time to run.

6. Orange Rooms 11.30 pm

Unfortunately however, we can’t hide, since the Orange Rooms is populated by the leggy 21-year-old, the chesty foxs, the hen do dressed as ladybirds, and the JLS wannabes- in other words, exactly the same people we’ve seen all night. It’s a perrenial deja vu that’s both the rough and the smooth of the small city. (sound familiar, Baltimore?) Well, this and theft. The Lush’s companionshang their coats on a hook for five minutes and POOF, they’re gone. Cue a military style retrieval operation featuring CCTV, sartorial descriptions, and concerned bouncers. Hardly. We’re served a double indifference with a splash of we’re-the-best-bar-in-Southampton-we-can-treat-punters-however-we-want. Disappointing. On the plus side, two girls were snogging at the bar.

The Rhino Club 1.05 am

A 17 second sprint down an ice-covered road is the Rhino. A club without a queue-Worrying, given its 1 am- or any decent whisky, but with bass so deep your body shakes and revelers who are either drunk and jumping or look like they’ve been puked up by a rap video. We leave before punches are thrown.

8. For Your Eyes Only, 1.45 am

Junk should be the next option. Its the club you go to if you’ve not pulled in Orange Rooms, but its got a queue and the Lush’s coatless colleagues are shivering, so we head to the town’s premier strip club. Bad move. We arrive too early, and are met by a room that’s empty, bar a gaggle of yawning strippers populating the right corner. they pretend to be perked up by our presence and approach one-by-one. Some are hot. some are not. Most have fake boobs. One has good banter. one has halitosis. We shell out 22 pounds for a half dozen Corona, have a couple of dances, then bid farewell to a mixed evening.

SCORES: (out of 10)

Quality of Hostelries: 7
Quality of Women: 8
Chance of a Beating: 1
Coat theft likelihood: 10

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Return of the Chop!

If you happened yesterday to notice the sun shining brightly and the birds chirping merrily, you were not mistaken. It was none other than nature heralding the Chop’s triumphant return to Baltimore Town.

And its lucky we got back when we did! For shame, Baltimore. Shame on you. Just because we’ve been away doesn’t mean we don’t know what you’ve been up to. We know you’ve been laid up on the couch in your snuggie, eating cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, drinking Cutty Sark, Sailor Jerry Rum, and whatever other gross booze is leftover from Xmas when you tried to foist it off on your kith and kin, all while waiting for your netflix to show and pretending to give a shit about the Olympics and Haiti.

So get your sad, sorry sack of a self up and into the shower. Wash off the cheeto-dust. scrub away the couch lint and cat hair, and for Christ’s sake brush your wine-teeth. Put on a sexy, seasonally inappropriate dress and stick a credit card into your bra, because the Chop is home and We’re Going Out!

But take your time about it. Because, after all, our little European jaunt wasn’t all pleasure. It was, technically, a business trip. The Chop works hard (sometimes) if you can believe it. Hell, for the last four months, we’ve actually had to wake up at 8am every morning. Do you know how terrible that is Baltimore? (Of course you do. You work for a living, I’m sure.) But it simply doesn’t agree with the Chop’s delicate patrician constitution. And if you think a couple feet of snow is bad, well, it snows in Europe too. It just doesn’t pile up because of the horrendous 50 kt winds off the North Sea.

The Chop has certainly earned the right to laze about on the couch for a bit and enjoy a few cocktails on our new furniture while we use the big screen to catch up on Always Sunny and The Sarah Silverman Program. We will, however, resume our normal carousing and bon-vivanterie later this week.

And lazing about is exactly what we plan to do tonight, after we return from a trek to the far suburbs to visit Mama Chop and Papa Chop, and reclaim the Chopmobile from its storage place, far away from the snowplows and the mayor’s DPW goon squad.

Tomorrow, you’ll be glad to know, we begin the groundwork of the Big Idea, which is totally happening, and will lead to even more nights inside the confines of our Stately North Baltimore Pleasure Dome.

In other news, we will post a little more about the trip this week, but not to bore you to death, since this is not a travel blog. We’ve also had some ideas to make this blog better. Some of which you might notice in the near future, some of which you probably won’t, but will improve the content nonetheless.

See you soon.

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