Monthly Archives: April 2010

Double Dagger, Future Islands @ Floristree Tonight

We were actually pretty happy when Secret Mountains won last week’s poll. They’re the real deal live, and quickly becoming one of our favorite Baltimore Bands. We sure hated to miss Double Dagger and Future Islands though, and it’s been a long week we’ve been waiting for tonight’s show.

We shouldn’t have to tell you how awesome Double Dagger is, since we’ve been doing just that from day one. We will remind you though that this is your last chance to see them before they set off to tour Europe and the UK.

Double Dagger and Future Islands play Floristree tonight. 8 pm doors.

We also shouldn’t have to tell you how awesome Future Islands is, since that’s all anyone seems to tell us. We will reiterate our prediction that they make it all the way to Saturday Night Live though. When the new record comes out May 4, they’re going to become a household name.

We’re just trying to figure out how to help them along to the SNL stage. Write a letter to Thrill Jockey? A Twitter hashtag? #FIonSNL Maybe? A Facebook page perhaps? A deal with the Devil? We’ll do whatever it takes.

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Floristree is located in the H & H Building. 405 W. Franklin St. 6th floor. Doors are at 8 pm. It’s like, a private residence, man. And should be treated accordingly.

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Chop Style: Rick Dempsey is the Worst-Dressed Man in Baltimore

Let’s get one thing straight… the Chop loves Rick Dempsey. Not like we love our Dad or Roommate, but more like we love our favorite uncle. You know that favorite uncle… he’s quick with a joke, kind as a saint, a little self-effacing, never wears out his welcome, and has some great stories to tell. These are the reasons we love the Dipper, but much like that favorite uncle, Uncle Rick has no fashion sense whatsoever.

It’s been a long standing ‘elephant in the room’ in this town that Rick Dempsey is one of the worst dressed men in Baltimore. Okay, maybe not the worst in the entire city but certainly the worst dressed on television. We watch a lot of O’s games here in our Stately North Baltimore Pleasure Dome, and we can hardly stand the post-game shows anymore… not because of the O’s horrendous record, but because Uncle Rick’s suits are a terrible eyesore.

When we call out the Dipper, we do it from a place of love. We sincerely hope he’ll take himself down to one of those awesome Jos. A Bank sales that seem to happen every other week and get himself outfitted properly.

Let’s start with the basics. This is a very serviceable suit, but it’s ruined by a tie that even George Bush wouldn’t wear, and a haircut that isn’t a haircut at all. It’s a piss-poor dye job that went to the dogs and a brushy mustache that’s downright unkempt. Hey Dipper, check out the Chop Shop or QG. They’ll do you right.

A three button thick-pinstripe suit with a broadstripe tie and matching silk pocket square??? You’re either a 1980’s investment banker or Biggie Smalls. Someone should tell uncle Rick that pinstripes are for Yankees.

We see that Ollie’s Bargain Outlet sign behind your right ear, and we know they sponsor bargain night, which we love, but you shouldn’t buy your shirt-tie-and pocket square sets there for $12.99. In fact, you shouldn’t buy those in sets at all. We wouldn’t bury a pauper in one of those. That earpiece-microphone isn’t helping matters either. Clip it to your tie for Christ’s sake!

Here’s the same pinstripe suit with an equally ugly tie. Notice the way the pinstripes run in three different directions- a hallmark of sweatshop tailoring. Dempsey and Jim Hunter both dress like a couple of guys who saved up a week’s pay and found the nearest salesman and said ‘Dress me up fancy schmancy!’ It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the suit is also two sizes too large and the sleeves are two inches too long.

Unfortunately, the Dipper’s not much better off the clock. Here he looks like a professional stamp collector and quasi-pervert. Much as we honor the 1983 World Series Ring, you don’t need to wear it every day of your life every place you go with every outfit you own.

How do you make yourself look good? Stand next to some shart with a worse haircut, a goofier mustache, and an equally bad wardrobe. Still and all, is that Tommy Bahama? For shame, Uncle Rick… For shame. Leave that in the closet until Buffett plays Pier 6.

Here’s a rare instance of the Dipper looking good. The ‘stache is trimmed down cleaner than usual and the hair is growing grey gracefully while being artfully disheveled. the coat is quality cut and well worn.

Unfortunately, he manages to blow it by letting his shirt collar sit on top of his coat collar. Saturday Night Fever much?

An Orange Turtleneck? And we caught you wearing a black turtleneck on Coffee With recently. A black turtleneck at 7 am in Spring??? Who the hell does that?!?! Maybe turtlenecks will be back in style the next time the O’s win a pennant, but they’re pretty ugly in this decade.

And this?!?! What the fuck is this?! Uncle Rick sings showtunes in the inner harbor amphitheater before a night out at the Baltimore Eagle and the Hippo? I guess if we’ve all got a favorite uncle, and we’ve all got a gay uncle, there’s bound to be some overlap.

Seriously though. It’s all in good fun. We’re going out to the game tonight, and when we head out to the bullpen area to nod to Uncle Rick, we hope against hope he’ll have caught on to Tom Ford, and finally be able to out-dress the rest of the broadcasting staff.

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The O’s play the Yankees at home tonight on MASN. The Chop will be sneaking into section 8, drinking heavily, and yelling “Go back to Jersey, Hon!” every chance we get.

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Boycott Arizona Edition

Once again we’ve made it to the fourth Wednesday of the month, and that means it’s once again time for the twice monthly meeting of the Baltimore chapter of Drinking Liberally at Joe Squared. We had a handful of new faces for tax day, which made for great discussion. If you haven’t made it out yet, come share a pitcher of Dogfish tonight at 7:00.

Baltimore Drinking Liberally meets tonight at Joe Squared. 7 pm.

There’s bound to be much talk tonight about Arizona’s new immigration law. For our part, the Chop thinks Arizona lawmakers are fucking racists and we’re outraged at what amounts to a system of apartheid in Arizona. We don’t say that lightly either. We do believe the law to be unconstitutional as well as morally reprehensible, and we’re all for boycotting the state of Arizona, including moving the 2011 MLB All-Star game out of the state. If baseball is serious about the tolerance and diversity they so celebrated on Jackie Robinson day, they have no choice. If the commissioner fails to act, we hope that Latino and Hispanic players throughout pro-ball at all levels will take it upon themselves to not play in Arizona. This law is worse than homophobic and anti-gay laws in California and elsewhere, because it represents not only a lack of progress, but actual regression.

There may also be some talk of the Goldman Sachs hearings. You’d think that when they have to bleep the news in congress it would be more interesting, but it’s pretty dull. The Masters of the Universe stole as much as they could as fast as they could. What else is new? We will say that we can’t fucking stand listening to Dylan Ratigan anymore. It’s got to the point where we turn off the TV as soon as he appears. He should can his manufactured outrage and take a cue from John Stewart, whose “These Fucking Guys” segments about Goldman are brilliant.

Of course, there’s no shortage of local interest with state campaigns kicking off left and right. Maryland politics are about to get a whole lot more absurd with the return of Bob Ehrlich. The Chop met Bobby Smooth once before he was governor, and when we questioned him on his congressional record in public he literally ran out the door without his change. Fucker. The Chop hereby openly challenges Bob Ehrlich to a bareknuckle boxing match inside the monkey house at the Baltimore zoo. Two men enter, one man leaves. We think we can take the fucker too. Won’t make a monkey out of us.

Seriously though, you should check out this excellent article about MD Republicans on our new favorite website (as of yesterday) Splicetoday.com. It makes the point that we’ve been trying to scream from the rooftops ever since our first 9th grade civics class…

“And more to the point, government is not designed to make a profit, as is business, but is intended to provide goods and services in return for the tax dollars it receives. Ideally, government should be a zero sum enterprise.”

Amen brother. We couldn’t have said it better. It’s time people quit pretending the sky is falling over red ink. It’s time we recognize GOP deficits dwarf Democratic deficits (which are usually of the inherited variety) and that federal tax cuts mean your dumb tea swilling ass pays less taxes now.

Which is what those assholes claim to want, right?

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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price Screening @ 2640 Tonight

There are scores of reasons to boycott Wal-Mart. Listing them all here would be very near impossible. But if you care at all for human rights, make no mistake, Wal-Mart treats it’s employees like slaves; Literally locking them in the store overnight, collecting on ‘dead peasant’ insurance policies, forcing employees onto medicaid, and union busting.

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price will be shown in a free screening at 2640 tonight. 7 pm.

That’s not what we need in Remington, and tonight the good people at Bmore Local are pleased to present a free screening of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price at 2640 Space. if you missed the coming out party at City Hall last week, this is another great chance to connect with your neighbors in person and unite to shape the growth of our city in a sensible, positive way.

Come out and say hello, see the film and sign up for the mailing list. Of course, whether you can make it tonight or not you can still join over 500 people on Facebook who make up the Bmore Local group there.

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2640 is located at 2640 Saint Paul Street in Charles Village.

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House Rules: How to Make a Polite Introduction

It’s Monday Baltimore. It’s a new week, and the perfect time to introduce the first in an occasional series of posts called House Rules. House Rules will focus primarily on Barroom etiquette. The art and science of buying rounds, what to drink and how to tip, rules for last call, how to choose the proper bar for the right occasion… all will be covered. Over time the House Rules category will become a comprehensive guide and one-stop resource for proper behavior in the modern bar and nightlife scene.

A visual approximation of the Chop's weekend.

Rule #1: Introductions

It constantly amazes us how many people we know in Baltimore that we don’t actually know. It’s a shameful testament to the poor social graces of the Chop’s friends, who have failed to introduce us. It’s shocking when we come across someone on Facebook who shares more than 20 Friends whom we’ve never actually met socially.

The point was driven home at a show recently when a friend failed to introduce us to a friend of theirs. It really stuck in the Chop’s mind, because we had encountered the same non-acquaintance at the same bar a month prior, where she was chatting with Roommate, who also failed to make the introduction. We bumped into her a third time this weekend, this time with no common friends present. It would have been nice to be able to say hello and chat for a bit.

Now, the Chop is no wallflower, and isn’t afraid to introduce himself to anyone on principle, although in practice this can be very socially awkward, as a self-introduction will never go as smoothly as a proper social introduction.

An introduction must be made. It sounds simple, but the first and most important step in making an introduction is that you actually have to do it. This is a case where doing it wrong is far preferable to not doing it at all. Don’t ever assume that two people you know know each other also. If you’re unsure, there’s no shame in simply saying “Do you two know each other?” In any case, if you’re in a bar and someone you know joins your circle or takes the next stool, an introduction is required.

Respect is due. Social Primer gives the guidelines for who should take precedence in an introduction. A lot of the old rules don’t fully apply to Baltimore nightlife, but it is a good idea to present men to women. All things being equal, the Chop says give deference to the friend you’ve known longest, or to whom you’re closest.

Say who’s who. In any case, you should say the full names of all the people you’re introducing. It’s also good form to state your relationship to each party or how you know one another. For instance: “Brian Matusz, this is my cousin from Colorado Garrett Atkins. [then to Atkins] I met Brian at the University of San Diego.” or something similar to that.

Note what’s common. It’s always good form to let your friends know if they have anything in common, aside from knowing you. In our example above, you might say something like “Garrett has just been signed from the Rockies, and Brian was actually born in Grand Junction.” This will go a long way toward helping two strangers feel much more familiar with one another.

State the facts. It will be polite to note something current and significant about each person. If you’re introducing a guitarist in a local band to someone who regularly does volunteer work for a non-profit, you should say so. If you’re introducing someone who engages in no particular notable activity, it is also acceptable to address a hobby or interest they might have. This is to encourage conversation between your friends.“Garrett can play first or third base and Brian likes dinosaurs and gummy bears.”

It’s pleasure, not business. While there are exceptions, it is traditionally impolite to mention someone’s job during a social introduction. Not everyone particularly likes their job. Some people can even be downright ashamed of what they do for a living. Still others have good jobs they may enjoy, but which are conversational dead ends. No one wants to discuss desks and cubicles and memoranda while they’re out at night. A fairly large income gap between your friends might also be a factor. Personally, the Chop has a very interesting job which we like and usually don’t mind discussing, but it’s uncommon enough that it provokes the same set of questions often, and answering them can become tiresome quickly.

Keep the conversation going. If you’re in the middle of a conversation you mean to finish when one of your friends approaches, You should pause to make a quick introduction and then resume the conversation, now including the person who just approached. If we were talking with Brian Matusz about who in Baltimore serves the best hamburgers when cousin Garrett stepped up to the bar, we might say to Atkins “I was just telling Brian about the burgers at Alonso’s. Have you had a chance to try Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill yet?” Which will go a long way toward making a new arrival feel welcomed and valued.

And really, isn’t feeling welcome and valued the goal with all social interactions?

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Baltimore Chop Site Notes for 4/26/10

Hi Choppers!

Just a few quick notes:

A lot cooler than setting an iPhone reminder.

We finally figured out how to add a share button to the bottom of posts. Clicking it will take you to addtoany.com where you can share on social media sites with one click.

Speaking of social media, the Chop is on Facebook now. Please to add, Choppers. Please to add. If you’re looking at this in a reader, you can click through and find a link in the sidebar. Also, if you’re looking at this in a reader and saw half the old posts pop up labeled “changed” sorry about that.

In addition, you can follow us on Twitter where we tweet about booze and bands and baseball. You can also subscribe by email now in the sidebar, if you’re so inclined.

Finally, can anyone out there get the Chop juiced in at Blogtimore, Hon? We’ve submitted our feed several times, and sent a couple emails, but its looking like the digital equivalent of an answering machine in a closet in the Cayman Islands. If anyone can help get the Chop on Blogtimore, please send us an email. If you haven’t checked out blogtimore for yourself, do. It’s pretty cool.

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A Modest Proposal: Old Bands Go Gentle Into That Good Night

The Business is coming to Baltimore tonight. We should be excited about that. We should be dusting off our Doc Martens and brushing up on the finer points of football hooliganism. We should realize how lucky we are to get a chance to see one of the greatest hardcore/punk bands of all time, and within walking distance of our house.

But we’re not. Instead we’re sitting on the couch saying ‘meh’ and ‘feh’ and other made up words that denote a general sense of apathy.

See, we’ve already been to three shows in the last three days and we just don’t have it in us anymore to feign excitement over something that was thrilling in 1979 and has been watering itself down ever since. We’re a grown-up punk. Grown up punks are supposed to slow down a little. You can’t claim you’re street punk when you have a mortgage.

Most old bands are the worse for wear.

We suppose no one told this to the Business. We suspect they know it anyway though. A recent publicity photo on their myspace page doesn’t hide the wrinkles very well, and shows them to be a bunch of guys who have more in common with today’s baby boomer parents than their ‘Suburban Rebel’ kids. While you’re there you can check out the new single, which is banal, amateurish, and frankly beneath the dignity of a band as great as the Business was.

We can’t fault them entirely. British punks and skins in the 70’s and 80’s never claimed to be brilliant musicians. They never had designs on getting real jobs or having a life after punk either. We suspect that the Business and countless other bands like them (not just punk bands either) continue to recycle themselves and play the same old chords because it’s all they know how to do in the world. They were the voice of their generation, but unfortunately their generation’s time has passed.

We propose, here now and for the record that any band should be a band for twelve years only. No more. You get 2 years to practice, play local clubs, and get your first record out. After that you get 10 years to go as far as you can and create as much good music as possible. At that point the music gods should yank your band license. You break up, and forget about any reunion tour nonsense. You’re free to form a new band, of course, or go solo; but leave the past in the past.

One example of someone doing it right is Baltimore’s own Ryan Shelkett. He’s managed to remain relevant and interesting by allowing room for musical growth and experimentation. If he were still running out the same old songs from the Blank/ Dead Red Sea days no one would listen, great songs though they were.

Ian MacKaye has come pretty far from his original sound without losing any love from anyone. Even though it’s been damn near 30 years since Minor Threat played live, their songs are as beloved as they ever were. And while Fugazi was maybe the one band that could have carried on gracefully indefinitely, had they not stopped, the Evens likely never would have happened.

John Reis is another great model for change. As popular as Rocket From the Crypt was, for our money Hot Snakes was Reis’ best work, and we’d rather see the Night Marchers live than a Rocket reunion any day.

So we’re not going to the Ottobar tonight. Instead we’re going to do some work around the house. Watch the Orioles blow another one, and have a quiet dinner at home. And we’ll probably be listening to Suicide Invoice at some point too.

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