Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go @ Creative Alliance Tonight

What’s going on tonight Baltimore? Are any of the bands we like playing? No? Anyone opening a gallery maybe? No? Is there some sort of charitable benefit or political cause in which we can involve ourselves? No? Nothing coming to mind? Guess we’ll just have to go down to the Creative Alliance and see more beautiful women shake and strut and tell bawdy jokes. It’s a hard life sometimes.

Dangerous Curves turns your knuckles white at the Creative Alliance tonight. 8 pm.

The Dangerous Curves Ahead Tour is, as far as we know, the first of its kind with five of New York’s biggest burlesque names sharing the stage with local acts in over 20 cities from coast to coast (saving the best for last, of course). They’re hosted here in Charm City by our own Trixie Little and Monkey who are worth the $12 admission all on their own.

The Chop had a great time the last time we went to see burlesque, and judging by the sparse crowd in attendance due to the holiday weekend, we’re guessing you missed it, so we recommend getting down to the east side tonight. The Patterson may not be Alice Dean’s, but it’ll do!

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Creative Alliance at The Patterson is at 3134 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown. 410-276-1651 $12, $10 for members. 8 pm.

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Throwdown Viewing Party, Live Music @ Mum’s Tonight

If you’ve been following this blog with any sort of regularity, you might already know that we’re definitely not a foodie, but you definitely know that the last thing we’ll recommend doing is watching primetime TV.  In a bizarre twist of fate tonight, that’s exactly what we’re recommending  in one of the most random events we can remember happening… ever. Tonight is the night that the Food Network is set to air the Dangerously Delicious episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

The show will premiere at 9 pm, and Baltimore will be celebrating with a viewing party at South Baltimore’s own Mum’s. Yep. Mum’s. This is going to be sublime in so many ways.

If you know Mum’s at all, you know it’s not the kind of place that lacrosse players, condo-board types and tourists just stumble into on a whim. The show will not be competing with the World Cup or the NBA Finals for screen space. Nope, this is going to be a dedicated crowd, and they’re all going to be giving their full attention to booing, hissing and cursing Bobby Flay. And why not? It seems to us that there could be no more stark contrast in the culinary world than Flay and Rodney Henry. One is one of Baltimore’s prominent small businessmen who literally invented what he’s made from nothing. The passion and dedication that Henry has poured into his shop comes through in each bite, and he certainly deserves every bit of success he’s found. He can also rock a hat better than just about anyone in Baltimore. The other is a grating prettyboy with a rich-kid attitude who revels in his own celebrity and is the antithesis of everything Baltimore is about.

The Chop loves us some quiche, and broccoli mushroom cheddar quiche alll-most made our list of the top five late-night drunkfoods. We’re hoping the that the Dangerously Delicious crew will bring along a few varieties to go with Mum’s cheap drinks.

One thing we know the Pie Man will bring along is his guitar. In addition to the throwdown, tonight is one of the more unconventional bills you’ll find in the Baltimore music scene. We haven’t actually seen Rodney Henry play since his days in the Glenmont Popes, and the last time we saw the Popes was right around the same time we got a driver’s license. So yeah, it’s been a while.

He’s also got H.R.’s Human Rights Band to agree to play. They don’t make too many appearances, so the chance to check them out at Mum’s is worth noting. There’s been a lot of talk on Baltimore streets about H.R. since that citypaper article came out a couple years ago. The Chop has heard plenty of gossip and rumors that we will not repeat here. We’re going to go see the man for ourselves.

The bill is going to be rounded out by the duo of Lazlo Lee and Heidi Lynn and Baltimore’s Link Wray influenced garage-a-billy Young Jaguars.

Come on Baltimore. It’s time to put your fork where your mouth is.

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Mum’s is at 1132 S. Hanover St. in Federal Hill. Doors at 8. Throwdown airs at 9, and will be re-run at midnight if you’re watching at home.

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Chop Style: How to Shop at Target

You can ask any woman and they’ll all tell you the same thing… you can find some really great stuff at Target.

It’s no accident either. Whereas their main competitor Wal-Mart seems to purposefully sell the most generic, basic and bland sorts of items across the board and across the country, Target’s designer fashion program is consistently on-trend, versatile, and affordable, and is not only key to their business model, but to their success as well.

Whether it’s through partnerships with big name designers like Jean Paul Gaultier or Alexander McQueen, nationwide agreements with labels like Mossimo and Converse, or just hiring talented, sensible designers into their house label, design sensibility and reasonable prices make Target almost impossible to ignore.

It's hard to go wrong in a pair of Levi's.

Unfortunately, as with some other stores, women seem to have it much better than men in the aisles of Target. The Men’s section in every Target we’ve ever seen has been underwhelming, to say the least. Not only is it relegated to a small corner of the store, but it often looks more like it’s full of overgrown boys’ clothes than anything an actual man would wear. Still though, if you choose carefully it is possible to come away from Target with a few great pieces of clothing without spending much money at all.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you are in fact a man, and not an overgrown boy. This alone will rule out entire swaths of the men’s section very quickly. Once you get past the many racks of giant hibiscus printed board shorts, cargo shorts, and crummy graphic tees you’re on the right track.

While you’re at it, you can also skip right over any and all dress shirts, slacks, jackets, suits, shirts or anything that one might wear to an office. This is not where Target excels, and you’d do much better to pick these up elsewhere. Despite the partnership with Converse, the men’s shoe section can’t hold a candle to an actual shoe store. Once you’ve gotten past all this, you’re left with what is generally regarded as weekend wear.

Great for outdoor parties because it attracts women... and barbecue sauce.

As with any large chain, Target selection is dictated by volume. The good news is that everything is seasonally appropriate. You won’t find yourself buried in cable-knit sweaters in July or perusing shorts in December. The bad news is that sizing is at it’s most basic and is very limited. Most menswear in Target stores is labeled S,M,L, or maybe XL. Jeans run from about 30″-40″. If you’re accustomed to ‘big and tall’ shopping, you can likely stay out of Target entirely.

For the rest of us, it is crucial to keep in mind a rule you would follow at all times: Don’t outfit yourself entirely from any one store. We put that in bold italics because it’s important. It doesn’t matter whether that store is Target, Banana Republic, or Brooks Brothers. Buying too many clothes from one source shows through on the street, and it never looks quite right.

100% cotton and flat fronts. What more do you want?

What you’re looking for at Target is typically solid basics like a pair of Levi’s or Wranglers (mind the Brett Favre dad-jeans though, there are plenty of those around), some flat-front chinos or a casual button up or polo. It can also be an outstanding source for certain accessories, most especially socks, belts, boxers and hats.

The hat selection is much better than you’d expect, but keep in mind that it’s very easy to look like a total shart in a hat. Don’t even try it if you’re under 30, and eschew any shred of irony.

Several types of polos, all under $15.

By the same turn, it’s also a terrible place to shop for accessories. Sunglasses, wristwatches, and anything else that’s not socks, belts or boxers can be pretty tacky and is usually of very poor quality.

Our ultimate advice? Don’t go to Target for clothes. But if you happen to be in there for a new TV or a set of dishes or a small appliance, be sure to at least glance at the clothes. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Note: because of technical issues with Target’s website, these photos are of similar products. They’re of about the same quality and fairly well representative of Target’s offerings. Sorry about that.

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Event Promoters Litter Baltimore Streets… Literally

Oh Monday. It’s been a long and busy weekend in Baltimore. Everyone’s tired. Most people are sunburned. Some of us are still hungover. With everything that’s gone on over the last 60 hours or so since everyone quit the workweek, it makes sense that no one feels like doing anything and there’s fuck all going on. We don’t feel like doing anything either, so we’re giving today’s post over to a public service announcement.

This is a very poor promotional strategy.

We’ve been noticing a trend of late that promoters for various parties/events or establishments have been leaving postcards scattered along the sidewalks in certain areas with high pedestrian traffic. These brightly colored and gaudy pieces of litter are like a trail of paper breadcrumbs, illustrating exactly the path on which some lazy flier-man walked. ‘Here’s where he crossed Calvert. Here’s Where he went down Baltimore Street. Here’s where he ran out of fliers and called it a day.’ To the area promoters who are guilty of this we say:

KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF!

It’s bad enough that we have to deal with an endless barrage of sub shop menus, fliers under windshield wipers and a new copy of that Sun Plus piece of crap every other day. Sidewalks strewn with several hundred promo cards for some strip club or the latest ‘grown and sexy’ party are absolutely the last thing this city needs.

If the city council is still looking for new ways to gin up revenue through taxes, fees and fines, we’d like to make a humble suggestion…

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Defiance, Ohio and Ryan Harvey @ Charm City Art Space Today

There’s an interesting contrast before us today. We can go up to the second day of Honfest, which is (ahem) a a community celebration of homespun charm, independent creativity, and the blissfully absurd or something like that. We can celebrate those things while we drink a cool Heineken and check out some dad rock on the Bacardi stage, all courtesy of a great friend of Wal-Mart.

We could do that. It’s a nice thing and people like it. It would be a pleasant afternoon. For us though, we like our independents a little more independent, our our homespinning a little more homespun, our absurdity a little more absurd and our politics a lot further to the left.

Defiance, Ohio and Ryan Harvey play CCAS today. 2 pm.

That’s why we’re heading down to the Charm City Art Space today for a good old fashioned punk rock Sunday matinee show. This one’s definitely worth rolling out of bed at the crack of noon for, as we haven’t had a chance to see Defiance, Ohio live yet. How do you describe them to the unfamiliar? It’s not quite adequate to say they’re “folk punk,” although they’re certainly one of the mainstays of that sound and have influenced countless “folkers” since their inception in 2002. But maybe the next-easiest way to describe them is to say they’re kind of like Against Me!, except that they’re not a bunch of trite posers.

But don’t take our word for it. Whether or not you show up to see them today, the band would be more than happy to give you all of their songs for free on their website. How’s that for power to the people, Hon?

Playing in support today is local Riot-Folker Ryan Harvey, who’s been playing punk influenced folk music in Baltimore’s church basements, VFW’s and punx picnics since about forever. Not really forever, but since he was knee-high to a Crasshole anyway. He’s all growed up now, and still doing what he does best. Come set a spell and listen, Hon.

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Charm City Art Space is at 1731 Maryland Ave. in Station North. 2 pm Show, all ages.

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Polar Bear Club, Lemuria +3 More @ Ottobar Tonight

What’s important to you Baltimore? Is watching the World Cup really very important? Is it of grave urgency that you wear funny wigs and feather boas and drink in the street this weekend? How about stealing back the foursquare mayorship of some bar? Is that crucial?

Tonight something actually important is happening at the Ottobar.

Understand, it’s not like Haiti Earthquake important or Oil Spill important… but to us it’s important all the same. Just like we said that the Easter Sunday record release show was a milestone in Baltimore music, so is tonight’s show. This is what makes 2010 a celebrated summer. (haw haw haw!)

Aside from the completely and totally sick bill that’s been assembled tonight, this show marks the Occasion of Mike Riley’s wedding to Julie Benoit. If you like punk rock in Baltimore, or if you ever did, it behooves you to tip your cap to Mike tonight. We could go on at length about what he’s done for this city, but his new blog Speech Impediment gives a much better picture than we could here. It’s an amazing online document of the history of Baltimore punk since 1997, and will only continue to grow.

As if running multiple venues, putting on shows, and being in some noteworthy bands himself wasn’t enough, Mike also continues to maintain Firestarter Records, and if you’ve got any kind of good taste at all, you’ve probably got a record he made on your shelf right now.

We wish Mike and Julie the best, and all the happiness they deserve, although we’d hate to see him make any sort of attempt at becoming a grown up. (Zing!)

But as if the chance to glad hand the man of the hour and buy him a Coke wasn’t enough, he’s also found five amazing bands to fete the occasion tonight. You know how we sometimes pick one or two bands to write about on a multi-band bill? Well, we can’t do that today. All five of these bands are incredible, and if we tried to quantify that, we’d run to 20,000 words. So we’re just going to tell you who they are:

Polar Bear Club

Lemuria

Cloak/Dagger

Dead Mechanical

Deep Sleep

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Doors @ 8:30. All ages.

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The Perfect Way to End a Week

We were really torn on what to do tonight Baltimore. You seem to have left us high and dry this time. What’s doing tonight? Go down to the stadium and watch the O’s lose again? Go to that dull little Honfest concert thing? Go fill up on grape leaves and ouzo with the Greeks?

Nope. Somehow those options just aren’t as appealing as they could be. Instead, the Chop will take to the sea. And by sea we mean probably not much further than the Key Bridge.

We won’t go into too much detail. When talking of ships and the sea, one can easily slip into Charles Marlow territory and put readers to sleep. Suffice it to say, we’re on a boat.

Boats are a lot like brunch. The mere fact of being on one means you’re doing something right. So when the sun gets low over Pigtown tonight, we’ll be reefing up the mainsail, tacking around Fort McHenry, pouring a round of Manhattans, and saying to ourselves “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

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House Rules: Anonymity

An interesting incident occurred earlier this week.

The Chop went to dinner in a certain North Baltimore establishment. It’s a small place, but it does a good trade and is usually more full than empty. As soon as we walked in though, we were greeted like old personal friends.

More than that, we were recognized and greeted like old friends. Both the bartender and the host recognized our party immediately from our first visit a week ago. Here’s the thing though: That first visit was just for a quick drink. And when we say quick drink, we mean a really quick drink. We ordered one round, didn’t finish our drinks, and didn’t even get the check, just left a twenty on the bar. We didn’t say anything to anyone and were in and out in ten minutes.

Here Comes a Regular. Paul Westerberg knew exactly what we're talking about here.

Don’t get us wrong… it’s great to go anywhere and be treated well. We thought the service at dinner (and the meal) was above and beyond, and we could definitely see ourselves becoming an actual regular over time. It did get us thinking though.

As nice as it is to get known as a regular someplace, it can be just as nice to be completely unknown. (Yes, we are well aware that we say this as an anonymous blogger.) Just as there are perks to regularity, there are also perks to anonymity. It’s nice to be able to order something out-of-character. It’s nice to not be dragged into conversation if you’re not in a mood to converse. It’s nice to leave a tip based solely on the merit of service and not because you know the bartender personally.

With the Baltimore bar scene consisting of what basically amounts to a few small towns (neighborhoods) in close proximity to one another, and the hospitality industry being somewhat insular, you can get known or recognized almost anywhere relatively quickly, but a place with a bartender who will forget you every time and a crowd who’s not all the usual suspects is worth its weight in Goldschlager.

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: We Say Fuck a Lot Edition.

Are you ready Baltimore? Are you ready for outdoor dining weather? The glory of al fresco dining (and drinking) is upon us in all its splendor. This time two weeks ago the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally took over most of the Patio at Joe Squared and kept the pitchers and political discourse flowing all night. If you weren’t there, you missed out. The good news is that if you did miss out, new faces are always welcome at tonight’s meeting at 7 pm.

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

Are you ready now, Baltimore, for some of the most brilliant and insightful political commentary since Alexis de Tocqueville? Sike! This space is rapidly turning into a place where we just say fuck a lot and call people racists, and you know what? We’re okay with that. There’s still a lot of fucking racism in America, and a lot of it comes straight from the halls of power, and it’s not going away until it’s called out and confronted in a much larger forum than this insignificant blog.

There’s plenty of racism down in South Carolina, and sex appeal and good ol’ boys and Sarah Palin and everything else. Yawn. That shit’s so 2008. Frankly all the primaries that happened yesterday were pretty boring, despite the sex scandals in SC, the trading chickens for healthcare in NV, and the multi-millionaire vs. multi-millionaire battle in CA. Although we would have liked to see Blanche Lincoln get her ass handed to her for being a twat about healthcare reform.

We’re starting to see some fundraisers for oil cleanup pop up here and there. It feels strange to say, but we’re against them. The oil cleanup should not depend at all on the generosity of ordinary people or non-profits. This is not our oil that spilled and we didn’t fucking spill it. It belongs to BP, they fucked up, and they should pay every fucking dime of cleanup costs. We don’t think we’re alone in saying that we’d like to see the leak stopped entirely, all the oil cleaned up, and then BP go the way of Lehman Brothers and AIG.

BP should not fucking exist anymore on this earth.

Call it Socialism, but we won’t be satisfied until the Obama administration freezes and seizes the entirety of their assets. They love us about as much as Al Qaida does, and they’ve fucked us just as much, if not more.

Finally, if there’s one difference between Republicans and Democrats in this country, it seems to be that the GOP will stand up and try to defend, justify, or casually pass off racism, sex scandals, embezzlement or any number of other atrocious actions while the Democrats will gleefully throw anybody under the bus at the slightest provocation.

The Chop would like to personally take this opportunity to throw old crone Helen Thomas under the bus. Previously we had nothing but the highest respect for her, but her recent comments on Israel put her batshit-craziness right up there with William Donald Schaefer. She can pretty much die and go to hell any time now. On the other hand, it is kind of cool to be around for so long that you can say “Fuck it. I’m tired of hanging out with the president. Screw you all, I fucking quit. Effective immediately.” The Chop should be so lucky someday.

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Drinking Liberally meets the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 pm. Joe Squared is located at 133 w. North Ave. All the above opinions are that of the Baltimore Chop Blog, and not of Drinking Liberally, it’s Baltimore Chapter, Chapter members or Joe Squared.

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The Best Midnight Snacks After a Night Out Drinking

We know you like to eat, Baltimore. We know you like to eat well, too. You’re all about your farmers’ markets and your new restaurants and your local, sustainable, seasonal ingredients and everything else.

We like to eat as much as the next armchair gourmet, but even more than that, we like to drink. A sub-par meal can always be salvaged by a stiff Rusty Nail beforehand, a bottle of Boordy Rockfish during, and a generous pour of Cognac afterward.

Of course sometimes when we’re out on the town, we have such a good dinner that we forget to actually order any food. When we stumble home at 2:15 am and realize that our kitchen is not air-conditioned and that brown rice and whole vegetables often require a lot of time-consuming and messy work over a hot stove, our palate becomes a lot less sophisticated real quick.

Still though, eating Captain Crunch by hand right out of the box or smothering questionable leftovers with ketchup is a low to which we cannot stoop. After a long night of boozing it is necessary to walk that fine line between quality and convenience. It’s at dire times like these we’re glad that we make a point of always keeping on hand one of our top five favorite midnight snacks.

Morningstar Farms Burgers

At only about 2 minutes in the microwave, these things are already done before you can reach for the buns and plates. They come in several varieties (including vegan) and you can top them off about a thousand different ways. These might be our favorite food, period.

V8 Soups

A little pricier than your average can of soup, but well worth it. These things are good enough on their own, but once you throw in a handful of baby spinach and heat up a couple of slices of frozen cheesy garlic bread, you can easily pass off your booze blackout as a food coma.

Knorr-Lipton Pasta Pouches

These things also come in several flavors and usually cost less than $2 each. They boil up in under 10 minutes in one pan, which is just enough time to add your own frozen vegetables to the mix and have them end up just right.

Zatarain’s Black Beans and Rice

This product takes a little longer to cook up, but it won’t cost you any more effort. It’s a good choice if you’re making it home before last call, and you’ve also got plenty of choices on what to add to it or top it off with. As an added bonus, these boxes are just big enough to feed two people.

Noodle Bowl

Nowadays there’s a lot more to instant noodles that the old nickel packs of Top Ramen. Rice noodles cook almost instantly, and while a noodle bowl is not quite substantial enough to be a meal unto itself, you can pair it with any sort of microwaveable spring roll, or add some frozen potstickers for a quick and tasty nosh.

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The careful reader may have noticed that all of these choices are vegetarian friendly. The fact is that the Chop is a vegetarian, and we wouldn’t recommend anything we’re not eating ourselves. While after a long night’s drinking you may be more interested in Esskay franks or a bologna sandwich, we at least hope it goes to show that eating vegetarian is a lot easier than most people think, and even when you’re getting tipsy and microwaving, you’re still getting a better meal than what you find on most bar food menus.

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