Monthly Archives: October 2010

Baltimore’s Spookiest Spot: Green Mount Cemetery

For those among you who are wont to give credence to ghosts and spirits, there’s no need whatsoever to look toward haunted houses or haunted hayrides or any other seasonal attractions where high schoolers and jaycees put on masks and yell ‘boo.’

Those who wish to seek out ghosts need not look very far in a city like Baltimore, where the past haunts each street with every nightfall. We like to think that our streets are new with their crushed glass surfacing and our homes are new with their double-paned windows and granite counters, but they are not. Virtually every brick and stone was worn well before we arrived, and most all of them will remain unmoved by the time the last of us is gone.

Green Mount Cemetery is one of Baltimore most scenic, historic, and underrated attractions.

In a sense, it’s not our city at all. It’s theirs. They built it, and they continue to dwell here.

They are some our our city’s most prominent figures; men with names like Pratt, Latrobe, Preston, Hopkins, Walters, and Garrett. and here is Green Mount Cemetery, more than 65,000 graves situated over 68 acres, right here in our own back yard.

Unfortunately, because Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, the cemetery is not open to visitors today, although they do keep their gates open every other day of the week both for formal tours and individual wandering. For All Hallows’ Eve, we’d greatly encourage you to spend a few minutes and take your time surfing around their website and discovering the history and scenery of Green Mount for yourself.

The Chop is totally remiss, and almost ashamed to admit that we have never set foot inside Green Mount Cemetery. We’ve been whistling past the graveyard for years, and although always fascinated by it, we’ve never taken a walk around inside. We’re going to change that at some point this week.

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Green Mount Cemetery is at 1501 Greenmount Ave. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8am-4pm. (410) 539-0641.

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Gutter Magazine’s Dead Celebrities Ball, CA Lantern Parade Tonight

What? You think you’re done with Halloween? You went out raging last night and now you think you’re just going to stay at home and watch Simpsons’ Halloween special reruns and eat pumpkin flavored junk food? Well, Halloween’s not done with you, Baltimore.

You’d better get started on washing off all the beer and lipstick stains you got on that costume last night, because you’re going to need it again tonight. As luck would have it, all of the reasonable, moderate and sane folks are heading down to DC to be reasonable and moderate together, which means that by default, the rest of us left in Baltimore are unreasonable, immoderate, and insane. Should make for a hell of a Devil’s Night.

Gutter Mag's Dead Celebrities Ball is at Metro Gallery tonight.

As if we didn’t have enough to do last night, we’re starting off tonight with a trip to Patterson Park for the Creative Alliance‘s Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival. From what we’ve heard, last year’s parade was really quite a spectacle, done well down to the last detail. Word was that it was on of the very rare events that’s billed as ‘fun for the whole family’ that actually is fun for the whole family.

Afterward we’re heading back up to Station North, where we’ll be around and about the rest of the night. We’re definitely going to make the Metro Gallery our home base though. Our friends at Gutter Magazine are back there tonight with their second annual Dead Celebrities Ball. They’ve booked in four of Charm City’s best post-rock bands including old favorites Sick Sick Birds as well as Squaaks and the Jennifers. Plus we’ll finally get a chance to check out the relatively new(ish) Sal Bando, who we haven’t had a chance to see live yet.

With a grown up set like that, we can pretty much guarantee that the Misfits covers and Halloween cheesiness will be kept to a minimum, which is a great relief at this point. Best part? It’s only five bucks at the door, sucka.

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Lantern festivities begin at 3pm. Parade Starts at 7:30 pm. Corner of Eastern and Linwood in Patterson Park.

Metro Gallery is at 1801 N. Charles St. in Station North. Doors at 8:45.

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Two Halloweens for the Price of One!

So, Halloween is pretty much here. Like today. Like right now. You may think that Halloween falls on Sunday, and that that’s totally lame, but for all intents and purposes, it’s really a blessing in disguise for fans of the holiday. A blessing from the Devil maybe. A super secret double bizarro blessing. Or something like that. For the kiddies, trick-or-treating may indeed be Sunday evening, but for the rest of us, we get a two day holiday for drinking and carrying on. Plus a Sunday to sleep it all off again. Talk about a win/win situation…

We spent some time in and around Station North last Halloween, and if you’re in the mood for going out, we’d definitely recommend doing likewise this year. The college kids can have the East Side and the South Side. Take ’em. We’re done with ’em. We’re perfectly happy right here in North Baltimore. Station North has been doing Halloween right for a few good years now, and if previous experience is anything to go by (and it is), there will be just enough costumed revelers to make every place in the neighborhood fun and interesting, but never so many in one place that the party is overwhelming or overcrowded.

 

Of course you can be two places at once. You've got superpowers.

So, by now you’ve got your costume, and you know what to look out for, but where are you going to go, eh?

There’s plenty going on around town tonight, but there are two events we feel are especially worthy of your attention. First up at the Ottobar the Charm City Roller Girls are going to be holding their 6th annual Bruisers’ Ball. This year’s theme is a Supervillain Soiree, and the costume contests will showcase that with various prizes in several different categories. There’s going to be plenty of other fun stuff too, like Halloween themed drinks and a photobooth, and of course, plenty of rollergirls all about the place. They’re even going to tape Dirty Marty to a wall, which just in itself should be worth the price of admission. And of course there’s a solid slate of bands including the Degenerettes, Hollowboy, and the Stalking Horses, as well as the Moustache dance party upstairs.

And if you can’t get your fill of heroes and villains in just one place, you can always head down to the Windup Space for a separate party with a similar theme. It’s Atomic Books’ second annual celebration of heroism and villainy, and this time around it’s going to feature. DJ Miracle Ear, debut videos from Atomic TV, and the new Rock Band 3 for your enjoyment, complete with Keytar.

Plus, the costume contest pays $400 in cold, hard cash. We’re calling it right now: if you’re lucky enough to snag a jackpot like that, the only right thing to do is to buy the house a round of drinks.

Happy Halloween.

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The Bruisers’ Ball at Ottobar (2549 N. Howard, Charles Village) begins at 9pm with the show bands playing at 10:00. $10, 18+.

Atomic’s Heroes and Villains Costume Ball at the Windup Space (12 W. North Ave in Station North) runs concurrently.

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The Baltimore Chop’s One Year Anniversary

Today, Baltimore, the 28th of October, is a day of tremendous moment and importance. It’s a big red letter day for us, because exactly one year ago today we launched our humble little blog with this post about the Office of Future Plans at the Sidebar.

Now that we’ve turned 30, a year will go by really, really fast. It’s true that we spent half the year abroad and not writing, but still, it feels as though we’re just getting started. When we began we had very little idea what sort of shape this blog would take. We’re still pretty much making it up as we go along. We’ve got to say, we’re fairly pleased with how things have turned out so far. We didn’t think we’d be able to hack it putting up a post every single day, but we haven’t missed one yet. Most of all though, we didn’t think anyone would actually read this, and we’re still kind of shocked when we find out that people really do. Monday’s post about getting dressed properly produced our best day yet, and month-over-month traffic continues to grow steadily.

The Chop greets throngs of ardent admirers on the occasion of our one year anniversary.

We want to thank you for that, Baltimore. We also want to call your attention to the new share buttons that WordPress has installed for us, as well as the subscription panels in the sidebar. They work quite well, try them and see.

This month also marks the (roughly) one year anniversary of the Baltimore Sun’s Maryland’s Outstanding Blogs (Mobbies) contest. Like we said, we spent a good deal of time reviewing the field last year, and that contest was largely responsible for getting us to go through with making this blog. We’re writing the exact blog that we would want to read every day, because we couldn’t find it among the nominations. We’d definitely recommend you check out this year’s nominations, because there’s some pretty interesting stuff in there, and a few that had escaped our attention until now. As of today though, some of our favorites are still missing, so we might have to do some nominating ourselves if they don’t turn up soon.

Finally, we’re late on this one, but September 30 marked the one year anniversary of our buying the Chophouse. Our mortgage now says “one year down, 29 to go.” This is another thing that still feels brand new and strange, and which we’re kind of making up as we go along. We’ve always sort of secretly braced for the worst of home ownership. A little part of us has thought it was only a matter of time before the roof caved in or the basement flooded or someone seized the deed over a water bill lien or missed ground rent payment.

We’re just now starting to realize that that’s probably not going to happen. When things break, we can fix them. When bills come, we can pay them. The neighbors are nice and the streets are safe and there hasn’t been one single day that we’ve regretted buying here. To the contrary, we wake up every morning (noon) and immediately think of how lucky and happy we are to live here.

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: We’re Much Better Off Than We Were Four Years Ago Edition

For all the complaints of Baltimore being (or at least feeling like) a small city, it does have one distinct advantage over some of its larger counterparts, namely the ability to sometimes be in two places at once. That’s exactly what we plan on doing tonight as we ping pong back and forth between the No Friends/ Deep Sleep show at CCAS and the regular meeting of the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally at Joe Squared.

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

With both events starting at 7 pm, it won’t be difficult to ask a friend for a text message alert when the bands are about to play, and spend the rest of the time around the corner at Joe’s drinking beers and talking politics. It’s a lucky break too, as tonight marks the last regular meeting at Joe Squared until the spring. For the rest of the Fall/Winter season the DL crew will be alternating between two of the Chop’s other favorite establishments, Midtown Yacht Club and the Laughing Pint. For anyone who’s a fan of those bars, but has been hesitant to make the trip up to North Ave, we’ll be sure to save you a seat.

We feel like we should be much more excited about politics today, what with the elections so close, but the truth is that there’s not much happening right here in Maryland, now that the Democrats have the governor’s race in the bag.

The Chop is endlessly pleased that Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich have a real and genuine dislike for each other. We can’t stand all this “my good friend” and “the distinguished gentleman” type rhetoric you sometimes hear during campaigns. We see nothing wrong with partisan politics, and at the end of the day, although we may loathe and despise the Ropewalk crowd, we secretly respect them much more than these so called ‘swing voters’ and ‘undecideds’ who are really just wussies and retards.

But even with the abiding distaste that MD’s last two governors share, the campaign has remained pretty dull. O’Malley is running a crummy campaign (a kitchen table? Really???) But somehow, Ehrlich is doing even worse. He’s pouring on that fake-ass homer Arbutus charm and trying to make the case that he was a good governor (He wasn’t. Not by any metric. Ineffectual at best.) and the case that Maryland was a paradise four years ago and that it’s one big Hooverville now.

The truth is that Ehrlich only got to be governor in the first place because Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was one of the weakest candidates, running one of the weakest campaigns in the history of our fair state. Sure, those were better times nationally, but Maryland has quite frankly done a better job of weathering the storm than almost every other state. California, Nevada, Ohio, Florida… these are places with problems. Maryland’s local economy has remained vital. Businesses small and large are still opening and operating, whether they’re wont to complain about taxes or not.

Bob Ehrlich’s big final push is a direct rip off of some Reaganite pap from the 80’s, and honestly Bob, Yes. We are better off than we were four years ago.

Four years ago we didn’t have a car. We were able to buy one with cash. Four years ago we didn’t have a job, now we’ve got a legitimate skill set in a very secure field and get paid to travel around the world and take 6 months of vacation every year. Then we had no insurance and a mouth full of cavities. Now we’re covered and smiling brightly. Four years ago we were living in our parents’ basement. Last year we were able to buy a renovated house in a neighborhood we like and even get rental income from our best friend and roommate. Four years ago we were in a twin bed and eating from TV trays. Now we’re sitting at the head of a well appointed table and sprawling out in high thread count sheets on a queen sized bed.

We could go on, but the point is clear: The Chop is much better off with O’Malley in Annapolis, and so is the rest of Maryland.

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Tomorrow: No Friends, Deep Sleep @ Charm City Art Space

With records like these, who the hell needs friends?

This is our question to you, Baltimore. Our answer is “No Idea.” And speaking of No Idea, you could do a lot worse than trading in all your lousy, crummy friends for a shelf full of No Idea releases. The label that single-handedly made Gainesville a punk rock destination from the mid 90’s on is sending one of the best acts it has going to CCAS tomorrow night: No Friends.

No Friends plays CCAS with Deep Sleep tomorrow. 7 pm Doors.

No Friends sounds exactly what you think a band would sound like when you combine 3 members of New Mexican Disaster Squad with Tony from Municipal Waste. It may be predictable, but it’s predictably awesome. Muni Waste has put on some of the most fun and exciting DIY shows Baltimore has seen in the last decade, always with large turnouts of eager and diverse fans, and we expect nothing less from No Friends, who are playing real, balls-out punk rock the way it’s supposed to be played- loud, fast, and reckless. They definitely deserve the comparisons they’ve drawn to legends like Dag Nasty and the Descendents, and we feel that their output so far can stand side by side with either of those bands’ early (best) work.

Not to be outdone, Baltimore matches Gainesville by putting up Deep Sleep, who are also carrying the torch of that early 80’s HC/punk sound. Tony Pence and company rode along with No Friends on their first East Coast tour back in April, and these two amazing bands (who actually are friends) match each other about as well as a left shoe matches the right.

Montreal’s Trigger Effect rounds out the bill, and with three fast bands playing 60 second songs, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get home in plenty of time to wake up for work on Wednesday. Check it out.

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Charm City Art Space is at 1729 Maryland Ave. in Station North. 7 pm Doors. All ages.

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Chop Style: Five Things You Need to Get Dressed Properly

We caught you Baltimore. Red Handed. You’ve just been busted by the fashion police. We caught you slipping, and you’re going to have to step up your game wardrobe-wise, or risk being mocked mercilessly out in public for looking like a complete heel.

This weekend was full of uniforms everywhere we looked. There was, of course, the literal uniform of a football jersey which has become de rigueur for everyone everywhere all day on Sundays. On Friday though, it was a different sort of uniform altogether. We went down to check out Helmet at Sonar on Friday, where the dress code was a strict black XL band t-shirt, everyday jeans that haven’t been washed in a year, and black boots. That was a really cool look when Meantime came out, but of course, we were in middle school then. And so was the rest of the over-thirty crowd Friday night.

Every Baltimorean should own an ironing board. Just ask Divine.

Your clothes should be age appropriate, Baltimore. It’s a rule. It matters. It’s time to start dressing like a grown up. Of course, if you’re going to do it right, you’ll need more than just new clothes. You can’t fix what’s broken without the proper tools. What are the proper tools? Read on:

A Mirror

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it occurs to us that some of you bachelors on renters’ row are living without a mirror in the bedroom. Even our own roommate relies on the small, slightly cramped bathroom’s mirror. We were once guilty of this too, before we moved into the Chophouse, and we hated it. If a decent dresser/mirror combo is out of the question for you, at least take yourself up to Ikea and grab one for under $10. We bought one of these the week we moved in. You can hang it on the back of the closet door and paint the frame any color you like.

An Iron and Board

We know what you’ve been doing… waiting until Sunday to do your laundry, then getting sucked into football and food and other chores, and leaving the laundry to sit and wrinkle in the dryer. Or worse, dragging it home from the laundromat in a sack and leaving it for 3 days. If you’re going to look like a grown up, you need an iron and board. Hanging it in the bathroom during a hot shower isn’t cutting it. Bed Bath and Beyond will hook you up with an iron and compact board for $10 each. And when football season ends, you’ll be all set to pursue an interest in extreme ironing.

A Lint Brush

A lint brush is possibly the best five bucks you can invest in your wardrobe. Make sure you get one like this, and not one of those crappy ones with sticky paper on it. They’re available at any grocery store or pharmacy chain, and for a few bucks you can throw it in your drawer and leave it there forever. No matter how nice your clothes are, they look stupid when they’re covered in lint and pet hair.

A Shoeshine Kit

These are also available anywhere. You don’t even have to spring for a whole kit. A can of Kiwi and an old t-shirt and toothbrush will be serviceable. There’s no need to go overboard with it, like some pretentious assholes are wont to do. It’s not even necessary to put a lot of time or effort into the actual polishing if you don’t want to… just a quick shine 5 or 6 times a year will make your shoes look better and last longer.

A Door Hook

Time was, we’d take off a jacket or a pair of pants and toss it on a seat, intending to wear it again the next day. Then change our mind and gradually watch the clothes pile up. With the addition of a simple hook over the door, we now have a decent place to hang that stuff and keep it out of the way. And when the hooks get full we know it’s damn well time to put some clothes away. Buying a door hook is the best thing that ever happened to our dressing routine, and we can’t recommend it highly enough. Target has a ton of them, anywhere from 2 to 6 hooks, and starting as little as $4.99. Go get one.

With these tools in your box you should be able to fix any wardrobe wheels that may fall off on a Monday Morning. There’s plenty of other tools that may serve you well also; sewing kits, shoe insoles and the like. What sort of other items are helping you get dressed, Baltimore?

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