Monthly Archives: May 2011

Chop Style: Highwaters and Sandals

The Summer has officially begun in Baltimore. Memorial Day weekend marked its official start, and the holiday brought the stifling Summer heat right along with it. It breaks our Choppy little heart to think that for the next 3 months, most people in our fair city are going to forgo fashion altogether in favor of whatever they’ve got in their drawers with the fewest actual threads in it. We’re in for a long Summer of sleeveless tees, jorts and the rest of it.

Some of us haven’t given up though. We’ve said before that we do not favor shortpants on grown men, and that sandals are only to be worn in close proximity to water. However, if you followed our advice and bought a stylish pair of flip flops, you may be wondering exactly how the fuck you’re expected to wear them if not with shorts. For the answer, we look once again to Steve McQueen:

Sure, it's too hot to put much effort into your wardrobe. Good thing this look is effortless.

If you’re actually going to be near the water, there’s no better look than this one. Not even the fact that this photo was once misappropriated for a Gap ad can take away from this dead-on Summer style. Sandals are actually made for getting your feet wet, and so highwater pants are an appropriate match. In point of fact, this is the only time that highwater pants are actually acceptable.

We’ve also said before that we’re no great fan of the Sartorialist, and one of his recent photos illustrates how not to wear highwaters:

Don't ever do this in Baltimore. Ever.

Scott Schuman publishes this kind of crap all the time. We only had to go back a couple of days to find this one. Our man here is exactly what Huckleberry Finn would look like if he moved to New York City and became a high-class rent boy.

Those pants are not only cuffed, they’re tailored that way to show off what we assume are artisanal calfskin ‘workman’s’ boots handmade in some Brooklyn studio, which must be stank as fuck being worn sockless the way they are. The rolled up short sleeves on the shirt (note McQueen’s long sleeves) and the willfully arcane suspenders suggest this lad belongs in the revival road cast of Newsies, but the $2000 briefcase carried without any other business attire reminds us that, yes, this guy probably does hand out lunchtime blowjobs to wall street executives for a living.

A comparison of these two photos illustrates not only the best way to wear cuffed pants, but also how to distinguish a timeless and effortless style from an incredibly expensive costume.

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Don’t Break Your Neck Looking

Just a quick post today, since it’s Memorial Day and everyone is outside cooking on grills and hanging around the beach and not reading blogs anyway.

We’ve already seen a little of it, but with today being the traditional start of Summer, the women of Baltimore are all simultaneously about to head to Cloud 9 and South Moon Under to stock up on short-shorts, spaghetti straps, sundresses, and all of those other Summer staples we like… a lot.

A visual approximation of the Chop in early Summer.

It’s lucky for us that we’re still in pretty decent shape, because otherwise we’d be spending Memorial Day at Patient First getting treated for neck sprains after all the times our head’s spun round this past week. And why not? We’re single, huh? It’s been a long winter, and it’s only a few more weeks before we go back to the Middle East, which is not exactly South Beach, you know?

So we’re going to enjoy stealing glances at Summer outfits while we can. Ladies, keep the skirts short, the shoulders bare and the tan lines even. Men of Baltimore, take a tip from us; get in a few long looks- but try not to break your neck.

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Super Sam Fuld Cape Day @ Tropicana Field

The Chop is not the type of baseball fan who needs a bunch of cheap gimmicks to get us in the gate. Cheap beer would be nice, but cheap gimmicks are totally unnecessary. Sure, we’ve got more than our share of Orioles T-shirts, and we might be more likely to show up if we know its bobblehead night or Miller Light Floppy Hat Day, which is pretty much a municipal holiday here in Charm City, but by and large we aren’t impressed by baseball swag.

With that said, we really kinda wish we could attend Super Sam Fuld Cape Day at the Trop.

Wearing a cape is a true fashion statement. It either says 'I'm a superhero,' 'I'm retarded,' or 'I'm drunk.' Guess which one we are.

The Rays might just be the Major League champions of promotional giveaways in 2011. We haven’t looked over the schedules for every team, but they’re definitely on to something with this whole ‘buy a ticket to the ballgame and stay for a concert’ deal, which they’re doing several times this year featuring artists who, while we’re not into them, are at least legitimately famous. They’re also giving away a variety of t-shirts and a few different bobbleheads, as well as a Joe Maddon coin bank which looks more like Phil Rizzuto and an Evan Longoria cereal bowl and spoon set. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve slurped down the last dregs of milk and been frustrated and disappointed not to see a big league 3rd baseman staring back at us. We’re definitely going to be eBay-ing that one.

But the Super Sam Fuld cape absolutely takes the cake. Sure, Fuld is having a great year, but ultimately we’re not sure he’ll ever be more than the answer to an obscure trivia question many years down the road. To us this may be something on the order of the Rollie Fingers wax mustache or the Dustin Pedroia temp-tramp-stamp tattoo. (Okay, we made both of those up, but they could be true.) To our mind, this is absolutely the greatest giveaway since last year’s vuvuzela night in Miami.

The only downside to this awesome, incredible giveaway? It’s only for kids 14 and under. Those little punks have all the fun.

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Lovers @ 2640 Space Tonight

…And now for something completely different. The Chop is on our way to the Red Emma’s Queer Music Explosion! at the 2640 Space tonight. That might surprise some regular readers of this blog, who are more used to us talking about pretty straightforward punk and post-punk bands. We’re not exactly known for being a fan of synth-driven dance music, let alone uber-queer Portland hippie synth-driven dance music, but believe us when we say that Lovers is one of our favorite bands of all time. Seriously. We’re talking like you can only bring five records to a desert island type of favorites. They’re that good.

Lovers plays 2640 tonight. 7:30 pm.

Our first introduction to Carolyn Berk had nothing to do with synthpop at all. It was in (circa) 2005 when Lovers was a very different band indeed. In fact, that night it was just Berk with a chair and a guitar, down in the basement at the Charm City Art Space. Even on that night, stripped down to the barest of elements, Lovers was a captivating band. We went home that night with a copy of the first record Star Lit Sunken Ship, and were blown away by the added textural layers that made the great songs we’d heard performed even better. It’s since become one of our favorite records, and has remained in heavy rotation here at the Chophouse.

Since then, Carolyn Berk has been one of those artists who spends at least as much time gathering inspiration as she has making and selling records. Moving from New England to Georgia before finally settling in Portland, Lovers’ discography has been as varied as their lineups and geography. A quick look and listen at their Myspace page will reveal not only the differences in style the band has embraced in the last 10 years, but also the similarities in mood, tone, feeling and subject matter. Any band that keeps writing the same record again and again will doom itself to irrelevance and cheapen the value of its earlier work. There is no danger of that here.

In the case of Lovers, the band’s musical growth has mirrored its frontwoman’s personal growth, and not since the Beatles has any band been able to depart so drastically from its starting point while maintaining such a consistent sense of purpose and vision. Berk and her bandmates are every bit as good with synths as they ever were with guitars. It’s this sort of evolution that will, for any band, bring in new fans while rewarding the old ones. Since the move to Portland, Berk and Lovers have been embraced by and immersed in the queer community, and fit very well on a bill like tonight’s, but don’t let that fool you. Carolyn’s lyrics have always been as personal and introspective as it is possible to be, and it’s precisely that which makes them universal. As she told Venus Zine in 2009:

“I am all those things, but I’m so much more,” she says. “I think it’s important to be loud and proud, and there’s a lot of pressure to feel marginalized, which is so old and tired. There are tons of straight, male Lovers fans, and I’m singing to everybody. I like to write about universal things because more than any of that I’m a humanist — I’m beyond humanist. I like animals. I’m a hippie. I’m a lover.”

We hope we can convince a few more of those straight, male fans to say “Dan Who-con? Future What-lands?” and come out to 2640 tonight to see what is without a doubt the best electronic band working today, anywhere.

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Queer Music Explosion also features Silence Kid, Saddle of Centaur, and The Degenerettes. 2640 Saint Paul Street is a dry venue, and this show is no alcohol, no BYOB. 7:30-11pm.

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SnoBaltimore Zine Release @ Atomic Books Tonight

No lie Baltimore, we’ve been craving a snowball lately. Like bad. Like a real one, that stains your teeth and tongue and comes in a giant styrofoam cup- none of that fake-ass Rita’s junk. We’ve yet to find one either. It’s still only May. Schools have been in and it’s just now Memorial Day weekend, so what snowball stands we have chanced to come across have been closed. After this weekend though, it’s officially snowball season.

Atomic Books hosts a release party for two local publications tonight. 7 pm.

Most snowball stands have something less than what you’d call a comprehensive internet presence. Many of them are such small small businesses you won’t even find them in the yellow pages. This was the necessity that mothered the invention of the Baltimore Snoball Collective, and the publication of the first edition of their SnoBaltimore Zine, which along with the Baltimore Time Travel Anthology will be the subject of a release party at Atomic Books in Hampden tonight.

Since the Chop has already time-traveled in Hampden once this week, we’re going to focus on snowballs. More specifically, grownup snowballs. As we said recently, Tequila and Key Lime is a winning combination, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We can’t have our readers just will-nilly mixing liquors and snowball flavors! That would just end in toothaches, stomachaches, and heartache for everyone involved. It’s with this sentiment in mind, and in honor of tonight’s event that we’re proud to release our Guide to Snoball Flavors and Liquor. There are thousands of workable combinations, and many of them really are very good, but if you’re new to the idea of mixing a childhood favorite with a staple of adulthood, this is a good starting point:

The Baltimore Chop Guide to Snoball Flavors and Liquor

Tequila… Key Lime, Kiwi Lime, Papaya

Brandy… Blackberry, Black Cherry, Black Raspberry

Bourbon… Peach, Butter Pecan, Lemonade

Light Rum… Cherry Limeade, Strawberry Mango, Mai Tai

Dark Rum… Pina Colada, Guava, Banana Daquiri

Gin… Sky Blue, Watermelon, Pink Lemonade

Orange Liqueur… Tutti Frutti, Dreamsicle, Egg Custard

Vodka… Anything. You can’t go wrong with vodka.

(All flavors chosen from the 2011 Southern Snow list of flavors.)

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Tomorrow: Charles Street Friday Market @ Charles & Lanvale

The Chop has always has decidedly mixed feelings about farmers’ markets. We’re certainly glad they’re there… no doubt about that. At the same time though, we don’t actually go out to them and buy produce as often as we probably ought to.

We like the Waverly market quite a lot, but it ends at noon and quite frankly if we’re waking up at 10:30, getting dressed and running out to buy vegetables isn’t always at the top of our priorities list, especially if we’ve still got to go into Giant for items not available outside. That’s the reason it took us so long to get to the JFX Farmers’ Market, and now that we’ve been, well, we’re in no rush to go back. The JFX market is just the right mix of dirty hippies, snotty yuppies, oblivious children, and a 30-deep line for coffee to make it equal to about the 5th level of hell.

Charles Street Friday Market combines two classic Baltimore pastimes: buying produce and drinking in the street.

The new Charles Street Friday Market might be a little more up our alley. First of all, we don’t have to roll our ass out of bed at the crack of 9 am to get there on time. The Lanvale Street location is just about perfect for being close to home and central, but not blocking up Friday rush hour traffic, and being in Station North (we suspect) will draw a better mix of people than some other area markets.

We were out of town last Friday for the inaugural setup of the Friday Market, but we expect it will have everything the JFX offers, only on a decreased scale. We’re looking for tomatoes and corn and spinach and asparagus… the hula hoops and baubles and scented soap are none of our concern.

But perhaps the best thing going for the Friday market is that they’ve got the one thing we may love more than coffee… beer. The market is sponsored by Frederick’s Flying Dog Brewery, and you can even sip on an Old Scratch or a Snake Dog while you’re shopping. In addition, the Metro Gallery will open its doors at 3 pm with happy hour specials, and is also now featuring a carry out license for beer and wine.

The combination of a farmers’ market and a happy hour isn’t just clever, it’s one of those ideas that’s so ingenious that we didn’t even know we needed it in our lives until someone invented it. As if you weren’t doing enough good by supporting local farms and brewers, a portion of the market’s sales will go to benefit League of Dreams, which helps children with developmental disabilities get involved with baseball and softball throughout the area. It’s not just win-win, it’s win-win-win.

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Charles Street Friday Market runs from 3-8 pm every Friday in the unit block of Lanvale Street.

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: More Sex Scandals Edition

Well, the forecast for this week has not been good. It may not be Joplin-esque, and we may be a whiny pussy of a blogger for complaining about it, but we’re getting sick of rain. To hell with rain. Seriously. We want to do outdoorsy things, like go to festivals and swing golf clubs and most especially, enjoy the outdoor seating at Joe Squared tonight during the regular meeting of the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

Hell, we might even like to walk there, you know? At any rate, we want to stay dry long enough to gossip about political sexytime. As you know, these things come in threes, and so there must be one more shoe soon to drop.

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

The news recently has been dominated by the sex scandals of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The GOP primary field is as boring as can be, and the Rapture was never a real story anyway, so sex and storms and sexstorms are all we’ve been getting lately. It’s all sort of boring, really. Most natural disasters all look similarly horrible on the news, and we’ve had so many sex scandals in recent years that you’ve got to try pretty damn hard to top Eliot ‘Raw Dog’ Spitzer, Mark ‘Appalachian Trail’ Sanford or Ted ‘I-only-tried-meth-once-and-just-asked-him-to-jerk-me-off’ Haggard.

As far as Schwarzenegger goes, we LOL all day long. Arnie oversaw the bankrupting of California, and now Maria Shriver is going to oversee the bankrupting of Arnold. Fair Enough. Most politicians leave office to ‘spend more time with their families,’ and we guess Arnie is no exception.

DSK, on the other hand, deserves not just jail, but a few good jailhouse soap-drops of his own.

Here is a man who claims to be a Socialist, but was more or less in charge of all the money in the world. We don’t know of many true Socialists who favor $3000 per night hotels, although the hotel itself is just the tip of the iceberg. You can believe that real Socialists aren’t staying in such luxury when they gather by the hundreds of thousands to protest the IMF and WorldBank meetings. They aren’t arriving at those meetings in limousines either. They’re marching together, as Brothers and Sisters should.

The thing about Socialism though, the thing that its detractors can’t quite wrap their fat heads around is that at the end of the day Socialism is about Equality. It’s not about tax rates or countries of origin or business regulations. It’s about respecting the rights of Workers, and respecting the Workers as human beings. Socialism is about protecting and elevating those among us in the lowest station, not dragging down anyone else.

Strauss-Kahn has made a habit of preying on precisely those in the lowest station. Time after time, and in this case especially, he has shown a plutocratic hubris and a sense of entitlement which would be disgusting in any man. As far as we’re concerned this is not a sex scandal of any sort, but is in fact a case of sexual assault and attempted rape. These are violent and serious crimes, and are unforgivable no matter who the assailant or the victim may be.

We expect that American justice will be served in this case, and we’re glad of it. This crime was not just a brutal and personal attack against an innocent woman, an American, and a Worker, it was an act of class warfare, and we regard it as such.

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Drinking Liberally meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. They’re free to attend and open to anyone interested in progressive politics or causes. The opinions expressed above are those of the Baltimore Chop blog, and are not sanctioned by Living Liberally, Drinking Liberally, or its Baltimore Chapter.

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