Category Archives: Other

Cheers! The Culture of Drink in Early Maryland @ Homewood Museum

If you know the Chop at all, you know that we’re the type to take our drinking very, very seriously. Of course, we strongly believe in drinking responsibly, but to us ‘drinking responsibly’ doesn’t just mean taking a cab or laying off the Jaeger shots… it means drinking the right way.

So, we’re trying to buy a dining room group at the moment. This is a task which has so far required no shortage of time and effort in straining our eyes to look online and driving to and fro from store to store to deal with salesmen and parse the differences between “cherry” and “cherry satin”. It will undoubtedly require yet more effort in painting, wallpapering, and possibly even installing new lighting. This is not to mention considerable expense.

A drawing room at 1515 Linden Avenue in Reservoir Hill, 1886. Photo courtesy MD Historical Society.

But you may ask, “Chop, you’re a single bachelor. Most of your meals consist of Midnight Snacks on the couch. What do you need with a fancy-schmancy table?” Well, you’re right. The table and chairs are mostly an afterthought. What we’re actually shopping for, and what will be the true centerpiece of the room, is the bar.

It’s well known that our grandfathers were better drinkers than we are. The Chop’s own grandfathers are a case in point. Do you think they ever drank beer from “aluminum bottles”, or asked if their wine was “bio-dynamic”, or mixed anything with Red Bull? Of course not. They learned to drink in World War II.

But what about our grandfathers’ grandfathers? The landed gentry and patriarchs of the Old Line State? How did they drink? For they are the ones we should be emulating if we really want to do it right. Cask Madeira, Terrapin Stew and 20 year rye? Yes, please.

This is why, before we rebuild our bar this Fall, we’re going to stroll over to the Homewood Museum and have a look at their exhibit Cheers! The Culture of Drink in Early Maryland.

The exhibition is on view as part of the regular Homewood tour, and focuses on how the Carrolls and other early families procured, stored, served and sipped their wines and whiskies.

While we’re at it, we might even come back tomorrow for the Museum’s Historic Home Brews talk and tasting featuring Baltimore native and Stillwater Ales founder Brian Strumke as part of the 2010 Baltimore Beer Week. If you can’t make it down to the Museum of Industry for the Official Opening Tap Ceremony you can still taste some of the best beer in Maryland right here at Homewood, just in time for Friday happy hour.

Cheers.

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Tapping ceremony and home brews tasting require advance registration. See bbweek.com for more information on all beer week events. The Culture of Drink exhibit runs from Sep. 16 until Nov. 28 2010 from 11am-4pm Tue-Fri and 12-4 Sat & Sun.

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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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Gilded Lily Burlesque @ Windup Space Tonight

“I hate my girlfriend, she she she
Lies on the beach like a barrier reef.
Soaking up the stupid sun,
While the radio is blasting; fun, fun fun!

I don’t wanna be on the beach, no fun!”

The Dead Milkmen said it best (ahem) 25 years ago in Beach Song, and their words still ring true today. The Chop has seen enough oceans that they’re not really a draw anymore, and price-wise OC is comprable to the Bahamas, Mexico, or any number of more exotic resorts. Somehow crappy paintings, sexist t-shirts and sand sculptures of Jesus just aren’t as exciting as they used to be.

Ocean City does have one big redeeming quality in its favor though… namely beautiful women wearing next-to-nothing and acting scandalously.

Gilded Lily Burlesque makes you say 'What beach?' at the Windup Space Tonight. 8 pm doors.

What’s that you say? We don’t have to sit through Bay Bridge traffic, suffer sunburns and get sand in our shorts? We can see the ravishingly raunchy vixens of Gilded Lily Burlesque at the Windup Space instead? Sold. Done. Front row, suckers!

And just like yesterday, we’re in prime position to sneak over to Load of Fun and hit up day one of the Wild Style Reunion.

But we hope you all have fun with your Buffett cover bands and jellyfish stings.

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The Windup Space is at 10 W. North Ave.

Load of Fun is at 120 W. North Ave.

And yes, we are a little bitter we’re not at the beach, Ok?

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House Rules: Baltimore Bar Trivia Nights Part 2

On Tuesday, the Baltimore Chop took a look at the burgeoning pub quiz industry in Maryland. Being fun and free for bar patrons, and profitable for tavern owners and trivia producers alike, the popularity of bar trivia shows no signs of abating any time soon.

The Chop had only played live trivia once before now, so we hit the streets early in the week to see how a few of Central Maryland’s more than 85 (!) trivia nights stack up next to each other pound for pound. There are currently five companies actively producing live trivia events locally, and we made an effort to check out 3 games on Monday and Tuesday evening.

Photo Question: Name the actor who played know-it-all barfly Cliff Clavin on Cheers?

Brainstormer

Our first stop this week was the James Joyce Pub on Monday for Brainstormer trivia. Brainstormer is a large, slick franchising operation based out of the San Francisco Bay area. With several dozen game locations nationwide, it seems the James Joyce is the only place to play in MD. We didn’t get too many details though, since the MC still hadn’t shown up at 7:30 for the 7 pm game. When we asked the bartender about it, she pretty much said ‘Yeah, he just shows up whenever he feels like it; 8 or 8:30.’ Far from an isolated incident, the Washington Post also reported a tardy Brainstormer host a few years ago at a DC Irish pub. With no bar specials to entice us to stay, we thought it best to move on.

Charm City Trivia

It was only a short walk to the next game, when we checked out Charm City Trivia at the Green Turtle’s Fell’s Point location. CCT is active in 4 states with 18 games in MD, and hosts 10 games in the City, including the Wednesday night game at Mad River, which is reputed to be Baltimore’s most competitive trivia night. The game at the Green Turtle was much more relaxed though. In fact, it seemed most of the players had just signed up for the hell of it, because they were there already. The pair of Fell’s townies who’d been drinking since noon certainly fell into that category, and they quickly recruited the Chop to their team. Questions were easy enough, and at the end of 3 rounds (when we all pretty much lost interest) we were good for 4th place, not quite good enough to win the buckets of bar swag and a fistful of bar dollars. The drink special was a none-too-special $2 Miller Lite bottle, but the odds of winning shots at the end of each round were pretty good. Since the PA also connects to the speakers out front, you can sit outside while you play too. We’d recommend it for cheap Monday entertainment.

Showtime Trivia

The next night we were right back at it for Showtime Trivia at Frazier’s on the Avenue. Showtime is currently running 23 area games, five of which are in the city. We found the Frazier’s game to be a nice intermediate/ middle of the road game. It took up most of the larger bar, and was a good mix of regular teams trying to get into the $1000 playoff tournament of all area Showtime teams, and casual players looking to win a $30 bar tab. But with $5 pizzas and $2 domestics as a Tuesday night special, aren’t we all winners at the end of the night?

One thing that was noticeable of the crowd at Frazier’s that seems to be true of trivia players across the board is their decidedly un-hipsterish nature. There’s not a lot of crowd crossover at these things with DJ nights or obscure indie film screenings.

Quiz-a-ma-jig

Quiz-a-ma-jig is the little engine that could of Baltimore Trivia. With only two games in Fell’s Point (Max’s and Alexander’s) it seems to do more with less. We played the Thursday night game at Max’s last winter, and our experience was somewhat similar to that of two Citypaper staffers in 2005. Although the night we went was crowded, like standing room only for more than 2 hours crowded, and very, very loud and shout-y. Factor in a pretty competitive crew of regulars and no effing drink specials and we aren’t in a rush to go back any time soon.

Trivia Maryland

Trivia Maryland runs 13 games in the Baltimore suburbs, but unfortunately none inside the City itself. The closest they get are two games in Towson. If you’re downtown and want to see what they’re about though, you can play all of the “Trivia Maryland World Series” games on their website.

Final Score Trivia

Final Score operates in 3 states, and is the largest player in the local trivia market. With 25 separate events in the area they reach all points of the compass, but have only 3 games in the City. We’ve never been to the Camden Pub, Hazelwood Inn, or Field House for a game, but the Baltimore Sun recently profiled the company’s owner, who turned a pub quiz hobby into a full time job. From what we can tell, most people who host, score-keep, or are otherwise involved in trivia production started out as avid players at their own local bars.

In-House Games

A few local bars even go their own way for trivia nights, some doing it quite successfully. Federal Hill’s No Idea runs its own game, as does Fell’s Point’s Waterfront Hotel with their popular ‘WTF Do You Know?’ trivia nights. Around the corner from them the Wharf Rat has a few ‘best trivia night’ awards under its belt, although local blogger Zombie Girl prefers the atmosphere at Baltimore Taphouse, speaking highly of their regulars and staff.

The original purpose of these posts was to let you know what your options are for pub quizzes and bar trivia in Baltimore, and maybe even pick out a few of the best. At this point, we’ve come to realize that there are so many from which to choose, that we still haven’t fit them all into these two posts, and as far as choosing a favorite, you’re on your own, Choppers.

Next week, we’ll attempt to come up with something more comprehensive to help you sort out all the dates and locations where trivia is happening regularly. It might be a regular post sorted by night of the week. It might be a geographical chart, and it might even be a fancy Google map. We’re also interested to hear your experiences with trivia nights in the comments, and if you’ve played as a regular in multiple trivia games/tournaments or have been a trivia MC in the Baltimore area we’d like to know your thoughts via email to thebaltimorechop@gmail.com.

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Charm City Roller Girls Championship and Awesome Saturday Tonight in Baltimore

We’ve noticed something peculiar these last few months. Here at the Baltimore Chop, we keep track of local happenings and events pretty closely, and it seems to us that a pattern is beginning to emerge. Much as each week has a social ebb and flow to it, so do the months. And for the last few months, the final Saturday of the month has been Awesome Saturday.

It’s starting to feel like planners, promoters and party-people are all looking at their calendars in advance and zeroing in on Awesome Saturday as the date to schedule their event. We often find ourselves hard pressed to decide what to do on Awesome Saturdays.

Charm City Roller Girls' championship bout is at DuBurns Arena tonight. 6 pm doors.

A lot of that has to do with the Charm City Roller Girls, who routinely hold bouts on the final Saturday of the month. We’re always grateful that CCRG opens the doors at DuBurns nice and early, since it leaves us (and them) plenty of time for post-game raging.

We never quite understood why people don’t like showing up for things until 11pm or later. We’ve always been of the opinion that if you’re out to have fun, more time= more fun. So listen Choppers… get there early. You’re clearly not working on Saturday, so get yourself down to DuBurns and grab a PBR before the sun goes down. Tonight is the final final Saturday for a while. It’s the league championship bout, and the last chance you’ll have to see derby until July 24, when Charm City takes on Denver at home. Tonight also determines who’s awarded the prestigious and much sought-after Donaghy Cup. We don’t know all the details, but we like to imagine that it’s part Stanley Cup and part pimp cup… something you can take turns dragging to bars around town and drinking beer out of.

What else is so awesome about Awesome Saturday? Glad you asked.

In addition to the Innovate Love Art Auction that we mentioned yesterday, which is probably sold-out anyway, you could go see Matt Porterfield Speak at the Catonsville Library. Porterfield has enjoyed much acclaim recently for his film Putty Hill as well as setting the blogs on fire with the new Double Dagger No Allies video he directed.

If you’re in the mood for dinner and a movie you can check out the Slideluck Potshow at H & H’s Gallery Four. It’s bound to be a veritable bohemian bacchanalia and worth checking out.

Musically speaking you can keep it calmed-down tonight with Wrens at Sonar, step it up a notch with Loved Ones, Dead Mechanical and the Desert Boys at Golden West or get goofy and thoroughly rage with Pfisters and Davey G at the Windup Space.

If you’re not having an Awesome Saturday it’s your own fault, Baltimore.

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Baltimore Free Store Opens New Location Today

Like we mentioned last week, The Chop loves free stuff, so we’re pretty excited about the grand opening of the all new Baltimore Free Store today.

The Baltimore Free Store is another one of those radical ideas that isn’t really that radical, and is merely common sense once it’s considered objectively. Their mission statement “envisions a society where relations are not based upon individual greed, consumption, and private ownership”. Sure, that sounds a little like Marx, but it sounds a little like Jesus too.

The Free Store has been open in a hard-to-find Highlandtown area warehouse for several years now, but their new location at 1413 West Baltimore Street (map) in Union Square marks an arrival in their first proper storefront, where they’ll be open Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm, with a couple Sundays thrown in too. It’s an especially big move, since not only is it a real store in a proper neighborhood, but it’s on a main pedestrian thoroughfare as well, very near to the park, the HL Mencken house, and Hollins Market.

The Baltimore Free Store moves to the Union Square neighborhood today. Grand Opening 10 am- 4 pm.

The Chop’s experience in West Baltimore is pretty much limited to the punk shows we used to see at the Loft, Sushi Cafe, and a few other spots, so its almost like stepping into a foreign city for an afternoon. If nothing else, its a good excuse to go get lunch at Baltimore Pho, which we’ve been hearing good things about, and have been meaning to get to since they opened.

And the more stuff we can get for free the better, because tonight is poker night, and we’re likely to lose whatever we bring to the table. Your Chop has never played poker, has never bothered to learn the rules of poker, and can barely hold our own in a game of Go Fish.

But to hell with it. Tonight is more about beer in the cooler, dinner off the grill, and sitting around being manly men with guys we like, and don’t see nearly enough of these days.

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Squidfire’s 10th Art Mart @ Fell’s Point Today

Wow. We had such a good time yesterday walking around Flowermart looking for plants, looking at girls and mixing up Lemon Sticks, that we’re totally sold on the whole buy-locally-from-an-open-air-market idea. And it looks like we’re in luck again, because there’s no shortage of them today.

In addition to the Waverly Farmers’ Market which we get to as often as hangovers allow, we’re also going to check out the Really Really Free Market at 33rd and Guilford which is running concurrent today from 7 am to 1 pm. RRFM is a nationwide progressive movement started by San Francisco pinkos. You ought to know by now that if there’s one thing the Chop can get behind, it’s nationwide progressive movements started by SF pinkos. This one appears to be made up locally of Hopkins students, and their parents buy them nice things, so we’re looking to score.

Squidfire's 10th Art Mart takes place in the Fell's Point square today. 11 am- 6 pm.

But wait… there’s more! Just in case leftover Ikea lamps and obsolete televisions don’t satiate our hoarding appetite, we’re going down to Fell’s to check out Squidfire’s 10th Art Mart. Art Mart gets bigger and more successful with each installment and this time around it will feature over 50 artists and crafters and run from 11-6, rain or shine.

Odds are you’re probably aware of the huge DIY arts and crafts scene here in the city, but have only seen scattered examples of it around town or online. Art Mart is a great chance to take it all in at once and see what’s available in the world of handmade goods.

It’s a great feeling when someone says “Oh my God, that’s awesome! Where did you get that?”, and it feels even better to say “Its one of a kind. I got it at Art Mart.”

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What We’re Not Doing Tonight…

That’s right Baltimore… today it’s all about what we’re not doing tonight. Namely, We’re not going to the Walters’ for Ignite Baltimore #5. Mainly because we were in Europe and couldn’t put ourselves on the RSVP list in time. We got the wait list, but standing around Charles Street in the cold all night while the rest of you try to become the mayor of the the Walters on Foursquare is not our idea of an enchanted evening.

Ignite Baltimore #5 is sold-out at the Walters Art Gallery tonight.

For those of you unfamiliar, Ignite Baltimore is a wildly popular quarterly speaking series in which volunteers are given five minutes and 20 slides to say anything they want about anything they want. Now, the Chop is all for events with an intimate feel, and we love it when organizers remain fiercely independent in the face of success, but we cry foul on Ignite. You see, this isn’t the first time we haven’t been able to get in the door, and the event has reached the point where they’re simply refusing to grow. We say ideas are cultural currency, and supply should equal demand. They need a bigger venue.

We’re also not attending the Citypaper Cosmic Cocktail Party at the AVAM. Frankly, $50 is a lot of money to dress up and get drunk on a weeknight, especially since the event is only 3 hours and not in any way charitable.

'Dirty Boots...'

What we are up to tonight is another date. And this one is what you’d call a hot date. In fact, some of you may even remember Cowboy Boots from way back in October. We’re really pretty excited that she remembers the Chop, and we’re going to propose for our first date that we flee the hip district altogether and head up to Clementine for a nosh and a couple of Stonewall Pints, made of Ace pear cider, bourbon and fresh ginger. A little more laid-back than the first time we met, we hope.

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Station North Flea Market Today

We’re still pretty excited to get up to Towson tonight to see Gentleman Jesse and His Men, but we also wanted to put in a word here for the Station North Flea Market going on today in North Avenue between Maryland and Howard.

Get your rags and bones today from 9-2. 100 W North Ave.

This thing has been going on occasionally for some years now, and while its been a good while since the Chop has made it out for the sale, we seem to remember it being an excellent place to buy original paintings (especially if you go in the Spring, when MICA grads are getting ready to move away and trying to scrounge money and lighten their loads).

We’d be thrilled to get some art for the very blank walls in our brand new house, but the even higher priority on our shopping list is some leftover hipster flannels and thermals. You know, the kind you see on the street and think:

Why is that kid dressed like a gay autistic lumberjack?

Well, the Chop can pull off Wearing those shirts splendidly, and believe it or not, we actually do work for a living. We’re going to need them too, because where we’re headed, its going to be colder than Sarah Palin’s frozen, black heart.

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