Tag Archives: AVAM

Flowermart, Kinetic Sculpture Race, MD Film Festival Today

Today is a big red letter day in Charm City. It’s the second day of Flowermart, the third day of the Maryland Film Festival, and Kinetic Sculpture Race day.

What does this mean to you? It means if you’re going to any one of these, have fun. If you’re not, you probably shouldn’t leave the house at all, because you’re going to be looking at the biggest traffic clusterfuck since Baltimore Marathon day. Charles Street and Monument will both be closed in Mount Vernon all weekend, traffic will be slow through Station North, and South and Southeast Baltimore will see staggered delays and parking problems from spectators and moving sculptures, and those things aren’t fast.

God help us, we’re going to try to cruise through flowermart on the way to see some sculptures, if it doesn’t rain. As you can see from the photos, the race looks like more fun in the sun.

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Best Bets: Christmas Shopping at the AVAM Sideshow

Remember the first time you ate at Paper Moon Diner? You were probably in your first year of college, or maybe it was even over the summer in high school. Remember how you had to put your name on a list, and amuse yourself outside for like half an hour while you waited for a table? Remember how all the girls were unabashed about making eyes at the dessert case and how it was a big discussion whether or not to sit in the smoking section?

Most of all, remember the first time you saw all those toys?

Of course you do. You had a good buzz on. Maybe you were even a little high, and you sat down in there and had to put forth a Herculean effort not to roam around the dining room touching everything you could reach, putting figures in dirty poses and telling everyone crap stories from your childhood. You did that. We all did that.

The Sideshow gift shop at the AVAM has toys for kids from 6 to 66.

That, Baltimore, is the very same feeling you will get the first time you step foot into the Sideshow, the gift shop at the American Visionary Art Museum.

Far from your typical museum gift shop, the Sideshow’s curiosities rival the museum itself. Part Dime Museum, part Toys-R-Us, and part Art Mart, this place is literally a one-stop non-mall Christmas shop with gifts for kids from six to sixty-six.

The last time the Chop was down that way, the Sideshow was closed because it was nighttime and the time before that the place was packed because the museum was free, so we didn’t spend as much time browsing and playing around as we might have liked, but we were definitely impressed enough that we’re planning to make a separate trip down there just to see the gift shop, which you can do without paying for admission to the museum.

This time we’re going to block out at least a solid hour for playing and perusing among their shelves, which are densely packed from floor to ceiling with everything from the highbrow (art books, tea sets) to the lowbrow (plastic dog poop, fake vomit) and everything in between. We can’t wait to get a proper look at all those toys, as well as their selection of original artworks and goods curated from around the world. We’re also especially interested in their archive of screen printed posters from indie rock shows around the country, which are art in their own right and suitable for framing.

We’re going to be bringing two lists with us when we go: one of the people we’ll need to shop for for Christmas, and a blank list for all the stuff in there we’re going to want.

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Sideshow at the Visionary is located at 800 Key Highway in Federal Hill. 443-872-4926. Of course, we’re not actually going today, because like everything else in this crummy town they are closed on Mondays. Their hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm.

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O’Malley/ Mikulski Victory Party @ AVAM Tonight

Election nights can be a tough time for political geeks. For those of us who follow politics as a spectator sport, a mid-term election may not be the Superbowl, but it’s at least equivalent to an NFL playoff game. It’s something we get excited about. It’s something we don’t want to sit around and watch alone. It needs to be shared with other political geeks, and not the ones on the Daily Kos message boards either. For nights like tonight, it’s time to turn off the internet and treat this election like the event that it is.

Problem is, you can’t have a house party, because all your friends are going to work tomorrow, and because frankly, the national outlook isn’t primed for a festive atmosphere. Some Great parties were thrown when Obama was elected, but that was a whole different animal politically.

If there's any governor in these 50 states that knows how to throw a party, you can bet it's Martin O'Malley.

Strangely enough, Baltimore also lacks a true-blue Democratic stronghold bar. You could argue that nearly every bar is a stronghold Democratic bar, and even make a case for certain spots near city hall and the Sun newsroom, but we haven’t quite got the Democratic equivalent of a Ropewalk. Where’s the bronze bust of Bill Clinton, eh?

So for those of us looking to make a party out of election night, the only place left to go is straight to the candidates themselves. You can get tears in your beer over at Ehrlich headquarters, but your best bet for tonight is to show up to the AVAM and party with the likes of Martin O’Malley and Senator Barb.

Official celebrations are always nice, mostly because they’re financed with campaign dollars. While this might seem wasteful at first blush, in the real world you can’t possibly have underpaid staffers and volunteers working long hours, evenings and weekends, including really long hours doing ‘get out the vote’ on election day and then not throw a party at the end. It would be a slap in the face to your entire staff and all your supporters. If you didn’t donate or volunteer, then shame on you, but you can still come out and enjoy the fun (Don’t get your hopes up for open bar though. Gotta keep the war chest full for the next cycle).

Tonight’s event is free to the public, and opens up at 7:30, officially beginning at 8 pm when the polls close. Election results will be broadcast and speeches will be made, and the AVAM looks to be one of the brightest spots on a pretty dim electoral night. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to hit a free buffet (Who feels like cooking on a Tuesday?) and throw on some ritzy clothes. And don’t forget to sport tonight’s sexiest accessory… that little I voted sticker.

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Voting is a great habit to build, and beginning today you can vote for the Baltimore Chop every day in the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies blog competition. This blog is nominated in 3 categories (Music/Nightlife, Personal, and Misfits), and we’d really like your vote. It only takes a second to register at baltimoresun.com, and after that you can vote for the Chop once a day until November 12. After all, we write this blog every single day to keep you up on shows, parties, culture, fashion, politics, booze and the rest, so why not vote every day?

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American Visionary Art Museum Offers Free Admission Today

Well, here it is Sunday again. Caw Caw and Purple Reign and all that. We’re still not that into it. And aside from the few tiny home improvement chores still on our list, we’re going to be looking for something non-football related to entertain ourselves with today.

The Visionary offers free admission today. 11am-3pm.

Fortunately, this week it’s a pretty easy choice. We had such a good time at the BMA’s Warhol exhibit last week, that another museum trip seemed like an obvious choice for this Sunday. Even better, the AVAM is offering free admission today as part of Free Fall Baltimore.

If you ask the Chop, Free Fall Baltimore is just about the best thing that ever came out of City Hall, and if you don’t avail yourself of at least some of the program’s offerings, you’re just plain missing out on one of the best things about living in Baltimore. It’s making us smile from ear to ear.

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The American Visionary Art Museum is at 800 Key Highway in Federal Hill. Today’s Free Fall hours are from 11am until 3 pm.

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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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