Tag Archives: Free

Tomorrow: Baker Artist Awards Closing, Pissed Jeans

One of the best things about living in Baltimore, and perhaps the major reason we love it so dearly, is the ability to go from something very highbrow and sophisticated to something decidedly lowbrow with absolutely no transition in between.

That’s exactly how our night looks to be shaping up tomorrow, when we’ll be going directly from one of the BMA’s “late night” parties over to the Golden West for an actual late night party. There’s 2 to 1 odds that the phrase “Oh you think you fancy, huh?” will come into play at some point tomorrow.

Pissed Jeans plays the Golden West tomorrow.

If you haven’t been to one of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s late night events yet, you’re absolutely missing out on one of the best things in all of Baltimore. The museum has been throwing Saturday night parties at the close of each of its special exhibitions recently, and each one has been bigger and more fun than the last with food, music, cash bar, and free or very cheap admission. Tomorrow’s event is free, and will have a distinctly Baltimorean feel to it as it marks the closing of the Baker Artist Awards exhibit.

This year’s winners were, of course, Gary Kachadourian, Audrey Chen, and Shodekeh, who will be joined by several more familiar names including Ellen Cherry, Justin Sirois, and the Copycat Theater.

But we can only pretend to be rich and classy and sophisticated for so long. By the time this party is over we’ll be more than ready to hie to the Golden West for Sub Pop’s Pissed Jeans. What’s Pissed Jeans? It’s a big dirty dick that fucks you in the ear. It’s the kind of band that makes beer drip from the ceiling and nice things get broken. It’s the sound of America falling apart at the seams.

It’s also Dana’s birthday. Happy birthday, Dana.

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White Wires, Deep Sleep @ Ottobar Upstairs Tonight

If you ask any punk in town, ‘What’s going on at the Ottobar tonight?’ they’d tell you ‘Reagan Youth, Duh.’

That’s not the right answer though. Well, It’s technically the right answer, but it’s not the best show going on in that particular bar on this particular night. We’ve already made known our feelings about old decrepit bands on this blog, and if we skipped the Buzzcocks and sat out Youth Brigade, then you can bet we don’t give a flying fuck about seeing Reagan Youth.

White Wires plays upstairs at the Ottobar tonight. Doors at 9 pm.

What we do give a fuck about seeing is the upstairs show. White Wires should be totally scene-famous right now. Like Vivian Girls or Wavves. but they’re not so much. They do okay. We think it’s because they’re Canadians. Don’t hold that against them though. You should go to the show tonight and buy their CD and then play it loudly all Summer long while you drink Natty Boh on your porch. That’s what it’s made for. If ever there was a Summertime fun band for 2011 Hampden kids, this is it.

But as well as White Wires does garage punk, we in Charm City still like to keep our garage and our punk seperate, much like our peanut butter and our chocolate. This is evidenced by the locals on tonight’s upstairs bill. Hollywood made their name by being more garaged than a ’56 Ford, and Deep Sleep’s, straight up west coast punk style is strictly street. Street parking, that is. (How’s that for not mixing a metaphor?)

So we’re gonna go see an excellent free show tonight, maybe drink some drink specials, and as a bonus, get to see what other old fucks turn up for the Reagan Youth show without actually having to sit through the Reagan Youth show.

Correction: this show is not actually free. $7 at the door.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard Street in Charles Village. Downstairs show is Doors at 7, all ages. Upstairs show is 18+ doors at 9.

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Pratt Contemporaries Happy Hour @ Central Library Branch Tonight

Remember the first time you saw Ghostbusters? If you’re like us you were about 5 or 6 and you were riveted to the screen right from the opening credits. You could not wait for them to catch a ghost. And the first legitimate ghost hunt they went on in that movie was at the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Little five year old Chop was standing on the couch at that point, action figures in hand and yelling “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” And when they made their way down into the depths of the basement and all those stacks where nobody ever gets to go- where the whole of human wisdom is collected and gathering dust, we just kept thinking: Damn that’s cool.

You never know what you might find in the sealed off parts of a library.

Ever since then we’ve been waiting for our chance to poke around in the cavernous recesses of a giant municipal library. Tonight, that chance has arrived. The Pratt’s Central Branch is hosting a happy hour and tour this evening from 6-8 pm.

We’ve always been of the opinion that pound-for-pound, Baltimore stacks up quite favorably to NYC. That’s true of central library branches as well. There are hours upon hours of exploration at the Cathedral Street branch as just an ordinary visitor. Tonight’s tour will be guided by the people who know the Pratt best- its librarians, and represents a chance for a rare behind-the-scenes look at some of the most interesting and historic materials in their collection.

Plus, there’s FREE BEER. They don’t call it happy hour for nothing, and beer and wine will be made available to visitors during the tour. Perhaps as rare as some of the materials on view is the chance to talk in a library, and there will be some of that too. A great chance to mix and mingle with fellow readers, tonight’s event is courtesy of the Pratt Contemporaries. Not your grandma’s library boosters, the Pratt Contemps are the same group of book lovers who’ve brought you events like the Black and White Ball and Brunch with Ira Glass. You can even follow them on Twitter.

Of course, if you want to take it a step further you can join for yourself, too.

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House Rules: Free Food for Happy Hour

The Chop is jumping on the Bolt Bus and heading up to New York for a party tonight. As much as we’re loathe to admit that any city anywhere has some advantage over Baltimore, and especially New York City, we can’t deny that there is one aspect in which the Big Apple is thoroughly and completely superior: free food at happy hour.

The tradition of free food at happy hour traces back to some time of yore in some place that we don’t really feel like Googling right now. However it is mentioned in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906) in a scene in which Jurgis is low on money and chooses to go to the bar and buy whiskey in order to enjoy the free meal being served with it.

Rudy's in Hell's kitchen has been giving away hot dogs for decades and hasn't gone broke yet. Baltimore bar owners, please take note.

The Jungle is set in Chicago, of course, but we believe the tradition of free food to have originated in Manhattan, probably in bars with specific ethnic clienteles who all enjoyed specific ethnic foods. Rudy’s Bar in Hell’s Kitchen has made itself famous nationwide as ‘the place that gives away free hot dogs all day every day’, and any New Yorker who is hungry or broke or both can easily pull up many lists of plenty of bars which are more than happy to feed customers for free during happy hour. And we’re not just talking wieners here; these bars are serving up everything from dogs and burgers to wings, hummus, cheese plates, pasta dishes and even bagels and brunch spreads on Sundays.

In an era when people are as thirsty as ever and still feeling the lingering effects of the Bush Economy, free food at happy hour makes perfect sense. Baltimoreans are always quick to embrace a deal, and a local bar scene in which taverns compete not on the basis of who can throw the best dance party or tap the most microbrews, but who gives away the best and most food is a winning situation for everyone.

If Baltimore wishes to hold onto its claim of being The Greatest City in America, we need to get our act together on the happy hour food giveaways.

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Matrimonials, Quarantines, South Carey @ Ottobar Tonight

There’s no Sunday Night Football tonight. There’s no Sunday baseball game of the week either. Hell, there’s not even any new episodes of Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, the Walking Dead, or any of the other premium TV fare the networks have started to crowd up Sunday Nights with.

When all else fails though, there’s still the punk rock underground.

South Carey plays the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

Tonight’s show at the Ottobar could easily be a basement show at someone’s house. With these three bands all playing for free in the upstairs, the basement show vibe should be very well in tact. The drop ceiling, crummy tiles, pool tables and day-glo artwork are all present and accounted for, but thankfully the bar is a little better stocked than pop’s dusty old liquor cabinet.

We’d love to tell you all about the bands, but that’s the thing about basement rock… those guys hide out in the basement and don’t generate a lot of news. The Quarantines play cartoonish horror-pop on Insubordination Records. The Matrimonials pop up to play grunge-punk only occasionally. Unfortunately, we missed their set the last time they played, so we’re eager to catch them tonight.

Perhaps the most elusive of these three acts though is South Carey. We’re racking our memory and the last time we saw them was…? It could be because they’re a true basement band through and through… the kind that has more fun at band practice than at shows. That’s not to disparage them though; they’ve got/Ace Freely/they’ve got Peter Criss/waiting there for them yes they do. there is one piece of news on them though; word on the street has it they’re no longer a 2-piece, but are now playing as a quartet with a sexy beast of a new singer and another dad-core bass player. Here’s hoping the change means they’ll play that much more often and rock that much harder.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. in Charles Village. 9 pm doors, 9:30 show. Free, 21+

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City Paper’s Free Movie Night @ Charles Theater Tonight

The good news? It’s movie night. The bad news? There is no bad news. We all get to go to the movies for free. What could be bad about that?

The City Paper loves and appreciates its readers so much that they’ve decided to partner with the Charles Theater to treat us all to a free movie tonight. And not just like “Oh look, Sony Pictures gave us 200 promo passes to that crappy Green Hornet movie, so go see that.” No, not like that at all. They’re doing it open house style, and letting everyone choose what they’d like to see from among the Charles’ current selection of movies. First come, first served.

A visual approximation of the Chop at the movies.

For our money (or in this case, for free) we’d recommend snagging a seat in the theater for Casino Jack. The Jack Abramoff scandal was big. It was huge. It was so big that we should still be talking about it today- big enough that Abramoff should still be in jail for a long time yet, instead of making pizzas in Park Heights. At least Kevin Spacey is one of a very few actors you can point to in Hollywood and say “That guy’s a good actor. If he’s in a movie, it’s probably a good movie.” And since Oliver Stone was nowhere near this one, we’re betting we’ll be able to stay awake the whole time.

Your other choices tonight are:

Rabbit Hole, a boring movie about old people feeling feelings. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Oh. Yawn.

Blue Valentine, a boring movie about slightly younger people feeling feelings. Sundance may like it, but we’re betting there’s not enough sex and nudity to keep us interested.

The Fighter is all about loudmouth assholes from Boston running around acting like loudmouth assholes from Boston. It’s got Marky Mark in it, and Conan O’Brien’s sister, who is now in jail.

The movie Somewhere is directed by spoiled Hollywood brat Sofia Coppola, and is about a spoiled Hollywood brat. Very meta. Bill Murray isn’t in it though, so to hell with it.

As we said, it’s first come-first served, with about 800 seats available total. All screenings start at 7 pm, with doors opening at 6 pm. We say get there at 5:45, bring a flask and tweet about it in real-time while you wait.

Also: let’s get this on record Baltimore… One (1) person may save one (1) seat at the movies. This business of one guy trying to save 4 or 5 seats in a theater is bullshit. It’s got to stop. If you try to save 4 seats by yourself, you’re being rude. Even if you say “Oh sorry. SORRRRREEYYYY. These are saved.” in your most conciliatory and saccharine tones, you’re still being an asshole. We will call you out on it, especially if there’s 2 minutes to showtime and the place is full.

2011 is the year of not taking any shit off of people who are pretending to be nice but actually being rude.
Fair warning.

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Lower Dens @ Kennedy Center Millenium Stage Today

We’re going to go ahead and call it right now: 2011 will be the year of Lower Dens.

Remember how Future Islands picked up 2010 by the throat and choke-slammed it? We think that’s exactly what Lower Dens is about to do to 2011. After spending last year releasing their well-received Twin Hand Movement and touring extensively in the US, UK and Europe, They’ve sown seeds which are bound to bear fruit in 2011. (And we know that’s a mixed metaphor, but what do we look like, a farmer or something?) Along with a spring release from Arbouretum and up-and-comers Secret Mountains, we think 2011 will finally be the year that people start describing slow, full pop as “The Baltimore Sound,” and we think Lower Dens will be at the forefront of it.

Lower Dens plays the Kennedy Center Today. 6 pm.

(It’s also worth noting that we’re not saying this just to say it, or just to be nice. We mention those three bands on purpose because we like them. There’s no shortage of other acts in Baltimore right now playing similar music who we don’t mention, because they’re, ermm, not as good as those three. This is our opinion.)

While you go to work at your job today, we’re going to take the day to walk around DC, maybe visit the National Portrait Gallery, and then head over to the Kennedy Center to see Lower Dens play a free show on the Millenium Stage at 6 pm. If you’re not as fortunate as we are to be able to go to shows at 6 pm on a Monday, you can still check out the set via the live webcast link on the Kennedy Center site.

Being that early will even leave us time for dinner and drinks on U Street before we had back. Let’s just hope DC people don’t do like we do and close every damn small business in the city on Mondays, just cause they’d rather pull a Garfield and stay home eating lasagna.

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Free Stuff! Available on a Streetcorner Near You in Baltimore

A friend once told us of a conversation he was having with an acquaintance of his who was from Glasgow. The two of them were walking down the street chit-chatting when they passed a set of fireplace tools; a poker, tongs, etc.

“What in the fuck is that?” asked the Scot.

“It’s a fireplace set.” said our friend.

“Well, I can see that, but what the fuck is it doing in the street?!”
Sensing a disconnect, our friend explained “Whoever owned it is done with it, but it’s still perfectly good, so they put it out here for someone to take.”

“That’s fucking amazing!” said the Scotchman. “In Glasgow you’d never see that in a million years. People keep their things forever, and if you put something like that out on the street the hooligans would snatch it up and beat someone to death with it.”

Failing a visit from the rag and bone man, putting your junk in the street is the next best thing.

This story has always stuck with us, and it reminds us of one of the things we like best about living in Baltimore: people put free stuff on the corner all the time. You never know when you may turn a corner on any given street and find an old video game console, a floor lamp, a small appliance or anything else that may prove useful.

Of course, there’s been something of an increase in this sort of thing since the indefinite hiatus of bulk trash collections. In certain Baltimore neighborhoods the night before bulk trash collection was a veritable community swap meet. As a downtown renter, the Chop was never too proud to walk around the neighborhood seeking treasure among the trash, and we even came up with a few quality items that served us well. We really, really wish that city hall could find the funds to reinstate bulk trash night. not just for this reason, but because it was a valuable service for city residents.

Then there’s the seedy underbelly of Baltimore thrift: the eviction pile. It is a degrading and humiliating experience to have a landlord turn you out of your own home, but what’s worse is having to solve the logistical problems of moving everything you own at a moment’s notice (and being flat broke at that moment). Most people evicted in Baltimore city are savvy enough to have someone standing by at all times in front of their house to watch over their possessions. But in any case, after a truck is secured and packed, most people will leave behind a pile of goods of at least some size. you’ve got to travel light, and anything you leave behind is the landlord’s problem, and fuck him.

The Chop has been on both sides of this phenomenon. We’ve never suffered eviction, but when we moved from the city back to the far suburbs, we knew we were going to have to travel light. With the TV packed and moved, the only entertainment on that last day in our apartment was to watch people root through and carry off our stuff. (Yes, there was a tranny hooker. And yes, we watched out the window as she rooted through the nightstand and put the leftover condoms in her purse. That happened. Stay classy, Baltimore.)

But we say all this now because we’ve finally acquired enough junk that our basement needs a thorough cleaning. Some of it may go to Goodwill. If we’re feeling industrious, some of it may find it’s way to the Baltimore Free Store. Some of the furniture may get consigned, and some items might be reserved for the Remington Dump.

Undoubtedly though, a few items are just going to be cast out on the street. Perhaps with a little sign that says ‘Free.’

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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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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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