Tag Archives: Highlandtown

Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Six Dollar a Gallon Gas Edition

The Chop is a longtime lover and admirer of the Great Outdoors. Not like hills and forests and all that crap, but we like sidewalks a lot. We’d rather climb a rooftop than a mountain, and rather cool off in an open fire hydrant than some crummy lake. (People pee in lakes! That’s gross!) We’ve been noted as one of the area’s preeminent urban outdoorsmen, which mostly means that we like drinking outside.

It’s for this reason we’re so excited that the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally will be meeting at the Laughing Pint tonight, and availing ourselves of the outdoor tables. Beer always tastes better when it is drunk en plein air, and Democracy is always the more the merrier, so consider yourself invited. Just look for the big red, white and blue bottle on the table.

Baltimore's Drinking Liberally meets at the Laughing Pint tonight. 7 pm.

We’ll be even happier when the meetings move back to Joe Squared, because we can easily walk there. In fact, we can walk to a lot of our favorite places and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing lately. We’ve only been averaging two car trips a week, and those being short ones, which is quite handy since gas is going to be SIX DOLLARS A GALLON very soon and forevermore.

Let’s talk about that for a minute, since with congress on Spring Break it’s one of the very few political stories happening at the moment. What is causing high gas prices? Well, what caused the fall of Rome? What caused World War II? What’s causing global warming? There’s no one thing you can point to to blame for the increase in gas prices. There’s not even any six things. It’s not Obama’s fault, not the refiners’ fault, not OPEC, not Wall Street, etc. It’s just the way of the world. The truth is that we’ve been overdue for six dollar gas for about a decade or two. We got (and get) a lot of free and cheap oil from the Kuwaitis, but not even that is a permanent solution, especially when it’s all burned up by humvees and jets in our other blood-for-oil adventure, which so far has netted us zero free barrels, and is unlikely to anytime soon.

So six dollar gas is going to be a fact of life, and we’re all just going to have to get used to it. If we sound a little smug about that, well, we are. We live in the city and like to walk. We’re even going to buy a bicycle when the time is right. We don’t even commute to work. When six dollar gas arrives, we’re fully prepared to put our shoe leather where our mouth is. We’re serious, and we wish everyone else was as well.

In the last few years in Baltimore we’ve seen a number of incremental improvements for car-free living. We have a Bike Czar now, new lanes and trails for cyclists, a Charm City Circulator, the MTA’s Charm Card, zipcars and the Red Line plan, which is coming- like it or not. None of these things are perfect, but as more people gravitate toward them with the rise in gas prices, they’re all bound to improve.

Perhaps the best part about the change that’s gonna come? We can drink. Liberally. After all, we’re not driving home.

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Tomorrow: Found Footage Festival @ Creative Alliance

What could Mr. T’s mother, toilet training for cats, herpes, and puppet aerobics all possibly have in common? Only the fact that someone thought they were not worth watching, and so they all ended up in some thrift shop or garage sale or flea market or video-outlet bargain bin, where Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher decided that they were worth watching.

Pickett and Prueher are the founders and coordinators of the Found Footage Festival, a collection of old, odd and obscure videos which have all become entirely divorced from their original context, and have been sewn together as a sort of patchwork quilt of the VHS era. Now in its fifth series, the Festival will come to the Creative Alliance tomorrow as part of a 75 city US tour.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot screens with the FFF at Creative Alliance tomorrow.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘Pfft, I got Youtube… why do I need to go to the Patterson just to see assholes make assholes of themselves?’ Because it would take you weeks and months to navigate among the billions of videos out there on Youtube, and even when you find something on the order of the Video Guide to Successful Seduction it will not have been edited, and it would be a full time job just to watch this much 80’s camp on your own. Prueher and Pickett know from comedy, having worked for the Onion and the Colbert Report respectively, and they’ve done all the work for you with the FFF, as well as added some of their own insights into this particular corner of the culture, having viewed about a million hours of footage between them.

But that’s not all… They’re also presenting John Heyn and Jeff Krulik’s cult classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Shot in the early days of personal camcorders in Landover, MD, the short was dubbed and passed hand-to-hand for years, and has rarely been shown on a theater screen.

But this is where the Creative Alliance excels, in showing things that you can’t possibly see anywhere else. Everything looks just a little better on the silver screen, especially things like the Found Footage Festival, which is solid video gold.

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Creative Alliance at the Patterson is located at 3134 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown. Tomorrow’s showtime is 8 pm.

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Libya Edition

When Barack Obama was elected by a wide margin, and subsequently handed a Nobel Peace Prize, it was all based on one simple idea: that he’s not George Bush. Candidate Obama, for all his lofty speeches was elected on an unspoken compact with the electorate. He promised us, without saying so, that whenever he was confronted with any decision at all he would stop and ask himself what would W do? and then do the exact opposite.

We’ve seen this pattern play out in virtually every news cycle since. When Old Man Cheney or his little shrew of a daughter comes on TV criticizing the president, you can bet he’s making popular decisions and doing a bang up job. When he does something like halt Guantanamo trials and let the place operate business-as-usual, the Democratic base gets mad because he’s fucking up the promise.

Baltimore Drinking Liberally meets the second and fourth Wednessday of each month.

We really hate to say this, because it’s not very nice or compassionate or idealistic, but we just don’t care about Libya. Khaddafi can stay, Gadafi can go, and if Sharif don’t like it he can rock the casbah. We can still hear the neo-con cries of “But he bombed his own people!” from 2003. Truth is that the Kurds were on the point of revolution at the time, and they could never truly be described as “Saddam’s people.” Likewise, when Libyan civilians organized into a full scale revolutionary force and joined with a sizable portion of defected military to start seizing cities, they ceased to be ‘civilians’ as we think of them.

Some will say that Khaddafi has lost his legitimacy. That sounds all well and good, but what’s behind it? Is any leader legitimate who was not fairly elected? But he’s still recognized as leader, and has been for 40 years, and a UN resolution doesn’t change that. Sure, he’s an asshole, but there are assholes in power all over the world. We should have learned by now that just as in physiology, if you blow up an asshole you end up leaving the colon hanging out… and you get shit everywhere. We don’t even really know who these rebels are- maybe it’s best not to hand them a whole country just yet. They came at the king, they best not miss.

Some of you may be of the opinion that scatalogical imagery and Wire references are a poor way to express opinions on world affairs. It should appall or amuse you then to learn that we’ve decided to join the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs. We’re not sure how or why, but they sent us a letter about joining, so we will. You may remember it was one of our New Year’s resolutions to get involved in some sort of organized activity, and hobnobbing with politicos and statesmen in the World Trade Center sounds like something we could get used to.

Of course, it probably won’t be as much fun as hobnobbing with a bunch of young urban lefty drunks, which we’re already doing on a regular basis in the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally, which meets tonight at the Laughing Pint at 7 pm.

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Laughing Pint is located at 3531 Gough St. in Highlandtown. DL meetings are free and open to all.

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Bob Ray’s Down and Dirty Austin Film Tour @ Creative Alliance Tonight

We’ve never been to Austin, TX.

We suspect we’d like it very much if we ever had been. We like Baltimore very much, after all. We like New Orleans and Richmond and Charleston, and even liked Galveston when we went there. So we have reason to believe that we’d get along just fine in Austin, and that when Austin filmmaker Bob Ray brings his Down and Dirty Film Tour to the Creative Alliance tonight he’ll feel right at home.

Total Badass screens at Creative Alliance tonight. 7:30.

The Chop can’t sell you on this. Much like Kesey and the Pranksters, you’re either on the bus, or off the bus. There’s no middle ground here. Just take one quick look at the movie posters and you’ll know right away that this is something in which you either have no interest at all, or something for which you absolutely need to clear your calendar and go see right now!

Hell on Wheels is the second half of tonight's double feature. 9:30.

For those of you who are on the bus, here are the details. Doors and drink specials start at 6:30 (and show up on time, because the CA screening theater is of modest proportions) and Total Badass begins at 7:30, followed by a Q and A with Bob Ray and Chad Holt.

The Charm City Roller Girls will then host the second half of the double feature, Hell on Wheels with another Q and A after featuring Ray as well as some of the finest real life bruisers in Baltimore.

If your lame schedule and crappy life don’t permit you to see both films for a paltry $10, you can check out either one for $7 at the door. We say watch them both. You’ll be glad you did. Now get on the goddamn bus and hang on for dear life.

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Creative Alliance is located at 3134 Eastern Ave in Highlandtown. 410-276-1651. info@creativealliance.org

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Pat Me Down Slowly, It Feels So Good Edition

Most people view Thanksgiving as a one day event focused around Turkey and trimmings. To these people we say “What the hell is the matter with you? You’re missing the point entirely!”

The truth of the matter is that Thanksgiving is a holiday that takes no less than three full days to observe properly. These three days highlight all the best of what it means to be an American, and with one of these elements missing, our 3 legged cultural stool would topple instantly. Thursday is of course all about food. Feasting is the order of the day, and failing to eat your weight in carbs is downright un-American. If Thursday is all about gluttony, then Friday is set aside for greed. We buy things because we want them; because they’re on sale, because we can.

Wednesday, however, is our favorite night of the three. It’s the night when people come home from wherever they’ve been and we all go out and drink. And what better place is there to drink tonight than the Laughing Pint with the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally?

Baltimore's Drinking Liberally chapter meets at the Laughing Pint tonight. 7 pm until... ?

And we may as well talk turkey, since with all the lame ducks around there’s not much happening in Washington these days. All that anyone in the media seems to want to report on lately is the TSA and their army of perverts who are groping our grandmas and molesting our mothers on a daily basis.

We’re truly sick of hearing stupid statements like “Well, it’s better than having a bomb on your plane.” or “Rape-iscan machines give you cancer!” or the dumbest of all “Well, if you don’t like it, just don’t fly. It’s that simple!” Would that it were, but the world is not just that simple, and life doesn’t work that way.

These searches may be awful, but hearing about them every day is as awful, and lasts a lot longer.

One thing we’re not sick of hearing about though is Good Time Charlie going to the well. We didn’t think much of the charges they stuck on Charlie Rangel. Apartments this and stationery that… none of it was really that scandalous. At the same time though, Rangel is an argument for term limits if there ever was one. Uncle Charlie is 80 years old now, and has just been elected easily to another term after 40 years in congress.

This guy is a product of an old Democratic machine system which, for the most part, doesn’t really exist anymore except in the deep down nitty-gritty old school neighborhoods of east coast cities, a perfect example of which is Harlem. Rangel doesn’t so much represent Harlem as he does lord over it in a kingly fashion. When he fianlly does fall over and die, rest assured that he will have hand-picked his successor for the next 50 years.

Don’t get it wrong, we like Charlie and his voting record okay, but we also don’t really like him much at all. He’s less venerable old statesman and more crazy old goat, and when he’s called to the well of the house and roundly chastised, you can believe the Chop will be tuning into C-Span on the big screen, popcorn in hand.

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Laughing Pint is located at 3531 Gough St. (corner of Conkling) in Highlandtown. (410) 342-6544

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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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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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