Tag Archives: MICA

Best Bets: Deck The Walls

The Chop likes looking at art. Be it in a gallery, museum, private home, or on the street, we’re always interested in the way that art can make a space speak. Perhaps our favorite setting for seeing art though is not a chic opening or an austere museum, but in the marketplace.

MICA is currently halfway through their third annual Art Market, and if you haven’t been yet, we recommend you get yourself over to Mount Royal Avenue posthaste. Events like these represent one of your best opportunities to discover quality works for exceptional values. With space for 250 vendors ranging from undergrads to established alumni, and from crafters to painters and beyond.

MICA's 3rd annual Art Market continues today and tomorrow, 10-6.

Sprawling across 3 galleries and 4 days, the 2010 Art Market is open from 10am until 6pm, ending tomorrow.

We say head down there late, and on the off chance you don’t find anything that suits your tastes, or can’t quite put your finger on that perfect piece for a friend, you can head straight up the JFX another couple exits to Atomic Books and pick up a copy of their 2011 pinup calendar which will debut tonight. Photographer Mike Lee will be on hand to give a behind-the-scenes talk on pinup style and photography, as well as take questions and presumably sign copies of the calendar.

Each calendar you buy benefits Moveable Feast, and frankly they make a much better gift for that dude you don’t know how to shop for than a record or a bottle of booze would.

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Atomic Books is located at 3620 Falls Road in Hampden.

MICA’s Art Market is at 1301 Mount Royal Avenue in Bolton Hill. Brown Center’s Leidy Atrium, Falvey Hall lobby and Rosenberg Gallery

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Filed under Art Openings, Baltimore Events

An Evening With Terry Gross @ MICA’s Brown Center Tonight

Well, just when we thought we had learned our lesson about buying tickets for things in advance, we completely failed to secure tickets for tonight’s appearance by Terry Gross at MICA’s Brown Center. This is pretty disgraceful, since we’ve known about this for several months now. We even put it on our calendar and everything, but didn’t bother to look into buying tickets until it was well sold out. (Maybe just as well though; $50 is not a cheap ticket for a public radio host.)

Gross is, of course, the host of NPR’s Fresh Air, a daily arts and culture interview program which is easily one of the best things on radio and one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.

Terry Gross appears at a sold-out Brown Center tonight.

Even though we’re not going tonight, it gives us a good excuse to relate an anecdote which we found funny at the time.

We were in a smallish German city on our trip to Europe earlier this year, where we found a tiny little record shop on a corner near the edge of downtown. There were some good vinyl and posters on display in the windows, but the first few times we went by there the shop was locked up tight.

Eventually we found it open one afternoon, and although we don’t mess around with vinyl records, we thought we might find some European exclusives as a souvenir for Roommate or even some eBay gold for our own benefit. We gave a nod to the proprietor who was busy with his macbook and started browsing the stacks. Instead of playing music we were listening to some old man go on about something or other over the speakers in English for several minutes. When he finally wound up his monologue, Terry Gross’ voice came over the air.

“Oh!” We say “You’re listening to Fresh Air! I didn’t realize you had that in Germany.”

When we said this to the guy behind the counter, his face lit up as brightly as a Christmas tree. It turns out that they do not have Fresh Air in Germany, but that he was listening via iTunes. When we mentioned that we regularly listen on the radio, and live sort of near Philadelphia (people abroad do not know where Maryland is), his perfect English became very excited. We recounted some of our favorite episodes, including the infamous Gene Simmons interview which was one of the most awkward broadcasts in the history of radio.

As it turned out, this record store guy was a huge and rabid fan of Fresh Air, and was trying to work his way through the entire archives of the show. Once he found out that we’d been listening for years, there was no shortage of questions, most of which we had no answers for.

There was one earnest question he did ask though, which we could answer with certainty:

“So, in your country, Terry Gross is a big star? Like Oprah?”

Not quite…

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If you’ve never heard the Gene Simmons Fresh Air interview, we strongly encourage you to click through and listen to it. It is not available in the NPR Archives, and it’s a solid hour of Simmons insulting Gross and NPR and making a series of very inappropriate and sexist remarks while making himself out to be a primal filthy rich sex god. In our opinion, Gene Simmons is a fucking clown, and Terry Gross is one of the greatest interviewers working anywhere today.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Lecture

The New York Times Dumps on Baltimore Again, But Local Artists Are Too Busy Making Art to Notice

The Baltimore Chop was none too thrilled on Wednesday when we read on the Midnight Sun that the New York Times is looking down its nose at us again. They seem to see Baltimore as little more than a source for so-so regional cuisine, a great inspiration for campy Broadway musicals, and a crummy baseball team for the sweeping.

This time around they’re making us out to be a bungling, artless money-pit who is stuck in the Schmoke era and wants to copy Manhattan. We really, really wish the Times would mind their own fucking business a little more, and publish these cheap, quickie drive-by stories about Baltimore a little less.

The truth is that there’s already more creativity going on in Baltimore than the Chop can possibly keep up with. We saw an outstanding opening last night, and we’re torn between two events that deserve our full attention tonight.

Cezanne and American Modernism closes at the BMA tonight. 7-10:30 pm.

First up, Run of the Mill Theater is opening Variations on Beauty tonight in the BBOX space in MICA‘s Gateway Building. The Variations series is an ongoing project for which playwrights assemble and collaborate on various themes, with each crafting a play on the central idea. Tonight’s opening show focuses on Beauty and features eight world premieres by local writers, as well as a chance for the audience to decide on the next theme. Variations only runs 8 performances, and closes May 30 so get your tickets now.

We might have to catch a weekday performance though, because we’re probably going to keep it close to home and head over to the closing party for Cezanne and American Modernism at the BMA.

(Despite the BMA’s website, it looks like the New York Times also poo-pooed this exhibition when it opened in New Jersey.)

We’ve been meaning to get over and see this show since it opened, and for once it looks like our procrastination has paid off. The museum is keeping late hours tonight (until 10:30), and $5 for non-members is a bargain to get dressed up fancy, see the paintings, get access to the snack table and a cash bar too. Not to mention DJ’s and soundscape artists performing live.

Innovate Love auctions art at Silo Point tomorrow. 7-11 pm.

While we’re high on our visual arts horse, we’re also going to mention tomorrow’s Innovate Love art auction at Silo Point. Innovate Love is a joint benefit for Innovate Baltimore and the Baltimore Love Project; worthy causes both. We probably won’t make it out to this because tomorrow is a crazy busy night in Baltimore, but we really wish we could. We haven’t been to Silo Point yet, although we almost went to the last auction they had there. This one’s in the penthouse, so it’s likely to be pretty swank. Then again, Super Art Fight is bound to make sure it doesn’t get too stuffy in there.

We’re still looking to fill our walls up with art, but alas, Big Daddy Barack hasn’t made with our tax refund deposit yet, so an art auction is a temptation we can’t afford at the moment. Just as well. We can always spend Six Dollars! for the Sunday New York Times so they can tell us how crummy and provincial it was.

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MICA’s Gateway Building is at 1601 W. Mount Royal Ave in Bolton Hill.

The BMA is at 10 Art Museum Dr. in Charles Village.

Silo Point is at 1200 Steuart St. in Locust point.

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Filed under Art Openings, Baltimore Events, Theater

Practicing as a Professional @ MICA Today

Continuing on with last night’s theme, today is all about another friend who’s forsaken Baltimore for supposedly greener pastures. In this case, its our buddy Daniel Shea, who is lecturing at his alma mater MICA tonight on the subject of Practicing As a Professional, along with fellow alumni Rose Cromwell and Jennifer Grimyser at 4:30 today in the Brown Center’s Falvey Hall.

Cheshire, Ohio from the Plume series, by Daniel Shea

While we have to give Daniel a pass for moving back to Chi to teach and work, since he’s a Chicago native and only ever planned to be here for college, he’s certainly the type of working artist and good friend we can always use more of here in Baltimore.

The Chop knows for a fact that he’s been working his ass off non-stop since graduation, and today he’ll be good enough to share the knowledge he’s accrued with you; and if you listen closely, you might just figure out how to avoid the trap of being the kind of photographer who shoots corny weddings and maudlin photos of peoples’ fucking pets.

Instead, Daniel’s chosen to do things that are actually interesting, like being a founding member of the Dreamboats Collective, and working on his Plume series. He’s also built his own website at dsheaphoto.net, in addition to being on just about every social media website out there in the cloud.

So yeah, sneak out of work early today and learn how to stack up some paper for yourself.

If you can’t make it today, you can also see Daniel solo tomorrow in MICA’s Bunting Hall, room#110, where he’ll be disussing his Plume and Removing Mountains series’. Check it out.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Lecture

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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Filed under Baltimore Events, Other

Authors and Poets and Actors, Oh My!

The Lettering and Type book launch was a smashing success.

Well, as smashing a success as an event can be with no open bar. Tsk Tsk boys. The Chop was also glad for a chance to bump into Justin Sirois, who presented the letter Y, and from whom you can pre-order Adam Robinson’s Adam Robinson and Other Poems from Baltimore’s own Narrow House Press .

It being a weeknight, the chop decided to skip the quasi-official afterparty at Dionysis and duck in instead to our local for a couple of Dogfishheads and a peek at the World Series. We were pleasantly surprised to take a seat at the bar next to Baltimore’s own thespian, professor, and man about town John Astin, along with his wife Valerie just in time for Halloween.

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Astin as Gomez Addams

Astin is best known as Gomez Addams , but is also very well regarded in town for his interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe, which the Chop has seen and for which we can vouch. The Chop is also delighted to report that we met Astin as very much a gentleman and a very knowledgeable baseball fan whose memory stretches back to the arrival of the Orioles and the original Washington Senators. All in all, a swell guy to have in the neighborhood, and a pretty eventful Thursday Night.

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Filed under A Day in the Life of the Chop

This Post Brought to You by the Letter D.

If you want to find the Chop on the town tonight, then get thee down to Falvey Hall in MICA’s Brown center at 6:30 for the launch party of Lettering and Type, the new book on typographic design by Baltimore’s own Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals. the event kicks off with a reception (Free Booze) at six thirty, which will be followed by a presentation called Fan Letter, in which 26 artists and designers give presentations on their favorite typographic character.

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Lettering and Type by Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals

Some of you out there in town may already know Bruce and Nolen not as book authors but in their other incarnations both as Post Typography and as two thirds of Baltimore powerhouse Double Dagger, which has received much, and much deserved acclaim in its own right. But whether you’re familiar with these two or not, you may be asking yourself “Why should I make a point of going to the art school for some boring-ass lecture on typewriters? I saw ten minutes of Helvetica once and that shit put me straight to sleep.”

Well, aside from the free booze, here’s why you need to be there: this is a historic event, both for the world of design and for the city of Baltimore. The book making its debut here is absolutely going to become the new standard text in this field. Years from now your kids are going to be made to buy this as a textbook when they get into college. And many, many years hence when Nolen and Bruce are a-moulderin’ in their graves, the New York Times is going to publish their obits, with this as one of their signal accomplishments.

(Incidentally, if you want to know what typeface is carved into headstones, you can probably find it in the book.)

Its long been a dilemma that all this city is known for is Hons and Murder and John Waters. Well, these guys are to their field what John Waters is to film, and something else they have in common with Uncle John is that Nolen and Bruce both realize what a good thing they’ve got going in Baltimore. They deserve the admiration of all of us, because here are two people not chasing some flight of fancy to NYC or LA, but making their dreams a reality right here in Baltimore. This book will help to put Balto on the map, not only as a place where fonts are designed, but as a place where passionate people can follow their ambitions and make their dreams a reality.

See you there.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Books and Literature