Interesting Sights From Northeast Baltimore(Spoiler Alert! There Will Be Wall Art)


I had lunch today at the Broadway Market and I always drive North on Broadway when I make my way home because it is just so interesting to see how Baltimore is developing in some areas and how there is still a lot of work to be done to improve our city in others. I love this city so much and I just can’t stop discovering it.

Well here is the awesome lunch I discovered; Bibimbop at Lucia Joanns in Broadway Market.  They serve normal diner fare AND Korean food.  AWESOME! Photo, please!

ImageStir fried veggies, beef, rice topped off with egg and srihacha sauce. Yum. You can get it without meat and egg for a vegan treat.

Afterwards, traveling North on Broadway, I took time to take a photo of one of my favorite pieces of urban art that I have been meaning to document here in this blog.  Finally, here it is.  Image

You may notice that in the left of the shot is a huge Scan thingy with the address of the vacant property.  I wonder if this is part of the Wall Hunters film project/social movement, ‘ya know as a way to ID the buildings.  I’ve seen these on other buildings with art on them so who knows?

As I headed farther up on Broadway I found this out of the way bar near Hoffman and Gay streets.      Image

It’s padlocked, I guess because it’s the middle of the day.  Maybe it is just closed for good, but admittedly, if it is shut for good, the immediate area around it is oddly clean.  The sign says, ‘Connie Torain’s Hideaway-Your Home Away From Home’.  Oh that Connie!

Now I only found Connie’s because I was turning around to take a photo of this Amtrak mural that oddly enough is visible from the Amtrak train tracks that run through Northeast Baltimore on their way to Penn Station.  I love the art but I wonder what the thinking was on that commissioning; “Hey, we need a mural of an Amtrak train to remind the people on Amtrak trains that they are on an Amtrak train!”  Here’s the mural.Image

Till next time, hons!

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My New Obsession Part 2, The ‘In The Spirit’ Big Reveal


A few weeks back, I posted an entry about what i perceived to be a memorial garden of some sort in West Baltimore, that I believe is referred to as ‘In The Spirit’. As I mentioned in that blog, it was almost completely overgrown with ivy and it, quite obviously had been forgotten.  Here is a photo of it to refresh your memory. InThespiritFence

And a closer shot of the part of the fence that is not so obscured. inTheSpiritBlueWell I finally returned to finish the job.  Armed with a new pair of Fiskar Shears that Anna bought me, I set about revealing the rest of the  message on the memorial last Tuesday.  I didn’t only want to see what was written under all of that ivy.  I wanted to attempt to find the inspiration and essence of this sprawling memorial garden.  It is such a large area that I find it so odd that even in an area as economically depressed as Midtown Edmondson, that no one could stop by once a year to keep it cleaned.  At that time, I didn’t know who actually created all of this art, but I surmised that was done in conjunction with a local artist or artists, Baltimore City, and school children.  It appears that my assumption is dead on.  I found this piece of fence that I’m calling the “Credits wall”.InTheSpiritCreditsYou might be able to see the name, Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen and words, ‘Midtwon Edmondson Art team’.I was able to find some information on Mr.Schlossberg-Cohen and it turns out that he specializes in public art projects.  I believe that he founded,the REBUILDING thru ART PROJECT and I know that he works with the Open Society Foundation. http://www.rebuildingthruart.com/Home.html    http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/multimedia/sparking-creativity-sparking-hope

This piece was dedicated, 9/25/2003.  I can only assume that it’s been left to the elements since then.  The garden is located at the intersection of Lauretta Avenue and N. Monroe St. and there is more to it than just the fence and the wall, but I must say that the afternoon I spent cutting away all that ivy was more rewarding than I could have imagined.  Here is the fence and wall revealed.InTheSpiritVineWALLTOTALInTheSpiritVineWallBEHOLD

InTheSpiritVineWallNeverAgainAll of these images are very Keith Haring-esque.  And now for the full Text on the fence revealed.InTheSpiritFenceREVEALIt says: “RIP. WERE THESE REAL LIVING AND BREATHING PEOPLE THAT HAVE DIED THROUGH DRUGS AND VIOLENCE? IT MUST BE TRUE BECAUSE I HEARD ABOUT SOME OF THEM ON THE NEWS, AND EVEN MY FRIENDS KNEW SOME OF THESE PEOPLE. WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING? ARE WE SO INSENSITIVE TO EACH OTHER THAT A LIFE DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING? WILL i GET MURDERED? WILL THEY HAVE MY NAME ON A WALL? IN THESE DAYS AND TIMES ONE CAN ONLY GUESS, WILL I EVER LIVE TO SEE MORE GRAVEYARDS ON THE WALLS? BEING A YOUNG PERSON IN THIS CITY IS TOUGH!!  JUST BEING A YOUNG PERSON IS HARD. WHEN CAN WE AS CHILDREN FEEL SAFE IN SCHOOL, ON THE STREETS, IN OUR OWN HOMES? CAN ANYONE IN THIS CITY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOR US PLEASE!”

In the lot in front of the wall and fence are blocked off tree areas that are, themselves memorials.  Here are some of them,InTheSpiritSlaveryMemorialTreeInTheSpiritLynchingMemorialInTheSpiritCivilRightsMemorialI’m hoping to get in touch with Mr. Schlossberg-Cohen and one of the other listed artists, Erin Thurston and ask them about the project and I will just let them know that I will keep trying to help maintain this oasis of earnest Art that is in a tough neighborhood.  I wonder how the children that helped create this have fared during the intervening years?

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Favorite building in West Baltimore


It’s on

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North Avenue @ Division street. I think the roof is an Asian or Mexican style.  Honestly, I have no idea.  It’s currently the home of a car washing operation and the folks there couldn’t remember what it was back in the day.  I can say that the houses around it were built in 1920. Maybe it was a cute little Chinese restaurant, way back when? Further west on North Avenue is another one these little places,  but that one has, unfortunately,  fallen completely into disrepair.

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This shot is a tad closer and captures the front that faces North Avenue. Enjoy unique Baltimore!

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The Baltimore Plan, Encyclopaedai Britannica Educational Films, 1953


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My New Obsession: ‘In The Spirit’ Green Space in West Baltimore


After treating myself to an awesome Just Juice It juice from the Upton Avenue Market I was heading toward SoWeBo via Fulton Avenue and I stumbled upon this unique green space that I am assuming is a children’s park or memorial in a vacant lot on Lauretta Avenue(or is it street?)InTheSpiritGateway1in West Baltimore.

What isn’t unique is that like more than a couple of these parks, it has become overgrown and kind of forgotten.  I have a thing for taking trash bags to different locations and picking up trash and I can guarantee you that i will adopt this space. At the top of the center, squared arch,is this iron sign: inTheSpiritsignIt’s a little difficult to see but it says, ‘In The Spirit’.  What I’m not sure of is, in the spirit of what?  This garden takes up a lot that probably had 3 houses on it at one time and there is more to it. Lemme show you the other stuff. intheSpiritIronworkThis is some more iron work that is in the “windows” of the facade. This appears to be an angel.

InThespiritFenceOnce past the brick and iron work, there is this long fence that is overgrown with ivy but some text is visible, let’s get close up on the words.inTheSpiritBlueAs you can see, the text is obscured by ivy, but the words, True, News, Murdered, Live and Young Person are legible. Next to it is this mural on the side of the house that is still there.InTheSpiritmuralAs you can see, the mural is overgrown, too.  I am now officially fascinated by this park or memorial.  I did a search of the Baltimore Sun’s archives but couldn’t find anything solid on this particular location. I did find an article about something similar written by Susan Shapiro but nothing about this.

In the coming weeks, when I have a spare few moments, I’m gonna go back over there and try to uncover the words on that fence. I will let you know what I find

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Thank You, Nova, MPT, NASA & The Hubble Telescope! #InvisibleUniverseRevealed


hubbledvd

After a long day of work I was fortunate to stumble upon Maryland Public Televisions’ airing of a Nova episode called “Invisible Universe Revealed”. It’s all about the development and difficulty of creating the Hubble Telescope.  It goes into great detail about how flawed the Hubble was when it was first lifted into orbit.  The program went into fascinating detail about how NASA was able to train astronauts for 20 months to fly to Hubble to fix it.  Simply amazing!

After they go through these fascinating details, the NASA scientists go into all of the discoveries that Hubble has provided us with. Hubble had been able to prove theories, verify the existence of black holes, lead to the realization that the Universe is full of Dark Matter, by they way, even these physicists can’t exactly explain what Dark Matter is, And the thing that actually brought a tear to my eye is that they were able to determine approximately how many stars are in the Universe.

One of the NASA smarty pants guys( I think it was one of the Johns Hopkins Hubble guys, go Baltimore!) explained that they pointed Hubble on a very dark area of the Universe; an area seemingly free of a lot of stars and other pretty space stuff.  He went on to explain that the area concentrated on by Hubble is the equivalent of you or I looking into the night sky through a drinking straw. Hubble was able to peer into this straw hole and find millions and millions of stars and unless I’m crazy, thousands of GALAXIES!! Are you kidding me??!?

Anyway, many people, myself included, have been presented with information as mind-boggling and awesome as this and have said something to the effect of, “the Universe is so big, we humans are so insignificant, so small” etc.  But this time, I realized that we Humans ARE significant. We are incredibly unique. perversely flawed but unique.

If there was just some way that all people, everywhere could just grasp our Human exceptionalism, would we need to harm each other and ourselves as horribly as we do? Would we be so careless and cavalier?

hubbleuniversehttps://youtu.be/Vh6OzIZQjU0

Posted in A. Aubrey Bodine, baltimore, Hubble telescope, Invisible Universe Revealed, Johns Hopkins, life, NASA, NOVA, PBS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baltimore Boy Likes it Bazaar(yes i know the proper usage is ‘bizarre’)


I ventured to Hampden this past Monday and stumbled across a cool place that I had read about and was hoping to check out. Here’s their business card.BazaarBusinesscardYup, Bazaar Curiosities and Oddities on Chestnut Avenue.  If you liked the now-defunct Dime Museum on Maryland Avenue and if you are the sort of person that travels to Philadelphia just to visit the Mutter Museum, then you will enjoy this quaint little shop of creepy things.  Admittedly, if taxidermy gives you the willies, you should probably avoid Bazaar but if you want to buy photos of diseased genitalia, then RUN, don’t walk to Bazaar!

I did not purchase any of the aforementioned, nasty…um…nasty bits but I found an old Ouija board.  I’ve always wanted one. I don’t want to conjure up Houdini’s dear, deceased mother; rather, I want one because the Ouija Board as we know it, was invented in Baltimore by a man named Elijah Bond..

I could have picked one in pretty decent shape as there were a few to choose from, but I picked the board that had packaging in a state of disrepair, but I bought it because the artwork on it was spooky good.  Dig it!

BazaarOuijaArtwork   I’m also fascinated by really old photos of people I don’t know.  I just start trying to imagine their story and I like trying to figure out where in the world they are posing and all that stuff. Anyway, Bazaar had a whole collection of those kind of photos, too. Check out these nattily attired Bonnie&Clyde wannabes:BazaarBonnie&clyde  And you just have to love this fashionable and appropriately aloof young lady from back in the day- Doesn’t she look amazing?!  The fellow behind the counter at Bazaar quipped that I could use the Ouija board to contact the people in the photos.  Oh, how droll!

What or whom is she looking at??

What or whom is she looking at??

If i did use the board, I can guarantee that it wouldn’t quite look like thisBazaarbackofOuijaI mean, check out these nice, clean-cut white kids as they conjure otherworldly dark forces. It better not be a school night, you two!greenmountOuijaGraveAnd from one of my earlier blogs about Baltimore’s Greenmount Cemetery, here is Elijah Bond’s grave.This is just proof that Bazaar is right at home in Baltimore.

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My Baltimore Books: Ukazoo Books’ Local Interest Section.


I will not say that Ukazoo’s Baltimore/Maryland section is better than NORML’s but today I finally found a long-desired hardcover edition of ‘Homicide’ by David Simon.

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I have only seen one other copy in hardcover and my friends,  Mike and Liz own it and I have coveted it for years as I read and reread my tattered paperback versions of this truly remarkable book that began the whole David Simon empire.

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How Do You Know It’s Winter in Baltimore?


This is how.

Dig your car out after a big snow and find the tell-tale sign that you live in Baltimore.winterinbaltimorePeople LOVE smoking Newports!

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Martin Short’s Baltimore Money Shot


Martin Short’s Baltimore Money Shot.

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Martin Short’s Baltimore Money Shot


I’ve been a fan of Martin Shorts’ since his SCTV days.  Like all of his SCTV compadres, he fearlessly created characters that were off-kilter and potentially only funny to a select few people.  Count me as one of those.  Because of this, I was eager to read his autobiography, “I Must Say”.

It is a good read and of course, there isn’t a darn thing Baltimore-y about it, as Martin Short is very Canadian.  But as the book was ending, he relates a story about staying in a luxury hotel here in Baltimore and some hijinx he found himself in. Here’s photo of the book:MartinShort

Anyway, he apparently, in an effort to liberate his morning paper from the vestibule of his hotel suite, managed to lock himself out of his hotel room. Yes, he was naked.  He spies a courtesy phone down the hall.  He grabs the newspaper to cover his adorable Canadian genitals and starts down the hallway.  Fortuitously, he notices a housekeeping cart and offers a hello to the maid working that room.  The maid comes out, takes a gander at Martins’ glorious nudity and says, “Oh, Mr. Short. You have made my day!  She even circled around him to get the full view. I just think this is great and more proof that Baltimore is the center of the Universe.  What would Ed Grimley, say?

That Maid in Baltimore got a real good look at my niblets, I must say!

That Maid in Baltimore got a real good look at my niblets, I must say!

Posted in actors, Autobiography, baltimore, Book Reviews, Books, Canada, Harper Collins Publishers, Hotels, Humor, literature, Martin Short, Memoir, SCTV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment