Fashion’s Night Out Gets A Little More Charming This Year

0

When Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour launched Fashion’s Night Out in 2009, the industry revival initiative centered mostly in New York, with smaller echoes in major hubs like Los Angeles and Miami.  Since then, the September celebration of fashion has taken off throughout the country, and this year, its official presence will be felt in Baltimore.  

This Thursday, September 8th, the city’s retailers will join the fashion retail promotion with after-hours events to encourage customers to get shopping.  Marking the Baltimore’s inaugural official participation, the non-profit Baltimore Fashion Alliance will host a celebration at the Harbor Court Hotel with up to 40 Baltimore-based designers, manufacturers, and retailers on display.  

The BFA is also encouraging retailers city-wide to remain open after hours, and many retailers have taken note.  Downtown, Cupcake Boutique will be selling the official FNO tee-shirts and will feature a Black Halo trunk show as well as giveaways and added shopping incentives.  Fells Point’s Babe A Boutique is offering 10% off all merchandise store-wide.  Across town in Towson, The Shops at Kenilworth will join the festivities with in-store events, cocktails, and discounts throughout the shopping center.  At Towson Town Center, stores will display trunk shows, refreshments, and shopping incentives.  What’s more, the mall will put on a fashion show and offer exclusive giveaways, prizes, cocktails, and cosmetic bars.  At Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Fresh! Boutique will host a daytime Lionette trunk show from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. The shopping center will also stay open until 7:00pm with champagne and treats.

Reports have been mixed regarding whether Fashion’s Night Out has been a financial success in years past, but there is no question that as far as brand recognition and foot traffic, FNO is tremendously powerful.  The official presence of the initiative in Baltimore should prove to be at least a new way to tackle fall shopping, if not a shot to the arm to the local fashion retailers.

Grand Prix Recap: One Baltimore Spectator’s Varied POV

3

After weeks of hype, headaches and heated bickering, the Baltimore Grand Prix is in the history books. Massive crowds turned out (somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 depending on whether you’re talking to police or Grand Prix officials), and, despite not having an official analysis of the fiscal numbers available, city officials are already declaring the Labor Day weekend event a success.

The jury will be out for some time as to whether the race served as a financial boon for the city, but as an event, it was worthwhile, if not without its headaches. As a first time IndyCar spectator and Baltimore sports fan, here’s are some lessons I learned attending this year’s race:

Yes, it’s a party, but make the racing the focus. The Baltimore Grand Prix boasted beer gardens, local celebrity appearances (hey, Michael Phelps!) and a full concert series, but the cars are the reason to go. I’m not a gear-head by any means, but I was in awe of the power of Sunday’s IndyCars and Saturday’s American Le Mans Series vehicles as they burned down Pratt Street. Double points for buying paddock pad tickets, which provided an inside view with all the race teams.

Make new friends, especially with the hardcore race aficionados. My tickets were in Grandstand 6, with a nice sight line of the Pratt Street straight away and a view of Light Street at the infamous Turn 1. The folks around me were big race fans, and talking and listening to them made it much easier to follow the action.

Even if you’re not going to the race, don’t be afraid to go downtown. As a daily commuter with a downtown parking pass, I was able to make it from North Baltimore to the Pier V garage in 10 minutes, faster than my regular workday drive. Anyone who wanted to take a trip to East Baltimore could have done so with ease. Precautions were understandable this year, but in the future the city will need to make sure those businesses in neighborhoods like Fell’s Point, Canton and Little Italy aren’t compromised by unwarranted traffic fears.

Improving logistics will be key to this event’s future. I arrived a few hours before the main event Sunday, and made it through the Inner Harbor’s Light Street pavilion entrance in 15 minutes. Others I spoke to, however, were stuck in entrance/exit lines for hours, waiting for police to let them through. There were fan reports of issues with VIP tickets and amenities, and other reports of grandstands missing entire rows of seats.  As a first-year event, these types of issues are inevitable. Fans won’t be so forgiving if these issues occur again in 2012.

The Best College in the WORLD is…

0

Sometimes being the best in the country just doesn’t feel… impressive enough, which must be why the QS World University Rankings exist. If you’ve ever had the sneaking suspicion that Harvard isn’t quite as #1 as it seems to think it is, well, you were right; the top-ranking school in the world is, once again, Cambridge.  (Rounding out the top 5:  Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Oxford.) Baltimore’s very own Johns Hopkins is the 16th best school in the world, which sounds very nice indeed.

This year, the organization included a new and upsetting feature — well, upsetting if you’re paying for college in the U.S., that is — where you can compare international universities by both rank and tuition costs. #1 (Cambridge) costs around $15,000/year for domestic undergrads, and $5,000 (!) for post-grads. (No, that last figure is not missing a zero.) The #2 school, Harvard, runs around $39,000 for undergrads and $37,000 for post-grads. It’s enough to make you consider moving to England.

More sticker shock from survey organizers:  “In Paris, École normale supérieure ENS, ranked 33rd, and Ecole Politechnique ranked 36th both offer undergraduate courses for less than a $1000 and Postgraduate courses for less than $8,000. In Germany, the highest ranked universities are; University of Heidelberg at 53rd and Technical University of Munich at 54th in the world, each charging less than $2000 for domestic and EU citizens.”

View the complete rankings here, and a discussion of survey methodology here.

SlutWalk Baltimore: The New Face of Feminism?

3

The SlutWalk movement — and its supporters, critics, critical supporters, and supportive critics —  has twisty, turny story that began when a Toronto police officer suggested that women were getting assaulted because they were dressing like “sluts.” In an attempt to reclaim the word and affirm women’s right to wear whatever they feel like wearing, some Canadian feminists created SlutWalk Toronto — a protest against victim blaming combined with a celebration of personal empowerment. 

As the movement’s organizers put it
, “We are tired… of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence… No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.  We are a movement demanding that our voices be heard. We are here to call foul on our Police Force and demand change.”

The first SlutWalk drew a few thousand protesters, and similar marches followed in London, San Francisco, Melbourne… all around the world, really. And now, thanks to a group of dedicated local activists, it’s Baltimore’s turn. SlutWalk Baltimore is scheduled for noon on September 17, starting at the Inner Harbor and ending in front of City Hall.

A protest calling for an end to victim-blaming and exposing the hypocrisy of some police officers seems particularly appropriate here, as Baltimore’s police force recently made national news for under-reporting rapes. But the SlutWalk movement is not without its critics (read a round-up of critical viewpoints here). As Rebecca Traister recently wrote in the New York Times, “But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort.”

Where do you stand on the SlutWalk phenomenon: liberating or reactionary?

Dario’s Party

1

Cocktails with Dario Franchitti, Radcliffe Jewelers, September 1

We weren’t very psyched about the Grand Prix, what with the cutting of the trees and the noise and the inconvenience. But we’ll concede that it seems like the weekend was a success: the bars and restaurants were packed, the hotels were sold out Friday and Saturday nights and the city got a public relations boost. If we have to have it (and with a five year contract, we do) better for it to succeed than fail.

One big success came Friday night. Racing’s striking star Dario Franchitti stepped out that night after practice to mix and mingle at Radcliffe Jewelers in Pikesville with jewelry lovers and race car driving fans to raise money for the The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai. 

Five Minutes with Dario Franchitti

Have you ever had a speeding ticket?

I’v had a couple.

Would you mind telling me how fast you were going?

 I’d rather not.

What do you find most annoying about regular drivers?

When drivers are not paying attention. It doesn’t matter if you are going 30 (mph) or 120, you need to focus and not talk on the phone.

What is your pre-race routine? 

About an hour before the race, I try to clear my head. I do some stretching and spend time getting focused on the race.

Do you have a favorite movie of your wife Ashley Judd?

Well, I think they are all pretty good.

 

 

Sartorial Baltimorial Picks Prix Party Pics 

 

 


 

 

National Pinball Museum Leaves DC for Baltimore

0

Baltimore’s affordability may be attracting more than just twenty-something artists and scenemakers. David Silverman plans to move his National Pinball Museum here from DC this fall. In an interview with The Sun, Silverman said that after he lost his lease at his Georgetown location he couldn’t find anything in the DC area that fit his budget.

If lease negotiations work out, the National Pinball Museum will set up its interactive exhibits of hundreds of historical and modern pinball machines just north of the Inner Harbor. And we’ll be able to credit Baltimore’s affordability with one more little cultural coup.

Silverman’s quirky and mildly-obsessive museum (whose mission statement calls pinball “a looking glass of culture”) will fit perfectly in a city known for celebrating otherwise marginalized art (see American Visionary Art Museum) and even kitsch (see most of Hampden).

The Last Days of the Summer Uniform

0

Katie, 16, and Kyle, 14, Callahan 

Brother and sister Katie and Kyle take advantage of the last few carefree days before school starts. Her cute flip-flops and bubble gum pink polish and his shorts and shaggy hair make us wistful for another summer gone by too fast. They look like two lost surfers.

In fact, he just came from football practice. She’s a gymnast with Rebounders.

We’re not getting the black-socks-with-shorts trend, but we understand it’s big with Baltimore upper school boys. Of course, we wouldn’t let our husbands step out in this look but, hey, it’s cute on Kyle.

 

Ready to go back to school?

Katie: No. I won’t see my friends as much.

Kyle: Too much work.

 

Do you like fashion? You are so little and lean!

I am a gymnast. And I love fashion — dresses, jeans tanks.

 

What don’t you like to wear?

My uniform. I go to Roland Park Country School.

 

How about you, Kyle? Nice socks! Fashion statement?

No. I just got out of football practice. It’s all I had in my locker.

 

Are you all ready for summer to end?

Katie: No, but I will be hitting the vault and the uneven bars and the floor!

Baltimore Four Seasons to Hire 200

0

We thought with the grim job report out, we should let you know about the Four Seasons Job Fair, September 7, 8 and 9 at the Legg Mason Tower in Harbor East.  The luxury hotel chain will be looking to hire 200 people from doormen to room attendants. The hotel will also look to fill spa and fitness positions as well as a few supervisory jobs. 

Doors open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

The hotel plans to open in in late November, according to its website.

Good luck!

Maryland Fried Chicken, Grandma’s Crabcakes

0

If you’ve lived here long, you’ve heard the debate — folks from New York insist that Maryland’s a Southern city, while anyone who lives below Virginia rolls their eyes and calls us Yankees.  But in terms of food, Maryland seems staunchly Southern, with an influx of influences from the many immigrant communities that have come to call Baltimore their home.

Which is why we enjoy The Baltimore Snacker‘s two-part take on distinctive Maryland foods — namely, fried chicken and crab cakes, two foods that can inspire strong feelings among cooks and eaters alike.  The Snacker quotes an old essay from a Southern cookbook:  Any attempt to prescribe the best way to prepare fried chicken is likely to start the Civil War all over again, or it may, at best, lead into a storm of prolonged arguments, widely diverse local and even neighborhood differences, not to say family bickerings.

So what makes the Maryland version of these dishes distinct?  Well, according to the Snacker, “the generic “Southern fried chicken” for example – is the shake and bake variety from the Middle South: soak it in buttermilk, put it in a flour mixture in a bag and shake it until coated, then dip it in cream and then flour again, and then fry.  Maryland fried chicken stops with the first shaking, but then gets fried in hot oil in a covered pan.  It is then served with a cream gravy.”  And it’s that gravy that makes it a true Maryland Fried Chicken (maybe we should start our own fast food chain?).

As for crab cakes, the Snacker kindly includes a recipe handwritten by his grandmother. It doesn’t get more authentic than that! Crucial ingredients include (obviously) Chesapeake crab, Old Bay, and dry mustard.

Read the discussions and look at step-by-step photos of the recipe steps here.

A Dog Named Sherlock Seeks His Watson

0

Hurricane Irene didn’t stop the Maryland SPCA from taking great care of its four-legged residents. Aileen Gabbey, from the SPCA, told us they were able to continue spaying and neutering with the help of a small generator, while they were out of power for two days. Gabbey also said some lost pets even found their way to them after the hurricane hit.

With everything back on track, the organization continues to focus on finding homes for unwanted but wholly adorable animals.

If you’re in the market for a lovable new pet, consider two kitten brothers, Frankie and Johnnie. They are five months old, love to play together, and are hoping to be adopted together. Frankie and Johnnie are handsome, sweet, and outgoing kittens who would purr to be part of a family.

Another good-looking fellow looking for a home is Moe Moe the cat. Come on…how awesome is that name? Moe Moe is 10 years old and found himself at the MDSPCA, our donated media partner, when his owner could no longer take care of him. He’s sweet, laid-back, and very affectionate.

Dog lovers out there, please dig Sherlock. He’s been looking for a home for quite a while. Sherlock reached the MDSPCA with a mysterious wound on his back that seemed to be a burn. He was accepting and tolerant of the care it required. Now it’s completely healed. He’s an active dog ready to be adopted by an active owner who will love him, and accept enthusiastic love in return.