Major Baltimore Shows Offer Plenty to Fill the Weekend


There’s a lot happening this coming weekend, with two major shows in Baltimore. First up is the Maryland Antiques Show at Hunt Valley, aka The Hunt Valley Antiques Show.Hunt valley

For several years, I was the Director of Development at Family & Children’s Services, so I know firsthand what a great show this is. Friday morning starts with a lecture byJosé Solís Betancourt and Paul Sherrill, the owners of Solis Betancourt & Sherrill.hb-essential-elegance-The duo recently published a book, Essential Elegance: The Interiors of Solis Betancourt which features a number of stunning rooms the pair have created. Their lecture begins at 10:00 on Friday, and is $40, which includes a catalogue and admission to the show, which runs until Sunday.bracket clockOther events at the show include personal tours by some of my friends. On Friday evening, Deborah Gore Dean will be leading a New Collectors Tour which includes a Maryland wine tasting, as well as a Scotch tasting. Deb will illustrate tasteful and accessible ways to decorate with the Show’s treasures.  On Saturday, James Archer Abbott, Director- Curator, Evergreen Museum & Library, will lead a private tour of the show, highlighting pieces and explaining their importance. Details are here.

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On almost the opposite end of the spectrum is the American Crafts Council Show, which runs through Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center on the Inner Harbor.Joy HorvathThe wares at the ACC show range from glass to ceramics, from shoes to scarves. In fact, one of my favorite blogging buddies, Elizabeth Rubidge, of The Felted Garden is showing her gorgeous felted scarves again this year.Felted GardenThis is a show where there are always so many amazing things to be seen, and I am overwhelmed at the creativity of people.

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Friday evening, my friends Brooke McDonald and Michael Brassert, who make up the company Houpla Studios, will be presenting their latest work, Maryland Harvest, a film about farmers and chefs airing on Maryland Public Television April 17, 2012.Maryland HarvestThe screening will take place at the Roland Park Women’s Club at 6:00 pm. There will be a panel discussion featuring Brooke McDonald as moderator, Al Spoler, host ofWYPR‘s Radio Kitchen and The Maryland Harvest, farmer Steve Rouse, and 2012 James Beard award nominee chef and owner of Woodberry Kitchen, Spike Gjerde. To RSVP, click here.

So, what are you doing this weekend?

A Sweet Reward: Baltimore


You’ve been meaning to go to Wit & Wisdom for months now but something else kept popping up. Now that word is out — officially — that good things are happening there, particularly the desserts, you might have larger crowds to contend with at this popular tavern.

Chris Ford, Wit & Wisdom’s pastry chef, was voted Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Pastry Chef 2012.” As part of the perks for his win, Food & Wine will publish a profile of Ford in its May issue and he has been invited to the 30th anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June.

Diners across the country voted for their favorite pastry chef, a new category for this year, via an online poll sponsored by Godiva. Ford had been earning a name for himself that caught Wit & Wisdom’s Chef Michael Mina’s attention — first at Trummer’s on Main in Virginia and then at Rogue 24 in DC. His win shows that great palettes think alike.

When Ford isn’t busy winning awards and delighting diners with sweet decadence, he posts about dessert on his blog. Ford, as generous as he is talented, garnishes his foodie forethought and afterthoughts with recipes and eye candy. Did I mention Ford is also a photography enthusiast and takes mouth-watering photos?

Before another something else interrupts my plans, I’d head on down to Wit & Wisdom where life’s tastier matters, like Ford’s choux and brioche, are popping up.

Ford isn’t the only Baltimore chef to receive honors this week.  Three other Baltimore chefs were nominated for James Beard awards


Gestalt & Pepper: Restaurants for the Young at Heart


Remember Bunny, Charlotte’s first mother-in-law, on “Sex and the City”? Okay, now picture her more likable, with a wicked sense of humor and you would have my mother-in-law, Mary Charlotte Parr. She is a single gal, somewhere in her sixth decade, living on a horse farm in Glyndon. Based on those facts, you might assume that she doesn’t get out much. You would be wrong. Very wrong. Mary Charlotte’s social life is more active than anyone I know: parties, dinners, lectures, movies, parties and some more parties. Her schedule exhausts and inspires me in almost equal parts.

Want to know how the senior set from horse country rolls these days? Mary Charlotte answers with her usual wit and charm. No wonder she is always on the guest list!


Home cook assessment:  Do you consider Durkee onions and Campbell’s mushroom soup legitimate ingredients or cheating?

Legitimate! Growing up our cook Alberta used both. If it was good enough for Alberta its good enough for me.


Saturday night with your favorite friends: Where do you book? What do you order?  

Well let’s take tonight. I am going to Barrett’s at the Hunt Valley Mall for a pre-movie dinner. Table 22. All my friends go there.


Where would you take fun friends in from New York?

Oregon Grille or Tark’s.


How about for a celebratory dinner?

I do those privately.


Where is your go-to place with your family? 

Harryman House bar if we are in the mood to go casual. The Greenspring Valley Hunt Club or the Elkridge Club for a fancier affair.


Any drive-ins, diners and dives? 

I don’t know if it’s a dive but I loved the Roland Park Deli. The Field’s (of Pikesville) luncheon counter is also a favorite.


What new restaurant are you dying to try?

None on my list right now.


Where do you grocery shop and why?

Regularly? Santoni’s. Mars for staples. I also stop into Graul’s, Ruxton only!


Is there a food item that you regularly go out of your way to buy?

In the summer months I buy my produce at Misty Valley Farms.


What Baltimore restaurant has the best vibe?

Wherever I’m out I make my own with the people I invite.


Okay, we gotta do it. Best crab cake?

Linwoods, and on the topic of crab, their crab cobb is divine.


Anything on your wish list for the Baltimore food scene?

I can’t wait for Ted (Restaurateur Teddy Bauer) to reopen The Valley Inn.

Is Baltimore "Slowly Turning into a Ghost Town?"


I’m always happy to see Baltimore make it into the national conversation, even when it’s a joke at our expense — as long as it’s funny. But this morning Business Insider ran an article titled “Baltimore Has Decided Some Neighborhoods Just Aren’t Worth Saving,” and I found it strangely troubling — particularly the article’s description of Baltimore as “a living city slowly turning into a ghost town.”

It’s not that I’m averse to sober assessments of our city’s plight. But it was strange to hear Baltimore’s struggle with vacancies described by an outsider to other outsiders. I couldn’t help feeling that the readers weren’t given the whole picture of what it means to live in Baltimore.

This feeling was confirmed by the comment section. In addition to many commenters who would like to blame our troubles on Obama, one reader wrote, “I live in Arizona and until I read this I didn’t realize how scary Baltimore was.” Another reader planned to send the pictures of abandoned buildings (blight porn?) accompanying the article overseas with the heading “the new face of the USA.”

What do you think, are middle-class Baltimoreans in denial about the state of the city? Or is “almost a ghost town” a distorted assessment?

This Week in Research: Vinyl NOT Better Than CDs?; Immigration Good for MD


Anyone who’s ever known (or, worse, dated) a music snob knows the old refrain:  music on vinyl just sounds more authentic. Let them rhapsodize on and it’ll start to sound as though you’re discussing fine wine — LPs have a sound that’s rich, deep, velvety, full. But hold on a second. Scott Metcalfe is someone who should know — he’s the director of recording arts and sciences at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins. And he says he “definitely” prefers CDs. It turns out that the physical limitations of vinyl — its grooves and pre-set disc size — mean that dynamic range often gets reduced. CDs are, simply put, a more useful technology for capturing a wide range of sounds and frequencies. But what about vinyl’s much-vaunted “depth”? Metcalfe has an answer to that:  “In some cases, the depth of field, the depth of sound that people talk about, enjoying about vinyl that they say is missing from the CD may, in fact, be a result of the compression to make that old recording more competitive for the modern market.” And CDs trump even MP3s, Metcalfe says — “there’s a loss of depth of field in a smaller format… Occasionally, I’ll hear somebody playing, you know, through a PA system at a party or, you know, a reception or something from an MP3, and it’s almost painful for me to listen to” However, Metcalfe does grant that old-fashioned records do allow for a more ritualistic listening experience.

Meanwhile, over at the University of Maryland researchers have found that the state’s immigrant population makes a substantial contribution to our economy, especially in the science, information, and medical fields. (Twenty-seven percent of the state’s scientists are foreign-born!) Which is good news, as more than half of the growth in the state’s workforce was due to foreign-born workers. (The national average was 45 percent; in Maryland, it was a full 57 percent.) Nearly 14 percent of the state’s population is foreign-born, which is slightly less than Texas, but more than Arizona and Virginia, and about one-third of those live in or around Baltimore. According to the study, immigrants tend to be clustered either in high-income groups or low-income groups, which is one reason they’re a boon to the economy — they complement the pre-existing labor force. The relatively unskilled immigrant labor force, which is concentrated in the agriculture, seafood, construction, personal services, and tourism industries, also helps out:  “Without the influx of foreign-born workers, expansion in these labor-intensive industries would have been choked off, increasing prices and discouraging growth across the economy,” the report says. In all, the study’s authors urge lawmakers to think twice about leaving immigrants and their children out of education and state services plans: “Most of foreign-born young people in Maryland, regardless of [legal] status, will make up a substantial part of the productive, tax-paying work force in a few short years. We will also depend on them to be informed voters and capable leaders so we can maintain strong and dynamic communities throughout the state of Maryland.”

Baltimore County Family Needs $62k to Cover Basic Costs


Courtesy of Citybizlist – To make ends meet in Baltimore County, a family of three that includes an adult, a preschool child and a school-age child needs to make nearly $62,000 to cover basic needs, a new study finds. That is more than three times the federal poverty level.

The 2012 Self-Sufficiency Standard, created by researchers at the University of Washington School of Social Work in cooperation with the Maryland Community Action Partnership, calculates the basic costs for Maryland families by looking at the price of such necessities as housing, food, transportation, child care and taxes. It does not allow for such extras new cars — or even fast food, coffee or soda.

Elected officials say that as the recession has continued, they have heard from more people seeking help.

J. B. Osborne, senior legislative advisor to County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, said his office has seen an increase in residents who need help paying for heating and electricity, as well as requests for affordable housing.

“The eligibility requirements for these programs haven’t really changed, so there’s a lot more people just fighting to make ends meet but still don’t qualify,” Osborne said.

Although there is an increase in need, finding funding in the county is an issue, Councilwoman Vicki Almond said.

“With Baltimore County, the state and the federal government trying to balance their budgets, it’s hard to determine where funds to cover this will come from,” Almond said. “You see more people in need but there’s less funding to go around.”

The county will start a waiting list next week for its child -care subsidy program, because of the increase in applications. The program has an income limit for a family of three of $29,990.

What people were surviving on six or seven years ago is not enough for them to cover basic needs now. “The poor is now the working poor,” Osborne said.

Read more at Citybizlist

Juror Speaks: Saw Limit to Huguely’s Malice


Ian Glomski, an assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s medical school and a juror in the George Huguely murder trial, tells the Washington Post that Huguely’s drinking problem and his videotaped admission showing his genuine shock and surprise at the news of Yeardley Love’s death, were key factors taken into consideration when deciding the former lacrosse player’s fate.

The seven men and five women who made up the jury concluded that while Huguely had acted maliciously, he hadn’t kicked through the locked bedroom door of Love, who was from Cockeysville, intending to kill the her.

The jury convicted Huguely of second-degree murder and larceny and recommended a sentence of 26 years: twenty-five years for murder and one year for larceny.

Read the entire story at The Washington Post

Celebrating Black Male Identity


Courtesy of BMore Media – The Black Male Identity Project, originally inspired by the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement, seeks to strengthen black men’s political and economic clout.

Art on Purpose held exhibits and performances at theEubie Blake CenterStevenson University Gallerythe Baltimore Museum of Art,Centerstage and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. The goal of the community-driven project was to challenge negative images of black men. The year-long effort is highlighted in this video, released during Black-History Month.  

Read more at BMore Media

"Miss Representations" Explores Media’s Role in Disempowering Women, to Screen Here


Remember when Fox News’ Sean Hannity put together an all-male faith panel to discuss — of all things — women’s birth control coverage? Do you remember the next day when the House Oversight Committee heard the testimony of only men on that selfsame topic? Well surely you’ll forgive filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom for somehow getting the impression that even in 2012 women are disempowered in the United States.

Actually, it’s more than just a sneaking suspicion. The United States ranks 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, and women hold only three percent of “clout positions” in mainstream media. Newsom’s documentary Miss Representation explores the of media representations in disempowering women, leaving us with not only a disgraceful lack of women in power positions, but with a society in which 65 percent of women and girls exhibit some class of eating disorder.

You have two chances to catch the acclaimed film in Baltimore. It will be screened as part of the WOW-Baltimore festival on Friday, March 2 at 11:15 a.m. at the Meyerhoff. It will also screen on Tuesday, March 6 at 8:30 p.m. at the UM Carey School of Law, Room 106E, where it will be followed by a panel discussion. Panelists include: Dr. Erika Falk, author of Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns; Jayne Miller, award-winning journalist and lead investigative reporter at WBAL-TV; and Dr. Georgia Sorenson, visiting professor of leadership studies, UM Carey Law.

Notre Dame of Md University Names New President


Notre Dame of Maryland University has selected as its next president James F. Conneely, Ph.D., the first man to serve in the position in the institution’s 116-year history. Dr. Conneely, 55, currently associate provost and vice president of student affairs at Eastern Kentucky University, will succeed Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D., when she retires on June 30th.

“While we were open to the possibility of a man as our 12th president at the start of the search process, probably none of us was expecting that we would select a man as Notre Dame’s next leader,” explained Patricia J. Mitchell ’69, chair of the board of trustees of the university, which was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. “Some have asked, ‘Couldn’t we find excellent women candidates?’ The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – we were fortunate to have many extraordinary female candidates emerge in our national search. But the absolute best candidate, the individual who represents the right fit for Notre Dame at this distinctive time in our history, is Dr. Conneely.”

Dr. Conneely has expressed appreciation for the centrality of Notre Dame’s Women’s College within its University structure. He has been a leader on women’s issues at Eastern Kentucky, and has been recognized for advancing women into both leadership and non-traditional roles. He and his wife, Becky, who holds a Ph.D. in counselor education and is a lecturer at Eastern Kentucky, have two daughters, Jessica, a first-year student at Converse College, a respected women’s college in South Carolina, and Caitlin, who attends Lexington (KY) Catholic High School, where Dr. Conneely serves as chair of the board of trustees.

Dr. Conneely’s expertise in student affairs and campus life has been eagerly greeted at Notre Dame. “Dr. Conneely makes it clear that he has a student-centered perspective,” said Rachel Jones ’13. “We believe his extensive background in student life on campus will enhance the Notre Dame experience for everyone.” Board Chair Mitchell praised him for “recognizing that meeting the needs of all students, including adult learners, enhances student engagement and success and creates a more vibrant university community.”

At Eastern Kentucky, Dr. Conneely has focused on increasing faculty and student involvement in on-campus living/learning programs, establishing an Office for Community Service and Student Engagement that was recognized by USA Today, creating an Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, increasing student use of health and wellness programs, and successfully transitioning to a community policing model.

In addition to his current post, Dr. Conneely has served in student life roles at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Emory University, Villanova University and the University of Northern Iowa. He is an associate professor at Eastern Kentucky, teaching graduate courses in higher education administration.

Dr. Conneely earned a B.A. from St. Bonaventure University, an M.S. in education from Alfred University, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Georgia State University. He has attended executive leadership programs at Harvard University and Dartmouth College. His community involvement includes chairing governing boards for two Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lexington. He has served on the board and executive committee of the United Way of the Bluegrass, as chair of the board of United Way of Madison County, Ky., and on boards of the local chapters of the Chamber of Commerce and American Heart Association.

The president-elect will take office on July 1st.