Billie Holiday would have been 100 years old today, and that’s important to Baltimore. While there’s dispute about whether she was born in Baltimore as originally believed, the legendary jazz singer said in her autobiography that she spent time in Baltimore in her youth, living in the 200 block of S. Durham St. in Upper Fells Point. So, either way, she’s forever connected to the city. Here are a few ways to remember her:
Check out the Billie Holiday Project: The block where Holiday lived is now home to a tapestry of painted screens, murals and a mosaic that touch on Holiday’s life. The Upper Fells Point Improvement Association is offering guided tours to mark her birthday on Tuesday night from 6:30-8:30 p.m., as well as on Saturday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Go to a Jazz Club: If you happen in to a jazz club, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll hear a standard made famous by Billie Holiday, if not a song written by the singer herself. Such is her continuing legacy. These days, you can see jazz at Phaze 10 in Mt. Vernon, Bertha’s in Fells Point (Thursdays) and Club 347 (weeknights), to name a few.
Visit Her Statue: A stop by the statue of Lady Day at Pennsylvania Ave. and Lafayette Ave. is more than just a change to see her likeness. The statue is in the area of the city where Holiday would sing at nightclubs, so it allows visitors to picture part of Holiday’s world, in addition to seeing her face-to-face. Monument City points out a nearby plaque honoring the Royal Theatre, where Holiday used to sing. And the Arch Social Clubhouse at the corner of W. North Ave. stands as the home of an organization that’s still around, and was prominent in the area since before Holiday arrived.