Anne Calvert

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Anne Arundel Councilman Uses "Technical" Term, Elicits Gasps

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At a council meeting on Thursday, Anne Arundel County Councilman Dick Ladd, 71, casually used the word “gook” in an aside describing his military service in Vietnam. After the utterance sent a shockwave of gasps around the council chambers, Ladd explained that the word is the “technical term for North Koreans” and left it at that. I guess they gasped because he was speaking over their heads?

We’ve seen this kind of thing before. Remember when Michael Richards got “technical” about African-Americans at the Laugh Factory in 2006? Or when Tracy Morgan recently got very “technical” discussing homosexuality? For some reason people were outraged. These guys even had to go on the apology circuit regretting their use of “specialized jargon.”

A warning to Councilman Ladd: it’s unfortunate, but there are plenty of people who just aren’t going to understand you if you get too “technical.” And for some reason (who knows why!) they might even get offended.

Charitably Chic: Shop to Give

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The retail industry has taken a hit in today’s fledgling economy.  Our pockets are more shallow, we’ve tightened our belts, and it’s hard to justify accessorizing this new look without cause.  The industry has met this challenge by aligning with charitable causes to incentivize shoppers and assuage their retail guilt. This month, the fashionable philanthropy is all over Baltimore, with local retailers offering shoppers a number of ways to contribute to the community.

From now until October 23rd, the shops at The Village of Cross Keys are offering a number of charitable incentives through the shopping center’s semi-annual Cross Keys Cares event.  The Pied Piper, for instance, is collecting cash contributions and donating a percentage of sales for the Children’s Cancer Foundation.  Ruth Shaw, J. Jill, and The Store Ltd. are collecting gently warn clothing and cash donations for The House of Ruth, which helps lead the victims of domestic violence to safety and shelter. (Ruth Shaw gives a certificate for lunch at the Village Square Cafe as a thank you too.) Talbots is collecting men’s and women’s winter clothing and shoes for Paul’s Place, which provides programs and services to support struggling families in Southwest Baltimore.  There are over a dozen shops offering opportunities to get involved. For a full list of store and charity involvement, visit the Cross Keys website.

Earlier this year, The House of Ruth introduced its resale boutique, Ruth’s Closet, which collects gently used high-end fashions for resale, with 100% of profits benefitting the House of Ruth Maryland services for victims of domestic violence.  Later this month, Ruth’s Closet will host its “One Great Thing,” event, which offers shoppers an exclusive opportunity to grab some valued furs, boots, handbags and accessories donated by some of Baltimore’s most fashionable women.  The event takes place from 5-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27th and will include expert guidance from a professional furrier. For more information, visit www.hruth.org.

Next month, Green Spring Station is getting in on the giving during its “The Weigh to Shop,” incentive, which aims to help Baltimore soup kitchen Our Daily Bread stock its shelves for the holiday season.  Customers can bring canned goods to the Nut Farm & Creamery at Green Spring Station and, in an added plus, Green Spring Station will donate a percentage of sales from future purchases based on the weight of customers’ contributions.  For contributions weighing ten pounds or less, Green Spring Station will donate 10 percent of your next purchase to Our Daily Bread. For contributions weighing more than ten pounds, Green Spring Station will donate 20 percent of your next purchase.  The week-long event will take place from November 12-19.  

This month, feel good about splurging on that new fall wardrobe – it’s for a good cause, after all.

HBO Returns to Baltimore, Bringing Jobs & Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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HBO began filming in Baltimore this week for its 2012 comedy, VEEP, and the production’s presence is bringing more than a few celebrities to town.  According to the Maryland Film Office, filming of the show, which stars funny-lady Julia Louis-Dreyfus, could create more than 2,000 jobs in Maryland, with an economic impact of over $25 million.  The pilot alone, which filmed in Baltimore in February, reportedly brought in $6 million in revenue.  

In a statement regarding VEEP, Gov. Martin O’Malley said, “Maryland is excited to welcome HBO and the VEEP team back to our State.  This project will not only bring new jobs to Maryland, but will also benefit local businesses that will serve the cast and crew during production.”

The show itself is a political satire set near the White House and revolving around Senator-turned-Vice President Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus).  Louis-Dreyfus said, “I take the role of vice president very seriously, and although everyone says this is a comedy, I don’t think there is anything funny at all about me being a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

Quentin Schaffer, HBO’sexecutive vice president at HBO, noted that though the show is set in D.C., “Baltimore was selected for VEEP for a number of reasons. Baltimore as a whole has less restrictions on shooting than Washington, D.C., and it has a number of interiors and exteriors that can double for D.C. At the same time, it gives us proximity to D.C. should we need to shoot there. There is also a good production base there (i.e. crew, service companies) from past TV shows, including The Wire, and, as is the case in many states today, the film commission has wisely made it financially beneficial offering a generous rebate on spending there.”

No word yet on where the cast is staying during production or where they have shot so far. Have you seen them around town?

Your Comments

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From time to time, when there is a lull in the excitement around here, we gather your comments to show you our favorites.  

In response to Marion Winik’s recent essay, The Things They Googled, about how searching the obsequious search engine has become a cultural pastime, Shari writes:

“I almost googled ‘pleonasm’ midway through the article, but didn’t, preferring to enjoy the flow of the article uninterrupted. Thank you, Marion, for rewarding my patience. Delayed gratification is the sweetest kind!” 

The lyrical piece also earned a familial response. Jeff Winik added:

“After reading this, I decided to send it to both my sons. It’s dated to day, so at least they’ll text me and not say “Seen that. Thanks anyway.” I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of this article only because it’s true…and because Dad finally found something they haven’t.” 

Weighing in on Slutwalk, Rachel Monroe’s story about the new feminist march, Jan Jamm wrote: 

“I have traveled throughout Southeast Asia for a year. There is a modesty in dress that is maintained in all these countries by both men and women. When I returned to the US after traveling in Asia, I was unexpectedly, shocked by the contrast in how immodestly people were dressed. As Americans, we expect that we can do whatever we wish and everyone should deal with it. That’s the downside of individualism. In truth women are never assaulted or raped because of what they are wearing. They are assaulted and raped because of a culture of violence against women. However, encouraging women to taunt that reality seems to me to be irresponsible. I think sexuality in its deepest pleasures is more about process of slowly revealing oneself, physically and emotionally to another, rather than being sexual by revealing it all. The commodification and commercialism of sexuality/celebrity is a means of encouraging a look that helps sell clothes. I think the Sluts need to think more about the corporate control over what being a woman means, rather then fashion options. And I think we should all work to change the culture of violence, in anyway we can.” 

The heart-wrenching story, Undercurrent, Holly Morse-Ellington’s story about the effects of a sex scandal on a family, earned praise from many commenters.  PV wrote:

“Very moving story, very well written. I appreciated the candor and honesty. Must be a very difficult time for you and your family.”

And, on a happier note, in response to our new series Baltimore Unearthed by Michael Yockel, commenter Hal remembers the film Adventures in Baltimore

“I hate to reveal my age, but I saw this movie when it was first run in theaters. It was probably a Friday night and I took my date to the 7:00 o’clock showing at the Ritz, before the weekly dance at the American Legion Hut. Unfortunately, I remember the movie better than the date. The movie was a dud, can’t say about the date. Michael Yockel’s story is interesting, informative, and fun. I’m subscribing now.”

In response to a commenter who was less than enthused by Krista Smith’s enthusiasm the Four Seasons, Big Man Tate wrote:

“This is exactly the mindset too many Baltimoreans are stuck in! OF COURSE we are all happy that it will bring more jobs. But don’t people need to go there and spend money in order for those jobs to last? Doesn’t it make for a more stable economy ? A more robust downtown? The quality of a city is not measured by the number of five star hotels, you are right, but it is measured by the strength of its economy and if this will get people from the county or D.C. to come and spend their money, then great. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The managing director of US Lacrosse, Susannah Chase, had a lot on her mind about our story on the exclusivity of lacrosse, Bringing Lacrosse to Baltimore’s Toughest Neighborhoods, by our summer intern and college lacrosse player Marta Randall and another by Shannon Dunn on sports leagues for kids in the inner city:

“At US Lacrosse, we were delighted to see the recent articles (8.23.11 and 8.10.11) that focused not only the positive impact of youth sport’s, but also the individuals and organizations that work hard every day to make sure that youth who might not have the opportunity to participate in a sport like lacrosse, get the chance to play. 

 As your articles aptly recognized, as prevalent as lacrosse may seem, not all Baltimore children are born with lacrosse sticks in their hands.  The mission of US Lacrosse, as the sport’s national governing body, is to “provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game.” Initiatives such as Parks and People Foundation’s Middle School Lacrosse League, Baltimore Youth Lacrosse League, and Charm City Lacrosse have all received equipment grants and funding from US Lacrosse to help grow their programs.  We are extremely proud of our investment in programs that serve and inspire Baltimore’s youth, and the individuals who offer their time, talent and treasure to ensure that all of our children have a positive experience with a sport we love.  The confidence, lessons of sportsmanship, friendship and mentoring that comes from a best practice youth program can offer a child a strong and lasting foundation.  We care deeply about the youth experience and hope it builds a passion for the sport to last a lifetime.

US Lacrosse is more than Lacrosse Magazine and a membership organization that provides insurance, and our wish is that these articles allowed for the role of US Lacrosse in the Baltimore community and the country at large.  We are literally in your backyard and in 2010 we provided 74 equipment grants for 102 boys and girls under-19 teams across the United States, including programs right here in Baltimore-a number and an impact we will well surpass in 2011.  We work hard every day to protect the integrity of the game, and have been a quiet and understated force in these programs and in this community.  We welcome the opportunity for Baltimore to learn more about US Lacrosse and invite any and all to visit us and the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Museum, 113 West University Parkway, Baltimore, MD.

With the fastest growing sport in the country, there is always much work to do and ways in which we can learn more about the game.  We are grateful for the passion and love of lacrosse that so many of us share in this community, and look forward to continuing to work together to build a positive and safe experience for all of our players.”

And we would be remiss to exclude a sample from one of our favorite commenters, RolandJim, who had this to add about Rachel Monroe’s post Education Reform Theories Get Tested in East Baltimore about Johns Hopkins University’s attempt to take over an elementary school in East Baltimore:

“I wish them all the best and hope for success for both the school and the students.  It will be interesting to see how JHU intends to manage the difficulties faced by so many urban children.  How will they get parents to monitor homework, attend school meetings, teach the children simple manners, and give those young minds something to work with beyond TV sets; all while struggling to maintain a household with one parent, earning $300/wk or less? Gee, I can barely feed us and the cats on that much, much less buy books, clothes and bus fare. 

The new admin plans to “use best practices” in the new school setting.  Will this be another re-design of the sort we see every 15 or 20  years?  Shuffle the chairs, and call it new?  Or will they start from where the kids really are, and lead – not push but lead – them into a learning habit that will stay with them after the bell rings?  And after they leave that school, will they have the support to continue?  This is tough stuff – – if it were easy, it would have been done already!”

Thanks for weighing in and please keep the comments coming!

A Book Festival, a Betascape and Fundraisers Galore!

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As you make your plans for the weekend to come, here are some events you might want to consider penciling in:

The Baltimore Book Festival: This weekend, hundreds of authors, exhibitors, and booksellers will come to Baltimore to participate in book signings, poetry readings, workshops, and more.  Notable acts include presentations by Sherman Alexie, Common, and Jacquelyn Mitchard; Friday’s Happy Hour, which includes tips on beer, cocktails, and hosting; the Food For Thought stage, where celebrity chefs will demonstrate dishes, and more. To top it off, it’s all free! When: September 23-25, 2011. Friday & Saturday, noon-8pm, Sunday noon-7pm.  Where: Mt. Vernon Place, centered on 600 N. Charles St. Attire: Come as you are. Admission: Free

Ladew Gardens 40th Anniversary Gala: Ladew Gardens, the renowned topiary garden, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with its “Beneath the Arabian Moon,” Gala, featuring music by The NightLife Band, exotic fare by Lindwoods, and specialty cocktails. When: Friday, September 23, 2011, 7pm.  Where:  Ladew Gardens. Attire: Black tie. Admission: $350 per ticket.  Tickets available by phone at 410.557.9570, ext 224.

Picnic in the Park: The Parks & People Foundation is hosting an elegant picnic benefit in the gardens of the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory.  Fare will include selections from local farmers and beers and wine from top notch breweries and vineyards.   When: Saturday, September 24, 6-9pm.  Where: The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 3100 Swann Dr., Druid Hill Park. Attire:  Picnic chic.  Admission: $75 per ticket, available through Paypal.

Betascape: Betascape is a weekend-long celebration of the convergence of art and technology.  The event, which kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday evening, will feature exhibitions of artwork, lectures, food, and live music.  The idea is to celebrate Baltimore’s local tech and art communities.  When: 6pm on Friday, September 23, 2011, through 5pm Sunday, September 25, 2011. Where: Station North Arts and Entertainment District, 1800 N. Charles Street, Suite 810.  Attire: Casual. Admission: $30 registration.

And a heads up for next weekend…

Pumpkins on the Green: The Irvine Nature Center is putting on their annual “blue jean” fundraiser featuring live music, live and silent auctions, and seasonal tastes from a local “green” caterer.  Adding to the fun, the event’s honorary chair, recent Emmy-winner Julie Bowen, will participate in a meet-and-greet VIP cocktail reception before the event.  When: Fundraiser: Saturday, October 1, 2011, 7-11pm. VIP Cocktail Reception: Saturday, October 1, 2011, 6pm.  Where: The Irvine Nature Center. Attire: Blue jean casual. Admission: $95 per ticket for the fundraiser, $500 for two tickets to the VIP reception and fundraiser. Tickets available through MissionTix.

Have a good weekend.

Online and Local Shoppers Miss Out on Missoni for Target

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Target’s designer collaboration collections are known to fly off the shelves.  Discount collections by designers like Zac Posen and Rodarte sold out within hours, so it’s no surprise that Target’s latest collection by Missoni sold out in stores almost immediately.  What is surprising, however, is that the collection, which launched Tuesday morning, drew so many online shoppers that Target’s website buckled beneath the traffic.

The collection became available online at 6:00am and by 7:47am, the Target’s website was down and remained that way through the late afternoon.  A spokeswoman for Target noted that, “The excitement for this limited-time designer collection is unprecendented.”  The company added that demand for the collection was greater than that on Black Friday, which is known to be the biggest shopping day of the year.

There is speculation that the problems had something to do with Target’s recent platform switch; until adopting its own platform three weeks ago, the company’s website had been operated through Amazon’s back end.  Target, however, insists that the problems were induced solely by the heavy demand for the collection.  

The site is up and running now, and though many items are out of stock, there is still a healthy selection of Missoni for Target items available.  By contrast, local the Targets in Timonium and Towson are sold out of nearly everything except a few children’s items and accessories. The Towson store reports that it may get more items next week.  

Or, if you’re really desperate, you can purchase any item from the collection on eBay, where a search for “Missoni for Target,” returns 38,285 items with inflated prices.

Baltimore Natives Young and Old to Swim Across America

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It may not surprise you to hear that nearly 600 swimmers are expected to turn out for Maryland’s second annual Swim Across America event next Sunday.  What is surprising, however, is who comprises those 600 swimmers.  In addition to the many participants who swim on a regular basis, the event, which raises money for Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, attracts several noteworthy swimmers you might not expect.

Not long ago, we told you about the 14-year-old cancer survivor Jake Smith who is heading his Swim Across America team.  The Gilman 9th grader’s story is noteworthy not only because he is a survivor, but also because of his young age and dedication to the cause.  These two characteristics mark the story of another Swim Across American participant, Iris Rosenblatt.

This past winter, the 82-year-old Rosenblatt was diagnosed with two types of lung cancer.  The Baltimore-native had already defeated melanoma and lung cancer years earlier.  After battling her cancers for months, Rosenblatt is now preparing to swim a mile for Swim Across America, stating she swims “because this is such a good cause.”

Betsy Jiranek, co-chair of the event, notes that the various skill levels and diverse landscape of the participants is part of what makes the event a success: “One of the neat things about this event, there are certainly master swimmers, open water swimmers… but, for instance last year, my mother did the open water swim at age 74, she was the oldest participant in the open water swim, and never swam in open water [before].”

Millie’s Mermaids and Manatees is another eye-opening group of participants.  The team is comprised of people who, prior to the event, barely knew how to swim.  The team comes together 16 weeks in advance of the event and trains at the Michael Phelps Swim School at no cost to the participants.  According to Jiranek, “The whole idea was to get those who don’t know how to swim, don’t exercise and get them moving and get them involved.  In fact, there are instances of people who are survivors and have been off their high blood pressure medication or high cholesterol medication who have lost lots of weight through this program with the goal to be to participate in the swim.”

Schools are also participating with faculty teams, like the Gilman team which includes history, science, and English teachers, to name a few.

Last year, the event raised $465,000 for the Swim Across America Lab at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — the most ever in Swim Across America’s 25 year history.  According to Luis Diaz, director of the Swim Across America Lab, the lab itself was a result of the tremendous success of the inaugural event and says that much of the funding for the lab comes from the event. 

The swim will take place in the Magothy River in Pasadena or at the Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Club this Sunday, September 18th.  For more information or to participate, check out the Swim Across America website.

Citybizlist Rewards Launches in Baltimore

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In this day and age, it would be hard to find an internet user who doesn’t belong to a group deal site.  Most people belong to several; it’s easy to be lured in by their promises of grandeur and their seemingly insider info. We join because the concept is great and the potential deals are so tempting.  And yet, once you’ve joined, you realize that the deals are rarely applicable to you.  Yes, 50% off laser hair removal sounds great, but the drive back from York, PA sounds like it would be unpleasant.  Sure, that 50% off a bushel of crabs sounds nice, until you realize it’s only valid from November 30-January 30.  And, frankly, if we were going to skydive, we wouldn’t want to do it on the cheap.

Thankfully, an alternative to the woes of “horizontal” deals is coming to Baltimore.

Citybizlist, a site dedicated to bringing relevant local business news to business owners, executives, and professionals, is launching Citybizlist Rewards, a program that will offer deals their targeted demographic actually wants to use.

Edwin Warfield, CEO of Citybizlist, wrote in the launch email that the launch is “a tremendous step forward for readers and advertisers….Our fast-growing audience has demonstrated a passion for the quality business and financial content curated by our editorial team, and we believe they’ll be similarly excited by the deals we’re finding for them.” 

Warfield touches on a key point: the relationship between reader and advertiser is key in group sites.  With horizontal group sites, companies know that so many readers will see their offer and at least some of them will likely be interested.  The risk always looms that the deal won’t work.  Citybizlist solves this problem by offering relevant companies a pipeline to their target audience, and in doing so, offers its readers deals they actually want to use.  It’s a symbiotic relationship. 

“We’re offering a limited number of advertisers the chance to put their business in front of a very high profile audience of business executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals. We will be offering real rewards for our readers that you don’t see anywhere else; our philsophy is ‘you’ve worked hard, you’ve earned it, now enjoy yourself,’” says Warfield. 

Best of all, the program is launching in Baltimore, with additional cities to follow over the next year.  This month’s deals will include an overnight stay at The Inn at Black Olive in Fells Point, Custom-tailored suits by Victor Pascal, Easton’s Promise B&B, and more.  

The uncertain market for deal programs (local daily deals have had only modest success in Baltimore so far and Groupon is reevaluating the wisdom of preparing for its IPO), the new twist of Citybizlist Rewards could be just what we need.  Are you ready to make a deal?

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

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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.

Baltimore Grand Prix Brings Grand Parties, Race Car Royalty

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The race may be the main event of the Grand Prix, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan of race cars — there will be a number of celebrations throughout the city over the entire weekend, and it seems all of race car driving’s top names will be in Baltimore to attend.

The festivities start tonight with the Adobe Road Wine Dinner which will feature driver Marc Bunting and other Prix competitors.  The dinner, which takes place at Morton’s The Steakhouse, will feature a preview of the Team Baltimore Racing show car.

Thursday night, Danica Patrick and Mike Conway will be appearing from 6-8 pm at Buffalo Wild Wings in Owings Mills.  Racers Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be appearing at the same time at the White Marsh location of Buffalo Wild Wings.  There will also be free concerts at Power Plant Live featuring Lost in Paris and the Philly Party Band.  

Things really get going Friday night.  First, Radcliffe Jewelers and TW Steel will be hosting an in-store event with special appearance by reigning Indy 500 champion (and actress Ashley Judd’s husband), Dario Franchitti.  Franchitti, who currently holds first place in the 2011 IndyCar Series Standings, will be showcasing TW Steel’s extended watch line.  What’s more, the event will feature a live auction to raise money for The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai.

If you want to see some live music, there will be more live concerts at Power Plant Live, as well as a Grand Prix Kickoff Party hosted by Olivia Newton-John and Terrell Owens at Rams Head Live.   

As the weekend continues, the Budweiser Block Party brings performances by Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, and the Infield Party Zone will feature performances by Collective Soul, Big Bad Voodoo Daddies, and more. 

 

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