Brandon Block


Annihilate your sense of self at ‘Mass/Rabble’ this weekend

Courtesy: Submersive Productions.

“The future belongs to crowds,” wrote Don DeLillo in 1989’s “Mao II,” a novel that fixates on images of throngs of people and begins with a cultic marriage ceremony in Yankee Stadium.

“Mass/Rabble,” two consciously crude references to the loss of self within a crowd, is the title of a new interactive dance piece by Submersive Productions being staged at the War Memorial, a space for masses if there ever was one.

Sex and subtext in the BMA’s ‘Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War’ exhibit

Max Ernst’s “Europe After the Rain II.” Image courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Recognizable in the corrosive oranges and reds of “Europe After the Rain II” is the unforgiving desert landscape of Sedona, Arizona, where Max Ernst lived as a refugee for years after fleeing Nazi-occupied France. The 1942 painting, a bombed-out widescreen of radioactive rubble currently on display as part of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s “Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War” exhibition, shows two mutated figures standing among a heap of coral-colored, crushed bones and gazing off into the horizon, frozen by the impossibility–and necessity–of imagining a future.

War is an insistent presence in the exhibit, which frames Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Andre Masson and Ernst as interpreters of a violent century, unable to forget what they saw. But it’s far from the only one. There’s also sadomasochism, cybernetic anxieties and at least one castration fantasy embedded in this slice of the surrealist canon, most of which flies under the radar of the BMA’s cataloging.

City Council forces incinerator to clean up or shut down

Photo by Artondra Hall, via Flickr

Baltimore’s trash incinerator must drastically reduce its chemical emissions to comply with a bill passed unanimously by the Baltimore City Council on Monday night, which plant officials say may force it to close down.

Founders of Banneker Blake Academy allege bias in push to close charter school

Image courtesy of Benjamin DuBose

Ahead of a school board vote tonight on whether to close Banneker Blake Academy for Arts and Sciences, an all-boys charter aimed at underserved black youth, the school’s founders argue that school district officials are singling them out on the basis of fabricated violations.

“It’s completely untrue,” executive director Carl Stokes, a former city councilman and school board member, said of the claims made in the school district’s Oct. 23 renewal report recommending the Banneker Blake Academy’s closure, which focused heavily on numerous alleged failures to document the delivery of special needs services to students.

With focus on vulnerable House seats, Joshua Harris and the Green Party eye election upsets

Joshua Harris. Image via Facebook.

On paper, the 32-year-old Joshua Harris boasts the kind of background Democratic strategists salivate over. Raised in poverty by a single mother in Chicago, he credits basketball with teaching him the skills that made him the first in his family to graduate from college. In 2012, Harris moved to Baltimore to work for a nonprofit that provides scholarships to African-American youth, and later served as a legislative aide to Democratic Del. Charles Sydnor in Annapolis. He started an arts-based nonprofit in Hollins Market, where he lives, and sits on the boards of numerous community associations, including the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, the NAACP’s Baltimore branch and Arena Players, Inc.

New rule would cut emissions at BRESCO incinerator, but nearby residents say it’s not enough

Marvin Hayes, manager of the Baltimore Compost Collective, speaks at a rally calling on the operators of the BRESCO incinerator to further reduce emissions. Photo by Brandon Block.

Laqeisha Greene’s children suffer from asthma, and she said they’ve been hospitalized for it three times in the past year and a half.

“My children can’t go outside to play,” the South Baltimore resident said, “because of these emissions that are being produced by BRESCO.”

Q&A: The creators of ‘Putin On Ice’ discuss Russian history, theater as protest and the ‘Putin in us’

Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker.

Playwright Lola B. Pierson and director Yury Urnov are adamant that their new show has nothing to do with news items about Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, is not a part of the #resistance, is not even about Putin, really.

After review, City Schools overturns scoring error that left English for Speakers of Other Languages students out of selective high schools

Three students with the group SOMOS testify at a June 12 school board meeting.

Twenty-four eighth graders in Baltimore City’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program have been offered spots at selective high schools this coming year after a June internal review by City Schools of a scoring error, Baltimore Fishbowl has learned after filing a public information request with City Schools.

Activists: ICE ‘arbitrarily’ detains woman who had been making routine check-ins

Marta Rodriguez looks to the heavens after leaving her appointment with ICE in May. Photo by Brandon Block.

After self-reporting in May without incident, a New Carrollton woman who appeared for her check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the agency’s Baltimore field office was detained this morning.

For second time, Keith Davis Jr. trial ends with a hung jury

Keith Davis Jr. Image via Facebook

For the second time, the trial of Keith Davis Jr. in the shooting death of Pimlico Race Course security guard Kevin Jones has ended with a hung jury.

This was Davis’ third trial for the murder of Jones, who was shot 11 times on his way to work in the early morning of June 7, 2015.