Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

John Waters is the new face of Saint Laurent

Image via Saint Laurent.

After representing Nike and Nordstrom last year, filmmaker John Waters is the new face of Saint Laurent menswear.

The Parisian fashion house posted two black-and-white images from a new ad campaign on its social media accounts today.

One (shown above) features a snarling John Waters, dressed in a black double-breasted jacket, with a black shirt and black polka dot tie, holding dark Saint Laurent glasses with the frames pointing to his pencil-thin mustache. The other shows Waters adjusting the same tie, glasses on. Both were taken by the noted photographer David Sims.

The Village of Cross Keys is officially back under local ownership

Courtesy of Caves Valley Partners.

After 16 years of out-of-town ownership, The Village of Cross Keys is back in local hands.

“Time to Unlock the Potential,” says a blue and white sign next to the front gatehouse, bearing a giant key similar to ones on the Cross Keys logo. “Now Under Local Ownership. Caves Valley Partners.”

More than two years after it first expressed interest, Caves Valley Partners completed its acquisition of the commercial assets of Cross Keys yesterday and immediately disclosed plans to upgrade and expand the mixed-use community at 5100 Falls Road.

Open house at John Waters’ boyhood home draws a (socially distanced) crowd

Guests tour Oak Grove, a 19th century residence and the boyhood home of filmmaker John Waters, during an open house. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Nearly a dozen pink flamingos lined the driveway of a stately residence in Baltimore County on Sunday, as visitors strolled past. Two pink flamingo-shaped planters framed the entrance. Inside, more pink flamingos adorned tea towels that were hanging in the kitchen with the greeting: “Let’s Flamingle.”

For anyone who couldn’t guess, this was the boyhood home of John Waters, writer and director of the 1972 film “Pink Flamingos” and other Baltimore-centric cult classic movies. Although the filmmaker hasn’t lived there since 1966, the current owners have kept his memory alive with Pink Flamingo-themed touches in and around the house. At Christmastime, they even put Santa Claus on the front lawn, with a sleigh drawn by pink flamingos.

Filmmaker John Waters’ boyhood home goes up for sale

Image via Baltimore Soundstage’s Facebook.

Filmmaker John Waters’ boyhood home in Lutherville has just gone on the market.

The six-bedroom house at 313 Morris Ave. has been listed by Frances Hebert of Cummings & Co. Realtors for $936,000. An open house is scheduled for Sunday, July 19, from 1-3 p.m. Masks are mandatory.

‘A different Artscape experience’ gets underway this weekend


Residents might not know it by the lack of street closings in Bolton Hill, but this is Artscape weekend, the time of year when 300,000 people usually descend on midtown Baltimore to take part in the event billed as “the largest free arts festival in America.”

This year there will be no in-person Artscape festival, because the city and state are limiting crowd sizes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), which produces the annual festival, is still celebrating with three initiatives, starting with a virtual festival this weekend.

Partial restoration plan approved for former Martick’s building

A rendering for the proposed open-air concept in the old Martick’s building with the roof partially restored. Courtesy of Chris Janian.

The vacant building that formerly housed Martick’s Restaurant Francaise will be partially restored but left open to the elements as an outdoor dining space, part of a plan blessed by a nephew of the late restaurateur Morris Martick and approved today by Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.

The preservation commission voted 9 to 0 to accept a proposal from the building’s owner to use the outer walls of the former restaurant to enclose an open-air patio that could be used as dining space for a to-be-created restaurant next door.

Mount Vernon church auction gets bidders but no buyer

The New Refuge Deliverance Cathedral photographed from above. Credit: A.J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers

Mount Vernon’s New Refuge Deliverance Cathedral is still on the market after Friday’s long awaited auction drew bidders but didn’t end in a sale.

Two parties submitted bids during the online auction for the historic church at 1110 St. Paul St., but neither was high enough to meet the reserve set by the sellers, according to auctioneer Charles Billig of A.J. Billig and Co. Auctioneers.

European fashion house pays tribute to Baltimore-born drag icon Divine

A portrait of Divine shot by Greg Gorman. Courtesy of Loewe.

Loewe, an upscale retailer based in Europe, is paying tribute to Divine, the Baltimore-born performer and cult figure who once played “the filthiest person alive,” with a fashion collection and an online exhibition of rarely-seen memorabilia.

The fashion company has also introduced a face filter on Instagram that can make anyone look like Divine did in John Waters’ 1972 film “Pink Flamingos.”

As part of its initiative, called Loewe X Divine, the company announced that it’s making a gift to Baltimore Pride, the organization that puts on the annual Pride festival and other LGBT-oriented events in Divine’s hometown. It’s also donating 15 percent of all sales from its Divine collection to Visual AIDS, a New York City-based organization that supports artists living with HIV and AIDS.

Village of Cross Keys sale to local owners set for July 21


The highly anticipated sale of the Village of Cross Keys to local owners is expected to be final on July 21.

Robert Connors, president of the Roland Park Civic League, disclosed at the organization’s monthly meeting yesterday that a date has been set for the property to be sold to an affiliate of Caves Valley Partners, the local developer that began negotiating last year with the current owner, New York City-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.

Clipper Mill residents challenge Tractor Building conversion plan with court appeal

The outside of the Tractor Building in Woodberry. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Two weeks after Baltimore’s Planning Commission approved the design for the historic Tractor Building in Woodberry to be converted into apartments, neighboring property owners have blocked construction at least temporarily by challenging the decision in court.

Attorney John Murphy on Wednesday filed an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision with the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, an action that prevents developer Larry Jennings and Valstone Partners from proceeding with construction until the court holds a hearing on the 98-unit project.