Ed Gunts

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

John Waters unveils his own line of face masks and other merchandise

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Filmmaker and writer John Waters models a face mask with his likeness outside Atomic Books. Credit: Rachel Whang.

Filmmaker and writer John Waters is making a splash in the public health arena with a line of face masks to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, including one with his signature pencil moustache.

Waters recently joined a California-based company to offer officially licensed John Waters themed-merchandise, including washable cotton masks displaying an image of the lower half of his face.

After 25 years, Hampden Junque closes its storefront and becomes a virtual shop

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Owner Michal Makarovich outside Hampden Junque. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Michal Makarovich was one of the last merchants in Baltimore who regularly put elaborate displays in the front window of his store, but now he says those days are over.

Makarovich and associate Adrian Monaco created the final window display this week to signal that their business, Hampden Junque, is closing its physical storefront permanently and becoming an online shop.

The window contains a figure of Pee-wee Herman, the fictional character, all by himself, with none of the quirky merchandise from the store that usually surrounds him.

John Waters says in commencement address he has found the cure for COVID-19

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John Waters virtually addresses the students at School of Visual Arts New York City.

Filmmaker John Waters announced today that he has found the cure for COVID-19.

In a virtual commencement speech to the graduating class of 2020 from School of Visual Arts New York City (SVA), Waters revealed that the solution to ending the pandemic has been right out in the open all along:

“Artists, you are the cure… the only people that can inspire the world to notice and then alter its destructive behavior,” he announced. “You’re not the new normal, you’re the vaccine.”

Rhea Feikin reflects on her career in ‘Rhea: A Life in Television’

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Courtesy: Maryland Public Television.

Rhea Feikin for Mayor? At least she’d have the fundraising part down.

During a half-hour program about broadcasting pioneer Rhea Feikin and her recent retirement as “First Lady of Maryland Public Television,” filmmaker John Waters suggested that she run for public office now that she has some time on her hands.

“What’s next? Everybody’s going to say that. Why don’t you run for mayor?” he told her on the show, in which he interviewed her. “You have the name recognition.”

Johns Hopkins hosts a virtual commencement featuring Gomez Addams and Thing, among many surprise guests

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John Astin as Gomez Addams. Astin is a professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Universities come up with some surprising speakers for their graduations, but Gomez Addams and Thing? That’s who opened the 144th Commencement Ceremony of the Johns Hopkins University, during which 9055 students received degrees on Thursday.

The proceedings started on an empty stage at Shriver Hall, with the Hopkins seal against a blue velvet curtain, and a familiar, slightly befuddled-sounding voice making an announcement from behind the curtain.

Artscape, AFRAM, July 4th fireworks and all special events with more than 250 people canceled through August

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Baltimore will not have Artscape, AFRAM or the July 4th fireworks this year.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced that the city is canceling all special events with more than 250 people through Aug. 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to inform residents and visitors that the City of Baltimore will be canceling all special events through August of this year,” he said. “After consultation with our public health experts, we believe this is the best move for the health of our city and its residents.”

Due to pandemic, local universities take a variety of approaches to celebrate commencement

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Graduation season will have less pomp and circumstance this year because the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented public gatherings, and that has prompted local colleges and universities to take a variety of approaches to marking the occasion for their students.

Fate of historic Martick’s building still in question after panel rejects removing the roof

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A rendering of the former Martick’s building with a “green screen” in place of the roof. Courtesy: Chris Janian.

The developer who agreed last year to explore restoring part of the historic Martick’s restaurant building in downtown’s west side now says he is not able to carry out his original plan because the public funds he was seeking never came through.

Despite community opposition, CHAP approves apartment plan for Tractor Building

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A rendering of the apartment building planned for the Tractor Building.

Developer Larry Jennings’ plan to convert Woodberry’s underutilized Tractor Building into 99 apartments cleared a key hurdle yesterday, when Baltimore’s preservation commission voted 6 to 2 to give the project concept approval.

The action by Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) brings Jennings and Valstone Partners one step closer to obtaining building permits for a redevelopment project that will result in an investment of $32 million to $35 million in Woodberry and help preserve much of the last large mill building at Clipper Mill that hasn’t been recycled for contemporary uses.

City Cafe has closed permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Image via Google Street View.

After 25 years as a fixture in Mount Vernon, City Cafe has closed permanently.

Owners Gino Cardinale and Bruce Bodie posted on social media today saying the business, currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, isn’t coming back.

“This isn’t the ending we hoped for,” they wrote.

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