Karen Nitkin

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Fluid Movement Splashes Back into Baltimore’s Pools

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Fluid Movement performers get ready to dive in the pool in 2019, the last annual show before the pandemic.

After two COVID-induced years on dry land, the synchronized swimmers of Baltimore’s campiest water ballet are once again backstroking, flutter-kicking and hamming it up big time this summer.

The theme for the latest installment of the Fluid Movement show is “Yacht Rocket! A Synchronized Swimming Space Spectacular,” and audiences at Riverside Park and Patterson Park pools can expect plenty of smooth seventies songs and riffs on mustachioed icons Burt Reynolds and the Captain (you know, of Captain and Tennille).

If there’s meaning in this madness, it surely must be that love will keep us together. Even after two years apart.

Turning the Lights Back On: Evan Hansen at the Hippodrome

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The North American touring company of Dear Evan Hansen is currently appearing at the Hippodrome Theatre. Credit: Matthew Murphy

I knew Dear Evan Hansen would be sad, but I didn’t expect it to be so funny.

A show about loneliness, depression and the warp of social media might seem too on-the-nose after two years of pandemic. Not so. Seeing it live, surrounded by a laughing, appreciative audience at our own beautiful, familiar Hippodrome Theatre, was sheer joy.

Everyman Theatre Looks to a 30th Season Like No Other

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The staff of Everyman Theatre removes rows of seats to prepare for live performances coming this fall.

Are you ready for some live performances?

Everyman Theatre hopes you are – with safety precautions, of course. And if you’re not, the theater has a plan for that too.

Because of COVID-19, Everyman is removing rows of seats, installing plastic barriers, and offering both in-person and online options for its 2020/2021 season.

Baltimost: Maria Gabriela Aldana, founder of Neighborhood Voices and Queer Stories

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Credit: Scarlett Aldana

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Maria Gabriela Aldana, 39, founder of Neighborhood Voices and Queer Stories

In her words: “I haven’t really been officially out of the closet as a bisexual woman. I have multiple identities and it’s a lot to juggle. That’s why I focus on intersections of race and sexual orientation.

‘Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally’ presents a dark future for a childhood classic

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Treshelle Edmond, left, and Neimah Djourabchi in “Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally.” Credit: Teresa Castracane.

Even if you never read a “Dick and Jane” book, you probably can conjure one up in your head: an illustrated reading primer with simplistic “see Spot run” sentences, starring an equally simplistic white, middle class, suburban nuclear family.

Well, playwright Noah Diaz, currently earning his MFA at the Yale School of Drama, has imagined a more complex and interesting future for the Dick and Jane of these anodyne books.

In his “Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally,” now making its world premiere at Baltimore Center Stage, Dick and Jane have grown up, and grown apart. Throughout a darkly comic 90-minute, no-intermission production, they struggle with fear, loneliness and epic failures to communicate.

Baltimost: Susan Clayton, inventor of WhitePaws RunMitts

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Credit: John Waire

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com

Susan Clayton 57, business owner and inventor of WhitePaws RunMitts.

Baltimost: Jefferson A. Russell, actor with Everyman Theatre

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Photo by Teresa Castracane Photography

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Jefferson A. Russell, 53, actor

As a member of the Everyman Theatre’s resident company, I have steady work and an artistic home.

Everyman offers a high-energy production of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

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Credit: Teresa Castracane.

“Murder on the Orient Express,” first a popular paperback and later multiple starstudded movies, has always been fun, gorgeous nonsense. The lavish staging now at Everyman is no different, despite the inherent handicap of bringing a complex, many-character mystery to stage.

The production sparkles with high-energy performances, witty banter and beautiful sets. But keeping track of so many characters and their alibis is almost impossible, and the mystery’s solution doesn’t make much sense, as you probably already know if you’ve read the book or seen one of the movies.

Baltimost: Judy Tallwing, artist

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Credit: Jay Dahm

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Judy Tallwing, 74, is an artist.

In her words: “Sometimes the ideas for my paintings come to me in a dream. I work with oils, so it’s not unusual for me to have five or six paintings going at once. I have a thing about starting paintings and not wanting to wait for them to dry. 

Baltimost: Mark Osteen, co-founder Baltimore Jazz Alliance, vice president Baltimore Chamber Jazz Society

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Credit: Kris Faatz.

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Mark Osteen, 65, is co-founder Baltimore Jazz Alliance and vice president Baltimore Chamber Jazz Society.

In his words: “When you go to a jazz performance, it’s a different show every night. Art is unfolding before your eyes in that second. It’s never going to come back again. You’re catching art on the fly. You get to see musicians and artists working together to create something bigger than they are.

Baltimost: Donna Jacobs, founder and director of Morton Street Dance Center, Inc. 

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Image courtesy of Donna Jacobs.

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Donna Jacobs, 62, founder and director of Morton Street Dance Center, Inc. 

In her words: “I’ve been dancing since I was 2 and a half. I grew up in Queens, N.Y., and went to the Bernice Johnson Dance Studio and the New York School for the Performing Arts. I started teaching when I was in high school and I’ve been doing it ever since. 

Baltimost: Nathan Ferrell, Spanish teacher at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women

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Courtesy of Nathan Ferrell.

Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.

So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Nathan Ferrell, 35, is a Spanish teacher at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.

In his words: 

“To teach in Baltimore, you have to have the endurance, the wit and the brilliance that the students here exhibit. They bring it every day.

Baltimost: Taharka Bros. Ice Cream

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Courtesy of Taharka Bros. Ice Cream/Facebook

Taharka Bros. Ice Cream

Sure, Taharka Bros. has a great and inspiring story. But let's forget about that for a second and talk about their flavors.

The key lime pie is so perfectly tart and sweet, with just the right crunch of crumbled pie crust, that your taste buds will savor each spoonful. Honey graham, their signature flavor, somehow takes two simple childhood pleasures and turns them into sophisticated joy.

Cardamom. Salty caramel. Coconut. Heck, even the chocolate and vanilla are crazy creamy and flavor-packed. 

There's also The Cook Up, a nut-studded, spiced apple carrot cake that honors Baltimorean D. Watkins' memoir of the same name. Flavors change with the seasons, but Chocolate Love and Jazzman Blues are usually in stock.

The company teaches responsibility and entrepreneurial skills, while dishing out the city's finest ice cream. In a great 2015 documentary about the firm, "A Dream Preferred," Taharka Bros. CEO Devon Brown says the company shows that "young African-American males can run successful, responsible businesses."

More than 100 local restaurants and stores sell Taharka Bros' small-batch all-natural ice cream, and the company recently opened a scoop shop in the newly renovated Broadway Market. 

Taharka Bros. is named for Taharka McCoy, a mentor to Brown who was murdered in 2002, when he was just 25. 

His name lives on in a company that has become a beloved testament to all the people who keep working hard and making life more delicious, even when nobody thinks they can.

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Baltimost: Mera Kitchen Collective

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Photo via Mera Kitchen Collective/Facebook

 

Mera Kitchen Collective

Mera Kitchen Collective has been around only a couple of years, and already it's hard to imagine Baltimore without this intrepid group of women, their incredible food and their message of belonging.

The talented chefs of Mera are all refugees. They come from Ethiopia, Cameroon, Syria, Sudan and other parts of Africa and the Middle East. Many worked as professional chefs in their home countries.

In 2017, a group of recent arrivals met at the Highlandtown Library. They knew they wanted to do something to earn money, raise awareness and become part of the fabric of Baltimore, but they weren't sure what. By the end of the meeting, they had decided food would be their bond to their new city.

"Since that day, my life has changed 180 degrees," says Chef Iman, who settled in Baltimore in 2016 after fleeing Syria. "Now I'm cooking full-time. It's my way of expression. It's my art."

Within a year, the group had formed a worker-owned collective, and began serving their delicious food from a stall at the farmers' market under the Jones Falls Expressway. Every Sunday from April to November, hungry customers line up to buy delicacies like savory stuffed grape leaves and doro wat, the richly flavorful Ethiopian chicken stew.

The group also caters events large and small, and holds cooking classes in homes and restaurants. These classes are much more than step-by-step guides to making hummus or baklava. Each chef infuses the experience with stories about her food and her life, and how the two are irrevocably entwined.

It's never been easy to leave home and move to a new country, and it's even harder these days, when our government's policies make people feel unwelcome. But these women know that food is a connector. The people they fed became their friends, and now they're sewn tight to the crazy quilt that is Baltimore.

Back to main Baltimost page

‘Miss You Like Hell,’ at Center Stage, is a mother-daughter road trip that takes some surprising turns

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Lorraine Velez (left), as Beatriz, and Stephanie Gomérez, as Olivia, in “Miss You Like Hell.” Credit: Bill Geenen.

“Miss You Like Hell” starts with a nervous mother blaring music out of her car radio to gather the courage to greet the teen daughter she hasn’t seen in years. It ends with a surprise, a heart-wrenching earworm of a title song and at least one audience member (me) fighting tears.

The hundred or so minutes in the middle of this tender and exuberant musical now at Baltimore Center Stage take the form of an action- and character-packed road trip. Flirtatious, vivacious Beatriz (Lorraine Velez) and her sullen, cynical daughter Olivia (Stephanie Gomérez) argue, cry, get in and out of trouble, make friends and eventually connect during a weeklong drive from Philadelphia to California.

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