MV Banks


No More, I Refuse: On the Failure of Victim Services in Baltimore



There are many things I love about this city – so many, in fact, that I haphazardly keep a blog all the things that were essential in transforming Baltimore into my home.  Put plainly, I am quite fond of this city.  That being said, I don’t walk around with rose-tinted glasses.  Baltimore has its fair share of problems, from a tragically high murder rate that is escalating each week, to high homeowner taxes driving people to buy outside the city, taking their spending money with them.  As someone who had yet to be murdered, and only rents at the moment, I was aware of these issues, but had never been personally affected. Until I was.

Django Tonight at Liam Flynn’s



Sometimes all you need in life is a pencil-thin mustache on a confident man, and a guitar playing briskly in the background.  Django Reinhardt brilliantly handled his guitar while rocking his ‘stache, ultimately creating a style of music known now as “gypsy jazz.”  He wrote and played songs using his middle and index fingers on his left hand, as the others were paralyzed in a fire.  His music has influenced artists across the ages, such as Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Santana, and countless others.

Liam Fynn’s Alehouse on North Ave is doing Baltimore a massive favor and hosting Hot Club of Baltimore, whose Facebook page describes them as a group that “performs inspired arrangements from the original repertoire of the Hot Club de France, a band founded in France in 1934 by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stéphane Grappelli.”  So swing by Liam’s tonight at 8:00p.m. for a great deal on beer and some soothing sounds for your soul.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Liam Flynn’s Alehouse
22 W. North Ave
Baltimore, MD

This video is the only explanation you really should need.


Fun with Fifi – Volunteering at the Kinetic Sculpture Race

Fifi the Poodle (Fifi Kahlo) takes on the sandpit in 2012
Fifi the Poodle (Fifi Kahlo) takes on the sandpit in 2012

Baltimore is known for so many wonderful things.  We’re known for being SuperBowl champions, we’re known for Cal Ripken, Berger Cookies, The Wire, John Waters, Natty Boh, Johns Hopkins, our crabcakes, our harbor, and so very much more.  One of the most quintessentially “Baltimore” events is the Kinetic Sculpture Race each May.  Hosted by the much beloved American Visionary Arts Museum, the Kinetic Sculpture Race is equal parts brilliant and absurd. Their website defines a kinetic sculpture as “amphibious, human powered works of art custom built for the race.”  These sculptures travel a 15 mile course over 8 hours, from Federal Hill to Pratt Street, from a swim through the harbor in Canton to a race through mud and sand pits in Patterson Park.

Be Your Own Circus: Charm City Movement Arts Classes in Charles Village


If you’re feeling a little blue that Barnum and Bailey have bounced from Baltimore, do not fear.  While clowns and acrobats continued on their tour, and the elephants paraded onward, we were left with a circus-tent-shaped hole in our hearts. Charm City Movement Arts has come to the rescue, offering weekly circus and dance classes in Charles Village for those of us that may not be able to make it all the way down to their Clinton Street location by Patterson Park.  

This Thursday at 2640, Red Emma’s collective arts venue location, Charm City Movement Arts is hosting Acro-Yoga and Moden/Jazz Dance classes for only $15.  Step off that treadmill and try multitasking while you exercise; get fit and prep for your upcoming circus days.  Who needs Barnum and Bailey when you can be your own greatest show on earth?

Thursday, April 11th, 2013
6:00-7:30p Acro Yoga
7:30-9:00p Modern/Jazz Dance

2640 St Paul St.
Baltimore, MD

Because exercising while training to be an acrobat is far better than going for a jog.

$15 – drop ins welcome.


Save Your Soul at the Lith Hall


save your soul

It started with an email from a friend who had heard about it from a friend.  Then I found this (now dated) article in the Sun by the beloved Sam Sessa, talking about a magical evening of soul and R&B on 45s with a surprise visit from John Waters, and it seemed to good to be true.  A quick Google search unearthed this video, which highlights what I can only imagine to be the best possible evening one could have in Baltimore.  When I heard it mentioned on City That Breeds new podcast, I felt like the only person in the city who had yet to attend.

The first Friday of every month, the Lithuanian Hall in Hollins Market hosts the now-famous Save Your Soul dance party.  It’s an evening where DJs spin the best, and often most obsolete, soul music.  The beers are cheap, the honey shots are potent, the music is solid, John Waters may or may not appear, and the dancing never ends.  So go ahead and Save Your Soul tomorrow night at the Lith Hall for a whopping five bucks.

Elephants on Parade



Barnum and Bailey are in Baltimore for the next few days, bearing bastions of clowns and menagerie of talented animals.  Today at 11:45a, the elephants from the circus will parade through downtown, from the 1st Mariner’s Arena, through Hopkins Plaza, down to Lexington Market.  I, for one, hope there will be gossipy lady elephants reminiscent of the Golden Girls, talking smack about a misfit toddler elephant.  There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by taking my lunch break downtown, and watching these elephants parade towards some crabcakes at Faidley’s.  

The Best of Craigslist: March 2013 – An Overly In-Depth Review of the Wholly Inconsequential


Baltimore Fishbowl Contributing Writer MV Banks writes the following column for The City That Breeds, and asks, “Huh?” to many of the weird and wonderful offers and asks on the local version of the world’s biggest classified section.

You know that unsettling guy from the bar you were avoiding on Friday night, or how about that girl that won’t leave you alone at the gym?  Here is where you’ll find them, in their tragic, creepy entirety.

photo 1“Altar server at St Philip and James”
Date Posted: March 17, 2013
Sex: Female (for M)
Age: 21
Message: “You were the altar server at 5pm mass this week. I have always admired you from afar and think that you are very cute/handsome. I doubt that you have noticed me (I don’t go to any events but I am usually in church). If you happen to see this, or someone you know sees this, I would like to meet you and get to know you. I know this might sound creepy, but really I just don’t know how to introduce myself and can be shy in public.

Fierce Chicks Rock Throw a Rocking Yard Sale



Moveable Feast is a phenomenal organization.  They provide healthy meals for Maryland residents with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other severe illnesses.  A variety of local organizations have come together to raise money and find food to help further Moveable Feast’s mission, from Gather Baltimore to Fierce Chicks ROCK.  Fierce Chicks is a group of determined women who fundraise throughout the year for Moveable Feast.  Each May, they bike over 140 miles from Ocean City to Baltimore in two days, with each woman raising $1,300 – the cost of feeding one client at Moveable Feast for an entire year.

Tomorrow they are throwing their annual yard sale, with all proceeds to benefit their fundraising goal.  From 7:00a to 1:00 pm they can be found at the corner of Barclay and 31st in Charles Village, just a few steps away from the Waverly Market.  Stop on by to see what goods they’ve found, what deals abound, and help these incredible women reach their worthy goal.

Sail the Heavy Seas of IPAs: IPA Tasting at Heavy Seas Ale House


The simple pleasure of a cold Natty Boh is undeniable.  However, it is important to mix things up every now and again for the sake of keeping an open mind and exposing yourself to new things.  In a pinch, you could grab something that looks exciting at The Wine Source, or maybe try something seasonal from Brewer’s.  But how is one supposed to truly learn about good beer versus bad beer, quality craft versus generic, watery, low-calorie beer-like substances?  You need both exposure, and someone to lead you down the path to Beer Enlightenment.

Improv Karaoke with Laura Hall at the Creative Alliance


Back in the late 90’s, there was a wonderful show called “Whose Line Is It Anyways?”  I spent many an evening enjoying the improvisational stylings of the cast, crew and musical team.  A few years ago, I was lucky enough to catch Wayne Brady at a show in Virginia, and my dreams from 1999 came true.  Imagine my elation, joy and surprise at discovering that Laura Hall, the improvisational pianist from Whose Line was coming to the Creative Alliance this weekend.