Hurricane Hauls Monster to Long Island Shores


This strange looking, bloated, furry creature, whose picture was snapped by a blogger, washed up on the shores of Long Beach, NY, during the hurricane.  Gawker, discoverer of the infamous Montauk Monster, found this one too. The beast has yet to be identified. Can anyone tell us what it is?


There Is Hope for the Poe House!


The Poe House woes have come to an end!

The city Board of Estimates has chosen Maryland firm Cultural Resources Management Group (CRMG) to draft a plan to make the historic house self-sufficient by July 2012.  CRMG was chosen among four similar firms, each of which specializes in managing historic properties. 

The winning firm will be given $45,000 to draft their plan, the aim of which will be to keep the museum solvent permanently.  Until this year, the city had spent $85,000 annually on the house since it gained ownership of the property in 1979.  

A spokesperson for CRMG said the firm expects to have their plan finalized by late 2011 or early 2012.  Good luck to them in finding a solution!

Curated Conversation Starters for The Stormy Weekend


The hurricane is coming to town and there is a high likelihood of power outages.  Losing power is fun at first, but once the excitement of lighting candles has dwindled, we’ll be left alone with nothing but our conversations to entertain us!  In anticipation of these candlelit discussions, here are some Friday factoids to keep you chatting until the electricity comes back on.  

Muammar Qaddafi is more than just a tyrant, he’s also a total creep.  Opposition fighters found a photo album filled with photos of Condoleezza Rice while searching through Qaddafi’s Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli.  The Libyan leader has oft expressed his adoration of the former secretary of state and even affectionately calls her “Leezza.”  We imagine him poring over the album, passionate whispers of “Leezza, Leeeeezzzaaa” spewing from his lips.  Guess they’re not friends on Facebook. [Politico]

Earthquake shmirthquake.  It’s Imminent Irene that will pack the punch.  A really big, thunderous, multibillion-dollar punch, according to experts. [NY Times]

It’s been talked about for years, but it finally, sadly came to pass: Steve Jobs has stepped down as head of Apple due to health issues.  The value of Apple’s stock increased by over 6,000 percent while the visionary leader has been in charge, but what’s Apple without Him? (TechCrunch)

The final moments of last night’s episode of Jersey Shore (admit it, you watch it) gave a glimpse of another Ronnie freak out.  This time, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino provides the provocation, and Ronnie’s disproportionate and seemingly insane response has begged the question: does he have ‘Roid Rage? [WetPaint]

Baby rattles and bibs are for pauper pipsqueaks!  Mariah Carey is no pauper, she’s filthy rich!  So her stinking rich kids are dripping with diamonds.  We’re sure they’ll grow up to be lovely, well-adjusted people.  [Celebitchy]

Stay dry!

Tinges Commons Gives Waverly Something to Talk About


In 2009, were you to shop at the Giant supermarket in Waverly, you might have driven past an unremarkable triangular patch of grass situated opposite the parking lot. You probably didn’t wonder how one might go about converting the yard into a community garden and public art space. But Pete Cullen, Jimmy Joe Roche, Clarissa Gregory, and Graham Coreil-Allen did.

The group of artists, most of whom lived adjacent to the well-kept but empty lot, applied to overseee the space and we’re quickly granted stewardship. Enlisting the help of friend and soil expert Cheryl Carmona, they worked to build a raised bed and plastic-walled hothouse. The repurposed space was named “Tinges Commons” as a nod to the old Tinges Lane, which was destroyed in the construction of the supermarket.

Since its inception, Tinges Commons has placed an emphasis on community, working in tandem with neighborhood organizations, and hosting catered art openings, community cook-outs (with food from the garden), and multi-household yard sales.

The project has received funding from the Waverly Greening Fund, the Maryland Co-operative Extension, Maryland State Arts Council, and the Baltimore Office of Promotions and the Arts.

Next time you’re driving down E. 33rd Street, steal a glance at Tinges Commons. With constantly changing exhibitions that range from the inviting to the minimal to the chin-scratchingly odd, you’re sure to see something worth talking about.

You have to hand it to the Tinges Commons crew for seeing community building potential in the often alienating world of fine art.  Coreil-Allen, in an interview with Erin Gleeson for her Let’s Be Self-Sufficient blog, put it this way: “It’s something interesting to look at. It’s a reason to talk to your neighbors.”

For Sale: Best Job in Baltimore



A few weeks ago, Darielle Linehan, owner of the Ivy Bookshop, sent a letter to a select group of people. It read:


Dear Ivy Friends:


After much thought and consideration, I have decided to retire in early 2012 and I wanted you as loyal and valued customers to be among the first to know of this future change. This was an exceedingly difficult decision to make and came as a result of my wanting to spend more time with my family… 


The letter — available on the counter at The Ivy Bookshop, which Mrs. Linehan opened in 2002, and has owned and managed for nearly 10 years – goes on to say that she  is putting the Ivy up for sale and would welcome inquiries from any potential buyer.  She adds that beloved as the Ivy is, she believes it could be even better, under “new leadership with the requisite new ideas, attitudes and skill sets to better position our business for the future.”


If that isn’t a call to action, I don’t know what is. How many times have you drifted out of the Ivy thinking “…owning the Ivy must be the best job in the world.”  The main reason for that — the amazing Ivy staff — is already in place, and our sources say they’re all staying – which alone is a reason to grab it.  The clientele is somewhere between loyal and addicted – and paying full price, knowing damn well they can get it cheaper on Amazon.


Alright, nobody makes a fortune in the book business. But we have real information saying that “if it’s not making money hand-over-fist, it’s definitely not losing money – and it has the potential to make much more.” Think more events, more publicity, and a website.  But please, keep the free gift-wrapping.


The Ivy Bookshop, all 2,200 square feet of it, is located in Lake Falls Village, at 6080 Falls Road. For inquiries call the Ivy, at 410-377-2966.

A Very Good Hair Day


Anastasia Whiteshall 

Anastasia ran off before we got to ask her the question that still gnaws: Who cuts your hair? Her long, lovely chestnut locks set against white Ray Bans make for an eye-catching look. You don’t need much else.

Where are you from?

I am from Hartford County. I am graduate student in clinical psychology.

What brings you to Baltimore?

I am meeting friends.

Can you tell us about your outfit?

I am not sure where I got the shirt and jeans. The shoes are from a thrift store.


The BMA Celebrates Local Talent


Autumn is steadily approaching and, sad as we are to bid farewell to summer fun, we’re looking forward to cooler temperatures and changing leaves. This year, the BMA is giving Baltimore another reason to look forward to fall with an exhibition celebrating Baltimore’s most talented artists.  The Baker Artist Awards 2011 exhibition will showcase art by the recipients of the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize, which awards outstanding local artists with $25,000 from the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.   

This years winners, performance artist Audrey Chen, visual artist Gary Kachadourian, and beatboxer/vocal percussionist Shodekeh, will be showcasing their work through various means.  Kachadourian’s artwork will take the form of  a room-size installation, transforming the gallery into a large-scale mural of the artist’s intricate drawings of trees, lamp posts, and more.  Video footage will display Chen’s use of cello, voice and electronic compositions and Shodekeh’s use of drums, turntables, sleigh bells and more.  

The Autumn exhibit, which runs from September 7th through October 2nd, will come to a head with the a free Late Night event on October 1st at 7:00pm.  The BMA will bring in a DJ, cash bar, and light fare for the event which will include live performances by Chen and Shodekeh, as well as a duet between the two.  

Is it Fall yet?

Sing Karaoke? You Could Be the Next Hampden Idol!


In addition to hot fried foods and home-grown indie music, now there’s one more fun reason to be psyched for September’s Hampdenfest: Hampden Idol 2011. It’s just like “American Idol,” except everyone’s local–and fantastically imaginative rather than ruthlessly ambitious–and no one wins a recording contract. Returning after three years’ heart-breaking absence, the hokey hood-festival phenomenon is hosted and organized/curated by musician Kevin Hoffman, known to locals as Keyboard Man, and co-produced by Atomic Books. Contest stages past have included rousing performances by Spidey, a grown man dressed as Spiderman, singing “Spill the Wine” by War (quite well, I might add), hearty interpretations of Chicago ballads, and way more wackiness.

To get in the game, here are rules as stated at the official website: YOU MUST–
    * Be able to attend Hampdenfest in Baltimore, Maryland on September 10.
    * Be 18 years or older.
    * Be able to bring an amazing karaoke act (lyrics provided) to the stage in front of an adoring crowd. You don’t have to sing well, but you do have to entertain! The more unique the better.
    * Sign up via website, and then solicit votes via internet campaigning to earn a spot in the competition. Tweeting, getting people to Like you, etc. Stuff you do in real life already. We will take up to 10 contestants via this website, based on the number of votes…
    * At Hampdenfest, we’ll hold auditions and let a limited number of festival attendees sign up for a spot (first come, first served). We will take up to 10 contestants on the day of the competition, based on their audition.

So, put your personality-packed act together, snap on your tights, and act fast. So far, only a handful of people have signed up. You really could be the next Hampden Idol. We Like that.

Yoga in the Park: A Pro/Con Meditation



1. Getting a tan while in lying in corpse position
2. Don’t have to leave the dog at home
3. Using the butt crack of a statue as your Drishti
4. Feeling super healthy compared to junkies nodding out on the bench
5. Easy to sneak in if you arrive late
6. Easy to sneak away if you’ve had enough
7. In Tree position, you can actually hold on to a tree.
8. In Pigeon, you can actually watch the pigeons.


1. Stepping on dog poop
2. Cool hipsters gazing at you with contempt
3. Losing your glasses in the grass
4. Getting ogled by old men
5. Dogs licking your feet in corpse position
6. Ants in your shorts
7. Possibly stepping on a needle
8. Worrying somebody might steal your shoes

This summer, I’ve been excited to take part in the free yoga class that takes place every Saturday morning, 8.30-9.30am, in West Mount Vernon park. The class is sponsored by Merritt Athletic Club, and the instructor, Jude, is super-friendly and non-intimidating. Participants are all ages and levels, and there are four more classes left. Just bring your own mat and water bottle.

Snipe Hunting


Snipe Hunting

My uncle handed me a sack
and sent me to the yard:
“Just hold it wide; they’ll fall inside—
this hunting isn’t hard!”

What did I know? A girl of six
believes what she is told.
That August night in ‘68
I really thought I’d hold

a snipe before the stars appeared.
Instead, my uncle laughed
as I became mosquito bait
with rustling paper kraft.

It’s either faith or foolishness
that keeps me at this call.
The bag is now a flattened sheet:
I wait for words to fall.


Baltimore-area native Ann Eichler Kolakowski is pursuing a master’s degree in poetry at Johns Hopkins University. Her recent work also appears in Little Patuxent Review and Blast Furnace. She is completing a book-length manuscript of poems that chronicle the lost mill town of Warren, Maryland, which was destroyed and flooded in 1922 to expand the Loch Raven Reservoir, the primary source of Baltimore’s municipal water supply.