Culture

The Ultimate Stick Flick: Crooked Arrows

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Lacrosse fans and film lovers unite: Crooked Arrows, set to shoot this summer, sounds like a mainstream sports movie with heart, smarts and accuracy, telling the fresh story of a skilled Native American lacrosse athlete, Joe Logan, and his relationship to his reservation.

Brandon Routh (Superman) just signed to play lead–Routh happens to be part Kickapoo, according to PR rep. Steve Rash (Can’t Buy Me Love, Bring It On: In It to Win It, and he, too, part Native American, incidentally) will direct. Open auditions for team players (+ cameos and extras) are being held in lacrosse-leading states Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey–most recent casting stop happened in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend. See website and Facebook for details.

Plot is family-friendly familiar, yet set on new territory. After college, Routh’s Logan seeks to modernize his reservation, by bringing in a casino. His dad, the tribal chairman, says, “Look, before you build a casino, rediscover your spirit.” Logan’s spiritual challenge? To coach the reservation’s rowdy lacrosse team. Once Joe finally gets the kids up to speed (playing like a team, thinking like a tribe), they go stick to stick against a fancy prep school and, we’re guessing, show the rich kids how the game’s done.

What we find especially engaging here is the nod to Native American heritage. In fact, modern day lacrosse is a variation of a series of games played by Native American communities. The Onondaga tagged the sport dehuntshigwa’es, meaning “men hit a rounded object,” while the Ojibwe word for the sport means “bump hips,” and the Eastern Cherokee, “little war.”

“We set out to an honest lacrosse story and, in the process, discovered that we needed to tell an honest Native American story, too, because Native Americans invented the game,” says producer Mitchell Peck (Priest).

Todd Baird dreamed concept and sold Peck, who played star lacrosse at Collegiate; script by Todd Baird and Brad Riddell. Todd Harris (The Kids are All Right) also producing. With Mark Ellis (Eight Men Out, Invictus, Bad News Bears) of Sport Studio directing athletics. Says PR: “Mark has directed every sports movie… They want to get the lacrosse accurate.” 

Rep also tells Fishbowl that Crooked Arrows crew intended to shoot all parts in Baltimore, but due to limited tax breaks available in Maryland for film production, they will work primarily in Boston. Peck says some shooting will occur on actual reservations in New York State.

Production aims to complete film and screen at the Maryland Film Festival by spring 2012. Because we’d like to catch it, we wish Crooked Arrows all the swift victory.

Own Your Look!

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Welcome to Sartorial Baltimorial, our weekly street chronicle of a Baltimorean who expresses his or her personality in dress. We sent out fashion writer and stylist Mary Ellen Brown and Annapolis photographer Lee Kriel to cast their trained eyes and I.D. local personal style at its best. – The Eds.

 

Yoga instructor Elaine caught our eye with her natural beauty and incredible dreadlocks as she entered Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington.

 

Tell me about your dreadlocks. Is that your real hair?

Yes. I haven’t brushed my hair in eleven years.

Eleven years. Wow! How do you wash it?

Like a mop! It’s wash, wash, wash (makes washing noise) and then squeeze, like a mop.

What did you dress for today?

I’m a yoga instructor so I have to wear something that won’t get in the way of my movement.

Of course you’re a yoga instructor! What do you usually wear?

Most days I wear a girly top and yoga pants.  I have to be able to move.

Thanks for talking to us.

You made my day! 


From Angry Young Man to Grand Visionary: Lewis Black

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Saturday night, The American Visionary Art Museum honors comedian Lewis Black as the next AVAM “Grand Visionary”–a title previously awarded Desmond Tutu, former head of the NAACP Julian Bond and his wife, Pamela Horowitz, and singer-songwriter Donovan, among others. Award ceremony coincides with AVAM’s fifteenth anniversary gala, benefitting the organization’s terrific exhibitions and educational programs. A post-gala parade follows, with Lewis Black doubling as Grand Visionary/grand marshal.

Fishbowl talked to the comic about his surprise reaction to the heavy-duty title, and asked AVAM founder Rebecca Hoffberger outright, “So, why Lewis Black?”

“Many might say Black has a potty mouth. They would be right. But it is wholly attached to a Mother-Theresa-like, fierce passion for justice and care for others. Is it any coincidence that Lewis Black breathed the same Silver Spring air as fellow Silver Spring Maryland visionary, Rachel Carson, when she wrote, Silent Spring? I think not. Both underscore the escalating factors of greed that trash our environment. Rachel would have been smitten with Lewis Black, for in his own creative way, he continues the good fight. Only he makes us incontinent in the process! Plentiful good reason we are honoring him!” explained Ms. Hoffberger. 

Fishbowl: Is this award a surprise or merely destiny? What does it mean to you? Will you tell people you’re a Grand Visionary at parties or in line at Starbuck’s?

Lewis Black: I find it unbelievable that my name would be mentioned in a sentence with the name of Desmond Tutu, let alone that somehow we would actually be honored with the same award. It was more than a surprise, it was a shock. As shocked as I am, I do feel honored. It’s nice to know that people pay attention to your work, but to be recognized for it, is more than I ever expected. It leaves me a bit stunned. I do plan to make something in the line of a wizard’s hat with flashing lights that spell out Grand Visionary so that people will realize it, and I won’t have to bring it up in conversations.

FB: What did growing up in this part of the country do for your comedy, if anything?

LB: I am not sure how being born and raised in Silver Spring helped my comedy, but I do know that being raised in the suburbs of Maryland truly prepared me for space travel. 

FB: What are your impressions of the Visionary Art Museum, which of course embraces outsider art? Are you an “angry” outsider artist, in a sense?

LB: I have never been to the museum but have been online to get a glimpse and a sense of it. I will tour it when I get there and am looking forward to it. It’s extremely unique in concept. Stand-up comedy, in many ways, is a self-taught art. I don’t really consider myself an angry outsider artist at this point, as a comic needs an audience for laughs, so they are always reaching out for them. When I was younger, I probably was a very angry outsider artist which is why it took my career so long to get going.

FB: What do you like most about coming back to Baltimore?

LB: I truly like returning to Baltimore because I get to see my folks. And friends. And the ever changing, always the same, Baltimore. And the seafood. What’s most annoying is I can’t stay longer, as I am in the midst of rewriting a play. 

Black’s play, One Slight Hitch, will be performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.

Food Trucks Prevail!

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The city and the food truckers yesterday reached an agreement that includes parking restrictions and clearly displayed permits for the trucks as well as food zones between 9 a.m and 3 p.m. Here are the food zone locations:

• The 500 block of St. Paul Place and St. Paul Street, on the east side of the street — one space at each location, for a total of two trucks.

• The 1900 block of East Monument Street, on the south side of the street — one truck at this location.

• The 500 block of Baltimore Street, on the south side of the street — one truck at this location.

• The 300 block of South Charles Street, on the west side of the street — one truck at this location.

• The 500 block of East Fayette Street, on the north side of the street — three trucks at this location.

Food truck operators will also be allowed to diverge from those five locations as long as they follow all other regulations, including staying away from restaurants and displaying the proper parking permit.

Fake ID Follies

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University of Maryland sophomore and Montgomery County resident Teddy Michaels was federally indicted last month for making fake IDs and selling them to his fellow students. The fact is, the vast majority of young adults between 18 and 21 drink alcohol. At that age, and really throughout all of adulthood, alcohol is everywhere. In my experience, getting a fake ID is critical for most kids under 21. I remember my own desire for one; friends who had one seemed to be blessed with some sort of golden ticket. 

People who don’t have access to a decent counterfeit (like me a few years ago) often settle for the next best thing: the actual ID of a friend or relative who looks like them. That’s great if the person you find actually looks like you, but more often than not you are a peach-fuzzed baby face and that guy with the five o’clock shadow in the photograph looks like he just escaped from Guantanamo (and if you’re mistaken for THAT guy, your troubled cousin Alfred, you’ve got bigger problems on your hands). At the very least, if you try to pass one of those around, you are eventually going to be embarrassed by any bouncer or cashier with an ounce of common sense.

These problems keep quality fake IDs in high demand, which gives upstarts (opportunists) like Michaels the ability to drive up prices and make small fortunes. But people like Teddy Michaels are rare because it’s hard to acquire the equipment to manufacture convincing fake IDs. If you get one it is more likely to be printed on computer paper and laminated with an DIY laminating kit from Learning How than an elaborate copy like the ones Michaels produced. And when someone like Michaels does come around, the excitement around him is so great he draws a lot of attention not only from students, but also from authorities. Unfortunately, poor Teddy (a triple major in finance, accounting, and economics) should have known better than to merge the two things he was learning in school: business and partying.


 

Can a Poem about Makeup Reveal the Meaning of Life? "Regime" by Jenny Keith

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1. Cleanse
Don’t think about what’s happened as you slept:
Those tiny oil wells have worked all night.
No matter how fastidious or adept
you are at picking every pore in sight,
You nodded off, and drool now crusts your lip.
Your eyes are filled with gunk, and there’s a blot
of old mascara. Time to take a dip
and see what comes loose when the water’s hot.

2. Exfoliate
It’s like the way they make new jeans “distressed”
with stones and acid, punishing the new,
so you look “broken in,” not sharply dressed.
The fact is, if you’re over 22,
this battlefield is dull with corpses, cells
that die, and lie in shallow graves and creases,
(the thought of this is why the damn stuff sells)
and why you scrub your blameless face to pieces.

3. Moisturize
Now what you’ve just removed you now replace:
Synthetic, sweetly smelling stuff that’s strong
enough to block the very sun, in case
you’re in plain sight. They’ve said it all along:
You can’t have too much moisture. (Not like tears,
saliva, sweat – all that’s just too uncouth)
but something to restore our childishness
and keep us dewy, clueless, young, and smooth.

4. Foundation
They say that beauty is a freakish dearth
of all surprises. Let’s assume they’re right,
and pave this pocky, rough terrain. It’s worth
the tan stain on our collar (we wore white??)
and the way the porcelain ends below our chin,
our neck, too red. Our face is what they’ll see,
so cover that, and let no stranger in.
This liquid bhurka signals modesty.

5. Blush
Oh, stop it. Really. Stop it! You’re too much!
We shield our laughter with our fingertips.
We’ve heard this line a million times. Now touch
his arm, and feign annoyance. (Hands on hips.)
Our blood stopped flowing years and years ago;
We brush off our ennui with a puff of pink,
and close our eyes, just tired of saying no.
And live in shame for choosing not to think.

6. Powder
Like ashes, ashes, gently falling down,
like snow, confetti, drifting, settling, still,
a tiny sandstorm; here’s the finish: blown.
Our cover, made from what’s been through the mill,
is reduced to its composite molecules.
Now every imperfection is a dream
from which we have awakened, all the rules
unwritten. We’re transformed. We’re what we seem.

Lacrosse Lovers: Baltimore’s Obsession

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It’s six p.m. on Memorial Day and the city air is hot and still. After nearly two hours of watching back-and-forth goals and sweat-drenched celebrations at the NCAA Lacrosse Championship, the masses of red and orange clad fans filter out of M&T Stadium and back onto the streets of Baltimore. Two boys, no older than ten, wear Terps jerseys and grip lacrosse sticks roughly as long as they are tall. They chatter excitedly to each other, recounting each “sweet” goal and seriously deliberating which “sick” moves they should employ against their next opponent. They are sunburned, their hair plastered with sweat to their foreheads and necks, and their chosen team has just lost to its long-standing rival.  All of this is secondary to the spirit and the drama of the game. This is the relationship Baltimore has with lacrosse.

There aren’t many things for which Baltimore can claim exclusive credit — Hairspray, Poe (who really just died here), The Wire, Natty Boh…the list is short and eclectic, and perhaps that is why Baltimore remains so fiercely loyal to lacrosse. The city and surrounding area are home to powerhouses at both the high school and college level, like Gilman, Loyola, Boys’ Latin, St. Paul’s, McDonogh, Bryn Mawr, The University of Maryland, and, of course, Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays legendary history has made them standout in the pantheon of lacrosse greats. In both the 1928 and 1932 Olympics, lacrosse was a demonstration event, and in both years Hopkins beat out every other team in the playoffs to become the American representative in the games. The men’s team has appeared in every NCAA tournament since the creation of the playoffs in 1971 and has won the championship nine times.

But great teams do more than just create devoted fans, they also create educated fans. It seems frequent success makes fans less rabid, allowing them to appreciate the sport rather than just the victories. At the national championship on Monday afternoon, I sat among enthusiastic Maryland fans eager to see the title go to their home team, who despite thirty-four tournament appearances have not won the championship since 1975. But when Virginia midfielder Colin Briggs scored his fifth goal of the game with just under two minutes remaining in the final quarter, the Terps fan behind me clapped slowly and said to his companions, “Great play. He’s a great player.” And as the last few seconds ticked off the clock and UVA stormed the field in a sea of orange and white, Terps and Cavaliers fans alike rose in appreciation.

Baltimore loves lacrosse because it belongs to us, and we’re good at it. It’s a devotion and an understanding that extends beyond the sport itself to an attitude, a look, and for some people essentially a way of life. It’s that part of it that is difficult to explain – my older sister doesn’t play lacrosse and cannot understand how my younger sister and I can pick other lacrosse players out of a group of people with such frightening accuracy, and we can’t really either. During my first year of collegiate play in Massachusetts, I realized that it’s not just a lacrosse culture that I understand, but a Baltimore lacrosse culture. In recent years lacrosse has enjoyed significantly increased popularity all over the nation and in some other countries as well. But no matter where it is played, lacrosse belongs to Baltimore, the city that built it, that knows it, and that loves it no matter who wins.

Marta Randall is a Baltimore Fishbowl summer intern. She graduated from Hereford High and plays lacrosse for a New England liberal arts college.

 

REALLY? Fantasia to Headline Artscape

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We’re rather astonished to report that Fantasia, “American Idol” winner from way back in season three, has been named Artscape’s opening night headliner, slated to perform on the Wells Fargo Main Stage, July 15—at 8 p.m., in case you want to attend…or avoid. 

Come on, couldn’t Artscape find someone cooler to kick off the muggy and crowded arts-and-crafts carnival? We know the producers must necessarily strive to please families and young people alike, without offending batik-clad midlifers, but Ms. Barrino marks an all-time dorky low.

Last year, jam-band-y blues rockers Gov’t Mule headlined; in 2009 uber-ironic Cake—not our favorite groups these days, but each has an edge, to match their dance-able sound. This year the torch is passed to…tear-jerking Fantasia?

Sure, she sings like a pro, that’s not the issue. She played Celie in “The Color Purple” on Broadway; she sang “Summertime” so well on “Idol” that sour Simon Cowell called hers the best performance in the history of the show. But we’re over Fantasia! Everyone we know is over Fantasia. Bottom line: She reminds us of “Idol,” of dated water-cooler chatter and TV dinners gone by, and always will.

In less dreary headliner news: G. Love and Special Sauce play Saturday night at 8. At least, they remind us of “cold beverages.” Coolest and freshest act of all, Matisyahu, a Hassidic Jew critically acclaimed for blending rap and reggae, performs Sunday at 6:30.

Forty musical acts, local and national, are set to play through the weekend, so check the schedule for more details—and cross your fingers you pick a lucky set.

Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the country, showcases dozens and dozens of artists, many quite strong, and attracts more than 350,000 visitors each summer. Far fewer than “American Idol” draws—see, we’re still thinking about the damn talent show—but in many ways it’s worth the hard-to-park, people-packed grief to get to the striking visual experience.

Which band or solo artist would you most like to see headline Artscape next year? Who would be the worst possible choice, in your opinion?

A Community of Writers Celebrates Five Years

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Tonight, cool down inside the pretty Poe Room at the Central Enoch Pratt and catch a rousing literary reading from members of Writing Outside the Fence, an ex-offender and general community writing workshop, free to all participants, that meets weekly at the Reentry Center in the Mondawmin Mall (Tuesday evenings, 410 523-1060).
 
Launched in spring of 2006 by the ebullient Lucy Bucknell, who teaches in the film and media program at Hopkins, Writing Outside the Fence began as a course populated mainly by former prisoners but quickly morphed into a diverse community writing workshop and salon, for anyone who likes to write. Spirited (and often talented) students attend session after session because they have stories and poems to put down on paper, some rooted in gritty, real-world experience, others pure imagination. Staffed by volunteers from Coppin State, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, MICA, & elsewhere, the workshop celebrates its five-year anniversary this month.

“I’m not sure how the program has lasted so long, to be honest,” Bucknell says. “Remarkable people keep walking in the door, participants and instructors both, such funny, wise, and generous writers. Some of those reading have been attending for the full five years. My life is immeasurably richer with them in it.  I think many instructors feel that way… And maybe some writers feel the same–I hope so.”

Email [email protected] for more information.

Details:
Writing Outside the Fence Ex-Offender & Community Writing Workshop Group Reading: Tuesday, May 31
6-8PM
The Poe Room
Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral St.
Free Admission

Maryland Drivers: Bad At the Wheel in Our Own Special Way

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In the seventh annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test, a written test that poses twenty multiple-choice questions (pulled from state DMV exams) to drivers from fifty states and the District of Columbia, Maryland finished a dismal 49th in driver knowledge. Scanning the standings from this year’s test, I spotted the other two states I’ve lived in, New York and Rhode Island, getting cozy with Maryland near the bottom of the list. And I thought I might be able to give some context to the ranking. Absent from the simplistic, one-dimensional ordering is a realistic sense of the widely differing styles of poor driving between and within states, which is what I hope to rectify here to some small degree.

In neither New York nor Rhode Island will you find a driving experience quite like Maryland’s. Here the most conspicuous violation is failure to signal. I assume that the drivers, at least the ones in Baltimore, who opt not to turn on the blinker when turning or changing lanes believe that, whatever the rules say, it is always safest to draw as little attention to yourself as possible when traveling in the city. And you never know, someone might be tailing you. A common problem with nationwide tests is their failure to take into account local custom, and this poll is no exception. In Maryland, tradition teaches us that it’s legal to run a red light if it’s fewer than three seconds old and that broken traffic lights are considered green for all directions. Of course, that’s not how the laws read on the books, but a diligent driver must stay conscious of the custom.

New York, my home state, ranked 45th this year, which was an improvement from finishing dead last in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Honestly, I was surprised at the poor showing. I grew up in Central New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario, where every 4-way stop is handled with fairness and poise. As a child I might stand at one corner and stare in wonder at the legalistically flawless execution of right-of-way, an automotive water-ballet. I can only assume Downstate drivers are upsetting the state’s average. That said, though New York City drivers may cut each other off with complete disregard for the safety of those around them, they are almost completely predictable in this, and if you go in expecting it you should do fine. Hey, at least we don’t allow them to turn right at a red light.

In stark contrast, Rhode Island drivers, who ranked 44th in the poll, seem determined to kill you with kindness, yielding the right-of-way whenever possible, no matter how dangerous. Having lived there for two years, I can assure you it’s absolutely standard for a motorist heading straight to wave on all left-turning vehicles in the opposing lanes of traffic when the light turns green. Just as often, a driver without a stop sign will burn his brakes out to wave on another driver who’s waiting at one. These gratuitous wave-ons are so rampant that, in Rhode Island, “wave of death” is a common phrase among auto-insurance and auto-mechanic types to denote an instance in which a motorist, ecstatic with mercy and a feeling of omnipotence, waves on a car (or pedestrian) across multiple lanes of traffic.

One final thought: we really ought to cut D.C. (who finished last this year) some slack In a city whose roads are a gonzo superimposition of concentric circles, radial spokes, and a rectangular grid, I’m sure that the fundamental lesson imparted to students in Driver’s Education is “Look everywhere; try to survive.” And whether it’s legal to drive onto the shoulder to pass a left-turning car on the right side could seem perfectly trivial to someone who has to navigate scores of acute-angle intersections, avoid rear-ending bewildered tourists, and dodge lemming-like Segway tours every day just to live to do it again tomorrow.

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