Culture

Love Aquarium Style

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It’s the story of a lovely lady, Zoe, 12, a zebra shark, who had swum solo for some time inside the National Aquarium’s Wings in the Water exhibit, mingling with other fishes, sure, seemingly social, true, but in one sense living alone, without another zebra shark to call her similarly wacky-looking water family (extra-long tail, spotted body, big smiling face). All that changed recently when Zeke, age two, left the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to take up residence at the National Aquarium, smack dab in Zoe’s high-profile tank. We’re more interested in their potential May-December coupling than that of Demi and Ashton any day, and so consulted our favorite shark expert Andy Dehart, the aquarium’s director of fishes and aquatic invertebrates — and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week adviser — about Zeke and Zoe’s future friendship, including romantic possibilities that could bubble up.

Why was Zeke, who took up residence at the National Aquarium in 2010, only this month introduced to the public and fish-crazy paparazzi, via the Wings exhibit?

Zeke’s ready now at age two. He’s swimming with some very large rays, roughtail and southern stingrays with about six-foot wingspans. The sharks that live in there need to be a certain size to make their presence known at feed time.

Who has taken care of young Zeke? Or would you say shark-sat?

Our main aquarist Colleen Newburg is his day-to-day caretaker. Now that he’s in the exhibit, he sees volunteer divers twice a day. They help with [pole-]feeding, cleaning, and maintenance.

Do you think Zeke misses his mother?

Sharks receive no maternal care.

Are female and male sharks different personality-wise?

Nope, not much difference between male and female [shark] personalities. Each shark has a personality, though. Zoe is very curious: She always comes over when there’s activity. Zeke is a unique character — [he’s not a baby]; I would call him a juvenile.

Who named Zoe and Zeke?

My wife named Zoe when she was an aquarist here! Technically speaking, they actually have numbers as names–the real way we ID is with an ID number built by the first letter of the genus, the first of the species, the year we got that animal and the order. Zeke is also known as SF 10-1. Our staff are very passionate about the animals, of course, [and about naming them]. Colleen Newburg named Zeke.

Describe the striking physical transformation the zebra shark completes as he/she matures.

When they’re born out of an egg, they are solid black with vertical white stripes — the black fades to mustard yellow, while the stripes become yellow spots like on a leopard. This is why they’re also called leopard sharks. They also get really pronounced ridges on their backs, and have super long tales. The face of a zebra shark is like a big Cabbage Patch Kid!

Despite their age difference, will Zeke and Zoe mate?

They could mate.The age difference matters now — Zeke isn’t old enough right now to want to do that. It’s possible later. With a lot of these sharks, it can take eight to 14 years to mature. So, Zeke has a little growing up to do before it’s time to date.

Does the Aquarium hope they’ll hook up eventually?

It’s one thing we always look at. How can we breed instead of using wild specimens? Zebras have done well with breeding and mating. A long-term goal is breed them…

The Wings in the Water exhibit will be expanded and reinvented in the next year or so. Can you give us a hint about the new and improved show tank?

Both Zoe and Zeke will be featured! Sharks, rays, too, and we’ll be upping the number of sharks and unique animals…

Shop Window Perfect

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Having made a career in dapper menswear, Ken Himmelstein — who owns the Samuel Parker store in Lake Falls Village — loves clothes and has a knack for putting together his own Ken-authentic look. As he stands amid cashmere sweaters and English button-down shirts, he looks elegant enough to be a mannequin in the smart shop window.

Ken Himmelstein

 

You look great Ken. But a little summery with the orange T-shirt and white shoes! 

Touch my jacket. It’s cashmere.

And the shoes?

My white bucks. I wear them year-round. 

So you call your style…?

Modern traditional.

How long have you been in the business? 

I was on the wholesale side for 30 years. I was a Ralph Lauren rep and also worked for high-end menswear firms.

Is there anything you feel you can’t wear in Baltimore?

No, I have big (nerve). If I don’t dress like this, who will?

Who will? The customer who appreciates beautiful suits and tweed blazers, pants, shirts and a cashmere sweater in every color. And great shoes.

My customer is the professional man who likes clothes.

Like you? 

Like me.

Art Show, Pumpkins, a Fashion Show and Wes Moore

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More dates to add to your calendar! We’re expanding this week and including events beyond the weekend…

Art for Land’s Sake: The Valleys Planning Council hosts its annual art show tonight featuring pieces from over 40 local and national artists. Thiry-five percent of sales goes to the VPC. When: Preview Party, tonight, September 30, 5 – 9 p.m.  Weekend art show and sale, Saturday and Sunday, October 1 & 2, from noon – 4 p.m. Where:  Halcyon Farm, 11245 Greenspring Avenue, Lutherville. Attire: Business casual. Admission: Preview Party tickets, $125 and may be purchased at the door. Art show only, $5, purchased at the door.

Pumpkins on the Green: The Irvine Nature Center is putting on their annual “blue jean” fundraiser featuring live music, live and silent auctions, and seasonal tastes from a local “green” caterer.  Adding to the fun, the event’s honorary chair, recent Emmy-winner Julie Bowen is hosting in a meet-and-greet VIP cocktail reception before the event.  When: Fundraiser: Saturday, October 1, 2011, 7-11 p.m. VIP Cocktail Reception: Saturday, October 1, 2011, 6 p.m.  Where: The Irvine Nature Center. Attire: Blue jean casual. Admission: $95 per ticket for the fundraiser, $500 for two tickets to the VIP reception and fundraiser. Tickets available through MissionTix

The Art of Giving: Ruth Shaw and Renaissance Fine Arts host a fashion show to benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute & The Baltimore School for the Arts. When: Tuesday, October 4 at 11:30 a.m. Where: Renaissance Fine Arts, 1848 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville. Attire: Invitation doesn’t say, but we’re guessing it will be a pretty fashionable crowd…it’s a fashion show after all. Admission: $150 and includes light lunch. Tickets available online through Kennedy Krieger. 

Distinguished Speaker Luncheon Featuring Wes Moore: Advocates for Children and Youth hosts its eighth annual luncheon with bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore, Rhodes Scholar and Baltimore native Wes Moore. When: Wednesday, October 5, from 11:30 a.m – 1:30 p.m. Where: Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, 202 Pratt Street, Baltimore. Attire: Invitation doesn’t indicate but we’re guessing business? Then again, lots of teachers and non-profit types will be in attendance, so clean, cute and comfy is probably fine too. Admission: $150. Purchase tickets online at www.acy.org.

Have a good weekend!

 

Art For Land’s Sake: Art and More

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Sponsored Post Art for Land’s Sake, the annual fund raiser for the Valleys Planning Council, can always be counted on to showcase top local and national artists in a wide variety of mediums. This year’s event, hosted by Stiles Colwill at Halcyon Farm, offers an added bonus: a glimpse of the 122-acre historic horse farm and its newly restored barn. Colwill, the renowned interior designer and former Baltimore Museum of Art chairman, will display all of the show’s artwork from over 40 artists in the freshly rehabbed barn. Featuring oak floors, eight chandeliers and other custom features, the space was refurbished with parties in mind. Anticipation for a view of the barn is as high as anticipation for a view of the art!

Artists in the show include local favorites like photographer Katherine Dilworth, and painters Jean Merrick Maddux, Helen Hilliard and Iva Gillet, among others. All the artists donate thirty-five percent of sales to the Valleys Planning Council. “We are delighted to host this event,” says Mary Louise Foster, chair of the event. “It has always been exciting to plan, but the real pay-off for me is seeing local artists come together to support the preservation of land in Baltimore County.”

The Art for Land’s Sake Preview Party will be held Friday, September 30 from 5 – 9 p.m. at Halcyon Farm, 11245 Greenspring Avenue in Lutherville. Tickets are $125 and include cocktails, food, show admission and opening art sales. Contrary to previous reports, tickets may be purchased at the door so it’s not too late to plan to go. The show continues on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. Tickets for the show only are $5 and may be purchased at the door.

The Valleys Planning Council works to preserve the rural and historic nature of the Green Spring and Worthington Valleys. Established in 1962, the council has played an important role in crafting land use polices to control growth and increase land conservation in Baltimore County.  

Your Comments

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From time to time, when there is a lull in the excitement around here, we gather your comments to show you our favorites.  

In response to Marion Winik’s recent essay, The Things They Googled, about how searching the obsequious search engine has become a cultural pastime, Shari writes:

“I almost googled ‘pleonasm’ midway through the article, but didn’t, preferring to enjoy the flow of the article uninterrupted. Thank you, Marion, for rewarding my patience. Delayed gratification is the sweetest kind!” 

The lyrical piece also earned a familial response. Jeff Winik added:

“After reading this, I decided to send it to both my sons. It’s dated to day, so at least they’ll text me and not say “Seen that. Thanks anyway.” I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of this article only because it’s true…and because Dad finally found something they haven’t.” 

Weighing in on Slutwalk, Rachel Monroe’s story about the new feminist march, Jan Jamm wrote: 

“I have traveled throughout Southeast Asia for a year. There is a modesty in dress that is maintained in all these countries by both men and women. When I returned to the US after traveling in Asia, I was unexpectedly, shocked by the contrast in how immodestly people were dressed. As Americans, we expect that we can do whatever we wish and everyone should deal with it. That’s the downside of individualism. In truth women are never assaulted or raped because of what they are wearing. They are assaulted and raped because of a culture of violence against women. However, encouraging women to taunt that reality seems to me to be irresponsible. I think sexuality in its deepest pleasures is more about process of slowly revealing oneself, physically and emotionally to another, rather than being sexual by revealing it all. The commodification and commercialism of sexuality/celebrity is a means of encouraging a look that helps sell clothes. I think the Sluts need to think more about the corporate control over what being a woman means, rather then fashion options. And I think we should all work to change the culture of violence, in anyway we can.” 

The heart-wrenching story, Undercurrent, Holly Morse-Ellington’s story about the effects of a sex scandal on a family, earned praise from many commenters.  PV wrote:

“Very moving story, very well written. I appreciated the candor and honesty. Must be a very difficult time for you and your family.”

And, on a happier note, in response to our new series Baltimore Unearthed by Michael Yockel, commenter Hal remembers the film Adventures in Baltimore

“I hate to reveal my age, but I saw this movie when it was first run in theaters. It was probably a Friday night and I took my date to the 7:00 o’clock showing at the Ritz, before the weekly dance at the American Legion Hut. Unfortunately, I remember the movie better than the date. The movie was a dud, can’t say about the date. Michael Yockel’s story is interesting, informative, and fun. I’m subscribing now.”

In response to a commenter who was less than enthused by Krista Smith’s enthusiasm the Four Seasons, Big Man Tate wrote:

“This is exactly the mindset too many Baltimoreans are stuck in! OF COURSE we are all happy that it will bring more jobs. But don’t people need to go there and spend money in order for those jobs to last? Doesn’t it make for a more stable economy ? A more robust downtown? The quality of a city is not measured by the number of five star hotels, you are right, but it is measured by the strength of its economy and if this will get people from the county or D.C. to come and spend their money, then great. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The managing director of US Lacrosse, Susannah Chase, had a lot on her mind about our story on the exclusivity of lacrosse, Bringing Lacrosse to Baltimore’s Toughest Neighborhoods, by our summer intern and college lacrosse player Marta Randall and another by Shannon Dunn on sports leagues for kids in the inner city:

“At US Lacrosse, we were delighted to see the recent articles (8.23.11 and 8.10.11) that focused not only the positive impact of youth sport’s, but also the individuals and organizations that work hard every day to make sure that youth who might not have the opportunity to participate in a sport like lacrosse, get the chance to play. 

 As your articles aptly recognized, as prevalent as lacrosse may seem, not all Baltimore children are born with lacrosse sticks in their hands.  The mission of US Lacrosse, as the sport’s national governing body, is to “provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game.” Initiatives such as Parks and People Foundation’s Middle School Lacrosse League, Baltimore Youth Lacrosse League, and Charm City Lacrosse have all received equipment grants and funding from US Lacrosse to help grow their programs.  We are extremely proud of our investment in programs that serve and inspire Baltimore’s youth, and the individuals who offer their time, talent and treasure to ensure that all of our children have a positive experience with a sport we love.  The confidence, lessons of sportsmanship, friendship and mentoring that comes from a best practice youth program can offer a child a strong and lasting foundation.  We care deeply about the youth experience and hope it builds a passion for the sport to last a lifetime.

US Lacrosse is more than Lacrosse Magazine and a membership organization that provides insurance, and our wish is that these articles allowed for the role of US Lacrosse in the Baltimore community and the country at large.  We are literally in your backyard and in 2010 we provided 74 equipment grants for 102 boys and girls under-19 teams across the United States, including programs right here in Baltimore-a number and an impact we will well surpass in 2011.  We work hard every day to protect the integrity of the game, and have been a quiet and understated force in these programs and in this community.  We welcome the opportunity for Baltimore to learn more about US Lacrosse and invite any and all to visit us and the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Museum, 113 West University Parkway, Baltimore, MD.

With the fastest growing sport in the country, there is always much work to do and ways in which we can learn more about the game.  We are grateful for the passion and love of lacrosse that so many of us share in this community, and look forward to continuing to work together to build a positive and safe experience for all of our players.”

And we would be remiss to exclude a sample from one of our favorite commenters, RolandJim, who had this to add about Rachel Monroe’s post Education Reform Theories Get Tested in East Baltimore about Johns Hopkins University’s attempt to take over an elementary school in East Baltimore:

“I wish them all the best and hope for success for both the school and the students.  It will be interesting to see how JHU intends to manage the difficulties faced by so many urban children.  How will they get parents to monitor homework, attend school meetings, teach the children simple manners, and give those young minds something to work with beyond TV sets; all while struggling to maintain a household with one parent, earning $300/wk or less? Gee, I can barely feed us and the cats on that much, much less buy books, clothes and bus fare. 

The new admin plans to “use best practices” in the new school setting.  Will this be another re-design of the sort we see every 15 or 20  years?  Shuffle the chairs, and call it new?  Or will they start from where the kids really are, and lead – not push but lead – them into a learning habit that will stay with them after the bell rings?  And after they leave that school, will they have the support to continue?  This is tough stuff – – if it were easy, it would have been done already!”

Thanks for weighing in and please keep the comments coming!

Second City Spoofs Baltimore to Hilariously Accurate Effect

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We laughed so hard at Second City’s brand-new Baltimore-spoofing comedy show, “Charmed and Dangerous” — at Centerstage through October 16 — we had to know how the out-of-town S.C. writers built sketches and songs that nailed our town spot on. Almost no sacred cow is spared, with material taking smart shots at mayoral politics, holy Hopkins, Edgar Allan Poe, community arts, the Grand Prix, even the wacky act of crab-hammering. Happily, and humorously, writer/performer Tim Sniffen, who co-wrote the show’s first draft with Ed Furman, and who appears in the production, explained a few things.

Tell us about the writing process, and what kind of research was involved.
 
Ed Furman and I [Tim Sniffen] did the initial round of writing. Throughout our weeklong [immersion] stay in Baltimore, we were guided through the city and showered with information from a bunch of Baltimore residents, including Gavin Witt and Heather Jackson, who work at Centerstage. Gavin and Heather arranged for us to meet lots of other people so we could get a good sampling of people.
 
There’s also a degree of ‘writing’ when the show goes into rehearsal: This comes from the director [Matt Hovde] and the cast — some lines don’t flow smoothly, or a joke isn’t quite right, and the cast will work on the spot to tighten up the show and make the humor as local and relevant as possible.
 
Are any cast members from Baltimore? And what preconceived notions did you all possess about our city?
 
Neither Ed nor I are from Baltimore [I grew up on Long Island, NY; Ed is from Chicago], but I was in the cast for the first Second City show here in January/February of this year [“The Second City Does Baltimore”]. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that a lot of my mental image of Baltimore was based on — wait for it — “The Wire,” and Hairspray. I was happy to find there are not drug deals and/or busts happening on every corner. Surprises for me included your gorgeous harbor, and the amount of kick-ass food in the city. I had heard the arts scene here was cool and eclectic, but actually seeing it, visiting places like Creative Alliance and the Wind-Up Space, made me realize this place is kind of a paradise for artists.

For tix, go here or call (410) 332-0033.

Fewer Same-Sex Couples in Maryland Than We Thought

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Apparently the U.S. Census Bureau miscounted. In August, the agency reported roughly 17,000 same sex couples living in Maryland. Now, according to an article in The Sun, they’ve revised the number to 12,500.

The bureau claims that the discrepancy is due to human error in recording information onto the forms, particularly in the “name” and “sex” fields.

But even the lower, revised statistic shows a 78 percent increase in gay couples living Maryland since the 2000 census. According to demographer Gary Gates, much of that statistical increase can be credited to gay couples being more willing to disclose their sexuality in 2010 than they were ten years prior.

Beautiful Druid Hill Park: Where the Bodies are Buried

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“Druid Hill is such a beautiful park,” wrote the author Upton Sinclair, reminiscing about his childhood in Baltimore. Before he was 10, Sinclair read the entire works of Shakespeare in two weeks in Druid Hill Park, and on a walk in the park one winter night he saw a vision of Shelley “on fire with high poetry.” I take my dog to Druid Hill Park every week, and while I’ve yet to see a vision of Shelley, I’ve seen fox, deer, box turtles, and — yesterday morning — a small rat snake. Is it possible some of these reptiles are sneaking out of the zoo?

The Maryland Zoo, of course, is perhaps the park’s central attraction, though it contains many other places to visit, including the Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, with its historic Palm House and Orchid Room, both built in 1888. There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course, a circular jogging track round the reservoir complete with exercise machines, a swimming pool in summer and a farmer’s market every Wednesday, from 3:30 to 7:30.

Personally, I prefer the more secluded areas of the park, where  other pedestrians are few and far between, especially in the early hours of the morning. The northern end of the park, which apparently contains some of the oldest forest growth in the state of Maryland, is a natural wooded habitat. Here, undergrowth covers a crumbling man-made pond, and the roads are closed to traffic. There’s a graveyard in this area too, the burial ground for the Rogers-Buchanan family, whose graves date back to the 1700s.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only burial ground in the three square kilometers that make up this surprising inner city park. St. Paul’s Cemetery, which has recently been cleaned up by volunteers, sits on a knoll between the pedestrian Safety City and a group of seven tennis courts. In fact, the graveyard comes right up against the edge of one of the courts, which makes for a nice juxtaposition, and reminds us of that in the midst of life — even when practicing our backhand — we are in death. Finally, any fans of “The Wire” remember what happened to the body of Wintell “Little Man” Royce, who was killed by Wee-Bay at the end of the first season? That’s right — it was dumped behind the Reptile House, in Druid Hill Park.

Spurned Borders Employees Give Customers a Piece of Their Mind

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With the final Borders bookstores closing last week, retail workers took it upon themselves to craft a customized farewell to customers. Blame it on out-of-work crankiness, but some of the observations are on target. (Not that Target.) Our favorites? “It’s called summer reading not three-days-before-school-starts reading” and “It never bothered us when you threatened to shop at Barnes and Noble. We’d rather you do if you’re putting up a stink!”

 

 

 

Remember This Guy?

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Barry Landau, who in July was accused, along with Jason Savedoff, of attempting to steal 60 historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society’s library, and who was later discovered to have paid suspicious visits to several other historical archives in the region, (often with cookies and cupcakes in tow) is back in the news.

After tracing the origins of thousands of documents removed from Landau’s Manhattan apartment, prosecutors have determined that around two hundred of them were obtained illegitimately from American museums and archives. Some may have come from the United Kingdom.

Ironically, Landau is now having a bit of trouble trying to unload valuables. According to a motion filed by his attorneys, Landau is seeking permission to sell off many of his assets, including knick knacks, antiques, and an Andy Warhol print (presumably got at legitimately), claiming that Landau is now broke.

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