National Pinball Museum Leaves DC for Baltimore


Baltimore’s affordability may be attracting more than just twenty-something artists and scenemakers. David Silverman plans to move his National Pinball Museum here from DC this fall. In an interview with The Sun, Silverman said that after he lost his lease at his Georgetown location he couldn’t find anything in the DC area that fit his budget.

If lease negotiations work out, the National Pinball Museum will set up its interactive exhibits of hundreds of historical and modern pinball machines just north of the Inner Harbor. And we’ll be able to credit Baltimore’s affordability with one more little cultural coup.

Silverman’s quirky and mildly-obsessive museum (whose mission statement calls pinball “a looking glass of culture”) will fit perfectly in a city known for celebrating otherwise marginalized art (see American Visionary Art Museum) and even kitsch (see most of Hampden).

Dario’s Party


Cocktails with Dario Franchitti, Radcliffe Jewelers, September 1

We weren’t very psyched about the Grand Prix, what with the cutting of the trees and the noise and the inconvenience. But we’ll concede that it seems like the weekend was a success: the bars and restaurants were packed, the hotels were sold out Friday and Saturday nights and the city got a public relations boost. If we have to have it (and with a five year contract, we do) better for it to succeed than fail.

One big success came Friday night. Racing’s striking star Dario Franchitti stepped out that night after practice to mix and mingle at Radcliffe Jewelers in Pikesville with jewelry lovers and race car driving fans to raise money for the The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai. 

Five Minutes with Dario Franchitti

Have you ever had a speeding ticket?

I’v had a couple.

Would you mind telling me how fast you were going?

 I’d rather not.

What do you find most annoying about regular drivers?

When drivers are not paying attention. It doesn’t matter if you are going 30 (mph) or 120, you need to focus and not talk on the phone.

What is your pre-race routine? 

About an hour before the race, I try to clear my head. I do some stretching and spend time getting focused on the race.

Do you have a favorite movie of your wife Ashley Judd?

Well, I think they are all pretty good.



Sartorial Baltimorial Picks Prix Party Pics 





The Last Days of the Summer Uniform


Katie, 16, and Kyle, 14, Callahan 

Brother and sister Katie and Kyle take advantage of the last few carefree days before school starts. Her cute flip-flops and bubble gum pink polish and his shorts and shaggy hair make us wistful for another summer gone by too fast. They look like two lost surfers.

In fact, he just came from football practice. She’s a gymnast with Rebounders.

We’re not getting the black-socks-with-shorts trend, but we understand it’s big with Baltimore upper school boys. Of course, we wouldn’t let our husbands step out in this look but, hey, it’s cute on Kyle.


Ready to go back to school?

Katie: No. I won’t see my friends as much.

Kyle: Too much work.


Do you like fashion? You are so little and lean!

I am a gymnast. And I love fashion — dresses, jeans tanks.


What don’t you like to wear?

My uniform. I go to Roland Park Country School.


How about you, Kyle? Nice socks! Fashion statement?

No. I just got out of football practice. It’s all I had in my locker.


Are you all ready for summer to end?

Katie: No, but I will be hitting the vault and the uneven bars and the floor!

No More Synthetic Marijuana in Ocean City


Often marketed as “herbal incense” under brands like K2 and Spice, synthetic marijuana-like drugs have been selling in head shops and gas stations across the country, including Maryland.

While the DEA scrambles to respond to the widespread and barely legal new drug (placing a temporary ban on five chemical ingredients of the drug, while it determines a long-term solution), Ocean City has gone ahead and outlawed the stuff.

Reports of seizures and hallucinations in users of the drug have prompted Ocean City to act fast, passing an “emergency” ordinance that, according to The Sun, outlaws “the sale, possession, and manufacturing” of the substance.

Many other municipalities and several whole states have passed similar laws, and the drug’s prohibition throughout Maryland is likely just a matter of time.

After Vozzella: Will Her Truth-Telling Voice Fade Away?


Yesterday marked for The Baltimore Sun the first Thursday without Laura Vozzella’s witty, snarky, tell-it-like-is presence.

After 11 years as a Sun writer and almost six as columnist, the astute reporter (and sassy observer) has relocated to The Washington Post, which leaves us wondering who her replacement might be — who could fill her wise word-count, if indeed she’s being replaced at all? (No sign of a new columnist, and no gossip on the street, could very well mean the ever-shrinking paper considers the provocative city column category said and done.)

If so, it’s a shame. We’ve relished Vozzella’s insights. We loved these highlights from her farewell column last week, in which she thanked high-profiles locals who made her revealing columns hilariously readable and teachable: “Former Mayor Dixon, for your passion for furs, Jimmy Choos and a married man doing business with the city. Developers A, B and C, for all those gift cards you donated to Mayor Dixon’s favorite charity: Mayor Dixon. Olympian Michael Phelps, for taking that Vegas cocktail waitress home to meet mom one Thanksgiving…A convention of out-of-town bishops, for downing $55 bottles of wine at Cinghiale…A Catholic priest Who Shall Not Be Named, for denouncing me from the pulpit of my own church for writing about the aforementioned bishops…Molly Shattuck, the Grandma Moses of NFL cheerleading, for proving motherhood and ripped abs are not mutually exclusive….Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, for scolding a constituent who called you “Stephanie,” overcoming your Cleopatra-wig phase and managing to always look bored with the family business (politics), even when the job brings you within inches of Barack Obama.”

Just in case the brightest Sun powers that be are considering cocky columnist applicants, here are some candidate ideas from BFB:

Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun reporter–has been named best reporter by City Paper and Baltimore Magazine. Pros: He’s a skilled and dogged crime reporter, a solid writer, and well-trained journalist. Cons: He’s likely a tad too serious to tackle the gig’s fun-poking requirements.

Max Weiss, editor of Baltimore Magazine
Pros: She’s funny, clever, and well-versed in pop culture and politics. Cons: She might love Baltimore a little too much to knock our heroes from their pedestals.

Marion Winik, nonfiction writer, poet, Baltimore Fishbowl columnist
Pros: She’s intelligent; knows what’s happening around town, around the world.
Cons: Her best, most heartfelt writing may be found in those small moments in which she takes ruthless aim at herself, rather than the jerks all around her.

Which local thinker/scribe would you nominate to be Vozzella’s replacement? Let us hear.

Baltimore Grand Prix Brings Grand Parties, Race Car Royalty


The race may be the main event of the Grand Prix, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan of race cars — there will be a number of celebrations throughout the city over the entire weekend, and it seems all of race car driving’s top names will be in Baltimore to attend.

The festivities start tonight with the Adobe Road Wine Dinner which will feature driver Marc Bunting and other Prix competitors.  The dinner, which takes place at Morton’s The Steakhouse, will feature a preview of the Team Baltimore Racing show car.

Thursday night, Danica Patrick and Mike Conway will be appearing from 6-8 pm at Buffalo Wild Wings in Owings Mills.  Racers Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be appearing at the same time at the White Marsh location of Buffalo Wild Wings.  There will also be free concerts at Power Plant Live featuring Lost in Paris and the Philly Party Band.  

Things really get going Friday night.  First, Radcliffe Jewelers and TW Steel will be hosting an in-store event with special appearance by reigning Indy 500 champion (and actress Ashley Judd’s husband), Dario Franchitti.  Franchitti, who currently holds first place in the 2011 IndyCar Series Standings, will be showcasing TW Steel’s extended watch line.  What’s more, the event will feature a live auction to raise money for The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai.

If you want to see some live music, there will be more live concerts at Power Plant Live, as well as a Grand Prix Kickoff Party hosted by Olivia Newton-John and Terrell Owens at Rams Head Live.   

As the weekend continues, the Budweiser Block Party brings performances by Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, and the Infield Party Zone will feature performances by Collective Soul, Big Bad Voodoo Daddies, and more. 


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.”