A BIG Introduction to Improv


I had my first introduction to the Baltimore Improv Group, affectionately known as BIG, this past Saturday at their second performance of 2013 at the Mobtown Theater.  They were an absolute delight and oh how I envied the unadulterated joy on all the performers’ faces as they were in their complete element.  Every joke, every movement, every slight change in intonation was noted by fellow performers, and executed masterfully, right on the spot.

Screen shot 2013-01-07 at 11.12.00 PM

Luckily, BIG looks out for all of us who may wish to test the improvisational waters.  Their introductory improv classes begin tonight at the Creative Alliance and take place every Tuesday night from 7-9pm through February 19th.  Advance registration is $170, $150 for Creative Alliance members. Walk-ins are $190, $170 for members.  The final show is a culmination of all things learned in the weeks prior, in a showcase for your friends, family, and any nemeses to which you may want to rudely show off your newfound talent.  Follow in the footsteps of such improv geniuses as Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Amy Poehler, Bill Murray and Amy Sedaris.

Tuesdays from 7:00p – 9:00p

The Creative Alliance
3134 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD

To loosen up a bit and learn just how capable you may be to make others laugh.

Tomorrow?  $190.  Which comes out to $27/week if you don’t miss a week.  Skip happy hour a few times, and you’re golden.  No excises!

First Friday at the Creative Alliance


First Fridays Creative Alliance

catch of the day fish (2)TGIFF2013! Know what we mean? On the first Friday of every month, various happenings occur around the city—stores stay open late and galleries host openings and receptions. And this is the first Friday not only of the month, but of the year. So after last month’s non-stop shopping and rushing around, why not enjoy an evening of simply taking in some local culture at the Creative Alliance and grabbing a drink at Clementine’s bar while you’re there.

Mixology Workshop with Woodberry Kitchen’s Corey Polyoka


Mixology Workshop at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.  A grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey, we’ve got a drink named after you.” The grasshopper says, “Really? You’ve got a drink named Lenny?” [insert rim shot here]. But in all seriousness,  the invention of the perfect cocktail is no mean feat. There’s a reason we’ll travel the extra distance for the bartender (sorry, mixologist) who knows how to muddle the mint leaves just right, or where they infuse the vodka in house with single-source cocoa or local cucumber. When a drink is made just right, it’s the sort of thing you can linger over and enjoy for as long as the company and conversation will allow. And the better the drink, the more likely the company and conversation will stay for another. Want to be able to work this magic yourself? Walk right in to Clementine at the Creative Alliance for a mixology workshop.

Go Daddy Founder Establishes Professorship at UB


Bob Parsons, founder and executive chairman of Go Daddy, has made a $1 million donation to the University of Baltimore to establish a new professorship specializing in digital communication — a burgeoning field that brings together computer science, graphic design, entrepreneurship and related skills.

In addition to the professorship, Parsons, a member of the Class of 1975 who grew up in Highlandtown, will give lectures, either on campus or in a virtual environment, to share his expertise on  digital life, online marketing and entrepreneurship. Parsons is credited with providing leadership for Go Daddy’s marketing strategies, including its well- known Super Bowl ad campaigns that helped put Go Daddy in its leading position with Web hosting and domain names. The first lecture is set to occur at UB in the fall.

(Parsons continues to break new ground on the Internet with his highly-touted video blog, www.BobParsons.me, above, which has become popular with entrepreneurs. His one-of-a-kind personality — and his authentic Baltimore accent — really come through!)

Inside Office Space: Highlandtown’s Vitamin


Citybizlist continues its Pictorial Tour feature spotlighting  a local company’s office through pictures, with Baltimore design and marketing boutique Vitamin.

Founded in 2002, Vitamin provides brand strategy, print design, web design, and public relations services.

Its studio is located in Highlandtown among row houses filled with locally owned businesses, including the Creative Alliance at the Patterson Theatre. The studio was built out in 2005 to create a space that inspires a culture that is current, intelligent, relaxed, and goal-orientated.

Vitamin is led and owned by president and CEO Amanda Karfakis and COO Mike Karfakis (husband and wife team).

Its client roster includes Saint Agnes Hospital, Hamilton Bank, and 1st Mariner Arena, among others.

Without further ado, enjoy the digital tour through Vitamin’s Highlandtown office.

About Vitamin
Vitamin® is the Cure for the Common Brand. The firm is a rare boutique that integrates brand strategy, print design, web design, and public relations all under one roof. Vitamin’s studio is located in the heart of Highlandtown, among row houses filled with locally owned businesses, including coffee shops, restaurants, and the Creative Alliance at the Patterson Theatre. Vitamin will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. The studio was built out in 2005 to create a space that inspires a culture that is current, intelligent, relaxed, and goal-orientated. Vitamin is owned by Amanda and Mike Karfakis (husband and wife team); the firm employs 8, including a security officer, Alaz (Mike and Amanda’s German Shepherd).

Highlandtown Pop-Up Gallery Aims to Revitalize Neighborhood as it Inspires


The pop-up concept — using unused space for a short-term store or show — comes to Highlandtown this week in the form of Driven Within, a pop-up exhibition of two emerging artists on view now until Sunday, May 27. The space, 445 S. Robinson St., was a raw, unused space just weeks ago. Today it is renovated for the exhibition and full of art on view.

Driven Within is described in its press release as a “subconscious narrative versus introspective reflection. It investigates and reveals the journey of two artists who seek personal enlightenment and awareness while simultaneously addressing their role in the world of ceramic art.”

The show is produced by Shultz Development and the Nomad Gallery. Schultz Development is a local development company that specializes in rehabbing residential houses. Its target area is East Baltimore, specifically Highlandtown, Canton, and Brewer’s Hill. The scope of its work extends beyond simply building houses; the company cares about seeing communities grow and flourish. It seeks to see Eastern Avenue bustling with street life and creative businesses.

The Nomad Gallery curates public art performances and installations in once empty storefronts and other unused spaces. In the spaces, while the building is in transition, the gallery temporarily sets up pop-up exhibitions. Through the partnership of artists and building owners, Nomad creates and builds low budget, DIY galleries that have the ability to pop up all over the city. The goal of Nomad is to provide exposure for emerging artists, connect with many different neighborhoods, and promote the arts in unexpected locations

The exhibition is open to the public by appointment and on the weekdays from noon to 3:00 p.m. Please call 330-329-7756 to schedule an appointment.