Tag: avam

Free Movie Night at AVAM (Bring Your Own Popcorn)


The American Visionary Art Museum is one of the most fun and interesting attractions in Baltimore, but the admission price ($16 for an adult, $10 for children over six) tends to keep this writer away. But on late summer Thursday nights the AVAM transforms into one of the most economical (and family-friendly) outings in town.

AVAM’s free “Flicks from the Hill” series runs every Thursday in July and August. Moviegoers park themselves on Federal Hill for a 9 o’clock outdoor screening. The film schedule is all popcorn fare, featuring proletarian comedies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Airplane!

The outdoor picnic atmosphere adds novelty to even timeworn classics. You may have seen Some Like It Hot more times than you can remember, when was the last time you saw it projected outside on “a 30-foot wide screen held from above by a Giant Golden Hand?”

On movie nights, the museum is free from 5PM to 9PM, so show up early and check out the current exhibition, “What Makes Us Smile?,” co-curated by Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

Tonight’s film is Viva Las Vegas.

Summer Camp Revamp


Summer camp—that annual repository for poison ivy and mosquito bites, gimp friendship bracelets and macramé plant hangers, homesickness and summer love—has gone boutique.  These days, kids can put a new twist on textiles at art camp, trade rock climbing for rock and rolling, and become Broadway—rather than Outward—bound.  And for kids who couldn’t get enough of school, there’s an academic camp just like it.

Theater Camp

Does your daughter recite lines from movies she’s seen only once?  Does your son still like to play dress up?  Gloria Krutul has a camp for that.  The piano teacher and choir director runs Three-Ring Theater, a year-round musical acting camp and after-school program.  Summer sessions for kids age five through teen are two-to-three weeks long.  With the help of experienced student assistants, Gloria teaches campers to sing, dance, and act—all toward the goal of performing in an end-of-season musical. 

Cassidy Vogel has been a student director for three years, but she was an eight-year-old camper when she first joined Three-Ring seven years ago.  What she likes best is how it creates independence.  “We learn to do all the things on our own; there’s not a bunch of adults doing it for us.  We learn the tech stuff, costuming, sound—everything.”  And all campers participate as much as they want.  There’s even a little theater for kids 5-8.  ($690, Little Theater—$325)

The Spotlighters Theatre runs the Young Actors Academy, with a five-week day camp for middle to high-school students and a three-week program for younger kids.  The older kids enjoy courses in stage combat, makeup design, and improvisation, while young students study what the Academy calls “FUN-damentals.”  These programs are Monday through Thursday; on Friday, a local theater pro teaches master classes.   (Middle & High School—$575; Little School—$375; three Fridays—$35)

And don’t forget local colleges, which often feature interesting outlets to occupy your kids’ days.  CCBC gives kids 8-13 lessons in all things theater—singing, dancing, makeup, costuming, and critiquing.  Plus, if your child has ever threatened to run away and join the circus, you can make her trek more likely to succeed with one-week circus camps that teach the fine art of clowning around. (Three Weeks—$629; Four Weeks—$786; Circus—$259)

Sailing Camp

Ahoy, matey!  If your kids can’t get enough of the water, whet their appetite for adventure on the not-too-high seas of the Chesapeake Bay at sailing camp. During one of the week-long Downtown Sailing Center day-camp sessions, children learn techniques on both wet and dry land that will nurture love and respect for the water and its crafts, while encouraging safety above all else–which feels especially important, in light of the recent tragic death of the Annapolis sailing student.  At the end of each session, campers test their skills in two-seater dinghies.  For a more extensive ride, kids can live on a sailboat with a Coastguard captain for a week, while learning the ropes—from steering to anchoring and everything in between.  (Day Camp-$400; Overnight—$950)

KidShip Sailing School, part of the Annapolis Sailing School, also makes sailors of 5-to-15-year-old campers.  (About $495/week)

Academic Camp

Brainiac kids—those who score above the mean on your SAT or ACT tests (and don’t have to look up the alternate definition of “mean”)—can join their bookish buddies at the Johns Hopkins CTY camps. 

CTY camp is like regular school, it’s also a lot like college.  Mia J. Merrill, a junior at Park starting her fifth season, appreciates the imaginative course variety. “Instead of just English or just biology, you can take Utopias and Dystopias (a lit course),” Mia says, or you can take Neuroscience.  What Mia likes best about CTY camp are the far-out courses and comforting/quirky traditions.  For instance, near the end of every dance, “Stairway to Heaven” streams, and “American Pie” is always the final song.  “During ‘American Pie,’ everybody holds hands in a huge circle in the beginning, but then we all run into the center.  Everybody knows all the words, plus we have callbacks and gestures.”  One of the few things she hates about CTY is that cell phones are off limits everywhere but the dorms.  Hey, they may be your brain surgeons tomorrow, but they’re still your teenagers today. (Prices vary; inquire via the website.)

Music Camp

If you’ve caught your kids playing air guitar or singing into the hairbrush at least as many times as they’ve caught you, forget the camps with rocks and find a camp that rocks. At DayJams, kids and young adults 8-25 take instrument lessons (guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keys, and horns), write songs, design logos and posters, and go to band practice.  Guitar hero and shredmaster Tobias Hurwitz founded the camp more than a dozen years ago.  (One Week—$600; Two Weeks—$1,140)  Likewise, School of Rock, with sessions in Baltimore and Annapolis, has similarly structured camps, though each is focused on a particular band or, for the more experienced musicians, the crafts of songwriting and recording. (Music—$495; Recording or Songwriting—$795)

Music camp isn’t limited to rock.  Check out other note-worthy programs, such as the Drumset and Percussion Camp at Goucher College, Bethesda’s Bach to Rock, the Baltimore String Orchestra Camp at Garrison Forest School, and music camps at McDaniel College in Westminster. 

Art Camp

You may have enough friendship bracelets, but you can never have too many magic lanterns.  Visionary Art Museum’s summer camp can light up summer days and nights, with week-long workshops in Magic Lantern making, screenprinting, and stop-motion animation.  (Call for pricing: 244-1900 x232) And if those courses don’t float your kids’ kinetic sculpture boats, enroll them in the Young People’s Studios Summer Art Camp at MICA.  First through twelfth graders can choose from courses like “Lines, Dashes, Dots! (Grades 1-3), “Kinetic Art: Kites, Mobiles, and More (Grades 3-5),” and “’Scapes’ from Observation and Imagination (Grades 6-8).” High school kids can take courses designed to help them prepare their portfolios.  (About $290-$320 per course.)  For more artsy craftsy summer sessions, check out the Walters Art Gallery and the BMA, as well as other local museums and universities.

From Angry Young Man to Grand Visionary: Lewis Black


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.