The Charm City Roller Girls are having a fundraiser this Sat - a Car Wash at the Mojo Room!
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
Baltimore Book Festival
High Zero Festival
Morphius Anniversary Shows at the Talking Head
Anti-War March in DC!
National Book Festival (Did you see this kick ass letter from Sharon Olds to Laura Bush?)
And it's Benn's Bday today! He's 37!
Maybe he'll win this for his bday. He's still the current high bidder, but that won't last for long.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Top 10 banned books of 2004:
The Chocolate War
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
What My Mother Doesn't Know
In the Night Kitchen
King & King
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Of Mice and Men
Yeessh. Not that I want to get the whole store banned but these people really need to get out more.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
We got Best Independent Bookstore.
Benn got Best Blog in the Reader's Poll.
And this is nice, too.
And people keep saying to us that we won't lose anything to the new B&N. If even the "alt weekly" is excited about it...I guess people need a place to go where they don't have to care about using books as coasters.
Monday, September 19, 2005
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
I don't know anyone who has dreams of working at Chili's. I'm sure that someone will point out to me that someone has. A dead end job is better than no job. But I think you'll find that a lot more people have dreams of opening up their own small business. Perhaps a bookstore. A record store. A cafe, a boutique...
Because these are dreams - working for yourself, or with a small group of like minded people. It's more than a job, more than just making a living. It's about carving out a niche, expressing yourself. It's not easy running your own business and it becomes less and less of a viable option when rents go up, chains take over and people just don't give a shit about where their money goes just to have that "kick-ass queso skillet".
Yes, big formula chain businesses have advantages. But dreams aren't one of them.
I really hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Barely weeks after City Hall went into the hotel business, the selective socialists ring in again, this time in Hampden, hon ("Life on a Different Avenue," Mobtown Beat, Aug. 31). The recent effort by Mr. Atomic Books to curb chain-style development in "his" neighborhood completely misses all of Hampden's social and economic issues by a city mile.
I can assure Benn Ray and Rachel Whang that efforts to develop the Avenue and the Rotunda have been in the works for the last seven years. The no-chain-store policy has been Hampden's default position, because no chain store would come, given the crime and income levels in the area. To understand the effects of such a policy, look at Hampden today. Tawdry signage, bad retail, decay, and vacancy. Go to the Avenue on any Friday or Saturday night and you'll see tattooed-pierced-drunken-screaming-bottle-smashing-brawling chaos, dark storefronts, and litter. It's kind of cute during the day, though. There's a flamingo and all.
Now, with a smattering of pioneers gentrifying (overused word) the area, prosperity looms. Unless some misguided souls derail the process under the guise that there is some significant culture here to be preserved, like an aboriginal tribe in the rain forest.
Chain stores bring jobs (with management positions) and stability to vacant tenant spaces the whole country over. They bring better-lit sidewalks and heightened security. They survive in this world because they offer good products at fair prices and people like them. People like them so much, they travel great distances to be in their general vicinity, which benefits the entire business community and creates local employment and a greater tax base.
Character happens, it is not legislated into being. To compare Hampden to some boutique San Francisco community with nutty California laws is just plain silly. The Rotunda is a beautiful historic site that is perfectly suited, like the Power Plant, for big development such as a Barnes and Noble (stiff competition for little Atomic, eh, Mr. Ray?). With Outbacks and Bennigans come Ray Lewis Full Moon Bar-B-Ques and Babalu Grills. Do those fit the vision? If there was a Chili's in Hampden, I, for one, would be out there twice a week visiting your little freak show and spending my downtown bucks freely. They have a kick-ass queso skillet.
Really, though, I'm much too busy waiting for the "shock troops of gentrification" to redo the "arts district" to care about what happens in Hampden. I never did get the whole beehive-pointy-eyeglass thing anyway.
Gotta go, there's a junkie at my door. Did I mention we're buying a whole hotel?
Well, some of the best things Hampden has to offer, of course:
An office breakfast for 10 from Common Ground
Free month membership to Meadow Mill Athletic Club
$70 gift certificate for a massage with Jenny Ehrhardt at Bikram Yoga
$50 gift certificate from Oh! Said Rose
$50 gift certificate from Ma Petite Shoe
$50 gift certificate from Cafe Hon (and a tshirt, mug, bumper sticker & tote bag)
Gardening kit from Baltimore Garden Co.
Gift basket of hot sauces and salsas from Whiskey Island Pirate
Set of 5 giant Tiki Mugs from In Watermelon Sugar
Pecker on DVD, signed by John Waters from Atomic Books
And more gifts and certificates from Avenue Antiques, Breathe Books, Lynn's Bear in Mind, Milagro, Minas, Mud & Metal, Shine, Sturgis Antiques and Village Flower Mart.
Over $650 in prizes!
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Monday, September 12, 2005
Luckily, our local weather blog at the Sun, kept up by Frank Roylance, is endlessly fascinating (does that make me a weather dork?). What a season it's been already!
Ophelia is the 15th named storm of the season. There are just six more names on the list: Phillippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma. After that, the National Hurricane Center will have to turn to the Greek alphabet: Tropical Storms Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on. It's never happened before.
Remember Hampdenfest morning last year?
Sunday, September 11, 2005
from Editor B.
At Hampdenfest this Saturday, local creole restuarant, Ethel & Ramone's, will have a booth with their fabulous food. But also, they'll have an additional booth of just gumbo and 100% of the money will be given to NoLa restaurant workers (that they know peronsally) who are now out of jobs.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Friday, September 09, 2005
"Ah... cubicle humor. It can be funny when it's subversive. And sometimes the subversion can be perverted as a form of affirmation, like Drew Cary or Dilbert. Here we have cubicle dwellers in the office and out, crudely drawn, with endearing lopsided heads that are more often cute and surreal than subversive. These are comics that are more often funny than affirming, they're not a searing indictment of Industrial Park America, but they're also not something Industrial Park America will co-opt and use as a comfort blanket when lost in the cold, endless, prefabricated, grey mazes of the suburban working class."
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
It's hard to not just get paralyzed by all the bad news, but life must go on...
Something else to dream about instead of the horrors down South - Maggie's got new skates! She's part of the new Charm City Rollergirls. That's right! Baltimore's starting a Roller Derby League. It's the future!
From Publisher's Weekly:
Kepler's Books and Magazines in Menlo Park, Calif., one of Northern California's oldest and most venerated stores, has unexpectedly closed after what turns out to be several years of financial struggle. The closure was reportedly announced at a staff meeting yesterday morning with owner Clark Kepler, where he said the store would be filing for bankruptcy today.
It's still all completely overwhelming and the scope of the need is hard to grasp.
Another email from Kyle Bravo lists people heard from and safe, and this:
As for Hot Iron Press more than likely we will cease to function for quite some time, if not for good. It is almost certain that our house/studio and all of our equipment, presses, type, paper, tools, all of our artwork, and everything else we own are underwater, if the building is even still standing at all. Unfortunately, all of the distro stuff, artist's books, zines, etc, were also all left behind and are most likely destroyed as well.
The last couple days have been a blur of anxiety, sleeplessness, and national news coverage. I'm just now starting to shake off the initial shock of the whole thing and start to think about what we're going to do next. Jenny and I don't plan to stay in Alexandria for long. We're looking to hopefully leave within the next few days, but we have no idea where to go. Despite our house being inaccessible and probably destroyed we still have a mortgage to pay and only a very small amount of savings, so wherever we go we'll need to find work ASAP. If anyone has any leads for any jobs anywhere please let us know. At this point we're open to any ideas. We're willing to relocate anywhere, at least temporarily - Baton Rouge, Athens, Richmond, Texas, Boston, Philly, the moon? If anyone has an extra room or needs 2 refugee roommates let us know. The one catch we also have a dog.
UPDATE: If you've been having trouble donating to the Red Cross at the national site (I've tried for days), I called the local Red Cross and you can donate to the local site. It all ends up going to the same place.
UPDATE 2: Sorry about the bad link! It's replaced, but if you're interested in Poppy Z Brite's LJ (which is what the bad link was, ha!) I'll leave it up, too!