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October 31, 2007

Uhhh ...

Feeling adventurous tonight?

Got an e-mail from Lexie Macchi of the Lexie Mountain Boys. This photo -- of Robert Goulet, who passed away last night -- came with it.

The subject line was "GET OUT OF YOUR BODY." This was the text of the e-mail:

conjure a smooth, fur-lipped spirit with us tonight at the golden west
1105 W 36th st
ghet in touch with the other side
seance led by shaman jake and beastmountain lexie beastmt fortunes told ahoy on the seas of service TONIGHT 10 - 1 AM stop by on your way to or from the bank or talking head or everywhere else every day is halloween

Anybody wanna go? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:58 PM | | Comments (2)

New Georgie James video

Here's the new video for Georgie James' single "Need Your Needs."

Cute stuff.

Georgie James - Need Your Needs

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:55 PM | | Comments (0)

Next Great American Band

The Next Great American Band was not the Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad.

But that was no big surprise.

These guys dress up in costumes -- one with a unicorn head -- and play songs like "Don't Let Jesus Ruin Your Day."

But they did make it through the first round of the reality show, which started airing earlier this month. 

Of the 7,000 bands who applied to the show, only 60 were picked to perform in front of the judges in Las Vegas.

DMFS was one of them.

"It was all so chaotic," said guitarist Ryan Graham. ...

(Photo courtesy of the band) 

DMFS was in Vegas for four days partying like rock stars. But they didn't trash their hotel rooms like rock stars. 

"We were too busy in the casino getting drunk," Graham said. "That's what we spent a lot of time doing. they were giving us a lot of comp drinks."

Unfortunately, the band didn't make the cut.

But Goo Goo Dolls front man John Rzeznik did say he'd buy their album. Score! 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:19 PM | | Comments (1)

October 30, 2007

New music venue coming soon

All kinds of new clubs have either opened or reopened this year.

The newest one is the Local High Rise, a 10,000-square-foot venue in East Baltimore near Patterson Park.

The space, at 2706 Pulaski Highway, was a movie theater in the 1920s-1960s, and until recently, a grocery store.

If everything goes on schedule (which is always a big "if"), the club should open Nov. 16.

"There are a couple things we have to finish before that can happen," said co-owner Rebecca Lancaster.

Lancaster is sending me photos of the space. I'll post them when I get them. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:31 PM | | Comments (0)

Local hip-hop go-to

Without a doubt, the best Baltimore hip-hop, club and R&B blog is Government Names.

It's run primarily by Al Shipley, who also writes for the City Paper.

Shipley posts album reviews, show fliers (like the one pictured at right), songs and all kinds of artist/industry gossip.

If you're looking to get into the local scene, Government Names is the place to start.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:14 PM | | Comments (1)

Three Kings of Egypt to reopen?

The other night, someone added this comment to the post about the Federal Hill hookah bar Three Kings of Egypt:

Three Kings of Egypt is reopening very soon under new ownership and management.  Lots of new menu items, more hookah flavors, prices, entertainment and still the best place to hang out and have fun.  Watch for Grand Reopening!!!!!  It will be well worth the wait.  Also special College Night with great specials. 

I'm emailing them to see if I can get more information. I'll keep you posted. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:44 AM | | Comments (1)

October 29, 2007

Justin Timberlake's doppleganger?

How freaky is this?

Apparently, a guy from Baltimore makes a living impersonating Justin Timberlake.

But he doesn't sing.

He just appears for autograph signings, etc.

What do you think of Timberfake?


Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:12 PM | | Comments (1)

Admiral's Cup to close?

Last week, I heard the Admiral's Cup in Fells Point plans to close Wednesday.

Anybody know more about this? I tried calling the place last week, but got no answer. One of the guys from Max's Taphouse said the Cup is not even open during the day anymore.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:37 AM | | Comments (1)

October 27, 2007

Serving Truman Capote

In the mid-'70s, Jay LaMont, who now owns the piano bar Jay's on Read, was a partner in the New York City restaurant River's Edge.

River's Edge was a favorite afternoon watering hole for author Truman Capote (pictured).

Around 1975, after an embarrassing college graduation speech, Capote pledged to never drink again.

"I thought, 'Hmm, we'll see about that,'" LaMont said. ...

(Associated Press photo from 1980) 

LaMont recalls:

Two weeks later, it was a very hot summer Sunday, and I was getting the restaurant ready for lunch.

Truman was knocking on the French doors at about 10 minutes to noon. I went over and here I am looking Truman Capote right in the face. I see him all the time and I say, 'Sorry, sir, we don't open for another 10 minutes, you'll have to come back.

He said, 'Oh, fine,' he walked around the block, and 10 minutes later he came back in.

I went back behind the bar and said, 'What will you have?'

He said 'I think I'm going to have a glass of orange juice.'

As I started to turn, he said, 'Wait a minute! And another glass of vodka!'

That was the end of that oath. He was a character.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 6:36 AM | | Comments (0)

October 26, 2007

Tomorrow: Truman Capote

Check back tomorrow, when I'll reveal the connection between the Mount Vernon piano bar Jay's on Read and the famous author Truman Capote.


Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:04 PM | | Comments (0)

DryTear opens on Charles Street

Fans of fashion and local music have a new go-to in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

DryTear opens tomorrow at 1728 N. Charles St. above The Depot. The boutique will sell clothes, accessories and CDs from Baltimore bands.

Ada Ruiz of the local group Red This Ever (pictured) is one of the co-owners. 

"Anybody can walk in here and find something," she said.

The grand opening is 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and features live music from E. Joseph and a few other acoustic acts.

Ruiz said one of her goals with Drytear is to make enough money so Red This Ever can go on tour. 

"We've pretty much dumped everything we have into this," Ruiz said. "We figure we'll get the band to start working here one by one. Then we'll be able to go on tour." 

(Photo by Klawdya Rothschild) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:33 PM | | Comments (0)

Fab Five Friday

As promised, here are the five best places to get martinis in the area.

This one was tough for me, because I'm not a huge martini fan.

And though some bars try hard to be like New York City hot spots, Baltimore is still not a huge martini town.

So thanks for all your input.


(Nanine Hartzenbusch/Sun Photographer) 

1. Ixia, 518 N. Charles St.

Ixia takes its martinis more seriously than any other Baltimore bar I've been to. And molecular mixologist Tom Cusack setting a national nightlife trend with his liquid nitrogen martinis.

2. Champps, 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia

For a suburban chain, Champps is not a bad place to drink. And, according to Midnight Sun reader Diane, they have half-price martinis and $10 manicures on Wednesdays.   

3. Cazbar, 316 N. Charles St.

Free valet parking, belly dancing and untraditional martinis sometimes served at half-price. What's not to like?   

4. Cosmopolitan Bar & Grill, 2933 O'Donnell St.

Cosmo has a long martini list, but its late-night scene has been lame every time I've been there. Go for post-dinner drinks and then head somewhere else in Canton Square for dancing. 

5. Shorty's Martini Bar & Lounge, 3301 Foster Ave.

Totally unpretentious neighborhood joint with tons of great drinks. Might be closed soon, though -- it was on the market a couple months ago. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:24 AM | | Comments (3)

October 25, 2007

Three Hot Weekend Tips

Here's a special round up of some delicious Halloween activities: 

1. Club Charles Halloween extravaganza, 1724 N. Charles St., Friday and Saturday

David Keltz performs Edgar Allan Poe and DJ Dead Elvis(!) spins tomorrow night. Saturday, the gore hits the fan: scary movies, a costume contest and prizes galore. 

2. The Bruiser's Ball at The Ottobar Halloween night

The Charm City Roller Girls' parties are more bashes than balls, and this one's no exception. When they say "music, madness and mayhem," they mean it.

3. Damn Right at The 8x10 Halloween Night

Members of Basshound and Earthtone came together to form this band. They throw out some solid improvisational bass, percussion and keyboard jams. Check 'em out.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:30 PM | | Comments (0)

Bobbing for beers

Confession: I'm not a big fan of bobbing for beers, apples, or anything else.

I was never any good at it.

My face gets numb, my teeth hurt, and I almost always come up empty-mouthed.

So I won't be at Mad River Halloween night when they break out the trash cans filled with cold water and apples.

However, I like their idea: Fill a tub with ice water, drop in some unmarked apples and others labeled B for Budweiser and BL for Bud Light.

You can bob for free, and, if you come up with a B or BL, drink for free too.

The bobbing goes hand in hand with haunted trivia, which starts at 8 p.m. Be there at 7:30 p.m. if you want to register for trivia.

(Andre Chung/Sun Photographer) 


Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:18 PM | | Comments (3)


In the movies, bartenders let their patrons run up big bills over the course of a week or two. For example:

Me: Frank, put it on the bill.

Frank: The bill, sir, is very high.

Me: So am I!

*By the way, if anyone gets that reference (without Googling!), I'll see if I can send you a Baltimore Sun tchotchke.

I just wonder sometimes -- do bars ever let you run up a bill anymore? Did they ever let you do this back in the day? 

I've never seen it. I've had bartenders who wrote down what I drank all night and then made me pay before leaving.

But I've never been able to walk out of a bar without paying and say, "Put it on my bill."

Have you?

(David Hobby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:43 AM | | Comments (13)

October 24, 2007


Thinking of taking in a show tonight?

Go to the Lo-Fi Social Club and see Avengers (pictured).

The late '70s punk mainstays reformed a little while back with a couple of original members, including singer Penelope Houston and guitarist Greg Ingraham. 

West Coast indie punk outfit Pansy Division, Baltimore-based hardcore post punkers Lovers&Killers and the Degenerettes also perform.

It's only $10, too.

Doors at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:04 PM | | Comments (1)

Hi Baghdadians!

Using top secret computer technology, I have discovered that at least one (maybe two) faithful Midnight Sun readers are in Iraq!

I assume this person or persons is a soldier stationed there, but my top secret computer software isn't that specific.

However, I'd just like to say to the person (or persons) in Baghdad: "Hi! Thanks for reading. Leave a comment!"

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)

Wine tastings at Charlotte's

Has anyone been to the weekly wine tasting at Charlotte's on Light Street in Federal Hill?

I've heard it's five wines for $5 on Tuesday nights -- the same deal the Vine used to have before it closed for renovations.

I'm curious to know how wine tastings at Charlotte's compare.

(Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 







Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:50 PM | | Comments (3)

Luca's Cafe replaces Truman's

Luca's Cafe, a restaurant and bar specializing in pizza could open as early as December in the Fort Avenue space Truman's formerly occupied, according to co-owner Chris Maler.

Since we're getting out of my territory here, I'm turning it over to Baltimore Food Empress Elizabeth Large. She'll keep you posted on her blog.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:12 AM | | Comments (2)

The next Fab Five Friday topic

Last week, a bunch of you weighed in on the best places to get martinis in and out of town.

I'm not a big martini drinker myself, but the topic is definitely worth a Fab Five Friday.

You guys got any more suggestions on where to get the best martinis in town?

I'll give you some of mine on Friday. 

By the way, the one pictured is a pomegranate martini from Ixia.

(Matthew Paul D'Agostino/Special to the Sun)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)

Re: Cheers Bar and Grill

Guess not.

Oh well, it was worth a shot. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:44 AM | | Comments (0)

October 23, 2007

Truman's of Locust Point closes

Truman's (pictured), the bar and restaurant on Fort Avenue in Locust Point, has closed.

Chris of Matthew's Pizza, who is one of the place's new owners, confirmed it today.

He's going to call tomorrow and let me know all the details of the restaurant and bar they plan to bring to the space. 

Thanks to Sobo Bob and Missy for the tips. 

(Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 


Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:18 PM | | Comments (1)

Global warming finally strikes home

I must admit, I was slightly skeptical of global warming. 

Until today.

I called Bertha's in Fells Point to see if they have started serving their famous hot buttered rum.

It's a seasonal drink, made with brown sugar, butter, hot water and dark rum and served with a cinnamon stick. It is also unquestionably delicious.

Much to my dismay, they have not started making hot buttered rum yet.  

"It's too hot!" said general manager Andy Norris. "Nobody wants these hot drinks yet. Check us out when the temperature changes."

That's when it hit me: We're almost in November and it's still too warm outside for hot buttered rum.

What is happening to the world? This is more than just an inconvenient truth! Help us, Al Gore!

(Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:09 PM | | Comments (11)

Goodlove changes hands

Heard this morning that Goodlove in Canton has been sold to a former promoter.

From what I'm told, the club will reopen with a new name and new weekly events in the near future.

The promoter (and new owner) is supposed to be calling me later today with more info.

I'll keep you posted.

(Sun archives) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:36 PM | | Comments (0)

A date with Regina Spektor

Well, it's more like an almost-date with Regina Spektor.

In 2000, Spektor (pictured) was studying music at Purchase College in New York. 

She recorded her early work in producer Ritchie Castellano's dorm room. Castellano's roommate was Wham City member Connor Kizer (also a member of the Santa Dads).

One day, Kizer asked Spektor on a date. But then, disaster struck.

"I heard that she was going to try to back out of it," Kizer said.


So Kizer, knowing the fate of his date, launched a pre-emptive strike:

"I backed out of it first," he said.

And now, nearly a decade later, when Kizer sees Spektor's success, he is not surprised. You could totally see it coming, he said.

"She was in that whole game -- even then," he said. "She was out playing shows at all the right places. She has this kind of Oh-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-I'm-just-toddling-along mentality, but she knows what she's doing. She knows how to get in there. She's savvy."

(Photo by Chris Crisman) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:44 AM | | Comments (0)

October 22, 2007

Cheers Bar and Grill

Has anyone been to Cheers Bar and Grill on Joppa Road in Parkville?

I'm kind of curious ... is it anything like the TV show? Does everybody know your name?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)

Power Plant Live's twin sister

When I was in Louisville, Ken., earlier this year, I stayed in a hotel a few blocks from one of the city's main entertainment/nightlife areas: 4th Street Live.

4th Street Live is the sister of Power Plant Live in the Inner Harbor. I believe they're both owned by the Cordish Company.

Both have the piano bar Howl at the Moon and the club Angels Rock Bar.

Both have the same neon signs and you-can-drink-in-the-open policy. 

But where Power Plant Live is shaped like a cul-de-sac (keeping patrons secluded from the nearby Block), 4th Street Live is an open street corridor.

I didn't spend much time at 4th Street Live when I was there. It was eerily familiar in a generic sense, and got me thinking.

In the future, will there be zones like this in every major city, where you can go to the same bars and clubs, like you would go to an Applebee's or McDonald's?

Would you want that?

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:54 PM | | Comments (1)

Spooky Budweiser

Saw this poster in a bar bathroom last weekend.

Apparently, Budweiser is rolling out spooky black Bud Light bottles to help you celebrate Halloween.

My question: who cares?

Will a black bottle convince you to drink Bud Light over Coors or Miller?

When really, the only scary think about all three are the crappy (but consistently crappy, and cheaply priced) suds.

(Photo by me, please excuse the lack of focus, I used my cell phone camera) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:48 AM | | Comments (4)

October 19, 2007

Show me martinis!

Amanda just sent me this email:

My girlfriend said to me last night - let's go out and get martini's Friday. The only place I know with a nice long list is Cosmopolitan in Canton, so I'd love some other suggestions? Is it worth a Fab Five Friday - Best Places to get Martinis? And not just the dry olive-y ones...the fruity ones too.

What do you guys think? 

(Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:10 PM | | Comments (9)

Fab Five Friday

This one was actually a lot harder than I originally thought it would be.

Not only did I get 0 responses from my weekly plea for help, but it was hard for me to think up five places where I've danced in this city -- let alone five of the best places I've danced in this city.

A made a good point in her comment; maybe Baltimore isn't a big dancing town after all.

Here's my list:

1. Paradox (pictured), 1310 Russell St.

Can't leave the Baltimore club scene off the list, and there's no better place in the city to SpongeBob than Paradox. Lines of people waiting to get in snake around the block some nights. ...

(Colby Ware/Special to The Sun)

2. Mosaic Lounge, 4 Market Place, Power Plant Live

The former tent lounge's move indoors earlier this year made it, in my opinion, the best new club in Baltimore. 

3. Angels Rock Bar, 10 Market Place, Power Plant Live

It's brand new, which means Angels is going to be packed for the next six months. But what sets it apart from the other dancing spots on this list is that Angels plays to-the-wall rock music. And you don't see many people up on the bar dancing to Pantera anymore. So rock on, Angels. 

4. Claddagh Pub, 2918 O'Donnell St.

The upstairs pool area and bar usually erupts into a post-college frat party -- complete with dancing on the pool tables -- around 11 p.m. 

5. Latin Palace, 509 S. Broadway

Sometimes, the live bands play all night. As in, until 7 a.m. the next morning. The palace can get pretty crazy.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:24 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays

October 18, 2007

Three Hot Weekend Tips

Here are some solid weekend suggestions:

1. Alexander's Tavern opens in Fells Point, 710-712 S. Broadway

Pray for rain this weekend, because when it's pouring outside, Alexander's pours drafts for only $1! I'm sold on it, and I haven't even been inside yet.  

2. MD Oktoberfest at the state fairgrounds in Timonium

If you want to shell out a little more dough for your suds, you get plenty of quality and variety at the Oktoberfest, noon-8 p.m. Saturday. Almost a dozen state breweries will be there, as well as live music from Looking for Lester, Great Train Robbery and local troubadours the Kelly Bell Band.

3. Mid-Atlantic Radical Bookfair at 2640 St. Paul St. Saturday and Sunday

All kinds of radial literature and speakers will be at this annual two-day festival put on by the Red Emma's collective. It's free, but a $5 donation is suggested.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:34 PM | | Comments (0)

Sappho's at Grand Central

Since mid-June, Grand Central, the gay bar in Mount Vernon, has turned some formerly unused space into a ladies lounge called Sappho's.

Manager Steve Ledlow said while it's primarily for women, Sappho's will not turn men away.

He said the opening of Sappho's was a response to the lesbian bar Gallagher's closing earlier this year.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:23 PM | | Comments (2)

Three Kings closed?

The past few times I've walked by Three Kings of Egypt in Federal Hill, it's been closed.

Anybody know if this is permanent?

That place used to be Amie's and my  favorite spot to hide out, play Yahtzee and smoke a hookah or two.

But we bought our own hookah and rarely went after that.

The few times we did go back, the prices kept climbing, and we recognized fewer people there.

So if it really is closed, I'm really not surprised. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:18 AM | | Comments (4)

October 17, 2007

The next Fab Five Friday

This week's Fab Five Friday is the five best places to go dancing in Baltimore.

Bars, lounges, clubs -- everything counts.

What's your favorite dancing destination? I'll give you mine in a couple days.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:57 AM | | Comments (1)

Help Brandon out

Got this yesterday from a guy named Brandon Arnold:
Can you help me out?  I'm looking for a bar that is low-key enough to do some reading/studying/writing?  I'd also need this place to have wi-fi.  My preference would be for a place that has good beer/food, but that's secondary.  The only place that's come close in my mind is Ale Mary's -- as long as you're not there on a Friday or Saturday night (of course). Any part of the city is fine.
Got any suggestions for him? 
Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:38 AM | | Comments (7)

October 16, 2007

How much to tip?

I'm curious to know what you think about tipping your bartender.

When you're at a packed bar on a Saturday night, should you tip more than when you have the place to yourself on a Tuesday night?

If you ask for a bottle of Budweiser all the the bartender does is reach into a cooler, grab one, pop the top and hand it to you.

Do you tip him/her less than if you ordered a round of shooters made with multiple liquors?

Does more work on the bartender's part mean you're going to tip heavier?

What do you tip if you ask for a draft beer and it comes to $3.50? Do you tip $1.50? or just $1?

(David Hobby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:18 AM | | Comments (41)

October 15, 2007

Stories from the Light Street Station

A few people e-mailed me last week about my story on the Light Street Station.

Jeannie dropped into the Station a few years ago with some friends:

The stop by became a long, wild, crazy and most memorable night that is still brought up often as one of our most memorable and fun times. Light Street Station had a lot to do with that.

Shayna and her friends used to frequent the place:

There's nothing like camping out all night at the Light Street - $2 Bohs! ... The people there are always so nice. And, the jukebox just need to request that the bartender turns up the volume so it can be heard. Long live the Light Street Station!

By the way, was there a lady seated at the bar drinking beer in a glass with ice? We always found her fascinating...
I don't remember her. Anybody know who she is? 
Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:58 PM | | Comments (0)

The unlikely beer bar

I've talked to more than a few beer geeks in the past week or so for a story I'm working on.

The geeks have told me about some of the beer bars they frequent -- mostly the usual suspects, like Max's Taphouse.

None of them mentioned the Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar in Federal Hill.

I'm not sure why - maybe it's because they don't know about Metro's big beer list or regular tastings.

Their service can be spotty, and their beer list is in a state of constant flux.

But the selection of bottles and drafts is usually strong. You won't see Coors/Budweiser/Miller on tap at the Metro.

(Lloyd Fox/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:50 AM | | Comments (1)

October 13, 2007

MacGyver & the Brewer's Art

Ever wonder why beer from the Brewer's Art tastes so good?

Because MacGyver watches over it.

This poster of the '80s TV hero hangs on the door to the fermentation room in the back of the building. He sees everything.

Brewer and co-owner Steve Frazier calls him the "patron saint of suds." 

And why not?

Any man who can make a bomb with a piece of gum and a paper clip can make beer better with his loving gaze and gently tousled hair. 

Their new slogan should be:

"Brewer's Art Resurrection Ale: Made with mullet love." 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:00 PM | | Comments (1)

October 12, 2007

Tune in tomorrow ...

to learn how MacGyver plays a role in the making of Brewer's Art beer.

This is a Midnight Sun exclusive. Get it hot -- tomorrow at noon.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 6:00 PM | | Comments (0)


Local powerpop quartet Splitsville has a new greatest hits album out called Lets Go!
Had them in for a Baltimore Unsigned session which should air sometime in the coming future.
But it reminded me of a WTMD blog post I did last year on the band. I had this list of essential Baltimore listening.
I put their 2001 album The Complete Pet Soul on there. I think it still applies. Here's their excerpt:
The Complete Pet Soul, Vol. 1

The local punk and power pop outfit liberally borrowed from the Beach Boys and the Beatles to create this uberpop album.

Released five years ago, its soaring harmonies, punchy guitar runs and tasteful percussion make for a massive, delicious sound.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)

Buffy the Sing-A-Long shut down

A few months ago, I wrote a story for LIVE on the Buffy Sing-A-Long.

It's an interactive touring show where fans of the TV show dress up, go to a theater and sing-a-long while they play scenes from the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling."

Got word today -- it was suddenly canceled when Fox decided to pull all its shows from theatrical exhibition.

Apparently, the network was not prepared to have its TV shows screened in theaters, and they're shutting Buffy down until they can get all the nitty gritty stuff figured out (residual payments, union fees, etc.).

"As far as The Buffy Musical goes, we were working to be in total compliance with everyone’s rules and wishes," wrote founder Clinton McClung in an e-mail.

"We were always striving to make this official, and we even had Joss Whedon’s blessing at the L.A. Film Festival. To still be unceremoniously cut off is, well, it’s a bit of a downer."

(Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:33 AM | | Comments (0)

Fab Five Friday

Here is my list of the five best happy hour buffets.

1. Mt. Washington Tavern, 5700 Newbury St., 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

It's hard to go wrong with this bar's rotating free happy hour menu: port wine and cheese on Mondays, buffalo wings on Tuesdays, made to order quesadillas on Wednesdays, oysters on Thursdays and steamed shrimp on Fridays. If you haven't been there before, it's time to feast!

2. Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

This is another deliciously free option: Mexican food (tacos, etc.) on Mondays, oysters on Tuesdays, carved beef and ham on Wednesdays, seared tuna on Thursdays and buffalo wings on Fridays.

3. Kooper's Tavern, 1702 Thames St., 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Fridays

Kooper's sets up a pretty solid spread -- make your own soft tacos, mussels, crab dip and vegetables.  

4. Cancun Cantina, 7501 Old Telegraph Road, Hanover, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Fridays

Here, they set out a smorgasboard of food: chicken fingers, clams, lasagna ... the list goes on. It only costs you a quarter, too.

5. Howl at the Moon (pictured), 22 Market Place, Power Plant Live, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays

The buffet here is nothing to boast about, but it's free, and that's somewhat special. You get nachos and hot dogs on Fridays and baked beans, chips and hot dogs on Saturdays. If you email the web site, you can get into their happy hour for free, which makes the buffet taste that much better. Get there early -- they run out quick.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:17 AM | | Comments (3)

October 11, 2007

Three Hot Weekend Tips

1. Lafayette Gilchrist (pictured) and the New Volcanoes at Joe Squared Pizza & Bar tonight

Gilchrist, Acclaimed Baltimore jazz pianist, is putting on a free show at Joe Squared, at Howard Street and North Avenue. The restaurant has been hosting great local acts since the beginning of June. Tonight's show starts at 9 p.m.

2. Chick Hall's Surf Club closing celebration, 3 p.m. Saturday

Here's another don't-miss free show: an all-day surf fest featuring more than a dozen bands which starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 3 a.m.

3. The Baltimore Improv Group at the Baltimore Museum of Art Saturday

This free performance starts at 8 p.m. and features a performance by Gus, one of BIG's troupes. You might want to get reservations in advance -- it will probably fill up. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:40 PM | | Comments (2)

Been to Stadio?

Has anybody been to Stadio, the new house club at Redwood and Calvert streets where the Redwood Trust (pictured) used to be?

I'm thinking about going there for a nightlife column. Thing is, they only have events there like once or twice a month.

I wonder how any club can make a name for itself while only throwing one or two parties a month.

I also wonder if Stadio's making any money. I never went to the Redwood Trust, but I heard they had problems filling the place.

Baltimore's not a big club city like Washington or New York. Mosaic does well because it pulls in nationally- and internationally-touring DJs. And it's not a huge space.

Stadio is a pretty big club. And club music's popularity peaked more than five years ago.

We'll see how long it lasts. 

(Amy Davis/Sun Photographer) 


Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:59 AM | | Comments (4)

Fab Five redux

I thought about it some, and there aren't too many free happy hour buffets around town.

So, to make things easier for everybody, I'm changing this week's Fab Five Friday from free happy hour buffets to the best happy hour buffets period.

Whatcha got? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:14 AM | | Comments (4)

October 10, 2007

Hey beer fans

Be sure to check out Rob Kasper's new beer blog, which started today.

It just started this morning and has gotten tons of comments already.

I'm jealous. 

(Photo by Ian Waldie/Bloomberg News) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:47 PM | | Comments (1)

The next Fab Five Friday topic

In a couple days, I'll tell you my five favorite places with free happy hour buffets. 

This could be anything from buffalo wings to mussels to crackers and cheese. 

In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for me? 


Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:00 AM | | Comments (5)

Natty Boh -- never kegged

After reading some of your comments, I called Nacho Mama's, which Bryanintimonium thought was the only place that had it on tap.

Turns out, the brewery (based in North Carolina now?) does not sell kegs of Baltimore's favorite brew. You can only get it in bottles or cans.

Just to be sure, I called Max's Taphouse. They've got something like 70 beers on tap, and if anybody could get a keg of Boh, it would be them. They confirmed it -- no Boh kegs.

I still think every bar in this city should stock Boh. It's not the end of the world if they don't, but Boh belongs in Baltimore bars.

(Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:41 AM | | Comments (2)

October 9, 2007

Nutty's Pub

About six months ago, I went to Nutty's Pub in Hampden to check the place out. It was not bad -- the thin polished wood planks on the bar made it look like a bowling lane.

Thing is, I can't seem to find anything online about the place. It's been there for about a year now, so you think something (address? phone?) would be online. Nada. 

Any of you guys been to this place? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:02 PM | | Comments (3)

Jukebox the Ghost

Jukebox the Ghost, a Washington-based piano pop trio, is one of my new favorite local acts.

Listen to "Hold it In" and "Good Day" on their MySpace site

Their songs have quirky, playful lyrics and solid musicianship -- guitars, piano and drums. There is no bass guitar, but you never miss it.

Right now, Jukebox only has a five or six song EP out, but keep an eye on these guys. If they stick with it, they could have a really promising future.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:00 PM | | Comments (2)

Dog Pub opens Columbia branch

The Dog Pub, a Federal Hill favorite, has expanded to Columbia, LIVE guru Sarah Kelber tells me.

The name of the new branch: Pub Dog Pizza and Drafthouse.

The new address:

8865 Stanford Blvd., Suite 100, Columbia, 410-872-0364.

Unlike its Baltimore counterpart (pictured), the Columbia Dog is open for lunch. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.

It's also a bit more expensive -- two draft beers at the Pub Dog are $4. At the Dog Pub, they're only $3.50. 

I have to admit, I liked the name Thirsty Dog a whole lot better than the Dog Pub, or the Pub Dog.

I think they should have renamed it the Tipsy Dog or something like that. Dog Pub sounds pretty pedestrian.

(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:04 AM | | Comments (6)

October 8, 2007

No Boh

How blasphemous is it when a Baltimore bar doesn't have Natty Boh?

We were out at Clayton's Tavern last weekend, and they didn't have Boh bottles or drafts.

I'm not a big Boh drinker myself (I like my beer to taste good), and I know Boh is no longer brewed here, but it's still the de facto Baltimore beer. I'm sure that's much to the chagrin of Clipper City.

So do you care if a Baltimore bar doesn't serve Boh?

(Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:10 PM | | Comments (12)

Chick Hall's to close

Chick Hall's Surf Club, a bastion of live music in Bladensburg, is closing later this month.

The farewell party is 3 p.m.-3 a.m. Oct. 13, and features more than a dozen bands playing all day. It's free, too. The club will be open until the weekend of Oct. 26, owner Chris Hall said, but if you're going to say goodbye, do it Oct. 13.

I'm sad to hear Chick Hall's is closing -- they've been around for more than 50 years. Hall said the smoking ban, not being able to sell beer after midnight anymore and the change in the area's demographics all contributed to the club's closing.

"This area used to be so full of music," he said. "We fought as long as we could.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)

Edward 40-hands

PJ, my new roommate from Atlanta, told me about a drinking game they have down there called Edward 40-hands.

Here's how it works: Your "buddies" duct tape two 40-ounce glass bottles of malt liquor to your hands. The rule is, you have to drink them both before you can have them removed.

Going to the bathroom is impossible, which means you have to hold it until you finish both. That's gotta be tough. 80 ounces of anything would make my bladder burst.

And, to make things even more delicious, he said by the time you finish the first one, the second one is warm from being taped for your hand for so long.

"It's awesome," he said, wryly.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:22 AM | | Comments (4)

October 5, 2007

Thanks, buddy

A quick shout out to J.M. Giordano, a frequent poster of hilarious comments who tipped me off about Birds of Feather -- the scotch bar in Fells I reviewed in yesterday's column.

Thanks, buddy. I owe ya one.

Giordano has never let me live down my blog post on Miller Chill, which I promised to review but never got around to it. Maybe next summer.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:26 PM | | Comments (0)

Fab Five Friday

This list of the five best places to see a rock band was one of the toughest ones I've put together yet. As always, feel free to debate my choices:

1. The 8x10, 8-10 E. Cross St.

My favorite place to see live music in this city -- whether rock, bluegrass or what have you. There is hardly a bad sightline in the club, and the dance floor is springloaded so it bounces slightly when it's packed.

2. The Talking Head Club, 203 Davis St.

The quintessential rock club: that musky odor of cigarette smoke and spilled beer, a busted pool table, the unswept floor. And most importantly, the solid sound system.

3. The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St.

I'm not sure how the city's music scene could live without a venue like the Ottobar, which pairs Baltimore bands (like the Oranges Band, pictured) with nationally touring rock acts. The parking lot next door is a definite plus, too.

4. Sidebar Tavern, 218 E. Lexington St.

The Sidebar's owner Richard Ashburn called me once to chide me for calling his club dirty. But I don't know what kind of rock/punk club the place would be if the walls were graffiti-free and I could eat off the floor.

5. Fletchers Bar, 701 S. Bond St.

This list wouldn't be complete without Fletchers. It's home to Noise in the Basement, an awesome local rock showcase, and also has the feel of a classic rock club.

(Colby Ware/Special to the Sun) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:31 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays

October 4, 2007

Three Hot Weekend Tips

1. Current Canyon Fest, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Current Gallery

This weekend, more than a dozen bands and artists from around the country will descend on Current Gallery (and the alley next door) for the Current Canyon Fest. Monarch, WZT Hearts, the Lexie Mountain Boys and a bunch of other acts are on the bill. $7 for one day or $12 for both. 

2. The Cure vs. Depeche Mode vs. New Order vs. Duran Duran Dance Party at The Ottobar 9 p.m. tomorrow

Enough said. 

3. Fells Point Fun Fest 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Ten tribute bands will play in the beer garden, ethnic groups -- everything from pipe bands to bellydancers -- will perform on the Stage of Nations and all kinds of vendors will flock to Fells this weekend for the festival.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

October 3, 2007

The next Fab Five Friday

This week's Fab Five Friday topic is the five best places to see rock bands in Baltimore.

Now, DIY venues like the Bank and Floristree Space don't count because they don't have their permits straight. We're talking bars and clubs around town.

So what are your suggestions? I'll give you mine on Friday. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:27 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays

October 2, 2007

Wanna wake up early tomorrow?

If you find yourself wide awake around ... say ... 3 or 4 a.m. tomorrow, come join me down at Capitol City Brewing Company, where they'll be hauling out the big beer vats and loading them onto a truck headed west.

That's where I'll be. I'm checking out the scene for a story on local brewpubs. Look for the 5'8"-5'9" (short) guy with the notebook in his hand passed out on a bench somewhere near the Light Street Pavilion.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:53 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

Electric buttons

Was out at Ixia's nitrogen bar last Saturday with a couple of coworkers, and molecular mixologist Tom Cusack had a present for us: A few small thimble-shaped buds called Szechuan buttons (pictured, with penny, for comparison's sake).

Yes, as far as I know, they're legal. And yes, I know, they don't look legal.

Cusack said he got a small amount of them from a friend, and was experimenting with them. He told us to bite off the end and roll it around in our mouths.

Nothing happened at first, but after 10 seconds, my mouth started feeling pretty funny. It was like the time I touched my tongue to a nine-volt battery on a dare from a friend as a kid.

The electric-numbness stayed in my mouth for a good few minutes after I'd swallowed the thing. It was weird. It really didn't have a taste, either. But what a cool effect.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

'We're all out'

How many times do you go out around here and see up-side down plastic cups on top beer taps? That's the universal sign the keg is kicked.

I was at Liam's Pint-Size Pub Saturday night, and of the roughly half dozen beers on tap, all but one were empty. Usually when I'm on a bar tour, I see more than one place with more than one empty keg.

It doesn't just go for beer, either. Jacques Kelly, a co-worker and scotch drinker, said bars regularly run out of The Glenlivet, a fairly common brand.

Is it just a Baltimore thing? I rarely see kicked kegs when I go out in Philly, Washington or New York. Either way, it drives me nuts. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:57 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

October 1, 2007

The Roots go old school at Rams Head Live

From Sun dating blogger Maryann James

The Roots VH1 Hip-Hop Honors Tour at Rams Head Live: Best concert I didn't sign up for.

I bought tickets to last night's concert expecting to hear classics from The Roots and songs off their more recent albums. Instead, I got an earful of hip-hop classics -- from jams that were slightly before my time to songs my middle-school and high-school selves used to listen to when my mom wasn't in the room. Add MC Lyte and Big Daddy Kane, and you've got an instant trip into a hip-hop memory lane. ...

Highlights of the night:
  • Any time MC Lyte was on the stage. She looks and sounds exactly as she did 15 years ago. She made me love "Roughneck" (which I hated when I was younger) and her free-style in the middle of the show proves that she still has it.
  • Blackthought doing Kool G. Rap's "Men at Work." His hyper-speed, non-stop rap still has me reeling 12 hours later. With the crowd and Richmond, Va., rapper Skillz egging him on, he didn't miss a word, a beat, or his breath. Every time you thought it was over, he moved on to the next verse. At the end of the song, the crowd going wild, ?uestlove added, "Through this whole tour, he hasn't tripped up once. He's a true MC."
  • All the Baltimore references, such as the Shake and Bake skating rink and a musical aside with KW Griff and DJ Booman's "Pick Em Up."
  • Skillz's "It's a Crazy World." By the end of the song, he had the whole crowd singing the bluesy chorus (the MySpace version doesn't do it justice). I'm proud to say this man is from my hometown.

Last night, I got three shows in one: The Roots, MC Lyte and Big Daddy Kane, a musical tag-team that left you breathless, hoarse and hopeful about the future of hip-hop. Surely hip-hop isn't dead if there's still rocking shows like this.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:42 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

Rules, rules, rules

Walked by Xanadu Restaurant and Lounge on Calvert Street this morning (where Club X Ultra Lounge used to be) and noticed this giant list of Do's and Don'ts posted on one of their doors:



My favorite: 'No manipulating of beverages or smoking material.' What does that mean? No stabbing someone in the eye with a lit cigarette?

Wonder what kind of trouble they got in (or clientele they attract) that made them write up such a massive list of rules ...

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:33 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs

Midget wrestling

About a month ago, the new Della Rose's in Canton celebrated its grand opening with midget wrestling.

Found this clip of the event on YouTube. I love the slow-mo replays with the theme from the Rocky movies playing in the background.


Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:12 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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