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February 29, 2008

Soft opening tonight at Fort Charles Pub

The old sign's still there, but it won't be for much longer.

Soon, the new sign -- Taps Baltimore -- will go up in its place.

Taps Baltimore (formerly the Fort Charles Pub) is under new ownership, and has a soft opening at 7 p.m. tonight.

Construction crews have worked around the clock the past couple of weeks renovating the inside of the place.

And in the near future, co-owner Dave Holter plans to install 40 draft beers and -- get this -- draft wine.

Yes. Draft wine.

The wine is dispensed through taps using a nitrogen injection system that preserves the wine's freshness, Holter said.

"It's a pretty slick system," he said. 

And Taps will be the first in Baltimore to have it.

But for now, Holter is focusing on the soft opening and getting some feedback from neighborhood folks.

So if you're in the area and want to stop by, tell him what you think.

He told me he'll be the shortest of the three bartenders tonight. 

Talking to him over the phone, I could tell he's pumped.

"It feels good," Holter said. "It feels really good."

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:50 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Last night's Beach House show

Here's a good way to gauge how many indie kids and hipsters read this blog:

How many of you were at last night's Beach House show at G-Spot? 

Half the hipsters and indie kids in Baltimore were there.

I heard it sold out, and I'm not surprised.

Beach House was there too -- I think. I could hear them, but I sure as heck couldn't see them.

The lights were dimmed so low and the stage was so low to the ground, it was hard to tell if there was a band playing or not.

"It's like listening to a stereo in a dark room," said Wye Oak singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner, who was in the audience. 

At least the sound was good. 

Beach House singer/keyboardist Victoria Legrand's breathy, beautiful voice was wrapped in reverb, and guitarist/singer Alex Scally backed her up with harmonies.

Beach House has a brand new album called Devotion, and they played a few songs from it, such as the single "Gila."

They even covered Daniel Johnston's song "Some Things Last a Long Time." 

The duo closed their roughly hourlong set with "Tokyo Witch," off their self-titled debut. 

It was a hypnotizing performance that deserved a better venue. 

(Photo by Chiaki Kawajiri/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:17 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

Among Wolves update

Among Wolves is headed back to the studio soon to record some tracks for a new album, band member Jason Butcher said.

Steve Wright, who has worked with Lake Trout and the Flaming Lips, is producing the record. 

"It's a little more rock-oriented than the old stuff but still with the old feel to it," Butcher said.  

The new album should be finished by mid-summer, Butcher said. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:57 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Fab Five Friday

Putting together this list of the best TV bars was a bit trickier and a lot more fun than I originally thought it would be.

Thanks for all your suggestions

At first, I didn't want to include the Drunken Clam from Family Guy

But after reading some of your comments, I reconsidered.

Here's my list of the five best TV bars. 

1. Cheers from Cheers

The king of TV bars. How many scenes were actually filmed outside the bar? Everybody knows your name at Cheers, and no other TV bar could ever match it. 

2. Moe's Tavern from The Simpsons

No Moe's makes The Simpsons something something. 

3. The Drunken Clam from Family Guy

Dan Thanh was right. God drinks at the Drunken Clam. Talk about a powerful patron. 

4. Ten Forward from Star Trek: The Next Generation

Where else could Capt. Picard turn when things went awry? Whoopi Goldberg was there with good advice and occasionally even a glass of illegal Romulan Ale.

5. Kavanagh's from The Wire (pictured)

A bar where dead police men are laid on the pool table before their funerals? That's old school, and I like it.

(Photo by Paul Schiraldi/HBO) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:19 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

February 28, 2008

The best Baltimore song

I'm working on a story about the best songs with the word "Baltimore" in their name.

I just listened to Randy Newman's "Baltimore" (chilling) and 50 Cent's "Baltimore Love Thing" (boring) back to back.

Weird.

The Extra Glenns, the Counting Crows, Graham Parsons, Among Wolves, Darkroom Productions and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are also on the list.

What am I missing? 

(Photo of Randy Newman circa 1999) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:30 PM | | Comments (47)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

An Ode to Baja

The poem I wrote memorializing Baja Beach Club came out in today's LIVE section.

Check it out here.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:44 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Review: St. Vincent at the Rock and Roll Hotel

MS reader Mary Hartney was at Tuesday night's St. Vincent show.

Here's her report: 

Watching a St. Vincent show is a bit like being in a high school music class, with a dainty, young teacher who encourages effervescent flute and violin playing and whistling -- except that every now and then, she raises a single eyebrow, pauses, and proceeds to completely destroy the guitar that just moments ago looked like it would consume her.

Annie Clark, the force behind St. Vincent, has the resume to prove her musicality: She was a member of Polyphonic Spree and has toured with Sufjan Stevens and gives off the vibe that she's spent a lot of time teaching and learning all kinds of music.

But for every "Now, class, pay attention" look she gives the audience (and pay attention we do), she has a quirky comment to balance it out.

Last night at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, the stage was decorated with small trees and a vase of flowers she carried out as the band took the stage, so "we can all feel like we're giants in a psychedelic forest."

I saw her almost a year ago at the same venue, when she opened for Midlake, and Maryann and I had spent the past few weeks obsessively listening to her songs on her MySpace page. We were two of about 10 people really focused on her playing at that show (and the first ones there because we are ultradorks). Now, her album's been out for some time, and we could barely cram onto the floor -- and spent most of the time craning our necks around a guy wearing a sweatband and another taking the exact same picture over and over (dude, get a better lens).

But she's still more than worth it. A year later, Clark's sound has changed, too -- she now has a full band, instead of her spare voice and an organ and guitar, and the highlight for me was a complete restructuring of "Paris Is Burning." If it can be made any more haunting, it was, with voice distortion and dramatic slow-downs.

She finished with a single-song encore, kind of an anomaly these days, doing "What Me Worry?" solo -- just like in the old days.

(Photo by Tod Seelie) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:55 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Less jazz at New Haven Lounge

Starting in March, there will be less live jazz at the city's renown New Haven Lounge.

For at least the near future, the lounge will not host live music on Saturday nights.

"We're in a slump there," said promoter Mike Cherigo, who books shows there. "But Fridays are still going." 

(Photo by Christopher T. Assaf/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:55 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

February 27, 2008

Georgie James on Conan tonight

georgie jamesI'm not surprised the Washington-based indie rock duo Georgie James is performing on Late Night With Conan O'Brien tonight.

But it still feels pretty weird to type it.

I interviewed them for Baltimore Unsigned more than a year ago, before their first album Places came out.

I thought Places was one of the best albums of 2007, and I'm glad they're getting some recognition for it.

Last year they signed to Saddle Creek Records, and tonight they'll be on national television.

(Photo by Shervin Lainez) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Muggsy's replaces Clayton's Tavern

Muggsy's Mug House has opened in the Light Street building that formerly housed Clayton's Tavern and Sean Bolan's.

The bar's new owners, Danny Young, Brent Putman and Ryan Cooper, plan to steer it back to the Sean Bolan's days, when the focus was on beer.

Of the 16 drafts, about a dozen will be area brews like Clipper City, Dogfish Head and Yuengling, Young said.

"We're not on Cross Street, so we're not going for the kids who are going to slug 20 Miller Lites in a night, Young said.

"We want to be the neighborhood hangout."

Muggsy's grand opening is 8 p.m. Friday, which features $1 off all drafts and a free panini buffet

Paninis will be Muggsy's menu specialty.

Here is a link to Muggsy's Web site.

Muggsy's phone number is 410-528-9111, the address is 1236 Light St. and the hours are 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays.

(Photo by Getty Images) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:05 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The Drunken Clam

At first, I was going to put the Drunken Clam (the bar from Family Guy) on this week's Fab Five Friday list.

But I thought about it some more, and changed my mind.

Unlike Moe's from The Simpsons, the Clam doesn't have a bartender who consistently adds color to the show.

The Clam is just a place where we get to see all the guys hang out.

I like the moving neon clam sign on the outside of the place, but aside from the episode where the English take over, the Clam itself doesn't bring much to the show.

Your thoughts? 

(AP Photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:39 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Pink Jesus at the Kitty Kat Bar

Yes, you read that right.

Last night a few of us went to the Kitty Kat Bar on West 23rd Street.

No, it's not a strip club.

After one night there, I'll easily vote it my favorite Remington bar, hands down.

The Kitty Kat is the first Baltimore bar I've seen to have absinthe, which was legalized in the U.S. last year.

And, they have a pink Jesus Magic 8 Ball, where you ask it a question, turn it upside down and it gives you a random answer.

We asked it if we should order a glass of absinthe and it said "Believe."

Blasphemous, yes, but also awesome. 

(Photo by me)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:20 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

February 26, 2008

The next Fab Five Friday

What do you think is the coolest bar on TV?

I want to make this week's list the five best TV bars.

Hit me with suggestions. 

By the way, the picture is of the Boston bar that was the inspiration for the TV show Cheers.

(Photo by St. Louis Post-Dispatch) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:22 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Baja's last night

Earlier when I posted about Baja Beach Club's imminent closure, somebody wanted to know when their last night would be.

It's this Saturday, March 1.

Doors open at 8 p.m.

To commemorate the club's 16+ year history, I wrote a rhyming poem called "An Ode to Baja Beach Club."

It should be published in this week's LIVE section. I'll link to it when it comes out. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:30 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Skirting the smoking ban

I don't know if this loophole exists in the Baltimore smoking ban, but bars in other cities are holding 'theater nights.'

Apparently, if everyone inside the place is declared an 'actor' than everybody can smoke.

Here's a link to an article about it

Have you heard about anything like this happening in Baltimore? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:58 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

'Jurassic Park'!

What is it about the movie Jurassic Park that people my age find so awesome?

Is it the special effects?

Possibly the most authentic special effects to ever appear in an action film?

All I know is, when I heard Wham City had come up with a theatrical adaptation of the movie called Jurassic Park: The Play, I had to write a piece on it.

I went to dress rehearsal last night at the H&H Building, and everything is coming together for the cast and crew.

The Baltimore shows are Friday and Saturday.

Then the cast and crew take it on the road to Philadelphia and New York City. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:07 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

February 25, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, the winner

Whew.

This was a tough one.

But I'm going to have to call JTK the winner of the Barguments Fab Five Friday.

He gave the funniest responses, and thusly, wins a copy of the book.

Congrats, buddy. Send me your address, and I'll send you a copy.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:19 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

The coolest thing on my desk

When I posted the photo of my desk from a while back, you probably didn't notice the best toy on there:

A magnetic Simpsons living room set, complete with magnetized characters.

I can arrange them at my will.

It is ... awesome.

And, I will never be giving it away as a prize.

Because it is ... awesome.

I'm waiting for a jealous comment from JTK, who I know loves The Simpsons.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:28 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Do you get tired of going out?

Cry

People ask me that a lot.

And the answer is, yeah, sometimes.

I give up a lot of weekend and weekday nights to report nightlife columns.

Occasionally, I can persuade some of my friends to come along with me.

But some of them are sick and tired of getting dragged out to weird spots around town.

So I end up going to a lot of these places alone.

Sniffle. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:42 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

The original Red Bull?

The other day I drank what I'm told is the original Red Bull Energy Drink.

JS brought me some from a small Asian store on Park Avenue downtown.

The cashier told her it was the real deal, which makes sense, because I believe Red Bull originated in Thailand.

As you can see, it comes in a small brown bottle, and the logo is the same.

The liquid inside was more syrupy and less carbonated than regular Red Bull.

And it gave me wings all right. I usually drink a half pot of coffee in the morning, a soda at lunch, and then cool down in the afternoon.

I drank this baby around 5:30 p.m. and my heart almost exploded. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:48 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Random stuff
        

February 24, 2008

Dreamer

I've been invited to speak at a high school Career Day in April.

Instead of giving a speech, I think I'll just play this video clip: 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:04 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Random stuff
        

February 23, 2008

The Spice Girls story

In case you're curious what happened to last week's desperate plea for Spice Girls fans, here is a link to the article, which ran in Thursday's LIVE section.

Thanks again for coming through when I needed you, guys. 

Side note: I'll come clean with all of you.

I was once a Spice Girls fan.

It was 8th grade, I thought they were hot and bought Spice.

So there. I said it. 

And you know what?

I still think "Wannabe" is a fun pop song. 

(AP Photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Local music
        

February 22, 2008

More Sonar updates

Sonar's new management just finished installing some pretty cool-sounding technology in the East Saratoga Street warehouse club.

They put up an interactive video system, complete with moving cameras and four video screens -- two in the bar and two in the main room, said Neal Page, Sonar's new promotions manager.

Sonar also has a new PA and lighting system, he said. 

Tonight's Raiders of the Lost Rave will be the first time they try out their new toys. 

"It's going to be awesome," Page said.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 6:38 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

Virgin Mobile Festival dates announced

Pimlico will once again host the Virgin Mobile Festival, organizers announced today.

This year's festival will take place Aug. 9 and 10.

The lineup will be announced in the coming weeks. 

 (Want to relive last year's event? Check out stories, photos, blog posts and more.) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:28 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Tee hee

Epicurious L.I.Z. has an absolutely hilarious post on RA sushi's "matchbooks."

You have to check this out. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Re: Fab Five Friday

Here are my answers to this morning's Fab Five Friday list of barguments:

1) Love ya. Hee hee.

2)  I would have to nominate the middle part to Korn's "Freak on a Leash," when the singer is making those demon noises. Ah, crap, now it's stuck in my head.

3) Pleasing my girlfriend, of course. And by that I mean writing five times better. 

4) Harrison Ford. Get off my plane!

5) Tough one, but I'm gonna have to drink the butter. Mmmmm ... butter.

(Photo by Getty Images) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:55 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Fab Five Friday

Thanks again for all of your bargument suggestions.

In case you're just tuning in (and slightly mentally challenged), a 'bargument' is an argument best hashed out in a corner bar.

I thumbed through the book Barguments by Doug Hanks and picked out my five favorites. 

1) Choose one of these rules to obey for the next 14 days: Going for a hug every time someone offers you a handshake or ending all telephone conversations with "Love ya." 

2) You suddenly have the ability to implant a song in your enemies' heads. Which one do you pick?

3) If you could instantly become five times better at doing one thing, what would you choose? 

4) If you had to tap a president from film or television to run the country, who would get the nod?

5) Would you rather drink a glass of melted butter or eat a small bowl of mayonnaise? 

I'll post my answers to these barguments in a little bit.

And I'll mail a free copy of the book to the commenter with the funniest answers. 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:02 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

February 21, 2008

Bar webcams

Sun Queen of Eats Elizabeth Large sent me a link to this article on bar Webcams.

It seems more and more of them are popping up around the country.

Have you seen any in Baltimore?

I've seen security cameras at places such as Pur and heard about one at Paul's on Fort Avenue. 

But I haven't seen any Webcams. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:26 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Changes at Medieval Times

All pause for this royal announcement:

It is hereby decreed that ye olde Medieval Times at Arundel Mills shalt update its live production to bring new death-defying action and excitement for the masses.

And there was much rejoicing.

Apparently, this is something they do every five years.

Five years!

You'd think people would get tired of seeing the same old show after six months!

I went once.

The best part was eating half a chicken with my bare hands.

Num nums! 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:24 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Random stuff
        

All kinds of comments

Keep those comments coming, guys.

It took me from last April to this past January to reach the 1,000 comment mark.

I think the 2,000th comment will come some time next month.

The winner will get a free copy of Barguments, as well as a handful of CDs of their choice from the three massive stacks on my desk.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Random stuff
        

February 20, 2008

The Courtesy Line

Lately I've really been enjoying "The Lake," a new song posted on the Courtesy Line's MySpace site.

Looks like it's off an upcoming album called The Basement Sessions.

Pretty big departure from the band's earlier stuff. 

But a good departure. 

(Photo courtesy of the band) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

iLike the iBar

Have you ever been to the iBar?

I went to the Maryland Avenue watering hole for the first time the other night.

It's a weird place, but I like it.

The crowd was a pretty good mix of people from different walks of life. 

The wooden floorboards and brick walls are worn, and it's not the newest, cleanest bar by any means.  

But the service was good. 

And apparently, there is wireless Internet inside.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:48 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

No hookahs at Huckas

Since the smoking ban started, Huckas on Boston Street has had a bit of an identity crisis.

I won't bore you with the legalities, but basically, when the ban began, Huckas played it safe and stopped serving hookahs. 

Co-owner Jay Sikander is meeting with health board officials in the next few weeks to try to work out an agreement.

"It's a shame," he said. "We have the name Huckas and we can't even smoke hookahs."

 

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:37 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

More on Bedrock

Checked out a friend's band at Bedrock Billiards (401 W. Baltimore St.) this past weekend, and I have to say, I'm impressed with the new setup.

Earlier this month, the Bedrock folks scrapped a couple pool tables and built a stage along the far wall.

It was a good decision.

Though the vocal were a little low in the mix, the high ceiling makes for pretty decent acoustics.

But the next band that went on was way too loud, so we left.

There's a blurry line between a bar with live music, where people come to have a beer, talk, and maybe dance and a live music club, where people come just to see a band and give that band their undivided attention.

I hope Bedrock's management keeps it a bar with live music rather than a live music club.

(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

February 19, 2008

Last night at Joe Squared

I was drinking some delicious dark rum with friends at Joe Squared last night when local beat boxer Kenny the Bow-Legged Gorilla caught us by surprise.

All of the sudden crazy rhythms started coming out of the stage speakers.

Most of the people in the place paused for a second and sized him up.

Even though some people see beat boxing as a gimmick, a good beat boxer can win over a crowd instantly.   

Kenny's darn good, too. 

Ambidextrous doesn't even begin to describe him. 

At one point, he was beat boxing, playing an acoustic guitar with an egg beater and squeezing a small accordion with his feet all at once

(Photo by Kim Hairston/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:54 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

The next Fab Five Friday

In light of our recent Barguments discussion, I think it would be fun to do a Fab Five Friday on the best Barguments.

These can be ones you've overheard, ones you've actually discussed yourself, or ones you think would be good Barguments.

So, please dish. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:23 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Wham City to launch label

The Wham City arts collective plans to launch a self-titled label.

In the coming months, we should see new releases by Girl Talk, Ed Schrader (pictured) and Dan Deacon, I'm told.

I'll post more when I know more.

Speaking of the uber-flexible Schrader, did you see my piece on him? It ran in today's paper.

(Photo of Ed Schrader limbo-ing under an invisible bar by Christopher T. Assaf/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:38 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

Sonar's Web site for sale

Sonar's owner Dan McIntosh had a rude awakening the other day.

He went online to check out Sonar's Web site and screen popped up with the messages:

"Renew your domain name now" and "Bid on this domain name now."

Apparently, Sonar's digital lease had expired. 

"I bought it for 20 years," a flustered McIntosh said. "It was scary, though."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

February 18, 2008

Money money money money

Over the weekend, there has been a pretty interesting discussion going on under a previous post.

Jason Zink, a co-owner of the No Idea/Don't Know empire, has been talking money with Anon.

As a writer, I can't add.

Even simple math eludes me. 

But it's wild to think that some bars have to make $15,000 a month just to stay afloat.

That's a lot of $4 Miller Lites..

Anon, you seem to know a lot about what's going on around South Baltimore, business-wise.

Do you feel comfortable identifying yourself?

(AP Photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:54 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Doh!

You know you're a nightlife critic when you drive past this building, see this sign, and think:

"Wow, the Vine relocated! Oh cool, the new building is a church!"

Then you read the sign, and think:

"A casual, different, unique Christian fellowship.

Ah, crap, it's not a bar, it's still a church.

They must be talking about the Jesus vine, not the Vine the wine bar."

Yes, this was actually what ran through my head.

Maybe I've been doing this too long. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:36 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

A flip-flop store? Huh?

Walked by the building Vineyard Wine and Spirits used to occupy at 1137 S. Charles St. and was stunned.

It's being replaced by a flip-flop and surf apparel store!

Guess there's more money in boogie boards than beer and wine.

Weird.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:17 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Random stuff
        

'Barguments'

Got a few preview copies of Barguments in the mail earlier this week.

It's a new pocket-size book coming out early next month by Eastern Shore native Doug Hanks.

Each page has a question that you could debate for hours in a neighborhood bar.

So once a week for the next couple weeks, I'm going to ask you one of the questions in the book.

I'll pose the questions.

You give the answers.

Now, people, I need brutal honesty, pointed wit and subtle sarcasm.

Give it all you've got.

Bargument No. 1:

Which is more fun: Friday or Saturday night? 

 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:11 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

February 17, 2008

Speaking of smoking and John Waters

This is by far my favorite smoke-related video.

It plays before most movies at the Charles Theatre.

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:33 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Random stuff
        

February 16, 2008

John Waters and Thee Katatonix

What a throwback.

Baltimore, represent. Why isn't stuff like this on TV now?  

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:15 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

Maggie Moore's to become Lucy's

Lucy's Irish Pub and Restaurant may be the new name of Maggie Moore's Irish Pub (21 N. Eutaw St.) come St. Patty's Day, a source at the bar tells me.

Lucy's would be named after owner Bill Karr's granddaughter.

Karr has purchased the URL lucysirishrestaurant.com, and we may see the name change in the next few weeks, I'm told.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:17 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

February 15, 2008

McCracken's to reopen

McCracken's on Key, which closed this past Sunday, will reopen tonight with a different owner.

Building owner Dave Friendlich will take over the business until he finds a replacement for previous owner Jim Meehan, he said.

But aside from some minor aesthetic changes, he hopes McCracken's won't change much on the inside, he said.

"We're going to try to keep everything pretty much the same as it is," he said.

I also spoke with Meehan, who said mounting bills were mainly why he couldn't keep it up and running for more than a year.

"I didn't have $1,700 to give BGE," he said. "That was a big factor."

Meehan thinks the drink prices might creep up a bit (bye bye, $1.75 domestics all the time) but not drastically. 

(AP Photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:17 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Going to see Spice Girls?

I'm working on a story about the Spice Girls reunion show in Washington next Thursday.

Anybody going or know someone who is going?

Email me at sam.sessa@baltsun.com.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:24 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Fab Five Friday

Whether you were for or against the smoking ban, you're going to have to accept it now.

And though it's forced smokers to stand out on the street for their fix, the ban has also made some bars much more tolerable.

So here's my list of the bars I like visiting better now that smoking is prohibited inside.

1. Liam's Pint-Size Pub, 911 N. Charles St. (pictured)

It was hard to breathe in Liam's before its self-instituted smoking ban Jan. 2. I'm so glad the bar made that decision. My eyes used to burn in there.

2. Light Street Station, 1400 Light St.

A curtain of smoke used to hang in this place. Sure, that was part of its charm. But I'm kind of glad it's gone.

3. Frazier's on The Avenue, 919 W. 36th St.

Karaoke is easier to sing when there's no smoke in your face. 

4. Walt's Inn, 3201 O'Donnell St.

Again, karaoke is easier to sing when there's no smoke in your face.

5. Sidebar Tavern, 218 E. Lexington St.

I always thought the Sidebar was too small for the number of smokers who piled in there on Friday and Saturday nights. So I'm glad it went smoke free before the ban. It's better now. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:49 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

February 14, 2008

Two bar closings

In case you missed Evan's comment, Baja Beach Club (Lombard Street and Market Place) is closing March 1. It has been open for more than 16 years.

According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Baja could no longer afford to stay in their current location considering the rising cost of rent.

I also got an email tip that McCracken's on Key (1400 Key Highway), my favorite spot to watch football, has closed. I'll let you know when I hear more.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:17 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Free Dan Deacon

For the past year or so, Dan Deacon has posted his entire back catalogue on his web site.

But word really hasn't gotten out until recently. 

You can download it all for free here.

Enjoy! 

(Photo courtesy of Stefani Levin) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:02 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

The next Fab Five Friday

I usually post this earlier in the week, but between the primary and Paetec, it's been a pretty busy few days.

This Fab Five Friday (FFF) is about the bars you love going to now that the smoking ban is on.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:58 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

February 13, 2008

The Vine may not reopen

The Vine, the unpretentious wine bar at Fort Avenue and South Hanover Street, may not reopen, I'm told.

Owner Shane Mitchell has not returned multiple phone calls, but I have it on good authority that the bar will be converted to apartments and office space.

If what I hear is true, I'll miss The Vine.

But I was at Charlotte's last night, and they're carrying on the five wines for $5 special.

So at least the spirit lives on. 

(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:09 PM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Paetec is back

The Paetec Jazz Festival has been renamed and expanded into a five-city tour.

Check out this piece I just wrote.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

A bar at Metro Gallery?

Metro Gallery could be getting its liquor license as early as the first week of March, said owner Sarah M. Williams.

The gallery at  1700 N. Charles St. hosts art exhibitions and regular live music shows.

Currently, it's BYOB. But that could change as early as March 6.

Adding a bar would bring in enough money to allow Williams to hire a staff, upgrade the sound system and possibly even slash admission fees to shows, she said.

"It should be fun," Williams said. "I'm excited." 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:24 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

February 12, 2008

No, I don't get drunk

When I tell people I do the nightlife column for The Sun, they almost always say:

"Wow. That's a cool job. So, you just go out and get drunk for free?"

Not exactly.

If I'm reviewing a bar, the owner doesn't know I'm coming.

And unless I'm called out on it, I never identify myself.

That way, I get the same treatment as everybody else. 

The Sun usually pays for a drink. Maybe two. That's it.

I don't get wasted, either.

When I review a place, I make mental notes of the decor, service and atmosphere.

Back when I started doing this, I kept a pen and paper in my pocket and would occasionally dart into the bathroom to write down details. But now I'm pretty good at taking mental notes.

So, yes, writing a nightlife column is a blast. But it's not one binge after another.  

(Photo by Getty Images)  

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:39 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Steez Promo to book at Bedrock

Local promoters Steez Promo will bring some of their events to Bedrock Billiards (Baltimore and Eutaw Streets), according to Steez member Evan Weinstein.

Their first show will be Evol Intent. 

Bedrock began hosting live music earlier this month.

Steez promo is now bringing shows to other venues after parting ways with Sonar earlier this year. 

(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:33 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

One-Eyed Mike's may move

The owners of One Eyed Mike's in Fells Point are eying (heh) a move down Bond Street to a new building.

Provided it gets the proper zoning changes, the restaurant/bar could move from its current location at 708 S. Bond St. to 840 S. Bond St. (pictured) by early fall, co-owner Mike Maraziti said.

The new building is 5 feet wider, which means more space for the bar, and has a second floor, which means twice as much dining space, he said.

Packing up all the bottles from the Grand Marnier Club could take the most time, he joked.

"That's a whole 'nother story," he said. "There's a lot of those around here."

One Eyed Mike's will turn five years old in July. 

(Photo by F. Pants McFadden/Frequent Midnight Sun commenter) 
Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:10 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

February 11, 2008

August

I've been listening to August a lot lately.

It's a local folk rock group with a recently released album, The Migration

My favorite song is "Adam and Eve."

You can hear it here. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Overheard

Need a break from the Monday blues?

Head over to Mobtown Shank's Overheard section.

There are some hilarious snippets of conversations.

Some of the funniest happen (of course) in Hampden.

The folks at Atomic Books actually compiled a book from some of them. It's called I Knee You!: A Collection of Overheards

Warning: There is foul language and the occasional expletive on Overheard.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Sneak peek inside the new Mosaic

Big changes are underway at Mosaic, the dance club in Power Plant Live.

New manager Vincent Martinez is overseeing the club's expansion into adjacent unused space and a retooling of its musical lineup.

Workers are building a new stone bar and adding a second story mezzanine.

New furniture is on the way, and only some of it will be designated as bottle service seating.

"In Houston, bottle service is established," Martinez said. (He used to run the Mosaic there.)

"In Baltimore, bottle service is newer," he said.

"Rather than hitting people over the head with, 'You have to buy a bottle,' we want a space for people to sit and relax."

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Speaking of Spank Rock

I totally missed this when it happened, but better late than never, right?

Earlier this week, I mentioned Spank Rock MC Naeem Juwan in a blog post about hipsters.

Well, I was looking them up on YouTube and found a clip of Juwan getting kicked out of the MTVu Woodies last November.

It looks like Juwan threw a bottle of water at someone across the room.

Warning: There is some profanity on the video.

(Photo by Getty Images) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:54 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

February 10, 2008

Minor renovations at Sonar

Dropped by Sonar a couple days ago to say hi and see what was new.

In the large hall, they tore down the long bar along the far wall to add extra capacity.

And they added a coat check and merchandise booth.

I'm not sure why they needed extra capacity. That big room can hold more than 1,000 people.

And I don't think capacity has been a problem there for a while. But it's good to know they're putting some money into the place.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:07 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

February 9, 2008

Shall be back shortly ...

Walked by the Harbor Way Inn last week and spotted this note posted on the front door.

I'm sure the owner wrote it for delivery people and maybe hardcore regulars.

But it made me laugh.

Thirsty? I'll be right back.

But if I'm not, call this number.

Hee hee.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:15 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Too fat to be a hipster

DJ Oh Snap! (aka Mickey Fortune) sent me a link to a house song he just wrote called "I'm Too Fat To Be a Hipster."

Check it out on his MySpace site.

The chorus is 

"I'm too fat to be a hipster /

The skinny jeans don't come in my size."

My favorite line from the song: 

"I like to dress fly but [bleep] it -- I like food!"


 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:22 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

February 8, 2008

Sky Lounge's grand reopening

Tonight is the grand reopening of Sky Lounge Tango Tapas under new managing partner LG Concannon.

The lower level opens at 6 p.m., and Concannon will spin upstairs starting at 10 p.m.

Since taking over, Concannon has updated the sound system, furniture, and lighting setup.

(Photo by Matthew Paul D'Agostino/Special to The Sun) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:40 PM | | Comments (32)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

My thoughts on Pur

Went to Pur, the uber-swanky new Canton lounge, on Mardi Gras.

The place looks fantastic.

I love what they did to GoodLove. It's totally different.

But would I pay $20 to get in on a Friday or Saturday night?

Nah.

My full review will come out in next Thursday's LIVE section. 

It was a pretty weird night.

I'll post a link next week.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:40 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Live music at Bedrock Billiards

Bedrock Billiards, the pool hall at Baltimore and Eutaw streets, is slightly changing its identity. 

They removed a few pool tables upstairs, built a stage, set up lighting and sound systems and starting hosting DJs and bands there last week.

Before it was Bedrock, the building used to be the Vault, a semi-shady live music club with a frighteningly tall stage.

"As a musician that used to play the Vault, that stage was a death trap," said Bedrock's bar manager Michael Bulmash.

Bulmash is helping book the venue's schedule. Right now, they have three to four acts there per week -- some local and some national.

You can see the whole schedule on their MySpace site. Their phone number is 410-685-7665.

(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:01 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

Fab Five Friday

We discussed it.

I defined it.

Now it's list time.

Here are the top five hipster hangouts in Baltimore.

1. Rocket to Venus, 3360 Chestnut Ave.

Hipsters are everywhere inside the Rocket. Everywhere

2. Mount Royal Tavern, 1204 W. Mount Royal Ave.

A dive bar filled with hipsters on Friday and Saturday nights. Go figure. 

3. Club Charles, 1724 N. Charles St.

To quote a frequent MS poster, Club C. is more hip than a legless man. 

4. The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St.

One of the city's most popular hipster clubs. Go there, and a hipster encounter is inevitable. 

5. The bar at Holy Frijoles, 908 W. 36th St.

The only place in town where you can test your music snobbishness while eating fajitas and slurping cucumber margaritas. Pomegranate margaritas are soooo last year.

(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:25 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

February 7, 2008

Heh

In light of all the liquor license discussion going on over at Dining@Large, I thought I'd toss this out there.

So, in their 'Best Bars of 2007' list, Esquire wrote this little blurb about the Golden Gopher, a bar in Los Angeles:

"The stylishly dim Golden Gopher has a liquor license so old, it permits takeout sales -- meaning you can stop in for a martini at the bar and pick up a six-pack at the liquor stand on your way out."

I laughed when I read this.

Apparently, bars like this are rare in LA.

However, my buddy Jeremy, who lived there for a while, said most grocery and convenience stores sold beer and wine.

So there's a trade-off.

(AP Photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:57 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

Do you have hipsters?

It may be an easy question to answer.

The signs of a hipster infestation aren't hard to spot.

But how do you get rid of them?

By reading this story. 

Thanks to Dan Thanh for the tip.

(Photo of the Oranges Band by Kenneth K. Lam) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:57 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Random stuff
        

More on Tony Cushing

Here is the obituary I wrote of Cat's Eye Pub founder and owner Tony Cushing (pictured).

I spoke with Steve Bunker, a former head of the Fells Point Community Organization, for the story.

He summed up the essence of the pub really well:

"It was one of the few places left where working stiffs can get together in the afternoon after work and tip a beer, see their friends and talk like real people," he said.

Cushing's son Tony will take over the business from his father.

Cushing's wife Ana Marie will continue to book bands there.

(Photo courtesy of Ana Marie Cushing) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:01 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

February 6, 2008

Some new Gary B

Baltimore-based Gary B and the Notions recently posted a new track called "Three Horse Carousel" on their MySpace site.

They performed this song live for an episode of Baltimore Unsigned a few months ago. 

Keep an eye on Gary B. I think they have some real potential. 

This picture of Gary kind of scares me. He looks like a serial killer.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:58 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Christmas in February

Spotted this on my way to work last week.

See, this makes me glad I don't set up a Christmas tree, because I would definitely wait until February to get rid of it, just like this person(s) did.

What is this doing on a nightlife/entertainment blog?

I find it entertaining.

So there.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:11 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Hipsters vs. indie kids

In light of this week's Fab Five Friday topic, I thought I'd draw the line between indie kids and hipsters.

Hipsters fix up and look sharp. Their hair is meticulously messy. Sometimes they sport tattoos.

They are music snobs. Some manage to look bored no matter what is happening around them.

Indie kids have greasy, messy hair because they bathe less frequently than hipsters.

They can also be music snobs, but not nearly on the level of hipsters.

Indie kids are more grounded and less concerned with looking or acting cool.

They often have pale, pasty skin.

(Photo of hipster MC Naeem Juwan of Spank Rock) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:54 AM | | Comments (31)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays, Random stuff
        

Ssion at Metro Gallery

From MS correspondent Tim Swift:

The Kansas City punk collective Ssion rolled in Station North’s Metro Gallery on Saturday, putting on show befitting of the artsy surroundings. Sure, the music was eclectic, but Ssion didn’t stop there. The band was suited up in costume (and one could say the skinny jean-heavy audience was too) and came with a video projector in tow.

Their mischievous vocals were often washed out, but they did deliver a particularly fierce rendition of their song "The Women," which paled in comparison to their recorded version.

With an audience large enough to accommodate a little crowd surfing, Metro Galley seems to be coming into its own. The trendy space that opened over the summer has no bar, but patrons improvise. One guy came prepared with his own twist on BYOB (Bring Your Own Briefcase — full of Tab and Parrot Bay).

Posted by Tim Swift at 7:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

February 5, 2008

Cat's Eye Pub owner dies

Tony Cushing, co-owner of the Cat's Eye Pub on Thames Street in Fells Point, died early this morning of a heart attack.

He was 62.

"He was an incredible person," said Terri Rychlak, who has managed the pub for more than 20 years. 

"He always did this Houdini thing -- he would never say goodbye," she said. "He would just leave. You would turn around and he would be gone. This morning I turned around and he was gone."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:32 PM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

The next Fab Five Friday

I am not a hipster.

But I have friends who are.

I'm glad Baltimore doesn't have too many hipsters, because there is a certain pretentiousness most hipsters have.

And thankfully, Baltimore is largely an unpretentious place.

But I think it would be fun to do a Fab Five Friday on the city's best hipster hangouts. 

Got any suggestions? 

(Photo of the Mount Royal Tavern by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:35 AM | | Comments (31)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Vice coming in May

Vice, the live music club and Latin/sushi restaurant co-owned by Craig Boarman of the Ottobar, will be opening later than originally planned.

Fletchers was supposed to become Vice in February. Now, that looks more like May or June, Boarman said. Until then, it will remain Fletchers.

But all of the original plans should still be on.

"So far, so good," he said.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:53 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Mike's prize(s)

This isn't just any ordinary stack of CDs.

This is the grand prize MS poster Mike won for being the 1,000 commenter on the blog.

Mike said he likes the kind of music WTMD plays, so I grabbed some stuff along those lines.

He won CDs by Sigur Ros, Tim Finn, A Fine Frenzy, Steve Hefter, Rogue Wave and the Subdudes.

And yes, I know, I should have mailed him this weeks ago.

But better late than never, right? 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:49 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Random stuff
        

February 4, 2008

More hassle for smokers?

With the smoking ban in effect, smokers must now stand outside bars and clubs for their nicotine fix.

When the New York City ban began in 2003, this led to some noise and littering complaints.

Looks like Baltimore might have a similar situation. 

A co-worker was at Club Orpheus this past weekend and said police were shooing smokers back inside the club.

The cops had gotten complaints from neighbors about the noise.

But the smokers were angry, because the ban made them go outside, and now the cops didn't want them to be outside. 

I wonder if this kind of situation will come to a head, or dissipate with time. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:01 PM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The Knotty Pine catches fire

A two-alarm fire raged for more than two hours last night at The Knotty Pine, a Canton bar at South Conkling Street and Fait Avenue.

The cause has not yet been determined. 

Here is a link to the story.

(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer) 


(Video by Gus Sentementes/Sun reporter)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:47 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Where did you watch the game?

Who went out to a bar or club to watch the Superbowl yesterday?

I almost went out, but ended up watching it at the girlfriend's place.

My TV is way too small.

Where did you go? And how was it?


Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:13 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

February 3, 2008

I couldn't agree more.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

February 2, 2008

City Paper vs. Steve Hefter

I'm not taking sides with this one.

But I think it's a pretty interesting little saga.

In late December, local indie rocker Steve Hefter posted an open correspondence with City Paper music editor Michael Byrne on his MySpace site.

Hefter felt he had been ignored by CP, despite multiple attempts to contact them about his new(ish) album. 

Byrne (a frequent Midnight Sun poster) said there are tons of bands vying for coverage in CP, and Hefter should send him a CD with a letter explaining why they should write about Hefter.

Then in yesterday's CP, Byrne slipped a little poke into the Shortlist:

"At the Ottobar, local pop-folk duo Judd and Maggie celebrates the release of their new album with City Paper fave Steve Hefter and Friends of Friends ..."

Heh.

I don't see this ending anytime soon. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:00 PM | | Comments (22)
Categories: Local music
        

Baltimore Music Conference update

The 2008 Baltimore Music Conference is coming together.

Sept. 17-21 are the tentative dates for this year's conference, which is primarily organized by Lisa Chaplin Suit.

Suit is looking to expand the conference into a number of clubs around town, instead of just a handful of venues in the same area.

"I want to have as many venues involved as possible," Suit said. 

So far, she has confirmed the Talking Head Club, Sonar, the Turntable Club, Shorty's Martini Bar and Lounge and Sky Lounge Tango Tapas.

Musicians can submit their applications here.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:50 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

February 1, 2008

'80s dance night

If you didn't already see today's nightlife column on the monthly 80s night at the Lodge Bar in Power Plant Live, the next one is tonight.

Voodoo Economics is the house band. They go on around 9 p.m.

Have a great weekend! 

(Photo by Kansas City Star) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:45 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Heaven to replace Hammerjack's?

The City Paper had an interesting article about the possible plans to reopen Hammerjack's (pictured) as a club called Heaven.

Here is a link to the piece.

(Photo by Jerry Jackson/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:20 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Fab Five Friday

Thanks again for all your winter bar suggestions.

Since things got out of hand last week, let me make it clear: Brewer's Art, Max's Taphouse and the Dog Pub are retired from these lists because they've been mentioned so many times before.

Here it is: my list of the five best winter bars.

1. The Wharf Rat, 801 S. Ann St.

The massive fireplace, the fresh-brewed ales on tap made it an easy No. 1.  

2. Bertha's (pictured), 734 S. Broadway

Three words: hot buttered rum. 

3. Dizzy Issie's, 300 W. 30th St. 

A fireplace isn't the only cozy aspect of this comfortable neighborhood bar. 

4. Mum's, 1132 S. Hanover St.

Ask them for a shot of Evil. Trust me. It will warm you right up. 

5. One World Cafe, 100 W. University Parkway 

Hot drinks are key, and One World has plenty of them. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:48 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        
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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 erik.maza@baltsun.com. 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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