Look, brah! A photo contest!
The friendly folks over at Gutter Magazine are sponsoring a photo contest.
They'd like you, dear reader, to submit the most meat-headiest photo you have.
You could win a Gutter prize pack.
The friendly folks over at Gutter Magazine are sponsoring a photo contest.
They'd like you, dear reader, to submit the most meat-headiest photo you have.
You could win a Gutter prize pack.
And are you 20 or older?
If so, we'd like to speak with you.
Please call Sun reporter Mary Carole McCauley at 410-332-6704.
-Midnight Sun classifieds
Yesterday I had my headshot taken for this Virgin Mobile Festival preview we're working on.
What do you think?
Now, of course, I doctored it a little.
Don't wanna give up the anonymity just yet, ya know?
(Note to self: Ride this whole 'what I look like thing as long as you can, Sessa.')
Thanks, self. I will.
Also, while we're on Virgin Festival, I'm curious: Since two headliners are playing at the same time on different stages, who wins? And who would win in a fight?
1) Jack Johnson or the Foo Fighters?
2) Chuck Berry or Wilco?
3) Stone Temple Pilots or Bob Dylan?
4) Nine Inch Nails or Kanye West?
Here's what I think ...
1) I say the Foos have the bigger crowd. They would steal Johnson's guitar and smash it on his surfboard. Double whammy!
2) Chuck Berry probably loses the popularity contest to Wilco. But my money's on Berry's killer right hook. Jeff Tweedy looks soft. He's the flight type. I say Berry duck walks all over him.
3) I really hope Dylan has a bigger scene, but I think STP will win. But I dunno about the fight. I'm tempted to bet on Dylan. Old, yes, but codgery. He's got nothing to lose. When backed into a corner, people with nothing to lose fight dirty. And I like that.
4) In terms of crowd size, Kanye trounces NIN. But West is a wimp. Reznor takes a few sips of the Perfect Drug and hammers him into a pulp.
(Photo of me by Lloyd Fox/Sun photographer, with some doctoring by me)
Here's a link to my review of the Hudson Street Stackhouse.
I try not to throw around terms like "Baltimore's Best This" too often in nightlife columns, but the Stackhouse deserved it. And no, I-S-D, the Stackhouse won't give Mahaffey's a run for its money just yet. But it might in the coming months.
Secret: I am sick and tired of coming up with Fab Five Friday ideas week after week and making list after list of best this and worst that.
I want to end it. My glass is empty.
All in favor?
I mean, I'm not opposed to doing Best this and Best that from time to time, but not every gosh darn week.
So, unless I receive a flood of comments begging me to keep FFF alive, I'll stop making it a weekly thing.
Or, if you wanna give me good ideas each week, I'm down for that too.
But I'm burnt out! I've done something like 60 lists. And when it comes to bars/nightlife, there's not that much to list.
Times are tough.
Pennies are being pinched. Belts tightened. Cliches used.
Sam "Money-Saving" Sessa to the rescue! ...
First up, we have happy hour at Grumpies Pour House at 25 E. Cross St. by the Cross Street Market.
$2 drafts for four hours straight?
Not bad, not bad.
Scroll down a little further.
And, in the left corner, we have the neighboring Federal Hill Lounge's slightly earlier four-hour happy hour.
As you see, the food is free!
And all beers (as the sign notes, all beers means domestics, imports, exports, bottles, drafts, cans, kegs and eggs) are $2.
And and and -- cocktails are $2 cheaper.
Thanks, Money-Saving Sessa!
However, entering these establishments after happy hour puts you at an increased risk of encountering Meatheads.
So be warned.
(Photos by M.S. S.S.)
If I organized a party at a local bar, how many of you would come?
I'm thinking about throwing a Midnight Sun soiree to celebrate the end of my anonymity.
It couldn't have been better.
It was amazing. Several audience members were in tears during the mini-set.
Caleb and Salim went from total strangers to close friends. Now, they're going to write an album together.
I'll keep you posted on their progress. Thanks again to the 100-ish people that came out.
(Photo courtesy of Courtney Block)
So, kids, the moment of reckoning is coming.
In the next week or two, I will cast off my cloak of anonymity and reveal my shining (oily) face for all yas.
Wanna know why? It's something I've struggled with for years ...
Elizabeth Large, our esteemed Empress of Edibles, has kept her identity secret for decades.
But on the other hand, photos of Frank Bruni, restaurant critic for the New York Times, are easily Google-able.
So for the first three years I've laid low like L.I.Z. Soon, The Sun will launch a redesigned paper that's more personality driven. You're probably going to see photos of all the critics, from Mike "Movie King" Sragow to Mary "Drama Queen" McCauley.
I'll be in the new paper, too.
But first, you're going to see my mug in the LIVE section's special Virgin Mobile Festival preview. That will be out next Thursday.
And yes, I understand it's necessary to put my photo in the paper, but a part of me is going to miss sneaking into a bar, talking to the owner and leaving without him even knowing I'm reviewing the place. (That's what I did with Dominic DeSantis, who owns the Hudson Street Stackhouse.)
And I enjoyed knowing that Jason Zink had No Idea what I looked like.
But seasons change, and so will I.
Don't know why. Don't know how.
If you do, please tell us.
Last I heard, they were renovating the second floor and bringing in a new cook.
But the South Broadway bar sure ain't open.
Tell ya what, though -- this photo ain't bad, considering I snapped it on my cell phone.
(Photo by me)
I'm late to the game on this one, but with K-Swift's death and the new arena announcement all coming down the pipes last week, I was buried with breaking news.
City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (that's a mouthful isn't it?) introduced a bill that would let more bars and clubs apply for live music licenses.
She proposes establishing a five-member panel to review applications for annual live entertainment licenses.
I don't see this being a big hit with neighborhood associations.
Nobody who lives near a loud corner bar wants it to get even louder with live bands all the time.
But this would be huge for the local music scene. More bars and clubs to play in is always a good thing.
Wonder if it will pass.(Photo from Sun archives)
The schedule for this year's Virgin Mobile Festival has been released.
Here are the time slots for performers on both main stages and the DJ tent ...
Saturday, Aug. 9
Gates open at 10 a.m. both days
*All times p.m.
noon-12:50 Cat Power
2:15-3:05 The Swell Season
3:25-4:15 Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
4:35-5:25 Rodrigo y Gabriela
5:45-6:35 Citizen Cope
8:45-10:00 Jack Johnson
12:15-1:00 KT Tunstall
1:20-2:10 Gogol Bordello
2:30-3:25 Lupe Fiasco
3:45-4:35 Bloc Party
5:00-6:00 The Offspring
6:30-7:30 Chuck Berry and The Silver Beats
8:15-10:00 Foo Fighters
12:00-12:30 JDH & Dave P
12:30-1:45 Erol Alkan
1:45-3:15 DJ Dan & Donald Glaude
4:45-6:10 Steve Lawler
6:10-7:40 Ferry Corsten
Sunday, Aug. 10
noon-12:45 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
1:05-1:55 Shudder to Think
3:30-4:20 Taking Back Sunday
4:50-5:50 Iggy and The Stooges
6:20-7:35 Stone Temple Pilots
8:05-10:00 Nine Inch Nails
11:30-noon Hollywood Undead (Book the Band winner)
12:20-1:05 The Go! Team
1:25-2:10 Andrew Bird
2:35-3:25 She & Him
3:50-4:50 Lil’ Wayne
5:15-6:15 The Black Keys
6:45-8:00 Bob Dylan
8:30-10:00 Kanye West
1:50-3:20 Rabbit in the Moon
5:00-6:30 Richie Hawtin
6:30-8:00 Moby (DJ Set)
8:00-10:00 Armin van Buuren
(Photos by Christopher T. Assaf/Sun photographer)
The Hudson Street Stackhouse (2624 Hudson St.) is open for business.
I stopped in a couple days ago to review it and was really impressed.
There are about 10-12 good beers on tap (standards like Guinness and odd ones like Leffe) and another couple dozen delicious bottles.
I had a fantastic Scottish ale called SkullSplitter (it's 8.5 percent alcohol).
But you know what stunned me most? The service. Both bartenders kept our glasses full and, when we needed it, gave us some advice on what to try. Good service in Baltimore. Imagine that!
Everything feels new -- from the six flat screen TVs to the brick on the outside of the building. The floor is concrete and stone tiles coat the walls in the men's bathroom.
One tip for Dominic DeSantis, who owns the place: Put some lights outside. I like the metal sign, but since the bar is in the middle of the block, you think it's a house and drive right by the first time.
Otherwise, the Stackhouse just might give Mahaffey's Pub some competition. Not in terms of quantity, but quality.
But definitely check this place out.
(Photo by me)
Yes indeed, I just name-checked the Five Man Electrical Band.
That's what I thought of when I saw Shorty's Martini Bar and Lounge in Canton.
Banners everywhere. The banners are bigger than the "Shorty's" sign.
(Photo by me)
Just a reminder: The funeral for Club Queen K-Swift starts at 11 a.m. today at Morgan State University's Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive.
Burial services will be held at Loudon Park Cemetery, 3620 Wilkens Ave.
Flowers can be sent to the Murphy Fine Arts Center.
The beef started last year, when local online arts/fashion/music publication Gutter magazine called out Baltimore magazine as a fluff-filled rag with no clue as to what goes on in this city.
"Do you ever ACTUALLY talk to anyone who lives IN Baltimore City?" the Gutter article said.
Now, I have to give Baltimore magazine serious props for their response. It was genius. Did they take a swipe back at Gutter? Nah.
They gave Gutter a Best of Baltimore Award for Countercultural Media Experience. It read:
"With dozens of rough-edged, super-saturated photos each month and a drunk-at-midnight's focus and 'tude, Gutter works really hard to show us that it doesn't care what you think of it. And what could be more beautiful than that?"
Gutter came back with a left hook to the kidney ...
"Granted, the first incarnation of Gutter was little more than a LOT of fluff pieces buried inside millions of Real Estate ads but we soldiered on.
In the end, we let go all of our writers and photogs who have been doing the same thing over and over again for decades and looked to fresh talent at MICA, UMBC and several of the other colleges.
And guess what! It seems to be working! I mean we’re not on par with B-mag by any means, but darn it we’re trying."
No word on whether Gutter editor J.M. Giordano (also a frequent poster on this blog) will be at the annual Best of Baltimore party.
I'll keep you posted.
(Photo courtesy of Baltimore magazine)
Crossroads Bar & Restaurant (3328 Foster Ave.) doesn't look nearly as devious by day.
When I drove by a week or two ago and took this photo, I was really tempted to get out of the car and scream:
"KUPKAKE! WHERE ARE YOUUUUU??!?!?
Side note: What in tarnation is sour beef? And why would you advertise it?
Nasty, nasty, nasty.
I hear back in the day, Crossroads was the place to be.
Eric Clapton even wrote a song about it.
(Photo by me)
Of all the places in Hampden, where would you most want to settle in for a beer?
Hampden has this weird mix of blue collar joints and hipster hangouts. So a Fab Five Friday list is going to vary wildly from person to person.
My list has a little of everything. Or at least I'd like to think so. See for yourself, kids ...
1. Hon Bar, 1002 W. 36th St. (pictured)
Resurrection is on tap. I think it's the only spot in Hampden with Resurrection on tap. Automatic winner.
2. Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St.
Dig this delicious drink special: Pabst Tall Boys and a shot of Jack Daniels are $5 all the time. Not bad for name brand whiskey. Also, Bohs are a buck each 5 p.m.-midnight Sundays.
3. Frazier's on the Avenue, 919 W. 36th St.
Beer + karaoke = my kind of good time. I sang "Crazy On You" there once. My falsetto melted faces.
4. Rocket to Venus, 3360 Chestnut Ave.
Mobtown Molly has a much better (and more vulgar) name for this place. And though the takeout prices are pretty steep, I like Rocket's selection.
5. Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St.
These are my people -- the wild, crazy, blue collar workers. And you'll get some of the best service in Hampden here. Know why? Because it's not run by hipsters. Thank God for that.
(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun photographer)
I'm going to start a running feature in the nightlife column where I measure the time between when my rear hits that barstool and when I have a beer in front of me.
Now I'm just trying to figure out a name for it.
The beer-o-meter? Hmmm ....
I thought up this idea while waiting for a Peroni at the recently refurbished Gin Mill on Boston Street last week.
I had a lot of time to think about stuff like that ...
because it took a good 10 minutes for me to get a drink.
This was on a Wednesday. There were a couple dozen people in the place, which looks fantastic, by the way. There are tons of beers on tap and the new decor is swankier but still tasteful.
But all of that means little if the service isn't good. And there were three -- three -- people behind the bar. Sigh.
(Photo by Colby Ware/Special to The Sun)
If this is true, what a wild, strange saga it is.
Courtney Love (Kurt Cobain's widow/total train-wreck) claims alt-country rocker (and semi-train wreck) Ryan Adams stole one of her American Express cards while they were having a fling and paid for his entire album Rock N Roll with it.
Be warned: If you click on that link, you get the whole weird, profane rant she posted on her MySpace site.
Now, this wasn't just any credit card. It withdrew directly from the trust fund of Love's daughter Frances Bean (pictured, right).
So, to recap, Adams allegedly stole a million bucks from Kurt Cobain's daughter to finance an alt-country album.
I don't think Adams has addressed the situation at this point.
That's pretty surprising, because, as Chuck Klosterman mentioned in this month's Esquire, Adams Googles himself on a regular basis.
Even better: He's not shy about spouting off ...
I think there’s probably a 98 percent likelihood that Ryan Adams will read this sentence, put down the magazine, walk over to his four-track, and immediately write a psychedelic country song titled “Hey Little Leipzig Girl (I’m Glad You Dug Those Whiskeytown Bootlegs),” which I will be able to listen to on the Internet forty minutes from right now.
Either way, this whole ordeal is fascinating. And as longtime readers of this blog know, I'm not a big fan of Ryan Adams either. I like the music -- not the man.
In the meantime, Love is being sued for not paying almost $1 million to a business management and accounting firm.
The firm says she didn't ante up a slice of the profits from selling Nirvana's publishing catalogue. Coincidence?
Here are the details for K-Swift's wake and funeral, courtesy of Shawn Caesar:
Viewing: 3 p.m.-8 p.m.
Joseph Brown Funeral Home, 2140 N. Fulton Avenue
Viewing: 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
Wake Services: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
New Shiloh Baptist Church, 2100 North Monroe Street
Wake Services: 10 a.m.
Funeral Services: 11 a.m.
Morgan State University, Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center
Burial services will be held at:
Loudon Park Cemetery, 3620 Wilkens Avenue
Flowers can be sent to:
Morgan State University
Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, MD 21251
I'm really pumped for the Baltimore Music Project.
Baltimore Unsigned took Caleb Stine and Salim and the Music Lovers -- two artists who had never known each other before -- and forced them to write four songs in six weeks. They're going to perform them live at a free show at The 8x10 this Saturday. (You can reserve seats here.)
Here's the third video from the collaboration ...
I ordered a beer at Boomer's on the Hill a couple weeks ago and the bartender held the glass upside down over this hole below the taps.
She flipped a switch or pressed a button and a plume of ice cold water shot up inside of the glass, chilling it in seconds.
What's this thing called? How many bars around town have it? I've never seen it before.
As if news of K-Swift's death wasn't sad enough.
She always wanted a national distribution deal that would get her albums in record stores around the country.
She signed with Unruly Records several years ago, which was a step closer to that goal.
Less than a day after her death, the national deal went through, according to Unruly Records co-founder Shawn Caesar.
"Last night could have been that announcement," Caesar said yesterday. "Instead, all this stuff went down."
Koch Records will still posthumously release her recordings, Caesar said.
I'll post funeral details today.
I've already done the five best places to get a beer in Fells Point.
I'd like to do the same for Hampden.
Think about it: the five best places to get a beer in Hampden.
Clipper Mill counts.
Should Remington count, too?
The details surrounding K-Swift's death are still pretty hazy.
I'm trying to piece together exactly what happened Sunday night.
Were you there or do you know someone who was there?
Email me at email@example.com or call me at 410.332.6689.
(Photo by Algerina Perna/Sun photographer)
There, I said it.
Wanna know why? I'll tell ya why ...
It's not good beer. That's why. It's cheap and it tastes cheap and I don't care that it used to be brewed here. It's not anymore. So I'm not supporting a local brewery if I did drink it either.
The only reason I'd drink a Boh is if I was hard up for cash or if a friend bought one for me at a bar.
I don't buy into the whole hipster "it's cool to drink Boh" mentality either.
I'd like to think I haven't done stuff because "it's cool to do it" since middle school.
And as far as cheap beers go, there are other cheap beers out there that taste better than Boh.
So there, I said it. And I'll stand behind it.
Props to Gutter Magazine (the new issue is out now) for calling out Boh too.
(Photo by Amy Davis/Sun photographer)
Here is a link to my obituary of Baltimore Club star Khia K-Swift Edgerton.
The renown 92Q DJ died early yesterday morning after an accident at her home.
She was 29.
Here is a review of her final public performance at Artscape this past Saturday.
And here is a link to a discussion page on 92Q's Web site where you can offer your own K-Swift memories.
My 14-year-old sister Emily came to the city Friday night to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's rendition of Play! A Video Game Symphony.
In the show, the orchestra performs music from popular video games. Here is her review ...
When you think of video game music, you’re reminded of simple melodies and catchy tunes, right? Well, The BSO’s Friday night performance of Play!: A Video Game Symphony totally redefined that.
The songs were made elegant and refined, and extra solos were added at just the right moments. The Handel Choir of Baltimore also smoothly fit into several of the pieces and blended well with the orchestra.
The orchestra started with a new work by Nobuo Oematsu made specifically for Play! and ended with the U.S. premiere of a Guild Wars medley. In between, there were 13 different medleys ranging from classics like Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda to newer games such as HALO and World of Warcraft.
Out of the fifteen pieces played, my favorite was the Castlevania medley, and I have never even played Castlevania or listened to its music.
There was a wicked piano solo in the middle which left the audience in awe before it transitioned into a full-blown there-must-be-evil-lurking-about-here theme. My second favorite was (of course) Super Mario Bros., mainly for its graceful underwater theme, followed by the less familiar Metal Gear Solid. MGS’s theme was balanced between the brass and string sections, with woodwinds adding great effects.
Unfortunately, the screen overhead mainly showed tidbits of gameplay from featured games which distracted the audience from the main show -- the BSO itself. Luckily, this was the only real problem with the show and didn’t have a huge effect on the production itself. Even if you don’t play video games, you could still enjoy everything that the show offered. When we left the Meyerhoff, we were excited, awed, and extremely pleased. It was truly a night to remember.
People ask me what shows I see in my free time.
But I usually spend my free time not seeing shows.
Since I had this past weekend off, I skipped Artscape.
How was it?
I'm kind of glad I didn't have to cover it either -- it was waaaay too hot for me to be running around outside all weekend.
(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer)
In early August, the Lo-Fi Social club will be renamed the Hexagon and will start hosting shows on a regular basis again, according to one of the new owners.
Guess American Cinema still owned the rights to the name The Octagon.
The Hexagon's first show is an electronic dance party Aug. 2.
Yes, ESPN Zone is a generic chain. So is Hard Rock Cafe.
But I want to take a minute and recognize ESPN Zone for lasting so long in the Inner Harbor, where so many restaurants have come and gone in the past decade.
It's helped anchor the surge of development all around the waterfront.
So happy birthday ESPN Zone.
(Photo by me)
Please see past this terrible horrible no good very bad photo and tell me: Where did this place come from?
It opened six months ago on Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown and serves paninis and hookahs.
Weird, yes. But why not?
Has anyone been there and sampled their wares?
If so, fill me in. Fill all of us in.
(Photo taken from the inside of my car -- and I'm sure I looked pretty sketchy snapping photos and speeding off -- by me)
Sorry I'm late on this one folks but it's been a busy, draining day. But Midnight Sun soldiers on.
And now, without further delay, I give you the five bars with the best arrays of flat screen TVs in this fair city ...
1. Looney's Pub, 2900 O'Donnell St.
When the owners renovated this place recently, they added dozens of flat screen TVs (and a couple new bars, too). The result is one of the best bars in the city to watch the game.
2. Stalking Horse, 26 E. Cross St.
If you took all of the flat screen TVs out of Stalking Horse and lined them up end to end, you could walk across the harbor from Federal Hill to Fells Point. Idea!
3. Saute, 2844 Hudson St.
For a neighborhood bar (upscale, sure, but it's still a neighborhood joint), Saute has tons of flat screens. There must be almost a dozen of them.
4. JD's Smokehouse, 3000 O'Donnell St.
They've got more than a few HD TVs, which tips the scale in their favor.
5. Crazy Lil's, 27 E. Cross St.
You guys were right -- quality does top quantity. And that's why Lil's makes the list.
(Photo by Gene Sweeney, Jr./Sun photographer)
Thanks to a timely tip by MS poster jmgiordano, I snapped this photo of the building which used to house the Full Moon Saloon.
Back story: The Saloon was bought by the owner of neighboring restaurant Louisiana, who pledged to turn it into a high-end jazz club.
Now, being the nightlife critic, I hear a lot of stories like this one -- some with little results. That's not the case here though.
Wow. Double wow. Triple wow? Nah. But definitely double wow ...
I barely recognize the building. Looks like the delightfully dirty-looking Full Moon Saloon finally got a shave and a haircut (and we all know how much that costs).
When I get an estimated opening date for the new club, I'll pass it along.
(Photo by me)
A while back, I wrote a profile of Ed Schrader, host of (you guessed it) the Ed Schrader Show.
I had a few quotes left over that I didn't use in the story. Here's one of them ...
"Sometimes I'm putting on a guise -- I'm putting on an act," he said. I'm rarely myself around anybody -- except for my girlfriend, because if I wasn't, she'd know. She's good at picking that up."
His words beg the question:
How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself?
A couple days ago, Amie and I were talking about the perverted joke John Mayer made at his Merriweather show Sunday night.
Looking back on it, we got the feeling there was no girl holding that sign -- that he planned the joke ahead of time and just acted like the girl was there.
Mayer has a history of cracking bad jokes at his shows (and occasionally at comedy clubs, which I'm sure his publicist looooves).
But it's bugging me.
So John, on the off chance you Google yourself and spot this blog entry, can you tell me:
1) If that girl was really in the audience or if you faked it
2) Why are you flirting with comedy in the first place?
Little known fact: Occasionally, people get married at the Metro Gallery.
Owner Sarah M. Williams (pictured) said she's hosted a couple weddings there since the Charles Street gallery opened about a year ago.
One of her clients was Windup Space owner Russell de Ocampo and his wife. And there are more on the way, she said.
"It's pretty fun," she said. "I have a couple coming up next year."
While we're talking about Metro Gallery, Williams also said construction of the bar there is chugging right along.
I'll let you know when it's finished.(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer)
Snapped this photo of the redone Gin Mill (2300 Boston St.) yesterday.
I dig the new window trimmings and outer facade.
Still haven't been inside yet to check it out.
As soon as I do, you'll be the first to know what I think.
(Photo by me)
I heard second-hand (but from a good source) that this year's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival lost some serious money.
According to this source, festival promoters shilled out a few million dollars to book headliner Prince (pictured), and it didn't pay off in ticket sales.
Also, organizers decided to scrap this year's Virgin Festival in Vancouver a few weeks ago for "various reasons."
And attendance at this year's Bonnaroo festival was down from last year.
Here I am writing about how festivals are once again popping up around the country. Maybe that's not the case after all.
Or this bad news could just be a fluke.
My heart almost stopped when I saw this email:
The Bowie Baysox (Class AA Minor League Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) are gearing up for the Chipotle National Burrito Eating Championship, the Main Event during the first ever Competitive Eating Night at Prince George’s Stadium when the Baysox take on the Reading Phillies this Sunday, July 20th.
Oh Chipotle! Oh sweet heavenly delicious burrito time!
Why oh why don't I get free burritos?
Chipotle! Can you hear me? Sponsor my blog! Sponsor my radio show! Sponsor my life!
I want to tell you a story about the Four Meat Challenge ...
Waaaay back in college (3 years ago-ish) I used to eat Chipotle burritos like it was nobody's business. Three a week? No problem. Four a week? Bring it on! My job at the college paper paid for it, you see.
Then, one day, I heard of the Four Meat Challenge. Dig this: You take all four meats (steak, chicken, barbacoa and carnitas) wrap them in a tortilla and stuff your face. So, I guess my question is, are you game?
My roommate Sammy was. (Yes, two Sams in one house.) So he and another roommate Young and I all went down to Chipotle for some action. Sammy walked up to the counter, and announced "I'M HERE TO TAKE THE FOUR MEAT CHALLENGE!"
The woman behind the counter was stunned. All she could manage to say was 'que.' (In hindsight, she may not have spoken much English to begin with).
But when Sammy explained the Four Meat Challenge to them, they obliged him, piling all four meats on one tortilla. It was glorious.
Then, when we rolled down to the cashier -- get this -- Sammy whipped out a Free Burrito Card. The cashier actually took a step back and said "NO!"
Together, they wrangled out a price -- something like $6. We sat down at a table and watched Sammy gorge himself.
So what was it like? After taking a few bites, Sammy said: "It's like licking the inside of a cow!"
When he finished (and finish he did), Sammy ran a victory lap around the inside of the restaurant, giving high-fives to workers and yelling "Goal!" and "Yeah!"
We went home, chilled some, then went to bed. In the middle of the night, Sammy woke up with a vivid hallucination, dry heaved for a minute, and went back to bed. But all of that is beside the point.
The point is, Sammy took the Four Meat Challenge and beasted it.
(Photo from Sun archives)
You gotta see the new "art exhibit" at Idle Hour (201 E. Fort Ave.).
The South Baltimore corner bar was between art shows, and co-owner Randal Etheridge wanted something to hang on the walls.
When he read a couple of outrageously negative reviews of Idle Hour on metromix.com, he knew just what to do ...
Etheridge had two big banners made with the reviews and hung them inside the bar.
I love it!
Here's one of the reviews, written by a commenter named TruthSerum from Federal Hill:
The place smells like urine and has raunchy decor. This week the "art" consists of distasteful nudes featuring cartoonish women of the night bent over.
Here's the other, by Dynamo from Otterbein:
The crowd that this place attracts are not friendly. The owner has an "I'm a bartender for life complex". I came in with my girlfriend and we had 2 drinks that were served in dirty glasses and when we asked for a clean es all we got was attitude . In fact that was enough to have the "regulars" giving us dirty looks especially this French chick that acted like she managed the place from her bar stool. Never going back to this crappy place again!
I've heard through the grapevine that Liam's Pint-Size Pub (in the basement of 911 N. Charles St.) will close in the coming months.
This is bad news, kids. Liam's is one of the best places to get a beer in Mount Vernon.
I hear Kumari, the restaurant upstairs, has new owners who want to expand into the basement.
Liam Flynn, who runs the bar, could not be reached by phone this morning.
(Photo by me)
Last week, I sat and stared at your comments on my HD glasses post.
You were talkin' TVs, and I was diggin' it.
Then it hit me: Sessa, do a Fab Five Friday about the bars with the best, most awesome array of flat screen TVs.
So I'm doin' it.
(Photo of the semi-new flat screen TV at Bertha's by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer)
Elvis is unquestionably awesome.
But have you ever looked deep into his catalogue? There are some hilarious song titles in there.
Wow on so many levels.
This one ties my brain in a knot.
Double entendre, anyone? I'll have two, thanks.
Did I miss any other good ones?
One of the downsides of living in the city is I can't leave a book of CDs in my car overnight.
And I always forget to bring one when I leave for work in the morning. So I'm stuck with the four or five CDs in my center console. And I won't name names, but three of them stink.
Thusly, for the past several weeks, I have been listening almost exclusively to ...... the first disc of the Grateful Dead's Europe '72 double album.
Bet ya didn't peg me for a Dead Head, eh?
I'm more like an ex-Dead Head. I was big on them in college, and saw (ex-Dead bassist) Phil Lesh at least once (his super low singing range ruins nearly every song he sings, by the way).
Obviously, the Dead were much better live than in the studio. But of all their live albums, Europe '72 really brings together a tight studio sound with the spark they had on stage.
My favorite track? "He's Gone."
Dig this video with the first two minutes of it.
(AP Photo of who else but the Grateful Dead)
For me, John Mayer's show was worth the long, wet slog from the parking lot to the will call line and (finally) into the pavilion.
For the kids on the lawn, I'm not so sure. It was raining something fierce for quite some time. But if you were under the canopy, you were golden.
Mayer tore through an hour and 15 minute set of his own hits and all kinds of covers like "Panama" by Van Halen and "Free Falling" by Tom Petty.
Mayer's a really accomplished blues guitarist for his age. Last night, he turned loose some fiery solos on songs like "Gravity." Here's my official review.
But Mayer's got a pretty twisted sense of humor, too ...
At one point, he saw a girl with a sign that read "I'll be legal in two years" and read it to the crowd. Then he said, "Well, I'm a pervert now!"
I'm cringing just typing that one out. Hee hee. I wonder if he's ever told Jennifer Aniston his horrible Angelina Jolie joke (careful, it's PG-13).
"This is how I bring you back from that disgusting joke -- with this piece of stagecraft," he said, and started playing "No Such Thing." It was like you'd flipped a switch, and all the tweens and parents went from horrified to infatuated. Bam!
Mayer was wearing this white sleeveless T-shirt, so you could see his many tattoos and handsomely toned biceps. Then, during the encore, he ripped the shirt off and launched into "Panama."
I don't think all the kids there recognized the song, but as soon as they saw the shirtless Mayer, they shrieked like only kids can. My eardrums almost bled.
Good show, all in all. Wait, scratch that. Great show. Mayer really did put on a great show.
(AP file photo)
Whatcha think? When I finish drying off, I'll post my review.
Give me a couple hours though. I was freakin' soaked last night.
Celeb alert: American Idol star Bo "Look at my tattoo" Bice is coming to Seacrets this Sunday.
I'm not entirely sure, but I think he's performing.
Fact: With such long brown locks and a semi-unbuttoned shirt like this one, the ladies will be swooning.
Rumor: Bice was thrown out of a New York City bar after picking a fight with a member of the New York Giants in 2006, according to Page Six.
Now, that's American!
If anyone goes, be sure to report back with details.
Even if you don't, I'll still find out. There's no keeping Seacrets (pun!) from Sam Sessa.
I love this idea.
Someone please organize one of these in Baltimore.
Props to Crazy Joe for the link.
A case of jury duty and a pile of work kept me from posting yesterday (travesty!). But I'm back in action as of right ... NOW!
Went to the Windup Space (12 W. North Ave.) last night for a review. I really like what Russell de Ocampo has done with it.
Don't know whether this is his doing or not, but there's a suggestion box on the front of the building.
Intriguing, I know ...
I think it's fantastic the bar is so willing to open a dialog with its customers. It's anonymous, too, which means if you wanted to say something like "fire this bartender because he/she stopped bathing months ago," you could do it.
Not that you would. But you could. And lord knows I love having options like that.
But do people take advantage of it? I'm not sure. I tried to sneakily open the box, but it was locked.
Sneaky plan foiled.
Then I tried to peek inside. Still no luck. Even so, it's a great idea. And I loudly applaud the owners for their ingenuity.
(Photo by Andre F. Chung/Sun photographer)
Well, the Turntable Club didn't last too long at its "new" location on Jefferson Street by the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
But the good news is, it's moving into a new, larger space, according to Government Names.
The last show was June 26.
I'll let you know when and where it will reopen.
OK, I'll admit it -- I've thought about buying an HD TV.
My old roommate Jeremy had one. It was so detailed you could see individual blades of grass on football fields. But other than sporting events and movies, I don't watch TV. And HD TVs are $$$.
Then I saw these ...
HD glasses! OH NO! OH NO! OH YEEEEEAH!
Slap these babies on your face and life is high definition. Why spend all that money on a TV when you can have everything in HD?
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
And, they're cheap -- only a couple bucks at Rite Aid.
What an invention, and at such a modest price too.
I wish I'd bought stock in 'em. Oh well. You live, you learn, right Alanis?
(Photo by me)
How much longer can the Baltimore music scene keep expanding like it is now?
I was talking to Government Names blogger and City Paper writer Al Shipley yesterday. He's been covering the scene here for a few more years than I have, and we agreed: As far as the number of clubs and quality of bands, Baltimore's music community has grown by leaps and bounds lately.
Heck, in the past couple years, two clubs have opened for every one that's closed (don't quote me on that statistic, but if it's not exact, it's close). ...
Look at Station North, where several spots like the Windup Space (pictured) have opened in the past couple years alone.
But can Baltimore's scene keep growing like this?
Doesn't it have to slow down or regress at some point? Or will we continue to see the city grow musically in the coming years?
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun Photographer)
Sound familiar? Pure Aqua is the latest version of Aqua, the pool side club set up in the Merritt Athletic Center after hours.
The new owner is Ali Sadeghi, who has managed Ruth's Chris and The Havana Club, among others. Pure Aqua opened June 21, according to the piece.
I love this one paragraph, which comes near the top of the article. It perfectly sums up the kind of people who go there. You couldn't make this stuff up:
"Look at the women," Terry Christensen, a muscular 29-year-old, said with a smile. His diamond earring, pinky ring and bracelet glistened. "Beautiful women."
(Photo of the original Aqua by Chiaki Kiwajiri)
Hurricane Bertha may be swelling in the central Atlantic Ocean, but Charm City drinkers have cause to celebrate.
Since the season's first big storm is called Bertha, the Fells Point bar and restaurant of the same name is offering discounted hurricane drinks!
See, there's a silver lining in everything.
Bartender Bernard Lyons isn't exactly sure about the details, but if you bug him, he'll give you a buck or two off a hurricane drink. He might even name a drink after the storm.
"Maybe we'll have to lock everybody in the bar like it's an emergency and force them to drink," Lyons said.
"Check in with us as the hurricane grows. You'll find larger and larger drinks."
(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer)
New management has taken over the troubled Lo-Fi Social Club.
Former owner Neil Freebairn is out of the picture, I hear.
Totally out of the picture. Like, dropped off the face of the earth.
Keep an eye on the space though.
Plans are in motion to renovate and rename it in the coming weeks.
Then, maybe I can stop using this same photo every time I write about it.
(Photo by moi -- that's French!)
Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar (902 S. Charles St.) has closed temporarily due to a fire, I'm told.
I heard it was an electrical fire, but haven't been able to reach the place by phone.
The line's been busy for a while now.
I'll post more as soon as I hear more.
(Photo by Llloyd Fox/Sun Photographer)
I'm really pumped for the Baltimore Music Project.
Baltimore Unsigned took Caleb Stine and Salim and the Music Lovers -- two artists who had never known each other before -- and forced them to write four songs in six weeks. They're going to perform them live at a free show at The 8x10 later this month. (You can reserve seats here.)
Here's the first video from the collaboration ...
Oh man, a friend showed me this video to "Since I Left You" by The Avalanches, and I had to share it.
I really like the song, and this video takes it to new levels of awesomeness.
And thanks for your list of fake bar names.
Here are my five favorites ...
1. Fu Bar
Hilarious. Thanks Ted.
2. Fumbles Sports Bar
Jmgiordano's time-tested classic.
You might not understand unless you read the back story. Bryanintimonium's club will dance circles around Pur. I'm sur of that.
4. The K Hole
I'd be a regular at Evan's Killian's bar. I mean, what did you think the K stood for?
Jason's idea for a pizza bar is incredibly cheesy. Zing(k)!
Of all the 4th of July celebrations going on around town, this one really stuck out.
It's called the 4th of July in the Sky, and it's sponsored by Lindy Promotions, 98Rock and Miller Lite.
For $50, you get to party on the roof of the Maryland Science Center, complete with open bar, a picnic buffet (potato salad, burgers, hot dogs, etc.), DJ Jason Cruz and dancing.
The party runs 7 p.m.-11 p.m.
Not bad. Not bad at all. You can get tickets here.
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun Photographer)
Reality TV starlet Tila Tequila (pictured) will host the grand opening of the massive new club Palma tonight.
The club, formerly the Redwood Trust, sits at the corner of Calvert and Redwood streets.
Investor Jon Han (who founded Club Ibiza in Washington) oversaw the $2.5 million renovation of the building.
The 80,000 watt sound system is imported from England, the lighting rig cost $600,000 and there will be a dozen bars scattered throughout the three-story venue.
Whew. Got all that? Wait, there's more.
The Palma Management Group is also planning a sister club called Dubai right across the street.
I'm waiting to hear back from the management group. When I do, I'll fill you in on more details.
MS reader Bill came through with the first Jenna Bush sighting.
Check it out ...
Just had my first Jenna Bush run-in on Wednesday at Mother’s. She came in with a small entourage, and hung out for a while. She seemed down to earth, didn’t get a chance to talk to her, but was trying to pick out the SS in her group. She smokes too.
There is also a rumor going around that Bush was turned away from No Way Jose (38 E. Cross St.) for not having her ID on her. But I haven't been able to confirm it.
What's cookin' kids? Miss me?
I missed you too.
And before we get back to business, I just want to say thanks for keeping Midnight Sun alive when I was away.
Even though there were less posts per day, you guys kept some pretty hilarious discussions going.
Maybe I should go on vacation more often.
I brought y'all back this here picture of a six pack of Corona beer. Enjoy!
Also there's something I forgot to post about ...
I meant to link to last week's nightlife column.
Normally, I write straight-up reviews of bars. I rarely inject much of myself into my nightlife column.
A lot of nightlife critics around the country write about themselves and their friends, and I've always tried to avoid doing that.
But every once in a while I do a column like this one. What do you think of it? Wanna see more columns like it?
In case you missed it, there was a great obituary/tribute piece to the late K-Swift in Wednesday's City Paper.
Hip-hop writer and blogger Al Shipley spoke to Ogun and Buck Jones for the piece, and drew from his own experiences listening to K-Swift's radio shows and seeing her live performances to stitch together a really great piece about her life. Check it out.