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July 21, 2008

How was Artscape?

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) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:30 AM | | Comments (13)


What is the new Baltimore "stick it to you thing" $20.00 for parking....Tried to park on lots in Mt. Vernon to walk over to Artscape, but that charge was crazy....i said forget it, not worth the trouble, Baltimore needs to have better deals for people like me wanting to support the city, especially Harbor area, but 20 bucks is unreal..."you can at least kiss me goodbye" Sheila D....

I haven't been to an Artscape in YEARS but this one by far was the best I have EVER been to. I think having the layout spread over the different streets the was it was this year made it better. It was not as crowded and you could actually enjoy the venders, the shows, the food, etc. I didn't want it to end. JOB WELL DONE!!! I'm looking forward to the 2009 Artscape.

If I had to change one thing it would be to advise the MTA to make sure that they improve parking at their light rail stations. Mt. Washington and Falls Road was a mess.

Well, Lester, The City of Baltimore has been gouging parking fees for at least 15 years. We take the light rail.

Joan Jett on Friday night was outstanding!! Too bad you were not there Sam, because the weather cooled off at dusk when she hit the stage. Great show! Ended up at Brewer's Art afterwards til close. Ticked off at the light rail on Sat night for making me miss Mike Doughty. You would think between the O's game & Artscape, MTA could get the ticket machines to work and the trains to run a "Reasonable" schedule.

You mean jewelry-scape? I swear 90% of the booths were jewelry.

That being said, the new addition on charles street was cool. They turned it into a DIY/alt carnival type thing with vaudvilian type acts and funhouses.

Thank god for Mt. Royal Tavern's AC and $2 boh's.

As for the parking: Try living in mt. vernon artscape weekend. Don't plan on moving your car at all.

I agree with Lester - we planned to use the U of B parking garage, which is still several blocks from the festival, but saw the $20 charge and hunted down a spot on the street (sorry Mt. V dwellers). It was CRAZY HOT, we went Sunday which was blissfully less crowded than Saturday last year. I thought that there were a lot more vendors selling art within reach. Last year, it seemed like everything was $1,000 or more. This year, many more artists offered prints in varying sizes in the $30 - $200 range, so I scooped up quite a few prints. Only saw the Wailers, and they were decent. There was this old guy, old like 80s or 90s, who zoomed up to the dance area in a red scooter and got up during the first few songs and BOOGIED. He was the best part of the show. Oh, and the festival seemed bigger this year - Charles was closed off from Mt. Royal all the way up to past Charles Theater. That area we'll refer to as Freakshow Alley. I'm still unsure what was supposed to be happening in some of those booths.

In past years, I've driven around Mt. Vernon, trying to find a space (could usually find one in Station North area) or parking in a garage. This year, I noticed when reading the Artscape page, that parking at the State Office Building was free, so that's what I did. Plenty of parking- probably because no one knew about it.

The weather made it hard to walk around for long, but I had a good time. I loved the DIY section and I saw lots that I was interested in. My friend and I wanted to see someone get dumped at "The Heartbreak Cafe" but no one was there.

went Fri. and Sat. - hot but fun both days - I guess my friends and I saw DJ K-Swift's last gig ever with the news that she died this morning. checked out some art and we were buying 12 packs of Boh from the liquor store and sharing them. Diplo was cool - what a scene down there. can't wait for 09!

I caught the first part of Back Door Slam's set Saturday. They were quite good. These chaps from the Isle of Man can really bring it.

SOJA was incredible, and the Wailers weren't to shabby as a capper. Do they typically schedule reggae bands for the Sunday main stage? Last year, I was fortunate enough to catch Burning Spear on Sunday, too.

Gotta love cool grooves with a cold beer on a hot day. Great job, again Artscape!

It's been reggae Sunday to close out the main stage at artscape for many years now...although this is the first time I can remember all of Sunday's main stage acts being reggae/roots. Burning Spear, Third World, Steel Pulse, Spearhead and Jah Works have been the closers in recent years. Hopefully they can book one of the Marleys in the near future. Ziggy, Stephen or Damian (even Ky-mani) would have the hill rocking!

Doughty was whelming...not over- or under-. I was pleased to see him (and pleased he did at least one Soul Coughing song, "Circles") but it ended up being a merely good show, rather than a memorable or moving one.

Rusted Root started absolutely AMAZINGLY—the Brit I was with who had never heard them was an immediate convert—and ended GREAT. Wisely, they stuck mostly with When I Woke and Remember tunes. Disturbingly, though, any time I heard a song I didn't know, I didn't like it (with the exception of one rollicking hoedown number) and at least twice they built us to what seemed like a great climax, then dithered for a song or too. So while overall I loved it (I'd been wanting to see them for 13(!) years), there were definite hints as to why they never quite got bigger.

Walked by The Windup Space and noted that it looked like Brewer's Art and the Ottobar got together and had a really attractive, well-dressed baby. I was horrified by the picture-perfect upscale-hipster crowd, and even more horrified at how desperately I wanted to be one of them.

So I went to Load of Fun to check out the Erotic Arts Festival. As medieval monks knew, a little flagellation is good for the hipster soul, even if I was only watching it happen to someone else's back.

I almost drove over a wandering minstrel on my way out of the city from the ballgame Sunday. I assumed they were shooting a Snickers commercial. It was then when I pledged never to come into the city during Artscape again.

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

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

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