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March 6, 2009

The review: El Basha


I don't write many negative reviews. And I tend not to give pessimistic outlooks in my reviews.

But I just don't think El Basha, the new hookah bar right near The Block, has much of a chance.

Which is what I wrote in yesterday's review. Here's a link. 

I found out the hard way that showering a belly dancer with money is a common thing. After this review ran, I got several e-mails from angry belly dancers, bemoaning my lack of knowledge.

One wrote:

In Middle Eastern Culture, it is a great compliment for a dancer to receive money, especially rained down upon them in the method you mention. This is customary overseas and within ethnic circles. It shows great respect for the dancers ability and knowledge of  the art form we call bellydance but is, in most other countries,  known as Raks Sharki. ...

I've been in just about every hookah bar in this city, and I've seen my share of belly dancers, but I've never seen this. That's why I thought it was tacky. But I believe all of the belly dancers who e-mailed me, and I owe them an apology. I also an apology to the gentlemen who showered this particular belly dancer with money.

I'm planning on printing a correction in next week's column.

Also in yesterday's column, I checked in with Ivars from Captain Larry's to get the official recap of the Snuggie Pub Crawl. Can you believe that 80 people showed up in Snuggies? Wow.

(Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:30 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


This "showering with money" tradition is also true of African music and dance. I remembering doing to see Senegal's Super Rail Band in New York years ago and being shocked as Africans in the audience started literally throwing up on stage, then walking up on stage to rain money on them. One particularly excited fan - i swear - smacked a $20-bill on the guitar player's forehead. The guitar player couldn't have grinned wider

So when Pac Man Jones made it rain ... he was just offering a sign of respect?

This was mentioned today on Elliott In The Morning. And for the record he thought it was stupid. I think it's a clever bar crawl get up even though I disagree with the product in general. I mean come on folks you can read a book while using a regular blanket and if you wear one to one of your kids sporting events they may be the target of ridicule for your poor decision in layering. How about a good old hoodie or jacket. Excuse my rant.

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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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