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July 21, 2009

Digging Artscape


Sorry it took me a few days to get to blogging about Artscape. 

These days, I'm kind of the de facto music/nightlife/local entertainment reporter, which means I've been writing up a storm lately. And that, unfortunately, has kept me from blogging as much as I'd like.

Last Friday afternoon, I took a few hours and strolled around the sprawling Artscape festival grounds.

For me, some of the most interesting, innovative stuff was on Charles Street between Mount Royal Avenue and Lanvale Street ...

loveparticleaccelerator.jpgI poked my head inside the abikus tiny rave (pictured, top), which was just just that -- a miniature tent dance party.

A little bubble machine sat out front, and you could hear the pulsing techno beats down the street. Inside, it was almost pitch black, with laser lights. Sweeeeeet.

I also ran into Baltimore-based photographer Jim Lucio, who told me I had to check out the Love Particle Accelerator (pictured, bottom). The Love Particle Accelerator (or, LPA, as I like to call it) consisted of a suggestion box and a giant heart with a gong in the middle of it.

To operate the LPA, you write down something you love on a piece of paper (with a crayon, of course), and put it in the box. Then you think about whatever it was you wrote as you hit the gong. The vibrations from the gong accelerate the love.

And lemme tell ya -- if there is one thing this world needs, it's amplified love.

What did I write? I'm not telling. But it was powerful, man.

I didn't get out to see Cake or Robert Randolph, but I heard the security was pretty cool during Randolph's set. I heard that they let some kid get up on stage and bust a move during one of the Michael Jackson covers, and they let a bunch of women up there to dance, too.

I also heard Cake had the biggest crowd of the weekend, which isn't surprising. If you were there, tell me whatcha thought.

(Photos by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:14 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff


Lafayette Gilchrist killed it at the Exotic Hypnotic stage (Univ Balt) on Sunday. Also caught The Multiphonic Choir on Friday (John Berndt and friends), fantastic afrobeat stuff. really like Lafayette Gilchrist...i know the bass player.

Cake's crowd was RIDICULOUS, it scared me away from seeing Electirk Redd/Robin Thicke on sunday.

I heard Cake was nothing to write home about. Same source agreed that staying home and listening to Cake's top 3 songs over and over for the evening would have been a better idea than going to see them live.

I went Sunday and had a good time walking around. Did anyone see the dunk tank on Charles Street near the love gong? I am 99.8% certain it was fake. If I'm correct, the "artists" that put that together should be assigned to port-o-pot duty next year for torturing kids.

The huge crowd and the layout of that damn double bowl did nothing to help Cake—I could hear them perfectly when I stood and lost everything but the drums the second I sat down. I would have loved to have seen them on the Festival Stage, instead.

Meanwhile, on said stage at the same time, Noble Lake's expanded membership was awesome (yay musical saws!) and worth cutting short my Cake time for.

Also, for once in my life the Light Rail was useful, getting me from Artscape back to the Convention Center in record time, making me feel really dumb for the taxi ride I'd blown money for on the way up.

I was disappointed by artscape this year. I went to see Cake which the lyrics were inaudible and the number of people drunk and spilling beer was pretty annoying. This definately isn't the artscape that I rememebered

I enjoyed the Cake concert, but I was standing on the ground near the stage so I didn't have the sound issues that others had. Here is a picture from the Panoramic blog. Finding myself was like finding Waldo. Like someone else, I did enjoy using the light rail to get there but was surprised that neither of the ticket booths at the stadium worked and only two of the ones in front of the convention center.

Anecdotal crowd observation: The area in and around (onto Mt. Royal Ave.) the main stage seating bowl during the Cake show was craziest I've ever seen any kind of crowd at any Artscape. I couldn't see the band and it was difficult to move.

I wasn't feeling Artscape; too big, too loud. The Charles St. section was interesting, but most of those performance artists were bonkers. I had few goals for attending Artscape, & 1 of them was to get a funnel cake. This was impossible, because apparently somebody dropped off the population of a small republic in each of those gnarly food court areas. It's like people had never seen fried food before. Nothing very artistic about those food courts, fer sho.

The early arrivals for Cake got a taste of raw punk/country alt talent by River City Extension. Great show. Maybe they'll be the headliner next year.

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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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