I Will Fight For This

It had just begun to rain, as various leaders of the community took their seats. Cops, police officers, of high and low rank, suited, unsuited, in uniform, all, mingling. We were awaiting the arrival of Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, and newly minted, acting Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis. It’s a Public Safety Forum. This is not West Baltimore, or East Baltimore, where the hotbed of uprisings took place this summer,(2015) but South Baltimore.

The building for this assemblage, looked immaculate, owned by the National Federation of the Blind, whose principals wore business suits, with only their white canes, indicating their challenge, if not their living standards. The Southern District of the Baltimore Police Department, is headquartered at 10 Cherry Hill Road, but not where the forum is being held. There are almost 40 neighborhoods in this district, but the only ones that make the news constantly, are Cherry Hill, Westport and Brooklyn. Most of the attendees were from Fells Point, Federal Hill, Riverside; areas near the gold mine, i.e. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The National Federation of the Blind felt good to be host, for its members too, “have been fighting for civil rights” according to their President. Mayor Rawlings Blake said despite the black eye caused by the riots in Baltimore, she “will fight for progress” and not allow a “few handful of repeat offenders” thwart her progress. She is for police accountability, as the public has requested, but “it is not easy”.

Commissioner Kevin Davis relayed that the rank and file Police are not against body cameras, in fact, “if they were available, the line would stretch from HQ, all the way up the 83 Expressway”.

After the Q&A, I wanted to find out from the lees affluent neighborhood association officials, what their thoughts were about these forums. Watch the video.

Audience in attendance at Public Safety Forum
Audience in attendance at Public Safety Forum

All I want is to drink and Smoke Pot



Saturday August 8, and Sunday August 9th, 2015. They descended like sudden raindrops, similar to the contrary forecasts, weather personnel often spew. The entire Pimlico Racecourse infield was transformed into a

Picture of a scene at a Moonrise Concert
Picture of a scene at a Moonrise Concert, 2014

The video is a snippet of what happened in Baltimore, published on Youtube.

modern-day “Woodstock”, as a reminder of what took place in the 1960’s when free love took the nation by storm, and Rock N Roll music drove our youth to planets not created by our creator.

THE MOONRISE FESTIVAL lasting for 12 hours each day from eleven to eleven, at a ticket cost of $200 to $225, for what? To party! And how do people who can afford those tickets party? You guessed it. To name some of the groups: ZEDS DEAD, THE FLOOZIES.

Outside Pimlico, were Baltimore’s finest, Police, Fire and Rescue, and not to mention, the organizers own Security detail. Why is this of concern to THE CULTURE PAGE?

This is inside Baltimore, in the heart of the city, what does such an art project do for the advancement of the city? Do politicians, preachers, put their hands together in applause at this influence on our youth, or are they looking the other way?

The groupies who cannot afford the tickets prices, would be hanging outside waiting for the affluent, who have to leave early to get to their suburban homes. Their entrance wrist bands, and left over paraphernalia would be handed to that lot. The economic rewards for residents in the area, came from  renting their lawn space at $20 a car; the majority race inhabiting the city, sold bottled water on wheels. Could you imagine the cost of a booth? this is not Rashfield!

” Ten to 30 million children worldwide are orphaned and must support themselves by working, begging, stealing, selling sex and trafficking illicit substances. Estimates say that up to 90 percent of these street children use substances of one kind or another. The initial use of a substance among street children is known to be as early as age 5.
World Health Organization’s Program on Substance Abuse, funded by the United Nations Drug Control Program.”

As a favor to the residents who live in zip codes 21205 and 21209, if they showed valid I.D., free entrance towards the end of the day, to join the growing drinking and pot smoking population?

So I had to leave my new-found friend, who could not afford the entrance fee, and decided to wait for the end, when he could find someone from the culture to share a “drink, and smoke some pot”., and later join a substance abuse program. MAYBE?


Can Baltimore Gain Dignity Through Struggle

Backdrop for dancers at Towson University, showing solidarity for the
Backdrop for dancers at Towson University, showing solidarity for the “unheard”

Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP and Anna Deavere Smith, Actress/Activist.
Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP and Anna Deavere Smith, Actress/Activist.
Koli Tengeila, teacher/activst
Koli Tengeila, teacher/activst

What would bring native Baltimorean/Renown Actress of television, stage and film, ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, and the hard hitting proud President, and Director Counsel of the NAACP, SHERRILYN IFILL, together? In this case to announce a” finding” to benefit the “unheard”.

In the finding, the “unheard”, those without  voice, (in forums of policy making) have lost their self esteem, lost their dignity, and the many teens see school, as an avenue to prison. Is this not sad?

Smith has written about the Los Angeles California riots of 1992, and about the United States Health Care System. Has appeared  in the TV series West Wing, Nurse Jackie, and has taken the stories of the down trodden to the stage as a humanities effort.

The little girl who graduated from Western High School in Baltimore, is an icon, who will turn 65 this September, and is once more looking to be a champion for the “unheard”.

Ifill is not from Baltimore, but has been here long enough to wear the title. As President of the NAACP, her office is here. She has served on the faculty of the University of Maryland, and one easily misjudges her eloquence on law and strategy, by looking at her build, and toned down appearance. Like the legendary Annie Oakley (of the movies), she carries a gun, in fact two of them: President of the NAACP and Director Counsel of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The attached video gives you a snippet into what these women want to do for the “unheard” in Baltimore. The date is June 3/2015. Also present was a young Baltimore man speaking for the “unheard” and KOLI TENGELLA, teacher/activist.

Lord Baltimore Revisited


 In 1928, the Lord Baltimore Hotel was built, and for the most part it was a segregated hotel, until the late 1950’s.

This hotel has gone through several owners: closed in 1982, renovated and reopened in 1985, bankruptcy 1987, was part of the Radisson group in the 1980’s; sold again, then reopened in the 1990’s, and in 2014, re-bought by an old hand, again renamed, the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore.

What does all that have to do with  THE CULTURE PAGE? This hotel is in the National Register of Historic Places, and apart from the renovations, there is the inclusion of a cultural layer to meet the taste of many Baltimoreans, a musical lounge, and on my visit, the feature came in a  voice, that of Baltimore’s own, MEREDITH SEIDEL.

At first she could be mistaken for a front desk employee with the somewhat business attire, but at the meet and greet, the warmth is not perfunctory, or rehearsed. I sat with her, as she recounted her life in wanting to sing for Baltimore, and America.

THE LORD BALTIMORE HOTEL revisited with Meredith. (watch video).

The many faces of singer, songwriter, MEREDITH SEIDEL.
The many faces of singer, songwriter, MEREDITH SEIDEL.

Meredith collage


Window screen,  Monica Broere (screen painter) and Hispanic dance troupe.
Window screen, Monica Broere (screen painter) and Hispanic dance troupe.


At the 5th annual festival, I was exposed to Kwame Brew, a master West African Drummer, in Anne Arundel County. The art and skill of crab picking from Somerset County, the New Baltimore Hand Dance Association of Baltimore. A hearty welcome to Korean Drumming by Sabatian Wang, Montgomery County, and a group I never heard of THE SHERMAN HOLMES PROJECT, who received in 2014, the award, National Heritage Fellowship (Blues/Gospel/Soul).

No ethic group was left out: the Hispanics, East Indians, Orientals, the traditional European groups, all made appearances.

Attention was paid to the new and upcoming artists, the “kids”, the face painters, the budding griots, duck craftsmen, screen print makers, and pigeon flying trainers.

Food and dancing experts were not left out, only you, if you were not there.


(L-R) Village Girl by Shu Chin Liu; Woman Holding Bird, by Allyn Harris, and Three Little Goats by Mu Heng

The summer 2015 is here, and Baltimore is trying to right the negative events of the Spring.

Arts and Craft exhibitions flourish in the summer, with visitors making the Inner Harbor a “must see”.

“There’s only one place to really see all of Baltimore”, a quote from the Baltimore Office of Promotions & The Arts. And where would that be? Atop the World Trade Center, promoted as the world’s tallest pentagonal building, because it has five sides.

There’s an art exhibition on the top floor of this building, and as we are asked to “orient” ourselves to Charm City, among the artists, are Orientals from China,  Mu Hang Tai (Three Little Goats); Shu Chun Liu (Village Girl); CHENG JU LI, who has an undying infatuation with American writer, Ernest Hemingway (See Video).

While on the 27th floor, I checked on some exhibits on the other side of the floor: Rocks from the area where Flight 93 (terrorist attack 9/2011) crashed in Shanksville Pennsylvania; steel fragments from the devastation of New York World Trade Center in 9/11.

Washington D.C. has THE MONUMENT, Baltimore has the pentagon (sic), enjoy the overlook, and the exhibit.

Rub a Dub Grubbs

Carlg 1
Saxophonist Carl Grubbs, at St. Paul’s Schools, Baltimore Md.


Believe it or not, “rub-a-dub-dub” the old familiar nursery rhyme, was a love song about three men in a tub, Fate, Hate and Jealousy. As life would have it, there are love songs, and love tunes that break no hearts, but make them soar, like SATURN, from jazz saxophonist, CARL GRUBBS.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor has become a showplace for many visitors to the East Coast of the United States, it is no wonder that the rhythm of the bay kissing these shores would inspire a song or tune  from a musical composer; Carl has produced, HARBOR PLACE, a jazz format with the addition of  strings: violins, viola and cello.

Today we are attending a performance on the grounds of St. Paul’s Schools, a private prep school, just outside Baltimore, on a hill overlooking the city. It’s a mild day, the concert could have been held outdoors, but the indoor facility was preferred. Carl Grubbs is the Jazz Band Director here, and has been for the past 20 years. The Dean of Music paid tribute (see video).

For us to see what Carl is producing, his advanced students introduced him by showing off what they have learned (video).

Of all the selections, I think SATURN should be released as a single, it could be his biggest hit, just as big as Rub-a-dub-dub, this time CARL GRUBBS is in the tub.

His Life With Two Wives

Nancy Robinette, playing the sorcerer
Nancy Robinette, playing the sorcerer. Photo by ClintBphotography.

She was beautiful, the look of actress Candace Bergen of the 1970’s; adorable, attractive, eye blinding. After seven years of this bliss, she died, diagnosis, cardiac arrest. Subsequently he meets another, gets married, and after five years of bliss, it happened. No, the second wife did not die, but the first one reappeared, back from the dead.

His turmoil begins afresh, for he can have conversations with her, but no one else can. At dinner with the second wife, wife number one would ask him a question, he is forced to answer, at which point wife number two would want to know to whom he is talking. After a while he runs out of excuses, and confesses that wife number one has returned as a ghost and is haunting him.

Wife number one usually disappears, at which time he is able to talk to wife number two without interruptions. Him and wife number two plan to get rid of  ghost  wife by engaging a sorcerer. At the same time wife number one feels that since she is dead, no one should get her husband, she plans to kill her, so both his wives would be dead.

How did this triad turn out? I would not tell, however it is in the play BLITHE SPIRIT (Til Death Do Us Part), now running at Everyman Theatre.

Nancy Robinette, as the sorcerer is quite convincing. There are several take-a ways from this play, probably for men whose loved ones are gone to the great beyond, yet keep holding on and preventing them from falling in love again. And of course there are those true life stories of divorced wives not letting go, using the children of the union to put men in jail, even get them killed. What a life, you know who you are, get a life!


%d bloggers like this: