I've got the blues!

Baltimore Travel Blog

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There isn't much we do in Baltimore city. When we do things it, it is usually on vacation, or when we go to New York. We may do an ocassional thing locally, but it is not often we travel to Baltimore City. Yet, we often find ourselves in Baltimore City when they have the Artscape festival. We last went to Artscape two years ago. That was the day Jennifer referred to me jokingly, in a non joking voice, as being gay while we waited among a large crowd for the Light Rail, which in made me quite upset.

This year Jennifer wasn't with us. She was in Driver's Ed. Emily was in London. So, it was just Lottie and I. It was a last minute decision to go to Artscape. Although I said to Lottie a day earlier, "let me know if you want to do anything special tomorrow such as going to Artscape", she gave me no incination that she wanted to go. In fact, she said that she wanted to spend the day sitting on the swing in the backyard reading, which was fine with me because I need to spend the day cleaning up the basement.

The basement, which looks like a a dump truck rolled in, and disposed twenty years of packrat accumulations wherever it saw fit, needed organizing. Our water heater needed replacing, and a path needed to be made so the plumber could remove and replace the water heater. Therefore, my game plan was to attack the basement with a vengence.

I begn my assult on the basement at about ten o'clock. It was slow going, but I was making progress. Then suddenly, at about twelve o'clock Lottie said, "I want to go to Artscape. Let's drop Jennifer off at Driver's Ed at twelve thirty and go". Geez, couldn't she give me more warning. I was not dressed to go out, I hadn't had anything to eat, and I was making progress on the basement. But it was Lottie's day, so off to Artscape we were to go. I knew it meant I would be working on the basement later that night until about two in the morning. But that was okay since I am a night owl anyway, yet I didn't like the last minute decision. Oh, I am for spontanaity, but sometimes it throws a monkey wrench into well thought out plans, and this was one of those times. I didn't eat yet, I wasn't dressed, I had a lot of work ahead of me, I was expecting a call from London...but off to Artscape we were to go.

One thing I often forget is I simply love driving to Baltimore City. It is such a breeze. There is no traffic and no matter what time of the day it is, or which day of the week, it usually takes the same amount of time to get into the city. Had we still lived in Queens, and Artscape was in Manhattan, the half hour drive would have taken at least an hour on a Sunday afternoon. And then, it would have taken forever to park the car. And if we were in Los Angeles, the same ride may have taken two hours. So, there is some benefit to living in the Baltimore area.

When we hit the city I scoped out for a parking site. There was free parking available at the MD State Office Complex, but it was too far away from the festivities. There were areas offereing paid parking $5.00, $7.00 and $8.00 depending which lot you came upon first. But I hate paying for parking. I will if I must, but it is not often I do. So, I used my many years of scoping experience and searched. I picked a street near the festival and began to cruise, withing thirty seconds I passed a spot that was just taken...damn. I went down a few blocks and found a strange little quaint avenue which no other driver was investigating. I turned on the street and took another turn, which was now bringing me back towards the festival. I was the only one cruising the street and in a matter of seconds I found a premium spot. The whole search took approximately three minutes!

Off we were to Artscape. It was a lovely day for an outdoor festival. It was sunny, not too hot, and not too crowded. Although we met a couple when we first arrived, Ann-Laurie Hyman and her husband, who said the festival was smaller than past years, we thought it was bigger. Go figure! There were the usual vendors selling their wares. Some were very talented and had some beautiful pieces for sale, whereas some were simply pieces of trash which were cleaned up, welded together into unusual configurations, and passed off as art. There was a beautiful wall hanging of a fish which I considered buying for Lottie's office, but when I saw it cost $1,250 I reconsidered.

We also saw some one of the kind handbags made by a local artisian. The bags were really nice, but quite costly. We considered buying one for Emily's birthday, but wasn't sure which one she would like, or if she would have liked any of them at all. Had the bags been twenty five to thirty dollars we may have thrown caution to the wind and purchase one, but the bags were a few hundred dollars each. Lottie said "wow, that is a lot of money" to which I replied, "yes, but if this person becomes famous one day, the bag could be worth thousands of dollars". She rolled her eyes at me.

An interesting thing they had at Artscape this year (I didn't notice it in the past, but it may have existed ) were fashion shows. Our timing wasn't right for the scheduled shows, but we did come across young ladies doing runway walks. When I say young ladies, I am talking about children from five years old to their teens. Each walker was introduced, and then they attacked the cat walk. Two of the walkers were very fierce. But why were they doing this? What purpose did it serve? What was the point? I have no idea. They weren't modeling any clothes. They simply walked. Perhaps it was a walk-off? If it was, I may have stayed to see them take their underwear of while still dressed!

Anyway, we browsed the booths, were tempted by the wonderful aromas coming from the food vendors, and mosied along. We went into one gallery to see what was supposed to be "real" art, but didn't quite get it. For instance, we saw two large photographs hanging side by side of hands. There was no explanation what the photographs represented, or their symbolic meaning. Perhaps there wasn't any!

As our day ended, and we walking out of the festival area, a blues band was about to perform on one of the main stages. So, we found a shadey spot to listen to some blues. First number, a rhythmic old times blues number featuring the harmonica as the main instrument. Yes, I used the word instrument to define the word "harmonica". The second number, another classic blues style number featuring...dare I say it, the harmonica. The third number did not feature the harmonica, but it did play a supporting roll in the piece. After the fourth number it was time to call it quits. The band was good, but not so good we wanted to listen to the whole concert. I would place them on the lowest rung of the professional ladder. Good enough to be a legitimate blues band, but not good enough to hold my ear.

Back home we came. Again, without traffic. We had a nice dinner. Lottie received a bunch of phone calls. We watched some television...Big Brother of course, and then Lottie went to bed. While she slept I attacked the basement to finish what I started twelve hours earlier. At two in the morning I was finished and pooped!
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photo by: freak0ut