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Look Whose Looking

Posted 3/7/2007

The article "Look Around" (Arts & Entertainment, Feb. 28) on Baltimore's "hidden in plain sight" craft scene would have been more aptly titled "Look Right Here . . . This Shop."

Look around? Right down the street from the shop (or is it a hipster haven?) featured in the article is a well-established craft store that also sells local work and is active in the Hampden business community.

It's also notable that this article appeared a mere three days after one of the most prominent craft shows in the nation, attended by tens of thousands, left the Baltimore Convention Center. There was nothing hidden-in-plain-sight about it. It featured local artists, locally trained, with local studios, handmade goods, and enough art and business sense to realize it takes more than a Bettie Page and an Etsy page to succeed in the world of craft.

These are artists who have won national prizes for their work and appeared on national television. But, like City Paper's Best of Baltimore issue, this piece carried a hint of the shilling-for-a-couple-buddies vibe.

The "looking around" should start with the author of this story.

Mark Hachey
Baltimore

Don't Pick on Spare Room

This is in response to Joe MacLeod's write-up of artist Denise Tassin's upcoming solo installation at spare room (Baltimore Weekly, Feb. 28). Many of us look to the Weekly Highlights for weekend recommendations, as I did this Wednesday, and expect them to be just that--recommendations. Members of the local art community also appreciate the work of people like Denise Tassin and truly miss spare room's openings and projects. Mr. MacLeod manages to insult both Cindy Rehm's naming of her fine alternative art space, deeming it "annoyingly lowercase-titled," as well as the language in Denise Tassin's press release ("So, there's dolls in this house, but they're probably all too busy trying to figure out what `self-reflexivity' means to have any time for fun."). If spare room and its upcoming show are as exclusive and annoying as the writer suggests, why highlight them? I know the space and the artists and can attest that neither adjective is apt; in fact, openings at spare room have been among the more fun in recent memory.

Mr. MacLeod would do readers and himself a favor with a quick fact-check: The grammar he references has roots in important literary and art traditions, and I would guess is intrinsic to understanding the philosophy of spare room and the installation itself. Not only does his mockery insult the artists, but it may effectively turn potential audience members away from what promises to be a provocative, exciting show.

Lauren Bender
Baltimore

They're Only Hurting Themselves

Regarding the Grundy Street fiasco ("Where Credit Is Due," Feature, Feb 21), the neighbors are living in a bubble of parochialism that is unfortunately going to hurt them in the long run. Those neighbors should be thrilled that someone like David Carey is trying to do something good for this town. Baltimore City is known as a dirty, crime-ridden, dangerous place to live. It will never live up to its potential as the City Everyone Wants to Live In with people who discourage the David Careys of the world from making improvements. The city needs far more people putting energy into making the place better instead of using their energy to fight progress.

Coleen Hanna
Odenton

Read Up

The literary genius Brian Morton keeps giving us the best of his intellectual abilities, which is making us all smarter readers for reading his weekly column in the best newspaper, known as City Paper.

I wish to respond to the last statement in a recent column ("Coloring," Political Animal, Feb 21). Morton wrote, "The true arbiter of whether Barack Obama is black is one person--Barack Obama. And if it shouldn't matter to him, it shouldn't matter to us. There are bigger things at stake in our future."

I totally agree. As an Afrocentric feminist, I am excited that Barack Obama is running as a presidential candidate in this Democratic show of shame politics. At first, I thought Obama was too much into himself. He did not seem approachable to everybody, including the media folks. Over time I began to realize that his self-sufficient image might have angered some black folks who depend on the federal government for food, housing, and identity of self with a Social Security number to get self-determination of self-assurance to exist. Poor blacks have the attitude, "If I am not going to succeed, you are not going to succeed."

In my opinion, the black folks who are hating on Barack Obama have issues with self-determination of the black race's failure to succeed as a group, and their refusal to believe it is their own de-Africanized minds that have them on self-delusion to their own self-destruction.

I don't give a "continental damn" if black folks do not think Barack Obama is not black enough. These same black folks with their de-Africanized minds are positioning themselves to get money to live "rich." Is living rich a white man's idea? Who lived rich in ancient Africa?

There are a lot of dumb black folks in America, especially in the state of Maryland. Dumb blacks hate Barack Obama because Obama is smart in his head--he can read!

All Americans should read the following books to understand why blacks hate themselves (mental illness is not cute): The Isis Papers: Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing; Behold a Pale Horse by William Cooper; Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal by Andrew Hacker; and The Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in American Life by Manning Marable

Larnell Custis Butler
Woodlawn

Corrections: In a Dec. 20 Newshole item titled "Collapse" we mistakenly reported that Mike Coster was the contractor for a rowhouse that was being rehabbed at 1016 S. Ellwood St. (see also "Where Credit Is Due," Feature, Feb. 21); the house was effectively demolished, causing damage to a neighboring structure. While Coster's name is listed as the agent for the property on some paperwork filed with the city, he was not the general contractor. City Paper regrets the error.

In addition, photography credits for our Feb. 28 cover story "Mercury Rising" were inadvertently omitted from the layout. The photographs of the fungicide brochure and the Costa Rican lab were courtesy the Special Collections Research Center at North Carolina State University Libraries; the photograph of the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center came courtesy the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service; and the photograph of the vaccine bottle was courtesy United Press International.

Finally, last week's Short List incorrectly listed the Jamie Baum Septet as performing at An die Musik on March 2, when, in fact, that show took place in March 2006. City Paper regrets any inconvenience it may have caused.

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