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Image Conscious

Posted 2/26/2003

We are glad Robert J. Kogan is paying attention to Baltimore from his D.C. perch (The Mail, Feb. 12). He thinks the Vivat! St. Petersburg celebration is cool (pardon the climatic pun) and takes issue with Blake de Pastino's article. Fine.

But why the potshots at Homicide and The Corner? We are just pretty darn over this whole thing of beating up on the quality television made here in our town. Does it look at dark subjects? You bet. Baltimore, like most cities, deals with tough realities. What is inspiring is that Baltimore has the guts to be honest. David Simon and his posse have created dynamic, well-written series that look at harsh issues and raise awareness that may one day catalyze change. They have created great jobs and generated millions of dollars of economic impact. This is a town that makes good art. And apparently, many do not assume TV doth a city's whole reality make. If folks are so scared of Baltimore, why are they buying up our office towers? Why are Mr. Kogan's fellow District folk, and artists from around the country, buying homes here?

The film and television this town produces, like the rest of our cultural production, is of a quality and a volume far beyond what most cities our size can brag about. The Creative Alliance opens our new facility, the Patterson Center for the Arts, on May 16 with the exhibition Trash to Treasure: The Production Design of Vince Peranio, looking at the imagery created by our city's most prolific art director, whether it is the hit spangled jukebox from Hairspray or the multiply framed interrogation room on the Homicide set.

Vince, his collaborators John Waters and David Simon, and Highlandtown native Sen. Barbara Mikulski are coming. It will be a heck of a party. It will say that the Creative Alliance has a great new home, that Baltimore artists rock, and Highlandtown is jumpin'. And it will say that Baltimore has a film and television community we should be very proud of.

Megan Hamilton
Program Director, Creative Alliance

Baltimore

Not Everybody Loves Raymond

In "The Big Payback" (Feb. 5), Raymond Winbush calls himself an African. Sir, if you were not born in Africa, you are not an African, you are an American. You can wear a dashiki, own mud cloth, and could even have a pet lion, but you would still be an American. Manute Bol is an African, but I do not think you are.

Second, you say we must right the wrongs of the past to improve our race relations, but reparations would do the opposite. I can see it now: hundreds of blacks cheering and waving their reparations checks in the air laughing as to how they just screwed whitey. It would be like the celebration after the O.J. Simpson trial but would do even more damage to race relations.

You try and blame current conditions in Africa on the slave trade or on white folks. But, alas, the slave trade would not have been possible without African blacks selling us the slaves. But I'm sure you can blame us white folk for everything that happens to your race. Is it my fault that the murder count in Baltimore is so high, the heroin use is high, or that there are so many illegitimate babies? The president of South Africa made a radio address after New Year's Day pleading with black men to stop raping infants, which is a major epidemic in that country. White folks' fault again.

What else do you want? You guys got to burn down Los Angeles. You guys let O.J. off. You guys get to march on Washington every couple of years and bitch and complain about us, and my tax money pays to clean up and cut the grass you stand on. You guys got your hate crimes applied only to whites, even though black-on-white crime is far more common than the opposite.

In closing, I got a news flash for you, Mr. Winbush. There will be no reparations because, if there were, it would be our turn to riot for a change. But I've thought of something that could cheer you up. Call up Wiley Hall III, and you two can put on your dashikis and rent the movie Black Hawk Down. You can pretend you're Africans, and every time a white guy gets his brains blown out you can take a shot of your favorite liquor, slap high-fives, and cheer.

John Irwin
Baltimore

Jerky Boy

Regarding your article about Henry Rollins (Music, Feb. 5). Even my addled punk-rock brain remembers that Keith Morris was the lead singer of the Circle Jerks, not Black Flag. And wasn't the article about the lead singer of Black Flag?

Katie Brennan
Baltimore

Music editor Bret McCabe responds: Keith Morris was, briefly, the lead singer of Black Flag, before he went on to start the Circle Jerks.

Prince Not-So-Charming

I'm a white sex-rapper/producer named Prince Charming. I have full-length releases going back to 1994 and I've been using the name longer than that. Do you know your local Baltimore label Wordsound Recordings? I released hip-hop CDs on that label starting in '96. Please forward any contact info you have for MC Prince Charming Chazz so I can have my lawyer serve him (No Cover, Jan. 22). Thanks. The first and only MC Prince Charming.

Joshua Darlington
Seattle

Correction: W. H. Earle was misidentified as W. E. Earle in the byline of his Feb. 5th story "Pox Americana"). Sorry, W.H.

Editor's note: Last Week's Charmed Life neglected to provide contact information for the foundation restoring the vintage Navy/Coast Guard ship the Tamaroa. Ship buffs are encouraged to check out tamaroa.org or call (804) 273-0247 to learn more.

Starting with this week's issue, the In the Wings upcoming-concert column is no longer a column; there will be an "In the Wings" section at the end of each week's Short List. To see how this works in a practical application, please turn to page 41. Anyone sending information to Anna Ditkoff for Wings should now address that info to music editor Bret McCabe.

And this week's issue also marks the last installment of Germ Bag, Suz Redfern's biweekly online-only column, on the CP Web site. Germ Bag has been a part of the site since the site's inception in September, 1999. We wish her the best of luck in her further adventures.

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