These Queens are Golden
By Ashlee Foster
Hampden is known for its quirky personality, off beat storefronts and interesting restaurant choices. Golden West, a restaurant right on the Avenue, is known for booking “off the radar” bands and performers that normally play in down town Baltimore.
On December 1st, Golden West invited Baltimore’s finest drag queens to perform for free admission to anyone 18 and older and featured a special on Baltimore’s very own brew: 5-dollar pitchers of “Natty Boh” all night long. Known as the “Mess on 36th Street, A Drag Show,” this event drew people of all ages and all orientations, from regular Golden West customers to the Queens’ very own following from their usual downtown palaces.
Unable to even make it to the bar many customers were content with getting up close and personal with the Queens, standing about 6 feet from the front of the small stage set up by the entrance to Golden West. Melanie Megale, a junior at Loyola University shared, “I got to meet them. The lady that impersonated Diana Ross said she’d been doing it since the 70’s and I thought that was crazy.” She said, “And then just watching them perform was really cool. I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race all the time so it was fun to see it live.”
And performers had no problem getting up close and personal with people in the front row, bringing people on stage to dance with them. They gave their regulars hugs and were able to tell when it was an audience member’s first time. Ada Buffet, host and performer called out many “newbies” when she was on stage even telling one person he would look cute in drag. “They told me I would make a cute drag queen and then asked me to go backstage and put on make up. It was really fun I thought I would hate it [the drag queens] but they were really cool,” said Chris Cawley, a senior from Loyola University.
The queens lip-synced to many popular songs including “Die Young” by Ke$ha, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, and “Conga” by Gloria Estefan. Many performed Christmas songs just in time for the beginning of Christmas season dressing up to play the part in Santa costumes. The customers that knew the lyrics sang along and those that didn’t danced with the rest of the crowd. Tips were an acceptable way to show enjoyment, and those in the back passed bills forward exclaiming “Pass it forward! Hand it to her, hand it to her!”
Golden West’s first ever drag show was deemed a huge success by performer and host Ada Buffet, “I have not seen this many people at a show in probably 15 years,” she said. “This is a huge crowd for a small venue. I’m like ‘I hope the police don’t come in cause we’re gonna get shut down.’” Her eyes lit up as she continued, “There’s a sign on the door that says sold out!”
200 Murders for 2012
By Cymone Gosnell
Baltimore City has finally surpassed its 2011 homicide count of 197 murders, but Donald Giblin, chief of the Baltimore state’s attorney’s homicide division is still hopeful about the direction the city is taking.
On Nov. 24, a young man was shot several times outside of Club Paradise, a local bar, located on the corner of Laurens and North Careys Streets in West Baltimore. He was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after. This murder brought the homicide total for Baltimore City to 200.
Baltimore, according to US News is the eighth most dangerous city in the United States, so it comes as no surprise that the murder rate is high as it is. There were 20 murders alone in November and 26 in September. The year 2011 was the only year since the 1970s that there have been fewer than 200 murders in the city. Now, according to Giblin, the city could see as many as 220 murders by the end of the year.
Giblin says that people cannot focus on murders from year to year. “One year,” he states, “should not define the city.” He adds that there are never any specific reasons that the murder rate varies from year to year, but drug trade and gangs often have much to do with the violence seen in the city. He says that he is hopeful that a combination of better economic situations, a stronger police presence and more social programs will lead to a reduction the number of homicides seen per year.
Despite the increase of killings, over the years the city has seen a steady decrease in the number of murders. “We’ll never see 300 murders again,” says Giblin as he reflects on previous years, like 1999 when the city saw 305 murders. He attributes this progress to the programs enforced by the police. Including Citiwatch, or “blue-light” cameras, which have lead to more than 740arrests in 2012 alone.
As can be seen by the Baltimore Police's Twitter feed, there has been an attack on handguns. Giblin said that police have also been targeting VRO’s or Violent Repeat Offenders. The police, according to Giblin, are putting most of their resources into keeping people who have one or more violent crimes on their records, off the streets.
This increase in the number of murders come only a couple of months after Anthony W. Batts was named the new police commissioner for Baltimore. Many are wondering if the new commissioner can handle the mess he has been handed, but Giblin says the police are doing all they can to control the murder rate.
The homicide total as of Nov. 08, is 206.
Miracle on 34th Street
By Alayna Shamy
This year marks Hampden's 65th anniversary of its famous "Miracle on 34th Street” where residents of the street decorate the front of their houses with holiday lights and festive creations. Bob Hoiser, who grew up in Northeast Baltimore and always had a love for decorating for Christmas, started the tradition.
Colored lights, hung on telephone poles drape over 34th Street. Each house has its own unique themed light display. One house has a lit tree made out of car tire rims. On the opposite side of the street, a crab lit up with red lights hangs from an owner’s front porch. Another homeowner shows Maryland pride as blow up Raven football figures stand on the roof. Each house makes its own statement but they all complement each other and display the true Hampden spirit.
Lakeesha Richardson from Baltimore, Maryland brought her 3-year-old daughter to see the lights. Richardson said she has lived in Baltimore for 34 years and this is the first time she had ever been to Hampden to see the decorations. “I think it’s a really good thing. I wish more communities could come together and do this because it’s like a safe haven,” said Richardson. “You know, everybody getting together and decorating for the holidays. It’s really nice.”
Allison Ortolano, a junior at Loyola University, from Marlboro, New Jersey, enjoyed seeing the lights. She said she loves Christmas and the decorations put her in a cheerful mood. She was in awe of the detail of the decorations, “They must put so much time into doing this. This is such a great thing,” said Ortolano.
Harbor Holiday Festival 2012
By: Gabriella Tesauro
The smell of pine needles and overwhelming holiday spirit filled the tents of the Harbor Holiday Festival.
Over this past weekend in beautiful National Harbor a new holiday tradition was created the Harbor Holiday Festival. Not only was this event great for all but it was also for a worthy cause, the Spirit of Hope Foundation.
MICA Art Market
By Sara Archibald
The Maryland Institute College of Art holds their sixth annual MICA Art Market on Wednesday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Leidy Atrium and Falvey Hall Lobby. The market allows students to sell their artwork and cultivates professional development, peer-to-peer networking, as well as provides funding for need-based student scholarships.
Jodi Hoover, alum and previous staff member, explained how the MICA Art Market started by about 10 MICA staff members that has grown now to include students. To participate you sign up and it’s first come first serve. Hoover exclaims, “I really love being able to participate and seeing what everyone has been working on and just how much people love Art Market.”
The Art Market is a chance for students to learn more about professional development. Each student is required to have a business card and know how to price his or her work. In return, MICA takes 15% of the profits that is then used for scholarships for students at MICA. Valdez states that “last year the Art Market made over $100,000.” As well, five MICA students were awarded competitive scholarships of $2,500.
MICA Art Market provides everything the holidays are about: cheer, gifts, and helping out one another. Valdez says, “So you know with all the people involved and all the variety of original work that’s here, it’s pretty exciting. It’s nice to be apart of something that big and that important.”
- It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a ... Flamingo?
- Dance Gavin Dance Concert
- Cup Love
- The Sound Garden
- A Sweet Find Near the Historical Area of Fort McHenry
- Café Hon Bounces Back After Being in the Negative Spotlight
- Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar
- RACE: Are We So Different?
- Revealing the African Presence At the Walter's
- 5th Annual Videopolis at The Metro Gallery: Where Art Meets Film
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