Baltimore News: J.M. Giordano at MAP, Wallace Lane on Preakness, Public Space Design

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This week’s news includes: an interview with We Used to Live at Night author/photographer J.M. Giordano, Maryland Center for History and Culture’s Civil Rights exhibition, City Council addresses abortion rights issues, and more reporting from The Washington Post, WYPR, The AFRO, and other local and independent news sources.


J.M. Giordano’s ‘We Used to Live at Night’ Exhibition Opens at Maryland Art Place
by Ron Cassie
Published May 12 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Award-winning photojournalist J.M. Giordano’s images have been featured in The Guardian, Pro Publica, GQ, The Washington Post, Architectural Digest, and frequently Baltimore magazine, among numerous other publications. His work is in the permanent collection of the Reginald Lewis Museum, and his photography covering the collapse of the steel industry has been part of a solo show at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Giordano is also the co-host of the podcast, 10 Frames Per Second.

His 2021 softcover, We Used to Live at Night (Culture Crush Editions), his first book, spans 25 years of Baltimore after dark in black and white⁠—including images of hip-hop battles, inaugural balls, underground sex parties, the city’s drag culture, dive bars, the dance and club scene, the casino, and crime photography. The work paints an indelible, intimate portrait of Baltimore, and one unlike anything you’ll likely ever see in a local newspaper, magazine, or journalism outlet.



Poet Wallace Lane reflects on growing up in the shadow of Preakness
by Wallace Lane
Published May 18 in Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: I grew up in Park Heights, home to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year, when I ventured with my college homies to undiscovered parts of the city, that I ever went to the horse racing event that draws tens of thousands each year.

Hard to imagine, especially since Park Heights has been my home for 20-plus years. To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the day, especially the hype of the infield experience, with its live music and partying young people. But still, if I am to be completely honest, the guilt that suffocated me while leaving the infield fest was unbearable.

To party at Preakness is to be ignorant of the crime, death, poverty, broken homes, drugs, food deserts and urban decay that surround Pimlico Race Course. I have witnessed so much death and so many lifeless bodies close to Pimlico Race Track that at times it seems unreal that this national event televised across the country is held here.

Those boarded-up row homes that these national networks so often show are more than just images to me. That’s home.
National attention will be on Pimlico once again this weekend for the 147th Preakness Stakes, the first since COVID canceled fully attended live events. And once again, it will raise the age-old question Northwest Baltimore citizens have been asking for years: “What does Preakness really mean to and for (the real) Park Heights and its residents?”



Going the distance with public space design
hosted by Sheilah Kast and Melissa Gerr
Aired May 17 on WYPR

Excerpt: That creative restaurant seating that popped up during the pandemic? There’s a logic behind it. Jennifer Goold, of the Neighborhood Design Center, tells us about ‘Design for Distancing’ and how people all over the world have replicated their concept.

Plus, some Baltimore intersections are getting a colorful makeover. Projects called “Made You Look” blend beauty with safety. We hear details from Quinton Batts, at MICA’s Center for Social Design. And from public artist and complete-streets designer Graham Coreil-Allen his dream for the future:

“I hope that we can continue to show that by working in collaboration with communities and the city government, that everyday people can come together with artists to really help improve safety for all.”



Civil rights exhibit on Maryland’s pivotal role to open this Spring
by Nicole D. Batey
Published May 16 in The AFRO

Excerpt: The Maryland Center for History and Culture will open its new exhibit, “Passion and Purpose: Voices of Maryland’s Civil Rights Activists,” on May 20. In the exhibition, historic moments in the ongoing civil rights movement are told through the words and voices of those who lived it. Oral histories and photography connect past to present and provide personal perspectives on historical moments.

Oftentimes, the discussion of civil rights centers around what took place in southern states such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. However, Maryland offers a unique perspective to the movement, since the Mason-Dixon line runs through the state, and it is often seen as neither a particularly northern or southern state.

“We want to make sure people know that Maryland was involved in the civil rights movement; Maryland has its own story that is often overlooked, and this is our opportunity to tell it, focusing on the entire state, not just Baltimore,” said Maya Davis, director of the Riversdale House Museum in Prince George’s County and member of the curatorial panel for the exhibition.



Novelist John Waters greets Baltimore fans at signing for ‘Liarmouth’ book
by Ed Gunts
Published May 16 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore embodied its nickname as “The City That Reads” on Sunday – or at least The City That Gets Autographs and Selfies – as scores of John Waters fans lined up outside Atomic Books in Hampden to meet the writer and filmmaker during a book-signing event for his new novel, “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.”

Some of his fans came in costume. Others showed off Waters- and Divine-themed tattoos and tee shirts. A mother introduced her two small children. At one point John Waters came face-to-face with John Waters – a fan wearing a face mask designed to resemble the lower half of John Waters’ face, complete with pencil-thin mustache.

The two-hour book-signing event was part of a coast-to-coast tour that Waters launched this month to promote his 10th book and first novel, which was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and landed in stores on May 3. Set primarily in Baltimore, it’s a cautionary tale about a woman named Marsha Sprinkle, who steals suitcases at the airport, and what happens when she finally meets her match.



With Roe about to be overturned, City Council seeks to fund support for abortion rights
by Fern Shen
Published May 17 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Mayor Brandon Scott is expected to work with the City Council to establish a fund to support organizations that protect reproductive rights and health.

Councilman Zeke Cohen and fellow lawmakers made the ask in the form of a resolution approved last night by the Council in the wake of widespread concern as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to strike down the Roe V. Wade decision that guarantees the right to an abortion.

“While everyone will be hurt by this decision by the Supreme Court, the Georgetown Prep crowd that Justice Bret Kavanaugh grew up with will be less harmed,” Cohen said, standing in front of City Hall last night.

Kavanaugh, from an affluent Montgomery County family, is one of five justices who cast preliminary votes to overturn Roe, according to news reports.

“The people this decision will most harm are struggling to get by in systems that weren’t built for them. They come from places where maternal mortality rates far exceed the national average. They come from coal country and the Bible Belt,” Cohen said. “They are Black and Brown. Black women are 3.5 times more likely to die from childbirth than white women.”

See also:

Protestors call for the protection of abortion rights at Baltimore rally
by Mylika Scatliffe
Published May 16 in The AFRO



How Does the State Plant 5 Million Trees? It’s Complicated.
by Josh Kurtz
Published May 17 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: Growing up in West Baltimore, Greg Burks never thought much about the lack of vegetation around him. But his younger brother suffered from asthma, and that was one of the family’s primary concerns.

“This is your brother’s inhaler,” Burks recalls his mother saying every time the boys went out to play. “Keep it with you.”

Only now does Burks realize that one of the reasons his brother needed an inhaler was that the level of ozone and other pollutants in their neighborhood was so high because there were so few trees around.

Now, Burks is poised to help families in Baltimore and other Maryland urban areas who struggle with their breathing because of air pollution. He manages the new Urban Tree Program for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a nonprofit launched by state government in the 1980s dedicated to improving the watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Coastal Bays, and Youghiogheny River in Western Maryland. The trust’s mission is to plant 500,000 trees in urban areas over the next eight years.

“Marylanders’ lives depend on it,” Burks said in an interview. “That’s why this program exists. It’s for people who don’t have the resources to leave the city.”



The Baltimore kid who gave ‘Winning Time’ an underdog soul
by Candice Buckner
Published May 15 in The Washington Post

Excerpt: When the season finale of controversial HBO series “Winning Time” aired last week, it garnered more than 1.6 million viewers across all platforms. Jerry West probably wasn’t one of them. But it wouldn’t be a reach to believe the NBA legend’s criticism of his portrayal in the show— as a tempestuous and profane malcontent who vacillates between anger and despair — helped boost ratings.

Count me as one of the curious. I tuned in for all 10 episodes. As a snobby sports fan, at times I was hate-watching just to nitpick the show for taking creative license as it retold an already dramatic story laid out in Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime.” How convenient it is in Episode 5 that a baby Kobe Bryant just happens to be in the stands when his dad’s team plays the Los Angeles Lakers in Magic Johnson’s rookie debut. And, sure, let’s suspend disbelief as the 1979-80 Lakers took that make-or-break Christmas road trip to Indiana, Detroit and Boston in Episode 7 — when in reality they played at Kansas City and Utah before returning to the Fabulous Forum on Dec. 28 for the big Magic-vs.-Bird showdown.

There are many more moments that make you want to watch every episode as an unofficial fact-checker, but then there are scenes such as the one in Episode 6 between veteran actor Wood Harris and newbie Delante Desouza.



3 key takeaways from Baltimore leaders’ chat on the city’s best digital future
by Donte Kirby
Published May 12 in Baltimore

Excerpt: Earlier this week, leading denizens of Baltimore’s tech ecosystem joined city officials to discuss the best strategies for an equitable and vibrant digital future.

The discussion took place during a panel titled “Building Baltimore’s Digital Future,” which was held by the digital equity coalition Baltimore Tracks. Members of the group spoke about these issues with Deputy Mayor of Community and Economic Development Ted Carter, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Broadband and Digital Equity Jason Hardebeck and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development Jason Perkins-Cohen.

Here are a few key points and proposals from their broad conversation:



Mosby legal defense fund was on a collision course with the IRS
by David A. Plymer
Published May 18 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Nick Mosby, president of the Baltimore City Council, and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, seem to lurch from one ill-conceived idea to the next. Such is the case with “The Mosby 2021 Trust,” now reportedly in the process of being dissolved.

The trust, set up to administer the Mosbys’ legal defense fund, ran into a problem last week with the city Board of Ethics.

The board found that Nick Mosby violated the city’s ethics ordinance by accepting contributions to the fund from “controlled donors” – persons doing or seeking to do business with the city.

(Marilyn Mosby, subject to the state’s ethics law, was not part of the board’s action.)



Header Image: Photography by J.M. Giordano, from "We Used to Live at Night" exhibition @ Maryland Art Place

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