Baltimore News: Tacos, the BSO, Art in BCPSS

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This week’s news includes: Tacos in 2022, new restaurants in 2023, new sounds for the BSO, hominy forever, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: The al pastor tacos at Bmore Taquería. —Photography by Amy Scattergood (Baltimore Magazine)


A Food Editor’s Year in Tacos
by Amy Scattergood
Published December 29 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: For many of the nearly 20 years I lived in Los Angeles before moving to my mother’s hometown of Baltimore two years ago, I was a food writer, editor, and recipe developer—which meant I spent most of those two decades eating Mexican food. This mostly came in the form of tacos, often sought out and consumed with the late restaurant critic Jonathan Gold—whose gravestone, in Hollywood Forever cemetery, is chiseled with the words “Tacos Forever,” a motto many of us continue to live by.

So, when I came to Baltimore, the first thing I did was look for tacos.

Not only was I hungry, but life without them would have been unimaginable. (This is not hyperbole; ask my Angeleno children.) I didn’t have to reload the U-Haul, as this town has excellent taquerias and taco trucks, many centered near the Upper Fells Point neighborhood where I now live. Exploring with my dog has been my way of imprinting, and the afternoon I found the Tacos Jalisco truck—and sat on the steps of the church where it’s parked with a paper plate of tacos al pastor, extra sauce, and gorditas—was the day I decided Baltimore was, indeed, home.



From Beethoven vs. Beyoncé to Drake vs. Tchaikovsky, the BSO pairs the old with the new
by Lawrence Burney
Published December 29 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has experienced its fair share of challenges and internal shifts while enduring the impact of COVID-19. Earlier this year, the symphony continued to scale down live programming in Baltimore, announcing that next season would go from 91 to 81 shows at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, moving more shows to Bethesda’s Music Center at Strathmore.

But over the summer, the BSO inspired some optimism when they announced conductor Jonathon Heyward as their new music director. The appointment made Heyward the first person of color to hold that title in the orchestra’s 106-year history.

Another turn for the orchestra this year has been the second season of its fusion series, which conductor Steve Hackman brought in 2020 in an effort to diversify the orchestra’s audience by bridging the often insulated world of classical music with fans of contemporary pop. The first of the series’ three shows this season paired Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with hip-hop artist Drake earlier this month. On New Years Eve, Beethoven will be paired with Beyoncé, among other team-ups, including Lady Gaga singing with Brahms, Bruno Mars improvising over Bach and Wagner conducting while Adele sings.



Baltimore public schools ramp up programs to help students ‘speak their truth’ through art
by Zshekinah Collier
Published December 31 in WYPR

Excerpt: As a kid, Baltimore visual artist Ky’Mera Pauling, would always ask for art supplies instead of toys. Pauling, now a senior in high school at Baltimore City College near the Waverly neighborhood, enjoys creating art in her free time. Pauling said that giving youth a chance to create art in the classroom can change lives, especially for young adults who may never get a chance to express themselves.

“It’s always been a form of expression,” she said in a recent interview. “When I was younger, it was just a way for me to express myself in various ways, and kind of convey things that I could not say with words.”

For her, art is an important tool to communicate with her own community and beyond.



Insect Soup for the Soul: Q&A with Theresa Columbus, one of the creators of ‘Variety Show The Musical Play’
by Ed Schrader
Published January 3 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Theresa Columbus is a community-minded tour de force who has worn an assortment of hats in Baltimore’s art scene and abroad since having made her way here from Milwaukee via New Orleans in 2006. After showcasing her latest work, “Variety Show The Musical Play,” on a national stage, she now looks to bring it home this Saturday and Sunday at the Mobtown Ballroom.

“Variety Show The Musical Play,” like much of Columbus’ work, offers brilliant existential self-reflection through disarmingly absurd vignettes that resonate with the universal insecurities we all endure as messy human beings in a rapidly morphing dimension of anxiety. I was lucky enough to catch up with her between rehearsals to chat about the rapid-fire kaleidoscope of meditations that is “Variety Show The Musical Play.”



Academy Art Museum Announces Free Admission Beginning in 2023
Press Release published December 15

Starting January 3, 2023, the Academy Art Museum will offer free admission to all. This is the crowning achievement in an institutional movement toward barrier-free access that started in 2021, when the Museum made most of its public programming free of charge, including book talks, artist lectures and summer programs. The Academy Art Museum joins other Maryland museums that also offer free admission, such as the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum. The Academy Art Museum is open Tuesday and Wednesday 10am to 4pm, Thursday and Friday 10am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm, and is located at 106 South Street in Easton, Maryland. Visit for info on the newest exhibitions.

AAM Director Sarah Jesse notes, “The hidden barrier contained in an admission fee is not always how much it costs but the mental calculation – wondering how much it might be, adding it to weekly expenses. By eliminating this barrier to access, in concert with our other audience engagement efforts, we hope to foster a sense among our diverse community and beyond that AAM belongs to everyone.”



The Dish: 2023′s most anticipated restaurant openings
by Christina Tkacik
Published January 4 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Some great new eateries opened in Baltimore in 2022, including two recent additions that I’ll tell you about below. It also saw a few departures, including one announced just last week.

But the best is yet to come for Charm City diners. This year, Baltimore County will get a taco shop from a James Beard nominee. Some of the city’s top restaurateurs will open new restaurants in Fells Point, Hampden, downtown and beyond. A Hunt Valley landmark gets made over too.



EP 210: Pratt Contemporaries Annual Black and White Party (audio)
by Aaron Dante
Aired January 3 in No Pix After Dark Podcast

Excerpt: I interviewed Jamar Brown, Chair of the Pratt Contemporaries. The Pratt Contemporaries are a diverse group of cosmopolitans who seek to raise awareness of the Enoch Pratt Free Library as a vital part of Baltimore’s identity.

Jamar and I talked about one of their premier events that the Pratt Contemporaries have ever year and it’s called the Black & White Party. The Black & White Party is January 28th back at the Central Library for the first time since COVID. The Pratt Contemporaries announced this year’s theme is Jekyll and Hyde.

The money raised all goes to Children and Teen programming at the Pratt Library. This helps with literacy with Baltimore youth. Listen in on how you can join the Pratt Contemporaries and why joining has so many amazing benefits.



A Baltimore food tradition that ‘most people don’t know about’
by Christina Tkacik
Published January 3 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Yasmine Young is the historian of her family. As such, she has bought and is in the long process of restoring her family’s big house in Ashburton, built in the 1920s. She’s traced her family’s history back eight generations, including 352 ancestors who came to Baltimore from Virginia and the Eastern Shore.

She’s also keeping alive traditions passed down throughout the years. One is Manning’s Hominy at the breakfast table. A corn product first produced in a Canton backyard and one of the last canned goods to leave Baltimore, Manning’s has a more than 100-year legacy in area kitchens. Think of it like Charm City’s answer to grits.



Who Removes The Graffiti In Baltimore? (audio)
by Aaron Henkin
Published January 2 in WYPR’s ‘The Maryland Curiosity Bureau’

Excerpt: They’re a tiny team. But they’re undaunted by the magnitude of the task at hand. Eric Ford and Tony Clark have been working together for more than twenty years on Baltimore’s graffiti removal unit, remediating the city’s graffiti problem, one service request at a time, free of charge. Aaron Henkin and Baltimore Banner reporter Hallie Miller spend a day on the job with the guys, and they ask: What’s it like to do a job you know is going to get undone, over and over again?



The Grassroots Fight for Housing Justice in Baltimore
by Jaisal Noor
Published December 29 in The Real News

Excerpt: Sonia Eaddy never lost faith that she would be able to save her home at 319 North Carrollton Ave. in the Poppleton neighborhood of West Baltimore.

Like they have done to many predominantly-Black neighborhoods, developers have targeted Poppleton for years. Over the past decade, the city used eminent domain to evict residents and raze their houses, resulting in the displacement of longtime residents.

But last year, Eaddy, who is a third-generation resident of Poppleton, was able to mobilize a citywide coalition that staged rallies, packed public hearings, and collected over 5,000 signatures to save homes like hers from destruction. Even after most of Eaddy’s neighbors were forced out of their homes, after surrounding blocks were demolished, and after she exhausted legal appeals, she never stopped fighting.



Header Image: The al pastor tacos at Bmore Taquería. —Photography by Amy Scattergood (Baltimore Magazine)

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