…we have not one but TWO theatrical mysteries coming up at CENTERSTAGE. Murder mysteries, no less: bothSNOW FALLING ON CEDARSand CRIME AND PUNISHMENT(adapted from original literary sources) should qualify. Unconventional detectives, perhaps, but that’s as classic a convention as the conventional kind! Agree?
Even the Trib—parent company of the maybe-soon-to-be-late, and certainly entering an eclipse, Baltimore Sun—gets in on coverage of the biggest local brouhaha brewing lately, the fracas over legal limits on use of the ‘hon’ term. Yes, this makes its way onstage in The Second City Does Baltimore, as you might expect. Along with plenty else. But it’s also just fun reading in and of itself.
If you’re not from Baltimore, you’ve probably never heard the term A-rab or Arabber, pronounced AY-rabbers. That’s a shame. Just like the terms Coney Island and Philly Cheesesteak conjure up delightful, nostalgic images for many, so does the term Arraber to Baltimoreans.
They’re rare today, but back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, it wasn’t unusual to hear the clippity clop of horses, decked out in large jingling bells, pulling a colorful carriage, that was in essence a produce cart on wheels.
Along with the sound of the horses making their way down asphalt streets, you’d hear the croon of the Arabber: “STRAW-By-rees, Cherrrr-EES” in a trademark style. Part of the tradition of the Arabber involves his personal call to the public. Each has a special chant that comes out more like a song, weaving the various items for sale into the call.
The legend of the Arraber was made famous when the show Homicide hit the airwaves. In one of the initial episodes, Det. Baliss (Kyle Secor) hunted a killer of a young girl, Adena Watson. All signs pointed to an Arraber, Rissley Tucker. That story line carried over several episodes. Homicide made a point of highlighting Baltimore traditions and the Baltimore that we who live here see, not the tourist points most people read about. Homicide’s creator, David Simon, featured Arabbers on The Wire, another Baltimore-based show he created.
Arabbers are part of the real Baltimore.
Arrabers, an endangered species and a tradition almost exclusive to Baltimore, are early-day entrepreneurs, known more as hucksters back then. It’s primarily a Black male tradition, almost a living folk tradition. While New York and Philadelphia once had Arabbers, both have ceased allowing Arabbers to market, so Baltimore is the last remaining city allowing Arabbers to make a living.
Baltimore almost lost this tradition as well, its last remaining bastion, because in 1994 the stables that housed the horses were condemned. In stepped the Arabber Preservation Society. It’s a pride thing for Baltimore Arrabers. Their carts are painted, just so, and the horses wear special harnesses. According to the Arraber Preservation Society, this harness has black with gold trim and bone rings, which are white plastic rings. They also have red tassels and red plume with bell drops.
Because of the help of the Preservation Society, another generation of Baltimoreans gets to hear the call of the Arabber, a sight and sound that belongs solely to Baltimore. The heritage continues, and that’s good. In the ‘90s, Richard Kurin, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s folk-life program said: “In the end, when we lose the Arabbers… I think a bit of the city’s soul is lost.” For now, the tradition is safe.
“Pinter is part of a major shift in culture when first of all works of art do not supply answers and secondly when audiences and spectators take on themselves the responsibility for supplying the information. Briefly, the novelist Paul Auster says that when you’re writing the reader is doing the writing with you. Part of the writing experience, and in the same way in the theatre, the spectator is now part of the experience. We would be insulted by modern drama that dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s so I think Pinter shows an extraordinary awareness of a shift in narrative style.”—Michael Billington, Pinter’s biographer
Congratulations are in order: two very nice “awards” for ReEntry from an avid theatergoer in the region. One for the production, and one to Joe Harrell for, in the words of the citation, “creat[ing] a virtual space for the theatergoer to experience play’s truth realtime.”
I get that Denise Whiting needs to make a living. Hell, we all do. I do not begrudge creativity, tenacity, foresight, or even a little luck bringing good fortune to entrepreneurs. Business is business and all that. Whatever.
my faith in theater as an important vehicle for chronicling history, remains
Best theater production I have ever seen. As the mother of an almost 18-year-old son who is ready to sign his enlistment papers next month, this was an incredible experience for he & I to have together. As I struggle to understand my theater-loving son, so involved in his high school productions as an actor/director/lighting tech guy with one-time aspirations to attend NYU film school, who now states categorically that what he wants more than anything is to be Marine infantry, seeing this show was an overwhelming experience that I am recommending to all my friends/family who are similarly baffled by his choice. It has helped me to stop resisting his decision and start moving toward embracing my coming role as a military mother who will be nothing but supportive. I am still racked daily with unrelenting fear for his future, but my faith in theater as an important vehicle for chronicling history, remains.
-This was posted, anonymously, in the online forum about ReEntry. This was not an uncommon reaction or experience for family-members coming to see the production—whether they were making sense of a current enlistee, or a longtime Veteran. We feel fairly confident that many of the conversations initiated by the show, and the questions it may have raised while answering others, will continue to resonate for some time to come. All in all, pretty much just what we would hope for.
Again, as ReEntry starts to fade in the rear-view mirror, some closing thoughts. In this case, a link to the online version of a program piece that ran with the show, generally inspired by the quotation in the text, taken from an interview, that summed up so much:
“I wish we were a nation at war, and not just a military at war.” -ReEntry
Figured the link was the better way to enjoy the superlative work our graphics department does to make our often-mundane thoughts and writing look extra splashy and special.
"I [saw ReENTRY on Friday and] stayed for the discussion afterward. There was a couple for whom it was their second time seeing the show — the first time, they had attended with their son, whose recent decision to enlist in the military was solidified after seeing the performance. His parents had returned to see the show again without him to better understand his decision as well as to ask the panel how they can best help their son transition into and eventually out of military life. I thought it was a powerful example of how the theater can serve as an essential resource for a community — really what theater should be about."
A dramaturg and director who traveled up from DC to see a performance of ReEntry last week sent this observation. Every single performance but one (opening night) was followed by some form of post-show—from featured guests and experts to conversations with the director, authors, or cast, to discussion among the audience. Most lasted at least an hour, after the 90-minute performance; all elicited deeply thoughtful responses, challenging questions, and profound sharing of stories or memories. Or, in the words quoted above, “really what theater should be about.” Now that the show has closed, more on that phenomenon in a post to come, separately. But a reminder that you can explore more at here.
Two main reasons for the move: The former first daughter, 29, wanted to live closer to twin Barbara, who’s based in New York City as head of the Global Health Corps foundation. The sisters remain extremely close (remember that Henry went to Barbara first to ask for Jenna’s hand before he proposed) and appear frequently at NYC events together. “We have a lot of fun,” Jenna said in a NBC interview two years ago.
Living in New York will also make it easier for Jenna, hired last year as a D.C.-based contributing correspondent for “Today,” to do more stories for the morning show. This fall, Jenna stopped teaching at Baltimore’s Seed School of Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reported, and has been busy giving speeches around the country between her “Today” appearances. Reviews of her journalism skills have been mixed, but she landed an one-on-one interview with Bill Clinton about Haiti and Chelsea's wedding this summer.
The Hagers bought the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath corner rowhouse in historic Federal Hill for $440,000 shortly before their2008wedding, and their stay in the neighborhood has been mostly quiet — save for the time last year when a Secret Service van was towed from outside the place for unpaid tickets, and the time last summer when robbers took a pair of mountain bikes from their garage.
The move was kept under tight wraps——the couple quietly left the place last week (using unmarked moving trucks, according to the Sun) and put it on the market for $474,900. The photos with the online listing give away a few personal details: A taste for Latin American art (the Texas native worked with UNICEF in Panama), a monogrammed bedspread. But the agent handling the property is keeping mum; a spokesman for George W. Bush had no comment about the move.
Henry will continue to work for Baltimore-based Constellation Energy, a spokesman told the Sun, but declined to say where he would be located.
2010 12 12 15 30 By The Reliable Source | December 12, 2010
So apparently, the owner of the Hon Cafe in Hampden has trademarked the word “hon”? Newsflash here, sweetheart: “hon” is not your word; it’s part of the regional dialect. So get off your high horse & stop this dumb shit. I hope your flamingos turn on you.
Somehow a very “Baltimore” story of urban reuse—since first it had to be preceded by 30 years of abuse, neglect, decay, and bird poop. Wonderful set of photographs accompany the account on “Ditty’s” very stylish and international blog, Pret a Voyager. Check it all out. (The picture, by the way, is the formerAmerican Brewery in Baltimore.)
“A Pinter script contains all the bricks—all the straw and mud necessary to make the bricks. Every single part is a gorgeous one to play. There is no spare flesh, no wasted moment. The wonderful thing about Pinter is that he really writes about people. And the extraordinary way in which ordinary people’s minds work. Ordinary people don’t behave like people in a well-made play, where you follow one line of direction. Harold’s plays are like a jewel box, they are so superbly put together. But the people in them are real people whose minds refuse to work along what are known as good, clear, dramatic channels…. A nonacting playwright can be a very responsible writer, but he doesn’t have the feeling for the ultimate enjoyment of the performer. One is absolutely sure Pinter would be delightd to play any single character in his plays.”—Paul Rogers, who originated the role of Max in Peter Hall’s 1965 production of The Homecoming.