Hampden Hawker: February 2008

Hampden Hawker

THE Hampden Gossip Blog

Hopefully Factual, Fueled by Speculation

Email the tip line: hampdenhawker@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's been a slow February.

Ok, Hampdenites, sometimes Hawker really, really wants to update, but she feels like posting recycled stories about the infamous Hampden bus attack from mainstream media outlets or random blog posts bitching about customer service at Hampden's finest sex shop are cop-outs.

So Hawker's left with two options:

1) Post exciting news like this:

"The Hampden Community Council's Education Committee has an email address so you can express your concerns about the area schools. The email address is hampdeneducation@ comcast.net"


2) Dig for deets:

The director of the Hampden Family Center left? Anyone got deets?

Or I guess I could just ask you folks to tell me what's up.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where's This?

This just in from a reader:

"Located on Roland Ave between 41st and 36th st. In the heart of Hampden, yet most people never see it. Do you know where it is?"

EASY! The Hampden Knight is outside St. Mary's Outreach Center (home of the Nearly New Shop and Baltimore Shakespeare Festival--one of only three professional theatres in Baltimore!)

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Your Public Radio (As long as you're not too Baltimore-centric)

Not totally Hampden-centric, but Hampden-related as Marc Steiner now calls Hampden his work home & Hawker knows loads of Hampdenites who were seriously disturbed by WYPR's recent firing of Steiner. Well, WYPR is having a meeting tomorrow where you can speak your mind about this issue.

There's a WYPR Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting tomorrow:
Wednesday, February 20th
7-9 p.m.
Meyerhoff Auditorium
Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore MD 21218

The doors open at 6:30, and it will be first-come, first-seated.
There will be a sign up sheet available inside the auditorium for anyone who wants to speak to the CAB.

Go here for more information.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

This just in from the "How Corporations Waste Their Time" Department. . .

From Sunday's Sun:

"It's Chow down for good in Hampden

A woman launched a small pet supply store in Hampden a few years ago, and she's been so successful that she's moving to a much bigger location in the neighborhood.

Sounds like an upbeat small business story. And it is, but for Purina's claim on the word "chow."

The upshot: Chow, Baby! pet supply is saying "ciao" to its name.

"It has recently come to our attention that your company is using "CHOW, BABY!" as a company name and service mark," reads a letter from St. Louis attorney Thomas Polcyn on behalf of Purina. "Such uses of 'CHOW, BABY!' in connection with the sale and distribution of pet food, pet treats, and other pet-related products is likely to cause confusion with Purina's CHOW trademarks, and dilutes the distinctive quality of those marks."

Store owner Robin McDonald got the letter way back in September 2004, when she'd been open less than a year.

"I didn't want to start all over," she said. "I called Bowie & Jensen. They said I could fight it but it would cost $12,000 to $15,000 and I'd have a 50-50 chance of keeping the name."

She kept the name anyway, hoping to stay under the Purina radar by pulling down her Web site. The strategy has worked. McDonald hasn't heard again from Purina lawyers (who didn't return my call Friday).

But McDonald feels she needs to get a Web site going again. So she's trying to come up with a new name for the store by the time it moves in late March.

She's offering a $100 gift card for the best name (hampdenpets@gmail.com). Just don't try trading it in for Purina chow. The store doesn't carry the stuff."


Saturday, February 16, 2008

No Trash on Monday

A Hampdenite alerted me to this, so Hawker's assuming that some Hampdenites may have Monday trash pick-up (not true for Hawker's residence.) However, Hawker couldn't confirm this as you can't get basic information from the Baltimore's Department of Public Works - Bureau of Solid Waste website. Let's say you went there because you were wondering "What are my trash pick up days?" You'd have to call 311! Way to go Baltimore efficiency! Plus, while we're on the subject, why does the city think I love downloading .pdf's so much?


Friday, February 15, 2008

Avenue Business Break-In

There indeed has been a rash of break-in's on The Avenue, and yesterday, Charlotte Elliott was the victim.

Hawker has details, but for obvious reasons, doesn't plan to post here how the thieves managed to break in. They took a very small amount of cash, but a significant value of goods from the store.

This on Valentine's Day! Considering the owner was hoping for a day full of desperate men looking for that perfect last-minute gift, this theft hurt hard.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A big brass band is coming to your town. How could you stay home?

Do you like marching bands? Because seriously, who doesn't? I know one Hampdenite whose dream it is to have a marching band at her funeral. Hawker keeps telling her to get the marching band for her wedding or some other celebration that will happen while she's LIVING and can enjoy it, and this weekend, that Hampdenite gets to live a little of her dream.

A big brass band is coming to The Avenue tomorrow night!

And there's going to be monkeys! (Well, at least Chop Chop the falling apart chimp is going to be there.)

What Cheer? Brigade is playing at the Lo-Fi Social Club tomorrow (Friday, February 15,) and before the show, they're coming to Hampden to play a free show outside Atomic Books from 5-6 p.m. What Cheer? Brigade is a 19-piece renegade brass band from Providence, RI, featuring artist William Schaff (best known for the cover illustrations he's done for Okkervil River, Godspeedyou Black Emperor, and others.)

At the Lo-Fi Social Club later that night, What Cheer? Brigade will be playing with Secret Crush Society, which is fronted by Hampdenite and marching band lover Lisa!

NHBA: One The Wellness Spa

So a couple of Friday's ago, Hawker attended the grand opening celebration of One The Wellness Spa, which is located in Bikram Yoga Hampden (911 W. 36th Street, above Dogwood.) At the event, the crowd was "liberal Hampden upscale" and though Hawker was tempted to swipe a beer to take down to her dinner date at Dogwood (where the gnocchi was perfectly melty and the atmosphere just right,) she resisted.

Here is the price list distributed at the event. The offerings are limited at the moment--it's really just massage, but perhaps expansion of services to really live up to the "spa" name is part of the long-term plan.

The prices are pretty much at market rate, FYI. At the moment, they seem to be offering special packages of massage and Bikram yoga bundled together. Bikram yoga is not Hawker's thing--it's too hot and regimented for my taste--but I know many practitioners who SWEAR by it, including Monica--Hampden's superstar marathon runner, so maybe it just might be your thing!

The space is simple, but serene. (The flooring is lovely, FYI.) Who knew a view of a Hampden parking lot could be so peaceful?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hampden Real Estate: Dreams v. Reality

Here's one for you:

Hampden Food Market was recently offered $600,000 CASH for the building, but they said no.

They're holding out for $1,000,000.

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Marc Steiner: Welcome to Hampden!

As is old news now, Marc Steiner was recently fired from WYPR. Hawker usually tries not to get political here, but this was a crap firing--motivated by a leader who doesn't get the concept of local programming and a corporate--rather than a non-profit--mindset. What about what's really best for Baltimore's PUBLIC radio station? Basta.

However, apparently Marc has secured an office in Hampden to begin his pursuit of new projects. His Center for Emerging Media has produced the "Just Words" series on YPR--an amazing series that features just Baltimore folks talking about their lives. What a novel idea--listening to the people!

So, if you see Marc, tell him we're glad he's here. Welcome him to Hampden!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Don't forget to vote!

Today is the presidential primary, and if you're registered with a party affiliation, you won't want to miss it.

Polls are open until 8 p.m., and when Hawker was at Robert Poole at 12 noon, there were no lines and friendly poll workers. Hawker was voter #173 for the day, and this number already represented more than the number of folks who turned out for the general election at that polling place back in November.

Let your voice be heard!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hawker Explains Herself

Ok, Hampdenites. Hawker, believe it or not, does more than just blog. Her day job requires this thing every so often, where she gets locked in dark rooms for 12-14 hours a day for a full week. Last week was one of those weeks. Today, Hawker emerges. (I know, I know, you're saying: Why doesn't Hawker TELL us that she's going to be away for a while? Well, it's like this: the stress of those special weeks is such that if it's not on fire, I can't deal with it--and I mean it's got to be ON FIRE and threatening lives, not just smoldering or shooting up a flame or two.)

So what's up, Hampden?

I've been hearing the following:

1. A pasta bar is coming to Hampden! It will be in the old Maria's space on The Avenue, and with lots of painting and sprucing up of the space, it looks as if it will open soon. (Pasta bar makes Hawker think of things like spaghettitinis and penneritas, but I don't think that's the idea.)

2. El Rancho Grande is now OFFICIALLY open.

3. The smoking ban has taken full effect, and though reviews are mixed. Most Hampdenites & bar hoppers Hawker knows are happy--though the special late-night odors at Frazier's are no longer masked by the smell of cigarette smoke.

4. There have been some reports of muggings at gunpoint in Hampden--one even near the busy Falls Road & 36th intersection.

5. Businesses on The Avenue have been experiencing a rash of break-ins in the past few weeks--FOUR that Hawker knows of.

6. Common Ground raised its coffee prices.

7. One The Wellness Spa opened in the Bikram Yoga space. (Hawker attended the opening party, so a full report is coming.)

8. Lovelyarns wants to teach you how to knit!

9. Tomorrow is voting day!

10. Hawker's back.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Good Morning Zissimo's!

Photo from The Baltimore Sun

Yesterday, the Sun featured an article about the smoking ban that offered thoughts from Zissimo's patrons. (Zissimo's is the sight of an infamous game of an invisible doubledutch game with Davy Rothbart from Found Magazine and a slew of Hampdenites.)

While Shelia Dixon was across the street celebrating at Cafe Hon by dumping a bunch of old ashtrays into a trash can, 59-year-old Vietnam vet Mike Marine offered this at Zissimo's:

"We're going to turn into a communist country," he said. "This country was built on tobacco. I fought for this country and now they tell me I can't smoke. It's a violation of my First Amendment rights. You figure that on a Saturday or a Sunday people are going to want to smoke, especially if they're drunk."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Promoted from Comments: The Real Story on Thursday's Alleged Chemical/Weapons Stash

So this recent post about Thursday's "chemical house" I cribbed from The Baltimore Sun. I just passed on the Sun news (and details I garnered from various news videos.)

Apparently, there's more to the story.

To follow are a reader's comments, and Hawker's heard other similar things from close sources:

"Actually, this home is owned by a friend of mine, and the whole thing was a misunderstanding (to put it mildly).

Bottom line: They are not thieves, not running a meth lab, not trafficking firearms, and not planning treachery involving hand grenades.

The homeowner is an antiques dealer. He hadn't stolen anything, and was able to quickly and effectively clear up that misunderstanding with the HoCo police.

However, while in his house, HoCo police saw suspicious-looking parts of weapons and were obligated to report that observation to City police. The parts of weapons were related to his active-duty training as a national guardsman. The grenade was an antique and was inactive. And the chemicals found that necessitated the evacuation were just common chemicals used to refinish furniture.

This family are long-time residents of Hampden, and are good friends and good neighbors who have done nothing wrong and who pose no threat to the neighborhood whatsoever. Police have a job to do and 9 times in 10 I'm glad they're there to do it; unfortunately, in this instance, it has resulted in undue and inordinate stress on a lovely family."

So, assuming this is closer to the truth, let's all feel for Jonathan S. Hollands, because his Thursday was WAY shittier than yours. I especially feel for him because of the "oh you know what Hampendites are like!" fodder the Thursday news stories became for lots of folks.


Friday, February 01, 2008

If you're a non-smoker, today is "Visit a New Bar" Day!

Today is the day. No more smoking in Maryland bars, so tonight, you have no excuse not to go check out the treasures offered by Zissimo's or Griffiths.

How about you do this after a First Friday stroll in Hampden? The Wine Source will be tasting, Doubledutch will be discounting--you know the usual suspects, but why not get out and explore some new ones?