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USA Today video highlights Baltimore refugees planting urban gardens

Some Baltimore refugees have managed to recreate some of their beloved memories from home through urban gardening, according to a video posted by USA Today.
One refugee from South Sudan, Joyce Kedan, explains through a translator “when I come here and grow things, I feel very happy and positive, and I think of home.”

In order to farm, Kedan turned to Baltimore nonprofit New Roots, which provides refugees with their own plot of fertile soil and uses community garden specialists to help refugees grow rural and exotic crops in urban soil.
See the video here.

Baltimore Pride festival to feature mass wedding

The Baltimore Pride festival will host a mass same-sex wedding with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presiding over the ceremony, writes the AP in a story that ran in the Washington Post. The June 16 event will take place in Druid Hill Park.

The mayor has officiated other same-sex marriages since gay marriage became legal Jan. 1. Event planners and marketers in the wedding industry said last year that legalizing gay marriage would boost business



New York Times profiles Centerstage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah

The New York Times chats with Centerstage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah just before his new play begins its run at the Mount Vernon theater. 

Over a meal at an Afghan restaurant in Mount Vernon (gee, could it be the Helmand?), Kwei-Armah talks about "Beneatha's Place." Written by Kwei-Armah, the play is part of the theater company's so-called "Raisin Cycle," which included productions of Kwei-Armah's "Beneatha's Place" and Bruce Norris's "Clybourne Park." 

Both "Clybourne Park" and Kwei-Armah's plays are contemporary reactions to Lorraine Hansberry's seminal 1959 work, "A Raisin in the Sun."

"Clybourne" is currently running at Centerstage now through June 16 while "Beneatha's Place" runs May 8-June 16. 

"Mr. Kwei-Armah has put his reputation on the line with an ambitious new work that, although it doesn’t take on “Clybourne” directly, will invite inevitable comparisons," the Times writes. 

Kwei-Armah also says in the interview that Norris's play, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011, unwittingly gives the message that " 'whites build and blacks destroy.'"

Read the entire story here. And see Kwei-Armah's interview with BmoreMedia

New York Times features a tour of Jewish Baltimore

"I grew up on stories about the glory days of Jewish Baltimore, when, in my father’s telling, Jews were really Jews," writes Jennifer Moses in the New York Times. 

Moses says Jewish Baltimore is on the rebound, in both the city and the suburbs. She points to the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Attman's Deli and Eutaw Place Synagogue. 

"Happily, Jewish Baltimore is on the rebound, and not just in the suburbs. On a cold day in February when I went in search of the settings of my father’s stories, I landed in a place where perseverance, preservation and memory have conspired to keep that vanished world available," Moses writes. 

You can read the entire story here

Baltimore and DC High School Students to Debate Transportation Issues

It's another contest between Baltimore and the nation's capital. 

This time, it's a battle of wits between high school debate teams in each city on how the federal government should invest in transportation infrastructure.

The session will be conducted by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues, writes the Transportation Research Board. The event takes place Jan. 16 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. 

You can read more about it here

Pizza Today Features Chazz Baltimore's Potato Pie

Potato pizza savored in Tuscany, Italy inspired restaurateur Sergio Vitale to serve a potato pie at Chazz: A Bronx Original restaurant, Pizza Today writes.

"Vitale’s coal-oven-fired white pizza is topped with sea salt seasoned potatoes, pecorino and fontina cheeses, rosemary and gar­lic," the magazine writes. "After baking he drizzles calabrese chili oil over it."

To prevent the pizza from getting too soggy, Vitale says he places a layer of shredded fontina cheese underneath the spuds, which he spaces out carefully.

“ 'Too many spuds cropped up in the center will make a soggy pizza,'” Vitale says. You can read the rest of the story here

Walters Art Exhibit Gets a Plug in the New York Times

The Walters Art Museum's latest exhibit, which explores the depiction of Africans in Renaissance art, gets a writeup in the New York Times.

"Visually the exhibition is a gift, with marvelous things by artists familiar and revered — Dürer, Rubens, Veronese — along with images most of us never knew existed," the Times writes. "Together they map a history of art, politics and race that scholars have begun to pay attention to."

"Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe" runs through Jan. 21 and features paintings, drawings, sculptures and printed books depicting black Africans in Europe from the 1400s to the 1600s. Africans living in or visiting Europe at this time included artists, aristocrats, saints, slaves and diplomats.

You can read the entire Times' review here

Charm City Singer Shines on "The Voice"

A Baltimore vocalist has caught the attention of Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera and other stars of NBC's "The Voice."

Nelson Emokpae, who goes by the band and stage name Nelly’s Echo, was a hit on last week’s episode, according to a recap in the Baltimore Sun. Nigerian born Emokpae fled to Baltimore 16 years ago after his father was wrongfully imprisoned but has since been reunited with the family in Charm City.

Levine and Aguilera both vied for Emokpae to join their teams after hearing the singer’s rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine”, but Emokpae ended up choosing team Aguilera.

Read more here.

Rachael Ray Says Baltimore's Little Italy is One of the Best

Rachael Ray says Baltimore has one of the nine best Little Italys. In the September issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray, which comes out Aug. 14, Ray mentions Germano's Trattoria and calls the area “a pocket of cozy brick buildings” that “feels like home," writes Richard Gorelick in the Baltimore Sun. 

New York Times Interviews Strand Theater's Rain Pryor

The New York Times recently interviewed actress and comedienne Rain Pryor, who has many ties to Charm City.

The 43-year-old daughter of Richard Pryor, she became artistic director of the Strand Theater Co. and moved to Baltimore several years ago.

You can read more of the interview with Pryor and Kelly Carlin, daughter of George Carlin, here

Huffington Post Features Station North's Open Walls

Open Walls, the innovative mural art project in Station North, is getting more love. 

This time it's from the Huffington Post, which recently featured several photos of the murals and interviews with organizers, including street artist Gaia.

"From March to May the neighborhoods of Station North and Greenmount West have played host to internationally known Street Art names of the moment like Vhils, Sten and Lex, Swoon, Jaz, MOMO, and Interesni Kazki getting up on walls alongside a list of local and regional talents," the Huffington Post writes. 

Station North is Washington's New "It Girl"

Baltimore is catching onto the fact that the Station North Arts and Entertainment District is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. We at Bmore Media documented a number of favorable developments in this article by Cassie Paton.

Now the Washington Post has even caught onto the charms of the neighborhood that features the Charles Theatre and the Windup Space. The paper even went as far as dubbing Station North an "it" neighborhood.

It cites Open Walls Baltimore, a mural project led by artist Gaia, as the element that is making the neighborhood a real scene for emerging artists and hipsters.

"Charm City is an especially fertile ground for street art, considering its multitude of abandoned buildings, its quirky character, and its generally permissive attitude toward street art, which some cities treat as destruction of property," the Post writes.

You can read the story and the accompanying slideshow here.

UMBC President Among Time's 100 Most Influential

US President Barack Obama? Check. That British crooner who swept the Grammy awards this year. Check.

Not surprising finds on Time's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. 

There's one that Baltimoreans can be proud of. Freeman A Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, made the list that even Mark Zuckerberg was left out of. 

"But perhaps the most envied science program in the country is at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County," Time writes. "That's where Freeman A. Hrabowski III, 61, has spent 20 years as president turning a humble commuter school into one of the nation's leading sources of African Americans who get Ph.D.s in science and engineering." 

You can read more about him here.  

D.C. History Museum to Feature Maryland Artifacts

Construction began this month on the nation's largest museum devoted to African American history. 

And the $500 million Smithsonian museum will feature a number of Maryland artifacts, writes the Baltimore Sun. This includes a Harriet Tubman's silk shawl and a long house built by freed slaves from Montgomery County. 

"These are among 20,000 objects collected by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open on the National Mall in 2015 as the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum," the Sun writes.

"Local experts on African-American history say it's appropriate that Maryland will be featured prominently, since many key figures come from the state."

You can read more about the museum here

Diddy Signs Baltimore Rapper

It is really just Diddy now? P Diddy? Sean Puffy Combs? Sean Diddy Combs?

For Baltimore rapper Los, it's ka-ching!

Diddy's Bad Boy Records has signed up Baltimore rapper Los, writes MTV News in its RapFix blog. 

"We're trying to put that young, youthful energy out in the air and do it the only way that Bad Boy can do it," Diddy tells MTV. 

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