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Brewer's Art and Max's Taphouse among America's 100 best beer bars

We're sure there are a lot of good places to quaff beer in this country. 

Baltimore is home two of the best in the nation, according to Draft Magazine.

The brew pub (haha — get it?) recognized the Brewer's Art in Mount Vernon and Max's Taphouse in Fells Point in its list of the 100 best beer bars in 2013. 

"The venue’s sun-splashed foyer and cozy fireplace set the stage for the brewpub’s delicious Belgian-inspired creations and esoteric guest beers that make this piece of real estate a beer lover’s dream destination," Draft says of the Brewer's Art. 

"With a cool twentysomething crowd and vibrant weekend scene, this is the best place around to knock back craft and score digits on a Saturday night," it writes of Max's Taphouse. 

Read the entire story here

Maryland Historical Society invites the public to stitch the American flag

The Maryland Historical Society is inviting expert quilters and the public to help it recreate a copy of the American flag, USA Today writes.
The Mount Vernon museum recently assembled about 100 or so expert quilters to create a copy of the flag originally sewn by Mary Pickersgill in 1813—the same flag that would eventually inspire Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Staying true to Pickersgill's flag, the society is using wool bunting, rather than nylon, to craft the banner, USA Today writes.
And on Aug. 3 and Aug. 11, the historical society will open its project to the public, who will be able to add a stitch to the flag. Featuring several exhibits and costumed actors, the event will take place from noon-3 p.m..
Read more about the event here, and register for the event here.

Atlantic City promoters bringing boardwalk to Baltimore's Artscape festival

Atlantic City is launching a promotional tour that will bring its famous boardwalk to Baltimore, Philly.com reports.

Entitled “Do AC,” the tour brings all the elements of Atlantic City's boardwalk—the photo booths, massage stations, games of chance, giveaways, and DJs—except they've all been stuffed into a 750-square-foot trailer that's on the move. The tour launched in Philadelphia's Penn Landing this past weekend and will be traveling to Baltimore July 19-21 at the Artscape festival, before packing up and rolling to New York.

The tour “was specifically created to introduce Atlantic City to people in a new way, create a social media buzz and represent all 12 casinos in key markets," Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance tells Philly.com. The tour is sponsored by Atlantic City's casinos, and is part of the city's annual $30 million dollar “Live from AC” promotional campaign.

Read more about the portable boardwalk here.

National Geographic Traveler spends 48 hours in Baltimore

National Geographic Traveler recently highlighted Baltimore’s best destinations in its June/July issue in a piece called “48 Hours: Baltimore, Maryland.”
NatGeo explored Mount Vernon, Hampden, Highlandtown, Locust Point, Little Italy and the Inner Harbor in its two-day itinerary.
It begins in Mount Vernon, noting the contributions of the “Gilded Age Industrialists" behind free institutions like the Walters Art Museum and the Peabody Library.

The article also explores the diversity of Highlandtown, “old-world bakeries” such as Vaccaro’s and crab cakes in Fells Point.

Read the entire story here.

Harry Connick Jr. kicks off new tour in Baltimore

Harry Connick Jr. has come out with a new album, "Every Man Should Know," and is kicking off the concert tour to promote it in Baltimore. 

The crooner will perform June 19 at the Patricia & Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, located at the edge of Mount Vernon. Connick wrote the lyrics, music and arrangements for the new album, writes USA Today. 

"I've done just about every kind of record you could do," Connick tells USA Today. "I've never had a pop hit, which is a blessing — because I've never had to base anything I do on the last record."

You can read the entire story here

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

Fodor's recommends visiting Maryland this summer for crabs and Artscape

Crabs, scenic roads and Artscape are among the reasons travelers should visit Maryland this summer, according to Fodor's. The travel guide recently posted 5 Reasons to Go to Maryland this Summer. Visiting the Eastern Shore and celebrating American history on the Civil War Trail were the other two reasons. 

"Warmer weather means getting outside and enjoying the more than 3,100 miles of coastline along the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, taking in the various outdoor street festivals, and cracking into some blue crabs," Fodor's writes. 

In addition to Artscape, Fodor's highlights two other festivals: the Maryland Renaissance Festival and the Maryland Craft Beer Festival in Frederick. Read the entire story here

Post reviews Baltimore Symphony's Wagner perfomance

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presented an abridged symphonic version of Wagner's famous "The Ring of the Nibelung", reviewed by the Washington Post.

"That the experience — a grouping of greatest hits, arranged into a single piece by Henk de Vlieger — felt like Wagner Lite is also unfair to both Alsop and the orchestra, who did some heavy lifting in some significant music," the Post writes of the performance led by BSO Music Director Marin Alsop. "It was a nice idea for a program."

Read the rest here

Centerstage to produce plays inspired by the Civil War

Baltimore's Centerstage is one of four performing arts organizations that are producing several theatrical works commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, writes the New York Times

The National Civil War Project partners the theater troupes with the arts department of an academic institution. In the case of Centerstage, the Mount Vernon theater is teaming up with the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, College Park.  The duo has commissioned “At War With Ourselves,” by the Kronos Quartet that promises to feature a "legendary composer."

Theaters and universities in Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C., are also taking part. 

OpenTable's most romantic cities list includes Baltimore

Just in time for Valentine's Day, OpenTable has assembled a list of the top 25 most romantic cities. 

And No. 17 on the list is Baltimore. Aldo's Italian Restaurant in Little Italy, Harbor East's Charleston and Mount Vernon's Sotto Sopra were among the restaurants diners deemed romantic. Charleston got another accolade recently as Zagat named it one of the 25 best restaurants in the nation for service

The OpenTable Most Romantic Cities Index was determined by the percentage of restaurants OpenTable diners rated as romantic, the percentage of tables seated for two, and the percentage of couples who dined out for Valentine's Day last year. That's according to an OpenTable news release

San Antonio, Austin, Texas and Providence, R.I., rounded out the top three. 

New York Times Bestows Music "Award" to Baltimore Symphony

The New York Times has recognized 10 classical music orchestras that have made great strides in the past year and bestows upon each its own little award — without any statues or cash to go along with the honor. 

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is among them and the Times honors the arts organization with the "Chicken Droppings-into-Chicken Salad Award."

"The financially troubled Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which was looking for a way to boost revenue and occupy the players during quiet summer weeks...wins for its summer academy aimed at amateur classical musicians, who pay to spend a week rehearsing and performing alongside the orchestra’s professionals," the Times writes. 

You can see the list of recognized orchestras here

Business School Dean Admires Baltimore Symphony Director

A business school dean calls the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director "a folk hero" in the most recent issue of Forbes magazine.

Doug Guthrie, dean of the George Washington University School of Business, got to know Marin Alsop because she was the first speaker in the school's Conversations on Creative Leadership series. 

"She is a woman in a field dominated by men, but she is so much more," Guthrie writes in Forbes. "A visionary who understands the connection between ambition and achievement. A crusader who knows how music can transform lives. A leader who accepts the risk that comes with great rewards. A trailblazer who is as adept at the trail as the blazing."

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

Journey Rocker Proposes to "Real Housewives" Star in Baltimore

When Journey guitarist Neal Schon and "Real Housewives of D.C." cast member Michaele Salahi celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, they'll fondly remember Baltimore as the place that set the stage for their nuptials.

Schon proposed to Salahi — one half of the White House wedding crasher team — at a benefit concert at the Lyric Opera House for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. 

"Salahi accepted the proposal with 'Open Arms,' according to [her manager] Gina Rodriguez," CNN.com writes. 

"Their relationship began under a cloud in September 2011 when the "Real Housewives of D.C." star was reported missing by her then-husband of nearly eight years Tareq Salahi."

You can read the whole story here

Centerstage Asks Playwrights to Reflect on America

Centerstage has asked some of the nation's most prominent playwrights to create short films to answer the question "What is My America."

Neil LaBute, Baltimore-born Anna Deavere Smith and Lynn Nottage are some of the writers involved in the 50 films directed by 90s indie director Hal Hartley, Broadway World writes.

"From foreclosure to gay marriage, from the judiciary to the little-known circumstances surrounding the death of James A. Garfield, these monologues, with a wry mix of humor and heart, shine a light on our particular American moment—and tug at the seams of political rhetoric as only theater can," Broadway World writes. 

Centerstage, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is releasing the videos weekly up until the Nov. 6 presidential election. You can read the entire story here

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