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Oscar-winning 'Searching for Sugarman' writer lived in Baltimore

If you were watching the Oscars Feb. 24, you know that "Searching for Sugarman" won Craig Strydom the Oscar for best documentary.

If you were searching for the movie's writer Craig Strydom, look no further than Charm City, the Baltimore Sun writes. Strydom lived in Baltimore for 13 years and worked for marketing firm IMRE.  

The movie tells the story of a music fan searching for the enigmatic 1970s singer Sixto Rodriguez whose music was used in South Africa's struggle against apartheid.

Gordon Ramsey Visits a Reinvented Cafe Hon

Denise Whiting and her restaurant Cafe Hon are once again the darlings of the Hampden neighborhood, according to a recent episode of Gordon Ramsey's "Kitchen Nightmares."

Ramsey revisits Cafe Hon a year after his first visit to find a bustling restaurant, humble owner and good food. 

"The food was better, they said, the staff seemed happier -- the first piece portrayed them as primed for a full-scale revolt -- and the community seemed ready to let bygones be bygones, especially once Whiting made good on her promise to let go of the trademark," writes Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun.

Whiting, of course, faced a public relations nightmare after trademarking the word "Hon." She then later abandoned the trademark and her decision was broadcast on MIX 106.5 and on "Kitchen Nightmares."

Johns Hopkins Hospital Now No. 2

For the first time in 21 years, Johns Hopkins Hospital slipped from the No. 1 rank on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. Johns Hopkins fell to No. 2 while Massachusetts General Hospital took the coveted No. 1 spot. 
The battle for first was very close. Both hospitals had 30 honor roll points, but Massachusetts General claimed first with its 16 nationally ranked specialty programs, compared with Hopkins’ 15.
Still, Hopkins didn't do too shabbily. The hospital is ranked No. 1 in Maryland and the Baltimore metro area. Five of Hopkins’ 15 nationally ranked specialty medical programs are the best of the country: neurology and neurosurgery, rheumatology, geriatrics, psychiatry, and ear, nose and throat.
Rounding out the top five hospitals were the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
See the complete list here

Baltimore Stands in For Washington in Netflix Movie

While the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation filmed scenes in Washington D.C. last week, the Netflix movie House of Cards recreated the nation’s capital right here in Baltimore, reports the Washington Post.
House of Cards shot overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning at the Johns Hopkins’ Peabody Institute, which was “transformed into the fictitious ‘Hotel Cotesworth,’ a supposedly historic D.C. institution where the presidents have slept,” writes the Post.
The political thriller has also used the offices of the Baltimore Sun as the set for the show’s fictional newspaper, the Washington Herald.
House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara and is directed by David Fincher, director of Fight Club, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Ad Week Features Baltimore Foursquare Promo

A Baltimore social media and advertising campaign has caught the attention of Ad Week

WTMD and Urbanite magazine have partnered on a Foursquare promotion that involves giving away prizes to folks who have the most check-ins at participating shops and restaurants. 

"This is really the pivot point of where traditional and new media can exist together to enhance a station and magazine's stature in the community, sell more ads and sponsorships," WTMD General Manager Steve Yasko tells Ad Week. The station is preparing to move to a larger space in the winter. 

You can read the entire Ad Week story here

Baltimore Firetruck Ads Make National News

Next time you pull off to the side of the road for a fire truck, you may just see an advertisement rolling by your window as well.
The idea to paint corporate logos on Baltimore City fire engines was proposed to help increase income at a time of dwindling tax revenue. And the move has caught the eye of several national news outlets, including the New York Times.

"Baltimore is joining dozens of other financially struggling cities, transit systems and school districts around the country that are trying to weather the economic downturn by selling advertisements, naming rights and sponsorships to raise money," the New York Times writes.

Three Baltimore fire companies are set to close later this summer and selling ads on fire trucks could help more companies avoid the same fate.
It is unclear whether the legislation will pass any time soon as Baltimore City officials “have expressed doubts about whether the proposal would generate enough money to keep even one fire company open," the Times writes. 
Read more about the proposed advertising scheme here

Poe Film Set in 19th Century Baltimore is No. 7 at Box Office

Is John Cusack really the best person to play Edgar Allen Poe in The Raven

We have no idea. Go read Entertainment Weekly. 

But we do know that the macabre Hollywood flick is set in 19th century Baltimore and it says so in all the movie reviews you read about the movie. 

Nice PR for Baltimore from a dead author!

The movie opened nationwide last weekend and is now No. 7 at the box office, according to the Internet Movie Database. It pulled in $7.25 million. 

"Kitchen Nightmares" Airs Cafe Hon Episode

Baltimoreans finally got to see the long-awaited "Kitchen Nightmares" episode featuring Cafe Hon Owner Denise Whiting and her controversial move of claiming ownership of the word "Hon."

And it was as dramatic as expected. 

Whiting was stuck with a public relations nightmare after the trademark. Critics said she was trying to profit from a word that has become synonymous with Charm City itself. 

It was all documented on the show hosted by British chef Gordon Ramsay, who convinced Whiting to give up her trademark.

"In the show’s final segment, Television Chef Gordon Ramsay and his 'team' of culinary experts literally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, transforming the iconic 36th St. restaurant and 'persuading' its insufferable proprietor Denise Whiting to give up her claim to ownership of the trademark 'Hon,'" writes Alan Z. Forman in his Voice of Baltimore news site. You can read the rest of his summary and analysis of the show here

Baltimore Is Better than D.C. for Artists

Folks in D.C. like to thumb their noses at Baltimore.

Well now the red-headed stepchild is getting some love -- well sort of -- by the folks at Slate. They wrote a piece called "DC: The Anti-Berlin," that noted that artists can live more cheaply in Baltimore compared with D.C.

The story stated that while Washington is thriving in many ways it is has one of the most expensive housing markets while not winning any points on crime.

Meanwhile, our pals at Baltimore Fishbowl jumped on the Slate story and did some number crunching to find out that Baltimore artists earn more than their D.C. counterparts. You can read it here.

Carnival Cruise Lines "Putting More Emphasis" on Baltimore

Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a new ad campaign that touts the benefits of taking a vacation on sea versus one on land, writes the New York Times.

And its is concentrating these ads on 19 markets that have ports in or within driving distance of one of its ports, including Baltimore. That is according to Carnival Chief Marketing Officer James Berra, quoted in the Times article.

" 'Half of the United States is within a five-hour drive from one of our ports,' " Berra says in the story. " 'We’re de-emphasizing the Nebraskas and Wyomings of the world and putting more emphasis on places like D.C. and Baltimore.' "

You can read more about the ad campaign here.

Baltimore PR Maven Honored

PR News has recognized Jamie Watt Arnold of Baltimore's Profiles among its 15 to Watch. The weekly publication bestowed the honor on budding public relations professionals under 30.

"To promote client Freshii, a quick-service restaurant, Jamie Watt Arnold coordinated a grand-opening celebration that attracted Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and secured nearly 70 media hits in outlets such as the Baltimore Sun and Style Magazine," PR News writes.

You can read more about the recognition here.

Cafe Hon Owner Drops Trademark

When the public got word that Café Hon owner Denise Whiting had trademarked the word "Hon," the Hampen business owner faced a backlash that affected sales of her restaurant.

But she told several media outlets that she is dropping her trademark of the term of the uniquely Baltimore term of endearment. 

She also apologized for stirring up such controversy.

Thanks, Hon.

You can read more about it here.

Cool Local Companies Need to have a Strong Facebook Presence, Right?

From the article: "Citybizlist took a look at the 10 finalists of TechNite's 10 Hottest Technologies in Town to see what their Facebook presence looked like. We figured that if these were the hot technologies in Baltimore, they would be on the forefront of how social media, Facebook in particular, could be harnessed to attract interest, promote dialogue, create connections, establish a strong brand, etc." Read the full post here.

Occupy Baltimore: City Wants Scaled-back Presence

This article from Bloomberg Businessweek highlighted events in Baltimore's "Occupy" movement, and the community encampment near the Inner Harbor. The article quotes the mayor's office and Occupy Baltimore participants. Read the entire post here.

Sun Paywall Goes Up

The Baltimore Sun's paywall is officially up.

From paidContent:

The Baltimore Sun is the latest newspaper to add a metered paywall, for both print and non-print subscribers. A digital subscription will cost $2.49 per week or $49.99 for 26 weeks (which works out to $99.84 per year) for non-print subscribers, and $0.75 per week or $29.99 per year for print subscribers. An introductory rate of $0.99 per week for four weeks is available now for a “limited time.”

Read the rest here.
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