An Artscape Adventure

Every year, Baltimore, MD hosts America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape. If you can brave the heat and risk the rainy weather, you’re in for a treat and a day filled with presentations so astounding and innovative that you redefine your definition of art.

Instead of trying to do justice to the visually marvelous through mere text, I’m going to share my experience through picture and video. I’m no where near being an artist, so please forgive the camera and video quality and be sure to look for the meaning behind the screening.

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When asked what can heal our community

When asked what can heal our community: ( I wrote “enthusiasm”)

I helped pain this, can you tell?

I couldn’t believe that an event so unique had been frequenting my community for the past 30 years and I had never appreciated and experienced the artistic adventure. While some of the projects or performances were a bit trippy, I loved I only wish that I could have taken pictures of all the vendors’ shops and wares. I’d seen pictures sewn with yarn, a shockingly deep portrait of a deer, book pages fashioned into a hanging decoration, perfect woodworked animals, and concrete sculptures bursting with life.

Please, make an effort to plan your visit to Artscape either this year or next to experience emotion you’d long forgotten about. But, on the chance that you can’t make it into Baltimore, check out the local arts scene around you. It may be weird, it may be uncomfortable, it may be confusing, but if it makes you truly feel something within, then the art has served its purpose.

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Pals of the Pen

I’ve always wanted a pen pal.

Ever since I was young, I’ve held an affinity for writing and a passion for connecting with other people.

The fact that we sit in traffic almost each and every day next to hundreds of people whose lives we will never know, whose circumstances we can only begin to imagine, whose hopes, dreams, and aspirations are a complete mystery to us but are also familiarly reflected in our own lives, is a truly unbelievable occurrence.

world with peopleThere are so many people in this world, and I’ve long harbored the dream to connect with those that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to meet. I always knew that it would be difficult to travel, and I thought that just by communicating with someone via letter, I could experience their world and live their reality. I wouldn’t have to wonder any longer what the 60 year old woman in the green Honda liked to sing to on the radio, or who the 18 year old boy was talking to with a smile on his face.

I’ve never actually had a pen pal, but this blog is getting pretty darn close to fulfilling that dream of mine. Through this post, these pieces, this site, I’ve shared my world and connected with others from all different walks of life.

I know that when I publish this post, it’ll be just like mailing a letter to my long-standing pen pal, humanity.blank letter

O’s Magic

Since before I was born, I’ve been an Orioles fan. I may not be the most avid or knowledgeable baseball watcher, but I truly enjoy the sport, and even more than that, I love attending the games.orioles logo

I’ve always gone to the O’s games with my family, but around last year I realized that it had been a good 4 years since we’d last ventured into Camden Yards. So for Father’s Day 2012 (delayed due to hectic schedules and weather complications), I decided to give my dad tickets to a game of his choosing, which we used by watching the Orioles play the Rays.

camden yardsDespite the threat of rain, constant humidity, and eventual loss of the O’s, we had a great time as a family. The beautiful Baltimore skyline greeted us as we drove into the city early that morning for a bit of exploring. We took a stroll by the warehouse right next to the park and paid a visit to Boog’s BBQ stand where I got a picture with Boog Powell himself. After satisfying our craving for deliciously overpriced ballpark food, we took our seats in one of the top decks. But the height of our seats and the fact that they were a mere $17 didn’t deter us from having a lovely afternoon. We could see perfectly and had plenty of people around us to add volume to the cheers reverberating throughout the stadium.

Unlike Ravens games which can get intense and loud, the Orioles games are oh so calm and relaxed. There is a real family atmosphere to be found with all of the children toddling around in their orange jerseys while grandparents patiently wait in lines for the tots’ cotton candy. Despite the child behind us kicking my mom’s seat and playing his video game rather loudly, everyone was so well behaved and courteous, further adding to our pleasant experience.

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IMG_2092I truly love spending time with my family, and the strong sense of community that the O’s could provide for me was great too. Every now and again you just need to know that you’re a part of something larger than yourself, and it may take yelling “O!” during the National Anthem with thousands of strangers to feel that sense of unity.

Need Directions? I’d Love to Help!

For some reason, I absolutely love it when people ask me for directions. I feel thrilled whenever someone approaches me with a confused gleam in their eye and a dejected shrug in their shoulders.

Mostly I get asked while roaming the streets of the University of Maryland, as it is so easy to get lost in the 1,250 acres of rolling hills.  Sometimes I’ll even approach people who are oh so obviously lost. They try to hide their crumpled map and frustrated sighs, but I seek them out and gladly offer up my services.

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Giving directions is a wonderful way to boost your self-confidence. I know it seems silly, but there is nothing better than proving your literal street smarts and helping others in a simple way. It’s also nice to affirm that you know your way around in the world and are so confident with the path you’ve chosen that you’d like nothing more than to share that path with the poor lost souls of the world.

Maybe I’m reading too much into telling someone to take the first left and find the Benjamin Building on their right, but I truly love giving directions and knowing exactly where I am.

(Strangely enough, I also love asking for directions. I think it’s because I’m offering someone the chance to experience the same delight that I feel when called upon to perform in the line of societal duety.)

Maryland Day: Freebies and Friends

DSCN0537Yesterday, the University of Maryland hosted their annual event, Maryland Day. Basically, this is one day every spring where the whole campus decides to participate in showing off what UMD and the state of Maryland has to offer.

Families, alumni, prospective Terps, and people from the surrounding communities come out in droves for:

  • Wacky science experiments
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  • Plant give-aways (for the winners of a recycling game)
  • Musical performances
  • Donations to Terp Thon (the standing marathon I participated in benefiting Children’s Miricle Network)
  • A mini dance festival
  • Caricatures
  • Delicious food (with, of course, crab cakes)
  • Arts and crafts (where it is also acceptable for the young at heart to get creative with sand art and coloring)
  • A chance to meet members of the UMD football team
  • Raffles for fabulous prizes
  • Information on the University of Maryland and the services they offer
  • FREEBIES!

DSCN0538I had a blast going around with my friends and checking out everything available to me that I never even knew existed. And I didn’t even have time to go through the whole event. Just think about how much more there is to explore right under your nose!

But my absolute favorite part was all the free merchandise I scored. Maryland gives you so much in the way of freebies that I’ve had to start limiting myself and asking,

“Now are you really going to care about that yo-yo a few weeks from now?”

“Do you remember the three other yo-yos sitting in your room, neglected and unused?”

“Would you regret for the rest of your life slowly putting the yo-yo down and walking away from the table?”

I successfully ignored the colorful ensnarement of the yo-yo, but that didn’t stop me from bringing in a huge haul that included:

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  • 5 posters (1 signed by the football team)
  • A water bottle
  • Opportunities and information on volunteeringDSCN0566
  • Friendship and a day of silliness
  • Stickers and pins
  • A temporary turtle tattoo
  • Pens and pencils
  • A bit of a tan
  • Memories and pictures
  • A bracelet that changes colors when it’s sunny

I’ve gone to this event every year, and every year it gets better and better with each realization that there is so much available for me to do around here in both a fun and professional capacity.

Do you have anything like this in your area? You should make the effort to see what your community has to offer and chances are you’ll find one or two things of interest that you never knew you could explore.