(via @thecarphography on Instagram)
Hey Baltimore! Maybe it’s been a good number of years since your poetry module in high school or university. Remember acrostic poems in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or message from the alphabet? Or maybe you remember that episode of Spongebob SquarePants where he sang “F is for friends?”
Whether you learned acrostic poems in academia or from a yellow talking sponge on cable television, you’ll enjoy this next bit. I’ve compiled 9 words, phrases and Baltimore centric ideas for each letter in the word Community to help you stay connected, feel supported, be a good neighbor, coworker and more during this global pandemic. Check it out:
C is for, you guessed it, crab pickin’ hon!
It’s springtime, which means peak season for crabs in Baltimore. We are all very tempted to gather together to pick our red, hot and steamed friends.Very. Alas, we shouldn’t, due to COVID-19 physical distancing precautions.
So how do we honor this tried, true and very Baltimore tradition of community while we’re apart? Easy! Order your bushel curbside, pickup a few tallboys or soda to your liking & plan a virtual crab feast! You may want to wrap your device in brown paper as we all know how messy this land lovers pastime can get. This virtual feast reduces your chances of bumping elbows with other crab pickers & the best part is, you get the last crab!
- Bonus: Union Craft Brewery has products that pair great with your clawed culinary delights. Union released an IPA named “Somebody to Lean On,” and 100% of the proceeds go to The Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund to benefit service workers in Baltimore who find themselves unemployed during this crisis. Shoutout to Dave Seel and all involved board members.
*INTRODUCING: SOMEBODY TO LEAN ON*
These days, we all need somebody to lean on and UNION is here for you with a brand new, sticky icky, dank and fruity Double IPA. We're tasting pineapple and mango and a subtle bitterness in the dry finish of this big 8.6% ABV DIPA. pic.twitter.com/iPMkqjdH5n
— UNION Craft Brewing (@UnionBrewing) May 12, 2020
O is for Orioles
May signifies the beginning of Oriole season — not our beloved baseball team but our orange and black feathered friends. This is as good a time as any to find new pastimes like birdwatching. Baltimore City proudly features about 4,000 acres of parkland, and I implore you to explore it! Parks are still open in Baltimore and you can take a hike along a trail while listening for the bird song of our beloved Oriole & other avian friends native to Maryland. Remember to stay 6 feet apart from other bird watchers to help #FlattenTheCurve!
- Bonus: In addition to the parks, Baltimore has recreation. Baltimore Rec and Parks has gone virtual and you can tap into 100+ free activities for all ages right here.
The first M is for Masks
Makers have their hands full these days fulfilling PPE needs for healthcare workers in Maryland & beyond. The needs have soared, which is why funding has been dispersed to some large scale operations in the city that spun up seemingly overnight.
We can’t forget about smaller community led efforts that are running on what Creative Mornings Baltimore would call an “Engine of Generosity.” Small shops like Bushlers of Baltimore owned and operated by Aaron Jones and Alysha January, known for her brand Discover Charm City, have been churning out handmade cloth face masks since late March. This Baltimore couple recently hit the pause button on planning an October wedding & are focused on serving their community one piece of elastic at a time.
- Bonus: The Creative Mornings Baltimore crew have been holding community gatherings like virtual yoga with Justin Timothy Temple and trash craft with Robyn Stegman, the voice of Mr.Trash Wheel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Follow Creative Mornings Baltimore on Instagram for upcoming events.
The second M is for Movies
If you’re like me, you’re consuming films by the dozen each week in your downtime from remote work & the ever popular grocery shopping. Keep in mind the next time your browsing streaming platform giants like Netflix or Amazon that you can watch movies & support local! Theaters like The Parkway are closed physically but open for virtual streaming! The Parkway Theater retains its focus on independent, international, documentary, classic, and cult-favorite films & has lots to choose from on Parkway’s Virtual Theater.
- Bonus: Need a sweet treat to go along with your movie? Bramble Bakes is making sweet handpies and other crowd favorites available at @pillion_tea, @sophomorecoffee, and @birdinhandcoffeeandbooks.
U us for Underground Music
I truly miss shows at venues like North Avenue Market, Ottobar and even basements! Some of my favorite music comes from underground artists I’ve met in that circuit like MosEL, a Detroit-born and Baltimore-based emcee who I personally love for his soulfuland organic sound. Supporting artists in every medium right now is imperative as the gig economy for live entertainment has taken a tremendous hit. Visit your favorite artists Bandcamp, Soundcloud or put together your own virtual concert like local musician Brandon Woody has. Catch Brandon and his group Upendo featuring Troy Long and Devron Dennis on Charm TV on 5/18 at 5 p.m.
- Bonus: My favorite local DJs are going livestreams often and I love it. Follow DJ Dagm, DJ Sovthpaw or DJ Damn Kham for more info on their next live boogie session.
N is for Neighborhood
We’re usually flying in and out of our Hampden, Remington or Charles Village homes paying little attention to our neighbors or their needs. Wherever you reside in Baltimore, COVID-19 pushed us apart physically, but is pulling us together in so many more ways. Consider simply asking a neighbor how they are doing. Or, if you have the means, order them a small plant from B. Willow and pick it up curbside. Build a small mailbox for the children to write letters to each other like my neighbors Mr. C & Mrs E did for their son little C! My daughters Blair and Harper (featured in my last piece, “Kids as colleagues..”) love their new penpal!
- Bonus: The Neighborhood Design Center wants to hear from you! They are talking to people who live, work, walk, worship, attend school, ride the bus, use services, and spend time in the Station North Arts District. Their new initiative “Signal Station North” aims to draw foot traffic by illuminating artwork and businesses. If you have spare time, please sign up for a 20-minute phone interview here.
I is for Initiative
Baltimore is known for its innovation scene. Initiatives are springing up left and right, like Dent Education’s mission to empower their youth to make face shields. Or local avant-garde electronic musician Abdu Ali and their initiative “As They Lay,” which raised over $1K to fund 15 microgrants of $100 to Black, LGBTQ and women-identifying, Baltimore-based artists who have been financially affected by the impacts of COVID-19.
- Bonus: Abdu and I will be featured alongside Sharayna Christmas on “No Permission Needed” a platform created by Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network of MICA. We’ll be talking about artists supporting artists during this tough time.
T is for Taste the Charm
New and established makers in Baltimore have really stepped up amidst the COVID-19 crisis! Baltimore based bar star Remody Celeste has been at home in her lab making cocktails for neighbors in Mt. Vernon in Mason Jars for pickup & handmade charm bracelets to replace revenue lost due to her bar on Madison Avenue closing amidst COVID-19 precautions.
And makers like the vegan ice cream purveyors at Cajou Creamery are doing porch drop-offs of their plant-based frozen desserts; they are the perfect springtime treat.
Y is for You
These are all ways that you can have fun and stay safe in community during the COVID-19 crisis. I’m hoping you feel a little bit more connected and supported in the name of social distancing. Happy crab pickin’, bird watchin’, mask wearin’, movie watchin’, head boppin’, neighborhood lovin’, home stayin’ and ice cream eatin’ to you all.
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