Living for the Weekend


“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war.” Haile Selassie

The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, a national heritage site celebrating the lives of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Black labor leader Isaac Myers, was a fitting place for Preach!, Jeffrey Kent’s exhibit.

Entering the museum on opening night, it was apparent that something special and unique was transpiring when I saw the table perched precariously atop a stack of books.  Instinctively I wanted to “reach out and touch” it, thinking this was an odd display.   As visitors entered the museum, they wrote responses to the word preach. Without hesitation I wrote “loud and long” not realizing how accurate I was. 


“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes

Kent uses paintings, collages, sculptures, and multi-media to create figurative expressions of racially-charged political events.   The exhibit draws parallels between the civil rights movement and the fight for marriage equality by presenting images using slave-picked cotton and chairs balanced on stacks of books.  The books belonged to his aunt, deceased Baltimore educator and Delta Sigma Theta soror Harriett Trader.

Guests moved throughout the impressive exhibit, sipping wine and munching on delicacies prepared by Rouge Caterers. The exhibit, sponsored by MICA and curator Marsha Jews, runs through March.

“We should emphasize not Negro history, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” Carter G. Woodson

Ann and Donel, the owners of  Franklin Street’s The Place,  were  inspired to create specialty drinks to commemorate Black History Month.

Among the offerings are drinks named POTUS, a mixture of Grand Marnier, Hennessey, mango juice and ginger ale named for Barack Obama, the President of the United States; FLOTUS, sparkling moscato with Ciroc Red Berry named for Michelle Obama, the first lady; The Rosa, vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and grenadine; The Place, Ciroc coconut, peach and red berry vodkas with orange, pineapple and grenadine; The Underground Railroad, mocha coffee, Bailey’s Irish Cream, caramel vodka and caramel creamer; and  finally,  the I Have a Dream: Ciroc vodka, rum, gin, sweet-sour mix and cola. As enticing as they sound I didn’t want to have a dream so, I’ll have an Amstel light please.

 “So you think you can sing?” I stopped pass Maceo’s on Tuesday, planning to have  a pork chop sandwich and go home early when Tony and the guys from Bobby’s Place walked in, so I removed my coat and the party started.  Tuesday’s karaoke night at Maceo with Sam and Theresa is Baltimore’s answer to American Idol. I was stunned as the crowds arrived to sing hip-hop, blues, soul ballads and duets. “Mama, I want to sing.” Maybe it’s “all in my mind” but to me I sound like Sarah Vaughn, until I sing aloud. My mother discouraged me from singing and embarrassing my family and friends.  Warning you must get there early to sign up. I didn’t know men were that into karaoke, they outnumber the women. Special thanks to Sam and Theresa for putting my name in the line-up to sing.

Somewhere between “here and now,” I forgot the open house for the Bromo Seltzer building, once the tallest building in Baltimore.  AFRO photographer Anderson Ward attended and said he walked 15 flights of stairs to view the mechanisms of the mammoth Seth Thomas clock. Anderson said the experience was worth the walk although he stopped along the way for a cup of tea at the café. 

“As we reach the September of our lives, we hear it a new way. There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed.” The Beatles

“Uptown Saturday Night” If you venture across Hilton Street, sitting off the street is Caton Castle, a jazz venue and the site of attorney Fred Grant’s surprise 65th birthday party hosted by his wife Lavone. “The joint is jumping” as family and friends arrived for an old-fashion jazz fest featuring musicians Greg Hatza, Wendell Shepherd, Vance James, Harold Adams and Ray Gaskins. After the musicians, DJ Mike Jones “set it off.

Friends from Freddie’s old neighborhoods, high school and his law school days partied “all night long” with his mom Grace Grant, daughters Yasmin and Imani, Fredrica Grant, Marsha Mack, Ann and Stanley Bush, Judge Clifton and Callie Gordy, Jay and Wanda Johnson, Winston and Lametria Hall, Alex and Peter Lovelist, Stacy and Larry Hunter, Reggie and Mary Haysbert, Shirley Kane, John Massey, Bill Massey, Dr. Walter and Larise Royal, Denise DeLeaver, Greg Turnipseed, Diane and Frank Hocker, Tom and Cheryl Campbell, Judge Wanda Heard and Sherry Simmons.

I love New York happy 21st birthday to Jared Alexander celebrating in the Big Apple with mom and dad–Dr. Guy and Joslyn Alexander. It’s your birthday Paula Johnson Branch, Jai Matthews, Terrence Shields Marsha Jews, John Gilliam and my son Michael Lee.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Aristotle Onassis

 We extend our condolences to the families of radio DJ and music promoter Billy Taylor, Thelma Cook, Michael Winder, William Peacock, Stanley Johnson and Dr. Horace Wallace on the deaths of their loved ones.

 “I’ll be seeing you” Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch

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Living for the Weekend

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