Oh yeah, and Baltimore

I wasn’t there all that long really and I’m not sure how you can get to know any place in just a couple of days. But I loved what I saw. I was staying essentially on the Johns Hopkins University grounds. The neighborhood was gorgeous. I went to the Fell Point area also fabulous. It’s an old cobblestoned restaurant and entertainment district (not a big fan of the cobblestone for walking purposes, though, cute but dangerous, says an old man) but I think the real testament to the city was their not-that-great areas.

These are shots in the areas I’d been warned to be careful of (and where the google took me to get gas). Didn’t seem so bad to me.

But the American Visionary Art Museum was mind blowing. Not only was the building fabulous but their current exhibit on compassion was sublime.

That’s pretty much all I saw but there is so much more there. I don’t know when I will have a chance to go back but I’d love to. Even for another long weekend.

Aside from the hell of travel it was amazing. Below is what I encountered at 5:35 am on a Thursday in Milwaukee when I was leaving. Eventually I made it to the gate and boarded only to have to get out of the plane wait for repairs and then reboard. I had plenty of time to waste and no connecting flight to catch but really?

So, Baltimore

My friend Manny Schöngut told me about a retrospective show of the artist Joan Mitchell, not Joni, that he was seeing in San Francisco. I love her. (You can see more about her work here but it in no way can feel the way seeing it in person feels). She is an underrated and overlooked artist who, while she had success in her lifetime did not get the recognition that her contemporary, fellow abstract expressionists, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock did. People dismissed her work as too feminine which really annoys me. So when he told me about the show I thought maybe I’d take a trip out to San Fran to see it. But the show was nearing the end of its run and moving on to Baltimore. So I thought, OK, Baltimore. That was back in September or something. The show opened last Sunday. I made a date in my calendar back then hoping that I’d figure out how to do it.

In the meantime, not knowing exactly where Baltimore is, OK, sure it’s somewhere near New York or possibly Boston, I concocted a scheme to include a visit to some friends out there. One in State College, PA, home to Penn State and the Nittany Lions. Another in Carlisle, PA home to Molly Pitcher, not that I knew that at the time. Arranging it was not as easy as it sounds for various reasons I won’t bore you with. But I joined the Baltimore Art Museum so that I could get a timed entry on the opening day. OMG. It was so fabulous.

More on Baltimore in a sec.

How did we travel before this?!

I am in Baltimore and I rented a (hideous blue) car. I breezed hither and tither with either a lady or an Irish guy providing me with crisp, clear and concise directions. On this particular occasion I was heading to a gas station (I have not been to a gas station since last summer) and now I needed to fill the tank before returning it to the rental tomorrow. The Irish guy led me to what was not the nicest part of Baltimore but no matter, I was just getting gas.

Hm. How to open the gas tank on a Mitsubishi Outlander. Not a clue. There was a little door there but it did not open the way other cars do, by giving it a push. Instead, I flopped around in the driver’s seat frantically looking all over the goddam place for anything that remotely looked like it would open the thing. As there were now people behind me, albeit polite ones, waiting to get in, I began to get panicky. And then (light bulb emoji) I asked the google.

As I began to pull out the lady behind me yelled at me. I’d left my gas cap open. Having gotten used to a car with no gas cap, I’d forgotten that aspect of car ownership apparently.