Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A new endeavor

My apologies to those who came here regularly.

I had to focus more on the writing that I get paid for. However, I have started a new site with some compatriots that has both regional and local relevance.

And yes, I am using my status as the Maryland correspondent for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News to push the new blog and to land advertising for it.

For those of you who are interested, you can find the new blog here -


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Destination Shepherdstown and a quick Zombie update

I know I have said this before, so brace yourself, 'cause I'm gonna say it again...

One of the best day trips out there for the general citizenry of Frederick, is to take the 40 to 45 minutes to drive into Shepherdstown, WV. (For the more scenic route, head out alternate route 40 to and turn left at the first traffic light you hit in Boonsboro. It only adds five to ten minutes and it takes you past the Antietam Battlefield).

The main drag, German Street, has a handful of funky shop and top notch restaurants. I highly recommend Three Onions restaurant and martini bar, The Blue Moon Cafe (be forewarned, last time I went, they were cash only), long-time standard The Yellow Brick Bank, and the Bavarian Inn (I have not eaten there, but it has been repeatedly recommended to me).

For desert, any of those restaurants will do, but if you want something cold that and still want to be able to wander along German Street, hit Mimi's Ice Cream at 114 East German Street.

On Sunday mornings the town hosts a farmer's market right behind the library on German.

Most importantly to this post, however, is that this weekend is the Shepherdstown Film Festival at the Opera House.

According to Rusty Berry over at the Opera House, film buffs can expect the following -

In cooperation with the Shepherdstown Film Society, the Opera House is pleased to present the “Shepherdstown Film Festival” on the weekend of June 15 – featuring the area’s premieres of “Amazing Grace”, “The Namesake”, and “Avenue Montaigne”. Admission for each film is $8.00, with that extra dollar going to benefit FOSL, the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library. Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.operahousemovies.com or daily at the Sweet Shop Bakery.

Adapted from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s best-selling novel, “The Namesake” is the story of two generations of a Bengali family transplanted from 1970s Calcutta to New York City. Two veteran actors of India’s “Bollywood” film industry, Irrfan Khan and Tabu, portray Ashoke and Ashima, who move after their arranged marriage from India to America and start a family. Many of America’s ways seem strange to the young couple. Ashima is astounded that gas and electricity work twenty-four hours a day. When their son is born, Ashoke is surprised to learn that the baby cannot leave the hospital without having been given a name – in India, a child’s formal name is chosen by the maternal grandmother, often after several years have passed. Ashoke, an aspiring engineer who reads depressing Russian writers, names the boy Gogol, after his favorite author.

Gogol (played by Kal Penn of the sadly neglected comedy “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”) grows up to be a typical dope-smoking, smart-assed teenager turned architect yuppie, who is embarrassed by his immigrant parents, even though they have become well-off and comfortably ensconced in a Westchester mansion. When he brings home his blonde, WASPish girlfriend from Yale, the family tensions increase.

Director Mira Nair, who was educated at Delhi University and Harvard, first hit the film scene in 1988 with “Salaam Bombay!” which was nominated for an Oscar. She followed that with the critically acclaimed “Mississippi Masala” and “Monsoon Wedding”. “The Namesake” premiered at Dartmouth College when Ms. Nair received the Dartmouth Film Award, which honors outstanding contributions to film and filmmaking. Previous winners include Robert Redford, Liv Ullman, Ken Burns, Ang Lee, Glenn Close and Meryl Streep – that’s quite a group (somehow I see them all working together as PBS airs a Ken Burns documentary about the making of a scorned-woman martial-arts film called “Cringing Tigress, Hidden Dragqueen”, with Redford in the role of a lifetime). Running time 122 minutes, rated PG-13.

“Moving and marvelous!” - Entertainment Weekly

“A tearjerker and sweetly funny – nearly perfect!” - The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Immensely pleasurable!” - The Wall Street Journal

Showtimes for “The Namesake” are Friday at 5:00, Saturday at 5:00, Sunday at 8:00, and Monday at 8:00.

For decades, William Wilburforce (played by Welshman Ioan Gruffudd) battled in the English Parliament to end Britain’s participation in the slave trade. When the abolition bill finally passed in 1807, his peers called his influence on the world as important as that of Napoleon, and the revered statesman was eventually buried in Westminster Abbey. Fifteen years earlier, Wilburforce was only a beginner in politics. Blessed with a beautiful voice, he was called “the nightingale of the House of Commons.” When William Pitt, the Prime Minister, tasked the young man with the job of leading Britain away from a practice that “degrades men to the level of brutes”, Wilburforce had been struggling to find a cause, torn between using his voice to do God’s work or simply to praise Him. The pursuit of abolition allowed him to do both.

Director Michael Apted is one of the most talented and prolific people in film today. An Englishman who studied law and history at Cambridge, he started his film career at Granada Television where he produced what would become the first of his “Up!” series of films in 1964. He selected a group of seven-year-old children and captured their lives on the screen. Believing that the English class system was more prevalent than people might think, and following the Jesuit maxim of “give me a child of seven and I will give you the man”, he revisited the same people every seven years for another film, just finishing “49Up” in 2005 and making plans for “56Up.” His other and very varied credits include “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, which received seven Oscar nominations, “Gorillas in the Mist”, the James Bond film “The World is Not Enough”, and social commentaries such as “Class Action” and “Incident at Ogala.” In “Amazing Grace”, he brings his story-telling skills to the forgotten history of a man who must rank with Churchill and Martin Luther King, Jr. Co-stars include some of Britain’s best stage and screen actors, including Albert Finney as the reformed slave-ship captain who wrote the title song, Michael Gambon, and Ciaran Hinds. Running time 111 minutes, rated PG.

“For anyone who has felt morally right and in the minority!” - The San Francisco Chronicle

“An unusually satisfying and inspiring epic from one of contemporary cinema’s best filmmakers!” - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Informative, compelling, and entertaining!” - New York Daily News

Showtimes for “Amazing Grace” are Friday at 8:00 followed by a discussion led by Washington-area critic Nelson Presley, Saturday at 8:00, and Sunday at 2:00.

When Jessica (the beautiful Cecile de France) leaves the provinces and moves to Paris, she is simply following her grandmother’s advice to live near luxury, even if you can’t afford it. Quickly getting a job as a waitress at a Bistro on the “Avenue Montaigne”, she soon finds herself in another world full of quirky characters, many of who are as amazed with her as she is with them. Character upon character and episode upon episode unfold (watch for the famous American film director played by famous American film director Sydney Pollack) in Paris’ most posh neighborhood Director Daniele Thompson’s comedy of manners that looks at the serendipitous forces that bring people together was France’s official submission for this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar. Running time 106 minutes, rated PG-13. In French, with English subtitles.

“A fine cast and a joie de vivre!” - The San Francisco Chronicle

“Rarely has Paris seemed more enchanting!” - New York Daily News

“A consistently entertaining comedy that tackles the big themes of life and art!” - Variety

Showtimes for “Avenue Montaigne” are Saturday at 2:00, Sunday at 5:00, and Monday at 5:00.

And now for the undead...

A handful of people weighed in on the great undead debate I posted here several weeks ago, and, based on the way the respondents' answers were weighted, here are the results to date -

1. Night of the Living Dead (19 points)

2. Tie
Dawn of the Dead (2004 - 15 points)
Dawn of the Dead (orig - 15 points)

4. Shaun of the Dead (12 points)

5. 28 Days Later (10 points)

6. Tie
Evil Dead II (5 points)
Army of Darkness (5 Points)

8. Night of the Living Dead (1990, 4 points)

9. Dead Alive (3 Points)

Also receiving votes, Ed and his Dead Mother, Zombi 2, Grindhouse: Planet Terror, Night of the Creeps and Return of the Living Dead.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen...I give you wine...

This is shaping up as a busy weekend. A hop, skip and a jump east in Cockeysville, Maryland Wine is holding it's fifth annual Great Grapes festival. It runs from Noon until Six on both Saturday and Sunday and there's a lineup of musicians performing each day. I've heard good things about the festival.

On Sunday at Harry Grove is hosting the third annual Taste of Frederick. Went last year and had a blast.

Speaking of Harry Grove - The Counting Crows will be headlining a show there in August with an undercard of Live and Collective Soul for $51.50 per person. Not a terrible price to see three decent bands.

And, of course, this weekend is the annual Potomac River Family Festival and Great Brunswick River Race. It looks like there's a lot to choose from.

On Saturday I will be in Poolesville for a game against the North Carolina Tigers. From the Baltimore Washington Eagles home office...

Tigers will be at Eagles in Round 1 of the EAFL competition. As an added bonus, the Tigers will also take on the Philly Hawks in game two of the day.

Add to that a children's clinic that will be run between games and you have a full day of footy to take in. Please contact Chris Adams (christopher_ p_adams@hotmail. com) if you or your little one would like to participate. For more information on Chris' efforts with the USFooty Kids program, please see www.dcfootykids.blogspot.com.

We will be in picturesque Poolesville, MD for the day. The field is adjacent to the Capitol Polo Ground (where the Metro Grand Final was played last year). The map to the ground is below.

http://maps. live.com/ ?v=2&sp=Point. qhgztk8jgg71_ Poolesville% 2C%20Maryland% 2C%20United% 20States_ __~Polygon. qhh40d8jgm8p_ qhgs6p8jgjbr_ qhgvxp8jg6h9_ qhh9q98jg81m_ qhh4xd8jgmp8_ qhh40d8jgm8p_ Footy%20Ground_ ___%230000FF_ %23008000_ 2pt_Single_ Solid_qhh1yz8jgg bw&encType= 1

The entrance to the ground, on the map is at the intersection of Hughes Road and Sugarland Road. We will have signs pointing your way as you come up along River Road from the Beltway.

The first game will start at noon. Kids clinic will begin between 1:30 and 2:00 and the Tigers/Hawks game will take place shortly there after or roughly 2:45pm.
Come on down and cheer us on if you're in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cycling fans - check out the Opera House in S-Town

From the good folks at the Shepherdstown Opera House...

Dear Opera House Friends,

We have two films for you this weekend, “Black Book”, a thrilling new World War II movie, and “The Flying Scotsman”, an inspiring new drama much in the vein of “The World’s Fastest Indian.”

With “Black Book”, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven returns to his native Holland for the first time since 1983 to film a World War II story of love, intrigue and betrayal that critics are calling one of the most exciting movies of the year. Gorgeous newcomer Carice van Houten stars as Rachel Stein, a young Jewish woman living in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands whose parents have been killed by Dutch collaborators. For a while she eludes capture by living with a sympathetic Christian family, but when their house is bombed, she escapes and joins the Dutch Resistance. There she is asked to seduce a Nazi officer and infiltrate his headquarters.

Rachel dyes her hair blonde and passes herself off as a pre-war stage singer named Ellis de Vries. Soon enough, she is sleeping with Gestapo officer Ludwig Muntze (Sebastian Koch of “The Lives of Others”) and “bugging” his office as the Resistance attempts to stay one step ahead of the Nazis and identify traitors in their midst.

In Holland, government subsidies make up as much as fifty percent of a movie’s production budget. Despite having directed a series of acclaimed films (“Spetters”, “Turkish Delight”, “The Fourth Man”, “Soldier of Orange”), Verhoeven had to beg for funding from a government that did not feel his movies provided a positive image of Dutch society. Verhoeven, who was born in Amsterdam and lived there during the Occupation, left Holland for Hollywood years ago, where he directed such hits as “RoboCop”, “Total Recall”, and “Basic Instinct.” Success must have helped him free up some more guilders, because “Black Book” was filmed with reportedly the largest budget ever for a Dutch production, and it shows on the screen with absolutely great sets and costume design, cinematography and music. Running time 145 minutes, rated R. In Dutch, English, German and Hebrew, with English subtitles.

“No movie about the Dutch Resistance has any right to be this wildly entertaining, provocative, and potently erotic – 145 minutes and not a dull second!” - Rolling Stone

“Filled with suspense, betrayal, melodrama, violence, music – hugely enjoyable from start to finish!” - The Wall Street Journal

“Verhoeven proves a sure-handed storyteller!” - The Baltimore Sun

Showtimes for “Black Book” are Friday at 8:15, Saturday at 8:15, Sunday at 2:00 and 7:30, and Monday at 8:15.

“The Flying Scotsman” is the true story of Graeme Obree, a one-time Scottish bicycle messenger who became the fastest cyclist in the world in July of 1993 when he covered 32.06 miles in one hour over a closed course and began a career where he would win world championships despite the world cycling authority’s attempts to ban his unorthodox riding styles.

As a child, Obree had been given a bike by his father, and he used it to escape the bullies who taunted him. Over the years, his obsession with racing grew (he trained on a strict diet of marmalade sandwiches), and he became fixated on the one-hour speed record, a grueling feat of self-discipline where the rider competes alone against the clock – in a sport which often glorifies pain, the one-hour record-holder is viewed with awed respect. His bike, which he later nicknamed “Old Faithful”, was handmade to fit his peculiar riding position, and included bearings cannibalized from a washing machine. (Pictures of his bikes can be seen at Graeme Obree's Bikes. A rank amateur without corporate sponsors, his first attempt failed. Normally it takes weeks or even months for a cyclist to recover from the event. Obree set the world record the very next day.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) banned his bicycle. Obree then developed a new riding style called “Superman”, so named for the arms-extended aerodynamic position that he assumed, and used it to win the 1995 World Pursuit Championship. The UCI promptly banned his new bicycle. Obree, whose brother had died suddenly in 1994, had been suffering from depression for years. Believing that his sport was conspiring against him, he retired from competition and now lives with his wife and two children in Scotland, where he still rides in local events.

Jonny Lee Miller of “Trainspotting” stars as Obree, and his performance captures the troubled cyclist’s mixture of sweet-faced earnestness and intense obsession. Director Douglas Mackinnon elevates the drama with some heart-pounding scenes of the record attempts, filmed with Obree himself riding a camera-equipped bike. Running time 96 minutes, rated PG-13.

“A tale fast and moving, it’s not only inspiring, it’s infuriating.” - The Chicago Tribune

“An underdog story with teeth!” - The New York Post

Showtimes for “The Flying Scotsman” are Friday at 6:00, Saturday at 6:00, Sunday at 5:00, and Monday at 6:00.

New additions to our giant movie poster sale include pristine copies of “Fay Grim”, with a great shot of indie-film queen Parker Posey, “Little Children” with Kate Winslet, and “Lost in Translation”, with Scarlett Johansson. Like I have explained before, the sooner I move all these posters out of our guest bedroom, the sooner my mother-in-law can come up for a visit. Each poster is $3.00 – yes, a huge sum of money and an expensive investment that should not be undertaken without lengthy and time-consuming deliberation on your part. – so take all the time you need.

In cooperation with the Shepherdstown Film Society, the Opera House is pleased to present the “Shepherdstown Film Festival” on the weekend of June 15 – featuring the area’s premieres of “Amazing Grace”, “The Namesake”, and “Avenue Montaigne”. Showtimes and advance ticketing information are available at www.operahousemovies.com and at the Sweet Shop Bakery!

Coming attractions - “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”, “The Valet”, “Waitress”, and “An Unreasonable Man” – the highly acclaimed film about activist and gadfly Ralph Nader.

For more information about other upcoming films and events, please check our website at www.OperaHouseMovies.com.

Pam & Rusty Berry

Monday, June 4, 2007

Wine and West Virginia

A quick note to me from the good folks at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery which is holding a wine tasting of wines from Tuscany on Wednesday night (call soon, space is limited)...

We still have a few seats available for our wine tasting this Wednesday, June 6, featuring the best of reds and whites from Tuscany. George Benford, our knowledgeable and savvy leader (who has just returned from an extended wine tour in France) will conduct us through the vineyards and topography of perhaps one of the most beautiful and bountiful places on earth. The tasting fee is $15 per person with special discounts offered on purchases made at the tasting. Reservations may be made by responding to this email or by calling the bakery at 876-2432. We will start at 6:30 and should be finished by 8:00, allowing plenty of time to sojourn to your favorite neighborhood restaurant afterward. Ciao!!
Pam Berry

Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery
Have a sweet day!
For those of you who haven't been, Shepherdstown is just a hop, skip and a jump away...well, a 40 to 45 minute drive, but it is certainly worth the ride. The bakery is right on the main drag, near the college (then again, so is almost everything else).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ro-o-o-oling on the riiiivvvverrr....

This month festivals abound, kicking it off with the Western Maryland Blues Festival which kicks off tomorrow night in Hagerstown, as well as the Jefferson Ruritan Spring Festival and the Frederick Festival of the Arts this weekend. Then next week there's the annual Potomac River Family Festival and River Race, followed by on the weekend of the 15th there's the Shepherdstown Film Festival. The weekend of the 23rd Linganore Winery will hold its Swingin' Blues Wine Festival featuring the Kelly Bell Band and The Nighthawks.

All of this happening in and around the county, and none of that includes the monthly regulars like Brunswick's First Friday this week, or Frederick's First Saturday and Alive@Five Events. This month's Alive@Five event features soul performers Quiet Fire.

An update soon on the Zombie Movie poll from last week. Let's get more people responding...if I recall, currently the 2004 remake is leading the way as the favorite Zombie film for readers here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

It seems like every weekend that there are things going on around the county, I have someplace that I need to be...this weekend I have a family reunion to hit and it looks like it's going to be a busy week around Frederick.

The Keys continue a home stand this week - check their site for details and promotions, while Dancing Bear Toys on North Market Street will play host to Snow White on Wednesday night. Think of it as a meet and greet for kids.

On Thursday, the Downtown Partnership will host the Alive at Five event on Carroll Creek featuring music by The Reagan Years.

On Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Middletown will be hosting a children's parade and ice cream social. For more information, click here.

Other festivals and events include; the MET performing Snow White, a brass band concert of popular patriotic American music at FCC, a salute to our military at the Walkersville Southern Railroad, Swan Lake at the Weinberg, and Frederick Artists Market.

At the Wineries...
Linganore will be hosting a Caribbean wine festival this weekend and down in Virginia, Tarara will be holding a memorial day celebration.

For you adventure movie fans...
The third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean is due for release this weekend. For that retro experience, drive up to Dillsburg, PA on route 15, it's about 10, maybe 15 minutes north of Gettysburg, and see the movie at Haar's Drive-in. They are going to start showing the movie on Thursday.