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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Everybody's working for the weekend...

Okay, I know that's a pretty lame 1980's song reference, and I usually like to make film references, but here's what's on tap this weekend...

In Frederick County -

The Keys begin a homestand on Thursday night, celebrating St. Pats (I know it's not the right day and all, but it's their promotion). Friday is fireworks night at the stadium. Click on the link for more about what the Keys are up to this weekend.

Break out the ouzo, St. Peter's and St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church across from the Safeway on 7th Street in Frederick will be holding its annual Greek Festival this weekend. For more information, click here.

The MET starts a run of Something Brilliant Will Come to Us on the main stage this weekend. The original piece is billed as a comedy.

Down the road -
The Tarara Winery over in Lucketts, VA will be holding their 7th annual Winds and Wine festival. There will be vendors and kite flying demonstrations. Also be prepared for the $15 admission fee.

The Shepherdstown Opera House continues its run of Miss Potter, and will start showing Hot Fuzz this weekend. A great little town for dinner and a movie for those of you who haven't been.

Hagerstown is hosting its weekly farmers market, but the Western Maryland Blues Festival will be there at the beginning of June, starting with a prelude on Thursday the 31st. Consider this first notice. Blues legend James Cotton will be playing, and I intend to be there.

Also, DCSmashed is sponsoring the following over the next couple of weeks -

May 18- Monto Carlo Night benefiting the RPJ Housing Development
Corporation. http://www.rpjhousi ng.org/monte. html

May 19- Tamika & Friend's Beat the Clock Walk to raise money and
awareness for cervical cancer
http://www.tamikaan dfriends. org/aboutthewalk .html

May 24- Happy Hour at Capitol Lounge to benefit Capital Queen for Day.
http://www.capitalq fad.org/index. html

June 9- Lawyers Have Heart 10K Run & Walk benefiting the American
Heart Association
. To register or volunteer: http://www.runlhh. org

Local Club Sports -
Frederick Rugby men's club currently sports a winning record, but doesn't play again until June 3. For more information, click here. The women's club will be playing in Harrisburg this weekend.

The Baltimore/Washington Eagles started their Metro season last weekend, which featured a DC win over NoVa. This weekend will feature DC v. Baltimore at West Potomac Park in Washington DC.

Current standings -

METRO 2007 LADDER

TEAM

GP

W

L

PF

PA

%

DC

1

1

0

97

69

141

NVA

1

0

1

69

97

71

BAL

-

-

-

-

-

-


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Now for a little fluff...

I will have some of the upcoming weekend's to do's sometime tomorrow, but right now, I decided to do little fluff piece. As the regulars here know, I'm a fan of zombie films. I'm going to list a number of them here, some good, some bad, and have you guys vote on your favorites (give me your top five) in the comments section...feel free to mention/recommend any I may have missed. In about a week I'll tally the votes and list Frederick's top ten zombie flicks.

Night of the Living Dead - The 1960's Romero classic

Night of the Living Dead (1990) - Tom Savini's remake.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) - The high adrenaline remake, partially inspired by 28 Days Later.

Dawn of the Dead (original) - The second in Romero's trilogy

Day of the Dead - The final installment of Romero's 24 hours of zombie.

Dead Heat - A zombie buddy cop film featuring Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo.

Evil Dead - Bruce Campbell, a remote cabin, and really cheap lighting. I have some friends who would call that their perfect date.

Evil Dead 2 - Pretty much one all over again, but with a bigger budget.

Army of Darkness - Five simple words...Hail to the King, baby.

Land of the Dead - Romero makes his return to the zombie genre with Dennis Hopper playing the biggest corporate asshole since Paul Riser's yuppie from hell in Aliens.

28 Days Later - Arguably, and no pun intended, revived a dead genre.

28 Weeks Later - A worthy sequel dealing with the Rage infection in England.

Return of the Living Dead - This is where "braaaaiiiinnnnsss," comes from.

Return of the Living Dead III - A different take on dealing with turning into a zombie.

Slither - Equal parts alien invasion and zombie menace.

Resident Evil - Yes...from the video game and yes, Milla Jovovich. Do I need to say anything else?

Resident Evil: Apocalypse - Um...I got nothing.

Grindhouse: Planet Terror - Possibly the highest budget zombie film I have ever seen. Definitely the most recognizable cast.

Shaun of the Dead - Ah, Simon Pegg taking the piss out of a genre. A can't miss...

My Boyfriend’s Back - Coming back from the dead for the prom...it's just that important to some people.

Idle Hands - Some early Jessica Alba. Amusing.

Dead Alive - A zombie film from Peter Jackson, long before Lord of the Rings.

Deadlands: the Rising - A locally made flesh-eater, produced here, in Maryland.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

For those of you who missed it

A good time was had by all.

If you missed it this year, the festival happens the Saturday before Mother's Day each year. Look for it next year. To see more photos, click here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Movie Review: 28 Weeks Tenser...

Okay, so this wasn't tenser than the original, but I would deem it a worthy sequel to 28 Days Later. While the script certainly has it's share of holes - you can find those listed on other Web sites - there was only one issue that I would deem a glaring error, otherwise the group involved in bringing this sequel to life did an admirable job explaining how the virus returns almost seven months after the initial infection.

A few brief complaints - the character development in this was weaker than in 28 D'sL, but not a significant issue. There were one or two important plot points that were not well thought out (particularly in regards to certain military actions that seemed a bit far-fetched) and do require greater suspension of disbelief, but on a whole, this does what a good horror film should do - it gets the adrenaline pumping.

On the plus side, the movie largely follows two children through the re-birth of infection and the actors playing the two children were both very watchable. Fortunately, the director and writers also managed to stay away from using the children as an obvious crutch to garner the audience's sympathy.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Get down with the sickness...

28 Weeks Later starts today, and yes, I have plans to go see it. I will post a review.

It looks hot, humid, and like thundershowers today and tomorrow, so unless you like hot and sticky, finding things to do indoors might be the way to go.

The Shepherdstown Opera House continues with Japanese horror film The Host, and has just begun showing Beatrix Potter bio-pic Miss Potter.

For anyone looking for a little inexpensive sports action, sorry, the Keys are out of town until next weekend. However, up in Hagerstown, the Suns do have a home game tonight.

Also, tomorrow - the annual Maryland Brewer's Springfest over at Harry Grove Stadium.
FREDERICK CELTIC FESTIVAL
Hours: 10am-10pm
Includes - Scottish heavy athletics, International entertainers featuring the Glengarry Bhoys, Bagpipes & Drums, Scottish & Irish dancing, Celtic vendors & food, Scottish Clan tents, children's tent, afternoon tea, free genealogy services, evening concert 7 - 10 p.m. featuring Glengarry Bhoys and Iona.
Urbana Volunteer Fire Department Fairgrounds, 3602 Urbana Pike (Rt 355) .

And for the guys out there - Sunday is Mother's Day...get out and get your mom, wife, mother of your children something to show her you remembered! For those looking for suggestions there will be a Mother's Day high tea held on both Saturday and Sunday at Elk Run Vineyards, a luncheon on the Southern Railroad, and in Harper's Ferry, a river rafting special.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

28 Hours later...

Just a quick reminder to you zombie-philes, tomorrow marks the release of 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (not to be confused with 28 Days). Early returns are looking good, but you might want to avoid the reviews if you don't want to have to deal with any spoilers (always a pet peeve of mine in regards to movie reviews).

For those of you who are fans of zombie flicks (and yes, I know that technically 28 Days Later was not technically a zombie film, but it's as close a classification as you can get), rent the film tonight and watch it. This is what paved the way for the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead.

I have to admit, though, given the 28DsL's ending, I really had trouble figuring out how they were going to come up with a sequel, but it's sounding like the brain trust behind this was successful.

For those of you already on board with this - enjoy. Check the papers and the Internet tomorrow for local showings.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Movie Review: Hot Fuzz...check it and see

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, the writing team that brought us the zombie classic Shaun of the Dead are back at it...only this time they crossed the thin blue line. Writer/actor Pegg, along with co-writer and director Wright pay homage to the drama, action, and thriller genres so loved by writers of buddy-buddy cop films with the same humorous aplomb with which they approached Shaun of the Dead. If you enjoyed one, you'll enjoy the other.

Hot Fuzz covers all the cliches and conventions when Nick Angel (Pegg), a cop who, "can't turn off," ends up exiled to Sandford, a low-crime town in the country, and paired with Danny Butterbean (played by Nick Frost), a cop who apparently has trouble turning on. Relying on the fish-out-of-water angle, Angel sees something happening everywhere but finds himself someplace where no one sees anything happening.

The story relies on many of the usual devices - Angel is too obsessed with his job, his girlfriend had an affair and is leaving him, his co-workers resent him for making them look bad, so on and so forth.

Throughout, the movie systematically honors and spoofs everything from 1970's classics The Shining, The Omen, Chinatown, and The Wickerman to 90's cop films Point Break and Bad Boys. For a film buff it's a fun ride just trying to identify all of the references. Even in blissful film ignorance, most viewers will get a number of laughs as Angel engages in an investigation in the countryside town that seems too good to be true.

One note of caution to the squeamish, there is a fairly bloody moment during the climactic fight sequence. Beyond that, most of the film's gore is so couched in comedy as to touch the ridiculous.

If you're looking for something deeper and more philosophical, well, to put it in the words of Butterbean, "Forget it, Nick. It's Sandford."

The film is currently playing at the Regal Cinemas in both Hagerstown and Frederick as well as the Hager 10 in Hagerstown. Click here for showtimes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen...I give you Beer


No, my daughter is not drunk in the picture to the right. That was taken during the meet Santa Claus brunch at Brewer's Alley and she was drinking orange juice. She looks like she's drunk because it was early and she was still a little tired (but she had a blast meeting Santa). Now, speaking of Brewer's Alley...

This weekend will mark the first time that the Maryland Brewer's Spring Fest will be held at Harry Grove Stadium rather than at the Fairgrounds. The move was made in order to allow the event to grow and accommodate more revelers. For tickets or additional information, click here. For you reggae fans out there, local group Jah Works will be playing the event (as they always seem to).

It's a good time, and something you can certainly bring the kids to...just make sure someone is the designated driver.

The festival starts at noon and runs until 8:00 PM. I have gone every year since I have moved to Maryland and enjoyed it every time.

According to the Keys Web site - Advanced tickets are $17 for adults or $20 each at the door and include six tokens for 4 oz. beer samples plus a souvenir mug. Youth (ages 13-20) and designated drivers may enter for $10 each. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the Keys box office at Harry Grove Stadium, by phone at 301-662-0013, or online.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Three quick items...


This Saturday is also free comic book day, which coincides, incidentally, with this weekend marking the wide release of Spiderman 3. Be sure to hit your favorite comic book shop on Saturday...mine is Beyond Comics down on the Buckeystown Pike. If you're north of the city, Brainstorm is by the Weis just off the Opposumtown Pike.

Also, if you have a chance, check out photographer David Raimist's work at the Weinberg.

As for me, unfortunately I will once again be missing this weekend's festivities due to a road trip on Saturday. As a member of the Baltimore/DC Eagles Australian Football Club I will be on the road kicking off the season/pre-season in a friendly match (it won't count against the standings) against North Carolina in the Raleigh/Durham area. If you have a chance check out our schedule - we're always looking for players of all skill levels and if enough people join in this area, it would be easy to schedule practices in Frederick.

Have fun this weekend everybody.

Weekend Warriors...


We've got a busy one this weekend.

You can start off your Friday, as always, with Brunswick's First Friday event and then move on to downtown Frederick on Saturday for Mayfest, First Saturday and Marathon related events. Between the Mayfest and First Saturday, an individual can have a pretty exhausting and satisfying Saturday in downtown.

Then on Sunday I urge all the readers to take to the streets and support the runners in this year's Marathon. I ran in it a couple of years ago, and it's brutal - more mentally than physically, and it really helps in those final miles to have someone egging you on.

Foreign film fans, particularly of the Asian horror genre might want to make the pilgrimage to the Shepherdstown Opera House this weekend where The Host will be playing along with foreign language best picture winner The Lives of Others.

for those of you that want to avoid the crowds that Frederick might attract this weekend, there's a slate of open air market type events scheduled in Hagerstown that might be worth checking out, including the Spring Yard Sale and the Farmer's Market as well as a Museum Ramble.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If yer thinkin' o goin' ta Baltymore this weekend...Aargh...

From Moorea Marketing...

Unfortunately I have to attend a grand opening party for the new Gordon Biersch in Rockville for my gig with the Mid Atlantic Brewing News...otherwise this sounds like a blast...

Embrace Your Inner Pirate

Annual Fells Point Privateer Day and Pyrate Invasion


Baltimore, MD – April 25, 2007 – The third annual Privateer Day and Baltimore Pyrate Invasion will be taking over the streets and taverns of Fells Point in Baltimore on April 28, 2007 brought to you by Fells Point Development Corp. and Clipper City Brewing Company. Privateer Day will feature family-oriented activities and will occur from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Broadway Square.

Visitors are encouraged to dress as a privateer, pirate, sailor, wench, merchant, homemaker, or whoever they think they would have been 200 years ago to participate in the pirate costume contest beginning at 5:00 p.m. Privateer Day will feature family fun for the young and the young at heart including live music, demonstrations, walking tours, story telling, treasure hunts, face painting, and Pirate Cruises ($15.00) aboard Clipper City Tall Ship at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Hundreds of pirates will invade Fells Point at 4:30 p.m. at Broadway Pier with guns and cannons blazing leading up to a staged sword fight sequence. The official Pyrate Invasion Pub-Crawl ($5.00 registration fee) will occur from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. featuring drink and food specials at participating bars including Kooper’s Tavern, Slainte, The Admirals Cup, John Steven’s Ltd., Ale Mary’s, Woody’s Rum Shack, Shuckers, Max’s, Lulu’s, Duda’s, Dog House Bar (aboard the Clipper City Tall Ship), Cat’s Eye Pub, Waterfront Hotel, Whistling Oyster, Greene Turtle and Fletcher’s. There will also be a Pyrate Party Cruise later that night (9:00 p.m. - midnight) aboard Clipper City. Tickets are $20.00 or $35.00 including beer & rum punch for the 3-hour cruise.

Be sure to pre-register for the Pub-Crawl and Clipper City Cruises at BaltimorePyrateInvasion.com or ClipperCity.com. Space is limited, so sign up quick! So get your best pirate costume out of your closet and join the invasion if you dare, we guarantee you’ll get hooked!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you MOM

This weekend My Organic Market in the Westview Promenade will be holding a grand opening celebration.

Also, zombie fans should call the Hagerstown 10 for details on whether or not the locally shot Deadlands will continue through next week.

This weekend there will also be a run in Frederick to benefit the women of the Congo. I was intending to take part, but was getting involved way too late. Rather than a registration fee, they are asking participants to raise money through pledges, ala the March of Dimes Walk-a-Thon. I will post more details regarding this cause tonight.

Caught my first Keys game last night with the family - a few quick things...

The field looks to be in better shape than I have seen it in the three previous years I have been here. This is the first season that they are offering Barley & Hops beers at the stadium in addition to the traditional Brewer's alley offerings. And this year's Maryland Brewer's Festival will be held there on Mother's Day weekend. If you haven't been (for a game, or to the festival), I highly recommend the experience.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Shake baby, shake baby 1, 2, 3, 4...

I know that in Towson the Bel-Loc Diner's milk shakes were named Best of Baltimore by the Baltimore City Paper in 2005, but you don't have to travel that far for a pretty damn good shake (and I'm not talking about Ben & Jerry's or Coldstone). For a proper shake that's going to take you back to when you were young, try the shakes served over at Beef n' Buns in Paradise on East Patrick Street. Not only will it remind most anybody over 30 of the shakes they got when young and the old soda fountains could still be found in your local pharmacy (I know they're still out there, but it seems that it's a rarity at this point), but the large tattooed man who took my order knew the proper names of my favorite type of shake - a black and white, also called an old fashioned.

The black and white is a vanilla shake with chocolate syrup and is very refreshing on a hot summer's day. Also, I highly recommend the pulled pork sandwich - it's excellent.

If you're looking for the full lunch counter in a pharmacy experience, head on up to Patterson's Drug Store located at 134 South Queen Street in Martinsburg, WV. They don't necessarily remember the old terms (which I suspect may even be regional), but it is a pure slice of nostalgia for anyone that used to eat at places like this when they were young.

Martinsburg is less than an hour away, is home to Mountaineer Brewing (which is owned by Barley & Hops) which I believe holds tours, and a couple of small shops and restaurants to pass the time in. If you do head up that way, keep in mind that the town is working on revitalization efforts and does not currently offer a whole lot for a day trip, but is within an easy 20 to 25 minute drive to Hagerstown and Shepherdstown.

Imponderable for the week...


Riddle me this....

If the Lone Ranger was indeed "lone," defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as follows; • adjective 1 having no companions; solitary. 2 lacking the support of others: a lone voice. 3 literary unfrequented and remote - then how do you explain the sidekick? Imaginary friend, maybe?

Discuss...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Brraaaaiiiinsssss....


Are you a zombie fan?

Have you spent your life wondering, "why have all the great zombie films taken place in Pittsburgh, and the mid-west"? (To which I would normally answer, "have you been there?" But I'm going someplace with this).

Have you wondered why it seems no one has shot a zombie film in the shadow of our nation's capitol? Why it hasn't been done in the shadow of the part-time homes of our nation's most powerful politicians (make your own connections)?

Well wonder no more. Head up to Hagerstown and catch Deadlands: The Rising this weekend at the Hagerstown 10. The locally shot Deadlands was made by Gaithersburg based Gary Ugarek for $11,000.00. According to the movie's Web site -
The first showing begins at 6:00pm Friday April 20th 2007, and shows continue at 8:30pm and 11:00pm as well.

Gary will be at the theater for the 8:30 and 11:00 shows to introduce the film and explain how this zombie splatter fest was made ona meager $11,000.00 US Dollars.
Sounds like a helluva a time for the low-budget horror fan.

Remember this Sunday is Earth Day, so keep an eye out for your local festivals, and a couple of soon to happen items coming in May - The Frederick Marathon, The Shepherdstown Film Festival, the 2007 Maryland Brewer's Festival (at Harry Grove Stadium).

This weekend our hometown Keys are just down the road playing the Potomac Nationals in Northern Virginia and begin a seven game homestand on Monday that starts with the Red Sox affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks for four games followed by three against the Nationals.

Up in Hagerstown the Mets affiliate Suns wrap up a home series tonight against the Cleveland Indian affiliate Lake County Captains starting at 6:35 tonight.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Welcome to my nightmare....


Grindhouse effective homage appeals to limited tastes

I am, admittedly, a big fan of horror films. I have a thing for zombie and vampire films in particular, but have never been a big fan of the films like Saw, The Last House on the Left, and Hostel. I understand the point of the whole man-doing-horrible-things-to-man horror thing, but never saw the need for it...it's why I have the world news. That's not to say I won't watch them, I just don't see them as being on par with the greats of the genre - The Shining, Alien, The Exorcist, Psycho...(yes, I am a film snob).

I like the films that build up tension to a proper scare, prefer them to the ones that rely on the shock value of blood and guts to evoke a feeling of horror and revulsion - it strikes me as a lazy way of crafting a horror film. In recent years I have been impressed by the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and films like The Ring, and 28 Days Later.

This was something different though from all of the above (though it certainly had elements of much of the above), and it piqued my curiosity.

The joint production of Grindhouse, the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature that pays homage to the low-budget B-horror films of the 1970's was a mixed bag. Tarantino and Rodriguez were hell-bent on re-creating the 1970's drive-in experience by emulating the low-budget horror films, complete with trailers of non-existent films (although Rodriguez has decided to create one of the films), that populated those road-side theaters.

The films are what they are - Rodriguez has created a pseudo-zombie film which goes a bit more over the top at times than it needed to, but overall Planet Terror is an entertaining piece of film-making. Tarantino, on the other hand, has given us a snoozefest in Death Proof where the most likable character is Kurt Russell's homicidal maniac.

Like the same films of the 70's, little is truly scary. Planet Terror does provide some tension as well as a few laughs, as do the previews for Machete, and Werewolf Women of the SS. Death Proof offers a lot of dialog that is intended to allow the viewer to bond with the film's victims but only succeeds in making the viewer wonder how long it's going to take for the women to die.

Death Proof regularly improves when Kurt Russell is on the screen (when's the last time you heard that about a Kurt Russell movie?), and devolves into a borefest when he's off of it.

While they did an effective job of creating the experience, complete with "lost reels," footage that "melts in the heat of the projector," and scratches on the film, they have also created films that have an inherent flaw.

With a large cast that includes Bruce Willis, Kurt Russell, Rose MaGowan, and Rosario Dawson, Grindhouse lists a $50 million production budget (not including marketing). This is fairly steep for a sub-genre where a movie that does well makes between $20 million and $40 million. In spite of a history of that, producer Harvey Weinstein still expected (on the basis of the names involved, I assume) to see a first weekend return in the mid 20's rather than the $12 million Easter weekend opening realized by the movie.

Yes, I did enjoy the first of the two films - but I think the appeal here is limited and I'm surprised that a movie exec like Weinstein hasn't figured that out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

C'mon, Baby don't you wanna go...

Sorry, last week was a busy week in the Smith household. Easter weekend was spent at the parents house in Williamsburg, VA - typically an increasingly more difficult weekend trip as traffic woes worsen between Washington and Richmond (yet for some reason traffic was reasonably light - especially considering it was a holiday weekend). The last half of the week was spent on a business trip to Chicago (for you blues fans out there, yes the title of this entry is a reference to the old Robert Johnson song "Sweet Home Chicago" covered so well by the Blues Brothers).

Chicago was rainy, snowy and cold for two of the three days we (my wife and I) were there and we were largely chained to the neighborhood in which the convention which took place in a neighborhood I believe is called the Near North. We made it into The Loop a couple of times, but never got to see the neighborhoods that make Chicago...well...Chicago.

The area in which we were stuck, a stretch called The Magnificent Mile, was reminiscent of mid-town Manhattan along 5th Avenue. While it was nice to get into a big city again, and to go someplace I hadn't been, I really prefer to go to someplace that's unfamiliar - and this neighborhood felt all too familiar to me (although I would recommend that anyone going to Chicago venture to the Nordstrom's on the Magnificent mile for a visit to Vosges Haut Chocolates - some of the best chocolate I have ever had).

We did see the IAC, an excellent art museum which most people my age might have initially been exposed to in the movie Ferris Beuller's Day Off, and got some good wandering in on the one sunny day which happened to be the day we departed. On that final day we had lunch at Harry Caray's, right next to the Chicago House of Blues. It was one of the two truly excellent meals that we had - if you're heading that way, I recommend the house specialty; Chicken Vesuvio (warning, it is cooked in peanut oil for those of you with severe allergies). The chicken Marsala is also excellent.

The other place we ate that was good...the only chain, though we weren't previously familiar with it, was an Italian restaurant called Buca di Beppo. The food was very good (and I hold a pretty high standard on my Italian food - my mother's family is Italian...grandfather came through Ellis Island) and served family style. The platters seem expensive until you realize that the $17.00 dish you're ordering is intended to feed two. I recommend the gnocchi (small potato dumplings/pasta).

Overall I was disappointed, however, I do realize I was there on limited time and covered only a very limited area. I failed to make it to Wrigley Field as I had hoped, and didn't make it to any of the Blues bars/clubs. I do plan to go back, possibly next year for the annual Chicago Blues Festival and get more into the neighborhoods that give Chicago its sense of self.

The photos you see here were taken by my wife, Kelly.

Coming soon, my review of Grindhouse...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Been a busy week...

But it's also looking like a busy weekend...unfortunately I will be missing local festivities due to visiting family. Brunswick's First Friday event is built around bicycling this month, then there's Frederick's Much Ado About Books First Saturday. Don't forget to stop into the Weinberg and meet local photographer David Raimist and see his work.

Early in the day...well, you fit freaks take heart - pre-registration for the 11th Garrett's 5k run held this weekend ends at midnight tonight. For more information, or to register, visit here. Runners that like causes, this one's worth it (the race is in memory of a teenager killed by drunk driving), and its a relaxing run around Baker Park.

Also check out the Hagerstown Farmer's Market this Saturday for some Easter fun. According to Hagerstown's municipal calendar, "From 9 to 11 a.m., children 12 and under can visit with the Easter Bunny and bring their baskets to gather goodies from the vendors."

Sometime in the near future I will have another restaurant review to post, and hopefully another movie review or two.

Once again, sorry about missing a week - and for those of you who have noted that the West Side does not yet seem to be closing, thanks for the info.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Coming Attractions...


Eat Drink and Be Merry...

This weekend I'll be going into the field due to my gig as the Maryland columnist for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News. On Saturday afternoon I will be heading to Timonium to attend the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival. For $20 at the door you get to sample a variety of local and imported beers and a variety of bourbons while grooving to the Kelly Bell Band (until 3:00 PM) and then Mister Wilson comes on at 4:30.

Considering you get to enjoy beer, bourbon, bbq and blues music, I gotta say, it sounds like a helluva time.

I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike...

Yes, we are getting into that time of year again, but that's not what I'm really talking about. What I am talking about is an event for the hard-core cycling fanatics and the Floyd Landis supporters. According to a story at Lancaster Online, "The Floyd Fairness Fund will hold a 'champion reception' on Saturday at the Ephrata Performing Arts center."

The reception costs $25.00 and you will have a chance to mingle with Landis, according to the story. This Saturday's reception was added after the previously scheduled Sunday event sold out.

Contact Green Mountain Cyclery in Ephrata at (717) 859-2422 for tickets and information on availability.

Would you prefer a red or a white with your jazz?

Frederick Cellars, one of the County's four wineries will be hosting the Kevin Lewis Jazz Quartet on Saturday evening. For a five spot relax and listen to some jazz while soaking in the atmosphere in one of Shab Row's most recent additions and a recent winner of the Governor's Cup Award.

If you have a chance to talk to the owner, Charles Daneri, he's a pretty urbane guy and very committed to the success of the winery. I had a chance to talk to him several times while he was in the process of opening the downtown location - a rarity in the industry as a whole (Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries association told me at the time that he believed there were roughly ten located in urban settings throughout the entire country) wanted to put the winery where the people are. He felt that was a key.

Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what else he does to ensure the business grows.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's Been A Busy Week

Sorry, but the last week has been very busy. I have several things to get up on the blog this week including information about events in Timonium and Lancaster for bourbon/beer/bbq and bicycling enthusiasts respectively, as well as information about a blues performance in downtown Frederick this weekend. More on all later.

I just wanted to mention there will be the occasional week like this where I won't be able to get around to posting as often as I would like - for example, this week I was under deadline for an article I was working on for Wine Business Monthly (sorry, but the paying gigs have got to come first). I don't know when the article will run, but it deals with the impact of a Supreme Court ruling from two years ago on the Maryland and Virginia wine industries.

For anyone that followed my writing while I was at the Gazette, you will be familiar with what I am talking about. For those of you unfamiliar, let me know and I will provide some insight into the issues at hand.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

St. Pats is a bank holiday in Boston...

Actually, that statement is utterly true. The Irish politicos in Boston reached a point many years ago where they decided that the Italians got Columbus Day off, then the Irish deserved St. Pat's off - but how to make it happen? They called it Evacuation Day, named for the day that the British evacuated from Bunker Hill in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston (most famous product of that neighborhood? Former Oakland Raider and current FOX football analyst Howie Long).

The Boston government made it a city holiday, giving all city employees (excluding emergency services personnel like the police and firefighters) the day off - teachers, city workers, and bankers have that day as a holiday.

This area has the day off this year because, of course, the day that everyone celebrates being Irish is this Saturday. If you're wondering what to do in the area, here are some ideas...

Just like to hang out at an Irish bar or restaurant? Try Bushwaller's in Frederick on North Market Street (get there early, they start with breakfast on St. Pat's) for a good pint of Guinness. Other options in Frederick include Callahan's Restaurant and Lounge on Rosemont Avenue, and Jennifer's Restaurant on West Patrick Street near the corner of Bentz. If you're up-county, check out The Shamrock in Thurmont which makes a more than week-long event of the holiday.

If music is your thing, you can start getting into the spirit of the holiday on Thursday night by attending the Celtic Jam at Boe's Strings music shop on South Market St. near Carroll Creek. The Celtic session begins at 7:00 PM and is followed up by a Bluegrass jam at 8:30.

Other area venues hosting musicians for the big day include (contact venues about possible cover charges and performance times) -

Frederick -
  • The Olde Town Tavern (301-695-1454) on North Market Street will have rock act Bigger Better Faster More

  • The Big Easy (301-631-1134) on the Golden Mile stretch of West Patrick Street will have rock/blues act The Phat Katz Band

Mt. Airy -

  • Mt. Airy American Legion Post #191 (301-829-9161) is hosting country act Jay Henley & The Stone Broke Band (call for tickets)

  • The Green Turtle (301-829-9229) has acoustic act Altered Mike

Purcellville, VA -

  • White Palace (540-338-2566) will have acoustic blues/folk/country performer Lenny Burridge