Hello, Aaron LaCrate. It’s nice to meet you.

May 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm (Research)

Thank you for sharing Baltimore club music with the world. It’s always nice to have some attention.

The feature and Q&A from Blackook Mag gives some insight to the already popular DJ and designer Aaron LaCrate and his background. In addition to those two resume builders, LaCrate is working on his record label B-More Gutter World Wide.

Clothing was something he had done since he was 13 for lack of better options. Lily Allen endorses the clothing. Other celebrities have asked for personal designs.

His music history comes from Baltimore club music and he mentions his mentor DJ Equalizer. Equalizer was actually the first person to sell B-more club music to the world. According to LaCrate, it sends a true message to those from Baltimore.

Despite dropping B-more from his clothing line’s name (for aesthetics), LaCrate has some pride for his city and good memories of the sounds that have come out of it. He mentioned that growing up the Baltimore club scene when he did was a great time for influential DJs.

Anyway, it’s not what I’d covered in my stories for the MCOM407 project, but Baltimore club music is a facet of Baltimore music. And all facets should be explored.

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New Festivals: A plus!

April 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm (Research)

It’s never a disappointment to see that a festival is coming to town, especially one that could be annual. What was disappointing is that I wasn’t there. What can I say? It was Tigerfest.

Anyway, thanks to Sam Sessa, I found out about a new festival: The Station North Spring Festival. It took place in… the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Founded by Joe Squared Pizza and Bar owner Joe Edwardsen, the festival was set to have multiple stages (15, I believe) in various locations including Joe Squard The Zodiac, Windup Space and Hexagon. The price? Free!

Events included music, burlesque and a fashion show – all taking place at different spots in the district.

It’s not only sparking up interests of the entertainment buffs, either.

Jacques Kelly, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun, took interest in the festival as well. His stance on it leaned more on the idea that the festival will help to revive the district’s market.

Kelly pointed out that the Station North Arts and Entertainment District had pretty much plummeted after a six-alarm fire in 1968 and for nearly 40 years, the area was dead. This death of the area has been undermined by the art students and supporters who have taken over the area in an “attempt” to revive it. So far, things look good. That’s what the festival is celebrating.

I’m bummed I missed out on the opportunity to get to the festival and its too bad I’ll have to wait a year to (hopefully) experience it. I’ll be on the lookout for info and reviews of this festival. I’m glad it’s sparked a lot of interest, because it’s a nice area that isn’t getting the love it deserves.

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Baltimore Live Arts Groups

April 12, 2009 at 11:55 pm (Research)

The Baltimore Live Arts Business Association (BLABA) is a group comprised of venue owners and employees. They’ve created a Google group, which collaborates with the Baltimore Live Arts Supporters (BLAS).

Their messages consist of suggestions, meeting minutes, coverage of the community work sessions, updates on the Live Entertainment bill and research similar to their cause.

In a post titled “Our Model City: Seattle“, member Josh Atkins provides links to a similar group called the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association (SNMA). The SNMA was created as a response to a law similar to Baltimore Council Bill 08-163. Seattle ended up passing the law which called for performance spaces to be licensed in order to maintain safety and concern for the residents living nearby the venues.

I think this is going to work well as a motivation for BLABA, BLAS and other groups who are concerned about Baltimore City Council Bill 08-163’s passing. If Baltimore were to defeat the bill, or at least manage to change it a bit in their favor (which apparently City Council failed to observe the changes they promised in their most recent revision), they could move one step in the positive direction for live arts associations that could potentially be facing the same issue.

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City Council Bill – Live Entertainment.

April 5, 2009 at 11:32 pm (Research)

City Council Bill 08-0163 has a month to go until the council votes to pass or veto it. The Baltimore Business Journal took a look at the businesses (i.e. venues and their owners/communities) that have made it a priority to work against the bill. The article gives a brief business oriented overview of what the bill would enact and require.

Sonar, located on East Saratoga Street, was used as an example, for the bill proposes an expansion to the venue. However, its CEO, Daniel McIntosh is among the many concert venue owners who have created a group to show their concerns for the bill in its current state.

The group is called the Baltimore Live Arts Business Association and they showed up at the packed Community Work Session on Tuesday, March 31 among residents and artists who wanted to voice their matters of the bill.

Residents were worried about how the bill could affect their residential neighborhood areas if musical venues were to encroach. Artists and venue owners were concerned that their smaller venues would not be able to hold steady with the licensing fees (which have not yet been determined, but some other news sources have calculated the yearly fees to be above $1000), and compete with larger, more well-off establishments in Baltimore.

According to Baltimore’s City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, with a month until the vote, the bill is still changing. She says they may consider protecting the current establishments somehow.

When Zodiac’s proprietor, Adam Endres, opened the bar after the meeting on Tuesday, he did not seem satisfied by the assurances made in this article. In fact, he was fuming.

The bill is slated to hit legislation on April 29, and be voted on May 6.

There are two more Community Work Sessions to attend: April 16 and 23.

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Do It Yourself Meet World

March 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm (Research)

The idea of do-it-yourself music is nothing new, and it’s nothing particularly regional. That’s the most basic way of promotion – grass roots and all. Part of that is the venue, and with Ticketmaster and other corporates gobbling up all of the venues ticket sales and raising the prices, it’s pretty difficult to draw a crowd to a show of little known artist with high ticket prices.

As an answer to that, there are the D.I.Y. venues that make it easier for the financially-challenged to hear some new stuff and have a good time. The best part about these places is that you could walk right by one in the middle of the day and not give it a second thought. They come in the form of houses, warehouses, and little holes in the wall with non-descript signage.

I liked the story here, at the Valley Advocate, about Dan Moriarty and and his idea of a concert series in a house in the woods. He thought a house in the woods would be a great place for a show. “No neighbors means no one to bother.”

The series soon became known as Experimental Music Palace, where they held shows with audiences of up to 200 people without any incidents. Eventually, word got out, and some DJs thought that a big act from Boston (Caspian) should play a show there. Eventually, that was overturned, but Moriarty kept his eyes set on finding the right venue for the show. It’s taking place at the Iron Horse on March 27.

More D.I.Y. venue news to come.

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