Revisionaries have their say

Dan Rodricks

October 28, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

1/2 Unfortunate blooper . . . . A group of thoughtful Eastern Shore parents recently dedicated a plaque bearing the names of high school students who died before graduation. Under the headline, "For those who died young," a local newspaper reported: "A black ribbon will be put around the plaque and it will be later displayed next to the school's Hall of Fame. [The principal] said any students who weren't included on the plaque can call the high school."

Striking while the iron's hot . . . . Hard on the heels of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill-National-Consciousness-Raising, a prestigious Baltimore law firm is spreading the word that its attorneys are standing by to answer questions about sexual harassment. An October 22 mailing -- dare I call it solicitation? -- to "business clients and friends of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston" included an article by Whiteford associate Peter Guattery titled, "If It Feels Like Sexual Harassment It Probably Is." The letter warned that "employers who fail to treat sexual harassment seriously and take specific precautions are asking for serious and costly legal problems." Then, of course, Whiteford offered its expertise and counsel on the matter. No price list enclosed, however.

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Let's call it Babe Ruth Theater. . . . Now that Memorial Stadium has been officially abandoned, the movers and shakers are telling us that Baltimore needs a new Broadway-class theater. Without one, elaborate productions such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Miss Saigon" won't be coming to Baltimore. What's wrong with the Mechanic? Twenty-five years old and just not big enough. What's wrong with the Lyric? Too many obstructed-view seats. Wasn't this the rap on Memorial Stadium? The way some revisionaries talk, you'd think that nothing in Baltimore was ever well-designed for its purpose. This time, it's the Abell Foundation talking up the idea and spreading bleak forecasts for local theater. The foundation says $25 million is needed for a new, 2,500-seat house. And they suggest building it on the site of the Power Plant. But a much better proposal for that site was Aunt Vida's: A giant antiques emporium and flea market, called, appropriately, The White Elephant. Let's give the tourists and convention widows something they really like. . . . If the Abell Foundation wants a theater, let's do up the Hippodrome and fund it with a grant from the Weinbergs.

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More Baltimalaprops. . . . A guy from Dundalk, vexed by a traffic mess in the Harbor Tunnel, barked: "It was a truck on fire, fully indulged in flames." A woman interviewed on a weekly radio program said her non-profit, health awareness group had accomplished much "since its insemination." A prison guard remarked that Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas were unfair because "the statutory of limits has gone." And an Eastpoint man, commenting on a woman's appearance, referred to her "statutory thighs."

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Munchies. . . . Happy 50th anniversary to Rallo's, a stick-to-the-ribs mainstay in Locust Point. And speaking of ribs, lovers of the barbecued kind are looking forward to another one of Magnificent Mike Hart's free-lance fests at the French Quarter, down from Rallo's on Fort Avenue. Mike invites pals to this feed, but he says rib connoisseurs are welcome, too.

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A night at the opera . . . What can we say about the Baltimore Opera's performance of "Don Carlo" that the critics haven't already said? It was superb. (And I say this despite the snotty Peabody Conservatory student who, when asked her opinion during intermission, emitted a Bronx cheer and said the opera was, in her educated opinion, "horrible.") The sets, the costumes, the lighting, the movement and sound of the chorus -- all of this mixed perfectly with the dramatic Verdi score. We were treated to another night with Jerome "The Giant" Hines and the awesome James Morris. But the stature of those two stars

should not overshadow the performances of Sharon Graham, Yalun Zhang and Antonio Barasorda, all of whom were terrific. It was nice that the woman next to me didn't cough, but it would have been even nicer had she not kept time to the Verdi by CRINKLING HER COUGH DROP WRAPPERS!!!!!!!!

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