Artscape '92, Baltimore's 10th annual festival of the arts, feels more like the Ed Sullivan Show than a celebration of art. Only the Ed Sullivan Show was never this much fun.
Within the space of two hours yesterday, you could have danced to the Polkats, watched a pair of unicyclists juggle and cavort on wet pavement, tapped your foot to Tammy Wynette and listened to a street musician play a washboard.
And those were just the appetizers. Yesterday's program began with a whirlwind of activity -- everything happening at once.
At the Lyric Opera House, children re-created some of the world's great architectural treasures with Tyco blocks, from a Greek temple to a New York City skyscraper.
The children and their parents listened in air-conditioned comfort to the history of each period. The children drew preliminary designs of their projects from pictures. Within an hour, the Parthenon, an Aztec temple and the Chrysler Building were fully replicated in plastic blocks.
When finished, the children were given individual photographs of themselves with their projects. "They did a fabulous job," said architect Kathleen Pryor, one of the volunteer helpers.
Outside the opera house, the day was hot, humid, breezy and drizzly. A favorite spot was the Interactive Fountain. In the middle of the fountain is a path of logs. At each end are bicycles that, when peddled, throw water on the logs. The faster each rider peddles, the farther the water is thrown. The trick for walkers is to cross the logs without getting wet. If you stop, you get drenched.
You don't have to take a child to Artscape, but it's more fun if you do.
At the Decker Auditorium, Maria Broom, "the Gypsy Dance Bringer," sang, taught, danced and told stories to a packed house. "I am told that in the village of Baltimore, the children have incredible genius. Is that true?" she asked.
"Yes!" the audience replied, applauding. Ms. Broom then put that genius to a test with a series of questions about geography: how many continents, how many oceans, how many continents begin with letter A?
It sounds deadly, but Ms. Broom carried it off with flair and a sense of play. When she finished, she had won her audience so completely, they were dancing in their seats along with her.
Around the corner, Molly Balch, a student potter at the Baltimore Clayworks, was giving a pottery demonstration. Having worked painstakingly for several minutes on a clay jug, she announced she was almost finished. "You can fool around with it any way you want," she said.
At the family performance tent, Wanda Brackman enthralled children and adults alike with her paper hat creations. Ms. Brackman would ask a child to come forward, and within less than a minute, sculpt hats and masks.
For the famished, there was every type of food imaginable, sold from tents on Mount Royal Avenue. The average price of a sandwich is $4. Iced tea is $2, lemonade $3. Beer is one of the best bargains at $1 a cup.
Parking and admission are free.
Artscape '92 schedule
The following is a schedule of today's events of Artscape '92:
Visual arts exhibitions, artists' market, crafts, literary arts, Bright StARTS and cultural resource tents open.
Lobby, Lyric Opera House -- "Places in Time" exhibition opens; registration for Tyco workshops opens.
Decker Stage -- Trinidad and Tobago Steel Band: calypso.
Decker Auditorium -- GO GLOBAL! Jean Denney: Irish step dancing.
Lobby, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall -- "Classics In the Cool" chamber music: Sonus.
Family Performance Tent -- Bright StARTS Storytellers.
Lobby, Lyric Opera House -- "Places In Time" Tyco workshops; Art-Ventures children's activities tent opens.
Fox Stage -- In the Mood: big band standards.
Decker Stage -- Baltimore Klezmer Orchestra: European and Middle Eastern folk music.
Decker Auditorium -- GO GLOBAL! Baltimore American Indian Center: traditional American Indian dance.
Lobby, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall -- "Classics In The Cool" chamber music: the Appalachian Wind Quintet.
Family Performance Tent -- Wendy Brackman: "Paper Magic" workshop.
Fox Stage -- Susan Carter: first place winner of the Billie Holiday vocal competition.
Law Center, UB -- New Poets' Series: literary readings.
Decker Stage -- The Judith Kay Trio: Brazilian jazz and samba.
Decker Auditorium -- GO GLOBAL! Kotobuki Kai: traditional dance from Japan.
Lobby, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall -- "Classics in the Cool" chamber music: the Fadial-Vanderborgh Duo.
Law Center, UB -- Harford Poetry Society.
Family Performance Tent -- Ruth Pelham; "Musicraft" workshop.
Law Center, UB -- Carroll Branch, National League of American Pen Women: literary readings.
Fox Stage -- The Flying Aces: bluegrass.
Law Center, UB -- The Story Company: literary readings.
Law Center, UB -- Lite Magazine: literary readings.
Law Center, UB -- Damascus Works: literary readings.
L Decker Stage -- Marge Calhoun & The New Heartaches: country.