Howard Gerber at the top among local impresarios

This Just In...

August 11, 1999|By Dan Rodricks

Howard Gerber is one of the great impresarios of Baltimore. He deserves the title. Twenty-seven years he's had the Horse You Came In On Saloon, and he's still standing there under the lights of Thames Street, in a tuxedo, kissing pretty women, shaking hands with old friends, host of the never-ending party. Gerber was one of the guys who decided to invest in a Fells Point tavern in the early '70s, long before the neighborhood's transformation from brawling-boozy-bohemian to funky-chic-touristy. Gerber, who hustles as an attorney by day, has been blessed with good management and employees, and a loyal clientele that runs from middle-aged friends and old Fells Point regulars to yuppies and young men and women with magazine model looks. Every August, the grateful Gerber throws an anniversary party, black-tie optional. Monday night was "the last anniversary of the millennium, the beginning of our next 1,000 years." The Horse was jumping again, as revelers crowded the bars, the buffet tables and the TV sets for the Browns-Cowboys game. Gerber, in his anniversary tuxedo, made his traditional late entrance into a crowd that looked like a cross between opening night at the opera and a best-body-on-the-beach contest. It's a party that never seems to end. Long live The Horse and Howard Gerber, master of his domain.

Some movie notes

The Friday night open-air movies in Little Italy have worked out so well that the Downtown Partnership wants to try something similar in Mount Vernon. . . . I've discovered what could be the worst movie ever made with the finest cast: Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, Richard Harris, Nicol Williamson, Ian Holm, Denholm Elliott in "Robin and Marian" (1976, Columbia Tri Star Home Video). What a waste. . . . If you want to see a great film on video rent "October Sky," and it's OK for kids. In fact, it's great for kids.) . . . If you have to see a current kid flick and the choice is "Inspector Gadget" or "The Iron Giant," go with the latter. . . . I paid $8.25 for an after-6 p.m. ticket at Hunt Valley Cinema 12. That was a first for me. And a last.

Lawn ornament redux

In April, a thief stole the pink gazing ball off Gail Zlotowitz's lawn in Mount Washington (TJI, April 23). Recently, Zlotowitz found a replacement at a roadside lawn ornament shop in Pennsylvania. "They were so cheap I bought two," she reports. "One is inside the house as a backup, just in case." Like James Cagney's cranky captain and his palm tree in "Mr. Roberts," Zlotowitz chained her replacement gazing ball -- this one is "copper blue" -- to a wrought-iron fence. So far, so good.

Political report

William Donald Schaefer says he'll endorse a candidate in the mayor's race early next week. Look for him to back M. O'Malley. . . . Bell-For-Baltimore signs are on the H&S Bakery truck lot near Central Avenue. Does that mean Big John backs L. Bell? Well, well. This bears further watching.

Joey A. at reggae festival

TJI cultural correspondent Joey Amalfitano reports:

"Maxine had just stuck herself in the eye while tending to a yucca plant, and we thought our weekend plans were scratched. Not so, Maxine being the champion that she is. So we drove to Wilmington, Delaware's Riverfront Park for the reggae festival. It was awfully reminiscent of the early days of the Baltimore City Fair, spiritwise. While bands were jammin' on the stage, we strolled, ate some jerk chicken and curried potatoes. There was some "Serious Medication," as the Jamaican tune goes. The crowd was huge, extremely warm and very children friendly. A little girl named Iris took Maxine's chair and had some of our food. It was that kind of a day. And here's a clue for Baltimore -- the parking in a city lot was FREE. There were a couple of thousand people there, not that much dope, great dreadies on the head, very, very nice folks. We understood why the Wilmington government wants to spend millions in a riverfront revitalization there."

Yummy, and only $2.65

Back in good old Baltimore after a summer sortie to the shore, I settled a major craving yesterday with a smothered-in-onions meatloaf sandwich at the Dog House, the clean, well-lighted luncheonette hard by the Fallsway. "Our meatloaf is made, not accumulated," the sign says, and it's still true. Still yummy, too. And only $2.65

The skinny on Wildwood

Evidently a lot of Marylanders take to the beach at Wildwood, N.J. I met several up there last week. A three-hour drive from Baltimore, Wildwood has sprawling beaches, nice surf and a long, funky boardwalk with nostalgic neon and modern amusement rides. (The whole town is a neon nirvana; most of the old motels feature fabulous signage, the bulk of it original.)

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