A toast to bartenders after guest stint

This Just In . . .

August 25, 1999|By Dan Rodricks

SEEN HAVING ONE OF those fine, pricey meals at the Black Olive on Sunday evening: Gene "In Town Filming 'The Replacements'" Hackman. Welcome back to Baltimore, hon. ... I had big fun guest-tending bar with Rosita and James Cassell at their New Cassell's Inn near Patterson Park. (The old Cassell's Inn was on Fayette Street.) It was a party for the Linwood-Baltimore Community Association. Nice people. Loud, happy people. Interesting and diverse neighborhood, reflected in the interesting and diverse drinks the crowd ordered -- from 22-ounce Buds to microbrews to Sex on the Beach (that's Midori, Chambord and pineapple juice) to Fuzzy Navels and shots of Hennessey. Some of my favorite people are bartenders, and now I have even greater respect for them. I tried to learn mixtures quickly and worked up a good sweat. Rosita says I actually helped her out, but I think she was just being nice. (When things got tense, I tried to talk customers out of ordering certain exotic drinks.) The bar is just south of East Baltimore Street on Curley. On Tuesday nights the DJ cooks.

Straw vote

Leonard Kerpelman, whose public-interest show, "Inform Yourself," has been running on Baltimore cable Channel 5 for several weeks, says mayoral candidate L. Bell has turned down 14 requests for interviews or debates. Another major contender, Martin O'Malley, said he would engage in a Channel 5 debate, but hasn't. Carl Stokes, says Kerpelman, is the only candidate who taped a sit-down with him.

"Therefore," says the former attorney and longtime gadfly, "we set up a debate anyway, willy nilly, and piecemeal, using straw dummies for Bell and O'Malley. Not quite cricket, we agree, but what else could we do?" Stokes was not present when Kerpelman posed questions to the straw dummies, but his answers to questions, taped separately, appear in the segment. It aired Monday; it airs again at 8 p.m. Friday.

Candidates' 'bum rap'

After Monday's mayoral forum at the Baltimore Urban League, Ralph Moore, vice president of the Center for Poverty Solutions, looked over the 10 Democratic candidates seated at tables and said: "I think you all have gotten a bum rap." Meaning, maybe they're not as bad as we've been led to believe, given all that happened this year -- the Mfume Watch, and the mainstream consensus that no singularly strong contender had emerged from the Baltimore citizenry or its political leadership. "It shows," said Charles Dugger, the longtime public school teacher running for mayor, "that a whole lot of people care about the city. I'm glad so many are running." ... Fortunately, however, Monday night's debate on Channel 11 will feature only the three leading candidates -- Bell, O'Malley and Stokes. Easy prediction: The debate at 8 will be a turning point in the Baltimore mayoral campaign -- the public's first chance to see these fellows together answering questions, live. ... I'm looking forward to seeing L. Bell's new suits. ... On that count: Mayoral candidate Bob Kaufman says he picked up a nifty pair of sandals recently for $1 at a yard sale. "I was going to charge it to the campaign," he says, "but thought otherwise." ... What Kaufman calls Baltimore's ruling elite, the men who develop downtown real estate, and who hustle subsidies and favors from City Hall: "A bunch of crumbs held together by dough."

Coffee without kick

I don't understand decaffeinated espresso. I don't get it. It's like buying an Alfa Romeo with automatic transmission. ... I hope Tony Siragusa opens a restaurant in this town, with checkered tablecloths, candles in Chianti bottles and his relatives from Jersey all over the place. Tony should cook the nightly special himself, too. ... What you want to do is get the shaved-ice chocolate snowball with marshmallow at Billy's on Hamilton Avenue. ... The street hawkers near Lexington Market gave me a free sample of a body oil they were selling in colorful vials. It reminded me of a perfume my mother, the former Rose Popolo, used to wear: Tabu. And it should be. ... What you want to do is have the apple Napoleon at Vaccaro's.

Big-time boccie

Team Cannella keeps winning. We have a boccie juggernaut in this town! Virgilio Guglielmi, Ermanno D'Amico, Fabio Iachetti (substituting for Umberto Fioravante) and Roberto Ascenzi -- Italian-American men in Bermuda shorts -- won the St. Gabriel Festival tournament Sunday afternoon before a big crowd. They'd won the top prize at the St. Anthony festival in June, too. Team Cannella has won five local competitions and people in Little Italy consider them, from year to year, the team to beat. In boccie, they're the Yankees.

Poppin' mad

Cereal Dad, male counterpart to regular TJI contributor Cereal Mom, reports: "Some beauty-aid-type store in the mall in Towson -- I think two levels below the food court -- has a huge sign in the window saying, 'Zits suck.' Call me a fogey, but I don't want my little kids seeing that and askin' me to 'splain. You know what I'm sayin'?"

Take a gander at grouper

A bunch o' stuff: What you want to do, if only for the visual stimulation, is see the strawberry grouper for sale at Faidley's. ... If I had anything to do with Church Hospital, I'd be renting roof space for the New Year's celebration. It has great views of the city for fireworks. That's assuming the city has money for fireworks. ... What you want to do is seriously consider the Baltimore Opera lineup for the 1999-2000 season. It's pretty much awesome (James Morris doing Don Giovanni in October), and a great opera-starter kit. ... The boy who lives in my house had a $20 voucher for Orioles merchandise at Camden Yards. In the gift shop in the warehouse, I suggested the Cal waste basket for his room. But the kid rejected that idea as disrespectful. How do you like that?

Pub Date: 08/25/99

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