Get those smutty flowers off the wall


November 20, 2005|By LAURA VOZZELLA

People see all sorts of things in Georgia O'Keeffe's giant flowers.

So maybe it's no surprise that a knockoff, painted in the hallway of a Loyola College dorm, had the resident priest seeing red.

Students in Newman Towers had been encouraged to liven up the white walls with a new coat of paint, and juniors Cassandra Fields and Joe La Bella decided to paint a mural on the ninth floor two weeks ago. They looked at some of O'Keeffe's work on the Web for inspiration, then went to work, painting three calla lilies.

Or were they something else?

The work, after all, was named "Threesome."

The Rev. Martin O'Malley - no relation to the mayor, by the way - lives on the hall and did not like what he saw.

"He said, `In the vocabulary of art, large flowers can be very symbolic of the female genitalia, and that's offensive,'" Fields said. "We saw fruit, seashells, flowers, onions."

Whatever it was, O'Malley told the students to paint over it.

But his stance softened a bit after he held a meeting to discuss the matter with students living on the floor.

"What came out of the floor meeting was that if we could get art teachers to look at it and approve it, that he would reconsider," Fields said.

Fields contacted seven art professors. Two agreed to check out the mural. Both gave it the thumbs-up.

So does that mean the painting stays?

O'Malley referred questions to Loyola spokesman Mark Kelly, who confirmed Fields' account but said that the fate of the painting is uncertain.

Beyond that, all Kelly would say is that O'Malley considered the whole episode "a teaching moment."

Plug in, you potty-mouth 20-somethings

Wow, have you seen that new Web site with the edgier-than-thou 'tude?! has a take on Charm City that out-alternatives the alternative weekly. It turns City Paper's annual "Best Of" edition on its head with its "Worst of Baltimore 2005."

Consider the categories, which includes "Worst place to [go to the bathroom] in public" and "Worst place to use a fake ID." And consider the language, which is hard to do in a family newspaper. Let's just say that it goes way beyond barnyard epithets.

But here's the real shocker: This rebellion is brought to you by Tribune Co., The Sun's corporate parent. (And I mean that in the most corporate and parental sense of those words.)

The idea is to attract the 20-somethings who don't read newspapers, says Tim Windsor, The Sun's general manager for interactive.

"Frankly, my hair curled on a lot of things" written by the site's mostly freelance staff, who don't report to the company's news division, Windsor said. But he felt that taking out the crude stuff might make the site feel "inauthentic."

If you're wondering, Windsor is 45 and hasn't been to a bar "in quite a few years."

But he won't be overseeing the site. Like similar sites linked to other Tribune markets, baltimore.metromix will be directed by a just-hired "executive producer." He's based in Los Angeles.

Turkeys look less alarming on a platter this week

A group of schoolchildren went on a field trip to check out the turkeys at Maple Lawn Farms in Howard County last week. After the visit, a mother called animal control complaining of "deplorable" conditions and dead birds, according to a dispatch that went over the scanner.

Animal control officers checked it out - and determined conditions to be above par.

They did politely suggest to the farm owners, however, that the week before Thanksgiving might not be the best time of year to allow school groups to visit.

And the envelope, please - why, it's me!

State minority affairs officials created the Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich MBE Gold Achievement Award to recognize agencies that meet or exceed their minority business participation goals.

Among the nine winners announced recently: The office of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.

You can't say the gov had the inside track just because his name was on the award. The state also gave out four Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele Innovator Awards for bringing visibility to the state's minority business community. Steele's office didn't get one.

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