Green, red, purple -- just not orange

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March 01, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Anybody notice the purple lights on the Washington Monument lately? Too late now if you haven't. They switch back to white tonight, now that it's March.

But all last month, the monument glowed purple. Why?

Well, it was actually a bit of a mistake, says Jennifer Morgan, director of community outreach for the city's Recreation and Parks Department.

Rec and Parks agreed, at the request of the Maryland branch of the American Heart Association, to shine red lights on the monument during February, for national heart month. It was part of the association's "Go Red for Women" campaign, to draw attention to heart disease in women.

But the lights wound up going purple instead.

"I think the street lighting guys put up the wrong shade," Morgan said.

Rec and Parks doesn't change the colors for just anybody. They were green one year on St. Patrick's Day, at the request of the city's Irish mayor. They were purple - on purpose - back when the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

What about Orioles orange?

"They haven't done well enough to warrant the color yet," Morgan said.

Maybe that's the carrot the team needs.

Mainstream goes underground

Unless you're an art-loving hipster, you'd never find the place, an underground gallery in spirit and reality, tucked not just in the basement, but the sub-basement, of the old Hecht's department store on Howard Street.

You need to punch in a code to get into the building, ride one elevator down below street level, then walk down a hallway and around a pair of Coke machines to find a second lift, where you hit the button marked SB. The doors open, and, on this night, there's one more hoop to jump through before you're allowed into a space where a pairing of Army boots and fine china passes for edgy social commentary.

You need the password: Ben Cardin for Senate.

The U.S. Rep held a fundraiser at Sub Basement Artist Studios the other night, producing a curious mix of earnest speechifying and off-the-wall art.

Cardin - in dark suit, buttoned-down blue shirt and striped tie - spoke of the need for energy independence, more education spending and less deficit spending. In the crowd stood a headless mannequin in an antebellum dress made entirely of trash bags.

Oxford cloth meets Hefty.

"I can't think of a nicer place to have an event," Cardin said. "This really does represent our future."

By that, I'm pretty sure Cardin meant he sees the future in an old west-side department store site being turned into a luxury apartment tower with an art gallery in its cellar. Not that he sees the future in garbage-bag attire. But I can't be sure, especially at an event - dreamed up by an art-collecting Cardin volunteer - where mainstream and offbeat rubbed elbows so agreeably.

"It's a unique opportunity for the congressman to touch a different constituency," said Jeffrey Kent, owner of the three-year-old gallery, who wore a jeans and a knit cap decorated with oil-paint drips.

No animals were harmed ...

The circus is coming to town. So naturally, Baltimore puts out the welcome mat for visiting elephants, clowns and - right at the corner of Light and Pratt at lunchtime yesterday - a dominatrix and her willing victim.

No, the big top hasn't gone X-rated. It was just People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doing its thing to protest Ringling Bros.

"Whips and chains belong in the bedroom, not in the circus," read the sign - as if anyone paused to read something posted near a scantily clad woman, who whipped a scantily clad man chained to a mattress on the busy street corner.

PETA, by the way, wants you to know that its dominatrix wears vinyl, not leather.

How was the show, Mrs. Lincoln?

Del. John Leopold and Del. Adelaide Eckardt dressed up as Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln the other night to address the House of Delegates. Leopold-as-Lincoln suggested that lawmakers consider dumping Maryland's pro-Confederate state anthem.

"Have fun at the theater," Speaker Michael Busch said as the Republicans left.

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