But think of the risk of lead poisoning


August 17, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Perfect for your next Baltimore-themed birthday party: Cupcakes sprinkled with shell casings from genuine criminal shootings.

This dessert topping was whipped up not by the wacky bakers at Charm City Cakes, but by a prosecutor cooking up a treat for retiring Circuit Judge Allen Schwait - who, in the prosecutor's opinion, had done more than most jurists to retire Baltimore shooters.

"Judge Schwait gave out significant jail time for convicted shooters," said Andrea Mason, a team captain in the state's attorney's firearms unit. "We have difficulties with some judges getting them to be put away for any significant period of time."

So the standard going-away party sheet cake wasn't going to cut it for a favorite member of the bench.

"Our original idea was to get him a cake in the shape of a gun," Mason said. "[But] we heard some other members of the state's attorney office had done that [for someone else]. We decided we'd get some shell casings and sprinkle them on top of the cupcakes."

Mason baked the cupcakes herself and decorated them with shell casings she had on hand - from cases she'd lost.

"I boiled them, soaked them, washed them, scrubbed them," she said, "but they were real shell casings."

Not just a sequel - it's edgier

Seen those "SU2" signs around town? They mark spots where movie crews are shooting Step Up 2.

The original Step Up - filmed in Baltimore in 2005 under the name Music High and released last August - was a high school coming-of-age story set at the fictional Maryland School for the Arts.

Step Up 2, which stars Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman and is due out in February, is "a continuation rather than a sequel," said the movie's publicist, Katherine Orloff. The full title is Step Up 2 The Streets.

"The first one concentrated on an outsider's adjustment to the Maryland School for the Arts," Orloff said. "This one takes the dancing out of the structure of the school and back to the streets. It's much edgier, the dancing is much edgier and much more aggressive and much more hip-hop."

Hairspray meets The Wire?

"It's kind of a thing of itself," Orloff said. "It's going to be very original."

Our neighborhood can beat up your neighborhood

After a Daft Punk concert at Coney Island, some guys were hanging out a few blocks away, where they'd parked their car to avoid traffic. A police officer pulled up to warn them that they were in a tough part of Brooklyn.

"Hey, guys, do you know where you are?" the officer said, according to one of the young men, Owen Hill, who, full disclosure here, is the son of The Sun's Michael Hill. "This is a dangerous area."

Hill said the officer added, "Where you guys from?' He was about to launch into a speech about, `This is not like where you're from.'"

But the speech was cut short by their answer: "Baltimore."

Said Hill: "Not the right crew to be lecturing."

Connect the dots

Next time Baltimore decides to rebrand itself, the city might take its cues from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Asked in a TV interview about crime in his city, Nagin said this, the Associated Press reports: "It's not good for us, but it also keeps the New Orleans brand out there." ... William Donald Schaefer belatedly celebrated his half-birthday at the gated Greenspring Valley mansion of caterer Martin Resnick, who every six months or so insists on feting the ex-mayor/ex-governor/ex-comptroller. Schaefer, who will turn 86 on his real birthday, Nov. 2, would be grateful for all the parties if Resnick didn't also insist on telling jokes. "He gets up and tells a joke every year, and they are the worst jokes I've ever heard in my life," Schaefer said. "Terrible. They're clean jokes, but they're about as funny as nothing." ... The governor's band is coming out of mothballs, at least for a day. O'Malley's March is set to play the Irish Festival at Canton Waterfront Park on Sept. 15. ... Sign on an overpass on U.S. 50 on the Eastern Shore greeting travelers to the Maryland Association of Counties conference: "Gov. O'Taxey." ... "Members of FedHillKids are invited to a wine-and-cheese to meet Baltimore City Councilman (11th District) and mayoral candidate Keiffer Mitchell," the e-mail invite says. I've been assured the wine is for the parents, not the kids.

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