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By Jacques Kelly | March 25, 1992
This winter's hibernation is over. Bright March days call for a rambling trip around old Baltimore to see what changes occurred over the winter. Here are a few observations and sightings. . . .*The Gayety, The Block's classic 1906 burlesque house, is back with a new flashing, sparkling marquee. Baltimore Street's most famous landmark recently got a new projecting sign reminiscent of the 1920s. It's not a duplicate of the old "Gayety Burlesk" sign surmounted by the girl with neon flashing legs.
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NEWS
By John-John Williams IV and John-John Williams IV,Sun reporter | December 25, 2006
Charles Alfred Lipsey, a former pitchman for the old Gayety burlesque house and longtime traveling salesman, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. He was 90. A product of city public schools, Mr. Lipsey grew up and was raised on Central and Lombard streets, and for many years was a fixture on The Block, Baltimore's adult entertainment district. The son of Gayety owner Charles Hyman Lipsey, he used to entertain the crowd during intermission. "Hold your seats, you've only seen the first half of the show," Mr. Lipsey recalled from his spiel during a 1994 interview with The Sun about life on The Block and in the theater.
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NEWS
By Joe Nawrozki and Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF | December 27, 1995
Marian S. McKew, who owned the Gayety Theater on Baltimore's Block as strip tease and burlesque shows faded into the twilight, died Saturday of cancer at Franklin Square Hospital Center. She was 81.The Block landmark at 405 E. Baltimore St. -- which opened two years after the Great Baltimore Fire in 1904 -- was owned by her father, John H. "Hon" Nickel, a German immigrant who operated the theater from 1914 until his death in 1951.Her father managed the burlesque house in its salad days when featured performers included Phil Silvers, Gypsy Rose Lee, Jackie Gleason and Ann Corio and a young Marian Nickel learned to keep the books while attending the Institute of Notre Dame in downtown Baltimore.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | July 12, 2002
The Deja Vu national strip club chain got a green light yesterday from the liquor board to open what the club's owner said will be the glitziest adult entertainment venue on The Block. The board's action granted Deja Vu the necessary liquor and adult entertainment licenses to operate. Deja Vu will hire the "classiest girls we can find," enforce a dress code for customers and station attendants in restrooms to hand out paper towels, said owner Jason Mohney. Unlike most Block clubs, where patrons cluster around a bar, Deja Vu's clientele will sit at tables and be served drinks by tuxedo-clad waiters.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | June 19, 2002
Baltimore's legendary, decaying Block is abuzz with word that a national strip club chain plans to open a large and supposedly upscale venue in the storied Gayety Theatre building on East Baltimore Street. At a time when the city's shrunken and faded tenderloin is thought by many to be on its last legs, observers say Deja Vu's expected arrival could deliver a jolt. At about 10,000 square feet, the club would be five times the size of most on The Block, with a larger staff of dancers that some rival operators say would include higher-caliber talent.
NEWS
By John-John Williams IV and John-John Williams IV,Sun reporter | December 25, 2006
Charles Alfred Lipsey, a former pitchman for the old Gayety burlesque house and longtime traveling salesman, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. He was 90. A product of city public schools, Mr. Lipsey grew up and was raised on Central and Lombard streets, and for many years was a fixture on The Block, Baltimore's adult entertainment district. The son of Gayety owner Charles Hyman Lipsey, he used to entertain the crowd during intermission. "Hold your seats, you've only seen the first half of the show," Mr. Lipsey recalled from his spiel during a 1994 interview with The Sun about life on The Block and in the theater.
NEWS
By GILBERT SANDLER | May 19, 1992
IT LOOKS as though The Block is going to go, and not a few say good riddance. But in saying farewell to The Block, we ought to take a moment to remember The Old Block (before it became as sleazy as it is now). The Old Block was the center of so much fun! The "baggy-pants" burlesque comedians, doing their two-a-day shows at the Gayety, were at its heart.They threw away lines like this:"Run up the curtain, Mo!""Whaddaya think I am, a squirrel?"Baggy-pants comedian Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham was best remembered for his famous line, "Here comes the judge!"
NEWS
By DAN RODRICKS | March 21, 1994
Readers are invited to examine the eyes of Rose La Rose. She apparently was an entertainer who performed at Baltimore's famous Gayety burlesque back in the heyday of The Block, LTC which to most minds means the age before television, before the retailing of Swedish sex manuals, before men gave up hats and strippers gave up pasties. In other words, it was a very long time ago.For those of us who have known The Block only as that sleazy, cheap glow coming from the aching heart of Baltimore, there might be in the eyes of Rose La Rose a reflection of the mysterious bygone Block that once was supposedly more innocent and more fun, more dignified and certainly more glamorous.
NEWS
By R. H. Gardner | May 19, 1992
,TC I ARRIVED at Camden Station on a sweltering September Sunday in 1941. I had just graduated from college, where I had become imbued with an insatiable lust for knowledge. I had heard that Baltimore was the birthplace of both H. L. Mencken and "The Star-Spangled Banner," which struck me as a fantastic combination. Then there were all those monuments, art galleries, concert halls, libraries and museums waiting to be explored, and I was itching to get started.So the first thing I did after dropping off my bags at a Cathedral Street rooming house was go to a burlesque show.
NEWS
By JAMES D. DILTS | February 1, 1994
"Philadelphia, with Sodom,'' was how Murray Kempton described Baltimore a while back, referring to The Block, The municipal family's black sheep then (officially deplored but tolerated for its aberrant attractions and vitality), The Block is now regarded as an ancient and useless relative, fit only to be kicked out.There were many ironies in the recent Maryland State Police blitzkrieg raid that swept up proprietors, employees, customers and liquor licenses. One is that it is not illegal to own, work in or patronize a bar on the Block.
NEWS
By MICHAEL OLESKER | June 23, 2002
FOR REASONS of spiritual guidance, we turn this morning to that eminent philosopher, the late Baltimore city councilman and maestro of the malaprop, Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro. I was there when Mimi committed linguistic history. He did it one fine spring morning on The Block, on a grand municipal tour of peep-show booths. "Now, I'd like to have that done to me, and who don't is not a human being," Mimi declared, gazing at some erotic miracle as several of us squeezed into a narrow viewing area.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF | June 19, 2002
Baltimore's legendary, decaying Block is abuzz with word that a national strip club chain plans to open a large and supposedly upscale venue in the storied Gayety Theatre building on East Baltimore Street. At a time when the city's shrunken and faded tenderloin is thought by many to be on its last legs, observers say Deja Vu's expected arrival could deliver a jolt. At about 10,000 square feet, the club would be five times the size of most on The Block, with a larger staff of dancers that some rival operators say would include higher-caliber talent.
NEWS
By Joe Nawrozki and Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF | December 27, 1995
Marian S. McKew, who owned the Gayety Theater on Baltimore's Block as strip tease and burlesque shows faded into the twilight, died Saturday of cancer at Franklin Square Hospital Center. She was 81.The Block landmark at 405 E. Baltimore St. -- which opened two years after the Great Baltimore Fire in 1904 -- was owned by her father, John H. "Hon" Nickel, a German immigrant who operated the theater from 1914 until his death in 1951.Her father managed the burlesque house in its salad days when featured performers included Phil Silvers, Gypsy Rose Lee, Jackie Gleason and Ann Corio and a young Marian Nickel learned to keep the books while attending the Institute of Notre Dame in downtown Baltimore.
NEWS
By DAN RODRICKS | March 21, 1994
Readers are invited to examine the eyes of Rose La Rose. She apparently was an entertainer who performed at Baltimore's famous Gayety burlesque back in the heyday of The Block, LTC which to most minds means the age before television, before the retailing of Swedish sex manuals, before men gave up hats and strippers gave up pasties. In other words, it was a very long time ago.For those of us who have known The Block only as that sleazy, cheap glow coming from the aching heart of Baltimore, there might be in the eyes of Rose La Rose a reflection of the mysterious bygone Block that once was supposedly more innocent and more fun, more dignified and certainly more glamorous.
NEWS
By JAMES D. DILTS | February 1, 1994
"Philadelphia, with Sodom,'' was how Murray Kempton described Baltimore a while back, referring to The Block, The municipal family's black sheep then (officially deplored but tolerated for its aberrant attractions and vitality), The Block is now regarded as an ancient and useless relative, fit only to be kicked out.There were many ironies in the recent Maryland State Police blitzkrieg raid that swept up proprietors, employees, customers and liquor licenses. One is that it is not illegal to own, work in or patronize a bar on the Block.
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly and Jacques Kelly,Staff Writer | January 16, 1994
Baltimore's downtown entertainment district was born out of the ashes of the 1904 fire that leveled the commercial heart of the city.Far different from the uptown world of Howard Street where the higher-priced straight plays and musical comedies played, The Block, as it came to be known, began as a stretch of penny arcades, shooting galleries and vaudeville parlors.Just two years after the fire that leveled so much of Baltimore, the street's major landmark made its debut. Called The Gayety, it opened at 405 E. Baltimore St. on Feb. 5, 1906.
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly and Jacques Kelly,Staff Writer | January 16, 1994
Baltimore's downtown entertainment district was born out of the ashes of the 1904 fire that leveled the commercial heart of the city.Far different from the uptown world of Howard Street where the higher-priced straight plays and musical comedies played, The Block, as it came to be known, began as a stretch of penny arcades, shooting galleries and vaudeville parlors.Just two years after the fire that leveled so much of Baltimore, the street's major landmark made its debut. Called The Gayety, it opened at 405 E. Baltimore St. on Feb. 5, 1906.
NEWS
By Richard O'Mara and Richard O'Mara,Staff Writer | January 16, 1994
The world-famous Block woke up yesterday with a monumental hangover from the massive police invasion of Friday night, and was left wondering whether it had a future.Said a man in a brown bomber jacket who parks cars at a lot just off Baltimore Street, and who declined to give his name: "The Block has changed. It used to be nice down here long time ago. No problems. Everybody go in the bars and have a nice time. Now we get a lot of muggings. It gets worse every year. Too much stuff going down."
NEWS
By Richard O'Mara and Richard O'Mara,Staff Writer | January 16, 1994
The world-famous Block woke up yesterday with a monumental hangover from the massive police invasion of Friday night, and was left wondering whether it had a future.Said a man in a brown bomber jacket who parks cars at a lot just off Baltimore Street, and who declined to give his name: "The Block has changed. It used to be nice down here long time ago. No problems. Everybody go in the bars and have a nice time. Now we get a lot of muggings. It gets worse every year. Too much stuff going down."
NEWS
By Gilbert Sandler | March 30, 1993
IT SITS empty now, a dark cavern of movie memories, most of them from the '30s and '40s. The marquee, hanging over the sidewalk on the south side of 315 West Fayette St. just off Eutaw, still reads "Town." And for a classic showbiz memoir, there is no story quite like the Town story.What we came to know as the Town opened in 1910 as a burlesque house called the Empire. In 1913 the name was changed to the Palace and the fare to vaudeville, and here the plot thickens. Shortly after its rebirth, the Palace began to play burlesque again, and the rival Gayety (the remnants of which are still at 404 East Baltimore St.)
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