JUNE 6, 2012 - ARUNDEL MILLS CIR., HANOVER, MD
Thousands of headlights stretch Field of Dreams-like around Arundel Mills Mall’s access road, all the way onto Route 100 past the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
They’re coming to the opening of the Maryland Live! Casino, surreally adjacent to the family-friendly shopping complex, not just to gamble but also to gawk. At 10 p.m., the line, snaking past the movie theater back to Dave and Buster’s, finally begins to move, and the excited masses start filing through the glass doors until no more bodies fit inside. The lucky ones join VIPs—mainly local politicians and business types—who have been strolling through the state’s third, and by far largest, casino, feeding its 3,200 slot machines for hours.
Meanwhile, in the shadow of Burlington Coat Factory, men and women of all ages and races wait impatiently, trampling flowers and shrubs freshly planted for tonight’s big debut. There’s nothing much to do other than watch the giant video screen touting all the fun (Virtual Table Games! Bobby’s Burger Palace!) they can’t gain access to at the moment.
In desperation, some decide to leave the entranceway of the casino, where barriers separate late-arrivers from those who snared their spots hours ago. They cut through the mall, past the closed shops, trying to find the end of a line that seemingly doesn’t have one.
“There’s a million [expletive] people here,” one guy mutters outside Books-A-Million. And he’s about right. As midnight approaches many give up and head back to the parking lots, resigned to the fact that they won’t be getting rich—or poor—tonight.
“I don’t want to give anybody my money that bad,” a woman says. —Mike Unger
A Blue Streak
JUNE 17, 2012 - FELLS POINT PIER
“There they are!” yells a sunburned man, climbing up a tree to get a better view during a long day at Sailabration.
Sure enough, six F/A-18 Hornets shoot into view, signifying the beginning of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels’ Star-Spangled Air Show. The crowd, which had been buzzing, grows quiet in amazement as the yellow and blue planes sweep above the bay.
On the pier in Fells Point, hundreds bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Others sit on the edge of the walkway, legs dangling over the water. But most spectators stand and watch, in wonderment, holding out a camera or cell phone to record the performance.
Hurtling near the speed of sound, the planes are silent in their approach, but as they pass overhead the booming engines cause many in the audience to shield their ears. No one covers their eyes, however. The diamond-shaped pack flies so closely together that it seems they must be invisibly joined. In unison, they take off up and down the Chesapeake, performing rolls and loops, jetting thousands of feet in the air and then skimming low across the water.
Two of the planes receive large ovations when they look locked on a collision course before suddenly rotating their wings 90 degrees and narrowly passing each other. Another garners rapt attention while flying inverted at full speed for an extended period of time.
After an hour of hair-raising feats, the Blue Angels fly off to a round of awestruck applause. During an incredible week of sailing celebration and extravaganza, it seems the airborne Angels stole the show. —Cooper Sutton
No Raw Deal
JUNE 30, 2012 - S. CAROLINE & LANCASTER STS.
Like he needs an introduction. “I’m Woody,” actor Woody Harrelson says, grinning, to a group of Baltimore dinner guests. “And I’m honored to be here.”
Harrelson almost didn’t make it to the raw-foods dinner at The Inn at The Black Olive on the cusp of Harbor East. Dangerously hot railroad tracks—he was arriving from New York via Amtrak—delay the famous visitor for hours. Meanwhile, supporters of Blend + Flo, a recently formed group promoting healthy living through “pure food” and yoga, mill around the Inn’s rooftop restaurant, patiently awaiting his arrival. After all, they shelled out $90 each to partake in a meal with Harrelson, an avowed raw-foods vegan.
The guests while away the time sipping juices like a “green gorilla” with spinach, pineapple, orange, and banana. An appetizer—mushroom ceviche on endive leaves—circulates among the crowd, which includes radio personality Marc Steiner (his first raw-foods dinner, he says) and former MasterChef contestant Helene Leeds of Baldwin.
The hosts and owners of The Black Olive, Stelios and Pauline Spiliadis, and son, Dimitris, finally seat the 40-some guests at a long, communal table, and as the watermelon-and-tomato gazpacho is served, Harrelson enters the dining room, dressed in a light-blue shirt over a black tee and wearing a New York Yankees cap. (We let it slide.) It’s 8:40 p.m.
He shakes hands before sitting down and seems pleased to be among like-minded eaters. “I’m happy about what’s going on here,” he says of the mission to educate people about raw foods.” Then the biodynamic wine flows until past midnight. —Suzanne Loudermilk