September 15, 2012 - S. Ellwood Avenue
Normally a forward, Moshe Hochman is getting precious few touches during a Saturday morning scrimmage on the indoor turf at Du Burns Arena. The Baltimore Blast is holding its first open tryouts in two decades and 53 would-be pros—ranging from 18 to 45—are taking their best shot at a boyhood dream. Half are local, but an assistant coach at The Evergreen State College arrives from Washington State; another hopeful is scheduled to fly in from Brazil.
Recognizing he’s stuck on an inferior squad, the 29-year-old Hochman, an Israeli immigrant and locksmith by trade, switches to defense in an attempt to flash some skills and catch head coach Danny Kelly’s attention. Aggressive and fast, he quickly distributes several no-look passes upfield to teammates, who nonetheless mostly fail to convert the plays into scoring chances. Meanwhile, the opposing goalkeeper, Jeff Estep, maintains a steady chatter, directing teammates.
After their match, Hochman and Estep, 33, sit near one another in the metal bleachers, catching their breath and eyeing the competition in the second scrimmage. Estep recognizes Hochman from their Sunday-night league at Du Burns and reminds Hochman that their respective teams—the two best in the league—will play each other on this same field the next night.
“You better be ready,” Estep says, teasingly. “We haven’t lost to anybody this season.” Hochman, grasping a sore foot, suggests the match should be postponed.
“I’m going to be too tired after two days of tryouts.”
September 22, 2012 - Sollers Point Road, Dundalk
As the Motorettes close a rocking set of early Motown standards, 14 mostly young, mostly tattooed women, step in front of the stage outside the Dundalk Moose Lodge. Dressed in back-seam stockings, bullet bras, peep-toe pumps, tight skirts, and vintage blouses—primped with winged eyeliner, bright red lipstick, and retro-inspired “half updo” hairstyles—they’re competing for the title of Miss Mobtown Greaseball.
The pin-up contest winner is promised, among other gifts, a professional photo session and a portrait in Retro Lovely magazine.
The concurrent car show attracts some 600 classic automobiles and hot rods on a picture-perfect early fall Saturday afternoon. But the day is as much about putting an updated twist on post-World War II style as rebuilding late model Fairlanes and GTOs. Naturally, a big crowd turns out for a gander at the pin-up girls. “A lot of these women certainly wouldn’t have been comfortable living in the 1950s, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, not having the option to work,” says Stacey Barich, owner of Parkville’s Atomic Cheesecake Studios. “But they can appreciate the aesthetic. Besides, it’s also just fun to dress up and embrace your femininity. In those days, they wouldn’t have liked being ‘ogled’—today, they’re like, ‘That’s right! I got it.’ They’ve turned the tables.”
The sideshow announcer calls out Stacey “Firecracker” Bucklew and the brunette hairstylist from Hanover, PA, saunters to the microphone to applause. Wearing a hand-painted skirt and yellow halter, sporting a Betty Crocker tattoo on one shoulder and a U.S. Navy tat on the other, she’s an easy pick for the judges.
“It’s the Mobtown Greaseball,” she says later, smiling, glamorous behind orange, cat’s-eye sunglasses. “But I feel like Miss America.”
September 23, 2012 - Honeygo Boulevard, White Marsh
As Eric Moll and fiancé Jessica Martinez step from a four-door, 2013 Ford C-Max after a test drive, a salesman walks them behind the vehicle. Waving his foot underneath the rear bumper, the salesman shows off the car’s new technology that enables owners to pop the trunk hands-free. Moll, a Baltimore attorney, and Martinez, who works at a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, check the trunk space as well, but aren’t enthusiastic about the hybrid C-Max, which travels 570 miles on a single tank of gas. They drive several cars this Sunday morning and Martinez admits she’s looking for something sexier than the C-Max. Moll, believe it or not, isn’t impressed with the Ford’s gas mileage—he recently bought a plastic, all-electric, Think City two-seater.
Welcome to National Plug In Day at the White Marsh Park & Ride. Home to five charging stations, some 45 electric car owners, largely driving Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts, gather to network, test drive each other’s vehicles, and try out new electric cars and plug-in hybrids, such as the ultra sleek Fisker Karma.
Dave Glotfelty came with his son Kevin, a 15-year-old considering his first car. Kevin says he’d prefer a “tricked-out” Leaf, but is considering a Think City two-seater because of the savings at the pump and the cheaper price tag, which includes a $2,000 state-excise tax credit and $7,500 federal tax credit. “Still,” his father says, “it’s a lot a of lawns to cut.”
Meanwhile, Moll admits he hasn’t sold his fiancé on buying a gas-free car. In fact, she’s doesn’t seem thrilled with his tiny Think City purchase, despite the deal he got. “I told her,” he says, “that it’ll be the last decision I make without her.”