Archive for September, 2014

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CityPaper: Steel World

Deborah Rudacille looks at what Baltimore’s steelworks built — and left behind. by Michael Byrne. Think of Maryland’s 1950s and ’60s steel industry boom as a war: Deaths, injuries, sickness, wanton destruction, unlikely alliances, self-perpetuation, people getting rich–and nobody really […]


Baltimore Sun

Masculine and feminine roles don’t seem so fixed anymore, as author Deborah Rudacille finds in her study of the world of transgendered people. February 09, 2005|By Abigail Tucker | Abigail Tucker Identity is infinitely flexible, but the English language is […]


Baltimore Brew

by FERN SHEN The images in Deborah Rudacille’s new book on Baltimore’s Sparrows Point steel mill will stay with you. There was “metal pouring like lava through a trough,” one worker told her, recalling how “cinder snappers” straddled the troughs […]


Baltimore Blues

Stein in Baltimore

In later years, when she had become a celebrity in Europe and America— and a self-professed genius— Gertrude Stein downplayed the four years she spent in Baltimore as a medical student at Johns Hopkins. But during those decisive years here, the notorious avant-garde writer fell in love for the first time (and was rejected by the object of her affections), formed several key friendships (later brushing off her most ardent supporter, Etta Cone) and adopted a profession (only to abandon it). Without her Baltimore failures, Stein would have missed out on the experiences that fueled her early fiction— “Q.E.D.,” “Fernhurst” and “Three Lives”— and might never have become an expatriate and an artist. But in the spring of 1901, few could have predicted that the depressed 27-year-old in the photo, who had failed four of her nine final-year classes, would become a literary lion and a friend and mentor to two generations of ground-breaking artists and writers.


F. Scott Fitzgerald in Baltimore

F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the dark, a man paces. He gazes out over the city, but a gray mist obscures all landmarks. Suddenly, a specter appears. “Like a broken-stringed bow upon a throbbing fiddle— I see the real horror develop over the roof-tops, and in the strident horns of night-owl taxis and the shrill monody of revelers’ arrival over the way. Horror and waste. Waste and horror— what I might have been and done that is lost, spent and gone, dissipated, unrecapturable.” Asked which writer penned these despairing words in Baltimore, most would probably guess Edgar Allan Poe. But the ghostly echoes of pleasure-seeking gone sour point to the true author: F. Scott Fitzgerald. The laureate of the Jazz Age was only 36 when he came to Baltimore in 1932. But like the country, he had crashed.


Literary Baltimore

Stein in BaltimoreLast month I received an email from a British researcher who came across my 2008 piece about Gertrude Stein’s years in Baltimore. I also wrote a piece on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s years in Baltimore for Baltimore STYLE in 2010. Next summer I’ll be teaching a course at UMBC called “Literary Baltimore” and we’ll cover these two great American writers as well as others who have lived all or part of their lives in Charm City. As co-curator of The New Mercury Nonfiction Reading Series (named for H.L. Mencken’s American Mercury) I’m continually amazed by the plethora of talented writers working in the city today. Come out to the Baltimore Book Festival, Sept 27 and 28, and see for yourself!


“People’s Photographer” Martha Cooper


I first met photographer Martha Cooper in 2008 when I wrote about her project to document daily life in Southwest Baltimore for Urbanite. Since then I’ve come to know her well and was thrilled when Baltimore STYLE magazine asked me to a profile her for the magazine’s September arts issue. Marty is revered within the graf/street art community for good reason. But her Soweto/Sowebo project may bring her more recognition and acclaim outside that world.