Spotlight on Center Stage’s 2015-16 season 5 

The fall always brings excitement to Baltimore’s theater scene, as local venues begin their new seasons and announce the shows to come. This season, Center Stage has a diverse range of literary and contemporary shows. Whether you’re a sports per- son, a Shakespeare buff or an Austenite, Center Stage has a show to appeal to your interests.

“Pride & Prejudice” (September 11 – October 11)

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The first show of the season is a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice.” Most of you have probably seen at least one adaptation of the classic romance between the fiery Elizabeth Bennett and the aloof William Darcy. Maybe you read, or at least studied, the original text in high school.

Christopher Baker wrote this stage version, trimming characters and subplots where necessary, and adding a contemporary soundtrack that echoes Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” In an article published in the Baltimore Sun, director Hana S. Sharif maintained that despite some changes, the adaptation keeps Austen’s “voice” and comedy. It’s no surprise that tickets for this show are going quickly, so act fast if you want to catch it before the run ends on October 11.

 “The Secret Garden” (October 30 – November 29)

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“The Secret Garden,” another literary show, follows “Pride & Prejudice.” This show is a Tony-nominated musical adaptation by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. It follows the story of Mary, an orphaned girl who moves from India to England, where she lives with a distant and grieving uncle. Eventually – no spoilers here – she discovers a locked and secret walled garden to escape from her desolate daily life. Given the absence of parents in this classic story, it is bound to be a sad show. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed the book or movie as a child.

“X’s and O’s” (November 13 – December 20)

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The season makes a big shift with its next show, “X’s and O’s,” which is a moral exploration of the sport of football. A joint commission with Berkeley Repertory Theater, the show is built around interviews with real players, families and fans. It challenges the viewer to consider the increasingly pressing questions regarding the dangers of the sport, but not without acknowledging the power of the game. Whether you are a sports fan who rarely attends theater, or a theatergoer who couldn’t care less about football, why not see how this show can change the way you think about theater and sports?

“As You Like It” (January 15 – February 14)

After a thoroughly modern show, Center Stage will return to the most classic of theater: Shakespeare. “As You Like It” follows Rosalind and Orlando through banishment, mistaken identity and romance all in the pastoral surroundings of the forest of Arden. It includes lots of witty rapport as well as the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech. This production of the traditional comedy, however,takes a new route away from the typical Shakespearean male casting to an all-female cast. Get your tickets to see how the gender dynamics transform the impact of this classic work.

“Detroit ’67” (April 8 – May 8)

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The final production of the season will be performed at the Mainstage Theater at Towson University. In 1967, a brother and sister host parties in their basement following the death of their parents. With the backdrop of Motown music, and the increasing social tension of the late sixties, this play explores the highly relevant subjects humanity, race and family, making it a strong finish to the 2015- 16 season.

And all at fairly affordable prices. Though you may think that professional theater is outside your measly student budget, remember that Center Stage works hard to make their productions accessible. This means that you can attend big, professional productions at relatively affordable prices. Catching the cheapest tickets can be tricky, so consider joining their mailing list so you are notified when tickets go on sale. If you are in the 18-34 age bracket, look into the GoPass, which offers tickets to all five shows in a season for an incredibly low rate of $49.

Keep an eye out in future issues of The Post for reviews of Center Stage productions.

Find out more about tickets on

www.centerstage.com/tickets.

Photos courtesy of  Dean Alexander

Letter from the Editor: Oct. Issue 2015

We hear it everyday: newspapers, just like books, are becoming obsolete, overshadowed by online articles, instant and immediately accessible with just the tap of a fingertip. Gone are the days of patiently waiting for the morning paper only to discover the latest tragedy or newest world development. Now we know about it before it is even over. Having instant access to all forms of knowledge is a wonderful gift that I would never give up, but there’s something about the smell of newsprint and the dust it leaves on your fingers, just as feeling the starchy softness of a book page creates a physical connection to the story, that just isn’t the same when all you have to do is tap a button.

As a Publications Design student, I know this feeling all too well. I fell in love with designing for print a little too late. This reality cannot be ignored. As I browse job descriptions for graphic designers, the requirement of ad- vanced knowledge of HTML and CSS is becoming more and more prominent. But no matter how many times I see a publication in its digital form—which is typically over and over as I scrutinize every inch before sending it to the printer—there is always something magical about holding the final print in my hand. The smell of the ink, the roughness of the paper, and the magical transition from screen to paper all become part of something beautiful.

As I’ve begun to explore the visual arts in its many forms, I’ve taken note of the current fascination both de- signers and the general public have with letterpress. This technology for printing dates back to the fifteenth century and creates a physical imprint from the block letters left behind on the paper. Once considered an imperfection of the process, the slight impression left in the paper is now often sought after for its distinctly nostalgic look. I’m beginning to realize that in our current world, where digital images and words are constantly thrown in our face, there’s still a secret desire in our hearts for the tangible.

Although The UB Post is accessible online and we are strengthening our online presence step by step, we still publish a printed issue monthly. Next time you’re on your way to class, pick one up and feel the dusty texture of the newsprint as you take a glance. Take solace in the soft colors of the photos, different from the bright screen that assaults your eyes. Let the classic letterforms guide your eye as you indulge in a story about your community at UB. It’s not just cold, hard news; let yourself become enveloped in the experience of reading The UB Post.

Sincerely,

Nicole Hovermale

Enjoy!

UB Post_ Oct2015 Issue

From party to port — to campus

Bicycling is social in Baltimore

It’s hard to describe the exhilaration I felt, riding my bike up North Charles Street between the UB Law School and the Academic Center with about two thousand people on bikes behind me. I waved to an UB student standing on the corner of Charles St. and Mt. Royal Ave. who seemed more than a little surprised to see us.

Every month Bike Party has a theme — August was circus!
Every month Bike Party has a theme — August was circus!

It was Friday, August 28, 2015, but more importantly, it was the last Friday of the month in Baltimore.

Baltimore Bike Party takes place the last Friday of every month, all year long.

I’d only gone once before — in the summer of 2014, when I took up the tail end of a teaming mass of bicycles with a little trepidation and followed them nervously but determinedly for two hours. It was my first summer of bike riding after fifteen years of steering completely clear of bicycles. As a Gen X’er used to riding the light rail or the quiet car on the MARC train, the bells, whistles, and blasting music of Bike Party were a bit of a change.

I felt right at home wearing my University of Baltimore shirt, which was part of my costume for the “Boasting Baltimore” Bike Party theme that night. I was following instructions on the Bike Party.

Facebook page that said “dress up in what you love about Baltimore and Maryland.”

UB student Zachary Holbrook led the ride. Holbrook had led the ride that originally got me back into cycling — a trip up the Jones Falls Trail the previous November — along with UB Sustainability Planner Jeff La Noue as part of a UBGreen event. Intermittently, during that entire August Bike Party, I wondered if Holbrook would turn out to be the leader of every ride I went on. But I didn’t see him on the next group ride.

When I joined the Crank Mavens Monday Night Riders, it was a small group of women organized by Molly Williams, who took the name from an earlier women’s cycling group.

“A bunch of women I knew had been on other group rides and we all talked about how great it would be to have one geared towards a community of women,” said Williams.

A few people picked a route, on the spot, and off we went. It was a quiet ride where I got to chat and get to know people. One woman even carried a radio that played some really mellow music.

Equally mellow was the Maryland Historical Society Bike Ride which started out with a happy hour and a tour of the museum. Bikes going back to the 1800s were on exhibit. The ride went through Reservoir Hill and ended with an outdoor party and food stands featuring local vendors.

During May 2015, the UB Out- doors Club hosted Bike to School Day right on campus with the assis- tance of the Helen P. Denit Honors Program and UBGreen. Thirty members of the UB community participated and a few said they would like to see a cycling club on campus.

Why not?, I thought. There are regular group rides all around Baltimore. Along with the rides I’d been on, there was also the popular Tour du Port and Tour D’em Parks, to name just a few.

It would be really cool if UB had its own bike rides, I thought.

Or, a UB group could join larger rides like Tour du Port.

By the time you read this article a UB Cycling Club may be ready to roll.

This August I was ready for another Bike Party and I was ready to ride at the front instead of the back. There is nothing like looking behind you and seeing thousands of bicycles fill the street as if they were cars.

It was a curb-to-curb phenomenon of shiny two-wheeled wonders.

Imagine what UB students could do if we got on our bikes and joined in with all the others.

Photos courtesy of Laura Melamed

UB President Schmoke discusses upcoming police officer trials

As Baltimore prepares for the start of the trials of the six police officers charged in connection with the in-custody death of Freddie Gray in early October, University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke says unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he’s seen a dramatic increase in crime since the end of April.

“When I was Mayor, for 10 years we had over 300 homicides a year relating to the height of the crack epidemic, and the (gang) wars over turf,” said Schmoke, who was Mayor of Baltimore from 1987 to 1999.

“What’s happened more recently is kind of opportunistic crimes. I do know from talking with some police officers that gangs, which did not exist to a great extent in Baltimore in the last century are prevalent now, and there’s been a street bat- tle among gangs, and there’s been a sense that they have greater op- portunity because the police are not as aggressive in their enforcement activity, at least in May, and that continued a little bit in the summer.” He added that the homicide rate in the city also jumped in the early 1970s, but fell dramatically after the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center opened at the Uni- versity of Maryland Medical Center because more shooting victims were being saved.

In May, a week and a half after the rioting on April 27, Schmoke spoke with Bryan Nehman of 1090 WBAL-AM, and explained that it’s extremely difficult to get con- victions of police officers who are accused of criminal wrongdoing. Schmoke told The Post that there’s a range of opinions in the public about police.

“Everybody knows that it’s important to have a good police depart- ment in order to maintain safety, but there’s a wide range of experiences. Some people believe very strongly, or are supportive of the police in all they do. Other people are very skeptical of the police, so it depends on your encounter and the history of your encounters with police.”

Schmoke explained what usually happens when a jury is selected for a criminal case against a police officer.

“You normally, in these criminal cases, get a jury that’s a mix of the communities of Baltimore, from the wealthiest to the poorest, and when you get that mix together, a lot of folks are willing to give police the benefit of the doubt in making quick judgments on the street, and they don’t want to second-guess the police, unless it’s a situation in which somebody that they know has been injured.” Schmoke says those jury makeups often lead to hung juries and acquittals, not convictions.

In the Gray case, Schmoke says good defense attorneys would “put the victim on trial” by bringing up his past criminal record, what he was doing on the street at the time of the now-infamous confrontation, and even past encounters the accused officers may have had with Gray. Jurors would then have to take all that information into account in determining whether or not the officers’ actions were reasonable at the time. Schmoke says during his time as State’s Attorney for Baltimore City from 1982 to 1987, he prosecuted a case where an officer was charged in the shooting death of a motorcyclist in Northeast Baltimore.

“The police officer and the motorcyclist got into a fight on Harford Road near Clifton Park, and it escalated, and the officer shot this man, and the question was, was it just self-defense, or was it a heated argument? Did the officer have time to step away?” The case went to a grand jury, and even heard testimony from the accused officer, which Schmoke says is unusual. The grand jury indicted the officer, but when the case went to trial, the jury was split evenly, with the six white jurors voting in favor of the officer, while the six black jurors voted against him. When the case was tried a second time, the jury acquitted the officer.

There’s been plenty of controversy surrounding the Gray case. One subject of controversy has been State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Attorneys for the accused officers have leveled serious accusations against her, ranging from conflicts of interest (her relationship with Gray family attorney Billy Murphy, and her husband, Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents West Baltimore) to withholding evidence from the defense. The defense filed a motion to have Mosby be rescued as the prosecutor in the trials, but that motion was denied by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams. President Schmoke agrees with Judge Williams’ ruling.

I think Judge Williams has been correct in saying that if there was anything that was unprofessional, that is a matter that should go to the Ethics Commission. Her conduct hasn’t risen to the point of disqualifying her or her office from handling this case…but overall, I think she has made decisions based on the facts as she knows it, but I still believe it’s going to be difficult to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that these officers were engaged in criminal activity.”

Another defense motion that was denied by Judge Williams on September 10th was a motion for a change of venue to move the trial out of Baltimore City because of the publicity surrounding the case and concerns expressed by defense attorneys about whether or not their clients can get a fair trial in the city. President Schmoke feels that decision was only a tentative one.

“That is, that he was saying based on what’s in front of him right now, he can’t reach the conclusion that these officers can’t get a fair trial in Baltimore,” Schmoke said. “I think during the course of jury selection, when you start asking people questions, that’s the point where the judge will make another decision about whether there’s too much bias one way or another.” Schmoke explained that people who are summoned for jury duty in criminal cases are asked very probing questions to determine if they have any biases. He said that following jury selection, defense attorneys will likely refile the motion for a change of venue.

In September, former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said during a forum at St. Mary’s College that officers “took a knee” and decided to stop proactively policing the city after the officers were indicted because they were worried about getting into trouble if they got into a physical confrontation. Schmoke agrees with that sentiment Batts expressed.

“I do believe that there has been a very brief but telling slowdown in some police enforcement action after the indictment of the six police officers, and I think that has hurt the situation and allowed some things to get out of control in the neighborhoods,” Schmoke said. He feels that the police are now actively back to doing their jobs. He feels that the city’s recent moves of creating a “War Room” and bringing in agents from five different federal agencies to partner with the police department’s Homicide Unit are staring to pay off.

“I think the new police strategy is beginning to turn the tide, and hopefully we’ll see reductions (in crime) going forward as we move into the fall and the winter,” Schmoke said. As an “Anchor In- stitution” in Baltimore, he says the university is reaching out to the Police Department to help improve relations between officers and Balti- more’s minority communities.

“Some of our professors (in the law school and the College of Public Affairs’ Criminal Justice program) have been working with the police department on improved training,” Schmoke said. “We’d like to get more senior police officers taking our leadership courses. We have some professors who are experts in those areas, and so we’ve been reaching out to the department to try to offer our services there.” He called the University’s new “Divided Baltimore” course a step in the right direction to get students, faculty and residents alike to talk about how the city got to where it is now, and where it’ll go in the future.

Ravens face season without Suggs

The Ravens lost their opening game of the 2015 NFL season in Denver. That loss pales in comparison to an injury sustained by one of Baltimore’s most important players, linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Terrell Suggs, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.
Terrell Suggs, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.

Suggs, the emotional leader of the Ravens, tore his left Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of Baltimore’s 19-13 loss at Denver. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, and was not willing to be carted off to the locker room, but eventually did at the insistence of team doctors. Teammates thought Suggs only had cramps, and were shocked to learn of the official diagnosis after the game. Now, the Ravens are looking for other defensive players, young and veteran alike, to step up and fill the leadership void left behind by Suggs, who previously tore his right Achilles ten- don during spring team activities in 2012. Suggs offered encouragement to his followers on social media after learning his season was over after barely beginning.

“Chin up Ravens Nation! We’ve been here before…This changes NOTHING!!! Our mission is still the same,” Suggs said on Twitter after the game. Baltimore will now look to players like linebackers Elvis Dumervil and C.J. Moseley, along with defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, to take on increased roles in leading the Ravens’ traditionally strong defense. They will be called on to replace the team’s career leader in sacks with 106.5, the sixth-most among active players.

“You can never replace Terrell Suggs,” Dumervil told ESPN.com. Last season, Dumervil and Suggs combined for 29 sacks, which ranked among the league leaders in sacks by any two teammates.

The Ravens were hurt by poor execution in their two-minute drill against the Broncos. After Denver capped off a 17-play, 81-yard, 10:56 drive with a field goal, the Ravens got the ball at their 20 with 2:55 left. Baltimore drove the ball into the redzone, but Joe Flacco failed to connect on passes intended for running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. On third down, Flacco’s pass was intercepted by the Bronco’s Darian Stewart in the end zone off a deflection.

The Ravens defense was able to stifle an inconsistent Peyton Man- ning. Baltimore sacked Manning four times (two by Mosely), held him to just 175 yards passing, and Jimmy Smith returned an interception for a touchdown.

Baltimore will look to build some momentum during October, when they’ll face archrival Pittsburgh on “Thursday Night Football” on Oct. 1, followed by fellow division rival Cleveland on Oct. 11. Baltimore will go back west to play San Francisco on Oct. 18 and Arizona on Oct. 26 for “Monday Night Football.”

Photo Credit: Keith Allison under a Creative Common License

Twelve-Thirty Talks and Writing Wednesdays

Whether you’re planning a paper or a garden, the library can help you cover ground

Are you looking for a unique learning experience this October? Twelve-thirty Talks or Writing Wednesdays at the library may fulfill that requirement.

On October 21, Dr. Jan L. Williams, Associate Professor of Accounting and Yale Gordon Chair for Distinguished Teaching will be discussing accounting as part of the library’s Twelve-Thirty Talks series.

Streambank native garden, two years after planting. Photo by Jeff La Noue
Streambank native garden, two years after planting.
Photo by Jeff La Noue

At the Twelve-Thirty Talks in September, sixteen people learned about native gardening. UB Sustainability Planner Jeff La Noue discussed how a native garden can attract butterflies, birds and help the environment, as well.

“My first big advice is to start small,” said La Noue. In order to be sustainable, your garden must be manageable.

“If you let nature do it, your neighbors are going to be mad at you,” added La Noue.

Are you a busy UB student? Then a native tree or bush may be better for your yard. They require little upkeep but are still good for the environment.

Are you wondering what to plant? La Noue recommends visiting Herring Run Nursery, located seasonally at 6131 Hillen Road. Staff can help with appropriate selections.

Are you looking for inspiration? Reference and Instruction Librarian Peter Ramsey recommends Paradise Lot , a book about two people who turned a junk yard into a permaculture garden.

You can find Paradise Lot and related books on Langsdale’s shelves and in the library catalog, as well.

Another October learning opportunity is Writing Wednesdays. The library and the Writing Center are partnering to bring you this educational experience.

Do you ever worry about your writing? Then you’re among even experienced writers.

“I have always experienced doubt about my own writing,” said Mia White, tutor for the Writing Center and writer for The UB Post.

White is working on an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts. Despite being in her final year of the program, she is still apprehensive about her writing at times.

White’s own self-doubt is part of the reason she likes working as a writing tutor. “Seeing students change their attitude about themselves is really rewarding,” she says.

“I’m not a writer,” White hears students say, quite often. “If students learn skills on their own, and start to see writing as a process, they may begin to realize this isn’t the case.”

White will be in the library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Wednesday in October as a writing consultant. To make an appointment, please go to https://ubalt.mywconline.com/

“Bring an assignment sheet and whatever you have written – printed,” says White.

Do you like interactive workshops? Visit the Academic Learning Center to polish your professional prose. For details, check out the Achievement and  Learning Center  (ALC) online or in AC 113.

For the Writing Center’s Wednesday Walk-in Hours and Online Chat, please visit the Writing Center, also located online and in AC 113.

The Langsdale Library is located on the third floor of the Learning Commons.

Look out for more Twelve-Thirty Talks in November. Heather L. Pfeifer, Associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice, will speak about police reform and training.

Do you want to be ready for finals? Stay tuned for details about the library’s late night, coming up in December.