Archive for March, 2010


I just spent a wonderful few days in Toronto with a lot of great new friends. My best bud Gabriel and I were treated like kings by our hosts Marco and Nancy, a musician and poet who have a wonderfully vibrant and connected life in Toronto.


(Gabriel at the Hamilton Pier)

Marco has recently released a solo album of soulful ambient music. Here is the fantastical, hand-drawn animated video to one of his songs:

Our first night we ended up at the Dakota Tavern, an inviting Country themed venue. The act who was playing, Andrew Penner, created an immense sound blanket covering the whole room with passion and warmth. With only an acoustic guitar, one foot on a bass drum, and one on a pedal keyboard, he sounded like an orchestra. His band, The Sunparlour Players has just released an album called Wave North. It’s lovely. I’m sitting here listening to it on my record player right now. Perfect combination of the Canadian sense of wide-open space, and his own very personal fire in the belly.


(Andrew Penner at the Dakota Tavern)

We also spent an evening bopping around and caught a Punk revival act (I haven’t seen it pulled off this well before, and these guys brought such joy and energy to the songs that it really felt like a barn dance or a real deal folk show) called The Screwed. Leather-clad, Middle-aged women were dancing like they were 19 again. All of us dudes bopped our heads and played air guitar along with the best riffs. The drummer looked like he was having more fun than anyone in the room, and when he broke a stick mid song and kept on going, you could feel the energy in the place shoot through the ceiling.

That night we also caught J. J. Ipsen, a writer of intricate, baroque-pop who was accompanied by a tasteful piano player. And Ray from Pink Moth, who was the nicest guy, and played his own take on indie melancholia. I felt bad when we slipped out after a couple songs to get to a party that had been set up for us, but if was great to catch what we could. Ray recorded his last ep in a church, which resonates with me because of the recording of ‘October 29th’.


(Hugh Oliver)

The last night we had an all out beatnick hang with the 80 year old poet/songwriter/literary scholar Hugh Oliver. He’s a good friend of Nancy and Marco’s, and we spent the evening playing old folk songs (Marco, giving us Italian pearls from his childhood and Hugh offering aching British love-lorn ballads and uproarious Wine/Women cautionary tales), riffing on Shakespeare, downing red wine, learning about Greece from Nancy, discussing the nuances of documentary film with Gabriel, and generally having the kind of night I dreamed my adult life would look like when I was 12.

Like the whole trip, and Toronto itself, that night was filled with the traditions of various cultures, bonded and celebrated by music and friendship and love and humor and acceptance. We did it. No one can erase it. That’s life. Toronto style.


(A Toronto mural)

Photos of ‘Baltimore’ Mural


On March 4, a mural based on the song ‘Baltimore’ by Caleb Stine and Saleem Heggins was put on display at Penn Station. Painted by students from UB and MICA, the mural offers funky and philosophical interpretations of the city and song. It’s on wheels, and is designed to show up in other city locales for the rest of the year. More information is here in a Baltimore Sun article.


Four panels wide, the mural greets travelers as they enter the train station.


Jazz notes embedded in the pavement, come to life.


Caleb and Saleem as old men.


Remington Avenue represent!


At the dedication ceremony.

Caleb Stine and The Brakemen to Play Grassroots Haiti Benefit

‘Heads Together For Haiti’ on Friday, March 19, at 7pm

Baltimore—The local Holistic Living and Learning Center will be co-sponsoring, “Heads Together for Haiti”, a benefit on Friday, March 19 at The Metro Gallery to raise money for the recently earthquake-struck country.  The event, organized by Holistic Living member Rachael Tanner, will feature live, local music from Caleb Stine & The Brakemen, The Fearsome Creatures, The Matrimonials, and Bobby E. Lee and the Sympathizers, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle.

All proceeds will benefit Heads Together, an organization based in Port-Au-Prince, and will be used to rebuild the Jean Jacques Dessaline school, which was founded in part by Heads Together facilitator Gerard Lumarque.

Baltimore native Rachael Tanner lived and worked in Haiti from 2002-2003 with Heads Together. Heads Together is a democratically, consensus run grassroots organization that works in areas of need for the people of their community. Their work includes adult literacy centers, various environmental projects, and the elementary school, Jean Jacques Dessaline for those children in the community who would be unable to attend school otherwise because of high costs.

The facilitator of Heads Together, Gerard Lumarque, and a team of Haitian teachers founded the school, Jean Jacques Dessaline, in 2006. The dynamic pedagogical philosophy, educational approach, and curriculum design make the school unique to the region. This is due to the dedication of the teaching staff. For example, after the first school year, when they lost their building contract and the budget was too low on funds, the team of teachers worked all summer under the hot Caribbean sun to build a new building, without pay.

Sadly, like so many other buildings in the recent earthquake, the school collapsed. Even though many of them are dealing with lost family members and homes, the teachers are still making the daily trek to the school site and holding classes in the schoolyard under tarps.

Tanner hopes that the benefit will help to rebuild the school and is excited about her local Baltimore community helping her cherished Haitian community! If we put our Heads Together all things can be accomplished!

Heads Together for Haiti

Friday, March 19, 2010

7 pm.

The Metro Gallery is located at 1700 North Charles Street

(on the corner of Lanvale and Charles Streets.)

For press inquiries, contact Rachael Tanner.





Thanks to Frances on Craig’s List and the strong backs of Kyle, Daniel, and Mike.

Natasha Tylea





More beautiful photos by Natasha found here:

Caleb and Saleem’s ‘Baltimore’ Becomes A Mural


‘Baltimore’ Mural To Be Unveiled On March 4 At Penn Station

A group of students from The University of Baltimore and MICA teamed together to create a four panel mural based on the song ‘Baltimore’.  Caleb and Saleem, originally paired up by WTMD in a song-writing collaboration, released ‘Baltimore’ in 2008 on their album ‘Outgrown These Walls’.  The song is full of rich city imagery, many of which comes to life in the mural, set to be unveiled at Baltimore’s Penn Station on March 4, at 2pm.  Caleb and Saleem will perform during the official reception. Further Information Can Be Found Here at MICA’s Site. And here’s a nice article about the whole project on BmoreMedia.