Friday, September 5, 2008

Open Letter to Anthony Bourdain

I see it’s been about a year since anyone has suggested Baltimore (other than the clip of that crazy lady with the MICA squirrel in the Travel with Tony montage). It appears to be time to reassert the need to do a show here.

First, some things you should know about us. We have a huge inferiority complex and a chip on our shoulder.

1) You dissed us in Kitchen Confidential, and we won’t let it go till you give us another chance. Granted, that diss was deserved. All you saw was the Inner Harbor. That place is a tourist trap shithole. There … I said it! Bring it on Baltimore Tourism Bureau. I ain’t skeered a’you. Going to the Inner Harbor and saying you’ve seen Baltimore, is like going to Five Points and the Coca Cola Museum and saying you’ve seen Atlanta. You haven’t. But, we don’t blame you. That place is an assault on the psyche. It’s okay. We understand. But, let us show the rest of city that will be a healing balm to your scarred, scarred soul.

2) You’re doing a show in DC. The only thing Baltimorons hate more than being dissed in public is DC. We are everything DC isn’t. A very wise friend of a friend described Baltimore as DC’s ugly, older sister who’s a lot more fun to hang out with. Growing up around the DC area, Lord knows I love me some go-go and Ben’s Chili bowl perhaps a little more than is healthy. But, eventually you get tired of playing SoWhoDoYouKnowAndHowCanThatBenefitMe game. Yeah, there are great museums and stuff, but DC is such a see-and-be-seen town. And it gets old … fast. In Baltimore we ask all the same getting to know you questions, but it’s because we’re certain that we have a friend in common – we just have to figure out who it is.

3) Fucking Cleveland??!? You did a how in Cleveland? But still you won’t come to Baltimore? Harvey Pekar is an American subculture icon. And you got to hang with Marky Ramone. Either of which I would give my left tit to do. I understand the appeal. But, how can you ignore the city that gave us Frank Zappa, John Waters, and The Wire? Baltimore is a weird place. But it’s good weird. Yeah, we’re Bodymore, Murderland. But we’re also still a place where folks dance in the streets. You see folks dancing at bus stops. We will literally stop our cars in the middle of the street to get our groove on. There’s a weirdly awesome dichotomy here. We’re the Northern most Southern city. We’re not New York or DC. We all the best of those things and all the worst of them at the same time. To quote John Waters, New York City is weird and everyone there knows they’re weird. Baltimore is weird and no has a clue.

4) The food. The fooooood! We know you love a public market. Baltimore has 6. Some of which have been in continuous operation since the 18th century. Each one has its own neighborhood and vibe. And the crabs, of course. But, like so many other local cuisines, you have to do it with a local to do it right. No one but tourists goes to those schmaltzy crab houses. To do it right you need a bushel of crabs, lots beer and good friends, someone’s back porch, an assload of newspaper, and whole an afternoon. Crabs are a slow food. They cannot be rushed through, assembly line fashion, in some bustling crab house. Sure, they are better/bigger/meatier crabs than the blues. But crabs are really about the picking, and picking is an art form learned on lazy afternoons filled with talking shit.

So, the choice is clear. Either give in and do a show here, or continue to be hounded until you do. We promise to make it worth your while.

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