Baltimore Be Bullish

The Best of Baltimore from the people who live here.

Bullish: "Being confident or optimistic about something." We're Bullish on Baltimore. 

BALTIMORE EXPLORO-CAST: A Hollins Market Hospitality Showcase

 While eating excessive amounts of pizza at Zella's during the Sowebo Music & Arts Festival, we quickly decided further exploration of the Hollins Market area was necessary. We sent an email to our buddy Noah over at ToolBank, and a few clicks later, we had a date set up with Michael Seipp, Executive Director of the Southwest Partnership. The following week, we found ourselves standing at the corner of Hollins and Carrollton, just outside of Hollins Market, with Michael and he brought along JR Lee and Bif Browning. We quickly learned these guys are some of the neighborhoods most bullish and active individuals (every few feet they were chatting with and introducing us to another resident who was involved in the community). Before heading inside, we had some quick history lessons about the market (there's an old recreational center and basketball court up top and the market used to be fully open on both sides...something these guys hope to see again in the future). Bif also explained that the Hollins Market and Union Square area, home of many notable Baltimoreans, was the city's first innovation corridor; railroads, telegraphs and bicycle trails all found their origins in the neighborhood. Not to mention all the events, movies and concerts regularly happening in the area as well.  

 

Hollins Market is the oldest existing public market building in Baltimore and there are still longtime vendors with rich stories about their family history in the market (check out Johnnie's Seafood, Jack's Poultry, L&R Produce, just to name a few).  We could go on about the things we learned from Bif, Michael and JR and the other individuals we spoke to – but that’s why we have the podcast. The point is that being bullish on Baltimore is about engaging with our city and the people working to make it great. There are many of them. What we thought might end up as a quick chat with one person turned into a a morning meeting passionate new people sharing old stories and visions for the future…and of course some delicious tacos at JR’s spot, Mi Ranchito. When people are proud of what they have helped to create and continue to build, they are excited to share these stories. Finding these individuals and listening is especially fun.

In addition to the places mentioned, make sure to check out City of Gods, CUPS Coffeehouse and all the other places in the neighborhood we haven't even made it to yet. Then email us and tell us about it!

Huge thanks to our buddy Gio for capturing it all in his amazing photographs.

 

 

 

BULLISH ON BARBELLS & YOUTH EMPOWERMENT: Geoff Blake of MissionFit

The suggested $1-15 dollars you donate for Geoff's community classes go right back to providing more opportunity for city youth. After school the gym is open for any kid who can find his or her way there. The goal is to "strengthen Baltimore's youth" but the way in which this is accomplished extends far beyond just physical fitness.

It took us a while to get the full story out of Geoff because, as we said, he's not one to boast. But Geoff, MissionFit founder Wendy Wolock and the rest of the Mission fit team are committed to creating a safe space for kids where it's possible for them to feel healthy and supported. Listen to the podcast to get the full story and then head to missionfit.org to learn how to get involved.

We met Geoff thanks to an email from someone who said we had to "check out this place called MissionFit." We tend to follow up on these suggestions, so keep them coming, we love it. 

Geoff Blake doesn't like to boast about the work he does, so we decided we had to do it for him. If you go to MissionFit.org  you'll see that Geoff is listed as a coach but that's an unbelievably modest description of what Geoff does for this non-profit gym. Geoff and his team have been providing free fitness classes for youth in the city for the past 8 months, along with donation based drop in classes for people of all ages. MissionFit's mission is to "build community among our city's youth" while "fostering self confidence and strength in our gym using physical fitness."

Most days the MissionFit gym, situated above an auto body shop in Remington, is filled with a broad spectrum of individuals. From middle school kids playing dodgeball to adults receiving personal training, all of the activities that go on in the gym go towards supporting the mission of the gym.

GUERRILLA-CAST: 120 seconds of observing Patrick Rife & Nic China at work at Pixilated HQ

The Be Bullish Crew doesn't exactly facilitate an efficient work environment...but at least we amuse ourselves. However, once we actually sat down with Patrick and began to talk Baltimore and Bullishness, we produced some pretty sound, interesting audio. Nic, Patrick and the whole Startup Soiree community have a pretty damn bullish take on their city and we're happy to be a part of it. 

Stay tuned for the full audio from our interview with Patrick and make sure to check out some of the other great Startup Soiree interviews. Lots more guerilla-casting to come, and don't forget to listen in on  some of our most recent interviews!

As always, everyone have a Bullish Day!

Last week Patrick Rife of Pixilated and Startup Soiree had us in his own studio to record the Startup Soiree Podcast. Naturally, turning the reigns over to someone else isn't always easy, so the Bullish Crew indulged in a few minutes of what we're now calling "Guerrilla-casting." It's like Podcasting except you do it at inappropriate times and you largely talk about nothing. While we were recording 2 minutes of ridiculous audio where we speculate on time travel, what a real "fire-wall" would look like and our plans for our upcoming interview, Nic China and Patrick (co-owners of Pixilated and Startup Soiree) attempted to work diligently on their weekly calendar.

AUDIOBITES: Jermaine Bell of Impact Hub

 At the moment he's using his background in design and advertising to help local businesses and non-profits, like the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, brand themselves for success. It's definitely one of the highlights of this Audiobite, but in general Jermaine is an absolute wealth of knowledge and recommendations.  Listen closely  to learn about some of the badass events going on and local artists and thinkers Jermaine gets to run with. 

You can find Jermaine on social media as @JTBeezwax. You can also find some of his awesome prints on Etsy or this Friday night, May 20, at the SunSets event at Impact Hub. Check the man out!

Jermaine Bell has a deep passion for this city. Let's go ahead and call him Bullish. Jermaine is a Baltimore native, MICA graduate and one of those dudes who seems to know everyone and be involved in everything. Jermaine, a Baltimore Corps fellow, is the Program & Marketing Director at Impact Hub where he plays a key role in scheduling events and pulling in world class speakers with a range of expertise. We've attended several talks at Impact Hub and we can't recommend them highly enough. It was a privilege to get to sit down with Jermaine and learn about his approach towards booking speakers, his work in the community and his deep concern for the welfare of his city.

 

AMPLIFYING COMMUNITY: A Tour of the Baltimore Community ToolBank with Noah Smock

Our interview with Noah Smock, the Executive Director of the Baltimore Community ToolBank, came together perfectly. We met Matt Williams when he reached out to us about our Be Bullish shirts. So of course, we invited him for beer at Butt's and Betty's. Then we interviewed him in an elevator shaft at Light City. Then Matt said, "I have someone I want you to interview."  A few days later, we were at the Baltimore Community ToolBank, talking trash grabbers, shovels and how the ToolBank, (one of only ten of its kind in the country) is helping to "amplify" community organizations all over the city (and beyond). In essence, the way we arrived at BCTB is exactly the way we envisioned Be Bullish working when we conceived of it. Word of mouth referrals & the best of Baltimore from the people that live here.

Noah is a wealth of knowledge about the hundreds of awesome community organizations throughout our city. The ToolBank works with many of those organizations to provide tools and materials for various initiatives all over town. Instead of charging expensive rental fees for tools (or worse yet, forcing organizations to purchase tools, elevating startup costs) Noah and his team have created an easy, affordable way for organizations to access the materials they need. Whether it's shovels, generators, tables or a megaphone,  Noah amplifies the potential of organizations all over Baltimore. We had the opportunity to tour the ToolBank and get the scoop directly from Noah.  Check them out here and check out our blog page for the extended photo album from our trip!

"WE NEED YOU HERE." A Conversation with City Council Candidate Zeke Cohen

"We need you here".

That's been the recurring theme of many of our discussions lately. It's the first thing that came up when we met Zeke Cohen, our latest podcast guest, at High Grounds Coffee in Highlandtown.  

You, the intelligent individual who has ended up in Baltimore, for whatever reason, we need you here, and we need you to stay. It's easy to come to Baltimore as a transplant, and in the case of many of us, especially millennials, take your prestigious, well-earned (and expensive) degree and move on. But there are a million reasons not to do that. Baltimore needs young passionate individuals to stick around and invest in this city. 

Why? Last night, at a panel about the importance of "place" in Baltimore, B. Cole, founder of Brioxy and Dovecote Cafe, explained the potential and positive implications that result from homeownership. "It's like another step of adulthood...it's probably not that different from having a child, it forces you to think about everything differently". That makes sense. When you own a home, you have every reason to be concerned about what is going in the community and neighborhood around you; you've invested a lot of time and money into this new venture, and you can't up and leave tomorrow. So, all of the sudden you care a lot more. 

There are many factors that go into creating that link between transforming a transplant into a long-time resident, and one of them is having a foundation upon which you can build neighborhood and community ties. Grace's Acre, which we've mentioned before, is a tangible example of a community building space, and Grace's Acre is how we linked up with Zeke.

 

Zeke epitomizes why it's important to keep young, passionate individuals in the city. It's no surprise that, 30 seconds after walking in the door, our conversation focused on the importance of keeping young people here. Zeke came to Baltimore for school and never left. He's actively engaged with the city ever since, and is now running for a seat on City Council. 

Whether or not you agree with him as a political candidate, it's hard not to be inspired by Zeke's passion for Baltimore City. Early on in our conversation with him we posed the question, "what made you decide you needed to stay here?" His answer? The potential is here, he said, "If we can get it right here [in Baltimore] we can get it right anywhere." For young people looking to set up shop in Baltimore City that is a hopeful message. Of all the cities in all the world, Baltimore could be the one where we really get it right.

Listen in on this noisy (High Grounds is not a quiet place, but it's a great place and you should probably go there) bit of audio from Zeke and learn about his passion for the city. 

If you're here in Baltimore and you like it here, make sure to tell people. Make sure to remind people that they have a stake in their community. Remind people to vote and remind people, "we need you here."

Tomorrow, April 16, Zeke will be hosting an early voting brunch at Filippo's Pizzeria (418 S.Conkling Street). Stop in before heading off to vote.

*This is not a formal endorsement. Zeke's just a cool guy to grab some coffee with and we like that he's bullish on Baltimore.

 

 

5 MINUTES AFTER EATING THE MENU: Ghadeer of "Always Sunny Sugarcane Juice and Crepes"

So of course when Zeke Cohen posted in a neighborhood Facebook group about Always Sunny, a new Creperie in Highlandtown, we decided we needed to go check it out.  We could have carried on with our Sunday and continued binge watching Netflix...but then that wouldn't have been very Bullish of us now would it have been?

A few hours later we dropped in on Always Sunny and its lovely owner Ghadeer, who patiently whipped up crepes for us and all of our friends. This trip turned out to be dinner, dessert and a few minutes of golden audio. Ghadeer and the Bullish crew talk crepes, starting a business and why she and her brothers chose Baltimore. Enjoy and remember to Stay Bullish.

Check out Always Sunny's Facebook page here.

The great thing about Baltimore Be Bullish is that ultimately this entire project is about a change of mentality and it's that mentality that puts us in interesting places with interesting people. This isn't just an effort to expose people to greatness in Baltimore; it's really an effort to change how we all think  about and interact with our city

The main idea actually came from our own desire to say yes more often, see more of our town, meet exciting individuals and to encourage other people to do the same. If you never read this blog or listen to our #audiobites again that's fine. Our hope is that the few episodes you DID listen to will encourage you to explore a bit more and say yes more often.

 

5 MINUTES DURING A BREAK AT LIGHT CITY U: Panelist Chris Wilson of Barclay Investment Corporation

In Baltimore, if you have an idea which you are passionate about, there is a strong community here ready to give you the support you need to make your vision a reality. The speakers at LightCityU reinforced this concept, and this is one of the many reasons we love our city.  Day 2 of the Social Innovation Conference, like day 1, was full of solid talks, great people, fresh ideas and a non-stop buzz of positive energy about the existing power and potential of our city. It’s also been nice to see some familiar faces day after day, which highlights the notion of “starting conversations” that we often hear about. There is definitely a community (bigger than we even know…and will probably ever know) dedicated to realizing Baltimore's potential, and making it the greatest city in America…and if you hang out enough and pay attention, you’ll start to see the same faces, and these conversations get richer.

I met Chris Wilson at an Impact Hub happy hour last Friday. Since then, I’ve run into him at least four times. Chris, founder of Barclay Investment Corporation, a “social enterprise that specializes in residential and commercial contracting work” spoke on yesterday’s panel, “Leadership and Place”. The panel was great and so was Chris; he highlighted the need to not only focus on the creation of jobs, but also support for job creators and the importance of continuing to tell the stories of those here in Baltimore. Chris is an all-around inspiring guy who chose Baltimore, a city on which he is clearly very bullish. We were very happy he gave us a few minutes to talk about his path to Barclay, what he’s up to and his favorite dish in the city.

(We came across Chris's Stoop Story when we were putting together the links for this post, and we recommend taking five minutes to listen.) 

5 MINUTES IN AN ELEVATOR SHAFT AT LIGHT CITY U: Matt Williams of Startup Soiree

We we're pumped to check out the first day of the LightCityU Social Innovation Conference today at the Columbus Center. Awesome panels with Rich May from Innovation Village, Rodney Foxworth and Michelle Geiss from Impact Hub, B Cole from Brioxy, Laurin Hodge of Mission:Launch, Fagan Harris of BaltimoreCorps, author Wes Moore of BridgeEdU...the list goes on...And we finally had a chance to meet our social media friends from Good News Baltimore, in person. Plus a wonderful librarian we hope to meet again soon. It was a great day and now you have many links to explore.

 

Matt Williams, part of the Startup Soiree crew, held things down all day, from making sure you got your Pixilated photo badge when you walked in, to all sorts of of behind the scenes things we didn't notice thanks to his perfect execution, to ensuring everyone had enough Natty Boh's before listening to the last talk of the night. In between all of this, Matt graciously spent five minutes talking to us in the only quiet place we could find...an elevator shaft. This dude is wise beyond his years, very Bullish on Baltimore and all about community. So listen up as he discusses his take on the day and our city. 

AUDIOBITES: Chris Herbert on Studios and Sawdust

Baltimore  Be Bullish continues as an initiative focused on exploring the "Best of Baltimore from the people who live here." We're having fun in our city and we're talking about it in places we find interesting. We're new to this, so yeah, we're figuring it out as we go. We've been writing a blog and creating a podcast because we love it. We've been running with the t-shirts because it seems like a way to spread our mentality and we like wearing our passion on our chest. People like the shirts, people like their city.

Chris Herbert likes the shirts too. I didn't really know Chris before Be Bullish, (even though Nick did). But he wanted a shirt. Actually, he was one of the first people who wanted one. Who is this young, crafty artisan?

Chris emailed us about a shirt on February 2nd. A few days after receiving his shirt, he emailed us again, ( on February 7)  to ask for a jpeg of the shirt design. He had just found a new studio space and he wanted to paint a Be Bullish mural. Chris doubled down on being bullish. That's right, you can be bullish on Baltimore Be Bullish.

A few days later, thanks to the magic of social media, we saw Chris' larger than life Be Bullish mural in his new studio, and it was awesome. We visited Chris' studio last week (it's conveniently down the hall from our buddy Bobby's studio in the Crown and Cork Building) and talked being a 24 year old business owner, finding studio space, how he got into the carpentry game and why Tecate is his beer of choice. 

Chris is the type of person we love to meet and sit down with. He's young, energetic, passionate and rooted in the city. Want rad furniture? He's your dude and you know it doesn't get any more local. He even gives a shout out to our guys at Second Chance who have been providing him with much of his wood. Give this episode a listen. It's good for your brain...and maybe you'll find a table you love. 

You can find Chris' website here.

AUDIOBITES: LA Finfinger on Couches (Literally), Community and Yoga At Second Chance

If you haven't already figured it out, Be Bullish is our initiative focused on having fun by exploring people and places in our city, and talking about them in places we find interesting. On Saturday, our good friend LA Finfinger joined us in one of those places, Second Chance Inc. Feelings about Second Chance found here. (Spoiler alert: very strong, positive feelings). We love LA for lots of reasons. She founded Free Baltimore Yoga, and is spreading free yoga all over this city. (Hey yoga teachers, LA wants to fill this city with accessible yoga, she's only one person...yep, you know what to do). Second, just like the Dovecote crew, (lotta love there), LA is new to Baltimore and has managed, in a very short time, to find and build an amazing community. This speaks not only to LA's stellar personality, but also to our city. Come here as a new person, impassioned with an idea, and there is a community that will help you thrive. So listen up, as we run around the Second Chance Inc. testing pianos,crashing oncouches, and talking seriously about "yoga" studio spaces, maroon versus bordeaux, community, and challenges of offering a free service to the world. Speaking of free, these audiobites are brought to you by Reggie of Second Chance, and his little lifehack nugget about the upcoming "free days" (yes, this means lots of stuff for free) on March 18th at Second Chance. 

 

5 MINUTES ON A REALLY OLD STOOP: Jimmy Bigwood

This week's audio comes from our resident Baltimore historian, Jimmy Bigwood. We know what you're thinking; "Be Bullish has a resident historian? How does one even go about getting a resident historian?" That's a good question and honestly, we're not sure. All we know is that Jimmy is one of the most fascinating people we know and truly a Bullish individual. When you ask Jimmy, "so do you think you'll stay in Baltimore?" you get a blank stare, a hearty chuckle and robust "of course!" Jimmy is that type of dude. 

So, after a few beers at one of our favorite corner bars (Butts and Betty's) and a long conversation about where the real "Fells Point" actually is we decided we wanted to take an adventure. Jimmy is a wealth of knowledge on all sorts of subjects, (many of which will be touched upon in longer, more in depth podcasts) but we made the excellent decision of lobbing him a history softball right off the bat. "Hey Jim, where is the oldest house in Baltimore?" we asked. That's where the adventure began. 

As in turns out, The Robert Long house is just a brief walk from Butts and Betty's and we guarantee many of you have walked by it hundreds of times after a late night in the Fells Point neighborhood. Whether or not you have acknowledged the oldest surviving residence within city limits is a different matter...this is what Jimmy Bigwood is for. 812 S. Ann Street is the current address. Although we arrived at an off hour on a Sunday and were unable to take a tour, we have started to look into some of the history of the Robert Long House

Jimmy and the Be Bullish squad will be providing you all with more information in the future, but in the meantime go ahead and listen to the audio, introduce your ears to Jimmy and then go ahead and follow him on Instagram @Jbigwood2. More in depth, Bullish reporting to come from this crew and keep an eye out for the "Who is Robert Long?" blog post!

 

Stay Bullish y'all. 

5 MINUTES ON A PARK BENCH: Michelle Bond of Bottoms Up Bagels

When we said we planned to interrogate people for our podcast, we meant it. Last Friday at the ripe hour of 7am, with the thermometer bouncing around freezing, we hosted our first willing victim. Michelle Bond, founder of Bottoms Up Bagels, joined us for a little chat on a park bench in Patterson Park. She gracefully answered as we fired away questions about bagel pairings. Ever tried a kimchi bagel sandwich? Paired with a nice fermented kombucha?Didn't think so. We have and it's really damn good. Fortunately you can get yours this week at Michelle's Bottoms Up Bagel pop-up!  Michelle has now become our resident Be Bullish bagel expert. (Thanks Michelle, we hope that's cool with you). Dying to know what goes best with a Boh? You'll have to listen... 


P.S: The upside of doing your podcast from a park bench in Patterson Park is that people come by while walking their dogs, strike up lovely morning conversations and have no idea that they are audio bombing your podcast. It's authentic...roll with it! We'll never change!

EPISODE 1: Bobby Coleman

Bobby Coleman is a Baltimore based artist and self proclaimed "stuff maker." Bobby was formally featured on our previous podcast, "The Meatless Monday," which was an international success before being bought out by the Tribune Company. Bobby is about as Bullish as they come and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the city. His dedication to Baltimore didn't come without his bumps, however. As he discussed in this interview, it took a while for the city to become home. This episode with Bobby is a mix of legitimate Baltimore information, Bobby's favorite places to eat and drink, musings on the Baltimore art scene, all punctuated by an absurd story about packing up art in John Waters' apartment. 

Read more about Bobby and his studio on the Be Bullish Blog.