Artscape: Extreme Style in the Strange City

Artscape is a huge festival in Baltimore about …art. All kinds of it. Music, acrobatics, paintings, jewelry, clothes- all kindsa stuff. It’s the largest arts festival in the nation and my friend Alesha and I decided to conquer it. First though, I went to IKEA to buy a clock,
IKEAs have crabcakes now? And they’re Maryland style? You don’t say…
Getting this clock was no easy feat. I was aware that this clock was rare, and despite the fact that I called this particular IKEA ahead of time, they told me that they had never heard of it nor did they “see it.” So I went anyway and what do you know, tons of ’em. I was too elated to be mad though. I love maps.

So yeah, we get back into downtown Baltimore and walk around lower Light Street. We wait for a half hour for the bus in the heat.


And then we’re greeted with acrobats!


Artscape is a place filled with dashes of Baltimore in every nook and cranny. In the words of John Waters,

“I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore. You can look far and wide, but you’ll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style. It’s as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.”

In this way, at Artscape you will see Natty Boh,

Eccentric old men,
Hula girls,
Naked cops,
Dolled-up dogs,
Swamp monsters with horns,
and practically every other person on the planet,



Alesha and I immediately proceeded to embrace the merriment,



There was extreme hopscotch,
a ferris wheel,
and pizza twister.

As we passed the game lead shouted, “Right foot olive!”

Then, a staple of Artscape, tricked out artsy cars,

I dig this,

I dig that,

Wait, what is…

is that a cockroach????


No. I don’t dig this.

There were children beating up on Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen,



And food, lots of food,


This is my trademark look. It’s consistent in my approval with selfies.
But then, OZOMATLI.
I hadn’t even known they were coming, I hadn’t been keeping up with the roster. When Alesha told me while we were on our way back from IKEA, I damn near crashed my car I was so exicted. I started listening to them in high school after seeing them on a documentary called, “The Joys of Lex,” where they spoke about Spanglish. At the time I was knee-deep into studying Spanish, and listening to them was a cool way to study.





Here’s some terrible footage from an amateur photographer.


Natty Boh crowdsurfed.


As the show ended, they brought all their instruments with them into the crowd and my friend and I took the opportunity to get to the T-shirt stand, I love band tees.
But wouldn’t you know it, the band travelled!




I was so close I could TOUCH each and every one of them….
I showed restraint though, and just kept tapping my photograph button on my phone.






So after the absolute bliss of the show, we walked around a bit more.



These are the faces of exhausted festival girls.

And then, as we went back the way we came, the aerial acrobats were still at it, but with the twist of chains and giant hula hoops.





When making a gif of this, I figured black and white would fit the mood best with her flapper dress.

In all, it was a pleasant and exhausting and expensive time. I enjoyed it. If you haven’t been to Artscape, you should go, there’s something for everyone. In closing, I’ll leave you with my favorite Ozomatli song.

Let’s dance!

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