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Final effort to 'Save the Idle Hour' in full swing for Riverside bar

In late December, the Idle Hour — a celebrated corner bar in Riverside for more than a decade — closed unexpectedly due to a structural issue involving a buckling wall behind the back bar.

Owners Brendan Finnerty and Randal Etheridge said safety concerns for staff and patrons left them with no other choice.

After considering many options, the owners held two fundraising events (one at Little Havana on Jan. 31 and the other at the Ottobar on Feb. 28) that raised approximately $14,000, Etheridge said Friday afternoon.

It was enough to keep their dream of reopening the Idle Hour alive, but not for much else. The money was used to pay outstanding bills for alcohol distributors and mortgage payments. (Etheridge said he and Finnerty own the building next to the bar as well.)

In a final effort to fix the bar's problems and move forward, Etheridge and Finnerty launched the “Save the Idle Hour” campaign on the crowd-funding website Indiegogo this week.

As of Friday afternoon, 93 people...

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HBO cancels 'Looking,' will air 'final chapter' as special

There will be no third season for HBO's gay-themed series "Looking," which has been canceled, HBO announced March 25.

Instead, a "final chapter" will be aired as an HBO special in order to wrap up the show's various storylines, it said.

"After two years of following Patrick and his tight-knit group of friends as they explored San Francisco in search of love and lasting relationships, HBO will present the final chapter of their journey as a special," HBO said in a statement. "We look forward to sharing this adventure with the shows loyal fans."

An HBO spokeswoman said more details about the special -- such as its length and air date -- are not yet available.

The news will no doubt be met with varying degrees of regret and derision by the gay community, which has largely been split over the series and whether it represented gay culture and lives in an interesting, accurate and entertaining way.

But it should also be met with a sense of loss by anyone who believes unapologetic and...

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For Maryland's 'Doctor Who' fans, a convention to revel in a cult favorite

Kara Dennison’s a Whovian — a fan of the long-running British sci-fi series “Doctor Who” — because you never know who or what is going to show up.

Michael O’Brien loves it because it has never let low budgets or the limitations of conventional narrative get in the way. For Kathryn Patterson, the show’s become a good friend that helped get her through a family crisis.

And Connor Butler? Connor’s only 6, a little young to be understanding why he likes something. But in costume, wielding one of the doctor’s sonic screwdrivers with serious authority, he’s clearly a big-time fan. “He’s fun,” Connor explains, and what good Whovian is going to argue that point?

These are heady times for area "Doctor Who" fans. The show is still going strong, more than a half-century after its debut on the BBC. And this weekend, the first "Doctor Who" fan convention to hit the area in decades is set for Baltimore County's Hunt Valley Inn.

Scores of fans will be able to meet two of the 13 actors who have played...

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Cover design unveiled for new Harper Lee novel

The cover for Harper Lee's new novel will surely remind you of the cover for her old one.

On Wednesday, HarperCollins unveiled the jacket art for Lee's "Go Set a Watchman," the unexpected follow-up to her classic "To Kill a Mockingbird." The new cover, like the one for "To Kill a Mockingbird," is a moody illustration featuring an oak tree in front. The art for "Go Set a Watchman" also shows train tracks and a train in the distance. In a statement released by HarperCollins, company President Michael Morrison noted that "Go Set a Watchman" begins with "Mockingbird" protagonist Scout Finch returning by train 20 years later, in the 1950s, to her native Alabama.

HarperCollins has announced a first printing of 2 million copies and a July 14 publication date for the book.

Associated Press

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Mitchell Brunings to perform lead in 'Marley' premiere at Center Stage

Mitchell Brunings, a Dutch singer whose performance of a Bob Marley song on the reality TV show "The Voice of Holland" two years ago brought him international attention, will perform the lead in the musical "Marley" premiering at Center Stage in May.

The YouTube clip of Brunings singing "Redemption Song" has had more than 35 million views. One of those viewers was Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, the writer and director of "Marley," which went into rehearsal this week.

In a statement released Wednesday, Kwei-Armah said he was "mesmerized" by Brunings' video and "jumped on a plane and dashed to Holland to see him immediately. Having auditioned actors around the world for this role, I knew right away that he was a natural. His soulful, gorgeous voice and deep respect for Bob's music and life make him the perfect fit for this production."

Brunings described Marley as "a huge inspiration in my life" and said it was "an overwhelming honor to be playing the legend in a new...

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Native author D. Watkins: 'I don't know this new Baltimore'

D. Watkins doesn't much like the "new Baltimore."

Writing on salon.com this week, in a think piece headlined "Black history bulldozed for another Starbucks: Against the new Baltimore," the Baltimore-raised and Hopkins-educated professor at Coppin State University takes issue with what he sees as the ongoing gentrification of his hometown, and wonders if there's a place for people like him in Charm City anymore.

"I don't know this new Baltimore, it's alien to me," Watkins writes.

The neighborhood basketball courts where he grew up with his friends, he notes, are gone, paved and/or built over. The Lafayette Housing Project, where he hung out with his cousin, Damon, has been bulldozed.

Thinking about his cousin, Watkins writes, "Visiting his old unit after his murder would’ve been therapeutically nostalgic for me but that place is gone and will never be back again."

The businesses, higher-priced homes and other byproducts of gentrification, he writes, are a poor substitute for the...

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