Whew. Let me tell ya, things in Hampden are really heating up this summer. Ha! I don't know why it's fun writing in clichés, but it is. I mean it's also true. I'm writing this at the tail end of a mini-heat wave (do people just not use that phrase anymore?) and I'm trying to edit down a long list of awesome upcoming events just to fit my column size.
The Pavement to Prairie Party kicks off July 25 at the ACCE School in the Robert Poole complex, 1300 W. 36th St. More than 300 volunteers, including 200 from the Vans Warped Tour, will be pulling up almost an acre of asphalt and converting the area to turf and conservation landscaping. ACCE students will use the area as an outdoor classroom. Plus, removing the 7/10 of an acre of asphalt will help remove stormwater, which runs off into the Jones Falls, carrying with it pollutants.
According to the event organizers, Blue Water Baltimore, "Stormwater is the number one (Chesapeake) Bay pollutant coming from urban areas and the only pollutant type entering the bay that is still on the rise."
A 3,000-square-foot, environmentally-themed mural is planned for the site. If you're interested in helping, email Blue Water Baltimore Volunteer Coordinator Debra Lenik at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 410-254-1577.
Get ready to get your game on. The Mario Kart 64 Nintendo Challenge Level 1 rolls into the Golden West Café, 1105 W. 36th St., on July 26 at 10 p.m. This is the first in a monthly series of Nintendo tournaments. There's a $3 signup fee, and winners can take home cash prizes.
So for those who have dreamed of becoming professional gamers, this is your chance — albeit retro-style. And if you dress as your favorite Nintendo character, you get discount drinks!
I'm thinking about going as Donkey Kong. I've been looking for a good excuse to buy a gorilla costume, and with discounts at the bar, this costume might just pay for itself.
Local investigative journalist Stephen Janis and former Baltimore City homicide detective Kevin Sewell will be at Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, on July 28 at 7 p.m., trying to answer the question, "Why do we kill?" It's also the name of their new book. The event is free.
Friday, Aug. 5, is First Friday in Hampden, and Myrtle Dove Vintage, 805 W. 36th St., will have its grand opening party from 6 to 9 p.m. The store is full of retro housewares, Hawaiian shirts, Western snap-shirts, wrap skits and much more. And for the grand opening there will be treats, music and raffles.
On the same night is the opening for an exhibit of the photography of D. Fitch at Sixteen Tons, 1100 W. 36th St., from 6 to 9 p.m. Fitch is best known as a photographer for Lowside Magazine, a publication for motorcycle aficionados.
And former City Paper writer Tom Scocca returns to Baltimore that night promoting what the Huffington Post says is one of the most anticipated books of the summer, "Beijing Welcomes You."
Scocca will be at Atomic Books at 7 p.m., discussing the shadow China casts over the U.S., and will sign copies of his new book..
Many other area merchants have special events planned, so make Aug. 5 your night to stroll the Avenue.