Hampden: The more options for neighborhood entertainment in Hampden, the better

Hampden Hi-Fi wrapped up its Roosevelt Park outdoor concert series last Friday, July 27, with what looked to be one of the biggest crowds of its eight-week run, despite the heat.

And while nothing official has been announced, here's hoping organizers bring it back again next year, as everyone I spoke to who attended all of the concerts enjoyed the series.

It's a great opportunity for neighbors to get together, hang out outside, have a couple drinks and hear some tunes.

After all, the more options for music and live entertainment we have in the neighborhood, the more fun Hampden is. In fact, when Forbes magazine recently ranked America's top 20 "coolest cities," Baltimore came in 14th (above Philadelphia. That's right, in your face, Philly!), and one of the measures they use is an Arts & Culture Index.

So, the more we have going on in Hampden, the better it makes the whole town. And take it from Forbes. They KNOW cool. Y'know, in a financial reporting sort of way. And how's that not cool, right?

And speaking of cool, The Hampden Village Merchants Association has put together a John Waters tour of Hampden, where the HVMA highlights settings for some of the key scenes in the movie "Pecker." Waters also points out some of his favorite places too, at http://hampdenmerchants.com/maps/.

Friday, August 3 is First Friday in Hampden. And as is the tradition, many local businesses will be open late, with special events, sales, treats and more.

Local antiques dealer turned author Michelle Dwyer will be at Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, on First Friday to discuss her new collection of essays, "Drunk Junk," which are about her life as a young antiques dealer. To encourage that sort of dealing vibe, Atomic Books will be looking at old zine and comics collections (of the underground/alternative variety) and trading for store credit, and Celebrated Summer Records, at the same address, will be buying and trading used records (vinyl only – no CDs, please).

Also, the hot dog cart Totally Hot Dogs will be set up, selling dogs.

Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St.),will host Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals) with special guest Raindeeron Saturday, Aug. 4 at 10 p.m. And then, on Friday, Aug. 10, Lushfarm plays with Free Electric State and Balkan Falcon, also a 10 p.m.

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