Baltimore Sun

New nightlife reporter Erik Maza tries to buy sunscreen, gets flat tire on first day

The first day at a new job is usually fraught with alarm, sweat-stains, disorientation. Not me. As Sessa wrote earlier, I'll be your new live music and nightlife reporter.

For my first day on the gig, I woke up eerily prepared. I ironed my shirt, didn't drop cereal on my pants, even added a dimple to my tie. Notes? Check. AP Style Book 2008 edition? Check. Missing from my to do list was some sunscreen. You know what they say: moisturize, moisturize. It was 7 a.m. and I didn't have to be in the newsroom for another two hours, so I drove to the nearest Rite Aid to my digs to be totally spiffed up for the office.

Ah, Greenmount Avenue in the morning. As I'm parking, BANG! PFFF! Had I been shot? It's only been a week, Baltimore! Turns out I'd driven too close to the curb and punctured my tire. Two hours before work. Great. Greenmount and 32nd St. -- just where you want to be with a pooped car. Did I mention I hadn't ever changed a tire before? Or that I'm the nightlife reporter, what in the world do I need sunscreen for? Que Sera Sera. This was my welcome.


Before coming here, I was a reporter at another whacko news town: Miami ...

In the land of leopard prints and the three horsemen of the apocalypse -- Lebron, Wade and Bosh -- I wrote cover stories on the little-known subculture of Cuban punk and Miami's merry band of deadbeat gamblers. I blogged on everything from why Marina Abramovic makes rich people cry to a top ten strippers list inspired by the New Yorker's 20 under 40 list. I might have also blogged about "Avatar" once or twice, and how it delighted gays and upset communists

So why leave all that? Well, about three years ago Dan Deacon came to Gainesville, where I went to school. He hadn't become a Pitchfork darling yet, and there were maybe 50 people at the cavernous Common Grounds. Deacon, noticing the joint half empty, decides the only course of action is a dance-off, with him leading the charge. I hadn't seen another chubby white person dance so well since I saw Beth Ditto get down with The Gossip. In my mind, that was Baltimore: dance-offs, John Waters and Bubbles from "The Wire." My first week in town has only made me like it more.


I rode the circulator. Drank cheap beer at The Ottobar, and apparently missed John Waters by a hair. At Red Emma's, got accosted by crusty punk kids pushing their latest zines. And the other day stopped by what may be the greatest hair salon ever: Nappee by Nature, on York Road.

As a reporter in Features, everything interests me (see prior clips for reference), and not just stuff related to nightlife or live music. Send me tips, suggestions, alerts to the next warehouse party, new bar, or Nappee by Nature. I'm at And remember kids, screw sunscreen.

[Twitter Midnight Sun]

(Photo from Who's Dated)