Grateful for another successful harvest of chili peppers, Mr. Theodore Getzel, Baltimore restaurateur, Tex-Mex connoisseur, patron of the arts and magnificent kook, went all out to celebrate. He led another funky, poor-man's Mardi Gras parade through Southwest Baltimore, then threw a big party in Hollins Street, all the time dressed as a Mayan priest. Or maybe he was a Yucatan medicine man. Whatever. He was stunning -- in zebra cape, straw headdress, shells, mini-chilis and black street shoes.
"I am Witchdoctor Pepper," Getzel announced to the crowd at yesterday's Hot Sauce Festival outside Mencken's Cultured Pearl. And then, raising his magic chili stick to the gray sky, Getzel rendered tribute to a statue of the Chili Goddess, queen of the annual pepper harvest. "Sun above, earth below, in between the chilis grow," he chanted. "Sun above, earth below, chili queen in between, she's the hottest thing you've ever seen."
And so the pagan festival commenced, with music by, among others, Los Compadres, Maypole and the Motor Moronas; flamenco dancers, puppets and costumed maidens attending a sun queen in a red bodysuit, red fishnet stockings and red boots -- the long, tall Nancy Sinatra-over-the-knee type with spike heels. Ouch!
I got sucked into being a judge in the hot sauce competition, but didn't last long. The first bottle of red stuff exploded in my hands -- and all over my clothes.
The sixth one burned through my mouth, through the back of my head and singed my locks. It was good, though. And all for a good cause -- Viva House, the Catholic Worker hospitality house on Mount Street. This is a great, kooky Baltimore event. If you
didn't get there, try to next year.
Money to fund her education
We don't know the little girl, but we know the story: Violence ripping through a house, ripping through lives, leaving scars everywhere. Her name is Alicia Nalls, and she's only six years old. Her mother is dead and her father is in jail -- and could be there for a long time. On a Sunday afternoon in August, her father called 911 in Baltimore County and told a dispatcher that had he shot his wife at their house in Rosedale. A short time later, the husband stopped his car near a police cruiser on Eastern Boulevard and reportedly told an officer the same thing. When officers arrived at the house on Emelia Avenue, they found the body of Kimberly Dawn Nalls lying in the kitchen with a bullet wound to the upper body. She was 25 years old. Her daughter, Alicia, was across the street in the home of her baby sitter. Alicia is now living with her grandmother in Essex and attending elementary school. She's been told her mother went to heaven. "She hasn't been told anything about her father, nor has she asked," says Bill Bender, her grandfather. "Everyone is still stunned. We just can't figure out a reason, or why or an answer for this happening to Kim. We still think we're in a dream. . . . We keep Alicia occupied; she's been spoiled here the last few
weeks. Everyday, we just let her do whatever she wants to do -- like Discovery Zone, or take her down the ocean -- just to keep her running. There are times when she won't say anything. But who knows what's racing through her mind?"
Indeed, who knows? And rather than contemplate that unanswerable question, friends of the family are looking ahead -- to when Alicia grows up. Her mother once worked as an assistant to Ernie Moosherr, an investments specialist with Northwestern Mutual Life in downtown Baltimore. He's now custodian of an account in Alicia's name. "The fund will be used for college," Moosherr says. "Not for bikes or tennis shoes. We want Alicia to have something down the road." And it will probably be a rough road. The address for Alicia Nalls Trust Fund is 575 S. Charles St. Suite 300, Baltimore 21201.
French score 1
Bush Hog James says: "The French finally scored a military victory before the century was out -- over Greenpeace!" . . . Seen on the Jones Falls Expressway, northbound, at 6:15 p.m. last Wednesday: Man in a gray Ford Escort, steering the car with his forearms while playing a trumpet over the --board. We honked our horn but he was too busy blowing his to notice. Overheard recently
Larry Vincent, "transplanted Essex boy" and owner of Laurance Clothing on Main Street, Annapolis, heard some senior citizens in Arbutus complaining about their sister's imaginary health problems. They described her as "psychoceramic."
Lisa Bull of Baltimore gets it from all sides. She has a relative who thinks someone from Nepal is a "Napoleon." She has a friend who thinks a woman with a robust physique is "volumptuous." And a co-worker speaks of someone who is shunned as a "leopard," suffering, of course, from "leopardcy," and probably "spotted leopardcy" at that.
At the National Aquarium, Judy-Lynn Goldenberg heard a woman tell her daughter that the colorful creature she admired so was a "sea enema."
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