Barry Levinson, bless him, is expected to make another semi-autobiographical movie in Baltimore. Production could start later this summer or in the early fall on "Liberty Heights," set here in 1954 and 1955, the fourth installment in Levinson's wonderful series of Baltimore films ("Diner," "Tin Men" and "Avalon"). This will be the first collaboration after the merger of Levinson's Baltimore Pictures and Spring Creek Productions, led by Paula Weinstein. Levinson told Variety this week that "Liberty Heights" picks up a story line from the middle of "Avalon" (in my humble opinion, the best of the Baltimore films) and follows the main character through his high school years. Levinson says the cast will be "a predominantly unknown ensemble," and the budget will be modest. He was in Baltimore recently to scout locations. Who says you can't go home again, and again, and again, and again?
Schoenke's big sale
Ray Schoenke announced last week that he's selling his successful insurance brokerage in Montgomery County to devote more time and energy to his campaign for governor. Looks like he'll be able to devote more money to it, as well. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Clark/Bardes Inc., the Dallas brokerage that intends to buy Schoenke & Associates, list the proposed purchase price at $17 million. That's a lot of walkin' around money.
Things I'm not doing this summer:
Going to Paramount's Kings Dominion. I'm boycotting on account of what the Gestapo down there did to Octavia Eaton and Stephanie Austin. (See TJI, April 15.)
Skipping Boog's Barbecue at Camden Yards. Every time I walk past the place and go directly to my seat, I end up with massive second-inning cravings because of the smoke and aromas. Then I have to walk all the way back.
Going to Ocean City. I still have a few years before my kids become teen-agers. Why start the agony now?
Barbecuing anything with charcoal soaked with lighter fluid. Gives grilled chicken the essence of an emissions-testing station.
Playing boccie on grass. That's not boccie. You hear me, people? That's lawn bowling. That's naddabotch!!
Reading anything by Richard Ford. He's an extravagantly over-rated writer, but some kind of darling of the literary world. I don't get it.
Canoeing in the Pocomoke. I'll wait to see if the cell from hell returns first.
Going to see that Norm McDonald movie. He wasn't funny on the small screen. Making his face larger won't help.
Letting the season go by without a visit to Bengies Drive-In. Management sounds serious about closing down after this season, though we've heard that before. Still, better get there soon.
Ordering soup. It's too hot for soup.
It was amateur night at the Meyerhoff - and I don't mean the musicians, but some of the people in the audience! At exactly 9 p.m. Saturday, during a delicate passage in Leon Fleisher's performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12, several watches started beeping. It was quite noticeable and annoying. Pinchas Zuckerman, conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, looked off to his right, distracted (and perhaps disgusted) at the sound of one of them. Fleisher, meanwhile, played on, sounded like an old master, and received an immediate and heartfelt standing ovation.
Hooking a heap of fish
An Anne Arundel County woman took a top prize in Richard Gick's second annual River Tuna and Catfish Tournament for the needy. Her name is - I am not making this up! - Val Carpenter. Carp-enter! With rod, reel and corn on a hook, she hauled in 85 pounds of carp from Nabbs Creek during the weeklong tournament that ended Saturday with good cheer and an awards ceremony at Cider Mill Farm, Elkridge. The father-son bow-hunting team of Marshall and Paul McCabe took more than 500 pounds of carp, half the tournament total, from eastern Baltimore County waters. Steve McKinney and Franklin Pyecha led the way among catfish anglers. More than 1,100 pounds of fresh fish were donated to Bea Gaddy's East Baltimore food pantry and the Helping Up Mission, which distributed the carp and cat' during its afternoon food give-aways.
Not enough green to be seen
I don't see the beef some drivers have with sound barriers along the Beltway (see Monday's Intrepid Commuter.) They can't see the scenery? What scenery? The only scenery along most of the Beltway's miles are the intermittent swaths of forest bordering the Inner Loop along the north side, near Towson. The rest of the view is - what? - the classical columns at Martin's West? The postmodern repetition of the rental storage sheds? The backs of houses? Drivers don't see enough green? Then let the ivy and honeysuckle grow on the walls. And, in many places, there's room for trees between the walls and the highway. Let's hire Wally Orlinsky back as Tree-Mendous Maryland director and plant some. Maybe William Donald Schaefer could say a few words to the present governor about that.
In the spirit of my sister columnist, the Intrepid One, I'd like to pose a question to readers: Where's the worst intersection for red-light running? I submit the intersection of Gittings/Walker Avenue and York Road, near the Baltimore City-Baltimore County line. Drivers actually speed up when they see red there. I haven't seen a city cop there in ages, though I saw two county cops recently having coffee and bagels - or was it the Tuscano bread? - at Zi Pani, just up the road. If you'd like to identify a better-dead-than-red crossroads, send it along to TJI. We'll post a list in the next week or so.
Contact Dan Rodricks at 410-332-6166, or write to TJI at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, Md. 21278. Check out the Columnist Bulletin Board through http://www.sunspot.net, or write to Dan directly via e-mail at TJIDAol.com.
Pub Date: 6/24/98