With tonight's New York premiere of Cry-Baby, the musical based on the John Waters movie, Baltimore will have the distinction of simultaneously serving as the backdrop for two major Broadway shows (Mr. Waters' Hairspray is the other).
Tourism promoters are no doubt pleased to see Charm City's image evolve from the urban nightmarescape of TV's Homicide and The Wire to a land of perpetually bright-colored faux-'50s hip-swiveling teen rebels - albeit with typical Waters twist. Better to be appalled than assaulted, but still...
We anxiously wait to see what the theater critics will write tomorrow. Adjusting to this new image of Baltimore as an offbeat JohnWatersville will take time for the irony-impaired among us. But then it could have been worse. They might have adapted the considerably trashier Pink Flamingos.
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In these economically challenging times, financing college for your young children might seem an impossible dream. But a state program called the Maryland College Investment Plan offers a praise-worthy answer.
The plan was identified this month as one of the very best in the nation for the second time in as many years by Morningstar, the respected investment analysis service. Parents who open a plan account for their child can increase the value of college savings thanks to Maryland and federal tax breaks. A portion of contributions is deductible from state income taxes, and income earned from fund investments is federal tax free so long as the money is spent on college.
There are about a hundred such funds now operating across the country, but Maryland's plan is rated at the top because of very low fees and high-quality investment choices, and that has prompted a mini-boom in families choosing to participate. Plan enrollments were up 26 percent in 2007. The members of the Maryland College Investment Plan Board should be proud to have produced such a winning program.