Enjoy the inauguration right here in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun

The inaugural balls are so expensive. The swearing-in ceremony requires impossible-to-get tickets. The MARC train to Washington is sold out. Never mind that it's really cold outside.

But there is hope to mark the inauguration without the headache. Call it Obama Without Drama.

Members of the arts, media and entertainment communities have said "Yes We Can" to the inauguration, Baltimore-style. They've come up with ways to partake in the historic inauguration of the nation's 44th president without much cash, connections or foul-weather gear.

Dance to some of Barack Obama's favorite tunes or get up close to his waxy likeness. Or, take it all in from your recliner. Here are some of the options:

* The Obama Whistle-Stop Tour from Philadelphia to Washington stops in Baltimore on Saturday, with reports of a speech at 4 p.m. at the War Memorial Building at Gay and Madison streets. You can brave the chilly air and the traffic restrictions (go to getarounddowntown.com for more information), or you can turn on WJZ (CBS, Channel 13), WMAR (ABC, Channel 2), WBAL (NBC, Channel 11) or another local station for live coverage, likely beginning at 4.

* If you're interested in something a little more highbrow, the Contemporary Museum, at 100 W. Centre St., is displaying a photographic portrait of the president-elect, taken by African-American artist Dawoud Bey, through Feb. 1. Commissioned by Obama, and taken last year in his former residence in Chicago, the photograph is featured in conjunction with another Bey exhibit that runs through Feb. 21 at the Contemporary, titled Class Pictures. Go to www.contemporary.org.

* Or, for something a little more 3-D: The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, at 1601-03 E. North Ave., is adding a figure of Obama to its permanent collection. An unveiling ceremony will start at 11 a.m. Monday at the Murphy Fine Arts Center on the Morgan State University campus. Go to ngbiwm.com.

* Groove to the same beat as the president-elect at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, at 3134 Eastern Ave. There will be a dance party at 8 p.m. Saturday featuring the music from Obama's iPod, plus a little from the local DJ's collection - including Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. Call 410-276-1651 or go to creativealliance.org.

* OK, this one is outside, but it's a parade. Baltimore is holding the event in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the men who made Obama's rise to the highest office in the land possible. Beginning at noon Monday, the celebration of the life of the civil rights activist, as well as the centennial of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), commences at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Eutaw Street. It runs south on the boulevard and disbands at Baltimore Street. Call 877-225-8466 or go to promotionandarts.com.

* If you just can't stay away from the nation's capital, get there before the inauguration. Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, will.i.am, Stevie Wonder and Garth Brooks are some of the stars who have signed on for a welcome concert on the National Mall on Sunday. It's free. It will also be televised live on HBO beginning at 2:30 p.m. with an encore presentation at 7 p.m. Also watch at HBO.com.

* And, of course, the actual inauguration on Tuesday will be covered extensively - exhaustively - by all the networks beginning about 10 a.m. And that includes MTV and even QVC, which plans to sell Obama-themed items. Many stations are also offering reports in the evening and coverage of the balls late into the night.

Baltimore Sun staff reporter Edward Gunts contributed to this article.

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