Artists spread joy to senior communities

By Margaret Foster
Posted on January 02, 2024

One cold, sunny morning, two dozen residents of an assisted living community in Rockville, Maryland, form a circle with their wheelchairs. A teacher enters the circle, greeting each person with a smile. “I’m Deborah. And we are going to do some dancing together today in our chairs,” she says. As Deborah Riley, a teaching artist from Arts for the Aging, turns on some music, one... READ MORE

Joan Baez shares secrets in documentary

By Jocelyn Noveck
Posted on December 19, 2023

Bob Dylan called it her “heart-stopping soprano,” and it’s true that when Joan Baez unleashed that pure, angelic voice on the protest song “We Shall Overcome,” you could believe we would, indeed, overcome. The celebrated folk singer and activist was singing about civil rights, of course. But what we learn in the thoughtful, thorough and sometimes harrowingly intimate... READ MORE

Illuminating Baltimore’s stained glass

By Ana Preger Hart
Posted on December 18, 2023

When author, anthropologist and human rights activist Linda Rabben moved to northeast Baltimore in 2021, she wanted to get to know her new neighborhood better. On her daily walks, she noticed that many houses had stained glass windows. Rabben, who grew up in Philadelphia and lived for 30 years in Takoma Park, Maryland, became curious. “I really hadn’t paid any attention to them” ... READ MORE

A curmudgeonly defense of using cash

By Bob Levey
Posted on December 15, 2023

Brunch for the two couples was done. It was time to settle the bill. The male of the other couple plopped down a credit card. This male reached for his wallet and produced a wad of cash. I handed it to him. He treated it like a rare species of poisonous mushroom. “What am I going to do with it?” he asked. “Uh, spend it?” I replied. He gave me a look somewhere between... READ MORE

NASA offers new, free streaming service

By Joey Solitro
Posted on December 13, 2023

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is launching more than just rockets these days. Last month, its new streaming service, NASA+, took off. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, NASA said the ad-free, no-cost and family-friendly streaming service will feature Emmy-award winning live shows and original series. The service “embeds you into our missions through... READ MORE

Books on home design for reading, gifts

By Dinah Rokach
Posted on December 08, 2023

The Bibliophile These three books are meant for more than display. They will inspire you with ideas on how to decorate your home in time for the holidays. They make great gifts, too. Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature: 50 Beautiful Projects to Bring the Outside In, by Willow Crossley, 176 pages, CICO Books hardcover, 2023 Create a warm, welcoming festive environment for your home ... READ MORE

‘Ragtime’ sings of tumultuous early 1900s

By Mark Dreisonstok
Posted on December 06, 2023

Travel back in time with Signature Theatre’s outstanding production of Ragtime, superbly directed by Matthew Gardiner. The musical, based on the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow, narrates the lives of three different families in the early 1900s and the problems each family faces. One large upper-class family must adapt to the enormous social changes taking place around them. The members of... READ MORE

Miniature trains delight kids of all ages

By Ana Preger Hart
Posted on December 04, 2023

Thomas the Tank Engine chugs past a tiny Kensington Train Station, curves around a pond and a farm, and finally reaches the Brookside Gardens Conservatory buildings. If you peer into the miniature conservatory’s glass roof, you’ll spot a further miniaturized replica of this same railroad display, the Garden Railway at Brookside. Every winter for more than 20 years, G-gauge model... READ MORE

‘Miracle’ at Toby’s parades holiday spirit

By Mark Dreisonstok
Posted on November 21, 2023

It all started when Robert Biedermann did his regular “warm-up” routine at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, dressed in a sparkling Santa suit with a twinkle in his eye. Who else of Toby’s coterie of actors could better play Kris Kringle in the musical version of Miracle on 34th Street and bring such sincerity and warmth to the role? The show, directed superbly by Shawn Kettering and... READ MORE

Remembering East Baltimore in the 50s

By Robert Friedman
Posted on November 20, 2023

Those who’ve ever lived in a Baltimore row house may remember scrubbing the front steps with a strong brush and brown soap or Ajax until the stone brightened and the white marble gleamed. “There was something about the cleanliness of the vestibule,” author Janet Vanik Divel remembers. “It was pride in ownership, maybe old-fashioned thinking,” but owning a home “was the end ... READ MORE