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

How to say farewell to a dear friend?

By Bob Levey
Posted on November 17, 2023

Friends die. No escaping that. Some die suddenly, but many do not. They linger. So does this question: How do you say goodbye to a close friend without being maudlin, and without defeating the friend’s sense of hope? So it has gone over the last few months with a very dear amigo of four decades. He has a form of brain cancer that is usually fatal within two years. He is just... READ MORE

Cookbooks for creativity in the kitchen

By Dinah Rokach
Posted on November 14, 2023

The Bibliophile Relax and rest easy this season. Here’s expert advice on preparing your holiday feasts. Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together, by Tara Bench, 260 pages, Shadow Mountain hardcover, 2022 This cookbook offers 105 recipes for brunch, dinner, cookout and buffet-style meals. Occasions such as Thanksgiving feast, mezze dinner party and Tex Mex fiesta are... READ MORE

Former lobbyist lampoons his profession

By Robert Friedman
Posted on November 08, 2023

“He was a morally vacuous human being, but he came by it naturally. As a descendent of a long line of grifters, [he] was perfectly suited for a life in politics.” And away we go in the satirically realistic novel about Capitol Hill, A Feeding Frenzy in Washington, published in September by former longtime Bethesda resident George Franklin. This is Franklin’s fourth... READ MORE

‘Fat Ham:’ A joyful, intense spin on ‘Hamlet’

By Lynda Lantz
Posted on November 06, 2023

Time’s a-wasting; get thee to Fat Ham, James Ijames’ Pulitzer-prize winning party of a play, at the Studio Theatre through January 14. Taylor Reynolds, an OBIE-award winner, directs a stellar cast with a special shoutout to Marquis D. Gibson as Juicy and Thomas Walter Booker as Cousin Tio. If you know Hamlet, you might imagine that you know where this multi-Tony- nominated play is... READ MORE

Jewelry store keeps family tradition shining

By Robert Friedman
Posted on October 25, 2023

Diamonds may be forever, but neighborhood jewelry stores have been fast-fading — except, perhaps, for those generationally owned, like St. John’s Jewelers. The Ellicott City store is celebrating its half-century as a family business this year. “I started working in the store when I was 16, a student at Randallstown High School,” said Linda Miller, 62. She now owns and operates... READ MORE