Below the Fold

From the Baltimore Brew crew, a behind-the-scenes look at what we do…

Good Reads

Before we officially bid 2011 adieu – heading to the back of the shop to possibly knock back some lower-case brews – we’d like to ask once again that you help support our Kickstarter campaign.

We’re tremendously grateful to the more than 128 people who have contributed $7,560 already, getting us more than halfway to our goal of $15,000. We know 2012 can be the best year yet for The Brew – but we need your help! Make your pledge today.

Meanwhile enjoy this sampling of Brew stories,  good reads you might have missed this year  (and a few from earlier.) Feel free to suggest any others that stood out to you.  See you in 2012!

- The Brew Crew

Gene DeSantis: Baltimore’s unsung Johnny Appleseed (10/24/11) Meet the shy, modest volunteer with a hard-knock story who has been quietly greening the city. Guess how many trees he’s planted.

Ex-Sun reporter on William Donald Schaefer: “My tormentor, my nemesis, my exasperating tutor (4/20/11) With his big wounded ego and bulldozing style, the former mayor (who died in May) really got under Doug Birch’s skin. A mini-psychobiography of the man and his city.

An Easter story (4/10/09) A mother looks up from chopping onions and discovers that her five-and-a-half-year-old son, a child with intensive special needs, has wandered out the door and into the world, with its senseless traffic and everything else. Writer Jennifer Bishop recalls a hellish and holy day.

Baltimore Brew goes international (6/11/10) A Japanese film crew comes to town to film our “kitchen table” operation and we take them (literally) on a wild ride.

Jaw-dropping moments before Baltimore City Council lets living wage bill die (7/23/10) The 99 percent packed City Hall that night, but they weren’t the ones responsible for the gasp-inducing language and rude behavior.

Shards of glass and bits of Baltimore: the art of Loring Cornish (11/10/10) At this very moment, he’s probably gluing some detritus gleaned from an alley onto a wood board or canvas, with Dr. Buzzard’s “Cherchez La Femme” cranked up.

Seven lessons learned from yesterday’s primary (9/14/11) The September 2011 primary produced a pathetic turnout and unseated only one incumbent, but it did inspire our useful primer on Baltimore’s broken political system.

Ira Rennert is no stranger to controversy (3/8/11) With the sudden shutdown of the  Sparrows Point steel mill, you might want to bone up on the billionaire owner who bought it this year and ponder his 29-bedroom Long Island mansion, with its 91-foot-long dining hall.

Brooks Robinson remembered as a young fan’s hero, at a time when he really needed one(10/28/09) When his parents split, a Baltimore boy relied on Brooks and the Birds to get him through.  “In a way,” writes Dean Bartoli Smith, the Orioles pinch-hit for my parents.”

Numbers runner, venture capitalist and booster of Baltimore’s black middle class (6/29/11) In the heyday of William L.  “Little Willie” Adams (who died in June) there was segregation and a thriving black middle class. Writer Antero Pietila recalls that era and Little Willie’s place in it.

Frank Zappa Day in Baltimore (9/20/10) It takes a lot of courage and twice as much talent to stand in front of legions of hard-core Zappa fans, people obsessed with Frank and his music to the point of being insufferable. Writer Rafael Alvarez should know!

To make Guilford Avenue safer for Baltimore’s bicyclists, make it better for everyone (9/1/10) “Sharrows” and bike lanes can’t make up for vacant houses and deserted streets, Gerald Neily points out, after a rash of crimes against bike riders.

Good Reads