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Culture & Artsby Fern Shen12:42 pmFeb 9, 20200

A video portrait of Baltimore’s “blue man” before he leaves town

Retired city planner Jim Hall talks about why he covered his body with one beautiful tattoo and much more

Above: Jim Hall, from the film “out of the blue,” by Jonathan Bregel and Steve Hoover.

There’s a lot to know about Jim Hall, a retired Baltimore planner of 40 years:

He planted trees all over the city. He has a great collection of city maps.

And in 1967, Hall began a project that would take 40 years to complete – transforming his body via tattoos and surgery – into a work of art.

But those things alone aren’t why Jonathan Bregel and Steve Hoover (aka friendzone) chose to make this admirably restrained short piece about Hall titled “out of the blue.”

“The inspiration for the film was Jim. He’s such a passionate, friendly, open-minded, and courageous man – a role model of sorts,” Bregel said in an interview with vimeo.com, which recently released “out of the blue” as a “Staff Pick.”

out of the blue from friendzone on Vimeo.

Hall isn’t long for Baltimore.

He explains in the film how he plans to move to Texas. A full prose portrait of the man who calls himself  “The Blue Comma,” meanwhile, is hard to come by.

City Paper profiled him, but the piece by Charles Cohen is irretrievable online, as are others lost when the Baltimore Sun Media Group acquired the alt-weekly. (“They ruined it when they went to the new server,” says Joe Giordano, former City Paper photo editor.)

• UPDATE  – Here’s the CP story: FEELING BLUE: Some people are born freaks, Jim Hall turned himself into one (1/21/09)

But, fortunately, we have this work by Bregel and Hoover to keep the memories alive.

[Also learned of this video about Jim.]

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