The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces the winners of Sound Off Live! presented by Hard Rock Café Baltimore. PBC Vocal Band is the overall winner with the highest score in the competition. Additional winners include Amanda Lynne Band, Antica, Cha Cha, Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings, Eman the Heartbreak, Jessi Adams, La Rosa, Leo & Cygnus, Lily Barek, MovaKween, Roc Writah, Skyline Hotel, The Streams, Suga Grits, and Survival Society. Musical groups competed for a performance slot at Artscape (July 19-21, 2019) and Baltimore Book Festival and Light City (November 1-10, 2019).

Produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Sound Off Live! is an annual competition where regional bands perform in front of a live audience and panel of judges. This battle of the bands provides up-and-coming musicians an opportunity to perform on the official music stage at a large-scale festival produced by BOPA.

About PBC:

PBC (Pitches Be Crazy) Vocal Band is a five-person cover band rocking R&B, rap, funk and pop hits of the last four decades. With no instruments, the band creates original arrangements of music that include tight harmonies, beatboxing/vocal percussion, and bone-rattling sub-harmonic bass to create an entertainment experience like no other. Known for remixing and mash-ups, PBC Vocal Band’s unique approach to genre and music blending keeps audiences engaged from start to finish. Focused heavily on covering music from the 1970s-1990s, PBC takes pride in bringing back the “old school jams” that spark nostalgia and memories for some, but just as important, introduces younger audiences to music that influences the artists of today.

Image Credit: PBC Vocal Band, 2018 Sound Off Live!; Photo by Kimberly Shorter 

Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg

Illuminating Baltimore with literature and ideas during the day and a world-class light art and performances at night, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces that it is uniting two of its marquee events: Baltimore Book Festival and Light City. The two events come together as one spectacular festival from Friday, November 1-Sunday, November 10, 2019 to create ten days of a one-of-a-kind international event at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

“Uniting the Baltimore Book Festival and Light City provides benefits artistically, operationally and financially for BOPA and the City of Baltimore while meeting our mission to use the arts, in all forms, to create a more vibrant city. At the same time we provide an illuminating extended experience for residents and visitors—truly a win-win for everyone,” said Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts Chief Executive Officer Donna Drew Sawyer.

The festivals move to November in conjunction with the end of daylight savings time to provide visitors with a greater opportunity to view the light art installations earlier in the evening and to engage more authors as most new books are being released in mid-autumn by publishers.

The Baltimore Book Festival, a celebration of the literary arts, features author appearances and book signings, exhibitors and bookseller tents, readings on multiple stages, children’s activities and cooking demonstrations. Light City, a festival of light, music and innovation, features BGE Light Art Walk at its center with awe-inspiring light art installations, performances, concerts, a fun-filled family zone and more. By uniting with Light City, the 24th annual Baltimore Book Festival will be the conference portion of the event addressing contemporary, innovative and historical issues through conversations, Q&A sessions, panel discussions and workshops.

In the coming months, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts will be announcing the details of the united festivals including speakers and performers. Information sessions for residents to contribute ideas and discover how to participate will take place in January, February and March. Applications for performing artists, food vendors, booksellers, exhibitors, and presenting authors open Wednesday, January 9, 2019 for all of BOPA’s 2019 festivals – Artscape, Light City and the Baltimore Book Festival.

Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower resident artist Martha Dougherty showcases her vibrant paintings and collages during “Watercolors,” on view Saturdays from November 3, 2018 through February 23, 2019 from 11am to 4pm. An opening reception takes place Saturday, November 3 from 5pm to 7pm. Managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA), Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower is located at 21 S. Eutaw St., Baltimore, MD 21201.

Dougherty’s paintings are in response to various subject matters, from the hidden beauty in a gritty cityscape to freshly picked tomatoes from a friend’s garden. A recent painting series was prompted by her travels to Italy, where light, color and water reflections become a challenge with its own rewards. Additionally, the artist added new dimensions to her work, creating collage and paper cut out and reimagining unwanted first tries into 3D constructions.

Image Credit: Martha Dougherty, Abstract Collage with String Instrument

Baltimore-based artist Erin Stellmon explores the physical and metaphorical presence of walls and fences in her mixed-media collages and paintings on view in “For Your Safety,” opening Thursday, October 4, 2018 through Sunday, January 6, 2019 at Top of the World Observation Level. An opening reception takes place Friday, October 26 from 5 to 7pm. Managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA), Top of the World Observation Level is located on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center at 401 E. Pratt Street. Admission is free to the reception, but guests must arrive by 6:30pm.

The Portland, OR, native photographs brick and stone walls, rock piles, staircases and temporary fencing throughout Maryland. Stellmon combines her photos with quilt pieces, along with imagery from the Oregon Trail to further question her ancestors’ right to lay claim to land and build barriers. Her use of paper collage exposes the fragility of these boundaries, while a neon palette is employed to both attract and repel the viewer—turning the serenity of traditional American landscape painting into a visual Emergency Alert.

Image: Erin Stellmon, Alien Landscape Under Construction.

Location: 21 S. Eutaw Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower presents “Lateral Distance,” an exhibition by artist Amy Wetsch, on view Saturdays from October 27, 2018 through February 23, 2019 from 11am to 4pm. Wetsch, a current MFA candidate at MICA’s Mount Royal School of Art, created in response to her recent experience working with Dr. Sarah Hörst, a Planetary Scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

The focus of their research is Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and it’s physical characteristics and processes that resemble those of our home planet, Earth. Although scientists know much about Titan, the moon is difficult to observe because of the dense atmospheric haze, which encapsulates Titan’s intriguing surface. If we were able to further explore this moon, what would we discover? While interpreting the extreme science of planetary exploration, Wetsch has created a large-scale installation, sculptural objects and drawings that aim to capture her imagined essence of Titan, as well as the wonder and grandeur of our solar system.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I just finished reading the book “Nothing Stays Buried” by P.J. Tracy, and now I’m starting “Monkeewrench” by the same author. P.J. Tracy is a pseudonym for a mother/daughter duo. I received “Nothing Stays Buried” as a gift and really enjoyed it. I discovered the book is the latest release in a series, so now I’m going back to read first book in the series.

2. What do you enjoy the most about the book?

I love mysteries, so this was a good one. I like that it had several lead characters, and the reader gets to hear from each of them in their own voice. I enjoyed finding out how each of the characters are connected.

3. Why would you recommend this book to others?

Yes, I would recommend this book especially to mystery lovers.

4. What authors are you excited to see at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival?

I’m looking forward to seeing April Ryan with Bill Whittaker. I think that will be a good discussion centering on current events.

5. Can you provide any tips for first-time attendees?

First-time Baltimore Book Festival attendees should be prepared to stay for a couple of hours. There is so much to do. From music to food to literary games, the festival is really a great place to spend the day.

***

The Baltimore Book Festival returns to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor through Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 11am to 7pm daily. The literary arts celebration features acclaimed local, regional and national authors, readings on multiple stages, cooking demonstrations and samplings, workshops, panel discussions, storytellers, children’s activities, the annual Storybook Parade, live music, and food and beverage. Visit www.baltimorebookfestival.org.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I just finished Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. It’s a graphic novel memoir described as a “Family Tragicomic.” The book documents the author and artist’s relationship with her family as she grew up focusing on her father and how his personality and temperament affected her and the household. As Allison discovered she was a lesbian and came out of the closet to her parents, it uncovered a family secret that her father was also gay.

2. What do you enjoy the most about the book?

I really appreciate the ways great cartoonists can shape a story and the mood they are conveying through the combination of drawing and narrative. Allison conveys this extremely well. I think the story felt very personal to me for a number of reasons, but it is also a very universal experience to grow up and find out that your family or parents are far more nuanced and less black and white, right and wrong then they seemed when you are a child.

3. Why would you recommend this book to others?

We had given this book to my sister-in-law as a gift. I borrowed it back from them because the book has been turned into a musical and it is coming to Baltimore Center Stage in January. I bought tickets for the family and that was a great reason to finally read the book. It’s so exciting that this production is coming to Center Stage and I’d recommend anyone read the book and go see the show while it’s here.

4. What authors are you excited to see at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival?

I’m always excited to see what unexpected authors I meet or run into at the Book Festival. Some of my children’s favorite YA authors are people I’ve met working at or perusing the festival. There is so much talent that comes through, from the programmed tents to the self-published authors. If you go with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed.

5. Can you provide any tips for first-time attendees?

If something catches your eye or your ear don’t be shy, meet the author, ask questions about their work and take a chance. It’s wonderful to discover new artists and authors through direct interactions.

***

The Baltimore Book Festival returns to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Friday, September 28 through Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 11am to 7pm daily. The literary arts celebration features acclaimed local, regional and national authors, readings on multiple stages, cooking demonstrations and samplings, workshops, panel discussions, storytellers, children’s activities, the annual Storybook Parade, live music, and food and beverage. Visit www.baltimorebookfestival.org.