Welcome to the Boh
Issue 1, January 2011
We, young Baltimoreans—some natives, most transplants—fiercely love this city, for all the reality and rawness of its paradoxical beauty. As the backdrop of The Wire, the city is often characterized by a staggering crime rate and struggling public school system with an indulgent hint of noir. At times the stereotypes can get to even us loyal city-dwellers.
But the more we looked, the more something beautiful began to grow out of the cracks in the pavement. The stories rolled in: A conglomerate of live-for-the-moment artists took over the condemned rowhouses of Axis Alley, painting and installing ephemeral art despite impending demolition, thus conjuring a new challenge to traditional artists’ venues (see Axis Alley). A biomedical engineering student at Johns Hopkins created a stunning collection of ladies’ apparel, couture and ready-to-wear gowns of silk and organza (see Van Maele). Basement bands made stages out of public spaces, gastronomists found pleasure and artistry in the small things (particularly, the small fried things). And the bigger the buzz grew, the stranger and more wonderous Baltimore seemed to be. It was a classic lemons-into-lemonade fairytale (in this case, maybe barley-into-Natty Boh). We were excited, and proud to belong to a community of the young, the thirsty and the proactive.
But something was lacking. Few held a microphone to the storytellers, and even fewer took a lens to the street art. The weeklies and dailies continued to churn out copies, cataloging with detachment the things so dear to us. We begged for a manifesto that would give credit to our city’s irreplaceable and earnest eclecticism, composed by writers and artists still young and zealous enough to do the job right.
And one late night’s brainstorm at Charles Village Pub turned into months of plans, sweat and depleted bank accounts. It wasn’t easy going. But just when we feared that the idea of The Bohemian would dissolve at the summer’s end, you stepped up. Yes, you. Our community came together and amazed us: writers knocking down our proverbial doors, artists capturing the city and handing it over on a flashdrive, everyday strangers inspiring and encouraging us. Now we’re proud — more than proud — to present you with the first edition of this collaboration.