Ocean City icon, ‘Boardwalk Elvis,’ honored at event

By Kara Hallissey (OC Today, 12/12/2014)


Ocean City legend Boardwalk Elvis was one of the guests of honor at the 21st Night of 100 Elvises in Hunt Valley, Md. last weekend. Photo: Tim Gilbert

An Ocean City legend, “Boardwalk Elvis,” was one of the guests of honor during the 21st Night of 100 Elvises in Hunt Valley, Md. last weekend. Worcester resident Tim Gilbert accompanied the 75-year-old, also known as Norman Webb, to the convention after calling organizers to see if they would give Webb recognition at this year’s event.

Longtime friends, Gilbert had hoped to take Webb to the popular Elvis event for a number of years, thinking attendees would recognize Webb from their vacations to Ocean City. The show’s director called Gilbert back within minutes, letting him know they were sending all-access and backstage passes, and teasing the idea of bringing the performer on stage.

“It was magic and unreal. I’ve known the man since way before you were born. It was indescribable. Norman was the bell of the ball,” Gilbert said.

boardwalk-elvis-2“Norman was the most photographed Elvis in the joint,” Gilbert continued. “Even the other Elvises were asking to take pictures with him. It took 25 minutes to get 30 yards because there were so many people stopping us to take pictures.”

When they first set foot into the Hunt Valley Inn, the host venue, Gilbert said an Elvis who was performing in the lobby stopped mid-song to give Webb a shout-out.

Webb ate up the attention, letting everyone know how many Facebook friends he currently had and handing out cards with the web address and his picture to hot women.

“He’s a gift that keeps on giving,” Gilbert said.

Organizers brought Webb on stage in between acts, and the crowd kept screaming his name. Webb, a prolific showman, couldn’t stop waving and posing for the delighted audience.

“The crowd was kind and generous. They were sincerely happy to see him,” Gilbert said. “He did not sit down. He was up interacting, dancing and taking pictures. He kept asking everyone, ‘you know me?’”

Webb even received a nod in the program welcoming him to the event.

“It was almost like he expected people to recognize him, like this happens to him all the time,” Gilbert said.

Before becoming “Boardwalk Elvis,” Gilbert would see Webb walking on his hands down the Boardwalk, or singing popular songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, including plenty of Elvis Presley numbers.

Continue reading at OC Today.


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It Can Be Hard to Sell a House on Hampden’s 34th Street

It Can Be Hard to Sell a House on One of the Merriest Blocks in the Country

Christmas Decorations Get Supersized on This Baltimore Street, Sometimes Surprising New Arrivals

By Scott Calvert (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 5, 2014)


BALTIMORE—Out house-hunting, Sam Sokolinsky thought the red row house in the traditionally working-class Hampden neighborhood here might be a good buy at $218,000. The place has four bedrooms, a parking space out back and a sweeping view of the city.

But there was one wrinkle: Christmas.

The holidays get supersize on the 700 block of West 34th Street. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the otherwise unremarkable stretch is transformed into a riot of over-the-top lights and decorations. Houses are festooned with adornments including a hubcap tree, a crèche made of vinyl records, a big light-encrusted crab. Steamed blue crabs are a Baltimore specialty.

Gawkers come from all over to soak it up.

“I would be, like, the only house without the lights,” said Mr. Sokolinsky, a 38-year-old clinical data architect and professed nondecorator. “I just didn’t want to be that guy.”

It isn’t easy living on one of the most Christmassy blocks in the country.

Many residents say they glory in the excitement and attention. Some moved here to get in on the tradition. But life in a winter wonderland brings more than glad tidings for the neighbors, who must deal with high public expectations, traffic jams, a parking shortage, litter and nosy visitors.

Continue reading “It can be Hard to Sell a House on One of the Merriest Blocks in the Country” at www.wsj.com.

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30 Years Later, Massey Memories Linger

Author, department store historian, Fells Point Towne Crier, and “quite wonderful” Baltimore Symphony Orchestra oboist Michael J. Lisicky remembers Edith Massey.


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