City Paper “Sex Issue” recalls Carousel Coupling ‘toon


“Sex Issue” City Paper cover by Charlie Herrick

The “Sex Issue” cover of today’s City Paper (shown above), drawn by Charlie Herrick, recalls the infamous 1987 City Fair cartoon (shown below) that promoters published in The Sun and Evening Sun, while reminding us of how times have changed.

The infamous 1987 City Fair cartoon,  click for super-sized image.

The City Fair cartoon looked innocent enough when published as a full-page ad, until a closer “Where’s Waldo” inspection revealed a couple coupling on the carousel.

Close-up of coupling carousel couple.

The City Fair ‘toon infuriated city officials and cost Schnably, Evans, McLaughlin, Inc. – the advertising agency responsible for the ad – its account with Baltimore’s Transportation Department (which ran the account because the City Fair took place under the Jones Falls Expressway). The agency agreed that the illustration, drawn by the firm’s own Don Schnably, could be interpreted as “a lewd act” and paid its $22,000 cost.

How innocent that cartoon from almost 30 years ago looks now, compared to the “no holds barred” acts depicted in artist Charlie Herrick’s City Paper  cover. And how ironic that Baltimore’s “Free Alternative Weekly” is now owned by the same paper that published the 1987 cartoon.

Related Links:

Carousel Coupling at the City Fair (Baltimore Or Less)

Posted in 1980s, Advertisements, Baltimore Babylon, Festivals, Media, Pranks, Roadside Attractions, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Criswell Predicts Maryland’s Future, 1968

Criswell Predicts: “I predict that Maryland will suffer great losses at the hands of nature over the next ten years. The Chesapeake Bay will be ravaged by fantastic storms. And the damage from these storms, one after another, will force Maryland to ask for Federal Government aid for its stricken population. And, in other parts of Maryland, there will be great civil disorders, as a part of the growing racial tension and racial violence that will sweep the United States between 1968 and 1970.”

“Criswell Predicts from Now to the Year 2000,” 1968

Posted in 1960s | Leave a comment

Belgian Elvis tribute artist to play 2 Md. shows

Can’t help falling in love with Franz

By Liza Harlow, Special to The Avenue (, February 1, 2016) and The Dundalk Eagle (, February 3, 2016)


Elvis is Le Roi! (Photo courtesy of Franz Goovaerts)

The award-winning Franz Goovaerts, who hails from Erquelinnes, Belgium, will be making his way to Baltimore County this month with stops in Rosedale and Dundalk.

Franz Goovaerts, an Elvis Tribute Artist with the well-deserved nickname Elvis Jr., was just a toddler when Elvis Presley died, but over the years the King has become a huge part of his life. The award-winning Goovaerts, who hails from Erquelinnes, Belgium, will be making his way to America this month with stops here in Baltimore and Pennsylvania thanks to his new manager, local music promoter Darlene Warren.


Warren, who has been booking shows for popular artists Ronnie Dove and Ronnie McDowell for decades, first met Goovaerts at Elvis Week, which is held annually each August in Memphis, Tenn. Goovaerts has performed at the event each year since 1996.

Throughout his career, he has won a long list of Elvis Tribute awards, including Elvis of Belgium (1991 & 1996); Elvis of Germany (1993); Elvis of Holland (1994); and Elvis of Europe (2000 & 2005). But the award Goovaerts is most proud of is the prestigious Images of the King World Championship. Goovaerts made a promise to his father before he passed away that he would keep entering the contest until he won. “But sadly he never saw me win the trophy,” he said.

Images of the King is an annual contest held during Elvis Week, and Goovaerts entered 10 years in a row beginning with his first Elvis Week in 1996. He earned third place in both 1999 and 2000 before finally being crowned the Images of the King World Champion in 2006.


2006 Images of the King Champion Franz Goovaerts (Photo courtesy of Franz Goovaerts)

Ironically, Goovaerts’ grew up on Elvis music thanks to his older sister Cynthia, but he wasn’t a big fan.

“Elvis was not my ‘cup of tea’ at that time,” said Goovaerts. But at the age of 15, he saw the “This is Elvis” documentary, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“My life changed. Don’t ask me why and how — I have no idea! Elvis came into my life, as God did too,” said Goovaerts.

So he started performing as Elvis for his family in the living room just for fun.

At the age of 16, he was on stage for the first time, “just because Cynthia was thinking that I was not so bad,” he joked.

Goovaerts has had no formal voice training, but does try to work on his accent, as French is his native language. When pressed, it’s tough for him to choose his favorite Elvis song.

“It’s really hard to say. It depends how I feel. But for sure, I’m out of the commercial stuff. I love Elvis’ style, voice and charisma in the 70s,” said Goovaerts, whose favorite albums are Elvis Today and Raised on Rock.

“The best part of being an Elvis tribute artist is feeling so close to him when I sing his songs. I feel like I understand him,” said Goovaerts. “Elvis was not only a singer, not just a Vegas showman. At the end of his life, Elvis found himself. Probably many songwriters understand this. So in 1974 to 1977, most of the time, Elvis sang about his life.”

“Franz is one of the most popular Elvis tribute artists that go to Memphis every year for Elvis Week. He has always been one of the highlights of Elvis Week for me,” said Warren. “He’s very memorable. He doesn’t wear the jumpsuit — he doesn’t need it.”

Last August while at Elvis Week, Warren took a leap and talked to Goovaerts while at his show and asked if he’d like to do some more shows in the U.S. “I said, ‘people needed to see what I’ve been talking about all these years,’” she said.

They quickly clicked and it was a match made in Memphis — Goovaerts asked if Warren would be his manager.

“He’s so passionate and so talented, I just wanted as many people to see him as possible,” said Warren. So she booked Goovaerts’ first U.S. tour in November 2015, and he opened for Ronnie Dove for shows in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Mississippi.

As an Elvis Tribute Artist, of course Elvis is the focal point of Goovaerts’ shows, but he does work in other artists, and Warren says he does a great Tom Jones.

“I need a good feeling about the song in order to sing it. It needs to talk about what I like or how I live my life. It’s all about love,” he said.

Warren is working on scheduling shows for Goovaerts every three months in the U.S. He currently tours all over Europe.

“I’m just trying to do something different from everything else you see right now,” said Goovaerts. “If you want to see an Elvis Tribute Act, I do it my way, and with a lot of respect.”

Posted in Dundalk, Entertainment, Kitsch, Music, Roadside Attractions | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baltimore’s “Southside Cocktail” Inventor Dies


George E. Lee Sr., bartender recalled for his secret Southside cocktail recipe, dies

By Jacques Kelly (The Baltimore Sun, 2/1/2016)

Working in a commercial kitchen, George Lee Sr. made and bottled his renowned Southside cocktail mix.

George E. Lee Sr., a retired country club bartender who created his own version of the Southside cocktail mix, died of Jan. 25 of complications from dementia at Envoy Health and Rehabilitation in Pikesville. The Woodlawn resident was 96.

Born in the Cuba Road section of Cockeysville, he was the son of George E. Lee and his wife, Clara. He attended Baltimore County public schools.

“My father was one of 15, and all his brothers and sisters worked for the families who lived in the Green Spring Valley,” said his daughter, Deborah Singletary of Baltimore. “My father began his years of service in their homes and became a butler.”

After working for a Baltimore County family from 1939 to 1943, he became a bartender at the old Ten Mile House on Reisterstown Road between McDonogh and Greenspring Valley roads. He worked there for nearly 25 years.

In a 2000 interview in Baltimore Style magazine, Mr. Lee said he came upon a recipe for the Southside cocktail, which some say traces its name to Chicago’s South Side. Mixology lore suggests that people thought the taste of poor-quality Prohibition gin could be masked by citrus and mint.

Continue reading at The Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore Style Magazine: George Lee

lee-mixmasterI watch George Lee behind the bar as he assembles Southside after Southside, pouring in first the Mount Gay rum (or the occasional vodka or gin), then a few ounces of mix, before filling the glass with ice and adding a splash of club soda. Stirred with a beautiful sterling Kirk Stieff iced-tea spoon and topped with a wedge of lime, the drink is a cool shade of green, its glass beginning to bead with condensation as he hands it over.

I’d love to have the recipe.

A magical combination of mint, lemon and sweetener, the Southside mix exudes East Coast country club cachet. At Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, where the Southside has been served since 1929, only the head bartenders have been privy to its contents; the recipe being passed down behind closed doors.

George Lee, who hails from Cockeysville, first came across the Southside recipe in a bar book published by a Long Island club. He got his start in the drink-pouring business in 1939 as a butler for a Baltimore family. Four years later, he began a 25-year tenure at the Ten Mile House, a tavern on Reisterstown Road that would close its doors in 1967.

“I made up a batch for the Ten Mile House,” Lee recalls about his first foray into Southsides. “Folks didn’t go wild for it right away; it caught on slowly.”

Continue reading at Baltimore Style.

Southside: a cocktail that’s for more than the country-club set

By Rob Kasper (The Baltimore Sun, 8/15/2007)

The Southside, a tangy cocktail made with mint, citrus juices and secrets, is an old-line favorite. It appears in the spring at tailgates in the Maryland hunt country and is still stirring at late-summer, white-shoe gatherings.

Once served almost exclusively at private clubs, the cocktail has entered the public domain. Anyone of age now can enjoy a Southside by simply buying a mix and adding ice, rum, gin or vodka, and perhaps some club soda. Membership not required.

Recently, I bought a bottle of Lindsay’s Southside Mix, then compared the beverage it produced with the Southsides of Andy Ervin, the 85-year-old bartender at the Elkridge Club, and George Lee, the 87-year-old former bartender at the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

Ervin gave me a recipe that closely resembles the version of the drink he created at the Elkridge Club. Lee provided me with a bottle of a Southside mix that he sells. Both men were gracious, but when I pressed them on specifics, they just smiled. Certain things about the Southside, they said, should remain mysterious.

This country-club cocktail supposedly traces its origin to the bootlegging joints on the South Side of Chicago. During Prohibition, illegal gin made on the city’s South Side was flavored with citrus juices and sugar to cover up the flaws in the hooch. Or so one story, told in 2004 to a National Public Radio reporter by a retired Long Island, N.Y., bartender, goes.

Ervin, born on Baltimore’s east side, said he began making the drink 46 years ago, when he started working at the Elkridge Club. “There were no mixed drinks here, when I came,” Ervin told me. “So I started experimenting.”

Continue reading at The Baltimore Sun.

A cool summer fling

The Southside is peculiar to Baltimore, which is peculiarly afflicted by summer. It’s flush with lemon and lime and mint and rum.

Read at The Chicago Tribune.

Posted in 2010s, Booze | Leave a comment