Link: A Remembrance of Local Arts Scenes Past

By Tom Warner (Accelerated Decrepitude, 10/15/2012)

You Are Here: Link No. 2 (1997)

The Baltimore-based arts magazine Link published 10 book-length journals to great critical acclaim between 1996 and 2006. I was never fully aware of Baltimore’s arts scene in my formative years of the late ’70s through the early ’90s – when, apparently, a lot of exciting things were happening here – but, in the course of rummaging through my warehouse-sized archive of accumulated books and magazines this weekend, I had an epiphany when I came across Link No. 2,” a special issue serving as an exhibition site of Artscape ’97.”

I confess, I had never read this issue in detail, but thumbing through its pages now, I noticed a lot of familiar (and respected) names from Baltimore’s arts and music scenes past: Kirby Malone, D.S. Bakker, Susan Lowe, Peter Walsh, David Beaudouin, Sandie Castle, David Franks, tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE, Tom DiVenti, Steve Estes, John and Richard Ellsberry…and (drum roll, please) Link co-founder and Creative Alliance co-founder/program manager Megan Hamilton.

Megan’s opening article “Stenciled on Marble Steps, Woven into Rows: Assembling a Baltimore Historian” spoke to me immediately, for it brought home recovered memories of scenes, places, people, and events of which I had only a hazy recollection. As she wrote in her opening paragraph:

“I write a history titles The Era of Spectacle and The Banquet Years: Baltimore Performance Art 1968-1985. I interview artists, on tape, about events that are often ten, sometines going on twenty years old. Occasionally trying to remember a long-ago, now fuzzy detail, they will turn to me and ask, “Don’t you remember? You were there, weren’t you?” I don’t know how to answer. What I really feel like saying – but only occasionally have the guts to – is: “Yeah, I was there, but I didn’t get it.” Even more strangely: “But I think that, even though I didn’t get it, it got me – somehow snuck into my marrow so that now I try to write a history of the stuff I didn’t get in the first place.”

Yes!!! This is exactly how I feel when I try to explain to people my piecemeal recollections of moments and experiences I lived through, like the Ad-Hoc Fiascos in Wyman Park (1983), the old Second Story Books and Empire Salon on Charles Street in Mt. Vernon (1981-1982), the Crater Baltimore Alliance project, the Cultural Cryptananalysts Collective‘s stencil art project, the Museum of the Future,  the TESTES-3 interactive phone line-answering machine (new technology in 1980!)-radio station project (produced by Richard Ellsberry, Doug Retzler and tENTATIVELY a cCONVENIENCE), the video wizardry of Ed “Lizard” Rosen, and the various audiovisual projects of John and Richard Ellsberry. And now, thanks to Megan, at least some of these happenings have been documented so that future generations (not to mention those time-traveling Krononauts from the future who visited Charm City in the near-past) can “get it” as well.

Continue reading “Link: A Remembrance of Local Arts Scenes Past” at Tom Warner’s Accelerated Decrepitude.

Megan Hamilton – Marble Steps

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3 Responses to Link: A Remembrance of Local Arts Scenes Past

  1. Jeez..I love stuff like this! I often get depressed when I’m smacked in the face with the knowledge that I ‘just wasn’t there’ when something super-Baltimore-amazing was happening. It kills me that I never got to the Marble Bar or hung out at Martick’s when it was THE place to be.

    • Tom Warner says:

      Scott, I too never made it to Martick’s – and I worked around the corner from it for 11 years! No excuses for me!

  2. I never made it to Martick’s either. This book is worth grabbing, it has a lot of Martick in it and I still need to read it: THOSE YEARS: RECOLLECTIONS OF A BALTIMORE NEWSPAPERMAN

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