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Last Saturday I had a pretty busy day. In the morning and early afternoon I helped out my support group for people who are separated or divorced with its spring yard sale in Crofton. (I took a bunch of pictures there but I’ll upload them at a later date.) I made sure that I left no later than 2 p.m. so I would have ample time to travel north to Baltimore so I could arrive at an entirely different event on time.

I attended the Poor People’s Campaign’s Art Build + Theomusicology Training that was held at Oak Hill Center. I parked my car on a side street and walked about a half a block. I found that Oak Hill is located in what looked like a one-time industrial area that has fallen on hard times over the past few decades.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Despite the seediness of the neighborhood, I found a few bright spots, such as Midway Park and a neighborhood that looks fully inhabited.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Oak Hill Center is located in a building that looks like a typical white industrial building on the outside. In fact, if it weren’t for the banner on this door, I would have walked past it.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Oak Hill looks way more impressive on the inside. It’s a combination of a library, art studio, and makerspace. It’s nice, big, and airy.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

The room where the workshop was held was decorated with prints related to the Poor People’s Campaign.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

The next shot shows the room where the bulk of the workshop was held.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

The workshop started off with learning how to sing a few of the songs that are affiliated with the Poor People’s Campaign while watching a few online videos that one can access anytime thanks to YouTube. We learned how to sing “Everybody’s Got a Right to Live” and “Somebody’s Hurting My Brother.”

Afterwards we split into two groups with people who preferred to sing walking over to the library end of the building where they continued to practice the songs while those of us who were more into creating art stayed in the same room where we engaged in some large-scale screen printing. The objective was to screen print large banners that would be flown in Annapolis by protesters on the Monday after Mother’s Day.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

We did the screen printing assembly-line style and there were times when we switched jobs or took a break and let someone else take over the job. The whole process was pretty lively and jovial at times.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Even though I stuck with the screen printing the majority of my time, there was a time when I felt thirsty so I went into the other room to get a drink, which was where the singers were rehearsing the two songs. One of the singers saw me getting a drink and recruited me to yell insults at the singers as loud as possible. So I was yelling things like “COMMUNISTS!”, “DEGENERATES!”, “GET A JOB!”, and “GO HOME!” I was relatively restrained in my yelling because I really didn’t want to delve into yelling anything racist (especially since there were a few African Americans present) or something that’s really offensive to someone (such as using a religious slur). After a few minutes of yelling insults, the singers thanked me for doing this. Apparently they were preparing themselves for the possibility that counter protesters would yell nasty insults while they were singing so they wanted to learn how to sing despite distractions.

After my brief role as an obnoxious counter protester, I went back in the other room and continued with helping people with screen printing while I took photos. There were two young sisters who accompanied their father to this workshop. At first they were focused on doing their own drawings.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

But then, once the screen printing was underway, they became fascinated by the process and they were eager to help. So we allowed them to carry the newly-printed banners over to the person who was hanging them on the clotheslines.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Here are a few shots of the newly printed banners drying on clotheslines.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

The last photo shows a chart indicating how many copies of which banners needed to be printed. By the end of the workshop we made great headway. The workshop is going to be repeated at the same place tomorrow night but I won’t be able to make it. If the next workshop is as productive as the one I attended was, I’m sure that the organizers will meet their entire production goal by tomorrow night.

Poor People's Campaign Art Build + Theomusicology Training, Baltimore, April 28, 2018

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One Saturday morning I decided to check out this get-together on Meetup.com for art professionals and I found parking just a few blocks away from where the meetup was going to take place. I also arrived a bit early so I was able to walk around and take a few pictures before this particular meetup began.

The first few pictures show the Glut Food Co-op, which was originally founded in the late 1960’s by a couple of conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. Glut, with its carrot-shaped sign has become a Mount Rainier institution that frequently attracts those who are looking for organic food but want a locally-owned alternative to chain stores like Whole Foods.

The next photos show the various sights around Mount Rainier.

A line of solar-powered toys line the windowsill of a beauty parlor.

This next sign outside a barber shop had this to say about being a barber.

So what exactly is a barber?

A barber is a person who practices primarily in the art of men’s grooming needs. Some barbers nowadays will also cut a lady’s haircut but a barber’s forte is generally men’s haircuts, beard trims, shaves, and mustaches. Barbers usually only do haircuts and don’t usually do perms, coloring, blow-drying or curling and straightening irons. Barbers used to be only men and cosmetologists were women. There have been a lot of changes in recent years because of the unisex salons and these days many people don’t know the difference between what is a barber and what is a cosmetologist.

Barbering is becoming a lost art. In the old days, everyone knew what a barber was. Many people are unaware that barbers were once surgeons and dentists and clergymen. The traditional barber pole is a symbol that comes from the bloody bandages blowing in the wind. The technical term for barbers is a “tonsorial artist.”

Wow! One can really learn something new while taking a walk around a certain area.

The next photo shows a row of colorfully-painted buildings including the public library, the local office of Progressive insurance, and a Masonic lodge.

The Masonic lodge has a trio of really colorful murals featuring birds flying against an orange background with blue flowers, and red-orange diamonds.

You can see the colorful bricks outside the Progressive insurance office.

The colorful bricks continue to the local public library that’s located next door.

The Mount Rainier library is one of the smallest libraries I have ever visited in recent years. It’s basically one small room. Despite its small size, I saw a few patrons browsing the books and using the computers and other resources.

The meetup took place at the Bird Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant.

The meetup took place outside in the restaurant’s courtyard, which had this vintage pachinko machine on display. (I didn’t attempt to try playing it so I don’t know if it’s there purely for decoration or if it is really a working machine.)

After the meetup ended I decided to do something that I had always wanted to do but I kept on putting it off. I figured that since I was in Mount Rainier anyway, I should check out that local legend about how there was a family whose exorcism of their teenage son provided the basis for both the bestselling novel and subsequent movie The Exorcist. I’m going to write a separate blog post devoted to this so stay tuned.

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I have a friend named Phil Shapiro who works in the computer lab at the Takoma Park Library. In his spare time he writes for OpenSource.com mainly about how libraries can do everything from teaching people how to be computer literate to saving the world. (Okay, I’ll admit that I made that last part up. But if you read the articles he’s written for that site, such as this one, you’d could be forgiven for being left with a similar impression.) In his spare time he rehabilitates old computers by installing Linux Mint on them along with other open source software applications then giving the computers to underprivileged families in the DC area and he tutors people in how to use computers and open source software.

Well, anyway, he wanted to check out the Howard County library system because he heard that this system has even better computer resources than the library he works at. So he hired me to just go to any library located in Howard County, take pictures and notes, and let him know what I’ve seen. I ended up choosing the one in Savage because it’s relatively close to my home and I was feeling too lazy to go on a longer trip to places like Columbia or Ellicott City.

So I showed up at the Savage Library and I was amazed by this modern state of the art building with a sign saying that it’s not only a library but it’s also a STEM center as well.

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That library has some really cool looking furniture, brightly painted walls, and nice carpeting.

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The next two photos show a children’s classroom.

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This glass display case shows the various hi-tech capabilities of this library, including a few sample 3D printed items.

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I was raised with the idea that you must never eat or drink anything int the library (except for making a visit to a water fountain). This library has a cafe. Granted this cafe consisted of vending machines but it’s still impressive compared to my childhood memories of going to the Harundale Library in Glen Burnie or my trips to the libraries in Greenbelt and Hyattsville as an adult.

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The STEM wing of the library has skylights.

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They have conference rooms named after famous people in technology, such as Carl Sagan.

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The main room in the STEM wing has state-of-the-art computers as well as other things I’ve never seen in a public library before.

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This room has an actual recording booth that’s available to library patrons.

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Library patrons can borrow musical instruments like electric guitars and keyboards.

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There’s even a professional microphone that one can borrow for use in some multimedia projects.

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I also spent some time with my laptop surfing the Internet using the library’s free wifi while eating some chips I purchased from the vending machine in the cafe. This library felt so homey and cozy.

After the library I went on to Savage Mill because it’s located just a mile or two away and I like going there. I took a few pictures doing my time there.

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