|Gloria Keeps Sea Sisters in the Swim at Build-A-Boat Competition
One team of sailors stood out among the rest scrambling to build a seaworthy makeshift boat at last weekends 5th Annual Build-A-Boat competition at the Annapolis Yacht Club. Clad in matching pink shirts and purple bows, the members of Women Aboard, the Network for Women in Boating, caught the eyes of both spectators and judges.
For five hours Saturday, 18 teams grappled with nine sheets of various sizes of plywood, a spool of wire and marine glue. As they sweated and strained, a shotgun blast every hour let the teams know how much time was left.
We are known for having the best bribes, explained Maria Russell, founder of Women Aboard. One of these bribes included a massage chair, where judges could sit down, relax and have the stress of judging the competition rubbed out of them by massage therapist Vicki Halper. Lemonade was also served on the blistering hot day.
But bribes were not the only distinction of Women Aboard. They were the only all-woman team as well as the only team to give all their earnings to charity. Because the lives of several members of Women Aboard, known as Sea Sisters, have been touched by cancer, they forwarded sponsors and spectators donations to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In keeping, the theme of their entry was The Row For a Cure. The Women Aboard vessel, Gloria, was named after a member who lost her battle with breast cancer.
On the open water, guys would never stop at another boat flying the same burgee, but women think nothing of it, member Sue Longacre said. You may not know who is on that boat, but you know shes a Sea Sister, another member agreed. Longacre describes Women Aboard as a wonderful network for meeting people. The organization is also known for its newsletter, containing tips on everything from boat maintenance to maximizing storage. Every man that has a Sister in his family steals the newsletter to read it first, Longacre joked.
On Sunday, the race started at 1:14pm, a time chosen to honor the Annapolis Yacht Clubs 114th anniversary. There would be nine heats, with the three most successful boats going on to the final race. The boats had to go through the Straits of Eastport, around two buoys and back to the finish line to complete the race. The defending champion, Turkey One, took the first heat in commanding fashion letting everyone know they were back for another championship this year. Gloria finished a respectable third in her first heat and fourth in her later heat.
The Gloria Sisters earned the congratulations of Admiral Bill Hancock, who was doing commentary on the race. Were all very proud of you and the efforts you have made today, Hancock said to the women after announcing that they had raised over $2,000 to battle breast cancer.
Gloria also had the distinction of surviving the entire day in one piece. Stinger Five, the only sailboat in the race, succumbed early to the Spa Creek waters, and City Hull Two had to be towed back to dock a number of times. These mishaps drew quite a laugh from the spectators on the Spa Creek bridge in Eastport.
The final race of the day belonged to Blood, Sweat and Beers, making it the champion of the 5th annual Build-A-Boat competition. Success, however, was measured in many ways on Sunday.
Maryland, My Maryland: More Ways Than One to Sing It
Theres no end to creative ways the Star Spangled Banner has been sung. Just watch the pre-game hullabaloo surrounding any championship sporting event to get an idea of how diverse performances of the national anthem can become.
Now its the turn of state songs to face the music. You may soon hear a jazzed-up version or heaven forbid a rap rendition of Maryland, My Maryland, Old Folks at Home (Florida), or Yankee Doodle (Connecticut) and the 59 other official state songs (yes, Virginia, some states have more than their fair share of songs).
A contest called the State Song Project is swinging across the country to gather modern renditions of the official songs of the 50 states. Selected renditions carry a cash bounty with a total dollar amount of $25,000 plus continuing royalties.
The project, explains John Hladczuk, one of the directors, is a logical offshoot of a book at press entitled State Songs: Anthems and Their Origins (Scarecrow Press). Hladczuk, who was also a brain behind the book, says it was especially problematic even to find the sheet music, let alone recorded renditions of the songs. Except for the more popular state songs like Tennessee Waltz, Georgia on My Mind or Home on the Range, he said, most people do not have much of an idea about their state song. We hope this project will enlighten them as well as three-dimensionalize their living in their particular state.
The project is divided into three parts. This contest, the first, will compile renditions no longer subject to copyright laws into an album of 24 state songs for volume one. James Ryder Randalls Maryland, My Maryland, is one of the 24.
In Calvert County, unofficial historical society curator Ann Whisman says she welcomes the competition. I am interested in new ways of doing things as long as they are not vulgar, she says.
Whisman, who hails from Kentucky, knows her native state song by heart. There are words in My Old Kentucky Home that people are uncomfortable with, she said. (Authors note: She is referring to the word darkies.) People modify it when singing. So I hope a finer version can be composed through this project.
Were unlikely to hear composer Stephen Foster, who died penniless at only 38 in 1864, playing and singing My Old Kentucky Home, but renditions recorded by state song composers and lyricists will be included in later volumes.
Which suits Calvert County native Mazie Washington just fine. She says state songs are sacred and must remain untouched.
Im a little bit old-fashioned. I grew up with Maryland, My Maryland and would want future generations to remember it the way it is sung now, she says. The songs might lose historical value if performed in a modern way.
Shes not a likely customer for one possible offshoot of the project: compilation albums with renditions of individual states songs.
When the project hits its final note, Hladczuk says the State Song Project will seek an archival home at some university library where all renditions that were submitted, along with files from the book, will be housed for the sake of posterity.
For more particulars visit www.statesongproject.com.
Are You Listening? 200 Hear Local Bands First at Piezanos Pizza
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, thats amore. Amore as in love, as in Love Muffin Prowler or LMP as theyre known around the Annapolis musical campfire.
The latest in local alternative bands, LMP celebrated the release of their first CD, Are You Listening, at Piezanos Pizza and Late Night Café last Friday to a hungry crowd of 200-plus.
Fans of all ages crammed the cozy booths of the deliciously retro pizza parlor. With 70s style décor, checkered tablecloths, orange plastic chairs, clashing paints and lattice work, Piezanos made you feel like youd stepped back in time, man.
All this, the surplus of chilly pop and beer and the nostalgic aroma of steamy pizza made this cheesy joint perfect for a party. And a party it was.
A nervous LMP took the stage around 11:30 amidst cigarette smoke and whistles. With a quick introduction by WRNR DJ Scott James, the Prowler blasted off with their opener, Longest Kiss Goodnight.
Lead guitarist Will Carlsen squashed band butterflies with a howling mid-song solo. And with the crowd still applauding, Carlsen led a settled LMP into their second song, a self-disconnecting number called Egypt.
They brought the tone down to a dull pulse with Same Old Yesterday. Singer and lyricist Steve Merson crooned and noodle-danced his way through this sappy ballad, catering to the female audience.
The show then kicked into high gear with the bands personal favorite, Liquid, a tune of unexpected twist and turns, and Six, a raucous, in-your-face song that every mother will hate.
By now, LMP had warmed up, blown the cobwebs out of their amps and eased into a nice even-keeled show. Rhythm guitarist Chuck Webb, bassist Ron Benewicz and drummer Billy Zero clicked through Allison, Frontier and Socrates, making it easy for partygoers to move their feet.
Crossing the finish line, the quintet dropped the hammer with a creepy yet clever ditty called Drivin, which appears as a live studio track on the album.
A pumped-up Prowler left the stage to mingle with a buzzing crowd. I thought they sounded great, said first-time showgoer Katie Hughes, as she eye-balled the greasy rock and rollers.
The band members seemed quite pleased with their performance as well. This was our night, said a sweaty Benewicz. I think it went over really well.
Im happy to see all of these people showed up to support us, said Zero. I think this area is going to blow up, musically, and we happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Who would have thought the right place would be a cheesy pizza parlor?
Check out future shows or stuff your face at Piezanos, located at 2019 West Street, Annapolis: 410/266-8425.
You can go on the prowl by picking up an LMP CD at area Tower Records or Record and Tape Traders or log on to www.lovemuffinprowler.com. For booking info call 410/212-6109.
On Chesapeake Waterways, First Pearls Strung
As most were enjoying their central air conditioning June 26, about 150 brave souls took to the out of doors, steaming and fighting off flies.
All had followed the narrow meandering road to Piscataway Park on the Potomac River at Accokeek to hear the names of the first 23 pearls in the Chesapeake Bay Waterways and Gateways Network (see this weeks lead story, Trails Across America).
Music rang out across the manicured field where, under the canopy, dignitaries would do the honors. As they arrived via the Dory Potomac, launched from across the river at historic Mt. Vernon, fiddles, banjos, guitars and melodic voices echoed songs that workers on the National Colonial Farm site may have sung as they worked in heat of long ago summer days.
This is the beginning of links where waterways and the Bay Network come together, said Jonathan Doherty of the National Park Service. At this spot, the Potomac River is protected on the Maryland side by Piscataway Park and on the Virginia side by the National Capital Park at Mt. Vernon.
Sen. Paul Sarbanes shepherded the Chesapeake Bay Waterways and Gateways Network in the U.S. Senate; Congressman Steny Hoyer did the same in the House. Now Sarbanes beamed as he spoke of the Network that would showcase the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay and watershed. I call it polishing the Chesapeake Bays most precious pearls, he said.
The Network is not only precious in itself but part of a bigger picture. On June 28, Sarbanes explained, we will take the next step forward to protect the Bay. We will meet with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia to sign a new agreement called Chesapeake 2000. The agreements three main objectives: expand public access by 30 percent; expand water trails to 500 miles; make public outreach a reality.
You here today are the first out of the gate, Sarbanes said.
The Potomac offered a welcome breeze as the ceremony concluded and the first out of the gate rushed toward vehicles with air-conditioning and homes with anti-itch cream.
In Pennsylvania, theyre fighting off a dangerous invader: the giant hog weed. Be on the lookout here for its purple or red blotches, coarse hairs, white flowers and huge, unevenly lobed leaves. It can grow 14 feet high and Pennsylvanians battling it report skin outbreaks like poison ivy from its toxic sap
In Virginia, the national League of Conservation Voters, the political arm of the countrys major environmental groups, has added former Virginia Gov. George Allen to its Dirty Dozen list. Allen is running to take the U.S. Senate seat of Charles Robb
In Austin, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican presidential nominee, appears to be giving people a clear choice in November when it comes to environmental issues. Speaking with reporters last week, Bush promised sweeping changes and to cut more trees, abandon talk of breaching dams and work closely with traditional power structures
Chicago officials are clear-cutting outside their Metropolitan Correctional Center. Why? Because of growing fear that bad guys might be hiding in the trees, the Chicago Tribune reported
In Massachusetts, federal contractors are trying something new to cure water pollution: a 150-foot wide fabric curtain, called The Gunderboom, stretched across the lower Charles River. They hope it filters out bacteria and various pollutants
Our Creature Feature comes from New York, where the human species put on a funny show last week. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and singer Bette Midler went canoeing to promote restoration of the filthy Bronx River.
But Glickman almost capsized the canoe. A clearly distressed Midler ran on to dry land, the National Journal reported. Glickman lured her back to action by inviting her to look at a striped bass, and the singer recovered her wits sufficiently to talk about the importance of cleaning up rivers.