Volume 12, Issue 46 ~ November 11 - November 17, 2004
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Dock of the Bay

Audiences Overwhelmed by Talent

Some came out of curiosity; others for last-minute entertainment. But everyone who arrived at the second Annapolis Film Festival became an eager critic, reacting to 79 short and feature films from around the world.

“I saw amazing movies,” said opening night emcee and NBC Channel 4 newswoman Wendy Rieger, who calls West River home. “From a four-minute masterpiece about a couple of hapless crooks to a 30-minute beautiful, sad movie about an Albanian man
who is going to abandon his son in Venice.” The sad beauty was Overall Festival winner Maree.

“It was stunning,” Rieger told Bay Weekly. “I was overwhelmed by the talent that’s out there that never makes it to the screen for the public’s eyes.”

The screen gems that met the Annapolis public’s eyes during four November days saturated with film ranged from brief conceptual exercises to polished full-length features. Films such as Maree and opening-night feature Lightning Bug enjoyed hearty popular aclaim, but other choices were more subjective. Take the delightfully quirky Best Animation winner Oedipus, an eight-minute opus of stop-motion vegetable characters and deviant Cliffs Notes Sophocles. Also winning panel praise were Late Watch (Best Feature), The Royal Academy (Best Documentary), America (Best Short), Hot 8 (Best Short Documentary) and Woman Hollering Creek (Best Maryland Film). Worth mention was Punching Hitler, a comedic short that even impressed filmmakers in an impromptu screening following Saturday’s awards party.

“It was a wonderful festival with impressive programming for such a young festival,” says Bruno Coppola, director of the short Stuff that Bear. His enthusiasm echoed among the filmmakers, especially because distributors are taking notice. The creators of the short documentary Conscientious Objector have been offered a deal to make a larger film version, and distributors have talked with the director of Lightning Bug, where marvelous characters flavored a universal story of growing up and setting out.

Rieger praised the achievement of festival co-founders Demetrea Triantafillides and Maria Triandos, who are sisters. The two-year-old festival has attracted international attention from filmmakers and, says Rieger, put Annapolis on the map as a film destination. It’s also brought an otherwise unavailable art form — short film — to Bay Country.

Wendy Rieger, of NBC Channel 4 News, played emcee for this year’s Annapolis Film Festival.
“Film has always been an important part of our storytelling,” Rieger said. “You cannot ignore the small voices that have small, lovely stories.”

Seeing has been believing. “We’re really starting to educate people, and they’re starting to get excited about what were doing,” said Triandos. “Annapolitans were getting to hang out with the filmmakers. It was cool to see, especially since our filmmakers are a step away from getting out there and becoming inaccessible.”

Several blocks of films saw good turnout; one featuring the locally made film Cold Harbor sold out. But some shows were sparsely populated. Triandos concedes that Saturday’s screenings reached only about half capacity, noting the difficulty of luring people on a weekend of 70-degree sunshine.

“Everybody in Annapolis should come see these movies,” said Rieger.

They — and you — will get another chance next year. Triandos just hopes the dates — once they’re set — coincide with less appealing weather.

—Mark Burns

B.I.G. Book Sale Benefits Readers at Home and Abroad

If You Can’t Find It at Parole Rotary Sale, It Wasn’t Written Yet

he smell is distinctive. It envelops you as you walk through the doors. If you’ve ever read a worn paperback, this is a smell you know.

It’s as if 60,000 books — lined up in an old warehouse in Parole — had exhaled a deep breath. You’ll smell it for yourself Saturday, November 13, at the ninth year of the quarterly B.I.G. Book sale.

B.I.G. describes not only the selection but also Books for International Goodwill, an on-going charitable project of the Parole Rotary Club.

To label it as a simple sale would be a mistake.

Over the last nine years, B.I.G. has sent more than 1.6 million books to developing countries. More recently, it’s sent over 5,000 books to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

B.I.G. was born from the need of a Rotary exchange student who returned home to Nigeria to become a teacher. She wrote back that she needed books for her school.

The B.I.G. book sale was born when a Rotary exchange student returned home to Nigeria to become a teacher. She wrote back that she needed books for her school. “We sent as many books as we could get and kept trying for more,” said Steve Frantzich, club president, left. “From there it took on a life of its own.”
We sent as many books as we could get and kept trying for more,” said club president Steve Frantzich. “From there it took on a life of its own.”

In the third world, school children aren’t the only ones suffering from lack of textbooks.

“A law school professor from Liberia who visited told of having a class of 120 students and only six textbooks,” said Frantzich. “She had to literally cut the books she had in half.”

The books come from all over Chesapeake Country to the small Route 2 warehouse, which has a 24-hour drop-off box. Text books and requested titles go abroad. Rotary volunteers sort two Saturdays a month, dividing the books into three categories: college texts; high school and elementary texts; and general reading for libraries. Usable college texts need to be less than 10 years old; high school and elementary less than 15 years old.

Other books go up on the shelves for sale — after volunteers sort and alphabetize them. Profits from the quarterly sales pay for shipping to troops and libraries as far away as Kenya and the Philippines.

An average shipment costs about $4,000.

Donations pour in by the carload with readers making space in their homes by passing along books that have languished unread, often for years.

One reader’s trash is surely another’s treasure, as shoppers throng the quarterly sales for a good read at a low price.

“Shopping here is a mix of going to the library and going to a large-scale retailer,” said Marianna Feston of Arnold, who filled up a bag with over 20 hardcover best sellers at last August’s sale. A new book costs more than $20; Feston bought a bag for $20.

Customers with less reading time pay $1 for each hardcover book and 50 cents for paperbacks. Choices range from classic novels to Peanuts comic books to cook books to travel volumes to nonfiction. You’ll find the complete works of major authors like John le Carre and Ernest Hemingway, with several copies to choose from. If you’re addicted to Eric Ambler, Geoffrey Household or Neville
Shute, you’re likely to find out-of-print favorites here.

Feston plans to return in November, for she’ll have finished the books she picked out earlier. “I plan on bringing a couple of bags so I have enough to get me through the winter,” she said

Catch the scent of good reading Saturday Nov. 13 from 8am to 4pm at 3106 Solomon’s Island Rd. (next to Lee Airport), Edgewater: 410-293-6865.

—Louis Llovio

At Veterans Day, Remembering the Great War

Restored WWI Chapel Opens with New Social History Museum

At Epiphany Episcopal Church in Odenton, November 11 is still Armistice Day, a holiday and holy day marking the end of the Great War in 1918.

On their way to the trenches of France, doughboys found home comforts and worship there, in both the chapel and the church house.

This year, that heritage is restored as the only World War I chapel in the nation is dedicated as the World War I Social History Museum and Chaplains’ Memorial Peace Garden.

“It’s an ordinary little church with an extraordinary history,” said the Rev. Phebe L. McPherson, rector.
Its extraordinary history began when two Washington, D.C., women donated $11,000 so the soldiers at Camp Meade, now Fort Meade, could have a real chapel.

The building was constructed in the form of a cross, with dining room and kitchen and chaplains’ offices in the horizontal wings, and the nave and social rooms in the vertical wings.

It was up and running in 60 days.

“Young soldiers were welcomed with worship services, dinners, dances and counseling,” said McPherson. “Family members were invited to spend the night in the dormitory on the second floor to spend time together and to say goodbye.”

The dedication November 14 marks the end of three years of restoration. The original exterior of board and batten was exposed; then the interior was attacked.

The restoration added museum galleries with hands-on exhibits on the first and second stories. The displays include trench art, a gas mask, souvenirs, poppies, toy soldiers, sheet music, records, scrapbooks, a bugle, a French canteen, an old telephone, medals, a victory pin and books. There’s also a recreated dormitory with bunk beds.

“I call it environmental art,” said McPherson. “It teaches social history by surrounding the visitor with memorable items.”
A peace garden outside the church honors the work of the 2,929 chaplains of World War I.
The chapel, recognized and marked by the National Register of Historical Places as the only known World War I chapel in the United States, “is not only an historical treasure,” said McPherson. “It’s also an active church whose congregation prays for chaplains weekly.

Open house and dedication by Robert W. Ihloff, the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, at 2:30pm Nov. 14: 410-902-7002; www.epiphany-md.org.

—Val Hymes

Ask the Plant Professor


Q I have potted strawberry plants I would like to keep until next year. Should I overwinter these outside, inside? Cut them back or leave as is?

A Leave them outside. For more protection, you can group them together and cover with a layer of straw. Normally, strawberry plants are cut back soon after harvest. Don’t cut back now. You may clip off any dead foliage next spring.

Q Can I plant rosemary plants now? I recently bought some at a garden center.

A In-ground rosemary typically survives mild winters without protection — when it is already well-established. In unusually cold or wet winters, rosemary generally suffers or dies. A good plan would be to keep yours indoors in a sunny window on a shallow tray this winter. Cover the bottom of the tray with pebbles and set the plants on top. Water soil in the pot as needed; i.e., when the top inch or so of soil dries. Plant them out in the spring, preferably in a sheltered site with a southern exposure and excellent drainag

Ask the Plant and Pest Professor is compiled from questions sent to the website of the Home and Garden Information Center, part of Maryland Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. Ask a home gardening or pest control question and find other help: 800-342-2507 (Mon.-Fri. 8am-1pm) • www.hgic.umd.edu.

Way Downstream

In Washington, the scuttlebutt is that Democratic Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes is thinking of retiring after this term now that Republicans have strengthened their control over the Senate, which will prevent him from again becoming chairman of the Senate Banking Committee any time soon. The departure of Sarbanes, who’ll turn 71 in February, would generate a scramble among Democrats for their party’s Senate nomination and would have implications up and down the ’06 ticket …

In Colorado, voters not only bucked a trend by electing a Democrat, Ken Salazar, to the U.S. Senate, they approved a progressive ballot measure that requires a five-fold expansion of renewable energy by 2010 …
In Bulgaria, they’re looking for a Pied Piper or an inventor with a better mousetrap. That’s because that nation’s farm region has been infested with 100 million mice that are multiplying rapidly, prompting authorities to declare a disaster in part of the country …

Our Creature Feature comes from Taiwan, where a man flushed with evangelical fervor leapt over a restraining wall and into a lions den to taunt the occupants, Reuters reported this week.

“Come bite me.” he shouted. “Jesus will save me.” One of the lions accepted the challenge, biting the believer’s leg before being driven off by zookeepers with tranquilizer guns and water hoses.

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