Best Movie Theater
Crown Annapolis Mall
boxy little Apex was a popular vote for its rare convenience to
pop-culture-deprived Calvert denizens. Eastport Crown won deserved
favor for its run of artsy, often subtitled films.
neither could beat Crown Annapolis Mall, an 11-screen juggernaut
with stadium seating, a thunderous sound system and funky-cool
architecture. Parents can dig the free kids’ movies on Wednesday and
Thursday mornings through summer; twilight shows are still a bargain
Blockbuster wins out with its copious collection of new releases,
growing selection of DVDs, reasonable prices and long-term rentals.
Not all franchise stores are equal, but the better ones now carry
DVD versions of old films - like Roundtree’s original Shaft - that
have long since worn out on tape.
Annapolis City Dock
Sitting at the
corner of City Dock where runabouts now jockey for mooring space is
Annapolis’ newest statue (installed December 7, 1999). Surrounded by
the bustling City Dock of present, a bronze-cast Alex Haley has eyes
on the past, looking beyond the harbor while reading the story of
Kunta Kinte to a trio of statue children gathered at his
Haley’s famous story Roots has all the more
significance here, for this is the very spot where his ancestor
Kunta Kinte touched American soil for the first time, delivered by a
three-month voyage from Gambia to be sold into slavery. This
monument at once calls to mind a poignant chapter in history and
strikes a tone of reconciliation. For this, the monument surpassed
even the Naval Academy’s fabled Tecumseh for the title of Best
Best Local Theater
has set a high standard for community theater for over 50 years.
While entertaining generation after generation of audiences, one
generation of actors and theater volunteers has spawned the next.
Professionalism starts at the door, with a theater box
office and inviting lobby filled with local art. Inside this theater
in the round, magic happens. Nothing is left to chance. Sound,
light, stage design, costumes, directing and acting come together in
harmony and artistry.
What’s more, the company takes chances.
It educates and stretches its audience while honing its own theater
crafts through workshops and mentoring for its members. Colonial
Players can afford to take risks in its line-up. It’s financially
sound, owning its own theater in downtown Annapolis, plus another
building used for rehearsals and storage. Eighty percent of tickets
are sold ahead of time, to subscribers.
2000 season included a Southern family’s look at death in Dearly
Departed; twins separated at birth in Blood Brothers; the
English/Irish problems in The Clearing; and the side-splitting
comedy Inspecting Carol. It brought to Chesapeake Country plays by
Steinbeck and Fugard, the same playwrights whose works appear in big
No wonder Bay Weekly readers chose Colonial Players as
the best local theater company.
Production of 2000
Players’ A Christmas Carol
It’s easy to
understand why Bay Weekly readers chose Colonial Player’s Christmas
Carol as the best theater production in 2000. Dick Gessner and
Richard Wade’s romp through Dickens has it all: music, dancing,
spirits, lots of kids and a marvelous Scrooge.
Colonial Players’ Scrooge, took to the boards for the 11th time in
2000, wearing his signature red long johns and hissing “bah humbug.”
Harper says appearing in the show is “like putting the first
ornament on my tree.” As the reformed Scrooge, he sings “Keeping
Christmas,” plucks a youngster from the audience and dances and
sings around the stage. What fun!
Colonial Players’ gift to
the community is a tradition for both actors and audience. Ticket
buyers lined up on November 18, 2000 to buy their $5 tickets for the
December shows. For many families, standing in line on East Street
has become a Christmas tradition, the first ornament on their
The booths at the
Double T Diner are commodities hot as the pancakes served 24 hours.
The appeal? Your table’s own personal juke box. Each juke box
contains a couple dozen compact discs, with scope to season your
meal to suit your musical taste.
Best Place to Hear Live Music
and nationally ranked acts win the prize for Ram’s Head On Stage,
say Bay Weekly readers. As musicians from Chesapeake Country’s own
Bill Kirchen to Leon Redbone to James Cotton fill the spacious room,
every seat is within range of the harmonies.
On Stage is an
intimate setting, treating the audience to an up-close and personal
feel of the groups that play this warmly lit venue. The stage, which
is more of a riser, puts the crowd close to the music. You’re
escorted to your table – it’s not a free-for-all like some clubs.
For more than two, reserve enough room for your entire
With colorful murals covering the walls, creating a
lively backdrop, On Stage is a comfortable, uncrowded atmosphere.
Think of it as a live music lounge/theater venue — not a dark,
smoke-filled club where you must push through dozens of people to
With wait staff stationed in each seating area, the
service is efficient. You don’t have to leave your seat to place an
order for food or drink. Rams Head’s own Fordham Brewing Co. beers
make a good choice of beverage.
Best Local Band
Since 1990, Mama
Jama have been intoxicating Bay music lovers with their eclectic
blend of rock, reggae, calypso and blues. If you haven’t seen - or
heard - Mama Jama play, you don’t get out enough. The band plays
everywhere, from week-long performances at local bars and
restaurants to benefit concerts to the Chesapeake Bay Blues
So it was no contest when Bay Weekly readers filled
in their Best of the Bay surveys: Mama Jama, Mama Jama, Mama Jama,
read the responses.
“We’re a party band,” said drummer and
original member Larry Griffin. “You can’t sit down when we play. We
just make you feel good.” Griffin, a notable figure within
Chesapeake Country in part because of his humanitarian work with
WeCare and Friends among other groups, is joined in the band by John
Gladstone - the other remaining original member — Avon Lucas, Henry
Sar, Fallah Dadzie and Mike McHenry.
Thankful for the votes,
Griffin was also quick to note the plenitude of equally deserving
talent. “Annapolis does have a good music scene,” he said. “People
need to support all the musicians and musicians need to support all
Check Bay Weekly’s “8 Days a Week”
calendar and “Music
Notes” to find Mama Jama playing any given
Best Bay Writer
It’s no surprise
Bay Weekly readers vote Bill Burton the best writer on the Bay.
‘Papa’ Burton’s the man who sets the standard. He’s the guy we all
try to live up to. Yet he writes like you and he are talking over a
cup of coffee or backyard fence.
At 74 Burton remains the
premier outdoors writer in Chesapeake Country, more prolific than
writers half his age.
We attribute a good measure of Bay
Weekly’s appeal - thus our success - to Bill Burton’s presence on
He’s been on our masthead and pages since issue
No. 5. Newly retired from The Baltimore Evening Sun, he saw the
promise in the bright new idea we then called New Bay Times. For
most of 400 issues, he’s brought us a strength and sagacity envied
by papers many times our age.
In his long career, Burton has
turned his hand to political and news reporting, radio and
television, books and outdoors journals.
The New England
native broke into journalism with the Plainfield News at Goddard
College in Vermont, where he published his first article, a special
edition on a fire that destroyed the town’s biggest business. He
also carried the paper to the printer and sold it on the street for
five cents a copy.
Burton did a stint in Alaska, but he found
the “best job in the world” with the Baltimore Evening Sun. No, he
created it himself. In his own words:
When I got discharged
from the Navy Seabees, I was told I’d have to have a sedentary job
all my life. I didn’t believe them and wanted to build myself up. I
went home to Harlington, Vt., to recuperate by hunting and
Then I took journalism at Goddard College on the
G.I. bill. My second semester I was made editor of the paper. My
third semester, they opened a radio station in Montpelier, and as a
disabled veteran, I got paid full-time as a journeyman. In a year I
was a full-fledged journalist. After a couple of years, I switched
I had a bunch of outdoors notes people had
sent in that I put together in a column, “Outdoor Trails and Tales,”
and I wrote that periodically. Outdoors writing was not big in the
country at the time, but wherever I was, I wrote an outdoors column
as an extra, until in 1956 The Sun hired me on full time as an
outdoors reporter. I’ve been a full-time outdoors reporter for 45
Living the life he writes about, Burton has fished
with two presidents, backpacked the Appalachian Trail in a
wind-chill of 96 below, flown over Arctic tundras to check on
migratory birds, hunted game big and small - and fished most every
drop of water in Maryland.
At home, the proud father of six
and double-digit grandfather lives in Riviera Beach with wife Lois,
who is director of testing and tutoring at Anne Arundel Community
He also writes for The Capital and Maryland Gazette
and the monthly Fishing and Hunting Journal. He edits the annual
Maryland Deer Hunting Guide and Fishing in Maryland.
either love Burton or hate him, which is just the way the old man of
the Bay wants it. His greatest satisfaction comes from provoking
readers to think about issues - whether by sentiment, shock or
So many of you will rejoice to know your old
friend returns next week, after three weeks’ rest and recovery from
surgery to rebuild his writing - and fishing - shoulder.
the minority who wish he’d go away, Burton says, “They’re not
getting their wishes. I’ve been writing for 55 years and I’m not
about to stop.”
Concert of 2000
Bay Blues Festival
For three years in
a row, the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival has delivered top-name
blues and rock bands to Sandy Point State Park for a weekend-long
benefit concert. The brainchild of local enterpreneur and
businessman Don Hooker, the Bluesfest has brought to the Bay such
blues and jazz legends as John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Johnny
Lang, as well as more mainstream sounds like George
Hooker’s hopes were twofold. First, a Chesapeake
Bay Blues Festival would help keep the blues alive, deepening
people’s respect for the musical genre with exposure to some of the
still-living greats who helped make the blues what they are. Second,
Hooker wanted to help local charities.
In joining these two
goals, the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival was born.
May, the two-day event drew its largest crowd to date, some 18,000
people, and raised more than $100,000.
“Next year’s Blues
Festival will be even better,” said Aniella Ciuffetelli,
The musical lineup for May 2002 should be decided by
early next year. Check out their website at http://www.bayblues.org/.