↑ Baltimore Museum of Art
We knew that before he even came on board, the BMA's new director, Christopher Bedford, was slated to commission the U.S. pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale with leading American painter Mark Bradford as the country's representing artist. What we didn't know (but suspected) until last week is that Bedford is bringing the BMA as well as his former home, The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, along as collaborators. The pavillion will be co-curated by Bedford and Katy Siegel, the BMA's recently-appointed Senior Programming and Research Curator. The Biennale is the longest-running and most celebrated international contemporary art exhibition in the world, and the only other time the BMA has been in charge of the U.S. pavilion was back in 1960. If, like most people, you're unable to make it to Venice May through November of next year to see Bradford's work, don't worry: the BMA is expected to bring the show back home in the Spring of 2018.
↑ Martin O'Malley
The former Baltimore Mayor, Maryland Governor, and presidential-candidate-we kept-forgetting-was-running did a great job acting as a Hillary Clinton surrogate on Fox News last Sunday. Some Fox talking heads tried to link O'Malley's comments that some frustrated Americans feel that politicians have "rigged the economic opportunity game against them" to Donald Trump's dangerous and unfounded assertions that the election process is "rigged." O'Malley wasn't having it. He said that Trump is proof that the system is broken, pointing out that we still (still!) don't know if he's paid taxes over the years. Noting that Trump spoke at Gettysburg, O'Malley said that President Abraham Lincoln would be rolling over in his grave. O'Malley might not have landed himself a spot in the Oval Office, but Hillary owes him a presidential beer, at least.
↑ Dr. Margaret Flowers
Kudos to Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Margaret Flowers, who stormed the stage at a recent debate that was only to feature Democratic nominee Chris Van Hollen and Republican nominee Kathy Szeliga. As she was escorted off stage by University of Baltimore police, Flowers asked, "How do you serve democracy or serve the public if I'm excluded?" She's got a point. Sure, Flowers didn't meet the requisite 15 percent polling threshold that was supposed to officially earn her a spot on the stage, but as a third party representative, that rule put her at a huge disadvantage when compared to the other guys. Plus, options and choice are what this whole democracy thing is supposed to be about.
←→ Bike Share
It's been a long time coming, but last week Baltimore finally launched Bike Share, a sort of Zipcar for bikes, with 20 stations for picking up and returning short-term rental bikes ($2 for 45 minutes and $15 for an unlimited monthly pass). About half of the bikes have electric motors to assist riders climbing hills. There was criticism that most of the stations are in the "White L" stretching from north Baltimore, through downtown, Federal Hill and east to Canton. Officials are promising 30 more stations by spring, though, so we'll see how this rolls out.
↓ Baltimore Police
The Baltimore City Police Department has failed to test nearly 900 rape kits since the 1980s. The kits are used to gather evidence in order to discover or confirm a sexual assault assailant in a criminal case. The Justice Department said that the BPD "persistently neglects" to request testing of rape kits, often ignores sex workers' sexual assault claims, and doesn't pursue evidence of repeat suspects. It is hard enough to get a conviction in a rape trial even when the prosecution has a strong case; it is damn near impossible if police don't even go through the motions of testing existing DNA evidence.