I gotta say, there's nothing like being a rat in Baltimore, and there's nothing like Artscape to touch a rat where it counts. When I'm not transmitting leptospirosis through my feces, I love to kick back and trash surf with the locals. This will be my second year at Artscape and therefore my last, so take part in some social learning and absorb wisdom gained in my eighteen months of existence.
Getting to the festival: Perhaps you've recently had one of your six litters this year and just don't feel like scampering at a top speed of over 20 miles per hour from your midden to Mount Royal Avenue. In this heat, who does? Cool off on the subway. I mean the subterranean way. Gnawing furiously at the blacktop not only shaves millimeters off your constantly growing incisors, it gains you access to a network of tunnels we made under Baltimore City that are so pervasive they sometimes cause sinkholes. Alternately, many of the city's current sinkholes are fantastic access points to these tunnels, which are fantastic access points to the Baltimore Metro Subway.
Navigating Artscape: Artscape's theme for 2016, Outer Space Stuff, points to two basic human aspirations. The first is to venture into deep space with the intention of colonizing other planets, hopefully not bringing any rats with them while doing so. The second aspiration has much to do with the first, in that humans simply don't like dealing with things that are problematic and would rather split from Earth entirely than acknowledge the damage done around here. They're probably going to leave this planet to us, and it is our duty to support their efforts in snacking and interstellar travel. Ordinarily our poor eyesight would require us to rely on highly evolved auditory and olfactory senses, requiring us to drag around a hot-dog-juice-soaked map of the festival layout. With any luck the festival will feature generous amounts of black light reactive paint and indigo space-type hues, colors easy for our advanced UV receptors to make out. Combined with our heightened sensitivity to ultrasound, any of us should easily be able to locate and scuttle on board any spacecraft or space-craft themed art projects. Thanks Artscape!
More like Foodscape, amirite?: What does Artscape's decision to provide food entirely from Maryland vendors mean for us, who number, according to some reports, as high as 60 per every 1,000 humans? There is a distinct possibility that the city might opt to use the 64-gallon trash cans that we haven't completely chewed through yet, but knowing humans' love of anything disposable, I anticipate an overall increase in local, inorganic detritus pouring out of garbage cans that will probably not be emptied all weekend. Since I'm not a huge fan of raw celery, I'll steer clear of the waste receptacles adjacent to the Catonsville Celery Connection food truck, but it does seem as if the other options available will be just superb, provided some large biped has already done a bulk of the eating and discarding. I really hope so because I don't have any money, and the food is pretty much the only thing keeping me around. Humans have the BEST food. Have you ever had their food? It is VERY GOOD.
Best place to scuttle across the toe of a sneaker: All 18 months of my life I've given this some deep consideration. Also, I can't see super well so after a certain point I'm just operating strictly on hindbrain and following an odor, and I'm going to blindly sprint over any obstacles until I reach whatever diaper or bag of chips I'm smelling. Artscape's many outdoor music stages are perfect opportunities to beat and eat, because it is easier to drop one's trash where you're standing than actually locate the overflowing dustbin and lose one's spot. Zero in on a source and run for it like crazy, and whatever New Balances you tag on the way over are a fun bonus. Extra bonus: run across a pair of sandals and see how quickly you are flung toward your target!
Side note: Humans are probably not going to be thrilled about your presence at this festival and may in fact take some strides toward hindering your enjoyment of sun, fun, and napkins full of pizza crust, but most will likely be oblivious and blame our presence on someone other than themselves. Do not take this personally. Live for the moment. If I'm going to die in a poisoned burrow at the ripe old age of twenty four months, I'm going to do it with a face full of moldy fried macaroni and cheese.
Lexie Mountain will perform with her band the Scroll Downers for the Bmore Does Bowie event at Artscape.