Wandering Eye: A look at the history of Bmore club, a study on "bad neighborhoods," and thoughts on brunch

On Thursday's episode of Baltimore's Future on WYPR, host David Warnock interviewed Sam Hopkins about club music. Hopkins is involved in a program that wants to facilitate Baltimore club music DJs (this Baltimore Social Innovation Journal piece mentions him working with James Nasty, Scottie B, and Shawn Smallwood) to help mentor kids in the city through music and music technology. Warnock had Hopkins run through a history of club music for the uninitiated and it nodded to everything from industrialization to Chicago house, which is a nice change of pace from how most mainstream outlets cover the music (that is to say, very half-assedly). Nevertheless, like way too many people, Hopkins seems to misunderstand the distinct eras, because for all intents and purposes Rod Lee is a mid-to-late '90s clubber, not there for the genre's founding in the early '90s; also, there was too much of a focus on justifying Bmore club's importance because Euro dance dorks care about it and not because Baltimore invented it. But hey, Hopkins' lesson was whip-smart overall and he did dole out one fascinating piece of barely known Bmore club trivia: The "great, great, great grandfather" of Scottie B, inarguably one of club's founders, "was the first ordained rabbi in the United States." Not sure what to make of it beyond "holy shit, man that's crazy," though there is certainly something rather Talmudical about club music, isn't there? Every few years a new generation of producers approach the same sacred samples (Lyn Collins' 'Think,' Gaz's 'Sing Sing') and find radically different ways to interpret them, keeping the party-music conversation going. (Brandon Soderberg)

 

Anticipating an as-yet-unpublished Yale study by Christopher Wildman and Andrew Papachristos, NPR's Shankar Vedantam gives a smart take on "bad neighborhoods" in cities. Turns out the dangerous neighborhoods are so mainly because a small number of residents in those neighborhoods are connected by a social network to residents in other neighborhoods, and the members of these social networks of people who do crimes tend to be the ones who are murdered. "Being in this network, this small network of 4 or 5 percent of the population, increases your risk of being a homicide victim by 900 percent," Papachristos tells the listening audience. The headline statistic is both sobering and hopeful for those who believe criminality has overtaken the nation's mid-tier cities: 41 percent of all gun homicide victims occur in a network that is 4 percent of the population. The researchers—Wildman's work has looked at incarceration from an efficacy standpoint; Papachristos is focused on "inequalities and the life course"—hope to use this information to serve public-health goals. They think of murder as acting like "a bloodborne pathogen." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

People love brunch, the meal wedged some time between breakfast and lunch with food offerings traditionally associated with both meals. Now freelance writer David Shaftel declares in an opinion piece for The New York Times that "Brunch Is For Jerks," making the case that brunch goers linger in restaurants for too long, creating lines at hip New York eateries, and chefs get lazy to satiate the appetites of everybody's hangover from Friday or Saturday night. On Twitter, writers and editors noted their respective publications had declared brunch a terrible institution long ago. Brunch is for assholes, they say! In short: Fuck brunch! Don't worry, brunch fans. There is now a countdown clock running for all the "Brunch is back!" pieces writers are soon to be churning out. (Brandon Weigel)

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