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What's Up Magazine

Wizards of the Screen and Canvas

Jul 18, 2011 05:36PM ● By Anonymous


I'll be the first to admit that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. Some may say nerd, but I prefer "intelligent individual with a vested interest in the series." And so, it should come as no surprise that I'd been looking forward to this past weekend for months. Sitting through dinner on Friday night was torture. I frequently glanced at my watch, wolfed down my Sushi Hana dragon roll (which provided some entertainment for the other patrons), and couldn't help but impatiently wring my hands as my waitress printed my check. Finally, at 9:15, I made my way to York Road to catch the 9:45 showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2 at Baltimore's historic Senator Theatre.

The line outside the Seantor was humongous. While this initially sparked a bit of panic within my chest, I soon realized it had its perks. I now had plenty of time to study my fellow movie-goers. Some carried wands, others sported capes and still more had drawn scars on their foreheads. I immediately regretted leaving my Gryffindor tie at home.

Finally, we were let in. If you've never seen a show at the Senator, you need to go. Despite it's current state of renovation, it's still one of the most beautiful cinemas in the area. And, if the old-timey marquee, graceful chandelier and curtain that hangs in front of the screen aren't enough to tempt you, listen to this: there was only one preview before the movie. One. B'lieve, hon.

I don't want to give anything away about the film. And, I'll never pretend to be a movie reviewer. But, let's just say that I spent the last third of the movie sobbing into my non-HP-loving companion's shoulder. (When Fred dies? Am I right guys?)

Two days later, on Sunday evening, I made my way down to Easton for the opening reception for this year's Plein Air. Held at the Avalon Theatre, this event welcomed 58 artists, hailing from everywhere from Easton to the UK. Here, they got their canvases marked by the assembly line of stampers, met up with old friends, and heard the rules for Plein Air.

Plein Air is a week-long, outdoor painting competition. In it, the artists are only allowed to paint what they see. They can take their paintings home for touch-ups, but the event organizers, Jess Rogers and Al Bond, made it quite clear that if anyone is seen on-site with a half-finished painting at 9 p.m., and comes back the next morning with a masterpiece, they will be disqualified. At the end of the week, the competitors take their paintings to the Academy of Art Museum for judging and sale. At last year's Collector's Preview Party, the first place for the public to buy paintings, Plein Air sold 88 paintings in an hour and a half. Pretty tempting odds for any artist.

The kickoff event was a great thing to see. Everywhere I turned, people were struggling to set down canvases in time to hug someone they hadn't seen since last year's competition. They laughed, waved, and smiled at everyone--even me. And, the line of artists waiting to register stretched into the theatre's lobby, only rivaled by that surrounding the delicious h'ordeuvres.

If you find yourself in Talbot County this week, keep your eyes peeled. These painters will be all over its streets, lined along its waterfront, and, on Wednesday, set up outside the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. If last night's event is anything like the rest of the competition, it will be great fun. And, they'll love to talk to you.