by Petula Caesar
Ever since Organic Soul Tuesdays departed the B-more scene, Tuesday nights have had a big hole in them for underground artists and those who love to see their artistry. But there may be a legitimate contender for filling in at least one of those Tuesday night holes each month – “Eargasmic”, a (relatively) new performance series at The Art Room, located at 956 McElderry Street right behind Old Town Mall. It takes place the first Tuesday of every month, and is hosted by the ever amiable and talented David “Native Son” Ross. The Art Room Space on McElderry Street, may seem hidden and out of the way for some, those of us who are East Baltimore raised in particular know exactly where it is, and for those who don’t know, it is definitely work seeking out.
(Sidebar – I am very happy to see something happening in the Old Town Mall space. It is gone unutilized for entirely too long, and the city of Baltimore should be ashamed at the blatant neglect of what was once a thriving retail space. Not even a farmer’s market has been brought to Old Town Mall after several surrounding housing projects were demolished in 1995, which greatly impacted the already-struggling businesses there and pretty much sealed their collective fate.
To learn more about Old Town Mall’s rise and fall, check out this pictorial by Olivia Hubert Brown for The Baltimore Sun, which includes before and after photos of the area.)
The Art Room space itself is quite lovely and definitely deserves its name. Artwork covers the walls from end to end, varying in size and scope, but each piece very strong and original. Comfortable couches and chairs lined the walls, and food and drinks were in an area in the back. The Art Room could easily accommodate upwards of 100 people, and the place would be great for any kind of event or party (reach out to them on Facebook if you’re interested in finding out more).
But tonight it was “Eargasmic”, featuring area talents including Ra The Pyramid, Simply Sherri, RaSheem, Slangston Hughes, and Genesys Dayz, with whom David performed some very heartfelt duets they recorded a few years back on a very popular collaborative project called “Son Dayz”. Genesys’ voice is still angelically breathtaking in its absolute clarity, each note sure and precisely placed. She also plays acoustic guitar by laying the instrument on lap, which looks odd but is strangely effective and works for her.
The crowd, while not large, was very involved in and appreciative of the performances, listening intently to everything going on. The size of the crowd this night is in no way indicative of what this event can become or what it will draw in the future. It definitely has all the ingredients to create an amazing monthly event – a great space in an accessible location, an engaging host, and talented features. But these types of events require time to catch on and find their supporters. While that is happening it is important for those holding the event to be patient and not become disenchanted. I thoroughly enjoyed “Eargasmic”, and it is my sincere hope it will hold on long enough to become a staple in the Baltimore performance arts community — you can make that happen by coming out to “Eargasmic” each first Tuesday of the month. The next one is Tuesday, August 5th — make sure you’re there!