Day By Day

Monday, May 28, 2007

One of Charm City's Charms -- Cinema al fresco

Yo, Paisan..., Check it out!

Baltimore's Little Italy has in recent years developed a wonderful summertime tradition -- the "Open Air Film Festival".

Each summer people from the neighborhood (and occasional interlopers from other places) gather on Friday evenings [weather permitting] at the intersection of High and Stiles streets to sit outside under the stars, on curbs and in a parking lot to watch Italian-themed films projected on the wall of a building. "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I have wandered over in the past, and it's really cool.

This year the showings begin on July 6th and continue through August 31st. The first film will be "Moonstruck", starring Cher and filmed locally. The last film in the series is "Rocky Balboa" starring Sly and filmed elsewhere. Check out the full schedule here or here and follow the links for more information on Little Italy.

Films start at 9:00 pm, but go early and dine at one of the many local restaurants. "She" and I like to stop by Vaccaro's bakery, located one short block away from the filmsite, for a heaping pile of gelato [yum!]. You might even want to book a room at one of the hotels at the Inner Harbor, just a few blocks away and enjoy a weekend stay in Charm City, take in a game, visit museums, the National Aquarium, hang out in bars, restaurants, etc. The point is to have a good time.

Here's a description of the festival from the Washington Post, back in 2002:

[P]arts of High, Stiles, and Albemarle Streets are closed to vehicular traffic and the parking lot becomes the site of a party. People bring chairs, blankets, and coolers. Some people set up their stuff early to reserve their spot, then have dinner in one of Little Italy's restaurants, returning in time for the show. Others buy carryout and eat al fresco. A musician plays keyboard; some people dance. Soon, the parking lot, the sidewalks and surrounding streets are jammed with as many as 5,000 people....

Folding chairs are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, but attendees are advised to bring their own. So, grab a couple of lawn chairs and your favorite "significant other", round up the kids if you have them, and drive down to Charm City. Bring your appetite and enthusiasm for all things Italian, and have a wonderful time.