Five Questions With Brooke Hall, Founder/CEO of What Works Studio, Cofounder/Publisher of What Weekly Magazine and Cofounder of Light City Baltimore
1. What is Light City Baltimore and what do you hope visitors take away from it?
Light City Baltimore is a spectacular celebration of light, music and innovation - and one of the first large-scale light festivals in the United States. Every year, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will be the stage where locals and visitors are entertained and inspired by state-of-the-art light displays, live music, performances, conferences, workshops, kid-friendly programming, and some of the most exciting interactive technology found anywhere. Light City is designed to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for all who attend.
2. Why do you think Baltimore is the perfect location for a festival like this?
We believe Light City has the potential to reintroduce the City of Baltimore to the world as a vibrant and thriving community where the world’s brightest innovators and entrepreneurs come to solve challenging, real world problems. Light City is designed to showcase the energy and assets of our city - and to create resources for our education, social innovation, technology, and cultural sectors. We believe Light City will help build community, benefit Baltimore economically, help companies recruit and retain talent, and spotlight Baltimore as a global hub of innovation. Perhaps most importantly, at many of our Light City community listening meetings, we heard from community members again and again that Baltimore has major issues which we must continue to address, but that we cannot forget to shine a light and celebrate all of the good people doing the good work every day in Baltimore. We think Light City is one of the ways we can celebrate all of the amazing people in Baltimore.
3. What are the different aspects of Light City and who can enjoy them?
Light City has three main components: Light, Music and Innovation. The Light and Music components are free and kid-friendly. The world class light displays and sculptures, video projections on buildings and interactive technologies will create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for families, residents and visitors. Performance artists will bring Light City to life with interactive performances, dance and musical entertainment that will delight and inspire. Music will be a major attraction at Light City. The festival will feature uniquely curated live shows that will invite the world to experience Baltimore, one of America’s hottest music scenes.
Light City U will feature four innovation events: Social Innovation Conference, Health Innovation Conference, Sustainability Innovation Conference and Creative Innovation Conference. The conferences are ticketed and are geared toward change-makers, innovators, and creators who are interested in learning how we can become a more responsible and equitable society.
4. How is this light festival different from those around the world?
Large-scale light festivals in Europe and Asia draw millions of visitors annually and we believe that Baltimore is the perfect city to host its own. Many of us who call Baltimore home have experienced a recent surge in enthusiasm as Baltimore becomes the ‘best place in the world to change the world.’ (Fagan Harris, one of our speakers at Light City U Social Innovation Conference, said that and I think it’s a perfect way to describe the potential in Baltimore.) We feel the city is nearing a turning point and the right catalyst could propel Baltimore into a new era, one in which citizens begin to believe that real and lasting change is possible. Light City Baltimore is different from other festivals around the world because it has a strong focus on social innovation. The theme for Light City U is Powering Social Change.
5. What are you most looking forward to during Light City?
For over three years, my partner, Justin Allen, and I dreamed up, planned, designed and pitched Light City as a platform for our local leaders, artists and innovators to showcase their talents for a global audience. The dream will become a reality when, as a city, we come together to build something beautiful every year for the whole world to see. I most look forward to being a part of that extraordinary shared experience.
Light City Baltimore
March 28 – April 3, 2016
Installed in the Inner Harbor area, Light City Baltimore features a 1.2-mile BGE Light Walk with illuminated visual artworks, pop-up performances, musical performances and concerts, all free and open to the public. Light City Baltimore also features a daytime ticketed innovation conference called Light City U, a dynamic learning campus dedicated to exploring the technology of social change. www.lightcity.org
Special Events & Exhibitions
Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community
Maryland Institute College of Art
December 11, 2015 – March 13, 2016
Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community is a traveling exhibition examining lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) identities and ideas through fiber crafts. Curated by John Chaich, Queer Threads showcases works of art from 26 artists from the United States, Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Denmark who combine fine art traditions with thread-based craft materials and processes, including crochet, embroidery, knitting, lace, macramé, needlepoint, quilting and sewing, to show the diversity of LGBTQ experiences. The exhibition, making its Maryland debut at MICA, marks the first time the pieces have been displayed together for the purpose of connecting and highlighting their queerness. www.mica.edu
Elvis Fight Club
January 15-16, 2016
Expanded to two nights, Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club comes out swingin’ for a 6th year of flim‐flam fisticuffs. This theatrical production includes six rounds of ridiculous bouts, off‐color commentary from co‐hosts “Elvis” and Kittie Glitter, and Elvis‐themed burlesque performances and contests. Fighters range from the surreal to the sublime. While the 2016 fight card is top secret, past matches have included Godzilla vs. Bridezilla, “Diane Rehm” vs. “Steven Hawking,” and "Putin vs. a Unicorn." Lace up your gloves and don your blue suede shoes to celebrate The King’s birthday month with hunka‐hunka low‐brow fun! www.creativealliance.org
Tassels & Champagne: Of Love & Blues
February 13, 2016
As Valentine’s Day approaches, Gilded Lily Burlesque and special guests celebrate the day of desire by transporting the audience on a red hot blues journey for their annual Tassels & Champagne Valentine’s celebration. Blues rockers Jonny Grave and the Tombstones will be on hand, providing the musical accompaniment and howling the blues as Gilded Lily sets a steamy tone. Expect costuming right out of a 1940s Chicago rhythm and blues club with music and movement to match. To round out the experience, throw on your ‘40s attire and let us transport you back in time for a seductive blues romp. www.creativealliance.org
A Renaissance Original: Carlo Crivelli
The Walters Art Museum
February 28 – May 22, 2016
Carlo Crivelli was one of the most original artists of the Italian Renaissance. His paintings dazzle through spectacular effects, suggesting the materiality of goldsmiths’ work and luxury textiles. The exhibition brings together loans from national and international collections, and reunites, for the first time in more than 100 years, five of the six panels of an altarpiece Crivelli painted for a church in Porto San Giorgio on the Adriatic coast. www.thewalter.org
CAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Royal Farms Arena
March 4-7, 2016
The Colonial Athletic Association brings its men’s basketball championship tournament to Baltimore once again. Cheer on your favorite college teams from up and down the East Coast as the excitement rises throughout the weekend, ending with the league championship game. www.caasports.com
Where to Stay
With more than 25 TAG-approved hotels and over 10 IGLTA partner accommodations, choices range from quaint B&Bs and boutique hotels to larger upscale hotels and extended stay properties.
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
202 E. Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21202
The top-rated Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel is steps away from the city's storied waterfront, placing guests at the center of downtown Baltimore's most exciting district. The hotel is close to local attractions like Camden Yards, the National Aquarium, and Harborplace shopping, plus a range of fine dining and nightlife opportunities.
Where to Dine
Baltimore’s culinary scene is drawing rave reviews from around the globe. From the Inner Harbor to our trendy, historic and hip neighborhoods throughout the city, dining options in Baltimore have expanded in recent years to feature a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines and a range of stylish environments to suit every taste.
Bookmakers Cocktail Club
31 E. Cross Street Baltimore, MD 21230
Bookmakers is an inviting cocktail and dining experience in the heart of the Federal Hill neighborhood in Baltimore.