Erica Saben's passions have taken her near and far. She studied dance, political science, and Caribbean culture in Kingston, Jamaica, before returning to the United States to perform with several multicultural companies. A juggling gig in Philadelphia introduced her to two local circus experts who knew the director of Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. From this chance meeting blossomed a new chapter in her life: in addition to teaching her her big-top skills such as aerials and tightwire, they introduced her to Chinese acrobat Lin Junming, who would become her resident acrobatics coach when she founded Charm City Movement Arts.
Nestled between Canton and Brewer's Hill, the studio and performance space lets children and adults live the lives of professional circus performers without having to sneak into a tent disguised as a barrel of clown feed. Each instructor boasts experience in diverse movement backgrounds: Lin is also a member of the Fujian Acrobatics Troupe of China, and managing director Paco Fish has taken home awards in several Southern burlesque competitions. Other instructors draw from backgrounds in rock climbing, slacklining, acrobatics, and aerial work. Using this range of skills, they teach students the basics of Western and Chinese acrobatics, Broadway tap-dancing, modern dance, juggling, unicycling, and blends of clowning and burlesque. When not in class, staffers and students also hone their own chops as performers in seasonal dance and circus shows.
Even if they were not apprised beforehand, guests at Illusions Bar and Theater would quickly realize that they were in no ordinary watering hole when they noticed the straightjacket suspended above the small stage behind the bar. Far from the state's only psych ward with a liquor license, the venue is the brainchild of former clown and showbiz veteran Ken Horsman.
Typical evenings see patrons sipping on fine spirits while gaping at a show by Ken’s son, escape artist Spencer Horsman, as he wriggles his way free from increasingly secure restraints and dangerous situations, all while tickling ribs with playful banter. Other magicians regularly stop by to show off their illusions, wowing audiences and deepening the depression of real wizards who can't get anyone to believe in their powers.
The thespians and theater crew at Fells Point Corner Theatre have enchanted audiences with nonprofit productions of new and rarely seen plays for 25 years. Upcoming attractions include Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner about three differently aged women who reflect on their lives with acerbic wit while scaling skyscrapers; and The Little Dog Laughed, a look at gossip and celebrity in the 21st century. Colorful characters populate Circle Mirror Transformation, a comedy detailing a motley crew’s attempt at bonding during a six-week acting class; Eugene O’Neill’s iconic play The Iceman Cometh explores universal social questions in the back room of a 1912 skid-row saloon. Though seating at the 85-seat Fells Point Corner Theatre is subject to availability, the small size of the theater allows for good sight lines from all seats.
Baltimore Comedy Factory has nonviolently busted guts with nationally sourced joke-slingers for nearly three decades. Several nights a week, the club schedules sets by stars pulled onto the stage fresh from appearances in blockbuster comedies and hit TV shows. Tucked within the Power Plant Live complex, the expansive new location finds room for comfy table seating, a beach-themed bar pouring sodas and cocktails, and an ample supply of super-size prop sunglasses.
Harlem Globetrotters Playing Three-on-Five
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating [roster](http://gr.pn/PHdb6w) of Globetrotter favorites?including three female players?takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard [TNT](http://gr.pn/rOe0P4) sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker [Quake](http://gr.pn/QTIGVh), whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 [Too Tall](http://gr.pn/PHdmPh) and 7-foot-4 [Stretch](http://gr.pn/1dYrbUt), the team?s tallest member. During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters? extensive travels haven?t gone unnoticed: they?re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
Cazbar?s chef distills the culinary traditions of Turkey's Bolu region into the kebabs, grilled meats, and salads that fill his eclectic menu. House specialties such as the char-grilled lamb shish kebab and baked okra entertain taste buds with a symphony of flavors and a break dance of textures. Other dishes bring veggies into a starring role, such as the stuffed eggplant, which the Baltimore Sun called "a lesson in delicate flavor." The complexity and care common to the kitchen's savory dishes carries over into the desserts; 50 layers of phyllo dough enclose blankets of toasted pistachios and lemon syrup in each serving of baklava.
With belly-dancing shows throughout the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, Cazbar has the power to impress a date or a cardboard cutout of yourself. The restaurant's Middle Eastern decor delights eyes with vibrant walls, patterned canvases, and hanging lanterns.