NEWS IN BRIEF
Netflix project starts filming in Maryland this spring
Netflix's first venture into original dramatic programming - a series of 13 hour-long episodes based on the British political thriller House of Cards - will be filmed in Maryland by Media Rights Capital beginning this spring. Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, Horrible Bosses) stars in the new series as an ambitious American politician.
Director David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network) and Spacey are the producers, along with Eric Roth (Forest Gump), Josh Donen (Spartacus: Blood and Sand), and Dana Brunetti (21). John Melfi (Sex and the City) is executive producer. Beau Willimon (The Ides of March) wrote the pilot episode and is co-executive producer.
"We are extremely pleased that filmmakers of this caliber have chosen Maryland as the location for this series," said Gov. Martin O'Malley. "The production is estimated to have a $75 million economic impact and is projected to create more than 2,000 jobs for local crew, actors and extras and support hundreds of Maryland businesses."
The announcement follows HBO's recently completed filming of the first season of VEEP - a political satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus - in Maryland.
House of Cards was originally a novel written by British politician and best-selling author Michael Dobbs. It was the first book in a trilogy of thrillers. Each became a popular BBC mini-series. View a recent article in the Baltimore Sun about the Netflix project.
Tourism industry reaches out to legislators
Advocate for tourism at two annual events in Annapolis during upcoming weeks. The 22nd Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception - presented by the Maryland Tourism Council, Restaurant Association of Maryland and Maryland Destination Marketing Organizations - is Jan. 16, 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Loews Annapolis. For more information, call or e-mail Jennie Silver, 410-290-6800, ext. 1022. Tickets are also available online. Tickets include admission to three sessions of seminars that begin in the afternoon.
Tourism Day follows on Feb. 3 at the Miller Senate Office Building, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The day features meetings with legislators in the morning. Keynote speakers and presentations run during lunch. Registration is available online with an option for motorcoach transportation to and from Annapolis.
January restaurant weeks offer new dining experiences
Explore area restaurants and new cuisines during these January restaurant weeks. Prix-fixe lunches and dinners at special prices are offered at participating restaurants. Check below locations for details.
NPS waives admission for MLK Day weekend
All 397 national parks across the country will offer free admission, Jan. 14-16, to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Dr. King's story and those of so many others whose efforts changed our country are preserved in the national parks, places where history happened," said National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a recent press release. "I hope every American can take advantage of the upcoming fee free weekend and visit their parks to experience their history firsthand."
NPS will also waive admission fees on 14 other days in 2012 - National Park Week (April 21-29), Get Outdoors Day (June 9), National Public Lands Day (Sept. 29) and the weekend of Veterans Day (Nov. 10-12).
National hotel group salutes several Baltimore general managers
Three Baltimore hotel general managers were honored by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers on Jan. 7 in Atlanta at the organization's 20th annual Trumpet Awards event.
The three recipients who received Power at the Front Door awards are: Gail Smith-Howard, general manager, Hyatt Regency Baltimore; Linda Westgate, general manager, Hilton Baltimore; and Brian Conyers, general manager, Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore. Westgate is also a member of the Maryland Tourism Development Board.
Trumpet Awards recognize the achievement and leadership of African-American hotel general managers. Many honorees started their tourism-industry careers in entry-level jobs and worked their way up to the executive level.
Baltimore's Gary Kachadourian is one of two dozen artists to receive a $25,000 award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation's Painters and Sculptors Grant Program. The Foundation, established in 1993 and named for the late artist Joan Mitchell, selects "artists who are under-recognized for their artistic achievements" for its yearly awards. Kachadourian worked at the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts (BOPA) for 22 years until he retired in 2009 to enroll in a UMBC masters program and become a full-time artist. At BOPA, he was known as "Mr. Artscape." Last year, he was one of three winners of a $25,000 Mary Sawyer Baker Award.
Following a six-month search, Baltimore's Center Stage has selected Stephen J. Richard as its managing director. Richard joins Kwame Kwei-Armah, who was appointed artistic director last July, as Center Stage's new leadership team.
"In Stephen, we have found the perfect partner (for Kwei-Armeh)," said Jay Smith, president of Center Stage's board of trustees. "His long and varied experience in the not-for-profit arts world in general, and in the theater specifically, provides us with the proven skills and experience we need for ongoing success."
A widely-circulated Associated Press story about travel destinations for 2012 mentions Star-Spangled Sailabration - the June 13-19 event at Baltimore's Inner Harbor that launches the Maryland War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration. The article also references the Summer Olympics in London, Floriade, a horticulture expo in The Netherlands, and cruises that mark the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
Pay tribute to an American icon on MLK Day
Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at these events:
- MLK Days, Jan. 14-16 Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Solomons, Calvert County
- MLK programs, Jan. 14-16, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore
- MLK Parade, Jan. 16, MLK Boulevard and Eutaw Street, Baltimore, noon
- MLK Celebration, Jan. 16, Chesapeake College, Queenstown, Queen Anne's County
- Southern Maryland MLK Breakfast, Jan. 16, St. Mary's College of Maryland
Advocate for the arts at Annapolis event
Maryland Arts Day - the only state-wide annual meeting for the Maryland arts community and its supporters - will be Feb. 8 at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis. Registration is available online. Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) arranges this yearly event as a way for the arts community to demonstrate its support of state funding for the arts and the Maryland State Arts Council. Participants network with each other and meet with state legislators during the day. MCA also announces the winner of the Sue Hess Maryland Arts Advocate of the Year Award at Arts Day.
Get a taste of the history of chocolate in U.S.
Riversdale House Museum presents A Chocolate Sampler as part of its Tasting the Past series, Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. The event reveals the history of chocolate in American life - from its start as a spiced breakfast drink to its current status as a confection. To make a reservation, call 301-864-0420, or e-mail Riversdale House Museum. Fee is $20 for residents of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, and $24 for non-residents. Riversdale is a restored plantation home built between 1801 and 1807. It is affiliated with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.