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Out of the Blocks

English, Personal stories, 1 seasons, 98 episodes, 2 days 1 hour 31 minutes
Out of the Blocks is a uniquely immersive listening experience that emerges from a mosaic of voices and soundscapes on the streets of Baltimore. A custom-tailored score colors and connects this tapestry of stories hidden in plain sight.
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Barbara's Groceries, Then & Now

We first met the guys at Barbara’s Groceries back in 2015 on the 4700 block of Liberty Heights Avenue. This episode, we reunite with them, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “How’s life changed in the past six years?” Plus, Aaron & Wendel bid a fond farewell to listeners as Out of the Blocks comes to a close.
17/08/202121 minutes 32 seconds
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B Love & Bridge of Hope, Then & Now

This episode, we reconnect with Traci ‘B-Love’ Bartlow, who runs a boutique hotel on the ground floor of her home in West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms neighborhood. She tells us how her life and her business have changed over the past few years. We also check back in at a day shelter that helps families in crisis in the St Louis neighborhood of The Ville. Director Kelli Braggs talks about how the organization is bearing up under the strain of the pandemic.
10/08/202125 minutes 59 seconds
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Antonio & Pat & Andrea, Then & Now

We first met Antonio McDuffy and Pat & Andrea Wills on the 400 block of E Patapsco Avenue back in 2015. This episode, we reunite with them, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “How’s life changed in the past six years?”
03/08/202120 minutes 18 seconds
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Wayne & Aaron, Then & Now

We first met Wayne Brewton & Pastor Aaron Hannah on the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road back in 2017. This episode, we reunite with Wayne & Aaron, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “How’s life changed in the past four years?”
27/07/202123 minutes 27 seconds
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Sissy & Shaniqua, Then & Now

We first met Okhui ‘Sissy’ Benlein & Shaniqua McCready on the 1900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue back in 2018. This episode, we reunite with Sissy & Shaniqua, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “How’s life changed in the past three years?”
20/07/202120 minutes 4 seconds
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George & Gus, Then & Now

We first met Gus Zissimos & George Anagnostou on the 4700 block of Eastern Avenue back in 2015. This episode, we reunite with George & Gus, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “How’s life changed in the past six years?”
12/07/202122 minutes 5 seconds
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Arlo & Lei Ann, Then & Now

We reconnect with Arlo Iron Cloud, our partner at KILI Radio, The Voice of the Lakota Nation, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He tells us how life has changed for him and his family over the past few years. We also check back in with Lei Ann Shiramizu in Seattle’s Chinatown International District to hear how she and her neighbors have coped with the pressures of the pandemic.
06/07/202133 minutes 51 seconds
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Foots & Lateef, Then & Now

We first met Gregory Hill (AKA Foots) and Lateef Aderomilehin on the 2100 block of Edmondson Avenue back in 2017. This episode, we reunite with Foots & Lateef, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “How’s life changed in the past four years?”
29/06/202124 minutes 28 seconds
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Tymekia & Will, Then & Now

We first met Tymekia Spellman and Will Jackson on the 4700 block of Liberty Heights Avenue back in 2015. This episode, we reunite with Tymekia & Will, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “What’s changed in your life in the past six years?”
21/06/202121 minutes 32 seconds
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James & Theresa, Then & Now

We first met James Carter and Theresa Marable on the 3300 block of Greenmount Avenue in back 2012, in the very first episode of Out of the Blocks. This episode, we reunite with James and Theresa, we listen back together to their original recordings, and we ask them, “What’s changed in your life in the past nine years?”
14/06/202118 minutes 1 second
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Young Wisdom

Have you ever been a mentor to someone? Maybe you had a mentor of your own? How did it change your life? January is National Mentoring Month, and this episode we turn our attention to the voices and the stories of some young Baltimoreans we met through a network called Maryland MENTOR. They’re young, but they’ve got life-lessons for a willing ear of any age.   
21/01/202128 minutes 35 seconds
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Sidewalk Serenades

This pandemic’s been a tough time for musicians. Clubs are closed, and gigs are cancelled. But our friends at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance had a lightbulb moment. They thought: These musicians that we usually book on our stage, what if we start booking them on stoops and porches? They’d be outdoors, the crowds would be small, just the neighbors on the block. People would be masked up and socially distant. But it’d be a little moment of community, and it’d give these musicians some work. They called the series, Sidewalk Serenades. And it ended up bringing little spontaneous moments of genuine joy to Baltimore neighborhoods during a really dark time. Out of the Blocks decided to book some of these Sidewalk Serenades on different blocks around the city. And we recorded them for this special episode.  Mask up & head out with us for some great live music and neighborhood togetherness!
25/11/202017 minutes 6 seconds
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Space Sonification

They have access to the collected astronomical data of the world’s most powerful space telescopes, and they’re stuck at home in quarantine.  Here’s what they’re doing:  Scientists Jenn Kotler, Clara Brasseur, and Scott Fleming have been using their time in isolation to design a radically new way of understanding the dynamics of the cosmos.  Inspired by a blind colleague halfway around the planet, Australian astrophysicist Garry Foran, they’re pioneering a new method to study the motion of the universe, through sound. Curious to learn more about their work? Check out this link and this link
14/09/202021 minutes 40 seconds
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James' Block: An Outlier

This episode is about a virtual block that makes up the current world of one fascinating and unusual young man. His name is James Burrows. He’s a musical genius, and he’s autistic. This week, he’s graduating from high school in the midst of a pandemic. What might James be able to teach the rest of us about living in the shared social isolation of the moment? NOTE:  All the music in this episode was composed and produced by James. Check him out on SoundCloud.
09/06/202025 minutes 28 seconds
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Lexington Market, part 3: On a Humble

Well, this long-overdue episode wasn’t originally intended to be an audio time-capsule, but, you know… life.  Here’s a final look back at a venerable city market that’s now temporarily closed to the public, and partly demolished.
08/05/202026 minutes 26 seconds
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Um, Now What?

We’re working through how to best proceed on near-future episodes of the show, and we want to invite you into the conversation. Got an interesting online ‘block’? Hit us up on Instagram @outoftheblocks1 or on twitter @outoftheblocks1
28/03/20208 minutes 54 seconds
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Lexington Market, part 2: Engines of Change

Conversations with vendors & market-goers about the past & present of Lexington Market, a look at hopes for (and doubts about) the market’s future, and a talk with the idealistic developer responsible for the big changes that lay ahead.
13/03/202030 minutes 2 seconds
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Lexington Market, part 1: Survival of the Fittest

Change is knocking on the door of Baltimore’s iconic Lexington Market. Ground has been broken on a new market building, and local vendors are wondering if they’ll have a place in the much-hyped new structure. In this episode, merchants, artisans, security officers, and custodians reflect on their lives and the uncertain future of the market they call home.
28/02/202025 minutes 58 seconds
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Melody & Verse

We love it on this podcast when we meet people who are natural storytellers. And it’s an extra bonus when they happen to be talented musicians or poets, too.  This episode, we celebrate some of our favorite musical and lyrical moments from Out of the Blocks.
14/02/202036 minutes 16 seconds
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Charleston,WV, West Side, part 2: We May See a Harvest

Our audio tour through Charleston’s West Side continues with a community gardener, an antique collector, a symphony clarinetist, a deli owner, and a retired pro basketball player. Plus, a visit to a local auto shop, a barbershop, a Girl Scout meeting, and Mary C Snow West Side Elementary. Special thanks this episode to West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, The West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
01/02/202043 minutes 13 seconds
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Charleston, WV, West Side, part 1: History Laid Down Like Shellac

We take the show to Charleston West Virginia’s West Side neighborhood to visit a family barbecue joint, a country music jamboree, a faith-based after-school program, a women’s drug recovery house, and a bustling Goodwill headquarters. Plus, conversations with an activist preacher, a vacant-home rehabber, an open-eared neighborhood planner, and a retired theater technician who’s projected more than 50 years of movie history. Special thanks this episode to Maryland State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, The West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
17/01/202037 minutes 47 seconds
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Every scar comes with a story. And if you’re telling the story, it means you survived whatever gave you that scar.In this episode, stories about things that left a mark.
03/01/202027 minutes 52 seconds
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Barbershop Stories

Tales of camaraderie, mentorship, second chances, prosperity, and style, from barbershops in Baltimore and beyond.  Have a seat, grab a newspaper, and make yourself comfortable… the next available barber will take you shortly.
20/12/201929 minutes 32 seconds
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Juneau, Alaska, part 2: Learn How to Fall

A game hunter consults his conscience, a Native Rights advocate remembers being separated from her heritage, a local chef plays host to TV personality Gordon Ramsay, a widow remembers her late husband’s grace and humor, a Native Youth Olympics coach connects kids to culture through athletics, plus an artist, a musician, a cross-country bicyclist, two roller-derby girls, and a family in a half-built cabin on an island in the wilderness Special thanks this episode to Juneau field producer MK MacNaughton and the National Endowment for the Arts.
06/12/201941 minutes 7 seconds
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Juneau, Alaska, part 1: We Belong to Each Other

A visit with a Chilkat Ravenstail weaver, a rain-forest hike in search of Devil’s Club, the tale of a rudely awakened Black Bear, an afternoon with a fishing boat captain, a mountain jog with a champion ultra-runner, hair and make-up tips with a renowned drag queen, a sound-check at the home-studio of a Juneau-based hip hop musician, and a window into the life of a local poet and her 10-year-old son. Special thanks this episode to Juneau field producer MK MacNaughton and the National Endowment for the Arts.
22/11/201939 minutes 1 second
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Eastern Ave, East to Highland, part 3: Our Life is True

A therapist plumbs his own psychology by creating artistic collages, a Central American kitchen staff cooks the menu at a Peruvian chicken restaurant, a general store sells everything from microwaves to original artwork, a neighborhood handyman makes his living out of a Radio Flyer wagon, a marketing firm gets caffeinated, and high school sweethearts get married, open up a wine shop, and stay in love.
08/11/201924 minutes 14 seconds
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Eastern Ave, East to Highland, part 2: Do What You Do for the Love of it

In this episode: The perfectly nice lady behind one of the most menacing overdubs in television history, the tireless purveyor of Baltimore’s most famous pizza, two barbers who’ve paid their dues to learn their trade, the operators of a make-it-from-scratch ice cream shop, and a tenacious entrepreneur for whom failure is not an option.
23/10/201925 minutes 5 seconds
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Eastern Ave, East to Highland, part 1: Pebble in a Pond

Stories from a Dominican barbershop, a tattoo parlor, a lawyer’s office, a coffee counter, and a collaborative arts hub, all neighbors in the melting pot that is Eastern Avenue in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood. 
10/10/201928 minutes 15 seconds
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1600 Sulgrave Ave, part 2: Second Nature

We visit Baltimore Clayworks, where artist Sam Wallace teaches a pottery technique he learned as a kid in Jamaica. We talk with the crew at The Mount Washington Tavern about romance, oyster shucking, and a major fire that put the place out of business for a year. And we drop in at The Village Vet, where the staff cares for ailing animals and the worried humans that come along with them.
26/09/201926 minutes 13 seconds
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1600 Sulgrave Ave, part 1: Actually, I’ve become myself

This North Baltimore neighborhood is just inside the city line, but it’s got the cloistered feel of an affluent suburban hamlet. High-end consignment boutiques, beauty salons, and restaurants bring well-heeled locals to Sulgrave Avenue in Mount Washington Village, a quiet world away from the traffic and sirens of downtown.
11/09/201924 minutes 13 seconds
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West Oakland, Lower Bottoms, part 2: The World We Live In

Our listening tour of West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms continues as we meet the volunteers at a local food pantry, a street ball legend known as ‘the greatest player never to make the NBA,’ a transplant from Compton who’s become a wilderness survival instructor, a former Tesla engineer who’s developing an affordable co-housing living space, a US Army veteran determined to help others get their military benefits, and a pastor who relies on the power of prayer to effect social change. Special thanks this episode to field producer Ariana Proehl, KQED, and The National Endowment for the Arts.
27/08/201928 minutes 46 seconds
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West Oakland, Lower Bottoms, part 1: Self-Determination

West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms neighborhood is home to the historical headquarters of the Black Panther party. It’s also one train stop away from San Francisco, and escalating real-estate prices are quickly changing the character of the neighborhood.  This episode, we meet locals who find themselves living at the intersection of heritage and gentrification. Special thanks this episode to field producer Ariana Proehl, KQED, and The National Endowment for the Arts.
14/08/201936 minutes 7 seconds
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Compliments to the Chef

One of the great bonuses of documenting Baltimore is that we happen across lots of incredible kitchens. This episode is our love letter to all the hard-working cooks behind the pots and pans and fryers and grills in those kitchens, to the food they make, and to the personality they put into every dish.
30/07/201928 minutes 19 seconds
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An older couple inherits two unexpected sons, an ex-offender regains custody of his daughter, an entrepreneurial mom teaches business smarts to her child, recovering addicts try to stay clean for their kids, and a son takes over for his father at the family restaurant.  
16/07/201929 minutes 46 seconds
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Out of the Docks, part 2: Close Quarters, Wide Horizons

Do you have any privacy when you live on a sailboat with another couple? What happens when you try to raise kids on a motor yacht? How does it test a marriage when you share a small space? What do you sacrifice to live on a boat? What do you gain? And is worth the trade-off? Field producer Melissa Gerr brings us more stories from the eccentric live-aboards of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
03/07/201932 minutes 13 seconds
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Out of the Docks, part 1: Life Aboard

From minimalist millennials to well-off retirees, some 300 people live year-round on floating homes in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Their vessels range from small sailboats to luxury motor yachts, and their offbeat stories are captured beautifully in this episode by Out of the Blocks field producer Melissa Gerr.
20/06/201944 minutes 15 seconds
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Hollins Market, part 2: The Beautiful Side of Ugly

Locals call Hollins Market ‘The Gem of Baltimore,’ and while the lines of customers used to wind around the block, more than half the stalls are now empty.  Hollins Market vendors talk about the past and present of Baltimore’s oldest city market. Plus, a hip hop artist remembers working in a horse stable, an astrophysics major survives a natural disaster, and a muralist explores the metaphor of a butterfly’s metamorphosis.
04/06/201926 minutes 51 seconds
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Seoul, South Korea: Inspire Citizens

Out of the Blocks teamed up with the education activists at Inspire Citizens to spend a week at Seoul Foreign School, working with students on empathy and active listening. The week culminated in a global youth media conference, when 150 middle & high school kids from international schools in Korea, China, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi headed out into the streets of Seoul to interview strangers. Check out this special audio postcard, and hear what the students learned about others and about themselves.
21/05/201922 minutes 23 seconds
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Hollins Market, part 1: I’ve Been That Kid

In Southwest Baltimore’s Hollins Market neighborhood, a barber survives a shooting and goes back to work the next day; two young artists support each other in life, love, and business; a clothing entrepreneur talks about the power of style; a puppeteer ponders his relationship to his audience; and a CPR instructor recalls the first time she needed to use her life-saving skills.
07/05/201923 minutes 5 seconds
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Chicago, North Lawndale, part 2: Every Day, I Politic

Neighborhood elders take it upon themselves to step between warring gang members, a mother-daughter duo produces a DIY feature film about gun violence, a restorative justice mediator helps lawbreakers to repair the harm they’ve caused, and a bee-keeper goes from homelessness to running his own business. Plus, conversations with local politicians past and present, an activist science teacher, and a young motivational speaker with an inspiring voice.
24/04/201945 minutes 39 seconds
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Chicago, North Lawndale, part 1: Tears Watering Flowers

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived in North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side in 1966, and he galvanized the neighborhood in a campaign against redlining and housing discrimination. Two years later, he was assassinated. In the wake of his death, riots erupted in North Lawndale. Local industries abandoned the neighborhood, population plummeted, unemployment ballooned, and today the area is still trying to rebuild from the ashes of ‘68.  In this episode, we meet elders who remember the turmoil of that era, and we hear from a younger generation that’s seeking to breathe new life into North Lawndale. Special thanks to Chicago field producer Bashirah Mack and WBEZ for helping to make this episode happen.
09/04/201936 minutes 51 seconds
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Introducing Theo

Theo Hill drives a truck for a living. On the job, he often catches *Out of the Blocks *on his radio. One day, he got inspired to call us with an idea. He asked, “Would you guys would like to help me make a podcast of my own, a podcast about addiction and recovery?' Theo brings an interesting background to the table. He's been in recovery himself for 19 years now, after struggling with a heroin addiction for much of his life. Theo’s podcast idea has now come to fruition. He’s spent the past several months hosting candid, personal conversations about the lure of addiction, the toll it takes, and the strength required to overcome its grip. This week, we launch the first four episodes of his new podcast, One Day at a Time, in Recovery in Baltimore. We want to introduce you to Theo on this special episode of Out of the Blocks.
25/03/201921 minutes 41 seconds
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700 Fallsway: Masterpiece in the Mire

One man spent more than half his life in prison. Another fled his country to avoid religious persecution and ended up on the street. One was left to live alone at age 12. One relapsed after 18 years clean. And one carries the burden of a lost sister. These men live together in a long-term residential program called Christopher Place Employment Academy on the 700 block of Fallsway, one block south of the Baltimore Jail. In this episode, we listen to their stories, and we meet the staff supporting them as they attempt to redefine their lives.
12/03/201935 minutes 6 seconds
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Working behind the Wall: Conversations with Jailers

If you heard the last episode of the podcast, you’ll remember we spent some time on the block where the release door of the Baltimore Jail lets out onto the street. We met some guys who’d been locked up in the jail multiple times, we talked a lot about the jail, but we didn’t talk with anyone who actually works in there. Well, that’s what this episode is about: Conversations about work and life with the warden, two correctional officers, and the commissioner of pretrial detention and services at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
26/02/201917 minutes 34 seconds
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300 E Eager St: I'm Fighting for Me

The release door of the Baltimore City Jail opens out onto this otherwise abandoned block, empty except for the presence of a mobile medical office that posts up there 5 days a week. The PCARE Van, as it’s known, is operated by the non-profit Behavioral Health Leadership Institute, and it’s there to prescribe the opioid addiction medication Buprenorphine (Suboxone) for those in need. Oftentimes, people will walk directly out of the jail and directly onto the van. In this episode, we meet the staff of the van and the clients they serve.
12/02/201922 minutes 18 seconds
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Pine Ridge Reservation, part 2: One Heart, One Mind, One Prayer

Our collaboration with Arlo Iron Cloud & KILI Radio continues this episode, as we travel through the Pine Ridge Reservation and visit with an Oglala Sioux Tribal Vice President, an historian at Oglala Lakota College, a pair of Pine Ridge Highway Safety Officers, a man who reflects on the trauma of the Wounded Knee Occupation, and an embittered son who returned to the reservation to reconcile with his father. We also get to spend some time hanging out with Arlo’s family: his dad, Richard, his wife, Lisa, and his son, LeRoy.
29/01/201937 minutes 45 seconds
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Pine Ridge Reservation, part 1: Meeting a Prayer Halfway

We team up with Arlo Iron Cloud of KILI Radio, Voice of the Lakota Nation, for this listening tour of The Pine Ridge Reservation, a 50 by 100 mile stretch of land in South Dakota that's home to the Oglala Lakota people. In this episode, we meet a radio producer, a hip hop artist, a medicine man, a home builder, a tribal government leader, a powwow organizer, a painter, and a philosopher who’s chosen to live alone in a house with no electricity and no running water.
15/01/201943 minutes 10 seconds
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Pennsylvania Avenue, part 3: It Still Gets Still

In its prime, Pennsylvania Avenue was the black entertainment hub of Baltimore, but there’s a whole generation that doesn’t know about that heyday. The Jubilee Arts program aims to bridge the gap. We meet Jade Davis of Jubilee Arts, who teaches a children’s ballet class on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and Presstman Street, and we get a historical perspective from community organizers Todd Marcus and Amelia Harris of Intersection of Change. We also get two takes on opiate addiction, one from a pharmacy that has to watch out for counterfeit prescriptions, and one from a former drug counselor who’s currently battling his own addiction.
31/12/201825 minutes 7 seconds
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Pennsylvania Avenue, part 2: Born in a Tornado

In this episode, businesses survive against the economic odds on the 1800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, where local entrepreneurs have established their niches with fashion boutiques, discount variety stores, jewelry shops, hair salons, and carry-out restaurants. These are the places where money changes hands and meaningful relationships are nurtured every day. In the words of Sache Jones of No Boundaries Coalition: We do not give up on each other in this neighborhood, even if it feels like outsiders have given up on us. 
18/12/201825 minutes 6 seconds
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Pennsylvania Avenue, part 1: Resurrection Intersection

In 2015, circling helicopter footage showed West Baltimore in chaos. In the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, buildings burned, protesters and looters alike filled the streets, and entire neighborhoods were cordoned off by armored police and the National Guard. Today, the riot police are gone, and so is the media frenzy, but the neighborhood remains, scarred by the story of what happened.  Local activist Ray Kelly says, “To be frank, the unrest started long before the riots, and the unrest is still happening today.” In this episode, we meet Mr. Kelly, along with his neighbors on a two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue where the community is determined to redefine itself in the aftermath of a narrative shaped by outsiders.
04/12/201825 minutes 24 seconds
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Love Stories

A man returns from prison to renew his vows with his wife. Young fiancés try to convince immigration that their marriage plans are legit. Old acquaintances cross paths and get flirty. A woman pines for her ex, even though he leaves her fearing for her life. Two women fall in love and raise a son. A hairstylist shares advice for women whose men aren’t doing right. A couple falls in love on the dance floor and opens a restaurant called, El Merengue. A Japanese woman and her Caucasian husband celebrate hapa culture. And two men share what it meant for them to get their marriage license.
20/11/201829 minutes 20 seconds
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A street preacher pleads with passersby to heed the word of God, a Pentecostal pastor struggles with her calling, A Muslim father and son confront anti-Islamic sentiment, a man behind bars reinvents himself through Islam, an Orthodox Jew flees religious oppression in Iran, a Mennonite couple opens an urban school, and a Native American man decolonizes his spiritual self.
06/11/201830 minutes 56 seconds
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American Dream

Stories about hope, sacrifice, home, and what happens when you come to America, as told by immigrants from Egypt, Nepal, Korea, Eritrea, Vietnam, El Salvador, Afghanistan, China, and Jordan.
23/10/201828 minutes 30 seconds
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Fast Friends

Two childhood friends go in on a shared dream and open up a beauty salon. At a tire shop, a tall guy and a short guy know how to make each other laugh. A crew of octogenarian pigeon racers trade tall tales. Two cousins move in and learn how to be roommates. An isolated shopkeeper finds trust and compassion in one of his regular customers. Two immigrants manage the multicultural staff at American Wings & Pizza. An unlikely friendship blossoms between a pair of residents at a halfway house. And two exes-turned-business-partners manage to stay friends through it all.
09/10/201833 minutes 31 seconds
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This Isn't What I Used to Do

Stories about surprising second acts, from the owner of a pinball museum, a Kashmiri journalist exiled to a snack counter, a washer repairman with a checkered past, a funeral director who stumbled into the job after he married into the business, a former gang member who now runs a religious radio station, a guy who turned his rock n roll music studio into a corporate voice-over business, a woman who left an abusive man and found herself in the process, and a handyman who moonlights as a stand-up comic.
25/09/201828 minutes 51 seconds
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Strong Women

Stories from a mixed-martial-arts fighter, the manager of a diner, a trainer of Doberman Pinschers, a child-abuse survivor, a fashion entrepreneur, a recovering drug addict, a performance artist, a mom who avoided suicide, and the woman who convinced Baltimore to build a skate park.
11/09/201830 minutes 34 seconds
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Odd Jobs

Conversations about work and life, with a fishmonger, a repo man, a fortune cookie maker, a cobbler, a spiritualist, a tag & title bureaucrat, a master clock-maker, a safe cracker, a day laborer, a man who polishes headlights, and a guy who sells loose cigarettes.
28/08/201831 minutes 34 seconds
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Atlanta, West End, Part 2: The Crossroads

This episode begins on the historic spot where two dirt roads intersected and consequently gave rise to the city of Atlanta. Today, that crossroads is a busy intersection, and it anchors a residential neighborhood that’s since experienced chapters of segregation, integration, devaluation, and gentrification. Hear more stories from the locals who make Atlanta’s West End what it is today. This episode is a collaboration with WABE and is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts
14/08/201829 minutes 44 seconds
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Atlanta, West End, Part 1: Meditations on Heritage

There’s a room hidden behind a curtain at the Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore that houses shackles and hand-written slave documents.  Down the block is the historical home of Joel Chandler Harris, who gained fame and fortune as the publisher of the tales of Uncle Remus.  Across the street is a funeral director with a bridge named in his honor and a fleet of custom limousines.  We visit these sites and talk with residents new and old in an Atlanta neighborhood that’s been around longer than Atlanta itself. This episode is a collaboration with WABE and is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts
31/07/201829 minutes 7 seconds
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When Aaron Met Wendel

Curious about how the original seed got planted for Out of the Blocks?  This week marks the ten-year anniversary of Aaron Henkin & Wendel Patrick’s audio bro-mance, and on this episode the two friends unearth archival audio from when they first crossed paths. They originally met in 2008, when Wendel was Aaron’s musical guest on WYPR’s old radio show, The Signal.  Aaron liked Wendel’s music, Wendel liked Aaron’s interviewing style, they hit it off, and the rest is history.  Plus:  Did you know that ‘Wendel Patrick’ isn’t Wendel Patrick’s real name?  Take a trip down memory lane with the guys and enjoy the back-story!
17/07/201822 minutes 30 seconds
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A Conversation with Mayor Catherine Pugh

Funny thing about making a podcast: You never know who’s listening. Turns out, Baltimore’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, is a fan of Out of the Blocks, and she invited producer Aaron Henkin to join her in front of a live audience for a conversation about the show. (Aaron got to ask her some questions, too.) This episode is a recording of the event, which happened Monday evening, June 25th, at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s theater-in-the-round in downtown Baltimore.
03/07/201844 minutes 51 seconds
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Detroit: MorningSide, part 2. Slide, Ride or Die

In this episode, we meet the founder of the Detroit Artists’ Test Lab, the head of an African American podcast network called Audiowave, neighborhood activists young and old, a closet poet, and the woman who taught The Slide to a generation of skaters at Royal Skateland roller rink.
19/06/201830 minutes 52 seconds
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Detroit: MorningSide, part 1. Faith not tested can’t be trusted.

On the east side of Detroit, the streets of MorningSide are lined with stately, brick Tudor-style houses.  But today, one in four of those houses is abandoned, boarded up, gutted, or burned out. The foreclosure crisis of 2008 hit MorningSide like a tidal wave, and the neighborhood is struggling to sprout again from the rubble. There’s a lot of buzz about a new Renaissance in downtown Detroit, but the locals in this corner of town are wondering when – and if – the revival is going to make its way to them. In the meantime, they’re holding their own and looking out for each other. In this special episode, Out of the Blocks teams up with Michigan Radio’s MorningSide 48224 podcast to share voices from MorningSide. This episode was made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
05/06/201828 minutes 38 seconds
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Steal This Podcast

Ever build one of those snap-together model kits when you were a kid? Think of this episode as a sort of snap-together *podcast *kit. It includes a demo of a fully mixed and produced Out of the Blocks audio feature, followed by the original interview it was cut from, the accompanying musical score, plus lots of bonus interviewing tips.  This episode is a fun tool for anyone who’s interested in learning about podcast production techniques. Listen along, then take apart this episode to build your own version!  (Special thanks to our interviewee, Nate Couser, of the Artist Exchange Radio Show.)
22/05/201835 minutes
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200 W Read Street, part 3: Tomorrow’s Not Guaranteed

The owner of a falafel stand gives a lesson in gratitude, a minimalist overcomes cerebral palsy by sheer force of will, a female boss takes the helm at a men’s barbershop, an apparel entrepreneur reflects on a family tragedy with a silver lining, and a friendly neighborhood barista whips up chai lattes and plays experimental doom metal.
08/05/201820 minutes 51 seconds
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200 W Read St, part 2: Consistently Inconsistent

The bartender at The Drinkery tells the history of the ‘gayborhood,’ a handyman-turned-comedian reflects on comedy as a flashlight in the dark, a pizza-maker from Pakistan shares words from the Koran about living with good intentions, a master clock-maker ponders the passage of time, and two shop owners share an address and a mutual admiration.
24/04/201821 minutes 48 seconds
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200 W Read St, part 1: The Greenwich Village of Baltimore

The 200 block of W Read Street was Baltimore’s ground zero for hippies, head shops, gay nightlife, and wild fashion. In this episode, we explore the past and present of the neighborhood with a vintage clothier, a husband-and-husband duo that runs a hair salon, a father and son who operate a 70-year-old key shop, and a guy who loves to smoke a good cigar.
10/04/201820 minutes 36 seconds
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Chinatown ID, Seattle, part 2

Devotion to family. That’s the overarching theme in this episode, as we return to Seattle’s Chinatown International District once more to visit with sons and daughters who are committed to honoring and preserving their families’ legacies. 
27/03/201838 minutes 48 seconds
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Chinatown ID, Seattle, part 1

Seattle’s Chinatown International District is a bustling, pan-Asian neighborhood of immigrants from China, Japan, Vietnam, and The Philippines.  It’s also a mix of generations, where Americanized children navigate a complex family dynamic with their non-English speaking elders. Tradition is in a tug-of-war with modernity on the streets of Chinatown ID, where multi-generational family businesses stand side-by-side with the startups of young, artistic entrepreneurs. It all amounts to a beautiful, mutable monument to the American Dream.
13/03/201842 minutes 25 seconds
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The Music of Out of the Blocks

Wendel Patrick is the composer, producer and performer of the musical score for every episode of Out of the Blocks. In this special installment, he talks about some of his favorite compositions from the show and delves into how (and why) he makes the music. Wendel can span musical genres from classical to hip hop with compositions that take the listener on an emotional journey full of surprises:  A cell-phone ringtone symphony? Check. A hair-clipper fugue? Check.  This is a must-listen for aspiring music producers or anyone who wants to hear extended music cuts from Out of the Blocks.
27/02/201836 minutes 24 seconds
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100 S Broadway, part 3

If we’re truthful about it, most of us will admit it: There’s a gap between who we are and who we yearn to be.  In this episode, people confront the sting of getting honest with themselves.  In the end, some find redemption, and some just stare into the abyss.  There’s darkness in this episode, yes, but rays of hope have a way of shining in through the cracks.  As you’ll hear Francesca say, “Life is too short, the world is too cruel. Just love one another.”
13/02/201822 minutes 6 seconds
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100 S Broadway, part 2

This episode begins with a recovering addict who’s found peace, purpose, and a modest income folding paper flowers and peddling them to passersby on the street corner.  The episode ends with a Salvadorian immigrant who spends 50 hours a week on an assembly line in a chicken processing plant.  In between are stories of entrepreneurs and day-laborers, people trying to make a living and trying to live life along the way.
30/01/201823 minutes 58 seconds
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100 S Broadway, part 1

Baltimore became a second home to members of North Carolina’s Lumbee tribe when they immigrated to the city after World War II, trading in farm work for factory and construction jobs.  Since then, the Baltimore American Indian Center on the 100 block of S Broadway has been a cultural hub for the transplanted Lumbee people and other Native Americans in the city.  In this episode: Conversations with Urban Indians about family, spirituality, and identity.
16/01/201825 minutes 1 second
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Station North

A spectrum of stories exploring the creative impulse: from an emcee, a sculptor, a muralist, a florist, and others in Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood. This special episode was originally commissioned as a sound installation for the 2014 MICA exhibition, Locally Sourced. 
01/01/201833 minutes 40 seconds
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Out of the Ville, part 2

This episode kicks off with a barber who’s been cutting hair in The Ville for 60 years, and it ends with the story of a woman who just recently became a proud homeowner in the neighborhood.  In between are beautiful, personal stories from mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, war veterans, preachers, urban gardeners, and more.
19/12/201732 minutes 30 seconds
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Out of the Ville, part 1

We’re all taught that housing desegregation was a good thing, right? But if you talk to the old-timers in The Ville, they’ll give you a more nuanced story: They’ll tell you it was a gift that came with a curse. In its heyday, The Ville was the beating heart of black Saint Louis, with historic African American institutions like Sumner High School and Homer G Phillips Hospital. Desegregation opened the floodgates for a mass-exodus from The Ville, and now the neighborhood is more than 60 percent vacant.  Out of the Blocks travels to the Ville for this special episode, produced in collaboration with the Saint Louis Public Radio podcast We Live Here and the neighborhood organization 4 The Ville. This episode was made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. �ڡݠޡ!�"7 v-�\
05/12/201733 minutes 24 seconds
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3600 Falls Road, part 3

In this episode, a group home is a haven for residents with mental and psychological challenges; a web-design CEO reveals his second life as an experimental musician; a pizzeria owner shares a lesson in pride and humility; a rock drummer trades in his sticks for a career in corporate voice-overs; a recovering heroin addict struggles to stay clean for her 2-year-old daughter; and the boss of a branding agency second-guesses his own brand of leadership.
21/11/201730 minutes 43 seconds
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Out of the Blocks with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Out of the Blocks collaborated with the BSO for a special concert series called, “Baltimore Voices.” The concerts featured recordings of four Baltimore City teenagers sharing beautiful and honest stories about their lives. Wendel Patrick composed an original score for each story.  And The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed Wendel’s scores live, while the stories aired on the sound system in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
07/11/201733 minutes 35 seconds
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3600 Falls Road, Part 2

A boom in new, young residents is great for business, unless you’re the neighborhood funeral home.  In this episode, a funeral director looks toward an uncertain future, a yarn shop becomes a handicraft social hub, a family of Mennonites arrives to start a Christian school, and a record store owner ponders his decision to become… a record store owner.
25/10/201721 minutes 10 seconds
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3600 Falls Road, Part 1

“I think the word we’re dancing around is gentrification.” So says Benn Ray of Atomic Books at the outset of this episode. What follows is a multidimensional portrait of a neighborhood in flux.  The 3600 block of Falls Road is a mix of longtime rowhome residents, recovering opiate addicts, and a new wave of business owners whose trendy boutiques have come to redefine a neighborhood that’s been in long economic decline.  Who does Hampden belong to?  The answer depends who you ask.
10/10/201729 minutes 48 seconds
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2400 Saint Paul St, Part 3

Super-saturated sound-portraits of entrepreneurs and artists at work on the 2400 block of Saint Paul Street:  Whirring blenders, whispering crochet needles, bubbling deep-fryers, clanking screen-presses, snipping scissors, and whooshing hair dryers comprise the soundscapes for Style Lab, Ajna Printing, American Wings & Pizza, Lauryn Byrd’s Yarn Bombs, and Grind House Juice Bar & Café.
26/09/201723 minutes 22 seconds
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2400 Saint Paul St, Part 2

In this episode: Portraits of irrepressible drive and determination.  A self-made cosmetics mogul opens up a school of makeup artistry, a local fashion entrepreneur delivers a searing sociopolitical critique, a hair stylist runs a one-man business and wears his heart on his sleeve, and a sanitation worker trades in his drug-dealing past for a career cleaning the streets.
12/09/201723 minutes 52 seconds
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2400 Saint Paul St, Part 1

The locals call it Black Wall Street, and it’s earned the nickname. 17 black-owned businesses operate on the 2400 block of Saint Paul Street, which sits on a bustling intersection at the geographic center of Baltimore city.  In this episode, we meet the crew at Reflection Eternal Barbershop, where an aspiring music producer creates hip hop tracks in between haircuts. We visit Deleen’s Boutique, where the namesake proprietor works wonders on a Juki sewing machine. We drop in at Flourish, a shop that specializes in crystals, essential oils, and Tibetan Singing Bowls. And we check out what’s cooking in the kitchen of Terra Café.
29/08/201728 minutes 10 seconds
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1100 Ward Street, Part 3

It’s hard to write a ‘spoiler-free’ description of this episode because these stories from 1100 Ward Street take so many surprise twists.  Let’s just say we meet a man who almost got to play with The Orioles, a guy who ended up becoming friends with a woman who stabbed him, a woman who survived a house fire, a man who got the closest thing he ever had to a father figure when he was behind bars, and a repo man who struggles to make his own car payments.
15/08/201725 minutes 18 seconds
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1100 Ward Street, Part 2

This episode is an unlikely triptych of redemption stories from the 1100 block of Ward Street. We meet Paul’s Place Peer Recovery Coach Dolly Miller, who’s been clean for nine years now after spending more than half her life addicted to drugs.  We visit with Paul’s Place Ambassador Volunteer Coordinator Will Thomas, who overcame addiction and homelessness and uses his experience to guide others with similar struggles.  And we get to know Paul’s Place volunteer Paul Schurick, whose life changed profoundly when he was sentenced to community service after being disgraced in a political scandal.
01/08/201723 minutes
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1100 Ward Street, Part 1

Back in the 1800’s, they literally herded pigs through the streets of Southwest Baltimore’s Washington Village, from the terminus of the B & O Railroad to the neighborhood’s meat packing plants and butcher shops. The nickname, ‘Pigtown,’ has stuck, but the industry is long gone from this part of the city. These days, the neighborhood is known for unemployment, homelessness, and drug addiction. The 1100 block of Ward Street stares these problems in the face and does everything it can to turn the tide. Paul’s Place Outreach Center is a beacon of hope on Ward Street, and in this episode we meet the folks who give and receive that hope on a daily basis.
18/07/201721 minutes 40 seconds
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7200 Harford Road

7200 Harford Road is about as far north and east as you can get and still be in Baltimore City.  It’s tucked just inside the county line, and downtown feels far-off when you’re out here.  On this block, MMA fighters train at American Muy Thai, customers get perms at Umberto’s Hair Salon, folks line up for Italian and German specialties at the counters of Mastellone’s Deli and Mueller’s Delicatessen, and the 112-year-old Fenwick Bakery sells homemade marshmallow donuts.  Field producer Adam Droneburg is our guide as we visit these spots and more on the 7200 block of Harford Road.
03/07/201730 minutes 55 seconds
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600 Cherry Hill Road, Part II

Out of the Blocks field producer Melissa Gerr takes us back to the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road to meet Mike Johnson of Delicia's Restaurant, Deacon Tim Gasque, convenience store owner Murad Aljaboobi, Amy Lee of Cherry Hill Liquors, the staff of Cherry Hill's WIC office, David Kim of Cherry Hill Carryout, and librarian (and Jammercize instructor) Ginger Mosley.
19/06/201720 minutes 44 seconds
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600 Cherry Hill Road, Part I

The South Baltimore neighborhood of Cherry Hill looks out across the Inner Harbor to the downtown skyline, but it’s a world unto itself.  The block at the heart of the neighborhood is 600 Cherry Hill Road, and Out of the Blocks field producer Melissa Gerr introduces us to the preachers, barbers, shop owners, and neighbors who call it home.
05/06/201727 minutes 28 seconds
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2100 Edmondson

The corner diner, Soul Source, is the hub of the 2100 block  of Edmondson Avenue. The manager, Joyce, has been serving breakfast to the locals for 30 years. Her restaurant looks out onto a West Baltimore block scarred by gunshots and stabbings. But the block is more than its scars. It’s a block where a Pentecostal pastor keeps her faith in the face of suffering, where a reformed drug dealer works as a kitchen appliance repairman, and where a political reporter from Kashmir has found sanctuary working behind the counter at a sandwich shop. It’s a block where a former Nigerian soccer star operates an auto repair shop. In his car lot, he lets a homeless man sleep in a van. Next door is an army veteran who issued air-strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. And across the street is a tire repairman who’s trying to beat a 30-year heroin addiction.
04/01/201748 minutes 53 seconds
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600 Deepdene Rd

The 2016 season finale episode of Out of the Blocks takes a twist, as we travel to the 600 block of Deepdene Road in North Baltimore’s Tuxedo Park neighborhood.  The sounds of city traffic give way to the natural harmony of cicadas, birds, and frogs on this tree-lined residential block, nestled up against the city’s Stony Run Trail.  The stories here are a study of families in all their varieties: families with same-sex parents, interracial parents, single parents, and adoptive parents, as well as empty-nesters, divorcees, and newlyweds.  The twist?  For the Out of the Blocks producers, this episode is personal.  Wendel Patrick used to live here, and Aaron Henkin lives here now.
18/09/201649 minutes 26 seconds
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2100 E Monument

The 2100 block of Monument Street is anchored by the Baltimore’s Northeast Market, a honeycomb of vendors selling fish, meat, fried chicken, barbeque, bulgogi, deli sandwiches, and baked goods.  The commerce spills onto the surrounding sidewalks, where open-air peddlers hawk sunglasses and socks, CDs & DVDs, umbrellas and pepper spray.  Unemployed entrepreneurs polish headlights, sell loose cigarettes, and do whatever else they can to make ends meet.  It all happens in the shadow of the looming Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, an institution at pains to restore relations with the neighborhood in the wake of longstanding ill will.
01/07/201649 minutes 22 seconds
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200 W Saratoga

The 200 block of West Saratoga Street is nestled in the frenetic bustle of downtown Baltimore.  Church bells ring in a duet with the clanging Light Rail, city buses rattle and hiss, and loud sidewalk conversations compete with the din.  These are the sounds that reverberate through a block peppered with Bengali body oil shops, barbershops and salons, a magic candle store, and the shoe-repair shop of a Russian cobbler.  A vanguard of artists populates a five-story building on the block, a honeycomb of musicians, painters, fashion designers, and jewelers.  As a sum of its parts, 200 West Saratoga is an ecstatic cacophony of optimism, ambition, anxiety, and resilience.
13/05/201649 minutes 18 seconds
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6300 Reisterstown Road

The 6300 block of Reisterstown Road is tucked just inside the Northwest Baltimore city limit. Orthodox Jews from Russia and Iran operate kosher eateries, and Nepali Hindus run carry-outs and gas stations. Add to the mix a public library branch, a used-car dealership, and a home-security expert who specializes in cracking safes, and you get an idiosyncratic cast of characters who all manage to share a stage in the theater of city life.
14/03/201649 minutes 4 seconds
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4700 Eastern Avenue

4700 Eastern Avenue is in Southeast Baltimore's Highlandtown neighborhood.  Over the past fifty years, the story of the American Dream has been written and rewritten in this community, as two distinct waves of immigrants have taken their turns settling in and opening up shop.  In the 1960's & 70's, Greek immigrants arrived in droves, and the neighborhood came to be known as Greektown.  More recently, Latino immigrants have followed in those footsteps, establishing a strong local presence of their own.  Today, this block is a cultural checkerboard, as the names of the restaurants attest:  Acropolis, El Merengue, Zorbas, Papuseria Mama Tana, and Greektown Grill.  The voices on this block have foreign accents, but their stories are quintessentially American.
18/12/201548 minutes 41 seconds
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4700 Liberty Heights Avenue

The 4700 block of Liberty Heights Avenue is a portrait of survival and adaptability.  It's a self-governed, informal economy where the currency is respect.  Space is shared by merchants, churches, longtime residents, and drug dealers.  Immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, West Africa, and Korea have set up shops alongside a dwindling number of African American-owned businesses.  Trust is earned here, not given lightly.
19/10/201548 minutes 40 seconds
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400 E Patapsco

On the 400 block of E Patapsco Avenue, you'll meet octogenarian pigeon racers, evangelizing barbers, philosophical convenience-store clerks, reformed and not-so-reformed drug dealers, aspiring hip hop musicians, and more.
07/07/201549 minutes 9 seconds
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3300 Greenmount

On the 3300 block of Greenmount Avenue, you'll meet store clerks and restaurateurs from all over the globe - Pakistan, Mali, Korea, China, Thailand, Eritrea, and the Ukraine. You'll also meet born & bred Baltimore entrepreneurs, bar-flies, and street corner preachers.
07/06/201547 minutes 53 seconds