Out of The Blocks | WYPR

Out of The Blocks

Stories hidden in plain sight

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.

You can get the Out of the Blocks podcast at iTunes or Google Play

Contact Aaron Henkin

Out of the Blocks is produced with grant funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Cohen Opportunity Fund, the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund (creator of the Baker Artist Portfolios), Sig and Barbara Shapiro, Patricia and Mark Joseph, Jonathan Melnick, The Andy and Sana Brooks Family Foundation, The Hoffberger Foundation, Associated Jewish Charities,  The John J. Leidy Foundation, The Kenneth S. Battye Charitable Trust, and The Muse Web Foundation, which invites listeners to hear more Baltimore stories at Muse Web.

3600 Falls Road, part 1

Oct 10, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

“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.

2400 Saint Paul St, Part 3

Sep 26, 2017

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 at Style Lab, Ajna Printing, American Wings & Pizza, Lauryn Byrd’s Yarn Bombs, and Grind House Juice Bar & Café.

2400 Saint Paul St, Part 2

Sep 12, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

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.

2400 Saint Paul St, Part 1

Aug 29, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

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.

all photos by Wendel Patrick

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.

1100 Ward Street, Part 2

Aug 1, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

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.

1100 Ward Street, Part 1

Jul 17, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

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.

7200 Harford Road

Jul 3, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

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.

600 Cherry Hill Road, Part II

Jun 20, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

We have our own community here. It's like no other neighborhood.  We're R.I.C.H. Raised in Cherry Hill.

600 Cherry Hill Road, Part I

Jun 5, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

This place, people counted it out to drown.  But Cherry Hill is literally that.  We are a hill.  I don’t care how much water you surround us by.  We are a hill that will always stand and will always be bold.

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