Feedback

Coming at You calendar highlights: dollhouse crime scenes, Gothic romance, runaway art.

Not to mention political pop art, the Japanese tsunami's impact on art and the molten metal clatter of a Linotype.

The annual Kinetic Sculpture Race is this Saturday in the Inner Harbor.

The annual Kinetic Sculpture Race is this Saturday in the Inner Harbor.

Photo by: Jenny Campbell

Murder Must Downsize. Coming to a theater not too far from you.

Baltimore boasts some eccentric collections of stuff, like the machines at the National Pinball Museum and the late Hugh F. Hicks’ collection of light bulbs. (Here’s his New York Times obit.)

Murder Most Small: a Nutshell Studies crime scene

Murder Most Small: a Nutshell Studies crime scene

But the documentary film “Of Dolls and Murder,” which will make its Baltimore-area debut next month, takes an intimate look at one of the strangest of them all.

The movie is director Susan Marks’ take on the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Deaths, the state Medical Examiner’s collection of dollhouse-sized exhibits crafted in the 1930s and 40s, that depict 18 scenes of mayhem as first encountered by detectives.

Baltimore’s kitsch king John Waters narrates the film, which is dedicated to the creator of the “studies,” Frances Glessner Lee, an heiress to the International Harvester fortune who combined her love of dolls and dollhouses with a born sleuth’s ability to read a crime scene.

Her aim was to improve the training of investigators, to insure they didn’t overlook or misinterpret crucial clues. She’s been called the patron saint of crime scene investigators everywhere.

Of Dolls and Murder

Another victim. But of what?

The Nutshells host some dysfunctional inhabitants: prostitutes, adulterers and alcoholics.  All the scenes contain at least one corpse, and are cunningly arranged so the detectives can easily jump to the wrong conclusions.

Lee died in 1962 at the age of 83. She left the collection to Harvard in her will, but it found a permanent home at the Maryland Medical Examiner’s office in Baltimore, where the studies are not on public display because they are still used for training.

The collection has inspired writers, filmmakers and, apparently, photographers like Mariel Clayton, with the deliciously sinister implications of Lee’s work.

The film gets its first theatrical screening in the Baltimore area at the Hollywood Cinema in Arbutus June 5, at 7 p.m. The premiere is being coordinated in collaboration with the Welcome to Baltimore, Hon! website, maintained by Arbutus Patch editor Bruce Goldfarb.

Looking for something to do right now, or at least this weekend?

The Maryland Film Festival opens in earnest Friday night, with screenings of Wuthering Heights,” by director Andrea Arnold, who brings her gritty realism to bear on Emily Bronte’s Gothic romance. For art that really moves, check out the 14th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, brought to you by the American Visionary Art Museum, at the Inner Harbor Friday.

For newspaper men and women of a certain age _ and anyone else who remember the days of hot type clattering off of a big machine that looked like a church organ _ there’s Linotype: The Movie screening tonight, Thursday, at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

For more fun and fascinating stuff, see Coming at You, our wildly experimental arts and culture calendar.

Be sure to check our full comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • kenneth adrian ellis

     Speaking of kinetic…Author Kenneth Adrian Ellis has a four(4)part power that he reveals to readers in: A Kinetic Person’s Power, Sub Titled: Voice Command Ability!***NOTE***He holds a Certificate Of Copyright from the Library of Congress for video footage on which he performs his special power! Watch the Professional Author Display Video on You Tube[with over 13,000 views]….Search: Kenneth A. Ellis  at http://www.YouTube.com . Visit the Press Release:  http://www.PRLog.org/10285981  [with over 2,600 views]  .Listen to the fifteen(15) mintue interview on Blog Talk Radio…  http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/Strategic-Book-Club  ,”On-Demand”  Episode!  Visit the Fan Page and “LIKE” it:  http://www.TinyUrl.com/Author-Kenneth-Ellis  .Thank You!

  • September 4, 2015

    • Horseshoe Casino Baltimore generated $27.6 million from slot machines and table games last month in its best performance since opening a year ago. After a slow start, the gambling emporium on Russell Street reached its highest level of revenues last March, a month before the Baltimore riot sent revenues plummeting in May. August’s revenues were $3.2 […]

  • September 2, 2015

    • Sharp-Leadenhall’s $2.4 million Race Street water and sewer infrastructure upgrades have been completed. The Department of Public Works finished work on 0.8 acres between West Cross and West Ostend streets next to Stadium Square, a 293-unit apartment and retail project under development by Caves Valley Partners. In addition to restoring the century-old storm drain structure, […]

  • September 1, 2015

    • Over the last five months of its crackdown on delinquent water accounts, Baltimore’s Department of Public Works turned off service to only 11 commercial accounts, while nearly 5,000 residents with overdue bills had their service terminated. During the time frame of March 26 to August 28, the agency has collected $27,896,883 from overdue accounts. Only $4,901,641 of that sum […]

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the […]

Twitter

Facebook