Just Another Monday Night | Anchored In the Arts | Berlin MD Events

by: Kimberly DeBoy

WEB AE fundraiser-4145Picture this: You walk into a local craft brewery that operates with the help of regional farmers providing fresh ingredients. The bartender hands you a snifter of your favorite brew before you even have a chance to ask. An acoustic rock duo is tearing up their version of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and a power punk band is slated next for the stage. Tables are lined with the wares of neighborhood artisans and the air is filled with the energetic communion of like-minded souls.

Opening sequence of the latest independent film release? Nope. It’s just another Monday night in “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

If there is anything that Berlin knows how to do, it is throw one hell of a fundraiser. Burley Oak Brewing Company is so skilled at the practice that they do it every Monday. This week’s benefit for Berlin Maryland Arts and Entertainment was a shining example of small-town camaraderie, and I’m not just saying that because of the several Sour Trips I enjoyed or because I won three prizes in the raffle. When out for drinks, I rarely expect to be inspirationally moved, but experiencing so much passion in one room has broken me out of a severe literary dryspell.

Guest bartenders from The Blacksmith manned the taps. Local bands Bad Since Breakfast and Chainsaw Riot proved that acoustic and punk rock can happily coexist in the same eardrums. The staff of Burley and Blacksmith, as well as other local legends in artistic fare, generously donated dozens of paintings, photographs and other fruits of their labor to be raffled. Homemade goodies were provided by Blacksmith and Baked Desserts Cafe. You know it’s a party when even the granola and chocolate cake are infused with beer.

Berlin Maryland Arts and Entertainment’s mission is “to give historic Berlin an identity as a vibrant cultural hub for both the visual and performing arts.” They are a community organization dedicated to keeping the town “Anchored in the Arts,” which was emblazoned on the vivid koozies that were up for grabs. (Who doesn’t love a free koozie?) They are artists helping artists to be artists. And said artists showed up to prove their appreciation. I’m not going to lie, it gets me all warm and fuzzy inside to contemplate this town’s almost tribal sense of kinship and responsibility to its fellow citizens.

Every barstool was occupied by the creative forces of this eccentric city and its surrounding areas: Musicians, photographers, painters, bakers, chefs, writers, poets, sculptors, brewmasters, distillers and entrepreneurs, just to name a few. Their presence illustrates the dynamic cycle that makes Berlin so cool: Local artists supporting each other’s pursuits by drinking hand-crafted beer, enjoying live tunes, and vying for the chance to win a piece of one another’s lifework. It is an astoundingly beautiful support system that reminds us of why we keep doing what we do, no matter the challenges. Being a starving artist ain’t half bad when you know the whole town has your back.