3/6/08 The Wire podcasts: Viva House


I have a lot of friends from out of town who love The Wire.  I always kind of feel sorry for them because I feel like they aren’t getting the whole picture.  Only someone really familiar with Baltimore can get all the inside jokes, references, and cameos that pepper the series.  But sometimes the reference is arcane enough that not even Baltimoreans quite get what they are looking at.  For example, how many people know that the soup kitchen Bubbles worked at in season five is a real place?

My co-producer Justin brought that up, and we decided that it would make a great podcast to go down and talk to the people who run that soup kitchen and learn about their experience being featured on The Wire.  Their names are Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham.  They play themselves on television (well, sort of…listen to the podcast to find out more!) They are wonderful people and they have a lot of great things to say about Baltimore, social justice issues, and of course, The Wire.

Click here to stream the interview.  Right click here and select “Save Target As” to download the entire feature as an MP3. The running time is 17:29.  Read the transcript here.

Click “Read More” for a slideshow of pictures from Viva House as well as other resources.

This is a selection of images taken at Viva House in West Baltimore.  Move your cursor over the pictures for captions.

Want to get in touch with Viva House?  Write to them at

Viva House Catholic Worker

26 S. Mount Street. Baltimore, MD 21223.

Call: 410-233-0488

9 Responses

  1. FYI
    Today’s Fresh Air w/ Terri Gross
    Subject: The Wire

  2. I had the great plasure to to chat with Willa the day after the CAB meeting. I called about donations… we covered that but also had a heart felt conversation about Marc,the important role he plays in Baltimore, and what was happening to WYPR. Very cool, committed lady !!!

    Everyone, please consider donating bags of food to Viva House. If you call they will give you a list of needed food items. Their number is 410-233-0488

  3. Link to today’s Fresh Air interview with David Simon. Thanks, Jo.

  4. Well, hell’s bells, ladies and gentlemen. This blog is read by somebody besides Jessica and Justin.

    I posted a comment on February 29, derived from information contained in WYPR ownership reports filed with the FCC. The reports contained a lot of interesting information.

    The links still work, in that they show you a form. In each case, however, the form is blank. Every WYPR report has been scrubbed.

    I am much impressed. The power of The Evil Empire knows no bounds.

  5. Ron
    Never doubt the powers of the Evil Empire. They may have reacted quickly. I posted our mutual concern about ex officio board member CEO Tony Brandon having the sole vote on the holding company of the license to the Sun blog of Chris K stating he should investigate this apparent avoidance of non profit CEOs having voting powers 24 hours back (Chris has yet to post mine or any other comments on the Critical Mass blog re “WYPR Hints”) and now you report they have scrubbed the documents. Perhaps we are right and this corporate/holding company may have some significant legal issues attendant to it.
    I saved your original post but did not save the individual docs, did you by any chance? Where do we get them back?

  6. Jessica or Justin
    Did you guys by any chance scrub the links on Ron’s feb 29th post? How would/could/did YPR change all those links to blank forms? These are “how did it/could it” happen questions, not accusations. Thanks

    We haven’t changed anything on Ron’s post. I don’t know what happened to the links, either.

  7. (shrug) We might want to reconsider how open we are about posting some subjects on the blog. It’s not like any of it is in code. If I was them (if I were they?), I’d be looking too.

  8. I am completely in the dark as to what is going on. It is now about 4:18 p.m. Friday, I just checked the links in my Feb 29 comment again, and the forms are not blank. Am I nuts? Did anyone check the links earlier today and find that the forms indeed were empty, or was I only imagining things?

    I haven’t fine-combed the reports to see if I think they are the same as before – I assume they haven’t been changed, but I’ll check.

    Joe, no I didn’t save the originals. That is partly because I am stupid, and partly because I never expected that anyone would want to, or be able to, mess with the FCC database.

    Rhonda, my predeliction is to be maximally open, and let the consequences be whatever they may be.

  9. Ron and Rhonda
    I checked all of your links earlier today and they were indeed blank forms no longer filled out. Very curious indeed. Moments ago I wrote John Machan 6 pm complaining about many things in his op-ed and asked about the scrubbing of the docs, but no one is that quick.

    I agree we should be open in our discussions and not hide behind lawyerly BS when we know what we want to say. let John use that stuff- I was much more polite in my email to Machen.

    Weird world right nowadays.

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