Arts  /  October 10, 2019

Core Story: Leading agency for Asian artists is located in The Core

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Most of the drivers whizzing up Charles Street, aren't aware that they are passing an entertainment complex when they go by the modest exterior of The Crown. Core Explorers, however, are well aware of the multiple spaces inside – where you can eat, drink, dance and see performances. And they may even recognize this man, Michael Young, who is The Crown's GM. But they would probably be surprised to find out that he is also operating a booking agency that tours Asian artists, (who would otherwise not be in the U.S,) up and down the East Coast. To be honest with you, we were surprised to realize that one (of only a few such organizations in the U.S.) was located around the corner from our HQ in The Centre. Which is not to say that we were unfamiliar with Michael’s OTS productions. They have come up with one amazing event, after another, here in The Core, introducing us to an incredibly wide swath of artists that have performed everything from Shakuhachi (traditional Bamboo Flute) and cutting-edge, amped-up music at the Crown – to live calligraphy at The BMA. Based on this track record, we were happy to sign on as co-sponsors of the upcoming Sake + - "A Pop Up Japanese Sake And Food Tasting Experience" That might not sound like a typical OTS arts event. But Michael feels that sake is as important a part of Japanese Culture as the artists he’s been bringing to our shores. Thus he has an ongoing effort to introduce Baltimoreans to the wide ranging and complex flavors of premium sake that he first encountered years ago, when he went to Japan as a touring musician.

Although he didn’t use this terminology, when you speak to Michael, you feel he’s on a ‘mission’ to break down barriers and make the Asian culture that has been an integral part of his life, a part of everybody’s. For this event he has enlisted the similarly-minded Chef Hatsumi Watanabe-Smith, of the acclaimed Matcha Time Cafe in Ellicott City, a Japanese Tea House (unique in the Baltimore area), that serves hand-picked award winning teas, as well as sushi, pastries, smoothies, and traditional Japanese shaved ice.

The two have come up with a unique idea for getting us all turned on to premium Sake. They are creating a completely vegetarian, 3- course, Japanese meal, designed to compliment tasting of various ‘nihonshu’ (that’s the actual term for rice wine, in Japan, sake just means booze in general) from the renowned breweries: Kikusui Sake Co.(Niigata, JP), and- Izumibashi Shuzo(Kanagawa, JP). Everything will be served for the non-premium price of $30, during a 1 hour tasting experience.

The event (at The Crown) will start at 5pm and end at 10pm. It will be sectioned in time slots of 20 persons per hour. (Ticket holders may arrive up to 15 minutes prior to their slot time for the tasting, and are welcomed to stay after the tasting, as The Crown backbar has a full bar/food menu.) You can purchase tickets ahead of time on eventbrite ( )..

Sponsors and or collaborators for this great event include: The Chinatown Collective, Central Baltimore Partnership, 菊水酒造株式会社 KIKUSUI SAKE CO.,LTD, Izumibashi shuzo Co.,Ltd, Station North Market Place, The Charles Theater, PNC Bank, us, and of course Matcha Time Cafe and OTS Productions (!

Only in The Core, keep exploring!

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