Only in Fell’s Point-VIII

Written by Mark Walker on Saturday, 12 April 2008. Posted in Reprints from "The Fell's 'Pointer"

As Busker-Boatsman Fiddles, the ‘Point Learns

Only in Fell’s Point-VIII
For a busker, the streets are a stage. And for 15 years Steven Lampredi has strut the streets and piers of Fell’s Point, playing the concertina, fiddling, portraying a ghostly sailor home from the War of 1812. His more formal venues for interpreting history include the Admiral Fell Inn, the Constellation, the Flag House, and the Preservation Society’s garden theater. At 6 foot 2, he commands a presence on the bricks.

Lampredi is also a boatsman. He is taking part in an effort to re-float the Lion, a one-quarter- scale model of a topsail schooner made famous here 200 years ago. This prototype of the Pride of Baltimore toured the state in the 1970s to solicit donations for building the Pride. Lampredi is to display the fully rigged Lion at the Visitor’s Center for Privateers’ Day on April 19 and the Preservation Society House Tour on May 11—again prepping on schooners and privateers for the War of 1812 bicentennial, and collecting funds to make her again watertight for dockage along Thames Street.

Ellen von Karajan, director of the Preservation Society, said: “Lampredi has . . . an avid interest in all things maritime. He brings that to his performances and demonstrations and the tours he conducts for us. Who else do you know who can teach rigging, eat fire, play a mean fiddle, make repairs on a schooner, and direct and play the lead in “Our American Cousin?”

Lampredi grew up in Chicago with an appreciation of theater, magic, and puppets fostered by his mother taking him to performances. In college he studied music, acting and directing. “When I started busking in Fell’s Point,” he recalled, “I was already freelancing as a musician and as a puppeteer at numerous locations around Maryland, and had busked in the nation’s capitol. On the Broadway Pier I played the accordion for tips.”

”Hearing Frank Manley sing sea chanteys inspired me to learn more of the huge repertoire of sea songs,” said Lampredi, “and I joined the Chanteymen,” sponsored by Ship’s Company, which is a living history organization and owner of the Lion.

About the Author

Mark Walker

Mark Walker lives in Harford County with his all-suffering wife and son but arrives early for his job at Bond St. Wharf as a financial planner for Johns Hopkins Uni- versity. He usually has a meeting or two before the re- turn commute. His affair with the ‘Point began when he and his two brothers reached eligibility for the bars--often sources of his ‘Pointer writing. Asked about his dedication to local issues, such as Rec Pier and funding for preservation, he replied, “I take up a parking space here but I like to think I pay back part of that. I often think that more out- of-towners who work here could do the same.” His early efforts, with the late Bob Keith, to keep revival of Rec Pier out of the hands of developers, has proved prescient 10 years hence. Walker is also a magician and his ultimate trick remains a challenge--abating the Point’s gentrification.

Mark Walker won the Fell's Point 9/11 Selfless Community Service Award on September 11, 2012.