Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Poe Bus Tour with David Keltz

Annabel Lee Tavern
Saturday, October 6, 2012

You're either on the bus or off the bus. And, if you're an Edgar Allan Poe fan, you had to be on the bus that left the Annabel Lee Tavern at 2 p.m. last Saturday for a two-hour tour of the important sites in EAP's life, from the Poe-themed tavern named after one of his most famous poems to his last resting place across town at the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. The tour was organized and led - on a Guardian Angel-guided motorcycle, no less! -  by Baltimore actor David Keltz, who for more than 20 years has performed  in character as the Master of the Macabre and Father of the Modern Detective Story. While Keltz led the way on his cycle, on-the-bus Poe scholar John Dausch narrated the day's itinerary and highlights of Poe's life and literary career.

A Guardian Angel led the way for the David Keltz/Poe motorcade

Poe died in Fells Point on October 7, 1849, at what was then called Washington College Hospital on Broadway and Fayette Street (ah, the Lord giveth and he taketh away, for this locale, now called Church Home, was not only the site of Poe's death but of a miraculous birth - that of one Amy Linthicum, admittedly a century and some change after Poe's ill-fated demise. Coincidence? I think not!). Poe passed away four days after being admitted to the hospital, where he was taken after being found on the streets of Baltimore "delirious" and "in great distress" by Joseph W. Walker. His cause of death, penniless and aged 40, remains a mystery to this day.

The bus tour's itinerary included stops at Poe's house (circa 1831) in Harbor East on Eastern (called Wilkes Street in Poe's day) and Exeter/High Streets; the Poe House (circa 1832) at 203 N. Amity Street;  the Latrobe House at 11 W. Mulberry Street across the street from the Enoch Pratt Central Library (noteworthy for being associated with the Baltimore Saturday Visiter literary contest that launched Poe's career during his first stay in Baltimore 1831-1835; in October of 1833, judges John Latrobe, John Kennedy and Dr. James Miller awarded Poe $50 for his short story "MS Found in a Bottle"); Sir Moses Ezekial's Statue of Edgar Allan Poe (1916) on the University of Baltimore campus at the corner of Maryland and Mt. Royal Avenues; the East Lombard Street location (formerly Ryan's "4th Ward Polls" Tavern) where a delirious Poe was found on the night of October 3, 1849; and Poe's famous grave site at the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground on Fayette and Greene Streets.

David Keltz recites "The Raven" at U of B

During the tour, David Keltz periodically hopped off the Harley cycle driven by Poe "Guardian Angel" Anita Russum to point out famous landmarks and to recite, in character, two of Poe's most famous works. Keltz/Poe recited "The Raven" in front of the Sir Moses Ezekial's Statue of Edgar Allan Poe at the University of Baltimore...

...and later recited "The Cask of Amontillado" at Poe's grave site, bidding the crowd adieu with an apropos recitation from Poe's poem "Eldorado," whose gallant knight narrator's quest comes to an end in the "Valley of Shadow." (The poem also reflected the day's weather, for we had collectively "journeyed long" in both "sunshine and shadow.")

David Keltz recites "The Cask of Amontillado" at Poe's grave at Westminster Hall

All things considered - lunch at Annabel Lee Tavern, the smooth driving of our Superior Tours bus driver Andre, John Dausche's informative tour narration (from a script written by Teresa Herold), the good cheer of our riding companions, and David Keltz's amazingly believable recreation of the character and spirit of Poe - it was a great day to celebrate the life of Poe on the (almost) anniversary of his death.

It was a great day to take Poe's advice for curing what ales you!

It was even better than the competing Hustler Honeys Bus Tour going on in Fells Point that day! (Wonder if they even knew that Poe frequented a brothel near today's Hustler Club on The Block, where, according to David Keltz, he was fond of a young lady working there?)

Poe vs. Toe: The Poe Bus Tour easily trumped the Hustler Honeys Tour

If you like Poe but missed this event, you can catch another Poe performance by David Keltz at 8 p.m. this Friday, October 12, at the Theosophical Society in Maryland, 523 N. Charles Street. In addition to "The Raven" and "Eldorado," Keltz will perform "The Tell-Tale Heart" and, for the first time, "The Pit and the Pendulum," guaranteeing that his Halloween-themed event is a definite treat.

Get tickets at

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