A Visit to Viva House Soup Kitchen

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?

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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.

Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 17:30.

Click here to download the interview transcript.

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

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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

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show currently airs on The Real News Network. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Email us to share your comments with us.