Pat Moran may very well have the coolest office in Baltimore.
Not that anyone should be surprised by that. Moran, who first gained fame (or should that be notoriety?) as one of John Waters' Dreamlanders, is an Emmy-winning casting director who has worked on nearly every film and TV project to hit Baltimore in the past quarter-century. She's also an unabashed pack rat, whose happily eclectic tastes are reflected in the Canton office of Pat Moran & Associates, on the fourth floor of a rehabbed warehouse building.
"I spend a lot of time in here, and it's very important for me to be comfortable in here," Moran said, as she prepared for a weekend trip to Los Angeles, where she's up for yet another Emmy — she already has two — this one for her work on the HBO series "Veep."
"That's the whole folk-art thing going on here," Moran says of a room that could easily be displayed, as-is, at Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum. "I need to be surrounded by things that I feel comfortable with."
Standing beneath a painted portrait of her good friend Divine, Moran took a few minutes to lead a visitor on a greatest-hits tour of her office. As you'll see, to call its contents eclectic would barely scratch the surface.
"There's a lot of memories here," she said, then happily shared a handful.
Like many of the objects in her office, this stage prop is a reminder of a friend who died — in this case, New York stage designer Peter Mumford, who died in 1993. "I knew him from the theater in New York. He was a stage manager at the McCarter Theatre [in Princeton, N.J.]. That was a prop from a show. … I don't remember what it was."
This wall of Chihuahuas is a reminder of another associate of Moran's, Jonathan Gorrie, who died in 2008. Although Moran says her family has always been partial to Dobermans, Gorrie was a Chihuahua man. "Somebody gave us one," she says, "and pretty soon, it became a wall of Chihuahuas."
Moran shakes her head in near-disbelief as she points to this sign. "This I look at every day. When my grandparents came here — my father was born in America, I'm second generation Irish-American — this sign prevailed, everywhere. I look at it to remind myself. That sign was placed in people's windows, at the time of my grandparents."
"These are my girls," Moran says of the two Emmys that sit atop opposite sides of her desk. The one pictured was given to her in 1998, for "Homicide: Life on the Street." She won the other last year, for HBO's "Game Change."
This doll was a gift from Moran's associate, Scott Goergans. "This is called 'The Red-Haired Witch, Ugly Shyla,' hand-made in New Orleans. It was a gift from Scott, who thinks I am the red-haired witch. He said, 'I work for one — make me one.'"
Moran bought this ornate trunk at the Fells Point Flea Market. "This is basically folk art," she says. "Why would you not have that? It's gorgeous."
An advertisement for the 1975 documentary "Grey Gardens," a visit with eccentric mother "Big" Edie Beale and her daughter, "Little" Edie (the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), living in a run-down house in the Hamptons. It's just one of the many pieces of movie memorabilia displayed throughout Moran's office. But it's one of the few from a film on which she didn't work. "That was just one of those films in your life that you see that are very … When I saw it, I was overwhelmed. Just found it terribly interesting. I feel like Edie Beale three times a week." Young Edie or old Edie? "Both," says Moran. "Depends on which way the wind is blowing."
"This is my father's orchestra. This is Johnny Moran's Orchestra. This is at the old Alcazar, which is now the Baltimore School for the Arts. He had a big band during the era of the '40s, a big society band. People of the World War II era would certainly remember him."
"This lamp was made by Van Smith, who was John Waters' costume designer and makeup designer. He is responsible for what Divine looks like."
Moran uses this room when auditioning actors for her various film and television projects. The wall on the left displays headshots of the actors she worked with on "Homicide," including Andre Braugher, Callie Thorne, Yaphet Kotto and Clark Johnson. The one on the right, devoted to other projects, includes photos of Debbie Harry, Traci Lords, Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Willem Dafoe, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Weller … and John Waters.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun