Laura Vozzella: The Talk

You know you're the face of Establishment Baltimore when you're on the cover of the Calvert School alumni magazine, even when that face belongs to John Waters.

The filmmaker, once regarded as terribly naughty, is featured on the fall issue of "Reflections,' reminiscing about his days as a Calvert School elementary student, from 1952 to 1958.

This is John Waters on his very best behavior, mind you, talking in the magazine piece about the importance of learning to write in general, and learning to write thank-you notes in particular. ("E-mail notes are not acceptable,' he is quoted saying.)

It's not the John Waters who turned up at the Mr. Leather Maryland 2010 event this month at Leon's new leather lounge, Triple L.

But Waters recalls a school that, for all its academic rigor and buttoned-down reputation, was warm and welcoming to the future "Pope of Trash.'

"I don't remember [anyone] discouraging my interests,' he said. "I don't remember any of the teachers there humiliating me there in any way ‹ about being gay, about anything.'

Of course, the interests Waters was allowed to pursue at Calvert weren't along the lines of, say, drag queens and dog waste. The edgiest thing young "Johnny' Waters seemed to have been up to back then: He only used his black crayons.

Start your engines

At least somebody's hiring.

The Baltimore Grand Prix has been advertising for "Checkered Flag Girls.' Applicants must be outgoing, friendly and at least 18 years old. Flat abs and knowledge of auto racing a plus.

When I talked to Grand Prix officials recently, they only had three applicants. They're looking to hire 15 to 25.

They were hopeful that model-quality gals would soon send in resumes. ("Must attach a head shot and full body shot in order to be considered,' their page says.)

The checkered flag girls won't actually start the race, which takes place Labor Day weekend. They'll appear at promotional events, many of them "family-oriented,' which explains why the Grand Prix is recruiting at colleges instead of The Block. They want hot, but apparently not too hot.

The flag girl costume hasn't been created yet, but Grand Prix supplied a photo from another event. Compared to a Hooters outfit, it's downright modest, with a bare midriff but long pants, long sleeves and no decolletage.

HAIR Apparent

When Baltimore hairstylist Chas Kuhn opened Chas Spa & Salon at The Ritz-Carlton Residences earlier this year, he brought some star power.

"His gregarious personality was one of the inspirations for the movie ŒShampoo' starring Warren Beatty,' The Ritz announced in a news release.


Kuhn says the 1975 movie about a seductive stylist wasn't actually based on his life. But at the time, he rode a motorcycle, had hair down to his shoulders and had spearheaded the unisex salon trend. So Hollywood came calling when the movie premiered in Baltimore, asking him to take part in the opening because Kuhn sounded an awful lot like the fictional George Roundy.

Pricey tastes

Walters Art Museum Director Gary Vikan thought he was going to get his hands on some historical whiskey, on the cheap.

A guy in Iowa contacted him to say he had a bottle of Baker's Rye Whiskey from 1847, purchased at auction from the estate of Mrs. Henry Walters in 1943. (The museum founder's father went into the liquor business with a man named Baker in 1847.)

The guy thought it was worth $50,000 or more; Vikan offered $750.

They never came to terms, not that the Walters collection will really suffer.

"I figured we'd probably open it,' Vikan said. "We could have a tasting.'

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