Affordable Pier Six gala


SOMETHING NEW under the, ah, stars? The Baltimore Cente for the Performing Arts Inc., which had originally planned a festive "Gala Under the Stars" at $200 a head to celebrate the opening of the new Pier Six Concert Pavilion on July 25, has nixed the idea in favor of opening it up to the masses -- and what a great idea.

Featured entertainer will be Benny King, whose songs "Stand By Me" and "Save the Last Dance for Me" were megahits. The best news is that tickets for the grand opening concert will be just $6. A nice way of saying "thank you" to Baltimoreans for their support, we say.

Tickets will be available through Telecharge, Mechanic Theatre box office and Ticket Center Outlets.

TV TIPS: The cast and crew of the "Oprah Winfrey Show" - including the Op herself -- were guests of Gail and Lenny Kaplan at a dinner Wednesday night at the Inn at the Colonnade. . . . WJZ-TV's roving reporter Lowell Deo has left the station for St. Louis -- his contract wasn't renewed. The new guy at Channel 13 is Stanley Saunders, who's last reporting stint was at WHBQ-TV in Memphis. Saunders is married and has six children.

BOOK SMARTS: City College, which has produced such fin writers as Leon Uris, Alger Hiss and Russell Baker, has another alumnus whose chosen that route. He's Guy Durham, class of '55, who recently published his second novel -- a spy thriller -- entitled "Extreme Prejudices," published by Putnam.

In fact, Baltimore was well represented at the publication party in New York's posh Explorer's Club as Durham's high school classmate, Malcolm Dutterer, flew up to present the writer with proclamations from the mayor and a personal note from the principal of City College -- Joseph Antenson.

"A note from the principal is always handy," Durham laughed from his New York apartment. The author's expected to be in town to tout his book over WBAL-AM on July 24.

SCHOOL'S OUT for George and Sharon Manby of Brooklyn, who met and married in 1969 and now, 22 years later, after raising two daughters and fighting drug and alcohol addictions, recently stepped on stage at the Dundalk Community College to receive their associate in arts degrees in chemical dependency counseling.

At DCC, Sharon and George took every class together and are now sending out resumes in hopes of finding work with the idea of returning to pursue a bachelor's degree in

psychology or sociology.

"It feels like life is beginning at 40," said an ecstatic Sharon, who'll turn 40 in July.

WINE LOVERS won't want to miss the American Cancer Society's "Taste of Burgundy" on June 29 at the Pavilion at the Walters -- the new restaurant recently opened there. Renowned chef of Baltimore's Polo Grill, Harold Marmulstein, will match a dinner to some of the great wines of the region. Tickets are $200 and can be reserved by calling Linda Kurlander at 931-6850.

IN BRIEF: Hair salon owner-stylist Tony Sartori is alive and wel and will re-open his Downtown Athletic Club branch on July 1. . . . Baltimore's Blue Meanies, a Beatles revue, held a reunion concert last weekend to enthusiastic response. The show, at the Vista Room in Timonium, was coordinated by promoter Marc Corwin and benefited the American Heart Association. . . . Singer-songwriter Jeff Order has joined forces with Laurie Records and should have songs out on the new Order/Laurie label for retailers before the end of summer.

FUN, FIREWORKS AND FEAST aboard the Bay Lady is how th Maryland Ballet will celebrate the close of its fifth season and opening of its sixth. Dancing, food, a moonlight cruise and a fabulous fireworks display are featured in this seafaring fund-raiser, with tickets priced at $60 per person or $100 a couple. Call 576-2400 to reserve yours.

CRABTOWN BLUES: Though the highly rated and Emmy Awar winning "Crabs" show has been canceled, you can catch MPT's "Best of Crabs," the last original "Crabs" episode, which airs Wednesday. Among those featured in the cast are Alan Wendl and Auggie Dorsett, who do a touching "Marble Stoop Farewell," former "Evening Magazine" host Steve Aveson and comic Bob (( Somerby with a hilarious consumer report. Tune in at 9:30 p.m.

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