From singing the blues to dancing to bluegrass, Spike and Charley's (formerly Ethel's Place and Blues Alley) adapted beautifully last week. The occasion was a surprise 40th birthday party for Bill Struever, a partner with Struever Brothers, Eccles & Rouse Developers. More than 100 friends and family donned blue jeans, cowboy hats and boots to dance to the music of the Chesapeake Retrievers.
The party was given by Bill's wife, Anne; his mom, Nancy; brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Susie Struever, and his sister, Molly Toll, who flew in from Santa Fe, N.M. Jim Fulton, a landscape architect for the city, did a fabulous job transforming Spike and Charley's into a real barnyard scene, complete with bales of hay and a wooden picket fence.
Guests Cobber and Chris Eccles; Ted and Lucy Rouse; Jim Rouse Jr., owner of Louie's Bookstore; Jim Sr. and Patti Rouse, Enterprise Foundation; Nancy Brennan, City Life Museums; Walter and Patty Sondheim; Connie Caplan and her son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Linda Caplan; Bob and Linda Schuerholz, Johns Hopkins University; and Bart Harvey, Enterprise Foundation, seemed to love the country-style menu of corn pudding, BBQ chicken and ribs and cole slaw.
Lots of hand were clapping when Sen. Barbara Mikulski did her rendition of an old-fashion hoedown with Guy Chisolm and the birthday boy, Bill Struever.
For nearly two decades, the Legislative Follies has been held several weeks before the end of the General Assembly and has been a healing tonic for weary legislators. It's a time when they poke fun at themselves, others and issues.
From what I hear, never was the tonic more needed than this year. One might say this has been a very "taxing" session for everyone.
The auditorium at St. Johns College was packed last Thursday night for a series of skits, which were written, produced and directed by two talented Prince George's County delegates Tim Maloney and Gary Alexander. Proceeds go to the Thomas Hunter Lowe Scholarship fund for students at Washington College.
There were appearances by Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg, Speaker of the House Clay Mitchell, President of the Senate Mike Miller and District Chief Judge Robert Sweeney.
The skit that brought forth the most laughter was a videotape of Baltimore County Delegate John Arnick making a speech on the floor of the House, set to the music of "Don't Worry, Be Happy."
Other politicians onstage were Martha Klima, Ellen Sauerbrey, Tom Dewberry, Larry Levitan, Leslie Hutchinson, Tom Hattery, Al Wynn, Buzz Ryan, Hattie Harrison, Ida Ruben and dozens of others including Parris Glendening, Prince George's county executive, and Eileen Rehrmann, Harford county executive.
As the curtain went down, official Governor's Mansion lollipops donated by the official hostess, Hilda Mae Snoops, were tossed to one and all.
Lunch with a president, past or present, isn't often penciled in on your calendar, but it was for hundreds of Baltimoreans last week, who went to the Hyatt Regency to have lunch with former President Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter. The Carters were here for a first hand look at Sandtown, where they plan to spend a week in June rehabbing 10 houses with their Habitat International volunteers, the city and the Enterprise Foundation.
Before the walking tour, the Carters lunched with Mayor Kurt Schmoke; Benjamin Civiletti, Venable, Baetjer & Howard; James Rouse, founder of the Enterprise Foundation; and Natalie Towles, Sandtown Habitat for Humanity.
Others invited to lunch were Ray Haysbert, Parks Sausage; Mark Joseph, Shelter Development Corp.; Earl Linehan, Woodbrook Capital; Charles McC. Mathias, Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue; Harvey Meyerhoff, Magna Holdings; Timothy Armbruster and Ann Dugan, Morris Goldseker Foundation; James T. Brady, Arthur Andersen & Co.; Calvin Burnett, Coppin State College; Matt DeVito, the Rouse Co.; Rick Berndt, Gallagher, Evelius & Jones; former Congressman Parren J. Mitchell; Congressmen Ben Cardin and Kweisi Mfume; Shale Stiller, Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman; Kenneth Trout, Signet Bank; and Sen. Paul Sarbanes.