Baltimore actor Robert Walsh was thrilled when he opened a handsome, glossy invitation from Warner Brothers to attend a cast preview of the movie "Dave" at the White House, followed by a buffet dinner.
He checked his calendar and the condition of his dinner jacket before he glanced at the invitation again. That's when he saw the asterisk and a footnote explaining that the White House is a theater in Los Angeles.
Walsh plays the role of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and all his scenes were shot in the Virginia State House in Richmond. What made the shooting even more pleasant for him was sitting for three days next to Ben "Gandhi" Kingsley, who plays the vice president in the film.
Now Walsh plans to see "Dave," which opened locally Friday, at a Baltimore theater with a box of popcorn and a cup of lemonade.
The deck of the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel was the scene of a recent Russian-American friendship party. Annapolis Rotarians and politicians entertained a delegation of Russian visitors from Togliatti at a bell-casting party.
It was an outdoor party, so John Meneely, owner of Shipwright Harbor Marina and president of the Meneely Bell Co. of Annapolis, could cast the Friendship Bells, which will be placed in the City Council chambers of Annapolis and Togliatti.
We watched as he made sure the metal, which was mixed with a few Russian and American coins, was the right temperature before pouring it into molds bearing the seals of Annapolis and Togliatti.
Among the several hundred people at the party were Annapolis Mayor Al Hopkins, Rotary president Dick Hopkins, Togliatti Mayor Vladimir Zhukov and Jeff Collins, director of Project Friendship, an Annapolis humanitarian agency.
I had a nice chat with Jean and Neil LeCompte, who introduced me to Meneely, whose family founded the bell company in 1785. There are Meneely bells in Independence Hall in Philadelphia and St. Anne's church in Annapolis.
Others at the party were Penny and Jock Hopkins, owner of Admiral cleaners; Dr. Allen Egloff; Dr. David O'Brien; Calvin Dunlap, who oversees the Officers Christian Fellowship at the Naval Academy; Harry and Mimi Jones -- she owns Bags by Mimi; Mike Mallinoff, Annapolis city administrator; Kathy and Scott Allan, Doyle-Allan sail makers; Charles Walsh, a D.C. attorney; and attorney Nick Goldsborough, who had started his day by taking the visitors on a five-mile Bay Bridge walk.
The Maryland Food Committee is hoping to bowl you over at its Empty Bowls fund-raiser May 22 at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Guests will eat from bowls, bid on bowls and take home bowl party favors made by area students.
This is a community effort -- members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance theater will perform "Shelter," a ballet on homelessness; Salvadore Bru, Joan Erbe and Pam Phillips are among the artists donating paintings for the auction; Dorothy and Paul Wolman of P. W. Feats are handling the production end; go-getters Eileen Mason Abato and Anne Coughlin are collecting live and silent auction goodies; and, of course, there will be an array of food and drink supplied by two dozen area chefs.
Tickets are $100 and may be reserved by calling Samantha Davis, (410) 366-0600.
May 16 is not only the day after the Preakness, it's also the day for two important fund-raisers.
A Tasting at the Station (the Green Spring Station) begins at 1 p.m. and is a benefit for the International Visitors Center of Maryland. This is a delightful way to spend an afternoon, if you like to sample good wines from 10 countries, hors d'oeuvres and gourmet coffees. Tickets are $30 a person and may be reserved by calling (410) 837-7150.
At 6 p.m., you can don your cowboy hat and jeans and head for Saks Fifth Avenue at Owings Mills mall for the annual Sunday in the Park. This is a terrific family outing with a country-western theme, lots of food, activities for children and country-dance lessons. Louise Goodman and Lola Jones are co-chairs of this fund-raiser for the Assault/Domestic Violence Center of Baltimore County. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for age 18 and under. Call (410) 363-7200, Ext. 318.