Looks like the last remnants of tinsel have been swept away from B-more. Tinsel, as in Tinseltown.
About three weeks after Disney wrapped up filming on its movie Ladder 49, throwing its cast and crew a wrap party at Red Tapas - a.k.a. Redwood Trust - the HBO folks did the same for the gang who worked on its series The Wire. Our sources say 400-plus Wire cast and crew members also made the scene at Red Tapas. And what a scene. The invite apparently read "dress to impress."
"Boy, did they!" says Jack Gerbes, Maryland Film Office director. "People really dressed up."
We hear the group noshed on beef Wellington and crab quesadillas, downed mucho cosmopolitans and Red Bull. Then they danced to the band Junkyard Saints 'til 2 a.m.
Now the finger-crossing time begins, as they, and we, wait to see if HBO renews The Wire for another season.
If there is one group in town who knows how to take lemons and turn them into some wacky lemonade, it's Creative Alliance. And lemons are exactly what was given to this artist group by Mother Nature the night of its annual party, "Tiki Torches At Twilight." Just as guests began to arrive at the Patterson Park site, so did the rain. But no problem.
"We just moved the antipasto under the tents," explains Megan Hamilton, Creative's program director.
The rain let up just long enough for people to get in line at the dinner buffet outside the tent. It started again, and everyone took refuge again - dancing up a storm to a zydeco band, the Canecutters. Many of the 325 guests came in costume, Hawaiian shirts and even a few coconut bras and grass skirts. But as the night and bad weather continued, some costumes got even more creative. Megan says the Creative Alliance folks had used big fringy straw hats as centerpieces, decorating them with little Tiki scenes on the top. As the downpour continued, many guests discovered the hats were also perfect as raingear.
"We really had a great time," Megan concludes, "the rain ended up making the evening more intimate because people were squished into the tent more."
"Tiki Torches At Twilight '03" racked up some $20,000 for Creative Alliance.
Some 220 folks posted at the "Sixth Annual Crab Feast" put on by the Upsilon Epsilon Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The sorority was founded in 1908 at Howard University, making it the oldest African-American Greek letter sorority in the United States, according to Leslie Lyles, the chapter's financial secretary. Leslie said it was a reunion of sorts, with lots of chapter members coming back to see each other.
But the highlight of the event was when the group honored this year's scholarship recipients, Baltimore high school graduating seniors Trisha-Lee Porter, Stacy Bostic and Kiara Gross. Each receives $500 book scholarships from the chapter for the coming college semester. Meanwhile, the crab feast raised about $2,000 for some lucky future scholarship winners.
Academy of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
Now, this was a summer awards party. No stuffy atmosphere, no uncomfortable outfits - just 725 folks, in business casual attire, gathered on the pier outside the National Aquarium. They were there to celebrate the "Ninth Annual Academy of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Awards." Many local restaurants had set up food stations for hungry guests and there was that huge silent auction table. Folks clustered around little tables or settled down on the pier - enjoying the view, the breeze and the eats.
Not a bad way to ease from the business day into an evening of award presentations set for later inside - when folks in the local travel, tourism and hospitality industry would be honored for their efforts.
Among the smiling faces in the crowd: Joan Davidson, Bill Davidson, Mary Sue McCarthy and Bill Hopkinson, event co-chairs; Suzanne Fisher-Huettner, Nancy Hinds, Gail Kaplan, Dan Lincoln, Samantha Stark, Stacey Lynn Ward and Amy Winter, event committee members; Paul Wolman, Academy of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality advisory board chairman; Mike Whipple, board chairman emeritus; Barry Blank, Peggy Daidakis, Ruth Fader, Celeste Hartmen, Joe Herbert and Peter Komar, board members; Kathleen M. Floyd, Baltimore Academies director; Sheila Steele, Academy of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality principal; Linda Moxley, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra marketing vice president; Amsale Geletu, PMS Parking president; Gilberto de Jesus, Federal Communications Commission attorney; Tricia Ellis, Greater Baltimore Committee leadership director; Chris Eddings, The Daily Record publisher; Ralph Rizzo, R&R; Events president/CEO; Bob Brown, Hyatt Regency corporate catering sales manager; Cherreise Bromley, Wyndham Baltimore Hotel express sales manager; Jay McCutcheon, Active Survivors Network director; Jay Buck, Perfect Wedding Guide vice president; John Pezzulla, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Can Company general manager; Kathy Sher, National Aquarium in Baltimore deputy director; Charles Sawyer, Meridian Financial Resources managing partner; Charles Geser, Finkelstein & Geser CPAs partner; Camay Murphy, Baltimore school board commissioner; Bryn Parchman, Port Discovery chief operating officer; Terry Romanoli, Preakness Celebration executive director; Tom Saunders, Renaisance Productions president; Steve Eisner, Eisner Communications president/CEO; and Ed Suddath, National Association of Catering Executives executive director.
The wingding raised more than $98,000 for the academy, whose programs provide career training and employment in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry for its Baltimore high school students.