Hollywood had nothin' on Baltimore last weekend at the premiere of the new Farrelly Brothers comedy, Stuck on You. Bobby and Peter Farrelly, Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear and Wen Yann Shih mingled with a crowd of several hundred in a tent next to the Senator Theatre. And we do mean mingle. The gang was totally low-key, chatting with folks, signing autographs and posing for snapshots. Proving that B-more has it all over Tinsel Town -- very charming and and not smarmy.
That fact was noted by the stars, according to Trish Fallon, executive director of the Carson Scholars Fund, one of the two beneficiaries of the event.
Trish says the Farrellys, Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear told her they were thrilled to be in Baltimore, "around regular, real people, not the jaded Hollywood group" they usually deal with at movie premieres.
The whole shebang can be credited to Baltimore's world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Seems Ben was brought on board, courtesy one of the Stuck On You producers, Baltimore native son Bradley Thomas. Brad's brother, Preston, dated local gal Robin Zimmerman a few years back, and Robin has stayed close to the Thomas family ever since.
When Brad was back in town for a family dinner about a year ago, Robin says, he was talking about this movie about conjoined twins (Damon and Kinnear) who get surgically separated. Robin suggested Brad might consider using someone with real-life experience in that area. That someone being Ben. He liked the idea. So did the Farrellys. And Ben agreed to play himself in the movie if the Farrellys did the premiere here to benefit his two nonprofits, the Carson Scholars Fund and the BEN Fund.
Not only does Ben appear in the movie, so do his wife Candy (as a nurse) and his sons Rhoeyce and B.J. (as guys in the waiting room). That's apparently one of the Farrellys' MOs, according to Oxford-ite Pucky Lippincott who is an old friend of Peter's. Pucky says the Farrellys love putting family and friends in their flicks. She and hubby Richard have their own cameos in previous Farrelly films Kingpin and Me, Myself & Irene.
Another bit of inside scoop from Pucky: Peter told her Ben Carson actually came up with a laugh line that Peter and Bobby loved. So they had him use it in the movie. (You'll have to see the picture to hear it!)
Lots of laughs in the premiere screening and at the live auction that preceded it. Two items -- a walk-on role in the next Farrelly Brothers movie, about the Three Stooges, and a day of golf in Los Angeles with Kinnear and Damon -- brought in $210,000 by themselves! The premiere grossed almost $400,000, a record for a Senator Theatre bash.
Baltimore developer Bill Struever took the spotlight at this year's Children's Guild "Cabaret for Kids." Event chairwoman Suzanne Pierce says the party was based on Bill and his accomplishments in revitalizing Baltimore communities. Even the menu. During the cocktail hour at the guild, the 280 guests were served some of Bill's favorite foods, like pigs in blankets and tapas.
Dinner included other Struever favorites: chopped salad, filet mignon and crab cakes. And the evening's cabaret style show, performed by guild staffers and led by B-more's chanteuse extraodinaire Ethel Ennis and hubby / emcee Earl Arnett were classic pop tunes with new lyrics all about ... you guessed it ... Bill Struever.
The enthusiastic audience included Children's Guild president Dr. Andrew Roth, guild board president Brenda Dandy, Baltimore school superintendent Bonnie Copeland, Frances and Harold Manekin, Brigitte and Donald Manekin, Gary Alexander and Joan Pyne. A big bravo for the $125,000 raised at the wingding!
A new Baltimore nonprofit, Free State Justice Educational Foundation, had a nice kickoff event in the form of a Jazz Brunch at the Mount Washing-ton home of Dr. Don Abrams. Event chairman Jon Kaplan says about 150 people browsed a brunch buffet, with the musical stylings of bassist Sarah Car-lisle, keyboardist Jacob Yoffee and drummer Robert Shahid in the background. It all raised some $12,000 for the foundation to promote and protect the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Marylanders.