Just when you think apathy reigns, along comes something like last Saturday night.
Jed Dietz says it was one of the most amazing experiences he has had since founding the Maryland Film Festival six years ago. The event was a movie screening and reception put on by the festival as a fund-raiser for Afghans for Civil Society. First, there was the incredible location. Maryland Institute donated the hall of its Brown Center -- that icy chunk of a building that slashes along the side of Mount Royal Avenue.
Then, there was the movie. The documentary Life After War is about the rebuilding of a small town in Afghanistan that was destroyed by U.S. bombs in the aftermath of 9/11. After the movie, there was a question-and-answer period with filmmaker Brian Knappenberger, Afghanistan ambassador to the United States Said Tawad Jawad and Baltimore restaurateur Qayum Karzai. In case you've been living under a rock, Karzai is not only a native of Afghanistan, his brother, Hamid, is its president. But all those elements couldn't top the surprise Jed got with the turnout and audience reaction.
With tickets at $25 and $125, Jed says he expected, say, 250 filmheads and activists to attend. But the place was jammed. At least 500 posted. And they bombarded the guests of honor with questions about what has now happened to the town and what else they could do to help.
"It was this incredible mix of people," Jed says, "and it just really, really struck me that there's this great wellspring of American people who want to help the people of Afghanistan."
If you want to learn more about the movie -- or how you can help -- click onto www.mdfilmfest.com.
A popular Pikesville beauty salon and spa is getting a new name -- and new owners. Paul's of Woodholme is about to become About Faces Day Spa, No. 4 in the local chain. The others are in Timonium, Towson and Salisbury. Paul Skotarczak says he and partner Bruce Perna weren't looking to sell, but when the About Faces folks approached them, they decided to go for it. Not to worry, you'll still find Paul working his hairstyling magic there. But now he says he can concentrate on beauty and fashion and leave the administrating to someone else. He and Bruce threw a spiffy dinner party recently to introduce some friends to About Faces owners Patrick Brennan and Helga Surratt -- celebrating with lots of champagne, lobster, veal and chocolate mousse. Sweet!
The Winter Show
Batten down that bank account and slide on a pair of comfy shoes. It is time once again for the American Craft Council Baltimore Winter Show, 725 booths from the country's top craft artists packed into the Baltimore Convention Center -- tomorrow through Sunday. And we're not talkin' teddy bears and flowered wreaths. This is incredible handmade clothing, fine jewelry, handbags, glass, ceramics and furniture. Beautiful stuff, often with equally "beautiful" prices.
A few tips from a die-hard ACC shopper:
Dress in layers: Sometimes the center is cold; sometimes the crush of people warms things up a bit.
This is the one -- and only -- time to forget fashionable footwear. Go for comfort. You've got miles and miles of concrete floor to cover. Start at one end and work your way up one aisle and down the other, zigzagging through the show.
Most important -- don't spend right off the bat. Carry a pen. Pick up the artist's card, and write on it what you like and how much it costs. And don't forget the booth number.
Continue on your journey. At lunch, or during a coffee break, go through your cards and decide what you liked best and what fits your budget. Then go back and grab it. It is easy to blow the dough on treasures you find early, only to discover other goodies you love even more. Take it from one who knows.
Antiques show moves
Antiques freaks, take note. The Hunt Valley Antiques Show, produced by Family & Children's Services of Central Maryland, has moved. This year, you will find those 40-plus dealers and their treasures at Holiday Inn Select in Timonium. Check out www.fcsmd.org for all the info.
To submit tips, ideas and possible items for Hot Stuff, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 410-675-3451.