It was quite a night at the Oscars for more than 300 Baltimoreans. They were gussied up in gowns and tuxes, passed the "paparazzi" on the red carpet and were interviewed by "Joan Rivers" on their way into the Baltimore Museum of Industry. OK. So, it wasn't L.A., but this was an officially sanctioned Oscars party, nonetheless. In fact, it was the fourth such fund-raising frolic for AIDS Interfaith Residential Services Inc.
Once inside, guests were serenaded by Brian Commotto, the two-time Emmy-winning composer/pianist. They also had their own awards ceremony, this one to recognize Baltimore's own "Urban Legends" - Jay Brodie, Eddie and Sylvia Brown, Marcia Harris and Rebecca Hoffberger. AIRS' VP Leslie Wright says honoree Harris really got into the act - arriving in a limo, and sweeping down the red carpet, dragging her mink old-Hollywood-style behind her.
Leslie says the ceremony in Hollywood - projected on big screens around the museum - got under way just as the AIRS awards wrapped up.
And everyone here, not just the presenters, received Oscar gift bags. So, maybe those bags didn't render the five- and six-figure haul the Hollywood types went home with. But Leslie says the goodies weren't bad: mouse pads, key chains and makeup.
The first of last week's storms didn't keep some 500 folks away from another local hoopla with its own cache of star power. Sports celebs like Brady Anderson, Jennie Finch, Ken Singleton, Mike Bordick, Michael McCrary, Anthony Weaver and Keith Booth helped the Ripken family kick off its first fund-raising gala for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. The party at the B&O; Railroad Museum featured dinner and tributes to honorees Cal Ripken Jr., Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (who brought dad Archie with him), NBC's Meet the Press host Tim Russert and AOL co-founder Steve Case (who couldn't make it because he was in Hawaii helping his own dad celebrate a birthday). And let's not forget the recipient of the foundation's first Cal Ripken Sr. Award - former Orioles manager Earl Weaver.
Foundation spokesman John Maroon says the party got a little spirited during the live auction, when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti got into a bidding war with Constellation Energy honcho Mayo Shattuck over a private tennis lesson given by Andre Agassi in his hometown of Las Vegas. John says Steve eventually won the tutorial for wife Rene with a bid not too far below 20 grand.
A hit with Sosa
As long as we're on the subject of sports stars, we hear B-more's newest spent his first night here enjoying dinner at Morton's Steakhouse. Seems new O Sammy Sosa is a big fan of the Chicago chain's Cajun rib-eye.