Anyone who knows the Creative Alliance - that wonderfully wacky Baltimore arts organization - knows the group's name is quite the understatement. Case in point is C.A.'s recent "Marquee Ball 2005." This year, the theme was "Viva Las Vegas," and did it ever live up to its name.
Program director Megan Hamilton says about 500 guests came to the bash at Creative Alliance's home in the old Patterson Theatre. They were treated to a floor show by drag queen Trixie Little and the Evil Tap Dancing Hate Monkey. That included a "Celine Dion," a "Liberace with really big cheesy plastic rings and a cheesy comedy routine," and a "Siegfried and Roy" performance including "an amorous tiger attack."
Megan says folks were also invited to "marry" or "divorce" at a "Las Vegas wedding chapel," presided over by "bishop" Rob Yocum and his lovely assistant, Melissa Martens - perhaps better known as members of the campy community performance art group Fluid Movement.
Guests were encouraged to get into the act by dressing in "'60s retro Vegas lounge attire." Megan says there were lots of platform shoes, miniskirts, fishnet stockings and glitter. Local performance artist Joe Meduza arrived in 5-inch platform heels, a hot pink marabou feather bikini with a floor-length chiffon peignoir with white feather trim. Party co-chairs were Patty Bond and Susan Gould. Megan describes Patty's outfit as a "skin-tight faux leopard print sequined bellbottoms" and Susan's as a "strapless day-glo neon orange and magenta mini-cocktail dress with these great '70s white platform boots."
One of the evening's highlights, says Megan, was when local casting director extraordinaire Pat Moran presented the Golden Formstone Award for Form-idable Contributions to Baltimore Through the Arts to David Simon, the creator of The Wire, Homicide and The Corner. Megan reports that Pat congratulated David on his groundbreaking work on urban issues in television and on bringing many more actors of color to the screen.
New in Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon's newest hangout should be opening its courtyard any day now. Koffee Therapy opened at the corner of Charles and Franklin back in February in what Ric Carter (who co-owns the place with wife Michelle Perry-Carter) says had been an office for a funeral home once upon a time but had been vacant for the last 10 years.
Ric says he and Michelle have tried to restore what they could to the elegant townhouse, while adding some modern touches. The house's main salon and withdrawing room (where men would withdraw after dinner to smoke cigars) have been turned into a kicky, casual coffeehouse/dining room with deep-orange walls, tables and chairs, and groups of love seats and armchairs. In the basement, customers will find rich red walls and a mix of banquettes and tables. The whole place has an eclectic feel, with traditional furniture combined with Danish modern. But most important in the decor, says Ric, is the art on the walls, all of which is for sale. Exhibits change about once a month. Ric says he and Michelle leave that up to curator Larry Scott, with the only rule being that "Mom has to be able to walk in and be comfortable."
Foodwise, think "cafe with a focus on coffee and espresso-based beverages." There are several hot sandwiches like: the Mumbai - peppered turkey, ham, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato and roasted red pepper mayo on naan Indian bread ($7); the Cuban - marinated pork, ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and mustard on rosemary focaccia ($7); and the Athens - spinach, feta, red onions, tomato and cannellini bean tapenade on naan ($6).
You also will find a couple of savory pies: rustica di carne with six cheeses, Italian meats and bacon ($9.50) and rustica spinachia with six cheeses and spinach ($8.50). Each comes with a side salad.
Speaking of salads, the San Martin has mesclun greens, grape tomatoes, chevre, sun-dried plantain and apricots, with mango vinaigrette ($4.50 small/$6.50 large). The Andeshas is mesclun, grilled vegetables, Roquefort and lemon jalapeno vinaigrette ($4.50/$6.50).
Ric says there are specials, depending on what's fresh and available, including the occasional fresh or cured fish dish.
And there are also several French and Italian desserts.
"The torta caprese - a flourless cake made with ground almonds and chocolate - flies out of here," he notes.
Koffee Therapy, 410-962-1009, is at 6 E. Franklin St. It's open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Ric says he and Michelle plan to start serving a Sunday brunch in midsummer.