Heart Ball guests blazed in red


EVERYTHING CAME UP ROSY AT HEART Ball 2006, starting with the gown worn by Peggy Hutchinson, who co-chaired the event with husband Don. Rows of red silk roses wreathed her shoulders.

Hutchinson wasn't alone. Many party guests at the Renaissance Inner Harbor Hotel flaunted the party's theme color, as well. Maryland Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick arrived in a deep-rose taffeta jacket, adorned with sequins, black lace and black feathers. Her husband, Lou, came in a matching red bow tie and cummerbund. P.J. Mitchell was swathed in crimson chiffon, while date Hal Hathaway sported a bow tie and cummerbund with a red polo motif.

"This is something I found in a drawer. It's probably as old as I am," Hathaway noted.

Julie Mercer, in a scarlet satin strapless with matching chiffon wrap, continued the theme of the night with a big gold heart pendant around her neck.

"I have family members who have been affected by heart disease, so I'm wearing [this outfit] in support of that," said Aileen Carlucci, explaining her vermilion beaded flapper dress and ruby-red sequined "Dorothy Slippers."

"I made the dress, and this jacket is Armani, from C Mart," proclaimed Mary Dang about her scarlet silk jersey dress and matching ruched velvet blazer.

And that was just a bit of the cocktail hour. As folks filed into the ballroom for dinner, they were greeted with three pairs of professional ballroom dancers whirling around the dance floor. Each female dancer was dressed head to toe in a fire-engine red gown.


Workaholic likes to stay focused

Brian DeRan, 34, owns Baltimore's underground music venue, Ottobar, with partners Michael Bowen and Craig Boarman. He is also the founder of the Monitor record label. And he manages three bands that perform worldwide: the hip-hop group Spank Rock; Part Chimp, which he describes as "loud rock 'n' roll"; and the "experimental pop psychedelic" band Animal Collective. A graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, DeRan also paints in his "spare time." He is single and has homes in Baltimore and New York City.

With all the things you do, how do you describe yourself?

The best description is "workaholic." As soon as I get up, I'm on my phone or computer. But I made my bed. And I wouldn't give it up.

How do you keep everything straight?

I make lists a lot. There are Post-Its all over my house. You should see my wallet. A friend who saw it called me an 80-year-old man.

How did you get this way?

I get bored easily. As long as my attention is focused, I stay out of trouble.

What kind of trouble?

It's Baltimore. There are lots of bad decisions to be made in this town. I bought a bar so I wouldn't have to pay for drinks.

Do you see yourself as serious and intense?

No. My employees call me "slave driver." But, they know they can come talk to me about any situation. That's why [Ottobar] has no turnover. ... I never thought I'd be a boss.

What's the most important thing you've learned about being a boss?

If you talk to people like idiots, they'll act like idiots.

Do you even have time for a girlfriend?

My last two relationships have been women in New York City who are as busy as I am. My friends always ask me who I'm importing next.

I take it you work seven days a week?

I try to take Sundays off. ... I just rent movies as much as I can. Last Sunday, I watched three movies. The Sunday before, I watched five.

What kind of movies?

I prefer documentaries. I'll start with them, then a drama. Then I'll go on to full-on action. I stay away from comedies. Unless it's got Will Ferrell. I've gotten kind of fond of him.

What are your favorites?

I really like Catch 22. 21 Grams was good. I like Peckinpah. I love Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. If I ever bought a movie, that would be it. Any Warren Oates. He's my favorite actor.

Any guilty pleasures?

UPN's Girlfriends, because it's the only thing on when I get through working here. I know all about the lives of the women; a lawyer, her assistant, an interior designer, and a mooch. I know too much about it. It's on at, like, 3:30 to 4 a.m. It's a really bad sitcom.

What do you see yourself doing in 10, 20 years?

My vision involves water, land, sunny rooms. And no neighbors. I definitely see an end [to this lifestyle]. That's a goal I strive for.




Benefits Baltimore Choral Arts Society

Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, dinner buffet, performances by New York cabaret singer Eric Comstock and BCAS Chamber Chorus conducted by Tom Hall

The Grand Lodge at Hunt Valley

7 p.m., Tickets $125

Call 410-523-7070



Benefits Baltimore School for the Arts

Open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, hands-on art activities, performance by BSA students, dessert

Carl J. Murphy Performing Arts Center, Morgan State University

6 p.m., Tickets $250, $100 performance / dessert only

Call 410-347-3043


Benefits The Children's Guild

Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, original performance by Guild faculty and students

The Children's Guild Baltimore campus, 6802 McLean Blvd.

6:30 p.m., Tickets $150

Call 410-444-3800, Ext. 139

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