FOR SOME FOLKS who have had a fantasy about walking the red carpet, that dream came true recently at the Scottish Rite Temple, courtesy of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. CFF's annual gala had a Hollywood theme. As guests arrived, they were interviewed by a "TV reporter" while "fans" snapped their picture and asked for an autograph.
"I felt like I was on Entertainment Tonight," said Gloria Dryden, on the arm of her husband, entrepreneur Trip Dryden.
"It's fun because you don't know you're on the screen when you come in," added state aviation commissioner Suzanne Amos. She was referring to the huge screen set up in the auditorium, where folks mingled during the cocktail hour -- and watched other guests make their entrances.
That screen wasn't the only eye-catcher. Legg Mason director Cheryl Krongard looked every inch a screen siren in a crimson silk gown.
"Pet me," CFF events coordinator Caryl Siems said, jokingly, referring to the mink off-the-shoulder collar that topped off her column dress of chocolate satin.
Continuing the La-La-Land over-the-top theme, when guests went downstairs to the ballroom for dinner, they found an 8-foot-by-8-foot vodka bar -- made entirely of ice. Atop the structure were four large, frozen replicas of vodka bottles, through which bartenders poured flavored vodkas into martini glasses below.
"They brought [the bar] in on a truck from Canada. They molded it there," said party co-chairman Chuck Nabit.
"It looks like an ice luge on steroids," his wife and party co-chair Mary Kay Nabit said with a laugh.
Then there was the "ice" of a different sort -- the diamond bracelet and earrings up for auction, and some major "pebbles" adorning some partygoers. Karen Winicki, wife of Radcliffe Jewelers owner Paul Winicki, dazzled in a diamond necklace from which a huge pink gem dangled.
And therein lay the big difference between this East Coast "Hollywood" and the one in the West. Most of the rocks that twinkled throughout this night weren't on loan. They were owned.
A DRINK WITH JOHN DAVIS
Passion drives car-show guy
John Davis, 58, is the creator, executive producer and host of PBS' Motorweek. He lives in Finksburg with his wife, Cheryl, three dogs and two cats. His business card is written in English on the front, Japanese on the back.
What are some of the most common questions you get asked?
People always want to know about a specific car. However, it's usually the car they've already bought. So, they're looking for you to confirm their choice. Somebody will say, what kind of car should I buy? What kind of car do I like? I ask them, what do you like? And then, if they name something, I'll try to give them information I have in my head about that car. There's no such thing as an all-bad, or all-good, choice.
How many cars do you own?
I own four. I have a menagerie. I still have my wife's first car, which was a 1978 Buick Regal, then a 1999 Volvo wagon. Then we have a 2001 Mini Cooper, which is my toy. And then we've got a 2003 Ford pickup.
Nothing fancy schmancy?
Nothing now. I had a 1989 Mazda Miata. I had that 12 years. The Mini Cooper was the first thing that caught my eye since then. I did own some fancy cars -- a Corvette, a Pantera -- but I sold them to buy a house.
Any new cars in your future?
There's the new Mini Cooper. I'm thinking about that. I'm also thinking about the new roadster from GM, the Saturn Sky. And the Ford Mustang GT. I'm getting the itch to get another toy.
Outside of cars, what else interests you?
It's hard to talk with me and not talk about cars. If you ask me about my hobbies, my hobbies are cars. I get to play with my passion. I get to work with my passion. ... I consume just about everything about new cars. I'm not into classics.
Is your wife as passionate about cars as you are?
No, and that's what makes it an asset. We test 150 cars a year. So, when I bring one home and put her behind the wheel, she'll give me a totally nonattached viewpoint, and it gives me extra insight.
What do you think most people would be surprised to learn about you?
That I'm a mechanical aerospace engineer with an MBA. They think I'm just a face on TV that knows about cars. They're surprised that I'm originally from North Carolina, because I don't have too much of a Southern twang.
Something else that might be surprising is how much time you spend traveling.
It runs in spurts. I might be home for two weeks, and then I might be gone for two weeks. ... Most of it is going to automotive functions where a new car is being introduced. Or auto shows. There are one or two introductions of a new model to the press somewhere in the world every week of the year except for about a week or two around Christmas. This year, there was even one on the Fourth of July in Europe. ... They're very quick. You fly to Europe, or anywhere. You're on the ground about a day and a half, and then you fly home. A lot of trips to Europe, I'll spend as much time in the air as I do on the ground, covering the car. ...
Wow. How do you decompress?
I grew up spending a lot of time in the mountains of North Carolina. But now I like to go to the shore. We have two places. When the weather's cool, we'll try to go to Savannah, Ga., somewhere around Hilton Head, S.C. ... In the summertime, we go to Vermont, where we have a tiny cabin on top of a very bad road, and we try to disappear up there.
Do you have any words you live by?
Don't regret anything you do. Just keep looking forward. I never look back. I think you can learn from your experiences, but don't dwell on the past. And I really believe you should be nice to everyone you meet. ... Even if they don't know who you are. I'm really concerned that we're losing civility.
Is that your pet peeve?
I'm fed up with aggressive driving. ... You know, I'm sorry I'm being a weenie, [but] I'm getting in the right lane and letting [aggressive drivers] pass me by. And I may be driving a car that could blow them off the road. ... There's too much mindlessness and people not paying attention when they're driving.
"A Legendary Evening: The 1966 World Champion Baltimore Orioles Reunion"
Benefits Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation
Open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, mingle with former Orioles
Murphy Fine Arts Center, Morgan State University
Tickets $175, members of the Babe Ruth Museum $150
Call 410-727-1539, ext. 3013
"21st Annual Mercy Magic: The Beach Ball"
Benefits Mercy Health Services
Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, live music, dancing
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Light St.