Baltimore Sun’s BEST party in 2 weeks



How do you cap off an afternoon of strolling the sunny streets of Baltimore's Little Italy, taking in the view of some 80 exotic Italian cars? With a fabulous Italian meal, of course.

Several hundred guests at Concorso Italia trooped into the hall at St. Leo's Church. They compared notes on their favorites in the car show outside, sipped a little wine and bid on a few items in the auction. Then, it was time to get down to business -- tucking into a supper featuring eight different dishes from eight different Little Italy restaurants.

While this was the third year for this car show, this was the first time it was held in Little Italy. The past two years, Annapolis claimed the privilege. But its organizers, including chairs Dave Born and Jonathan Kendall, thought the Little Italy locale was a natural ... and closer to the home of this fundraiser's beneficiary, the Children's Guild. That guess proved to be on the mark, with a turnout -- of both cars and guests -- that was quite the topic of conversation at the party.

"Even though it was a Ravens game [day], the Ravens fans came down early. This morning, Stiles Street was like the deck of an aircraft carrier. Instead of F-18s, there were [Ferrari] Testarossas and [Lamborghini] Countaches and Spyders all being maneuvered around," said Guild board member Neil Young.

"You know, I love cars. I have never seen so many fantastic Italian cars, and no better place for this kind of show than Little Italy," said longtime TV car critic John Harter.

Admitting he was blown away by the great response, Children's Guild President Andrew Ross surmised, "Cars are good for kids!"



Matt Doud, 39, is president of the Planit advertising agency, which he founded 14 years ago with his boyhood friend, Eddie Callahan. Planit now has 65 employees. Doud lives in Roland Park with his wife, Sylvia, and sons, Henry, 5, and Charlie, 4.

Most folks are just starting their advertising careers at age 25. How did you manage to start a whole new agency?

I was a writer and Eddie was a designer. ... We were doing freelance projects on the side, and they just got bigger. I was single and my car was paid for. I thought, "What have we got to lose? Let's go for it." It was fun, I think much to our parents chagrin, [because we were] quitting our jobs and starting this. ... I think what drives the two of us is the energy you get when [you're told] you can't do it. ... I think the challenge and the energy comes from figuring out what you don't know.

What's your pet peeve?

My biggest is when someone says, "I don't know." It's good to be able to acknowledge what you don't know, but I think you have to back it up with: "I'll figure it out"; "I'll find out"; "I'll learn." Just "I don't know" is lazy to me. I don't have a whole lot of tolerance for laziness.

How do you wind down?

I take the long way home with the top [of my car] down and the windows open. I do things that are very different from work. I like to renovate our 105-year-old house. I like to work in the yard. I like to refinish furniture. I'm trying to ride my bike more, but I'm not succeeding. Anything but sitting in front of a computer, sitting at a desk.

Any guilty pleasures?

I have a hot fudge sundae every night, with homemade hot fudge. My grandmother makes it. Or used to. Then she gave me the recipe. Now, my wife tends to make it more than I do. ... That, and [the TV show] Dirty Jobs.

ONLINE Sloane Brown takes you to the party with a calendar of coming events and video reports at / scene

Sam Culotta was misidentified in a photograph accompanying the Scene & Heard column in Sunday's Arts & Life Today section. The Sun regrets the error.
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