The Tremont Grand ballroom may have been filled with some heavy-duty financial and legal types, but the atmosphere was far from serious. This was a time for the 250 folks present to celebrate a milestone - the 25th anniversary of the Maryland Legal Services Corp. The room resounded with laughs and happy chatter as guests enjoyed the cocktail hour before the awards dinner.
"The feeling is overwhelming. The mood is joyous. And it's just amazing to see so many people that have made such a difference to the lives of low-income Marylanders who need legal help," said MLSC executive director Susan Erlichman.
"It's wonderful ... that all of us are here to celebrate a unique collaboration between the lawyers, the bankers, members of the legal services community," said MLSC board member and Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Pamela White.
"A lot of fun for a good cause," was the way board member Bernard Jennings summed it up.
"We're not such a bad lot, after all," said attorney Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network. "There are actually some good lawyers around, and a lot of them are here tonight because this is a program that really puts a good face on lawyering and makes sure that poor people [and] people with disabilities get the representation that they need in our justice system."
A Drink With Mink Stole
She may have been born in Baltimore as Nancy Stoll, but she's best known as Mink Stole. Given that stage name by her longtime friend, filmmaker John Waters, Stole has appeared in almost all of his features since 1966. She moved away from Baltimore in 1977 and lived for years in New York City, then Los Angeles. But she has recently moved back to her hometown. Stole is single and lives in the Tuxedo Park area of Roland Park with her pet, Maggie the Cat. You've spent 30 years living elsewhere, why come back?
I came back to be with my mother, Nell Jones. Two months [after I arrived], she died, in early November. ... I have a year's lease, so I'm going to stay at least that long.
How are you spending your time?
I'm looking for shortcuts. My primary focus is learning how to get everywhere. That's when you know you're really [settled in] someplace. Baltimore has changed so much since I left. ... It's like coming to a new city. I still don't know where to go to listen to music.
Why is that so important to you?
I sing. I had a band in Los Angeles and did a lot of performing. I'm planning on cutting an album this year. So, I'm interested in seeing who the musicians are in town.
What kind of music do you sing?
My voice is very Julie London-like. I'm a crooner. I go anywhere from jazz tunes to revised punk rock. But, when I do punk rock, I don't do it as punk rock. I do it as a croon. In my cover [songs], I cover a range that goes from Edith Piaf to Lyle Lovett.