The banquet room at Fogo de Chao was abuzz with activity, not all of it supplied by the gaucho-attired waiters zipping from table to table with large skewers of meat. Friends and family of Carmelo Anthony - plus a celebrity or two - had come together to help the NBA star kick off his "4th Annual H.O.O.D. Movement Weekend," to benefit the Carmelo Anthony Foundation.
On the weekend's agenda: a 3-on-3 basketball challenge and family fun one day, and a big sports-legends brunch the next.
The proceeds would be going toward local organizations that help underserved kids and families in this city where the Denver Nuggets star grew up.
At one table, rapper T.I. was getting some dinner. The fact that he would be performing at 1st Mariner Arena in about an hour didn't seem to affect his appetite.
"You know, food brings energy," T.I. said with a smile.
"I'm just here to support Carmelo Anthony with his foundation ... to help these kids in Baltimore and urban areas as much as we can, however we can," he said.
"Me and Melo came out in the NBA draft in the same year, 2003."
"Without the community of Baltimore, I don't think Carmelo would be who he is," said fellow Baltimore native, Kevin Liles, Warner Music Group executive vice president.
Anthony's mother, Mary Anthony, scanned the room, looking a bit overwhelmed.
"It's exciting about the whole thing, because when you look around and see what he's come back to do, it's hard to speak about. It's so overjoyful, and that's where I'm at right about now," she said.
Meanwhile, her son was obviously savoring the moment.
"Oh, it's just great, man. ... It's just always good to give back to the kids," Anthony said, as he dandled his one-year-old son, Kiyan, on his knee.
"At first, it was just the 3-on-3 tournament. Now, it's a whole weekend. I'm looking forward to expanding it next year."
Sloane Browne takes you to the party with a calendar of coming events and video reports at baltimoresun.com/scene
A Drink With Deborah Stallings
Diet Coke at Bangkok Delight in Columbia
Deborah Stallings, 48, is the founder and CEO of HR Anew, a human resources management consulting and professional services firm. She started the company as its only employee out of a small Columbia apartment almost 10 years ago. It now has 28 employees and about 20 independent contractors. Stallings lives in Columbia with husband Douglas M. Corner, who works in CarMax sales. She has a 28-year old daughter, Kena Hodges, and a 3-year-old grandson, Kristian.
What's fun about your job?
I'm very passionate about what we do. It's fun to help employers solve their problems and heal their pain, as it relates to their people strategy. ... An example of what gives me a thrill is the clients who have a really difficult time filling a position. ... For me, it's just very fulfilling to find that right candidate.
Do you mentally bring your work home with you?
No. My husband and I may spend a half hour talking about things. But, most of the time, it's our time.
Do you ever get silly?
Most people who know me probably say no. But, yes. My grandson can make me silly. We can roll around on the floor and tickle each other. Sometimes we have tickle fights; my husband, my grandson and my daughter. But, they usually team up against me. Now, that's fun.
Read more conversation with Deborah Stallings at baltimoresun.com/drink