A little snow wasn't keeping away supporters for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. Hundreds descended upon the Lyric Opera House for the museum's "2008 Annual Gala," a concert by pop legends Ashford & Simpson. Upstairs, VIP guests gathered for a pre-concert VIP party.
"I'm exhilarated," said Lewis' widow, Loida Lewis, chairman/CEO of TLC Beatrice. "I'm so glad there are so many people here tonight, in spite of the snow. That means they are committed and they are passionate about the [museum]." Guests included philanthropists Sylvia and Eddie Brown, who couldn't say enough about the museum as they chatted with other guests, including: Leslie King-Hammond, museum board chair; Beverly Cooper, event chair; Roslyn Smith, Northrop Grumman Corp. human resources director; Diane Bell-McKoy, Associated Black Charities president/CEO; Wanda Draper, WBAL-TV programming and public affairs director; and J.R. Paterakis, H&S; Bakery vice president.
"Tonight is about classics. Reginald Lewis was a classic. Eddie and Sylvia Brown are the new classics. And then you have Ashford and Simpson," said Carla Hayden, Enoch Pratt Free Library CEO.
Meeting Ashford and Simpson made the night for academic coach Ellen Meltzer and her daughter Claire, 16. Meanwhile, her husband, Sinai president Neil Meltzer, admitted he had decided against bringing some old albums to be autographed."First of all, because no one would know what an album is. And second of all, I'd be embarrassed that I'm so old that I still have albums."
Waters insiders in the White House
When you think of who might attend a sumptuous White House soiree, John Waters insiders Vince Peranio and wife Dolores Deluxe aren't exactly the guests who come to mind. But, last week, there they were.
Members of Congress had selected artists from each state to create an ornament for the White House Christmas tree and Sen. Barbara Mikulski asked Peranio to do the honors. (He did it in metal flake blue with silver stars and stripes and red crabs.) The artists and their significant others were invited to a fancy holiday party at the White House to see the final result.
The setting impressed Peranio the most.
"I just finished working on the HBO pilot that Sarah Jessica Parker developed, Washingtonienne. I spent two weeks going to Washington, touring all these government buildings. Then, I walk into the White House and ... it is a lovely house. I love that. It really is a home."
Deluxe's emotional reaction to being in the president's manse surprised her: "It is something to go to the White House, even for a lefty like me."
Thrill Rider Baltimore's roller-coaster czar Jim Seay had wall-to-wall people in his waterfront Canton townhome last weekend.
"People started arriving right at 6, and at 11, they were still coming," says Sara Ingram, who does marketing and sales for Seay's company, Premier Rides.
The amusement park ride pro also supplied a little amusement of a slightly more adult variety. Two semi-clothed women were body-painted as reindeer, while a "Naughty or Nice" room featured red and green feather boas, and a variety of, umm, "adult" toys.
"Admission" to the party was a toy for the Marines' annual Toys for Tots campaign. Ingram says the party garnered more than 600. That's even more than was collected at last year's shindig, when the Marines told Seay they received more toys from his one party than they had from everything else the entire year.
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