The Contemporary

The Baltimore Sun

Is it a contradiction in terms when something is both contemporary and retro? Not if it's the Contemporary Museum's "Mod Holiday Party." Guests pushed through a curtain of beads to enter the main gallery. There, they could sip a whiskey sour and nibble on pigs in blankets, as they gazed at '60s relics such as a portable electric typewriter, a hatbox suitcase and Plexiglas furniture. Perhaps, they might be persuaded by event chairs Susan Amiot and Jessica Dorsey to step inside the party's absinthe lounge to taste the licoricey drink and watch a bit of Goldfinger projected on one wall.

Better yet, folks could check out the '60s interpretations that could be found on one another. Contemporary executive director Irene Hofmann was fab in a white lace mini and bouffant hairdo. CEO Patti Neumann was mad for mod in a graphic mini and newsboy cap.

"This sort of reminds me of my childhood," said board member Marcy Sagel, in a wool jumper and turtleneck. Board vice president Cynthia Smith admitted she was going for a "Twiggy thing" in a large collar shirt, jumper and heavy bangs.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine associate professors Dr. Mark Liu and Shery Sanders flipped for the hippie look in headbands and tie-dye. "I had to go online to remind myself," said Sanders.

Forget dressing like the '60s. Board president Pam Berman proclaimed she was the '60s.

"I am retro in my entirety," she said with a laugh.

At the heart of the party was the gift of art

One of the most artistic holiday parties of the season has to be the one thrown last weekend by Ted Frankel and Bill Gilmore. Frankel owns Sideshow, the gift shop at the American Visionary Art Museum, and Gilmore is executive director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. There's the home itself, stuffed with fantastic art of the sort you see at AVAM. And then there was the party's charity beneficiary, Art With A Heart, which brings hands-on art activities to disadvantaged children and families.

"You know when you have parties and everyone brings wine and stuff? We don't need that," Frankel said. So he and Gilmore asked guests to bring donations of art supplies instead of the usual party gifts. Frankel says they collected a van load of paper, paint and other art materials that night.

"It's just a great way to pass [the holiday spirit] on," he says.

Young Achievers Some 250 folks gathered at the Hippodrome last week for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's "35 Under 35 Finest Event." You had 35 amazing up-and-comers - all under age 35 - being honored for their achievements. We're talking the likes of: Bobby Carpenter, 35, publisher of Inside Lacrosse magazine; Heidi Klotzman, 27, HeidNSeek Entertainment CEO; and Harvis Kramer, 28, Greek Yearbook president. But it was a 17-year-old speaker who brought the room to a hushed standstill, according to CFF special events director Maren Blum.

Luke Hostetler is a senior at River Hill High School in Howard County. His uncle is former NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler. A quarterback himself, Luke has led the school's team to win Maryland state championships for two years running, all while dealing with cystic fibrosis.

"He's accomplishing so many things and doing it against all odds," Blum says. "He talked about his hope and it was so quiet, you could hear the proverbial pin drop."

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