WE HEAR Rob Tregenza's movie, "Talking to Strangers," was a big hit in the Big Apple over the holiday season. Vincent Canby of the New York Times called the Baltimore-made film a "stylistic tour de force" and "a nearly perfect antidote to today's jazzy conception of montage."
The movie's star -- Ken Gruz -- recently returned home to the Big Crab from L.A. and is currently, ah, talking to new strangers for the Kennedy Center screenings of "Talking to Strangers" and Tregenza's latest feature, "The Arc," on Jan. 20.
MEGA DEVELOPER Erwin Greenberg held a "Jambalaya Jam" kick-off bash at his posh harborview high-rise condo last night for the Baltimore Opera.
"Jammers," as they're called, are a new, young group of opera supporters (and partyers) who're planning the "Jambalaya Jam" on March 3 -- Fat Tuesday -- at the Candler Building. Some notable Jammers include Kathleen Laughery, Jennifer Vitale, Claire Hecht, Marty Janowiecki, Chase Ridgely and Chris Armstrong. Call (410) 727-0592 if you'd like to attend.
TICKETS ARE available for the Support Black Filmmaking Comedy Jam, Part 2, which is scheduled for Tuesday at Moscow Nights in Sutton Place.
V-103's Jean Ross and Devron Minon from New York will host the event, which will feature comedians Joe Clair from Morgan State University, HBO's David Edwards and Baltimore's own Monique Watkins among others. Local jazz artist Ruby Glover will provide musical entertainment.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and benefit the Guerrilla Filmmakers Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts. Call (410) 523-6647.
AROUND TOWN: "New Every Morning," an exhibit of 53 color photographs by UMBC graduate Leslie Everheart, is currently on exhibit at the St. Charles Building at Charlestown Retirement Community. The photos of the Catonsville-based order of nuns, All Saints Sisters of the Poor, were taken over a three-year period. They have been reprinted in the New Every Morning Journal, priced at $13, with proceeds to benefit the Joseph Richey House. . . . Musician Denis DiBlasio -- he's musical arranger and sax player with Maynard Ferguson -- will perform Friday and Saturday night at the New Haven Lounge in Northwood.
BALTIMORE ENTERTAINMENT attorney E. Scott Johnson has been busy this past year helping to clear legal hurdles for the comeback of the pop group the Lovin' Spoonful, whose hit tunes from the '60s included "Do You Believe in Magic?" and "Summer in the City."
One of the members of the group,Steve Boone, lived in Baltimore in the early '70s, where he had the Blue Seas recording studio housed in a 135-foot houseboat in the Inner Harbor.
The studio became the recording home of such stars as Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Robert Palmer and Ricky Scaggs, until it sank in 1977 on Christmas Day.
The Spoonful held a kick-off concert New Year's Eve in Athens, Greece.
QUICK TAKES: Alan Villaverde, vice president and GM at the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel, was recently named Hotelier of the Year by the Maryland Hotel and Motel Association . . . United Way's PR whiz Mel Tansill will tie the knot with Valerie Verrecchio, a health care management professional, on March 28. The two met last summer at the University of Baltimore, where Mel was teaching an undergraduate writing course and Valerie was a student.
FINALLY, congratulations to 98 Rock's Bob Lopez and wife, Jean, who are the new parents of Leandra Elizabeth Lopez, who arrived in time for the Christmas holidays.