Around town: Lots of famous faces were spotted in our fair city this past week, and two of them were at the Peabody Court Hotel. Jim Palmer fans called to say they were thrilled to be having dinner at a table near his in the elegant Peabody Conservatory, while other hotel guests were astonished to see Lassie walk into the hotel.
Yep, Lassie, the movie dog, was a guest at the Peabody, along with his press agent and trainer. Lassie was in town for the American Kennel Club's National Invitational Dog Championship, and I hear he left a paw print photo for the hotel staff. . . . Heads turned at the Mechanic Theatre Saturday night when Sen. Ted Kennedy arrived to see "Les Miserables." He came over from Washington to catch the performance of a former campaign staffer, Donna Kane, who plays Fantine
It seems too good to be true, but after being closed for nearly two years, the Belvedere's Owl Bar is reopening today at 4:30 p.m. The new owners of the eateries housed in the Belvedere are Dion and Maryann Dorizas, who will be serving lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Also opening tonight is the old 13th Floor, now called the Skylight Cafe. And soon the John Eager Howard Room, which will be renamed Renaissance, will open for business.
There was much to celebrate at Saturday night's sixth annual Center Stage Presents. It could have been called Center Stage Salutes Howard Head for his exceptional 28-year partnership with the theater.
More than 500 guests gathered in the Head Theater for dinner and an unveiling of the Head Ski Column, created by Baltimore sculptor Leonard Streckfus as a tribute to the late Howard Head. Peter Culman, Center Stage managing director, did the honors of introducing his widow, Martha Head, and Streckfus.
There was also a video tribute to Head, made up of vignettes of his life that were put together by Cari Stein and introduced by Head's longtime friend and honorary chair of this year's event, Warren Miller. Kudos to Marsha Becker, who chaired this year's gala, which also featured a performance by Broadway star Hinton Battle and students from the Baltimore School for the Arts, who put on an energetic show.
Others enjoying the evening were Janet Marie Smith, O's vice president; Joanne Kemp, wife of HUD secretary Jack Kemp; Nancy and George Roche, she's president of the Center Stage Board; Sue and John Hess, avid supporters of the arts and owners of Hess Apparel; and hard-working committee members Alex Baer, Kathy Hillman, Bob Jones, Terry Morgenthaler, Esther Pearlstone, Leslie Seyffert and Carole Sibel.
Towson State University celebrated Asian Culture Week in style. The celebration began with a reception in the Fine Arts Center for Thai Ambassador M. L. Birabhongse Kasemsri; Dr. Ching Jen Lui of the Taiwanese Coordinating Council for North American Affairs; Motokatsu Watanabe, director of the Japan Information Culture Center; and Teresita Barsana of the Embassy of the Philippines. On hand to greet the visitors were TSU President Hoke Smith, Jody Albright of the Governor's Office on Art and Culture, Jean Van Buskirk of the state's sister cities program, Provost Robert Caret and many others.