Magnificent Minnelli sings a battle hymn against AIDS for Lifesongs '93

November 26, 1993|By SYLVIA BADGER

Six years ago, 11 concerned people made a commitment to help in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That commitment is called Lifesongs and the committee, although incorporated and much larger now, still has the same goal.

During those years they've raised more than $750,000 from their annual concerts. This year's concert at the Baltimore Arena starred singer Liza Minnelli. She belted out songs as only she can do. There was a $100-a-person VIP party prior to the performance, which the star didn't attend. I was told she was relaxing in her flower-laden dressing room doing her nails and playing with her cairn terrier, Lily.

I asked several people, including Lifesongs president Bonnie Serpick and Lifesongs co-chair Eileen Abato, what Ms. Minnelli charged and all I got was, "Well between $150,000 and $300,000 would be a ballpark figure for someone like her."

Others at the party were Channel 2 news anchor Beverly Burke who emceed the intros. On her arm was a very funny guy, who turned out to be Andre Brown, a Baltimore-born and bred comedian, who has appeared at most of the best comedy clubs; Dot and Henry Rosenberg, he's CEO Crown Central, and Dot's daughter and son-in-law Mary Ellen and Tim Fuller, and Tim's mom, June; Donna Ledwin, Notre Dame College; Sam Davis, Maryland Food Committee; Carol and Bill Hawtof, she's secretary of Lifesongs; Rob Schunck, former bartender at Harrison's Pier 5 who now works for the Abacus Corp.; Boogie Weinglass, who was surrounded by people upset about the way he has been treated by the NFL, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the governor; Beth Goldsmith, the widow of Boogie's Merry-Go-Round partner, Harold, who flew in from Aspen for the event; Dr. Oscar Camp; WLIF's Sloane Brown and her husband, Dr. Steve Sobelman, and Ronnie Levin, Garon's.

Others I spotted at the arena were Susan Duval, actress; Stanley Levinson, who owns a funeral home; Loretta and Allan Garfinkle, he's an attorney; and Nelson Schreter, who told me that his dear friend and WBAL interviewer Elane Stein, has been a bit under the weather suffering with a broken vertebrae.

One word about Liza's performance. She received a standing ovation after she sang, "The Day After That," from the Broadway musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman." She has recorded this song as part of a campaign to raise public awareness and funds for AIDS research. She is supposed to address the United Nations on Wednesday, World AIDS Day, where she will the sing the song, accompanied by a special choir. She's hoping this song with become the anthem for the war against AIDS.

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It seems such a short time since the mid-'80s, when WBSB-FM better known as B-104 was the leading radio station in this market -- the home of bad boys Brian and O'Brien. Since then, there was a format change, B-104 became WVRT-FM, Variety 104, and then Scripps Howard sold the station to Capitol Broadcasting, which owns WMIX-FM 106.5.

Capitol officially takes over next Friday, and at that time 21 of the station's 23 employees, will be looking for jobs. (Everyone will receive severance pay from Scripps Howard.) There are three people still at the station who were there when B-104 went on the air in April 1980 -- Jim Fox, general manager, Chuck Allen, national sales manager, and John Pavlos, promotions director.

These three high-profilers have plans -- Jim and his sales manager Howard Mazer are looking for a business to buy; Chuck will be working on a joint venture with his wife, WMAR-TV's Rudy Miller and her partner, Sylvia Shapiro, who publish Maryland Family Magazine. Who knows maybe there's a new magazine in their future? And John, whose wife, Sharon, is an attorney at Weinberg & Green, will become Mr. Mom during the day and run his party DJ business evenings and weekends.

I'm told that WMIX general manager Ardie Gregory will be running both stations. They won't say what the format will be at this time.

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My friend Clarisse Mechanic, the Advertising & Professional Club's luncheon chair, says there are still a few tickets for $30 left for the Dec. 7 Author's Award luncheon. Pearl Harbor Day is a most appropriate date to honor Tom Clancy, Maryland's best-known author, military strategist and Baltimore Orioles own Call (410) 938-8800 for ticket information.

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It's that time of year again. On Jan. 2, I will run a column listing winter and spring social events. If you would like your event included, please send all the pertinent information, including a phone number for inquiries, to my attention, P.O. Box 1795, Baltimore 21278, or you may fax your information to me at (410) 783-2519.

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