Hats off to the good work at the Madhatters Ball

January 26, 1996|By SYLVIA BADGER

WHAT DO red hot peppers, taco mixes, flower pots, bumble bees and lighthouses have in common with tuxedos? Absolutely nothing, unless you attended the 10th annual black-tie Madhatters Ball. All of those items -- and many more -- adorned hats, which, combined with appearances from the Keystone Kops, the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland, set the wacky tone for the evening.

This year's event to benefit United Cerebral Palsy was chaired by Baltimore undertaker Dean Charlton. Charlton and his committee decided to hold the event at the recently renovated L'Hirondelle Club, a great site for a large party because there are so many places for guests to congregate.

One of the first people I saw was Al Grimes, a telecommunications consultant, who was hard to miss, since he was wearing a tall blinking lighthouse on his head, which was created again this year by his wife, Claire. Others with whom I spoke were Janine Rogers, former owner of the Milk House on York Road, with her husband, Jack; Marita and Jim Zuraitis, she's with USF&G and he's with Farley Candy Co.; Michael Angelos, executive VP International Resource & Development Corp., with a very pretty Kerry O'Neill on his arm; Robert Berman, VP of Baltimore Harbor Charters; Kathy and Alex Brodowski, he's with Alex Brown; former arts and sciences director for Baltimore County Lois Baldwin, on the arm of Bobby Knatz, a member of the Baltimore County Liquor Board; Nancy Baldwin, R.W.D. Technologies computer consulting firm, with Richard Deurer, a talented artist who showed me a brochure of his delightfully humorous acrylic paintings of modern life as it might have been seen through ancient eyes; Judy Sussman, general manager of Perring Racquet Club; and Streett Baldwin, a CPA and committee member.

While admiring auction items, a good-looking camel hair jacket that felt just like cashmere caught my eye. It was donated by J. T. Mullin, of Mullin Custom Clothing on North Charles Street, who told me he has made clothes for Gen. Colin Powell and author Tom Clancy. Mullin was at the party with his wife, Mary Jo, and her sister, Susan Ayres, who was with committee member Dennis Connelly, O'Conor Piper & Flynn.

Putting with Clancy

Three floors of the Camden Club were filled with golfers putt-putting around an array of miniature courses designed by sponsors of Tom Clancy's annual Golf Tourney.

Golfers and guests were treated to golf course type food, hot dogs and sandwiches, washed down with sodas, beer or wine. Celebrity golfer/author Clancy held forth at one table, while "Homicide's" husband-wife team, Richard Belzer and Harlee McBride, were at a nearby table. I joined them to chat about how Baltimore and the cast have become such a mutual admiration society. We also talked about their summer plans. They're leaving in March to spend some time at their home in France, which Harlee plans to continue decorating. Richard says he'll make a music video and a comedy album during that time.

WJZ-TV's Don Scott did the intros, which included Jo Ann and Steve Willats, and their lovely daughter, Monica. They told us about the child's leukemia diagnosis six years ago and thanked Clancy, who in return said that he had begun to think of Monica as his fourth daughter.

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