Some 300 people in polyester and psychedelic colors, big hair and platform shoes streamed into the Waxter Center, party faces on. Inside, a huge mirrored ball hung from the ceiling, pulsing light in time to disco music. It was a pop-culture nightmare: The '70s were back -- but at least it was in the name of charity.
"This is our signature event," says Karen Bellesky, a grants manager at Chase Brexton Health Services. "The reason we do a retro dance is because back in 1978, Chase Brexton [opened] in the building across the street, which used to be Gerard's Disco." On its 20th anniversary in 1998, CBHS celebrated by throwing a disco fund-raiser. It's been the group's most popular event ever since.
Among those in the funky bunch: Franklin McNeil, CBHS board secretary; Christopher Panos, CBHS board president; David Shippee, CBHS executive director; Karen Weiss, CBHS board treasurer; Don Acker, Karen Bellesky, Davis Bradley, Dana Durrett, Paul Fowler, Dick Lebert, Michael Ludwig and Jim Spellisy, CBHS events committee members; Mona Crutchfield, a claims representative for the Social Security Administration, Nivesh Patnaik, a systems administrator at TRW; David Haltiwanger, director of mental health at CBHS; Pat Van Horn, Baltimore-based jewelry maker and artist; Jeff Combs, an account manager at Provident Bank; Leo Dorsey, general manager of Sodexho food services at Johns Hopkins; Jennifer Eklof, senior HIV specialist with Abbott Laboratories; and Stephen Salny, Baltimore-based architect and design historian.
Chase Brexton is a nonprofit organization focused on the gay and lesbian community and committed to caring for those who have difficulty acquiring quality health care elsewhere. The event raised more than $45,000.