Around Town



Local folks seem to be heeding the president's advice not to give in to fear: Loads of 'em turned out to social events last weekend. That's not to say the events of Sept. 11 were forgotten.

Word of mouth about last year's first annual "Bull & Oyster Roast" for HERO -- Health Education Resource Organization -- brought out an even bigger crowd this year. Some 245 folks showed up at The Overlea on Belair Road to gorge on good eats, dance and play wheel games. HERO's Beezer Zepp says the shindig brought together all sorts of people, raising more than $13,000 for HIV / AIDS support and services.

At the end of the evening, as the DJ played "God Bless America," guests spontaneously grabbed the candles in the centerpieces and held them high.

"No one had planned it," says Beezer, "they all just stood up at the same time. That was the most moving part of the evening."

Over at the Mechanic Theatre, an old tradition has been revived. In the '80s, the annual Bartender's Ball was a big-time blowout, until the event disappeared several years ago. Well, gang, it's ba-a-ack! About 140 folks, mostly involved in B-more's restaurant biz, gathered in the theatre's lobby and lounges, groovin' on the tunes of local bands Swingin' Swamis and The Donegal X-Press.

The Mechanic's concessions manager Jayson Fricke organized the shindig with Mick O'Shea's bar managers Stephanie Niehenke and Nate Adams. The $2,000 they raised will be split between the Maryland SPCA and the United Way's September 11th Fund.

Jayson is hoping to make the Ball an annual thing again, getting bigger and better each year. Look out below!

Meanwhile, the mood at Hunt Valley's Carrabba's Italian Grill was very intimate for the "Luncheon for RETT," according to Kim Offutt. The Millersville mom and her aunt, Jean Smith, organized the get-together for the love of Kim's 3-year-old daughter. Kate has RETT Syndrome, a disorder that affects baby girls and causes severe lifelong disabilities.

"We're not an organization," Kim says, "we're not professional fund-raisers." They just wanted to raise a little awareness and some funds. They did. About 175 people packed the place, bringing in some $9,000 for RETT research.

Every guest also got a crystal angel ornament with a picture of Kate tied to it. Fells Point artist Maria Cavacos gave Kim a copy of the Emily Perl Kingsley poem "Welcome to Holland," which she had copied in calligraphy and illustrated, and which Kim read to the gathering.

"It was such an outpouring of love," says Kim, "so many people said it was the nicest event they'd ever been to."

Note to movie lovers: Tuesday night, Oct. 23, you can get a sneak peek at the new Kevin Kline / Kristin Scott Thomas flick, Life As a House, and raise a few smackers for the Maryland Film Festival. Ten bucks will get you in to the 7:30 benefit screening at the Charles Theatre. Call 410-752-8083 for more info.

Social Calendar

Oct. 24: "Act Out." Benefits Baltimore School for the Arts. Beer, wine, heavy hors d'oeuvres, acting and dance lessons, DJ music, dancing. Baltimore School for the Arts, 712 Cathedral St. 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Tickets $40, $50 at door. Call 410-396-1185.

Oct. 24: "Vine & Vintage." Benefits St. Vincent's Center. Beer, wine tasting, heavy hors d'oeuvres, antique appraisals (guests must be able to carry their own items, so heavy furniture is not recommended), live music. The Cloisters, 10440 Falls Road, Brooklandville. 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Call 410-252-4000, Ext. 1629.

Oct. 25: "Fifth Annual Taste of Hampden." Benefits Hampden Family Center. Beer, wine, food stations from Hampden restaurants, live music. Hampden Family Center, 1104 W. 36th St. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Tickets $25 advance, $30 at door. Call 410-467-8710.

Oct. 25: "Founders Week Gala Celebration." Benefits University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation. Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, live music, dancing, spoof performed by deans of seven UMB professional schools. Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 700 Aliceanna St. 6:30 p.m.-9:45 p.m. Tickets $75. Call 410-706-8035.

Oct. 25: "Steak & Burger Dinner." Benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County. Cash bar, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, guest speakers Sun columnist Susan Reimer, Orioles coach Elrod Hendricks. Richlin Ballroom, 1700 Van Bibber Road, Edgewood. 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Call 410-272-8233.

Oct. 26: "Gigamajig." Benefits Hannah Moore School. Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, live music, dancing. Grand Lodge, 304 International Circle, Hunt Valley. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Tickets $100. Call 410-526-5000.

Oct. 27: "Annual Luncheon Card Party." Benefits Big Sisters Club of Baltimore. Lunch, fashion show, bingo, bridge, pinochle. Martin's Champagne Room, 2701 W. Patapsco Ave. Noon-4 p.m. Tickets $30. Call 410-578-8666 or 410-233-3002.

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