Okay. So you knew this year's "Solstice '02," Maryland Science Center's annual shindig, was going to be cool as soon as you got your invite. It was this little flip book that showed the sun setting and the moon rising among the stars as it introduced this year's party theme, "An Evening With the Stars," focusing on the center's current space-themed exhibits.
As it turned out, the invitation was only the beginning of the fun, according to Solstice vice chair Frank Heintz.
Frank says when the 450 gussied-up guests arrived at the Science Center for the gala, they got down to the work of playing. For instance, those plastic rocket launchings outside.
"If you stomped on the launch pedal correctly," Frank explains, "you could get your rocket to go as high as the building itself."
Frank says some of the ladies left gala decorum behind for a moment as they jumped as hard as they could to send rockets soaring. He adds there were no reports of broken high heels suffered in the process.
Inside, guests were invited to visit the center's new kids' room, which Frank says was designed so children would never want to leave.
"It also proved to be so for adults in tuxedos," he says.
It seems some of the gentlemen had trouble moving through a certain new water wheel exhibit.
"Some of our guests were playing overly long in the water area," says Frank, "and if you slipped and happened to splash a little water on a fellow guest, so be it."
Best of all, Frank reports, the gala raised a record amount of nearly $300,000 for the Science Center's Traveling Science Program.
ANOTHER RECENT smash hit on B-more's social circuit was The Creative Alliance's "Art to Dine For." This was a series of nine soirees -- each by different supporters of the arts organization at various locations, each with a different theme and ticket price.
And each had its own "wow" factor. For instance, Dan Sellers held a Peruvian dinner party in his Reservoir Hill home. According to Alliance program director Megan Hamilton, the dinner was cooked by Peruvian chefs, using ingredients Dan had arranged to have shipped from Peru.
Or the al fresco champagne party thrown by Vince Peranio and Dolores Deluxe. Guests mingled among the trees, peonies, wisteria and bamboo arches all tucked away in a gorgeous courtyard garden space behind the row of Fells Point rowhouses Vince and Dolores call home.
And let's not forget the lawn party on at the Roland Park home of Lorraine and Markell Whittlesey.
"Markell is a fiendish croquet player," Megan says, "so there was some pretty serious competitive croquet going on."
There were no losers at this get-together, since everyone "scored" some of Markell's home-smoked salmon.
So who pulled off arranging nine successful parties?
Megan points to "Art to Dine For" co-chairs Mary Jo Gordon and Rita Linder.
"All the time they put in," Megan says, "this was a pretty major commitment."
Success, indeed. Not only did the series of soirees raise almost $10,000 for The Creative Alliance -- the parties were so much fun, folks are already offering to be the host for shindigs next year.
A sizzling night at Everyman Theatre, and we're not talking about the thermostat. It was about attitude and ambiance at "Hot Aqua: South Beach Sizzle & Copa Rhythms," Everyman's 11th annual gala. Roller-bladers, a la Miami's South Beach, welcomed the more than 300 guests as they arrived at the theater on North Charles Street. Fuchsia, mango and turquoise ostrich feathers formed fantasy palm trees inside, as a Carmen Miranda look-alike led a conga line through the room.
Among those in the hot crowd: Martha Weiman, event chair; Marlene Brager, Donald Hicken, Robin Weiman and Steve Yeager, event committee members; Gordon Becker, Everyman Theatre board chair; Jeannie L. Howe, board president; Susan Fleishman, Nathan Chernoff, Kathy Abbott, Barry Bach, Niki Harris, Bob Jones, Jonathan Melnick, Satish Parekh, Zelig Robinson, Tyson Tildon and Elspeth Udvarhelyi, board members; Vincent Lancisi, Everyman Theatre artistic director; Claire Braswell, Everyman Theatre managing director; Sally Hendler, Softland Corporation human resources director; Paul Lee, Baltimore-area real estate appraiser; David Kuryk, Baltimore attorney; Carol Madow, WYPR Radio promotions director; LeeAnn Rossello, Hodes Ulman Pessin & Katz firm director; Jeff Dorsey, Jones Lighting Specialists lighting consultant; James Machniak, James Bryan Salon & Spa owner; Dr. Gary Pushkin, Franklin Square Hospital orthopedic surgeon; Sallie Scott, Cynkar / Santini Inc. partner; Anne Scott, Catonsville Community College retired teacher; Jay Jenkins, Baltimore interior designer; and Arthur Perschetz, Muldoon Murphy & Faucette partner.
The hot-hot-hot party raised a cool $73,000 for Everyman Theatre.
-- Sloane Brown