Pooches, peoples celebrate Humane Society birthday

MARYLAND SCENE

Around Town

September 29, 2002|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,Special to the Sun

Bet you've never quite seen a party guest list like this one: Harlequin Great Dane, English sheepdog, golden retrievers, Pembroke Welsh corgi, Rottweilers, bulldog, Petit Brussels Griffon Vendeen, standard poodles, toy poodle and cairn terrier. And those were just some of the 40 to 50 canine guests at the "Black Tie and Tails" gala that celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Humane Society of Baltimore County.

The Humane Society's Diane Kesler says the pooches joined some 200 human guests at the Sheraton North Hotel in Towson for the formal affair. A volunteer even passed a silver tray full of doggie treats, created by the Dog Bakery to look like regular hors d'oeuvres.

Needless to say, it wasn't just the two-legged guests who dressed for the event. Diane says many of the dogs wore jeweled collars and black ties. And some even enjoyed a spin on the dance floor with their owners.

Diane says everyone had such a good time that by the end of the night, many of the guests (at least those who could speak) were asking when next year's party is planned.

Kudos go to the folks at the Sheraton, who went along with the idea -- and to Diane and Humane Society executive director Frank Branchini, who pulled the whole thing together, which raised about $20,000 for the society.

Another first for a local group was also a raging success. For the first time, local artist-entertainers Ethel Ennis, Ruby Glover, Joyce Scott and Lea Gilmore combined forces and put on a show -- "Diva-Licious" -- as a benefit for the Women's Housing Coalition. The coalition's Susan Thompson says about 350 people came to the Center Stage performance. At the post-show reception, Susan says, she kept hearing people using the word "magical" to describe the funny-warm-fuzzy evening.

A couple of local folks recently rubbed shoulders with a few Hollywood types, and they didn't have to go coastal to do it. Piper Rudnick attorney Paul Gardner and his wife, LaVerne, were guests at a "sneak premiere" of Tim Reid's new film, For Real at D.C.'s Capitol Hilton. For Real is a feature film from New Millennium Studios, the production company Tim and his wife, Daphne Reid, established in 1997. Tim directed and stars in the romantic comedy opposite Tamara Curry.

Paul, who got to know Tim at a National Urban League conference a while ago, says he and LaVerne loved the flick. At the party after the screening came a different thrill, as the couple mingled with showbiz types like Radio One nationally syndicated personality Olivia Fox, Black Enter-tainment Television founder Bob Johnson, movie star Chris Tucker ("very down-to-earth") and actor-director Robert Town-send ("very gracious").

As far as the movie goes, the D.C. For Real screening is one of many planned across the country to build, as they like to call it in Hollywood, buzz. Paul says the Reids are hoping the movie will hit theaters nationwide in a few months.

Speaking of movie screenings -- you might remember Dreamworks was in town a while back filming Tuck Everlasting. When the film folks were scouting locations for the movie here, local natural resources biologist Wayne Abbott became an invaluable help because he knew just about every inch of land around Baltimore reservoirs.

Wayne was the one who suggested a ravine at Loch Raven, which became the movie's central locale. You might also remember news about the traffic accident earlier this year that claimed not only Wayne's life, but those of his wife and two sons. Only 6-year-old daughter Meg survived.

To honor Wayne's memory and to help meet his daughter's financial needs, the movie's director Jay Russell and executive producer Bill Teitler and Maryland Film Office director Jack Gerbes have gotten permission to hold a screening of Tuck Everlasting. The screening will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Loews Theatre in White Marsh. If you'd like to buy a $25 ticket, call the Maryland Film Office at 410-767-6340. You can also send a check, made payable to the Margaret Emily Abbott Contribution Account, to Tuck Screening, c / o Maryland Film Office, 217 E. Redwood St., Baltimore, MD 21202.

A sad note at the Arthritis Foundation's annual Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner. This year's honoree was Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell. However, the dinner ended up happening the night of the funeral for Baltimore Colt Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas.

"It was a rather tough day for people in Baltimore," says the foundation's Ellen Cavanagh McNulty.

"Many of the speakers talked about Art and Johnny Unitas, and what it meant to be a Baltimorean," she says, "... that they were both quiet, gentle giants, who gave a lot to their community."

Some of the sports greats who turned out for the dinner included former Colts Tom Matte and Bruce Laird; former New York Giant Frank Gifford, Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi and Giants owner Wellington Mara.

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