You didn't need to head up to the Big Apple to get a bite of it recently. All you had to do was drop on by the Hyatt Regency for Mercy Medical Center's big bash, "Mercy Magic." This year's theme -- "Broadway Bound!" -- got your attention as soon as you entered the hotel. Kirsten Greenwell, who co-chaired the party with Allison Doriss, says you were greeted by a Stomp-style group of "street musicians," complete with open guitar case for tips (which went to Mercy's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit). Upstairs, in the mezzanine lobby, folks encountered a "newsstand," with $20 goodie bags for sale instead of magazines. Since the theme was Broadway, Kirsten says, guests were surrounded by decorations of gigantic playbills. And what would a Great White Way experience be without some whiff of Cats? Kirsten says the musical's Mr. Mistoffelees wandered through the crowd of 850 during the cocktail hour, as did a Dame Edna impersonator.
Kirsten says the ballroom, where people ate dinner, was all done up as though it were the Tony Awards. All black and gold with floral centerpieces that had names of current Broadway shows twined around the bases. And when it came time to present the $300,000 raised by the party to Mercy's head honchos Sister Helen Amos and Tom Mullen, Kirsten and Allison walked down a red carpet handcuffed to a doctor's bag that had (play) money sticking out of it.
Another of the evening's showstoppers was Mercy's pediatrics chairman, Dr. Ron Gutberlet. He was dressed as Annie.
"He was the talk of the town in his little red dress and bare legs," Kirsten chuckles.
Speaking of guys in costume, how 'bout that male model painted in silver as a Greek god at the "18th Annual Taste & Auction of Howard County?" The shindig turned out to be the biggest ever, with some 650 food lovers turning out at Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center to sample the specialties of 21 restaurants and caterers. Looks like the affair raised a whopping $178,000.
Chocolate martinis and cosmopolitans were added to the goodies from local eateries that folks could sample at Book Bash 2003. Committee member Caryn Sagal says more than 50 authors showed up to chat with the 600 partygoers and sign books. Several of them did readings, and Catonsville singer / songwriter Niki Lee performed some of Dorothy Parker's writings that she had put to music.
Caryn says author Joan Allen appeared in her "Chocolate Goddess" costume -- all gold sequins. She and her assistant, done up as an angel, handed out her famous chocolate brownies. Allen apparently swears hers is the best brownie recipe ever. Unfortunately, Caryn couldn't confirm that.
"They ran out so fast, I didn't get any," she explains.
The best thing about this year's Literacy Works fund-raiser, though, was its new location, Borders Books & Music in Towson. After its old home at Bibelot closed, Book Bash spent two years slightly adrift, one year at the Atrium at Towson Circle and one year at the Shops at Kenilworth. And Caryn says it was great to be back inside a bookstore. Not only did the event raise about $70,000 for Literacy Works, but Caryn says she thinks Borders had about $15,000 in sales that evening. Looks like Book Bash has found a new home!
It was a real family affair this year at the "14th Steak and Burger Dinner" thrown by the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County. One family in particular received a lot of attention. You might have heard of them -- the Ripkens? Executive director Don Mathis says Robbie Callaway, with the national office in D.C., presented the National Silver Medallion to Vi Ripken for all their support of the organization.
"This was a surprise for Vi," Don says, "and three of her kids, Bill, Elly and Fred, were there to surprise her. Cal Jr. was in Florida, but he sent a congratulatory tape he'd done the week before."
"She was thrilled. She knows how rare these awards are."
Board chairman George Heidelmeaier was also thrilled. Some 300 people came, including 65 kids. And the bash raised about $12,000 for Boys and Girls Club of Harford County programs.
Nov. 11: "Maryland's Great Sports Moments." Benefits Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum. Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner. Former and current Maryland professional athletes honored. Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor, 101 W. Fayette St. 6 p.m. Tickets $175. Call 410-727-1539, Ext. 3015.
Nov. 13: "A Vision for Maryland." Benefits Baltimore Junior Association of Com- merce. Beer, cash bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, networking. Aris Melissaratos, speaker. Red Fish, 845 S. Montford St. 6:30 p.m. Tickets $16 nonmembers, $14 members through Nov. 10, $21 nonmembers, $19 members after Nov. 10 and at door. Call 410-527-4006.
Nov. 15: "Cabaret for Kids 2003." Benefits the Children's Guild. Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, live entertainment and music. Bill Struever, honoree. The Children's Guild, 6802 McClean Blvd. 6:30 p.m. Tickets $125. Call 410-444-3804, Ext. 350.