Enjoying a new home for the arts

SCENE & HEARD

Scene&heard

April 30, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

If an arts center is supposed to showcase the arts, the newly renovated Center for the Arts at Towson University certainly did so, and all in one night at "A Funky Formal Affair," the center's official opening night.

The party wasn't in just one area. It was happening all over the building, with event chairs Marsha and Gordon Becker gladly showing the way to arriving guests.

You could find "aerial theater" in one room, and "meditative guitar" in another. One minute, you were being serenaded by a quartet on the Grand Staircase. The next, a sword fight was happening there. In addition to the performances, several art galleries offered exhibits to peruse. And then there was the building itself, which has doubled in size.

"I saw this all through its construction, and it's spectacular," said actor John Glover of TV's Smallville, a Towson graduate.

"Hey, sexy," he called to Rebecca Hoffberger, the American Visionary Art Museum founder and director, giving her a big hug.

"Really fabulous," said interior designer Richard Taylor as he stood on a walkway surveying three floors of a glassed-in atrium.

"State buildings often don't have any character, texture or dimensionality. But this building has all of that," said Towson president Robert L. Caret, proudly watching the scene.

"It is awesome," added his wife, Liz Zoltan, who reflected the evening's razzle-dazzle in a totally glam red gown.

"It's a beautiful building," said Gwen Davidson, a partner at Brown Advisory. "You just have a wonderful sense of the commitment to the arts."

A DRINK WITH CRAIG THOMPSON

Lawyer with heart

Considered one of Baltimore's crackerjack trial lawyers, Craig Thompson, 37, specializes in commercial litigation and product liability. After eight years at the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, he recently joined the Venable firm as a partner. Thompson is also host of The Front Page, a public affairs show that airs from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday on WEAA FM. He and his wife, attorney Deborah St. Lawrence, have two daughters; Delaney, 2, and Dana, 4 weeks.

Of all the things you do, what do you like doing the best?

If we're only talking professionally, it's the thrill of taking one case from start to finish. I love that. If we're talking beyond the profession, it's raising my daughters.

Even with the 'not getting enough sleep' part of that ...

Even with that. I'm a 'view from the bridge' kind of guy. That means I view the bigger picture of things. And every event occurs in the context of a bigger picture. So, I become less frustrated with the lack of sleep because I keep focusing on the big picture.

So, who's getting out of bed at 3 a.m. when the baby cries?

Both of us, I'm proud to say. I've been changing diapers for the last two years. And I'm a pro now. I can change diapers with my eyes closed, and sometimes I have to because it's dark. Diapers, burping, walking, consoling, holding both babies in both arms. I try to do it all.

So, contrary to the stereotype, you sound like a lawyer with a heart.

We do exist. ... Candidly, you'll find most litigators have the most heart. Because you have to have passion. And heart, to me, translates to passion. Passion for what you do, for what issues you present to a jury and a judge. And, most importantly, passion for the issues of your client.

What happens if you can't find that passion with a client's issues?

That's when you have passion for the law.

That's all pretty intense. Do you ever need a break?

One of the things that helps me is the radio show. ... It's my stress relief. ... I've been doing it for almost 12 years, so now I know what to say to get people to call in. ... You look for those small pieces of information that people are passionate about.

What comfort food are you passionate about?

Pizza with green peppers, mushrooms and pineapple. I haven't had red meat in about 13 years.

On weekends, do you ever kick back and just watch TV?

The kickback time for me is around 2 or 3 in the mornings sometime, when I'm trying to wind down. And I watch some stupid movie, over and over and over again. I'll watch the same movie for two weeks. And I'll laugh as hard every time. My wife simply cannot understand how someone so serious can laugh at such stupid or slapstick comedy. I'm not disclosing any titles for fear they may harm my reputation as a serious professional.

SOCIAL CALENDAR

MONDAY

An Evening with Bill Geist

Benefits Myerberg Senior Center

Talk by and dessert reception with CBS Sunday Morning correspondent / author

Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Ave.7:30 p.m.

Tickets $125; talk only $40 -- at the door

THURSDAY

6th Annual Spring Luncheon

Benefits House of Ruth

Lunch, guest speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin

M&T Bank Stadium

11:45 a.m.

Tickets $125

Call 410-554-8449

THURSDAY

Vibe '06!

Benefits The Hearing and Speech Agency

Open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, tour exhibits, live music

National Aquarium in Baltimore

7 p.m.

Tickets $150

Call 410-318-6780

MAY 7

Fashion Fever

Benefits Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital

Specialty drinks, brunch, fashion show featuring local celebrity models, Spring shopping boutiques

Engineers Club

11:30 a.m.

Tickets $75

Call 410-578-5040

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