Scene&heard

Art meets technology at gala

June 11, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN | SLOANE BROWN,SUN REPORTER

What happens when art meets technology? A heckuva party, if the Contemporary Museum is at the controls. Almost every aspect of the Contemporary's gala had an electronic / artistic bent. As guests entered the Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art, they were greeted by the sounds of electronic music. Right inside the front door stood a digital photo booth, where folks could pose for pictures and then be rewarded with a strip of four photos.

Even the cocktail hour eats were set on glowing trays and tables. And how about those high-tech-looking electric blue martinis up for grabs during the cocktail hour?

All the art in the auction had a digital element to it as well.

"We wanted to celebrate the merging of art and technology," said Irene Hofmann, the Contemporary's executive director. "When it gets dark, there will be computer-generated abstract animations projected on the windows."

"I'm so thrilled to see so many up for this event," she continued. However, for Hofmann, it came with a price. With so many to meet and greet -- board president Tom O'Neil, Steve Ziger, Jamie Snead, Nancy Haragen, John Yuhanick, Jack Kardos, Jodi and Brian Fader, Ross McWilliams, Betty Cooke and Bill Steinmetz, among others -- she was now losing her voice.

In the tent outside, dining tables featured sheets of Lucite with old-fashioned candelabra digitally etched onto them, topped with battery-powered "candles." After dinner, an all-electronic music dance party was set inside, complete with laser light show.

"This is all another way to show how unique the Contemporary really is to Baltimore," concluded board member and artist Betsey Heuisler.

"I FEEL LIKE I'M BACK AT THE OCEAN, WHEN I WAS A KID!" (ABOUT SITTING IN THE PHOTO BOOTH)

Marcy Sagal, Interior Designer

Steve Geppi, 56, is CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, publisher and CEO of Baltimore magazine and part owner of the Baltimore Orioles. He also publishes comic books and owns antiques auction houses in several states. Geppi and wife Mindy Geppi have two children, Breanna, 16, and Stevie, 4. He has four children -- Missy, 34, Danielle, 32, Gina, 28, and Josh, 25 -- from a previous marriage. Geppi also has four grandchildren.

Did your business stem from a love of comics as a kid?

No. I was a mailman from 1969 to 1974. ... But, I wanted my own business ... I saw my nephew reading a comic book. And I thought I would check [the business of comic books] out ... [Eventually] I opened a little comic book store in the basement of a TV repair shop here.

You have expanded from there. Have you always been a wheeler dealer?

No, but when I was a kid, my mother would say to me, what do you want to do when you grow up? And I'd always say, "make money."... At some point in my life, when I realized I was successful, I realized there were no limits. Whatever Donald Trump or anyone else was doing, I could do it because I had the confidence that I could sell myself.

Is there any area where you don't feel so confident?

Probably. I sometimes worry -- as a guy who didn't get to finish high school -- I probably have a shadow over me, and think [in some conversations] maybe I'm getting a little too deep here. But, at the end of the day, I realize that I don't think so, because I'm not afraid to say that I don't know [something]. People skills, the ability to talk to people, to listen -- that gets you through.

You are go-go-go. Do you ever just poop out?

I sleep about four hours a night. I find when I have the rare occasion where I might get six hours, I can't sleep any more. I feel like I'm wasting valuable time.

Do you ever just relax?

When my family drags me away and we go to Disney World. I generally relax there. If there's geographic distance from my desk, I can relax.

Any dreams you haven't yet fulfilled?

There is one joking dream. One day I'd buy Disney and rename it Gepcot. I kind of see it this way: I've fulfilled a lot. But you go from fulfilling a dream to perfecting a dream. The dreams get more refined because you're not concerned with getting to the Promised Land. You want to stay in the Promised Land.

SOCIAL EVENTS

MONDAY

GOLF CLASSIC DINNER

Benefits Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation

Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, dinner

Hillendale Country Club

Phoenix, Md.

5:30 p.m., Tickets $150

Call 410-339-5787

THURSDAY

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY

Benefits Literacy Works Inc.

Book: One Sip at a Time

Champagne, gourmet cheeses

Spirits of Mt. Vernon

900 N. Charles St.

5:30 p.m.

Free, but RSVP required to keyara@womenandwineevents.com

CELEBRITY AUCTION PARTY

Benefits Sportsmen Lifting Academics and Sponsoring Hope Fund

Open bar, food stations, dessert, DJ, meet Ravens players / coaches

Morton's The Steakhouse

300 S. Charles St.

7 p.m.

Tickets $150

Call 410-746-9369

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