The eerie sounds of a theremin filled the air. As you made your way through a crowd of creatures, you came across sexy space maidens in metallic bikinis, strange space creatures in sports jackets and bobbing antennae, and several beings who were clearly not from this Earth.
Were we on some sort of forbidden planet? As a matter of fact, yes. For this was Creative Alliance's annual Marquee Ball. This year's theme was the 1956 science fiction cult film, Forbidden Planet. The "planet" in this case was, in fact, Creative Alliance's headquarters in the old Patterson Theatre.
While part of the evening involved an auction of art, it was clear that much of the evening's artistic endeavors were on the guests themselves. As the movie played silently on the theater walls, loads of folks got into the act as well. Creative Alliance's executive director Margaret Footner wore bronze biker shorts over black tights, while program director Megan Hamilton sported a sparkly cape and high boots.
Merchant mariner Jason Scoran looked like some evil vacuum creature, in a green flight suit with huge tubes extending from the collar.
Painter Christine Sajecki was decked out in a metallic brown cat suit with gold Wonder Woman armbands and gold boots.
"I'm kind of a space country singer, maybe a waitress in a space truck stop," she said.
Like a space virus, the fun spirit of the evening infected everyone, even those in more present-day garb, like honoree Nancy Haragen, honorary chair Richard Bennet, Fred and Jonna Lazarus, Steve Ziger, Jamie Snead, Dolores Deluxe, Debra and Joe Rubino, Jimmy Rouse and Jim Halle.
"Space is the place," announced Maryland Institute College of Art jewelry center director Kirsten Rook. She hurried off in search of more space potion, dazzling in a silver lame cocktail dress and swoopy Vulcan eyebrows.
A Drink With Dr. Kim Hammond
Baby, gorillas add up to fun for veterinarian
Baltimore native Dr. Kim Hammond, 54, is one of the area's best known veterinarians. He has owned the Falls Road Animal Hospital since 1981, and is a regular on-air contributor to WBAL TV. He is divorced and has a daughter, Eden, 21, who graduates from Yale University this year. Hammond lives in Brooklandville with fiancee Carol Elerding, and another brand-new "roommate," their 2 1/2 -week old daughter, Stella Mary Louise.
How does it feel to be a "new" father all over again?
If I'd known it was going to be this easy, I would've done it 10 years ago.
But, you're only a couple of weeks into it. ...
Yeah, but Carol is such a perfect nurturing mother. We've split the responsibilities. I'm the gatherer and she's the nurturer. And it really works. ... Being my age, it's so much easier, primarily because I don't have all the confusion and chaos of being a young father. ... I love the way the baby smells. I love the way she looks. ... The first time around ... it was fun, but ... I was just reacting.
You have new professional responsibilities too.
I'm one of the directors of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. You can read about it at www.mgvp.org. It's based in Baltimore, but takes place in Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. We're in charge of Dian Fossey's "gorillas in the mist" [project]. Baltimore is a funny place. There are a lot of exceedingly talented people here. Dr. Mike Cranfield, the head vet at the Maryland Zoo, is one of them. This project fell into his lap. I'm one of his best friends, so I'm helping him.
You've always had kind of a secondary career in "adventure veterinary medicine." You've worked on movie sets, and in other exotic locales.
Yeah, I feel like it's Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in veterinary medicine. Walt Disney's stories are wonderful, but they aren't always happy. They involve a lot of personal triumph through the tragedy, but they're not always victories. ... I've always felt I've been given a lot of gifts in this world, in terms of my family, my education. And I feel there's a responsibility to give back.
Do you have time to have fun?
My whole life is fun. Even helping sick animals. How bad is it to fly to Africa and hike in a magnificent rain forest?
Do you have hobbies?
I ski in the winter. I go to the beach in Bermuda in the summer.
Do you ever spend a lazy day at home?
Since we've had the baby, that's all we do. We put the baby in the middle of the bed, propped up in a Boppy -- kind of a U-shaped curved pillow. And we sit around and talk. I'm also reading this great book by John Le Carre called Mission Song.