Guests take tresses to excesses


May 20, 2007|By SLOANE BROWN

The 20th anniversary of the Columbia Festival of the Arts called for a unique celebration. That's exactly what it got with a pre-festival fundraiser, "An Evening with John Waters." But, the entertainment began long before Baltimore's famed filmmaker even arrived.

The invitation had read, "black tie and big hair preferred." So, loads of guests jumped at the chance to explore their inner hair hopper. There were heaps of high hairdos and uber-tacky getups everywhere you looked. Michele Toth, a Northrop Grumman vice president arrived as a 1970's Cher look-alike -- resplendent in a slinky mod dress and a long curly wig. Meanwhile, her date, retired Northrop Grumman director Ron Suski, sported a huge Afro.

"It's a fun night and a chance to act out. And no one will know us," she explained.

"I've got as much hairspray in my hair as I can," said Columbia Association president Maggie Brown, pointing to her pouffed-out hair. Her husband, Nesbitt Brown, was having fun reliving the '70s in a way he never could in real life -- in a big curly wig.

"I used to work for the military, and you couldn't come on post like this," he said with a chuckle. Actor Tim Pabon could be spotted from anywhere in the room, courtesy of his humongous bouffant made of sponge.

Then there was Howard County arts supporter Elizabeth Lundeen, whose husband, John, was completely hidden inside a huge bunny costume. Lundeen had, indeed followed the evening's dress dictates. Why, hadn't she come with her own "big hare?"

A Drink With Jim Dale

Writer believes in honesty, apologies

Jim Dale, 58, grew up in the Detroit area, but came to Baltimore in 1983 as creative director for the advertising company WB Doner. Co-creator of the Dale Cards greeting card company, he also wrote part-time, publishing some humor books. In 1995, Dale, who was by then the CEO/president of Doner, left the company to write full time. In the years since, he has published about 10 books, including one with Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, two books on the art of negotiating (with sports agents Ron Shapiro and Mark Jankowski) and several books on raising children. Dale has just come out with his latest, The Obvious. He lives in Towson with wife Ellen Small, who is the parent program coordinator at Park School. They have three adult children.

How do you come up with ideas for your books?

In the case of the negotiating books, [my co-authors] came to me. Sometimes I have ideas. I've been in business for the last, oh, 150 years. So, I have business-related ideas. And I like sports, so I like sports-related ideas. I have a facility for taking on someone else's voice. So that enables someone else to tell their story accurately.

What's the new book about?

It's called The Obvious. The subtitle is "All You Need to Know in Business Period." It's that the most powerful lessons in business are those we already know -- or should know -- but tend to ignore because they're right in front of us.

Isn't that true for a lot of lessons in life, like parenting?

It's absolutely true in parenting. But human beings have a weakness for secret formulas, shortcuts, magic potions. Like [he reads from his book], "Honesty is the most powerful weapon in business." And I'll give you another one; "Simple is better than complicated." And a last one; "Patience is a virtue. So is impatience."

You have a good mind for catchy phrases.

I've spent a lifetime coming up with catchy phrases, whether it's an advertising headline, a greeting card line, or the title of a book. I had a publisher say to me recently, "You do good titles."

Use a catchy phrase to describe yourself.

I like to think simply. You know, less is more. I don't always do that ... yackety yackety yack. And then I wish I had said less. I think most problems [seem] overly complex and if you take them apart, you'll find a simple problem trying to get out.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Swedish fish. You know, those hideous candies? I have the capacity to eat as many as there are. And at Rita's, the double chocolate gelato.

Back to catchy phrases. Do you have any you live by?

The truest thing I've ever written -- because I've put it in more than one book -- is "Apologize." It's disarming. It's true. You've undoubtedly done something wrong. But, it's basically hard to stay mad at someone who apologizes. Yet people are reluctant to [apologize] for some reason. ... I have a few principles I try to live by. One is hard, and that is to listen. Really. Just shut up and listen. There aren't many things you can't solve if you listen.

Social Calendar



Benefits Suited to Succeed

Business casual


Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave.


5 p.m.


$40 in advance & at door


410-528-1799 or

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