For those who go out to eat and have trouble deciding what to order, the 15th annual Culinary Extravaganza was the perfect solution. Some 30 chefs offered all sorts of specialties at this fundraiser for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. And several hundred people took full advantage, going from food station to food station as they strolled a ballroom in the Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
"This is a wonderful thing to do. There's everything from lobster bisque to sushi," said Henry A. Rosenberg Jr. He and his wife, Dot, co-chaired the party, playing host to guests including Ken and Diane Trout, Leroy Merritt, George and Jennifer Reynolds, Rita St. Clair, Carole and Bean Sibel and Stanley and Celia Levinson.
"I liked the potato salad with the shrimp from Corks [restaurant]," said Ted Herget, Asset Strategy Consultants principal.
"You go here. You go there. You eat a little. You go back. This is one of the best events," added his wife, Nancy, a Radcliffe Jewelers buyer.
"The scallops with a foie gras risotto [from Oceanaire Seafood Room] are absolutely fabulous," said retired executive Pam Malester.
"Mmmm," was all Kiva Fox had to say, as the administrative legal assistant for Richards Kibbe & Orbe bit into a mojito mint truffle, one of a couple dozen flavors offered at the Parfections station.
"I think [Meals on Wheels] is a really special organization. And it's great fun," said retired financial executive Cheryl Krongard.
A drink with Michelle Blue
Introducing kids to hip-hop's business side
Social activist Michelle Blue, 34, is the founder and director of Follow Your Dreams. The Baltimore native followed her own dream -- and love of hip-hop music -- to create the first youth-run recording studio in Baltimore, in the Harwood neighborhood where she grew up and still lives. There, in the Follow Your Dreams program, she involves local kids in the process of making hip-hop records with a positive bent, and is about to release the program's first CD.
How does your program help kids?
We're not looking into creating rappers. I'm not into fame. ...We're teaching them marketable skills. They love hip-hop. ... We start out [teaching them] hip-hop history and theory. Then we get into the business aspect. We teach them copyright laws. ... They leave as budding engineers.
People who don't know much about hip-hop associate it with violence and a lot of four-letter words.
We challenge the kids by doing writing sessions. They're challenged to think out of the box and use language they ordinarily wouldn't. No derogatory language. One of their first projects is to write a script for video and not use negative language. ... The writing sessions get really, really interesting. ... For these people, hip-hop isn't just a song, it's a way of life. ... [Our board member] Clinton Bamberger said to me, "I don't know anything about hip-hop, except that it's negative. What are you going to show me?" [I told him] I'm going to show you that positive hip-hop can exist.
It sounds like your biggest challenge may not be getting the kids in this program, but getting adults to get behind it.
That's where the challenge does come in. [Adults] have preconceived notions already. They call it garbage. But they don't listen to the actual lyrics. They just hear the loud boom-boom.
Are you always this passionate about things?
This amount of energy I've always had. But now I've found something to put all of my energy into.
What do you do in what little spare time you have?
I like to travel. Africa is No. 1 on the list. China. Reading and writing are my favorite pastimes. ... Right now, I'm reading Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Sweets, like cakes and cheesecake. You might catch me up late at night eating a piece of that cheesecake. I've learned not to let hip-hop be a guilty pleasure. I love hip-hop. Even some of it with the cursing in it.
What are your pet peeves?
I don't like defending hip-hop. I don't like the fact that people are not involved. Parents aren't involved with their kids. That bothers me. ... Kids have some important things to say. They need someone to listen.
Are there words that you live by?
How we react to what life brings us is most important. I believe we have to take a moment to breathe. Take that breath.
ANNUAL INDEPENDENCE DAY DECK PARTY
Benefits USS Constellation Museum
Constellation, Pier 1, 301 E. Pratt St.
7 p.m.-10 p.m.
$65 adults, $25 ages 17 and younger
410-539-1797, ext. 422, or constellation.org