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Across Town

More gatherings and notable events...

Monday, October 06, 2003

Off the Record

Christine Laitta as Dawn Keezer is beset by reporters in "Off the Record III." (Lake Fong, Post-Gazette)

Provocatively provincial!" "Painfully funny!" "Clever characters, cleverly cast!" The reviews are in, and on the record, Thursday's "Off the Record III" was the best yet. An audience of 800 media types, politicos and local heroes filled the Byham Theater for what has become a don't-miss tradition. This annual musical satire presented by the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and AFTRA spoofs everything that's sacred in Pittsburgh, "where the dead make a living!" Taking "Lights! Pittsburgh! Action!" and the film industry as its target, "Off the Record" followed the adventures of Dawn Keezer (Christine Laitta) on an Oz-like expedition through Hollywood on the Mon, where movies like "Seabiscotti" are in development and the usual suspects (Tom Murphy, Rick Santorum, Cyril Wecht, Ed Rendell) make terrific copy. Kudos to producer Chris Rawson, director Greg Lehane, head writers Gary Rotstein and Dan Kamin, musical director Douglas Levine and the hugely talented cast. Dan Onorato, George Romero and Jim Roddey (disguised as Hannibal Lecter and wheeled onstage by George Miles) offered rebuttals, and it all benefited the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Meltdown 03

Kathleen Mulcathy and Ron Desmett. (John Heller, Post-Gazette)

Since man began to harness the elements, fire has stoked the creative spirit. Certainly its power to decorate and delight was in evidence Saturday during Pittsburgh Glass Center's "Meltdown 03." From the torches that lined the walkway to the hot room's glowing furnaces, the heat was on. Artisans Fritz Dreisbach and Henry Halem demonstrated their agility rolling and blowing molten glass, thrilling with every whirl and twirl, and stirring fresh interest in the silent and live auctions, which featured one-of-a-kind glass acts. The two-tiered benefit began with patrons enjoying the open bars and buffets of fun food by Fresh Innovative Catering. By 9 p.m., Meltdown Madness ushered in a new wave of guests burning to hear Soma Mestizo's cool sounds as they mingled near the chocolate fountain. The PGC's co-founders, artists Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett, were recognized for their vision with an Emerging Artist Award established in their honor. The dynamic duo also served as honorary co-chairs of the event with Randi & L. Van V. Dauler Jr. Working co-chairs Amy Phillips and Robert Wyche had the satisfaction of knowing the Meltdown was a blowout. Among those fired up for the festive benefit were director Dwana Curreri-Ermatinger, Maxine and Bill Block, Daniel and Karen Block Johnese, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, Lynn Figgins-Smith, Kate and Tom Gaier, Bill and Tricia Kassling, Mary Beth Johnson, Gigi Saladra, Becky and Herb Torbin, Joel and Mia Bernard, Jay and Ellen Brooks and Richard Parsakian.

-- Patricia Sheridan

Women of Spirit

Dr. Katherine Homrok, Doris Carson Williams and Myrna Zelenitz. (John Heller, Post-Gazette)

Carlow College continued its tradition of recognizing "Women of Spirit" Saturday as more than 300 guests began arriving at the Westin Convention Center. The ninth annual gala honored Constance Bernt, Dr. Katherine Homrok, Cristen Krebs, Jacqueline Morby, Barbara Mistick, Janet Simon, Rebecca Trimpey, Ann Wardrop, Doris Carson Williams and Myrna Zelenitz. Filled with pride were fans, friends and family of the honorees as well as college president Sr. Grace Ann Geibel. She was assisted with the presentations (which took place during dinner rather than after) by KDKA's Jennifer Antkowiak and Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield's Aaron Walton. Among those enjoying the party were Dan and Pat Rooney, Alison Wardrop, Helen Hanna and Steve Casey, Dorothy and Ellsworth Brown, Ron and Judy Davenport, Jay and Ranny Ferguson, Tom and Marilyn Donnelly and Dolly and Curt Ellenberg. The event benefited the Scholarship Fund.

-- P.S.

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