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Across Town

More gatherings and notable events...

Monday, February 09, 2004

The Lion of Pennsylvania

The ultimate black panther" is how Pitt Vice Chancellor Robert Hill jokingly described law school alum K. Leroy Irvis, the first African-American Speaker of the House in the state.

Doreena Balestreire, Post-Gazette
Chancellor Mark Nordenberg with Cathyrn and K. Leroy Irvis
Click photo for larger image.

Thursday, more than 300 guests gathered to honor Irvis and see a splendid documentary about him, "K. Leroy Irvis: The Lion of Pennsylvania," written and directed by Bill Medica. Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Hill hosted a black-tie reception before and after the premiere in celebration of Black History Month, and the Twentieth Century Club looked like Oscar night, complete with searchlights and the stars of the African-American community. Among those walking down the red carpet to greet Irvis and Cathryn, his wife of 40 years, were Mayor Tom Murphy, Elsie Hillman, Wendell Freeland, Dr. Tom and Joy Starzl, state Reps. Dan Frankel, Bill DeWeese and Jake Wheatley, Esther Bush, Sala Udin, Tim Stevens, Glenn and Andrea Mahone, JoAnne Bates, Valerie McDonald Roberts, Tom Flaherty, Judges Jeffrey Manning, Jim McGregor and Larry Kaplan, Gregory Spencer, Pitt Provost James Maher and deans Gerald Holder, Larry Davis, Alan Lesgold, and Carolyn Ban, Anne and Leon Haley, Billy Jackson, Moe Coleman, KDKA's Patrice King Brown and Harold Hayes, and Bob O'Connor, representing Gov. Rendell.

Spokesrobot Holly Heart
Click photo for larger image.

Heart to Heart

National Woman's Heart Day is just around the corner on Feb. 20, when women are encouraged to visit the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and learn about their No. 1 killer. The campaign kicked off Friday with an Executive Women's Breakfast chaired by Holly Buffinton, managing director of PNC Advisors, in the PNC Bank Executive Dining Room. Honorary national chair Deborah Epstein of Sister To Sister: Every One Has A Heart Foundation joined local co-chairs Nicole Johnson Baker, Suzy Broadhurst, and Helen Hanna Casey, along with emcee Sally Wiggin and Holly Heart, the spokesrobot. Holly charmed the crowd, dancing with state Rep. Dan Frankel and Karen Wolk Feinstein, director of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Its Working Hearts Program is the local sponsor in the effort to educate women about heart health and heart disease. Among the guests listening to speakers Yvonne Maher and Working Hearts chair Pat Siger were U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart. Call 412-594-2583 for Heart Day information.

Lake Fong, Post-Gazette
Cathy Lewis and Scott Izzo
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Sprout Fund

It was an AMPortunity no artist worth her paint box could pass up -- a chance to hang at The Andy Warhol Museum in a juried exhibition. The catch was they had to think in the box, containing their creativity in 12-inch-by-12-inch squares. The show is the second phase of the Sprout Fund's three-month AMP series, which is focusing on nearly 300 of the region's budding visual, performing and musical artists. The results were previewed at a VIP party Thursday night where nearly 400 supporters demonstrated an appreciation for intellectual stimulation. Last month bands performed at Club Cafe, and next month performance artists will entertain at the Brew House. Greeting the creative set as they came in from the cold were the fund's executive director Cathy Lewis (with Rob Long), and Matt Hannigan. Amping it up were Scott Izzo, Dan Droz, Anne and Eddie Lewis, Henry Simonds, David Matter, Sarah Nichols, Tom Yargo, Rachel Farley, Stacy Weiss and Will Carpenter and the Carnegie Museum of Art's Richard Armstrong.

-- Patricia Sheridan

Lake Fong, Post-Gazette
Glass art being sold at "Heart of Glass"
Click photo for larger image.

Heart of Glass

Pittsburgh Glass Center members make better lovers." I feel a bumper sticker coming on, but that's what the Pittsburgh Singles Volunteer Network was saying Friday night as they encouraged guests to join the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Blown away by the warmth of staff members at the PGC were more than 250 guests who came for the "Heart of Glass." It was a membership drive, but the center is becoming known as a hot spot for social gatherings and cool creations. As the sounds of Hardgroove Project permeated the building, the furnaces were fired for demonstrations upstairs, while glass art was being displayed downstairs. The evening's Valentine ambience was the work of Joy Sato and Richard Parsakian. Loving the transparency of it all were executive director Karen Block Johnese (with Daniel), Brooks Robinson (with his daughter Shelly), Randi and Van Dauler, Lynne Figgins-Smith, Marsha Berger and Kevin Silson, Harley Trice, Traci Jackson, Pat Clark and Todd Owens.

-- Patricia Sheridan

Lake Fong, Post-Gazette
Russ Streiner directs Candy Eazor
Click photo for larger image.

So You Want to Be in Pictures...

Well then, the place to be was J. Verno Studios on the South Side Friday night, when the Pittsburgh Film Office hosted the patron party before its upcoming Oscar night bash. PFO's Dawn Keezer welcomed guests into one of the best party spaces in town, where re-runs from last year's acting attempts filled a large screen and this year's competitors taped lines for director Russ Streiner. Food stations stocked by Aromas Catering, Clark Bar & Grill, Opus, Opening Night Caterers and Piccolo Piccolo were decorated with magnificent flowers by Michael Jacobs of Blooms. Since every Oscar winner needs a diamond, Louis Anthony Jewelers was on hand with a dazzling display for the silent auction. Sparkling in the crowd were Carol Manteris, Debbie Moses, Jay Green, Donna Belejac, Deb Docherty, Leslie McCombs, Michael Hunter, Robyn and Frank Sacco, Jen and Scott Lombardo, Izazu's Emilio, Chris and Michelle Heck, David and Karen Haddad and Suzanne Mauro with Josh Stanson. For tickets to "Lights! Glamor! Action!" on Feb. 29 call 412-261-2744.

Lisaa Kyle
Honorees Gregory Spencer and Robert Lavelle
Click photo for larger image.

Scouts Honor

When you think of the Boy Scouts does up- tight and white come to mind? If so, your tent is pitched on the wrong planet. Thanks to the Greater Pittsburgh Council, Boy Scouts of America Urban Emphasis Committee, more culturally diverse boys from rural and urban environments are discovering the benefits of scouting. Saturday night the 15th Annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Awards Dinner was held at the Hilton to honor Robert Lavelle Jr. and Gregory Spencer, two volunteer leaders who support the scouting program. Boy Scouts of America national president Roy Roberts was the guest speaker. Getting a chance to welcome him to Pittsburgh during the VIP reception were Greater Pittsburgh Council scout executive Robert Mazzuca, Gerald Voros, board president James Crawford (with Carol), James and Varetta Hamlin, Manford Sales, Steve DeWitt, Mel Pirchesky, Ronald Davenport Jr. and Michelle Jackson-Washington.

-- P.S.

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