Thursday, March 6, 2003

Knip's eye view


Party people do like Mondays

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Here's something you don't usually see on a Monday: major parties.

Mardi Gras: You know it's going to be interesting when Mardi Gras king and radio talk-show host Bill Cunningham tells 2,000 guests that "the best part of the night is when (Mardi Gras queen) Marge Schott and I go across the street to the honeymoon suite." Oh?

Occasion was the 12th annual Northern Kentucky Restaurant Association Mardi Gras for Homeless Children, which annually raises more than $50,000 for four shelters.

This year it was at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center where 30 restaurants provided food and 16 distributors poured drinks. This one was a real party - rowdy, loud and boozy, which explains the people who fell off the carousel ponies.

Schott arrived in a chariot (pulled by restaurateur Mick Noll), celebrating her fifth year as queen and kept up a tradition: She gave away money. It used to be $5,000. This year, it was $10,000.

And she turned down Cunningham's honeymoon suite offer.

Party politics: Earlier, more than 100 power brokers were at Bella's for a Charlie Luken party - a combination fund-raiser (some people paid up to $1,000) and happy hour (some paid nothing but drank beer anyway).

Tons of people: Former Ohio Democratic congressman and the mayor's father, Tom Luken; former Ohio Democratic chairman turned lobbyist Paul Tipps; fellow lobbyist Dick Weiland; financier Moo Sinclair; former P&G chair John Pepper; attorney Stan Chesley; arts patron Stan Kaplan.

A lot of the talk swirled around the two Stans:

Chesley: People were asking about his Wednesday night appearance on 60 Minutes II's segment on the Rhode Island club fire that killed 97. The show used him as an expert on fire safety because of his Beverly Hills Supper Club fire experience.

"It was supposed to be on last week, but Iraq bumped me," Chesley said. "To even suggest you need a code to get people to put sprinklers in. It's common sense."

Kaplan: Bella's second floor view of the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art under construction across the street got Luken wondering. "Are they going to make it in time?" he asked Kaplan. "Absolutely. It's going to take some stretching, but they'll do it," Kaplan said.

People's art: Elsewhere on the contemporary art front, Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei is looking for locals who look up to people. Mingwei is one of the artists exhibiting when the new center opens May 31. His piece is called the Pantheon Project.

"Lee Mingwei believes that in modern life, many of us have individuals or institutions that protect and promote us, but we don't often honor them publicly," says Contemporary Arts Center senior curator Thom Collins.

But we should honor them, Mingwei says. So he's looking for 20 locals to create a shrine to something they honor.

Interested? Write him about who or what and why, then describe the materials you'd use - text, photos, objects - to create your shrine. Items will be displayed in 23-inch high by 14-inch wide, by 6-inch deep boxes. So you can rule out that Harley.

Send letters to Lee Mingwei c/o Thom Collins, Contemporary Arts Center, 115 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati 45202-3998. Include name, age, occupation, address, phone number and e-mail address.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com



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