Thursday, November 15, 2001

Knip's Eye View

Celebrity waiters earn quips

        No doubt about it, the place to be Tuesday was Covington's Waterfront, where Rickelle Ruby and Barb Shapero threw the 15th annual Celebrity Waiters luncheon for a sold-out crowd of 357.

        This is the one where Ruby and Shapero serve up big name servers — Pete Rose (his 15th time), Blessid Union's Eliott Sloan and Jeff Pence, Ohio treasurer Joe Deters (“They told me I have to wait on my wife. How's that different from any other day?”), UC coach Rick Minter, comedian Steve Caminiti (“Always a fresh crop of Ben-Gals to chase”), TV types Dennis Janson, Chris Balish, Dave Wagner, Ann Marie Tiernon, ex-Bengals Tom Dinkel, Anthony Munoz and Jim Breech, current Bengals Adrian Ross, Canute Curtis, John Jackson, Brandon Bennett.

        The celebs wait tables, beg tips, sell autographs, pose for pictures, sell aprons, do anything that makes a buck for Cystic Fibrosis.

        The party is, well, rowdy, a sort of boys day out (even though it's co-ed), complete with cigars and, gasp, midday cocktails.

        The friends Ruby and Shapero line up to help out make this gathering work: Ben-Gal coordinator Charlotte Jacobs and Bengals administrative aide Sandy Schick (“I'll give you money to spell Shapero's name wrong,” she tempted) work the room and drive bids up. Human firecrackers, these four.

        The party typically makes about $75,000.

        Big & bigger: The place to be Saturday, meanwhile, is Big Party III, the sold-out Opera Guild fund-raiser that arts activist Jackie Rabinowitz and designer Patrick Korb are throwing.

        How big? “I'm stringing 9,000 red lights in Music Hall Ballroom,” says Korb, creative chair. “I want Big Attitude, too. Nothing typical.”

        Right. Not with female impersonator Randy Roberts in from Key West (his show at LaDiDa is almost impossible to get into) for a show hosted by Dame Debra, a k a actress Deb Girdler in a Dame Edna mode.

        If tradition holds — this is the third annual — it's the kind of party where women go out of town to buy gowns, haul out the jewels and totter around in uncomfortable shoes. As Korb says, “It's the kind of party where you wear the gown you only wear out of town.

        “It's amazing, but with the hip audience the opera has developed, in only three years this party has become the place to be.”
       Contact Jim Knippenberg by phone: 768-8513; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:


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