Q: How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?
A: Shoot him before he hits the water.
That was just one of the many lawyer jokes flying fast and furious at Veterans Legal Services’ annual gala at the Ritz-Carlton.
While white-clad waiters passed apps and the all-female Jazzabelles played such appropriate selections as the theme song to Perry Mason, a mix of members of the legal profession and men and women in uniform grazed on a Mediterranean buffet and exchanged pleasantries and business cards.
Present and accounted for: the evening’s honorees, former attorney general Scott Harshbarger and Dan Magoon of the Mass. Fallen Heroes Memorial, gorgeous blond sports and entertainment lawyer Kristen Kuliga, the smiling Irish eyes of father and son Brian McLaughlin Sr. and Jr., the toothsome threesome of Julia Dunne, Nicole Donnelly and Kelsey Montgomery, and so on and so forth.
The evening’s program began with a bit of pomp that almost went wrong when the USS Constitution color guard barely missed hitting the chandelier with their flags. But otherwise, everything went off without a hitch, unless you count one guest’s awkward first encounter with Mayor Marty Walsh. As His Honor tried to exit with his phalanx of handlers hot on his heels, the unfortunate individual blocked the door, nearly causing a head-on collision and a multi-carcass pileup. The first reader to guess the oaf’s identity will win an Improper Bostonian T-shirt. Email entries to
Fun fact: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. met his wife, Coretta Scott, when she was a student at New England Conservatory.
That made Jordan Hall the perfect place to observe MLK Day, when the Boston Children’s Chorus presented their annual tribute concert.
A reception preceded the SRO performance, which attracted the likes of uber-pillar of the community Hubie Jones, arts educator Akiba Abaka, design genius Daren Bascombe with brunette beauty Luciana Triplett, board president Tim Ferguson, former Ambassador Swanee Hunt, conductor Ben Zander, sax legend Stan Strickland, banking babe Jessica Bowers, the dashing doctor Keith Magee with his nephew, Kendall, budding broadcaster Liz Strzepa, outspoken actress Carmen Dillon and former BCC member Meghan Fitton, who wowed the crowd during the cocktail hour with a rendition of Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew.”
The concert earned a thunderous standing ovation and also prompted the observation “I wish I had a nickel for every Martin Luther King quote I saw today on Facebook.”
Ever wonder what it feels like to compete in the final round of a reality show?
Well, yours truly found out at the Anna’s Taqueria Celebrity Burrito Roller Finale, held at the Harvard Street location. For the past year, the chain has had local personalities roll burritos to raise money for the charity of their choice, donating nearly $20,000 to causes like the Pine Street Inn and the Women’s Lunch Place. At the finale, we were rolling against the clock to win another donation and all the bragging rights.
The competition was stiff. First up was broadcasting behemoth Henry Santoro, who came in around 39 seconds, followed by Tom O’Keefe (also known as @BostonTweet), who deserved points for tidiness. Then—boom!—came Aurore Ounjian of the band Mean Creek, who broke the 25-second barrier and confirmed the stereotype that musicians are good at rolling things. By this point, I needed a Valium and was literally shaking, but I managed to sneak into second place. That changed quickly thanks to ballerina and food blogger Rachel Cossar. However, we were all blown out of the water by Sweet Cheeks owner Tiffani Faison (who, I should point out, is a professionally trained chef and a former Top Chef contestant).
To the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation: I’ll do better next time. To MassEquality: I’m glad you won. To Tiffani Faison: I challenge you to a game of Scrabble.