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Smoking lamp lit for college grants night

August 05, 2004

B.W. COOK

In an age of sweatshirts and flip flops, some 200 men turned out

Friday evening for Henry Schielein's 10th annual smoker and lobster

clambake on the beach at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort wearing white

slacks and nautical blue blazers.

The procession of well-dressed gentlemen was a flashback to an

earlier time, when good manners and good grooming were expected in

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society. Dress standards set the tone of the event, and people

behaved or at least attempted to behave in accordance with

established standards. It all sounds superficial, out of touch, even

shallow by today's rules of behavior. Yet somehow dressing the part

still dictates how the part is played.

For Schielein, trained in the old school of European hospitality,

the dress code of his smoker was in fact an element of the overall

production that elevated the evening to charitable heights. By

setting a tone, a higher standard, Schielein and staff raised an

impressive $25,000 from the evening on the beach to benefit the Bay

Club's 1221 Scholarship Fund.

Started 10 years ago, the fund awards annual grants to

Newport-Mesa graduating seniors bound for college. The students are

judged by a panel of local educators, business people and civic

leaders. More than $250,000 has been awarded to deserving youth from

diverse backgrounds and with goals as broad as the scope of human

endeavor.

Arriving at the Balboa Bay Club for pre-sunset cocktails, the

entourage of natty gents joined forces on the bayfront lawn sampling

Chef Josef Lagader's fresh oysters and beef tartar, accompanied by

Champagne Pommery or shots of Gran Centario Tequila -- or perhaps a

Skyy Vodka Martini made to order, shaken not stirred, of course.

The pre-dinner conversation was personal. What do men discuss when

they gather without their women? They discuss their women. They talk

about their wives and their children, and then they talk about sports

and finances and jobs. Politics made the rounds of cocktail

conversation as well. This is, after all, a very contentious election

year. Opinions are strong. Expletives are used frequently as

discussions shift from candidate to policy and back to candidate. It

all made for one very lively 10th anniversary for Schielein and the

BBC smoker.

Orchestrated with care, round tables were arranged on the lawn

adjacent to lavishly displayed presentations of cigars and libations.

Even a famous cigar roller from the Dominican Republic, Louis Lopez,

arrived to show off his skill to leaf lovers in the crowd. Lopez was

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