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Martha Jean ‘The Queen’ is now in the Ring of Genealogy

One of our town’s most beloved radio personalities, the late Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg, was among the honorees Monday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s Ring of Genealogy Nameplate Installation, along with Richard A. Austin,Robert Hayden,Erma L. Henderson and Charles A. Hill. Steinberg’s three daughters were there, including Dianne Steinberg Lewis, who flew in from California with husband Kenny Lee Lewis (of Steve Miller’s band) to represent the family as speaker. “The Queen is in the ring, finally!” Lewis said. “And long overdue! We are so grateful.”

Steinberg came to Detroit in the early ’60s from WDIA in Memphis, and was good friends with Motown’s Funk Brothers. Her warmth and concern for everyday Detroiters, as heard on such features as “Inspiration Hour” and the “Blue Collar Shout-out,” earned her a huge fan base. She broadcast on WJLB continuously during the 1967 riots, trying to calm things down. Later she was the first woman in the country to start her own AM station, WQBH (1400 AM). Lewis says she’s hoping for more Detroit honors for her mother, including a historical marker at the Penobscot Building, where WQBH was located.

Just say ‘yes’

The timing couldn’t have been better. Liz Cutraro, who with hubby Nino, own the chic Bella Piatti restaurant in Birmingham, is in the midst of planning their daughter Mimi’s wedding to Andy Spicer. As Liz sorts through flowers and menus and dresses, who should walk into her restaurant the other day but Randy Fenoli from TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress?” (the popular show that helps brides find their dream dress). “He came for dinner with Anna (Roselli) from Roma Sposa,” said Liz. “We had a lot of laughs and sat on the patio until 11:30. And yes, with Mimi’s wedding, there was lots of wedding talk.” Mimi and Andy will actually have two weddings — on Aug. 29 they will marry at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, and on Sept. 2, they’ll wed at Castello Xirumi in Sicily. Does that mean Mimi has to say yes to two dresses?

Paddles up for GPA

One of the coolest auctions we’ve ever witnessed, The Grosse Pointe Academy’s 48th annual Action Auction, happens Saturday, chaired by Tom and Lindsey Buhl, and Paul and Fay Savage. The live auction has always featured one-of-a-kind auction items, including the first Dodge Viper ever produced; the inaugural voyage of the QE2; Richard Pryor’s red tuxedo; a trip on the Ford freighter, and private parties in some of Detroit’s most lavish residences. In addition to the dazzle-them-to-death live auction, guest will also enjoy a silent auction, an elaborate multi-course meal and late-night cocktails and dancing. Bidding wars have helped raise up to $1 million each year for the Grosse Pointe Academy. Items already expected to cause a lot of paddle action are a hip New York City experience that includes tickets to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and a trip to London with the Detroit Lions. For information, contact the Auction Office at auction@gpacademy.org.

swhitall@detroitnews.com

chuckbennett@hotmail.com

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