Monday, December 17, 2007

Washington Social Diary

Bill Haseltine's Georgetown "house" at twilight.
by Carol Joynt

The Hospitable Dr. Haseltine

Dr. William Haseltine is an interesting character for Washington. Some call him Gatsby while others say he’s the personification of a medical and business genius who burst out of his nerd shell to become an active and generous bon vivant.

A drink upon arrival
Whichever it is there’s no question that a natural born host’s heart beats inside the white coat and stethoscope persona (albeit with a bespoke pinstriped suit underneath).

The C.V. cliffnotes on Haseltine are that during his years as Harvard faculty he created and chaired not one but two departments at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute: the Division of Cancer Pharmacology and the Division of Human Retrovirology.

He eventually jumped from the lofty ivy research labs to business, forming or helping to form many biotech companies, most notably Human Genome Sciences. Along the way he also became a “healthcare ventures advisor” and a rich man. Did this make him controversial? Absolutely. Doctors who jump the fence to the moneyed side almost always create grumblings in their wake.

Haseltine also developed an interesting personal life. He married another smart business entrepreneur, Gale Hayman, who was one-half of the team who created the 80s perfume sensation, Giorgio, which was sold to Avon for $185 million. Gale had her own money and a foothold in society, and some say she was Haseltine’s entry to that world.
Left: Bill Haseltine's portrait by Eric Fischl; the artist's first portrait. Right: Peeking into the house at twilight.
It was her third marriage and his second and even though they appeared to set up a cohesive household in Georgetown, the marriage did not make it. There were rumors about both of them, and after the split she did remarry rather quickly, but friends praised the “smooth, quiet and clean” tone of the Haseltine-Hayman divorce. It was surgical, they said.

Moss did not gather on Dr. Haseltine. In fact, he actually seemed to blossom in the aftermath of his marriage. Suddenly, he was very much on the scene and throwing open the doors to his impressive Georgetown home for all manner of social and artistic causes.
Didi Cutler, Bill Haseltine, Sydney "Nini" Ferguson, and Arturo Brillembourg
Mark Hayman, Asst Director of the Young Concert Artists of Washington, and Mark Parsons
Keiko Kaplan and Ronit Ziswiler, wife of the ambassador of Switzerland
Milton Corn, Susan Seifert, Lisa Pumphrey, and Joe and Connie Franklin
Barbara Kapusto, Kim Nettles, and Jaylee Mead
Richard Krimm, Dorothy Wexler, and Richard Krause
Eric Motley and Tom Mathews
Finley and Willee Lewis with Judy Esfandiary
Daniel McDonough, cello; Liz Freivogel viola; Susan Wadsworth, director of the Young Concert Artists of Washington; Meg Freivogel, violin; and Nelson Lee, violin.
Bill Haseltine introduces the Jupiter String Quartet
The fire crackles in one room, while across the center hall, music soon fills the other.
He set up a foundation and named it The William A. Haseltine Foundation for Medicine and the Arts. He became a man about town, his name linked with one woman or another – some of them the city’s most ambitious – and people began to talk about his dinner parties as “A” invites.

That was the case when he hosted an elegant and sumptuous night of music, food and friends on behalf of the Young Concert Artists of Washington, an organization formed almost three decades ago to support exceptional young musicians.

YCA award winners, including notables like pianists Richard Goode, soprano Dawn Upshaw, violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman, not only perform at the Kennedy Center but also give their time to education programs in Washington area schools. Its director is Susan Wadsworth.
The audience just before the concert began.
Nelson Lee's music stand: Schumann's Quartet in A Minor.
The group that created a little Friday night music for Haseltine’s guests were the accomplished Jupiter String Quartet – Nelson Lee on violin, Megan Freivogel on violin, Elizabeth Freivogel on viola and Daniel McDonough on cello.

They were recently awarded the Cleveland Quartet Award by Chamber Music America, and were selected to join Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two for a three year residency. They call Boston home but travel a lot and have recently performed at music festivals in Colorado, Michigan and Canada. Their next New York performance is at Lincoln Center on January 16.
The members of the Jupiter String Quartet are applauded by the audience.
After the concert - mingling and cocktails before dinner.
The Haseltine buffet of salmon, tenderloin, roasted potatoes, vegetables and salad.
As the evening winds down, the wait staff attend to the buffet ...
... while in the kitchen, the household staff take a break
As if the crackling fires weren’t enough, their music warmed the Haseltine home in the midst of some cold and misty December weather.

The “audience” filled two rooms, with some closing their eyes, presumably lost in a romantic fantasy scored by Debussy’s Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10, followed by the third and fourth movements of Robert Schumann’s Quartet in A Minor.
The mosaic over the sofa is called The Creation and dates to 320 BC.
Scene from the buffet dinner at Bill Haseltine's.
The appreciative music lovers included Miriam and Eliezer Banbassat, Gilan and Milton Corn, Didi and Walter Cutler, Willee and Finley Lewis, Sydney “Nini” Ferguson, Arturo Brillembourg, Keiko and Stephen Kaplan, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Kim and Patrick Nettles, Mark Parsons, Lisa Pumphrey and Susan Seifert, Aniko Gaal Schott, The Ambassador of Switzerland and Mrs. Ziswiler, Charles Krause, Nikki and Paul Rosengren, Olga and Bob Ryan, Judy Esfandiary and Jaylee Mead.

Immediately after the concert, while the guests enjoyed another round of cocktails, Haseltine’s household staff quickly removed the rows of chairs and with a flourish set up eight tables of six with white tablecloths, orchids and candles, and then everyone queued up for the delicious buffet.
A birthday party for Tammy Haddad at the Washington home of Hilary Rosen.
The Queen of “Gets” Gets Tossed a Birthday

Tammy Haddad is another interesting Washington character. Like Dr. Haseltine, she is talked about a lot, pro and con, and has a resume that both impresses and stirs envy. Not the least of her many accomplishments is that she was there at the beginning of Larry King’s ascent in Washington and was the producer who guided him on the transition from middle of the night radio star to television talk superstar and becoming the tent pole of CNN’s prime time ratings.

Tammy Haddad admires her 50th birthday cake
Professionally, Tammy and Larry parted ways in the early 80s, but it’s impossible to ignore the impact each had on the other’s future success.  For Tammy, Larry King Live was a powerful launch pad.  A lot of networks wanted the magic of the woman known as the booker’s booker and the Queen of “gets.”

Her rolodex, a talk show variation of the Yellow Brick Road, took her from CNN to the Today show, where she was a senior broadcast producer for Matt Lauer; then to David Letterman’s company, where she produced a late show starring veteran talker Tom Snyder; then to Fox News as an executive producer; host of her own cable talk show for a while; and then, for the past several years, into the universe of struggling MSNBC, where she had many hot titles, including vice president, and the not easy responsibility, among others, of producing Chris Matthews’ nightly political show, Hardball. What she brought to all her jobs was a kind of never-say-die producing bravado. Did it win her lots of friends? Mostly yes, but sometimes no.
Naked with her Peabody Awards .... Tammy Haddad's 50th birthday cake.
Dare I say, the MSNBC experience was not a walk in the park, and that’s not entirely due to the volatile Matthews. Some of the higher ups she had to contend with won’t win “boss of the year” and, significantly, it’s hard for women over 40 in network news, no matter what the human resources departments would want you to believe. It’s harder still when your show tanks in the ratings, as happened with Hardball.

The point is, in August Haddad departed Hardball for a different network job and then in the fall departed the network altogether. Was she forced out? Quit of her own accord? No one will say. But when ratings falter, as they have at MSNBC, job security gets dodgy; someone’s head has to roll, and, Katie Couric aside, it’s often the older person or the female person.

But a bumpy ride at MSNBC didn’t knock Tammy Haddad off her game. If anything, she’s checked out of the children’s playground and joined the grown-ups. Last month she launched her own company, Haddad Media, and almost immediately landed two high profile jackpot clients: Newsweek and National Journal Group. For Newsweek she’ll be venturing into “new media” territory; NJP wants her to be their wingman through the 2008 election.  All Haddad clients get instant access to her bankable network of contacts.
Entering the festive and colorful Rosen house
Keeping it in the family: Neshan Naltchayan, photographer in his own right, but also the son of legendary Washington Post photog Harry Naltchayan.
Ed Rogers has his own high cred lobby shop, but was a deputy to President Bush #41, with birthday girl Tammy Haddad
Washington social observer Janet Donovan with BFF and political analyst Craig Crawford
Lynne Wasserman with political columnist and author Tom Oliphant
The party's host, entertainment and media consultant Hilary Rosen, with jewelry designer Ann Hand
NY pol Mark Green is the man in charge at Air America Radio, though he prefers to be called simply president of "America." Tammy's party was one of several stops for him in Washington.
Robert Bennett is known as a Washington "super lawyer." His clients included Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Former Colorado federal district judge Sven Holmes is executive vice president of KPMG.
Pamela Brown, a Washington local television anchor, is daughter of Phyllis George and former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown, Jr.
The face of Washington power: Tommy Jacomo, gatekeeper at The Palm.
ABC News "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos
The scene behind the scenes ...
Let the dancing begin
Clemi, Anna, and Rachel take a break
A sampling of that network showed up this past weekend at Haddad’s 50th birthday party. When you hear the term “media elite” tossed out in regard to a Washington party, well, this was that kind of party. Sally Quinn and son, Quinn Bradlee, in one corner, picking at the buffet; over in another was superlawyer Robert Bennett, in focused conversation with former federal judge Sven Holmes; The Washington Post’sHoward Kurtz huddled with Mark Green and Tucker Carlson; columnist Tom Oliphant, cozy on the sofa with Lynne Wasserman; Business Week writer Eamon Javers with venture capitalist Mark Ein; NBC’sAndrea Mitchell talking to a man who identified himself as her husband, Alan Greenspan, but who was in fact Tennessee democratic congressman Steve Cohen; former Bush (41) deputy assistant Ed Rogers stood in the entryway, talking to Carter and Clinton administration veterans.

Haddad’s host was her neighbor, the also well-connected Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, and now President of OurChart.com. Her home, in the northwest section of the city, looked from the outside like a gingerbread house trimmed in holiday lights. On the inside, it was balloons, birthday cake and a sardine-packing of friends.
Harry Dobelle and father Evan, who was chief of protocol for President Carter and now heads the New England board of higher education; ABC News' "This Week" executive producer Katherine O'Hearn, and Dale Leibach, lobbyist and former Carter Administration executive.
Lobbyist and hostess Juleanna Glover and the Washington Post's Lois Romano
Margaret Carlson, Quinn Bradlee and his mother, Sally Quinn
The man to Andrea Mitchell's right (our left) identified himself as her husband, "Alan Greenspan," but is in fact democratic congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee
Guests t alking politics, because that's usually the only subject at a media party this time of year.
The Palm's Tommy Jacomo with Tammy Haddad
Others there included ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and wife Ali Wentworth; Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Prism Communications CEO, and former Carter Administration official, Dale Leibach; jewelry designer Ann Hand and husband, Lloyd, chief of protocol for President Johnson; Sunday show executive producers Betsy Fischer of “Meet the Press” and Katherine O’Hearn of “This Week;” radio host Bill Press; former Clinton press secretary and current TV political pundit Dee Dee Myers, Claire Shipman of ABC News, CNN correspondent Ed Henry; the owners of National Journal Group, David and Katherine Bradley; political analyst Craig Crawford, and last but not least, one of the most powerful men in Washington, Tommy Jacomo, the man who runs the door and the tables at the city’s top power restaurant, The Palm.
Media entrepreneur David Adler with Anthony La Russo
Eamon Javers and Mark Ein
Howard Kurtz, Mark Green and Tucker Carlson
Katherine and David Bradley. He owns Atlantic Media Company and publishers The Atlantic Monthly, the National Journal and Hotline, among other publications and web services.
Patrick Gavin, Katie Tarbox, and Susan Bennett
David and Debbie Dockser
For many of these people it was a last hurrah before the “big separation” that is the presidential primary season, starting earlier this year than ever before. They talked travel schedules, hotels and restaurants for Iowa, New Hampshire and the “Super Tuesday” states, and how they don’t expect to be back home in Washington until March, at best. Which is probably why Rosen had plenty of food, booze, a deejay and dance floor.

Haddad herself is a noted party impresario. For the past decade, before the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, she and her husband, World Bank special counsel Steve Greenberg, host a backyard brunch that is such a must invite even Barbara Streisand has showed up.

(Trivia: when you see a movie shooting on location and the production trucks say “Haddad’s” on the side, they belong to Tammy’s brother.)
Leaving the Rosen house — like holiday gingerbread with lights.
Carol Joynt is the host of The Q&A Cafe, a talk show at Nathans Restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Photographs by Carol Joynt.

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