Monday, June 2, 2008

Washington Social Diary

The Rappaport's house - tucked off 31st Street in Georgetown.
Spring Supper at the Rappaports
By Carol Joynt

Susan and Donald Rappaport invited a group of fellow cave dweller pals last Wednesday for a supper party they called a “celebration of the season” and was it ever that.

Memorial Day weekend may have passed, but on this crisp evening spring weather was still very much with us in Washington with the air was just right for a sweater or jacket, the flowers ebullient, and the late evening sun generous and magical.

Susan and Donald Rappaport
Plus, the Rappaports did what they always do – poured good wine, served delicious food and heaped a lot of affectionate fuss on each guest.

Donald and Susan share a Philadelphia Main Line provenance, but they are very much a Washington pair, with just enough politics and good causes on their dance cards, along with addresses in Paris and on Martha’s Vineyard. Their parties always are pleasant, easy and relaxed: people have conversations rather than quick-hit cocktail chat.

Wednesday night the main topic was Scott McClellan’s book on his years as White House press secretary. Even though its incendiary contents had been in the news cycle for a full day, the cocktail hour the reactions were still in the realm of astonishment, and that was for the tough to astonish.

They were less astonished by chatter going around town of the possibility of Defense Secretary Robert Gates keeping his same job in a hypothetical Obama Administration. The lack of dismay is probably because Gates is liked on both sides of the aisle.
Clockwise from top left: The Path to the Rappaports house; A garden table set with candles and ornament; A sculpture the Rappaports found in Philadelphia, where they also found each other; Chatting around the garden table; More sculpture in the Rappaports garden.
The guests were heavily Big D Democrats, and a mix of Clinton and Obama supporters, but still openly hoping for a conclusion to the primary season, a presumptive nominee and a united party. It’s reached the point here that almost any conversation goes only a sentence or two before one individual or the other asks, “Who’s your candidate?” Once revealed the conversation then either becomes a bonding or a debate. It’s amusing. It happens everywhere I go.

There was also talk of Dr. Franklin Stroud, 69, a beloved and long-time Washington pediatrician who was killed in a car accident outside Chicago over the holiday weekend. His patients were the children of Washington’s powerful (Vice President Al Gore, Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, Reynolds Tobacco heir Smith Bagley, to name only a few); he was the doctor for the students of St. Albans boys school.

In the Washington Post, McAuliffe called Stroud “the pediatrician for the Democrats.” At the Rappaports’ party, Bitsy Folger said he was the doctor of her grandchildren. Myra Moffett said he was the doctor of all five of her children, while Caroline Croft said he was her personal pediatrician, too. Stroud spanned that many generations here. His funeral is this (Monday) morning at Georgetown’s Holy Trinity Church and is expected to be heavily attended. (Note: Frank Stroud’s widow, Kandy Stroud, a long-time political operative and DNC official, at one time covered Washington for Women’s Wear Daily.)
The crowd in the garden.
Meanwhile, the party: The Rappaports have a handsome house tucked off a main street in Georgetown and peaceful garden with a pond that runs through it and stepping-stones that take you to corners and crannies that are thick with green and flowers.

Among those enjoying the garden, as well as lamb chops, crab salad, mini asparagus quiche, eggplant salad and lots of good Sancerre were Ralph and Julie Earle, Pam and Mike Peabody, Ellen Charles, Edith and John Schafer, Tom and Jane Hughes, Diana Prince, Harriet Fulbright, Richard Thompson, Avis Bohlen, VV Harrison, Roger and Flo Stone, Ann Crittenden, John Henry, David Gewanter, Duke and C.C. Merriam, Tom Birch, Ralph and Betsy Stephens, Jon and Donna Gerstenfeld, Toby Moffett, Rod Ridker and Tamara Illasat.
The bar, ready for thirsty customers.
Bitsy Folger and Toby Moffett talk the latest political news.
Tom and Jane Hughes
Harriet Fulbright and Susan Rappaport
Roger Stone
Tom Birch
"Duke" Merriam
Diana Prince and Susan Rappaport
VV Harrison and C.C. Merriam
Tom Hughes wth Julie and Ralph Earle
Edie Schafer and John Henry
Richard Thompson and Ellen Charles
Edie Schafer and Flo Stone
Ann Crittenden, David Gewanter, and Pam Peabody
Caroline Croft and Myra Moffett
Julie Earle, Mike Peabody, and Betsy Stephens
Bitsy Folger and Toby Moffett
Wasabi tuna on skewers
The buffet table comprising lamb chops, crab salad, mini asparagus quiche, and eggplant salad
Bitsy Folger, Caroline Croft, and Myra Moffett talk about Dr. Frank Stroud
Jon and Donna Gerstenfeld

The state-by-state counts show that record numbers of registered voters have been to the polls during the primary campaign, a season that’s likely to come to a close this week. For Washington it will be a much-welcomed opportunity to catch our breaths before the intensity of the conventions and general election. 

Memorial Day came early this year and except for the three-day holiday, nothing slowed down. The kids are still in school, parties and events are stacked on top of each other everyday; traffic’s awful and there’s not been enough time to do it all. 

Wherever I go – whether it’s political, charitable or social – the topics remain the same: “Who is your candidate?” ... “Who is your pick for vice president?” ... “Will you get away this summer and to where?” ... “Will you go to the conventions and do you know who’s having the best parties?”

Here’s where we managed to show up in a busy several days (admittedly two of the events due to being on their boards – The Tewaaraton Foundation and the Washington Hospital Center). 

“Crime and Punishment.” The opening night of the National Museum of Crime and Punishment was not expected to be a big social or political event, but the name alone made it irresistible, especially in this town where “crime” and “punishment” can be metaphors for so much more than cops and robbers.
Clockwise from top left: The ultimate G-man, former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in wax; The paint box of convicted serial murderer John Wayne Gacy, which he used while on death row in Illinois. He was executed in May 1994; You be the police chase car in a virtual reality chase; The set of the hit TV series, "America's Most Wanted"; Just one of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted."
The museum is co-owned by Orlando businessman John Morgan and John Walsh, host of the hit Fox crime show, “America’s Most Wanted,” who has installed his studio in the museum’s basement. It’s a mixed bag of interactive attractions – get fingerprinted, be in a faux line-up of bad guys, drive a cop car in a virtual-reality chase – and crime memorabilia, including bizarre items like the paint box of serial murderer John Wayne Gacy, a wax figure of J. Edgar Hoover, as well as John Dillinger’s car and Joe Gallo’s hat, and a display of all the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted,” including Osama bin Laden.

In a city where most of the museums are notably free of charge, this one is part of the for-profit trend (like the Newseum and the Spy Museum), where individuals pay a ticket price of almost $20 at the door. Still, the kiddies might find it eye-opening.
Clockwise from top left: Where visitors can join a faux police line-up; The "shooting gallery," where tourists get to try out their aim; The prop gun used by James Caan in "The Godfather"; The hat worn by "Crazy" Joe Gallo the day he was gunned down at Little Italy's Umbertos Clam House - April 7, 1972. Medical Examiner Michael Baden returned it to his widow; The car in which Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were "killed" in the iconic film "Bonnie and Clyde"; The "mock" morgue.
A Score for Lacrosse. The Tewaaraton Trophy is to college lacrosse what the Heisman trophy is to college football – the highest accolade awarded each year to the top men’s and women’s players under the auspices of the Tewaaraton Foundation and the University Club, who also recognize the top Native American players.

Because the sport was created by Native Americans the annual awards dinner was held this year at the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. Rarely in one room in Washington are there so many young, attractive and fit people as there were among the almost 300 lacrosse enthusiasts who gathered Thursday night.
Mike Leveille of Syracuse University, winner of the Tewaaraton Trophy for top American men's college lacrosse player.
Hannah Nielsen of Northwestern, winner of the women's trophy.
After a buffet that featured Native American recipes, everyone took seats in the museum’s auditorium for the taped CBS Sports broadcast of the actual awards, which went to Mike Leveille of Syracuse and Hannah Nielsen of Northwestern. The runners up included Matt Danowski of Duke (last year’s winner), Zack Greeg of Duke, Paul Rabil of Johns Hopkins, Ben Rubeor of the University of Virginia; and for the women, Dana Dobbie and Kelly Kasper of the University of Maryland, Kristy Finch of Northwestern and Katie Rowan of Syracuse. The Native American winners were Emmett Printup IV of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation, and Corinne Abrams, a member of the Tuscarora Indian Nation.
Paul Rabil of Johns Hopkins, one of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy, signing lacrosse balls for young fans.
Happy young lacrosse fans.
The women's finalists.
The National Museum of the American Indian.
WHC’s Golden Gala. At The National Building Museum Saturday night a guest could ask, “Is there a doctor in the house,” and hear hundreds say “yes” in reply. They were among the 1200 supporters of The Washington Hospital Center who attended the WHC’s 50th anniversary “Golden Gala.” 

Part of the Medstar Health family, the WHC is the largest private hospital in Washington. It has been acclaimed as the one of the nation’s top hospitals for heart and heart surgery, cancer treatment, kidney disease and geriatric care, and its MedSTAR Trauma program is famous as one of the nation's best shock/trauma units.
The National Building Museum - an architectural treasure from the immediate post-Civil War era is the site of many over the top Washington galas. Facade details of the National Building Museum, whose architect was Montgomery C. Meigs, are of the Army's quartermaster general during the Civil War. The National Building Museum was established as the "pension bureau" on the post-Civil War era and for years was known as the "Pension Building."
It also is one of the city’s prime “safety net” hospitals, focusing attention and care on the disadvantaged.

While these accomplishments were acknowledged much of the attention was on listening to Dionne Warwick and then to enjoy some after dinner dancing. 
The pre-dinner cocktail party at the Washington Hospital Center's 50th anniversary gala. Is there a doctor in the house? Yes, hundreds of them.
The dinner tables, ready for the main event.
Among the many at the gala were former Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow, who was master of ceremonies, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Marquita Lister, Dr. Stuart Seides, Greg and Candy Fazakerley, John and Suki Sargent, James and Karen Caldas, Arlene Snyder, Marc and Nancy Duber, Dr. John and Chris Kirkpatrick, Karen Kofmehl, Lisa Wyatt, Jerome and Dena Kaplan, Dr. Leslie Miller, Kenneth Samet, John P. McDaniel, Kenneth and Suzanne Sparks, Dr. Sandra Swain, Dr. Paul Corso, Robert and Lauren Ambrosini, Dr. Bob Collins, Herb Miller, Dr. William Glew, Arlene and Harvey Cherner, Tony Cord and Madeline Ramos, Melanie and Brian Samet, Dr. Janis Orlowski and Bill McNulty, Thomas J. Marchozzi, William and Barbara Klauber, Tom and Ilene Gordon, Nancy Prendergast and Dr. Gus Pichard, Tony Verstandig.
Cocktail hour.
Dr. John Keshishian, Dr. Stephen Peterson, Nancy Lee Keshishian and Mary Ann Peterson.
Melanie and Brian Samet.
Dr. Janis Orlowski with her husband, Bill McNulty.
WHC board member Marc Duber, Nancy Duber, Toni Verstandig, Arlene and Harvey Cherner.
Washington Hospital Center president James F. Caldas with Medstar president Kenneth A. Samet.
Tony Cord and Madeline Ramos
Suki and John Sargent, chairman of the Washington Hospital Center Foundation
Dr. Gus Pichard, head of the WHC's cardiac Cath Lab, and wife, Nancy Prendergast.
Kristen Kofmehl, gala organizer, Dr. Leslie Miller and Medstar marketing vice president Lisa Wyatt.
Valets trying to find the keys to my car!
The Rules Committee “Rumble”

The local D.C. Examiner newspaper on Saturday had a giant headline screaming: RUMBLE AT THE MARRIOTT.  But the meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, and the “protest” of Florida and Michigan supporters outside, never got extreme. There was debate, some raised voices, strong opinions, and compromise, but then this is the Democratic Party.

Since the committee meeting had wall-to-wall live coverage on the cable channels, and on so many minds here, curiosity prompted us to wander over to the Wardman Park Marriott with our camera to check it out. What we found outside the hotel were a colorful mixture of passionate political activists, carrying signs and handpainted banners, wearing loud t-shirts and wild hats, all making clear their positions on the candidates and the wish to have the Florida and Michigan delegations seated at the Democratic Convention.
The Democratic Faithful.
Inside, the committee members reached a decision that allowed all the delegates to be seated but to have only a half vote each. This may change when the Credentials Committee meets late this month. A note of trivia about the Wardman Park, especially since it was invaded by Democrats this weekend: when he was Vice President, and before there was an official Veep’s residence in Washington, the hotel was home to Nixon’s vice-president Spiro Agnew and his wife, Judy

Ned Brown, the occasional political observer for NYSD, was at the hotel as the committee members arrived and reports the crowd let out rock star worthy screams and applause upon the arrival of individuals like uncommitted Super Delegate Donna Brazile and Clinton ally Harold Ickes. Next they’ll be signing autographs.
Clockwise from top left: Peggy-Gail Forehand of Tallahassee, Fl.; Barbara Schlachet, Myra Segal, Trudy Mason of New York, and Diane Weiss of Florida and New York; At the bar and every other public space of the Wardman Park Marriott, people gathered by televisions to watch the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting; Loretta Polloci of Cherry Hill, NJ; A Rush Limbaugh fan.
Top left: Donna Keifer of Pennsylvania and Michelle Foster of New York among the Democratic Faithful.
Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol Joynt is the host of The Q&A Cafe, a talk show at Nathans Restaurant in Washington, D.C.