Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Washington Social Diary

Washington's new park, along the waterfront in Georgetown. In one direction the paths and view go toward the Key Bridge, and in the other toward the Watergate and Kennedy Center.
By Carol Joynt

It’s as if Mother Nature knew Washington had a rough week and needed a pick me up. She lavished us with a holiday weekend of sublime October weather – sunny and warm days, chilly nights. Saturday was the peak for the weather as well as a confluence of seasonal events in Georgetown. There were two street fairs, both on Wisconsin Avenue, one that celebrated food at the lower end and one that was a merchant flea market at the upper end.

At Georgetown University it was Homecoming. Outside the Four Seasons Hotel and the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton, and on some residential streets, it was limo gridlock in the fanfare for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and a finance ministers summit on the global market meltdown.
Saturday brought a bounty of street fairs to Georgetown. The biggest closed part of Wisconsin Avenue and was all about food.
The signature pink boxes from Georgetown Cupcake, among the most popular treats at the food fair.
The weather was reason enough for me to walk rather than drive from Georgetown to the Kennedy Center for the annual Season Opening Celebration of the Washington Performing Arts Society. The short walk created an opportunity to meander through the city’s newest park, courtesy of (mainly) the National Park Service.

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is true to its name and deserves mention because, in the great bureaucratic tradition, it took 30 years of fundraising and activism to get done. Before its transformation into something beautiful it was a threadbare parking lot.
The walking path from Georgetown to the Kennedy Center passes the Watergate on the left and the Potomac River on the right.
The steps up to the Kennedy Center.
The majestic Hall of Nations.
The Kennedy Center's terrace at near sunset on Saturday evening in October.
Because the WPAS celebration had an early evening start the sun was still shining on the path that runs between the Watergate and the Potomac River. The host committee wanted guests to be wined and dined before the 8 o’clock performance by German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who was joined by the Camerata Salzburg.

The pre-performance dinner, and post-performance dessert reception, both were held in the Center’s rooftop Atrium. So, everyone arrived at 5:30 in their black tie and ballgowns for an hour of cocktails before sitting down to dinner of Field Greens Salad with Chanterelles, Caramelized Fennel and Gorgonzola and an impressive Lamb Osso Buco.
Just before dinner at the Washington Performing Arts Society's Season Opening Celebration in the Kennedy Center's Rooftop Atrium. Inset: The evening's program.
Kevin Fitzgerald, the evening’s co-chair along with Rachel Tinsley Pearson, made a pertinent reference to “these challenging economic times” when he announced the dinner, with tickets starting at $200, raised a “record amount” — $200,000 — “surpassing our goal and setting new standards.” WPAS is among the lucky ones. The conversation at our table was not upbeat about the current flow of dollars toward gala charitable events. A few of my tablemates who are experienced at fundraising said the gala money is “drying up” or “people just don’t want to be seen” living large.

A character in the autumn light.
What the WPAS money goes to, in part, is helping DC public school students get involved in music through gospel, jazz and other programs. A special emphasis is given to vocal training and performance opportunities for young singers. The organization was founded in 1965 with a goal to transform “the cultural life of our nation’s capital.”

Guests included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and husband Martin Ginsburg, German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald and Lady Sheinwald, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and Veronica Valencia, Ambassador Andreas S. Kakouris of Cyprus and Kareen Farrell Kakouris, Neale Perl, Jay and Robin Hammer, Yong K. and Meranda Kim, Paul Atkins, Christina G. Co-Weeks, Saul Stern, Bonnie McElveen Hunter, Daren Thomas, Winston Lord, Izette Folger, Trina Sams-Manning, Albert Small, Howard and Karen Baldwin, Reginald Van Lee, Judith Lee, and Paul Stern.

Other guests at the dinner included Jessica Altschul, Phil Burdette, Ossie Borosh, Joseph Mindell, Jonathan Cohen, Andrea Collis, Burton Fishman, Zoltan Gabor, David Gische, Elizabeth Kennedy, H.D. Goldfield, Marie Collins, Grace Hobelman, Connie Mourtoupalas, Mark McLeod, Eugene and Voja Russo, Donna Shor, Danielle St. Germain-Gordon, Cathy Simon, David Kuney, Emily Wilson, Doug Wheeler, Mark Weinstein, Deborah Royster, and Lois Jackson. 
The autumn flowers. The hearty Lamb Osso Buco with Cardamom-Carrot Puree and Grilled Rapini.
Ann Compton and husband, Dr. William Hughes. Caroline Boutte and Mike Ryan.
Woody and Ellen Chu, Annie McMasters, and Renate Mayes. John and Sarah Hess.
The Washington Performing Arts Society's board chair, Jay Hammer, with wife Robin. Sam Dawson and Howard Baldwin.
Meranda and Yong K. Kim, at the top of the list of the evening's benefactors. Anna Maria Via with Kareen Farrell Kakouris and Andreas S. Kakaouris, the Ambassador of Cyprus.
Siddarth Parameswaran and Lopa Mishra. The Celebration's co-chair, Rachel Tinsley Pearson with Izette Folger.
Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Dr. David Peura, and Ann Compton. Lee and Eleanor Leak.
Christina Co-Weeks. Pendleton Bogache with her mother, Tweed Bogache.
Bonnie McElveen-Hunter with Albert Small. They were discussing what he'd just bought: George Washington's copy of The Declaration of Independence. Madeline McElveen and Shaul Bakhash.
Jayne Sandman and Jeff Dufour. Karen Baldwin, Rachel Tinsley Pearson, and Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.
The Georgetown waterfront, once a historic seaport, now where the action is for boaters and others who want a good time and a water view.
Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol Joynt is the host of The Q&A Cafe, a talk show at Nathans Restaurant in Washington, D.C.