Monday, November 15, 2010

Washington Social Diary

Guests arrive at the "Knock Out Abuse" dinner at the Washington Ritz Carlton.

My editors at NYSD, DPC and JH, got me a new camera this week (Canon SX130 IS). Saturday I had a dinner engagement outside Middleburg and spent the day putting the camera through some paces along the back roads of Virginia. I enjoyed myself and hope you enjoy the results.
Sunset at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Saturday, Nov. 13
Sunrise at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sunday, Nov. 14
Autumn leaves by a pond.
The Blue Ridge Mountains.
For ten years I lived up at the end of this driveway in Upperville, Va.
Ancient, humble abode on the estate of Sally Hosta outside Middleburg.
A happy grazing horse.
My friend "Ripple."
Summer is over!
Horse fence.
Late afternoon in rural Virginia.
Evening splendor.
Dinner for ten, Chez Hosta.
by Carol Joynt

Washington will never exhaust its passion for coaxing celebrities to its halls, chambers, salons, party palaces and, of course, photo ops. The reflected glow is an elixir. It mitigates an endearing trait of the Washington culture, the nerd syndrome; brainy but never feeling quite hot enough, cool enough, glam or beautiful. It’s practically a compulsion. And then comes a kick in the shins from Travel & Leisure, which has ranked Washington high among American cities with the ugliest people, sandwiched between Orlando, FL and Portland, ME. Oy. What’s a wonk to do?

Frankly, it’s not a fair judgment. There are plenty of attractive people in Washington, but they aren’t necessarily fixtures on cable TV. I’ll let you in on a little secret only I might brave enough to out: hotties abound in DC, only they are generally non-white or non-straight, and there are plenty of double-non’s.

But last week it was girls, girls, girls, with plenty of beauty on parade, both regional and imported and all across the age scale. Whether it was Tina Fey honored at the Kennedy Center, Betty White donning a special hat, or the city’s biggest annual girls night out, the week belonged to the women.
Tina Fey arrives on the red carpet in Hall of Nations at the Kennedy Center in an Oscar de la Renta gown. (Marvin Joseph-The Washington Post).
Tina Fey came to town to pick up the Mark Twain Award for American Humor, and while there was no doubt of her worthiness, there was some sotto voce grumbling about the motives of the Kennedy Center. The skepticism aimed at the Kennedy Center board had to do with their overlooking an impressive list of more seasoned comedians, including Carol Burnett, Jerry Seinfeld, Mary Tyler Moore, Joan Rivers, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Lewis, Elaine May and Mike Nichols and Larry David. Previous winners include George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin and Lorne Michaels.

Betty White as an “honorary” forest ranger (AP Photo).
Because Fey is the youngest recipient, the snarks compared it to President Obama winning the Nobel Prize and wondered if the board members, who chose Fey, weren’t maybe being just a little grabby grabby for some youthful relevance.

Fey herself was dubious — “I assume Betty White was disqualified for steroid use” — and her candor and cleverness prevailed in accepting the honor: "I would be a liar and an idiot if I didn't thank Sarah Palin for helping get me here tonight. My partial resemblance and her crazy voice are the two luckiest things that have ever happened to me." She’s being modest, of course.

Fey’s family and some of her best and most talented friends stormed Washington (in fact and in the gossip columns), including Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Jon Hamm, Steve Martin, Seth Myers, Jane Krakowsi, and the ubiquitous and unflagging Betty White. Earlier the same day White had her moment in the spotlight, too, when the National Park Service staged a Kennedy Center ceremony to name her an “honorary” forest ranger. She got a stuffed Smokey The Bear and a forest ranger’s hat.
Conga line boys onstage for the annual “Knock Out Abuse” gala.
Later in the week at the Ritz Carlton West End hotel, more than 500 mostly area women (and, yes, many of them glam and fabulous) gathered for the annual “Knock Out Abuse” gala to raise money on behalf of victims of domestic violence. While their men got dolled up in black tie and rollicked at a boxing match across town, the women layered themselves in sparkle and gloss to savor Cosmopolitans, canapés, a silent auction, photo booths, each other and a conga line of party boys who snaked through the dining room. What’s unattractive about that?

The evening had a few announced themes: “James Bond 007” with traces of “Mad Men” and a nod to soap operas. The honoree was soap legend Agnes Nixon, who created “One Life to Live” and “All My Children.” Clips were shown from episodes she wrote that had a domestic violence plotline.

The founders of “Knock Out Abuse,” Cheryl Masri and Jill Sorensen, presented Nixon with the “first ever” Aggie Award. The two women said they started the organization 17 years ago with a very small dinner, obviously a thing of the past. This year they raised an impressive $600,000.
Agnes Nixon. In the background, her daughter in law, Sarah, and grandson.
Agnes Nixon tells stories from the years of creating hit soap operas. Glorida Reuben
The "Knock Out Abuse" founders, Cheryl Masri and Jill Sorensen.
Dancers riff on the late Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible."
The guests included: Gina Adams, Rachel Ahmed, Fuzuki Akimoto, Ginger Albright, Yorgo Alexopolous, Mariah Almond, Montina Anderson, Heather Andrews, Amy Argetsinger, Trisha Arrington, Adrienne Arst, Barbara Baffer, Nancy Bagley, Amy Baeir, Katreice Banks, Liz Baldick, Rose Barondess, Mary Barth, Lisa Bartolomei, Stephanie Bates, Judith Batty, Susan Bayh, Brynee Baylor, Grace Bender, Kate Bennett, Annie Lou Berman, Omna Bhattacharya, Rhonda Binda, Mary Bird, Nanette Bischoff, Roxanne Blackwell, Ellen Blankenstein, Natasha Bobo, Margaret Boies, Frank Borges, Victoria Boston, Annie Boutin-King, Kristina Bouweiri, Patrice Brickman, Martha Brophy, Sharon Bradley, Cindy Brown, Maureen Bryant, Peggo Cooper Cafritz, Yolanda Caraway, Carolyn Casey, Aisha Cassim, Diane Chase, Regina Clemons, Patty Coleman, Sela Collins, Vanessa Comozzi, Elyse Courtney, Shari Crittendon, Neil Debevoise, Elizabeth DeCesaris, Sara Dent, Caroline DeSouza, Annie Dickerson, Debbie Dingell, Debra Dockser, Jamie Dorros, Barbara Dunlap, Lindsey Dunn, Andrea Edmonds, Missy Edwards, Gunilla Ekberg, Tracey Ellis, Mary Kathleen Ernest, Colleen Evans, Janet Fallon, Michelle Famiglietti, Jaleh Fariborz, Andrea Ferris, Shannon Finley, Patricia Fimiani, Jodie Fisher, Rebecca Fishman, Healther Florence, Kim Fogg, Carole Funger, Shelly Galli, Norelie Garcia, Joyce Gates, Erin Geiger, Pam Godet, Debra Goldstein, Shirley Gordon, Judy Graham, Jill Granader, Sherri Blount Gray, Bianca Grimaldi, Heather Guay, Suzanne Haddad, Ava Hall, Kim Hart, Donna Harvey, Leigh Hay, Holidae Hayes, Stacey Henderson, Elizabeth Hilman, Michele Hoffman, Grace Hong, Cindy Howar, Lauren Hutton.
Contemplating the silent auction ...
Playing in the photo booth. One of a hundred or more "Knock Out Abuse" Cosmpolitans.
"The magnum is good but can I get an even bigger bottle, please?"
Kathryn Rand of FedEx.
"Real Housewives" Paul Wharton with friends.
Sharon Bradley. Dishing in the powder room.
"He said..."
"And then I said..."
"Real Housewives" cast member Stacie Turner, center, with fans.
Mary Barth. The dinner's emcee, Andrea Roane.
Cindy Jones.
More guests: Laura Ingraham, Dawn Jackson, Fariba Jahabani, Sarra Jerome, Cindy Jones, Charisse Jordan, Anna Junod, Kim Kaplan, Ann Kane, Willee Lewis, Kim Kempf, Ann Kenkel, Mary Kennard, Erin Kilday, Debbie Kirkland, Atin Khosroshahi, Sheri Klein, Karen Klopp, Jennifer Kuhn, Sarah Lacy, Ashley LaGanga, Xanthe Larsen, DeDe Lea, Emily Lenzner, Sarah Leonard, Reta Joe Lewis, Jessica Lillenfeld, Mandy Locke, Marie Long, Adrienne Lopez, Kelly Lovallo, Jessica Lovinger, Kim Luky, Vanessa Macatuno, Cristina Mahoubi, Suzanne Malveaux, Hanna Manke, Kim Manning, Jackie Mason, Beth Masri, Cheryl Masri, Lisa Mathers, Deryl McKissack, Jennifer Medley, Greta Menard, Brooke Merriweather, Andrea Miano, Kate Michael, Santana Moss, Jane Nacke, Chris Nasbe, Jill Neal, Dahlia Neiss, Lara Newman, Julie Nguyen, Bob Nixon, Sarah Nixon, Beth Nolan, Sara O’Keefe, Alena Ortiz, Mona Oswald, Cindy Padilla, Deborah Parchment, Bella Patel, Julia Payne, Mary Perez, Queenie Plater, Amanda Polk, Clinton Portis, Carmen Perkins, Rachel Pearson, Aquila Powell, Michelle Profit, Jane Quilter.

Christine Rales, Debby Rales, Kathryn Rand, Joi Reece, Charlotte Reid, Jaci Reid, Mame Reilly, Gloria Reuben, April Richmond, Andrea Roane, Kim Russo, Kathy Sadeghian, Monika Samtani, Reem Sadik, Sarah Schaffer, Rebecca Schulte, Lisa Scroggins, Maura Shannon, Stacey Sharpe, Kelley Shields, Donna Shor, Kristine Sidhu, Debbie Sigmund, Beth Singer, Leigh Slaughter, Marva Smalls, Andrea Smith, Nina Snow, Jill Sorensen, Libi Sprow, Shaundra Strachan, Kimble Stroud, Jennifer Tapper, Sheri Tate, Brenda Thomas, Harry Thomas, Carrie Tiller, Paula Timmons, Teri Trotter, Liz Tutwiler, Cynthia Vance, Del Vazir, Toni Verstandig, Neva Vogel, Mary Walker, Ann Walker Marchant, Jennifer Wall, Allie Warren, Rhonda Washington, Natasha Watkins, Joanne Wellington, Margie Wessel, Paul Wharton, Jennifer Whipp, Annie Wilson, Alissa Winkler, Dagmar Wittmer, Jenny Wolff, Sissy Yates, Jessica Zachar, Paula Zimbro, Lynne Zink, Dora, Linda, Lisa and Sara Zuccari.
Faces at the party ...
Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol is the host of The Q&A Cafe in Washington, D.C.

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