Monday, November 22, 2010

Washington Social Diary

Wendy Walker with friends at a Georgetown book party for Larry King's long-time producer, Ms. Walker.
by Carol Joynt

Like with any big city before a holiday, last week in Washington was a time of heightened frenzy in advance of the Thanksgiving exodus. The lame duck Congress was briefly in town, bringing with them the drones, wonks and lobbyists. The social crowd, if they wished, could pick and choose from quite a few options every night, including a pinch of glittering royal dust on the eve of Prince William’s engagement announcement. For Larry King it was farewell to an old home. And the spa people rolled through with elixirs and promises.

It all added up to a little crazy before the calm.

Wendy Walker with Larry. Photo: CNN.
Wendy Walker's Producer.

First, the sentimentality. Larry King arrived in town to do his last show from CNN’s Washington studio, an interview with Vice President Joe Biden, one more step in the long farewell for Larry and his loyal crew, leading to his final broadcast from Los Angeles on December 16. Washington is where “Larry King Live” began all those years ago – June 1985 to be exact – before he moved West.

That same evening there was a Georgetown book party for Larry’s long-time producer, Wendy Walker. Her book is called “Producer,” and recounts the behind-the-scenes of the show since when Wendy took charge in 1993. In many ways Wendy is Larry’s brain and it's tough to imagine one without the other. She tenaciously produces his daily show but she’s also been at his hospital bedside for heart procedures (there have been a few), navigated the delicate dance of his loved ones and friends (practically a village), and been the buffer between him and the CNN suits (the usual network meddling). While most of the LKL staff are polishing resumes, Wendy will remain as Larry’s producer for occasional specials.

Just as Larry was once very much a part of Washington, Wendy too made her home here before moving to California, and it was the show’s Washington staff and many of Wendy’s Washington friends who showed up at the Addison/Ripley gallery to warmly celebrate her and her book.

Spotted: Maureen Orth, Sally Bedell Smith, Mack McLarty, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Donvan, Cheryl Masri, Cynthia Steele Vance, Nancy Baker, Ann Blackman and Mike Putzel, David and Margaret Dunning, Caroline Croft, Eleanor Clift, Ray Benton, Dorrance Smith, Barbara Berti, Carrie Stephenson, Kandie Stroud, Suzy Trees, C.C. and Cathy Sloan, Lisa Durham, Kathryn Kross, Barbara Cochran, Gloria Borger, Wolf Blitzer, Jim Miklaszewski.

“Producer” is published by Center Street. For a look at the dynamic of Wendy and Larry together, check out this memory lane video posted on the show’s website here.
Wendy Walker autographs her book, Producer. Opps, gotta remove the glasses.
Melissa Moss and Suzy Trees.
C.C. and Cathy Sloan.
Caroline Croft, Frank Fahrenkopf, and Ray Benton.
Barbara Berti and Carrie Stephenson.
David Dunning, John Donvan, and Kathryn Kross.
Glorie Borger and Wendy Walker (photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua).
Carol Cratty, Pam Benson, Wendy Walker, Cynthia Steele Vance, Francis Hardin, Molly Boyle, Cissy Baker (photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua).
Cheryl Masri, Cynthia Steele Vance, Ray Benton, Maureen Orth, Bobbi Smith, Wendy Walker, Kandie Stroud, Michelle Laxalt (photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua).

Another network, NBC, was virtually hand in hand with the royals last week, specifically Prince Charles, whose documentary, “Harmony – A New Way of Looking at the World,” was featured as part of the network’s “Green Week.” The soon to be former company president and CEO Jeff Zucker hosted an advanced screening of the film at the Kennedy Center, and his timing was timely, the eve of the announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement. If any one there knew in advance, their lips were sealed.

The screening was preceded by a packed VIP reception in the Terrace Ballroom. Later, on stage, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the first “Global Fairness Initiative Award” to Ela Bhatt, founder of the India-based Self-Employed Women’s Association.
Jeff Zucker. Adam Mahr.
Guests at the reception included Buffy Cafritz, Pamela Brown, Steve Capus, Ebs Burnough, Maureen Orth, Louann and Nelson Deckelbaum, David Deckelbaum, Todd, Paige and Holly Deckelbaum, Robert Higdon, Wade Davis, Carl Colby, Katrina Albright, Nadia Ansari, Jose Luis Betancourt, Adam Mahr, Lindsey Becker, Shikka Bhatnagar, Leonard Bidel-Niyat, Jill Birdwhistell, Marcel Beukeboom, Nicole Bohannon, Christopher Bond, Rachel Beale, Amy Bicshoff, Warren Bischoff, Allida Black, Tamera Luzzatto, Alex Luzzatto, Jessica Calhoun, Nishant Choudhary, Vanessa Colon, Richard Huber, Richard Huber Jr. and Lucille Huber, Jacob Ifshin, Victoria Dunning, Lisa Eckstein, Christian Donaldson, Katie Divelbess, Nancy Folger, Annie Totah, Bob and Megan Gabriel, Xing Fu-Bertaux, Ichiro Fujisaki, Jana Fond Swamidoss, Haley Gillooly, Isis Rae Goulbourne, Cyrus Graf von Westfalen, John Graybill, Melinda Goforth, Elsie Harper-Anderson, Tammy Haddad, Kevin Chaffee, Marshall Herskovitz, Sai Sudha Kanikicharla, John Kerry, Ron Klain, Israel Kogan, Leo Mondale, Carol Michaelesen, Tim Milbrath, Emily Miller, Matt Miller, Sarah Morgenthau, Alexandra Moosally, Outerbridge Horsey, Liz Overstreet, Malcolm Peabody, Jordan Pearlstein, Gail Percy, John Peacock, Kathryn Pasternak, Sapna Pandya, Francesca Craig, Paula Rylands, Michele Rollins, Jill Schuker, Mario Rojas, Amy Zantzinger, Meg Wilder, Andrea Wolfson, Eva Yung, Eva Zang, Brian Williams, Deb and Steve Wright, Hilary Wong, Christian Zapatka, Diane Maya Zouein.
David, Louann, and Nelson Deckelbaum.
Tamera and Alex Luzzatto.
Buffy Cafritz and David Deckelbaum. Pamela Brown.
The family of Richard and Lucile Huber (on the right).
Bob Colacello. Megan and Bob Gabriel.
Kevin Chaffee and Tammy Haddad.
The buffet at the VIP reception in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Room.

On another night, in another part of town, BFF’s Amy Holmes and Juleanna Glover hosted an intimate buffet dinner for visiting screenwriter Dale Launer, who Amy described in the invite as a good friend and “generous host to me over the years.” The party at the Glover home was happy, casual, chatty and easy. Juleanna, a republican political consultant and lobbyist, packed her kitchen with wine, beer, chips n’ dip, a counter full of Persian chicken and condiments and, for a while, all the guests plus her children and the dog.

Launer’s film credits include “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Ruthless People” and “My Cousin Vinny.” Amy, a conservative pundit and cable TV regular, said “Vinny” happens to be a favorite film of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. That’s why Launer’s Washington visit included, courtesy of Amy, a visit with Justice Scalia in his chambers.
Abdulwahab Abdulla Al-Hajjri, the Yemeni Ambassador, and Amy Holmes.
Juleanna Glover with the younger set.
Guests included Matt Cooper, Joe Lockhart, Marth Barth, Henry von Eichel, Conrad and Ludmilla Cafritz, Gretchen and Tom Toles, Jan Crawford, Cathy Merrill, Dana and Donna Milbank, Jamal Simmons, Tim Burger, Kiki Ryan, Edie Emery, Valerie Edwards, Matt and Nina Rees, Michelle Van Gilder, Lauren Cozzi, Courtney Cohen, Christina Sevilla, Kevin Chaffee and Teddi Alyce Segal.
Amy Holmes and Juleanna Glover. Michelle van Gilder and Christopher Reiter.
Amy Holmes, Dale Launer, and a guest.
Left: The Persian buffet.

Pita and yogurt.
Conrad Cafritz in the middle.
Jan Crawford. Lauren Cozzi.
Courtney Cohen. Christina Sevilla and Tom Toles.
CJ, Henry von Eichel, and Juleanna Glover.
Dale Launer with party guests. The kitchen scene from above.

About 20 minutes outside Washington I got in a couple hours among those who provide the antidote to partying: the spa industry. I drove to the massive National Harbor complex, itself a subject that could fill many paragraphs (think Vegas meets Disney minus gambling and rides but with major dining and convention action.) I happily accepted an invitation to visit the annual convention and expo of the International Spa Association, essentially the rejuvenation and relaxation wing of the beauty industry.

Like similar venues in Las Vegas, National Harbor’s Gaylord Convention Center is mind-boggling. Palaces would be dwarfed by its hulk. The adjoining hotel has a lobby big enough to accommodate actual other buildings. The corridors alone are the size of roadways. People move in packs, dressed for business, large plastic identification pouches dangling from their necks. On the day I visited, the spa event was at one end while an “armored vehicles summit” anchored the other.

Inside the Gaylord lobby: big enough to fit a house.
Like a pinball I zig-zagged from one intriguing booth to another.

What stood out?

Judith Jackson’s Wonder Rub, which promised to relieve my aches and pains. I’m not sure one little quarter-ounce sample is enough for such a great challenge, but it smells heavenly (cinnamon, ginger, arnica and rosemary).

The folks at Sprayology told me the future of taking vitamins is in oral sprays, and they spritzed some Vitamin B under my tongue for a little “boost.” In addition to one’s daily A, B’s and C’s, the company’s homeopathic line promises to rejuvenate, relieve and restore. Specific sprays include “BrainPower,” “ManPower,” “TravelEase,” “City Life Detoxer” and, appropriately, “Party Relief.”

Around the corner, Glo-therapeutics also offered me spray vitamins, in the form of Vitamin C mist for my face. This was my first face product sampling and it felt good, moisturizing and soothing. Eventually I had so many creams on my puss it felt like I’d grown a new layer of skin. Of course, I looked younger by the minute. NuFace also promised good things for the face – its “own personal pilates trainer” – but instead of a cream their magic is white plastic wand with two silver balls that’s called a “microcurrent facial toning device.” You can do it at home.

My hair is grateful to Moroccan Oil for the little vile of amber oil many hairdressers swoon for these days. Yes, it did give my hair a “silky finish.” A bonus: the lined aquamarine gift bag. It would be right at home on Filao Beach. My lower extremities are grateful to Gehwol for the little packets of foot and leg creams and soaks and scrubs. I’m a long-time believer. I still feel for Diego Castaneda, a hotel rep from Guatemala, who agreed to be a guinea pig for a nose waxing! Yes, it looked painful.
Hallway at Gaylord Convention Center - the size of a highway.
These full sized buildings are indoors, not outdoors.
Headed down to the lower level to the ISPA convention and expo.
And what about Philippe Lahmani? He sells a line of cosmeto-textile underwear that comes infused with cellulite and slimming additives. That’s right. In the fabric. He swears the infusions don’t wash out. According to Philippe, his garments “incorporate embedded, microencapsulated ingredients that are released” while they are worn. Could this get certain starlets back into their knickers?

At Bio-Tuning’s booth there were, alas, no seats available. People lined up to try Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s “neuro-acoustic sonic induction therapy.” This is out of California and there are different approaches. One option is to use the feedback vibrations of the recorded sound of your own voice, the other is to strap on special glasses, plus earphones, insert one of their CDs in your laptop and stretch out under a blanket. The CD versions include “Songbird Sunrise & Thunderstorm,” “Sleepy Ocean & Rain,” “The Ultimate Nap” and Lambda or Epsilon “Ecstatic States of Consciousness.” Each boasts “alpha brainwave pulses.” I can’t report on the effectiveness because, like Chauncey Gardiner, I only watched.
Home of the wonder cream.
The Judith Jackson booth also offered massage to convention attendees.
These honeycomb massage gloves from Supracor were a find. Simply put: they feel good.
Sprayology's Gail Kelsey demonstrates the company's spray vitamins. Bottles of spray vitamins.
Philippe Lahmani with his line of underwear, which come infused with slimming and cellulite ingredients. Mary Butler with her mist and other Vitamin C products for the face.
What convention? Oblivious to goings on, a woman experiences neuro-acoustic therapy.
CD's for home therapy from Dr. Jeffrey Thompson
Betty Jane LeClair prepares sets up a customer at the Center for Neuro-Acoustic Research. A brave man, Diego Castaneda volunteered for a nose waxing.
As a chocoholic it was a delight to come upon Bissinger’s, the famous St. Louis chocolatier. I actually once made a special summer stop in St. Louis to try their freshly made chocolate covered raspberries, which are available only in July (and worth the trip). “But what are you doing at a beauty convention?” I asked Maureen Bassett, the company rep. Believe it or not, she said, Bissinger’s discovered that gummi bears are antioxidant! They offer a line of gummi bears, “pandas” actually, in flavors like Goji Guava, Pomegranate, Pink Grapefruit, Blueberry Acai, Apricot Green Tea and Raspberry. You can get them at Dean & DeLuca.

Bissinger’s call the gummies “the ultimate healthful indulgence.” Wow. What good news. I’ve been a gummi bear addict since I was 7 years old, when I first got a scoop-full of multi-colored “Bärchen” at a German candy shop. Memo to my dear mother in heaven: Guess what, all that candy was actually good for me!
At Gehwohl, Faiz Johnny Jarufe (on the right) has what makes the feets feel good.
Full service at the Moroccan Oil booth.
The Moroccan Oil gift bag shouts "Take me to St. Barth's." Maureen Bassett at Bissinger's recites the anti-oxidant benefits of gummi bears.
"Antioxidant Rich" - the Bissinger's gummi bears are pandas.
The ISPA expo was huge. I bounced around like a pinball.
One view of one fraction of the ISPA convention.
Nuface promotes "microcurrents" for facial lifting and sculpting.
At Touch America a whole-body rocking table for the spa or home or home spa.
Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol is the host of The Q&A Cafe in Washington, D.C.

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