Monday, April 18, 2011

Washington Social Diary

Anderson House, home to the Society of the Cincinnati and location for a swell Financial Times soiree.
By Carol Joynt

If the overseers of the Financial Times should opt out of the news business they could consider party planning as an alternate path. They certainly showed commendable finesse with a “Meet The Editor” cocktail party held this past week at the unlikely but chic location of Anderson House. Unlikely because Anderson House is home to the Society of the Cincinnati, founded to celebrate the Revolutionary War and American independence. Such good sports, the Brits.

It was in no way the average Washington party. The sensational location certainly helped put it a cut above, but the soiree also had the blessings of a beautiful spring evening—the twilight was practically Venetian—icy cold and flowing Moet, delicious food such as lobster rolls and tenderloin, and a guest list that wasn’t the usual suspects. For sure, pinstriped suits dominated the landscape, but in many instances they actually fit the wearer, and the women held their own amongst the man power.
FT’s editor, Lionel Barber, was on scene as host, smoothly chatting up the locals, along with US Managing Editor Gillian Tett; together they welcomed Richard McGregor as the paper’s Washington bureau chief. McGregor, a native of Sydney, Australia, was their bureau chief in China, his specialty for almost two decades. His book “The Party,” called an “eye-opening investigation into China’s Communist Party,” was the evening’s swag, along with a very good cookie and a very functional umbrella.

It was wonderful to reconnect with Michael and Debbie Thawley. We met when he was Australia’s ambassador to Washington and our sons were in middle school. The boys are in college and the Thawleys now live half the time in Los Angeles. Another friend, CNN political commentator Bill Schneider, was in fine form, relishing new roles as a think tank fellow and as a professor. Another well-known pundit, Michael Wolfe, was all smiles. Perhaps it was the setting, the champagne and the beautiful evening, all good reasons to be relaxed and happy. It can happen, even in dour Washington.
Guests arriving at Anderson House. Paris? Venice? No, Washington.
Leaving no doubt as to the occasion's host.
Icy cold flowing Moet.
Susan Pyne, in the center, talks with friends. Pretty setting, pretty light, good conversation.
Beautiful evening spring light.
Beth Solomon, on the right in pale blue, stood out among all the pin stripes.
Full disclosure: I am an unabashed FT fan. Soon after the last presidential election my interest in cable TV waned and newspapers returned to the fore as the most reliable source of real news. It’s no secret most cable TV news operations seem to have given up news in exchange for noise and dysfunction.

Sure, I go to bed at night with an online read of The Washington Post and The New York Times and some news outlets that are solely web, and wake up to the same, but while we still have them, it feels good to hold onto, carry around and read a real newspaper. Two years ago I got a subscription to FT and fell madly in love.
Guest of honor Richard McGregor, with James Spellman brandishing the evening's swag, McGregor's book.
Financial Times editor Lionel Barber. FT's US Managing Editor Gillian Tett.
Andrew Sollinger, John Pain, John Toth, and Gavin Daly.
Debbie Thawley with Kath Cummins.
Gillian Tett with EU Ambassador Joao Vale de Almida, on the right.
Katty Kay and Tom Carver. Checking in.
Lizzie Allen with Emma Gilpin-Jacobs.
A happy Bill Schneider. Sebastian Mallaby, with an impressive resume too lengthy for a photo caption.
It’s a variation on the BBC in print, meaning a global view of the world we live in, not simply an American view. It helps open the mind to the games of big business from different perspectives, too. Plus there’s food, fashion, theater, films, art and lifestyle.

Recently a reporter wrote a clever “undercover” piece on The Goring Hotel, where princess-bride-to-be Kate Middleton will spend her pre-nuptial night. This weekend’s issue explores the “American re-invention” of Piers Morgan, whom I’m still trying to figure out. There’s a weekly section called “How to Spend It” that is irresistible pornography for the financially challenged; if you’re fortunate to have this FT section and FU money, all the better. Note: FT’s fully online, too.
Looking good: Jonathan Gillibrand, Richard Wolfe, and Chip Rodgers.
Jennifer Nycz-Conner, five months "preggers" and glowing. Lionel Barber with Sally Quinn.
Mark Bloomfield, left, and Beth Solomon, right, exchange cards. His wife, Claudine Sorel-Bloomfield, looks on.
Nikki Schwab and Oliver Troung.
.Mit Spears talks with Deborah Kelly. Deborah Kelly and Lionel Barber.
The former Australian Ambassador to the Washington, Michael Thawley, and Debbie Thawley. He's now with Capital Group. Alan Greenspan with Emma Gilpin-Jacobs, clutching the best accessory, a copy of FT.
The paper is a pale shade of pink--macho pink, if you will--which somehow makes the bad news seem less strident. It’s compact and lightweight, and not jammed with supermarket flyers. At the end of his remarks I approached Barber to spill my praise but he had another task at hand. “I have to talk to the chairman,” he said.

That was Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Board top dog, who attended with his wife, Andrea Mitchell. I wonder whether Greenspan put the fan crush on Barber the way I planned, but then again, by missing me the British editor was spared one of those too effusive American moments.
An important note, however discreet, from the managers of Anderson House.
Yummy lobster rolls from Design Cuisine.
The "brand" was never out of sight, including on the dessert table.
Champagne and more champagne. FT kept the canapes coming well into the evening.
Lionel Barber welcomes his guests.
Barber and his brand, well represented. Listening to Lionel in the glorious setting that is Anderson House.
On the guest list: Steven Adamske, Jeff Adams, Marc Adelman, Bruce Andrews, Victor Ashe, Caroline Atkinson, Kevin Bargo, Kate Bennett, Carl Bentzel, Tom Braithwaite, Marcus Brauchli, Amb. Hang-Chee Chan of Singapore, Allison Butler, Rory Channer, Steve clemons, Clive Crook, George Daly, Peter David, John Dimsdale, Peter Dunn, Daniel Dombey, Edie Emery, Ryann Gastwirth, Chris Giles, Anna Gawel, Sen. Kristin Gillibrand and Jonathan Gillibrand, Robin Harding, Neil Hare, Polson Kanneth, Darcy Keller, Matt Kennard, Israel Klein, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Chris Kormis, Geoff Lamb, Mark Krawiec, Edward Luce, Teresa Mannix, Jurek Martin, William McGreevey, Robert McMahon, Zanny Minton Beddoes, Shaun Murphy, Jay Newton-Small, Susan Nixon, Grover Norquist, Courtney O’Donnell, James Politi, Meg Reilly, Matthew Rose, Kiki Ryan, James B. Steinberg, Sabrian Tavernise, Chris Turpin, Harold E. Varmus, Frank Vogl, Emily Vogl, Sue Zoldak, Greg Zorthian.
The dessert buffet included macaroons, cupcakes, cheesecakes, brownies and chocolate dipped strawberries.

The Folger Shakespeare Library held its annual gala fundraiser last week. It was a tribute to the library's director, Gail Kern Paster. James R. Brantley was there with his camera and Garland Scott sent these details: 

"Great night. SRO house with more than 350 of Gail and Howard and the Folger’s friends on hand to pay tribute to her. It is the most successful Folger Gala ever and raised a great deal of money and good will for the library. The invitation (was) bright spring green with an image of the Old Reading Room on the front and images from the collection of ladies doing Shakespeare -- a tribute to Gail and a nod to her tenure. 
Judy Bersma, Ennius Bersma, Amb. Renee Jones-Bos of the Netherlands, and Richard Jones.
Elizabeth Stevens, Joe Allbritton, and Barbara Allbritton. Stuart Bloch and Julia Chang Bloch.
Former Senator Don Riegle, Laurie Riegle, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Marcelle Leahy.
“The designers (did) a fresh spring look -- bright green tablecloths throughout with pink, orange, and green floral arrangements.  Lots of branches of blossoming Korean cherries, parrot tulips, Bells of Ireland, etc.  To bring more light into the rooms, mirrored table tops on half the round tables and mercury glass vases.  The British Ambassador announced that Gail will receive the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) from HRH The Prince of Wales on his visit in May. 

“Folger Board Chair Paul Ruxin announced two permanent tributes, including the renaming of the Old Reading Room where Gail did all of her research – and yes, it made Gail tear up! The Gail Kern Paster Director’s Educational Endowment Fund will be a new fund, established with proceeds from the gala, to be used at the director’s discretion to support educational activities at the Folger.
Geneviee Lambert, Austin McLaughlin, and Shannon Poach.
Janet Kessler Waxman, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, and Rep. Doris Matsui of California.
Courtney and Scott Pastrick. Dawn and Frank Saul.
Rep. John Dingell of Michigan and Debbie Dingell.
“The entertainment was a short, original play inspired by Gail Paster's research. Catie Flye and singers Steve Cramer, Bob McDonald, and Danielle Talamantes, and actors Dori Legg, John Touchton, and Matthew R. Wilson included a newly-discovered play by Shakespeare, The Humours of Comedy, or So That’s the Way She Likes It, which touched on Gail’s area of scholarship. In Gail’s remarks, she noted that she “never expected to be outed at the Folger Gala, but it is all true.”

The guests included Carol Ann Stanger, Laura Yerkovich, Twiss Butler, Porter Wheeler, Nancy and David Roll, Margaret and David Dunning, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Marcelle Leahy, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. John Dingell and Debbie Dingell, Rep. Henry Waxman and Janet Kessler Waxman, Ken Mountcastle, Garrett Lowe, William J. Curtin, Susan Goldman, British Ambassador and Lady Sheinwald, Royal Netherlands Ambassador Renee Jones-Bos Ken Ludwig, Martha Gross, Delma Bagley, Essence Newhoff.
Actors cavort on stage at the Folger theater.
Bob McDonald and Danielle Talamantes perform at the gala.
Also Robin Hill, Marcia Carter,  Julia Chang Bloch and Stuart Bloch, Joan Dempsey, Bill Newlin, Peter N. Heydon, Annie Cleland, Jacqueline B. Mars, Don Riegle and Laurie Riegle, Louis B. Thalheimer, Christopher Mills, Molly L. Wachs, Barbara Wainscott, Neal Duncan, Baba Groom, Tom McMillen,  William Niskanen and Kathy Washburn,Cullen Murphy, Emily and Timothy Paster, Joe Allbritton, Barbara Allbritton, Robert Allbritton, Elena Allbritton, Janet Sloan.

Have we left anyone out? What about…David and Margaret Gardner, Lee and Julie Folger, Carol Ludwig, Stuart Levey, Stephen and Andrea Weiswasser, John Rogers, Arne Christenson, Michael Barrett, Jeffrey Morrow, Sheila Graham, Diane Wesley, Mark Pigott, Jack L. Martin, Peter Rose, Alicia Kershaw, Ann Brody, Timothy K. Paster, Erica Paster, Henry Brem, and Gordon Turnbull.
Amb Sir Nigel Sheinwald of Great Britain, Folger Shakespeare Library Board of Governors Chair Paul T. Ruxin, Folger Shakespeare Library Director Gail Kern Paster, Lady Julia Sheinwald, and Howard Paster.
Carol's upcoming memoir is Innocent Spouse, excerpted at