|The amazing interior of the National Building Museum, once the Lincoln-era Pension Building ... just before the Sinatra party started.|
|A SINATRA SOIREE WITH WASHINGTON’S “MADRAS PACK”
by Carol Joynt
Just as Washington elders have the all-male Burning Tree Country Club for golf, and the all-male Alibi Club for lunch, this most conservative of politically liberal towns also has a male bastion for those who will eventually transition into the aging establishment. It’s called The Capital Club. The more than 100 members are the “prep” class of the city: transplants, sons of the power brokers, young professionals, wannabes a few all round well-liked individuals. It’s a club for the not-yet-married, especially since in addition to social life and charity, hooking up seems to be in the by-laws.
The Capital Club’s mode is somewhere between Gossip Girl and the Social Register, and if that sounds vaguely Eisenhower-esque, they don’t care. This is a page of social life that will never be colored by words like hippie, Goth, grunge, punk or gangsta’. However, a pink belt emblazoned with “SEXY” in gold studs is quite all right. In fact fashion matters – to the extent a young man will be ranked on whether his Nantucket reds are from Murray’s Toggery Shop or, God forbid, elsewhere, aka “Poor Reds.”
For the past two decades The Capital Club has hosted a “Sinatra Soiree.” The 2011 dance party happened last week at The National Building Museum and the club’s President, Win Huffman, was agreeable to invite New York Social Diary. More than a few young ones said, “You know my parents,” or “You know my grandparents,” but they were polite and posed willingly for the camera, much more agreeably than many of the aforementioned adults, who don’t have that same ease with social exposure as the Facebook generation.
|Just one of many bars; The cuisine of partying 20-somethings: cheese and sandwiches. Sinatra would approve.|
|Capital Club powers that be: Miles Pratt, Win Huffman, Fritz Brogan, and Andrew Bird.|
|Liz Sara and Michele Lebar. "We thought it would be fun for a Thursday night."||Allen Lewin. Is he a member of the Capital Club? "I think I am."|
|Ziba Gorji and Sona "Ray-Ray."|
|Bro's, literally: Mark White and Mike White with Kevin Hinton and Zach Hinton.|
|Their kicks ...|
|... and Zach Hinton's belt.|
|For anyone under 30, part of daily life is picture taking; particularly of one’s own self. Cell phones are ubiquitous. They pose and snap and text before the first drink, during the first drink, the second and third and beyond; while dancing, in the john, later, wherever. Some, when I asked for their names for a caption, asked me to not use their real names but to please use their “club” names. Whatevs ...
Not only do they celebrate a sartorial code and Sinatra but they also appear to practice earlier-era virtues like manners and rules, though with a decidedly updated code. They think nothing of later going on message boards like Late Night Shots to spill every graphic detail of who did what to whom and how. For example, “I stuffed my face full of vodka tonics and drugs.” “Blacked out and think I did anal for the first time last night.” “This girl was taking pictures of herself in the bathroom with a hairdryer.” Those are among the more extreme.
|Zach Amann.||Bobbie Peterson and Carlos Alvarez-Aranyos.|
|Sara Warren and Susy Young.|
|Jeannine Mercurio, James Mercurio, and Lucia Carromba.|
|Clara Kim and Phil Mone.||Amy English and Kevin Sweeney.|
|Jake Hoyt and Max Smith.|
|John Elliott and Kasara Williams.|
|Kasara Williams stockings.||Robert Abresch, Meredith Hope, and Allen Lewin.|
|Ellen Hull, Lauren Weathers, Mary Allen Langford, and Emily Monsour.|
|They were an agreeable and colorful lot, paying homage to a requested party attire of “summer ahoy.” Madras jackets were as popular as bow ties, pocket squares and “critter” pants, and when I found three madras-wearing men in close proximity, and asked them to please come together for a three-shot, they were delighted. No irony. Pure joy.
This party didn’t even kick into gear until 11 p.m., the hour at which established Washington fundraising soirees are well put to bed. When I asked about blitzing to the wee hours, several of the members pointed out that while it was a Thursday night, and while many of the reported 1,000 people who were there would be up late, there would be (ha ha ha) some restraint. Club Vice President Fritz Brogan said, “We all have to be at work in the morning.” Maybe. One club member tweeted: “Why is it on a Thursday? Not everyone can be a disaster at their jobs on Friday. For those of us who have jobs.” Another wrote, “Expecting many Friday ‘sick days’ throughout the greater DC area.”
|Hail fellow madras lover well met.|
|Eric Goldstein, Daryl Muller, and Jake deVantier.|
|Catching up ...|
|Christopher Sheeron, Molly Weaver, Stacy Hadeka, and Andrew Mills.|
|Chris Moran, Jim Albrittain, and Chris Warner.|
|The Swing Town orchestra played all Sinatra, all night.||Candid camera.|
|Erin Mullins, Mackenzie Miles, Krystal Cunningham, Bridgette Hall, and Amy Kelly.|
|Wendy Whitcomb and Brian Walsh.|
|Brian Walsh's shoes.|
|But heck, it’s summer in the city, and with a budget crisis weighing on the overall mood, why not party whenever possible, and to as late an hour as possible?
The Swing Town big band filled the massive auditorium with the sweet sounds of ‘ole Blue Eyes. I don’t know how people managed to swing dance on carpet rather than a wood dance floor, but they did it. The music was strong. Too loud to ask some burning questions: Did they have jobs on the Hill or in the Administration that were related to whether their bosses come to some kind of agreement on the debt ceiling? Did they care? More than that, since they are fashion conscious, what did they think of the same-age Royal couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, who just completed an impressive tour in Canada and drop by in Hollywood?
|Katie Moses, Cole Larsen, and Caroline Holman.|
|Melissa Rasmussen and Eric Goldstein.||Gillian Helwig and Will Merrick.|
|Phil Mone, Jim Laatsch, Charlotte Tansill, Stephanie Gitler, James Humphries, and Clara Kim.|
|Phil Mone about to get Twilighted by Jim Laatsch.||Skip Keats and Robert Abresch.|
|Justin Holman, "Franco," and Michael Logsdon.|
|The look was pure prep and them some ...|
|Kate’s style is compelling. Refreshingly contemporary and not the least a fashion victim, and as I looked around the Sinatra Soiree, noting the young women’s
crotch-high minis and 3-inch platform hooker heels, I wondered if Kate’s classic court shoes and sophisticated hemlines would have an influence on her generation, not to mention William’s well cut suits and smart way with casual dress. For the first time since his mother, they are Royals who don’t look out of date. It feels like time for a fashion pivot.
When the music ended the party moved to the wildly popular list-only club, George, in Georgetown. George is a bar where a 21st Century Sinatra would feel at home. For Washington, it has a little bit of Rat Pack swagger, meaning, of course, with madras.
|Mike Fletcher and Swing Town.|
|Steve Andronico and friends.||Swinging to Sinatra.|
|At one of the bars.|
|Come fly with me?||The chaperone: National Building Museum security officer Mike Whitman. "No one's ever taken my picture at one of these before."|
|New arrivals standing in line at the door.|
|At almost 11, guests still lining up to get in.|
|The Capital Club would not release a party list – “against policy” – but in lieu of that here’s the membership roster:
|Carol Joynt's new memoir, Innocent Spouse, can be ordered from Amazon, HERE.|