Monday, February 28, 2011

Washington Social Diary

Jete party co-chair Winston Bao Lord poses with some friends.
by Carol Joynt

The Washington Ballet held their 10th annual Jete Society “Dance Party” this weekend and, reliably, it rocked like a mad revel, an early sign of coming spring. The invitation promised a “top-secret location” in Georgetown, with the actual address and directions revealed only at the last minute — an abandoned office space in an aging building complex overlooking the Potomac.

Clearly a sign of the depressed commercial real estate market, but could it be the trend for the future? Will we eventually see black tie galas in bankrupt, empty shopping malls? Think of the possibilities!
Party co-chair Ashley Taylor. Pamela Pressley.
Septime Weber, the Washington Ballet's artistic director.
Stephanie Green shows Sally Hosta a top secret photo.
Krista Johnson. Kiki Ryan.
Mark Drapeau and Meredith Fineman.
Sara Lange and Sarah Baker.
Micky and Shahab Farivar.
The Jete Society party planners used the vast bare space to spectacular advantage, with bold lighting, a deejay imported from New York, lounge-like seating areas and bar after bar after bar after bar. The hosts boasted there would be “7 bars and 14 bartenders.” There were, and they were kept busy.

The “boardwalk carnival” theme enlivened the menu — corn dogs, sliders, crab cakes, candied popcorn, pretzels and fried Snickers bars — and the entertainment, including carnival games, jugglers, stilt-walkers and a man breathing fire. The “digital” photo booth was a hit and fun for me, too. I aimed my modern digital in the same direction as their hyper-modern digital, with some amusing results.
The "secret" location: an otherwise empty Georgetown office complex transformed into a vast party space.
The "boardwalk carnival" theme prevailed in the decor and food.
All kinds of popcorn.
Photos from beside the photo booth ...
Just as with the birds and the bees, Washington’s “junior” party crowd were on the prowl, but gosh, I don’t know how the pretty young things here keep their spirits up. It seemed there were 3 or 4 women for every man and most of the men, and in particular the straight men, stood face to face, talking work, while the women posed, preened and danced ... with each other. This town!

There are so many attractive young women, and they pull out the latest minis and Jimmys when they do the town, and yet the men are so not worthy. They’ve got the blazers, the high water chinos, one hand wrapped around a bottle of beer, the other shoved in a pocket, and while the women try to get their attention the men yak yak yak about how they got an “atta boy” from the boss last week.
On the dance floor ...
The inattention doesn’t last the entire night. Eventually the guys get drunk enough, find the courage to try to hook up, maybe succeed, and then, before passing out, write it up on Late Night Shots. I love the company of these young people but as I head for the door at my self-imposed curfew I’m happy not to be 25 in 2011.

Regardless, the Washington Ballet’s Jete Society co-chairs, Ashley Taylor and Winston Bao Lord, know how to throw a party. As for the girls hoping to meet Mr. Right, well, you know what they say about Alaska? The advantage goes to the women. Therefore, please note that the state’s most famous bachelor, Levi Johnston, is running for Mayor of Wasilla, and perhaps he needs a Washington-savvy partner with a pair of 21st-century Nancy Reagan eyes.
On the right, DJ Pitch One, with a possible accomplice. What's the message?
The waiters couldn't refill the corn dogs fast enough. They were a popular item.
Caught in the act ...
... and laughing about it.
In their minis and Jimmys.
Almost 1,000 people attended the party. Some of the names on the guest list included: Laurel Abraham, Robert Abraham, Stephanie Abraham, Giacomo Abrusci, Barry Adams, Kendall Adams, Mayealie Adams, Daniel Ahr, Stephanie Ahr, Amber Akram, Diana Abrecht, James Alefantis, Grant Allen, Meredith Allin, Sam Allin, Hunt Anderson, Rebekah Andrews, Shannon Autry, Ebonee Bachman, Randy Bachman, Michele Bachus, Eric Bader, Jill Bader, Justin Baird, Sarah Baker, Kelly Balkin, Winston Bao Lord, Erin Barnes, John Barnett, Tricia Barry, Ben Bartlett, Orinda Basha, Sarah Basile, Ashley Becker, Carl Becker, Lindsey Becker, David John Belford, Thomas Bergan, Meghan Blackburn, Winslow Blankenship, Ross Blankenship, Diana blass, Nikki Bogopoiskaya, Kari Bourdeau, Tyler Boyd, Randall Brater, Fritz Brogan III, Tracey Bromley, Matthew Bronczek, Cara Brown, J. Austin Bryan, Tim Burger, David Burget, Coventry Burke Berg, William Burlew, Rachel Byrne, Caitlin Byrnes, Tiffany Carter, Randal Casper, Mallow Caudle, Hamilton Chaney, Chadae Chang, Wilson Chang, Adele Chapin, Beatrice Chastka, Matt Chiste, Karim Chrobog, Hamilton Clark, John Clark, Regina Clark, Carlisle Clarke Aubrey Clemens, Taylor Deering, Chris Deluca, Doug Deluca, Kate DeMagistris, Jenney De Meo, Stephen Dempsey-Chiam, Abhijit Dshmukh, Nichole Devoites, Alysha DiGiorgio, Vincent DeGiorgio, Jackie Dominquez, Matthew Donahue, Courtney Dorger, Elizabeth Dorger, Marjorie Dornette, Kristina Dorville, Boyko Dossev, Ryan Douglas, Heather Downen, Cathleen Doyel, Mark Drapeau, Alexi Drucker, Elizabeth Duncan, Jake Dwinell, Jasmin Dwyer, Egemen Egemenoglu, Scott Engler, Bill Enright, Paul Farber, Mickey Farivar, Shahab Farivar, Jay Farrell, Monica Farrow.

Stephanie Green, Jill Greenstein, Kendall Griggs, Natalie Grigorian, Kristin Grote, Molly Grover, Angela Guaragna, Healther Guay, Rina Guerra, Sarah Guinan Nixon, Kristin Guiter, Christine Gutleben, Anna Jaac, Zachary Hackstock, Gib Hale, James Hall, Paul Hallam, Sarah Hamilton, Kee Han, Kellie Hancock, Nichole Hanson, Armon Harris, Cassie Harwood, james Javen, Jonathan Hays, Cassandra Heath, Laura Heffelfinger, Lee Heffner, Brooke Horne, Stephanie Horne, Rebecca Houseknecht, Jennifer Hu, Rui Huang, Anthony Hubbert, Zac Hudson, Emily Hughes, Annie Hughes, Jenny Huynh, Jackie Inman, Nicholas Isbrandtsen, Chinwe John, Krista Johnson, Jonathan Jordan, Patrick Judge, Saffie Kamara, Arthur Karell, Mahana Karimi, Carmela Katzman, Alexandra Kaufmann, Kelly Keelan, Ben Keiser, Meaghan Kelly, Katherine Kennedy, Sophy Keo, Sona Kharatian, Mike Kibler, Kathleen Kiernan, Ayano Kimura, Lindsay Kin, Wolfgang Koehling, Caitlin Kottage, Tamas Krizsa, Sara Lange, Traudel Lange, alexis Latifi, Miriana Lausic, Amy Lavav, Erez Lavav, Elise Ledsinger, Anne Lee, Caroline Lee, Scott Lee, Amber Lewis, Rachel Ley, Manwai Li, Joel Limerick, Rebecca Lindrew, Andy Linn, Jennifer Littlepage, Peggy Lomax.

Laura Long, Cate Loughlin, Josh Luko, Stepanie Luko, Leigh Macdonald, Benjamin Macfarland, Christina Macfarland, Brooklyn Mack, Todd Mac, Ona Madonia, Nick Magallanes, Adam Marsh, Rachel Martin, Lindsey Mask, Chelsea Maughan, Lynne Mauroner, Lee Mauroner, Camelia Mazard, Lauren Mazenick, Molly McDowell, Christina McEnroe, Kaitlin McKenna, Hall McMillan, Marcos Mercado, Ashlie Merritt, Aiden Mette, Kate Michael, Stacey Miller, Alex Minoff, Tamako Miyazaki, Michelle Mobley, Jordan Monroe, Tristan Monroe, Pam Moore, Steve Moore, Thais Mootz, Marcail Moran, Kristen Murdock, Brian Murphy, Meghan Murphy, John Ting Myauo, Michelle Myauo, Andie Ndlovu, Jared Nelson, Sarah Nichols, Lindsay Nolan, Ann Norris, Elizabeth Norton, Parker O’Daniel, Emily Olson, Maki Onuki, Sondra Ortagas, Susan Ostowski, Candace Ourisman, Christopher Ourisman, Bryan Paige, Branon Painter, Lauren Pomponio, Omar Popal, John Porter, Nick Pyle, Cesar Ramos, James Rayborn, Steve Rebillot, Michael Reed, Christi Rhodes, Dan Ring, Dan Roberge, Joy Elena Robertson, Johnny Rockwell, Morgann Rose, Courtney Rosellini, Andrea Ross, Chris Rothstein, Kiki Ryan, Reem Sadik, Mark Seidler, Matthew Serenius, Katie Serrell, Maureen Shanahan, Hannah Shepherd, Jess Sives, Peter Snyder, Paul Spellman, Scott Spencer, Jake St. Arnold, Robert Stauffer III, William Todd, Bryan Tolin, Edward Tracz, Lauren Turner, Sean Ulsaker, Kris Van Cleave, Anna Van Meter, Jay D. Varma, Gilda Villela, John Vowell, Erin Wallace, Matt Wallace, Sherry Wang, Dylan Ward, Quentin Ward, Tiffany Wattanaporn, Rex Wempen, Wendy Whitcomb, Rich Wiedis, Ben Winter, Brad Woodfield, Dustin Wright, Seung Yang, Morey Yost, Dan Zohn.
The party underway in Reggie Van Lee's apartment before Chris Botti's arrival.

It’s tough to hide behind neutral words when writing about that talented young man with a horn, Chris Botti. His trumpet playing is a vital part of my personal soundtrack. I’ve got everything he’s recorded since he came out from behind the shadows of being a session artist and in the bands of Paul Simon and Sting, to launch his remarkable solo career.

I’m not alone. When the Washington Performing Arts Society brought Botti to Washington for a Valentine’s night performance in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center it sold out. Pre-show, a select group of WPAS supporters were included at a small cocktail party for Botti hosted by Reggie Van Lee at his Watergate apartment, a block over from the Kennedy Center. The party also served as a chance for the WPAS to thank Altria’s Bruce Gates for his support of performing arts in Washington.
Chris Botti arrives at the cocktail party. Botti surveys the party while Perl smiles for the camera.
Reggie Van Lee, Chris Botti, and Neale Perl (by Jeremy Norwood).
Bruce and Joyce Gates, Chris Botti, and Neale Perl (by Jeremy Norwood).
Jeremy Norwood snaps the photo of the Gates with Botti and Perl.
Chris Botti with CJ (by Jeremy Norwood).
Even though it was an hour to show time, when Botti arrived at the party he was relaxed and gracious about the requisite meet and greet, and posed for photos with just about everyone in the room.

If you’ve been in that situation, you know how it is as a fan to be in the same room with a person whose work you adore. It can be enough to stand and stare and appreciate. It was for me. But Daren Thomas and Rachel Pearson, both WPAS muckety mucks, pulled me off the wall and right over to Botti and left me there. Oh well, what’s a fan to do? I tried not to gush but said that while seeing him in any venue is a treat it would be particularly rewarding to see him in a room smaller than a 2400 concert hall. He smiled. “I have something coming up at the Blue Note.”
Reggie Van Lee talks about the work Bruce Gates has done with the WPAS.
Reggie Van Lee applauds Bruce Gates, who was honored at the cocktail party.
The guests listen.
Bruce Gates makes some remarks.
Botti is considered a virtuoso with both pure jazz and pop, and heightens what’s often dismissed as “soft jazz.” He’s a particularly generous partner to singers, and always features at least one in his stage shows.

On his most recent release, the 2009 live album, “Chris Botti in Boston,” there are performances by Sting, John Mayer, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, and Katharine McPhee. For the Kennedy Center performance he included Lisa Fischer, who is best known for singing backup with The Rolling Stones. Though not in the same league, Madeline Albright was invited by Botti to do a quick turn on drums, and she obliged, admitting it was a first.

The legions of fans of the late great Miles Davis may be interested to learn Botti attributes his picking up a trumpet to hearing Davis play “My Funny Valentine.” At the time, Botti was 12. All grown up, in 2006 he recorded the tune with Sting on vocals, and it's remarkable.
CJ and Rachel Pearson (by Jeremy Norwood).
Nancy and Mark Weinberger (by Jeremy Norwood).
Stephanie Becker and Mary Jo Veverka (by Jeremy Norwood).
Kelly Kushman, Sarah Knakmuhs, and Brenda Wigger.
Charise Petrovich, Stephen Gifford, Jeff Brier, and Martin Towes.

Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol is the host of The Q&A Cafe in Washington, D.C.

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