Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Washington Social Diary

High rollers like Ambassador Said Jawad ( standing against pillar) observes the gaming tables with Monte Carlo theme of the evening.
That’s Amore!
by Stephanie Green

It’s hard to believe this September will mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Princess Grace of Monaco. Her innate sense of mystery, humility, and timeless elegance seem more alive, and relevant, today than ever.

Last Friday, February 3, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, celebrating its own milestone of twenty-five years in the nation’s capital, paid homage to Princess Grace with “An evening in Monte-Carlo” benefit with dinner, dancing, and, of course, gaming tables where I even managed to win a few chips.
Princess Grace on her wedding day. Photos
like this adorn the walls at exhibition tribute.
Princess Grace of Monaco with her husband Prince Ranier.
A replica of Princess Grace's wedding gown made from soda cans.
Before the gambling began, guests paid their respects, as it were, by stopping by a special sculpture of Princess Grace’s wedding gown designed by Nikos Floros made of pieces of aluminum soda cans. The work, which is flanked by memorable photos of Her Serene Highness, took over a year to complete.
Event co-host Mrs. Grace Nelson with her husband Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida Event co-host Coventry Burke Berg (left) with Diana Minshall.
National Museum of Women in the Arts La Grande Fete.
She may not be a princess, but Bonnie McElveen Hunter is as close to Georgetown royalty as you can get.

“The show always goes on at O Street, “she declared, while tossing a hot pink boa around her neck.

The indefatigable hostess, and Red Cross chairman, welcomed guests to her Georgetown mansion on a drizzly Saturday night after her guest of honor, Susan Graham, cancelled her concert at the Kennedy Center, and appearance at her home afterward due to a pesky cold.
Hostess with Mostest Bonnie McElveen Hunter. Among the guests, Finland's Ambassador to the United States Ritva Koukku-Ronde.
No worries. Bonnie ‘s household staff put on happy faces as they took our drenched overcoats, passed the endless glasses of champagne, and warm chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

Singer Samantha McElhaney saved the day by stepping in to entertain guests, like Finland’s Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde, with Gershwin tunes like my favorite,” Summertime," leaving everyone with a warm feeling on a very cold night.
Ms. Hunter's guests gather in her elegant parlor to hear Gershwin classics
There are some events that happen at around the same time every year with the same crowd, the same cause, the same menu, the same format.

The Alvin Ailey Annual American Dance Theater Opening Night Gala is one of those events, but unlike its peers on the social calendar, this party manages to get better every year.

Tuesday night at the Kennedy Center, a diverse crowd including First Lady Michelle Obama (along with the first daughters) enjoyed a spirited performance by the late Mr. Ailey’s dancers.

I was delighted to see the dancers light up the stage with Mr. Ailey’s signature “Revelations," a series of dances choreographed to popular spirituals in the African-American tradition like “Wade in the Water."

After the performance, guests convened for dinner. I had the pleasure of dining with dancer Alicia Graf, and her proud mother Martha, who regaled me with stories of her daughter starting dance class before she was out of diapers.

Among the movers and shakers at the Gala: Political insiders and proud Rhode Islanders Tom Quinn and Gerry Harrington, Entertainment Software Association’s Erik Huey, FedEx Executive Gina Adams, Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth, Kennedy cousin and Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver with his adorable daughters, journalist extraordinaire Carol Joynt, Mega event planners Carolyn Peachey and Andre Wells.
Karen Anderson Boozer, Riley Temple, Sharon Gersten Luckman, Executive Director of Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and Lyndon Boozer with AT&T,  a co-chair of the evening.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.
Event co-chair Debra Lee, CEO of BET, catches up with another guest.
Alvin Ailey's board member Guido Goldman (left) with guest Roger Libby.
Guests enjoying the dance floor at Kennedy Center.
The French always take partying to a whole new level.

I could not think of a better way to start the Valentine’s Day festivities than by attending the French Embassy’s St. Valentine’s dinner dance where frisky Frenchmen and beret wearing belles sipped Rose champagne, nibbled on crepes, and danced the night away all in the name of amour!

Ticket sales and silent auction proceeds benefit the cultural and educational partnerships of the Embassy that foster French-American relations and philanthropy.
Moet & Chandon Rose Bar at French Embassy's Valentine party.
Embassy aglow in romantic red hues.
Cheryl Romero gets in the spirit by donning beret at French Embassy.
Rose petals and votive candles added to the ambiance.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Green and Kyle Samperton.
Follow Stephanie Green on twitter at stephlgreen.