Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washington Social Diary

Nelson, loyal friend to former vice president Dick Cheney, star of the party and eagerly waiting for the Thanksgiving trip to Wyoming.
by Carol Joynt

Photographer David Hume Kennerly didn’t want any photos shot of him with Dick Cheney, his good friend and the host of his Washington book party on Tuesday night. “This evening isn’t for photos,” he said, even though the book, “On The iPhone,” is a treasure of photo tips for smartphone users. The former vice president and his wife, Lynne, invited a swarm of Kennerly’s long-time friends into their McLean, Virginia, home, bringing added warmth to the sprawling living room, which served as a friendly – and toasty - sanctuary from a freezing cold night.

Cheney himself was not fazed by the early arrival of an east coast arctic blast. “I’m used to Wyoming,” he said. “We like the cold.” Nonetheless, a fire was set and ready to be lit in his study. One of his staff said, “every night the fire is lit.”
David Kennerly with Martha Joynt Kumar in Dick Cheney's study. Behind them is a famous Kennerly photo of Presidents Bush (#41), Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon.
Kennerly has known the Cheneys since David was President Gerald Ford’s official White House photographer and Dick Cheney was Ford’s chief of staff.  He later became a member of Congress, representing Wyoming, and House Minority Whip, before being named Secretary of Defense by President George H.W. Bush (#41). During the Bill Clinton years he went into the private sector as chairman and CEO of Halliburton, and returned to public life in 2000 to join the GOP ticket as vice presidential running mate to George Bush, who became the 43rd president. Throughout, Cheney and Kennerly remained friends.
Sitting at Dick Cheney's desk, David Kennerly signs a copy of his new book, "On the iPhone," a how-to for smartphone photo enthusiasts, for Martha Kumar.
David and I first met in 1969, when we were both out on the front lines of covering the massive and sometimes violent antiwar movement as it would manifest in Washington with marches and other protest demonstrations. (When I mentioned that to Cheney, he said, “My God, you’ve known him longer than I have.” Indeed) From Washington, David went off to Vietnam, where he won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his war coverage; after that came the White House gig. His photographic career endures. He’s also written a number of books and produced several movies.
Many moons ago, CJ and David Kennerly dodged rocks, bricks and tear gas, covering the sometimes violent antiwar protests in the streets of Washington.
With me were my friend and neighbor Christopher de Paola and my sister-in-law, Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidency scholar and director of the White House Transition Project, whose new book — Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power — studies the transition from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration. Kennerly’s photos grace the covers of the book.
Getting to know each other, Nelson and Cris de Paola
The real star of the party, though, the Cheney’s lab “Nelson,” was amenable to the camera lens. He posed in that way dogs do – “Hey, this is my house” – in the entry hall, accepting pats, praise and photo-ops. Cheney explained that the family has had labs for years and that Nelson – named after Lord Nelson – was a Mother’s Day gift to Lynne. Nelson also likes the cold and, we were told, also can’t wait to get to Wyoming.
Gift bags in Dick Cheney's study. There was a personally signed book for each guest. In the background, the fireplace that would soon be lit to further warm the arctic night.
We arrived late at the Cheneys, unfortunately missing the speeches, even though we raced across the city from the National Building Museum to McLean, but “race” is a relative thing in the Washington rush hour. Inch along is more like it. We stopped by the NBM to say hello to Charlie Rose and Amanda Burden, and Charlie’s long-time executive producer, Yvette Vega. Charlie was being honored with the 2014 Vincent Scully Prize, one of only 3 awards presented annually by the Building Museum. Architect Frank Gehry was there to pay tribute to Charlie, joined by Amanda.

Amanda Burden and Charlie Rose.
The Scully Prize was created in 1999 to honor Vincent Scully, one of the country’s leading architectural historians and critics and the Sterling Professor Emeritus at art history at Yale.

We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say hello to Charlie. We first worked together in 1977 at NBC News in Washington, and then again for almost 5 years at CBS News, and then another couple of years at PBS, which is where I met Yvette. He’s always been the on-air talent, me the field producer. He recently won a second national Emmy Award for an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. His first “Best Interview” national Emmy was won in 1987, for an hour-long conversation with Charles Manson at San Quentin Prison outside San Francisco. Charlie was the interviewer; I was the producer.  It aired on CBS News Nightwatch, an excellent overnight long-form interview program – if I do say so myself - that died long before its time.

Charlie left Nightwatch to work for Barry Diller for a spell, hosting an entertainment broadcast out of Los Angeles, and then took some time off on the family farm in North Carolina, before re-emerging into the spotlight with his PBS show, the eponymous Charlie Rose Show, and he’s been non-stop ever since, adding 60 Minutes to the portfolio, and now also co-anchoring The CBS Morning News. I marveled at his stamina, how he manages to work so hard, but he shrugged it off. “The thing is I don’t consider any of it work.” 
Frank Gehry, bundled up from the cold, as he first
arrived at the National Building Museum to pay tribute
to Charlie Rose at a black-tie dinner.
Washington architect David Schwarz, utterly unfazed by the 26-degree temperatures outside. About his sandals, "I always wear them."
On the left, Chase Rynd, president and executive director, the National Building Museum.
Thomas Luebke, secretary to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, with Mina Wright.
Cocktails before the Vincent Scully Prize dinner.
The pretty table settings at the National Building Museum dinner. Wooden tabletops was a nice touch.
Side-by-side, Amanda Burden and Charlie Rose.
Frank Gehry pays tribute to Charlie Rose at the Vincent Scully Prize dinner.
Charlie Rose accepting the 2014 Vincent Scully Prize at the National Building Museum. Charlie Rose embraces his dear friend Amanda Burden at the Vincent Scully Prize dinner where she paid tribute to him as this year's honoree.
Charlie Rose sits between Martha Raddatz and Amanda Burden, with Frank Gehry to the right. The applause is for Charlie.
Charlie Rose thanks Frank Gehry, who paid tribute to the newsman and talk show host, recipient of the National Building Museum's annual Vincent Scully Prize.
The fountain of the National Building Museum, adjacent to the Vincent Scully Prize dinner.
Photographs by Carol Joynt & Yassine El-Mansouri

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