Unique Learning Center Honors Sheila Johnson

January 13, 2011

Philanthropist and businesswoman Sheila Johnson was honored at the Unique Learning Center’s Model of Excellency Dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park on Nov. 18. Guests enjoyed a rousing performance by the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Men and Women of the Gospel Choir. Ms. Johnson said “thank you for inspiring the kids.” Student speaker Ricco Cloyd, Syracuse University class of 2011, movingly recounted the support he has received saying “I think ULC is a family to me.” A video presentation stated “we love our kids and, beyond that, our kids love us.” For the past 28 years ULC has worked in the Shaw community to change the lives of children who would otherwise slip through the cracks of the public school system. [gallery ids="99571,104842" nav="thumbs"]

Washington Women & Wine

November 19, 2010

Washington Women & Wine wisely decided to salute the organization’s 11th anniversary on Nov. 8 by “Dining with Dionysius” at Kellari Taverna. Emmy Award winning news anchor and film maker Mike Walter was the master of ceremonies. His film entitled Breaking News, Breaking Down, winner of the 2010 Cannes Independent Film Festival, explores how journalists pursue breaking news, from 9-11 to Katrina, without forethought of how it impacts them personally. He quipped that a sequel might be entitled Drinking Wine, Feeling Fine. Guests enjoyed a true Greek banquet paired with a special selection of the finest classic Greek wines. The organization now numbers 300 members who enjoy an array of special events including visits to vineyards locally and abroad. Executive Chef Anthony Acinapura said “I’m either cooking or on the phone getting fish here–out of the water to the airport.” [gallery ids="99558,104615,104604,104612,104609" nav="thumbs"]

The Washington Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet

November 17, 2010

Elizabeth Gaither and Jared Nelson were the star-crossed lovers in The Washington Ballet’s Nov 4. performance of Shakespeare’s, Prokofiev’s and Septime Webre’s Romeo + Juliet at the Kennedy Center. The production launched the 2010-2011 season – UNTAMED! At a post-performance reception for Balletomane Society members held at the Guarisco Gallery, Artistic Director Septime Webre thanked the dancers. He spoke of the magic times when ballet, choreographer and music all come together and said “we are transported and we had those moments tonight.” He concluded “Romeo and Juliet is about love. Please raise your glass to love.” [gallery ids="102506,120201,120193,120226,120220,120209,120215" nav="thumbs"]

Knock Out Abuse Gala


The 17th Annual Knock Out Abuse Against Women Gala took place at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Nov. 11. Andrea Roane of WUSA 9 emceed. This year honored television pioneer and Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Agnes Nixon with the Aggie Award for her lifetime contribution of bringing social issues to the forefront of America’s consciousness. New York Times best selling author of Crazy Love Leslie Morgan Steiner was the keynote speaker. KOA was co-founded by Jill Sorensen and Cheryl Masri to help women and children suffering from domestic violence. Activist and philanthropist Sarah Guinan Nixon chaired the evening, hailing it as “a true celebration of the power of women to effect change for the most vulnerable women and children in our community.” What 17 years ago began as a dinner party among 20 friends has raised close to $7 million and is today a city-wide celebration of 750 women. [gallery ids="99556,104584,104596,104589,104593" nav="thumbs"]

National Rehabilitation Hospital Gala


Shahin Mafi and Mona St. Leger co-chaired the National Rehabilitation Hospital’s Nov. 10 Gala Victory Awards at the Organization of American States. The evening featured a buffet of North and South American specialties as well as silent and live auctions which included a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 provided by Windows Catering Company, an air combat mission and a week for two at the Half Moon in Jamaica. This year’s recipients of the Victory Awards celebrating exceptional strength and courage in the face of physical adversity were Cheryl Douglas, a quadruple amputee as the result of a rare bacterial infection, and Tim Strachan, who suffered a spinal core injury during a beach accident before his senior year in high school. He praised the staff at NRH for instilling “the belief that you can move on despite a disability.” He went on to say “you give a gift.” [gallery ids="99557,104594,104610,104606,104599,104602" nav="thumbs"]

Dress for Success Washington, D.C.

November 10, 2010

Over 200 supporters of Dress for Success gathered at an 8th anniversary celebration luncheon at the J. W. Marriott on Oct. 28 for what event chair Joyce Gates heralded as accomplishing “ near miracles on a daily basis” to empower disadvantaged women in our area to regain confidence and enter the work force. Shawn Yancy of FOX5 News emceed. Testimonial speaker Shecara Vardiman touched hearts speaking of her success attributed to “a group of women who have overcome.” Keynote speaker Stacie Turner left her recent TV celebrity aside to speak of links between her charity Extra-Ordinary Life founded to inspire girls in foster care and the goals of Dress for Success. There were accolades galore, particularly for the support of DC Councilmember Michael A. Brown, who helped secure a $150,000 grant from the D.C. Department of Employment Services. – Mary Bird [gallery ids="99520,104485,104479,104482" nav="thumbs"]

Newsbabes Bash for Breast Cancer

October 27, 2010

It was packed, it was hot and it was pink (yeah, baby). The second annual Newsbabes Bash for Breast Cancer took over the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton on South Street, May 10, to benefit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. As she left the overwhelmed bar, race founder and Ambassador Nancy Brinker got to say hello to D.C. First Lady Michelle Fenty who was arriving amid the squeezed bodies (more than 500 attended). After a few speeches in the heat, the women retreated outside for a calmer and cooler photo op. Other notables included Tommy McFly, Luke Russert and soccer players Chris Pontius and Devon McTavish, along with Andy Baldwin and former pageant winners Kate Marie Grinold (D.C.), Kate Michael (D.C) and Tara Wheeler (Virginia). – Robert Devaney [gallery ids="99353,99354,99355,99356,99357,99358,99359" nav="thumbs"]

Safeway’s Big Social Debut


The new Safeway store on Wisconsin Avenue had a gala debut May 5, as Georgetowners and others were treated to a champagne, food-filled (of course) party that got lots of positive buzz and publicity. Neighbors, politicos and Safeway execs mingled throughout D.C.’s largest grocery store, which is open 24 hours a day. “I was first in the store in the 1950s. I think it’s a great place,” said Washington Post Company CEO Don Graham, who grew up on nearby R Street. “This is the Social Safeway,” said Kate Michael of the Web site K Street Kate. “You may well see people shopping in the future in cocktails dresses.” Katherine Tallmadge, who writes a nutrition column for the Georgetowner, observed of the new store, “The nutritional options are amazing, the produce section is gorgeous and the selections of wines really surprise me. Mary Beth Albright summed up the evening: “It is the best time I have ever had in a grocery store!” – Robert Devaney and Elle Fergusson [gallery ids="99347,99348,99349,99350,99351,99352" nav="thumbs"]

Lani Hay’s Mixology/Book Party


Lani Hay, president and CEO of Lanmark Technology, hosted a dinner party for Michelin three-star mixologist and author Brian Van Flandern on May 13 to celebrate his new book, “Vintage Cocktails.” A veteran bartender and now consultant, Van Flandern holds many awards and is known for using the best, purest and most historical ingredients to mix his drinks. He has worked at the Carlyle Hotel and at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant in New York. On hand were the book’s publishers, Prosper and Martine Assouline, along with event sponsors, DC Magazine’s Karen Sommer Shalett and George Stone. Seen at the dinner tables were D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s Barbara Lang, CNN’s Edie Em-ery, Karen Feld, Erwin Gomez and Sharon Yang. – Robert Devaney

Make-A-Wish

October 26, 2010

WTOP’s Man About Town Bob Madigan emceed Tickled Pink VII, a mother/daughter afternoon tea and fashion show to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic, Inc. at the Fairmont, Washington, DC on May 15. Fashions were presented by The Pink Palm as the grown up and little ladies twirled in vintage and current Lilly designs. Jessica Soklow thanked guests for “opening your hearts and your wallets.” The foundation fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in categories of wish to have, wish to go, wish to meet and wish to be. The most recent recipient, 15-year-old Daniela of Silver Spring aspiring to a modeling career, received VIP treatment for three magical days in New York capped by a photo shoot with flash bulbs popping. – Mary Bird [gallery ids="99342,99343,99344,99345,99346" nav="thumbs"]