OUT & ABOUT
|Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao share a smile at the McLaughlins' brunch at the Hay-Adams Hotel.(Lauren Victoria Burke - For The Washington Post)|
But the point of the party was not sartorial satire, or the crab cakes, the bloody marys or even the view overlooking the White House, although all were restorative. Nor was it to gawk at "Desperate Housewives" hunk James Denton, Mort Zuckerman, Jesse Jackson, Margaret Carlson, Ralph Nader, Michael Steele, Nancy Pelosi, Elaine Chao, Al Sharpton, Ron Silver, Al Franken and Patricia Duff, because the gawkers and gawkees were, by now, old friends. No, the point was to gossip.
Topic 1: Rave reviews for Laura Bush's spectacular debut as a stand-up comedian, delivering her "Desperate Housewives," Chippendale's and male-horse jokes with sly humor and dead-on timing. "She was successful in disabusing any thoughts that she's a Christian fundamentalist extremist," McLaughlin said with a chuckle.
Topic 2: Bloomberg's lavish after-party at a Wyoming Avenue mansion that was transformed into an exclusive nightclub for a few short hours of fabulousness. The star of the party was the huge, floor-to-ceiling ice chandelier that dominated a back room full of designer martinis and enhanced blondes. Celebrity sightings included Bill Maher, Joe Pantoliano, Harvard's Larry Summers, "American Idol" contestant Constantine Maroulis (who shared sex-symbol honors with Denton) and Elizabeth Smart , the 17-year-old Utah girl who was abducted three years ago and was just named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People.'' "Is it just me, or is it weird that she's here?" asked one appalled dad. No, it's officially weird.
Topic 3: The endearing wonkiness of Washington. "All I know is that I ended up talking to Gene Sperling at 3 a.m. about whether the Chinese renminbi should be pegged to the dollar," said Silver, shaking his head. "I got back to my hotel room and thought, 'That's pathetic.' Not Gene, but debating currency at 3 a.m. But that's what I like about this town."
A Night Of Bright Satin
|Tweed McElveen-Bogache and daughter Pendleton at the National Museum of Women in the Arts gala.(Rebecca D'Angelo - For The Washington Post)|
Despite the depressing drizzle outside, the museum was awash in brilliant colors: the greens in the exhibition of impressionist Berthe Morisot and her circle, the periwinkle and coral centerpieces on the tables, the guests in bright satin gowns. "You look hot," Becky Gonzalez, wife of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez , told Taylor Ensenat, who was draped in an aqua dress with an elaborate necklace of faux flowers.
The evening included cocktails, a menu of French favorites, and a silent auction with paintings and jewelry created by and for the ladies. "I'm always drawn to women artists," said gala co-chairman Anne Johnson , director of the State Department's Art in Embassies program. Johnson was fiercely guarding her bid on a watercolor in the silent auction. "It's a woman artist and she's from Texas," she said. "C'mon!"
'Goldfinger' for the Red Cross
|From left: Crystal Keller, James Wynen and Camille Pellegrino play their parts at Wynen's James Bond party.(Lauren Victoria Burke - For The Washington Post)|
With Laura Thomas