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Correction to This Article
The Oct. 19 Reliable Source column incorrectly said that Marsha Ralls was a member of the D.C. Commission on the Arts when she accompanied District Council member Jack Evans and others on a trade trip to Asia last October. She was nominated by Mayor Anthony Williams before the trip but not sworn in until February.
Marsha and Jack: Any Closer and . . .

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Marsha Ralls , the blond beauty queen-businesswoman, and D.C. Council member Jack Evans say they're close friends. Since eyebrows are being raised because Evans's political action committee paid for part of her travel expenses last year, everybody jumps to conclusions. But if Jack, 51, and Marsha, 43, say they're just friends, that's good enough for us.

Okay, sure: They live near each other in Georgetown and jog together almost every day. And yes, they were at the Washington Ballet and the Corcoran balls dancing up a storm. And everyone noticed them together at the Best Friends party because she wore her high school cheerleader uniform and he wore a letter jacket. And there they were, front and center, at the Rolling Stones concert this month -- and later at dinner with Mick Jagger , where Ralls was glued to the rocker's side. The couple is frequently seen out with Ralls's two sons (she's divorced) and Evans's triplets (his wife, Noel, died two years ago; Ralls was a close friend).

But then, people will talk when you're a Texas beauty queen and a semifinalist in the 1987 Miss USA pageant (as Miss Virginia). And after all, three years ago Washingtonian magazine named her one of its "25 Most Beautiful People." Plus, she got to throw out the first pitch at a Nationals game in August.

Before you start with those blonde jokes, you should know that she's the owner of the Ralls Collection, an art gallery in Georgetown, and a member of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which is why she was in Asia with Mayor Tony Williams, Evans and a few other culture vultures, which landed Ralls in her very first political scandal with her "close friend."

We tried to get the definitive scoop on these crazy kids, but Ralls didn't call us back yesterday and Evans declined to comment.

We believe it is possible for a man and a woman to be just friends. We also believe we might win the Powerball jackpot tonight.

Hey Isn't That . . . ?

Sean Penn, schlepping his own bags into the Hotel George, having a drink by himself at a chilly outdoor table Monday night . . . then lunching with Dennis Kucinich at Taverna the Greek Islands, looking "incredibly sexy" . . . then wearing all black, looking "miserable" as he sat by himself at a Dulles gate waiting to board a flight to San Francisco. Sorry, man. We'll try to make your next visit better.

Bono, doing his Third World debt relief thing at a luncheon with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Dems, in advance of today's meeting with top White House aides and, oh yeah, the U2 shows tonight and tomorrow. . . later bumping into Penn at the Capitol.

Harry Belafonte, dining on lamb chops at Morton's on Connecticut Avenue on Saturday.

Surreal Estate

Buyer : Megan Madden

Price: $1.225 million

Details: The new bride of former first brother-in-law (and much-rumored contender for first brother in 2008) Tony Rodham sold her Capitol Hill digs shortly after their June nuptials and traded up to a spacious four-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath colonial in Vienna. Only her name is listed on the public record; we hope she lets him live there, too!

Shout Out

"How many of you people went to my high school? [ Huge cheer from crowd. ] Really? [Expletive!] I'm sure that some of you [expletives] up there did. . . . [They] are the people who beat me up when I was a kid, all of those people up there. . . . No, that's not true. I kicked each and every one of your [expletives]. That's the truth. Let's not get too sentimental. We don't have a lot of time."

-- Dave Grohl, a dropout who attended Alexandria's Bishop Ireton High School as well as Annandale High, at the Foo Fighters show at the 9:30 club Sunday.

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