In Georgetown, the Case of the Walloped Woofers

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's gonna be a long, hot summer in Georgetown. Not even Memorial Day, and already the neighborhood is primed to explode . The first sign came Tuesday with a startling act of violence: An unidentified man in a bathrobe walked onto the back patio of the Snap tea house and creperie around 9 a.m. and bludgeoned the cafe's stereo speakers with his cane.

"I said, 'Excuse me, who are you?' " said owner Margarita Uricoechea . "He stopped, but by then he had already done the damage."

The roots of the conflict go deeper than the Gloria Estefan tunes Uricoechea was playing at the time of the attack. Tensions have long run high in a 'hood where million-dollar homes sit amid white-hot nightlife. Since Snap's opening 10 months ago in a rowhouse that was previously a residence on Thomas Jefferson Street, neighbors have complained about noise and lights; Uricoechea says she has been trying to make fixes.

The Latin and Afro-pop music Snap plays on the back patio "overpowers your TV," said neighbor Ray Regan . "I can see it driving somebody absolutely nuts." But Regan wasn't the cane-wielding vigilante. Uricoechea had never before seen the sixtyish, sandal-wearing assailant. She asked why he didn't complain earlier. "I've been here seven times!" he reportedly replied. "No one pays attention!"

Uricoechea saw the man enter a house a few doors away. A woman who answered the phone at that address hung up quickly when we explained why we were calling.

Despite her ruined stereo system, Uricoechea decided not to call the cops. "We have the possibility of expanding. I didn't want to get in trouble with the neighbors."

Where the Boys Aren't: Toasting Chile's Prez

No boys allowed! It's "women only" at a dinner next month honoring Chile's new president, Michelle Bachelet. Invitations to the June 8 gala at the Ritz-Carlton are nontransferable -- and the only guests are women.

"She wanted to meet with the women of the U.S.," says Irene Klinger of the Organization of American States, a longtime friend of Bachelet. "The men are a little bit upset. They have been accustomed to [being] included for the past thousand years. We're saying, 'This one is not for you.' It's interesting to see their reaction."

"A Celebration of Women's Leadership" is hosted by the White House Project, an advocacy group for alpha females. The dinner for 200 is chaired by Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Jan Schakowsky and features "Commander in Chief" actress Geena Davis.

In Namibia, Peek a Boo-Boo

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie apparently have the entire country of Namibia at their disposal: Any journalists who try to cover the impending birth of Baby Brangelina must have -- get this -- written permission from the couple or they will be expelled from the nation.

Of course the megastars enjoy privileged status in the tiny African country. Maybe it's not surprising that local police helped guard the family in the town of Walvis Bay. But surely Hollywood stars can't dictate who enters and leaves a sovereign nation, as reported yesterday by the Associated Press?

"The government has decided that it will issue visas to journalists to go to Namibia and cover Angelina and Brad if they have consent from the parties," said Selma Ashipala, deputy chief of mission at Namibia's Washington embassy. Ashipala told us the Namibian constitution guarantees "privacy of the individual" even for average Joes. "You don't have to be Angelina Jolie."

You can still go to Namibia without their consent, but you can't write about them, photograph them or -- heaven forfend -- accidentally on purpose bump into them. Other than that, you're free to be on the same continent -- we think .

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

ยท Barbara Bush , dining at Alexandria's waterfront Indigo Landing with a young fellow Tuesday night. The dark-haired twin was in white jeans and a pale aqua V-neck; her date was tall with preppy-poufy dark hair, khakis and a plaid shirt ("Looked like a staffer," we're told). They arrived around 8:30 and lingered for more than two hours, enjoying the crisp-skin black bass with a couple bottles of wine before adjourning to the empty bar to continue talking in private. And yes, he paid! But Sister , who is he???

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