Former Fed Chief Commands A Pretty Penny for a Good Cause

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, March 25, 2007

With all the celebrity auctions out there, it takes something special to get our attention. How about breakfast with Alan Greenspan? For the first time, the Maestro is auctioning a few minutes of his time to support the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, a human rights charity.

In Washington, of course, VIPs are constantly tapping famous friends to donate themselves for school auctions and other good works. When he was head of the Federal Reserve, Greenspan was one of the few A-listers who would never put himself on the block -- but now that he's retired, he's happy to help out an old friend.

"I don't know anyone who can say no to Ethel Kennedy," says Andrea Mitchell, who will join her husband for breakfast or tea at the Four Seasons with the winning bidder. The item on (which began Tuesday and ends April 6) is already the top draw of the 114-lot auction, with a current bid of $45,000. That beats lunch with Robin Williams ($6,200), with Richard Gere ($6,100), with Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson ($2,100) or tea with Madeleine Albright ($1,350).

No telling how high the bidding war might go: Last year, at an unrelated online auction, someone paid $620,100 for lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Will the Greenspan winner get juicy Wall Street tips? "He won't even give me financial advice," said Mitchell with a laugh.

Yo, Kanye -- Take a Sip of This: An Undiluted Plea for Clean Water

Kanye West swept into tiny Lexington Park, Md., yesterday morning to support his activist/entrepreneur dad, Ray West, with a "Walk for Water" rally-- meant to call attention to water-quality issues worldwide and also, incidentally, the senior West's new Good Water Store and Cafe (specializing in beverages made from super-pure H2O). The occasion inspired freelance music critic Andrew Lindemann Malone to rework the lyrics to Kanye's hit song "Jesus Walks."

Have you heard this? Your municipal service
Has dirty (water!) that makes you nervous
Has filthy (water!) with toxins and germs -- it's

Time to demand (water!) that's not so worthless

That's why Pops asked, "Son, can you slurp this

H2O and tell me if you'd ever serve it?"
(Ugh!) Tried to drink it (Ugh!) It's kinda hard
Getting choked by contaminants -- man, let's examine it . . .

That's why

(Kanye walks!) I'm'a show the way, so people's feet will tread the ground
(Kanye walks!) We gonna Walk for Water, and hope our efforts will resound

Sorry, You're Not on the List

One in an occasional series of dispatches from parties you should have crashed.

Occasion: Tuesday's nomination party for the 25th Rammys, the local restaurant industry's awards, at the Ritz-Carlton downtown. You know, like the Oscars, but with people who actually eat.

Lure: Free, unlimited gourmet samples from the five "new restaurant of the year" nominees, plus gossiping with and about the city's top chefs.

Menu: BLT Steak's tuna tartare and wild mushroom risotto, Blue Duck Tavern's smoked Pocono trout, Farrah Olivia's milk-fed veal cheeks, Rasika's avocado and banana chaat and spicy reshmi kebab, PS 7's spicy tuna tartare.

Quandary: How many times can you go back for more? Two? Three? "No problem at all," reassured Rasika's Vikram Sunderam as we reached for yet another kebab.

Bar: Open! Martinis (vodka, peach, grape -- sneaks up on you) and good wines.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company