Almost a Non-Encounter: Famous and Very Famous

A happy ending: Donna Brazile, left, and Kathleen Babineaux Blanco got their picture taken with Tony Bennett after initially getting stopped while approaching his table.
A happy ending: Donna Brazile, left, and Kathleen Babineaux Blanco got their picture taken with Tony Bennett after initially getting stopped while approaching his table. (Courtesy of Donna Brazile)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So, what happens when someone who's inside-the-Beltway famous encounters someone's who's famous-famous, but they're on inside-the-Beltway turf? What's the etiquette, and who takes precedence?

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and veteran Democratic strategist Donna Brazile sure found out last week when they tried to greet Tony Bennett at Georgetown restaurant Filomena's. Brazile said they got "body-blocked" by a maitre d', like a couple of schoolgirl groupies.

Brazile said they were trying to be careful not to encroach upon the crooner, who was in town to accept an award from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. "I'm often disturbed at dinner," she said, so instead she wrote him a note thanking him for his work with the civil rights movement. As she approached the table with Blanco, her home state chief exec, to discreetly hand him the note, "the maitre d' did a body block. I said, 'I beg your pardon?' . . . We weren't a threat. The governor was packing, she had three security guards!"

A restaurant rep said the staff was just trying to ensure Bennett "a little privacy" while he was eating. And all ended well when Bennett recognized the women -- very well, as far as Brazile's concerned, since the governor got introduced to a corporate titan at the table who offered assistance to rebuild hundreds of Katrina-wrecked homes.

"We got hugs and kisses and pictures," Brazile said. "We're like the levees -- we fell all over Tony Bennett."

Ho, Ho . . . Hey? What Season Is It?

The Bushes played along with the holiday theme at Ford's Theatre.
The Bushes played along with the holiday theme at Ford's Theatre.(Haraz N. Ghanbari - AP)
Only 182 shopping days left! VIPs wearing their unseasonable holiday best bundled into an evergreen-bedecked Ford's Theatre Sunday night. The historic venue usually has a patriotic theme for its annual summer gala, but this year it went all Christmas-in-June. Why? Because ABC, which broadcasts the event, decided it might get better ratings in December. So everyone at Ford's played along for the big illusion, from Laura Bush wearing a long-sleeved festive red gown to Wynonna Judd singing "Winter Wonderland" and bantering with Dubya about Xmas shopping. Our early Christmas gift to you: Comedian Christopher Titus, who entertained with a joke about his manager asking, " 'How would you like to perform in front of the most powerful man and woman in the world?' And I said, 'Wow, Bono and Oprah?' "

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Dominic West hanging by the margarita stand at Merriweather Post Pavilion during the Thievery Corporation/Manu Chao show Saturday night. The smoldering Brit actor, who plays raffish good guy McNulty in HBO's "The Wire" (now filming its fifth season in Baltimore) and evil bad guy Theron in "300," wore glasses, was very, very tan, and seemed to be by himself.

LOVE, ETC.

· Split: Reese Witherspoon, 31, and Jake Gyllenhaal, 26, have supposedly parted company after having supposedly quietly dated for several months this spring, at least according to People, which generally gets this stuff right. Something about him needing more time than she can give, what with the needs of the kids blah blah -- or maybe their publicists just decided to reschedule the whole affair for when their movie, "Rendition," opens in October. Perhaps in the meantime they can hook up with some non-famous non-actors.

QUOTE

"I question also if I am more effective as a lobbyist and a spokesperson than as an elected official. . . . Was Ralph Nader more effective, would Al Gore be more effective if he remains a spokesperson for environment and global warming?"

-- Fran Drescher teasing the possibility that she might, just might (cross your fingers!) run for Congress, at an NYC luncheon hosted in her honor yesterday by Ladies' Home Journal. The star of '90s sitcom "The Nanny" is big into early cancer diagnosis advocacy these days.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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