"These are the best people. They're not schlock," observed White House hairdresser Robin Weir, scanning the guests at the 32nd annual National Symphony Ball at the Sheraton Washington last night. More than 1,200 people paying $300 a person attended the gala, billed as Washington's only white-tie affair.
The elaborate ballroom decorations were inspired by this year's theme of Romantic Singapore. Entering the ballroom, guests passed through a large red gate and were greeted by colorful papier-ma che' dragons adorning each railing of the staircase. More than 6,000 orchids flown in for the occasion filled the room. Gala organizer Aliki Bryant estimates that the ball raised between $350,000 and $400,000 for the NSO.
Among the guests were Singapore's Ambassador and Mrs. Tommy Koh, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Secretary of Agriculture John Block. Plane Party
The Aero Club of Washington threw a splashy party last night in a converted hangar at Dulles International Airport. It was to celebrate the upcoming 82nd anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight, and Vice President George Bush and his wife Barbara, "Star Trek's" William Shatner, Sen. John Warner, "First Senator in Space" Jake Garn, first moon treader Neil Armstrong and members of the aerospace industry were on hand.
The occasion honored Combs Aircraft Inc. President Harry B. Combs and also marked NASA's official donation of the space shuttle Enterprise to the National Air and Space Museum. The Enterprise itself was on display outside the hangar.
NASA Administrator James Beggs, who has taken a leave of absence from his duties after being indicted for allegedly defrauding the government in a weapons contract, attended the dinner.
Sitting at the head table, Beggs was seen moving his lips, head bowed, as former senator Jennings Randolph led the audience in prayer. "Yes, I was saying a prayer," Beggs said later. When asked what he was praying for, he replied, "For strength." Kidney Ball
This year's Kidney Ball at the French Embassy tonight honors Sen. Robert Dole, Paul and Holly Fine, who produced the organ-transplant documentary "The Gift of Life," and Dr. Jean-Louis Funck-Brentano, chief of the department of therapeutics at Hospital Necker in Paris. Funck-Brentano is flying in from France for the occasion.
Newscaster Maury Povich, who is expected to attend with wife Connie Chung, will serve as emcee, and magazine mogul Bill Regardie will help auction off such gifts as a Peugeot automobile and a hot-air balloon ride -- in Burgundy, France. Singer Paul Williams will perform for the more than 350 guests. Where Nixon Slept
Richard Nixon's former winter White House in Key Biscayne, Fla., has been sold to Spanish concert star Raphael for $1.05 million, Realtors announced yesterday. The former president sold the house in 1978 for $330,000 and it was sold again last summer for $600,000.
The four-bedroom home retains many mementos of its former owner, including the bulletproof windows installed by the government and a swimming pool Pat Nixon gave her husband as a birthday present. End Notes
The Redskins may not be much to watch right now, but some of their spouses are looking their finest. Redskin wives Mary Lou Riggins, Irene Jacoby, Desiree Monk, Karen Grimm, Sharon Moseley and Lynn Bostic will model at a benefit fashion show this morning at the Tysons Corner Marriott. Fairfax County Sheriff M. Wayne Huggins and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Herrity will also model fashions at the breakfast-time show, which is sponsored by the Women's Board of the American Heart Association of Northern Virginia . . .
Luciano Pavarotti will perform at La Scala, Italy's leading opera house, for the first time in two years. The last time Pavarotti sang at the Milan theater, he met with scattered boos when he had difficulty with an aria. Apparently, all has been forgiven. A full house of 2,200 is expected for the season's opening-night performance of "Aida," and fans waited in line all night to get seats . . .
When violinist Itzhak Perlman performed at the Capital Theater in Concord, N.H., earlier this week, the musician, who is disabled as a result of polio, was reportedly hauled into the theater by a forklift. The theater is inaccessible to the handicapped, so Perlman was transported by a forklift from a nearby construction site . . .