There was quite a gathering of past and present movers and shakers at a special preview of "The Russia House" Thursday night at the Motion Picture Association of America's screening room. The adaptation of the John le Carre thriller brought out, among others, CIA Director William Webster; former CIA director William Colby; Attorney General Richard Thornburgh; two former secretaries of state, Edmund Muskie and Al Haig; "New Russians" author Hedrick Smith, who hurried over to the ABC News bureau afterward for an appearance on "Nightline"; Sen. John Warner, back that day from a trip to the Persian Gulf; and Esther Coopersmith, a former member of the U.N. delegation. All were treated to a traditional Russian zacuska with caviar, blintzes and black bread, while the conversation tended to center less on the performances of Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer than on the day's dramatic resignation of Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
One Yell of a Winner
Yoshihiko Kato won the 10th annual Hall's Year-End Loud Voice Contest in Tokyo Thursday with a 115.8-decibel holler. The 36-year-old father of three won $750 for his shout, "If YOU want a war, YOU go," the content of which he did not elaborate on. His decibel level was more powerful than that of a locomotive, which typically registers around 110. Hall's, the cough drop maker that sponsors the contest, suggested that contestants shout their feelings about what happened during 1990, in keeping with the Japanese custom of toshi wasure, or forgetting the past year. Hiroshi Okawa, the runner-up at 114.2 decibels, shouted, "The day after a typhoon I crashed my car and I want money to get it repaired."
Songs of Christmas Cheer
Members of the cast of "Grand Hotel," the musical playing at the Kennedy Center Opera House, spread some Christmas cheer yesterday. Eleven performers who play doormen, telephone operators and others -- but none of the leads -- from the production sang carols at the Columbia Hospital for Women and the George Washington Hospital. Organized by Rick Stockwell, one of the show's scullery workers, the outing was to remind cast members of the true meaning of Christmas. "We have all these great singers in the cast... . We sang to the ill and bedridden and it was a great feeling," Stockwell said.
High Honor for Zappa?
Frank Zappa High? As in "high school," that is. The brainy rocker, who turned 50 yesterday, is on the long list of 132 names being considered for a new school in Southern California. The Antelope Valley High School District board is also considering Chuck Yeager and Malcolm Forbes, as well as Zeppelin, Euphoria, Jackelope and Fault Line as possible names for the school, set to open in 1995. The Baltimore-born Zappa doesn't see it as a compliment: "Considering the sorry state of education in California, it would be more appropriate to name a high school after Ronald Reagan than to name it after me." Zappa is a 1958 graduate of Antelope Valley High School, 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
Mary Lou Retton's Big Leap
Gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who won four gold medals in the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles, is marrying 23-year-old Shannon Kelley next Saturday in Houston. Retton, 22, is 4 feet 9 and he is 6 feet 2. They will begin their honeymoon New Year's Day, right after the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, Calif., in which Retton is a participant.