Scorch of July Preview

Since they always have to work on the Fourth, members of the National Symphony Orchestra transformed Saturday's Independence Day concert dress rehearsal into their own celebration. Conductor in residence Anthony Aibel, above right, with wife Tanja and baby Assandro, and other musicians braved the sweltering heat and picnicked with their families on the Capitol lawn. "Spin City" actor Barry Bostwick, right, with wife Sherri, almost melted wearing his emcee's costume of red vest, white jacket and blue bow tie. "Next year I'm going to wear a tank-top tuxedo," he said, grinning. "I just invented the form."

Pooling Their Resources

The invitation said "poolside," so host Ernest Hairston greeted his guests Saturday night wearing swim trunks, open shirt and baseball cap. "No one came to go swimming," he said. "They came all dressed up."

More than 100 people, sporting their summer party best, came to support the Greater Washington Urban League and watch the first annual "Jammin' for Education" telethon at the Northwest homes of Hairston and his wife, Dottie, and next-door neighbor Janice Booker.

Giant-screen TVs were set up inside and out as guests munched on ham, ribs, chicken, beans, pasta, corn, potato salad and fruit. Maudine Cooper, president of the league's local chapter, was in high spirits--the Channel 50 broadcast of the prerecorded show, featuring "A Celebration of Black Music," was expected to raise $25,000 for local college scholarships. The only thing Cooper wasn't crazy about was seeing herself on the wide screen. "I'm fat," she said. Nah . . . television always adds 10 pounds. "I don't need it," she said, laughing.

The summer spirit finally kicked in, and a few brave souls changed into swimsuits and took a dip. The rest, promised Hairston, would jump in after midnight. "Skinny-dipping," he whispered. No confirmed sightings, but we certainly like to think it happened.

Out of Hibernation

On the eve of Wednesday's National Basketball Association draft, friends of University of Maryland star Steve Francis, right, with entrepreneur Rock Newman, tossed a party in his honor at Sequoia in Georgetown. "It's one of the biggest days of my life," Francis said. "Sleep? I hope so, but I don't think so." Twenty-four hours later, Francis was snapped up by the Vancouver Grizzlies as the No. 2 draft pick--and became a brand-new multimillionaire. Nice work if you can get it.

CAPTION: Left, Ernest Hairston greets Dottie Wright Burgess at his pool party for the Greater Washington Urban League. Above, revelers make a splash. Right, Mable Battle, left, and Bea Smith.