Now It's the Brady Center

When they start naming things after you, you know you've made a mark in Washington. "When it comes to saving lives, Jim and Sarah Brady are America's preeminent power couple," Coretta Scott King said at Thursday's tribute to the two gun control crusaders.

It's been 20 years since Jim Brady -- then press secretary to Ronald Reagan -- was shot and critically wounded during an assassination attempt on the president. "I can believe it's been that long," he said. Friends and fans gathered at (where else?) the Ronald Reagan Building to thank the couple for two decades of leadership and to see the name of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence officially changed to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"It may be our name but it's your spirit, your work and your commitment," said Sarah Brady, who is battling lung cancer. "It's a movement that's not going to stop."

More than 1,000 guests attended the million-dollar fundraiser, including former White House press secretaries Joe Lockhart, Dee Dee Myers, Mike McCurry and Jerry ter Horst, plus actor Tim Roth, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Jim Langevin, Grammy-nominated singer Duncan Sheik and center President Michael Barnes.

"Sarah's resolve gave me strength," said an emotional McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son severely injured by a gunman on a Long Island train. "Jim and Sarah have made a difference."

Wolf Trap's Hot Ticket

No one was a wet blanket at Wolf Trap's 30th-anniversary gala Friday night, despite a pre-party monsoon and humidity that reached sauna levels. It was, after all, Wolf Trap in June, which meant high heels sinking into the wet grass and tuxedo jackets doffed ASAP. "I was in charge of the weather," apologized co-chairmanAlbert "Sonny" Small. But it was all for the federal arts center, which raised $500,000 and brought out Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kate Hanley, Mayor Anthony Williams, Australian Ambassador Michael Thawley and patrons Steve and Cate Wyatt, Ron and Beth Dozoretz, Joe and Alma Gildenhorn, and Dick and Liz Dubin.

Troupers all, but none more than Broadway's Bernadette Peters. Peters and the National Symphony Orchestra sweated out an hour of her greatest hits on the Filene Center stage. "At one point I thought, 'This is hot,' but I had other things to think about," said the 53-year-old kewpie doll, who attended the post-performance party in bare feet. Back at ya, Bernadette.

Honoring the Dead and the Very Much Living

"Worshiping the Ancestors" had a double meaning Thursday night at the Freer Gallery of Art. The official reason for the gala dinner was to preview the exhibit of Chinese commemorative portraits, created as worthy tributes for members of the last imperial dynasty (1644-1911). The 225 guests -- including the Shanghai Quartet, Smithsonian chief Larry Small, former ambassador to Japan Tom Foley, Calvin and Conrad Cafritz, Katharine Graham, Diane Rehm and C. Boyden Gray -- could "insert" themselves into a painting to get a taste of ancient royalty.

But it was also a farewell to Director Milo Beach, who is leaving the Freer this fall to write and do research. "After 17 years, it's healthy for everybody to have something else to do," said Beach. "But I cannot imagine a better job."

With Janelle Erlichman