A Garden Party on Memory Lane

Now this was a party Ronald Reagan would have enjoyed. After seven days of solemn tributes, Saturday's "summer celebration" hosted by Patricia and Dick Carlson turned out to be a good-natured send-off for the late former president. The week "reminded me there were small-government conservatives," quipped son Tucker Carlson, co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." "Whatever happened to them?"

Well, many of them were at the party.

"You get away with being obnoxious because you're so cute," Reagan chief of protocol Lucky Roosevelt told Tucker with a grin.

The gathering at Tulip Hill, the Carlsons' Great Falls home, was planned weeks ago, but hit the perfect closing note for Reagan's final farewell. More than 175 Republicans (and a few token Democrats) attended, including former U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former lawmakers Paul Laxalt and Bob Livingston, super-lawyers Joe DiGenova and Bob Bennett, Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Peter Pace, former protocol chief Lloyd Hand and talk show host John McLaughlin.

All of them had at least one Reagan story. Dick Carlson, who served as head of Voice of America for the former president, first met Reagan in 1963 when he was 21 years old, working for gossip columnist Louella Parsons. "I was amazed how kind he was to me," Carlson said. "I was a Democrat then, but he had an effect on me." Even Democrat Don Beyer missed the good old days. "We've had such divisive politics the last 11 years -- all the people who hated Clinton, all the people who hate George Bush -- it's nice to see people of all political persuasions come together to honor this one president."

And so they partied -- great house, great food, great drink, great music and not a discouraging word to be heard. There were no skunks at this garden party, at least none willing to be quoted. Well, maybe next week.

Phillips, Keeping Plenty in Reserve

Interest was high Friday night at the Phillips Collection's annual black-tie dinner held at the Federal Reserve.

"It's a great, great location," said George Vradenburg III, chairman of the Phillips's board of trustees. At the end of a sad and historic week, 100 art patrons -- including Vernon Jordan, Tom Ridge and dinner co-chairs Michele Ridge and David Rubenstein -- seemed pleased to enjoy the food, wine, music and artwork sprinkled throughout the room.

"It's a great view even in this horrible weather," said Vradenburg. Even the gloom outside seemed artful. "It looks like a Chinese landscape painting, doesn't it?" asked museum Director Jay Gates.

Zenith's Clothes Line

The icebreaker at the Zenith Gallery's Friday night art opening wasn't in the gallery. "Did you see the pieces in the bathroom?" asked sculptor Donna M. McCullough.

A dainty collection of metallic mesh thongs and G-strings by sculptor Joyce Zipperer hung from a clothesline in the gallery's most unlikely exhibit space. "That's where you hang your underwear anyway," said gallery manager Anne Weber, who curated the show.

The metal unmentionables, along with other fashion-inspired art, compose the gallery's newest group show, "Ready to Wear?" "We've been doing wearable art for years," said gallery owner Margery Goldberg. "I'm a wearable-art addict who doesn't want to recover."

With Laura Thomas