Young Worshippers for This 'Idol'
One thing we can say for pop-rock diva du jour Kelly Clarkson is she's the hardest-working talent to come out of the "American Idol" machine. Her second album boasts two songs in Billboard's Top 10, she's turned her Texan curves into abs of steel, and she headlined yesterday's Kids' Extravalooza fundraising bash for the National Children's Museum.
In front of nearly 2,000 youngsters and their parents, Clarkson strutted onstage at the Ronald Reagan Building wearing skintight hip-huggers and a Band-Aid (or was that a shirt?) at the second annual fundraiser for the museum, set to open in 2008. "I've got my 14-year-old daughter here and two of her friends," said S. Ross Hechinger, board chairman for the museum. "They're going absolutely nuts right now."
But most of the "fans" in the audience were more familiar with the musical stylings of Barney than those of Kelly. During Clarkson's first song, the mega-hit "Since U Been Gone," SpongeBob SquarePants was spotted doing the running man, Blue was shaking his (doggy) tail feather and the yellow AOL icon man head-banged at the front of the stage. The tots ate it up.
Despite the lack of recognition, Clarkson sang her heart out and waved to the wee ones sitting on their parents' shoulders. We hear Clarkson is trying to shed her "American Idol" label. At least with this crowd she was just SpongeBob's girlfriend.
New Allies Against a Deadly Enemy
The big pink ribbon adorning the Hungarian Embassy Friday night could mean only one thing: Nancy Brinker, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, had roped in another ally in the fight against breast cancer. The founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure was in town for the 16th annual race on Saturday.
Brinker brought her passion for cancer prevention and research to Budapest in 2001, educating Hungarian women about the disease and leading a march across that city's famed Chain Bridge, which was lit pink for the occasion. Friday's pre-race reception at the Hungarian residence -- hosted by Ambassador Andras Simonyi and wife Nada Pejak -- honored Klara Dobrev, wife of Hungary's prime minister and the first international chair of the 5K run. "Now this race in Washington represents a real global movement," Brinker said.
Home-grown glamour came in the form of actress Jaclyn Smith, one of the original Charlie's Angels and now a breast cancer survivor. "It does change your life," said Smith, who was diagnosed during a routine mammogram. "It makes you more spiritual, more enlightened about things. You worry about this and that, and it all seems so small."
Jamaican Women Share Their Sunny Outlook
The Four Seasons Hotel was jammin' Sunday afternoon for the third annual Tea-Off to Good Health, hosted by Jamaican Women of Washington. Red-hot island accents and music infused the hotel as beach-scented candles transported those in attendance (sporting tropical-hued hats and suits) to the sandy vistas of their homeland.
This year's event raised $35,000 for youth development and violence prevention programs both here and back home. "Many people connect with the causes as well as the fact that we're Jamaican," said the group's president, Jacqueline Watson. Chimed in sister Kim Watson: "Everybody loves Jamaica."
With Laura Thomas