Runaway Spoon

New Egyptian Ambassador Opens Embassy for Art Show

October 14, 2012

Up-and-coming art and jewelry promoter Sylvia Ragheb has introduced a show of progressive artwork and sculptures at the Egyptian Embassy.  On the scene greeting guests Thursday evening was the new Egyptian ambassador, Mohamed M. Tawfik who was celebrating contemporary Egyptian art and in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Smithsonian Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Jane and Calvin Cafriz, Sylvia Ragheb (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Jane and Calvin Cafriz, Sylvia Ragheb

The embassy show runs for a month. ( According to folks-in-the-know, the embassy is rarely a venue for art shows, so, to be sure, Ragheb scored a coup for her exhibition.

The 80 guests included Sama Iskander, of BG Group and his artist wife Sylvia Iskander.   Others were Yasmine Ghorbal, Gina Elnaggar, Craig Appelbaum, Jane and Dick Stoker, Jane and Calvin Cafriz, Lori Jenkins, executive vice president and general counsel of the Washington Legal Foundation, and Barbara Hawthorn, the interior decorator who helped place and arrange the artwork at the embassy.

Yasmine Ghorbal (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Yasmine Ghorbal

Ragheb plans to launch her first Egyptian jewelry show on Thursday evening November 15, in time for holiday shopping, at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown.

Ragheb, of Dutch birth, opened her first show earlier this year in the United States with a successful exhibition of Egyptian and Italian art at the respected ArtPalm Beach in Florida, followed by a six-month exhibition at the Washington Design Center.

“With the expansion of the communication and investment sectors, this has truly become a global economy,” she says.  “Now, many people are looking around to see what is available, what strikes their fancy, and what could appreciate in value over time.” She sees great opportunities in America for superior jewelry and art from abroad. The line of jewelry is Azza Fahmy. (

Jane and Dick Stoker and Craig Appelbaum of Industry Gallery (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Jane and Dick Stoker and Craig Appelbaum of Industry Gallery

Ragheb resided in Egypt with her husband and children until moving to the D.C. Metropolitan Area. One piece of her elegant Egyptian jewelry was offered at the CharityWorksDC  Dream Ball last month at the National Building Museum. 

Art by Khaled Hafez of Cairo, Egypt (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Art by Khaled Hafez of Cairo, Egypt

Among the painters and sculptors Ragheb represents are Adam Henein (known as the Godfather of Egyptian sculpture), Khaled Hafez, Adel El Siwi, Galila Nawar,  Armen Agop, Ramses Marzouk, Essam, Darwish, Sameh Ismael, and Essam Marouf.

Sylvia Ragheb surround by daughters Hana (left) & Laura. (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Sylvia Ragheb surround by daughters Hana (left) & Laura.

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Who's Boring Now? -- Not D.C. & Its Artists

October 3, 2012


If creative leaders from elsewhere ever thought that art is dull in D.C., they are learning differently.

This city on The Potomac has always been on the cusp of challenging art, music, dance, theater, design, technology and everything else that’s forward-thinking. 

Rhona Wolfe Friedman & Councilman Tommy Wells (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Rhona Wolfe Friedman & Councilman Tommy Wells

On Wednesday night, the DC Arts & Humanities Commission hosted art leaders at a festive party that jumpstarted the annual meeting of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) Thursday-Saturday. It was the kickoff for Assembly 2012, where several hundred arts decision-leaders from states across the nation converge for the major gathering of public arts grant makers.

“The DC Arts and Humanities Commission is delighted to host the opening dinner of the NASAA at the home of chair Judith Terra,” said commissioner Rhona Wolfe Friedman.

Terra, a point-person for D.C.’s inspired society, welcomed the 80-plus guests along with Lionell Thomas, commission executive director.

The String Poets perform (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) The String Poets perform

Among those at the dinner with numerous state arts leaders were City Councilman Tommy Wells; Michael Kahn, artistic director of Shakespeare Theatre Company; Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage; and a contingent of DC arts commission members including Lavinia Wohlfarth, Gretchen Wharton, Susan Clampitt, Rogelio A. Maxwell, Christopher Cowan, Danielle M. St.  Germain-Gord, and Mary Ann Miller.

Besides attending seminars, artistic performances, lectures and other events, the conventioneers will take excursions through downtown D.C.'s Penn Quarter. They also will be entertained by acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, The Washington Ballet and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey

Jonathan Katz (CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies), Lisa Farrell, Councilman Wells (Photo by: Natalia Jantti) Jonathan Katz (CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies), Lisa Farrell, Councilman Wells

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman is to address participants about how art and design are revitalizing communities and enhancing quality of life.



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Homeland Gives A Nod to Cafe Milano in Thriller

October 1, 2012

Internationally famous Cafe Milano got a cameo mention on the Emmy decorated Showtime’s Homeland during its TV season premiere this week. But if you weren’t paying sharp attention, you’d have missed it.  Stay alert during the reruns.

In a nutshell, here’s how the story line of Sunday night’s opening season 2 went as pertaining to the Georgetown restaurant:

Middle East journalist and shady operative Roya Hammad sets up a diversionary interview with CIA counterterrorism director David Estes to draw him away from his office during an intelligence briefing with Congressman Sgt. Nicholas Brody.  Brody, a clandestine Muslin and a potential candidate for vice president of the United States, is left alone in the CIA office.

Roya’s scheme is to give Brody time to break into Estes’ safe to steal a list of bombing targets.

When Estes has had enough of the probing interview with Roya in the CIA building's press room, the beautiful “journalist” delays him by inviting him to Cafe Milano for a Saturday night wine and dine date.  Estes accepts, albeit with some hesitation.  Thanks to the little delay, Brody manages to swipe the information from Estes’s safe just in the nick of time as the CIA director returns from the pseudo-interview.

Stay tuned Homeland/Cafe Milano fans. Will that R.S.V.P. be lost on the cutting room floor or will there be inclusion in a later episode? If it’s the latter, does Roya or Estes (a federal employee) pick up the tab? 

Plots do thicken like a good pasta sauce – especially in an election year.



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