Runaway Spoon

Love & Music at Chuck Brown's Going-Away Party

May 31, 2012

The celebration of the life and music of DC Go-Go Godfather Chuck Brown stirred to the heights of the Washington Convention Center Thursday afternoon as family members and thousands of fans sang and swayed in memoriam.

Part of Chuck Brown's family (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Part of Chuck Brown's family

“DC knows how to send somebody home, don’t they,” said Mayor Vincent Gray as the crowd waved their arms to Brown’s music.

Gray then announced that the city will name a park after Brown.   At that park, he said, the atmosphere will be lively, it’ll be a place where there is action, music and people abound. And, Gray said, the mantra of the park will embody two famous sayings linked through the ages to the singer:

Cherita Whiting, one of Brown's daughters (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Cherita Whiting, one of Brown's daughters

"Wind me up, Chuck,” and “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that Go-Go swing.”

DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton announced that she introduced a House resolution that would designate Brown’s birthday, August 22, as National Chuck Brown Day in the United States.

Another tribute was a new Chuck Brown Foundation, put together by the Brown family and dedicated to helping young people and those in need.

“Got a park, got a day, the only fitting thing that we all can do is build a Go-Go Hall of Fame,” chimed in City Council Chair Kwame Brown when it came to his turn onstage.  And, he added: “Anybody who just moved to DC and don’t like Go-Go, well, get over it!

Ledisi performs (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Ledisi performs

From the moment that former mayor and City Councilman Marion Barry walked into the hall for the tribute, it was evident the crowd was his.  “Barry, Barry, Barry!,” they cheered.  The same rousing reception greeted him as he walked to the podium.  In his talk, Barry pointed out that tombstone inscriptions bear a birthdate, a dash, and then the date of final departure.  In a poignant moment, Barry recalled that he and Brown knew the importance of that dash:  that dash represents--what a person has done with his time on earth.

Chuck Brown, in memory (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Chuck Brown, in memory

Toward the conclusion of the nearly four-hour celebration, pall bearers lifted Brown’s closed casket from the front of the hall and to a combination of jazz, R&B, hip-hop and funk music carried it outside to a waiting hearse. 

The music carried on.

“Chuck left, but the party is still going,” said the officiant, Donnie Simpson.  All agreed that’s the way Brown would have wanted it.


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France's First Lady Comes to Cafe Milano

May 18, 2012

Looking elegant in a grey suit, France’s new first lady, Valérie Trierweiler, had lunch Friday in Cafe Milano’s outdoor patio with the French ambassador’s wife Sophie L’Helias Dalattre.

Joining them at the table was political and social writer Jim Hoagland, who writes for The Washington Post.

The conversation held forth all in French.

Ms. Trierweiler, a French journalist in her own career, dined on grilled vegetables and branzini (sea bass).

She and French President Francois Hollande are in town for the weekend's gathering of economic summit leaders.

And, yes, on lookers did recognize the first lady.

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First Lady Gets Out of White House for Charity

May 9, 2012

Michelle Obama, in a satin-like off-the-shoulder red dress, told a packed crowd at the First Lady’s Luncheon that the annual event not only “gets me out of the house” but it also offers an opportunity to underscore one of her favorite missions: community service.

Lee Ann Womack (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Lee Ann Womack

Wednesday’s invitation-only lunch celebrated the 100th anniversary of the charitable event, held by the Congressional Club, an organization made up of spouses of members of the U.S. House and Senate.  Staged at the Washington Hilton Hotel ballroom, the luncheon honors the spouse of the president of the United States.

Mr. Pelosi (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Mr. Pelosi

"…some of my best memories are when I go out into the community,” said Mrs. Obama in her talk, and noted her work with the homeless, children and various charitable causes.  She also gave a special shout-out to American military spouses for their sacrifices in raising their families while their husbands and wives serve the nation.

Texas-born country music super star Lee Ann Womack donated her time to the luncheon, belting out some of her hit songs. Planning committee chair was Helen Green, wife of the Texas Congressman Gene  Green of the 29th District.

Always a charmer is the handsome, good-natured Paul Pelosi, husband of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. With a grin on his face, he hoofed it down the runway on the arm of a female military escort.

The audience is predominately female, with only a smattering of the opposite sex.

The tickets sales are given to charity, this time to the Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston.


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