Runaway Spoon

Fall social season warms up in Georgetown

August 30, 2011

Some major initiatives for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington percolated to the top when the organization’s Women’s Leadership Group convened in Georgetown Tuesday night to indulge in Italian cuisine and discuss fundraising activities for the fall season.

A focus was on the annual ICON gala to be held at the Four Seasons in Georgetown on Wednesday, October 26, chaired by DC area interior designer Barbara Hawthorn.

“We will be the first Boys and Girls club nationally to have an art mobile,” said Hawthorn at the planning session at il Canale restaurant. “The van will be a complete art studio, and it will be taken around to the region’s clubs to develop the artistic skills of students.”

The art mobile will be on display for the first time in front of the Four Seasons throughout the evening of the gala, Hawthorn said.  An anonymous donor paid for the van. Superior Home Services Inc., headed by Daniel Steinkoler, outfitted the inside of the van. ACG Architects did the overall plan for the van.

The event planners also spoke about an event, akin to Fox’s popular “American Idol” TV show, where 10 of the best young performers from competition at the region’s Boys and Girls Clubs will perform on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on October 11.  Twelve students who were judged best in art will show their works there, too.

Vittorio Rosso, il Canale's GM, pours wine for the reception (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Vittorio Rosso, il Canale's GM, pours wine for the reception
Among those participating in the discussion at il Canale were Patty Andringa, founder and president of the Women’s Leadership Group; Kathryn Jones Hanley of The Hanley Foundation; philanthropist Susan McCallister; Kim Watson, Pepco’s vice president of corporate philanthropy; and Charlotte Marshall, a donor to major art projects. 


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Patti LaBelle brings the crowd to its feet at a night of joy in a Dr. King tribute

August 26, 2011

In a show-stopping, stompin’ grand finale to the Martin Luther King Jr. concert Thursday night, soul singer Patti LaBelle kicked off her red-soled high during a spirited performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The shoes flew heels into the clapping, swaying audience that included the King family, others who participated in the legend of MLK, and young people who follow in the footsteps of the Civil Right Movement and basked this night in the forever light of the great human rights leader.

City Council member Marion Barry (left), Congressman and civil rights champion John Lewis, and Mayor Gray (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) City Council member Marion Barry (left), Congressman and civil rights champion John Lewis, and Mayor Gray

As storm warnings punctuated the day, yes, the creek did rise… but God was willing. So, the evening went on as a prelude to the dedication of the MLK Memorial.

DC political strategist Vernon Hawkins (left) and Mayor Vincent Gray at the reception (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) DC political strategist Vernon Hawkins (left) and Mayor Vincent Gray at the reception

To start the evening, Mayor Vincent Gray, Uptown magazine and a cadre of businesses hosted a private reception at Arena Stage.

Gray used the occasion to pitch his favorite cause: statehood for DC, and as he spoke a chant erupted from the 500 or so attendees: “Free DC!, Free DC!, Free DC!” Gray also joked that the city couldn’t let such a great tribute as the dedication of the MLK monument happen without “something special… “so we ordered up an earthquake.”

Where was he when the earth moved?  “I was a passenger in a car… it started shaking. I said, ‘Man, you need a tune up on this car.’”

City Council member Vincent Orange and civil right activist Cora Masters Barry (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) City Council member Vincent Orange and civil right activist Cora Masters Barry

Carolyn Malachi performs at the Mayor’s reception (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Carolyn Malachi performs at the Mayor’s reception

Legendary civil rights leader Georgia Rep. John Lewis, in rich baritone voice reminiscent of the styles of men of the pulpit, recounted that when he first saw the King monument, he gently touched the statue, and wept.  Lewis, once chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was one of the planners and keynote speakers of the 1963 March on Washington, the occasion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Virginia H. Williams who once sang for MLK (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Virginia H. Williams who once sang for MLK

Afterwards, the jubilant scene shifted to the Washington Convention Center where thousands listened to LaBelle, The Impressions, Eddie Lavert, the Naturally 7, and more top performers belted out familiar oldies of the 60s and 70s, and inspirational international songs of current times.

Barbara Lang, president & CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce listens to a friend at the reception (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Barbara Lang, president & CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce listens to a friend at the reception

In the audience were the Rev. Jesse Jackson and film star Cuba Gooding Jr.

Another guest was Virginia Hayes Williams, who, years ago in her youth, was privileged to sing for Dr. King in Los Angeles.

Williams is the mother of former mayor Tony Williams and a prime mover in Gray’s mayoralty campaign.  

Virginia Hayes Williams (left) and Judith Terra at the Mayor’s reception in front of a MLK poster (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Virginia Hayes Williams (left) and Judith Terra at the Mayor’s reception in front of a MLK poster

Way back when, Williams and her children raised money by baking and selling cakes and cookies for Dr. King’s civil rights movement.  At that time, “Mother Williams”  -- as she is now frequently referred to -- was a professional who did gigs in the film industry, singing tunes that were dubbed into the roles of actresses who lacked vocal skills.

Channel 9 newswoman JC Hayward (left) and PR executive Linda Greene at the Mayor’s reception (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Channel 9 newswoman JC Hayward (left) and PR executive Linda Greene at the Mayor’s reception

During a trip to LA, Dr. King heard about Williams’ voice and her dedication to the freedom movement. Dr.  King asked church leaders if Williams would sing for him one of the greatest, most poignant gospel hymns ever written: “It is Well with My Soul.”

She did so in a solo performance. “He had tears in his eyes,” she recalls, “and said how much he missed his children growing up.”  

On Friday, a Women Who Dare to Dream luncheon drew a stellar group of many hundreds of high achieving women to the convention center. Dr. Maya Angelou read "Abundant Hope," her new work honoring Dr. King.

Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, explained at the luncheon that the official dedication ceremonies will be rescheduled for a later date due to the oncoming hurricane hitting the East Coast.  He said that people can make all the plans they want but sometimes they must be changed because God has the final word.

 


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Georgetown plays Taiwan team ... in Shanghai

August 23, 2011

Could it be that ping-pong diplomacy has advanced to the level of playing hoops?

The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team scrimmaged against the Chinese Taipei National Team Tuesday – in Shanghai, China!   It’s the final competition of Georgetown’s adventurous trip to China.  A Taiwan team in China for a scrimmage with the Hoyas sends up a stream of positive vibes, at least on the hardwood court.

That scrimmage is the final competition of the Hoyas’ adventurous trip to China.

Georgetown won against the Chinese Taipei National Team 83 to 64.

Earlier, after working with Chinese youth and coaches at special clinics at Nike’s Festival of Sport facility, the team enjoyed a leisurely day in Shanghai on Monday. After shopping, they met up afterwards at the United States Consulate – a place the tour guide said was commonly referred to by most people as “Starbucks.”

Greg Whittington shows how to Just Do It. (Photo by: Georgetown Sports Information) Greg Whittington shows how to Just Do It.

Street vendors hawked a variety of items, mostly watches.  Hoyas strength and conditioning coach Mike Hill, Head Athletic Trainer Shawn Hendi and Sports Information Director Mex Carey each came away with new watches-- let’s hope the instruments keep ticking longer than those knock-offs sold by Manhattan’s street traders. 

Following the visit to Old Shanghai, the Hoyas toured the Shanghai World Financial Center, the super-tall skyscraper in Pudong that is the second-tallest building in the world.  The view of the city from the observation deck was described as amazing by team.


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