Community Palette

Metro TeenAIDS 19th Annual Auction at The Embassy of Italy June 7th

May 14, 2012

Join Metro TeenAIDS for a fun evening on June 7th at the Embassy of Italy as they honor House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who will help raise funds to support the youth of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Metro TeenAIDS is the leading community health organization solely dedicated to supporting young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS. There is nothing more important that we can do than educate our young people about this terrible disease. Metro TeenAIDS does this through their programs of support and advocacy work to prevent the spread of HIV.

Some facts you may not know are that Washington, D.C. has one of the highest AIDS rates in the country but comparatively few of those infected are getting the treatment they need. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,500 infected young people live in the Washington, D.C. area and yet only about 100 of them are receiving medical care. Across the nation, half of all new HIV infections occur among people under the age of 25 and as many as one third of all HIV-infected young people do not know they carry the virus.

With so much ignorance, and such limited healthcare, young people face the highest risk of infection. They live in a culture that heightens those risks. We know that adolescents tend to distrust adults who could help them, yet face intense pressure to become sexually active at an early age.

All this is why the work of Metro TeenAIDS is so important. For 20 years they have provided education programs and prevention resources to well over 200,000 young people, family members, and youth workers. They work to responsibly provide innovative, science-based, effective education on HIV prevention, care, and related issues. They provide comprehensive, culturally competent, and age-appropriate counseling; positive youth development programming; and linkages to treatment services to youth who are either affected or infected by HIV.

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At the Embassy of Italy on June 7th you will meet some of the people working the hardest to care for the youth of the District of Columbia and support their work. You can bid on items including dinners at great restaurants; special wines provided by Estadio; and trips to Puerto Rico and the use of a great vacation home on the beautiful island of Isla Mujeres. Or bid on an invitation for you and three guests to a taping of Inside Washington hosted by Gordon Peterson.

Plan to join Nancy Pelosi and the Italian Ambassador, His Excellency Claudio Bisogniero, as he welcomes Metro TeenAIDS to the embassy. Your donations will help them expand their advocacy program and increase the capacity of young people to educate decision makers, policy makers, and funders about HIV and encourage their support for policies that promote HIV prevention and care services. Help Metro TeenAIDS continue their mission which is providing the highest level of service to the community to prevent future HIV/AIDS cases and care for those who are ill today.

To join Nancy Pelosi and Metro TeenAIDS on June 7th you can buy your tickets here or call 202.543.8246.


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Will on the Hill: A Uniquely Washington Event

May 8, 2012

Monday night was the 10th anniversary of Will on the Hill, this uniquely Washington event which has raised millions for the education and community outreach programs ($400,000 this year) of the Washington Shakespeare Theatre. It is one of the fun nights in the theatre where members of congress let down their hair, so to speak, and perform in an original play that often makes fun of themselves.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

This years play, Speak the Speech, I Pray You! Written by the talented Peter Byrne and Directed by Alan Paul, was no exception to the rule. It was a take of on Romeo and Juliet, funny and timely and the readings by the members of Congress were spot on. The cast was led by Emmy Award winning (The West Wing) actor Richard Schiff and Tony Award nominee Veanne Cox.

Members of Congress included Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives’ Shelley Berkley (D-NV) who is in the midst of what looks like a winning senate race, Gerald Connelly (D-VA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Peter Petri (R-WI), Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). As always the cast included D.C.’s CFO Natwar Gandhi. This year there was even an Englishman, The Honourable Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Member of the Parliament for Bridgwater and West Somerset.

The amazing Shakespeare Theatre Company has been led for the past 25 years by Artistic Director and Director Extraordinaire Michael Kahn. This year they have been honored with a Tony Award for best regional theatre which will be presented during the Tony Awards broadcast on June 10th in New York. I am sure Michael will enjoy that and one can only hope that he will get to interact with host Neil Patrick Harris as I think they would make a great comedy team. Maybe Michael will invite Neil to DC to either act in one of his plays or do an interview with him which Michael is so great at doing. That would attract a whole new audience to the Shakespeare Theatre.

Dan Katz (Williams and Connolly LLP) and Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Dan Katz (Williams and Connolly LLP) and Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC)

The production couldn’t be produced and raise the kind of money it does without the hard work of so many community supporters of the theatre. This years Committee Co-Chairs were Bernie McKay from Intuitand Steve Ryan, from McDermott Will and Emeryand they did a yeoman’s job. Corporate sponsors included The Hill, Intuit, MapHook, McDermott Will and Emery, Patton Boggs LLP, and CoStar Group.

To showcase the work of the education department at the Shakespeare the program began with the students from Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School performing the act 4, scene 1 one from Much Ado About Nothing. The kids were nothing less than amazing.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is one of Washington D.C.’s real treasures. For anyone interested in finding out more about their education programs or their 2012/2013 season just go online at You will never regret it.

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May 1, 2012

The annual MOCK TRIAL at the Shakespeare Theatre is always fun. Last night was no exception. This is a production of the BARD Association whose members are Shakespeare Theatre supporters and Mock Trial enthusiasts. The chair of the Bard Association is Abbe Lowell who appeared in a video to welcome everyone because he is currently representing John Edwards at his trial in North Carolina. Ably stepping in as MC was Nick Allard of Patton Boggs who was introduced with the announcement that he has accepted the position of Dean at the Brooklyn Law School. This year the mock trial was Ado, I do, Adieu: Claudio v. Hero being heard by the Supreme Court of Messina.

Peter D. Rosenstein and Justice Elena Kagan (Photo by: Brad Luna) Peter D. Rosenstein and Justice Elena Kagan

The evening began with a dinner for those who bought the $350 tickets. It was held in the downstairs theatre room at Harman Hall. I had the honor of sitting next to attorney Paul Smith, a personal hero of mine, who often appears before the Supreme Court and won the Lawrence v. Texas case. He is currently fighting the battle against DOMA.

In the roles of the Supreme Court of Messina were Supreme Court Justices’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Samuel A. Alito. Sitting alongside them were Judges’ Merrick Garland, Douglas Ginsburg, Brett Kavanaugh and David Tatel. Reid H. Weingarten of Steptoe and Johnson LLP appeared as Counsel for Count Claudio, and Sanford K. Ain of Ain & Bank. PC, Counsel for the appellee Lady Hero of Messina.

That set the stage for a hilarious evening with laughs coming one after the other. The hearing was to appeal the lower courts ruling that Claudio’s marriage was a sham, he had to pay alimony and that he could keep the dowry. Weingarten had the difficult job of trying to say that the marriage was real and that it should continue and tried to do so without besmirching Lady Hero’s honor even though as he casually mentioned those young studs she hired for protection seemed to have other jobs as well.  

While the entire evening was fun and all the Justices appeared to get into the act with some great questions and one-liners there were a couple of moments where Justice Alito actually looked a little uncomfortable. One was when one of the other judges included references to Obamacare in a question to Hero’s attorney Sandy Ain. Ain, quick on his feet, responded “Your honor, I would be happy to answer that but since we don’t have three days and six hours could we return to discussion of the dowry in the twenty minutes I do have”. Ain then got in another laugh line when asked if Lady Hero had all the money she needed and could shop to her hearts content without the alimony. Ain responded that she actually shops at Loehmann’s, then paused and looked at Alito and said that Justices’ Kagan and Ginsburg could explain that to him later.

The evening benefitted the Shakespeare Theatre’s education programs which will again benefit from next Monday evening’s Will on the Hill  program when members of Congress take to the stage to do a reading from a script worked to resemble a Shakespearean play. For those that haven’t been to a performance of Will on the Hill I highly recommend it.

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