Art collectors and people collectors alike turned out Thursday evening for the 15th anniversary of the Ralls Collection in Georgetown – even D.C. Council Member Jack Evans, who created a stir when it was disclosed that he used PAC money to take the gallery’s owner, Marsha Ralls, on an international trip with him. Evans lingered until the end of the reception. Hmm. Well, he does just live around the corner. Another council member, mayoral wannabe Vincent Orange, also appeared to be an art aficionado for the evening, admiring photos by Michael Kenna. And there was no better place to meet and greet Washington’s well-heeled beautiful people, including Hoop Dreams founder Susie Kay; abstract painter Marta Sewall wrapped in a furry something that she described as a “friend of the groundhog”; and the handsome Fred Knight, who wore a biking jacket and talked about his cross-country motorcycle trip with Kyle Petty of NASCAR fame – a trip that benefits children’s charities.
Chip & Nina’s totally rad nuptials
NBC News-TV political correspondent Chip Reid and his longtime companion, Georgetown personal trainer Nina Black, tied the knot Jan. 7 on a private beach on Oahu. “We’re not big on ceremony,” said Reid, who, with his bride, took the vows with bare feet in the sand. Nina’s stepmom, actress Patricia Marand – a Tony nominee for the ’60s musical “Superman” and more recently seen on TV’s “The Sopranos” – wasn’t able to fly in from New York, but the bride held her mother’s photo, suggesting that she was there in spirit. Black’s dad is the late columnist Frank Farrell of the World Telegram.
Happy birthday, Tish!
The well-mannered Letitia “Tish” Baldridge has turned 80! D.C. Council Member Carol Schwartz invited two dozen women – including Mary Haft, Betty Beale, Maggie Wimsatt, Sherry Geyelin and Lucy Moorhead – for a home-cooked lunch in Baldridge’s honor at Schwartz’s Connecticut Avenue condo Saturday. Baldridge, the outspoken and amusing daughter of a former congressman from Nebraska, served as assistant to Clare Booth Luce at the American Embassy in Rome and chief of staff to first lady Jackie Kennedy. She was also the first woman executive of Tiffany & Co. and has written 16 books on manners and entertaining. We know Schwartz’s luncheon met Baldridge’s standards. When I asked her about the formula for a successful party, Baldridge responded: “A mixture of people like a wonderful patchwork quilt.” And, of course, no one arrived late. “What’s terrible about Washington is that those who aren’t all that important think they are, and they come in terribly late to parties,” Baldridge told me. “They say, ‘I just left a very important meeting at the Pentagon, and I apologize.’ They haven’t at all. They’ve been in the sauna!”
Congrats to WJLA’s John Harter
Hilary Harter surprised hubby John with a retirement party Saturday evening at Landini Brothers in Old Town Alexandria. While he was hidden on the first floor, his friends gathered upstairs. The popular ABC 7 newsman isn’t retiring completely, just from full-time reporting. You’ll still see him on Channel 7 and cable’s News Channel 8 from time to time, most likely test-driving new cars, as Harter is a former race-car driver. His pals and colleagues put together a photo book for the retiree. And for those of you old enough to remember, as a kid, John Harter was a puppeteer on the Pick Temple TV show.
… And, finally, listen up!
Sheila Kast, the former National Public Radio and ABC News -TV reporter, plans to host a new hour-long current affairs morning talk show on WYPR-FM, Baltimore public radio.