COLUMNS

Cap Lost in Dueling Pitches

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • July 01, 2005

by Karen Feld

buzz

Sports fans have been wondering why Nationals center fielder Brad Wilkerson’s popular TV commercial advertising Chevy Chase Bank has been edited. He was wearing a red baseball cap with a “W” and selling cars. He turned it upside down and around and it’s an “M.” Now that part has been deleted and Wilkerson appears sans cap. Turns out the Nationals weren’t too happy with the use of the “W” logo, and neither was PNC Bank (formerly Riggs), which has signed on as the official bank for the team.

“Chevy Chase [Bank] produced the commercial with Brad with the hat before PNC won the bidding to become official bank,” according to Nationals spokesman David Cope. “So when we told them, they recut the spot without [the] upside-down ‘W.’ ” Cope added: “We still do some banking with them and we hope to do business with them in the future.”

Not your average working dinner

Jason Binn’s upcoming Capitol File magazine, in conjunction with Colombian Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno and his wife, Gabriela Febres-Cordero de Moreno, held what they called “a constructional dinner party” Wednesday evening for a planned Martha Stewart-style catering feature piece for the magazine. The 15 or so A-list guests at a seated dinner at the ambassador’s Northwest residence included CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Kwame Jackson from NBC’s “The Apprentice,” and Michael Jackson’s former spokeswoman, Ramone Bain. Oh, and the caterer – none other than Ridgewell’s. The party was held there as a direct result of the relationship that Binn has built with the Colombians via his smooth networking skills.

Biz accomplished; now dessert

The “working dinner” was followed by an A minus list – the magazine denies that it was the B-list – of those who hadn’t yet fled the city for the long July Fourth weekend, but 200 additional guests arrived after 9 p.m. for the Midsummer Night Dream dessert reception complete with swan cream puffs and a disc jockey in the ballroom of the Colombian ambassador’s residence. Ambassador Chan Heng Chee of Singapore, AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey, Michael Saylor, Winston Lord and Septime Weber of the Washington Ballet, who brought young students dressed as fairies, partied into the evening, which was intended to be a very ethereal event.

Very up at Downes

British Ambassador Sir David Manning and his wife, Lady Catherine Manning, hosted a reception at the residence the other evening for Amanda Downes, who has been serving British ambassadors assigned to Washington for the past 17 years by planning parties and meetings, including royal visits. She was presented with an MBE, Member of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen, presented by Prince Andrew on behalf of the queen, in London a few weeks back. At the residence, she related stories to guests, including former White House social secretary Ann Stock, former White House protocol chief Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt, Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and numerous foreign ambassadors, about putting together a small dinner, often at the last moment. And, oh, by the way, “always invite the president, vice president and 20 members of Congress for each party.” That’s her successful formula. Now you know.

Sometimes chutzpah helps

I was sitting next to two very attractive and friendly young women at Suzanne Farrell’s production of George Balanchine’s “Don Quixote” at the Kennedy Center the other evening. After introducing themselves as Liberty Bell, 18, and Charity, 21 (yes, not stage names!), they told me they were in D.C. from Denver for the summer because their grandfather, an American by choice, was in Congress. The elder gal, an aspiring opera singer, was thrilled to share the stage with Academy Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch here last week. The occasion was a benefit for the post-tsumani kids in Thailand organized by Esther Coopersmith. Grandpa – Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a supporter of the event – asked Coopersmith to ask Hamlisch to let his granddaughter perform with him at the event at the Wardman Marriott. “I’m not going to let anyone’s granddaughter sing with me,” an unhappy Hamlisch instructed his pal Coopersmith. “Send a CD.”

Rep. Lantos wouldn’t let that deter him. Hamlisch gets a personal call from the congressman offering to take him on a tour of the Capitol and to lunch in the Members’ Dining Room, to which Hamlisch replied: “I don’t want a tour; I don’t want lunch. I want a CD.”

Hamlisch later listened to the disc and, after several rehearsals, agreed to let the young soprano sing a number while he accompanied her on piano. “He told me we’d work together again,” said a pleased Charity Tillemann-Dick.

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