Broadcasters won’t have President Bush to kick around tonight at their annual Radio-TV Correspondents dinner. While the president and first lady are in Rome for Pope John Paul II’s funeral, the correspondents will have to settle for President Bush’s “understudy,” Vice President Dick Cheney, to roast the press. We’re sure he won’t mind that duty. Mr. Cheney will face competition on the comedy aspect, as Comedy Central’s Daily Show caustic comic Lewis Black, the self-anointed “Foremost Commentator on Everything,” is also on the bill doing his schtick.
Barbara Cook: A bright light at the Met
Barbara Cook fans can look forward to an entire evening next January with the songstress at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. But you don’t have to wait that long to hear the soprano, who mesmerized audiences last weekend at the Kennedy Center. Cook will be back in D.C. performing at the Kennedy Center Spring Gala April 17 and at Strathmore Music Hall on May 8. In the meantime, catch her memorial tribute to musical legends Harold Arlen, Arthur Schwartz, Bobby Short and Wally Harper – Cook’s musical director of more than 30 years, who died last fall – at the Big Apple’s Carlyle Hotel. And by the way, she looks fabulous. A slimmer Cook says she lost 50 pounds by counting the Weight Watchers way.Art heals
“Unless we get music into the schools, we’re going to have a very different society,” fears Cook. “All of the arts are important because when an artist of any kind connects with you, you’re not alone.” Says Cook, “Art is healing. Our souls need art as much as we need bread and water.”
Some of the Nationals went unrecognized in the lounge at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton Saturday night, enjoying a nightcap before Sunday’s exhibition game at RFK.
What’s in a name?
Mary Matalin’s new Simon & Schuster and Pocket Books imprint will be named “Threshold.” Could it be because S&S is among the last of the major New York publishing houses to cross the threshold into conservative publishing? “I think we’re on the threshold of a whole new way of looking at politics and policy,” Matalin said.
He’s no 50 Cent!
When Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest asked his bosses for some time off to concentrate on his rap music career, he didn’t expect to get the entire year off. As we remember all too well, Artest was suspended from the NBA last November for the remainder of the year following a late-game brawl in the stands in Detroit. He’s appealing the so-called “death penalty.” In the meantime, Artest, who found himself exchanging punches with Pistons fans just six months ago, is now promoting rock stars. He’s founded his own label, Tru Warier. Spotted, Saturday night downtown at Georgia Browns, word is his attitude befitted a guy who got suspended from the NBA for a year.
Sampling a Second Genesis with Dexter and friends
You be the taster when former Redskins player Dexter Manley cooks alongside Maggiano’s executive chef Bill Eder to benefit Second Genesis, the nonprofit drug and alcohol rehab program, on May 17. The one-time star defensive back, Manley, who is in recovery for his own substance abuse problem, wants to help raise awareness for the adolescent outpatient program.
Peter Jennings is not alone
We have all heard by now that Peter Jennings was diagnosed with lung cancer and will undergo chemotherapy. The first to hear of it, though, were his senior staff at “World News Tonight,” via a group e-mail: “I have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Yes, it was quite a surprise.” While he is expected to continue anchoring “World News Tonight” throughout the period of treatment, he added a somewhat-cheerful warning: “There will be good days and bad, which means that some days I may be cranky and some days really cranky!”
Colleagues Charlie Gibson, Elizabeth Vargas and others will substitute when needed. Jennings will draw personal and professional support from them and others at ABC, whom he considers “family.” “It feels good to have such a family right now,” he added at the end of the e-mail. We’re all with you on this one, Peter.