COLUMNS

Crossing over from Beethoven to Brooks

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • March 02, 2005

by Karen Feld

buzzKennedy Center President Michael Kaiser says he’s always been a country music affectionado. And while he and President Bush both kick up their heels to mutual fave Garth Brooks, Kaiser insists, “That’s not why I like country music. I’ve always loved it, and now it’s time to examine it.”

Pres. Bush
Brooks

He admitted that Loretta Lynn was his favorite Kennedy Center honoree. But Lynn’s rebirth in popularity after receiving a Kennedy Center Honor in 2003 isn’t attributable to “a cause and effect.” He said, “There’s a different cause and effect, usually” (of course referring to the many honorees who achieve the honor near the end of their careers, and unfortunately, their lives). “If we’re going to honor people [such as Lynn, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash] at ‘the Honors,’ then we have to be willing to show their work here,” Kaiser maintains.

And this spring, he’s doing just that. Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill will chair a Country Music Festival at the Kennedy Center in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame. Since country stars, unlike opera stars, aren’t accustomed to planning too far ahead, we’ll all be pleasantly surprised at the American greats who’ll turn up, pickin’ and grinnin’.

Will Kaiser lure Garth back to the stage?

Family values, Kennedy Center-style

Whoopie

Comedian Whoopi Goldberg is thrilled that her 1992 book, “Alice,” will be the first show performed in the Kennedy Center’s new Family Theater, a new 320-seat venue opening in December. Whoopi, who is consulting on the theater project aimed at kids age 7 to 13, says, “it’s great to see Alice come to life.” She’s hoping to arrange her schedule to be at the opening of the story based on “The Wizard of Oz” concept – there’s no place like home.

Birthday wishes to Placido Domingo et al Friday at Buca Di Beppo.

Three Tenors and a few waiters, too

Waiters at Buca di Beppo in Dupont Circle sang their best rendition of “Happy Birthday” to a group from the Washington Opera celebrating four birthdays, including that of Placido Domingo, Friday evening.

A nearby diner said, “Hearing Placido Domingo sing ‘Happy Birthday’ was priceless,” but he wondered why one of the world-renowned “Three Tenors” was blowing out his 64 candles at a chain restaurant instead of somewhere more upscale.

Strom-FBI ties unveiled

We’re discovering more secrets that the late South Carolina icon, Sen. Strom Thurmond, kept veiled. Some six pounds (about 600 pages) out of his 2,300-page FBI file were released this week revealing a close relationship with J. Edgar Hoover.

Essie May

Seems the Bureau even conducted some clandestine snooping for Thurmond.

Interestingly, the senator’s relationship with Essie Mae Washington-Williams, his daughter who recently set the public record straight regarding her lineage, is not mentioned. Maybe in the remaining pages … .

Looking presidential

Mrs. Clinton

Sen. Hillary Clinton at a fund-raiser at Smith and Elizabeth Bagley’s house earlier this week; Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who has hired Paul Maslin, Howard Dean’s pollster, and Steve Bouchard, Gen. Wesley Clark’s man in New Hampshire, who also headed an independent group to defeat Bush in Ohio, to head his PAC. and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden is forever sounding like he’ll throw his hat in one last time as well.

Edwards home in time to sell

We’re glad to hear that Elizabeth Edwards has finished her chemo treatments. Insiders say she’s doing well and getting her Georgetown home ready for sale. Savvy real estate agents say it could bring in as much as $7 million with its renovations.

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