Ever wonder what happens when a couple of dozen gossip columnists get together on Halloween eve? No ghosts – except those of gossip chroniclers past – just a magician and tarot card reader who predicted a long life of gossip. The occasion was a relaxed gossip party for the select group complete with a lavish buffet and Italian wines hosted by Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuchese at his sprawling Northwest D.C. home.
Some friends and sources, or shall we say practicing gossips, Bolivian Ambassador Jaime Aparicio, and his wife, Pamela, the Washington Ballet’s Septime Weber, Nini Straight, Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt, Winston Lord, Jeff and Juleanna Glover Weiss – were included as well as those of us who write or did write gossip as a trade – Roxanne Roberts wearing a black pants outfit with a bare midriff, Amy Argetsinger, Chuck Conconi, Anne Groer (sadly, recently separated from her husband, Michael Mosettig), Garret Graff, Nancy Bagley, Garry Clifford, Donna Shor, Ina Ginsburg and Kevin Chaffee among the guests. Bloggers were persona non grata. This evening was strictly for the pros. But when I told one member of congress about the event, he quipped: “It sounds like a convention of life insurance salespersons.”
Some leaks never drip
Topic A for those with an institutional memory: the best unwritten gossip story. One, which still can’t be told, involving George Bush 41 captured the most attention. And an even earlier one involving philanthropist Paul Mellon was rehashed as well.
And yes, some ears were burning
Most mentions: Prince Charles and Camilla, the Dutchess of Cornwall, and the closely-held White House guest list for Wednesday evening’s official dinner; endless “Scooter” Libby, Karl Rove and Judith Miller speculation and anecdotes; and concern about the future of gossip columnist Lloyd Grove. Many still can’t understand why Mort Zuckerman hired Grove away from The Washington Post, and why New York Daily News editorial director, Martin Dunn, “leaked” an e-mail last week that called him an “idiot” and criticized his page as “stupid” as compared to competing Page Six at the New York Post.
Rx for survival of gossips
Now I know whom to call in the event of a flu pandemic. Washington Life founder and publisher Vicky Bagley is stashing her own supply of the anti-viral Tamiflu. After all, gossip reporters are a high-risk group since our nightly ritual includes the exhausting round of events complete with handshakes and air-kisses.
Oh, Georgia: The country, not the state
Washington Times social reporter Stephanie Mansfield brought her new husband, Tsotne Bakuria, a visiting scholar at George Washington University, to the party. The couple, who met in the nation of Georgia two years ago when Mansfield was covering the elections there, plans to move back so that he can run for president of his country, once part of the Soviet Union, in five years. “Stephanie will be first lady of Georgia,” said the handsome and charismatic Bakuria, who is 20 years her junior.
A fete for our ‘Own Backyard’
Capitol File magazine threw yet another party: this one, Thursday evening at the Kennedy Center terrace restaurant to celebrate Shawn King’s new CD, “In My Own Backyard.” Talker Larry King, introduced Shawn as “da wife,” and quipped: “It’s great to be in D.C. on indictment night.” The ubiquitous Jason Binn, the magazine’s publisher, worked the crowd with his camera, greeting Wolf Blitzer, Beth and Ron Dozoretz, Mark and Rose Barondess, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
Did you ever expect to see Sally Quinn, a sometime Style writer for The Washington Post, as an expert on homeland security? Her talk, planned for the Citizens Association of Georgetown at St. John’s Church on Nov. 14, is entitled, “We’re on our own” …and former President <>Jimmy Carter signs his new book, “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis,” at Costco in Pentagon City, tomorrow … while Jimmy is saving the world, former first lady Rosalynn Carter seemed to be enjoying Grandparents’ Day – first proclaimed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 – sitting at a tiny table recently playing games with kindergartners while her Secret Service stood outside the classroom in an Atlanta suburb.