After dodging bullets in Baghdad, Markey’s glad to be home
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., spotted at the Barbara Cook and Marvin Hamlisch NSO pops concert at the Kennedy Center Thursday evening, said he just returned from “dodging bullets” in Baghdad with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The congressional delegation wore bulletproof vests and rode in bulletproof vehicles. Spouses accompanying members on the trip were not permitted to go into Baghdad. “It was that bad,” Markey said.
Short was moonstruck by Rice
NSO pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch said he wished he had the moment on videotape when the late Bobby Short played at the Kennedy Center with him last year. “That night Condi Rice was here and you have thought Bobby was an 8-year-old kid,” Hamlisch said. “He was moonstruck.”
Reality? Hamlisch’s pop series has been such a hit that he says, “If I don’t get to make pop CDs, I’m going nude on one of those shows where you have to eat eagles.”
Nats fans at the opening home exhibition game Sunday were a politically astute group. When D.C. City Council members were introduced, baseball opponent Linda Cropp was booed off the field.
Anka does it his way
Composer/singer Paul Anka (“My Way,” “She’s A Lady” and “The Tonight Show Theme”) will be honored by the American Task Force for Lebanon at the Ritz-Carlton this evening. “I’ve never gotten into award things,” Anka told me. “Conceptually I’ve shied away from that stuff. I turned it down for years because I felt I was too young and didn’t want to draw attention to that kind of thing.” Now at 63, Anka, who’s been in the business for half a century, feels he has the mileage needed and lots of honors are coming his way. He says he’s proud that his mother was Lebanese but “it’s more symbolic to me that for years the Lebanese and Mideastern people didn’t support me.” Anka says that now, “I’m looking at it as a citizen of the world and hope that the freedom of Lebanon could be around the corner.”
But politics ‘too dangerous’
As for politics, Anka prefers to stay under the radar. “There are policy issues on both sides that I agree and disagree with,” he said. “I won’t go front and center like many Hollywood types. It’s too dangerous a game.”
Anka-ing some classic rock
Anka would rather talk about his new CD, “Rock Swings,” which is already No. 5 on the charts in Germany. It’s all rock music standards. “I took the rock bands I liked from the ’80s and ’90s – Bon Jovi, Nirvana, Van Halen and R.E.M. – and went in studio with a swing orchestra and came out with swinging rock hits,” he said.
Taylor-made right here in D.C.
Jazz great Dr. Billy Taylor, who says he “grew up musically in D.C.,” was feted at the Kennedy Center the other evening. Not yet a Kennedy Center honoree, Taylor said hopefully, “I’m too young” – but known as the Artistic Director for Jazz, the octogenarian has just released a new CD, “Taylor Made At The Kennedy Center.” Taylor still keeps on writing music but has also begun to write his autobiography, as well.
His friend and colleague Keeter Betts, who lives in Silver Spring, said of Taylor, “There are boys, men and then a man who stands out for so many different reasons – a scholar, gentleman, musician and educator.”
Jazz afficionado and Taylor’s friend, Silver Theater director and COO, Murray Horwitz, who conceived the ’70s hit musical, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” based on “Fats” Waller’s music, is impressed with Taylor’s integrity. “I watched him dress down a trumpet player who couldn’t play any longer for betraying an audience,” Horwitz said. “Billy told the musician, ‘You don’t do that to the people; don’t do the gig.’ ”
The Magnificent 7
Community activist Alma Powell, wife of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, was among the seven Washingtonians selected for Washington Life’s Substance & Style honors last night at an elegant event at Saks Fifth Avenue (a co-sponsor) in Chevy Chase.
Honorees – nominated by magazine readers – included other exceptional people in the city: David Domenici, executive director and co-founder of See Forever Foundation; Diana L. Goldberg, chairman, board of directors, Children’s National Medical Center; Dr. Ludy Green, president and founder, Second Chance Employment Services; Riley Temple, partner, Halprin Temple; Sean Tuohey, director and founder, Playing for Peace; and Jan Verbage, executive director of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.
Making the introductions to more than 200 party-goers was Fox 5 News’ Laura Evans, along with magazine editor Nancy Bagley. Chair for the event benefitting WiredKids, a charity dedicated to protecting children from Internet exploitation, was Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, executive vice president and COO of USEC Inc.
Cooking for more than dimes
The March of Dimes has something to celebrate this year – the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine – and members of Congress and the Cabinet will cook up a favorite dish for the celebration tomorrow evening at the National Building Museum. Celebrity chefs for the Gourmet Gala include Secretaries Michael Leavitt and Norm Mineta and Sens. Lamar Alexander, George Allen, Kit Bond, Conrad Burns, Tim Johnson, Jon Kyl, Carl Levin, Richard Lugar, Ben Nelson, Pat Roberts and John Warner.