Rags to riches: Kennedy Center honoree

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • September 02, 2005

by Karen Feld

Earlier this summer, we told you that singer-songwriter Paul Anka has been tapped to receive the coveted Kennedy Center Honor at the Dec. 3 State Department dinner to be followed by the Dec. 4 gala at the center’s opera house. Now we hear that veteran crooner Tony Bennett, 79, the dozen-time Grammy winner, has also been tapped as a 2005 Kennedy Center honoree. Bennett is also a visual artist, and several of his paintings will be included in the Kennedy Center’s permanent collection. We eagerly await the Kennedy Center’s official announcement for its 28th annual honors, which recognize those with a lifetime of contributions to the arts and American culture.

This tenor can putt

Placido Domingo will hit the links in the Washington National Opera’s benefit golf tournament – aptly called The Domingo Cup – at the River Creek Club in Leesburg, Va., on Sept. 6. The tournament is a four-person scramble. When asked about his handicap, the flamboyant Domingo quipped: “My game is my handicap!”

Domingo tells a story about playing with Sir John Tooley, former general director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and British writer Bernard Levin. “Placido Domingo’s golf is more like mining than golfing,” Levin wrote. “You could almost hear the spectators shooting themselves as they watched the grass flying.”

Spooks and Steelers fans

Gen. Michael Hayden, the first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, was feted last Saturday evening at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md. He headed the super-secret NSA for six years, where he was known for his telecommunications expertise. Now he has earned his fourth star as John Negroponte’s deputy. Hayden, who grew up and went to school in Pittsburgh, is an avid Steelers fan, so the decor for the evening was black and gold – Steelers colors. Team owner and chairman Daniel Rooney was on hand, as was Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, Hayden’s successor as director at the NSA.

Local gig for cookie maker’s son

Singer-guitarist-songwriter Shawn Amos, the 30-something son of entrepreneur cookie mogul Wally “Famous” Amos, performs at the Mansion on O on Sept. 14. H.H. Leonards Spero, proprietor of the unique private museum and bed-and-breakfast off Dupont Circle, struck up a friendship with Amos when the performer headed the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation. That friendship was the impetus for this special upcoming evening.

The young Amos describes his music this way: “I was looking to be the black Bob Dylan, but now I think I’m more of a white Marvin Gaye.” His recent release, “Thank You Shirl-ee May: A Love Story,” is a personal tribute to the career of his late mother, a ’60s club singer.

First in with Frist

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., isn’t wasting any time getting endorsements in order for his 2008 White House bid. Grammy-winning country music star Hank Williams Jr., known as the “Hillbilly Shakespeare,” met with Frist the other day and promised support. Although Williams is a well-known GOP and Bush supporter, the vote of confidence can’t hurt in a tough primary fight.

Katrina’s silver lining

Since Hurricane Katrina news has dominated the airwaves this week, cynics are talking about President Bush’s amazing luck. He’s looking presidential in this storm, which not only forced the evacuation of New Orleans but stifled talk of the delayed Iraqi constitution, whether 1,800 Americans died so that the administration could establish another Islamic republic in the Mideast, and White House mastermind Karl Rove’s alleged leak. But some creative thinkers wonder why the president in crisis management mode hasn’t put the recently closed military bases in the Southeast and their stashed emergency supplies to use for nearby hurricane victims.

Accu-political forecast

Joe Bastardi, weatherman for WMAL radio, has his priorities in order for survival in D.C.: “I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I am a pedestrian so I can walk the streets.”

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