“I personally worry about everything,” media entrepreneur Ted Turner told me over grilled bison salad on Friday afternoon at Ted’s Montana Grill in Crystal City. Those concerns include steroids in meat and the threat of nuclear weapons. The man who revolutionized the news business with CNN is now taking upscale casual dining to a new level and hopes to have the best small restaurant chain in America. Turner’s eatery has two locations in Northern Virginia – the third, at Ballston Point in Arlington, opens on Halloween – and is looking at the Seventh Street corridor for his first D.C. location (he has 42 in the country so far). “It’s an energy zone,” he said. “The whole world likes the great American West.” As usual, this man thinks big. Europe may be next.Recalling Gorbachev’s reforms
Turner and restaurateur George McKerrow Jr., the only private business partner Turner has ever had, shot pheasant Thursday in South Dakota and then came to D.C. – not only to check out his restaurant but also for Turner to speak at the Frank Foundation dinner Friday evening at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hall of Flags celebrating the 20th anniversary of perestroika. Turner told McKerrow: “You take care of the bison [Turner has the largest producing herd of bison worldwide: 42,000], and I’ll save the world.”
Turner, not being a professional politician, was flattered to share the podium with ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Nobel laureate Betty Williams, of Galway, Ireland.
Ladies, Jane Fonda’s “ex” was accompanied by her fitness instruction partner and his friend, aerobics guru Leni Cazden. Actress Shirley MacLaine was front and center as well.
Kidman bewitches Connecticut Avenue
Connecticut Avenue traffic is bad enough, but this week the Cleveland Park portion of the street will be closed during takes while Oscar-winning Aussie actress Nicole Kidman runs through traffic. The cars used in the shooting of her new film, “The Visiting,” in which she plays a Washington psychiatrist, have stunt drivers behind the wheel. One neighborhood resident suggested a cost-cutting idea for the production company: “They could leave the stuntmen at home since much of the traffic on any given weekday appears to be driven by stunt drivers anyway.”
Jokes abound for Martin
Martin Short, in town to honor his pal Steve Martin at the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony, was belting out show tunes, cabaret-style, for the Four Seasons staff in front of the concierge desk – or perhaps for anyone who would listen – before heading off to the Kennedy Center for the event Sunday evening. Steve Martin and Larry David were doing shtick in the lobby as well.
I hear that several of the comics, including Tom Hanks and Larry David, worked closely with the writers on the script. Political jokes – about President Bush and Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers – were in abundant supply backstage but were omitted in the actual script for the two-hour, taped-for-PBS show. But Martin Short did get this one in: “Steve and I got our colonoscopies together. They went in and found nothing. … Enough about the war in Iraq.”
Comic as Renaissance man
At a dinner for the cast at the Renwick Gallery Saturday evening, Steve Martin showed off another talent when – after a challenge from Carl Reiner – he identified the great American artists and most every painting on the walls. … And Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser, celebrating his birthday, was presented with a first edition of Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad.”
The art of autographing
Monty Python’s Eric Idle willingly signed scraps of paper, CDs and even a baseball, all the while muttering about what celebs do despite their good nature being taken advantage of, “since tomorrow these items will be up all over eBay.”
Queen Latifah delighted fans on the red carpet with autographs as well.
Wacky Keaton, too
Diane Keaton was totally “Annie Hall” arriving on the Kennedy Center red carpet with a jumbo green curler atop her head and a revealing top. Realizing this was a moment she could not avoid, she laughed and allowed photographers to record her fashion statement. Coincidentally, Keaton’s accompanist, Artie Butler, who composed the song Shirley Horn made famous, “Here’s to Life,” found himself in D.C. the weekend of the local jazz great’s death.