Goings-On Springtime Washington DC

May 24, 2011 Last Updated: May 29, 2017

May began a luminous season for celebration and goodwill. The Capital City Ball, founded in 2007 by Bruce Fries and John Dunford, benefits charities, which combat Human Trafficking. The Executive committee members gathered at the home of John Dunford to brainstorm about spreading the word for this glam fete to be held in Nov. 19 at the Washington Club. Some of the DC charities participating are Bridge to Freedom, Courtney’s House, and Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE).

His Excellency, Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Sambi entertained guests at the Nunciature on Embassy Row. Justice Antonin Scalia confessed he’s still working on his Italian. Franco Nuschese of Café Milano catered. Guests included Dr. Hugh Dempsey, Dr. Bruno Damiani, Dr. Erminia Scarcella and Dr. Emanuele Mannarino whose father was an architect for the Vatican.

Ms. Classic American Woman 2010, Elaine Roecklein, celebrated her birthday in style at Mon Ami Gabi with eighty friends. We think, with her brains and contacts, she should make a run for city council.

Mad Hatter Hostess Lisa Spoden with Elaine Roecklein (Alessandra Gelmi)
Mad Hatter Hostess Lisa Spoden with Elaine Roecklein (Alessandra Gelmi)

The Mad Hatter Fundraiser “We Will Survive Cancer 2011” followed suit at the lush home of philanthropist Lisa Spoden. Ubiquitous Hats, a woodwind quintet and a bonfire set the stage for a good looking crowd, many of whom buttress the charity circuit.

The 31st annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony held at the Folger Shakespeare Library celebrating authors of fiction continues to be one of the blue ribbon events for literati in the Nation’s Capitol. Winner Deborah Eisenberg, held sway with her self-effacing manner and her beau of forty years dramaturg Wallace Shawn. Deborah’s winning tome, an eponymous compendium of four short story collections, snagged the $15,000 prize.

Judges read 320 books and the five winning authors made all the judges short-list. Pen/Faulkner Judge Bill Kittredge’s name rang a loud sonorous bell with us, but why? “Must be those DUI’s on Google,” he chirped. Judge Helena Maria Viramontes opined that the selected winning entries were not chosen for “craft, real memory, or intelligence.” Apparently, talent reigns supreme. Susan Gage caterers did a magnificent job, we felt as if were dining at the Claridge’s in London where servers are more vigilant than archangels.

Edward Purcell, the Chair of the Committee of the Arts Club of Washington which awards the annual Marfield Prize, a National Award for Arts Writing, invited us for an evening with award recipient R. Tripp Evans. The $10,000 purse is given for a non academic book on the arts that vivifies lively and lucid prose.

Finally, The Dartmouth Club of Washington hosted a book lecture cum Korean BBQ with longtime Club member Chuck Hobbie (chez Bob and Betsey Davidson).

[related-right]Chuck Hobbie ’67 has published a poignant coming-of-age memoire, “Buffalo Wings” (“wings” relates to a Richard Hovey poem). The work takes us from Hobbie’s warm childhood on the cool Canadian border of western New York through his years as a standout athlete, orator, musician, guide/hut crew member in the White Mountains, and summer geologist in Alaska’s Brooks Range before his time at Dartmouth.

Until next month, TTFN.

Journalist, author and playwright Alessandra Gelmi recently published “Ring of Fire,” a collection of her poems from 1972-2006. The author can be reached at agelmi@netzero.com