Chief of Protocol Donald Ensenat, former Chief of Protocol Marion ("Joe") Smoak and internationally known polo player Juan Salinas-Bentley put their heads together to revive the Chief of Protocol Cup award for a recent polo match at Great Meadow.
The cup, which Smoak, a polo player for 35 years, donated in 1972, went to the winning team led by Tim Gannon of Wellington, Florida, against a team of international players.
Ensenat, incidentally, acquitted himself well, scoring several goals and proving that the niceties of protocol are no bar to the rigors of the polo field. One player startled onlookers at the end of the game when her helmet came off to reveal the long brunette locks of Fiona Seager, 23 years old and already a 12-year polo veteran. When asked if she didn't fear the dangers of the fast-moving game she said, "You forget the risk if polo is your passion."
On hand were several diplomats, among them the ambassadors of Italy, Portugal, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Romania, and Rima Al-Sabah, the wife of the Kuwaiti ambassador, with two of her three young sons.
Outback Steakhouse provided all the barbecue and a gang of cheerful servers. It was no surprise, since Tim Gannon is one of the company's owners. Tareq Salahi , another player, is the owner of Oasis Vineyards, so the wine flowed freely, too. Now if only they could find an equally generous polo-playing honcho at Godiva chocolates, or- can we dream-maybe at Tiffany's?
COFFEE AND "CATCHUP": When Lynda Webster invited friends to a mid-morning kaffeklatch at the Chevy Chase Club to catch up on what everyone had been doing over the summer, more than 150 high-achieving women came to the party. Among the happy throng were: Sheila Anthony, Assistant Surgeon General Susan Blumenthal, Debbie Dingell, Gilan Tocco Corn, Clarissa Bonde, Esther Coopersmith, Margaret Hodges, Alma Gildenhorn, Vicki Sant, Alexine Jackson, Mary Ourisman, Ann Korologos, Ellie Merrill, Loraine Percy, Judith Terra, and Elaine Silverstein.
Also seen amidst the mini-muffins were Karyn (Mrs. William) Frist, Connie Lawson, Betty Beale, Alice (Mrs. Kenneth) Starr, Brooke Shearer Talbott, Janet Donovan, Stephanie (Mrs. George) Tenet, Deecy Gray, Tandy Dickerson, Honey (Mrs. Lamar) Alexander, EvelynDi Bona, Pauline Innis, Anna Maria Via, Susan Bennett, Nicole Reibel, Renée Robinson, Judy Brophy, Brenda de Suze, Carol Lascaris, Marie Ridder, Carol (Mrs. Paul) Laxalt and Marion (Mrs. Stansfield) Turner.
From the diplomatic community came the respective ambassadorial wives: Luma Kawar (Jordan), Gaby Moreno (Columbia), Rakela Ruperez (Spain), Z'Hor Jazairy (Algeria), Deborah Thawley (Australia), Rim Abboud (Lebanon), Jukka Valtasaari (Finland), Marie Ignes Barbosa (Brazil), Ellen Sofie Vollebaek (Norway), Magda Vento (Italy), Pamela de Aparicio (Bolivia), and - drawing a great deal of attention as the wife of the new British ambassador, Lady (Catherine) Manning.
MEANEST GAL IN TOWN: That dubious honor, say Lolo Sarnoff's friends, belongs to Dara, Lolo's aging-but-not-mellowing canine. Even the invitations to the garden party Dara "hostessed" to benefit the Humane Society bore (along with Dara's picture) the statement "Donations improve my disposition." Some up-for-adoption dogs from the Humane Society made the scene, as well as Humane Society-trained mutts serving as "working dog" companions for the elderly, or as helpers to assist disaster teams. All guests were invited to bring their dogs too, and amazingly, there wasn't a snarl heard in the mix.
THE MIGHTY PEN: Fourteen stellar writers read from their works at the fast-paced gala celebrating the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award at The Folger Shakespeare Library. Afterwards at the dinner, the mingling of guests and authors led to fascinating talk.
The assigned theme was "Power, " and each author interpreted it individually. Some read from their works, some spoke extemporaneously. A few were serious, others hilarious. Humorist Roy Blount, Jr. lived up to his label, Calvin Trillin brought chuckles with his deadpan wit, Molly Giles with her wry word choices, and Meg Wolitzer with her rollicking puns and flights of fancy. Even filmaker-novelist Gita Mehta, who had been speaking philosophically about power and its uses, concluded with her playful admonition "not to let your karma run over your dogma."
HOSTESSES WITH THE MOSTEST: Here are a few words from chairmen of recent successful galas that could serve as blueprints for others:
The wildly successful Washington Performing Arts Gala co-chaired by Yetka Golpira and Judith and Gary Lytle brought in more money than any of the group's past ball,. The formula was hard work and striving for harmony to create a mood for the evening, says Yekta. She studied the Tysons' Ritz-Carlton ballroom setting first, picked up on the pale green accents, and coordinated her programs, invitations, and menus, so that nothing clashed. She wisely chose as honorary chairmen the Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson and his wife Kerstin, who did much to make the evening a success, including loaning their chef to plan the excellent menu. For entertainment, she featured nationally known violinist Sarah Chang, and made sure she had a hot band that kept the crowd of 700 (including 40 diplomats) dancing their ambassadorial shoes off for hours.
Meanwhile, at the horse-inspired "Give a Leg Up" benefit at the Royal Danish Embassy residence, casual comfort and a theme carried out in detail was what "Head Fillies" Gale Scott and Carole Randolph went for as co-chairmen with their "Thoroughbred Committee" of helpers.
"Get a theme that works," says Gail, "and follow through with it." The brown invitations heralding the equine event said "Equestrian attire (Casual Cowboys, too)." Adding to the decor: stacks of hay, prize-winning blue ribbons, real jockeys and pretty girls in riding silks.
The co-chairs wanted everyone to relax and have a good time, and to make some money for the three charities chosen: The National Center for Therapeutic Riding, The Gambler's Choice Memorial Fund, (this horse rescue group was named for a starving, abandoned race horse who was restored to health and went on to win several championships), and National Rehabilitation Hospital. The evening celebrated the groups' love of horses and their work helping the physically disabled experience the freedom of being atop a horse.
Brigitte Federspiel, who hosted the event with her husband, Danish Ambassador Ulrik Federspieal, at their residence, is an accomplished horsewoman. She keeps her own horse here which she works regularly in dressage. The Federspiels wore denims and cowboy hats to the benefit, and had as much fun as the happy crowd, many of whom were suffering from black-tie overload.
"Tenacity is all" in steering a successful benefit, according to Eschi Warwick, "If you have a cooperative organization for your charity, you must also choose a wide-ranging committee, keep focused with frequent meetings, watch expenses and follow up on the details to see that it all works."
The 37th Annual Eye Ball of the International Eye Foundation produced a high financial return with minimal expenses, while featuring an excellent dinner and favor bags that - thanks to Saks and others - surpassed most other "goodie bags" this season.
The IEF also chose a logical honoree for the event, Garnett Stackelberg, who was a great friend of the IEF's founder Dr. John Henry King, Jr., and has continued through her writings as a strong supporter of Dr. King's legacy."
"Figuring out the financials is one of the first steps" says Mary Ourisman, who has chaired most of the major benefits in this area. An artist with a strong design background, she honed her skills doing galas in San Diego. Among the many events she has chaired are the Opera Ball, the National Symphony Ball, the unforgettable night by the Potomac honoring Mt. Vernon's 200th anniversary, and the Blair House three-part spectacular that included lunch at Blair House, cocktails at the White House, and dinner in the magnificently decorated State Department ballroom.
"You must have a clear vision of the point of the evening," says Ourisman. "If it is primarily for dollars, or for exposure to enhance the reputation of an organization."
NOCHE DE GALA: The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Seventh Annual Dinner drew a crowd from the arts and political worlds for its black-tie evening at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Addressing the audience were the Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senator Jon Corzine and Representative Loretta Sanchez.
Two of the group's three founders, Sonia Braga and Jimmy Smits, were away making movies, but the third, Esai Morales, made a good host, aided by humorist Mo Rocca, a bevy of Latina girls currently appearing in television series, and singer Jorge Moreno, winner of the 2003 Latin Grammy Award as "Best New Artist."
The 2003 Raul Juliá Award for Excellence was presented in absentia to film director Robert Rodriguez, whose movies "Spy Kids 3" and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" are box office hits.
The seven-year-old National Hispanic Foundation works to advance Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries, expanding their career opportunities, and offering graduate fellowships to students at prominent colleges and universities. Let's hear a big "Ole! " for this group, which is fighting to give Hispanics-who now make up almost 14% of the U.S. population-a fairer chance at jobs in the entertainemt industry.
The 2003 CharityWorks Gala, "Sea of Dreams," held at the Ronald Reagan Building, International Trade Center on September 20, raised over $750,000. Six hundred and fifty thousand dollars of the proceeds will go to the Fishing School, enabling it to expand its educational activities, buy buses, and dream of completing a new building. In two of the most crime-ridden northwest D.C. neighborhoods, over 100 children will now have a chance to break the cycle of poverty. CharityWorks funds organizations that change lives by addressing education, health, or poverty reduction in the Washington Metropolitan area.
1) Gala co-chairs Victoria Sabo and Michele Welch