Among D.C. philanthropists present were Catherine Reynolds, Mary Mochary, Alma Gildenhorn and Shirley Small. Also present were two ambassador’s wives, Laura Colless (Finland, where Bonnie served as U.S. ambassador) and Shamim Jawad (Afghanistan); Billie Holladay and daughter-in-law Winton; Wilma Bernstein; JoAnn Mason; Debbie Dingell; Liz Dubin; Lorraine (Mrs. Chris) Wallace; Ruthie Leffall; Ann Hand; Aniko Gaal Schott; Michelle Krisel of the Washington National Opera; Isabel Ernst; Grace Bender; Diane Bodman; and Bonnie’s vivacious mother, Madeline McElveen; her sister, Tweed McElveen-Bogache; and her niece, Pendleton Bogache.
One guest who fascinated all those assembled: famed designer Anna Weatherly, whose exquisite (and pricey) porcelains grace the best-dressed tables in America and abroad. Even more fascinating: each was given a piece of her beautifully patterned work as they left.
As Ford’s Theatre is being renovated, its annual gala moved to the National Theatre this year. The completed Ford Theatre complex, including nearby historic buildings, will have a very grand opening next February. Stay tuned …. Veronica Valencia Sarukhan, the wife of the ambassador of Mexico, was given a baby shower by Julia Hopping and Anna Maria Via at the Via home. The baby girl, due in August, will be called Ani, reflecting her father’s Romanian roots.
Joanne Does DC .
Petite, dimpled, and curvaceous blonde Joanne Herring definitely does not resemble Julia Roberts, who played her skillfully in Charlie Wilson’s War. The film shows Joanne’s determination to help the weaponless Afghans defend themselves against the heavily-armed Russian invasion. She enlisted wild, quick-witted Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson (who was for a time her fiancé), and, with rogue CIA agent Gust Avrokotos, brought off the biggest covert arms operation in U.S. history. This Houston socialite and former talk hostess is an excellent raconteuse. She spoke at the dinner hosted by the ambassador of Afghanistan, introducing Thomas Stauffer, the president of the American University in Afghanistan (for which she helped raise funds); spoke the next day at a luncheon (where Dan Glickman honored her at the MPAA); and spoke that night to 70 guests at a dinner in her honor hosted by Esther Coopersmith. Each time, Joanne won the audience over with her self-deprecating sense of humor.
Upon hearing that the studio planned to insert a bogus scene showing her phoning Charlie Wilson while in bed with her husband, Joanne said, “I threatened to sue unless they removed it. Then, on the set, I met Tom Hanks. Well, he came rushing up saying ‘I’ve been in love with you forever.’ So what could I do – I dropped the law suit!”