Authors and Sailors

by Editorial

Ars Gratia AFTA

At the Arts for the Aging (AFTA) gala at the OAS, famed pianist and songwriter Irving Fields (Managua, Nicaragua and Miami Beach Rhumba) played for an enthusiastic audience and was presented with the first award named after Lolo Sarnoff, the sculptor and scientist who founded AFTA 20 years ago to brighten the lives of the aging through art. Seen: Co-chairwoman Anna Maria Via and Julia Hopping, Diane and Charles Bruce, Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafström, Lorena Sevila Somoza, Kitty Skallerup, and Anne and John Boyd.

Sailors and Stagecraft

The National Building Museum held 850 for the U.S. Navy Memorial Lone Sailor Awards Dinner, where sea service awardees included golf legend Arnold Palmer, Rep. Norm Dicks and Today’s Ann Curry, who spoke movingly of her father and traditions of service. Seen: Hunky U.S. Navy Lt. Andy Baldwin, who starred as ABC’s The Bachelor; former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge; WMAL’s Chris Berry; and CNN’s Edie Emery. Former Memorial board honoree John Cosgrove reminisced with Roberta McCain, mother of the U.S. Navy’s best-known pilot, John … Stage-savvy beyond her 17 years, Ariadne Baker-Dunne was only 16 when she wrote her quirky and innovative The Other Room, the VSA arts disability-themed prize-winning play, which had its world premiere at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. The cage dominating the stage held actors commenting on the actions of the protagoni along with lively VSA President Soula Antoniou.

An Eye to Elegance

At the International Eye Foundation’s “Eye Ball” at the Four Seasons, co-chairwomen Shahin Mafi and Pat Skantze’s catchphrase was “Dine, dance, and help people see.” Platinum donors P.J. and Timothy Trudeau’s table included Judy and David Pollak, Suzy Miller and the foundation’s director, Victoria Sheffield and her husband Howard Pyle … The “Dare to Dream” gala was a fairyland of delicate yellow orchids – vivid against the Mandarin Oriental’s dark red background – at the benefit to fight dyslexia. Celebrities who overcame it were pictured on the wall, including Patrick Dempsey, Salma Hayek and Orlando Bloom. Special guest: former dyslexic Billy Blanks, the famed martial arts champion who invented Tae Bo. WTOP’s Bob Madigan hosted.

Energetic environmentalist Laurel Colless, the wife of the Finnish ambassador, honored Eva Torstila, wife of Finland’s secretary of state, at a luncheon for eight at the Willard to celebrate the Energy Star awarded the embassy for its “greening.” Seen: Ann Friedman, environmentalist wife of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman; Dawn Ferguson, wife of New Zealand’s ambassador; and LuAnn Bennett, head of the Bennett Group and wife of Rep. James Moran.

Readers wishing to get in touch with Donna can email: columns@vps3.washingtonlife.com.

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