Spring Into Action

by Editorial

Host Ray Mahmood came to Washington as a youth, attended American University, and with intelligence and perseverance has become a real estate mogul who sits on prestigious boards of businesses, banks and civic groups. He made his American Dream come true.

Seasonal Celebration
Mark Smith and his wife Lani Hay invited friends to put recession blues behind them at a party to welcome Spring at their dramatic Palisades home.

He’s an internationally known artist; she is CEO and president of Lanmark Technology in Vienna, Va., where her background in military intelligence and business management serves clients well.

The setting was striking, with votive lights everywhere (even in the showers) casting a soft glow and interesting shadows, and three floors of great canvases by Mark to admire. Lani found an unusual company, Velvet Keys Valet, whose adorable, clad-in-tights young ladies parked the cars. The much-appreciated chocolate desserts were by Coco Sala, with Mark Volanni’s flowers as backdrop to the whole event.

Among the savvy guests: Myra MacPherson, Mike Walter, Bloomberg News’ Tim Burger, CQ’s Bob Merry and wife Sue, Tandy and Wyatt Dickerson, Dan Moldea, Beth Solomon, David and Hope Bass, Edie Fraser, Victoria Michael, Bill Moorehead, Julia Watson and Martin Tyler.

Hot Latino Beat
Tenor and Washington Opera general director Placido Domingo and journalist Maureen Orth (whose foundation funds the Colombian school La Escuela Maureen Orth) were honored for their philanthropic work at Catholic Charities’ Spanish Catholic Center Gala on March 28. Michael and Chafi Kappaz chaired the lively dinner-dance at the Organization of American States.

The evening’s Surprise Award went to the evening’s performer, Mario Sacasa, for his charitable activities. The young singer/songwriter, renowned in Latin America, is the grandson of the late Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa. That Nicaraguan ambassador, the father of Mario’s mother Julia Hopping, was for decades the dean of the diplomatic corps, the official liaison between the ambassadors and the White House. Extra Bonus: Mario brought along a group of Nicaraguan vocalists as well as his girlfriend Xiomara Blandino, the current Miss Nicaragua.

Said Placido: “Your music is beautiful, and so is your girlfriend.”

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

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