“Twin City” mayors, global opportunities for women, and dinner with the “Nanny”
By Janet Donovan
Separated at Birth
The only thing separating Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker and our own Mayor Adrian Fenty is 198 miles, “as the crow flies.” They share not only a passion for their respective cities, but bear an uncanny physical resemblance: tall, lean, and follicly challenged. It’s no surprise they are often mistaken for one another, and that was the case when they both appeared at a screening of Brick City, a five-part miniseries that premiered on the Sundance Channel on Sept. 21.
While the series is about the fight to eliminate crime, poverty, and corruption in Newark, Booker realizes such problems are endemic to all inner cities. “It is a kind of a sharing of spirit that helps us through difficult times,” he said, “especially in this economy when we have challenges and appreciate having other brothers and sisters that are in the process.”
Executive producer Forest Whitaker came to express his deep commitment to the project (as did directors Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin). The Oscar-winning actor is so far removed from Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, whom he portrayed in The Last King of Scotland, that some guests wondered if he had actually shown up. The confusion was caused by his having trimmed down to half the size he was when he played the role.
“I got a letter from Harvard the other day, something I’ve always wanted,” Tammy Haddad joked, adding that it was about her women’s rights work, not an invitation for a fellowship. That was before she introduced her guests of honor, dual-Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nick Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, at a party celebrating the couple’s recent book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
The title refers to a Chinese proverb roughly translated as, “Talking about a problem is half the solution; doing something about it is the other half.”
Love those Chinese proverbs. They link to everything in life. Take for example when Kristof said that basically we’re all messengers, but the messenger also has to get the message. Proverb: “To talk much and get nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish.”
Women’s Global Issues Ambassador Melanne Verveer got into proverb mode as well when she noted the need for women to realize their potential. Proverb: “Raise your sail one foot and you get ten feet of wind.”
Enjoying the buffet, bar, and comfy settees on the lawn were Mike McCurry, Ann Dickerson, John Coale, Juleanna Glover, Anita McBride, Elsa Walsh. and Mike Allen. Proverb: “Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.”
The Real Anna Wintour …
She’s been called everything from merely ruthless to the anti-Christ – although Nostradamus would have challenged the latter. If you saw The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep, which was supposedly laced with nasty vignettes about Vogue’s legendary editor-in-chief, you might tend to agree with the portrayal. However, it would be worth the effort to reconsider by seeing the recently released September Issue, a compelling look into the everyday life of a talented, hardworking woman who drives the fashion industry and is, yes, also a piece of work.
If you made it to the Gilt Group’s after-party at the W Hotel, you saw enough Manolo, Prada, Dior, and Chanel to convice anyone that Washington is no longer “Hollywood for ugly people.”
The Goody Bag
Guests at a dinner in honor of Fran Drescher at Teatro Goldoni were the first to get a sample of one of her new FranBrand products. And no, it wasn’t a decongestant nasal spray. Coming out in November, the former “Nanny’s”organic skin care products will be sold on the Home Shopping Network with a portion of the proceeds going to her Cancer Schmancer charity. “We are good for the planet and good for the soul.”
In the bag: a lip balm that tasted so good, most of the guests passed on dessert.