Hollywood on the Potomac: Mamma Mia! That’s Italian

by Editorial

Star power heated up the Saturday night gala at the Hilton Washington where Italian actress Carla Gugino of American Gangster and Entourage fame was awarded the Achievement Award in Entertainment presented by Connie Britton of Women in Trouble. It turns out that the two know each other well. “Its truly an honor and surprisingly emotional to receive this award from my best friend,” Gugino said before noting “there are two kinds of people – Italians and those who wished they were.”

It’s no secret that Italians are into food. Following through on that theme, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich received the Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service. The “Queen of Italian-American Cooking,” as she has been called in New York Times, has a culinary empire that includes four critically acclaimed restaurants, her own PBS cooking series, cookbooks, and radio shows. Also honored: Massimo F. d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, and Napolitano.

With 2,000 mostly Italian or Italian-American guests filling the Washington Hilton’s cavernous ballroom, you can imagine the audience’s reaction when singer, songwriter Antonello Venditti performed hits from his album “Che fantastica storia è la vita.” Vendetti, the son of a policeman known for his anthemic ballads, is famed for speaking out against corruption and drug use.

On the list: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, newly-arrived Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Mayorial mom Jane Fenty, Gen. Peter Pace, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Anita McBride, and BET founder Bob Johnson.

On the menu: orecchiette con melanzane, provola e pomodoro, filetto di vitello farcito ai porcini e bardato alla pancetta con schiacciata di patate e broccoletti. Translation: Great Italian food.

Check out the full gallery of photos

Peter Dapuzzo, Mary Jane Dapuzzo, Adam Emanuel at the NIAF Youth Gala. Photos by Betsy Spruill Clarke

Peter Dapuzzo, Mary Jane Dapuzzo, Adam Emanuel at the NIAF Youth Gala. Photos by Betsy Spruill Clarke

Honorees with NIAF leaders. Photos by Betsy Spruill Clarke

Honorees with NIAF leaders. Photos by Betsy Spruill Clarke

Girish Gupta with Michelle Gupta. Photograph by Betsy Spruill Clarke

Girish Gupta with Michelle Gupta. Photograph by Betsy Spruill Clarke

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