WHCD 2018 in a Nutshell

by Catherine Trifiletti


Bytes and Bylines // Irish Ambassador’s Residence

Eric Kuhn, John McCarthy, Susanna Quinn, Allen Gannett and John Steinberg. Photo by Nick Klein.

Tech-heads united for the fourth annual Bytes & Bylines party hosted by Susanna Quinn, Eric Kuhn, John McCarthy, Allen Gannett and Jon Steinberg held at the residence of the new Irish ambassador. While a jazz trio kept guests entertained on the back patio, Irish whiskey tastings kept the folks inside happily occupied. Politicos in the crowd were aplenty: Reps. Brendan Boyle, Chris Carney, Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Sean Duffy and Ruben Gallego, but it was Toby from “The West Wing” (real name: Richard Schiff) who got the most attention.

Washington Women in Journalism Awards // Gloria Dittus Residence

Audie Cornish, Gloria Dittus, Amy Walter and Carrie Morgridge. Photo by Dan Swartz.

The celebration of female journalists shattering glass ceilings felt all the more important in the year of the #MeToo movement. The event was co-hosted by public relations powerhouse Gloria Dittus (Story Partners) and Washingtonian publisher Cathy Merrill Williams, who are longtime next door neighbors and friends – Merrill Williams joked that her sons use Dittus’ pool like it’s their own. Four female journalists were recognized with Tiffany & Co. designed plaques: Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter, NPR’s Audie Cornish, Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun-Times and Voice of America’s Amanda Bennett. “It’s one of these jobs where you walk into rooms where no one wants to see you or hear from you and you start talking and you don’t stop.” Cornish said upon receiving her award, “and you don’t try to sleep with anyone in that room and, I think as we’ve learned in the last year, that is very confusing to people.”


Atlantic Media’s Kickoff Dinner // David and Katherine Bradley Residence

Jared Kushner, Katherine Bradley, Ivanka Trump and David Bradley. Photo by Tony Powell.

Tina Tchen and Gen. James Mattis. Photo by Tony Powell.

Guests arrived to the Bradley’s annual kickoff dinner bright, alert and unscathed by the slew of events that followed the rest of the weekend. David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media and his wife Katherine welcomed a power house group, who included Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and other administration notables like General James Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. When a loud buzzing noise threatened to disrupt the intimate tented dinner off Embassy Row, Bradley joked “Just the Vice President with the chainsaw again.”

Kiddar Capital, Craft and Washington Life’s Pre-WHCD ‘Come Together’ Fete // British Ambassador’s Residence

Comedian Michelle Wolf and British Amb. Sir Kim Darroch. Photo by Ben Droz.

Cooper Hefner and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Ben Droz.

Paul Oakenfold and Cassandra Campbell. Photo by Tony Powell.

Washington Life was quite pleased to sponsor and co-host the “Come Together” party at the British Ambassador’s residence alongside Kiddar Capital, Craft Media and the Washington Diplomat. Partners also included Long & Foster | Christie’s International Real Estate and Children’s National Medical Center. A heavy hitting crowd of media personalities, bipartisan politicos and A-list Washingtonians convened for the British-themed bash– think “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” cocktails and samplings of Stilton cheese. Guests included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sen. Chris Van Hollen. There was also the non-political set including Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Grammy-winning DJ Paul Oakenfold and Anthony Scaramucci (better known as “The Mooch”). DJ Oakenfold, one of the forefathers of techno music, had the crowd reeling with his upbeat classics.

Spotted: Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders in conversation. Ah, to be a fly on the wall.

Creative Coalition’s Right to Bear Arts’ Benefit Gala // The Mayflower Hotel

Richard Kind and Shiri Appleby. Photo by Jay Snap 

Robin Bronk and Debbie Dingell. Photo by Jay Snap 

The nonprofit group has revved up their initiatives since Trump took office and threatened to cut funding to the Endowment for the Arts. Helmed by Tim Daly, the annual event usually draws from Hollywood’s pool, but in the low wattage spirit of the weekend, there weren’t but a sprinkling of recognizable guests like Victoria Justice, Steve Howey (“Shameless”) and Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”). Guest sipped on Deep Eddy Congress Mules and wines from Robert Hall and listened to remarks from Creative Coalition’s CEO Robin Bronk who said “Tonight is a celebration and a reminder that the arts are a cornerstone of what makes our citizenry thrive and flourish.”

Mother Nature Network’s ‘WHCD Jam’ // The Hamilton Live

Chuck Leavall and Lester Holt. Photo by Gevar Bonham.

Kevin O’Leary. Photo by Gevar Bonham.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was especially apt at the annual music event that featured the “Footloose” actor and his band the Bacon Brothers. Also in the line-up was NBC’s Lester Holt and his group The Rough Cuts. Chuck Leavell of Rolling Stones fame, who heads the Mother Nature Network event, made his rounds and jammed with the usual fervor we all know and love.

United Talent Agency’s ‘Celebration of America’s Journalists’ // Fiola Mare

Mona Hamdy, Kimball Stroud and Maria Trabocchi. Photo by Tony Powell.

Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Avenatti. Photo by Tony Powell.

As in years past, UTA’s annual bash, hosted by celeb agent Jay Sures, Seth Oster, Rene Jones and Dan Abrams, was an entertaining mix of Washington and Hollywood types bonding over an expansive raw bar. Then there were the folks that embody the two worlds without meaning to– we’re looking directly at you Michael Avenatti (Stormy Daniel’s opposite-of-camera-shy attorney). His introduction to Trump’s counselor and confidant Kellyanne Conway made for a killer photo opp.

Spotted: Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary (AKA Mr. Wonderful) inviting Conway to see him play guitar at Gypsy Sally’s late-night. She respectfully declined, but we didn’t. The man can shred!

Garden Brunch // Beall-Washington House

Zach and Melissa Leonsis. Photo by Tony Powell.

Stephanie Ruhle, Megan Murphy and Hilary Rosen. Photo by Tony Powell.

Alison Starling, Marc Adelman, Peter Alexander, Darryl Issa. Photo by Tony Powell.

The 25th annual Garden Brunch, started by Tammy Haddad, added a few new hosts this year as it returned to Mark Ein’s Beall-Washington House from Connie Milstein’s residence where it was held last year. Textbook spring weather kept crowds in fine spirits as they indulged in Design Cuisine’s extensive bloody mary bar and snatched up hanging strips of candied bacon. The event honored 19 U.S. military veterans through Wells Fargo’s home donation program and sponsor NS2 Serve’s training and hiring initiatives that provide opportunities to individuals returning from war.

Spotted: Mayor Muriel Bowser all smiles making the rounds.


Playboy’s ‘No Tie Party’ // Living Room

Playboy CEO Ben Kohn, Kyle Richards, and Mauricio Umansky. Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for Playboy.

Playboy Enterprises Chief Creative Officer Cooper Hefner, Miguel and Playboy Bunnies. Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for Playboy.

An army of bunnies led by the late Hugh Hefner’s son Cooper Hefner, descended on a small Washington nightclub to host Playboy’s first event surrounding WHCA Dinner. The party drew a crowd from various walks of the Washington social scene and a record number of crashers promising they had “received” the much sought-after confirmation email. Inside, a roving magician offered up card tricks, while a cartoonist drew guests’ heads on the body of a bunny and a duo of literary geniuses wrote funny poems based on your physical appearance. Fresh off his gig at the Broccoli Festival, musical artist Miguel made a surprise performance for the packed house, but his brief presence didn’t hold a candle to the live band, 45 Riots, who had the dance floor pulsing until the wee hours.

Spotted: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Kyle Richards obliging selfies, but only when she could man the camera… can’t blame her for knowing her angles!

WHCD Pre-Receptions // Washington Hilton

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Chris Matthews. Photo by Tony Powell.

Patricia and Jose Andres, NBC’s Mariana Atencio. Photo by Tony Powell.

Sen. Ed Markey, Boston Globe President Vinay Mehra and Robert Allbritton. Photo by Tony Powell.

MSNBC After Party // The Organization of the American States

Don Lemon and Kathy Griffin. Photo by Tony Powell.

Olivia Nuzzi and Ryan Lizza. Photo by Tony Powell.

Photo by Tony Powell.

Unexpected rain and gusts of wind made the mostly-outdoor after party a bit of a logistical challenge, but the view of a gorgeously-lit OAS and a robust Johnnie Walker bar helped quash any feelings of discomfort.


Politico Brunch // The Allbritton Residence

Stephen Kessler and Heather Podesta. Photo by Tony Powell.

The annual Allbritton Brunch in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey Jr.

Robert and Dr. Elena Allbritton with Reince and Sally Priebus. Photo by Rod Lamkey Jr.

For this year’s English-themed brunch, Politico publisher Robert Allbritton and his wife Elena spared no expense. Guests snapped selfies with members of the “Queen’s guard” manning the entrance, nibbled on fish and chips and drank suds from a makeshift corner pub dubbed “The Drunken Journalist.” Massive flower displays arranged by Elena gave the outdoor tent spectacular pops of color.

CNN’S ‘Political Hangover’ Brunch // Longview Gallery

Christopher Gindlesperger, John Legittino, Merideth Balenske, Adriana Gindlesperger. Photo by Nick Klein.

Photo by Nick Klein.

Jennifer Tapper, Allison Gollust and Jake Tapper. Photo by Nick Klein.

“Who in the world is your party planner?” That was the first question that came to mind upon entering CNN’s extravagant “Alice in Wonderland”-themed brunch, which featured walls of greenery and live hanging flora. It turns out it was John Legittino and his team at Advoc8 who worked through the early hours of the morning to make sure everything was in tip top shape for the popular annual event. A tunnel of giant cards led guests through a “rabbit hole” to a photo station with a gold throne and giant animal topiaries.

Thomson Reuters’ Correspondents’ Brunch // Hay Adams Hotel Roof

Chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Casey Thompson. Photo by Ben Droz.

LaRonda Burley, Lindsay Walters and Sarah Flaherty.  Photo by Ben Droz.

”Top Chef” alums Spike Mendelsohn and Kwame Onwuachi dazzled guests with an array of bites.

This coverage appeared in the June 2018 issue of Washington Life magazine. 


Related Articles