Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Sun Rises on Contemporary Art

Judd and Lichtenstein works are set to make auction history

Donna Shor

History was made at former U.N. diplomat Esther Coopersmith's dinner when a pair whose records can never be topped were linked: Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, and Sen. John Glenn, one of the first American man in space.

Valentina, a twenty-six-year-old Russian was dubbed "The Seagull" as she orbited the earth; "Forty-eight times!" she reminded us happily, "for three days." John Glenn went into space again at age 70, astounding everyone, including wife Annie, who nixed the idea of a repeat when the question was raised at dinner.

Among the guests was author Susan Eisenhower, (Ike's granddaughter), long active in Russian-linked matters, often with Esther, who has a finger in so many global pies.

For a few minutes at the Organization of the American States, the always elegant Inter-American Economic Council Gala looked like a scene from Animal House. Texan R. Allen Stanford, the honoree of the Council's 2006 Excellence in Leadership Award, (hunky enough to have appeared on Dallas), is also the visionary founder of a global wealth-management and financial services company, and a philanthropist. His projects range from St. Jude's Hospital to the National Civil Rights Museum's Freedom Awards, (whose 2005 honoree was Oprah), and include scholarships and grants of low-interest loans to small businesses across Latin America.

Laid-back Stanford also enjoys a joke, and he took it like a champion when, in retaliation for his bread-ball ambush of some of the group last year, they responded in kind, first announcing a special presentation for him, then pelting him as he stood waiting at the microphone.

The crowd of ambassadors, socialites and business men included Washington's former ambassador from Ecuador Ivonne Baki, now that country's Minister of Commerce (and one of the pelters), her artist and fashion-designer daughter, Tatiana Baki, Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Patricia Bennett Sagon and Barry Featherman.



Author Gail Scott was mistress of ceremonies at the OAS for the Latin Students Fund Gala, which provides tutoring and academic support to over 500 D.C. public school students, and 40 private and parochial schools. Costa Rican ambassador Tomas Duenas praised founder Rosalia Guitierrez-Huete Miller for all she has accomplished in only 12 years. Sponsored by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and his wife Georgina, guests included new Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke, and his wife Anna, and Washington Post publisher Donald Graham. Ambassadors included Costa Rica's Guillermo Castillo and his wife Flor Maria, Paraguay's James Spalding and wife Maria, and the OAS Nicaraguan ambassador Jose Luis Velasquez.

When pianist Sara Daneshpour concluded a brilliant performance the whole audience rose at once, as if pulled up by a puppeteer's strings, in a long-lasting ovation. Triumph is no new thing for Sara, a beautiful and endearing nineteenyear- old hailed for her musicianship here and abroad. Sara appeared at the National Museum of Women in the Arts as part of the Shenson Concert Series, whose artistic directorship is under Gilan Tocco Corn, joined by Linda Hohenfeld Slatkin, wife of National Symphony conductor Leonard Slatkin. Among the audience, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, CEO and founder of the museum, and her husband Wallace Holladay, Climis and Carol Lascaris, Mary Mochary, Nancy and Dr. Roger Stevenson, Magda Chrobog, wife of the former German ambassador and Dr. Milton Corn.

Donna Shor


Notables with ancestral ties to Nordic lands or the Baltics, from the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist to multitalented "Rings" actor Viggo Mortensen, are profiled in an entertaining volume honored with a reception hosted by the new Ambassador of Finland, Pekka Lintu.

This "phone-book plus" Nordic- Baltic-U.S. Almanac covers all eight northern countries: their diplomacy, business, trade, science, investment, education, histories, peoples and cultures. Editor Jay Ryfa includes 3,000 comprehensive listings for government departments, related businesses and heritage organizations here and abroad in the volume published by Stephen Strickland. Present were State Department Under Secretary for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky; Martin Szabo and his wife Sylvia; Sen. Ben Nelson and his wife Diane; the ambassadors of Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania; the deputy chiefs of mission of Denmark and Latvia; and three members of parliament from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The touching Rehnquist memoir, which he released to Strickland shortly before his death, tells of his Swedish ancestral roots. Among the socialite crowd was lively Washingtonian Evelyn Stefansson, widow of profiled explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Evvie shared his Dartmouth years, learned his native Icelandic language, lectured and wrote four books herself.

J ane Sloat chaired an outstanding gala at the Russian Federation saluting Maestro Valery Gergiev, the artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theater, who with the Kirov Opera, Ballet and Orchestra has toured 45 countries including the U.S. The evening was under the aegis of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, headed by James Symington, and included all the usual suspects including his wife headed by longtime patron of the arts Gerson Nordlinger.

Donna Shor

A party-with-a-purpose was greatly appreciated by the guests of Jordanian ambassador Karim Kawar and Luma as it brought New York Times writer Tom Friedman here to discuss his best-seller The World Is Flat. The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner outlined future and present changes in our globally complex world … Heard at a recent Giorgio and Anna Mari Via hoe-down: "I haven't seen so many ambassadors in one space since the Fourth of July party at the American embassy."…Hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer fueled a rollicking evening for a serious cause at The Michelle Susan Kogod Memorial "Casino Night" at the Manor Country Club. The foundation was named after the late daughter of Bernie and Bonnie Kogod, the co-chairs of the event with Matthew and Jamie Kogod-Levin to benefit The Wellness Community-Greater Washington DC. President and CEO Paula Rothenberg told us 21 Wellness Communities in the US, and two international sites bring nocharge cancer support, education and hope to sufferers funded by corporate and individual donations.

If there is an upcoming event Around Town should know about, email donnashor@washingtonlife.com.

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