- - Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pick of the Pack


Smokey Robinson and the Let Freedom Ring Choir

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is all the more poignant this year because it also is the second inaugural for America’s first black president. To mark the occasion, the Kennedy Center will host a free concert Sunday featuring legendary singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson, whose 37 Top 40 hits include “Shop Around” and “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.” He also has written for the Temptations (“My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do”) and Mary Wells (“My Guy”) and other Motown megastars. Mr. Robinson will be joined by the Let Freedom Ring Choir, consisting of Georgetown University students and area singers led by the Rev. Nolan Williams Jr., editor of the “African American Heritage Hymnal.” The concert is part of Georgetown University’s Let Freedom Ring initiative honoring King’s legacy, which this year will also honor Mary E. Brown, co-founder of Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an organization dedicated to providing opportunity to young black men in Washington’s most underprivileged neighborhoods. Free tickets will be distributed two per person on a first-come, first-served basis at 5 p.m.

Sunday at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW. 800/444-1324. Web: kennedy-center.org.


California State Society inaugural luncheon and fashion show

This weekend is not all about President Obama — in fact, for those with an interest in fashion, it’s all about the first lady and her inaugural attire. In 2009, Michelle Obama’s one-shoulder, white chiffon gown received mixed reviews from style watchers but propelled its young American designer, Jason Wu, to sartorial stardom — and her proclivity for pairing fashion-forward, designer pieces with more accessible garments from the mall appeals to the everywoman even more than her taste for broccoli. On Saturday, don an outfit worthy of the Oval Office for the California State Society’s fourth inaugural luncheon and fashion show, which gives a nod to the role of fashion and celebrity in this era of inaugural celebrations. The event will feature designs by students from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, headquartered in Los Angeles, as well as special guests; four years ago, attendees were delighted to meet former “Project Runway” contestant Nick Verreos.

Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton, 1150 22nd St. NW. 202/835-0500. Web: californiastatesociety.com.

Inaugural ball

Chefs Ball

Whether you’re on the side of the anti-obesity crusaders, or the very large side of the 64-ounce soda salesmen, local celebrity chefs are counting on the fact that everyone agrees that a party isn’t a party without tasty food and beverages. On Saturday, seven of Washington’s most buzz-worthy chefs are hosting an inaugural ball for foodies — and for good causes. The Chefs Ball, co-chaired by Art & Soul’s Art Smith of “Top Chef” fame, will feature bites prepared by Mr. Smith’s restaurant as well as other acclaimed local eateries such as the Source, Equinox, Toki Underground and Graffiato, among others. The “black tie or no tie” event will benefit Common Threads, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information about the benefits of nutrition to low-income children, as well as other charities selected by the host chefs. If you’re attending any other balls Saturday, make this one a required stop — you’re sure to get hungry fighting your way through the crowds.

Saturday at Art & Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave. NW. 202/393-7777. Web: chefsball.eventbrite.com.  

Inaugural ball

Artists’ Inaugural Ball

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