- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

Vital stats

The champagne and estrogen flowed freely Thursday night, as local women gathered at the Kennedy Center for the Vital Voices Global Partnership Leadership Awards. Now in their eighth year, the awards honor women leaders worldwide who are helping women and girls in their communities.

Among the few Y chromosomes spotted in the crowd were CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and PBS’ Charlie Rose — who told The Washington Times he’s always been interested in women’s issue because “I am a concerned human being.”

Mr. Rose says he was drafted into the cause by Goldman Sach’s Dina Powell, former assistant secretary of education and cultural affairs under President George W. Bush.

Speaking of drafts, Mr. Rose, ever the North Carolinian, told us he’s rooting for the Duke as the Blue Devils embark on their quest for a berth in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament on April 4.

Man’s man Vice-President Joe Biden was not in attendance, but was well represented by his sister, political operative Valerie Biden Owens, who was dressed to the nines in a vibrant red knit dress.

“He was raised by a strong woman, and he married a strong woman, ” Miss Owens said of her big bro, who was a main sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act during his stint in the Senate.

We also asked Miss Owens if the Veep was protective of her while growing up.

Her response?

She said they both gave their respective dates a hard time.

In other family matters, actress Maria Bello, a two-time Golden Globe nominee, was in high spirits because her favorite woman was with her.

And who might that be?

Why, Bello mama, Kathy, of course!

“She’s my love and joy, and I’ve never heard her say a bad word about anyone,” the actress said.

Miss Bello also noted that her mother was her role model because she raised four children, battled lymphoma — and is still standing.

Also in the house: fashionista Diane Von Furstenberg, (of wrap dress fame). Decked out in a short floral number, the 62-year-old designing woman showed off her shapely gams and proved that a woman’s legs are the last to go.

“My mission is to empower women,” Miss Von Furstenberg told us.

When asked about the fact that some of her clothes are made in China — a country often criticized for its diminished women’s rights — she demurred and said, “I make clothing all over the world. In New York, in India, and in China, but not in sweatshops.

“And my China shops are run by women.”

Thanks for clearing that up.

Meanwhile, actress Maggie Grace of ABC’s “Lost,” appeared a little lost and overwhelmed at the high-powered gala.

Perhaps it had something to do with this being her first trip to the District.

Miss Grace told us she’d like to stick around long enough to see the cherry blossoms.

She won’t have too much time for flower sniffing, though. Her next project, “Malice in Wonderland” — an updated version of “Alice in Wonderland,” is now in post production.


Raising the bar

Journeying from girl talk to pub crawling, we scurried over to Georgetown where Nathan’s was celebrating (less champagne, more beer) its 40th birthday.

While mixing and mingling, guests regaled each other with their best Nathan’s stories from yesteryear. ( Lots of “how we met at Nathan’s and later married tales,” by the way.)

One of the storytellers was AOL’s Jim Kimsey — who said his first experience with Nathan’s was when he stepped into the bar for the first time after having returned from Vietnam. Back then, he had a crew cut and was wearing a seersucker suit, while everyone else was in tie-dye and bell bottoms.

Needless to say, he didn’t exactly fit in.

But something tells us those hippies wish they had been nicer to the multimillionaire tycoon.

By Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover

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