- The Washington Times - Monday, October 19, 2009

Washington’s unseasonably cold October chill and near nonstop rain did put a damper on nighttime soirees over the weekend, although some decided to brave the elements.

Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat, a Kennedy Center regular, ventured out of the warmth of her Capitol Hill office to catch Thursday’s opening night performance of the Washington Ballet’s “Don Quixote.” However, we’re speculating that she had late-night votes because she bagged on the after-party attended by the dancers and Septime Webre, TWB’s artistic director.

The forecast still hadn’t improved by Saturday morning. But that didn’t get in the way of tailgaters at Great Meadow near The Plains, Va., for the 72nd International Gold Cup, a fixture on the fall social calendar.

True, attendance was sparse. Yet spirits were high in the tent of Washington Life Magazine, which teamed with Luke’s Wings — a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of service members who’ve been wounded in battle — to jointly host a welcoming party. Revelers were greeted with cigars, champagne and salmon while some passed around some under the table bets on horses. (Shh! Gambling is officially verboten at this steeplechase race.)

Along with the usual young and rich socialites ,we saw Joseph Leo Bwarie, who motored down to Fauquier County from the National Theatre, where he’s performing as Frankie Valli in the Tony-winning musical “Jersey Boys” for the next few months.

Diverting from the show’s usual foray of Four Seasons’ hits — such as “Sherry Baby” and “Oh, What a Night” — Mr. Bwarie sang the National Anthem to kick off the festivities.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the palatial Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium turned into a toasty haven for the drenched attendees at the Fire and Ice Ball hosted by the American Red Cross. The nattily attired guests braved the steady rainfall to pay tribute to members of the United States armed forces and Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, and his wife, Beth, who were presented with the Excellence in Service Award.

CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier served as the gala’s emcee. She spoke of her personal gratitude to the Red Cross for helping her convalesce after her car exploded from a bomb in Baghdad in 2006 while she was on assignment.

Ms. Dozier barely escaped, and the other members of her unit were killed along with an American soldier.

For his part, Gen. Chiarelli was somber but could not resist throwing in a wisecrack or two.

He explained that his idol was Gen. George C. Marshall, the renowned World War II military leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who served as the general president of the American Red Cross.

Marshall retired from military service and came back to serve several times, “a lot like Brett Favre,” Mr. Chiarelli added, referring to the star player for the Minnesota Vikings — who, like Marshall, appears not to be terribly fond of retirement.

By the way — and this is no laughing matter — Mr. Chiarelli, a Seattle native, told us he was a serious Seahawks fan.

Also Saturday: G2 was on hand to see whether Jon Stewart would poke fun of the Obama administration while headlining two performances for the eighth annual GW Colonials Weekend before a packed house at the school’s Charles E. Smith Center.

Known for his humorous critique of former President George W. Bush and other politicians, “The Daily Show” host opened with “What an exciting time to be in Washington D.C. — our nation’s capital — a time of such hope and change,” a reference to President Obama’s campaign promise of change.

“By the way, how long is it before the hope turns into change? Or does it stay hope? When does the hope take the chrysalis form and blossom into a change butterfly?”

Continuing his observations about the president, Mr. Stewart added that “I’ll give him a year and a half” before passing judgment.

Only time will tell.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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