- - 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

On the eve of the official inaugural balls — notoriously stuffy, crowded events — kick back with Washington’s creative community at an artsy inaugural party at both H Street’s Rock N Roll Hotel and Gallery O. The venues will feature six unique areas of entertainment, including live music by local bands Color School, House of Soul, and Big/Bright, as well as more than a dozen DJs from up and down the East Coast. When you need a break from dancing, check out artwork by local artists, fire performers and other roving entertainers, and the beer garden. If you have other plans, you can take your time getting there because Washington’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Association has relaxed the rules this weekend and the party ends at 6 a.m.

Sunday at the Rock N Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 202/388-ROCK. Web: rockandrollhoteldc.com.


Inauguration Weekend at Tudor Place

There’s no better time than this history-making weekend to visit one of Washington’s historic houses — especially a house with a connection to our first president, George Washington. In honor of the inauguration, Georgetown’s Tudor Place Historic House and Garden, which typically is closed in January, will host hourly tours of the museum, which will feature rarely seen presidential items from the museum’s collection. The house’s previous owners, the Custis Peters family, were descendants of Martha Washington, and items will include White House invitations, books and correspondence by past presidents, and other heirlooms. Younger visitors can volunteer as “junior staff” and help design and install an exhibit in the Tudor Place Visitor Center, which will be unveiled Sunday afternoon.

Through Tuesday at Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, 1644 31st St. NW. 202/965-0400. Web: tudorplace.org.


Inaugural sips

Whatever you’re feeling this inauguration weekend, you can either celebrate or drown your sorrows at the famed Round Robin Bar, which has been enticing Washington’s power players with its mint juleps since the 1800s. The bar’s head bartender Jim Hewes has created a themed menu with cocktails based on the presidents’ palates. To cleanse us of the bitter election politics, the menu skews sweet: the Presidential Mojito, with raspberry and fresh fruit; the Electoral College, a toasty mix of Kahlua, Bailey’s Whisky, and Grand Marnier; the Camelot Daiquiri, a twist on Hemingway’s favorite; Lincoln’s Hot Spiced Cider, sure to warm you up after the parade; and finally, honoring our Hawaiian-born president, a Blue Hawaiian, a take on the classic cocktail with Blue Curacao. If you don’t trust a man with a fruity blue cocktail, try other presidential favorites, from George Washington’s Madeira or Ronald Reagan’s sparkling California wine, to Bill Clinton’s Tanqueray and tonic or George W. Bush’s Diet Coke with a slice of lemon.

Ongoing at the Willard InterContinental’s Round Robin Bar, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202/637-7348. Web: washington.intercontinental.com.

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