Center for Plain Language Recognizes Best and Worst Use of Words

IRS winners of the Center for Plain Language's
Clearmark Award... NOT the Wondermark Winners
CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland’s muddled explanation of its healthcare benefits captured the WonderMark award for the most confusing language at Thursday evening's Center of Plain Language’s 2011 ClearMark Awards, held at the National Press Club.  
This award - in juxtaposition to the Grand ClearMark Award for clear language, which was presented to the IRS - recognized submissions that reflect the worst or most unclear language use.  According to the Center's 
Annetta Cheek, the awards were named WonderMark because “we wonder what they were thinking when writing these documents or websites.” 

Judges said CareFirst's submission was a classic example of required disclosure that provides no information, leaves the reader uncertain and is not an explanation of anything that makes sense. 

Plenty of ClearMark finalists were honored, but sometimes the fun is in the #fail.  Other WonderMark Award finalists included:
  • MicroSoft Software License Terms Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack. A judge said that reading this was a "turgid romp through incomprehensible legalese.  Fun for the whole family, we laughed, we cried, we scratched our heads and said, 'Heck - sure we agree!'" 
  • New Jersey Ballot Interpretative Statement. The judges said this ballot illustrates two things: not only can’t legislatures write legal language, they can’t write plain language that explains their legal language. Which raises the question: do they even know what they’re trying to say? 
  • Department of Defense, Veteran’s Benefits Administration, VBA My Pay System. Said one judge: "Now I know what language to speak if aliens ever abduct me. If I read them this statement, they will acknowledge me as their kin." 

Grinold Goes Gown Grabbing at the 2011 Filene's Basement Running of the Brides

Miss DC 2009, Kate Marie Grinold joined hundreds of hopeful women to find her perfect wedding dress at the annual Filene's Basement Running of the Brides Friday morning.  Prepared with her game plan, her team of friends/dress dashers and her quick change outfit, Grinold went gown grabbing.  But did she find "the One?"

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CSAAC Raises Funds and Fun at K Street Lounge

by John Boit 

Thursday evening, K Street Lounge was the location of a benefit to raise money for autism services provided by Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC) based in Maryland.

WJLA meteorologist Doug Hill, who served as auctioneer, is shown here with autism services pioneer Jane Salzano, who founded Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children more than 30 years ago.

Supporters (left to right) Anna Golden, Wendy Lafferman and Mike Herson (Herson had himself auctioned off for a dinner date, raising several hundred dollars!)

CSAAC is the largest provider in the nation to serve individuals with autism exclusively with comprehensive programs from early childhood through retirement.

Harth Opens with Hilton Renovation in Tysons Corner

The Harth - Wood Burning Stove

Tyson's Corner, here's a new hotel hot spot to cure your hunger.

The Saks Team (and Lindsey) 
Thomas Elder, formerly the Executive Chef of Chicago's McCormick Place, opened Harth (pronounced hearth) to much fanfare and firefare in the renovated Tyson's Corner Hilton Wednesday night.  Jugglers, fire breathing entertainers and foodies gathered in the drastically different atrium of the Hilton to celebrate the renovation and enjoy hearty tastes from the hotel's new eatplace.

In the Dining Room
A farm to table restaurant using locally sourced ingredients, Harth's most popular feature may be its wood burning stove, though the dining room boast three fireplaces and comfortable lounge seating.  A terrace garden allows Elder to grown his own produce, largely used for salads and sauces.

Work in the area?  The Hilton and Harth's Free WiFi may be the feature you love most... if you can keep those typing fingers away from the flatbread pizzas!

Elie Tahari Opens Up about Washington Fashion

Vogue and Elie Tahari teamed up to present the designer's newest boutique at Tyson's Galleria Wednesday night.  Tahari, who insisted that he does not see Washington as conservative, but rather "hot and smart," personally greeted guests and shoppers, including Amy Baier, Sharon Bradley, Jill Hudson Neal and DC Real Housewives Lynda Erkiletian and Mary Amons.

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by Casey Valerie Linsey founder Rachel Sarnoff knows that women can be stylish, sustainable, and help other women succeed in the workforce. 

Washington's socially conscious and eco-friendly ladies celebrated the hottest sustainable trends in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle at's Green Girls Night Out event. 

Held at the Hotel Palomar in DC, the soiree benefited Dress for Success, a nonprofit that services disadvantaged women seeking employment by providing the fashion-forward items needed to enter the workforce. Environmentally-aware attendees were asked to donate a gently worn purse in exchange for a reusable bag filled with all-natural products from Elemis and Tom's of Maine, among others. Samples of organic chocolate, cocktails and sodas, and perfumes were also provided. 

Fashionable women interested in reducing their carbon footprints from huge Ugg boots to slim Louboutin stilettos can learn more about eco-friendly products and a sustainable lifestyle at

A 'Washington' Story

by Monica Gray 

Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell – a dynamic duo and true Washington romance – shared the spotlight last night at the Newseum, leading a lively discussion before the screening of “The Philadelphia Story,” their pick for the “Reel Journalism with Nick Clooney” season finale.   

Co-produced by the American University School of Communication and the Newseum, the “Reel Journalism” series presents screenings of classic and contemporary films which are accompanied by live discussions with prominent filmmakers, award-winning actors, top journalists, and, as was the case last night, the former head of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 

Greenspan, now the head of the economic consulting firm Greenspan Associates, and Mitchell, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," agreed that their mutual affection for Katharine Hepburn was one of the main reasons they chose to show the classic 1940 romantic comedy.

“She (Hepburn) was beautiful in an unconventional way. She was a strong woman who talked back. I love that aggressiveness and that feistiness,” Mitchell said.  Greenspan added that he too was a big Hepburn fan: “She’s kind of a startling person…almost compares to Andrea.”

According to Mitchell, she and Greenspan – who are celebrating their 14th anniversary together this month – met over the federal budget.  “I was trying to fact check the numbers and someone suggested I call a ‘real economist,’ so I called Alan. Not exactly a sexy come-on. It took a few years….it’s a big budget!”

“Is that how you woo women? With budget talk?” asked moderator Susan Bennet, Newseum Senior Vice President who was filling in for Nick Clooney.

To which he replied, “Works all the time."

Degrees Bar Drag Queen BINGO

This is not your grandmother’s bingo!

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year candidate Sanam Toossi invited supporters out for a night of fun, laughs, great tunes and Drag Queens - Hosted by DC’s very own Ann (Coulter) Michaels - at Degrees at the Ritz in Georgetown Tuesday night (together at left).

Each donation to the society provided a BINGO card, dancing to fun tunes by DJ G and the chance to get some eye "bling" from Joyce Frank of Top Hat Face Painting.  

Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page!

Coming Up: Georgetown House Tour

DC's narrowest nook?
Photo credit:
Cindy Stuert
It's the nation's oldest continuing private home your... and it's right in DC's backyard!  The Georgetown House Tour returns, showcasing a wide range of unique designs, historic architecture and interesting stories, this Saturday, April 30th.

See twelve homes, including a "green" home, a home previously owned by the woman who owned the Hope Diamond (Evelyn Walsh McClean) and even the narrowest home in Georgetown (and possibly DC)!

Tickets to the tour are $50 in advance, $55 on the day of the tour, the cost of which benefits the many ministries of St. John's Episcopal Church.

Sweet Charity 2011...And the Winner Is:

Kevin McCarty, design winner of Sweet Charity 2011, talks about DC's notable chocolate fashion show and how he came up with - and created - his winning chocolate "look."

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Derek Lam Makes Appearance at DC Alzheimer's Benefit

Models backstage in Derek Lam

Fashion designer Derek Lam made a personal appearance at the Ritz in DC Tuesday to showcase his Fall 2011 runway collection at a benefit for Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation.  Called the Great Ladies Luncheon, the event was put on with Saks in memory of Estelle Gelman, a DC philanthropist who passed in October 2009, and was an inaugural fashion luncheon for the organization, which committed to donate 100% of the proceeds to fund innovative drugs for Alzheimer's patients.

See more backstage photos on K Street Kate's Facebook Page!

Don Julio & the Luxury Drop

Late last week at the Gibson Guitar showroom, Thrillist and Don Julio picked their favorite local mixologists from 10 venues in the DC area to participate in a cocktail creation contest.  
Photo Credit: Dakota Fine

Bartenders from Bar Code, Bourbon SteakCafé Saint-Ex, Cities, Dirty Martini, Lima, Masa 14Mie N Yu, Smith Commons and Zengo came up with their own custom Don Julio Luxury Drop creation -- and demonstrated how to make it -- during a month-long promotion for the droptails at their respective venues. 

(Hint!  Make sure to stop by Bar Code and see Ari Wilder before the Drop ends May 19th.  His was named the Fan Favorite!!)

You're Invited: Aidah Collection 3rd Anniversary Runway Show & Benefit

You are invited to an intimate evening with one of Washington DC's premier fashion designers: Aidah Collection!  Recognized by the signature painted gold emblem, Aidah Collection is one of the District's most notable local brands - and a red carpet choice of actress Gabrielle Union. 

See evening gowns, cocktail dresses, business attire, swimsuits, plus size and accessories from Aidah Collection Summer & Fall 2011 in a runway show accessorized by the sustainable fine jewelry of Alberto Parada. Toast with DC's most fashionable and shop unique items at a trunk sale in support of Girls, Inc. of the Washington DC Metro Area.  

Date: Saturday May 7, 2011 
Time: 8pm - 10pm
Location: Hillyer Art Space - 9 Hillyer Court NW, DC 20008 (Dupont Circle)
Metro accessible and valet parking available -View Google Map 

- First look at Aidah Collection Summer & Fall 2011 on the runway
- Open bar by Blackleaf Ultra Premium Organic Vodka
- Live mixing performance by DJ Neekola and Rex Riot
- Trunk sale of Aidah's new Accessories Collection, and Kura Design Handbags
- Gift bags with unique product samples
- Admission to after party at Eden: The Green Room - 1716 Eye Street NW, DC 20007

*K Street Kate readers enjoy a loyalty discount!  Use the discount code "KATE" for $5 off the event ticket price.

**Sponsored post.

The District Dish: Alezandra Russell/Urban Light

Alezandra Russell, Founder of Urban Light dishes about her work with child victims in Thailand and how local DC residents continue to make a difference worldwide on the issue of child trafficking.

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Got Heart?

“Hope is an intangible concept that has no boundaries,” Robin Kelleher, Hope For The Warriors® President remarked while honoring wounded service members, their families and families of the fallen at the Got Heart, Give Hope Gala at Union Station earlier this month.  “Honorees are not defined by their injuries or losses but rather by their spirit."

Distinguished military, political and corporate leaders were in attendance at the Hope For The Warriors® black tie event featuring actor Gary Sinise for the second year, where Hope & Courage Awards were presented to representatives from each branch of the military, family members of wounded and fallen, and two suicide survivors.

Hope For The Warriors® enhances the quality of life for U.S. service members and their families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty, seeking to ensure that the sacrifices of wounded and fallen warriors and their families are never forgotten nor their needs unmet.

Pig & Ink

PIGment.  Yes, folks, this is happening.

Ba Bay, a new modern Vietnamese restaurant in Capitol Hill, EcoFriendly Foods, an agricultural advocate and farm, and Tattoo Paradise are joining forces with to 1) tattoo a pig and then 2) eat it.*  
After the pigs have been inked, using all-natural cuttlefish ink of course, Ba Bay Chef Nick Sharpe will prepare them in modern Vietnamese fashion... Look forward to such delicacies as pork mousse and egg yolk dumplings in broth with smoked hock and celery hearts!

Reservations are required as seating is limited for this 5 course dinner to benefit the Red Cross in Japan on Monday, May 2nd. Seatings 5 PM and 8:30 PM, tickets $65.

*There is no danger from eating pork tattooed with cuttlefish ink.

Spring Hope Benefits St. Jude

A sold out crowd gathered at Michel in Tyson's Corner Thursday afternoon for an afternoon of fashion, food and fun to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  

The Grand Prize Winner!
Taking Spring fashion tips from featured stylist Lauren Rothman, attendees learned this season's what to wear - from going out to Gold Cup - as they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and sparkling wine, and mingled with the Chef himself, Michel Richard, a longtime supporter of St. Jude's. 

And after the snacking came the shopping!  Armed with a percentage discount (and additional donation to St. Jude) the ladies lusted over luxuries at the nearby Saks Fifth Avenue and clamored over chances to win prizes... like a weekend stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel accompanied by dinner at Michel.

Project Beltway's Rachel Cothran Wins "Washington's Top Artista" Title

DC's stylish set competed on the canvas at a special ArtJamz painting event at Bloomingdales to benefit Becky's Fund Thursday night.  Holly Thomas(Washington Post), Kate Michael (K Street Kate), Elaine Mensah (FashionBS), Rachel Cothran (Project Beltway), Janice Susan Wallace (The Bridal Wishlist),Kelly Collis (The City Shop Girl) and Pamela Sorensen (Pamela's Punch) each created a work to complement a given fashion look, with Cothran winning the title of "Washington's Top Artista" through audience votes.

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See pictures from the event here!

The Mobile App for Your Appetite

Venga (“C’mon, Let’s go!” in Italian and Spanish) announced the release of a mobile app and website that gives customers the scoop on exclusive specials, events and music at nearby venues Wednesday event at the brand new Fiola by Fabio Trabocchi.

“Whether you’re looking for a wine pairing dinner, karaoke, or a half-priced burger, Venga knows where to find it,” said Sam von Pollaro, Venga CEO and co-founder.

Attended by such notables as Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman (whose girlfriend works for the new company), NFL Pro Hall of Famer Darrell Green, Presidential Speechwriter Cody Keenan, Mark Ein and Tammy Haddad, Venga's launch was a night of cocktailing and connecting - as well as crossing fingers.  The company gave away priceless prizes, including a meal for 10 prepared at the winner's home by Top Chef contestant and Good Stuff Eatery and We, the Pizza owner Spike Mendelsohn.

“With Venga, I'll be able to send real time updates to give guests in the area another reason to stop by Graffiato," said Mike Isabella, Chef/Owner of Graffiato and recent contestant on Top Chef All-Star.  "Like, I just made 20 orders of zeppoles, get them while they're hot!"

More photos from the Venga launch on Facebook

A Recycled Earth Day

Earth Day: it's about loving where you live.  So be clean and green, but don't just take out the trash... repurpose it!
  • Got tech? Rid yourself of those outdated or excess pieces around your home, office or garage! GMU hosts a two-day electronics recycling event where your unused plug-inables and batteries will be donated to a reclamations company in exchange for a monetary contribution to on April 21st and 22nd.  
  • Better than just a bottle stopper, your cork comes to the rescue!  Take your saved wine souvenirs to Firefly this week - and all year long - to recycle the material into new uses, like shoes, flooring tiles or maybe even a future spacecraft heat shield!
  • And revisit your latest artistic experience at the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria.  The Hotel hosts a pop-up art exhibit showcasing regional creatives' work made entirely from recycled materials. Free and open to the public evenings 5-6 PM. 

Emmy Nominee Gaby Moreno Leads Spanish Singalong at Library of Congress

Emmy nominee (and current #1 on iTunes Latino) Gaby Moreno of Guatemala led a special performance Wednesday night in the Library of Congress' Hispanic Reading Room as the Isabella & Ferdinand Spanish Language Adventures program held a concert and reception for the launch of their new spanish language LP.

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We Will Survive Cancer

Supporters and friends joined Gayela Bynum and other hosts for a benefit to combat cancer Wednesday evening at Dupont's Dirty Martini. "We Will Survive Cancer" is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the support of cancer patients and their families.

Check out more photos from the event! 

The District Dish: Katie Musser/Sweet Charity

Chocolatier Katie Musser took top prize at last year's Sweet Charity sugar fashion show, and she's looking to do it again.  Watch to find out more about this charity event to benefit the Heart of America's literacy efforts - and just how to go about making a heroic chocolate costume.

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A Thousand Words...and Priceless Pictures

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” but the emotion from the words in these pictures are priceless.  Pink Jams! and Shoot for Change presented a photo exhibit Tuesday evening at the Atlas Performing Arts Center to celebrate the courage, hope, love and loss of women and families who have battled breast cancer, capturing one hundred real people and their real feelings.

Sadness, hope and even comedy were on display in the pictorial messages on display from such local notables as Lynda Erkiletian (at right with Barbara McConaghey), Christa Floresca, Stef Woods (below with Shoot for Change's Walter Grio), Nadine and Bryan Namoff, and Kate Marie-Grinold.  

All proceeds from A Thousand Words support the Capital Breast Care Center, helping women in the Washington, DC area receive screenings and mammograms regardless of their ability to pay.

Thom Loverro Talks Olympic Goners

On the radio and in his columns, sports writer Thom Loverro dishes on his best bets for popular sports.  But what athletics does he think are not so awesome?  From a discussion at the National Press Club, Loverro answers: Which sport should not be in the Olympics?

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Best Places for Dining/Drinking Outdoors in DC

With warmer weather comes a craving for patios, courtyards and sidewalk cafes.  We've ID our Top Ten spots to savor your sips/supper outdoors in DC: 

10... Equinox... Fine dining with a view of the most famous of DC landmarks

9... La Loma...A Capitol Hill treasure, where the who's who of the Senate side enjoys their salsa in the sun

8... Proof... A wine-centric resto with one of the largest patios in downtown DC

7...Perry's... Rooftop terrace and sushi bar - Perry's is more than its Sunday Drag Queen Brunch

6...Cava...  Greek goodness that puts you in a Mediterranean state of mind

5... Brasserie Beck... Belgian brilliance includes beer and mussels under the canopies

4...Cafe St. Ex... Brunch/Lunch while vibrant 14th Street passes you by

3...Sette Osteria...  When the sun hits the sky like Sette's big pizza pie.... that's paradise

2...Peacock Cafe... The city's social rite of passage, prime for powerful people-watching

1... Lauriol Plaza... Sidewalk seating and a rooftop patio was a stroke of genius.  Margaritas anyone??  It's 5 o'clock somewhere!

Turner/Pickens Plea for Alternative Energy at National Press Club

Turner and Pickens with Press
Club President Mark Hamrick
"I'm a little greener and a little cleaner,"  Ted Turner said of himself in relation to T. Boone Pickens while discussing alternative energy policy during a luncheon at the National Press Club Tuesday afternoon.  "My main concern is the survival of the human race."

The two businessmen turned philanthropists were on hand with a plea and a pledge to help end the nation's dependence on foreign fuel sources, leveraging their political capital and pocketbooks to promote an adoption of alternative fuels.

"Ted is brighter green than I am," conceded Pickens.  "My primary focus is energy security for America.  I'll take anything American in place of OPEC oil."

While Pickens' plan calls for a mix of alternatives, including natural gas for transportation, Turner favors wind and the sun, which is "free, sitting there, every day, going to waste." The men called for both government and private action to create a national energy policy plan for the future,  and underscored the need to recognize climate change as a real and serious issue.

"I go to bed at night praying for clean coal," Turner joked with a nod to Pickens.  "I've seen so many ads for it they are convincing me that it might be a possibility."

Kidsave: The Main Dish

A good meal.  A warm bed.  A caring embrace.  The comforts of home. 
Kidsave, a U.S. based non-profit which focuses on finding families for children, works to move older children out of orphanages and foster care and into permanent, loving families.

The Main Dish for Kidsave is focused on finding something as well... the best main dish in the greater Washington, DC area!  Attendees will sample enticing culinary creations prepared and served by renowned Washington, D.C. area chefs to select a winning dish on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 7-10 PM, at the Washington Post Conference Center.  Tickets just $95 per person or $180 per couple.

Participating restaurants include:
Award Winning, Celebrity Chef, Sammy Davis     Bartlett Pear Inn
Bethany Blues                                                      Domaso Trattoria Moderna
Evo Bistro                                                            Farrah Olivia/Kora Restaurant
Litestars                                                               Serendipity 3
Starboard                                                            The Front Page
The Madhatter                                                     The OZ
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

*Hungry for More??  To break the cycle, Kidsave uses Family Visits and Summer Miracle Programs to show the rewards of Foster parenthood.  (Interested in hosting a child from Colombia this summer?  See here to find out more!)

This post is a sponsored message from Kidsave.

DC Design House Debuts

Credit: Karllito Antonio
All done up for its big debut, the DC Design House held a Preview Party for its strongest supporters and those who couldn't wait to get a first look last Friday.  The sold out event featured the home's featured designers (pictured above) greeting guests as they enjoyed a private tour of the home and its gardens, and served to benefit Children's National Medical Center. 

Standing from left: Gary Lovejoy, Richard Rossi, Stuart McCormick, Barbara Franceski, Erin Paige Pitts, Cindy McClure, Nadia Subaran, Jim Rill, Nancy Colbert, Patrick Sutton, Whitney Stewart, Jennifer Smith, Camille Saum, Jeff Poter, Nicole Hansen, Scott Brinitzer and David Mitchell.  Sitting from left: Allie Mann, Denise Willard, Iantha Carley, Samantha Friedman, Jason Hodges, Lauren Liess, Elizabeth Baebel. (not shown, Liz Levin and Linda Gallegos)

*The DC Design House (3134 Ellicott St. NW) is open until May 8th, Sat-Sun Noon to 5 PM, Tues-Fri 10 AM to 3 PM, $20.

The District Dish: Billy Reilly/Fastest Bartender Contest

A big shot for big shots.  Billy Reilly, owner of the Fastest Bartender Contest, relives some of the best moments in the contest's 30 year history.  Now celebrating a milestone anniversary, Fastest Bartender events nationwide not only serve to celebrate the skills of the service industry, but are also giving back to the community.

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Local Producer Banks on Shorts as the New Film Fad

Jason Baustin, the independent filmmaker best known for directing and editing the cult-classic horror/comedy Cowboy Killer, released his latest short, Gone Forever, this weekend at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.  Baustin's film, which completes the story of a young newlywed widower haunted with guilt in less than 30 minutes, is part of a trend in filmmaking which he attributes to the "YouTube" generation.

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Marvel at this Museum Menu

“Mitsitam” means “Let’s eat!” in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples. Chef Richard Hetzler of the Mitsitam Cafe at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian dishes on his unique offerings.  You'll be amazed what you'll find on the menu in this museum!

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Producers Guild Celebrates A Year with Local Talent

One year ago, as the Capital City's entertainment and talent pool continued to grow at a rapid rate, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) launched a DC Chapter.  Last Thursday, leaders of the entertainment community, local talent, political figures and the National Executive Director of the PGA, Vance Van Petten, gathered together to celebrate the Chapter's anniversary launch at Hudson Lounge

The inside industry party was thrown in honor of noted film, television and new media producers from the Washington, DC metro area, New York, and other PGA East cities and was attended by such guests as Cindy Miller, Tara Chantal Silver and Stuart Cooper (seen with Van Pettenus above left) and Mary Amons (right).

*Photos courtesy of Tara Chantal Silver, Silver Strategy.

Hanami: The Flower Viewing

Don Patron with Angie Steever-Diba
Artist Don Patron and friends welcomed art lovers to a Hanami (Flower Viewing) at L2 Lounge last Thursday evening for a showcase of talents and cherry blossom cheer.

Artist on display, Dominique Fierro
and sister
George Webb and
 Susan Hammann Bernstein
Of all different styles, the works on display around the lounge were made by a variety of creatives who joined Patron at the FDR Memorial Tidal Basin during the recent Cherry Blossom Festival.

"We are all just looking for a way to use what we have to do our part," said Patron, who has organized similar art events to benefit various charities.

Guests paid tribute to the local artistic talent while making donations in support of the continuing relief efforts after the devastating Japan Tsunami.

Put a Fork in... It's a Deal!

ForkingDeals, a Georgetown-based daily deal website focused on food and beverage establishments in Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle and Glover Park launched at the Georgetown bar George Thursday night.  Founder, Will Lee (at right), and partners treated the site's first registrants to an open bar evening of excess.

Competing with larger group discount purchasing sites won't be a problem according to Lee, who looks forward to offering up to three hyperlocal discount deals per week.   "Statistics show that people spend 80% of their discretionary income within two miles of their homes," ForkingDeals contends, and expects their personal relationships with neighborhood dining and drinking establishments will offer convenient deals and serious price cuts that niche members will want to know about.

Stiletto Snapping at Marymount's Portfolio in Motion?!

by Casey Valerie Linsey

Before a fashion show, it is not in vogue to wish good luck by saying "break a leg." Rather, tell the models, show coordinators, and designers "snap a stiletto!" 
Marymount University students presented their jury-selected designs at the 22nd annual Portfolio in Motion in front of  fashion-savvy Washingtonians. Hosted by the university's Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising programs, the event showcased student talent in seven elaborate scenes to feature different styles from cocktail dresses and menswear to recycled clothing and evening gowns.

The Portfolio in Motion also featured an awards presentation. Joining the ranks of Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, and Isabel Toledo, Japanese-native Junko Yoshioka (left) accepted the Designer of the Year Award. A fashion designer known for her bridal and evening wear, Yoshioka advised the young students to "maintain a "hungry spirit" while being flexible and open to the challenges of the fashion industry. Pullitzer Prize-winner Robin Givhan received the inaugural  Excellence in Fashion Journalism Award.

Noted Givhan, the combination of "talent, passion, and creativity" in the fashion industry is unique. With words to inspire the young designers whose creations were featured, she explained that there are not many fields "where the sole purpose is to create the most exquisite piece you've ever seen." 

See more photos from the event on our Facebook page!

Tony Horton Revs Up for the Big Race

Fitness guru Tony Horton brought his bulging biceps into town Thursday to whip some Capitol Hill staffers into shape - and promote the upcoming National Press Club 5k race in June. How does he - a self professed non-runner - prepare for a big race?

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River Taxi Takes Off

Don't care for a long roadway commute? DC's new water taxi system may be just the cure to keep you current.

Departing from Washington Harbor and Gangplank Marina - and taking you out to the ballgame (literally) - American River Taxi regularly runs Monday - Friday and will sail you to the stadium for about $9.

Park your car.  Take to the water ways.

Consumer Electronics' Gary Shapiro Fulfills Dream... and New Year's Resolution

Declaring there is nothing more important to the future of the consumer electronics industry than innovation, techies and tastemakers gathered together Wednesday night at the Hotel George in honor of Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro’s new book, "The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream."

"This has always been a lifetime dream of mine, to write a book," said Shapiro, surrounded by a crowd that included Grover Norquist and Congressman Darrell Issa.

"It's been a New Year's resolution for at least twelve years - it was the only one I met last year actually...  cause I didn't run or lose the weight or do all of the other stuff."

"I don't agree with all of the things in the book," admitted Shapiro, "but I've been gratified because I've done a lot of speaking about [it] around the country - to liberal Deomocrats, to conservative Republicans, to government contractors and other organizations... and what's amazing to me is that people are actually excited about the concept that you can focus on the future of America and focus on innovation in America and exceptionalism in America and believe it!  And [they] believe that things have to be done in America to make a change." 

*Also available on Niteside.

GRAMMYs on the Hill

Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bob Corker, and eight-time GRAMMY® winner (and Recording Artists' Coalition co-founder) Don Henley were honored Wednesday evening at the 10th Annual GRAMMYs on the Hill® Awards for their commitment to improving the environment for the nation's music community.

"GRAMMYs on the Hill gives us the opportunity to spotlight political and musical leaders for their tireless work advocating for the rights of music makers," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.

"Through his leadership in the Senate and the White House, Vice President Biden has led the effort in promoting artists' rights and protecting intellectual property; as the co-sponsor of the Performance Rights Act and PRO-IP Act, Senator Corker truly understands the importance of a legitimate music marketplace; and as one of the most respected and socially conscious artists, Don Henley is an inspiration to his community and the world."

The ceremony, dubbed "Washington's most interesting mix of music and politics," took over the Hill's Liaison hotel with special guest presenters and performers.

Fashion for Paws 2011: Runway Rockin' It

Supporters of the Washington Humane Society competed to raise enough funding to walk the runway during the 5th annual Fashion for Paws style showcase at the National Building Museum last weekend.  Check out this video showing models Lynda Erkiletian, Paul Wharton, Stef Woods, Angie Goff, Philippe Cousteau, Tommy McFly, Brendan Kownacki, Lana Orloff, Allison Brooks, AlexNaini, Amanda Polk, Steuart Martens, Fletcher Gill, and Bob Madigan among others!

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Paris' La Coupole Pours into the Washington CLub

Supporters of water projects in developing countries gathered at the Washington Club Tuesday for a night of specially commissioned French perfume, music and food from Paris' La Coupole.

The Rotary Club Paris Academies and the Alliance Francaise hosted the event to support the water conservation efforts of Rotary Clubs in developing countries and featured musical entertainment by 
national recording jazz keyboardist Marcus Johnson and European DJ Young Pulse (above right), who joined forces to form Juris and record an album together. 

Jean Ozonder of Rotary International,  Sylvain Cornevaux and Alexandra Cousteau  were among those enjoying bites prepared by Jean-Philippe Bourggeuil, the executive chef of La Coupole in France.

 See more photos from the event on our Facebook page!

Alternative Autos in Downtown DC's Only Showroom

Gas prices aren't giving in.  But before you give up on your auto and consider a more primitive transportation adventure, recharge your batteries and think... batteries!  As the summer starts to swelter, electric car company Tesla is also getting hot.

Downtown DC's only auto showroom - and more like an industrial art gallery space that houses a single showcase vehicle - Tesla has a trendy K Street location (between 10th & 11th NW), and is starting to trend with local tastemakers as well.  Even with the healthy price tag (~$110,000) and few local charging stations (ChargePoint America plans to eventually install some 500 in the area through a grant program), DC has a  greater share of electric vehicles than most urban cities.

Famous names like George Clooney and Matt Damon are already doing their best for the environment by  sporting socket-charged rides and politicos have been spotted in the showroom jonesing for their own juiced up Roadsters.

Looks like DC has another reason for that conservative reputation.

French Baked Bliss

Searching for the perfect Parisian Patisserie?  Paul, a renowned French bakery which features secret family recipes dating back more than 100 years, will open a flagship here in DC - directly across from the National Archives - on May 2, with a second Georgetown location coming later in the year.

Choose from authentic baguettes, croissants, tarts,  macaroons and so much more.  We're loave-ing it!

*Paul's flagship will be located at 801 Pennsylvania Ave.
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