Yes, y'all - that was Senator David Vitter with his wife, Wendy, and their four children dancing Wednesday night at Cajun Experience's Crawfish Boil. The Dupont restaurant threw a traditional low country boil with Southern delights like alligator, frog legs, poboys and crawfish, prepared by Executive Chef Thomas Shoborg, to savor the final weeks of crawfish season.

Also seen jiving to NOLA band Zachary Smith and the Dixie Power Trio: ABC 7's Leon Harris and Natasha Barrett, FOX 5'sSteve Chenevy, WUSA 9's Andrea Roane and Angie Goff, NBC 4's John Schriffen, Genki Media's Michael Clements, and Capital Cooking's Lauren DiSantis.

Chef Shoborg and the Cajun Experience crew describe (and show) how to do an authentic crawfish boil.
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So just how does one eat the "little lobsters?"
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Kastles' "Wimbledon on the Water"

The Washington Kastles officially opened their new stadium at The Wharf Wednesday evening with a "Wimbledon on the Water" themed bash attended by local socials and sports enthusiasts.

Kastles owner Mark Ein took center court surrounded by fans such as Events DC's Gregory O'Dell, VM Public Relations' Victoria Michael, XO Holdings' Richard Scully, The Washington Humane Society's Tara de Nicolas, and Paradise Springs Winery's Kirk Wiles, dressed in summer chic/tennis whites.

The new, permanent, digs - located on the SW Waterfront near DC's famed fish market - boast 147 premium season boxes as well as general admission grand stands. 

Essence Mag's Susan L. Taylor: "We're all Little G's"

Sharon Hart and Laurie Williams
"I've been through break-ups, shake-ups, the death of my parents.  But it was when I couldn't pay my rent, and where the heck was I going to live with my little girl... that was the most anxious moment of my life,"  shared Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine, the founder of the National Cares mentoring meovement, and co-founder of Future PAC
at Wednesday afternoon's anual N Street Village luncheon at th National Press Club

Ivy, Navneen, Dorthea, Lynitta, Denita

Speaking to a ballroom of sponsors, supporters and those who have taken advantage of N Street's care - including Evelyn Green (who was proud to speak to the crowd of her successes, especially since she had slept at the base of the same building before seeking treatment) - Taylor spoke of self-love and the path to fixing the homeless and helpless epidemic.

KC Ellis, Andrea Sledd and Helen Hamilton

"Sometimes things fall apart.  That's what happens so you can put them back together - better - again."

Praising the work of N Street, which helped close to half of DC's female homeless population in 2010, she also urged the audience to see the spirituality in its service.

"We are all little g's... little gods.  Here to do God's work." 

Candace Bushnell Debuts Her "Summer and the City"

by Casey Valerie Linsey

Just like her fabulous and optimistic fictional creation Carrie Bradshaw, Candace Bushnell did not let the threatening skies, lighting, and thunder stop her from signing copies of her latest book on the picturesque rooftop of the Residences On The Avenue in Foggy Bottom Tuesday evening.

Drawing together some of DC's fabulous fashionistas - Angie Goff, Eun Yang, Danielle Dobin, and the reigning Miss DC Stephanie Williams - the Washington launch of "Summer And the City" included a lipstick bar courtesy of Nectar Skin Bar, a tour of "Carrie's Closet" designed by Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie, and a raffle for a $500 Manolo Blahnik gift certificate.

Though only one lucky guest got to snap up the stilettos, all in attendance were able to receive a complimentary copy of the newest portion of Carrie's saga while noshing on yummy mini Georgetown Cupcakes and summery cocktails.

The Merchant of Venice

This is no episode of Let's Make a Deal. 

Julia Coffey as Portia
Photo by Scott Suchman
The Merchant of Venice, currently on stage at the Shakespeare Theatre's Sidney Harmon Hall, is, however, a passionate production of money matters.  From the poor Bassanio who needs funding to court his love; to that same love, Portia, who's deceased Father devised a test of temptation to prove a suiter's hand in marriage; to the lender Shylok who seeks violent revenge for a defaulted loan; to that lender's daughter, Jessica, who steals his fortune to create a new fortune of her own - coin is the root cause of the drama.

Julia Coffey as "Portia" and
Mark Nelson as Shylock
Photo by Scott Suchman
One of Shakespeare's popular tragic comedies, The Merchant of Venice is the final play of the 2010-2011 season for the company, staged here for the first time in over a decade, which will run until July 24th. 

Director Ethan McSweeney's version, set in more modern times, challenges audiences to contemplate power, revenge, justice and mercy... as well as Shylock's thickly authentic accent!

The drama is in the denouement as these deals are done.

Red, White & Weekend: Your Guide to a Fun Fourth

Whether your idea of a fabulous Fourth includes smooth sailing, a patriotic party or all out band blow-out, here's some suggestions for a wonderful weekend:
  • Chef Robert Weland and Poste Modern Brasserie are throwing their own picnic in the resto's courtyard. Enjoy hotdogs, ribs, cole slaw and potato salad... and then saunter over to one of our favorite hidden gems, The National Portrait Gallery, to digest and discover.
  • What could be better than being on a boat?! Enjoy front row fireworks splashing aboard the Spirit of Washington for a dinner cruise on the 4th.  Lunch cruises also available.
  • Lincoln Restaurant commemorates Independence Day - and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War - with an American Dream weekend that starts with domestic beer specials, continues with a $56 Bourbon dinner on Saturday (one dollar for each year of Lincoln's short life) and an Independence Day Sunday brunch, and concludes with a July 4th band and BBQ Grill Out. 
  • Have a rager on the rooftop.  W Hotel's POV Lounge brings back its Boom with a View bash, including live entertainment, noshes, libations and the most spectacular view of the national fireworks display. Individual tickets to the party $225 (call 202- 661-2478) or get the package - comfy room and late hangover breakfast included.
  • Or enjoy a patriotic performance.  The National FreedomFest returns to Yards Park July 3rd and 4th with some of the best local bands, like Burnt Sienna, White Ford Bronco, 2Nutz, JTX and Icewagon Flu. 
Still looking to find your perfect spot for the fireworks?  Any of the city's rooftops rock, but if you're ok mingling with the masses, try the steps of the Lincoln Memorial!

Tigerlily's 3rd Annual EmPOWERment Ball

The Tigerlily Foundation’s 3rd Annual EmPOWER Ball celebrated young women's lives, honored breast cancer survivors, and recognized healthcare organizations, corporations and advocacy groups nationwide at an event this weekend at the Willard Hotel. 

Honorees included Fox News Correspondent and breast cancer survivor, Jennifer Griffin; and Dr. Michael Schultz, Director of the Breast Center Cancer Institute at St. Joseph Medical Center; and memorialized Michelle Tull Bynum, diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in her 30’s.
Among those joining Tigerlily Founder Maimah Karmo in the celebration were Spotted MP's Maurisa Potts, Miss Washingtonian Galaxy Jehan Carter, Fox 5's Tony Perkins and stylist Kara Allan.


It was a culinary carnival at the Marriott Wardman Park Sunday night, where revelry en masque marked the annual Restaurant Association (RAMMY) Awards.  This year's announcements concentrated on some of DC's traditional favorites... and a popular New York (now DC) pasta power spot took the ultimate honors: Fan Favorite. 

And the winners are...

Chef of the Year – Todd Gray (Equinox/Watershed)
Fine Dining Restaurant – The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Power Spot – Carmine’s
New Restaurant – Estadio
Neighborhood Gathering Place – Ted’s Bulletin
Hottest Bar Scene – Chef Geoff’s (Tysons Corner)
Upscale Casual Restaurant – Tabard Inn
Rising Culinary Star – Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley)
Your Favorite Restaurant – Carmine's
Wine Program – Taberna Del Alabardero

Lost Society

Patrons of this "Society" are sophisticated, artful and creative... not to mention well fed! And they enjoy eats by a Chef (Joseph Evans) who has fed such famous faces as the Presidents of Russia and Argentina and the King of Jordan.
Not a secret, although you may be tempted to keep it under wraps, 14th and U Street's new steak and seafood spot, Lost Society, boasts a Victorian underground atmosphere combined with a comfortable bar scene. The two floor venue opens this Friday, July 1, featuring a relaxed roof deck hideaway overlooking the District.

Top plate picks include Braised Short Ribs ($18), Cornish Game Hen ($14) and Pan Seared Black Bass ($14) as well as the Zucchini Ribbons on the "extras" menu. Snag your "society" spot before these digs are discovered!

*Lost Society is located at 2001 14th Street NW

The Big Balloon Battle at Washington Harbor

Georgetown's first summer fest, complete with face painting, balloon toss and water wars.
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As Seen on the Blue Carpet

by Jordana Merran

The National Geographic Society ended its annual Explorers symposium last night with a splash-- rolling out the blue carpet for a number of famed explorers and such esteemed guests as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and director James Cameron at its inaugural ocean-themed “Evening of Exploration” gala.

Held at the Society’s M Street headquarters, the event celebrated the work of its Explorers-in-Residence, Fellows, and Emerging Explorers, and presented honors to environmental anthropologist Kenny Broad, the late underwater photographer Wes Skiles, IBM (for its research partnership with the organization), and musician Jack Johnson—who received the first-ever “Arts Ambassador for the Environment Award.”

These guys are relentless in their belief that things can change and be made better, said National Geographic Society CEO John Fahey.

Guests enjoyed a cocktail hour that featured sustainable seafood hors d’oeuvres prepared by DC chef and National Geographic Fellow Barton Seaver; followed by “dinner under the starfish” as the venue was transformed into a stunning underwater scene.

See more photos from the blue carpet event here.

South Moon & Stars Spotting

by Casey Valerie Linsey

It was a GNO (Girl's Night Out) Thursday at South Moon Under in Arlington, as the east coast men's and women's fashion and accessories boutique hosted an event in honor of the fashion and beauty "bloggers" in the DC area.

The night of shopping, sushi, Crumbs cupcakes and cocktails featured California-chic lifestyle brand Michael Stars, and a girly gabfest of guilt-free advice. South Moon Under's marketing assistant Taylor Schlette suggested "mak[ing] tons of blueberry pies from simple ingredients and pass[ing] them out" to entice others to smile this summer.  "Trust me girls, you'll be a hit with all your friends," she promised.  
Meanwhile, Michael Kors sales representative Stacey Dube gave pearls of wisdom to guests hoping to burn calories for swimsuit season - "Spin to Britney Spears ...and instead of eating the entire piece of cake, grab a bite from your friend's plate and savor it!"

Mary Amons Tawks Trash... and Real Estate!

Real Housewife of DC - and McLean - Mary Amons invited girlfriends to her home Thursday evening for a party (affectionately named Tawk Trash) to benefit Fran Drescher's Cancer Schmancer through Amons' Labels for Love. Ladies shopped for everything from jewelry to workout wear, artwork to... real estate?!

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Georgetown's Big Balloon Battle

Don't forget your water guns and Super Soakers!  During a summer celebration at the Georgetown Harbor (12 - 3 PM) Sunday, June 26th, there will also be hundreds of pre-filled water balloons available for Georgetown's first water balloon battle (2 PM).  Get wet and wild joining in on the fun.

Christina Albina: "Fashion Fades, But Style Remains the Same"

by Casey Valerie Linsey

Fashion industry insiders Christina and Natalia Albina are two sisters with a passion for sharing unique and classic pieces of wearable art with Washington's stylish set.

The stylish duo wowed DC on Wednesday evening with the debut of their latest project: Fashion Fusion - When Art & Fashion Collide at Georgetown's L2 Lounge. The event, which showcased the sisters' meticulously curated Style Etoile collection of Spring and Summer 2011 pieces, also featured exquisite oil and pastel works by Ben Ferry.

Christina Albina's best advice to Washington fashionistas?  "Consider buying the specialty pieces that work with what everybody already has in their wardrobe." (Special does not equal trendy, she warns!) On the contrary, "new and exciting pieces can be recycled" because "fashion fades, but style remains the same."

Check out more photos from the event here.

Samba y Sangria

The Young Benefactors Group hosted a “Samba y Sangria” themed fundraiser Wednesday night to benefit the Institute for Responsible Citizenship—a nonprofit that provides educational, networking and mentoring opportunities to high-achieving African American men.

Held at the Eden Lounge rooftop in Farragut West, members and friends of the YBG professional network schmoozed over sangria and TamiCakes cupcakes to the sounds of DC-based Brazilian jazz band Origem, who have played the likes of the Kennedy Center and Jazz in the Garden. Though not an official arm of the Institute, YGB events exclusively benefit the organization.

"We’re connecting young professionals to a worthy cause,” said Corey Ponder of YBG. “[That is to say], leadership and development opportunities that [these young men] may not get otherwise.”

Events DC Celebrates at Sax

Events DC continued to celebrate its new identity with a branding bash at Sax Lounge Wednesday evening. 

Despite foregoing the venue's usual burlesque dancing and other unique entertainment, the fete was lively - drawing such notables as Cartoonist Nick Galifianakis (at left), Producer.Director Karim Chrobog, and TV personalities Paul Wharton and Stacie Turner. 

No Frills, Just Food: Mike Isabella Opens Graffiato

“Every Sunday, my grandmother used to make an Italian feast, eight to 10 dishes shared among a dozen or more family and neighbors — more than enough for everyone to taste each dish,"  reminces Top Chef Contestant (and Top Chef All Stars Runner-Up!) Mike Isabella.  "I wanted to recreate that experience."

The Chef turned Restauranteur returns to his family roots, opening up Graffiato, a neighborhood Italian resto, with casually raw decor (think cinder blocks and wooden booths) in Chinatown Thursday. 

Graffiato offers "a large menu of small plates, personal pizzas, cured hams and local cheeses... or order the Chef’s Tasting and allow me to entertain your palate for the evening.” 

The other thing you should order is most certainly not on the menu... known - and available - only to a special few. Each day, Isabella will prepare 15 to 20 orders of his signature zeppoles, sweet fluffy dough balls.  Those who know to ask for them will be rewarded with strawberry powered sugar dusted warm treats served with what we'll call 'Grandma's dipping sauce.'

Convention & Sports Authority Unveils New Brand: Events DC

Back in late 2009, the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission merged into one entity - the Washington Convention and Sports Authority.  But let's hope President and CEO Gregory O'Dell didn't spend a bundle on new letterhead!

This afternoon at the Convention Center, O'Dell announced that the Authority is changing names...and brands... yet again.  Now called Events DC, the organization unveiled a new name, logo, slogan and campaign.  "Events DC embodies our true brand identity as one united organization offering customers an extensive array of options for events of all kinds."
Departing from their historic role in venue management, Events DC will focus on three core services: conventions & meetings, sports & entertainment and special events.

The logos for the three brands central to the District's meetings and tourism industry - Washington, DC and Destination DC - now all feature bold block letters joined by a central star.

Publicyte: "A little bit of Vanity Fair, a little bit of Wired"

Microsoft's Dr. Mark Drapeau (also known as Cheeky Geeky!) debuted the new digital magazine Publicyte at L2 Lounge on Tuesday. Calling it "a little bit of Vanity Fair, a little bit of Wired," the new Editor-in-Chief invited guests for cocktails, tech, and tunes.

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DC Eats Kicks Off with Celeb Snackin' at the Social Safeway

Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown's "Social Safeway," two local food personalities greeted guests and gave cooking demonstrations to kick-off Destination DC's latest project DC Eats. Marybeth Albright, currently competing to be the Next Food Network Star, and Chef Huda Mumin of CW fame, cooked up some seasonal fare while shoppers enjoyed popsicles, balloons, face painting and other smiles in the aisles.

More information on DC Eats events and other Destination DC promotions available here.

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You're Invited: A Big "O" Party at Hudson this Thursday

Come mix, mingle and enjoy live opera performances with Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists and dance the night away to original opera/pop remixes by DJ Fotifo, all while savoring an "Operatini" at Hudson Lounge this Thursday, June 23rd, from 7-10 PM.

This FREE  event benefits Generation O, a new generation - your generation - of opera fans and DC’s largest young professionals program for arts lovers.

*Non-opera enthusiasts can find out how to achieve that beach-ready hot summer body, receive gift cards, and win raffle prizes.

Michaele Salahi Bumps It - Live From Miami

posted to Salshi's FB page
Michaele Salahi is still making headlines - or headlining anyway.

The Real Housewife of DC and alledged White House Party Crasher is set to perform her newly released dance music single "Bump It!" live on air from Maimi, Florida following the 4th hour of the NBC Today Show segment with Hoda and Kathie Lee on Friday morning.

"Fond memories" enticed this live debut in the Sunshine State, yet the gutsy blonde seems to be treating this performance more like she's in the Big Easy... or at least feeling that way.

“Anything I enjoy doing nerves never come into it," said the budding songstress in an e-mail to K Street Kate when asked if nerves were coming into play. "Music and dancing are expressions of what you love and there is no wrong -- it is all fun! Fear and nerves are something to face head on and overcome and the only way is to get out and do it!"

"Bump It!" released as a single in mid-May of this year, yet Salahi promises "it will be new and never heard before," alluding to a surprise happening in Friday's performance.

So... are we holding our breath for she and Tareq to head into the studio to record a duet? "You never know!" she teases. "Watch to see what happens next!!"

*Also available on Niteside.

Bar Rouge Reopens

Kimpton's Bar Rouge
Seeing red?? There's a lounge resurrgence on the other side of those rose colored glasses, and it's happening at the freshly reopened Bar Rouge

This newly remodeled lounge and wine bar in the Hotel Rouge (1315 16th Street NW) has a lot on tap - literally - pouring chardonnay, organic sauvignon blanc and zinfandel in one of the city's first vineyard-to-keg presentations of the sort.

Bar Rouge also boasts a more extensive global wine list offered in three pour sizes (but always under $10) and noshes in the new American small plates trend ($4-12, $12-20 entree sized).

Step into dinner and drinks at Rouge, a noir graphic novel set in red and white.  Relax on the velvet banquettes surrounded by statues of Venus, and sip still. 

DC nightlife is having a rouge-out.

Virtue Comes to Old Town

Patience is a ... well, you know.  And so does Old Town's new 21st century American Tavern.  Virtue Feed & Grain (106 South Union Street) is the the latest concept from the team who brought you Restaurant Eve/Eamonn's/PX/and the Majestic.  The one you've been waiting for.

Formerly a feed house in the 1800s, Virtue underwent an extensive eco-restoration process to bring you its  "modern pub grub" atmosphere and menu - featuring deviled eggs, short ribs and even "wierd stuff" like ox tongue salad.  (Expect virtuous fare - but don't hold your breath for bread on the table... and you will have to pay $3 for those Virginia peanuts.)

When you've had enough testing your temperance (Hint! Just order your apps and entrees at the same time...) and your taste buds, head upstairs to the entertainment lounge where you can continuing cocktailing from the specialty menu while playing arcade games, pool or Wii. 

Check out Virtue's pajama brunch the first Sunday of every month, periodic block parties for holidays and other special days of fun, and our favorite... a walk up window for ordering fried chicken!

The District Dish: Step Afrika

Assistant Artistic Director of Step Arika, Mfon Akpan, dishes about the professional performance company's upcoming showcase in partnership with the Phillips Collection and its Lawrence Migration Series exhibit - going on NOW at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

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GenderZoo: Are these ratios for real?!

This new mobile application uses its own fancy math to give you a fair chance at love... or just getting lucky.

GenderZoo, available now on iPhone and Android, is a first of its kind creation: A ratio locator in real time. User generated reports and visual estimates help the app to "take control of the flow of the crowd," telling users where the girls/guys are, and even going so far as to estimate the general age of patrons at your favorite local watering holes.

It's a dating zoo out there.  At least now you'll know who's playing in your cage.

American Girl Store Opens in Tysons

Eager girls in costume slept outside while VIPs perused the new American Girl store in Tysons Friday evening.  The pre-opening event - a benefit for the Children's National Medical Center - gave donors a sneak peek at the popular doll store's Hair Salon, Creativi-tees Boutique and even a little dessert decorating.  So why the waiting??

American Girl announced that the first five customers on opening day would receive a free doll!  And as an extra special surprise, the company brought a favorite playmate, Felicity, out of retirement to be offered for a limited time... only the newly opened store.

Dressed as their favorite American Girl friends, girls and their parents stormed the two level boutique (located near Bloomingdales) Saturday for toys, books, clothes, and dolls, of course.  The store is now open for the less frenzied fans.

Stand Up for Heroes

The Ronald Reagan Building was packed with patriots Thursday evening at the Bob Woodruff Foundation's Stand Up for Heroes benefit for injured service members, veterans and their support networks.

Over 700 people - and representatives from all branches of the military - listened to music from Train and even more entertainment from emcee Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.

*Image credit: Michael Woestehoff, The Washington Lobbyist.

Zahra Universe in 3D!

Debuting her 3D music video at Eden Lounge Thursday night, K Street Kate caught up with recording artist Zahra Universe to dance into her third dimension and -- though actually unrelated -- find out who she felt might have the right stuff in the competition to win her "Miss Universe" title.

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Women... and Water for People

Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero (below right) and former U.S. Ambassador Hattie Babbit highlighted the role of women in water programs while headling Water for People's annual Gala last week at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

The organization raised over $80,000 to help people in developing countries improve their quality of life by supporting the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, santitation and hygiene education programs. 

"Everyday, women are on the forefront of making a positive impact on global water issues," said Lisa Sparrow, President and CEO of Utilities, Inc.  "This event recognized the accomplishments of women in water worldwide."

Photo credit: Carlos Villanueva for the National Association of Water Companies.

Moshe's Photography Party

Why is a picture worth a thousand words?  We caught up with photographer Moshe Zusman to answer this question as he and DC Magazine welcomed guests to his new studio opening on 14th Street Wednesday evening.

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Go Venga!

Founders of Venga (Winston Lord and Sam Von Pollaro at left), the newest mobile application for dining and other social outings, held a summer launch party for the project at Cities Wednesday night, where some of the first users shared their early experiences.

The app, which is piloted here in DC but plans to expand to other cities within months, was supported at the open bar fete by a crowd of cocktailers including Metrocurean's Amanda McClements, Merge Creative Media's Brendan Kownacki and a duo of Mighty Pint men, Michael Knapp and Sam Harper.

Spotted & Snapped: See more photos from the event here.

Kastles Cut the Ribbon, New Stadium Dedication

Mayor Vincent Gray, Kastles Owner Mark Ein, World Team Tennis co-Founder Billie Jean King, PN Hoffman President Monty Hoffman and World Team Tennis Commissioner Ilana Kloss gathered for a dedication in Southwest Washington late last week... to cut the ribbon on the Washington Kastles new Stadium at the Wharf (800 Water Street SW)! 

Caddy for a Cure

by Casey Valerie Linsey 

Golf stars, aficionados, and fans alike converged upon Bethesda’s BlackFinn American Saloon to show support for Caddy for a Cure’s US Open Players ParTEE on Tuesday. 
Lee Westwood, the number-two ranked golfer in the world, was able to make a short appearance for several photo opportunities with fans who sipped specialty cocktails and ate hors d'oeuvres on golf tee skewers. However, with golf celebrities focused on the pressure of the upcoming week, it was area football players who took the spotlight for the evening. Wearing their Superbowl rings from 1991, retired Redskin players got down on the dance floor and worked the room with their charm.

Explained Redskins former linebacker Brian Mitchell, “Golf is the closest game to life, and it is very similar to football. You are always surrounded by people who support you, but at the end of the day, it is about you. In life, you chase after perfection but nothing beats the joy of striving for your best. That’s why I love football and golf.”

Whether playing on the field, putting on the green, or just participating in the party, supporters of Caddy for the Cure (which gives people the chance to caddy for a PGA or LPGA professional) helped to donate 100% of proceeds to charities including the Fanaconi Anemia Research Fund, Birdies for the Brave, and the Wounded Warriors Fund.

Former Secretary of Commerce Gives Credit for Success to American Dream

Carlos Gutierrez with Jane Harmon
"I always feel like awards come too early in life.  There is so much more to do,"  said Former Secretary of Commerce and Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group for Citigroup Carlos Gutierrez,Tuesday evening at the Merage Foundation for the American Dream National Leadership Awards.

On the day before his wedding anniversary, the Cuban born American shared credit for his success in leadership and public service with his wife and country.

"I sometimes ask the question... with what I have been able to do, what I have been given the opportunity to do, would it have been possible had I lived elsewhere?  No.  And my sense is that that is the magic of this country.  People come here and they do extraordinary things.  They do the type of things that they wouldn't have the oppirtunty to do back home.

"I can tell you for a fact that I know that I would not have been CEO of a major multinational corporation had I stayed in Cuba,"  he added amongst cuckles from the audience.

"And my son Carlos will tell you that I have lost everything I have ever been given. I lose keys, I lose wallets...  But I have never lost my U.S. passport."

Things to Do: Free Patriotic Concert Thursday

The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, “The Commandant’s Own” are performing popular standards and patriotic music in a free concert at World War II Memorial (17th Street and Constitution Avenue) on June 16, 2011 at 6:00PM. This is the first in a series of free concerts in partnership with the Friends of the National World War II Memorial that can be found here. Enjoy!

*The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps (D&B) is the Drum and Bugle Corps of the United States Marine Corps. It is one of the United States military marching units and consists of 80 Marine musicians, dressed in ceremonial red and white uniforms.  It is now the only full time active duty Drum Corps in the US Military.

The Last of the Free Falls: National Building Museum Announces Plans to Charge Admission
The National Building Museum announced a change in its admission policy today.  Free since opening in 1985, Director of the "museum of the built environment," Chase W. Rand explained its decision to charge an entry fee in a note to staff:

"Over the past few years, the recession has been particularly devastating for the culture and arts community, as well as the building and design industry... Around the world and in our backyards, the landscape for nonprofit organizations has shifted dramatically.  Those who wait too long to realize this truth or dismiss it entirely are likely to become casualties of the era. Under no circumstances will we allow this to be the fate of the National Building Museum."

The last of the area's major private, non-profit museums to begin charging admission, the National Building Museum will ask $8 for adults, $5 youth (3-17) beginning June 27th.  Entry will remain free from students with ID, seniors, museum members and tinytots.  Access to the Great Hall, Museum Shop and Cafe will also continue to be free.

Hoda Kotb Tells Story, Does Stand-Up at annual Komen Appreciation BBQ

Dr. Jill Biden and her husband, the Vice President, hosted an appreciation BBQ for Komen Global Race for the Cure sponsors at their home last Friday evening.  As Navy men played country classics and guests sampled salmon and brisket, the couple - joined by Ambassador Nancy Brinker - honored survivors and gave a nod to breast cancer's continued struggle.

But while the line was lengthy for photo opps with 'Jill and Joe,' it was special guest, and cancer survivor, Hoda Kotb that not only stole the show, but convinced that laugher may be the best medicine.

"Keep the things that matter, and get rid of those that don't," counseled the morning show host, following up with a pause and then.. "I'm divorced," which caused the crowd to cackle.   And along with stories of strength and hope, she included this humorous personal nugget:

"I was at a book signing about six months ago, and as I was signing books, there are these two girls in their 20s in the line and they didn't have a book.  I was like, do you want me to sign a piece of paper or something? And they were like, 'No, we want to give you something.' And they handed me a piece of paper and it said: 10 Reasons You Should Date Our Dad... I've been dating their dad for 6 months!"

***Did you know... the name Hoda means "guidance" in Arabic?
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