Anybody who's read my recent columns knows I've gone a little bonkers for Texas. Last week I wrote about Dallas, this week's column focuses on Austin. Lots of thoughts, lots of pictures, lots of good food. Please give it a read here.
Anybody who's read my recent columns knows I've gone a little bonkers for Texas. Last week I wrote about Dallas, this week's column focuses on Austin. Lots of thoughts, lots of pictures, lots of good food. Please give it a read here.
Donald Rappaport's funeral is today. It's a private family affair. There will be a public memorial service in October. He died Friday at his home after an illness. A long-time Georgetowner, good friend to many, bon vivant, and husband of Susan, father of three, grandfather to five. Susan and Donald were familiar faces in Washington, Paris and on Martha's Vineyard. Not a bad life, dividing one's time between those three locations. He was 84-years-old.
The Rappaports entertained a lot and their dinner parties -- all their parties, for that matter -- could be counted on to be relaxed and gracious. Susan looked out for the food while Donald made certain the wines were superb. Here's one I included in my New York Social Diary column: Spring Supper at the Rappaports
Don's official obituary from The Washington Post:
Born November 21, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY, the son of Percy and Regina (Youle) Rappaport. He grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. Mr. Rappaport served three years as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer of the US Department of Education, appointed by President Clinton in 1997. Was an active board member of DC's Meridian Public Charter School and a founding member of FOCUS. Also was treasurer of the Committee for the Republic, a salon of intellectual thought and ideas.
A partner in the accounting firm Price Waterhouse & Co, from 1963 to his retirement in 1988. He joined the firm in 1949, and worked most of his career in Philadelphia, transferring to Washington in 1983, to head the firm's division serving mid-sized and growth businesses. In 1983, he received a Mayor's citation for the work he did to improve the business climate in Philadelphia. Mr. Rappaport also was chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education in the 1970s.
Before that, he was appointed by Philadelphia schools chief (and later Mayor) Richardson Dilworth as assistant superintendent for Finance. Dilworth commented that he liked the combination of a "liberal accountant" for the job.
Mr. Rappaport was an avid sailor and runner. At 80, he was the oldest participant in the 2007 Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington. He was a man of utmost integrity, had a zest for life, was an avid reader, traveler, intellectual.
He leaves scores of true friends in Washington, Philadelphia and Martha's Vineyard, where he summered for more than 30 years. A longtime Democrat, Mr. Rappaport worked on many local, state and national political campaigns. In the 1980s, he was budget director for the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. He also was a member of the Democratic National Committee's small business council. He also served on a number of civic and cultural boards, lending his financial expertise to a variety of causes.
He graduated from Yale University in 1947, attending on the Navy's V-12 program. He completed two graduate degrees at University of Pennsylvania, an MA in economics in 1948 and an MBA from the Wharton School in 1949. Mr. Rappaport served his country during the Korean War as a Lt. (Jg) line officer aboard the Destroyer Henderson in Korean waters from 1950-1952.
The family suggests memorial donations to the Meridian Public Charter School, 1328 Florida Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20009.
INTO THE HEATWAVE
Some people drive away from a heat wave. We drove into the heart of it. A week’s road trip – mother and son -- Washington to Texas. We made a mid-way stop in Nashville. The trip was always hot, temps rarely under 100 and once or twice as high as 112 - but it was also always interesting. I love America’s open road. There’s so much to see, hear, experience and, of course, eat. Road food is no diet but it would be a crime to count calories within 50 yards of a dry ribs place in Memphis or a Filete Cantinflas in Texas. It’s that simple.
Best of all, it’s healthy to get out of Washington. The city, the official city especially, is so into itself and alternately guilt-ridden or letting itself off the hook for bad manners, bad leadership, bad decisions. The power base (elected officials, media, lobbyists) inhabit a cocoon of each others’ voices, and that’s the disconnect. In the midst of the debt-ceiling crisis I attended a dinner of Democrats, a few hundred of them, many members of the House and Senate and other big names in the party, and the speeches (and there are always speeches) barely touched on the crisis happening just outside the auditorium where we feasted on catered food and good wine, as if the mess was not happening. Like, “if we don’t talk about the sky won’t fall.” I laughed to myself but it wasn’t funny.
Out on the American open road the sound track is sometimes akin to beaming in voices from alien planets. My rental car had satellite radio, enabling me to switch between outer space, I mean the mainstream (CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews), and the local terrestrial stations. You have to search hard to find those stations that aren’t overrun with syndicated conservative rant, such as Rush Limbaugh, who spews and sputters, near ready to implode from the frustration of his self-proclaimed wisdom.
Authentic, regional local radio is quieter. People are talking – about themselves, to each other -- about fear, honest frustration and anger toward Washington, and telling personal stories. The husband who lost his job a while ago and now the wife has lost hers. Or they can’t refinance the mortgage. Or, they are living almost entirely on credit cards. Health care. Education. Retirement funds, college tuition? Is anyone in charge? Do they care about us out there?
Outside the car windows, beautiful America rolled by.
Read the full story at NewYorkSocialDiary.com Click on the Elvis!
In my New York Social Diary column today I focus on the three memorial museums at the sites of September 11th terrorist attacks. They were discussed in detail in a program last week at the National Building Museum. It was a moving prelude to the upcoming tenth anniversary. Read it here.
I'm back from 24 hours off the grid. Would actually like to have 24 months off the grid, but haven't figured how to do that and still pay the mortgage. When you are unemployed and job-hunting it becomes, sadly, all about the grid. In fact, to such an extent you begin to despise the grid. It can be a form of noise, brain pollution, distraction, an anti-creative force, the black cat crossing your path. The grid is at the root of our trend obsession. When inundated with questions about one's social-networking fluency it looms as a hyphenated false marker of relevance, even though I participate, and play the social media game well. Sometimes that focus on electronic communication seems more busy than authentically productive.
But then I digress.
I was off the grid for other reasons, too. My son had his wisdom teeth out. All four. And so I used that as an excuse to be full-time "Mom" for a day, fluffing the sofa, feeding the DVD player, bearing bags of frozen peas, smoothies, Percocet. He sends me texts: "I'm not a baby." I reply: "You are my baby." But I know he's not. His wings are fully formed and the nest I made for him is in his rear view. So I seized this moment where I could be needed. Why would anyone even think of social-networking under those circumstances??? I ask you???
Which brings me to another reason for being off the grid. Next week we drive to Texas to deliver him to his sophomore year of college. I'll make a NYSD column out of it, of course, and for that reason I am in deep research about where to stay, where to eat, what to see. Nashville is one stop, Dallas is another. I seek authentic, real, indigenous, places that are nowhere else but there. Even if it is only for a few hours, I like to feel local, sometimes a touristy local - like I've got the in-laws in tow but I just happen to want to be there, too. It's the way I feel about Joe's Stone Crab in Miami and Don The Beachcomber in SoCal.
And I've been sad, too, about the closing of Furin's. Too sad really to be able to comment. I'm tired of saying farewell to good businesses in my neighborhood. They disappear, replaced by less or nothing and the texture of my community degrades. So many evenings I want to phone Griffin Market with a dinner order and they're just not there. I will feel that way about Furin's breakfasts for days, weeks, months, years.
Most of all I'm in a funk because of this: the budget mess. I walk among these people, our "elected officials," some who are putting us second to their own self-interests. I was at a dinner last night with many House and Senate members, cutting into the tenderloin, enjoying the good Cabernet, as if nothing critical is occurring. I wanted to jump up in that room of round tables of ten and shout: "What Is With You, People?"
I meant what I wrote in my NYSD column Monday: put them in "political" rehab with Dr. Drew and put Lexapro in the water supply for the rest of us.
I'm accustomed to Congress cruising within centimeters of the cliffside --makes for better media, and better for the re-election ads-- but this time is different. This time there are certain among 'em who don't care if we go over the edge, so that on the way down they can point fingers and holler, "It's Obama's fault." Well, it's not. (Do listen to Warren Olney's "To The Point" podcast on KCRW.)
How did I deal with all this inner drama? Ha! I made incredible blackberry martinis cosmopolitans and some really tasty crab cakes, shared with a friend, and watered the poor parched plants and bushes. We humans in DC have it not so good this summer, but the green things may have it worse.
Georgetown's grandest estate, Evermay, recently got new owners after decades in the same family. Who are the new owners, who paid $22 million for the historic mansion and 3.5 acres of lawn and gardens? Read about it here. Also, some thoughts on what Dr. Drew could do for Washington.
With a dress theme of "summer ahoy" there was a pronounced fashion verve at the annual Sinatra Soiree, hosted by The Capital Club. Read about it on New York Social Diary here.
My regular Monday New York column has a little something for everyone, beginning with the American flags distributed throughout Georgetown this past weekend. Interesting where one ended up. Also Washington Kastles tennis begins today down at the team's new stadium on the Maine Avenue waterfront, where a week ago I boarded Jeff Pfeifle's yacht Sea Loafers for a lovely cocktail gathering, a prelude to surgery for Jeff's friend, Adam Mahr. Reluctant to give up the watery theme, I also attended a fascinating gala for explorers and exploration hosted by, (who else?), National Geographic Society, and featuring a humble James Cameron. Read it all here on New York Social Diary.
Hillwood museum opened the vaults and pulled out the extravagant wedding attire worn by Marjorie Merriweather Post and her daughters at a dozen of their marriages. The silks and lace and other memorabilia have been transformed into an exhibition called "Wedding Belles," which opened this weekend, another good reason to visit the museum house on Linnean Avenue. Read about it here.
In the 21st century, with communications technology advancing at warp speed, leaders of nations can communicate with each other almost effortlessly. The role of ambassador, once so vital to these communications, has become more ceremonial, social and pro forma. But, at least for some ambassadors to Washington, it can be a very grand life. Just regard the photo above of Villa Firenze, the grace and favor home to Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant' Agata. Not bad digs at all for company housing. We're talking acres upon acres of beautiful lawn, a mansion with dozens of rooms, and a large pool, and gardens, and guest houses. Once upon a time it was home to the Guggenheims.
Imagine attending a late spring lawn party there. Read on in my New York Social Diary column today here.
Life forced me to learn how to drive, at age 47, but learning how to drive gave me new opportunities and personal strengths, and made possible the best summer trip ever, driving cross country and back with my then 13-year-old son, Spencer.
From LEARNING TO DRIVE: "By the time this long-haul journey happened we were veteran road-trippers, a mother-son team who found emotional recovery and an eternal bond on the highway and, in particular, in a car. It was a milestone on many levels, but especially because I was in so many ways a new driver."
Read more here.
The Kennedy Center revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1971 hit, Follies, is proving to be a hit with Washington audiences. Apart from the obvious reasons, why is that? I try to answer the question in my New York Social Diary column today. Please read it here.
My New York Social Diary column today focuses on the opening in DC of the famed New York burger joint, Shake Shack, and its creator, Danny Meyer, and what that may mean for a hometown fave, Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery. Read it here.
In my New York Social Diary column today, a wee bit on DSK in Georgetown and a whole lot more on my whirlwind week in NYC for the launch of "Innocent Spouse. Read it here.
On New York Social Diary today I write about Eric Ripert's appearance last week on The Q&A Cafe. There's good reason why he is a world famous chef. Also, a visit to the week's best social event, the annual Tudor Place Garden Party. Read it all here.
On New York Social Diary today I look at whether the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner has lost its buzz. The event is this weekend and, regardless, it will be as packed as ever with a record number of before and after parties, plus all the imported tinseltown shimmer. Read it all here.
The party was not for the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but nonetheless the Brits were in a partying mood last week at Anderson House. The soiree was hosted by the Financial Times, and it was one of the better parties held in Washington. Why? Read here. Also, the Folger Gala, with a photo report from James Brantley.
On New York Social Diary today, a look back at the weekend and how Washington went about its business during the countdown to the shutdown that never happened, and beyond. Read it here. My explorations included a cocktail party at the home of Amy Bondurant and David Dunn, welcoming CNN foreign correspondent Jim Bitterman to town; cocktails and a buffet supper at the home of Juleanna Glover, who welcomed the nominees and supporters of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards.
Where I ended up Saturday evening is not in NYSD, but must be mentioned: a lowkey down-home barbecue dinner with The Moffetts, including Myra's family visiting from North Carolina (with the BBQ) and some friends visiting from Connecticut. After a stressful week, short of a getaway at the beach, this was a welcomed distraction. Sunday there was a 15th birthday party for George Malloch-Brown, visiting from Merry Olde, which included lots of teens and parents and a mountain of Cactus Cantina.
My New York Social Diary column today focuses on Saturday night's annual dinner of the Service Member's Legal Defense Network, the non-profit that helped engineer repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Its executive director is my former neighbor and good friend, Aubrey Sarvis. The dinner was held at the National Building Museum, where the mood was one of celebration. Read it here.
If you are a first time visitor to caroljoynt.com, welcome. It has a few different components. Chiefly it is home to a daily diary I write, "Swimming in Quicksand," which is about my life, my community, events in the news, popular culture, food, travel and the occasional rant. SIQ began several years ago on my first website, nathansgeorgetown.com,set up for the restaurant I inherited, Nathans of Georgetown. The site was launched to promote my interview program, The Q&A Cafe, but during the summer months when it was on hiatus I needed to find a way to keep visitors visiting. I started a daily diary. My inspiration was Ana Marie Cox, who at the time wrote for the website Wonkette. She'd been a guest on my show and I was impressed with her candor--both in person and online. I thought, to quote my late mother, Well, why not?
At first the diary was titled "Diary of a Mad Saloon Owner," but I never liked that name. It was unoriginal, and I wasn't mad, only the saloon business was mad. It was the world around me that was sapping my resources, making me vulnerable, scared, feeling as though at any moment I would sink beneath the surface. Voila! Swimming in Quicksand was born.
In its early years, the late oughts, SIQ was where I went to vent a day of feeling challenged by so much I did not always understand. I wrote about trying to stay afloat, especially financially. Every day I had less and I had to find ways to cope. Writing the diary helped enormously, at least emotionally. There was a thousand ton weight on me, Nathans, but when that got cut free in 2009, the relief was tangible. I had much less money, much less, BUT, significantly, I had freedom. The glitch game in that I bought my freedom at the same time the economy was in meltdown. I made myself unemployed when there were no jobs. That's why I kept the diary and new website (caroljoynt.com) up and running. It was as relevant as ever.
I strive to be no B.S.-- honest, candid, funny when possible, compassionate, community-minded, but don't claim to be the official point of view. For example, for grounded online news about Georgetown, I always aim people to The Georgetown Metropolitan. Also, there's The Georgetown Dish. The Georgetowner, a print newspaper, is the dean of Georgetown media.
Caroljoynt.com is also where I post news about The Q&A Cafe. In its first seven years, at Nathans, the show was weekly. Since 2009 it has been monthly, at The Georgetown Ritz Carlton Hotel. It airs on DC Cable, TV 16. The show's ten year anniversary will happen in October 2011. I'm quite proud it has lasted this long. In the last decade I've interviewed some 300 notable people. I hold that up there with my Emmy Award as a proud achievement.
Also here you will find news about my book, "Innocent Spouse," a memoir that is to be published May 10 by Crown. We welcome advance orders on Amazon or any other book website. Writing the book has been my "job" for the last year and a half. It was a writing project and an emotional purge and an altogether excellent experience. I owe a lot of gratitude to my agent, Laney Katz Becker, who found me, and to my editor, Suzanne O'Neill, who fell in love with the book and whose passion for it stayed strong all the way through. Working with the full team at Crown has been a rewarding experience, reminding me of the best collaborations I enjoyed during more than 30 years in mainstream print and network news.
I also use caroljoynt.com to link to a weekly column I write about Washington for the website New York Social Diary. It is not a "society" column, but rather my take on the city where I have lived since 1977. Its about all aspects of the capital, including the occasional encounter with so-called society, but I'm not really sure what that is in a company town. Society, in the wealthy, frivolous, fashionable and trendy sense, is as ill a fit here as reality TV. What Washington has is more a "nouvelle" society, people with some new money and who want to spread it around or show it off. Since generosity matters, that's not a bad thing. The "going out" society in Washington is about fundraisers and rich entrepreneurial suburbanites and more fundraisers. They are commendable for their support of the arts, culture, preservation. In particular they are drawn to institutions that will put their names on walls and at the tops of invitations. I don't fault them for that. If it is a productive incentive, hat's off.
At the other extreme are the "cave dwellers," who by choice are off the grid. Their interest in public mention is entirely old school -- "birth," "marriage" and "death." They are an aging population of Washington families, some connected to government but most not, some with inherited money, some with less money, and they rarely go out. The best place to find them is the January Washington Winter Show, the Tudor Place Garden party and the Chevy Chase and Sulgrave clubs. But really, they don't want you to find them.
There's a young partying group in Washington, also quite active in fundraising. I find them interesting, diverse and ambitious. It includes many pretty women and I wonder why they stay in DC, where the men are mostly interested in other men, and I don't mean that necessarily in gay way.
If there's any authentic high society in Washington it is among the old-guard African American community, as closed and tight as any true social bastion anywhere in the U.S. They dress up, they go out, they are mannered, they know each other well and there is a fierce hierarchy. If I were able to get inside that group and write about them then I could call myself a Washington society writer. But I can't so I'm not.
What I do for New York Social Diary is go to all kinds of places and events, observe the rituals, see things, eat an occasional meal, take photos, and report back, trying to put the experience in context for the most powerful city in the world. My editors, David Patrick Columbia and Jeff Hirsch, are great. When a DC power player is full of hot air, they let me say so. If I could make a living writing my weekly column, I would do it from here to the horizon. But, alas, after the book does its turn, I will need to find gainful employment.
caroljoynt.com is a great front for the fact I am private, shy, not social, not fashionable, a loner, tight with a few close friends and interested primarily in my family and my home. Everything else is what I do to not sink in the quicksand. I hope you'll visit often. And, should you want to, please write. I welcome feedback.
On New York Social Diary today I report for the "Dining" column on meals at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Benoit. Worth a read and a visit, here.
Also, an additional report on New York luxury hotel "staycations" featuring The Four Seasons Hotel, The Sherry-Netherland and The Surrey. Read it here.
A tribal rite of almost spring, the Jete Society Dance Party happened this past Saturday night in a vacant office space on the Georgetown waterfront. Lots of young women and men, drinking, dancing, nibbling on corn dogs, and into the wee hours. But how do those pretty women of DC tolerate the DC men? Also, a party for trumpeter Chris Botti at the Kennedy Center. Read about it here.
On New York Social Diary today I write about my trip to Richmond for the gala opening night of the Musee Picasso exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. For me it was much more than a social event because its not possible to visit Richmond without time-traveling in history and considering what it means to be a Virginian. Also, I shine some light on where I stayed, the lovely Jefferson Hotel. It has cinema connections: to both "Gone With the Wind" and "My Dinner with Andre."
If you live in the DC area, this trip is easy to do: 92 miles from here to there. The Picasso exhibition is a delight, as is the entire museum. But make sure to spend the night at The Jefferson.
Director James L. Brooks has re-issued his film "Broadcast News" and the new DVD includes previously deleted scenes that were shot at Nathans. Its a little bit of sentimental time-travel for those who love the film and Nathans fans who remember the bar's hey day, circa 1987. Read about it in my column on New York Social Diary, here.
Some more of the Nathans shots:
There was quite a lot to talk about for this week's DC column on New York Social Diary. Part of it the Alvin Ailey gala at the Kennedy Center, where I remembered JFK and also spent time with Luci Baines Johnson and Lyndon Boozer, and took some photos I like of them, plus Howard Fineman, Katharine Weymouth and others.
Also, my thoughts on the $2 million lawsuit filed by Dan Snyder against Washington City Paper.
Read it here.
People I write about do not always trust me to write about them in what they consider to be their most favorable light. In other words, that perhaps I might be, well, honest. Ha. And here I thought we were all just having a good time together, no holds barred, to tell it like it is in the nation's capital. Ha ha ha. You'll understand what I mean in my New York Social Diary column for today, here.
For New York Social Diary "Dining" today I write about a recent visit to New York City's crowded and stylish Lavo, where the signature dish is a giant Kobe meatball. Also popular is the Oreo Zeppole, double stuffed Oreo cookies served with a vanilla malted milkshake. Filling? Yes. But that's the point. Read more here.
Pierre Vimont was in Washington only a few years as French Ambassador, but in that short time he made an impressive presence. Now he's off to Brussels for a much bigger job with the EU. He's the subject of my column today on New York Social Diary. Read it here.
A bar is a bar is a bar, unless its P.J. Clarke's. For New York Social Diary "Dining," I visit the new P.J. Clarke's DC, as much a new adventure as a trip down memory lane. Read about it here.
On New York Social Diary today I write about Larry King and his long-time producer, Wendy Walker; a private screening hosted by Jeff Zucker on behalf of Prince Charles; an Amy Holmes party at Juleanna Glover's, and an interesting visit to the ISPA convention at National Harbor. It's all here.
Unfortunately when I was at the ISPA convention I missed the folks at Alchemie, DC's own Georgetown based brand (lower Wisconsin). I did stop by to admire their products, however, and today received this nice note from them which is an early holiday present for local fans. This is a deal not to be passed up:
"The Alchimie Forever showroom is a DC beauty destination that offers personal attention and quality Swiss skin care! We would like to offer your readers 15% off during the month of December if they mention LOVEAF at checkout."
Our next Q&A Cafe is Friday, March 14, a rescheduled conversation with Kojo Nnamdi, host of his own daily broadcast on WAMU. We will start the show at 1:30pm at the Georgetown Club on Wisconsin Avenue, with lunch and what-all included for $35. For reservations, please call Christian at 202-333-9330.
Author, interviewer, and photographer. Read more...
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