DC digest™

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right." -- Mark Twain

The Malaysian Food Fest, running through November, was recently launched at the Satay Club restaurant in northwest Washington, DC by His Excellency Azmil Zabidi, Ambassador of Malaysia to the US, shown with his wife Karen Low Zabidi (right) and DCdigest’s Donna Christenson. Masks were worn due to COVID-19 and guests could choose to participate in the event remaining outdoors.

Ron Klain, JD, former White House Ebola Response Coordinator (now White House chief of staff under President Joe Biden), Nancy Messonnier, MD, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Anthony Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease discussed the emerging coronavirus and the threat it posed in February 2020 at a lunchtime discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine and Society Program.

Ask me about Dr. Messonnier's very cute shoes!

DCdigest’s Donna Christenson had a front row seat, in an audience including an array of former Congressmen, Senators, media, healthcare and community leaders. Though the tone of the conversation was very serious as to how bad COVID-19 will get, how dangerous it is, and whether we are prepared, Dan Glickman, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program, (holding microphone) seems to have made a comment that broke the tension and brought a smile to the faces of author Janet Langhart and her husband William Cohen, ex-Secretary of Defense .

Remember "The Before Times" when we used to gather in groups without wearing masks and maintaining social distance? Enjoy the photo mementos of the pre-COVID-19 events below.

Journalist/author Ann Crittenden with DCdigest's Donna Christenson photo credit: James Arvantes

Award-winning journalist, author, and lecturer Ann Crittenden discussed her book Raising Children: The Most Undervalued Leadership Credential. Her latest book, If You've Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything, received critical praise and was featured in People magazine.

In addition to writing critically-acclaimed books, Crittenden covered economic topics for The New York Times, initiated numerous investigative reports, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has also been a writer or contributor to numerous major publications, a visiting lecturer at MIT and Yale, an economics commentator for CBS News, and executive director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

A picture-perfect day for the running of the International Gold Cup Races.

Photos by Donna Christenson

On Members' Hill, the very stylish McLean hostess Diane O'Connell (right) treated friends including Mary Maglio (left) to a sumptuous tailgate buffet.

Joe Maslar, Becky Krausman, Cindy McGrory and Bill Whitt enjoyed the festivities, as well as the opportunity to don stylish hats.

photo by Todd Crespi

DCdigest's Donna Christenson (left) might be sharing tips on how to pick a winner with Jan Commodore.

photo by Morris Simon for the Embassy Series

As part of The Embassy Series concert event held at the Embassy of Israel in Washington DC for “World Music Day” celebrating the life of Daniel Pearl, an investigative journalist for the “Wall Street Journal” and also a professional violinist, Alexandria, VA artist Len Garon (right) created an original charcoal and pastel drawing of two violinists. Two commemorative posters of the artwork were presented by Jerome Berry, (center) Artistic Director and co-founder of The Embassy Series, and Len Garon, the “Official Visual Artist” of The Embassy Series to Sarit Arbell, Director of Cultural Affairs, one for him and another for Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States. After Daniel Pearl was killed by terrorists while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002, “World Music Day” was created to honor him and promote tolerance and understanding, “Uniting People through Musical Diplomacy”, and is now celebrated in over 140 countries.

DCdigest's Donna Christenson and Richard Sommerfeld celebrated in style after she picked the winner at a Kentucky Derby party. "I'll Have Another" was both the name of the winning horse and a phrase one might have heard repeated as guests enjoyed sipping the traditional mint juleps.

photo by Barbara Twigg

Meryl Streep poses in front of The Iron Lady posters at the Washington, DC premier preview screening of her film.

At the Washington, DC premier preview screening of "The Iron Lady”, leading lady Meryl Streep discussed the challenges of portraying the iconic former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In a busy week culminating with Streep becoming one of the five Kennedy Center Honorees, she took time to meet with a bevy of Congressional women to encourage them to join her in support of the planned National Women's History Museum. Audience members for the screening included some faces you may recognize in the photos below.

DCdigest's Barbara Twigg with Senator Amy Klobuchar

DCdigest's Donna Christenson with Senator Barbara Mikulski

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Day of the Kingdom of Bahrain at a reception at the Ritz Carlton,

DC digest 's Donna Christenson and Richard Sommerfeld flank Yasser H. Abdullah Al Haddad, head of Protocol, Administration & Consulate Affairs for the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

photo by Gina Merris

9/11/11 IBIS in Love, was the theme for the annual house party and fundraiser of the IBIS Chamber Music Society, featuring an ensemble of world-class musicians from the Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera, Boston Pops and National Symphony orchestras, joined in performance by their spouses, and friends. A perfectly romantic setting nestled among the trees was provided by the spectacular, art-filled home of Jan and Elizabeth Lodal.

As a remembrance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, violinist Joel Fuller and pianist Edward Newman (above) performed the very moving Louange a l'eternitie de Jesus from Messiaen's Quatour Pour La Fin du Temps.

photo by Gina Merris

Since they usually perform in different orchestras, it was a rare treat for three married couples, from left Joe Scheer and Susan Robinson, Susan and Joel Fuller, Dan and Adria Foster, to perform together. They were joined by Edward Newman (whose wife NSO violinist Elisabeth Adkins was unable to be there).

photo by Gina Merris

IBIS Chamber Music Society founders, husband and wife Joe Scheer and Susan Robinson,offered the Fantaisie for violin and harp by Saint-Saens.

In a surprise finale that brought tears to many in the audience, the entire group joined together for a poignant and powerful performance of America, the Beautiful, the perfect finish for a concert on this momentous anniversary.

6/25/11 The longest days of summer sunshine are ideal for picture hats.

DC digest 's Donna Christenson and Homeland Security's JJ Rodriguez celebrate the Summer Solstice.

"Innocent Spouse” is making quite a stir in Washington, DC these days, as well as in New York and elsewhere. At a luncheon hosted by Liz Sara (left) at Rivers at the Watergate this week, author Carol Joynt described how the unexpected death of her husband made her the owner of Nathans, the renowned Georgetown tavern, and led to her decade-long saga involving tax deception and legal wrangling.

At another recent book party at Bridge Street Books (www.bridgestreetbooks.com), Katherine Tallmadge seems to be showing Barbara Johnson something juicy from the pages of "Innocent Spouse".

Below, author Carol Joynt with Stephanie Green and Nancy Taylor Bubes.

DC digest 's Donna Christenson and The Artifactory owner Dominick Cardella celebrate the first anniversary of Buddha-Bar DC, the elegant Asian-fusion restaurant, at a private party co-hosted with the magazine Washington Life. Perhaps the hosts were referring to Tricia Messerschmitt, Susan Toffler, Karl Bourdeau and Victoria Norman (below ) when the invitations said that, among other things, the party would feature "appearances by high-profile Washingtonians"!

Barbara Twigg takes a playful moment at BIO World Congress in Toronto.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 81, was the second person to set foot on the moon nearly 42 years ago. In a wheelchair and with a cast on his broken arm, he described an unfortunate encounter with the open door of the dishwasher to DC digest 's Donna Christenson at a reception prior to the White House Correspondents Dinner.

4/30/11 Political journalist, author and Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones, David Corn texts his other guests for the White House Correspondents Dinner as actor Sean Penn chats with DC digest 's Donna Christenson.

In addition to Sean Penn, David Corn's guests included R.E.M.'s Mike Mills (center).

For one of the most exclusive of the after-parties, a red carpet and multi-colored lighting transformed the entrance to the Embassy of Italy for guests of MSNBC.

Photo by: Donna Christenson

At the exclusive after-party at the Italian Embassy, a neon sign designated Maddow's Bar, where the brilliant PhD Rhodes scholar political commentator and award-winning host of the eponymous The Rachel Maddow Show was actually tending bar!

Photo by Donna Christenson

3/22/11 At The Aspen Institute luncheon discussion of his new book Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President Michael M. Kaiser is joined by Kennedy Center Honorary Trustee and Aspen Institute Board Member Alma Gildenhorn, Blair House Board Chairman Selwa "Lucky" Roosevelt and Jerome Barry, opera singer and Artistic Director/Founder of The Embassy Series.

3/18/11 Gallery owner Marsha Ralls and hundreds of artists, collectors and friends celebrated the twenty year anniversary

of The Ralls Collection, which opened its doors in Georgetown in 1991.

3/9/11 Following a discussion of her new book Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age held at the House of Sweden, award-winning author and columnist Maggie Jackson greets John Edward Hasse, Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. According to the author, attention is the key to self-discipline, awareness and nuanced thinking. We give attention to what seems worthy in our lives at that specific moment. Being totally present for someone is a sacrifice of our time and an important gift of something you can never get back.

2/24/11 Following a luncheon/discussion as part of The Aspen Institute’s Washington Leadership Series,

The Honorable Vincent C. Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia chats with DC digest 's Donna Christenson

and The Ralls Collection's Marsha Ralls.

DC digest 's Donna Christenson with Burr Gray, Helen Whalen, Suzette Manduley and Bill Berkson.

2/3/11 At the Kreeger Museum Winter Members’ Reception sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland,

Curator and Director of Curator’s Office Gallery, Andrea Pollan, gave insights into her experiences at Art Basel: Miami, the US venue of Art Basel. (Shown above with designer John Hutson, www.lyricspacellc.com).

Skip Kaltenheuser and Hugh Grindstaff pause in front of one the many paintings by Monet in the Kreeger dining room.

Following the discussion, guests including pianist Barbara Twigg (www.Btplayspiano.com) and FAA engineer

Beth Callsen enjoyed a sumptuous spread of wine and raclette provided by the Embassy of Switzerland.

1/29/11 At Addison/Ripley Fine Art’s opening reception on Saturday night, you'd be forgiven if the delightful series of abstract wall pieces brought to mind Lewis Carroll and Through the Looking Glass. In fact, the magical, whimsical creations were produced by Dickson Carroll (right), architect and artist, craftsmen and dreamer. Gallery owners Christopher Addison and Sylvia Ripley invite you to experience this celebration of form, function and fantasy in Carroll's vibrant signature color palette. See more at

www.addisonripleyfineart.com and www.dicksoncarroll.com


1/22/11 Nayiri Poochikian (center) hosted a private music salon in her home where guests included J. Masler, DC digest 's Donna Christenson, Jeff Kuntz and Sundi Stein. Internationally-aclaimed Russian pianist Sonya Gulyak repeated the program she had played the night before at a sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center.

1/21/11 It is a rare treat to hear nationally-regarded musicians perform in an intimate setting, but such was the case Saturday night at a private music salon hosted in the McLean home of Robin Phillips. The Paddy D Trio features Paddy Dougherty on vocals, guitar & keyboard, Eric Hollandsworth on cello/bass and Daniel Kepel-Young on violin/viola. For bio details about this very talented singer-songwriter, to listen to her music and buy CDs, check out her website at http://www.paddyd.com

Included in the rapt audience for this very special performance were

DC digest 's Donna Christenson, Bob Hamady, and Jessie & Mike Dombalagian.

Salon hostess Robin Phillips is also well-known to Washington, DC audiences,

with a musical range from cabaret to opera, and was coaxed to join The Paddy D Trio for a musical encore.

Photo by Donna Christenson

12/31/10 New Year's Eve is the perfect time to wear a top hat! Jeff Kuntz, Mary Miller, Tarek Elaroussi and Aneta Owens

were among the 50 celebrants at a party hosted by Nayiri Poochikian in her lovely Potomac home.

DC digest 's Cary Pollak, Barbara Brownell, Len Garon, DC digest 's Judy Harris, Bill Whitt and Cindy McGrory

also enjoyed the New Year's Eve festivities.

Hostess and classical violinist Nayiri Poochikian and DC digest 's Donna Christenson raise a toast to the new year.

Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan

12/16/10 The Georgetown Dish's publisher Beth Solomon accepted the Georgetown Business Association’s award for "Business of the Year." Other award winners (L to R) John John Dreyfuss of Halcyon House, receiving the Art Schultz Communitarian Award, and Assistant Chief Patrick Burke and Officer Robert Ferretti of the Metropolitan Police Department were awarded the Joe Pozell Public Safety Award.

Photo by: Donna Christenson

Officer Robert Ferretti’s two-year-old daughter, Isabella Marie, and wife Jessica are delighted to see him honored with the award.

Photo by: Donna Christenson

11-30-10 The Pink Line Project's Philippa Hughes and art collector Darryl Atwell, who helped found the collectors support group CAS51, offered insights about collecting art, especially how to get started. The conversation was held at Busboys & Poets as part of SIM&SON's "Furious Dancing" exhibit, which they curated to honor Alice Walker's new book "Hard Times Require Furious Dancing."

11-24-10 Annual Thanksgiving Eve Cocktail Celebration - John Fillmore, Nancy MacKenzie, Maureen McCarthy Norris, Judy Jones Sommerfeld, Joe Carter, Jerry Norris, Lydia Hofer and Cheryl Belucci (in front) were among the many friends who gathered to kick-off the holidays.

Bill Mounjoy, John Mountjoy, Sara Grosvenor and Sonny Hill enjoying the festivities.

11-20-10 At The National Wine Experience at The Newseum, Kathy Stansbury and Walter Henderson enjoy a toast!

Find more details about the event on DC digest 's Food & Wine and Calendar pages.

11-19-10 Artist Groover Cleveland (right) shows two of his pieces to Melissa Maxman and her husband Glenn Marcus at a group art show of Mid City Artists at DC Loft.

District of Columbia's Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton with DC digest 's Donna Christenson

at a birthday celebration at the famed Ben's Chili Bowl.

11-18-10 Friends Night Out - Holly Clark, DC digest 's Donna Christenson, Maureen McCarthy

and Judy Jones Sommerfeld

11-14-10 Trio Sefardi, featuring Howard Bass (lute, guitar, percussion), Susan Gaeta (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Tina Chancey (bowed string, percussion, vocals), gave a wide-ranging concert of lovely, lively, haunting, and fascinating Sephardic music (sung in the Ladino language). They have performed and recorded with La Rondinella, the Western Wind, and National Heritage Fellowship awardee Flory Jagoda. Group members combine a respect for tradition with a creative approach to arranging and scoring to bring the vibrant past into the living present.

11-5-10 IBIS Chamber Music Society gets an enthusiastic round of applause at their intimate fireside Champagne & Strings concert. IBIS musicians are members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the National Symphony.

IBIS Chamber Music Society co-founder and violinist Joe Scheer (center) is surrounded by

some of the audience members who heard about the concert on Paul's List.

11/1/10 DC digest 's Donna Christenson and J Maslar with Mary Wilson of the Supremes after her benefit concert at DCJCC.

10/29/10 Dr. Kaldun Nossuli and his wife Nur Nossuli hosted a dinner party celebrating

the engagement of Dr. Graham and his fiancee' psychologist Ann Yeck.

10/22/10 At Halcyon House Friday evening, Govinda Gallery owner Chris Murray, his sister Rita Meyer and Speaker Of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi celebrate the opening of the exhibition he curated,

Elvis at 21: Photographs of Alfred Wertheimer at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

October 23, 2010 - January 23, 2011.

One of Alfred Werthheimer's photos of Elvis looks down as the J.P. McDermott band plays.

DC digest 's Donna Christenson wishes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi well in the upcoming elections.

No Elvis celebration would be complete without blue suede shoes, worn by Andrew Cockburn.

Architect, sculptor and owner of Halcyon House (where the Elvis at 21 party was held)

John Dreyfuss shows Donna Christenson one of his sculptures.

10/20/10 Tandy Dickerson could have shown the runway models a thing or two at the

Capitol File 5th Anniversary celebration at the Corcoran Gallery.

10/20/10 DCdigest's Founder Donna Christenson and

AOL Founder Jim Kimsey at Capitol File's 5th Anniversary celebration at the Corcoran.

Wyatt and Tandy Dickerson flank Heather (in feathers) Kennedy.

10/19/10 NPR's Diane Rehm, DCdigest 's Donna Christenson and Bonjour Paris' Karen Fawcett

at a gathering Karen hosted to introduce some of her friends and neighbors to each other.

DCdigest 's Donna Christenson, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Ralls Collection Gallery owner Marsha Ralls.

10/10/10 - The IBIS Chamber Music Society performed a free concert during the opening weekend of Artisphere.

IBIS musicians are members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the National Symphony.

10/10/10 - The Artisphere Ballroom offers a beautiful sprung wood dance floor and plenty of room for watching, too. Formerly the Newseum, the Artisphere also includes two theaters, a snack bar, and various spaces for working artists and art exhibits.

10/6/10 Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer talks with DCdigest's Donna Christenson at The Aspen Institute following a discussion of his new book Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View.

White House correspondent & MSNBC host Chuck Todd looks on as DCdigest's Donna Christenson chats with

Rahm Emanuel, formerly President Obama's Chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago.