Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Around Town

with Donna Shor

Antoine Predock "took gold" recently when he was awarded the American Architectural Foundation's prestigious Gold Medal, the "Oscar" for that profession-and you have never seen a happier chap. The video screens at the Accent on Architecture Gala pictured several of his most innovative buildings, as well as Antoine himself, white-haired, handsome and vigorous astride a motorcycle from his treasured collection of twenty-five. Predock's win was a popular one, judging by the enthusiasm of the 1,000 celebrants at the National Building Museum, including his dynamic wife, the sculptor Constance DeJong, his staffers and a crowd of clients from various cities. Later, irrepressible Antoine passed out souvenir black knitted "gangsta" watch caps to everyone, advising "Don't wear this to your neighborhood liquor store." His medal ushers him into a pantheon that includes Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and I.M. Pei. Predock is New Mexico-based architect famed for structures blending a strong historical sense with spiritual insight. He connects the land, the space and the client in harmony.




Alaska Gov. Fra nk Murkows ki, NGYF Presi dent Greg Shar p and for mer Secretar y of Veteran’s Affairs Anthony Principi
Tarh eel Chall enge Acad emy C a dets Jennifer Beckelhimer a nd Christy R. Bailey with country artist Josh Gracin

When wine buff Melanie Corcoran and her wine consultant bridegroom, Daniel Mahdavian, invited eighty guests to the St. Regis Hotel for a very special sevencourse Wedding Wine Dinner; the superlative dishes and bottlings produced a banquet that equaled or even surpassed those served by the proud Bordeaux "wine aristocracy" in their chateaux in the Medoc. We won't list the vintages or the sumptuous dishes; you would be too jealous, but let's just say these wines were worth every cent they cost, and worthy of the be-truffled dishes. "The Corks" were jumping, but not just the ones being pulled from the bottles. Melanie is the granddaughter of the late political operative, Tommy "The Cork" Corcoran, and the whole Corcoran clan, out en masse at the dinner, seemed as buoyant as corks themselves, singing, laughing and having a rollicking good time. Melanie designed and created the menus, and she and her mother, Carol Anderson, hand-painted grape vines on the tiny, goldwrapped souvenir dishes that held, appropriately, chocolate kisses to mark the turtledoves' event.

Dr. Eliz beth G . Nabel, F irst Lady Laura Bush and M rs. Irene Pollin


This year was the biggest yet as eleven hundred women arrived at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel for the 58th annual luncheon of the American Heart Association's Women's Board. Rome-based designer Peter Langner offered wearable and beautiful garments on the runway, and one would expect no less as he apprenticed to such greats as Guy Laroche, Emanuel Ungaro, Mark Bohan at Dior and Norman Hartnell. A week earlier at Rizik's, Renée Rizik Kalil and Maxine Tanous hosted a gathering to introduce Langner to members... The Literacy Council‘s fundraiser, organized by executive director Liz Liptak, scored a triumph, thanks to its witty supporters. "Love Letters for Literacy" at La Maison Francaise began with tender tributes from the emcee, ABC Channel 7 anchor Kathleen Matthews to husband NBC host Chris Matthews. There was a touching moist-eyed speech from former Senator Birch Bayh when he and wife Kitty were given a special award for their fervent support. The readings by Maureen Corrigan, Gwen Ifill, Susan Shrive and Trish and George Vradenburg were exceptional. A moving moment was the student reading by Counciltutored LaTanya Gerald, when guests saw in action what the Literacy Council is all about.

Hogan and Hartson's Chris Warnke and Robert Wood Johnson were honored in New York at a party hosted by the beauteous designer Maria Snyder, at her Fifth Avenue apartment. Johnson, of the worldwide Johnson & Johnson healthcare company, is chairman and CEO of both the Johnson Co., and the New York Jets. He was honored for his philanthropic work and efforts against autoimmune diseases such as juvenile diabetes and lupus. Chris was given kudos for her work on women's issues. Guests included John Loeb Jr., Mort Zuckerman, producer Jonathan Farkas and his wife Somers and financial guru Asher Edelman. Up from Washington were Linda Roth and Fran Drescher, who has been visiting here lobbying for the fight against uterine cancer… Carmen Petrowitz opened her distinctive early Victorian home in Georgetown to honor Count Heinrich Matthias Thurn, a descendant of the princely and castle-rich family of Thurn und Taxis. In fact, Matthias owns a castle, too. "Inherited," he explained, "and I share it with a cousin." (Back in 1490, it was his distant great, great, etc., etc., grandfather, Franz Thurn und Taxis who established a postal system that served the Habsburg's empire and set the pattern for all of Europe for 300 years.) Guests included Shelley and Bruce Ross-Larson, the couple who bought the home of the late Susan Mary Alsop; Gertrude d'Amecourt and daughter Nicole; Andre Willieme; Kevin Chaffee; Maya Bucow and Rosemary and Joseph Caponio…

Ed and Terry Orzechowski with
 Eric Billings, Scott Pastrick, Pat Clancy, Mary Anne Clancy

Over on New Mexico Avenue Cathie and Dean Philpott's party had so many fascinating little splinter conversations going that guests stayed on way past the polite go-home time. In one corner, Francoise Ellis discussed the world scene and children's health with Dr. Richard Jonas, the chief cardiovascular surgeon at the Children's Medical Center, who has traveled the world over in his work (25 trips to China, alone!) Seen: architect Carmen Jonas; Richard and Susan Lloyd Graham; Ronald and Belle Duchin; from the American Cancer Society, Sonya Hird and her fiancée Chris Clark; Moana and Eric Jackson; Ann and John Boyd; Tony Beargie; Lolo Sarnoff and Blake Ashburner.

Chilean Amb. Andrés Bianchi presented the first-ever U.S. industry training session on Chilean food and wine at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner,


After luncheon at the Colombian embassy Nohra Pastrana, the wife of the newly-appointed ambassador and a former first lady of her country, took her guests to the Museum of Natural History to see a very special exhibit of 2,000 year-old Colombian gold objects, exquisite in their workmanship and modern as today. The women, who had all seen beautiful things in museums around the world, were awe-struck at this rare exhibit (which closes, alas, on April 9, so hurry.) Guest Marlene Malek had inside information, because two years ago the Pastranas had shown her, and husband Fred, around the goldworkers' sites in Colombia's mountains.

Send advance notice of an event you think Around Town should know about to donnashor@washingtonlife.com.



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