In the know

Joan Collins gets demanding at Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honors is a dignified event for dignified people. And sometimes Hollywood just doesn’t understand the ways of Washington. For instance, metal detectors. All attendees had to pass through security, including actress Joan Collins.

According to an ITK spy, Collins was “bitching and moaning” about having to stand in line. A much younger man in a tuxedo who was accompanying her explained, “Everyone has to do this because the president is going to be here.”

Collins was decked out in a black dress with a fluffy white collar that stood up on end. “It reminded me of a vampire,” said another ITK spy.

Collins then began complaining about the need to quench her thirst. This time she took matters into her own hands and turned to another gentleman and asked if there was water beyond the metal detector. The man, clearly a Secret Service agent (judging by the curly wire coming out of his ear), said he had no idea.

Collins has been in Washington starring in a play at the National Theatre called “Legends,” with “Dynasty” co-star Linda Evans. The show ended Sunday. A manager at the National Theatre had nothing bad to say about Collins. “I think she was lovely,” he said.

Kathy Rochefort, publicist for “Legends,” had no comment on whether her client is high-maintenance or not.

Senators swarmed the Kennedy Center event to a greater extent than House members. They included Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) (who beamed as his niece, Carolyn Kennedy Schlossberg, emceed), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)and John Warner (R-Va.).

House members included Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).


 
Supreme Court Justice Breyer explains his day job

Just what exactly does a Supreme Court justice do? Just ask Stephen Breyer, who explains it in much the way one would if speaking to a kindergarten class.

Breyer, a former Harvard law professor, last week was invited by Generation Engage, a group dedicated to politically energizing college-age youth, to host an iChat. 

Breyer spoke from the new Swedish Embassy on the banks of the Potomac in Georgetown — a spectacular space with a stunning, cascading wall of water and many glass walls, the idea being to promote openness and accessibility. Youth were stationed at the embassy and remotely, by computer, in Richmond, Va. and New York’s Lower East Side.

Somewhat quiet, shy and balding, Breyer took to the front of the room with relative ease. It took the justice a minute or two to adjust to iChat technology as he was sandwiched between two large computer TV screens with live youth looking at him. “It’s very nice to be here,” Breyer said. “I’ve never seen something as complicated as this. I see you looking at me, and I’m looking at you.”

And now, for the explanation of his job: “I’m a judge on an appeals court. One side lost, the other side won. The side that lost, the lawyer thinks the judge is really dumb. The lawyer who lost decides to appeal. We listen. We have a little bit of oral argument and we write opinions.”

Why do cases reach the Supreme Court? “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” he said. “Lawyers are supposed to work things out, but sometimes it doesn’t go away.”

Before continuing, Breyer asked, “Now is that dry enough?” 

He concluded his remarks by sharing his rules for working with the other judges: 1) No one speaks twice until everyone has spoken once. 2) Tomorrow is another day. “We may disagree like mad, I mean, my goodness, [but] today is today, tomorrow is tomorrow, each case is independent.” Breyer said he has never heard a voice raised in anger in the 12 years he has served on the court.

In the audience were Generation Engage’s founders, Devin and Adrian Talbott (sons of Strobe Talbott), Lauren (Devin’s wife), and Justin Rockefeller, son of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who was there with wife, Sharon. Also in attendance was Swedish Ambassador Gunar Lund, author Patricia O’Toole and Cate Edwards, daughter of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who sits on Generation Engage’s board. 

Sen. Rockefeller received some good-natured ribbing. “Young people, when asked which institution they trust the most, say the Supreme Court,” said Adrian Talbott when introducing Breyer. “More than the military, more than Congress — excuse me, Sen. Rockefeller.” 


 
Rep. Brad Sherman ties the knot

Congressman avoids funky chicken and electric slide

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), 52, got married this past weekend to Lisa Nicola Kaplan, 34, in an outdoor ceremony at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, Calif. that was presided over by not just one but two rabbis — one of whom has known Sherman for 30 years. Approximately 270 guests attended.

The wedding was more classical than raucous. A string quartet played for a while, followed by recorded music. The couple danced the hora to “Hava Nagila,” but there was no chicken dance, electric slide or Macarena.

Calamigos Ranch, nestled on 130 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains, is surrounded by waterfalls and ponds, as well as oak, maple, willow and eucalyptus trees, according to the ranch’s website.

The couple is not taking a honeymoon just yet. They returned to Washington on Monday so Sherman could proceed with the lame-duck session and Kaplan could continue with her post as the deputy director of the office on global anti-Semitism in the Bureau of Democracy. The plan is to have a honeymoon eventually.

“He has said before that [House Speaker] Denny Hastert (R-Ill.) gets to say when he goes on his honeymoon,” said Sherman spokesman Mike Briggs.

The couple first met at Hunan Dynasty on Capitol Hill. Details are scarce, however, about who approached whom. “I don’t know any more than that,” said Briggs. “Obviously they made an impression on each other.”


 
Announcements

Former aide to Sen. Trent Lott marries Mike Espy’s niece

Billed as the “biggest political wedding in Mississippi,” Nic Lott, 27, and Jaye Espy, 36, wed this past weekend in a splashy southern 300-guest wedding in Vicksburg, Miss., at the BB Club, the original Jewish Community Center. Lott, a former aide to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), is currently the spokesman for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).

His bride, who works for the College Board, is also associated with well-known political figures. She is the niece of Mike Espy, Mississippi’s first African-American congressman and the former Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton. Her brother is Chuck Espy, a state representative who challenged Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) in this year’s Democratic primary. 

At an event last week in Jackson, Sen. Lott cracked on his former aide, saying, “Y’all don’t mind if I talk with my cousin do you?” The joke is that they share the same surname and are not really cousins; Nic Lott is African-American and Trent Lott is, well, not.

The couple met last December on the campaign trail for Chuck Espy as he was planning his race against Thompson. “My friends said they’d never seen me speechless,” Nic Lott said. 

A month passed before the couple met again. “It was fairly quick,” said Lott. “I certainly understand love at first sight.”

The couple plan to honeymoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They will live in Madison, Miss.


 
Rep. Becerra aide to wed Sen. Dodd aide

September is a good month for Steve Haro, director of legislation and communications director for Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), and his bride-to-be, Tamar Magarik, a professional staff member for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) for the Subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. It is the month they met, the month they got engaged and the month they plan to marry in 2007.

The aides — he is 29, she is 28 — met at a congressional reception on Sept. 28, 2005 at the top of 101 Constitution Ave. “We just randomly ran into each other,” Haro said, adding that Magarik asked for his e-mail before they parted ways.

On Sept. 28 of this year, Haro proposed to Magarik — where else? — on a rooftop at 101 Constitution. “Some very good friends at Univision helped reserve some time on one of the rooftop decks, so I could propose in the same place that I met her,” he said.

Haro said he knew that he had met someone significant on the night of the reception in 2005. “I had a pretty good hunch that she was special and that I needed to get to know her better,” he said. “I was anxious, anxious to see her again after that first meeting.”

Honeymoon possibilities include some destinations in Mexico, such as Zihuatanejo and Puerto Vallarta, and Greece.


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