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The Kennedy Center Honors

December 6, 2009

Secretary Clinton hosted the dinner for the honorees at the State Dept. last night and the official ceremony is tonight. From the WaPo:

On Saturday night, inside the hulking stone walls of the State Department building, Sharon Stone and Lynda Carter became new best friends. Frank Langella and Barbara Walters turned heads by showing up together. One luminary after another stopped on the red carpet to pose for cameras and make bad gate-crasher jokes.

“We’re not from Virginia!”

“We can’t stop, we don’t have an invitation!”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed the glittering VIPs in from the cold to the awards dinner for the 32nd annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Few other events — in Washington or anywhere else in this country — draw together a pool of such varied and enormous talent. Saturday’s honorees — actor Robert De Niro, opera singer Grace Bumbry, rock legend Bruce Springsteen, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and writer/director/producer Mel Brooks — will be feted Sunday with a gala performance at the Kennedy Center. On Saturday, they just caught up with a few old pals and mingled with a couple hundred new ones.

“You’re my fan,” Rep. John L. Mica, a Florida Republican, bumbled to Martin Short. “Er, I mean, I’m your fan.”

It happens, that kind of bumbling, in a room like this. Consider the guest list, or at least this sliver of it: Edward Norton, Sharon Stone (looking very thin in purple Galliano), Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Melissa Etheridge, Nora Ephron, Nancy Pelosi (sparkly black Armani jacket), Sting, Harvey Keitel, Chita Rivera, Alan Alda, Ben Harper, Laura Dern, Jane Krakowski, Christine Baranski and Matthew Morrison of newly-found “Glee” fame. (And yes, for the record, names and IDs were tripled-checked by security guards who didn’t seem much amused by gate-crasher jokes.)

“When you see Thomas Jefferson’s desk, it’s almost like a fictional character,” said Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. “And Meryl Streep — come on.”

“It’s very crowded and it smells old,” reported Jon Stewart. “It smells Colonial. And I wandered into the Martha Washington room not realizing it was the ladies lounge.”

Secretary Clinton wore a midnight blue gown and just a slight sheen of jet lag, having flown in from Brussels late Friday after working to drum up international support for the administration’s Afghanistan plan. Bill Clinton wore a hiply straight tie and the biggest grin imaginable as he held up the receiving line.

The Kennedy Center Honors have none of the chest-clutching who’s-going-to-beat-who tension imbued at most awards show. Here the only surprise is who-will-pay-tribute-to-who. (And in the age of digital megaphones, it’s become harder to keep the air in that balloon — you’re not supposed to just Twitter it, Edward Norton!)

But there will always be a question of whose words or songs, in evoking the fertile geniuses of the honorees, will send chills down our spine. Reminding us that, as John F. Kennedy put it, there is “little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.”

And that the people standing in the State Department’s diplomatic rooms, admiring Thomas Jefferson’s desk and inspecting a copy the Treaty of Paris, regularly go where diplomats and politicians rarely can: into the recesses of far-flung minds, still deciphering the world through movies and music.

The 2009 Kennedy Center Honorees Robert De Niro, left; Grace Bumbry, bottom left, Dave Brubeck, bottom right; Bruce Springsteen, second from right; and Mel Brooks, right, pose with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for a photo at the State Department following the Kennedy Center Honors Gala Dinner on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Can I just say I love Mel Brooks and I’m sad Ann Bancroft didn’t live long enough to see him get this honor?


13 Comments leave one →
  1. pcfs1 permalink
    December 6, 2009 11:18 am

    I do not know how she does it. I would be so exhusted after all the travel she has been doing. That said, she looks so pretty and Iam glad Bill Clinton was in there.

  2. alinosof permalink
    December 6, 2009 12:21 pm

    I think I am in love. Bill look out, you have competition on your hands! Lol.

    • rachel permalink
      December 6, 2009 1:23 pm

      Is that you David? just kidding. I love the pictures.

      • lucy permalink
        December 6, 2009 1:25 pm

        Lol. She was really nice and beautiful 🙂

  3. December 6, 2009 2:28 pm

    This is my favorite dress ever. She is so stunning it it, that it took me awhile to realize that her elbow looks completely back to normal. No scars. Good Lord, she is SO beautiful!

    • Terry permalink
      December 6, 2009 3:28 pm

      Gorgeous in sapphire blue. That skin, oh my! Bill has got to get her some gems to go just with that dress that brings out her eyes so well.

    • PYW permalink
      December 6, 2009 3:41 pm

      I totally agree. That gown looks fabulous on her!

  4. Veyry permalink
    December 6, 2009 6:36 pm

    Hi to all:

    I wish David Miliband was there.Have you seen all the videos of him and Hillary toghether? Look how he always has his eyes fixed in her.It’s not me; I think they really like each other; and I love the attention she receives from him as she looks happy.I’m serious, watch out Bill, your wife is beautiful!


    • rachel permalink
      December 6, 2009 7:50 pm

      I don’t just a feeling but I don’t think Hillary’s hubby would have appreciated David beign there trying to compete for attention as Bill doesnt get much time with her as it is lol.

    • PYW permalink
      December 6, 2009 8:51 pm

      There was an article last week in the Times of London about how Hillary and Millibrand were flirting with each other at the NATO meeting, lol.

      • rachel permalink
        December 6, 2009 8:56 pm

        I read that. I think London is taking this thing a little too far lol. The wrote something about how David didn’t seem please when someone else got in in their conversation.

  5. ellhysha arifianti permalink
    December 14, 2009 4:16 am

    very beautiifull :3

  6. June 25, 2013 1:20 pm

    I love rainbows

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