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John Mayer, William Cohen, Jimmy Jam, Jane Seymour

Alice in Wonderland
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat and Kevin Chaffee, senior adviser at Qorvis Communications. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, and William Cohen, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Cohen Group, took a trip down the rabbit hole last night.

The Mellon Auditorium was transformed into a virtual toy land for the Alice in Wonderland Ball, a fundraiser for the Washington Ballet under the artistic leadership of Septime Webre.

Webre’s most recent production of “Alice (in wonderland)” had its debut at the Kennedy Center earlier this month.

Children dressed as a deck of cards greeted guests on the red carpet. Heart-shaped grilled-cheese sandwiches were passed. Little cocktail flags said “drink me.”

Webre and the ball’s chairwoman, former Ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth F. Bagley, posed with pint-sized ballerinas at the entrance. In the rose-colored ballroom, game cards lay on every table.

The decor is “a perfect example of Septime’s creativity and sense of whimsy,” explained Jack Davies, the owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

In the ballroom, Whitehouse caught up with Asset Alliance Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Lipnick and Vin Roberti, the chairman of Roberti + White.

Ballet supporter Carrie Marriott said her daughter is already aspiring to be a ballet dancer, and a socialite.

“Her dream is to be a party girl in ‘The Nutcracker.’”

The ball, which had 375 guests, raised more than $300,000.

Grammys on the Hill

Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, talked to singer John Mayer and Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow. Representative Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat, chatted with R&B star Jimmy Jam.

Artists and politicians gathered Wednesday night at the reception and awards ceremony for Grammys on the Hill. It’s a two-day affair where Washington insiders learn about the latest developments in the recording industry, and individuals are honored for their music advocacy and philanthropy.

Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican, and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was one of the first to arrive at the VIP reception at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel where he was greeted by Todd Dupler, director of government, advocacy and industry relations for the Recording Academy.

“I like Beyonce, but I’m not so keen on her husband,” he explained of his musical favorites. Issa huddled with Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, who said his own musical abilities include song writing.

Showing rare bipartisan affection, Hatch wrapped his arms around the waist of the petite Representative Loretta Sanchez, the California Democrat, who described herself as “a hard rocker.” She added that she and her new husband, Jack Einwechter, were recently “beepin’ and boppin’” at a Heart concert.

Mini chicken pot pies were passed while guests stood drinking cocktails before the award ceremony.

“I’m a big John Mayer fan. I love his work,” said Representative Mel Watt, the North Carolina Democrat, who attended the party with his wife, Eulada.

Jam explained he was looking forward to presenting Representative Howard Berman, the California Democrat, with a special award during the ceremony, where Mayer was also lauded for his activism.

‘Something Old’

Former First Lady of California Maria Shriver had little comment on the designer of her elegant ensemble at the Alzheimer’s Association National Dinner on April 24.

“I have no idea,” said Shriver, whose late father, Sargent Shriver, had Alzheimer’s. “Something old.”

The benefit for 1,000 guests at the Renaissance Washington also drew Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat, and Meredith Vieira, a special correspondent for NBC News and the host of the evening.

Vieira wore gold Christian Louboutin high heels. “They were comfortable 20 minutes ago,” she said as she gamely posed for pictures with fans in the hotel lobby.

Actress Jane Seymour wore a pendant around her neck from her “Open Hearts” jewelry line, which she made in honor of the people in her family affected with Alzheimer’s.

At dinner, Shriver presented an award to University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt and her son, Tyler.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Today’s Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on Broadway and New York Weekend.

To contact the writer on this story: Stephanie Green in Washington at or on Twitter @stephlgreen.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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