SOCIAL CENTER

“Where’s my dessert?” asked William Safire at Betty Scripps’s party to celebrate the 1,100th anniversary of Hungary. “I was interviewing the secretary of defense and my dessert disappeared.”
While guests were buzzing over the $250,000 that Scripps spent to transform the Kennedy Center into a Belle Epoch ballroom, Hungarian Ambassador Gyorgy Banlaki literally whirled the hostess off her feet. Dancing the traditional csardas in her Scaasi gown and Van Cleef & Arpels rubies, Scripps managed to do what few others have accomplished these days — get Washington politicos to party.
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Clinton foreign policy expert Strobe Talbott were among those to hit the dance floor beneath eight crystal chandeliers and surrounded by eight 20-foot red velvet curtains and 10,000 red and gold roses, amaryllis and lilies.
Elsewhere at the Kennedy Center, it was a night at the Washington Opera to welcome Placido Domingo as the company’s new director, with the premiere of Antonio Carlos Gomez’s “Il Guarany,” about life in the jungles of Brazil. Domingo got high marks on several counts.
“His legs are as good as his voice,” said Gay Gaines.
After the performance, Mexican socialite Maria Pepita Aerrano and Texan Sandra di Portanova joined a reception under the banana trees in the main hall of the Organization of the American States building.

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