CAMELOT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER: Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, sporting a stylish black sling at the Kennedy Center’s 22nd annual black tie Spring Gala, demonstrated the hazzards of being Washington’s most popular ambassador. “I got it from shaking so many hands,” he confessed, recalling the lineup of stars at the splashy Vanity Fair party held at his residence on Saturday, the night of the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner. Also recovering from the Vanity Fair party was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who looked a tad guilty recalling her chat with actor Josh Gad’s mother-in-law, Marisa Darvish, who teaches Italian at the local language school Casa Italiana. “She asked me if I spoke Italian, and I had to confess I do not,” said Pelosi as guests flooded the Kennedy Center foyer waiting for the elevator up to the party after the National Symphony’s performance of “Camelot in Concert” with singers including Brian Stokes Mitchell as King Arthur, Laura Michelle Kelly as Guenevere and Ryan Silverman as Lancelot. The spring gala salute to outgoing Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser honored his more than 13 years celebrating artists from all over the world. In September, he takes his Devos Institute of Arts Management to the University of Maryland, where as president of Devos and co-chairman of IMG Artists, the performing arts agency in New York, Kaiser intends to continue strengthening the links between a national arts program and New York City’s cultural elite.
As for the historic association of the Kennedy presidency and King Arthur’s Camelot, concocted by Jacqueline Kennedy in the wake of her husband’s assassination with help from the late political writer and historian Theodore White, that legend also got a small comeuppance. “This is the first time Camelot has ever been performed at the Kennedy Center,” confided Kennedy Center spokesman John Dow.