A Spirited NSO Gala
One year ago, the economy was melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the West and the annual National Symphony Ball was a battlefield of shellshocked patrons whose portfolios had just taken major hits.
The recovery, such as it is, lifted Saturday's NSO season opener back to the feel-good schmoozefest of years past: We spotted OMB head Peter Orszag happily chatting with former Fed chair Alan Greenspan without an ounce of irony. Other VIPs in the tricked-out tent next to the Kennedy Center: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy with NBC's David Gregory and national security adviser Jim Jones, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Susan Sher (Michelle Obama's new chief of staff), Vernon Jordan and Newt Gingrich surrounded by admirers.
Still lots of super-rich guys in the crowd, including billionaires like Ken Cen Chairman Steve Schwarzman and (leading candidate to be his successor) David Rubenstein, but the deep-pocket corporations that used to underwrite the event were nowhere to be found: This year's gala raised $1.4 million, mostly from individual donors.
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