Last week, Wendeen reconnected with President Barack Obama, outside Washington (where they first met in 2008), at a stirring event held at the Streiker Center/Temple Emanu-el. After sampling chef Daniel Boulud’s famous short ribs, the President took pictures at a VIP reception before the Event. He would soon settle in for a “conversation” with Rabbi Joshua Davidson in the main sanctuary of the temple.
In earshot of Wendeen’s friends, nearby, as she approached to greet the President, he called out to her , “Hi Wendy.” She joined him–responding with this smile, caught by the camera! The only people who call her “Wendy” are family (Wendy was her nickname until she turned 6!), singer Wayne Newton, a client and longtime friend who resides in a world of his own, and the good president. Wendeen couldn’t bring herself to correct the president!
There was good reason that President Obama resonated deeply with his audience. He offered simple and sage advice to attendees on how to thrive in our complicated world. He said, “I tell my girls, “Be kind and be useful.” Wendeen is grateul for his perspective.
The New Year had gotten off to a good start; an eclectic group of business and public service projects was on the boards. And then came an offer Wendeen could not refuse; an invitation to participate in a live poker game to be televised on CBS Sports.
The player roster was as eclectic as any she had ever seen; lawyers, poker pros, a movie reviewer, and James Woods, the MIT educated actor, were on the list.
Some 15 Years ago Wendeen and Jimmy struck up an acquaintanceship at a poker tournament in California, each intrigued by the other’s connection to NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Jimmy had played Rudy in the movie of the same name. Wendeen had played a role in Giuliani’s run for Mayor and had served as a special advisor to him on City Hall Affairs.
The years flew by with occasional crossing of paths, a dinner here a poker date there. But in the upcoming Poker Night In America show they sit next to each other for most of the day–hemming and hawing about their respective holdings and mugging for the camera as reacquainted friends.
It is a tradition! Sharon and Wendeen celebrate the holiday season, sharing their love for Manhattan; restaurants, theater, museums, and, the must see Alvin Ailey dance company. The joy of Ailey’s longtime signature piece, Revelations, never runs out of joy.
Last weekend Ailey paired Revelations with the beautiful new Odetta, a tribute to the legendary folk singer, at the Saturday matinee–a tip Sharon bestowed on Wendeen. And Wendeen returned the favor, tipping off Sharon, an avid civil rights activist to the impassioned, riveting choreography that explodes before your eyes in the dance company’s timely offering of “Uprising.”
The two sisters continue their family time celebration over the Chanukah and Christmas holidays, taking in great food for thought.
Blues and country singer Luther Kent, a NOLA native, gives Wendeen a big hug during her annual post Katrina visit.. They celebrate the City’s resurgence.
Wendeen’s HCTF team assisted in evacuations and selection of counsel for NOLA residents following chaos at the Super Dome in the aftermath of Katrina.
Luther sings to Wendeen and friends in the beautifully refurbished Carousel Lounge at the Monteleone Hotel where superb service and the best massages are routine.
Larry Lindsey hosts Wendeen at his beautiful ocean side home in Virginia Beach, where they splice together their respective activities in business, politics, and poker.
Larry, the erudite economist and Wendeen, the experienced legal consultant covered the waterfront of current events before breakfast on the glorious beach.
At the annual World Series of Poker the business of the industry is as much the talk of the town as the daily WSOP events themselves.
It is the meeting ground of everyone who is anyone in the poker world. That notably includes Rich Muny, Vice President of Player Relations for The Poker Players Alliance. Here at the Rio in the quiet corridor before the crowds arrive, Wendeen and Rich meet up to chat about the latest rumblings in Washington on online’s gaming future in America.
Famous 5th avenue resident hawk flew from his home base to Wendeen’s terrace. The hawk politely eyeballed the sunset supper whipped up for friends.
iPhone cameras rolled with Andy, Joe, and Sandy bringing the spectacle into focus. Sandy got perfect pic during hawk’s 20 minute preening gig.
In an unexpected family visit, Wendeen’s granddaughter presents the latest arrival, Deborah Dielle , who weighed in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces, a remarkable joy.
Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma take turns introducing her all around. Wendeen insists on ruling the roost with a private tete-a-tete with the family’s latest addition.
Sharon is the Big Sis and Rock of Gibraltar for all emergencies. Wendeen is the Little Sis with a head for business and tough negotiations.
So here they are, at their favorite diner talking about the craziness of the medical profession and the bigger craziness of moving out of an apartment after 48 years. Between them they settle both issues, Sharon completes another apartment deal that others would salivate to get, and Wen finds new doctors with a better bedside manner. Two independent women, with different life styles, politics, and personal objectives who truly support each other.
In mid-September Wendeen and her guest, Martin Levine sallied forth to the annual gala for the New Yorkers for Children at Cipriani 42nd Street, enthusiastic about the extraordinary stars they would see that evening.
A member of the board of directors for more than a decade, Wendeen knew, as usual, that extraordinary would be out in force that night. Yes, there were marquee names, but the honors and ovations were reserved for the true stars of the evening: teens in foster care, who are assisted by NYFC in making their dreams of college and opportunities beyond schools of hard knocks a reality.