Sunday, April 14, 2024

Details: Kennedy Center Honoring Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Lorne Michaels, Berry Gordy Tonight in DC



The Kennedy Center is honoring Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Lorne Michaels. Berry Gordy, and operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz tonight at the DC theater. All weekend there have been ceremonies and parties for the honorees.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are there, ending the cold war between the White House and the Kennedy Center. So are VP Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff. The Bidens spent Thanksgiving at the Nantucket home of Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein, who also run the secretive Carlyle Group investment firm. During the previous four years, the residents of the White House were loathed by the annual inductees and the residents had no interest in the Arts.

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UPDATE: David Letterman, of all people, did the opening toast after Yo Yo Ma performed a stunning rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Joni Mitchell was celebrated with performances from Brittany Howard, Herbie Hancock, Brandi Carlile, and Ellie Goulding. Howard sang “Both Sides Now.” Judy Collins, who had the original hit in 1969, is in the audience. Cameron Crowe and Dan Levy (of Schitt’s Creek) also spoke for Joni.

Lorne Michaels was feted by Steve Martin who introduced a large number of “SNL” alumna including Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Nealon, Kenan Thompson, Colin Jost and Michael Che. Paul Simon, Lorne’s great friend, sang “America,” the Simon & Garfunkel hit. Strange: no sign of Tina Fey.

Justino Diaz was toasted by various opera stars including Denyse Graves and Grace Bumbry.

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Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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