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updated 07/06/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/06/1981 01:00AM

A Not-So-Fresh Start
Being John Kennedy Jr. can get you only so far, the 20-year-old Brown University junior learned when he hit Washington to start his $50-a-week summer job with the Center for Democratic Policy. (That flurry about working for Andy Warhol's cable TV interview show was mere rumor.) John, formerly John-John, arrived in D.C. late one night, assuming he'd stay with his aunt and uncle, Eunice and Sargent Shriver, at their Foxhall Road home. He still couldn't reach them at 3 a.m. and checked into a Holiday Inn instead. Next morning the eager Kennedy checked out and went to leap into his car, only to find it had been towed from the illegal space where he'd parked it and had to be bailed out for $50. Has anyone warned this boy about Republicans?

Also-Ran
Among the stiff upper lips at Prince Charles' wedding to Lady Diana Spencer will be that of handsome George Plumptre, 25, the son of a wealthy Kent farmer and author of a forthcoming book on royal gardens. Plumptre is Lady Diana's just-revealed former beau. "We were just the same as other people who get along once they've been introduced," sighs the jilted George, who squired Diana for a year. Unwittingly, he invited her to the ballet on the very day the royal betrothal was announced. The bride-to-be sent her regrets. "I would love to come," she wrote George, "but I am otherwise ENGAGED."

Lunch on the Grass
When jazz trumpeter-flugelhornist Chuck Mangione invited his mom, Nancy, 66, from Rochester to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Mamma Mangione got an eyeful as she watched L.A. tailgaters pull out the silver and picnic baskets for posh preshow picnics. Afterward she struggled with one loose end. ."I don't get it," she mused to Chuck. "All those expensive clothes and cars, but these people are so cheap they were all smoking the same cigarette."

Rocky Mountain High Notes
Under John Denver's down vest beats the heart of a true opera fan, certified genuine by none other than the Met's ever-rising tenor Placido Domingo. Tit for tat, Domingo sang Denver's Annie's Song in concert. Now the two have recorded a duet of a pop single written by Denver, perhaps called Perhaps Love (the title is not yet firm), due out in September. Their producer at CBS Records, calling their chemistry "remarkable," compares it to that of Sills and Burnett. Domingo seems to like the laid-back style. "Maybe I will retire from opera," he teases. "This is a lot more fun."

Thank You, Mr. President
With the election a fading memory, an old tale has surfaced in Washington about those private rehearsals candidate Reagan undertook to prepare himself for the debates with Jimmy Carter during the presidential campaign. With David Stockman posing as Carter, Reagan aides took the future President through a series of tough questions on one large subject they had reason to suspect he was weak on—Africa. The long, detailed query about its racial problems, its minerals, and Soviet-Cuban influences ended with: "Governor, what is your policy towards Africa?" Reagan paused thoughtfully and responded with a perfectly straight face. "In Africa," he said, "when they have you for lunch, they really have you for lunch."

Furthermore
The road show Evita has been packing them in at Chicago's Shubert Theater for nine months, but its Hispanic title tends to twist Midwestern tongues. Box office employees have filled requests for tickets to Velveeta, Libido, Aruba, Xanadu, Argentina, Anita and—so help us Rand McNally—Brazil.

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