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Al Pacino, The Eagles, James Taylor, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich were celebrated for their lifetime achievements at the last major arts gala attended by President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. The first couple received an extended standing ovation as they entered the Opera House of the Kennedy Center, a monument to the late president John F. Kennedy. It's the best Christmas present!" Staples told AFP on the red carpet about receiving a Kennedy Center Honor, considered the nation's highest recognition for performing artists, just before Obama leaves offices.