Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

Posts by Rebecca Baird-Remba

13 Posts

December 10, 2012

Take Five With Sen. Bob Corker

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH sits down with a member of Congress over five fun questions. This week, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., struggles to pick favorites from his home state.
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December 3, 2012

Take Five With Rep. Sue Myrick

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time for Take Five, when HOH sits down to chat with a member of Congress over five fun questions. This week, retiring Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., talks about leaving Washington and giving back.

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November 30, 2012

Bridging Political Gaps Through Cultural Diplomacy

Five artists honored by the State Department gathered Thursday night to discuss the power of art in cultural diplomacy and international dialogue.

The artists – Cai Guo-Qiang, Jeff Koons, Shahzia Sikander, Kiki Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems – and their discussion leader, Museum of Modern Art Director Glenn D. Lowry, gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building as part of the State Dept.’s  50th anniversary festivities for its Art in Embassies Program.

Poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph opened the night with a performance that combined dance and spoken word poetry, recounting a four month trip to Senegal where he learned to communicate exclusively through his hip-hop-style dancing with villagers who couldn’t speak English.

In Haiti, he said, they called him “negrime,” which comes from the Haitian word meaning “a tunnel connecting Haiti to Africa” (meaning he is genuinely “African”), whereas in Senegal, they called him an “American African” – in other words, a “white” African.

The art community, explained Lowry, exists outside of the geo-political one, and AIE underscores how artists are fundamentally connected even if they have different political beliefs.

“Sometimes, art can do things that politics cannot,” Guo-Qiang said through an interpreter. Just a month ago, he traveled to Japan to receive the Praemium Imperiale, the country’s prestigious national arts prize. Although Chinese-Japanese relations are at an all-time low due to a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, the Chinese ambassador still attended the ceremony to see Guo-Qiang, the first Chinese recipient of the Imperiale. In 2008, AIE commissioned him to create a sculpture for the U.S. embassy in Beijing – a project he loved because “No Chinese government agency has ever commissioned me to do art for one of their buildings, but the Americans were the first to ask.”

The Pakistani-born Sikander, who has lived in the United States for nearly 20 years and created paintings and tapestries for the American embassy in Karachi, said her upcoming work for the embassy in Islamabad is “less about being provocative and more about creating a meaningful partnership out of the project.”

After growing up in Pakistan, she said that the strained relationship between the U.S. and her native country constantly informs her work. She wants to incorporate local culture and local artists in her Islamabad project, and feels the collaboration and the fact that the work will be publicly displayed – versus behind fortified embassy doors – is important in creating a dialogue between two countries with a difficult relationship.

“How do we break down the boundaries between us? And how do we do it in a respectful way?” asked Weems, who has installed pieces at U.S. embassies in Liberia, Madagascar and Mali.

Koons, who creates metallic stainless steel productions of everyday objects, has frequently been criticized as creating art that lacks meaning or message. However, he said his art “lets everyone experience their own possibility.”

“One of the first things you try to do as an artist is to try and remove things that cause barriers and segregations,” he said when explaining the value of public art, because AIE has worked to bring art from behind the closed doors of embassies and into the public eye.

November 29, 2012

Diplomatic Art

Diplomacy isn’t always about how the United Nations will recognize the Palestinians. Sometimes it’s about art.

The State Department is honoring five artists with its first Medal of Arts on Friday, as well as celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Arts in Embassies Program, which fosters cultural dialogue and diplomacy through artist exchanges and installations.
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November 20, 2012

Take Five With Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH sits down with a member of Congress for five fun questions. This week, retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, talks about her start as a journalist, as well as what she’ll miss about Washington.

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November 6, 2012

Take Five With Rep. John Olver

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for HOH to hang out with a Member of Congress and mull over five fun questions. This week, retiring Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.) talks a little science, rock climbing and bananas.

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November 2, 2012

‘Black Tulip’ Filmmaker Talks About Shooting, Troubles in Afghanistan

Sonia Nassery Cole endured death threats, a kidnapping and bomb blasts to film “Black Tulip” in Kabul, Afghanistan.

But she survived, as did the film, and with a recent screening at the Motion Picture Association of America headquarters here in Washington and a publicity tour surrounding its release, the film could help remind Americans mired in election fever that there is still a war going on across the world.

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October 23, 2012

Take Five With Rep. Lynn Woolsey

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s Tuesday once again, time for Take Five, when HOH sits down with a Member of Congress and asks five fun questions. This week, we talk to Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), who, after 10 terms representing the northern Bay Area, is retiring after this Congress concludes.
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October 19, 2012

Fridge Art Gallery Serves Up Mini-Fridge, Two Solo Shows

Asad Walker, a local graffiti legend whose mother was an artist, has been painting canvases even longer than he’s been tagging D.C. street corners. (Courtesy the Fridge)

Capitol Hill art gallery the Fridge has opened up a second exhibition space, allowing the Barracks Row institution to feature two solo shows at the same time. The development has resulted in the current lineup, showcasing graffiti writer Asad Walker, aka ULTRA, and his “Quiet Walks in Dangerous Places” in the main space and Laura Elkins’ “Packin’ Heat Talkin’ Dirty” in the new “Mini-Fridge.”

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October 16, 2012

Take Five With Rep. Jim McDermott

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s Tuesday, when HOH gets to know a Member of Congress better through five fun questions. This week, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who is also a psychiatrist, talks about a Founding Father’s medical practice and what to do on a rainy day in his district in Seattle. Full story

October 9, 2012

Take Five With Rep. Doris Matsui

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s Tuesday once again, when HOH gets to know a Member of Congress through five fun questions. This week, we catch up with Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and talk to her about barbecue, the Beatles and the Oakland A’s.
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October 3, 2012

Openly Gay Hill Staffers Gather for National Coming Out Day

Openly gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender Hill staffers gathered on the eastern steps of the Capitol today to commemorate National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 and to get to know one another.

“It’s important for people to know about our presence on the Hill and that there are out-and-proud staffers working in the House [and Senate],” said John Blair, chairman of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, which works on the House side.

(Rebecca Baird-Remba/CQ Roll Call)


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September 21, 2012

Washington Native’s Art Show Comes to Capitol Hill

David Molesky’s show at the Barracks Row gallery the Fridge, “Air/Water,” is full of surreal colors, bursts of fire and crashing ocean waves.

The artist was inspired by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. “I hope to bring some awareness and appreciation for the beauty of nature and an awareness for what we’re doing to it without getting too literal,” he tells HOH.

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