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July 24, 2014

Posts in "Artsy"

July 18, 2014

Pet Project Morphs Into Solon-Shaming ‘PolitiCat’

An anonymous online scold has begun a virtual game of cat and mouse with elected officials, awarding leaders willing to reach across party lines for the greater good with quirky honors while ripping those who just plain cross lines a new one.

Although a relative newcomer to the social mediasphere, “PolitiCat,” the nom de plume of the political science grad hoping to groom fellow would-be pundits, has set its sights on getting pols and voters to more carefully consider their actions.

“I aim to break into the consciousness of the general public, particularly younger people with regard to voter responsibility. I want to highlight the behavior of lawmakers and public figures, especially to ‘catch them being good’ vis a vis advancing bipartisanship,” PC asserted via email.

That outreach has, so far, not always resonated with intended allies (a la the Wichita, Kan., radio host who just didn’t “get” one muddled missive).

 

 

We, too, were a bit stumped by what seemed to be a nonsensical exchange with Rep. Patrick Murphy — until PC explained the open letter was actually a response to an earlier fundraising pitch from the Florida Democrat. Full story

July 16, 2014

Joe Manchin Brings the ‘Hollow’ to D.C.

Wild and wonderful though it may be, West Virginia continues to wrestle with its fair share of challenges. Sen. Joe Manchin III wants to help shine a light on what life is like in the Mountain State by hosting a screening of “Hollow” (that’s “holler” to you and me, Russ), a cinematic labor of love released last year.

The “interactive documentary,” which continues to foster community building across the social media sphere, will be shown on July 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center. Those interested in attending should RSVP to hollowevent@manchin.senate.gov.

Filmmaker and West Virginia native Elaine Sheldon McMillion is expected to participate in a discussion about her attempt at getting up close and personal with the community in economically depressed McDowell County.

Topical snippets — including a dizzying spin through a county fair — are available for viewing via Vimeo.

1 MINUTE IN APPALACHIA: County Fair from Hollow Interactive on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, McMillion has been urging social media users to collectively reminisce by flooding Instagram with pics tagged #hollerhome. Full story

July 7, 2014

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

Some lawmakers enjoy being able to drop out of sight during recess. Others, such as critically acclaimed graphic novelist/Rep. John Lewis, find it much harder to disentangle from the swirling celebrity life.

Case in point: fans of the Georgia Democrat simply could not resist prodding him together with comics legend Stan Lee — you know, the guy who created all those spandex-clad superheroes that lord over movie screens every summer and has done cameos in many of the Marvel flicks — during a chance meeting in Las Vegas.

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

“It was totally by accident, but as soon as they were near each other, people started pushing them together. I grabbed my phone as quick as I could and snapped the picture,” Andrew Aydin, congressional aide and co-author of “March,” the illustrated tale of Lewis’ Civil Rights Era activism, told HOH.

Per Aydin, it was the first time they had crossed paths with the nonagenarian wellspring from which the likes of Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men had flowed since officially joining the comic writing verse last summer.

“Neither of us had ever met him before,” Aydin said of the serendipitous encounter. A lifelong reader (“I gushed like a fanboy,” he admitted), Aydin was thrilled to hear Lee chatting with his boss about “March” and just generally soaked in the absolutely magical moment. Full story

June 25, 2014

John Lewis Wows ‘Em on Broadway

 

John Lewis Wows Em on Broadway

Lewis, center, entranced the cast of “All the Way” with his tales of the civil rights movement after a performance of the play. (Courtesy the Office of Rep. Steve Israel)

 

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., dazzled the cast of the Broadway play “All The Way”  this past Sunday, according to New York Congressman/Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman/novelist Steve Israel.

“All The Way” is a play about President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s muscling through Civil Rights legislation amid the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It’s a subject that Lewis knows well. At the time, Lewis was one of the founding activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Full story

June 23, 2014

Rangel Rap Ain’t All That

Rep. Charles B. Rangel has released a career-recapping rap ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

The last-minute attempt at shoring up the New York Democrat’s street cred isn’t completely terrible.

Yes, the background remains frozen on the campaign’s dull but clearly needed get-out-the-vote instructions rather than flipping through, say, nostalgic images of Rangel’s four decades on Capitol Hill. And the lyrics — main chorus: “If you gonna vote, you gonna vote for da Rangel/Charlie-Charlie-Charlie Rangel!” — could sound a bit more inspired. (Team Rangel did not respond to emails seeking information as to who penned and performed the supportive ditty.)

But the background chimes are hauntingly beautiful. And the song is jam-packed with information about Rangel’s upbringing, military exploits and political accomplishments.

Still, the jingle lacks the grittiness of the anthemic rhymes Memphis-based rapper Al Kapone spit for then-House hopeful Dr. George Flinn (the aspiring politico is attempting to knock off Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., this time around) during the previous cycle.

Full story

June 17, 2014

D.C. Libertarians Invite Dave Brat to Rock the Mic

The whole nation watched him dance circles around fading House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week. If Team Liberty Karaoke has its way, we’ll learn soon whether aspiring Virginia congressman Dave Brat can carry a tune.

A group of 20-something, right wing fun-seekers are looking forward to mixing it up with the long-shot pol who spectacularly toppled the GOP leader at a private fundraiser Thursday. The donation-required shindig (lowest contribution: $20 per person) is scheduled to take place from 8 p.m. till ?? at the pay-to-play event space, The Loft (600 F St. NW).

Libertarian coalition builder Matthew Hurtt has been bringing together like-minded folks for several years now, but only recently decided to shift the weekly singalongs into full-on campaign mode. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Artsy, DC, Reps, Sens

June 11, 2014

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

He’s still a ways away from needing to haul a moving van to cart his legislative mementos back to Henrico County, Va. But it’s now painfully obvious that Rep. Eric Cantor is living on borrowed time in Congress.

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Virginia Republican saw his career cut short Tuesday after suffering a stunning loss to relatively unknown economics professor Dave Brat in a history-making electoral upset.

We suspect he’s already replaying in his head every single thing he could have done differently. One can only hope he’s sparing himself the indignity of compartmentalizing each crushing blow into a slowly unspooling shame spiral — though that might finally make for an interesting installment of the long-since abandoned “Snapshot of the Leader” series.

Team Cantor briefly experimented with a torturous examination of the House majority leader’s daily activities, but appears to have given up on the documenting process after just 120 mind-numbing minutes.

Hour One

Hour Two

Confidence is low they’ll revive the video diary for his last official day here on Capitol Hill. But we can’t help but wonder just what that might look like. Full story

June 9, 2014

Reid Praises Miss USA Winner, Regrets Missing Pageant Finale (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid missed the ending of Sunday evening’s Miss USA pageant, but Monday on the Senate floor, he offered praise for the young woman who won — a fellow Nevadan.

The Nevada Democrat called Nia Sanchez “gifted beyond her physical beauty.”

“I’m disappointed that I kind of caved in in watching the final of the USA, Miss USA contest because Miss Nevada won, and I’d like to have seen that,” Reid said. “I placed a call to her and I’ll talk to her as soon as she gets out of the clouds, where I’m sure she is now. But I congratulate the newly crowned Miss USA and that is our own Nia Sanchez.”

Full story

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

The gentleman from West Egg? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

The hat rack of Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., is quite full these days.

Obviously, he represents the constituents of New York’s 3rd District. And then there is his side gig running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But lately, he’s wearing another hat: novelist.

“I’m publishing my first novel in January,” he said in a recent interview.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I knew I couldn’t play centerfield for the Mets, which was my childhood dream, and since I couldn’t get a book published, I became a member of Congress.” Full story

May 22, 2014

Picturing Life in Syria

Those curious to see how the other half lives — and by other half, we mean the innocents orphaned by ongoing insurrection — can get a sobering look into the struggle for survival in the Middle East Thursday night at the reception for “The Children of Syria” exhibition in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Picturing Life in Syria

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The reception, which is scheduled to take place in the Kennedy Caucus Room from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., caps a two-day run of the featured snapshots enjoyed in the Russell Rotunda.

Picturing Life in Syria

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The jarring images are the handiwork of a half-dozen international photojournalists working to chronicle the gravity of making one’s way through a war-torn existence. Full story

May 20, 2014

White House Surrogates Pregame at Big Bear Café

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities members Sarah Jessica Parker, Frank Gehry, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Chuck Close all made a night of if it Monday in Bloomingdale, taking over Big Bear Café at 1700 First St. NW for a private party filled with what sounds like good cheer and some pretty fabulous food.

HOH alumna Neda Semnani was unable to contain her excitement about the roaming celebs — the group is in town to help scrounge up additional resources for artistic programs; some have been recruited to do a little arm-twisting Wednesday while crisscrossing the Capitol — blasting out the news of the SPJ-led invasion to the Twittersphere.

A Big Bear staffer told HOH that the group of 25 enjoyed a casual dinner culled from the restaurant’s current menu — with some embellishments (natch).

“We did send out some special bites to start that included Keswick Creamery quark from the Sunday farmers market on a raisin crostini with black olive truffle tapenade, chicken liver pate with cherried brandies on sourdough crostini, smoked bluefish rillettes, and house pickled ramps and asparagus — grown by our friends at Bounty Hill Farms,” our tipster said of the gourmet nibbles sprung upon the visiting celebs.

Per our source, ex-Tabard Inn Executive Chef Paul Pelt was on hand to help craft some of the tasty new additions, including a shrimp remoulade accompanied by fried pickled green tomato that debuted Monday night and will remain on the BBC menu moving forward. We hear Parker also indulged in a portion of Pelt’s signature gumbo.

Meanwhile, newly minted pastry chef Huw Griffiths (another Tabard Inn alumnus) provided guests with sweet send-offs of rhubarb apple crisp and chocolate dacquoise.

With all those talented folks assembled under one roof, there had to be some drama, right?

Not so, swore the insider.

“Staff didn’t hear one crazy thing all night, strangely — but definitely witnessed a genuine bond and appreciation for each other; their involvement in the program and a love of kids,” our spy suggested.

The restaurant was so pleased with the way everything turned out, in fact, that staff extended an open invitation to have any (or all) of the first-timers return whenever they’re back in town.

And their local pals appear to be welcome too.

“The Obamas and Bidens have yet to visit Big Bear,” Team BBC noted. “But we’re hopeful that last night’s party will put in a good word for us.”

May 19, 2014

Chad Smith, Others Beat Drums for Arts Funding

The National Association of Music Merchants and select members of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities will storm the Hill this week to drum up additional resources for arts education programs.

The fly-in efforts include: an inaugural student “talent show” at the White House (Tuesday), the star-studded “Celebrating Music Education” reception at the Library of Congress (Tuesday night) and a camera-friendly press conference led by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., just steps from the Capitol (Wednesday).

Meanwhile, Chad Smith — you know, he who pounds the skins for the Red Hot Chili Peppers — is expected to huddle, in private, with Speaker John A. Boehner early Wednesday.

No word on whether the legendary percussionist plans to school the Ohio Republican in the art of getting folks marching to the same beat, or if he’ll share his strategy for besting comedian Will Ferrell in the charity battle (there’s a golden cowbell up for grabs) the dueling doppelgangers are expected to wage Thursday on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Not a part of Boehner’s inner circle?

Smith is also expected to float around the NAMM Foundation’s shindig at the Jefferson Building. The other celebs expected to walk the red carpet Tuesday night (flashbulbs should begin popping around 7 p.m.) include: actress Alfre Woodard, multimedia artist Chuck Close, ballet vet Damian Woetzel, Tony Award-winning actor John Lloyd Young, painter Kerry James Marshall, singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood, “House of Payne” star Doc Shaw and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Daniel Inouye Gets Cornered on the National Mall (Video)

Daniel Inouye Gets Cornered on the National Mall (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The National Museum of the American Indian  is paying tribute to the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a proud Pacific Islander who served as one of the founding directors for the interactive exhibition hall, as part of its “Living Aloha” festival.

Just don’t expect too big of a production if you visit.

Upon entering the funky, four-story structure, patrons are handed a snazzy brochure retracing the steps of the iconic Hawaii Democrat through the years.

Daniel Inouye Gets Cornered on the National Mall (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The lobby, however, is dominated by a ring of arts and crafts stations dedicated to sharing native art forms with curious onlookers. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 9 a.m.
Artsy, DC, Sens, Whuck

May 14, 2014

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

Ex-congressional aide Marc Litchman is coloring in his campaign themes by leveling a new line of attack against cash-strapped incumbent, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

(Screenshot)

The one-time district director for ex-Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif. — the same lawmaker Sherman overcame last cycle in a bare-knuckle brawl of a redistricting fight — has plastered a none-too-flattering, Shepard Fairey-like depiction of his opponent all over social media.

Litchman also wove the colorful broadside into a campaign email poking fun at both the Sherman campaign’s debt, as well as a fundraising solicitation Sherman’s campaign sent out that bemoans his non-existent war chest and that “most people I know are too busy to come to fundraising events. If you have the time, we have an event in Washington on May 19.”

Sherman’s most recent FEC filings show him with $563,284.43 in debt and $105,968 in cash on hand. His race against Berman in 2012 was the fourth-most expensive House race, with the candidates spending approximately $6.8 million and outside groups throwing in another $8.5 million.

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

(Screenshot)

Looks like the folks in California’s 30th District may be in for another wild ride.

May 5, 2014

Congressional Democrats Host Pussy Riot

Senate Foreign Relation Committee member Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and House Judiciary Committee member Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., are giving members of Pussy Riot, the all female punk collective that famously ran afoul of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an open mic on Capitol Hill with which to rail against human rights abuse and political oppression.

Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are scheduled to participate in a press conference Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. over on the Senate side of the Capitol.

The world-renowned protestors, who each spent nearly two years behind bars for publicly badmouthing Putin, have been speaking out about the sorry state of affairs within their home country since their release in late 2013.

The two were reportedly guests at Yahoo!’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner party over the weekend. Full story

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