Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "Hollyweird"

August 11, 2014

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

Whether gracing the silver screen (Mr. Sulu, you have the conn) or cracking wise from behind a touchscreen (Oh Myyy, that’s quite the universe of Facebook fans you’ve assembled), entertainer and political activist George Takei currently strives to live his life out loud.

But that wasn’t always the case.

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The human rights champion would like to set the record straight about everything he’s experienced to date in the revealing documentary, “To Be Takei.”

Director Jennifer Kroot has been chronicling Takei’s incredible journey — a career trajectory that encompasses his breakthrough role as Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek” as well as wildly successful forays into publishing, satellite radio (serving as guest announcer of the “Howard Stern Show”), social media and musical theater — for the past few years. The finished product, which will be released nationwide on Aug. 22, breezes into town next month for two special screenings (at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 4) at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.). Full story

July 29, 2014

Life on Sarah Palin’s Wavelength

After years of randomly popping up on cable news shows, conservative documentaries and in single-season series, one-time GOP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin is ready to build a programming empire all her own.

The former governor of Alaska has teamed with digital media platform TAPP to launch the subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel. The SPC marks the second outing by TAPP, which waded into the online market this past March with the religiously themed “New Life TV with Steve Arterburn.”

“Together let’s live life vibrantly, purposefully and boldly,” the Alaska Republican implores viewers in her welcome video.

A TAPP aide told HOH that Palin’s new project has been in development for several months, and currently features a series of “sample” video clips — watch her frag President Barack Obama in response to a reader-submitted query regarding political leadership and weave a pro-energy independence pitch through commentary about Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company has plans to court additional constituencies (a word cloud touts “fantasy sports,” “addictions” and “paranormal” content as viable contenders) in the future.

For $9.95 a month, or $99.95 per year, subscribers get all the current content — selected “behind the scenes” videos; the word of the day from Palin’s mother, Sally Heath; a real-time countdown until the end of Obama’s second term — plus the ability to comment and contribute to Palin’s planned infotainment portal.

There’s also a two-week, no-obligation trial period for those unsure about the self-styled news aggregator.

Those who register before Aug. 1 are promised two additional months of free viewing. Military personnel currently on active duty are encouraged to email SPC (proudlyserving@SarahPalinChannel.com) to receive free access to the evolving site.

Per TAPP, programmers are still working on the exact formula for populating the channel. “It will be 95 percent original content,” our contact said.

But they are leaving the door open to revisiting some of Palin’s greatest hits. Full story

July 28, 2014

The Bard Brings Schumers Back Together

Sen. Charles E. Schumer finally caught up with his comedian cousin, Amy Schumer, this past weekend at Shakespeare in the Park.

 

 

An aide said the New York Democrat just happened to bump into his rising star relative — Ms. Schumer has been nominated for an Emmy for the writing of her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer,” and is currently working on “Trainwreck,” the feature film she penned and which filmmaker Judd Apatow is directing — at the annual theater festival in New York’s Central Park.

Per Team Schumer, the boss did not know the stand-up comedian/actress and her Hollywood pals were also headed to “King Lear.” Full story

July 23, 2014

Jim Himes Rains on Conspiracy Theorist’s Parade

Rep. Jim Himes unleashed a flood of Twitter rage Wednesday morning after baiting a current events troll with news of his “secret” powers.

The social media implosion occurred shortly after a Twitter user self-identified as Danny Anson (@1Anson1) decided to dig into the Connecticut Democrat’s background and demanded to know about any underlying affiliations.

 

 

“None. But on Tuesdays they do let me control the weather,” Himes quipped when quizzed about his allegiance to surreptitious power brokers.

The taunt clearly fried Anson’s circuits, sparking some 40-odd replies (and counting) that bounce around a bevy of hot-button issues: destabilization of the Middle East, religious persecution, global intelligence gathering, morality, free trade. You name it. Full story

July 1, 2014

Nick Troiano Goes on ‘Back to the Future’ Campaign With DeLorean

House hopeful Nick Troiano is hoping to secure his future this fall now by setting out on a comprehensive trek across Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district in a tricked-out DeLorean.

Nick Troiano Goes on Back to the Future Campaign With DeLorean

(Courtesy Team Troiano)

The independent pol’s “Back to the Future” tour kicks off on Wednesday with a visit to Barrett’s Pub, a well-established restaurant owned and operated by Shirley Barrett, the newly minted mayor of Archbald, Pa. Troiano then plans to spend the rest of the month crisscrossing the district’s 15 counties in the iconic automobile — which, per his staff, has been provided as an in-kind donation by a supporter — as part of an uphill battle to unseat two-term Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino.

Troiano’s planned trajectory includes:

  • July 2 , 5 – 8 p.m., Barrett’s Pub/474 N. Main St., Archbald: Assorted Yelpers endorsed the pizza, parted company on the quality of the wings.
  • July 3 , 11:30 – 1 p.m. , Mike’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant/Rt. 590 W., Lakeville: Family-run joint transplanted from New Jersey; per Yelp, it’s home to praiseworthy pies and incredibly garlicky subs.
  • July 4, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Emberz Restaurant/1 Lake Montrose Mall, Montrose: Local spot specializing in pizza, wings and all-you-can eat pasta.
  • July 5, 11– 1 p.m., Anthony’s Bar and Grill/31 Canton St., Troy: “They’re always willing to accommodate your food requests (even vegetarian!),” counsels one TripAdvisor user.
  • July 6, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Dale’s Café/3396 Pennsylvania 611, Bartonsville: Local eatery catering to daytime diners.
  • July 11, 5 – 7 pm., Hull’s Landing/27 Pennsylvania 442, Muncy: One D.C.-Metro expat swears by their Chesapeake wings and Buffalo chicken-style dip.
  •  July 12, noon – 2 p.m., Vince’s Pizza/311 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham: Yelpers could do without the hit-or-miss pizza, but they seem to stomach breakfast OK.
  • July 13, 11 – 1 p.m., Red Zone Sports Bar and Grille/34 Envision Dr., Mifflintown.
  • July 14, 8 – 10 a.m., Bitting’s Restaurant/16 N. 2nd St., Newport.
  • July 18, 11 – 1 p.m., Country Cupboard/101 Hafer Rd., Lewisburg.
  • July 19, noon – 1:30 p.m., Rocco’s Pizza/8 Fisher Rd., Selinsgrove.
  • July 20, 11:30 – 1:30 p.m., Pizza Town/530 S. Front St., Milton.
  • July 25, 5 – 7 p.m., The Brick Tavern/224 Main St., Blossburg: Per Yelp, it’s a greasy spoon with good coffee and a legendary fish fry.
  •  July 26, 5 – 7:30 p.m., Sullivan County Roadhouse/4741 U.S. 220, Muncy Valley: According to Team TripAdvisor, service has been steadily declining since July 2012.
  •  July 27, 11 – 1 p.m., Milford Diner/301 Broad St., Milford: more love than hate for this vintage diner from Team TripAdvisor.

Dying to shoot a selfie in front of Doc Brown’s mischief-making ride but don’t see your town on the list?

“There is some flexibility in Troiano’s schedule for additional stops,” Troiano spokeswoman Rachel Vierling assures HOH. “We will also be using social media to ask potential voters places they suggest we visit while in each county.” 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.

Military Flicks Invade Capitol Hill, NoVa

The GI Film Festival is bringing its army of thought-provoking films to the forefront this week, beginning with a sold-out world premiere in neighboring Old Town Alexandria and VIP screening Tuesday in Congress.

Veteran turned Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, New York Republican Rep. Chris Gibson and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III are all slated to attend the invite-only reception and premiere of “The Civilian-Military Divide” on Tuesday.

The film, directed by Sean McNamara, explores the burgeoning disconnect between the modern military and the general public.

“The mission of GI Film is to relay the messages of what the military truly does for our country, including sacrifices made; its goal is to bridge the gap between civilians and military members,” festival spokeswoman Heather Mahoney said of the group’s eight-plus year mission.

The action gets underway a day earlier for those across the river.

GIFF actually kicks off with the world premiere of “Field of Lost Shoes;” the project, directed by Sean McNamara, explores the trying times faced by a band of untested Virginia Military Institute cadets facing a date with destiny at the Battle of New Market.

Actor — and sometime director — David Arquette, told HOH reinterpreting history is practically the family business.

“My grandfather Cliff Arquette had a Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, so we always grew up with Civil War books and collectables,” said the Virginia native, who portrays Capt. Henry A. DuPont in the harrowing drama. “It was a great opportunity to honor him.”

Sadly, our favorite night life impresario will not be visiting our neck of the woods this time around.

“I have no plans to go to Capitol Hill this trip. I’m just going to screen the film and hope the audience (and my grandfather somewhere) likes it,” Arquette suggested.

May 15, 2014

George Takei Talks Snowden, Japanese Internment and YouTube

George Takei Talks Snowden, Japanese Internment and YouTube

Takei, left, seen here in a previous Hill visit with Rep. Henry A. Waxman, remains politically active. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Actor George Takei is in town, in part, to promote the AARP YouTube show he hosts, and he chatted with your HOH Technocrat correspondent about his personal history, political activism and his thoughts on the National Security Agency surveillance program.

At a “Selfies with George” AARP event promoting its Takei’s Take channel, which starts its second season next month, the original Mr. Sulu stated a simple demographic fact that was nevertheless startling: “My Star Trek fans are now of AARP membership generation.”

Regardless, Takei is still a part of the emerging tech world, as illustrated in his video on online dating.

Full story

May 5, 2014

Alanis Morissette Sings Her Heart Out for Marianne Williamson

Award-winning songstress Alanis Morissette has released a new inspirational ditty. And it’s all about making the world a better place — by voting for House hopeful Marianne Williamson.

The anthemic “Today” — which includes the refrain, “Less we revive this constitution/From sure disintegration/Live out this revelation/Today” — was recorded by Morissette explicitly for Williamson’s campaign. Williamson, a self-help guru, is vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., in a race that has brought out dozens of potential successors looking to cast themselves as the official face of Hollywood in Washington, D.C.

Per Williamson’s campaign, Morissette was approached about putting together a musical tribute a few weeks back and immediately jumped at the opportunity.

“I was attempting to capture the passion, mission, activism, deep humanity and tenderness of Marianne, the new political sensibility she represents and the consciousness that produced it,” Morissette shared on YouTube about the writing experience, adding, “I love this song. I love this woman and I love a world that would vote for her.” Full story

So, Nancy Pelosi’s Tattoo Parlor Trip Makes More Sense Now

About a week ago, the Hungry Lobbyist Twitter account posed a truly baffling question:

Now we know.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was shooting a 22-second cameo for a video that aired at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 3. The video went completely viral and is now closing in on 1 million views since it was posted online late that night.

Full story

May 4, 2014

WHCD Video of Joe Biden Goes Viral Overnight

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, but he was the star anyway.

Mid-way through the dinner, President Barack Obama presented a seven-minute long video of Biden taking “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus on an adventure around the White House and Washington, D.C.

Biden played a Steve McQueen-esque version of himself, sporting a bomber jacket and driving a Corvette around the grounds of the Naval Observatory while wearing aviators … at night.

Word spread fast online over the video. While dinner attendees rushed off to after-parties, and eventually bed, there were nearly 35,000 views of the video on YouTube as of 9:20 a.m.

Full story

April 28, 2014

No Joke: ‘Compared to What’ Edutains New Wave of Barney Frank Fans (Video)

No Joke: ‘Compared to What’ Edutains New Wave of Barney Frank Fans (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

NEW YORK — Flying directly in the face of confidence-draining legislative dysfunction and abysmally low congressional approval ratings, the few hundred Tribeca Film Festival fans who joined ex-Rep. Barney Frank for the emotional roller coaster ride of reliving his past came out on the other side laughing, cheering and feeling a whole helluva lot better about our elected officials.

In reality, the new documentary (“Compared to What”) surrounding the retired Massachusetts Democrat’s final year in Congress covers all the bases — the meteoric rise to power, career-threatening scandals and hard-won happy ending — of a soapy political drama.

Many of the folks who converged on the School of Visual Arts Theatre on Sunday here in Chelsea didn’t make the trip to gawk at the skeletons in Frank’s closet or revel in partisan warfare.

If anything, several attendees came searching for a glimpse into what makes the once and future comeback king of Capitol Hill tick.

“I want to know more about him,” Carmen Hendershott, a self-described liberal, said of her sudden interest in the retired pol. “I’m aware that Barney Frank is a stand-up, liberal politician. And I came here two hours early to get a seat.”

No Joke: ‘Compared to What’ Edutains New Wave of Barney Frank Fans (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The 40-year-plus resident of New York City hinted that she was “just getting into him,” but liked what she’d seen and heard so far.

“I think that in these times what people really want is to have hope,” Hendershott suggested. “Because things are so bad that if you find somebody who has integrity and who has stood up for things that needed to be defended, it makes you hope that perhaps others will. Or that perhaps the small things that you do can make a difference.”

“People still keep fighting. But, of course, with Citizens United you get Republicans burying any worthy candidate in a sea of money for the opponent. And you can’t have a democracy that way,” she argued, laying the blame for our alarmingly fractured political system squarely at the feet of the Supreme Court of the United States. Full story

April 27, 2014

Barney Frank Doc Fits Right In at Tribeca Film Festival

AMTRAK NORTHEAST REGIONAL, EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK — Spending an hour-and-a-half immersed in the minutiae of retired Rep. Barney Frank’s day-to-day existence may sound like an odd way to spend a Sunday. But it’s part of the peek-behind-the-political-curtain cinephiles have come to expect from the intellectually challenging Tribeca Film Festival.

Audiences will get their first taste of “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” later this afternoon.

CTW Trailer 2 mins from Pack Creek Productions on Vimeo.

An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler picked the California Democrat’s brain as part of the process — told HOH his boss had seen an early cut of the flick and enjoyed the look back at her colleague’s illustrious career. Other House lawmakers and former congressional aides are very interested in seeing how Frank’s larger-than-life personality will come across on the big screen.

None of this, however, is particularly new to the Tribeca crowd.

TFF spokeswoman Tammie Rosen said the 13-year-old celebration of independent cinema has made a habit of welcoming those willing to get up close and personal with decision makers, as well as in-the-line-of-fire world leaders.

“We always have really buzzed-about docs that are political,” Rosen said of the festival’s rich history.

That tradition is alive and well this year, manifesting itself via hard looks at thought provoking subjects, including:

  • 1971“ — an examination of the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI’s attempt at breaking into the top cop’s Media, Pa., HQ
  • All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State” — reflections on the first woman to serve as governor of Texas
  • In Guns We Trust“ — a glimpse into mandatory firearms ownership in Kennesaw, Ga.
  • Of Many“ — Political scion (and mom-in-training) Chelsea Clinton showed off the religiously themed documentary she co-produced a handful of times during the festival. (The final showing is today at 2:30 p.m.)
  • Silenced“ — delving into the plight of whistleblowers in a post-9/11 world
  • True Son“ — chronicling aspiring pol Michael Tubbs’ run for city council in Stockton, Calif.
  • Use of Force“ — a “fully immersive documentary experience” that places viewers in the middle of the fatal confrontation (2010) between immigrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas and the U.S. border patrol

Rosen was unsure whether Frank was the first congressman to participate in a world premiere at TFF; she noted that Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Rwandan President Paul Kagame added political power in previous years.

April 25, 2014

Colleagues Curious to See How Barney Frank Flick Plays Out

A couple of the folks who sat down to share memories of what it’s like to work alongside retired Rep. Barney Frank can’t wait to see how the Massachusetts Democrat will come across when his life story is screened this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“Compared to What,” which is scheduled to debut April 27 in New York City, follows Frank’s final year in office, but also reflects on the breadth of his decadeslong legislative career, as well as his personal life.

CTW Trailer 2 mins from Pack Creek Productions on Vimeo.

None of the lawmakers interviewed for the film — a roster that includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; and ex.-Sen Alan Simpson, R-Wyo. — is currently scheduled to attend the debut, an oversight Frank said he totally understands.

“I am very respectful of their time,” the former pol told HOH, adding, “Members will hear about it, but I wouldn’t want to impose on them. “

Retired Rep. Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, who also participated in the film, told HOH that he is unable to make the trip. He noted, however, that he’s very interested in checking out the end product.

Oxley said he was interviewed by filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler over a year ago and that the documentarians focused mostly on the nitty gritty of the time the two lawmakers spent together leading the House Financial Services Committee.

“It was very much on the professional level,” he said of their line of questioning.

One thing Oxley said he hopes shines through is the good times they shared. To wit, he noted that he and Frank often enjoyed watching strange bedfellows emerge during the heat of a legislative tussle.

“I think we were talking about when I was chairman and we had [ex-Rep., now Sen.] Bernie Sanders and [retired Rep.] Ron Paul on the committee … and we had the far right and the far left meeting around the bend,” he said of unifying factors like personal privacy issues.

Per Oxley, those who only know Frank by his somewhat-prickly reputation might be surprised to learn the man was often quite diplomatic.

“I think a lot of people think Barney is a very partisan, outspoken guy. And he plays that role sometimes. But at the heart of him is a legislator,” Oxley asserted. “He was not one for flowery rhetoric or scoring political points.” Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...