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October 25, 2014

Posts in "Human Props"

September 30, 2014

Joshua Bell Performs Do-Over Concert

Joshua Bell Performs Do Over Concert

A lot more people stopped to listen this time. (Clark Mindock / CQ Roll Call)

 

Joshua Bell’s 2007 violin-busking session in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station is the ultimate urban metaphor, a reminder to keep an eye out for beauty in unexpected places.

And, while the performance seven years ago posed the question of whether a world-class musician playing, unannounced with a baseball cap, in a busy Metro station would get noticed (Gene Weingarten’s story on it won a Pulitzer Prize), the follow-up performance on Tuesday answered, intentionally or not, a different question:

If the Washington Post wrote a story telling its readers that a Grammy-winning violinist would be playing for free in Union Station during lunchtime, would anyone show up, and would any of them say that they definitely would have known if they had randomly passed said violinist at rush hour? Full story

September 26, 2014

House Hopeful Dives Into Kevin Yoder’s Skinny Dipping Past

It may be old news in #ThisTown, but Kansas Democrat Kelly Kultala doesn’t want anyone back home to forget about Rep. Kevin Yoder’s embarrassing swing through Israel.

The second-term Kansas Republican made headlines a few years back after it was revealed that he, and a handful of other GOP lawmakers, had thrown caution (and, apparently, their clothing) to the wind just before taking an ill-advised plunge into the sacrosanct Sea of Galilee in August 2011. Team Kultala invested five-figures to dredge up the incident for this ad.

Yoder did the whole mea culpa thing. And he has, at least to the best of our knowledge, managed to keep covered up while here in Washington.

Related Stories:

If Kevin Yoder Had Heeded Peter Bis’ Advice

Take Five With Kevin Yoder

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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July 18, 2014

Mock Candidate Aims to Muck Up Kentucky Senate Race (Video)

Kentucky voters needn’t worry about hunting for Gil Fulbright’s name (at least that’s what it is this week) in voting booths come November. But they should get used to seeing his shit-eating grin over the next few months.

Mock Candidate Aims to Muck Up Kentucky Senate Race (Video)

(Screenshot)

Running the totally fake pol Fulbright (or Phillip MaMouf-Wifarts) is the latest stunt by anti-corruption advocates Represent.Us, the provocateurs behind last summer’s “stripping senator” show and the least appetizing power lunch in recorded history.

The advocacy group has, so far, raked in $30,000-plus to help crowbar Fulbright into the high-stakes standoff between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Full story

July 16, 2014

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

Love her or despise her, Capitol Hill denizens were utterly captivated by having a nearly naked Courtney Stodden preach the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle to them while shoving fake wieners in everyone’s mouths.

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The platinum-tressed teen blew into town to draw eyeballs to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ curbside veggie dog giveaway. The staff luncheon/exercise in political theater is meant to serve as a counterpunch to the meat lobby’s annual hot dog blowout.

According to PETA spokeswoman Moira Colley, the group rallied supporters to the cause by distributing around 600 not dogs — “They’re all soy protein and spices,” one cheerful volunteer said of the meatless analogues — to famished passersby. Full story

July 15, 2014

PETA to Plant Stripped Down Courtney Stodden Outside Rayburn on Wednesday

A scantily clad Courtney Stodden will feed alterna-weenies to Hill staffers Wednesday, performing her civic duty on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by serving as the celebrity eye candy for the group’s congressional veggie dog giveaway.

The model/singer/teen divorcee is expected to begin dispensing the meat-free munchies — wearing “nothing but strategically placed lettuce leaves,” per PETA’s media alert — alongside the Independence Avenue-facing entrance to Rayburn promptly at noon.

“Veggie dogs are delicious and kinder to animals, the environment, and our health than artery-clogging, meaty hot dogs are. The choice is easy to make!” Stodden asserted in a release.

PETA has for years paraded around pro-vegetarian ladies — including 2008 Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole and pin-up queen Vida Guerra — in an attempt to lure the epicurious away from the American Meat Institute’s widely attended annual hot dog lunch (typically held inside Rayburn on the same day).

PETA to Plant Stripped Down Courtney Stodden Outside Rayburn on Wednesday

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After poking around her YouTube archive, it would appear that Stodden’s anti-carnivorous advocacy dates back to at least 2012.

Full story

June 24, 2014

Friends to the End — Can Congressional Leaders Overcome?

Never mind what that bitter old grump President Harry Truman said about folks in Washington having to turn to pets for genuine affection.

A chain of obviously uncomfortable congressional leaders Tuesday proved once again that friendship is the only ship you just can’t sink.

The question is: who embodies the spirit of camaraderie better?

House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., gently swaying together during the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony?

Or Girl Scout Troop 16108 from Eden Prairie, Minn.?

We choose to believe they’re all besties.

June 4, 2014

Conservative Confab Kinda-Sorta Psyched for Christie

To the untrained observer, it may look like this in-flux Faith & Freedom Coalition news release is attempting to put on as happy a face as possible about having to settle for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at its conference, instead of nabbing the headline-grabbing Benham Brothers the event promoters clearly had their little hearts set on.

Conservative Confab Kinda Sorta Psyched for Christie

(Screenshot)

Not so, publicist Dave Mohel assured HOH.

Full story

May 5, 2014

Post-WHCD, No Rest for D.C. Party Hoppers

Anyone get up to anything interesting this weekend?

For those of you who did not brave the press-packed ballrooms and glitterati-studded after-parties that have come to define White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend, This Town just finished indulging in epic amounts of booze, bad jokes and selfies.

The good news is there’s only 360-odd days until Hollywood next invades the nation’s capital — and immediately regrets it:

 

 

Assuming you and your liver remain on speaking terms, there are still plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with local “celebrities” in the days ahead:

On Tuesday, the Asian Republican Coalition plans to introduce itself to sitting politicos via a splashy rollout at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). The program — which is expected to feature complimentary speeches by Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., as well as House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — kicks off promptly at 6:30 p.m. and flows right into cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada should interrupt the festivities at some point to provide their two cents (four cents?) on Asians and the GOP.

Also on Tuesday, the ASCAP Foundation, the engagement arm of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, will give another round of musicians their due at the “We Write the Songs 2014” celebration.

Performers at this year’s event, scheduled to take place at the Library of Congress beginning at 7 p.m., include:

Freewheeling bandleader Jon Batiste

Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu is scheduled to introduce the N’awlins native. Full story

April 16, 2014

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

Another day, another few thousand costumed characters kicking back outside the U.S. Capitol. That’s how Awesome Con organizers see things coming into focus on Friday, when they’ll attempt to assemble a collection of cosplayers by the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol in a bid to break a standing world record.

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

(Courtesy Awesome Con)

The point of the whimsical stunt is to trump the swarm of would-be superheroes that mugged for cameras outside China’s World Joyland in 2011.

According to one account of that Guinness World Record-breaking gathering, approximately 1,700 people showed up to participate in the momentous occasion — but roughly 10 percent were disqualified by stickler GWR judges because they had modeled their attire on “characters from video games, TV shows or story books instead of comic books.”

The remaining 1,530 cosplayers still carried the day, surpassing a previous effort during which 1,016 comic book fans stepped out in full regalia.

As we learned last summer, during our inaugural swing through Comic-Con, cosplay is all about freedom of expression and stretching one’s imagination.

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

April 7, 2014

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

Conservative artist/provocateur Sabo is no stranger to mixing members of Congress and California, as can be seen from his mock-up of a recent Ted Cruz, R-Texas, event in Beverly Hills.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

But now that the Breitbart News Network has expanded to the Golden State, Sabo is helping mark the bi-coastal migration with a fresh batch of eyebrow-raising art.

The politically charged images, including one of a provocatively dressed and posed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., served as the welcome mat for the fledgling site, an act of aggression fitting with the anonymous artist’s MO.

“My aim as an artist is to be as dirty, ground level, and mean as any Liberal artist out there, more so if I can,” Sabo, who describes himself as a Republican and ex-Marine, declares on his personal website. He has previously taken shots at President Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but elected to widen his scope this time around to better suit the media rollout.

Sabo assured HOH, however, that he is not on the Breitbart payroll.

“Just consider me a fan of Andrew, a kindred spirit with a common mission,” he suggested via email. “My contribution to said ‘mission’ is to help Conservatives find their creative voice. I admit my approach is rather hard edge. … That’s just the way I like it.”

He declined to specify how many posters had been papered across Los Angeles and indicated that it’s still too early too tell which anti-Democrat depiction will cause the biggest commotion.

“The posters just hit the street so, I can not comment on which has pissed ‘Progressives’ off more. I hope they all equally tie their panties in knots,” Sabo said.

Democrats here in Washington, D.C., had no such problem picking their least favorite contribution to the arts — the rather unflattering image of Pelosi.

“To say the least, the Breitbart News ad is foul, offensive, and disrespectful to all women. It is a disgusting new low and would be reprehensible against any woman — regardless of party,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., stated in a release. “It’s no wonder the Republicans are having problems appealing to women. If GOP leaders are serious about their rebrand, then both their elected and Party leadership should condemn this outrageous behavior, call on Breitbart News to immediately remove the ad, and not continue to use this website as a forum for their views.”

Per Sabo, Pelosi was on his hit list because she is “a typical gun grabbing liberal who fights to insure only the ‘authorities’ can possess firearms that way they, the political class, can run over us anytime they want without fear of retribution from the peasants.”

The others drawing fire — “They all suck, some slightly more than the other but not by much,” Sabo groused — this time around include:

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Jerry Brown is back-wash. Californians were dumb enough to have brought back [him] from the dead; talk about a zombie invasion,” Sabo said of the boomerang pol.

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Zuckerberg is a tech-klepto who’s nose is waaaaay too far up everyone’s business,” Sabo said.

 

CNN personality Piers Morgan

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Piers Morgan needs to go back home,” Sabo counseled.

Breitbart readers were, by and large, rather pleased to see their common enemies held up to ridicule and scorn:

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

 

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

One rabble-rouser even urged Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to take notes, but doubted the higher ups would hear her plaintive cries.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

Meanwhile, a left-leaning observer vowed to counter the visual offensive by coining a new definition for “Breitbart” a la the homoerotic connotation sex columnist Dan Savage affixed to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., years ago.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

And while he may be persona non grata over in the House, Sabo appears to be in good with at least one member in the other chamber, the aforementioned Mr. Cruz.

Sabo reimagined the tea party favorite as an inked-up outlaw a few weeks back, and said the Texas Republican responded in kind. “I’m happy to report Senator Ted Cruz has a pair [of posters] and has yet to throw me under the bus,” Sabo said of his congressional fan base.

Cruz made light of the gritty depiction on Twitter, offering one small correction to the rather outlandish homage:

 

 

April 4, 2014

Harry Reid’s Instagram Feed is Picture Perfect

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be new to Instagram, but the veteran lawmaker is clearly well rehearsed in the art of putting one’s best face forward.

 

 

Though just a few hours old, the Nevada Democrat’s online photo diary is already chock full of cookie-cutter campaign art, including:

The Power Huddle

Just, you know, shooting the breeze with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif. Full story

March 24, 2014

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obama’s Ear

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association have recruited a number of professional athletes to discuss the benefits of adhering to a plant-based lifestyle at an April 1 luncheon.

But the diet-conscious crusaders really want first lady and “Let’s Move!” founder Michelle Obama to throw her weight behind their mission.

“As you know, obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States. The good news is that if every American adds two servings of fruits and vegetables to his or her diet, his or her risk for all-cause mortality will automatically decrease by 10 percent. If we move toward an entirely plant-based diet, we can cut the risk of heart disease—the biggest killer in America—in half,” PCRM Founder and President Dr. Neal Barnard alerted FLOTUS in a March 24 letter inviting her to the “Teaming Up 4 Health” preview party scheduled to take place April 1 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in room 201 on the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Barnard also invited Education Secretary Arne Duncan and acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak to the healthy eating event.

The luncheon, which will feature complimentary garden vegetable wraps supplied by Whole Foods, gourmet salads (carrot and beet, spring mix medley) and vegan baked goods from Banana Love Mufffins, is open to everyone, though organizers are hoping to cap attendance at 150.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to: jberger@pcrm.org.

As part of the program, Barnard will lead a discussion with U.S. Olympic swimmer Kate Ziegler, triathlete and ultra-marathoner Brendan Brazier, taekwondo world champion Daba Modibo Keita and CBS radio host Chuck Carroll.

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obamas Ear

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

The group will also preview the “Teaming up 4 Health” campaign scheduled to go live April 8 — a multimedia effort set to include video testimonials, collectible trading cards and quickie recipes. Full story

March 6, 2014

A Top-Down View of #CPAC2014

Here’s what conservative conferees have on their minds scalps at CPAC:

Clean pates

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rainbow-striped mohawks

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Impeccably arranged ‘dos

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Colonial-era head coverings

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Stetsons

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Camouflage ball caps

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Fedoras

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Combat helmets

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Russian-style furriness

A Top Down View of #CPAC2014

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Okay, that last one is a doorman here at the Gaylord. But still, awesome.

 

March 3, 2014

Fitness Lobby Cheers on Earl Blumenauer, Shelley Moore Capito

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association will once again flood Capitol Hill with famous athletes on March 4 and 5, taking lawmakers to the mat for additional physical education grants and workout-related tax breaks.

The SFIA is expected to take time out from the full court press to honor two legislative movers, Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Shelley Moore Capito. The dynamic duo will be honored during an invitation-only reception scheduled to take place Tuesday from 5:30-8 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.

In addition to riding his bicycle almost everywhere he goes, a Blumenauer aide said the Oregon Democrat fills his days with kinetic activities. Per his office, Blumenauer’s daily routine is typically crowded with vigorous morning walks, which he typically takes with California Democrat Sam Farr, and stress-relieving yoga sessions (in the members’ gym).

The avid runner — Team Blumenauer says he’s knocked out 36 marathons (and counting) — also maintains a special birthday tradition: walking one lap around the quarter-mile track of a hometown high school for each year of his life.

Fitness Lobby Cheers on Earl Blumenauer, Shelley Moore Capito

Blumenauer is known for for being a fitness guy and for his bow ties. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I don’t think anyone has ever made it through the whole walk with him,” Blumenauer spokesman Patrick Malone said of the now 16-plus mile (Blumenauer is 65) challenge.

The West Virginia Republican prefers getting sweaty around diamonds. Capito is a vet of the Congressional Women’s Softball Game and co-captain of the members’ team, and also played on the GOP’s Congressional Baseball Team in years past.

Fitness Lobby Cheers on Earl Blumenauer, Shelley Moore Capito

Capito knows her way around a diamond. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Off the field, Capito stretches her legs solo and works her core with friends.

“I run four miles four times a week, mostly outside, and I’m running through the finish line for the Senate,” she quipped, adding that she’s done one half-marathon and pines to tackle a full one.

“I have also been doing spinning and yoga with Tim Murphy, Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Ryan,” Capito shared of her workout crew.

Sports stars expected to fan out across the halls of Congress during this year’s “National Health Through Fitness Day” include: NFL legend/reality TV star Herschel Walker, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin, Baltimore Ravens players Matt Elam and Lardarius Webb, Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch, Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones, Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Tommy John, Ultimate Fighting Championship brawler Benson Henderson, three-time track and field All-American Brenda Martinez, Olympic water polo silver medalist Peter Hudnut, former NFL player John Booty and four time NFL Pro-Bowler and ex-Washington Redskin Ken Harvey.

February 25, 2014

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

The latest smattering of fast falling flakes to blanket the area could not keep advocacy-minded entertainers away from the Capitol on Tuesday. And there’s still more help from Hollywood already on the way.

Actress-turned-animal-rights-activist and former Elvis spouse Priscilla Presley made the rounds on behalf of the Humane Society, stumping for equine rights and relief from soring.

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A tipster placed Presley at neighboring 701 Restaurant the night before, sharing that the world famous “Naked Gun” co-star broke bread for several hours with friends at the pol-pleasing establishment.

Paul Williams, ’70s-songwriter-turned-president and chairman of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, proved that he’s still a big man on this campus by tag-teaming pressers across Capitol Hill.

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Williams helped usher in the new Library of Congress exhibit, “ASCAP: One Hundred Years and Beyond” and shared his thoughts with lawmakers about music royalties.

Bono, meanwhile, didn’t make it all the way to the halls of Congress — sending, instead, 250-odd friends to share his concerns with lawmakers.

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

(Courtesy Ralph Alswang)

A tipster said the U2 frontman surprised members of his ONE Campaign by popping into town Feb. 22 for a brief visit during which he “thanked the volunteers for their time and dedication to the fight against extreme global poverty.” The pep talk must have worked: ONE aides from more than 44 states were expected to take 222 meetings with House and Senate staffers Tuesday.

And the celeb worship is far from over.

Come Wednesday, the Dirksen Senate Office Building will be the place to be, thanks to dueling hearings featuring a pair of Tinsel Town heavies.

Actor/screenwriter Seth Rogen kicks things of at 2 p.m. by joining ex-Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., for the second round of questioning during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education hearing about Alzheimer’s. Rogen, whose mother-in-law has the debilitating disease, serves as a “celebrity champion” for the National Alzheimer’s Association.

Not to be outdone, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has snagged Academy Award-winning director — and the next in line to don Batman’s iconic cowl — Ben Affleck for a discussion poised to begin at 2:15 regarding peace prospects in the Republic of Congo. Affleck co-founded the philanthropic Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010.

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