Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 20, 2014

Posts in "Parties"

August 18, 2014

John McCain Cuts a Rug at Apollo Fundraiser

Sen. John McCain got loose over the weekend, strutting his stuff alongside Oscar winner Jamie Foxx during a glitzy charity shindig.

“It’s the ones you don’t expect. … Republicans love to dance in the Hamptons,” Foxx told the Wall Street Journal of the fun he had bringing the Arizona Republican and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie up on stage with him during business tycoon/philanthropist Ronald Perelman’s high-profile soiree. Full story

July 30, 2014

Congressional Jam Band Returns to Cantina Marina

Part-time rocker Rep. Collin C. Peterson can no longer recall which iteration (the fourth, maybe?) of “The Amendments” he’s playing in these days.

Congressional Jam Band Returns to Cantina Marina

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

But the Minnesota Democrat fully expects to have a blast Thursday night, when the lawmaker-led band featuring a revolving roster of current and former pols takes the stage at Cantina Marina (600 Water St. SW).

The show, headlined by “Blame It On Jane,” a group of ex-congressional aides and lobbyists routinely on the convention circuit, is scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; no cover charge.

Per Peterson (lead singer/rhythm guitarist), he and current band-mates Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher (bassist), ex-Missouri Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof (percussion/keyboards), and former Hulshof Chief of Staff Manning Feraci (lead guitar) are looking forward to dazzling concertgoers with the latest cover tunes they’ve added to their sonic toolbox, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely.”

Other former lawmakers that have cycled through the constantly evolving troupe include: politician-turned-pundit Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., as well as Republicans Dave Weldon of Florida, Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan and Jon Porter of Nevada.

July 24, 2014

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

“The party was such a big hit the cops were called because we had too many people,” an aide to Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, told HOH about the overwhelming response to the Aloha State’s July 23 taste-around.

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The inaugural event was packed during our visit, with waves of people — all wearing complimentary purple-flowered leis (700 were distributed throughout the evening) — flowing in and out of the Kennedy Caucus Room to see/hear/taste/learn all about the island state.

“Aloha!” Hirono greeted each guest as they poured through the front door. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, extended his welcome to the rapidly swelling crowd from up on stage later in the program.

As for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, well, it turns out she’s a hugger.

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

We thought (for a second) that we’d spotted Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, mingling with native Hawaiians and curious staffers alike, but when we turned to look again the smiling face had disappeared into the crowd, leaving us feeling dejected about having failed to connect with her about the best part of the visually stimulating set-up. Our eyes must’ve been playing tricks, because the congresswoman was actually in Hawaii.

Party planners said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., was quite taken with the samples of fresh papaya, while Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was purportedly buzzing about Big Island Bees’ Ohia Lehua Blossom honey.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy opted for a meatier experience, waiting in line, like everyone else, for a taste of kalua pork. Full story

July 14, 2014

Commune with C.O.W.P.I.E. Saturday Night

Displaced Wyomingites are invited to reconnect with the wonders of the Cowboy State July 19 at the Committee of Wyoming People in the East’s upcoming shin-dig, an annual tradition marked by barbecue, mechanical bull riding and country music.

Commune with C.O.W.P.I.E. Saturday Night

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 37 annual C.O.W.P.I.E., which is scheduled to stampede into Eastern Market’s North Hall, kicks off with a members-only cookout (organizers bring in burgers and sides for their core constituency) before throwing open the doors to the general public at 8 p.m. Tickets are available in advance (through July 17) for $35, whereas those who wait until the day of must either shell out $25 for general admission (no alcohol) or $50 to booze it up.

“Only snacks are available after 8 p.m., but the beer and Jack [Daniels] will be flowing all night,” an event coordinator told HOH of what folks should expect to find at the Western-themed soiree.

Attendees are encouraged to break out their snazziest frontier wear, be it highly polished calfskin boots, wide-brimmed chapeaus or bright shiny belt buckles.

Desperate to wear your chaps out in public to an actually appropriate situation?

Allow the motorized bucking beast to make all your wildest dreams come true.

“We give out a Cheyenne Frontier Days belt buckle to the winner of our competition each year, and that always leads to some pretty impressive talent,” one organizer shared.

July 8, 2014

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

On Thursday, Holland & Knight will once again play host to the “Rooftop Deck Caucus,” the informal nickname for the throng of fun-seeking congressional staffers who flood the lobbying firm’s sun-splashed offices each summer.

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

(Courtesy Holland & Knight)

Public policy head Rich Gold — “and DJ,” he added — told HOH the come-as-you-are gathering (800 17th St. NW) began as an in-house shindig, but noted that it has since evolved into a widely attended opportunity to blow off some steam.

“It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek event, to say the least,” he suggested. “It also tends to get hot and sweaty, given Washington in July.”

Skyrocketing temperatures or not, Gold said he’s noticed some crossover between the more member-friendly reception his group puts on in the Cannon Caucus Room and the open-air soiree — overlooking the White House, no less — happening this week.

“It has started to get out,” he said, estimating that around a dozen intrepid lawmakers have begun routinely mixing with the 300-odd partygoers that congregate on the roof each year.

Those willing to brave the humidity for this year’s 8th annual outing, which is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., are set to be rewarded with spirited “cocktail ice creams” and “adult” sno-cones, Baja-style fish tacos, mini crab cakes, the musical stylings of the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett and “maybe even a photo booth.”

“Come party till you pass out. Something Washington doesn’t do nearly enough of,” Gold counseled.

June 17, 2014

Dave Brat Karaoke Event Canceled…For Now

Did stage fright keep Dave Brat away from a karaoke fundraiser scheduled for Thursday night?

According to the event’s spokesman, it was actually a scheduling conflict.

Libertarian coalition builder Matthew Hurtt announced Tuesday that Brat will not be attending the fundraiser scheduled for Thursday night. Hurtt told HOH that Brat plans to spend the evening in Virginia’s 7th District, at a local Republican Committee meeting.

Brat’s shocking win over outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., last week inspired the event, which was hosted by Liberty Karaoke. The group brings local libertarians together each week for sing-alongs and also raises money for “pro-liberty” candidates.

“Mr. Brat is dedicating his time to getting to know the people of Virginia’s 7th District,” Hurtt wrote on the event’s Facebook page. “All too often, politicians go to Washington and forget about their constituents. Mr. Brat is committed to being a citizen legislator in the mold of our Founders, and that’s important.”

Hurtt said he hopes to reschedule the fundraiser and he looks forward to finding another date that will work with Brat’s schedule.

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.

May 12, 2014

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

Advocates for extending voting rights to the District are adding another weapon to their coalition-building arsenal: the (local) star-studded gala.

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:57 p.m. | Politicos expected to strut their stuff at the inaugural “3 Star Ball: Party With a Purpose” include: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., shadow Sen. Paul Strauss and councilmembers-turned-mayoral-hopefuls Muriel Bowser and David Catania. The event is scheduled to take place May 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the scenic rooftop of the National Association of Realtors’ HQ (500 New Jersey Ave. NW).

Tickets to the gala, which will feature gourmet finger foods, frosty pours of DC Brau’s “The Citizen” and “Public Ale” and live entertainment, are $75 per person.

Organizers carved out a place for newly minted U.S. citizen José Andrés on the host committee. But, sadly, the bicoastal restaurateur will not be working his culinary magic for the mingling masses. That task falls to Alexandria, Va.-based Windows Catering, which is expected to ply partygoers with the likes of lobster rolls, beef Wellington, grilled vegetable quesadillas and cheesecake lollipops (among other nibbles).

DC Vote also plans to honor a pair of hometown heroes that night: regional suds slinger DC Brau, and Nancy Bagley, ex-aide in the administration of President Bill Clinton turned media maven (Washington Life Magazine).

“DC Brau has displayed extraordinary efforts to educate consumers about DC’s lack of congressional representation. They include messaging about DC statehood and representation on their cans of beer as well as in promotional advertising for their products,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said of the brewery’s in-your-face campaigning.

May 6, 2014

Becerra Aides Help Spread Mariachi Madness

Sure, it’s a mostly manufactured holiday. But Cinco de Mayo can still mean big business here in D.C. — particularly for the well-connected musicians in Mariachi Los Amigos.

Becerra Aides Help Spread Mariachi Madness

(Courtesy Team Becerra)

The band of rotating performers — an aide to House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California said the current troupe has been in place since late 2007; clips on their Facebook page suggest some iteration of the group has been enchanting fiesta-goers since at least 2001 — includes Daniel Herrera (violinist), who currently serves as deputy communications director for the House Democratic Caucus; Lorenzo Olvera (guitar), a former Becerra staffer; and Lorenzo’s brother Roberto Olvera (trumpet).

Monday was a big day for the boys; the band had been booked for four nearly back-to-back gigs, beginning with a dignitary-packed breakfast hosted by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the United States Naval Observatory. Full story

May 5, 2014

Which Members of Congress Attended White House Correspondents Association Dinner?

Which Members of Congress Attended White House Correspondents Association Dinner?

From left: White House’s Matt Lehrich, AshLee Strong of Sen. John Thune’s office, Fischer, Roll Call White House Correspondent Steven T. Dennis. (Christina Bellantoni/CQ Roll Call)

The White House Correspondents Association Dinner is a chance to see and be seen, and an evening when Washington’s elite can rub elbows with Hollywood elites. Members of Congress also frequently attend as guests of the media outlets.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., lamented (sort of) that it could be his last #WHCD given he isn’t seeking re-election this fall. Before President Barack Obama began his speech, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CQ Roll Call it was “getting old” that the president has so often taken jabs at him. (He didn’t get mentioned this time around.)

Roll Call’s guests included Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

Here is a list of the members who attended, according to the official program.

Full story

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

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 3, 2014

Nancy Pelosi: A Good Sport

I learned Friday evening that one of the perils of making fun of people in public is that sometimes you encounter those individuals in real life. And sometimes they confess their epic photobomb was an “accident.”

A month or so ago, I saw a hilariously awkward photo of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in my Facebook feed. I had a bit of fun with it in this column space.

Nancy Pelosi: A Good Sport

The post took about fifteen minutes to write and surprisingly garnered a lot of traffic — more than my usual stories about campaign media buys and Medicare Advantage.

Pelosi gamely responded on Twitter within an hour: “Oops.” It impressed me that whomever handles her account played along with the nonsense, and that I did not catch any hell from her office.

But I wasn’t prepared for actually meeting Pelosi not long after the post. But there she was at the Google/Netflix party, having a good time with a remarkably small entourage.

Full story

May 2, 2014

The ‘True Nerd Prom’ Parties Down

Washington’s upscale party set was out in full force Thursday night as Nerd Prom weekend kicked off.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner and all its ancillary events bring together politicians, members of the media and celebrities decked out in tuxes and gowns. But compared to the upscale dinner this Saturday, events Thursday night gave D.C. insiders a chance to let loose with two parties taking place roughly one mile away from each other in Northwest D.C.

More than 100 party-goers gathered at 18th Street Lounge in Dupont Circle to celebrate the one-year anniversary of BlueLabs, an analytics, data and technology company founded by top analysts from the Obama campaign.  One source told HOH this was “the true ‘nerd prom.’ ” Full story

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