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July 31, 2014

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April 14, 2014

Future Civic Leaders Fosters Youth Participation in Government

Future Civic Leaders Fosters Youth Participation in Government

Payne thinks Congress can provide a better example for future leaders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Public figures, members of Congress and other Washingtonians gathered recently to celebrate five years of Future Civic Leaders, an organization that fosters political engagement among high school students.

The Embassy of Luxembourg opened its doors on April 9 to about 200 people for “The Political Party.” The attendees milled around the first floor of the embassy enjoying specialty drinks, appetizers and gelato as a jazz trio played, all the while preparing for this summer’s Future Civil Leaders conference.

While the atmosphere was certainly celebratory, the event also highlighted the importance of fostering political engagement as young people are increasingly disillusioned by partisan gridlock.

“A lot of people my age, in my generation, look at the government today and all they see is the shutdown or they see a dysfunctional government,” said Sarmat Chowdhury, a student at George Mason University who participated in the first Future Civic Leaders conference in 2009.

“Sometimes my colleagues and I don’t set a very good example,” Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr., D-N.J., admitted, “but we need people to be committed to the leadership in government, to continue to focus on those issues that we know are important.”

Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 1:31 p.m.
DC, Parties

April 4, 2014

Ex-Hill Aide Taps Different Constituencies for PR

Gary Meltz, a one-time aide to Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., who has since carved out a niche for himself in the crisis management game, is inviting friends and colleagues to come celebrate the birth of Meltz Communications.

The fledgling communications firm officially threw open its doors in late January. But Meltz suggested that the myriad demands of actually setting up shop have made it nearly impossible to stop and enjoy a single minute of the momentous life change.

Ex Hill Aide Taps Different Constituencies for PR

(Courtesy Meltz Communications)

He hopes to rectify all that by indulging friends with a few drinks, some gourmet treats and signature matchbooks (‘natch) at an invite-only reception scheduled to take place April 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the Science Club (1136 19th St. NW). Full story

April 3, 2014

Pols Party Down at GRAMMYs on the Hill

Performers from across the musical spectrum helped star-stuck lawmakers get loose Wednesday night, as the annual GRAMMYs on the Hill awards once again blew the socks off of straight-laced Washington.

Pols Party Down at GRAMMYs on the Hill

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The invite-only affair gave politicos the opportunity to mingle with chart-topping artists from every decade dating back to the 1960s, a who’s who of vocal talent that included singer Dionne Warwick, Tejano band Los Lonely Boys, the Hanson Brothers and Grammy winners Lady Antebellum. The musicians, in turn, tipped their hats to those on Capitol Hill who’ve proved to be real good listeners, handing out awards to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Pols Party Down at GRAMMYs on the Hill

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“There’s very few places in this country that they would actually honor members of Congress,” the California Republican quipped while on stage with songwriter Booker T. Jones and Lumineers frontman Wesley Schultz. Full story

April 1, 2014

Artists to Sing House Leaders’ Praises at GRAMMYs on the Hill

The Recording Academy’s annual gala, the toe-tapping GRAMMYs on the Hill awards show, will once rock and roll its way through The Hamilton on Wednesday.

Chart-topping performers Lady Antebellum are slated to be honored with The Recording Academy’s Recording Artists’ Coalition Award, while House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will move from behind the scenes — McCarthy became co-chairman of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus in 2013; Pelosi addressed GRAMMYs on the Hill advocates during their 2010 lobbying day — to center stage to receive the GRAMMYs on the Hill Award.

Other musicians expected to mix and mingle with lawmakers and their entourages Wednesday night include:

Hanson

The nearly shot-for-shot remake of the Ray Charles-led number from the original “Blues Brothers” they did for their “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’” video was absolutely brilliant. Full story

March 27, 2014

Public Can Propel Capitol Hill Restos to RAMMY Glory

A panel of secret judges may control the fates of the 60-plus contenders vying for the area’s top hospitality prizes, but everyday diners have one month to help crown their favorite brunch spot, fast-food haven and all-around hang out.

The RAMMY Awards traditionally honor the superstars of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s core membership, heralding those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of providing exceptional food, beverage and service. The 2014 winners are scheduled to be revealed June 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) during the group’s 32nd annual gala.

As in the past, RAMW is opening up a handful of categories for public debate.

This year, armchair critics have until April 27 to weigh in on:

Upscale Casual Brunch of the Year

  • Art and Soul
  • Blue Duck Tavern
  • Mintwood Place
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Vermilion

 

Everyday Casual Brunch of the Year

  • DGS Delicatessen
  • Et Voila!
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Pizzeria Orso
  • Ted’s Bulletin (Barracks Row)

 

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Cashion’s Eat Place
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont)
  • Tune Inn

 

Favorite Fast Bites

 

RAMW is sweetening the pot for brunch lovers.

As part of the inaugural “Best Brunch Passport” contest, anyone who tweets a picture of a meal from any of the nominees between March 29-April 13 to @RAMMYAwards or tags it with #RAMMYSBrunch will be entered to win two tickets to the June 22 gala. Per the promoters, the winner will be announced on April 28.

Public votes can be cast via media partner the Washington City Paper or RAMW.

March 19, 2014

Moran Celebrates Central Asian Culture in Rayburn

Not done partying, even though St. Patrick’s Day has passed? Worry not: It isn’t the only holiday taking place this week.

Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., celebrated Persian new year with a group of Tajik-Americans in Rayburn House Office Building Friday night, but noted that the less well-known holiday might be overshadowed. “Unfortunately you’re coming here kind of at the same time as another tradition: The Irish-American celebration of St. Patrick’s Day,” he told the crowd.

Moran Celebrates Central Asian Culture in Rayburn

(Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

“There are a few more Irish-Americans than there are Tajik-Americans,” he quipped. “I’m still Irish, but frankly I try to avoid it: too much drinking and too much, uh, celebrating.” Full story

By Julie Ershadi Posted at 11 a.m.
Artsy, Parties

March 10, 2014

Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

This dinosaur, seen wandering the Capitol in a 2007, is not the one from the Gridiron Dinner, where no photos are allowed. But you get the idea. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ted Cruz apparently doesn’t have a problem with being openly mocked. Even when he’s being called a ”Flintstone Cowboy” by reporters dressed up like the cartoon characters — with a full-sized pink Dino the Dinosaur — presenting the Texas Republican as straight out of the Stone Age.

Cruz, the Republican keynote speaker for the exclusive, white-tie Gridiron Dinner on March 8, laughed heartily from the head table as the grizzled journalists danced around on stage to an original tune parodying the Glen Campbell ballad “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Full story

March 5, 2014

Krist Novoselic Rolls to Republic for Democracy Party

Nirvana bassist cum political activist Krist Novoselic will trumpet the need for electoral reform around 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Republic (6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, Md.) during a fundraiser piggybacking on the unveiling of the restaurant’s live shows.

The grunge rocker has been dabbling in politics for a while now, lending his voice and stature to candidates and causes that resonate with his personal philosophy. He joined FairVote’s board of directors nearly a decade ago and has been advocating for change ever since.

A Republic spokeswoman suggested that those more interested in reliving 90’s musical angst rather than rocking the vote might be better off staying home.

“We’re not certain if Krist is performing as yet, as he’ll be there in the capacity of his FairVote chairmanship,” the restaurant aide told HOH, adding that local acts The Cowards Choir and The Beanstalk Library are scheduled to play. Full story

February 21, 2014

Brothel Responds to Reid’s Prostitutes/2016 GOP Convention Remarks

One of Nevada’s legal brothels is rebutting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s argument that the state’s prostitution industry could be a reason Las Vegas loses out on hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Sheri’s Ranch Brothel points to the rates of sex trafficking in Tampa, Fla., as not exactly a disqualifying factor in the city’s hosting of the 2012 Republican convention.

“These serious prostitution-related issues didn’t seem to bother Republicans when they considered Tampa, so why would they have an issue with a state that enforces legal prostitution? After all, Nevada’s licensed brothels only allow safe sex between mature consenting adults in a secure, STD-free environment,” the brothel said in its response. “Sex trafficking and child prostitution are abhorred by representatives of the legal Nevada sex work community.”

Full story

February 14, 2014

Joel McHale to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

Joel McHale to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

(Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)

“Community” star and “The Soup” host Joel McHale has been charged with bringing the funny to this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.

The annual “nerd prom” is scheduled to take place at the Washington Hilton on May 3.

“We’re thrilled that Joel will headline the dinner when we celebrate our centennial,” White House Correspondents Association president Steven Thomma trumpeted in a release. “He’s sharp, funny, and just the type of comic who can navigate the unique challenge of our dinner, making fun of Democrats, Republicans and especially the news media. Washington can use a little good-natured ribbing.” Full story

February 13, 2014

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

Not having an official vote undoubtedly makes it tougher for D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss to stand out as much as he’d like around Capitol Hill.

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

He appears to have no such trouble on the West Coast, a powerbase the local pol has been cultivating for over a decade in the hopes of getting Hollywood to back D.C. statehood.

Strauss is planning another charm offensive Thursday night — that’s when he’ll lobby La-La Land at The Creative Coalition’s “Voices of Impact Dinner.” Full story

February 11, 2014

Members of Congress Attending the White House State Dinner

It’s one hot ticket: Not just a State Dinner, but a State Dinner for the president of France, Francois Hollande. How would you like to be the chef in charge of the souffle tonight?

Members of Congress have gotten a lot of cold shoulders from the White House during the Obama presidency, having seen traditional picnics and socials be postponed, then canceled, for instance. So how did the legislative branch come out on the invite list?

A roster from the Office of the First Lady shows 11 current members of Congress on the guest list, although FLOTUS tried goose the number to 12 by promoting Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams to federal office by identifying her as “United States Representative (Georgia).” Oh, well. They’ll just have to wait for an intervening election.

Here’s the list of members attending:

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eight House members and three senators. Among those, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans.

Noted congressional alumni are former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who is now secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., now secretary of Defense, and former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., currently secretary of State, along with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., formerly the distinguished senator from Delaware.

Relief Agencies Share Hardware, Liquid Courage With Congress

Assuming Mother Nature doesn’t orchestrate her own brand of government shutdown over the next 48 hours, staffers should prepare to get their geek on Thursday during the “Innovation at the U.N.” reception.

The science-fair-themed gathering, organized by the Better World Campaign, is scheduled to take place Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Rayburn foyer. Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to events@UNfoundation.org.

An event promoter told HOH the plan is to highlight the tools relief groups such as the U.N. Foundation, U.N. Development Programme, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme, UNICEF and UNESCO are deploying around the globe. Attendees will be able to inspect one of those innovations, an Ikea-designed “refugee housing unit” designed with expediency (no tools required), longevity and sustainability (potential to be outfitted with solar power sources) in mind.

Too wonky for your tastes?

The party is also expected to feature “bartenders wearing lab coats/goggles” serving (what else?) “fizzy drinks in test tubes.”

“There will be blue cocktails dubbed ‘Ban Ki-moon blasts’!” our source said of the boozy entertainment named after the current UN secretary general. Those looking to lap up the experimental libation should expect splashes of vodka, lime juice and blue Curacao.

January 24, 2014

SOTU Watch Party Patrol

Updated Jan. 27, 2:35 p.m. | For true political junkies, the House chamber is the ONLY place to be come 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

That’s when President Barack Obama will share his annual State of the Union address with select guests, the entirety of Congress, whatever members of the Supreme Court cross the street to attend and anyone who happens to tune in to a major network or cable news channel that evening.

If creeping into the Capitol is a non-starter, perhaps you’ll be more comfortable at one of the SOTU watch parties cropping up all over town.

Here’s what we’ve found in the immediate area (radiating out from the Hill):

Sonoma

The Capitol Hill standby (223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) will be cranking the flat-screen TVs in the upstairs lounge and offering free eats (truffle popcorn, hummus with flat bread) and discounted drinks ($4 Peronis, $5 red/white/sparkling wines, $5 rails) during Obama’s speech.

Generation Opportunity’s Inaugural SOTU Watch Party

“For too long politicians have talked down to young people and it’s time that young people start talking back,” Gen Opp spokesman David Pasch said of the inaugural event at the Hawk ‘n’ Dove (329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.) The party, which will feature light hors d’oeuvres and two hours of open bar, is scheduled to run 8-10 p.m.

They’ve also created a SOTU drinking game that should slake the modern thirst for social-media stardom.

“Twitter will be displayed live on a screen with responses to the SOTU in correspondence with the game. It’s totally interactive and people around the country can participate even if they can’t make it to the event in person,” Pasch told HOH.

The group hopes to accommodate up to 100 guests. Register here.

Washington Examiner’s SOTU Bingo

The news outlet is hosting its debut SOTU Bingo fest at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE) from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

The self-styled game — “war on women,” “Solyndra” and “make no mistake” are just some of the buzzwords/phrases players shouldn’t sleep on — will feature giveaways ranging from a $100 Visa gift card (grand prize) to Examiner swag. “Everyone should leave with something,” Team Examiner suggested.

Drink specials include half-price Belgian beers, half-price bottles of wine, $14 buckets of Goose Island beers, $5 infused bourbons, $5 Jameson and $5 signature Examiner cocktail.

Register here.

Busboys and Poets

All four locations of D.C. mayoral candidate Andy Shallal’s politically progressive eateries will broadcast Obama’s speech in their respective viewing rooms. A B&P aide suggested that each restaurant would likely offer some sort of specials, and noted that the Arlington Democrats are expected to host a panel discussion about the speech at the Shirlington, Va., outpost.

The viewing parties are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and are open to the general public. (No RSVP required.)

5th Annual SOTU Progress Party

A handful of left-leaning organizations will again take over Local 16 (1602 U St. NW) from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. for a pro-Obama blowout. Network for Progress President Jim McBride said upward of 500 people have participated in the communal watch party in years past.

“We expect a few hundred,” he suggested of the latest go-around.

The long-running shindig features discounted food and drink deals ($5 beers and rails), a $1 raffle (gift certificates to Local 16, Taan Noodles and Absolute Noodle are all up for grabs this year), a $20 discount for first-time Uber users and complimentary admissions to Nakid Social Sports leagues.

Register here.

The Diner

The Diner (2453 18th St. NW) plans to ply SOTU fans with cheap wings and discounted pitchers from 8 p.m. till last call.

The kitchen will crank out chicken wings for 50 cents a pop, while bartenders will be pouring $18 pitchers of Peak Organic Brewing Co. Nut Brown Ale, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Baltimore Washington Brew Works Pendulum Pilsner and Brewery Ommegang Witte all night.

Featured raffle prizes run the gamut from a complimentary dessert to tickets to a local sporting event. No RSVP required.

Redline

The sports entertainment hub (707 G St. NW) is playing up SOTU by broadcasting the speech on 50 TVs and rolling out extended happy hour specials. Discounted deals include: $4 domestic drafts, $5 rail drinks, $6 glasses of wine and 20 percent off appetizers. No RSVP required.

Star & Shamrock

The Atlas District pub (1341 H St. NE) is getting politically active with its “politics & pints & pastrami” promotion. Guinness reps will be on hand from 6 to 9 p.m. to pour brews and silkscreen custom T-shirts (free with the purchase of a Guinness or Harp). The watch party will take place from 9 to 11 p.m. No RSVP required.

January 15, 2014

Party’s Over for Jim Moran

Democratic Rep. James P. Moran is not just through with Congress. He’s done with fundraising, it seems.

On Wednesday afternoon, political donors received an emailed heads-up that an upcoming Moran fundraiser was kaput.

Partys Over for Jim Moran

Said fundraiser was set to take place on Jan. 24 at Art & Soul restaurant.

It was to be a luncheon with “suggested contributions” ranging from $500 to $2,500 that would have gone toward the Moran for Congress campaign.

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