Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Posts in "R-A-W-K"

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 9, 2014

Another Bite of the Cleveland Apple

Carving up the Cleveland hospitality scene in anticipation of the 2016 GOP nominating convention has turned into quite the task. So much so, in fact, that we’re back with a second round of dining/drinking/carousing picks for those destined to head due west ahead of the next presidential election cycle.

During our initial foray into can’t miss eateries, Cleveland Magazine managing editor Kim Schneider shared insights into coveted seats, suburban retreats and dedicated suds slingers.

But man cannot live on steak and beer alone. (Can we?) Full story

May 21, 2014

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith has banged out a whole bunch of special appearances this week, from hanging with first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House talent show to cracking wise about the music biz in front of the Capitol.

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Smith has been rocking the Capitol this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The best part of the trip, though, had to be showing his eldest son, Cole, around the White House.

“My son for some reason, 9 years old, all things presidential he is just enamored with,” Smith told HOH. To wit, Smith noted that while visiting the Oval Office, Cole dropped some knowledge on the tour guide about the reason behind the circular design — something about not being able to sneak up on POTUS — that the administration aide claimed to be unfamiliar with.

“So Cole is now giving tours of the White House,” Smith quipped.

He said Cole got the shock of his young life when President Barack Obama unexpectedly popped by a FLOTUS-led event and took a shine to the nattily attired young man.

“He had on this seersucker suit, my son. Which he never wears a suit. It’s the only suit he has,” Smith shared.

When 44 got up close and personal, Smith said, Cole got all the love.

“Barack was like, ‘Nice to meet you, Chad. … Hey, nice suit. Where’d you get that suit? Ah, Seersucker. Summer’s coming,’” Smith noted. “So he was talking to my son about fashion.”

Or was he?

“And Cole’s like, ‘The president called me a sucker,’” Smith said, choking back laughter. Full story

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

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

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 24, 2014

GWAR Loses Frontman, World Loses Bloodthirsty Political Equalizer

Entertainer Dave Brockie, the human counterpart to intergalactic swordsman Oderus Urungus, died Sunday, leaving behind a massive void for metal-heads used to having the GWAR singer settle political scores for them.

As first reported by Style Weekly, Brockie, 50, was found dead at his home in Richmond, Va., on Sunday afternoon.

The inexhaustible showman carved out an amazing career for himself as the co-founder and face of GWAR, a heavy metal band as well known for its grotesque costumes and fake blood-soaked skits as it is for its ear-splitting performances.

Whether clad in his horned mask and generously proportioned body suit or not, Brockie was never one to hold his tongue. A few years back, he chewed out the U.S. State Department for presumably dragging its feet in fighting for the return of Lamb of God singer David Randall “Randy” Blythe from imprisonment in the Czech Republic, and waded into New Mexican primary challenges by endorsing then-House hopeful Sean Closson.

Brockie, however, did his best work on stage — mercilessly disposing of political foes, both domestic:

 

President Barack Obama

 

Full story

March 3, 2014

Don Beyer’s ‘Cups’ Song Campaign Assist

How do you stand out in a crowded Democratic primary field with nearly a dozen well-connected, viable candidates?

Distribute a catchy ditty created by children of your family friends.

That’s what former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer is doing in the Democratic primary in Virginia’s open 8th District race.

Beyer, who recently finished up a stint as ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, is one of 11 Democrats running to replace retiring Rep. James P. Moran in this heavily Democratic Northern Virginia House seat.

His campaign recently release a YouTube video created by Mae and John Keating, two middle-school students whose parents are friends of the Beyers, which touts Beyers’ credentials for the race. The video, released Feb. 17, already has more than 1,400 views.

Full story

February 26, 2014

Reykjavik Provides ‘Simply the Best’ Party Pitch We’ve Ever Seen

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A Marist College poll released Wednesday shows District Mayor Vincent Gray ahead of a crowded pack of candidates vying to capture the Democratic mayoral nomination on April 1. But when queried about their level of excitement for the upcoming race, only 32 percent of Democrats polled claimed to be “very enthusiastic” about voting. That number might be different if we were in Iceland, where the mayor here told a magazine he would only work with politicians who have watched “The Wire” and agree it was the best thing to happen to TV.

Reykjavik Mayor Jón Gnarr, a comedian turned elected official, took office in 2010 after running mostly on a lark as a Best Party candidate. He promised to “do away with all debt,” get a polar bear for the Reykjavik Zoo and to economize, saying, “We only need one Santa!”

The Best Party platform is worth digging into. Thankfully, they’ve made that an entertaining task by shooting a “We Are the World”-esque music video laying out their priorities to the tune of, you guessed it, “Simply the Best.” (The production values are impressive, but we’d expect nothing less from a party that counts the Sugarcubes’ Einar Örn Benediktsson as a member; he joined the city council in the same election cycle.)

Unfortunately for us, the mayor announced in the fall he would not seek re-election, which means we only have until May to enjoy his antics.

Sure, Gray attends the 17th Street High Heel Race, but being photographed with drag queens is different than donning the wig and gold earrings yourself, as Gnarr did in 2010 at the Icelandic capital’s Pride parade.

February 7, 2014

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

A city of iconic monuments and architecture, Washington, D.C., is known for historic sites — and now you can own one, though it is lesser known.

On Dec. 13, 1980, Minor Threat, a seminal D.C. hardcore band, played its first show at 1929 Calvert St. NW. The eight bedroom, seven bathroom Victorian townhouse is on the market for $2.09 million.

Located in the Kalorama neighborhood, the house has been divided up into four luxury two bedroom apartments, according to the Long and Foster listing.

But the place should probably be turned into a museum. Also on the bill that night was The Bad Brains, S.O.A. and a few other D.C. bands that had taken the baton from ’70s punk rock and launched a thriving music scene in the District.

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

(Screenshot Pinterest)

After breaking up in 1983, Ian MacKaye, Minor Threat’s lead singer, went on to found Fugazi. He also founded Dischord Records with drummer Jeff Nelson.

Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker went on to play with Junkyard, The Meatmen, Dag Nasty, Government Issue and now plays with Bad Religion.

The Bad Brains is a legendary D.C. hardcore band formed in 1977 and famous for playing fast songs, but also for its reggae numbers.

S.O.A, short for State of Alert, was Henry Rollins’ first band. Back then he was known as Henry Garfield. A District native, Rollins later went on to be the lead singer of L.A. hardcore band Black Flag before embarking on a solo career and eventually branching into acting.

January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger Struck a Chord With America

Famed folk singer Pete Seeger has died, leaving a void in the socially conscious musicverse that’s been felt all the way to the Oval Office.

“Once called ‘America’s tuning fork,’ Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community — to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be,” President Barack Obama eulogized the nonagenarian balladeer in an official statement.

“Over the years, Pete used his voice — and his hammer — to strike blows for worker’s rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pete’s family and all those who loved him,” Obama shared with the nation.

Seeger was never one to fear ringing the White House’s bell, directing one of his clearest call to arms, “Dear Mr. President,” to then-commander in chief Franklin D. Roosevelt:

 

 

December 6, 2013

Deutch Doesn’t Play When It Comes to Piano

As far as Rep. Ted Deutch is concerned, there’s always time to tickle the ivories.

Deutch Doesn’t Play When It Comes to Piano

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

The Florida Democrat spontaneously began playing a few bars Wednesday, following a Recording Academy briefing for lawmakers interested in intellectual property rights. As part of the advocacy effort, hit-maker Harvey Mason Jr. — who has worked with performers ranging from Aretha Franklin to Justin Bieber — treated Deutch and Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Tom Marino, R-Pa., to a sneak preview of “Who Do You Love,” an unreleased track from Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson’s forthcoming album.

According to an HOH tipster, Deutch “stole some limelight when he gave an impromptu (and very short) riff on the keyboard.”

Not that anyone should be terribly surprised. Full story

November 8, 2013

Shed a Coat, Score a Beer During Charity Pub Crawl

HillVets has organized a philanthropic pub crawl Friday night where you can trade a warm winter coat for a tour of local watering holes, gratis draft brews and a show by some hometown rockers.

The Veterans Day weekend collection effort kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Bullfeathers (410 First St. SE) and will include stops at The Dubliner (4 F St. NW) and Béarnaise (313 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) before the evening is through. Interested participants are requested to bring a new winter jacket to donate to the cause.

The contributed clothing nets each attendee one free draft beer at each location, with each bar offering up their full catalog of freshly poured suds — ranging from four craft brews at Béarnaise (including DC Brau’s The Corruption, Delirium Tremens and Eggenberg Pils) to the 30-plus lines at Bullfeathers.

Local funkmeisters the B Side Shuffle are scheduled to serenade the group when everyone stumbles into the Dubliner:

Can’t crawl this evening?

Béarnaise, Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza will be accepting coat donations through Saturday. But the free beer deal is only good tonight.

Business Leaders to Rock Out With Reality TV Star

How does one properly reward those willing to spend the better part of a day debating the nuts and bolts of intellectual property rights and innovation policy? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center figures a few tunes from a long-forgotten “American Idol” winner ought to about cover it.

The GIPC is hosting its inaugural global IP summit Friday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a daylong gathering featuring guest speakers — including Rep. George Holding, R-N.C. — and discussion panels galore.

Once it’s all over, attendees will be treated to a 15-minute performance by singer/songwriter Lee DeWyze.

Name not ringing a bell for you?

That’s probably because DeWyze won the ninth cycle of American Idol — and immediately faded into obscurity. Full story

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