The super-secret Usher app has been helping a tight-lipped clique of well-connected bon vivants sidestep the restaurant reservation process for several weeks now. Rumor has it that some of the early adopters may not be able to go back to living without it.
The homegrown hospitality aid launched in “stealth mode” — a closely guarded roll-out extended to “influential” people in D.C., including an undisclosed number of Capitol Hill denizens — in early September.
“My boss says it’s like the Uber of restaurants,” our tipster shared. “He says that he was initially skeptical, but hasn’t used OpenTable or Yelp since.”
Per the tipster, Usher somehow enables users to “get access to exclusive clubs/restaurants without a reservation.”
Team Usher declined to comment on how many people have enrolled in the stealth cohort or which local restaurants have embraced the line-cutting program. But the clandestine company sounds like it’s almost ready to come out of its shell.
“Service is throughout D.C. with the intention to expand soon after public launch,” an Usher aide shared via email. Full story
The autonomy-seeking advocates at DC Vote — a District-minded group backed by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton — plan to honor the Herb Block Foundation Wednesday for continuing to nurture the spirit of democracy.
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
According to organizers, the 2014 Champions of Democracy Awards Gala is scheduled to take place at the Library of Congress from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets to the fundraiser — which is also expected to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D.C. Home Rule — are $175 per person.
“Americans living in our nation’s capital raise families, pay full federal taxes and fight and die in wars but are denied voting representation in the House and the Senate,” is how DC Vote summarizes its mission to defeat the disenfranchisement faced by local residents.
Norton is scheduled to serve as honorary chairwoman of the annual fete, an event that has historically attracted fellow pols such as Rep. José E. Serrano, the New York Democrat who made an appearance at the group’s 2013 get-together. Full story
Headline from June 11, 1998. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)
If Larry Pressler doesn’t win a Senate seat in November, he might think about running for D.C. mayor. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The independent candidate and former Republican senator shaking up the South Dakota Senate race contemplated running for D.C. mayor in 1998, after he lost his re-election bid in 1996 and was working as a lobbyist.
The Daily Kos unearthed an Associated Press report Monday on Pressler’s potential mayoral bid, which cited an interview with Roll Call. So we dug through our archives and found the original interview that splashed the June 11, 1998, front page with the headline: “Pressler Plans Run for Mayor.” Full story
Per Twitter, that generosity seems likely to continue while D.C. and Charm City remain on the hunt.
Reliable Source (National Press Club)
Fellow hacks can unabashedly root, root, root for Peter Angelos’ team within the comfort of the Truman Lounge. Flying Dog Lagers and D.C. Brau Pale Ales for $5 should ease the sting of not being in Camden Yards.
Now if only the NPC had an in with Boog’s BBQ … Full story
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
Business leaders plan to raise a glass Friday to journalist-turned-author Beth Macy in recognition of her work on “Factory Man,” the Tom Hanks-endorsed, anti-globalization success story.
In an environment wherein lawmakers continue wrestling with corporate inversions and the staggering flight of industrial jobs, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Chairman John D. Bassett III stands as a testament to the resilience of the American worker.
“You people have proven that we can compete — and defeat — any competitor in any country in the world,” Vaughan-Bassett Furniture President and CEO Wyatt Bassett congratulated his employees in January 2012, after John helped revitalize the family business and surrounding city of Galax, Va., with a fresh infusion of cash and renewed stream of consumer demand. Full story
It’s not easy being green … and a political machine.
No, Kermit the Frog has not become a modern-day Boss Tweed. But a new political ad makes a nod to the Muppets by featuring plenty of puppets and a narrator that is a bright green and yellow puppet contraption dubbed “your political machine.” For good measure, the ad-makers throw in an homage to Alfred Hitchock Presents by making the background music Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette.”
The campaign for David Catania, independent candidate for D.C. mayor and a D.C. Council member, released the ad Wednesday. The minute-long ad has more than 7,000 YouTube hits and takes plenty of swings at Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser, also a member of the council. The machine’s green and yellow colors just happen to mirror Bowser’s campaign colors, and, for that matter, the colors of her predecessor on the council, ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty.
“Why do you support Muriel Bowser?” the political machine asks puppets on the streets of D.C., to which one responded, “Muriel isn’t afraid to speak out, even when she doesn’t quite understand the issue, like neighborhood schools.”
“Don’t be a puppet,” the ad concludes. “Vote Independent November 4th.”
Ben Young of the Catania campaign said the puppet ad was pitched by their digital consultants. Young did not know the exact cost of the ad but he said the ad will not be airing on T.V. He said that the pupeteer’s creations were very intentional, down to making the “political machine” resemble a reel tape recorder, which Young said, “like our political machine is no longer relevant or useful.”
Bowser Communications Director Joaquin McPeek responded to the ad in an email to CQ Roll Call, writing, “The only thing more comical than his puppets is his internal polling.”
Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.
It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.
Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.
The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple.” According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8. Full story
Artist Elizabeth Roskam, the wife of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, on Thursday delivered a one-of-a-kind portrait of the U.S. Capitol to visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
A Roskam aide told HOH that sending Poroshenko home with the brightly colored rendering of the Capitol dome — a painting she dubbed, “Bright Horizon” — meant the world to Elizabeth, a proud descendent of Eastern European immigrants.
Biden spoke to the crowd at the reception Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Don’t be too surprised if you see a Mustang and Corvette racing around Northwest D.C … followed by a motorcade of Secret Service officers.
“We agreed to a one loop race around the Naval yard,” former Utah Gov. John Huntsman joked Tuesday evening, saying he challenged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a race to see if his Mustang could outpace Biden’s Corvette.
Huntsman, the former GOP presidential candidate and ambassador to China, was joking but that would be certainly one way to bring Democrats and Republicans together, which was the focus of a Tuesday evening reception at the British ambassador’s residence and hosted by No Labels, the organization Huntsman co-chairs that works to bridge partisan divides. Full story
If there’s one thing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has come to appreciate about working on Capitol Hill (there’s gotta be something good about #ThisTown, right?), it’s the collaborative environment she and the other 19 female senators have joined forces to foster.
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
“We cheer each other on,” the New York Democrat told well-wishers at a D.C. book party about the camaraderie the female pols have developed in their respective chamber.
“We don’t agree on everything. But we often want to find the common ground, because we want to get things done,” she explained to HOH. “And that makes a huge difference.”
Gillbrand trumpeted the workplace sisterhood during remarks she gave at a cocktail party in honor of her new book, “Off the Sidelines.” Political activist Connie Milstein, someone Gillibrand has apparently come to count on, opened up her fabulous art-filled home for the event.
“I’m just grateful for every bit of generosity you’ve ever extended,” Gillibrand thanked the beaming host. Full story