Saturday, April 30, 2011

Politicos Push for Participation with VotoLatino

Co founders Maria Teresa Kumar and Rosario Dawson

by contributor Brendan Kownacki

Friday night, The Brunswick Group gathered together media and political insiders with partner organization VotoLatino as a part of the White House Correspondent's dinner festivities. VotoLatino is a group dedicated to encouraging political activism and participation in the latino community. Group co-founder, actress Rosario Dawson, was on hand to talk about the issues and discuss what it is like for Hollywood to descend on Washington. She noted that she, along with her other group members were "summoned to the White House" --which was a pleasant treat, to get to speak to the President about the importance of Latino participation in the country.  Link to YouTube video here:

Hollywood Boys Club shows up at Funny or Die Party

by contributor Brendan Kownacki

Hollywood hit DC hard when comedy website Funny or Die joined forces with Kimball Stroud for a star-studded pre-party before the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, produced by Impact Arts + Film Fund.  TV's original 'mad man' Jon Hamm posed for pictures with fans and then snuck behind the VIP ropes to enjoy a quieter drink and was seen texting from his seat. Also circulating to chat with with party-goers was two time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White who is excited to attend the official dinner this weekend. 

John Hamm

Patricia Arquette

Zach Galifianakis

Bradley Cooper

Shaun White

Sean Penn looks for breathing room at Funny or Die party.

by contributor Brendan Knownacki

Last night fans of the comedy website Funny or Die gathered to celebrate The White House Correspondents' Dinner weekend with a mix of Washingtonians and Hollywood stars including John Hamm, Sean Penn, Chace Crawford, and Zach Galifianakis

Penn kept mostly to himself once he anchored in the corner of the packed VIP tent, causing a brief stir when he tried to push open the locked fence surrounding the venue. The crowd was shoulder-to-shoulder and it looked like Penn was ready to climb over the fence if it meant some breathing room. 

Also on hand was star of the upcoming Hangover Part II, who said he was "thrilled to be back" in DC as he maneuvered through the crowd. Cooper is an alumnus of Georgetown University, where he graduated with a B.A. in English in 1997.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Party Actually for Journalist, imagine that!

In between the royal wedding and the White House Correspondents' weekend, someone actually thought to pay tribute to reporters. Quinn Gillespie and American Gas hosted a congenial crowd to thank them. View Slideshow

Soup of the day

Blue Star Families

Patricia and David Arquette

TV personality Rita Cosby and David Arquette at the Creative Coalition and Blue Star Families PSA premiere gala.

Paul Begala struggles with Political Trivia

by contributor Brendan Kownacki

What do you get when you pit Congressmen, Washington insiders and national news anchors against each other in a no-holds-barred trivia grudge match during WHCD weekend?  The wonkiest night of fun you'll ever find.

Thursday night's National Journal sponsored Political Pursuit party at the Newseum brought a packed crowd to cheer on their favorite team and see which group would reign Supreme in the Jeopardy style showdown.

Team 'Press Pass' included NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd and CNN's Dana Bash. The ultimately victorious Congressional team was lead by a strong showing from Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Washington insiders including democratic operative Paul Begala who struggled at times to recall his own campaigning days to answer the quiz bowl queries.

The evening was light hearted and the competition fierce.

Ultimately:  Members: 240  Press: 180  Insiders: 135

Washington leaves bickering to the dogs for a change.

Wendy Diamond

by contributor Brendan Kownacki

Popular TV guest Wendy Diamond hosted a party fit for a dog on Thursday night, replete with kibbles on the patio of DC hot spot Art and Soul.

Guests joined members from Pets2Vets (P2V) that helps to unite shelter dogs with veterans returning from active service.  " I love a great cause and working with one that needs some help to promote itself," she commented.

Group founder Dave Sharpe greeted guests with the DC Cupcake girls, Katherine Kallinis and Shophie LaMontagne.   “We’re excited to get on board.  We’re big dog lovers” said Sophie. "Being a dog owner changes your life. Anything we can do to help an animal cause" added Katherine on why P2V was a cause that resonated with them.

The owners of Georgetown Cupcake were excited about prepping royal wedding themed cupcakes in honor of Will and Kate and making sure the shop was ready for Hollywood celebs who might stop in during the White House Correspondents’ Association weekend.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inside Look: The Bang Bang Club

 'The Bang Bang Club'' -- based on the true story of four photographers who endured violence and faced moral dilemmas during the demise of apartheid in South Africa -- opens at West End Cinema April 29. Niteside sat down with author Greg Marinovich (played by Ryan Phillippe) for an inside look.

Friday, April 22, 2011

CNN’s Ed Henry on Branch Rickey

January 24, 1950 - Jackie Robinson signs a contract with Brooklyn Dodger's team president . Image by Bettmann/CORBIS.

Blog contributor and Washington Life columnist was interviewed last week in a story by CNN Senior White House Correspondent on ’s decision to sign Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Rickey made the decision in the presence of her father-in-law, Rev. , a minister at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So Was That #Winning?

John and Christine Arundel

Tweetdecks were burning up with Sheen o’mania last night, well before his late arrival at DAR Constitution Hall for his "Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not an Option" tour -- and before his opening line, "Hope you had a better f---ing day than I did; sorry I'm late."

Niteside got a minute-by-minute text account from stadium insider Michael Kosmides, who won two tickets at a brunch earlier in the month.  Link:

Recession Doesn't Touch Financial Times' Bash

Lionel Barber

In an economically challenged world, the recession was nowhere in sight at the elegant soiree hosted by the Financial Times at the historic Anderson House, the Beaux Arts mansion located in Dupont Circle.

Depending on what time they arrived, guests dined on mushroom strudel, fennel lamb on rosemary skewers, Peking duck and Thai tofu rolls -- or Laduree-style macaroons, baked Alaska brownie sticks and FT Pink marshmallows half dipped in coconut, half plain. All complemented the Moet Hennessey Brut and Rose Champagne, which flowed freely.  Link:

Worry-Proof Financial Times Bash

Lionel Barber, Andrea Mitchell, Alan Greenspan, Sally Quinn

There were no signs of a recession at the Anderson House last night where mini lobster rolls and Peking Duck crossed paths with rivers of champagne. The reception, hosted by the Financial Times, was in honor of new bureau chief Richard McGregor.  Link:

Monday, April 18, 2011


Chef Ángel López

   By Contributor Donna Shor

         When emcee Barbara Harrison called on DC Mayor Vincent Gray in the Ronald Reagan building the night after his arrest during a peaceful protest on the Congressional grounds, he called out to the audience “Would you like to come along with me to jail? Then stand with me to demand the right to vote in the District of Columbia.”
          The applause was long, even though the listeners’ minds were on neither home rule nor home cooking. Not with small plates of delicacies from twelve of Washington’s embassy chefs before them. It was the 2011 Embassy Chef Challenge staged by CulturalTourismDC.. The chefs, eleven men and one woman in this year’s group, cook daily for their respective ambassadors.
          The panel of judges was led by JoeYonan, the Washington Post’s food and travel editor.In a preliminary contest last month, each chef was asked to prepare a dish from a bag of mystery ingredients going mano-a-mano against the other eleven. Chef Lars Reese of the Royal Danish Embassy won.
At the Challenge, where guests voted on the People’s Choice award, the winner was Peru’s Chef Jose Luis Fernandez, who  produced an ocean-fresh Ceviche, while the Judges Choice went to Denmark’s Lars Beese for his Duck Breast with Apple and Plum Chutney.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There's Always a Story Behind a Story

Kevin Klein

Actor/Director Robert Redford -- who was in town Sunday night for the world premiere of “The Conspirator” at Ford’s Theatre -- is everything you would expect him to be: charming, ruggedly handsome, easy-going, smart, and extremely proud of his latest accomplishment.

Ford’s Theatre, the site of the April 14, 1865 fatal shooting of President Lincoln, was an eerily perfect setting for the movie... as was the location of the onlookers across the street, milling around what was then the Peterson Boarding House, where Lincoln died the morning after he was shot. It was easy to envision the pandemonium that took place on that fateful evening as cabinet members, doctors and generals scrambled to attend their president, and gathered in horror and disbelief.

“The Conspirator” invites you to "examine the truth" about Lincoln’s death, with a tagline of “One bullet killed the President, but not one man.”

Lincoln Conspiracy Comes to Light

Lincoln Conspiracy Comes to Light

The National Museum of Crime and Punishment teamed up with Maryland's Surratt House Museum for a private screening of Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator,” due out in April.

The movie begins with President Lincoln's assassination, but deals mainly with the aftermath and the trial of the conspirators, focusing on Mary Surratt. "So it's not just an untold story... it's an unknown story to most Americans," said Executive Producer Webster Stone, (The American Film Company) who attended the screening at E Street Cinema.

On the Catwalk or the Dogwalk?

The National Building museum was jammed to capacity with a fashion extravaganza benefiting the Washington Humane Society.

Seen on the Catwalk

Fashion for Paws:

David Hyde Pierce on Alzheimers

David Hyde Pierce

 David Hyde Pierce hosted theAlzheimer's Gala at the National Building Museum to raise funds for a disease that has affected his family:

Finding Her Voice

Diane Rehm - photo by Ralph Alswang 

By contributor Donna Shor

At the Roast and Toast for NPR/WAMU talk show host Diane Rehm, broadcaster Juan Williams ―now at Fox News―riffed on his very public ouster from NPR, saying “Everyone in this room knows where I don’t work!”.
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, founder of the Public Broadcasting Caucus, relished repeating the New Hampshire gaffe of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann―not a fan of public broadcasting―when she praised the state for their “patriotic” Revolutionary War towns, Lexington and Concord, temporarily relocating them from Massachusetts.
Diane was given the Excellence in Journalism Award by the American News Women’s Club, who hosted the gala at the National Press Club. Roger Mudd emceed, Claire Sanders Swift was chair, and Pamela (Pamela’s Punch) Sorensen  co-chaired.
Ream, who began at WAMU as a volunteer in 1973, now has an international following of 2 million listeners; but not without heartache. She lost her voice for a time with a vocal cord malady, recovering it by hard work, painful injections of botox in her neck, and the aid of speech therapist Susan Miller, who attended the gala.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CNN’s Ed Henry breaks story on Branch Rickey

Jackie Robinson
Rev, Fifield

Blog contributor Donna Shor was interviewed this week in a story by CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry on Branch Rickey’s decision to sign Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Rickey made the decision in the presence of her father-in-law, Rev. L. Wendell Fifield, a minister at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights.
Fifield’s wife, June, wrote about it in 1966.  The story was discovered among her papers by his granddaughter, Donnali Fifield, who is sorting and cataloging the family’s papers for an archive.  She had tried to get the story noticed for several years.  Rickey’s decision had even greater meaning because it had taken place in a church that was established by the abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher and was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  “I had no idea that I would find a story that linked my grandfather to a part of U.S. history,” she told CNN.  “But as soon as I read it, I knew it was historically significant.”
Ed Henry, who’d heard about it from Donna Shor a couple of years ago, also recognized its importance.  He remembered the story and asked Shor to talk about it for the segment, which included interviews with Rachel Robinson, Branch Rickey III, and Ken Burns.
CNN White House Producer Jamie Crawford helped put together the segment and wrote a blog about the story:
Friday marked the sixty-fourth anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier.
Ken Burns is doing a program on Jackie Robinson that will come out in 2015.
Another Robinson movie in the works: Robert Redford has recently announced that he is going to play Rickey in a film about the relationship between the two men.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mira Sorvino puts the spotlight on child trafficking, The Grateful Dead is featured in a film, a Q&A Quickie with Cat Ommanney, and more…

draws a crowd at post-Hill reception

Here’s a party tip: If you’re hosting an impromptu dinner and want guests to show up, have Academy Award-winner as your guest of honor.

That’s exactly what did after Sorvino attended a briefing on child trafficking on Capitol Hill with Sens. (D-Ore.) and (R-Tex.), filmmaker (“Playground”) and several survivors of child trafficking.

Friday, April 08, 2011

'Put Celebs Next to Researchers'

Senator Susan Collins Senator Johnny Isakson and David Hyde Pierce
Photo by Steve Canning Photography

Emmy-award winning reporter/producer Meryl Comer has spent the last 17 years caring for her husband, who suffers from Alzheimer's. She's also engaged in the fundraising fight against the disease.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"Don’t flush discarded drugs away. Add them to the cat litter," said White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske

Linda Daschle Sheila Dwyer Melissa Maxfield Tom Daschle Julianna Smoot

By contributor Donna Shor

“The family medicine chest is my fastest growing drug challenge," said White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, surprising his N Street Village Gala table-mates at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

“The only mortality statistic that is rapidly rising," he added, "is the death count of prescription drug abusers.  Young people, especially, think because these pain killers, sleep medications and stimulants are legal, they are safe.They are not.

Even the drugs’ disposal can bring damage to the environment and to public health. We’re warning: Don’t flush discarded drugs away. Add them to cat litter or used coffee grounds in a disposable container with a lid and discard them with the trash.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was introduced by PBS commentator and syndicated columnist Mark Shields and received the Founders' Award along with Honorary Board Member Carol Wheeler.  Both  lauded the work of N Street Village last year in caring for 46 % of Washington’s single homeless women. 

Melissa Maxfield was the Gala Chairwoman (Comcast Senior Vice President of Congressional and Federal Government Affairs) with Diane Enzi and Juliana Smoot as co-chairs. Gwen Ifill emceed for the audience which included numerous Congressional members; so don't be surprised if they introduce 'kitty litter' legislation.

Weintraub Did D.C., Everything Else "His Way"

Weintraub Did D.C., Everything Else "His Way"
Getty Images
Before you feel misled, keep in mind that "His Way" is not about Frank Sinatra; that was "My Way." No, "His Way" is a documentary that premiered on HBO Monday, about legendary Hollywood film producer Jerry Weintraub .
Weintraub’s childhood mixed a modest life, a rough neighborhood in the Bronx, a united family and a father who left an indelible imprint on his life as a charming and determined gem dealer. This would be the combination that jumped started a truly remarkable life.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dayside Brunch Mixes Hail, Sheen

Dayside Brunch Mixes Hail, Sheen 
 Chris Brown, Brendan Kownacki and Tommy McFly would have gotten an A+ for their Dayside Brunch at Cities on Saturday, if they could have taken credit for the hail.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Woodmans

Photo by Francesca Woodman

"The Woodmans" -- now playing at the West End Cinema -- offers a candid yet difficult-to-watch series of interviews with Betty and Charles Woodman. The couple lost their remarkably talented photographer daughter Francesca to suicide at age 22.

They walk the audience through their lives in slow motion as they learn to cope with their loss, understand it and survive it; all of which they do with integrity as they look back and examine their own lives.

Miss America Goes to Washington

She's meeting with politicians and lunching in Georgetown -- but who gets to try on the crown?

2011 D.C. Design House Chooses Jewel Tones

Interior Designer Robert Shiels

"It doesn't cost anything to dream," said well-known interior designer Robert Shields of this D.C. Design House.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Bagging It at Social Safeway

NBC Washington's Kimberly Suiters and Fresh 94.7 DJ Tommy McFly were among those who bagged their Saturday for the Washington Humane Society.

From Refugee to Runway Model

From Refugee to Runway Model 
National Geographic's “Desert Flower” is something of a late bloomer: It debuted in 2009, but only now it is getting the attention it deserves. The film opened at the E Street Cinema (555 11th St. N.W.) Friday, telling the harrowing tale of Somalian Waris Dirie, who undergoes female circumcism at age three, is sold into marriage at 13 -- and ends up as an American supermodel.

“Desert Flower” is not a horror movie, but it may give you nightmares.