Saturday, March 10, 2012

AND.....there was pizza.

by contributor Wendy Gordon

What’s black and white and read all over?  OK.......let’s try this:  What’s got 10 or more legs, plays music (or a reasonable facsimile) and is read all over? 

If it’s Friday, it must be Journopalooza IV. 

Hosted the last several years at the National Press Club, year IV saw the event moved to The Hamilton in their underground music venue -  better stage, better food, better….music?  Indeed. 

Suspicious Package
This year, the event that brings together the area’s best ‘Journo-bands’, was better than ever…......AND there was pizza, sushi and all the accoutrements.  Most importantly, of course, there was the music in the form of live journopalistic performances from the likes of those of the Sunlight Foundation, The Washington Post, Politico, government watchdogs and the occasional flack and broadcast outlet.   

One night, seven bands, one stage….. (as the marketing material touts) all composed of journalists and related professionals; all vying for the dubiously coveted title of  "Best Journo-Band.”   

This year’s crop of contenders included Dirty Bomb featuring congressional correspondent Andy Sullivan on guitar and vocals; economic correspondent Mark Felsenthal on guitar and TV producer Kat Jackson on vocals.........................

Lethal Bark, with WaPo cartoonist Tom Toles on drums; bassist Pat Kehs, the lighting director for NBC’s Meet The Press with David Gregory and owner of Prime Lens Productions, Inc., Keyboardist Lee Drutman, a senior fellow and data journalist at the Sunlight Foundation and adjunct professor at The Johns Hopkins University Center for Advanced Governmental Studies; Emilie Stander, a AAAS  Science and Technology Policy fellow at the US Agency for International Development; Isabella Varnish, Politico’s media scribe; Keach Hagey and Amy Schildge..............

Nobody’s Business with award-winning McClatchy correspondent Jonathan Landay; Gordon Witkin, a watchdog with the investigative journalists at the Center for Public Integrity; Washington Post staff writer Frederick Kunkle; International Monetary Fund member Paul Ashin; Joe “The Shadow“ Hodges, a scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and lead singer Melissa Bronez............  

Paddy Goes West highlighting Tom Guay, editor of Environmental Compliance Alert for Progressive Business Publications; Dennis Dunlavey, Senior Washington Editor, ABC News; Tom Dunlavey, Managing Editor at CNN Washington and freelance copywriter Ken Norkin.

Stepping Stones with the Washington Post’s John Kelly and Dan de Vise; Tim Brennan, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and senior fellow at Resources for the Future and Chuck Dolan who is a software developer specializing in database-backed Web applications for commercial and government clients...........................

Christina Sevilla at a January bash
The Charm Offensive, with Chris Lehmann, a veteran journalist who is co-editor of Book Forum, senior editor of The Baffler and a widely published freelancer; Meg Guroff who edits features at AARP The Magazine, teaches non-fiction writing at the Johns Hopkins and publishes the website Power Moby-Dick; Mike Blau, a software engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Geordie Grindle of Mandiant......... and last year’s winning band and always a crowd favorite, Suspicious Package composed of Tom Toles, making his second appearance of the evening; former TIME and Bloomberg correspondent Tim Burger; Medill National Security Journalism Initiative Director Josh Meyer; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Bryan Greene and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Christina Sevilla.  All this and hosted by local Hip Hop artist Christylez Brown too.    

Quite the accomplished group of musicians, all--The Beatles have nothing on all of you.  Um…rock on?  
Of course it isn’t only the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd that brings these folks together.  This event benefits charities such as Writopia Lab,  a non-profit organization that holds after-school, weekend, and summer creative writing workshops for kids ages 8 to 18. The DC branch of Writopia Lab opened in 2009 and has thus far worked with writers from over 130 schools around Greater Washington and REACH Inc., who trains and hires and promotes literacy.  We love our laptop wielding colleagues—they’re givers.