We just posted this exclusive story on washingtonian.com about the firing of a long-term and well-liked Gonzaga teacher.
We just posted this exclusive story on washingtonian.com about the firing of a long-term and well-liked Gonzaga teacher.
This is leftover from last night, which seems appropriate, since the Oscar show felt leftover from 1967 or thereabouts. Favorite clueless line of this morning, on Today, Ann Curry: "Wasn't Billy Crystal wonderful?" Oy vey.
But I always like Hank Stuever, and here's his review in The Washington Post. And from last night, my
9:05PM - So far, ho hum. No refreshing surprises. Everybody looks nice, though. Very nice. It could be the Eisenhower era. Liked on the red carpet: Roony Mara, Tina Fey, Jessica Chastaing, Michelle Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Melissa McCarthy, Viola Davis, Shailene Woodley, Nina Garcia... the latter possibly the only one who didn't use a stylist. (Not one showed defining character)
9:15 - Yay for Octavia!
9:30 - It's been an hour. Feels like two, three... Coke commercial was good, however.
9:39 - Def talented, but what does Cirque du Soleil have to do with the nominated films? That it's silent? Not good enough.
9:45 - Thank you, Chris Rock ... just for being. It's about time. Finally, a comedian.
9:57 - Emma Stone was a needed glass of lemonade. Nice shot of Jonah Hill behind Brangelina's lipstick. Billy's had botox...not to mention eye work.
10:05 - Christopher Plummer = lilt, charm, elegance, grace. That's all the old Hollywood needed.
10:17 - Meant to say earlier, Penelope Cruz' new hair looks terrific.
10:18 - Happy for the Muppets, but remember when hit songs won the Oscar?
10:23 - From a friend: "Billy looks like a pufferfish." Haha. He does. Good call. About as funny as one, too.
10:31 - Angelina could use some of Billy's puff. The arms. Scary. Do we think she rehearsed the leg pose? Yes.
10:36 - two hours down. I'm ready for the after show, or sleep.
10:45 - Morris Lessmore? hahaha
11:08 - Esperanza Spalding is a radiant talent. Managed to lift this show up substantially even while scoring the obits. So many of the "in memoriam" folks seemed too young to be gone.
11:23 - I thought it would go to Clooney. I was wrong. It's fun to see an exuberant winner.
11:29 - Oh, God. Her! Again? They came through for Meryl. Shocker. To me. Not that she isn't an "unreasonably" talented actress, but that "Iron Lady" was not a stellar film. Shades of Pacino winning for "Scent of a Woman." I so wanted it to go to Viola, but Meryl charmingly (seemingly) surprised, and gracious.
11:36 - The anticlimactic end, "The Artist" ... with dog on stage.
Goodnight. In the end, my forecast nailed it: predictable, out of touch and tame. And just think, next year "Lincoln" is expected to be the front runner, which means we could have a three-year hat trick of history: King George, Lady Thatcher and President Lincoln.
Thank heaven for Sacha Baron Cohen. If he'd not made some noise in the last days before the event I doubt I would have remembered there are the Oscars tonight. It shows how clueless the Academy of Motion Pictures can be when they announced he would not be welcomed in his persona for "The Dictator." Out of their effing minds. Producer Brian Grazer knew it and reversed the edict. Cohen, who will now be welcomed to walk as he wishes, is the show's last best hope for pulling some competitive ratings and some audience members under age 40 (though it's easy to beat last year's desultory and embarassing show). And that's just the red carpet. Goodness, when Cohen started getting traction I would have booted the usually unfunny Billy Crystal and replaced him with the "Borat" creator - in or out of character or characters. Any way he wanted to do it.
If not Cohen, I would have handed the hosting to Howard Stern, who remains relevant and contemporary regardless of his age and wealth.
Since the new century began The Oscars have been showing their age, certainly in terms of showmanship. They shouldn't feel superior to the awards shows that come earlier in the season, because the earlier productions, whatever their merit, at least swallowed some vitamins. Oscar should look to the Grammy awards. The music industry figured it out. Minimize the awards, maximize the performances. Over the last decade, the Oscars have gone in the other direction, to more blather, especially now that the "best song" category is anorexic. The broadcast shares a lot with the GOP debates, with some schtick at the top. From the presenters point of view, I loved the quote from Connie Wald today in The New York Times: "It’s really a very thankless show to do, congratulating people and opening envelopes.”
Like Mitt Romney, with the disconcerting challenge from upstart Rick Santorum, the Academy of Motion Pictures still haven't figured out the sea change that occurred when the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, etc., began to steal their thunder. They figured they were entitled always to be the biggest deal of Hollywood awards season. Things change. The field is so crowded most people don't make a distinction, certainly not younger people. They read reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, watch films on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and youtube, rank them on IMDB, and go to movie theaters at midnight for "event" opening nights, which are chosen based on each other and marketing, not what critics think. An Oscar isn't going to make a 20-year-old go to a movie. Old folks don't go, anyway. They watch ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, unless they have basic cable, in which case they get hooked on one-note MSNBC or colorless CNN.
But, as mentioned, at least we'll have the red carpet, where live coverage begins three to four hours before the Oscar broadcast, making the arrivals extravaganza as long or longer than the awards ceremony! The carpet has lost some spontaneity, too, as stylists and jewelers rule and promote. But I'd rather have Rachel Zoe and Brad Goresky do the red carpet commentary - not Ryan Seacrest, et al - for the possibility they might provide some cat fights over who got which designer dress for whatever client.
Rachel: "Brad, how did you get that Versace? I had it exclusively!"
Brad: "Rachel, you know me, I have my ways."
Rachel: "Rot in hell, bitch."
Brad: "You wish. I'd rather be your worst nightmare, bitch."
Anyway, that's my fantasy.
Last but not least, here's who I'd like to see win Oscars tonight.
Best Picture: Moneyball
Best Actress: Viola Davis
Best Actor: Brad Pitt
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer
Best Supporting Actor: Jonah Hill
Best Adapted Screenplay: Steve Saillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
As for "The Artist," I have to quote Tony Kornheiser, who called it "the best black and white silent film of 2012."
It's time for a new "Midnight Cowboy," and I don't mean a remake. I mean a film that is so stunningly about our times and who we are that it upends the entire industry, which is what "Midnight Cowboy" did in 1969. It won Best Picture and changed everything, making the 70s an innovative and exciting era of movie-making. "The Artist" may be endearing, but it won't spawn a creative revolution.
btw, washingtonian.com has the scoop on Oscar parties and public events in DC.
Also, I will live blog the show.
Regardless of where you stand on the verdict in the Yeardley Love murder trial, there's another important factor that involves the young victim and the young man convicted of her murder, George Huguely. That factor is alcohol. College age and under age drinking in the U.S., according to police and experts, is out of control. Please read my report on washingtonian.com: George Huguely: The Fatal Combination of Youth and Alcohol.
After you read my piece, please also read this incredible analysis by Trevor Tierney, an NCAA lacrosse professional and the son of the long-time Princeton coach. He boldly and candidly discusses his own struggle with alcohol abuse and says, yes, there is too much alcohol abuse among lacrosse players in general. He writes, "Many people in lacrosse are tip-toeing around this topic, like it is some deep, dark family secret, and that's because it is. It's an extremely sensitive topic that is sad and quite challenging to talk about. But we need to be open and discuss it, to discover any healing from a tragedy like this." Again, read the full essay at Trevor Tierney on the Huguely-Love Case.
Soon the Newseum will host the premiere of the new HBO film, "Game Change," based on the political bestseller of the same name. It will debut on the air March 10. From beginning to end, it is about Sarah Palin, who is played by Julianne Moore. Please read my review of the film, on washingtonian.com: A Sympathetic Portrayal of Sarah Palin.
Do you think a lot of parking tickets are issued in DC? We do. So we drilled down into the facts, as provided by the Department of Public Works, and what we learned was startling. Read it on washingtonian.com, here: The Startling Truth About DC Parking Tickets.
Tonight and tomorrow PBS will air an American Experience film examining the political era of Bill Clinton. The film, "Clinton," begins with his early life and his early attempts at political office and continues through to his leaving the White House after two terms as president. My review of the broadcast is here: The Good, The Bad and The Complicated Bill Clinton.
Note: this weekend I screened the HBO film of the book "Game Change," and will have that review in the next week or so. Fans of the book will be surprised.
I miss my Sunday night football, but got a bit of a fix this evening at The Palm, where Redskin Rockey McIntosh and his wife, Allesia, hosted a fundraising dinner for their A GRAN Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children. Many of Rocky's teammates, and former teammates, showed up to be "celebrity" waiters. Also in the mix were "The Sports Junkies" from WFAN FM. It made for a lot of fun, not to mention a delicious lobster and steak dinner. Read the whole story on washingtonian.com: Redskins Players Talk Going Back to School and the Peyton Manning Question
My dinner partners were Derrick and Emma Dockery. He's a former Redskin who just finished his first year with the Dallas Cowboys. Now a free agent, he hopes to return to the Cowboys. He loves playing with QB Tony Romo. Derrick and Emma met at the University of Texas. I particularly enjoyed meeting Charles Mann, Sam Huff and Brian Mitchell. I'll explain why in my story.
It was a romantic Saturday night of music, French champagne and desserts from Baked & Wired at the home of Simon and Ruth Jacobsen. The featuered entertainment was Dan Ruskin, pianist, singer and storyteller, who you can catch lunchtime at the Prime Rib. He put on a stirring performance of Cole Porter and other romantic standards, and an especially arresting deconstructioin of "Begin the Beguine." The guests in the room will never hear that song the same way again.
I've attended this musicale before, and it's a night of dreamy tunes, of course, but also white floors, white walls, white flowers and white wine. The Jacobsen home, on 28th Street in Georgetown, as one might expect from an architect, is show enough ... even before Ruskin takes to the ivories. At least a couple of times a week Simon and his father, Hugh Jacobsen, have lunch at Prime Rib at a table that is practically hitched at the hip to Ruskin's piano.
One of Georgetown's most venerable and well-edited antiques shops, Antiques of Georgetown, is closing at the end of the month. Owner Bill Donohue has everything in the store on sale at half price, meaning at cost or less. There are some real steals, such as this handsome book case above. The sale price? About $3300. There are lamps, decanters, glassware, chests, a lovely sideboard, chandeliers, chairs, books, paintings, porcelain, rugs, andirons, sconces. If you happen to be in the market for any of these items, give Bill at call at 202.965.1165. He's open today and all next week. The address is 3210 O Street NW, just off Wisconsin.
Bill is also looking to rent the building, if you should be or know a potential tenant.
The defense and procesuction have rested their arguments. The case of the murder of Yeardley Love goes to the jury when court resumes on Wednesday. If you have been following the trial, what's your early feeling on where the jury should go with a verdict? Please take this poll: Washingonian George Huguely poll.
Spent my day at Mount Vernon, enjoying the beginning of George Washington's birthday. We previewed a new exhibition and had lunch with Mrs. Washington. Isn't that a typical day in this town? It was a beautiful and delicious occasion and there is a full report on washngtonian.com.
If you have pill, marijuana or alcohol addiction issues and live in the Washington area you have options. There is AA. There are private doctors. There's also the outpatient treatment centers operated by the Kolmac Clinic. Because drug addiction is in the news due to the death of Whitney Houston (though the cause is not known), we called the head of Kolmac to have a talk about treating addiction. He's also the head of addiction teaching at Georgetown University. The conversation appeared today on washingtonian.com. Read it here: Interview with Dr. George Kolodner.
On Valentine's Day, of all days, DC Superior Court Judge Russell Canan ordered accused wife murderer Albrecht Muth to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for a competency evaluation. Perhaps the most interesting part of the hearing were the comments from a doctor who has visited with Muth. This is where the Archangel Gabriel and God come into the story. Read it here on washingtonian.com: Muth Ordered to St. Elizabeth's.
For further background, and my encounters with Muth and the wife he allegedly beat to death, Viola Drath, please read this column I wrote earlier for New York Social Diary: Murder In Georgetown.
The stars were out in broad daylight at the White House today. Al Pacino was among a group honored with medals for their contributions to the arts. Sarah Jessica Parker was in the audience. Also, John Lithgow, Chuck Close and others. The full story is at washingtonian.com. PRESIDENT OBAMA ON STAGE. DOWN IN FRONT, AL PACINO ON THE LEFT, MICHELLE OBAMA ON THE RIGHT.
If you watch only one Whitney video today, make it this one. The Super Bowl, 1991.
A fact of life about working at Washingtonian magazine: there's often food on the editorial table, there for all to share. The offerings can range from a dozen pies that were sampled in a pie-rating contest, our own Halloween homemade food fest, pizza from a new pizza company, boxes of sandwiches, various chip products, morning bagels, the latest inventions from a local entrepreneur and, as pictured above, a ranch dressing fountain with veggies in honor of a member of the staff. We also have a kitchen stocked with coffee, tea, sodas and soup. Fortunately there's a full gym down the hall.
Literally a night off for me last night and so a date and I hit the Louisiana State Society's wild and wonderful Mardi Gras party at the Hilton. Incredible food, music, spirit. Imagine that giant Hilton ballroom as a wall to wall jazz fest. The band filled the stage in the center of the room. Washington needs more parties like this one.
The DC Government plans to step in to prevent Albrecht Muth from starving himself to death. Read the full exclusive story on washingtonian.com.
The marijuana cover story in Washingtonian does have the town buzzing. One of the more interesting graphs shows where in the city the most marijuana is smoked. Ward 1 is first at 11.4% and Ward 2, including Georgetown, comes in second at 10.7%. This is not a surprise at all. At least not in my experience among friends and neighbors. It's just there, a fact of private and social life. If you have not yet read the cover, it is now online and well worth your time: High Society: Washington's Love Affair with Marijuana. It also includes background on the coming dispensaries that will sell medical weed.
Even though relatively exhausted from my exuberant Super Bowl party the night before, last night was a night out for dinner at Restaurant Nora, with Nora and my food writing Washingtonian colleague, Jessica Voelker. Jessica moved here with her husband from Seattle, started at Washingtonian on the same day as I did in October, and writes about food, restaurants and also, especially, craft cocktails. I had the arugula salad and the sauteed Diver scallops and apple pie. Nora remains delicious and also one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city. For me it will always be the fond memory of where Howard and I had dinner the day we learned I was pregnant in March 1991.
I walked to and from the restaurant, because it was a mild and pretty night and also a chance to walk beneath a glowing Gibbous Moon. Tonight it will be full.
I spent the earlier part of the day at the State Department, working on a story for the April or May issue of the magazine, a feature called "Places You Can't Go." We went someplace very special. It was a privilege, and the privilege was thanks to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A source has told us that the Smithsonian is to receive a rare item of Bob Dylan memorabilia. The full story is at washingtonian.com.
Of the questions I'm most often asked about Georgetown, way out in front is, "What's up with the Georgetown Park mall?" Beats me. It's a ghost mall, and with very little street talk about anything happening of significance. Rumors, yes, but nothing real. The fact the owners call the dinosaur "The Shops at Georgetown Park" is first of all a good laugh and, second, an indication of their total absence of self-awareness. Shops? Shops? It wouldn't surprise me if Vornado is trying to sell the whole damned thing.
What else do people ask? Let's see. "When is Good Stuff Eatery opening?" Dunno. Haven't heard a peep. Sure would like it to happen, though. "Does the city give out parking tickets 24/7 in Georgetown?" Sure feels like it. Just wait until you read the March issue of Washingtonian. More about that later.
Many times the question is, "Where's a good place to eat in Georgetown?" I have my favorites and list them, but there's no question we need more. I'm looking forward to Bandolero, which has the potential to fill a huge Mex void (as in good Mex).
"Are there any coffee shops?" Nope, not since Furin's closed. And by that I mean old school bacon & eggs places, not Baked & Wired, which is exemplary for coffee and bagels and coffee cakes. (Do not come back at me with Daily Grill, which is in a hotel and kind of dreary). There are murmurs of a new coffee shop on O Street, among the possible tenant's in Antiques of Georgetown which, sadly, will close at the end of the month. Georgetown Dinette is just that, more lunch than breakfast, and home to the best egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches in the village.
Note: I did get to the new Unum on Friday evening. It's where Mendocino Grill used to be and feels much the same - happily - and even the menu feels similar. The chef was with Todd Gray at Equinox. If you have one thing, have the spicy eggplant. I look forward to returning.
I am asked about Georgetown real estate. "Are prices going back up?" Not that I've heard. Still sort of wobbling around, but everyone is hoping for a vibrant spring.
BONNIE MCELVEEN HUNTER WELCOMES HER GUESTS ON A RAINY NIGHT IN GEORGETOWN
It's a long story, and I tell it in full on washingtonian.com on Monday, but for right now suffice it to say that Bonnie McElveen Hunter warmed friends this evening with a late afternoon wine and champagne party that featured a very nice vocal performance.
GUESTS LISTEN TO SAMANTHA MCELHANEY
The singer was Samantha McElhaney, who appeared in the Washington Opera's "Porgy and Bess." On this cold and rainy winter evening it was encouraging to hear her sing "Summertime."
The truth about weather is that there is no absolute truth, only speculation. Yes, based on science but not definitive. Nonetheless, the pic above is Georgetown's favorite sledding hill in Montrose Park, where children of all ages have zoomed straight down and done their best to avoid that tree. A friend lost her big fat diamond ring there years ago, in 5-6 inches of snow, when it flew off her finger as she and her daughter rode a toboggan over a bump. We went back to look for it, but no luck.
The local TV news tonight teased with threats of snow this weekend, but the actual forecasts - later in the broadcasts - pulled back to say "maybe" to the north some "spotty" snowfall. Of course they could be wrong. That's the point. Remember the evening of the all-night rush hour? That was last year and no one saw it coming.
Today, no snow but still handsome. Do you see a diamond sparkling in the brown?
A glittery night at the Smithsonian Museum of American History on Wednesday evening, where Clint Eastwood was honored for his career and the ribbon was cut on a new movie theater funded by Warner Brothers. Eastwood was accessible and friendly. Here's the Eastwood story on washingtonian.com. We had a good, brief conversation.
Also last night, a book party for Simon Doonan. The parties were an interesting contrast, but that's what made the evening fun. Doonan, proudly gay and professionally swish, and "Dr. Harry" himself. Simon welcomed drag queens to his party. Clint welcomed bureaucrats to his.
The Q&A Cafe interview with Christopher Kennedy Lawford will air on Friday May 17 at 8 pm on DCN, channel 16. We discuss his life, his addictions, his recovery and it's all good. Please tune in.
Author, interviewer, and photographer. Read more...
Here is information for book clubs that have chosen Innocent Spouse: Book Club Discussions...