As the JFK 50th anniversary comes to a close it is former Secret Service agent Clint Hill who may have had the last public word at a Washington event commemorating the assassination. Hill, who jumped on to the back of the presidential limousine moments after the shots were fired in Dallas, appeared Sunday at Cafe Milano for a private party for his latest book, "Five Days In November." He told his story once again as guests watched corresponding photos and video on large screens.
Looking back over the last couple of weeks of remembrance, if I had to pick one media opportunity that stands out from all the others, it would be to commend CBS News, which is live-streaming the actual "live" coverage of that November weekend 50 years ago ... and in real time. It's riveting. In fact, if you go there right now, and do go there right now - CBS News JFK Assassination - you will watch as the public file by JFK's casket in the Rotunda (just as I did and wrote about on New York Social Diary) as Samuel Barber's Adagio mourns with them. That went on all day and night 50 years ago. Tomorrow, you will be able to watch the funeral in full. Trust me, it's a must watch.
Here's what else stands out from watching the CBS coverage: how intelligent, mature and composed the CBS News correspondents were as they told about unfolding events. Never once was it about them, as so often happens with reporters today. They don't fawn, they don't sensationalize, they don't inject themselves into the story. My God, a reveltation. There are so many ways the profession of journalism has eroded and declined since then. Watching the coverage reminds me of why I chose a journalism careeer all those years ago and why today I rarely if ever identify myself as being in that line of work. "Media outlier," is what I prefer.
It's sentimental to watch Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Charles Collingwood, Eric Sevareid and others do their jobs. I'm so proud that early in my career I got to work with all of them and for a long time. They do a splendid job of providing straight, clear and responsible journalism.
I go out. Among many other endeavors, it is what I do. Every now and then it's special, as tonight at the Italian Ambassador's residence, where Claudio Bisogniero and his wife, Laura, hosted a dinner where the guests of honor were basically $35 million in violins. Violins made in the 16th and 17th centuries. Violins made by Stradivari. They were played by members of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society. Wow, in sum, a splendid way to wrap up a long week.
After dinner, my friend Jim Spellman and I went to Cafe Bonaparte for a nightcap. It was so pleasant. After we took our seats at the bar we were soon joined by three people who said they were Romanian. I told them I'm half Romanian on my mother's side. The bartender, below, said, "I'm Russian." Jim said, "I'm Irish." So, there you have it: Washington in 2013. We played with my iPhone photo apps.
There will be so much more about this evening on Monday on Washingtonian.com.
Ice skating on the Georgetown waterfront is back in business for the winter season. It was a big hit last year and more of the same is expected this year. Also, opening early in the New Year and overlooking the ice rink will be Fabio Trabocchi's 130-seat Fiola Mare. This will be his third DC restaurant.
Georgetown ice skating essentials:
Washington Harbour on K Street
Monday – Thursday: 12:00pm-9:00pm*
Skate Rental: $5.00
He's long been one of my favorites, making it a real pleasure to be in the company of David Byrne on Tuesday night at Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Awards. He was there to present one of the awards to St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark). By all means take a minute to watch the video of his words about her and the excitement of creating innovative music. It begins with "wow," and ends with "exciting."
Regular readers of Washingtonian magazine may recall a story from June 2012 about "Washington's Top Dominatrix." That's the brand name Domina Vontana gave to herself and our interview and research indicated the S&M line of work was, for her, a legit full-time profession in a city where there is an apparent strong (and profitable) demand for bondage. We did the interview over lunch at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons. She noted it was her first time at the hotel as herself, not working. In other words, she did not bring her work bag of ropes, chains, whips, spiked patent heels, etc.
We had a reunion of sorts Monday night at Georgetown University, where again she arrived in non-working mode. V, as she is know publicly, was among the audience members at an event, sponsored by FemFessionals, where I moderated a panel on "Overcoming Obstacles." There was time to talk before the program began and she had a lot to say. The Washingtonian article, she said, changed her life in good and bad ways. Overall, though, "it's made me more mainstream," and she's happy about that.
Vontana said the article cost her some clients but also gained her new clients. She has an impressive New Year's Eve gig scheduled. She still has a boyfriend who does not object to her line of work, she still has a place in West Virginia and a place in DC, and she's added "college student" to her resume. She takes classes at George Washington University. I don't use her real name in print but I know it and I asked whether she uses it at school. "Yes," she said. So, GWU students, you never know who might be sitting next to you in class, and in a debate, watch out, you're likely to get what you have coming.
It's been an eruption of mushroom madness in my garden in the last several days. The shady side has more than the sunny side -- way more -- and they are thick like a carpet. There's one variety that's about a foot wide, but it doesn't photograph well. Not sure what it means, but here's what some of the others look like:
There will be many words spoken and published this week recounting the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which is on Friday, November 22nd. There's a story to be told by everybody who was here and old enough to be aware something catastrophic had happened. Mine is published today on New York Social Diary.
On Washingtonian.com, we published a guide to the JFK Anniversary television programming. This week in particular is packed with all kinds of retellings, plus investigative analysis and shows that are pure homage.
Mark Plotkin at The Q&A Cafe, taped on Wednesday November 6 at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The main topic is local politics, but Mark also offers opinions on various office seekers, reporters who are friends, on social media -- "it's crap" -- and on what he thinks was really behind his firing from WTOP radio.
If you enjoy this show, there are more full shows at our Q&A Cafe on YouTube page.
I title this post "my own walking tour" because it's not a new concept. The web is filled with walking tours of where the Kennedy's lived in Georgetown. Mine is unique because it's, well, mine, and because it begins and ends with two great Georgetown pubs, The Tombs and Martin's Tavern. Isn't that more fun? The "Kennedytown" route, with addresses and photos, is published today on New York Social Diary.
I came upon these various images from 2010, the last time we had serious snow in Washington. There's mention of possible snow this week (unlikely) and that this winter could be snow-heavy (errr!). Here, to help prepare you mentally and emotionally (and sartorially), are some images from the past.
The 2010 storms came in a one-two punch. Here's video right after the first hit. It begins at Georgetown Cupcake and then wanders around the village:
But this second part is out in the white out we love to call "snowmageddon."
And some more still images ...
Hmmm. Time to book a trip south?
3401 K St NW (also known as Water Street)
Spent part of today at Laurel Race Course. Thanks to my friend Ellen Charles, who owns Hillwood Stable, and her trainer, Rodney Jenkins, I felt like an insider. Our visit began at Rodney's horse stable, checking in on all the beautiful horses, and meeting the stable rooster and one of the stable cats. Then over to the track, entering through the owners and trainers' gate. We watched a few races before heading to the paddock to spend time with South Andros and the jockey, Richard, before race #7, in which South Andros placed second. I'd bet win, place and show, so did okay.
The Q&A Cafe, now in its 17th year, is on hiatus until the autumn, when we'll have interviews with Tom Sietsema and Brian Noyes, among others. For now, please enjoy the show each Friday on DC Cable, channel 16, and on YouTube. The two most recent interviews were Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), and Patty Stonesifer. For more information please call 202-333-9330.
Visit this link to view our archive of broadcasts: The Q&A Cafe on YouTube
Emmy-winning CBS News producer, talk show guest wrangler, published author, host of The Q&A Cafe, print & digital journalist, filmmaker, photog, and former saloon owner. Read more...
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