The one surprise left to us in American politics is the rare appearance of good news—that really is a shock, the jewel at the bottom of Pandora's box (ἐλπίς, the spirit of Hope, ha ha). And a certain amount of good news has been wandering over the transom in recent weeks, courtesy of the Sanity Wing of the Republican party, of all places, which until late last year I had assumed to be an entirely theoretical phenomenon, like phlogiston.
"Of course, not everyone has the purple blood to imitate His Royal Badness. The decision is left up to the judges. But remember: the clones can earn up to $25,000 per year on a part-time basis. Not a bad salary for donning a little eyeliner, some lacy frocks and gyrating like Elvis!" —As is their wont, the guys at Ego Trip have unearthed something wonderful for us.
"This man, who invented a musical genre and grooved so hard and for so long, is not yet in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. The Dave Clark Five, however, are comfortably settled in the shrine. Argument enough to burn that motherfucker down to the Lake Erie waterline." —David Simon reacts strongly to the death of Chuck Brown, the "Godfather of Go-Go," who died of pneumonia yesterday at the age of 75. An institution in Washington D.C., known best known for live performances that treated funk and partying like spiritual ritual, Brown had his biggest national hit with 1976's "Bustin' Loose"—the beat from which would [...]
Despite decades of prolific building, 73-year-old Israeli architect Moshe Safdie is still best known for his first project: Habitat 67, the avant-garde housing units constructed for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal. The building’s 354 stacked concrete cubes never revolutionized housing as many thought they would, but Safdie’s groundbreaking vision probed how to maintain pleasant aspects of suburban living, like personal gardens and multi-view windows, in a high-density urban environment. Over 7 million people visited Habitat 67 during the Exposition, which was remarkable since it was a residential project, not an extravagant “White City” like the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Nearly half a century after [...]
"Consider, for example, the curious case of Liz Fowler. Fowler went from being the chief counsel for the Senate Finance Committee to being the vice president for public policy and external affairs at health insurer WellPoint in 2006. But two years later, Fowler returned to the Hill as an aide to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.), where she—guess what?—made sure that WellPoint's interests were favored during the health care reform debate.
"Naturally, she then moved on to a position in the White House, where her job description became 'to 'oversee' the implementation of the law.'
"I'm sure that Fowler took a substantial pay cut to do both of those [...]
The Catholic League has called some of the art “vile," Rep. John Boehner has called for investigations into “how taxpayer funds are used” for Smithsonian shows and National Portrait Gallery Director Martin E. Sullivan allowed his boss, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough, to pull what was evidently the most “offensive” piece from the show. After this sudden re-ignition of the culture wars, it’s hard to recall the accomplishment, pride and liberal self-congratulation on display at the opening of Hide/Seek a month ago.
The National Portrait Gallery seemed extremely proud of itself at the press preview. Director Sullivan joined board members and the curators for remarks, photo-ops and [...]
Did you have things to do this weekend? Such as go to work, or perhaps rally to help get out the vote in tomorrow's election, for instance? If you didn't make it down to D.C. for the non-political political comedian rally, our photographer Stephen Kosloff shows you what you missed—including Arianna Huffington learning for presumably the first time about transportation by bus. In the immortal words of the Huff herself, let the [PICTURES!] [SLIDESHOW!] begin!
The word wunderkind was dragged, politely, into usage by that great plodder George Bernard Shaw to note that every age manages to season its offspring with instantaneous genius; Mozart is not a singularity. And for decades after, "wonder child" happily stayed within the safe semantic confines of age and the arts. Which was nice for the rest of us. You couldn’t be a wunderkind, without being a kind; you were not to be wundered at if you couldn’t perform some great musical, or perhaps painterly, feat. Then, in 1972, the New Yorker—channeling the emergence of youth culture the decade before—pushed the watershed and gave the kids some breathing space to [...]
"A few minutes before my reading, store employee Marshall popped in my CD. Not 30 seconds into my go-go playlist, a white woman went to the cashier to complain. The song in question wasn’t even a go-go song. It was Parliament’s 1970s funk classic 'Chocolate City'—a song that took on a moniker that was being used by Washingtonians celebrating the city’s first elected mayor, a black man named Walter Washington: 'What’s happening, C.C. They still call in the White House, but that’s a temporary condition….' The blonde woman marched straight to the cashier, who referred her to the owner of Politics & Prose. She said the music was 'racist' and [...]
Ooh, smoke billowing at 14th and I, NW, in D.C.! Maybe it's all the hot air being burned right now on Cabalist in the wake of that story on up-and-coming journalist-and-blogger Beltway Insiders, the one that had an all-male cast. Cabalist, should you not be a manly Beltway Insider yourself, is the email listserv Journolist replacement, where the in-the-know politicos discuss amongst themselves the weighty wonky workings of the world. (I'm jealous! I want in!) Here's a brief note to our wonky Cabalistic boyfriends in D.C.: whenever a reporter calls, you always ask with whom else he is speaking. And who his editor is. And what [...]
For insider liberal coastal media elite private jokes I usually prefer Real Kaplan (who is not the "real" Peter Kaplan, who is the editorial director of Fairchild's "fashion group" of magazines, but is "real" compared to the two other fake Peter Kaplan Twitter accounts, which are now "involved" with the two new fake Twitter accounts for new New [...]
On my last night in Washington, D.C., where I’ve been working, a very weird thing happened: a drunk guy in a bar took an instant personal dislike to me, insulted my short haircut, told me I looked like the child from The Omen and said that I had “666” written on my head (I have to assume this is also an Omen reference). At the end of this string of craziness, he also called me a dyke.
And in their secretive members-only email list, Senate and Hill staffers talk about… Johnny Weir. Because it is called The Pink Hill Mafia. Be afraid. Gays in D.C. are talking amongst themselves and having women-only lunches!
"From what I see and hear, it’s safer to bet on a new iteration of This Town replacing the old one, and things proceeding much the same way—maybe with a few stuffy old decorations renovated or replaced. Because on any night when there’s an A-list, dressy, old-fashioned, lavishly catered affair for seventy-year-olds at Sally and Ben’s mansion, there’s something else going on, a couple of miles away. There, in a Columbia Heights group house or a Mount Pleasant apartment of a youngish rising star, a different kind of get-together is in the works, where you may find make-your-own rail drinks and revelers engaging in a rousing round or two of [...]
“You meet someone of import, check him out, determine [if] he can be of use, you make him yours. At some point you must decide whether to run him as a useful idiot, he not catching on as to who you are and what you do.” —What's most useful about this tale is understanding how the "social Ponzi scheme" works. It's a tried and true method, practiced by many, from high-end magazine publishers to politicians to art dealers. It's only slightly more blatant and bizarre in the example of Albrecht Muth and Viola Drath.
Of course one must remember that there are "lots" of lady reporters and thinkers and pundits in Washington D.C., in addition to all the men. Because without this sprinkling of ladies, how would all the important men there who furiously write their blogs be regularly reminded of all those long years until their mid-20s, at which time they first (and possibly last) got to second base with a human?
"These guys ran against Washington, but they ran against the bad parts of Washington—the bloated bureaucracy and Nancy Pelosi's agenda. That's not a contradiction to take money from a trade group or corporation that represents free-enterprise principles." —Andrew Theodore, fundraising consultant, explaining the flurry of debt-retirement fundraisers in D.C. for the GOP freshmen class. Those free-enterprise supporting corporations include Rolls-Royce, Deloitte, ExxonMobil, Yum Brands, Delta Airlines, K&L Gates (the lobbyists) and the National Automotive Dealers Association PAC.
At least half the mysterious but immense number of people who attended Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear didn’t see or hear one iota of the stage show, because there were way too many people crowding round a woefully insufficient number of speakers and Jumbotrons. But nobody seemed to mind too much about missing the show, because they were having so much fun comparing costumes and signs, and giggling together over how weird “this whole thing” was. The atmosphere as I roamed about the massive crowd was uniformly giddy all day long.