Not that we’re excited or anything, but the countdown to the annual celebrity deathmatch that is the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has begun. The main event happens April 27, which means in less than two weeks you won’t be able to walk through Georgetown or casually sip a coffee at Starbucks without tripping over the likes of Dakota Fanning (she’s teeny and easy to miss), Charlize Theron (she’s not), or Eliot Spitzer (the only person I wasn’t too scared to ask for a photo in 2012).
We’ll have lots more coverage over the next couple of weeks, but for now, here’s a
list of the confirmed guests attending the dinner, and whom they’re going with. We’ll
update as we learn more.
George Lucas and his fiancée, Mellody Hobson
Actress Sophia Bush and Invisible Children’s Jedidiah Jenkins
Comedian Tracy Morgan and his fiancée, Megan Wollover
Author Khaled Hosseini and his wife
Musicians Ben Ruttner and James Patterson of the Knocks
Actress Jessica Alba and her husband, Cash Warren
Actress Connie Britton
Actress Hayden Panettiere
Actress Kerry Washington
Actress Sofia Vergara
Actor Eric Stonestreet
General Lawrence D. Nicholson
Actress Nicole Kidman
Actress Olivia Munn
Producer Harvey Weinstein
Former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau
Former congresswoman Jane Harman
Senator Claire McCaskill
Washington is often cited as one of the most literate cities in the world, but it’s a lesser-known fact that the city also serves as the setting for countless novels. DC Public Library’s Tony Ross and Kim Zablud have set out to expose the vast world of local fiction by creating a new interactive literary website called DC by the Book.
The site provides a database of fiction books that are set in the District, and is based around an interactive map that shows the exact locations described in books that take place within city limits. Readers can enter addresses or ZIP codes to see which books have passages set nearby, and can also submit parts from books to be included on the map. The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Ross and Zablud a Technology Act Grant for the project last April, and the two began working on it in October.
The launch party for DC by the Book was at the Chinatown location of Busboys and Poets Wednesday, March 27. Librarians, historians, and avid readers walked through the bustling restaurant into a small room in the back corner of the building at Fifth and K streets, Northwest. The room was only supposed to hold 90 people, but a few more squeezed into the intimate space for a chance to hear about the new website and to see the local authors who had come to support the project.
Ross, who grew up in the area and was wearing a Cool “Disco” Dan shirt, began the program by talking about his initial idea for the map.
“I started to discover there’s this bigger world of DC authors,” he said. “This is a tool that’ll help people learn about their neighborhoods in a different way.”
A year after his last trip to Washington, when he hobnobbed with Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Ban Ki-Moon at a fabulously glitzy dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Prince Harry is heading back to town. The 28-year-old helicopter pilot will make another trip to the US May 9 through 15, visiting Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey and playing in the Sentebale Polo Cup in Greenwich, Connecticut, as well as attending the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado.
Not on the agenda: a Vegas trip. (You may remember that the Prince’s post-Olympic visit to that city in August of last year resulted in nude pictures of him being splashed all over the tabloids after a not-so-successful game of strip poker.) The naughty-but-nice British royal and future uncle to 2013’s most anticipated baby will, however, be stopping in Washington, visiting wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, swinging by Arlington National Cemetery, and heading to Capitol Hill to see an exhibition on efforts to clear landmines in his new role as patron of the HALO Trust—a charity his mother was famously involved with.
For more pictures of Prince Harry (because why not), check out our slideshow from his trip in 2012.
From free taco Friday to a drawing for an HDTV, these bars have plenty of specials to keep you coming back throughout the NCAA men's-basketball tournament.
Drink specials: $3.50 Coors Light and Miller Light bottles and drafts; $4 Redd’s Apple Ale; $4.50 Sam Adams, Sam Seasonal, and Sam Light; $5 Loaded Redd’s Apple Ale (topped with Fireball whiskey); $15 buckets of Miller Lite and Coors Light.
Details: With more than 60 HDTVs, you won’t miss a minute of March Madness action.
Food specials: A different special each day of the week; most are $5.
Details: Fast Eddie’s also has Fairfax, Springfield, and Centreville locations for even more tournament fun.
Drink specials: Bottles of Miller Lite or house vodka drinks are $2 between 5 and 6 PM, $3 between 6 and 7, and $4 between 7 and 8; Monday through Friday.
Details: This U Street bar has free WiFi and DirecTV with ESPN FullCourt to keep you fully plugged in during the games.
Scandal fans, mark your calendars: Il Papa herself, Kerry Washington, will be in Washington to deliver the commencement address for George Washington University on the Mall on Sunday, May 19. Washington graduated magna cum laude from GW in 1998 and will receive an honorary degree from the institution in addition to addressing the crowd of gladiators in gowns. In a press release, GW president Steven Knapp said the Django Unchained actress “has captured the imagination of our students, and they will benefit greatly, as they head out into the world, from hearing her perspective both as an alumna and as a highly successful actor on stage, in film, and on television.” The press release failed to mention whether Tony Goldwyn will be making an appearance to stare at her creepily from afar.
A snow day is as good an excuse as any to kick back on the couch and indulge in an all-day TV marathon (and if you’re tempted to binge-watch House of Cards on Netflix, check out our review). But by no means is fun canceled in Washington today—especially given the lack of accumulation in large parts of DC. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to bundle up and do today, from snowball fights to museum exhibits to all-day drink deals.
A good number of museums are open today, offering a great chance to catch up on exhibits and new additions. All the Smithsonian museums, with the exception of the National Zoo, are keeping regular hours until further notice. Goggle at the Hope Diamond in hopefully less-packed crowds than usual at the Natural History Museum, fly in a simulator at Air and Space, or check out power players captured in a video portrait in “The Network” at the National Portrait Gallery.
Also open today: The National Geographic Museum downtown, whose current exhibit, “Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution” reveals images of brightly colored birds in Australasia (a nice respite from the chill).
Is it that time already? You might still be hungover from inauguration (we are) but it’s time to start thinking about Nerd Prom 2013, also known as the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It was announced today that this year’s host for the Washington Hilton event April 27 is Conan O’Brien.
It’s a second go at the event for Coco, the former host of Late Night With Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (he currently appears Mondays through Thursdays on TBS’s Conan. In 1995 the flame-haired comic poked fun at then-President Bill Clinton, Secret Service background checks (“It turns out technically I’m still a virgin,” he quipped), and C-SPAN, which airs the event.
Despite their long history of culture—from SØren Kierkegaard and Henrik Ibsen to Ingrid Bergman and Lars von Trier—you’ll rarely hear Scandinavians boast about it. The unofficial dictum known as Jante’s Law discourages them from thinking they’re superior to anyone or talking about their achievements. Luckily, Jante is taking a back seat at the Kennedy Center. February 19 through March 17, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland are showcasing their music, theater, art, and more in Nordic Cool 2013.
Among the festival’s many performances, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra plays Sibelius, Grieg, and others (February 19) and Iceland’s Vesturport theater collective presents a gravity-defying version of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis (February 20 through 22). Visitors can experience Scandinavian design up close in the outdoor exhibit “New Nordic—Architecture and Identity” (February 20 through March 17), which comes to Washington from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art outside Copenhagen.
Jette Renneberg Elkjaer, an adviser for culture at the Danish Embassy, says that despite their modesty, Danes take culture seriously: “There’s a lot of investment in it, and it’s seen as an important job generator. It’s a very honorable job to work within the cultural sphere, whether you’re an artist or a chef. Design isn’t just something nice to look at—it’s part of everyday life.”
Nordic Cool overlaps with an exhibit February 15 through May 12 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, “A World Apart: Anna Ancher and the Skagen Art Colony.” Ancher, a Danish impressionist, was a key figure in a group of painters who captured the extraordinary light and landscapes of the northern fishing village of Skagen.
Says Elkjaer: “The opportunity to show what our culture is about in this way isn’t going to happen again in my lifetime. We’re very proud—and to have Anna Ancher here also gives us an extra chance to show off.” Jante’s Law will just have to get over it.
This article appears in the February 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.
This past weekend, 6,000 protestors marched down Constitution Avenue from the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. Their message was simple: The United States of America needs stricter gun control laws to prevent future tragedies in the wake of Newtown.
The march, arranged by Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith, included Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Mayor Vincent Gray, DC congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen, One Million Moms for Gun Control founder Shannon Watts, actress Kathleen Turner, Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard, Foundry Church pastor Dean Schenider, and several DC City Council members including David Grosso, Kenyan McDuffie, and Tommy Wells.
Before the march the protestors, who included about 100 residents from Newtown, gathered on the lawn of the Capitol in the biting cold, passionately discussing gun control.
Earle Mitchell, a 28-year Navy veteran, walked around the crowd wearing a windbreaker and a beanie to shield himself from the temperatures. A cold had gifted him a cough and a runny nose, but he refused to stay home. Instead, every 25 feet, he’d stand and scream to the crowd that everyone needed to write his or her congressman, that he’d done it, that he’d written to newspapers and had five letters to the editor published in the past month, one in the Washington Post.
“If this doesn’t do it,” he said, referring to the march, “nothing will.”
At promptly 10 AM the protestors marched down Constitution Avenue to the Washington Monument, where a choir was singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Mayor Gray and the council members led the procession with grim faces, holding a large blue sign that read “March on Washington for Gun Control.”
Kennedy Center chairman and Carlyle Group cofounder David Rubenstein was named a Washingtonian of the Year earlier this month for his philanthropic efforts in Washington, including the gift of a $2 million new organ for the concert hall. But the “most generous donor in Kennedy Center history” has gone one step further, providing $50 million for an expansion of the Kennedy Center’s building.
The planned expansion, announced today, is projected to cost $100 million in total, and will provide the institution with much-needed new rehearsal space and classrooms, as well as a floating outdoor stage on the Potomac River and new public gardens. The project is helmed by Steven Holl Architects, a New York-based firm. “Steven’s wonderful concept will create a strong visual presence that bolsters the Center’s prominence as the national cultural center, while maintaining its unique presence among Washington’s iconic landmarks,” said Rubenstein in a press release.
Other features of the planned expansion include an outdoor video wall for simulcasts. The Washington National Opera, which was folded into the Kennedy Center a year ago, currently hosts an annual free simulcast at Nationals Park. The new buildings will be constructed from the same Carrara marble that currently covers the building. A bill approving the expansion of the site using private funds was approved last year by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
A fundraising effort is also underway to raise the remaining $50 million for the project and a further $25 million for future programming. Rubenstein’s donation means he’s now given around $75 million to the Kennedy Center. As he said to The Washingtonian earlier this year, the secret to success is “to take advantage of your luck, build something, and then find something great to do with your money.”