On a sunny Thursday afternoon it would be logical to expect an easy, by-the-numbers baseball game, but there was nothing routine about today’s final of a four-game series with the Pittsburg Pirates. First Lady Michelle Obama was among the spectators in the stands, reported the Washington Post—her second visit to a Nats game in two years. What she saw was some wild baseball action and then a ninth-inning tie.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson was kicked out of the game in the six inning by umpire Mike Winters after a dispute with a call against Ian Desmond. Only an inning later, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was tossed by another umpire, Laz Diaz.
The Nats were actually winning for much of the game, but Pittsburgh, with bases loaded, tied it up in the ninth. Bryce Harper then finished things with a walk-off to left center field, and the Nats won 9-7, ending a six-game losing streak. We’ll assume the First Lady cheered as loudly as anyone at Nats Park.
People began lining up outside Politics & Prose at 8 on Tuesday morning, in the rain, to be among the fortunate 260 who got to buy a copy of American Grown and get it signed by its author, Michelle Obama.
“She’s a very lovely person,” says Lacey Dunham, a P&P staffer, about the First Lady. Her visit began at 11:15 AM and lasted about an hour an a half, according to Dunham, during which Obama posed for a group photo with the staff to mark the special occasion: It was the first time a sitting First Lady had appeared at the Connecticut Avenue bookstore, which is a mecca for the famous and powerful who are promoting their books.
“As many of you know, this is my very first book,” the First Lady said in her opening remarks. “But what a great first book to be able to tell the tale of the White House garden. And I hope you guys enjoy it. It’s not just the story of the White House kitchen garden; it’s the story of community gardens all across this country, because the truth is the idea of the White House garden is not unique. Community gardens are a mainstay in so many communities across this country.”
Noting that Mother’s Day is coming up, Obama said, “I would say I was going to give this as a gift to my mother, but she already has, like, ten copies. But I might buy her another one just for the heck of it.”
Expect traffic congestion both inside and outside Politics & Prose book store next Tuesday morning. That’s when First Lady Michelle Obama plans to visit to sign copies of her book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.
The signing is scheduled to begin at 11:15 AM, according to the White House. “Mrs. Obama accepted no advance for American Grown, and all author proceeds will go to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks,” her office noted in the announcement. “Funds will be used for programs that promote gardening and healthy eating and give young people the opportunity to experience the outdoors and lead more active lives, as well as for the continued care of the White House Kitchen Garden. Random House will also donate a portion of its profits to the National Park Foundation.”
If you plan to be there, here’s what you need to know, according to organizers of the signing:
- Books will go on sale at 9 AM at the store.
- One copy of American Grown may be signed per customer.
- No other books or memorabilia may be brought to the signing.
- Wristbands for entry to this event will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Wristbands will be limited to one per customer.
- Customers must complete a security screening form in person.
- Customers may not provide security information for other participants.
Any questions can be directed to the store at 202-364-1919. As for parking, the lot in the back fills up fast. Street parking does not open up until after rush hour. The nearest Metro stop is Van Ness, about a 15-minute walk from the store.
Typically, once the President of the United States gives his State of the Union speech, the next day he embarks on some travel and appearances to bolster the points he made before Congress and the national television audience. It’s essentially big audience wholesale turned into smaller audience retail. Michelle Obama’s appearance on the Oscars broadcast Sunday—with an audience of 40 million—seems like her own version of the same formula, because this has been one very busy week for the First Lady. Is she running for something? Not that we’ve been told, but she’s been on the move all over the country, especially on behalf of her anti-obesity campaign.
Let’s break it down.
It was a big night for Washington at the Oscars. First Lady Michelle Obama announced the best picture winner was Argo, a film with a strong Washington connection; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was represented in the form of socks worn by documentary film winner Sean Fine; and George Stevens Jr. won a special Oscar for his work founding the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Mrs. Obama, however, was the big reveal.
While she didn’t come right out and say it, First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday gave strong indications that Beasts of the Southern Wild could be her choice for the Best Picture Oscar. She appeared at the White House in the State Dining Room for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film and about 80 middle and high school students from DC and New Orleans. In her remarks to them, she called Beasts “one of the most powerful and important movies that has been put out this year and in a long time.”
The First Lady said she had the opportunity to see the film this summer with friends and family—whose ages ranged from 3 to 75 years old—and gave it a rave review. “It’s rare to find a movie that so completely and utterly captivates such a broad audience,” she said. “It managed to be beautiful and devastatingly honest.” She called it a “story of poverty and devastation and hope and love.”
On the stage with her was the film’s star, Quvenzhané Wallis, who has been nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Mrs. Obama had fun trying to pronounce Wallis’s first name and finally just asked the nine-year-old actress, “Do you have a nickname?” Wallis replied that it is “Q.” Mrs. Obama replied, “Can I call you Q?”
Also on the stage with the First Lady and Wallis were the film’s director, Ben Zeitlin, Wallis’s costar, Dwight Henry, and Rachel Goslins of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, who moderated a discussion with the film’s cast and crew and the students in the audience.
It’s been a busy 48 hours for First Lady Michelle Obama. We reported Thursday that a team from Vogue was at the White House to do a cover shoot for the magazine. It could be for the March issue, or it could be for April. We hear Beyoncé is also in consideration for a cover.
Since that report we’ve learned the photo shoot was likely to continue into Friday, but before all that she had a big night Thursday. There was birthday dinner at BLT Steak for a friend, and the party was reportedly eight women, including White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. The restaurant is clearly a birthday favorite for Mrs. Obama. Last year she celebrated her own birthday there with the President, Jarrett, and Attorney General Eric Holder.
The girls’ night out included a later stop at the Howard Theatre, presumably with the same group of women, as After Hours reported earlier.