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A monthly roundup of people we'd like to have over for drinks, food, and conversation.
Photo-illustration by John Ueland. Photograph of Hingis by Yuya Shino/Landov; Smith by Kristina Sherk; Hogan by Johnny Simon/Newscom; Trotz by Andrew Harnik/Landov; McHenry by Patrick McMullan Co./Newscom.

1. Martina Hingis

Seven years after her last appearance in a Grand Slam singles event, the Washington Kastles tennis star makes it to the final in women’s doubles at the US Open.

2. Richard Craig Smith

The Norton Rose Fulbright lawyer and former prosecutor has been retained by the NFL play-ers’ union to investigate Ray Rice’s spousal-abuse allegations and the league’s handling of the case.

3. Cynthia Hogan

A former Joe Biden aide who helped write the 1994 Violence Against Women act, she’s been hired by the NFL to head its DC lobbying operation. We’ll seat her next to Smith and eavesdrop.

4. Barry Trotz

The Washington Capitals’ new coach assigned lockers to the players based on what he expects from them. Fine—as long as he stays on the right side of Alex Ovechkin.

5. Britt McHenry

The former WJLA sports reporter, stolen by ESPN earlier this year, is helping give the network’s NFL pre-game show a feminine voice.

6. Erwin Andres

The Gorove/Slade civil engineer oversaw a report calling a proposed DC United soccer stadium “an excellent starting point” for revitalizing Buzzard Point.

Photograph of Pierce by Adam Hunger/Landov.

Disinvited: Paul Pierce

For wearing a Celtics jacket at Derek Jeter’s last game at Fenway. We know he’s going into the Hall of Fame as a Celtic, but is it too much to ask to represent the Wizards while taking their money?


This article appears in our November 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:50 AM/ET, 10/31/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A monthly roundup of people we'd like to have over for drinks, food, and conversation.
Photo-illustration by John Ueland. Photograph of Reyes-Gavilan courtesy of DC Public Library; Megan Smith by Steve Parsons/AP Photo; William Kennedy Smith by Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom; Foer by Pablo Sartor; Kolick by Kevin Leclaire/UltiPhotos; Helderman courtesy of The Washington Post.

1. Richard Reyes-Gavilan

The DC Public Library’s new chief has a mandate to turn the decrepit but historic Mies van der Rohe-designed Martin Luther King Jr. library into a bustling flagship for the new-media era.

2. Megan Smith

We want to ask the Google executive named to replace Todd Park as the nation’s chief technology officer how she’ll balance privacy issues with the industry’s know-all, see-all impulses.

3. William Kennedy Smith

With his 1991 rape acquittal a distant memory (he hopes), the Kennedy scion and Foggy Bottom physician is running for an Advisory Neighborhood Commission seat in DC.

4. Esther Foer

The executive director of Sixth & I, a historic synagogue rededicated ten years ago, has created a multigenerational, multidenominational cultural hub that has revived a landmark.

5. Alan Kolick

An offensive star for Washington’s Ultimate Frisbee team, DC Current, the Arlington native was named Eastern Conference MVP on the Current’s way to the league national championship.

6. Rosalind Helderman

The Washington Post correspondent broke the story of Governor Bob McDonnell’s relationship with Jonnie Williams, always seeing the bigger issue in every sordid turn.

Photograph by Steve Helber/AP Photo.

Disinvited: Henry Asbill

His risky "she was a witch" defense turned Bob and Maureen McDonnell's marriage into tabloid fodder without explaining the guv's "can I get another $20,000?" texts.


This article appears in the October 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 10/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Difference between CIA and military operations continues to shrink By Shane Harris

President Obama is expected to announce Thursday that he’ll nominate General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. With that move, the CIA will have completed its decade-long conversion into a paramilitary organization, focused primarily on hunting and killing terrorists and insurgents and less on trying to make sense of the world for decision-makers in government.

The CIA has long been divided between its two main cultures: clandestine operations and analysis. The stock of the latter fell in the wake of disastrous intelligence judgments, mainly those preceding the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq. But it was already in decline in the aftermath of the Cold War, as Washington’s power structure came to rely less on secret intelligence and more on public information in the press.

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Posted at 01:06 PM/ET, 04/27/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

Virginia Commonwealth University basketball coach Shaka Smith. Photograph courtesy VCU.

• Shaka Smart: The coach of Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team has used national media criticism to motivate his players after they came to the NCAA tournament as an at-large selection. The way they’re playing has quieted some doubters, but can they ride their momentum to the Final Four and beyond?

• Amit Natanzon: Washingtonians love their pets, and Natanzon is at the forefront of a new movement in the local pet-care business. His Silver Spring store, Club Wags, is one of a number of shops that provide organic and health-oriented pet products. While it might seem like a luxe option, apparently he and his competitors are all thriving.

• Anita Josey-Herring: As the latest census reveals that the District is on the verge of losing its status as a majority-black city (the African-American population is down to 50 percent), we’d like to check in with the president of the city’s Jack and Jill chapter. We’d love to know what the region’s changing demographics mean for the group, which provides social and service opportunities for African-American youth.

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Posted at 03:39 PM/ET, 03/25/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Tom Weschler. Weschler has an inside perspective on the difficult economic climate—his family has been running auctions in the District for 120 years. As a result, he’s seen what hard times are forcing Washingtonians to give up and what counts as a small treat during the recession.

• Mamie Locke. The chair of Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus wants a say in how the state’s congressional redistricts are reorganized next month. She and other lawmakers want to make sure Virginia lives up to the directives of the Justice Department, which says the Voting Rights Act means that when states have the opportunity, they should create districts where more than half the potential voters are members of racial minority groups and that they should try not to dilute the power of minority voters. It’ll be interesting to see how her push influences the final maps.

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Posted at 02:49 PM/ET, 03/22/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Timothy Donner. The head of Great Falls-based Horizons Television may not have a lot of political experience, but as he weighs whether to jump into the Republican Senate primary in Virginia, knowing what it’s like to be on camera could be a real advantage.

• Marc Barnes. Washington may not be known for its nightlife, but Barnes has done his best to amp up the city’s club scene. After a high-profile bankruptcy and a higher-profile stabbing outside one of his clubs, the Park, can Barnes still set trends and act as a draw for parties far outside Washington?

• Catherine Pugh. The Democratic state senator from Baltimore is taking on what she says is a barrier to people getting the jobs they need in a tough economy: the fact that employers are allowed to check potential employees’ credit scores, even though those numbers may reflect hard times or a string of bad luck rather than a worker’s character or habits. If she’s successful, Maryland would become the fourth state to put limits on credit checks as part of employment applications.

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Posted at 03:20 PM/ET, 03/21/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Rick Allen. The CEO of Ted Leonsis’s documentary-streaming Web site, SnagFilms, gets described as a “filmanthropist.” SnagFilms is providing an alternative distribution mechanism for movies that might never find national audiences otherwise. Right now, the site has 2,000 movies, but it’s hoping to double that number this summer. Leonsis and Allen are proving that Washington may not be the center of the movie business, but you don’t need to be in Hollywood to come up with good entertainment ideas.

• Judy Ford Wasson. As a member of Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting, Wasson is one of the commissioners charged with shedding light on the back-room process of drawing political districts. Their decisions will play an important role in the upcoming state Senate and House of Delegates elections this year.

• Ben and Daniel Miller. Washington’s booming restaurant scene has no shortage of chefs with good ideas. The Miller brothers are helping their dreams come true with a $10-million fund dedicated to providing start-up support for Washington restaurateurs and retailers. We can think of a few vacant storefronts that could be great homes for new food and shopping outlets.

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Posted at 12:03 PM/ET, 03/18/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Charles Meng. Washington might have survived the recession in better shape than the rest of the country, but the executive director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center sees another side of the economy. As the construction boom in the suburbs has faded, jobs for the working poor have vanished, creating a strain on the area’s food banks—one that will only get worse if gas prices go up, straining already-thin incomes.

• Trish Mayhugh. The Towson mother of three is one of the neighborhood advocates who have pushed Baltimore to think more carefully about the relationships among its colleges and universities and longtime residents. A new coalition, the Greater Towson Residential Task Force, is bringing together students and university and city officials to try to ease the friction between college students and the communities they live in. If it works, we’d love to see what solutions the task force might have for Washington universities and their neighbors.

• Bill Atkins. Who knew there was a museum dedicated to John Wayne in Bowie? Atkins, a commercial-real-estate agent, was a Marine at Camp Pendelton when Wayne shot Flying Leathernecks there, and he’s emerged as one of the country’s biggest Wayne fans, running the museum out of his office. So if the remake of True Grit didn’t do it for you, there’s a shrine for you to pay your respects within driving distance.

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Posted at 01:59 PM/ET, 03/17/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Silas Kennedy. The senior resident inspector at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland is always responsible for safety at the facility. Now he’ll have to ease nuclear-power jitters in the wake of the catastrophe sweeping Japan. Fortunately, Calvert Cliffs isn’t near an earthquake fault line, and it has a different reactor design. But it’s hard to blame residents in the evacuation zone if they’re feeling antsier than usual.

• Muriel Sue Kerr. The former secretary at the Veterans of World War I of the USA chapter just lost her final member: Frank Buckles, the last American veteran of the war, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. From her years of helping aging military retirees, we’re sure Kerr has a wealth of knowledge about how to treat veterans—and how to handle the elderly—that the military and the rest of us could learn from.

• Gray Delany. What is it with Virginia college students and Senate races? In 2006, George Allen’s insulting of University of Virginia students S.R. Sidarth may have cost Allen his Senate seat. This time around, Delany, a University of Richmond student, claims that former Democratic governor Tim Kaine has confirmed he’s definitely running against Allen for the Senate in 2012, a claim Kaine’s camp denies. Lesson for Virginia politicians: Stay away from college kids, at least at sensitive moments. You want them at the polls, not in the news cycle.

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Posted at 02:23 PM/ET, 03/16/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Kevin Brennan. Islands in the Chesapeake Bay keep disappearing under rising sea levels. But Brennan, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers team tasked with restoring Poplar Island, is going to make sure that at least one gets saved from the waters. And it turns out that saving the island where Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman used to vacation is good for business: Restoration provides a use for the material dredged up from the Port of Baltimore so ships can get in and out of the city.

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Posted at 02:40 PM/ET, 03/14/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()