Hollywood on the Potomac

Looming Towers

February 21, 2018

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower – a Hulu original series – traces the threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11.  The Washington Post, in partnership with Hulu, held the premiere at their downtown offices.

“I spent five years working on the book and when it came out in 2006 many people approached me about doing a television show or a movie and, honestly, I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure the country was ready,” said Wright before the screening.  “9/11 is still an open wound and unresolved in American consciousness. I hope that my book made some contribution to understanding. In the interim, things have changed. The things that really have motivated me to decide to express this book in another form, are two things:  One, television changed. Television is not the same as it is now. We have 10 episodes with a tremendous budget and great actors and great directors telling a story that sprawls and we filmed in three different countries. That wasn’t the television of old, and so it’s a new medium that I thought would be a useful and expressive new medium for a new audience. And the second thing I wanted to say was that [with] that new audience, it began to dawn on me there was so many young people for whom 9/11 was, to them, what World War Two was to me. It was something that happened in their parents’ generation, and they don’t know why they live in the country they live in now. They don’t know what happened, they don’t have a narrative for it, they don’t know why we didn’t present it, and so what we hope to do here is to provide that narrative especially for a new generation in a form, a new form, the serial TV form that I think can be so expressive and carry so much more meaning than we were able to do in the past. I hope that we’ve come close to achieving those goals.”


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The Gatekeepers

February 14, 2018

Have you been in touch with John Kelly?  That was a question posed to former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush  Josh Bolten about current Chief of Staff  Kelly to President Trump. “You know, not really. I mean, we met several times on several occasions and he’s always been very gracious and said: ‘Oh, we need to get together and talk,’ but when you’re Chief of Staff it’s pretty hard to call us in the middle of the day and say: ‘Why don’t I call up that guy who had this job ten years ago and see if he can help me with this budget negotiation.’  It doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Denis (McDonough, President Obama’s COS) was extraordinarily gracious in reaching out to his predecessors, but he was in a different environment. John Kelly is fighting a pretty big fire every day. Not to say that Denis and I didn’t, but he’s fighting a really different kind of fire. I think he’s a distinguished public servant, a patriot, trying to do a hard job under, I would guess, the hardest circumstances of any of us that has ever gotten that job.”  The occasion was Institute for Education’s (IFE) 27th Season Kickoff  INFO Salon with West Wing Gatekeepers: Demystifying the Role of Chief of Staff  hosted by H.E. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium Dirk Wouters and IFE’s founder Kathy Kemper.  Kelly, of course, has found himself  in a maelstrom of controversy which began shortly before the event started by what most would consider the mishandling of the Rob Porter scandal, White House Staff Secretary to President Trump.

 

 


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Martin's Tavern

February 8, 2018

“My grandfather was a very stocky, good looking Irishman with blond hair and I was told at one point that when they were bringing a caravan of whiskey down from up north, there was a scene almost out of Elliott Ness, if you will. The convoy was stopped in the dark of night, a line of headlights went on, stopped the caravan, a voice told everybody to get out of the cars that were bringing the caravan down and had them all line up out front of the headlights. A voice did holler out at that time and said, ‘The stocky guy with the blond hair, you stand over to the side.’ With that, everybody else lost their life. They took these tommy guns and they shot everybody and confiscated and/or stole the whiskey but let my grandfather go. A lot of people asked why do you think or ‘Why was your grandfather spared?’  I think it probably was because Sam Rayburn was one of his best friends and he was very good friends with Lyndon Johnson. I think that just with his connections, to keep from getting any backlash, they let my grandfather go.”  Excerpted from a one on one interview with Billy Martin by Hollywood on the Potomac.  And so began Billy Martin’s Tavern.

Located in the heart of Georgetown at the corner of Wisconsin and N Street in DC, Billy says: “Martin’s Tavern has been here for 85 years continuously: The same family, the same location, same corner.  What more could we ask for? Martin’s is one of the few Washington, D.C. establishments at the heart of the city since the Great Depression. This is the best party in the city. We like it in February because nobody has anything to do. So what are we doing tonight? This is the customer and employee appreciation party in February, the coldest week ever.  Free food, free drinks.”  And, the staff was off for the night to mingle with their customers.


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