Hollywood on the Potomac
“I haven’t seen a dead body in a long time,” singer, songwriter turned author Korby Lenker told Hollywood on the Potomac while heading to Arlington, Virginia for a reading of his book Medium Hero and a musical performance at One More Page Books. “The last time was at my grandpa’s funeral. It was a thing of my childhood. My girlfriend and I did visit my parents over the holiday though and one of the features of course, when showing the girlfriend around, was to go visit my dad at the mortuary. There was a body being embalmed. I didn’t really think about that until after. Things just kind of happen without you realizing it.”
Medium Hero is a quirky collection of 27 short stories inspired by his life as a traveling musician with a cat and finding beauty in everyday life. A mortician’s son from rural Idaho, Korby now lives in Nashville where he is celebrated as the new “it” man that people can’t take their eye’s off of in the city’s rich music and literary scene.
Attention all Netflix binge watchers: This one’s for you! “Making a Murderer” is a Netflix series about whether or not Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are innocent in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach who was last seen on Avery’s property.
The first season streamed on Netflix in December and pulls you into the life of Steven Avery, a man who went to prison for sexual assault and attempted murder. Eighteen years later he was exonerated, only to be subsequently accused of the murder of Teresa. The documentary series was filmed over the course of ten years and includes Avery’s $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County in Wisconsin for wrongful imprisonment. In the end, it leaves you dangling, confused and wondering: Whodunnit?
Outraged viewers, who feel that Avery was framed a second time, began a campaign for Avery to get a pass from President Obama by soliciting signatures for a pardon which is now reaching fever pitch. The question remains, is the right man convicted? Unfortunately, there is strong evidence both ways. The defense and the prosecution teams have taken to social media and the airways to explain their positions. It works both ways: No one wants to see someone wrongfully imprisoned, but no one wants a murderer to go free. We suggest a new trial because the first one was based on mostly circumstantial and conflicting evidence, confusing and contradictory testimonies. So far, that motion has been denied.
“I had a boyfriend who broke up with me and I was crying,” Fox News Anchor Maria Bartiromo told an audience of almost 2,000 at the 40th Anniversary of NIAF Gala at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel about a puppy love. “I was so young and I remember saying to my mom, ‘Don’t tell anyone, I don’t want anyone to know this – just us.’ Well, she left my bedroom and went right upstairs and told my father, proceeded to call my sister, told my brother. And it was such a lesson for me because in my family my problem was everyone’s problem. I think as a kid, that had an enormous impact on me because I realized and I thought that I could do anything, because it didn’t matter; whatever I did, even if I failed, I had my family.”
Italian life is all about La Familia. “This is the way that we were raised and this is the value of the culture that we celebrate tonight. It must have been so hard to leave a place where you had so much safety surrounded by friends and family,” she said of her ancestors, “but they had that much hopefulness and optimism that if you came to America you could start anew, create a better life for your family; and frankly that is exactly what they did.”
That Italian experience was backed up by others: That sense of family and family support that is one debt of gratitude we owe to our ancestors, and that is a legacy that not only supported our families, but was a great investment in America. “We have become fully a part of the American Dream,” said John Cavelli. “Those are terms that Governor Cuomo spoke very eloquently about at the Democratic National Convention. – that we are a part of the mosaic: ‘We can make it all the way with the whole family in tact.'” As for the boy that broke Maria’s heart? As newly inducted NIAF Hall of Fame singer Connie Francis would say: Who’s Sorry Now?