Hollywood on the Potomac

SongwritingWith: Soldiers

March 2, 2014

“I started writing songs when I was about 10 years old,” said singer-songwriter Darden Smith in an interview with Hollywood on the Potomac. “Then I sort of got more into it in high school playing all sorts of coffee shops and things like that and really bad bar bands.  Then I went to college and when I was 19 started writing songs and playing in clubs around Austin, Texas.  I did that all through 19, 20, 21 and then made my first record at 23 and put it out on my own little label and it took off from there.” 

Darden will be in DC area on April 8th and 9th hosting a songwriting retreat for veterans in Virginia for his non-profit SongwritingWith: Soldiers series before heading to Houston to give the keynote presentation at the Global Alliance for Arts & Health 25th Anniversary conference.  He explains the art & health connection below.

We were a bit stunned that he could have his own record label at 23.  He explained that he got a little help from his friends.  ….  sort of like a kick-starter campaign in today’s world.  “I got people to give me money to make a record and then just printed it up, pressed it up.  I got really lucky -  I was really driven,  I was really motivated.  I worked at it and started when I was 10, so I just stumbled into this thing.  I come from a totally non-musical family and I just found songwriting.  It was a mystery to me that I could do it.  I lived in a little bitty town on a farm and I didn’t know anyone else who wrote songs, so it’s something that I had that no one else had.  So that was part of it for me when I was very young -  I had a secret weapon.  


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Chance for Life!

February 24, 2014

A $10,000 seat at the 2014 World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas wasn’t the only reason 200 poker players showed up at City Tavern Club in Georgetown on Saturday.  The real reason was Kennedy Synder and the real winner was the Spinal Cord Tumor Association.

 

Kennedy wasn’t dealt a good hand when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of pediatric spinal cord cancer at age 2 with little chance she would make it for even six months.  Now 13, she’s still in the game and the very reason why the tournament is in its ninth year.

“It was a lot of fun for a great cause,” said Bret Baier of Fox News. “I am not a great poker player as clearly shown by how fast I was bumped off the table, but it was a blast.  And hearing Kennedy speak about the fight for new research for spinal cord cancer was very powerful”  Check out Bret’s very funny and very serious attempt at winning in the below video.


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Oscar Countdown: 12 Years a Slave

February 16, 2014

In our countdown to the Oscars, we continue with Best Picture. Our previous countdown eliminated everything else so guess that means we are going with 12 Years a Slave.

"12 Years a Slave is a 2013 British-American historical drama film and an adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free negro who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before his release. The first scholarly edition of Northup’s memoir, co-edited in 1968 by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon, carefully retraced and validated the account and concluded it to be accurate.

This is the third feature film directed by Steve McQueen written by John Ridley. Chiwetel Ejiofor starred in the leading role of Northup. Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard featured in supporting roles. Principal photography took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, from June 27 to August 13, 2012, on a production budget of $20 million. The locations used were four historic antebellum plantations: Felicity, Magnolia, Bocage, and Destrehan. Of the four, Magnolia is nearest to the actual plantation where Northup was held.”  Wikepedia

12 Years a Slave is what we would call a perfect movie: Perfect editing – Perfect casting – Perfect character performances.  Had it not been for editing, our backup choices American Hustle and Gravity, (which we didn’t expect to like, but did) could have made this a toss-up.  En fin, we’re going with 12 Years a Slave for Best Picture.


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