Hollywood on the Potomac
“What I didn’t realize was that I was literally writing the social history of Washington, DC. We called it the human side of power,” David Adler told Hollywood on the Potomac. Adler is currently the CEO and founder of BizBash; but back in 1975, just a month out of college at 21, he co-founded Washington Dossier with his editor mother, Sonia (Sunny Adler). It was the society magazine for the Nation’s Capital from 1975-1991.
So why are we talking about this now? For two reasons: 1) A tribute to the late Dossier cover photographer Fred Ward and 2) the Presidential change of guards that will usher in a new group of power players, leaving this years’ Rolodex in the dust once the new administration lands on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
David explained how the sport of social climbing was played then and how it is played today: “My dad Warren Adler, the novelist who wrote the War of the Roses (think Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner) and 40 other novels, owned an advertising agency at the time. He along with his staff helped us launch a 16 page newsletter style magazine to cover the Washington, DC social scene. His ad agency represented most of the real estate powers of Washington and he backed me with his office infrastructure, some cash and encouragement. We picked the top 1000 biggest players in town and captured the glamour of the social scene. It literally became the Playbook for who was in and out of the ‘Court’ of influence and power.”
Why would anyone in Washington, DC show up at a party that starts at midnight in a city where residents are home bound by ten, get up at five AM – step & repeat? LOBSTAH! “Maine After Midnight” was an Industry Event at the Loft on F Street celebrating Maine New Shell Lobster season – the sweetest, most tender and sustainable harvested lobster to the docks of Maine and menus worldwide. Step & repeat: LOBSTAH. We showed up.
“It’s a long story,” event organizer Matt Jacobson told Hollywood on the Potomac. “What we’ve found as we’ve started this marketing effort for Maine lobster was that we are not on a lot of menus in upscale casual restaurants. We did a study between Baltimore and Maine, surveyed about 2000. We found that we are only on about 4% of the menus for Maine lobster which was interesting to us and a huge opportunity. The second piece of data that we noticed was that about 85% of all seafood consumed in North America is consumed in a restaurant. If we wanted to increase our market share, we had to get it on the menu. It was really important to get to chefs, get to the food media to talk about our story in a way that is meaningful and actually get some audience. We have a great sustainability story as well as culinary versatility. We started telling our story of new shell Maine lobster that we catch in the summertime. It’s a whole different product, not necessarily better, just different – a seasonal play. Then there is the story about the lobster men: It works. The question was how could we have more lobster men meet more chefs. The reality was that chefs work hard hours. They don’t get off work until 10 or 11. We came up with this notion of Maine After Midnight.”
“As far as the cover, that image was generated by photographing the dancer and exploiting the camera shutter and recording the movement of that dancer,” artist Ronald Beverly told Hollywood on the Potomac at a dinner party in his honor on the rooftop of The Hepburn hosted by Capitol File magazine Publisher Suzy Jacobs. “So it’s very similar to if you take a flashlight and stand in front of the camera in the middle of the night and you just move the flashlight in front of the camera, you get these lines, it’s the same concept. It’s just more elaborate with the suit that the dancer’s wearing and I’m watching the dancer move to musical passages. I’m familiar with the movements by watching her and then it’s intuitively taking pictures when I’m seeing something that really would register well.” This was the magazine’s third annual “Art of the City” issue. Inside the magazine, the Howard University Professor opens up about his stance on the digital-versus-film divide.